Robot 6

2010: The results are in!

Avengers #1: Top-selling comic of the year

Diamond Comic Book Distributors announced its 2010 numbers yesterday, and the results were mixed: Sales of comics, graphic novels, and magazines in comics stores were down 3.5% for the year, but they moved up a bit in the last three months of the year, which is a hopeful sign.

In terms of market share, Marvel won the year with 38% of the dollar share and 43% of units sold (I’m rounding here). DC was second with 30 and 34%, respectively, and tagging along after them were Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Dynamite, and Boom! Studios. Viz, the top manga publisher, had 1.4% of the dollars and less than 1% of the unit share, which is about where they have been in previous years.

And what comics were we reading this year? Well, we weren’t exactly breaking new ground. Individual volumes of Scott Pilgrim and The Walking Dead dominated the graphic novel list, which is not surprising given that both had strong media tie-ins. The comics list had a bit more variety, and it’s interesting that the last two issues of Blackest Night outsold the first two issues of Brightest Day.

Here’s the list of the top ten periodical comics for the year:

  1. Avengers #1
  2. X-Men #1
  3. Blackest Night #8
  4. Siege #1
  5. Blackest Night #7
  6. New Avengers #1
  7. Brightest Day #0
  8. Brightest Day #1
  9. Siege #2
  10. Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #1

And here’s the top ten graphic novels:

  1. The Walking Dead Vol. 1
  2. Kick-Ass Premium HC
  3. Walking Dead Vol. 11
  4. Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6
  5. Superman: Earth One HC
  6. Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1
  7. The Walking Dead Vol. 12
  8. The Walking Dead Vol. 2
  9. The Walking Dead Vol. 13
  10. Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2



It’s interesting to see Marvel and DC fill the Top 10 periodicals, while the majority of Top 10 graphic novels are related to creator-owned works (with the exception of Superman: Earth One).
Maybe not interesting to everyone, but interesting to me- to see The Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim sell that well means that (hopefully) more people are seeing that comic books are not just capes & tights.

Sure reading non-supers gets the notion out that comics are not all capes and tights, but let’s not attribute the sales themselves to that side-effect.

People aren’t going out and buying those books because they aren’t about supers, they’re buying them because Walking Dead, Scott Pilgrim, and Kick Ass had TV and Film representations. And Superman Earth One was reviewed to death by non-comic-focused media outlets.

That is a pretty stark contrast.

Graphic novels are clearly the medium for new concepts. SCOTT PILGRIM, THE WALKING DEAD and KICK-ASS are all fresh ideas. Even SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE is a new concept on the marketing side.

On the periodical side, the only concept that is not at least forty-five years old is BLACKEST NIGHT. Even that was just a novel way of recycling other old ideas.

The only item on the trade list that is still a periodical (not counting “Kick Ass 2″) is “The Walking Dead” and Joe “non-comics media watcher” isn’t going to go to the shop to get the latest under-ordered-due-to-the-economy issue, but rather the collected trade where he can read the story from the beginning.

The only realistic way to get those stories of those characters is via the trade medium.

Translation: buying the stories in trades rather than issues has nothing to do with being new ideas; those particular stories are not readily available at this time in any other fashion.

@Squashua its odd to think that the top graphic novels were the ones with Film and TV representation when comic book movies in the past have done very little for the sales of said comic

Of coarse it could be the other way around, that the comics that got adapted were the ones that already had the best sales.

Comic adaptations have done little for book sales in the past? Citation needed.

If you can prove it is true then consider the subject and quantity of material at hand. Consider a contained story like Scott Pilgrim with zero spin offs vs. Spider-Man with 6-8 monthly appearances plus derivativeworks. Someone wanting to pickup Pilgrim has fewer choices of what to purchase vs. the wide range of material available for a more mainstream character. Hence a consolidated revenue stream appears for the SP books vs a hero who saturates the shelves.

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