Thursday, February 19, 2009

December Sales: Comics Aren't Recession-proof

The great ICv2 website has posted there analysis of January comics sales including the list of the top 300 comics (

I don't know if it is the slumping economy or post-holiday bills or both but comics sales in total fell 9% in January. And that despite the Obama Spiderman issue selling through the roof. If Amazing Spiderman sold normally, the percentage drop would probably be much worse. For a disturbing comparison to sales from January 2008 go to this ICv2 link (

Unfortunately, Supergirl was not invulnerable to this drop.

Supergirl #37, the first issue post-New Krypton, did well from a ranking point of view. The main title ranked 48th overall. Remember, in the waning days of Puckett's run the comic was mired in the 80s.
But the total volume was down. Supergirl #36, ranked 49th overall, sold 45,591.
Supergirl #37, ranked one slot higher only sold 34,060. That is a drop of 25%!

This was an important issue to analyze for sales. Supergirl #34 got the bump of the new team. The next issues were tied into New Krypton and brought in those readers. This was the first issue to see who stuck around. It doesn't help that the country is mired in this fiscal slump. But my guess is that this is a marker of the strength of the economy rather than the strength of the title.

For me, I am going to look at the bright side. Ranked 48th is great considering where this title came from.
Supergirl:Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade also took a tumble in number of units sold. Interestingly enough, from a rank point of view it looks healthier.

Here we see that Cosmic Adventures #2 was ranked 192 over all, a leap of 31 spots on the overall rank list. That just sounds encouraging. The issue only sold 6,488 units.

Remember the first issue sold nearly 9,500 units. That's a drop of 30% in sales.

But again, I am going to look at the bright side. For a Johnny DC book to stay relatively healthy in this sales environment makes me optimistic. And a jump in 31 ranks slots is nothing to simply gloss over.

In contrast, take for example Terry Moore's Echo (included in figure above). That is a great indy book which I love. Its rank only slipped 2 slots from December but it lost almost 50% of its sales.

For me, I am starting to become concerned about the medium as a whole.


Anonymous said...

Well all I can tell you is that I've heard predictions of the imminent demise of comic books for 30 years now...
But I do think that content has to migrate to the internet in some decisive fashion and migrate in a way that takes into account PDAs, I-phones etc.
Connect those dots and realize a revenue stream as well and you will revolutionize comics.
Still it's good to see the new SG in the top fifty...I too was resigned to a cancellation this time last year so this is all good news after a fashion for me.

John Feer

TalOs said...

Hmmm, I recently read Jamal address something similar to this as of late on the Bloc and from what he was saying it sounds like the medium as a whole should still be ok for another decade to come at least (including the current economy climate) before it all goes from paper to PC producing wise.

I'm not worried really. ;)