Monday, April 20, 2009

March Sales Review

ICv2 does it's usual great job in reviewing the economic state of comics and individual titles over on their website. Here is the link which discusses March 2009 sales in general:

Of note, one passage really stuck out.

For the first time since March of 2001, the month that ICv2 began tracking sales of periodical comics through Diamond Comic Book Distributors, no comic sold more than 100,000 copies in March of 2009. While sales of periodical comics were down 7% in dollars for the month, the decline in units sold was greater, considering the rise in cover prices of key titles versus their cost in March, 2008.

So maybe comics aren't recession proof. It strikes me that the comic industry thinks the way to survive in tough economic times is to INCREASE prices! Seems counter-intuitive.

So sales drop 7%, but individual comic book issues drops even more. Unfortunately this sales models probably means less titles (and less diversity) in the market, less time for a title to try and build an audience before being cancelled.

As for individual titles, here is the link for the list of the top 300 titles: Anyone who knows me can tell you I am no optimist. Still, I think things continue to look okay for Supergirl, at least from a sales point of view.

Supergirl #39 comes in as the 50th best selling title, having sold 33,713 issues. Supergirl #38 sold 34,225 issues. Thus, sales dropped about 1.5% in March.

But when you think about the market, this slight drop is actually sort of reassuring. The Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle team has found a stable audience. This couldn't be said about this title last year when it seemed to be hemorrhaging readers.

And that stable audience is there in the middle of a story arc without crossovers, variant covers, or other gimmicks. I think that is good news.

The same sort of optimism can be seen in sales for Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eight Grade #4.

Cosmic Adventures #4 sold 6200 units. Cosmic Adventures #3 sold 6222. Essentially, this comic sold the same number of issues. So again, stability in a volatile market is a good thing. It appears Landry Walker and Eric Jones have found their audience.

Is an all ages book that sells 6K a month a good selling book? I don't know the bench mark that Johnny DC books are aiming for. But when you compare that to mainstream comics around it, I think this book is a strong seller. Do you hear that DC !!!

Just for the sake of comparison and to spotlight a book I reviewed here, let's look at March sales for R.E.B.E.L.S. #2.

Despite what felt like a lot of publicity and sneak peeks, issue #2 limped in at 16,122 sold, a drop of 33% (!!!) from the modest sales if issue #1 (23,739 sold). In this market, how long does DC keep a new book that sells 16K? My guess is new books get a year to find their legs and then get assessed. For example, Squadron Supreme 2, which sits just below R.E.B.E.L.S. in sales, ends with issue #12.

Kudos to the creative teams for the Supergirl books though for holding steady in uncertain financial waters.


Nikki said...

I was thrilled. Most books I looked at lost around 1000 readers. In my opinion Johnny DC could do so much better, Its luck that I find a copy of Tiny Titans in a comic store. I usually have to go into two to find cosmic adventures. I guess stores buy what they know they can sell that first month because they don't do well in back issues.

TalOs said...

Er, so Supergirl's ranking in the top 50 now yeah? :/