DC wallops Marvel 51% to 30% in October

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Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    Who knows if it’ll last, but I believe this is the first time in nearly half a century that DC has outsold Marvel like this.

    Mike

  2. Snikt Snakt says:

    DC better enjoy being #1 while it lasts…b/c it never does, for them! :-O

  3. Last month’s lead for DC seemed relatively disappointing, but it looks like those numbers were only shifted to this month. Very impressive.

    Was hoping for Wolverine & the X-Men to place better, but it probably still did quite well in actual numbers.

  4. I think it’s more interesting to note that non-Big Two publishers accounted for 28% of the dollar share. The larger that grows, the stronger our industry will be.

  5. I guess that’s the combined effect of sustained sales on issue #2, plus the reorders of issue #1 coming through. It’s bound to tail off to some extent, but this has clearly been a big hit for DC.

    Marvel will no doubt take some comfort from the fact that their two main October launches placed in the top 10, but it’s clearly DC’s quarter.

  6. Torsten Adair says:

    So, what about total dollars? Are customers spending more money in stores….OOPS.
    I meant:
    Are RETAILERS spending more this month than October 2010? Are dollars which would normally being spent on graphic novels being spent on periodical comics instead?

    Could this affect holiday sales, if the stores don’t have gift books to sell? DC usually pushes some major GNs in the Fall (Absolute or Omnibus editions), and these large ticket items could be hurt if stores shift their buying dollars to The New 52.

  7. Wow — I believe this was the thumping that most were anticipating for September. Don’t know if it’ll last, but it’s certainly an eye-opener. Good for DC. It’s definitely a wake up call for the competition.

  8. @Kyle: Well, not necessarily. Depends whether it’s happening because indie sales are up, or because Marvel and DC sales are down. Though admittedly, in this particular month, the former seems more likely.

  9. I’m glad for DC’s gains and hope it helps them long term. But am I understanding correctly that in the Comparative Sales Statistics chart, sales for all comics and graphic novels is down almost 2 percent from last year to date?

  10. Justin H. says:

    Shouldn’t this say “It’s paid off, at least in the short term” or somesuch? The jury’s still out on whether this relaunch is a sustainable success or not.

  11. Mikael says:

    I love how the claim is that DC has been short sighted with this relaunch, that it’s only a quick fix, etc – but those that say that then write “We’ll see a few months from now”. Way to cover your bases to be able to come back and say “I told you so”. Kreskins. The lot of ya.

    As if these numbers are the sole thing DC lives/dies by. It’s a boost across the board, which means licensing, branding, marketing, etc. There are factors here none of us know about and a 2-3 month bump could be all DC needs to push their brand out regardless of what happens 3-4 months from now.

  12. “Who knows if it’ll last, but I believe this is the first time in nearly half a century that DC has outsold Marvel like this.”

    It is a Diamond Exclusive-Era record dollar share for DC this month — but DC outsold Marvel in dollars as recently as December 2010. And it led Marvel every single month for nearly three years from 1999-2001, beating it 41%-to-17% in January 1999. Some historical comparatives here:

    http://blog.comichron.com/2011/11/direct-market-dollar-orders-up-double.html

    Torsten, retailers are spending more money in total, pretty close to about $4 million more this October than last October. There isn’t enough data to make the case that it’s coming at the expense of trades, or anything else; actually, I think the nature of the current trade slate may have something to do with its performance.

    It’s hardcover-heavy this month — and since most GNs are really collected editions, they tend to echo demand from six months earlier. Sales were weaker then, so perhaps that has some impact on interest in those titles enter the reprint phase.

  13. Spin that, Marvel.

  14. And Doug Jennings: yes, you read correctly. The market remains down almost 2% in overall dollars for the year — that’s the hole we dug earlier in the year.

    A gain like we had this month for the next two months, however, flips the market positive for the year. It’s do-able — November and December 2010 were weaker than September and October 2010 were.

  15. blacaucasian says:

    How much did the buzz around Walking Dead inflate those numbers last year, I wonder?

  16. Some, to be sure — five out of the Top 10 trades were Walking Dead books last October. And that further influences the comparatives, because the WD paperbacks tended to be cheaper on average — partially giving us that big gap you see in TPB unit sales this month.

  17. Crispix Glover says:

    Nice.

    Brevoort’s gonna be extra grouchy now. =)

  18. Chris Hero says:

    @ Kyle Garret

    Yes. I also think the growth of non-big Two will predict the health of the market. It’s not anything against DC or Marvel, it’s just not good to have those two be the only option.

  19. MBunge says:

    “And it led Marvel every single month for nearly three years from 1999-2001, beating it 41%-to-17% in January 1999.”

    Doh! I had forgotten just how bad it got for Marvel after the speculator bubble popped.

    Mike

  20. Well, the real impact back then was from DC’s trade backlist, which dwarfed Marvel’s at the time (“we’re not in the business of keeping inventory” was the line from someone in Marvel’s management) and from the 1996-98 bankruptcy, which had led to austerity in the number of releases. DC was putting 50-75% more titles out, some months.

  21. >> Brevoort’s gonna be extra grouchy now. =) >>

    Because he hates it when more customers come into comics shops?

    If DC’s gains were actually hurting Marvel — costing them sales — I imagine it would be some concern. But reports are that other publishers are seeing increases, not decreases.

    So I’d think any exec at another publisher’s reaction would be closer to “Great, thanks for bringing in all those new buyers, DC; now we’re going to work at winning them for us!” than to “Darn, I wish all those new customers hadn’t shown up.”

    I can tell you from personal experience that when the first Tim Burton BATMAN movie came out, and Batman sales skyrocketed, Marvel was delighted — because Moon Knight, Daredevil, Punisher and Wolverine sales went up sharply, too.

  22. GN sales being down can definitely be attributed to the lack of “hit” product. This time last year I was selling mountains of Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim, for example. While there’s still plenty of TPs that sell very well, the above titles included, there’s nothing that is turning near the rate of what those blockbusters were doing last year. In my experience, the GN market is far from unhealthy, it just doesn’t have an unqualified monster seller at the moment to push numbers up where we were last year.

  23. bad wolf says:

    Mr Busiek brings up a good point. The increases at other publishers are the numbers i’m most curious about seeing in the next monthly sales charts!

  24. Joe Quesada must be fired immediately.
    Disney shareholders won’t be happy about this.

    In all seriousness — this is actually a bad thing for fans of Marvel Comucs. Why? Because this is a copy-cat business and now that Marvel has seen how well this relaunch has done for DC (even if just for the short term), you know they are going to want to capitalize on this proven concept. So you can expect Marvel to relaunch their whole line in the near future (even though they’ve relaunched several of their titles just recently).

  25. Micah says:

    Marvel has already relaunched almost every single one of their books in the past 6 to 8 months. Get ready for the reset on numbering for Avengers titles to correspond to the movie this coming summer.

    I’ve definitely shied away from Marvel books and gravitated towards DC’s relaunch. Too many 20 page books for $3.99 coming out from Marvel. But good on DC. They made comics exciting for the last 6 months, and their books have been the topic of conversation for quite some time.

  26. It’s quite right that (judging from the first month’s numbers) DC’s success doesn’t seem to be coming at Marvel’s expense. In that sense, Marvel has nothing to worry about. On the other hand, you can also read this as an indication that Marvel too could be doing a lot better if they shook things up a bit – though quite how is an open question, since they obviously can’t copy the DC relaunch. DC have certainly proved that Marvel can’t just blame declining sales on the economy.

  27. “On the other hand, you can also read this as an indication that Marvel too could be doing a lot better if they shook things up a bit – though quite how is an open question, since they obviously can’t copy the DC relaunch.”

    I guess this boils down to how much pressure Marvel’s comics arm is really under from the company’s top brass.

    In terms of properties and creative personnel, they don’t have much to worry about as far as the competition with DC is concerned, long-term. If Marvel takes the view that it’s best to watch what works and what doesn’t for DC right now and over the next few months and then do their own, tweaked relaunch, that would be a perfectly sensible approach. (And never mind that they just relaunched a whole bunch of individual books — so did DC in the last two years.)

    The question is if Marvel editorial gets the sort of time required to react to DC’s success in a reasonable fashion.

  28. “So I’d think any exec at another publisher’s reaction would be closer to “Great, thanks for bringing in all those new buyers, DC; now we’re going to work at winning them for us!” than to “Darn, I wish all those new customers hadn’t shown up.””

    But that’s dreadfully boring, Kurt.

  29. AfterHours Al™ says:

    I’m more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, but I really don’t care which company sells the most comics or has the most titles.

    To me, that’s like hearing that one of my two favourite rock bands has outsold the other with their latest release. As long as I liked MY copy, I’m cool.

    I am more interested in how the creative teams are faring with the monthly release dates, and also whether new people are going to comic stores as a result of New52, or are the same people just buying more comics each?

  30. If overall sales went up, then that’s great for everyone involved in comics… but the chart I’m most curious to see is the one for February 2012.

  31. My 13 year-old loves GL & all the Lantern spin offs (except for Tony Bedard’s underwritten title), but is even more excited about “Men of War” (which he chose to read first in our pile this week) & “Demon Knights” & “Wonder Woman,” which is little different than his beloved Percy Jackson books. While superheroes are still grabbing the Top 20 (50?), no one seems to mention the quality side genres (westerns, magic, war) that DC included in this relaunch. Many are quite good.

  32. It got people into the stores where they can make their own discoveries. win-win.

  33. Zoomy says:

    @kdc I personally think Men of War is the absolute worst of the bunch, with Demon Knights and Wonder Woman close to the bottom of the list too. I’m pleased to see that OMAC and Static Shock have overtaken Blackhawks and MoW at the bottom of the charts this month! :-)

    Which just serves to illustrate how well DC have done this – rather than filling the entire line with Batman, Lanterns and Superman, they really have put out a rounded range of 52 comics with something to appeal to every taste. I’ve never been a DC reader before now, but I gave the new 52 a try, and I’m enjoying it a lot!

  34. shagamu says:

    “Well, the real impact back then was from DC’s trade backlist, which dwarfed Marvel’s at the time (“we’re not in the business of keeping inventory” was the line from someone in Marvel’s management) and from the 1996-98 bankruptcy, which had led to austerity in the number of releases. DC was putting 50-75% more titles out, some months.”

    Not to mention DC had just bought Wildstorm, which was still a successful imprint before they started to slowly digest it.

  35. Bill K. says:

    “Shouldn’t this say “It’s paid off, at least in the short term” or somesuch? The jury’s still out on whether this relaunch is a sustainable success or not.”

    If it said that this thread would be full of the usual suspects complaining about anti-DC bias. In fact I’m surprised they haven’t found something to complain about in this story.

  36. These are great numbers!!…and of the #3’s I’ve read so far, there doesn’t seem to be a “let-up” in story or art. In fact a few of them seem to be getting better by the month (Green Arrow for example). I don’t expect DC to hold 50% of the market forever, but compared to their pre-new52 market share (struggling to hold 30%)….this is nothing short of a miraculous turnaround! Kudos to DiDio, Johns, Lee & all the writers and artists that have returned DC to it’s rightful place at the top of the Comic Book Industry!

    I’m not too concerned about Graphic Novel sales, considering it will be 4-6 months before the “new 52″ starts being released in collected format….I fully expect to see a huge spike around that time as the trade-waiters catch the fire of the DCnU!!

  37. Stuff like Deadpool, Moon Knight, Punisher Daken Dark Wolverine, and even the editorial darling Thunderbolts is getting pushed out of the Top 100 very fast. Hard not to think they won’t be cancelled soon if the effect doesn’t slow down.

    Alpha Flight #4 did 23k in September and it is already gone.

  38. Shawn Kane says:

    Imagine what Marvel could do if their big titles were not $3.99

  39. Anil Shetty says:

    So What does Warren Ellis have to say, now?

  40. Custer45 says:

    Dc’s relaunch has been thefreshest air in the industry in a long time. It has also prettyy much switched my reading/buying from mostly Marvel to mostly DC. Marvel’s fail on continuity, lack of characterization and abuse of franchise characters (Wolverine in EVERY title? Everything EVENT related? No in-title continuity?) has left me jaded about those charcaters and frankly tired. The relaunch is the fisrt time I’ve been “in love” in a couple years

  41. Custer45 says:

    Jon Q Citizen –

    Good post. Totally agree.

  42. And the actual estimates are now online, along with notes on some of the month’s records:

    http://blog.comichron.com/2011/11/records-abound-in-october-sales-reboot.html

    http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2011/2011-10.html

  43. Zoomy says:

    Total copies of “New 52″ comics sold in August/September: 3,431,522.

    Total copies of “New 52″ comics sold in October: 3,887,597 (plus probably around 5,000 copies of Men of War #1).

    I think that’s cool. :-)

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