Indies show strength in official February 2012 Diamond Sales Estimates

By Todd Allen

Surprise! Fear Itself: The Fearless was HEAVILY reordered in February.

Over the weekend, I did a rough estimate of Diamond Top 100 sales chart.  Good ‘ole Walking Dead turns out to have sold 32,361 in the “official” estimates vs. the 31,596 from January I used for the estimate.  That +2.4%, which is just barely outside standard deviation, so it looks like the initial estimates were close again.

As for the official estimates, Comichron and ICV2 look like they’re in agreement on the numbers.  You know the standard disclaimers: you should probably add in the neighborhood of 15% for overseas orders, etc.  You may not see reorders right away, etc.,etc.

Justice League is still the #1 book with 135,374 regular copies and 5,445 copies of the digital combo pack (most of which aren’t going to be redeemed, according to DC’s experience, so this gives us a feel for the completest/variant market).

Marvel’s top book does indeed fall below the 60K estimate point for the first time in recent memory with Uncanny X-Men #6 estimated at 59,834.  Applying that formula, unless there are significant reorders, I’d say the real number is just under 70K.  Either way, a very disappointing top spot for Marvel as they get ready for their big move with Avengers Vs. X-Men.

Here’s the thing that gets me about AVXAvengers X-Sanction is pretty clearly touted as the lead-in series and #3 is only estimated at 53,730 copies.  There’s noise about AVX selling 200K.  Is this a condemnation of Jeph Loeb’s writing or just a massive amount of marketing for AVX. Something doesn’t add up here, and if AVX is the smash hit we’re being hyped about, Avengers X-Sanction might get some after-the-fact interest in it.  Otherwise, there may be some smoke and mirrors involved.

For all the soft top, February has proven to be a better than expected month, with the rising tide of the independent comics continuing to rise, even as Marvel’s top line and DC’s lower tier continue to sag.  John Jackson Miller has a nice write-up of this and notes that the #300 title is 4,185 copies — a very high number for that position on the chart.

Some debut issues:

  • Winter Soldier 1 $2.99 Marvel 50,932
  • Magic The Gathering 1 $3.99 IDW 28,858
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited 1 $3.99 DC 26,589
  • Conan The Barbarian 1 $3.50 Dark Horse 20,569
  • Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi Force Storm 1 $3.50 Dark Horse 18,797
  • Thief of Thieves 1 $2.99 Image 17,877
  • Stephen King Joe Hill Road Rage 1 $3.99 IDW 16,066
  • Adventure Time 1 $3.99 Boom 12,392
  • BPRD Hell On Earth Long Death 1 $3.50 Dark Horse 12,258
  • Army of Darkness Ongoing 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 9,164
  • Infestation 2 Transformers 1 $3.99 IDW 8,959
  • Garth Ennis Ninjettes 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 8,646
  • Warriors of Mars 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 8,550
  • Red Sonja Witchblade 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 8,336
  • Multiple independent debuts over 10K?  Over 15K?  Interesting.  Another Mars comic and still over 8K?  The comics are doing better than the movie (domestically, anyway).

    What kind of reorder activity showed up?

    • Batman 1 $2.99 DC 5,626
    • Fatale 1 $3.50 Image 5,506
    • Fear Itself Fearless 1 $2.99 Marvel 5,459
    • Detective Comics 1 $2.99 DC 4,964

    Batman and Detective you might have guessed.  Fatale seems to be a bonafide hit for Image with #2 estimated at 20,315 and a lot more reorders poised to show up in the March charts, from what I hear.  Fear Itself: The Fearless… did a new fanbase just discover it?   Maybe some sudden heat with the news of Cullen Bunn writing Wolverine? Reorders are good things, but that last one is a bit of a surprise.

    I’m also counting 36 independent comics with sales estimates over 10K… which seems like it might be the highest it’s been in a while.  A lot of that is licensed material, but not all of it.   Thief of Thieves had a very nice debut.  Fatale is solid.  March’s chart will see Saga and reorders on Prophet and Glory. Adventure Time and TMNT are up there.  Are the little guys gaining momentum?  I’d say the “slowly, but surely” path is continuing.

    Comments

    1. Marco Polo says:

      Re: X-Sanction

      I think there could be a few factors at work
      1) Maybe comic fans are getting better at separating crossovers from tie-ins, we’ve seen some anecdotal evidence of that with Fear Itself, where the tie in issues didn’t get much of a boost
      2) Jeph Loeb sucks
      3) McGuiness is awesome but always slow
      4) The concept sounds awful

    2. Wonderer says:

      Well to begin with, marvel deaths dont seem to matter, so I doubt a book about Cable killing people in the marvel universe sounds very interesting to many.

      As to being a prelude to AvX, it only amplifies the aforementioned: We know the avengers wont die in X-sanction.

      When AvX starts I’m just gonna ask someone who has read it what happens in it, and read AvX from there.

      Also, I read somewhere (think it was bleeding cool) that with all the covers for retailers to sell and all the added discounts Marvel was throwing onto the AvX book, it’d actually cost a retailer less to buy one, than “buying” a free comic book day comic (which despite the name is 25 cents I think).

      Needless to say, both PR and gimmicks are hard at work on AvX.

      JJMs writeup is always good, but a thing about the 300th place title:
      He takes this february (a 5 week february) and compares it to a bunch of 4 week februaries.
      One could instead compare this february (4.185) to the last 5 week month – november 2011 at 4.330.

      I agree on the indies though – liking the new turtles ongoing myself.

    3. Zoomy says:

      Batman the Dark Knight has actually increased in sales with #6 – did something change that I’m forgetting?

      “Prelude to Schism” last year might have put people off “prelude to this year’s event” comics by being completely unrelated to Schism. It sold a lot less than X-Sanction, of course…

    4. Wonderer, I do find that the sales levels at 300th place of five-week months are almost always higher than the four-week months surrounding them, and in the overall Top 300, that amount is about 11%. But you raise an interesting point: looking back at several years of 5-week months, I find that 300th-place titles increase in sales by a lot more than 11%.

      I think the reason is this: all the books in aggregate have time to sell more, but the marginal increase is more likely to be noticed on the low end than the high end.

      By contrast, looking at November, it’s interesting that February’s 300th-place level is so close to November’s — when November saw a million more comics sold. I think that was a case where, thanks to the relaunch, the titles on the high end were responsible for the increase.

    5. Kenny G says:

      Dark Knight had a boost because Bane was on the cover and in the issue.

    6. Since there’s no sign of improvement on the regular sales for FEARLESS, and the second printing came out back in December, I’d say the most likely explanation here is that Marvel are dumping spare copies on the market. It seems to happen from time to time.

    7. Retailer says:

      Marvel dumped a huge amount of Fearless on the retailers if they bought some books that were on sale.

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