Sales slide in January; Marvel tops DC, Image up — UPDATE

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Comments

  1. Spawn #200 hit #4? DAYUM. I didn’t see that coming. It’s a shame that the issue is bringing a close to McFarlane’s writing days before a new, completely unheard of creative team takes over, so I’m guessing that #201 will be way back down the charts.

  2. I’m way too lazy to check this out, but I get a vuja-de feeling from this story. Don’t we get one of these every year with post-Christmas bills taking a bite out of everyone’s wallet?

    I mean, sure, there’s plenty of reason to panic (failure to grab new readers being the looming and omnipresent one) but not this one in particular.

    I await my serving of crow. Could I have it with hot sauce please?

  3. You’re right, Matt — every single year, January is a drop, and often a huge drop, from December. And often it doesn’t make much difference to the year overall:

    http://blog.comichron.com/2011/02/january-2011-bad-but-light-trading-day.html

    Just not a lot of volume in play at this time of year…

  4. BTW, in looking at that Fables cover, all I keep wondering if Fulminate another word for giant penis mount?

  5. Chris Hero says:

    I’m so not trying to criticize the Beat…more my own poor reading skills, but this sentence confuses me:

    “The year-to-year comparisons show comics and GNs combined down about 25% from January 2010. Only in the rolling average is the drop less precipitous, with combined sales down -5.09% in dollars and -7.93% in units.”

    What is the rolling average you’re referring to? Because a 25% drop from January one month ago seems alarming to me.

  6. The rolling average is the last 12 months. Diamond can’t do a Year-to-Date this month, because it’s just January. So that average is last February through this January.

    As I write, January is a smaller portion of the ball game, so what happens now is not that reflective of how the market will do in the year. We’ve seen drops this size in 1998, 2005, and 2009 — and those years ended down, up, and flat, respectively.

  7. I can’t believe so many people ordered Spawn #200. It’s been sub-only here for at least a year.

  8. How many comics shops issue gift certificates?

    How many comics shops have clearance sales in January?

    What are comics shops doing to encourage spending in the doldrums of January?

    What initiatives are publishers launching in January? If Marvel and DC won’t launch new series or events, then wouldn’t this be the best time for other publishers to step into the void and push Something Interesting?

    Cold weather might discourage regular shoppers, but comics fans will find a way to get to their local comics shops!

    Escapist reading is a wonderful cure for cabin fever. Snuggle under a quilt and enjoy your favorite comics!

  9. Bit surprised by how big a boost the death issue of FF and the 200th issue of Spawn got. Looks like both of them at least tripled their previous issue sales. That FF issue will at least mean the streak of sub-100K #1 books is interrupted for a month.

  10. @Ryan Higgins – Spawn gets an undeservedly bad rap. Between the work David Hine was doing and then the storyline that kicked off Todd & Whilce’s run with #185, the book has been a great read for the last few years. The book’s real undoing has been the lateness over the course of 2010, unfortunately, but in terms of quality, I think the book is good or better than it has ever been.

    I get the impression most retailers don’t pay much attention to what goes on in the book, but honestly, I think it’s worth checking out. The new artist starting with #201 is extremely talented – and very different from what people might expect from a SPAWN artist – and the new writer is taking things in some interesting new directions…

  11. Okay, I might just be confused too, but why would Eric Powell be smiling at Image’s numbers when he’s published by Dark Horse?

  12. The Beat says:

    WELL….I’d like to THINK that the success of a company that is mostly creator driven would fit in with his ideas of diversity.

    The idea is to make a bigger boat for EVERYONE…not to drain the ocean.

  13. DC didn’t have Flash, Batman Incorporated, Batman Dark Knight, or Green Lantern, coming out in January, so that certainly didn’t help them.

  14. Glenn Simpson says:

    Wouldn’t all of these books have been ordered in, like, November, so the weather in January wouldn’t make any difference, right?

  15. Actually, it looks like the publishers simply had less on the market, period:

    http://blog.comichron.com/2011/02/its-supply-diamond-had-23-fewer-comics.html

    I just did a rough count, but 23% more titles shipped in January 2010 than this year. That is, different comics and trades to be ordered. Part of that was Diamond being closed the last week, but I bet when I do the final counts, we see fewer items on offer.

    This was a phenomenon that appeared near the end of the last comics recession — publishers that had slated titles for the winter earlier in the recession began holding off until warmer months.

  16. Glenn, the retailers make their orders for the shelf based on what they expect their traffic will be, so that’s one seasonal factor. Another is that a major component of the sales chart is reorders, and so if the people don’t get to the shop, those reorders don’t get placed.

    And then there is the larger issue just mentioned of the publishers themselves electing to drop fewer books into the winter, and fewer big events.

  17. Bobby Curnow says:

    @Torsten Adair- Image put out a lot of new books in January (Infinite Vacation, notably) and IDW started their big Infestation event, so the smaller publishers are definitely trying to fill the void.

  18. @austinspace – I think the point is that it’s a good thing for creator-owned comics in general.

  19. errant says:

    It would be really awesome if we could get December’s sales analysis columns for Marvel and DC before the January figures come out, wouldn’t it?

  20. Nabster says:

    How much time does the direct market have left? Surely it can’t last too much longer. Hopefully it dies soon.

  21. Louis Lane says:

    >the publishers simply had less on the market

    Fewer salable titles and Marvel’s plunging circulation figures were the primary causes, I gather. We’ll know more soon.

    LL

  22. The direct market continues to generate two thirds of all comics industry revenue, and almost all of the rest is collections sold in bookstores of material that would not exist if not for periodical sales in comics shops.

    With digital still 1% at most of overall revenues, there is simply no viable alternative strategy for comics production that provides a living for the same number of creators. The direct market’s fortunes may wax and wane (remember, sales increased from 2001-2008), but comics creation would not be a profession for many without it, and the amount of new material generated for readers would certainly suffer.

    The future of comics is not an either-or proposition — we need all channels for reaching readers, and they’re certainly being explored. But the direct market is still the fire hose.

  23. Ah, I see. I hadn’t seen the previous reporting about their desire for diversity. Out of context, it seemed strange, but yes, hooray for independents!

  24. Paul Nolan says:

    DC didn’t get Green Lantern, Flash or Batman Inc out in January. How many % will those 3 account for?

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