DC Comics Month-to-Month Sales: March 2010

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by Marc-Oliver Frisch

March brought jolly good sales for DC’s comic-book business!

In fact, even considering that it was a month with five delivery days for new comics instead of just four and, consequently, one extra week of re-orders, the numbers seem almost too good on a range of titles, but maybe I’m just paranoid.

In particular, DC’s Vertigo imprint is beginning to look more solid than it has in ages. Partly, that’s because Vertigo released a whopping 19 new comic books in March, a new record for them, but also because many of those books performed well.

The big launch of the month was American Vampire, of course, a new ongoing series co-written by Stephen King. It sold an estimated 33,762 copies, the highest first-month sales for Vertigo since Diamond started providing data on sales to retailers in March 2003. (Andy Diggle and Enrique Breccia’s Swamp Thing #1 came close: It moved 33,382 units in March 2004.)

More significantly for Vertigo’s long-term health, there are signs of moderate success with a number of other recent launches. Sales on titles like The Unwritten, Joe the Barbarian and — to a lesser extent — Sweet Tooth indicate that the practice of publishing debut issues with low introductory prices is bearing fruit. The Fables spin-off Cinderella and the maxiseries Daytripper are also turning out to be solid sellers.

Blackest Night and its tie-ins keep the publisher’s DC Universe line in reasonably good shape in March, while the WildStorm imprint saw an increase of 35% in average comic-book sales. The latter is a mixed blessing, though. The spike is entirely due to a highly irregular three new issues of WildStorm top-sellers Astro City and Ex Machina, neither of which came out in April, and one of which has two more issues to go before reaching its conclusion.