Mar 9th 2012 By: Laura Hudson
The new numbers from Diamond Comic Distributors are out for February 2012, and they paint an interesting portrait of the current state of superhero comics sales at the Big Two. Just like the last two months, Marvel Comics took the top spot for market share in both dollars and units -- i.e. money made and number of comics sold -- while DC Comics swept the top ten single issue comics for the month, claiming every entry on the list.
The post-New 52 boost pushed DC into the lead
for both dollar and unit share back in September 2011, until Marvel took back the top publisher title in December. DC's unit share has fluctuated since, rising from 37.72% in December to 39.86% in January and falling back to 35.26% in February, but its decline in dollar share has been uninterrupted since its high in October, slipping this month to 29.47%, the lowest numbers for the publisher since May 2011. The more substantial lead for Marvel in dollar share likely pertains at least in part to their higher $3.99 price point on many of their books, a point of contention
for many fans but apparently a lucrative one.
In data that seems to illustrate the high highs and low lows of DC's New 52 experiment, however, DC Comics took every single spot in the list of Top Ten single issues for February:
Marvel's representation in the top 10 graphic novels and trade paperbacks was slightly better, although DC Comics still beat them out five to two:
: DC's reach was more limited beyond the top spots, with only 35 comics out of the Top 100 for the month
, compared to Marvel's 59 comics. 33 of those DC Comics were DC Universe titles, meaning that 17 books from the New 52 failed to chart in the Top 100 comics in February: Batwing, Blackhawks, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, DC Universe Presents, Deathstroke, Frankenstein, Firestorm, Grifter, Hawk & Dove, I Vampire, Legion Lost, Men of War, Mister Terrific, OMAC, Resurrection Man, Savage Hawkman, Static Shock
The more extended lists of the Top 300 comics and graphic novels have not yet been released, but it's reasonable to presume from these numbers -- and Marvel's general publishing dominance -- that while Marvel may not be taking home gold, silver, or bronze medals for the elite range of the most popular comics, their line is stronger generally. DC's New 52, meanwhile, appears to have a smaller number of more popular titles, but a weaker overall publishing slate.
The news for comics generally was very positive, with a more than ten percent increase in dollars spent from January 2012 to February 2012 in both comics and graphic novels. The news was even better year over year, with graphic novel sales increasing more than 15% in terms of dollars compared to February 2011, and single issues comics soaring more than 22% higher.
(Hat tip to David Uzumeri for his chart sleuthing assistance)