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March 18, 2014

Analysts Weigh In On February 2014 Direct Market Numbers

imageI almost never do these round-up articles anymore, and I should. The comics business news and analysis site has offered up their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops, this time for February 2013.

* Overview
* Analysis
* Top 300 Comic Books
* Top 300 Graphic Novels

My personal favorite numbers cruncher John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has posted his analysis of the month here and here.

There was also a flurry of interest in bookscaen book-figure estimates recently, with analysis articles like this one over at Johanna Draper Carlson's place.

The big story is that it's been a slack winter with two most-categories-down months in a row after a long string of mostly slow-building positives. It could be that the Direct Market reached the natural outer edges of the growth available to itself in a general surge that started Fall 2011 with the DC relaunch, or it could be that we're seeing the market settle back into a more sustainable level and that the mainstream comics surge of about two years ago was an unnatural event against we're now seeing correction. I would actually see the latter explanation as a positive, that we would have seen a slower Image-driven and mainstream-houses-in-better-order driven build but that the 2011 freefall and correction constitute this trauma-recovery two-fer that distort everything we're seeing right now. You could also make the case that the two big-superhero comic book lines sell best now when they're presented in a way that fans can figure out what's important to buy, and when that isn't present in the market, things list a bit.

I thought this most interesting chart out right now was the DM graphic novels chart, which I think shows some of the core strength Marvel can have with easier-to-figure out trades and collection even when they're just tossed out there, and indicates a real comic-book strength for the Locke & Key series and the Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips book Fatale -- an impressive charting for a fourth book with more to come.

As far as the comics market goes, I'm still shocked there aren't 25 books selling over 50K, and I'm not sure that's changed in a long, long, long time. It's also interesting to see the Greg Rucka/Michael Lark series Lazarus slip into the top 100. That's a solid comic book in terms of the read provided, but I also thought it might be a hard sell as a comic book serials as it's quickly collected.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

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