Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 11, 2010

Analysts: February 2010 DM Estimates

The comics business news and analysis site offers 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 2010.

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

John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has begun his analysis of the month right here.

I picked the cover image above because that was the last comic book on the chart to sell over 50,000 copies: 26 copies pushed past that mark on these initial sales. I'm sort of interested in the 50,000 and 25,000 thresholds. My interest in that particular market isn't solely tied into the aggregate or into the fate individual comics. I'm also interest in how many comics, for instance, have traction with readers. Because the market can be manipulated to churn out high-end sellers and flooded to churn out a greater interest in low-end sellers. So it's my own personal measure of how many books make a middle-class living or above (50K) and how many books operate well above every cynical model of profitability I've ever heard expressed (25K). So here are the number of old-fashioned comic books exceeding 50K and 25K over the last five years.

2010 -- 26, 72
2009 -- 22, 72
2008 -- 34, 81
2007 -- 37, 80
2006 -- 31, 83
2005 -- 27, 79
2004 -- 30, 78
2003 -- 19, 68
2002 -- 16, 64

Now, it's not like such made-up numbers mean anything. They're just for my own personal musing. There are all sorts of problems asserting specific numbers mean specifically what anyone says they mean on charts like these, because the number of qualifying factors is almost always immense, starting with the re-order For instance, you could look at the numbers now and suggest "Those event tie-ins probably make up more of the comics middle class than in the past." But the distinctions between something related to the mini-series with a colon-ed title and the ongoing titles linked to the current event are difficult to parse, and so on. It does look like there's a bit of a bow in that chart, though.

I don't have anything else -- Fables sure has become a solid performer in trade form for that market. led its analysis with the top of the chart stuff: Blackest Night still bringing in the orders late in its run, Siege not dropping off no matter what you may think of its original performance. I think the Siege numbers are interesting and no one should be mocked for noting that they're not as high as some people think -- some of the same people doing the mocking were quick to point out when DC's Final Crisis had a similar case of perceived under-performance back in 2008. I'll agree that some of the analysis of why seems weird to me. I know I've read some stuff that suggests the concept isn't very solid, and while few such series will match Civil War in terms of an easy-to-digest, little-kid-awesome concept, "super-villains invade Asgard" -- at least I think that's what Siege is about --- seems fine to me with 11-year-old me. (I just checked; he's eating a bowl of chicken nuggets and playing on the Atari 2600, but he's giving me a thumbs up.) There are some secondary analyses of content out that that seem to me a bit more convincing, for sure, about how fans may have perceived this series as a mega-cycle ending, and the structural issues raised also seem worth raising.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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