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

October 18, 2004

They Crunch Numbers So You Don’t Have To

The business analysis site provides their usual smorgasbord of direct market and related numbers, this time for the month of September 2004. They do comic books here, manga here and graphic novels here.

Also provided are two pieces of analysis. The first compares 2004 favorably to 2003, pointing out that numbers may have been distorted last year due to the arrival of a now nearly forgotten "event" comic, the cross-company team-up JLA/Avengers. The other notes that the strength in sales comes from below the very top-tier books. This is important because the nature of the comic book market with its non-returnable sales means that numbers on top-selling books can often indicate money simply being moved from less popular titles to event or gimmick or even more of a sure-thing comic books.

Other items of potential interest:

* Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men still falls somewhat short of the rather odd #1 comic book of the moment, the solid-but-no-one's-gushing Superman/Batman, a situation sort of like one of the Law and Order spin-offs heading up the television ratings.

* Jeff Smith's $40 one-volume edition of Bone has sold well enough to give Cartoon Books a chart-topper on its last Bone publication, a nice capper to a great publishing relationship.

* The superhero mystery mini-series Identity Crisis continues to do well, both in initial orders and in re-orders via DC Comics' aggressive policy to keep serial works available.

* The site explains how works out sales figures, first by determining Batman sales and then running them against the abstract comparisons released by Diamond Comics. Although few have ever disputed's figure as significant distortions, and they themselves lay claim rigorous statistical accuracy, the two-step process is probably worth noting.

* Anime just may lack that next breakout hit, which could have an impact down the line on manga sales figures.

posted 6:52 am PST | Permalink

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