In the comic book publishing game Marvel has been the undisputed sales leader since the early 90’s with DC always settling for 2nd place. Take for example March of this year, Diamond Comic Distributors reported that 45% of comics bought were Marvel while DC checked in at a paltry 31.5%.
Then Dan DiDio and Jim Lee (DC Comics c0-publishers) hit the big old reset button and launched the New 52, all new number ones and a ‘fresh’ continuity. Was it a ploy to boost sales? Hell yea, everyone knows first issues sell. Nerds everywhere buy 3 copies, one to read, one to pay for their kids college and one to flip into a house boat when they retire. DC walked away with 43% of the direct comics market in September to Marvel’s 38%. No one was surprised.
Obviously October would balance out, right? Fewer people would buy DC’s number 2’s, Marvel will fire back with a couple of its core titles relaunching at number one and the status quo would return, right?
DC Comics secured 50.97% of sales to Marvel’s 20.29%, including seven of the top stops. The top six comics for October were Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, Green Lantern, Flash and Detective Comics with Marvel’s own relaunches of Hulk and X-Men coming in at 7th and 8th respectively. Overall comics sales are up too. From September to October sales are up just shy of 7% and compared to this time last year? An astonishing 30% In just one year, comics sales have risen by a third.
At the risk of inflating Mr. DiDio and Lee’s egos a little more, DAMN DC you did good. You don’t have to be a market specialist to see that the New 52 and its plan to boost not only DC’s sales but the industry as a whole seems to be working. These new sales are not so much at the expense of the other publishers, they are the new and lapsed readers that the whole scheme was meant to rope back in and increasing the regular readers monthly purchase. The industry just might be turning back its downward trend.
Hopefully that is the case.
So whats next? DC Comics is going to have to work to maintain this lead, personally I have already started to trim a few titles. Marvel is going to have to do something, they done well maintaining the same continuity throughout the publishers history, relying mainly on small retcons and stunts like ‘Heroes Reborn’ or offshoot continuities like the Ultimate brand – think this might force them into their own reboot?
source: Bleeding Cool