Sales were up from 2011 to 2012. Last August we moved to a larger location which definitely led to increased foot traffic and sales. I’m always curious about what sections of the store are bringing in what percentage of the revenue. Diamond is the sole distributor for mainstream comics, but I also order from a variety of other distributors to acquire a wider selection in the store. In 2012, Diamond products accounted for 75% of our sales, 25% would be classified as that other stuff. This makes sense to me. Most customers spend roughly the same amount at the register, whether they’re buying a stack of monthly mainstream comics, or a selection of independent books and zines. But regular customers come in up to once a week, way more often than other customers.
Traditionally I’ve looked at sales numbers a couple different ways; gross sales, and quantity sold. A comic store is a place where people vote with their wallets, and sometimes their hearts. The quantity sold is like a popular vote. Multiply that by the price of the book for gross sales. Sometimes the shop is just a room full of books, this is a filter that puts it into perspective.*
First, just looking at the quantity sold, here’s the most popular books of 2012.
1. DIY MAGIC (Floating World)
2. KING CITY TP (Image)
3. SECRET HISTORY OF DB COOPER #1 (Oni)
4. ADVENTURE TIME #5 (Boom)
5. PROPHET TP VOL 1 (Image)
6. DARTH VADER AND SON (Chronicle)
7. LOVE IS NOT CONSTANTLY WONDERING IF YOU’RE MAKING THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE (Perfect Day)
8. BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 (DC)
9. SAGA #2 (Image)
10. ZINESTERS GUIDE TO PORTLAND 5TH ED. (Microcosm)
11. LINCOLN WASHINGTON FREE MAN #1 (Traditional Comics)
12. OBJECT 5 (Floating World)
13. BATMAN #10 (DC)
14. BATMAN #5 (DC)
15. SAGA #7 (Image)
16. MULTIPLE WARHEADS ALPHABET TO INFINITY #1 (Image)
17. BATMAN INCORPORATED #2 (DC)
18. SAGA TP VOL 1 (Image)
19. AMERICAN PSYCHO (Floating World)
20. BATMAN #13 (DC)
21. BATMAN #11 (DC)
22. HENRY AND GLENN FOREVER & EVER (Cantankerous)
23. BATMAN #12 (DC)
24. UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 (Marvel)
25. HAPPY #1 (Image)
Independent publishing is thriving in Portland, OR. 2012 was the year of Image (Brandon Graham, Saga, Fatale, bunch of other stuff) and 2013 will be too. It’s surprising to say but they’ve basically taken the spot that Vertigo used to fill. Good for them. Marvel and DC books are still pretty popular, but the real bestsellers were Image titles and Adventure Time. Sold more copies of the Prophet trade collection than any of the single issues. Saga and Adventure Time trades also sold fantastic numbers.
I don’t have any interesting opinions about the new books coming from Marvel and DC. But I do have a spreadsheet, organized by Total Sales, descending order. Over 9000 line items, it’s more interesting at the top. Let’s look at monthly issues first, Diamond catalog. The most popular superhero comic was Scott Snyder’s Batman, but even Batman doesn’t appear until #110 on the list.
Here’s some independent comics that made more money than Batman #10 this year, I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt (#86), Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever (#78), Adventure Time #5 (#53), and Lose #4 by Michael DeForge (#35). I assume this success was repeated in many other comic shops around the world. Or if not, maybe that could be the future.
Not much else to add about the superhero stuff. After Batman, the next most popular book was Uncanny Avengers #1. I’m not saying that superhero books are irrelevant. They’re just more obvious. While they may not make it to the top 250 section, the #300 – #9100 section is just packed.
More comparisons can be made from the spreadsheet. Here’s a report comparing sales of AVX comics versus comics by Brandon Graham (et. al.). All in all there were about 70 or 80 different comics with an AVX in the title. Brandon had maybe like 16 books. And the winner is–it’s almost a tie–but AVX wins by like $300.
Top 300 – These books sold the same amount. From a financial point of view they basically share the same value.
FARTS AROUND THE WORLD = ALL STAR SUPERMAN TP
CROSSED TP VOL. 1 = ARE YOU MY MOTHER COMIC DRAMA HC
ORC STAIN TP = AVATAR LAST AIRBENDER TP VOL 1 PROMISE PART 1
MOULD MAP 2 = FLCL OMNIBUS
AKIRA KODANSHA ED VOL. 1 = ANIMAL MAN TP VOL 1 THE HUNT = GIRL APOCALYPSE #1 = SECRET VOICE V.2 #1
LINCOLN WASHINGTON FREE MAN = ACTION COMICS #5
GODZILLA HALF CENTURY WAR #1 = JUSTICE LEAGUE #9
I know this is just a small sample of the population, but again these numbers make sense to me. I can see they are an accurate representation of my customers interests.
Now looking at gross sales, here’s the bestselling books of the year. All new list for 2012! The only repeats from 2011 were Habibi, Walking Dead Compendium, and Incal Classic Collection. There is always a new generation coming.
1. KING CITY TP (Image)
2. GENGA OTOMO KATSUHIRO ORIGINAL PICTURES (import)
3. DIY MAGIC (Floating World)
4. INCAL CLASSIC COLLECTION HC (Humanoids)
5. WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM VOL 1 TP (Image)
6. OBJECT 5 (Floating World)
7. DARTH VADER AND SON (Chronicle)
8. KABA2 OTOMO KATSUHIRO ARTWORK (import)
9. DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI DAREDEVIL BORN AGAIN ARTIST EDITION (IDW)
10. PROPHET TP VOL. 1 REMISSION (Image)
11. MOEBIUS 7 HC (Graphitti)
12. FLEX MENTALLO MAN OF MUSCLE MYSTERY DLX HC (DC Vertigo)
13. HABIBI GN (Pantheon)
14. CHRIS WARE BUILDING STORIES HC (D&Q)
15. SAGA TP VOL 1 (Image)
16. ADVENTURE TIME TP VOL 1 (Boom)
17. GRENDEL OMNIBUS VOL 1 (Dark Horse)
18. OREGON HISTORY COMICS VOL 1-10 BOX SET (Dill Pickle Club)
19. STUDY GROUP MAGAZINE #1 (Study Group)
20. LOEG III CENTURY #3 2009 (Top Shelf)
21. NEGRON SC (Picturebox)
22. ALAN MOORE NEONOMICON TP (Avatar)
23. MADWOMAN OF THE SACRED HEART GN (Humanoids)
24. LOSE #4 (Koyama Press)
25. UNDERSTANDING MONSTER GN (Secret Acres)
*I guess the main flaw in this system is that I just look at sales between Jan. 1, 2012 – Dec. 31, 2012. But some books (like Adventure Time Vol. 1) come out in late-October, you know?