Complete 2006 Sales Estimates

Tue, February 13th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
John Mayo, Staff Writer

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The following is a breakdown of the sales estimates for 2006. The following month-to-month comparisons are only taking into account the top 300 comics or top 100 trades for the month. Obviously there were other comics and trades that sold during those month that are not included in these numbers.

The list of the top selling items for the year had no indication of units on them. But based on the available monthly data, it was possible to "guestimate" the potential total yearly sales for those items. The guestimates on these lists were generated by first totalling up the sales for the item from the monthly lists. Going with the rationale that each item on the list had to sell better than any item below it on the list it was possible to guestimate the minimal number of additional units an item would have need to sell to rank as it did on the list for the year.

In the case of the top 300 comics for the year, a few of the ranking on the original list look a bit questionable. Specifically, a few comics would have needed to have a total number of unreported monthly sales that exceeded the total of the lowest ranked item for each month. This illustrated a potential problem in the original list

The list of top comics for 2006 is the revised version that Diamond released. They made a few corrections based on some anomalies that I found in the original list. Here is a rundown of the mistakes in the original list and the revisions.

  • "Justice League of America" #5 was ranked at 106 instead of the revised rank of 38.

  • "Justice" #9 was incorrectly ranked at 171 instead of the revised rank of 134.

  • "Green Lantern" #9 was placed at 152 when it should have been at 169.

  • "Green Lantern" #8 was misranked at 157 instead of 175.

  • "Superman/Batman" #31 was not on the original list, but ranked at 194 on the revised list.

  • "Green Lantern" #10 had been misranked at 162 on the original list and dropped to rank 195 on the revised list.

  • "Omac Project Infinite Crisis Special" was misranked at 173 and fell to 203 on the updated list.

  • "Iron Man" #13 has been ranked at 235 but dropped below "Marvel Knights Spider-Man" #22 to place at 237. But this could be a case of the two items having identical or near identical sales and simply getting accidentally flipped when the list was recompiled.
  • "Batman" #661 wasn't on the original list but ranked at 252 on the updated list.

  • "Blue Beetle" #1 had ranked at 299 but fell off the revised list.

  • "Superman" #654 was listed at rank 300 but also failed to appear on the revised list.

I want to thank Diamond for taking the time to investigate the anomalies that I found and for revising the list of the top comics for 2006.

I also want to stress that the number of unreported sales are projected minimum values and that the total estimated sales for the top comics and top trades for the year are only ballpark "guestimates." The numbers are only there to illustrate how well the comic or trade might have done, not how well it actually did.

For the Top Comics and Top Trades Charts for 2006, see this article.

Monthly Top 300 Comics

January, 2006

  • DC published 2,196,700 units via 86 items for a total of $6,412,808.00

  • Marvel published 2,533,200 units via 87 items for a total of $7,428,020.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 5,569,800 units via 300 items for a total of $16,608,248.00

February, 2006

  • DC published 2,194,800 units via 91 items for a total of $6,532,300.00

  • Marvel published 2,999,100 units via 96 items for a total of $8,788,089.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,047,700 units via 300 items for a total of $18,177,056.00

March, 2006

  • DC published 2,546,500 units via 83 items for a total of $8,020,358.00

  • Marvel published 3,324,300 units via 100 items for a total of $9,873,137.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,991,300 units via 300 items for a total of $21,513,916.00

April, 2006

  • DC published 2,428,300 units via 100 items for a total of $7,636,543.00

  • Marvel published 2,934,800 units via 85 items for a total of $8,989,561.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,251,100 units via 300 items for a total of $19,495,724.00

May, 2006

  • DC published 3,434,600 units via 102 items for a total of $10,348,469.00

  • Marvel published 3,205,800 units via 89 items for a total of $10,021,283.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 7,577,100 units via 300 items for a total of $23,545,781.00

June, 2006

  • DC published 2,935,700 units via 92 items for a total of $8,528,099.00

  • Marvel published 3,260,900 units via 85 items for a total of $10,085,656.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,988,500 units via 300 items for a total of $21,238,232.00

July, 2006

  • DC published 2,913,500 units via 88 items for a total of $8,560,562.00

  • Marvel published 3,531,000 units via 87 items for a total of $10,950,254.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 7,387,200 units via 300 items for a total of $22,615,571.00

August, 2006

  • DC published 3,132,900 units via 86 items for a total of $9,400,969.00

  • Marvel published 3,285,000 units via 86 items for a total of $10,350,750.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 7,386,700 units via 300 items for a total of $22,936,863.00

September, 2006

  • DC published 2,537,100 units via 95 items for a total of $7,400,526.00

  • Marvel published 3,241,100 units via 76 items for a total of $10,256,807.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,610,500 units via 300 items for a total of $20,447,139.00

October, 2006

  • DC published 2,414,300 units via 85 items for a total of $7,237,532.00

  • Marvel published 2,792,700 units via 85 items for a total of $8,762,883.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,097,700 units via 300 items for a total of $19,061,146.00

November, 2006

  • DC published 3,123,400 units via 97 items for a total of $9,310,427.00

  • Marvel published 3,820,000 units via 94 items for a total of $11,899,499.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 7,959,500 units via 300 items for a total of $24,595,999.00

December, 2006

  • DC published 2,989,100 units via 97 items for a total of $9,063,162.00

  • Marvel published 3,144,100 units via 91 items for a total of $10,000,573.00

  • The Top 300 Comics comprised 6,973,800 units via 300 items for a total of $21,938,711.00

Overall, the top 300 comics were strongest in November in which the top 300 did a combined total of 7,959,500 units and the lowest ranked item sold around 3,200 units. That was significantly better than January which was the weakest month of the year in which the top 300 only did a combined total of 5,569,800 and the lowest ranked item sold only abound 900 units. The monthly average for 2006 was a combined total of around 6,820,075 for the top 300 comics and about 1,782 for the lowest ranked item.

The best month for DC was May in which both "Infinite Crisis" wrapped up and "52" began. DC has 7 of the 10 ten comics for that month. The worst month for DC was February which came in about 1,900 units below January for DC. DC had only a 36% market share for February compared to Marvel's 49% market share for that month. DC did better each month in 2006 compared to the same month in 2005 for every month except September and October. Based on the top 300 comics each month, DC moved 3,604,600 more units in 2006 than it did in 2005.

The best month for Marvel was November. Marvel only had five of the top ten comics for that month, but had an amazing 48% of the market share for the top 300 comics for that month. November was also the strongest month for the top 300 comics. The worst month for Marvel was January and while Marvel had seven of the top ten comics for the month and about 45% of the market share for the top 300 comics, it was the weakest month overall for the top 300 comics. While Marvel had a few months in 2006 that did much better than the same month in 2005, they had a few that didn't. January was down around 710,300 units from 2005, December was down around 99,400 units from 2006 and April was down 389,500 from 2005. June was only up about 800 units and September was up only 6,900 units from 2006. May, July and October all had big gains over the previous year for Marvel. Based on the top 300 comics each month, Marvel moved 1,819,000 more units in 2006 than it did in 2005.

The big events for 2006 were "52" for DC and "Civil War" for Marvel. Both did well, but in different ways.

"52" started out strong with around 143,500 units and sold over 100,000 units up until issue #32. The total drop over the 34 issues was around 31% which works out to an average drop of less than 1% each issue. Over the course of the series, "52" sold a total of around 3,785,900 units in 2006. 52 accounted for about 11.5% of DC's known comic book sales for 2006. "52" #1 came in at rank 12 for the top 300 comics of 2006. The various other issues of 52 came in at various ranks down to issue #34 which came in at rank 135 for the year.

For comparison, issues #4 to #7 of "Infinite Crisis," which also came out in 2006, sold a total of around 822,500 units. "Infinite Crisis" accounted for about 2.5% of DC's known comic book sales for 2006. "Infinite Crisis" took ranks 7 through 10 of the top comics for 2006 with issue #4, #6, #5 and #7.

"Civil War," on the other hand, started out around 327,300 units for the first issue and dropped to around 276,300 units for the 5 issue. Much of that dropp happened with issues #4 and #5, both of which were delayed. The total drop for "Civil War" was 64,200 units which works out to around 19% with an average drop of about 4.75% for each issue after the first. Over the course of the series, "Civil War" sold a total of around 1,559,900 units in 2006. Civil War accounted for about 4.1% of Marvel's known comic book sales for 2006. The top five ranked comics of 2006 were "Civil War" #2, #3, #1, #4 and #5.

For comparison, "Civil War: Front Line" sold a total of around 1,044,500 units which a total drop of 47,400 units between the 145,300 units for the issue #1 and 97,900 units for issue #9. That works out to a total drop of about 33% and an average drop of about 4% for each issue after the first. "Civil War: Front Line" accounted for about 2.75% of Marvel's known comic book sales for 2006.

Top 300 Comics for 2006

It should come as no surprise that the list of the top 300 comics for 2006 is dominated by Marvel and DC. What may come as a surprise is that no other publishers made it on the list. Further, all of the top 300 comics of the year were super-hero comics.

The highest selling comics of 2006 was "Civil War" #2 which sold around 340,500 units. The lowest selling comic on the list was "Day of Vengeance Infinite Crisis Special" which sold around 67,500 units.

The top 300 comics for 2006 sold a total of at least 30,532,800 units. It is quite probable that they sold a combined 1,050,900 units over that based on how things ranked versus the known monthly sales estimates.

Of those the 246 of top 300 comics that I had expected and actual ship dates for, 155 of them shipped on the expected shipping date, 65 shipped late and 16 shipped early. The latest comic on the list was "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder" #4 which shipped 23 weeks late. Had it shipped on time it would have fallen into 2005 and not been on this list.

Marvel accounted for 181 of the top 300 comics for 2006 while DC had 119 on the list. Of the 119 for DC, 34 of them were issues of "52." Other titles that appeared on the list with numerous issues were "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Uncanny X-Men," "X-Men," "Batman," "New Avengers" and "Wolverine." All of which has 12 or more issues on the list. Other strong selling titles like "Astonishing X-Men" had all of the issues released during the year on the list.

Many of the items on the list of the top comics for 2006 were "event" comics such as "Civil War," "Infinite Crisis" and "52." Many of the other items were either crossover issues to those events or relaunches or new titles such as "Justice League of America" #1 and "Wolverine Origins" #1.

The biggest potential missed opportunity in 2006 for DC was probably "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder." Only issue #4 came out in 2006 and it places 17th on the list. Presumably had any other issues of that title that been released, they would have ranked on the list.

Monthly Top 100 Trades

January, 2006

  • DC published 764,00 units via 29 items for a total of $1,335,296.00

  • Marvel published 548,00 units via 25 items for a total of $1,110,152.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 217,400 units via 100 items for a total of $3,550,866.00

February, 2006

  • DC published 592,00 units via 23 items for a total of $1,047,240.00

  • Marvel published 636,00 units via 23 items for a total of $1,230,288.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 218,600 units via 100 items for a total of $3,458,334.00

March, 2006

  • DC published 553,00 units via 20 items for a total of $1,027,747.00

  • Marvel published 760,00 units via 29 items for a total of $1,623,040.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 248,300 units via 100 items for a total of $4,029,540.00

April, 2006

  • DC published 679,00 units via 26 items for a total of $1,201,533.00

  • Marvel published 603,00 units via 21 items for a total of $1,313,597.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 216,200 units via 100 items for a total of $3,549,290.00

May, 2006

  • DC published 687,00 units via 23 items for a total of $1,083,813.00

  • Marvel published 630,00 units via 23 items for a total of $1,173,310.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 254,000 units via 100 items for a total of $3,652,380.00

June, 2006

  • DC published 765,00 units via 24 items for a total of $1,276,735.00

  • Marvel published 542,00 units via 25 items for a total of $1,137,775.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 221,800 units via 100 items for a total of $3,647,015.00

July, 2006

  • DC published 703,00 units via 19 items for a total of $1,194,697.00

  • Marvel published 848,00 units via 31 items for a total of $1,604,900.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 265,500 units via 100 items for a total of $4,323,221.00

August, 2006

  • DC published 693,00 units via 23 items for a total of $1,797,462.00

  • Marvel published 841,00 units via 27 items for a total of $1,576,459.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 270,100 units via 100 items for a total of $4,932,927.00

September, 2006

  • DC published 792,00 units via 31 items for a total of $1,448,808.00

  • Marvel published 684,00 units via 28 items for a total of $1,276,016.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 217,300 units via 100 items for a total of $3,683,193.00

October, 2006

  • DC published 816,00 units via 22 items for a total of $1,952,235.00

  • Marvel published 835,00 units via 28 items for a total of $1,730,965.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 253,500 units via 100 items for a total of $5,202,004.00

November, 2006

  • DC published 621,00 units via 19 items for a total of $1,308,811.00

  • Marvel published 747,00 units via 29 items for a total of $1,671,793.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 257,100 units via 100 items for a total of $4,642,904.00

December, 2006

  • DC published 617,00 units via 22 items for a total of $1,101,983.00

  • Marvel published 566,00 units via 25 items for a total of $1,286,834.00

  • The Top 300 Trades comprised 220,300 units via 100 items for a total of $3,777,686.00

August was the strongest month for the top 100 trades with 270,100 units overall. April was the weakest with only 216,200 units total for the top 200 trades. September came in a close second with only 217,300 and January right behind that with only 217,400 units. The top 100 trades sold an average of of around 238,342 units per month for 2006.

The best month for DC was October with around 81,600 units. The worst month for DC was March with only 55,300 units. On average, DC did around 69,017 units in the top 100 trades each month.

The best month for Marvel was August with around 84,800 units. The worst month for Marvel was June with only 54,200 units. On average, Marvel did around 68,667 units in the top 100 trades each month.

Top 200 Trades for 2006

DC accounted for 92 of the top 200 trades for 2006 while Marvel had 52 on the list. VIZ came in fourth with 19 items of the list followed by Dark Horse with 11 items. Image came in fifth with 8 items on the list.

One of the more interesting things on the top 200 trades for 2006 was rank 39 – "Batman: Hush" Vol #2. What makes this item interesting is that this trade paperback never appeared on the monthly top 100 trades list. While clearly there are a lot of trades that "fly under the radar" of the monthly top 100 trades each month, this clearly illustrates just how well one of those items can do. This is but one of many such examples on the list of top 200 trades for 2006.

Another interesting tidbit about the top 200 trades of 2006 is the list of trades by Image Comics. Or, more accurately, the list of trades by Robert Kirkman. All eight trades by Image were Robert Kirkman properties. All five trades of "The Walking Dead" were on the list, as were volumes 1, 6 and 7 of "Invincible." And the first volume of "Invincible" was another one that made it on to the top 200 trades of the year without ever being on the top 100 trades for any month of the year.

VIZ did very well with "Naruto," with 12 volume of that series placing on the top 200 trades for the year. Even more interesting is that 8 of them did it without ever being ranked on the top trades for any month of the year.

 
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