Numbers Are Up! But Don’t Worry, We Still Find Room To Worry [Comic Book Sales]

Justice League #6 Comic Book Sales

The February 2012 comic book sales figures paint a pretty good picture for the industry as a whole, even though you wouldn’t know it from looking at some of Marvel’s numbers.

Sales are up. Which is saying a lot since last February was one of the worst month’s for comic books ever. One of the most exciting numbers; comic book retailers ordered almost one million more comics this February (2012) than last February (2011), an 18% increase in orders. And this is even with the continued growing of digital comics. Comparative metrics are also up all around; the number of units sold increased by 8% from last month, 26% in year-to-date from last year, and the “dollars made” jumped 22% from last February. And despite DC owning the top 10 again Marvel regained market and dollar share.

More of the whole picture though…

This was the first February since 1984 to have 5 Wednesdays and Marvel is padding [their own and the industries] numbers by double-shipping the heck out of their catalog and having the most expensive comics in the market. So while more comics were ordered this month and more dollars were spent it seems like at least one publisher is squeezing more out of their current readers rather than gaining any new ones.

Even with the extra long month and Marvel’s tricky ways comic sales are definitely up.

Some notes…

  • We called it, the titles originally over the 100,000 mark will begin to creep below, this month was Action Comics turn. However, Justice League and Batman only decreased by 2% each this month. Justice League finished up it’s first arc and gives Jim Lee a break next month so a bigger drop is expected but with The Night of the Owls crossover about to hit the Batman books it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Batman actually increase.
  • Touched on this last month but it’s worth repeating, despite reclaiming their spot in market and unit share Marvel can’t be too happy right now, in fact, some of their numbers are pretty shocking. With the Avengers movie and event on the horizon I would have expected better numbers from the anchor title. Last February (2011) Avengers was their #1 best selling title; since then it’s orders have dropped by 18% and it’s their 5th best selling title. Granted 18% in a years time isn’t bad and 2 of the 5 titles above it are Avengers-related (New Avengers & Avengers: X-Sanction) it still doesn’t bode well.  And it just feeds my own suspicion that the rumored sales for Avengers vs. X-Men are a reach.
  • Hats off to Magic The Gathering #1 from IDW for being this month’s 2nd best selling non-DC-or-Marvel book, getting more orders than the likes of Suicide Squad, Venom, and Captain America and Bucky. With titles like Demon Knights, Dungeons and Dragons and others getting high praise it seems like the the fantasy genre is making it’s way back into mainstream, but even so, IDW has to feel good about a response on that level from a licensed property like that.
  • Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Batgirl and Nightwing are just a few of the DC titles that sold better this month than Captain America, Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four. Personal opinions aside – the relaunch seems to have worked. And again, this is even with DC offering every title day-and-date digitally.
  • Scarlet Spider saw a 37% decrease in orders from issue #1 to issue #2.
  • Winter Soldier saw a 19% decrease in orders from issue #1 to issue #2.

Comic Book Sales - February

More from ICv2 showing the estimated sales for the top 300 comics during February.


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  1. Victor Kutsenok says:

    You know, maybe if Marvel stopped being such pigs and stopped price gouging and stopped double shipping their (mostly) sub par books, then more fans might be able to afford to buy more comics. This would allow new titles to be picked up by new and current fans who currently can’t afford them because they are buying 2 issues per month of some titles. But Marvel doesn’t care. All they care about is the $$$$$. Well, they’re getting their money, but not from comics. They make billions of the movies and merchandise so who cares if the comic book fans gets to read half assed stories. “State of the Union”, my friend. Everything I wrote still hasn’t changed. Kudos to DC for their reboot. At least they are bringing some life back into the comic book industry. Marvel needs to take notes.

    • Ugodda Bekiddenme says:

      That’s a bold statement, considering that they rebooted it after Marvels Ultimate line did so well. Notes have already been taken, but not by Marvel. If anything, now that DC’s had their AMAZING run of sales, (About 7 months), I guess it’s safe to say that after the Avengers dies down a little bit Marvel will have the majority of control. Which is kinda unfortunate, because I hate it when I can’t talk to people about Superman comics because nobody else reads them but me. In other terms, Marvel already did bring life back to the comic book industry. It’s just that they did it 12 years ago.


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