Augustmageddon? Comics sales drop sharply

Maybe it was the heat (and the humidity). Maybe people decided to go out of town instead of going to the comics store. Maybe there just wasn't anything good to buy. Whatever the reason, both comics and graphic novels sales "plummeted," in the words of usually staid retailer site ICv2, last month. Comics sales were down 17% from August 2009, graphic novel sales were down 21%, and no individual monthly comic sold more than 100,000 copies. Even Scott Pilgrim couldn't rescue this dog of a month.

The top-selling comic for August was Brightest Day #7, at 93,459 copies, followed by Brightest Day #8, at 91,546. The numbers drop off steadily but sharply after that, so by the time you get to the 25th comic, Batman: Odyssey #2, sales are 47,675, or about half that of the top seller. That looks frighteningly like exponential decay, but the graph flattens out after that, with every comic in the top 150 selling more than 10,000 copies. The bottom of the list is occupied by Lady Robotika #2, which sold a measly 2,646 copies.

As for graphic novels, the sixth volume of Scott Pilgrim topped the list, with 8,092 copies sold, and the fourth clocked in at number four, with 4,818 copies. On this chart, the number five book, Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill, sold half as many copies as the top seller, although again, the graph flattens out after that. The bottom seller was Eden, with 329 copies. And it was clobberin' time for manga: The top manga on the chart was vol. 51 of InuYasha, checking in at number 67 with 1,214 copies sold.

ICv2's numbers reflect the direct market only. That is the market for monthly comics, but graphic novels could do better in retail bookstores—we'll know when the BookScan numbers come out.

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