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Comics sales fall off a cliff

The retailer-oriented site ICv2 has the latest comics sales numbers from Diamond, and the news is grim: In their own words, third-quarter comics sales "sucked." Compared to the third quarter of 2009, comics sales are down 14% and graphic novels are down 6%, for a combined drop of 12%, the largest the ICv2 gurus have seen since they started tracking year-to-year sales in 2004.

Their reasoning seems to buck conventional wisdom: What you mainly read on the blogs is that fans hate big events and stopped buying comics when Marvel and DC raised the price of a single issue to $3.99. The numbers seem to say otherwise:

This is strictly direct market sales, of course; these charts don't cover bookstores, where graphic novels tend to do better. The article does end on a moderately cheerful note, pointing out that comics have done better than one might think given the dismal economy, and that the holiday season is yet to come.

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