Below you'll find the sales estimates for comics and trade paperbacks sold in the direct market for all of 2011. The sales numbers below are estimates based on the information provided by Diamond Comics Distributors.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when reading this data. These numbers are just estimates for the sales through Diamond to direct market retailers. It does not include any sales outside of the Diamond channel such as newstands, book stores or overseas markets. Since the majority of habitual comic book readers are served through this sales channel, these numbers are a good indicator of the core sales trends at the retail level. While not all copies will sell to readers, each retailer is buying what they think they can sell so the trends at the retail level should be a close enough reflection of the sales trends at the reader level for the purposes of discussion.
The breakdowns are for just the top comics and top trades listed below. These are not the overall market share. I only deal with numbers that I can see and kick around in my ever evolving number crunching system. Sometimes the numbers get a bit battered and bruised in the process.
In 2011, Marvel had 539 of the items list of the top 1,000 comics for 2011 with DC Comics taking another 434 of the slots on the list. Image was a distant third with 16 items followed by Dark Horse with 6 items, and IDW and Dynamite Entertainment with only 2 items each on the list. On the trades list, DC took 339 of the top 1,000 slots with Marvel close behind with 300 items. Dark Horse placed another 103 items while Image had 68 and IDW another 24. Viz put 32 items on the list and the remaining 134 items were split between 29 other publishers.
For the 2011 year end data, Diamond did not provide an index value like they did last year for the top comics and top trades lists. So, I took the total known sales for each issue over the year and used that to calculate the minimum number of estimated units each item on the list sold. As a result, the list stair steps in an odd manner which reflects the data that was and wasn't available from the monthly lists. This year end data is more of a ballpark of how the items sold versus the usual monthly estimates based on the order index for each item.
Diamond provided the top 1,000 comics, the top 1,000 trade and some additional information for the smaller publishers which tend to get squeezed out of the top 1,000 lists by the premiere publishers. After rank 1,000, the premiere publishers drop off the list and there are gaps between rankings. A few of the items at the bottom of the list fell under the radar of the monthly top 300 list so the estimated sales column is empty.