What a difference a bunch of plastic rings makes

With the release this morning of ICv2.com's estimates of direct-market sales for November comes this interesting tidbit: DC Comics' "Blackest Night Promotional Rings" initiative gave a significant boost to the titles involved.

The ordering incentive allowed retailers who purchased a certain number of copies of seven titles -- Adventure Comics #4, Blackest Night #5, Booster Gold #26, Doom Patrol #4, Justice League of America #39, Outsiders #24 and R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 --  to buy bags of the corresponding color plastic rings.

Blackest Night #5, which as we noted last week led a Top 10 dominated by DC, saw a 5-percent increase, with estimated sales of 145,000.

The promotion also helped to nudge Justice League and Adventure Comics into the Top 10, but it was lower-tier books that received the most obvious benefit. Booster Gold, Doom Patrol, Outsiders and R.E.B.E.L.S., which previously had skulked along the far reaches of the Top 100 -- and, in one case, well beyond -- shot up the chart in November.

Booster Gold #26 and Doom Patrol #4, whose previous issues clocked in at No. 98 and No. 108, respectively, were propelled into the Top 25. For Booster Gold, that little orange ring meant a difference of about 35,525 copies.

November apparently was decent for monthly comics in general, with ICv2.com estimating a 12-percent increase over the same month in 2008. Graphic novels registered a 26-percent drop -- its eight straight month of declines -- due largely to the strong performance of Watchmen last year.

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