According to estimates made by John Mayo, DC Comics sold the most of the Top 300 trade paperbacks and hardcovers in December 2011, taking 27.21% marketshare by volume (and 32% by dollar) against Marvel Comics’ 20.09% marketshare by volume (and 25.62% by dollar).
But inbetween them snuck Image Comics, taking 24.4% share of all the hardcovers and tradepaperbacks sold to comic shops by Diamond Comics Distributors. Marvel still took more by dollar, with Image Comics only taking 19.62% of money spent, but it’s still a whopping great amount, certainly compared with Image’s 5.62% of 2011 comic book sales.
Image’s performance usually gathers them from around 9 or 10% marketshare. December saw that boom, pushing them well into second place.
The truth is that many of these sales are of Walking Dead, and some will point to the TV series as the only reason for Image’s sucess. But Marvel also saw the release of X-Men First Class, Thor and Captain America last year with Avengers trailers, the Avengers cartoon and Ultimate Spider-Man trailers towards the end of the year.
Yet the Walking Dead clearly outsold any of those single handed. And, as we’ve seen, the likes of Morning Glories still outsold every single Marvel trade paperback in 2011.
This is probably also symptomatic of some deep problems that Marvel seems to be having with their backlist of trade paperbacks, unable to keep many runs in stock.
Now this list doesn’t include bookstore sales, but then it’s worth remembering that Walking Dead has dominated those as well.