The news that DC took the entire Diamond Comics Distributors top 10 in January seems somewhat stunning. I know that Marvel had a relatively quiet month, with no new launches outside of the second-tier Scarlet Spider and Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega mini, but nonetheless, it’s amazing that fifth issues from ten different DC books managed to outsell second issues of Avengers: X-Sanction or Defenders or the oversized Wolverine #300, especially when you remember that DC didn’t manage to take the entire top 10 in September, when their entire New 52 line launched.
(It’s interesting to look at the top 100, and see where the Marvel books do fall in the chart – Most of the big ones form a pile up in the back half of the top 20, with the relaunched core X-Men titles outselling the Avengers books handily; looks like that franchise is back on top at Marvel, for the first time in years. I’m genuinely surprised to see Defenders #2 all the way in the 40s, mind you; with that creative team and amount of pre-release hype, I expected it to be way higher. Also worth pointing out: Look at the dollar ranking of the books: In that, Marvel and DC split the top 10 evenly, but the 5 top selling books by quantity are also the 5 top selling books by dollar share…)
Considering that we’re still in the window of DC’s orders being discounted on the chart by 10% because of availability, it’d be interesting to see what the real numbers for these books would be, and try and work out what this means – Are retailers ordering substantially heavier even at this stage because of the returnability, or do they believe that they can sell more DC books than Marvel, when it comes down to it without any outside influences or events goosing sales (All bets are off to that when it comes to Avengers vs. X-Men and this summer’s Avengers movie, of course)? And, as ever in this scenario, do the sell-through numbers echo the orders?