So many people are saying comics are in this great upswing in sales and I disagree. While overall sales maybe up from a few year ago, sales are still significantly down from only ten years ago. So if your sales are down and the overall population is increasing this is not a good trend. It reminds me of people who say gas prices are cheap, from a few months back they are correct, but from a year or so ago, not at all.
I just have had this feeling for awhile that we are becoming too much of a cult and I want our beloved art form to continue to thrive. Trades and such maybe the comic of tomorrow, but if the monthlies ever die I will be greatly sadden. Of course if the up trend continues I will happily be wrong.
In order to see if my gut feeling was right I checked sales from September 1996 to September 2001 to September 2006 (using Diamond sales figures) for the top 20 c0mics I discovered that in 1996 the top 20 books combined had sales of 3,639,500 in 2001 1,633,600. A drop of 55% from 1996 (which was not a high water mark for comics). By 2006 the number was 2,221,200 which is an increase from 2001 of 36%, but a decline from 1996 of 39%.
Also to choose the 10th best seller the percentages hold the same. In 1996 Spectacular Spider-Man sold 165,400, in 2001 JLA #58 sold 74,300, a drop of 55%. In 2006 Wolverine #46 sold 107,900 an increase of 45% from 2001, but a drop of 35% from 1996.
It was also interesting that in 1996 DC had zero titles in the top 20 and 11 or the 20 were X-Men related titles.
So is the current sales a boom or just an echo before it begins to fade away.