Here’s something you don’t see every day: DC had the top six books in October

DC Comics had six of the top ten selling comic books in the month of October 2009, according to Diamond*.

Top Ten Selling Comic Books For October 2009
 1. Blackest Night #4 (DC)
 2. Batman and Robin #5 (DC)
 3. Green Lantern #47 (DC)
 4. Blackest Night: Batman #3 (DC)
 5. Green Lantern Corps #41 (DC)
 6. Blackest Night: Superman #3 (DC)
 7. New Avengers #58 (Marvel)
 8. Dark Avengers #10 (Marvel)
 9. Uncanny X-Men #516 (Marvel)
10. Amazing Spider-Man #608 (Marvel)

I have to admit that I haven’t looked at the sales charts in a long time so maybe this isn’t such a surprise, but I’m totally shocked to see that not only is Green Lantern now a top five selling book but so is… Green Lantern Corps

What the…?!

As a result, the market share for October was the closest I’ve seen in a long time:

Marvel Comics – 36.50%
DC Comics – 33.82%

That’s bananas.

*Yes, yes, we know.


  1. Unfortunately, the lack of an "event" from Marvel this fall is hurting them (relative to DC) on the revenue side of things.  I would love to know how costs compare for event vs ongoing books.  I assume events books cost more, but are also more profitable.  Especially if the revenue gains carry over into ongoings like GL and GLC.

    This is a pretty strong signal that both companies NEED to have an event every year for revenue/profit purposes.  I fully expect us to reach a point where events happen continuously.  Each event immediately leading into the next.  I don’t know if that is necessarily a bad thing (they could be high quality), but if "event fatigue" is real, then it very well could be.

    That Parallax Johns picture is incredibly creepy. Well done. 

  2. As creepy as Norman Osborne’s hair is, it just can’t compete with superhero zombies as an omnipresent antagonist.  DC wins.

  3. this is great news. GL and GLC both deserve to be in the top ten and im glad that GLC is finally getting the attention it deserves. But i wonder if this interest will survive post-Blackest Night

  4. This doesn’t surprise me. We’re a vocal minority when it comes to event fatigue.  Casual comic readers probably don’t feel quite the same way.  All DC books in the top 6 but B&R are Blackest Night titles.  I imagine that having a consistent story through a number of books is compelling to some/most readers.  I know I bought 9 of the top 10 books in October, skipping only Uncanny.

    What’s more interesting to me? Marvel/DC accounted for roughly 70% of the market share combined. How do the smaller publishers stack up behind them?  Image, IDW, Boom…  

  5. The closer the big two are to each other in terms of numbers, the better it is for all of us.  Competition is a good thing!  And people like zombies

  6. @siriam – You can get that info here:

    Dark Horse is actually third with Image and IDW battling for fourth.

  7. I bet this changes as we get over-saturated with Blackest Night titles. I’m already starting to tire of this event, and I was excited a few months ago.

  8. @stuclach: I think we reached that point already, don’t you?  I would mind having 1 event per year but I wish they wouldn’t be 8-12 issue events.  I think marvel and Bendis are moving inthe right direction with Siege.  It’s only 4 issues I think.

  9. Geoff Johns = awesome

  10. Thanks @stuclach.  The most interesting thing I see in that chart is that some publishers seem to have more expensive comics on average. At least that’s how I’m reading it.  Viz Media seems to be the most expensive publisher and I have no idea what they publish.. off to Google. (apparently Manga/Gundam stuff)

  11. Chicks dig Guy Gardner.

  12. @Siraim: Viz Media prints Manga translation, which are kinda like oni press digest-size collection and that’s why they’re expensive.


    @viktorr: Indeed.

  13. @JesTr – No, I don’t think we are there yet, but I certainly agree we are moving that way.  I actually think we will reach a point were we are being presented with one 8-12 issue maxiseries every year from each company.   I don’t mean books that tie-in (like whatever Marvel is doing with Mr. Osborn), but actual separate event series.  

    @siriam – Yes, you are reading that correctly.

  14. Does anyone else imagine Geoff Johns saying "I’m rich, biatch!" (a la Dave Chappelle) when they look at that picture?

  15. This, not oddly, corresponds to me becoming a much larger fan of DC. When I was early in my comic reading days I was very much a ‘Marvel Zombie’. I couldn’t stand teh DC characters. Obviously, growing up a little bit made me mellow on that stance some so that I often enjoyed the better stories, like Kingdom Come and the Dark Knight Returns. Still, for a long time I did not really mesh with DC’s vision or style. In the last 6 months, give or take, I have enjoyed their books more, and more consistently, than Marvel’s. Right now they are making a better product for main stream superhero work, in general terms.

  16. Okay so Geoff Johns = saviour of DC comics right now.  Much like Bendis was back in 04-05.  They better not start to overwork the guy like Marvel did Bendis.  I actually like his stories and speaking as a Marvel man who is generallly not into DC’s work that is saying a lot.

    The fact that Marvel still has the 4 spots outside of six without any event driven story associated is saying a lot.  Let’s see what happens next year with the smaller "event" stories and if the two powerhouses can still function without them. 

  17. How long do you think Johns practiced that pose in the mirror?

  18. It’s nice to see DC in this position. I don’t think they’ve had this much heat or sales since the lead up through Infinite Crisis, which is till probably one of my favorite times in recent history. 

  19. @Ottobot

    After looking at the original cover, and noticing that all of the rings are in the right places (except one) and he’s even got the hand positions down, I’d say quite awhile.

    That, or there’s a GL 49 right there for him to reference. 

  20. I have a couple thoughts regarding those sales figures…

    1) I never want to hear another comic fan bitch about events, because as evidenced by the sales figures they secretly love them.

    2) I never want to hear another fan bitch about $4 comics.

  21. And one more thought — This also means DC will become even more of an event driven company, even more so than Marvel.

  22. That’s a hilarious homage by Johns on the picture. I need that as an avatar…

    I really think this means DC is slowly, and I mean slowly, getting back to being the top comic company again. Marvel has taken the reigns for so long and now it’s starting to look that the readers want a bit more DC in their lives.

    Listen, I know it’s gonna take months or possibly another couple of years to see DC have the better share of the market. But for most of 2009 you have seen big improvements for the company and it’s because of the quality we’re getting out of most of their books. Plus an event can help them as well.

  23. Yay, scores!

    Sure, the polling looks bad now, but I think if everyone keeps giving 110% there’s still a chance that Marvel can win enough points in November to become President of Comics.

    Blackest Night is an "event," but the bottom line is that it’s also a story, and people really like the story. The basic concept has huge potential for even more stories, so (so far) people don’t mind the tie-ins. I find the DC Universe impenetrable, usually, and even I have every issue of Blackest Night and Green Lantern so far.

  24. I liked it when Hal Jordan lived in his car.

  25. either I have smallish hobbit fingers or Geoff Johns is a frost giant, because those lantern rings are huge! THat’s what she said.

  26. That’s awesome news.  DC is doing a lot better than Marvel in writing and art, for the most part, so I’m glad they get a little more of the market share.

  27. I could handle one mini event (4 maybe five issues) streched from may to august, a year from each company, as long as the tie ins copuld be restricted somehow.

  28. Speaking very generally, I like to think of this as just an acknowledgement that DC is putting out a more solid product and Marvel has been tepid at best for some time now.  Although I tend to buy more DC, I have nothing against Marvel and I don’t buy into the simplistic viewpoint of ‘this company sucks and this one doesn’t’ bullshit that too many comic fans have.  When dealt with on a book by book basis the titles I am losing interest in just happen to be from Marvel, but the interest isn’t lost becasue they ARE Marvel.

  29. Thanks Conor now I’m gonna have awful gwen stphonni(i dont care enough to check the spelling)song stuck in my head. :~)

  30. DC’s been dong a bang up job of late, so I’m glad to see this reflected in the sales.  When I first got back into comics, I bought a ton of Marvel, but now, for some reason, I seem to be buying more DC.  I’m sure it will be like this for me, a fair weather company fan, but I really do think that DC has been really handling all their different "events" with aplomb.

  31. Somewhere around the end of Secret Invasion, the beginning of Dark Reign, Marvel’s story momentum really declined for me. This happened to coincide with the price increases, which doesn’t help any? New Avengers has been middling at best the last year and it’s costing me more than when it was awesome. Meanwhile, Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison have really propelled DC into some really interesting territory in the last year. The stories that DC is doing in "Blackest Night" and the Batman books feel different from anything we’ve seen before, but still very classic super-hero stories. I think these sales figures are the result. 

  32. I’d say that they probably aren’t paying Morrison enough either.

  33. @stuclach: I wouldn’t mind the 8-12 issue maxi series but I hate that the companies have to tie-in every book.  There are a lot of good book out there that I’d love to read that could have stand alone stories.

  34. When I go to a restaurant and order a Coke (DC) and they tell me they have Pepsi (Marvel), I order a Dr. Pepper (Image?) or 7-up (Boom?) depending on my mood.  If I go to a party and the cooler is filled with Pepsi (still Marvel) I’ll drink it, and I’ll most likely enjoy it.  I just tend toward Coke (also still DC).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a reprise of these figures once this “First Wave”  thing kicks off…I am now more excited for that than I was for Blackest Night 6 months ago…

  35. @JesTr – I agree that stand-alone maxi-series are preferable, but they probably aren’t as profitable for the company, so I don’t expect to see them become the centerpiece. 

  36. @alfred: You forgot about Sunkist (Avatar Press)

  37. DC really isn’t paying Johns as much as he deserves. He has reinvented two of their most iconic characters (so far; I still believe he’ll be the one to bring Orin back, in style), and put the DCU in the map once again, and he’s turned me from a Marvel Zombie to a DC… Zombie, too? 😉 

  38. @msarsur – How much are they paying him?

  39. @msarsur Well if Johns brings back Aquaman lets hope the whole ‘Orin’ thing is dropped and he goes back to wearing the Orange/Green, has two hands, and is called Arthur. (His book was sooo good there for a while when he was in ‘Sub-Diego’ and back to the classic Aquaman schtick)


    @alfred I see what you are saying but that doesn’t really work.  For Pepsi and Coke to be Marvel and DC that means all the titles in one company taste the same, and they don’t. I certainly don’t like all the DC titles, nor do I with Marvel.  But there are some Marvel Books that are as good as the Best DC is putting out (Granted it’s not much lately).   

  40. Whatever. As soon as Blackest Night is over, I’m gonna drop GL and GLC again.


  41. Then why read it in the first place. Comics never get anywhere, they only keep moving.

  42. because the heck was hyped out of it.

    and the reality of the comics wasn’t as good as the preconcieved idea

    i totally understand. 

  43. @hawkboy – True. 

    I’m wondering if anyone else had this kind of experience.

    I started reading DC regularly from Infinite Crisis on. I started with Batman, Detective, Superman and Action.  Prior to that I had only bought popular trades (Killing Joke, Superman For All Seasons, etc.)  I read Civil War and the Wolverine tie-ins and then after Civil War was over I kept Wolverine and picked up Captain America (starting with #25.  That kinda threw me off, “ Hey, yah know that character you were interested in from Civil War? }!BLAM!{ …well he’s DEAD!”) and Iron Man: Director of Shield.  After that i kept adding DC books to my pull list but slowly shaved off the Marvel ones…I have shaved off quite a few DC titles as well, but now I don’t buy any Marvel at all!  I wish I did, but I don’t follow the core Marvel Universe story so I don’t care about this Daken guy, and Iron Man got boring (I tried Invincible Iron Man for a while and I was digging the story but the art killed it for me) and Captain America started getting too close to the center Marvel Universe story that I wasn’t following and I hate feeling like I don’t know half of what’s going on.

    I never meant to be a Non- Marvel reader, it just happened…Just like for some reason I stopped liking Pepsi, it just happened…

  44. Norman Osborn as the villain in EVERY Marvel title, including the Anita Blake stuff and Wizard of Oz, apparently does not equal sales. 

  45. Great point Conor, and it was indeed a rare feat for DC. As others have said, clearly this is a case of a successful and well received event for DC being matched up with the first window Marvel hasn’t had a major event in some time. Obviously this is likely to normalize back to a more divergent market share as Siege rolls out, but DC still deserves props for putting up a better ‘fight’ (are they really fighting? 🙂 ) this year than any time since the One Year Later/DiDio push.


  46. I’m a "Marvel guy" and I don’t buy any Marvel books right now. Vertigo, DC mostly…