The Walking Dead topped both the Top Comics and Top Graphic Novel charts for 2012, according to information released by Diamond Comic Distributors today. The bestselling comic of the year to comic stores was The Walking Dead #100, a multi-cover extravaganza that shipped in July, and the top graphic novel of the year was The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye TP. The Walking Dead’s chart dominance was near total for the graphic novel format, where TWD volumes took seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 25 slots in the year-end ranking. The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 1 was the top dollar graphic novel in comic stores in 2012.
Marvel’s Avengers Vs. X-Men and Marvel NOW! titles took the rest of the top ten comic slots for the year. DC had two Batman volumes (Batman: Earth One and Batman: The Court of Owls) and Top Shelf had one (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century: #3) to round out the top ten slots in the graphic novel chart.
Market share rankings were unchanged through #7, although there were some shifts in share percentages. Marvel, which took the #1 share slot in comic stores, lost over 3% of share vs. 2011, as stiffer competition from DC and a two-point jump by Image made it more competitive for the top publisher in a growing market (final, year-end figures haven’t been released yet, but Diamond indicated that the final growth rate would be between 14 and 15%).
The Big Two collectively lost 2.7% of market share to smaller publishers in 2012, wiht a 3%+ decline by Marvel not offset by a small increase by DC.
Image Comics gained over 2% of market share, primarily driven by The Walking Dead but also fueled by Saga and a generally good year.
IDW Publishing gained nearly a point of share, with My Little Pony topping off a very good year for its licensed books, extending its lead over Dark Horse Comics for the #4 slot. Read more
joystiq announced a good sales year for Runic Games….
Runic Games has been relatively quiet since the launch of Torchlight 2 in late September, but the company popped up on this New Year’s Eve to note its game sold over one million units during 2012.
Torchlight 2 is regularly $20, but is currently on sale through Steam for $15 until January 5.
As we reported back in October when the deal was announced, the geek culture company with the most at stake in the Disney-Lucasfilm deal may be Dark Horse, which has published Star Wars comics for over 20 years (see "Will ‘Star Wars’ Comics Stay at Dark Horse?"). We may now have the answer to Disney’s intentions, as Disney-watching blog Blue Sky Disney has reported that the Dark Horse license is up after 2013, and will not be renewed. The report indicates that Marvel will begin publishing Star Wars comics (again) in 2015, when Star Wars Episode 7 premieres. If accurate, that would give some time for Dark Horse to sell down its inventory and to clear the channel of Dark Horse Star Wars products before Marvel’s start shipping.
While the blog is not an official source, it would fit what Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson said when the Disney-Lucasfilm deal was announced, which was that "Star Wars will be with us for the near future."
Dark Horse does have some positive prospects from one of its other cash cows, as two films based on Frank Miller comics are scheduled to release in 2013: Sin City 2 is shooting for a release in August (see "New Manute in ‘Sin City 2′"), and the sequel to 300 is scheduled to release in October (see "New Title for ’300′ Sequel").
Hammerpoint Interactive’s The War Z has been removed from Steam amid allegations of false advertising from its community, which claims that the developer knowingly listed inaccurate information on The War Z‘s Steam profile.
Originally, the game’s profile touted multiple areas ranging in size from 100 to 400 kilometers and servers capable of handling up to 100 players, according to this screenshot obtained by Gamespy. The profile also stated that The War Z was a "Single Purchase, Downloadable Client with the ability to play the full game without subscriptions or requiring in-game transactions," and failed to mention that this is a "Foundation Release," meaning that the game is still under development, with some areas even marked with alpha testing information.
In actuality, the game only has one zone, and servers were initially capped at a maximum of 50 players, though that issue at least appears to have been corrected. Moreover, The War Z features a microtransactional-based in-game economy, somewhat contradicting its claim of being a "single purchase" game. The profile has since been rejiggered and no longer makes mention of the multiple zones, nor does it make any mention of in-game transactions. It does, however, still neglect information about the game’s somewhat early developmental stage.
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman told Comic Book Resources this week that digital sales are now 25% to 30% of his comic and graphic novel sales. "[W]hen it started at comiXology, we were doing 5% and as we’ve continued to work with comiXology and branched out into other digital platforms, we’ve seen digital sales go from 5% of print sales to we’re getting close to 25 to 30% of print sales," he said. Kirkman said he was also seeing the trend on his other titles, such as Invincible.
Of course, the print versions are also bestsellers, both in the bookstore market (see "Nothing Can Stop ‘The Walking Dead’") and the comic store market (see "Top 300 Graphic Novels–November 2012").
Digital sales of 25% to 30% of total sales are higher than other publishers have been reporting (see, for example, "Interview with IDW’s Ted Adams," in which Adams revealed earlier this year that digital was 10% of IDW’s sales). But media-driven properties have been among the bestselling digital comics, perhaps because digital comics are easier to find for consumers that don’t regularly visit comic or book stores.
Kirkman said that the show was also driving new consumers into comic stores. "I’m hearing from lot of comic book shops that there are new people that they haven’t seen before coming in and seeking out The Walking Dead comics," he said.
The show is currently in a break between the first and second halves of its third season, and is the #1 show, cable or broadcast, for adults 18 to 49 (see "‘TWD’ the Top Fall Series").
–Disclosure: ICv2 has a business relationship with comiXology as a representative for its Retailer Tools; ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp also serves on the board of comiXology.
Video game publisher THQ has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The long troubled firm, publisher of the Saint’s Row, Red Faction and Dawn of War series, is also seeking to sell its assets. The publisher’s current slate of games will continue development through the process.
THQ owns four development studios. Vigil has been the most recently productive, launching Darksiders 2 in August. Relic Entertainment, creators of the famed Homeworld series is set to deliver WWII-set strategy game Company of Heroes II in 2013. Volition, based in Chicago, is working on the next installment of the wacky Saint’s Row series. The fourth studio, recently built in Montreal, has been working on an unannounced project helmed by Patrice Desilets, the Creative Director on the first two Assassin’s Creed games.
THQ is also publishing an unannounced game from the independent Turtle Rock Studios, the creators of Left 4 Dead. Work continues on Metro: Last Light at independent Ukrainian developer 4A Games. Crytek, the developer of the famed Crysis series has been contracted to build a sequel to last year’s disappointing but financially successful Homefront. Finally, THQ is also set to publish Obsidian’s South Park: The Stick of Truth in March.
Happily, there are no expected layoffs as the company’s reorganization begins and completes. Clearlake Capital, a private equity firm, has offered to buy THQ as a ‘stalking horse bidder.’ The style of stalking horse bidding allows THQ to court other bidders besides Clearlake as the bankruptcy process continues. Their bid is approximately $60 million in total. The sale process is expected to complete in thirty days.
Raspberry Pi continues to to strengthen its pull on beginner developers and has now launched its very own app store. With 23 titles already available, the company has allied itself with IndieCity and Velocix to create a familiar app shopping experience on the web.
Raspberry Pi OS users can download and upload content (including binaries, raw Python code, images, audio or video) to the store, with the option of whether or not to charge embedded alongside a "tip jar" mechanism to offer up some fiscal encouragement.
One commercial game, Storm in a Teacup (priced at £1.99) joins the largely free online library, while a system of reviews and ratings hopes to ensure the best content rises to the top, with the system also picking up registered users’ personal tastes. You can browse what the store’s got to offer at the second source link.
Update: Looks like so many people tried to access the store that it’s fallen over. Might be best to try in a little while.
McFarlane Toys’ The Walking Dead RV Zombie Action Figure is the #5 "Worst Toy for Christmas," according to the Christian Science Monitor. The newspaper’s concern appears to be the age-appropriateness of the figure.
Noting that one retailer lists the figure as for ages five and up and that the package indicates it’s for ages 13 and up, the paper says, "The ‘neck snapping action,’ the zombie-fied body, and the knife in the head make this a perfect stocking stuffer-for an adult male."
Sales of comics and graphic novels to comic stores were down 1.1% vs. 2011, but were up when the fact that November 2011 was a five week month and November 2012 was a four week month is taken into account. Year over year comic sales were up 3.55%; graphic novel sales were down 10.86% to make up the slight decline (without accounting for the difference in weeks) over-all.
Year to date sales are still up 14.63% over 2011, with almost identical growth in both the comics and graphic novel portions of the market.
Dollar Market Share–November 2012
Marvel led in Market share, with 34% vs. DC’s 30%, driven primarily by Marvel NOW! books. Marvel had eight of the top ten comic titles in November, led by All New X-Men #1 in the top slot. Batman was #2, but the next six titles were all Marvel NOW! titles (Captain America, Deadpool, Indestructible Hulk, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Uncanny Avengers), followed by Justice League and Thor: God of Thunder.
The Walking Dead Vol. 17 TP was the top graphic novel title in November. The TV series was drawing around 10 million viewers an episode that month, which certainly helped drive sales.
Three of the top five graphic novel titles were from Vertigo, demonstrating the continuing relevance of the imprint as founding editor Karen Berger prepares to depart (see "Karen Berger Leaving Vertigo"). BOOM! Studios had a big hit with its first Adventure Time Vol. 1 TP collection, which came in at #3.
Consumerreports.org has a very informative article on the misconception and disadvantages of an extended warranty. The article is from a few years ago but the information is just as relevant today as ever. –
This holiday season, shoppers are expected to spend over a billion dollars on extended warranties for laptops, flat-screen TVs, other electronics, and appliances.
And almost all of it will be money down the drain.
Retailers are pushing hard to get you to buy extended warranties, or service plans, because they’re cash cows. Stores keep 50 percent or more of what they charge for warranties. That’s much more than they can make selling actual products.
Shoppers have begun to take note of the practice, and they don’t like it: In a recent survey, the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that over 60 percent of consumers cited aggressive pushing of extended warranties as their top shopping annoyance. We included that fact in our annual "Dear Shopper" warning about bad deals for consumers – the second time we’ve singled out extended warranties in our holiday-season advice.
For the consumer, extended warranties are notoriously bad deals because:
- Some repairs are covered by the standard manufacturer warranty that comes with the product.
- Products seldom break within the extended-warranty window—after the standard warranty has expired but within the typical two to three years of purchase—our data show.
- When electronics and appliances do break, the repairs, on average, cost about the same as an extended warranty.
In general, we have found extended warranties to be a bad deal for the customer and have long advised against them. The most cautious consumers might want to consider an extended warranty for a repair-prone brand, provided that the warranty is both inexpensive and comprehensive and the cost of repairs tends to be high.
Stingy manufacturer warranties