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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Comic Clippings - 27 December

Annuals continue to dominate news reports about comics with plenty of headlines about the Doctor Who Annual "exterminating" the Beano Annual. That doesn't actually seem to be the case as the Beano Annual appears to be selling as well as ever, with recorded sales of 187,000. A long way behind Doctor Who, whose sales have now topped 271,500, but on track as far as I can tell -- although there's very little historical data available for comparison. About the same time in 2003, the 2004 Annual had sold 175,000 and in 2001, the 2002 Annual had sold around 195,000. So sales seem to be steady.

A full Top 15 chart was published in The Guardian ('Dennis the Menace meets his match at last as Doctor Who annual tops the publishing charts', 23 December) which estimates that the sales of Doctor Who are valued at £1.2 million. "This is the first time the Beano Annual has been beaten since accurate electronic sales figures began to be collected in 1998, and indeed, the book trade believes, the first time since soon after it was initially published in the 1940s," says Guardian writer John Ezard, although any fule (who wants to nitpick) kno that the first Beano Book appeared in 1939. I'm not sure that you can lay sales of 271,500 at the feet of "The boost from Doctor Who's two prime time Christmas Day specials in a row" as these sales figures all pre-date the Doctor Who Christmas special (as did the article). The fact that it's the BBC's most successful relaunch since Strictly Come Dancing may be fuelling the sales; the Chrismas special also reflects the show's successful run earlier in the year but didn't seem to benefit the annual last year when, according to a Waterstones spokesman, it sold only 80,000 copies ('Dr Who beats Dennis to book crown', BBC online, 23 December).

Anyway, the Waterstones Top 15:

1 Doctor Who Annual 271,551
2 Beano Annual 187,172
3 Bratz Annual 112,044
4 Match Annual 110,076
5 Disney/Pixar Annual 80,703
6 Thomas and Friends Annual 80,557
7 Disney Princess Annual 78,627
8 Dandy Annual 76,886
9 Oor Wullie Annual 70,141
10 WWE Annual 70,141
11 Shoot Annual 68,078
12 Star Wars Annual 63,053
13 The Broons and Oor Wullie 56,902
14 Rupert Annual 52,215
15 Manchester United Annual 50,851

This year's total sales are expected to be over 2.5 million copies (which, I believe, includes compilations like the Best of Smash Hits and the like). Various reprints -- including the new True Brit Commando reprints -- are reviewed alongside newcomers like Heat: The Annual in 'Hic' (The Guardian, 23 December).
  • The Tintin exhibition in Paris is reviewed by John Lichfield in The Guardian ('Tintin's big art adventure', 27 December). The review also mentions a Tintin play which will open in London in 2007 as part of the celebrations of the centenary of HergĂ©'s birth. There was a play, HergĂ©'s Adventures of Tintin, at the Barbican in December 2005/January 2006 (reviewed by Paul Gravett here) and this is being revived next Autumn for a tour culminating in a West End theatre over the Christmas period. (A very good itinerary of events around the world relating to Titin and the centenary celebrations can be found here.)
  • David Lloyd (artist extraordinaire of V For Vendetta and Kickback) has a website.
(* Hope you all had a merry Christmas!)

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