The sales data is in for the comic book sales of 2012 and we're kicking off an extensive analysis with a review of the number of issues sold for the DC Comics' Batman titles and all of Marvel's Avenger books.

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The December sales figures are in from Diamond Comics Distributor and that means we now have complete data on the number of comic books sold for the entire year of 2012. Keep in mind, the data from Diamond shows the number of comic book shipped to retailers which isn't necessarily equal to the number of issues sold (unless a book sells out). For example. there were 34,035 issues of Avengers Assemble shipped in December to retailers but there's probably an issue or two still on the shelves of your local comic book shop. What this data gives us is an approximate estimation of the number of comics sold and an idea of buyer demand. The data also gives us an idea of each publisher's profit margin.

Looking at the Big Two, the biggest and most prevalent title each company owns is Batman for DC and The Avengers for Marvel. Batman and The Avengers were both huge successes for each company but Batman had a slight edge, selling over 9 million copies from its roster of Batman titles while the entire line of Avenger books sold just over 8 million. In looking at individual titles, Avengers vs X-Men was the big winner, selling over 2.5 million copies in an 8-month run. For DC, Scott Snyder's Batman was the biggest title, moving roughly 1.7 million copies for the entire year.

The data above also shows more consistency across the line of Batman books, which hardly changed the number of titles released each month. For Marvel, the data definitely reflects the publisher's preparations for Marvel NOW! as quite a few titles were ended to make way for the new books.

We'll be tinkering with the data for 2012 a bit more, the coming days will see a similar comparison on Spider-Man and Superman, the independent hits of 2012 and the trade paper back sale figures. If you have any suggestions, be sure to place them in the comments section below.

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