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By The Numbers: April 2015

By The Numbers: April 2015

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money!  What does your money tell them?  What does it tell us as fans?  What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out?  What are the trends?  What looks good?  What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor.  He’s worked in the industry for 5 years but grew up reading comics.  He is currently worried that he doesn’t have enough room to keep his comics any longer.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics.  He is currently worried that since they are making Supergirl into a TV show that they’ll take it away from him at the last moment.

We’re trying something a little different this month.  Rather than writing a series of paragraph conversations, I’ve converted it all to a more straight conversation.  If you like it let us know!

Glenn:  So yeah, before we start it seems as if my ‘bold’ prediction of a top ten full of comics selling over 100k came true sooner than either of us expected.  When was the last time that this happened?!  That’s just crazy.  Remember back when the highest selling title one month was David Finch’s Dark Knight title at just a bit below 90k?

People say they’re fed up with events but it seems the proof is in the pudding.  It’s time for insanity because Convergence is here and so is the top 300 sales!

A whole bunch to talk about this month!

CONVERGENCE!  Well sort of, I mean yes we got Star Wars as the number one book again, proving that it seems the book has some staying power.  It’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts once a-lister John Cassidy jumps off but with a new film around the corner and a damn good replacement in Stuart Immonen on the horizon, I think this title isn’t going anywhere.

So apart from that, DC rules the top ten with their major event, Convergence taking five spots.  That is really saying something for an event that doesn’t seem to be quite as well built or hyped as Secret Wars.  Essentially this mini seemingly has come about as a need for DC to do something while it moves offices and here it is.  I doubt the event will have major lasting effects but someone at DC has to be rubbing their hands together on this one.

Ray:  Yeah, for all the complaints, it’s very clear nothing sells like events. And I have to commend DC on the amazing marketing job they’ve done here. Convergence was originally known as “The Band-Aid Event”, because it’s only here to fill in the gap while all of DC’s regular creators are transitioning to their new offices on the West Coast. This is essentially a fill-in event, but with savvy marketing, DC made it look like the next big thing. And it shows in the results – the main mini’s first five issues sold exactly like I would expect a regular event comic to, and sold far above even their most popular weekly, Batman Eternal. Five slots in the top ten is nothing to sneeze at.

Glenn:  Like you say, DC also wins the majority with another title in the top ten, their bread and butter performer in Snyder and Capullo’s Batman.  We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again, this is the most consistently critically and commercially successful team on a mainstream title since…well quite a while.  Here the title finishes up its amazing ‘Endgame‘ story arc and thankfully they’re sticking around for more (which I’m sure again makes DC very happy).

I suppose what we have to think about is that Convergence is kind of an extension of the September New 52 ‘anniversary’ they’ve done for a number of years.  For the past three years, DC has not put out their regular books each September and instead, essentially given the market of very well selling fill ins.  Now some of these ‘fill ins’ have been very good and even by the same creative teams but largely, they aren’t overly important.  However, DC projects them as such and it reflects in the sales every September and here they’ve done it again with Convergence.

Ray:  That’s a good point about DC’s September events. This will likely take their place, as I can’t imagine DC is taking a break for a special September event only three months after coming back from this break. At least, that would be a poor idea to my eye.

Glenn: They don’t seem to be hinting at anything for this September.  With the ‘You 52’ campaign that just launched today, they’ll seemingly have a lot going on to try and scramble against the Secret Wars onslought.

The other top spots are reserved for the other Star Wars titles including a new offering Kanan: Last Padawan.  We see here that Vader and Leia have held on to their readers a lot more than the main book which while a major hit, saw crazy sales on its first issue.  It’s interesting to note that while these are Marvel’s top ten offerings, they are all licensed books.  Could it be that Marvel has put these books ahead of their superheroes and will the gambit pay off?  I doubt they’re worrying much with Secret Wars set to bring back things to status quo.

Ray:  Star Wars does seem to be totally bulletproof right now. All titles stayed above 100K, and I am especially impressed with the showing for Kanan. This is a spin-off of a currently running cartoon, and yet it performed fairly close to the levels of Princess Leia. I think this is great news, as it’ll allow Marvel to expand the line into lesser-known characters. Dare I hope for some Droid comics soon? I think this also shows just how huge the Star Wars brand still is, and Disney is undoubtedly looking forward to a ridiculous amount of money come December when The Force Awakens hits.

Glenn:  I wouldn’t be surprised that Marvel does some kind of crossover event for the Star Wars books come September that may or may not link to the new movies.  I am definitely thinking that Leia will likely get promoted to her own series and we soon have a Lando book on the way too.  Marvel has a lot of potential here over the six existing films and have the talent to back it up.  They’ve turned Star Wars into a commercial force (no pun intended) to be reckoned with and that’s still 8 months before the movie is out!

Ray:  After these numbers for Leia, I’d be surprised if they didn’t give her an ongoing or at least a second mini. The biggest event of all besides the main series will probably the “Road to the Force Awakens” mini that has been announced, by Greg Rucka. That’s the first in-continuity post-Jedi material we’re getting in the new expanded universe.

The finale to Batman: Endgame landed at #4 this month after a delay, and while the 131K numbers are very impressive, they’re also not what they could have been considering what happened here. I’ll be vague when it comes to spoilers (although news has likely made its way everywhere by now), but it performed like a standard issue of Batman, always a huge hit, only rising 13K. This is because DC didn’t leak news of the issue’s big event in advance, instead letting fans come in unspoiled. This is in contrast to Marvel, which several times leaked news like this days in advance and reaped the benefits of mass ordering. As a fan, I have to say I prefer DC’s strategy, although it likely cost this book #1 for the month.

Glenn: I completely missed Endgame!  A very worthy end for DC’s weekly Batman book which will no doubt see a sequel next year.  We both know how hard monthly comics are to produce so DC deserves all the credit in the world for completing another quality weekly book without any delays.

Ray:  Yeah, Eternal ended its run very strong as well, landing at #39 with almost 50K in sales. This will definitely be back as soon as the team is ready. Quite a contrast between this and the other two weeklies – Futures End, which barely made the top 100, and World’s End, which was well outside of it.

Glenn: Well I know obviously Future’s End had ‘a’ Batman in it but Eternal had the benefit of having ‘the’ Batman and also his name in the title.   I’m surprised Future’s end didn’t do better given the creative talent and the FCBD push it got.  Something that didn’t click perhaps?  That happens.  Still running 3 weeklies at once and not missing an issue is an admirable feat.

We see also see now that Spider-Gwen, the unstoppable juggernaut is now outselling Amazing Spider-Man, the highest selling in-continuity main marvel book that in this crazy world of Convergence, Star Wars and awesome heroines has to settle for the number 12 spot.

Still given that its sales are a cough away from 100k long after Spider-Verse is over and Secret Wars around that corner, it’s nothing major but it really shows how crazy things are at the moment.

Ray:  We are three issues into Spider-Gwen, and it shows no sign of slowing down. This is easily the most incredible performance I have ever seen in comics. However, it is apparently taking a break after #5 when Secret Wars reshuffles everything, and this worries me. This book has such enormous momentum right now, and I don’t think Marvel was ready for it. So only one arc in, it’s going on hiatus and who knows what her world will be when it comes back. The Marvel Multiverse may not even exist anymore. No matter what happens, I really hope Marvel makes this title a priority and ensures that the creators get to keep doing their thing. They have a goldmine here.

As an aside, I am buying every single one of those Gwen variants.

Glenn:  I wouldn’t worry about Spider-Gwen, Marvel have captured lightning in a bottle here and it shows.  I think they’ll push this book hard following Secret War and I hope the little hiatus doesn’t do it harm.  Still, she’s going to feature in the Spider-Verse book and like you said, has an entire month full of covers to herself.  This is stuff only reserved for the likes of Deadpool so Marvel knows they’re on to a winner here. It’ll be interesting to see what fate befalls her following Secret Wars but Marvel must know they’re on to a winner here.  If they do mess it up, the reaction they get won’t be pretty.

Ray:  Yeah, I have little doubt that Marvel knows what they have here with Gwen. It’s just unfortunate timing that they got their biggest Multiverse hit ever right before the Multiverse goes kablooey! I wouldn’t be surprised if this is even making them alter a few of those post-SW plans.

An impressive debut for Uncanny Inhumans at #19, too. Marvel’s got to be very happy with the improved numbers from Inhuman, which is well outside the top 100 this month.

Glenn:  Having Steve McNiven draw the book will always help.  Correct me if I’m wrong though but isn’t this book kind of MIA at the moment?  An impressive debut is great but it may not matter if that big audience has nothing to buy next month.

Ray:  I think Uncanny Inhumans is actually a sort of preview issue, hence the #0. The new #1 is the first book Marvel has officially announced for post-Secret Wars. So this was more of a teaser than anything, not a delay.

Glenn:  With Uncanny Inhumans, I think its a mistake to have such a delay between this issue and the ‘proper’ book but Secret Wars happen!

Ray:  Most of DC’s books this month are on hiatus, with Harley Quinn, Superman, and Wonder Woman doing their standard numbers. They’re replaced with the 40 Convergence miniseries, and looking at the numbers, DC has got to be VERY happy with these. Out of the 40, 38 made the top 100. None was ordered below 30K, which is an extremely respectable floor for their line.

No surprise Harley Quinn led the pack, as she’s become a marketing machine for DC lately. Titles like Justice League, Superman, and the Batman family books were also in the top tier. It seems like almost every Convergence title sold above what the title would in a standard month. I’m also very happy to see the 40K sales for Shazam, my pick for the best Convergence title, by the amazing Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner. Hopefully this will generate enough interest that DC will give this creative team a Shazam ongoing. We made it happen for Spider-Gwen, we can make it happen here!

Glenn:  I’m very happy to see Booster Gold back in the charts and in the top 100 to boot!  I’m hoping that with the third Arrow spin off featuring Rip Hunter that this may prompt DC to get this book back *does a ‘call me’ motion*

Ray:  Booster definitely seems to be having a moment, like you said. I think there would absolutely be enough interest for an ongoing, especially if they got a good creative team. If he shows up on Legends of Tomorrow, it’s almost inevitable. And Convergence really did lift all boats. The only two titles to debut outside the top 100 were Infinity Inc. and Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters. No surprise, since these two properties could never sustain ongoings today, but they still sold over 30K. Pretty much every Convergence mini matched or exceeded expectations.

I do think it’s worth noting, though, that a lot of retailers indicated that the titles weren’t selling to customers as well as they had hoped, so the orders may not match the demands with Convergence. It’s always a huge risk breaking from the main story for a while for any comic company, and while it’s not likely to be a disaster on the order of Flashback Month from the 90s, I hope the sales turned around for retailers.

Glenn:  Yeah, same here.  It sucks that retailers are essentially risking a lot on a bunch of unknown books for 2 months.  At least its a relatively short period, I hope that Secret Wars doesn’t have the same effect for them.  I doubt it will given how heavily the entire universe is so waist deep in it.  At least there if you like reading a book, there is mostly an equivalent book to pick up where with Convergence that seems to be less clear.

Ray:  And in the middle of all this event craziness, I’d like to salute Descender, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nyguen’s Image title, which stayed in the top 50 after a very strong debut last month. Image has a new bona fide hit.

Glenn:  It’s well deserved for Descender, its a wonderful comic and the creative team must be thrilled.  The positive response has been overwhelming and I find it gratifying that in a market spearheaded by sales tactics, quality does find its way.

Quite a decent debut for the ‘Spiral‘ mini-series that is a Spider-Man mini using the .1 method of numbering.  This could have got easily lost in the shuffle but it did well, landing at 18 with sales over just 68k.  It features the return of legendary Spidey writer Gerry Conway writing a really good story so far.  He shows here he still has it!  Once Secret Wars begins, I expect this book may get lost in the shuffle.

Ray:  Spiral probably benefited a lot from the unique numbering, convincing people it was part of the main book. Just as well, it’s a pretty good book by a creator who shows he’s still got it.

Glenn:  We also have Deadpool and his *cough* 250th issue pulling in great sales at number 13 at just over 96k.  This tells us that silly numbering and Deadpool is a winning combination.

Image’s top 2 books, Walking Dead and Saga both suffered chart wise due to the madness going on.  Of course, as you an I know they’ll be trucking along in a year, roughly in the same position if not better so I doubt its any concern.  They’ll just have to wait and ride out what I will now deem ‘the summer of comic madness’.

Other indie books didn’t quite brave the waves so well but we’ll talk about that later.

Thor also continues to do very well and I expect a big sales jump for the ‘reveal’ issue.  Once people read and find out who she is, I wonder if the sales will maintain and if they do, could we see two Thor books following Secret Wars?

Ray:  I wouldn’t be surprised by a Thor book and an Odinson book post-Secret Wars, but I wonder if Marvel would want to undermine the new Thor that way. Thus far, we don’t have any confirmation that any of the big four original heroes are going to be around, and Avengers left the original Thor’s fate very much in doubt.

Glenn:  At the moment with Thor, Marvel finds themselves in an interesting situation.  We know that male Thor will likely be back in the main role but his female counterpart is actually selling better than he has in quite some time.  Whether that will remain after the spike her ID reveal issue will no doubt have remains to be seen.  It did seem they had this issue when Superior Spider-Man was such a hit but they had to have Peter back in time for Amazing Spider-Man 2 and now Amazing is Marvel’s most consistent best seller.  It paid off there and time will tell with Thor.  I think this will be an interesting one to watch.

Ray:  With Thor, they have to balance the sales and buzz they’re getting from this title with the larger concerns of the comic being drastically different from the movies. It seems they’re fine with it for now, but I still expect Captain America – whose new incarnation isn’t being greeted with anywhere near the same acclaim as the change in Thor – to be restored to the classic version by the time Civil War comes out. Thor has another year and a half after that before his next movie, though, so they have some time to play with.

Glenn:  Another book which I think caused a pleasant surprise for its publisher is the first issue of Titan’s mini series starring the Ninth Doctor.  It landed at 63, outselling some of the convergence issues and pulling in just over 38k sales.  I think this is a good showing for a mini starring arguably the least popular Doctor of the modern era (going to get a lot of hate mail for that one…).

Ray:  That is definitely some impressive sales from a licensed comic from a publisher that rarely makes an impact over here, especially in this month.

Howard the Duck slid hard, of course – but it still landed at #50 in this crazy month! That’s a much better hold than recent Marvel debuts, and it just may have some legs. That’s great news for a book that many people said would never last. Marvel’s attempt to make their line more diverse in tone and style continues to pay dividends.

Glenn:  Howard might be one that might be flying close to the sun.  With Secret Wars coming, it might not have time to find its legs.

Ray:  When it comes to Howard, the buzz is fantastic so far, but this and Spider-Gwen both have the problem of titles debuting hot and then going on a forced hiatus for the event. I think Gwen is better suited to sustain its buzz, but the mere fact that we’re discussing whether Howard the Duck can maintain its 50K sales after month two is amazing.

Glenn:  Well, at least Howard has something going on with ‘Howard The Human’ coming up.  I would say it’ll probably do about as well as the Rocket Racoon title which holds the 75th spot with sales just a tad over 35k.

Ray:  It seems hard to believe that Howard the Duck, Rocket Raccoon, and Gwen Stacy all have successful ongoing series going, but here we are! Marvel’s made some crazy decisions over the last year, but the majority have paid off big-time.

Glenn:  I guess this is why companies are more willing to take a few risks on books.  Not everything will work of course but its always worth a try.  I think the 3 books you mentioned plus Harley Quinn show us that the market can still hold some surprises!

RayFantastic Four wrapped up its run with #645 at #62, with 39K sales. A definite increase, but not as much as I thought for what might be the last proper FF comic for a long time.

Glenn: I think we could probably fill an entire article regarding oddity that the Fantastic Four title has been over the last few decades.  Here’s a book that has a huge legacy, some fantastic (no pun intended) runs and in this market no one seems to be all that bothered.  Now there’s a lot of talk and whispers about Marvel distancing themselves from the property.  That could be true but apart from the Hickman run which did manage to turn it into a best seller,

the book has really struggled.  It’s not like Marvel has tried like putting top creators like Millar/Hitch/Fraction/Bagley and doing all they can to go ‘Hey it’s the Fantastic Four!  Remember that time they saved the world from

Galactus?’  I’m hoping that giving them a break for movie purposes or not will do them a world of good.  They’re kind of in the same boat in that Thor was prior to dissasembled where it seemed that he had lost all relevance in the market at the time.  They had him go away for like 2 years or so and brought him back and it was a best seller once more.  I hope this is the fate of Marvel’s first family.

Ray:  The Thor parallel when it comes to FF is a good one. The title left them in a place where it could come back at any time, but I’m betting on their status quo being upset HARD by Secret Wars. In many ways, this seems like it’ll be a story driven by Reed Richards, so I can’t imagine there won’t be huge repercussions for the family coming out of this.

Glenn:  I think the characters individually are going to be in very interesting places following the event.  It’ll be interesting to see what Marvel does with them while the book takes a breather.

Ray:  While the top 100 is a different issue this month than others, it’s worth noting that Wolverines has slid way outside of it, with all four issues clocking in at 118-124. Marvel’s got to be kind of glad this is wrapping up with #20.

Glenn:  Yeah, Wolverines has to be a bit of disappointment.  It almost reminds me of when Marvel turned the main Wolverine title into ‘Dark Wolverine‘ and launched a new book called ‘Wolverine: Weapon X‘ and neither book did well.  It was just a complete misfire.  Apart from Spider-Man, Wolverine is Marvel’s most commercially dependable character so on paper, a weekly centering around him sounds like printing money.  On paper it all sounded like a good idea…except its a Wolverine comic without the title character.  If they brought him back, sales might pick up but otherwise its just kind of ‘there’.

Ray:  It’s hard to believe that Wolverines, in only 16 issues, has sunk down to below the level of the Earth-2 weekly that just ended. I think the problems you listed were a big part of it, but I also think the frequent glaring art changes hurt a lot. There was a very jarring change of style from issue to issue. I’m wondering what the plan is for this icon post-Secret Wars. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pull the plug on this dead-Wolverine experiment prematurely, and bring him back, maybe via an alternate version from Battleworld.

Glenn:  Popular rumour is that they are going to bring him back in his Old Man Logan form.  That would be interesting but yeah, I’m not expecting a big resurrection thing for him either way.  It’ll just be a ‘problem’ that will be solved with the Secret Wars magic wand.

Ray:  Also a very impressive debut for the launch of Bloodshot Reborn by Jeff  Lemire, maybe the best Valiant debut in a long time.

Before we get into the sales of some of this month’s Image debuts, I have to note the fairly strong debut of Archie vs. Predator. It sounds like a bad joke, but Archie has managed to get some serious buzz from these strange crossovers and horror takes. I didn’t feel this one was quite as strong as the Afterlife title, but it’s definitely impressive.

Glenn:  The rebranding of the Archie books seems to have done a world of good.  They had a bit of a rough time regarding their recently attempted Kickstarter but hopefully the company can recover and maintain some of their momentum.

Ray:  I’m really curious how Archie’s new #1 launches in July. With all those variant covers, could it possibly be the #1 book of the month?

Glenn:  That would be something.  I don’t think it will be with all the Secret Wars chaos going on.  I think it has a good chance of making top 25 which for an Archie book would be a rather fantastic launch.  They’ve certainty put a lot of effort into these new books creative team wise.

Ray:  The sheer number of covers by A-list artists Archie has is going to make an impact. I do think the odds are pretty strong that Secret Wars will beat it, given how huge that event is starting. Still, it would be something if Archie pulled an Orphan Black on us!

Glenn:  Of course, with the glut of Convergence titles debuting strong, a lot of other reliable books from Marvel and other companies got pushed down the list.

Enough about Convergence and Secret Wars destroying everything!  We have some pretty big Image debuts.  Of course, most of them, like you said have some pretty stiff competition this month.

I would have thought Jupiters Circle might have debuted a bit higher given how commercially successful Millars books are and how well received the previous volume was.  Maybe it was just a bad month to debut in?  I mean its a decent debut sure but I would have thought that it might have done say about 20 thousand copies better than it did.  It still managed to make the top 100 at spot 89 with sales just over 32k.

Ray:  I think the problem for Jupiter’s Circle is simple – the schedule on Jupiter’s Legacy has been such a nightmare that most people have forgotten about it. The spinoff doesn’t have the curiosity factor that a new launch would, as a result, and it doesn’t have the pull that the main title does with Quitely’s art.

Glenn:  Again, they’re not terrible sales but I wonder if its a slight letdown.  I’m sure it’ll probably do well in collected form.

It’s not a new debut but Kirkman’s ‘Other’ horror book ‘Outcast’ seems to be holding on to a decent sized audiance.  It’s not Walking Dead numbers but when it was at issue 8, Walking Dead would have killed for numbers like that.  Once they get a few trades under their belt and the TV show gets going, it could be one to watch.

Image also debuts Savior, Kaptara, Runlovekill, No Mercy who debut in the mid to low 20K region along with Picses and Tithe that get sales of 17,110 and 11,851 respectfully.  All these titles were out sold apart from Savior by the first issue of that threat or menace Spider-Gwen.  None of them are super numbers, especially for the latter 2 but its going to be rough for any new debut between now and the end of the year properly unless they have some superstar talent.

Ray:  The new Image launches were a mixed bag. They’ve got to be a bit disappointed that Todd McFarlane’s return to writing could only pull 26K, but the 23K debut for Kaptara – a book that had some pretty out-there promotion – is just more evidence that Chip Zdarsky is one of the biggest names to watch right now in the industry. The others were books by smaller names that did respectably. And it’s hard to believe Spider-Gwen’s first issue is still hanging in there. It’s got to be well over 300K in sales right now!

Glenn:  McFarlane has always been a bigger draw as an artist than a writer.  If he did the art on the book, it would have done a lot better.  I think at the moment, this isn’t a market where Todd McFarlane ‘the writer’ is going to do as well as he would have done 10 years or so ago.

On the subject of McFarlane, those Spawn numbers aren’t pretty.  Remember when this was Image’s big money maker?  It’s crazy how much can change in a relatively shot period of time.

Ray:  A nice boost for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, too, as major events drove some massive interest by audiences and retailers alike. And Sabrina, despite being MIA for over half a year, returned with over 20K sales for the second Archie horror book.

This seemed to be a stronger month for licensed titles as well, with both Uncle Scrooge and Rick and Morty’s new comics debuting close to the 20K range

Glenn:  Those aren’t bad for property books in the current market.  The likes of the Buffy and Doctor Who titles which you think would appeal to comic fans seem to be languishing.  Both those books are going to be doing their own events moving into the summer however so it’ll be interesting to see if they benefit from that.

Those aren’t bad for property books in the current market.  The likes of the Buffy and Doctor Who titles which you think would appeal to comic fans seem to be languishing.  Both those books are going to be doing their own events moving into the summer however so it’ll be interesting to see if they benefit from that.

I think Red One did very well with only losing just under 5k readers and landing at the 180th spot with sales just under 16k.  It does have the advantage of having the Dodsons who have enjoyed a verly high profile from both Marvel and DC over the last number of years.

Ray:  I really enjoyed Red One. Unfortunately, I was surprised to see the series taking a break after only two issues, coming back in about six months. I hope it doesn’t lose all its momentum in that time.

Glenn: I haven’t heard that about Red One.  That’s a big risk for a book like this.  I know the Dodson’s are very much in demand but if they want to launch a creator owned book, taking a 6 month break isn’t the best move.  I think the audiance isn’t going to stick around on this one.  If they’re just doing it as a creative outlet though, they may not be too worried but Image could lose patience with it.

All-new Hawkeye seems to have had a verly big drop to near 43k sales and landing at number 54.  Still in the top 100 in a very busy month but they lost roughly 24k sales in one issue.  I’m actually surprised given how hot Lemire is at the moment and how much attention the character got in the new movie.  I suppose with it being Hawkeye and all, you can’t expect miracles.  If it stays around this number it won’t be too bad, we’ll see what next month holds.

Ray:  I think that’s a fairly standard drop for Hawkeye, all things considered. It’s still selling well above the massively-delayed Fraction run’s last few issues. We’ll have to see how it holds up in the coming months, though – Ant-Man is on its way out of the top 100, while Silk is holding on surprisingly well. Hawkeye’s future could go either way.

Glenn:  A new debut from Oni ‘Rick and Morty’ opens up to sales just over 17 k at the 170th spot.  That’s a very impressive debut, I think.  Like we talked about last month, with the publishers current open submissions it could be a big year for them.  They could be a bit of a dark horse.

Ray:  Very pleased to see Kaijumax, Oni’s bizarre monster prison book by Zander Cannon, debut above 10K. This is a good month for Oni overall.

Glenn:  A slightly less impressive debut this month is Infinate Loop from IDW which barely makes it in the top 300 at number 297 with sales at 6,443.  I doubt we’ll see this title again as far as the top 300 is concerned.

Ray: I notice that Batman: Arkham Knight slid all the way from top ten to 119 this month. That should make it pretty clear that last month’s result was the product of bundling in video game stores.

Glenn: It’s a video game tie-in, I suppose its to be expected.  Not every book based on one of those can enjoy the success of Injustice.  The other book that was a best seller due to bundles, Orphan Black missed the chart completely this month.  That has to be a first right?  From number one to below 300 in 2 months.

Ray:  Yeah, I was wondering if Orphan Black #2 was under ordered and it would rebound with #3. Seems not. Loot Crate doesn’t seem to have the long-term impact they were hoping for on most cases. History might repeat itself next month, actually. Lootcrate has 500K orders of the new Bravest Warriors title set for May – the same month as Secret Wars, which also sold about 500K. This is going to be a tight finish, and the highest top two ever, perhaps.

One book I notice rather low on the charts is Marvel/Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This is Marvel’s third book based on Disney’s theme parks, and they really haven’t found much sales traction with any of them. I think this is more due to Marvel’s failure to reach an audience that would be interested in Disney properties, rather than the book itself. Shame – I’m enjoying this one as much as last year’s Figment. 

Glenn:  Where that book will make its money is when the trade is out and Disney sells it in the gift shop of the ride it’s named after.  I doubt Marvel are too concerned with this.

To wrap up, I think its fair to say that a lot of the smaller books and smaller publishers suffered from the Convergence onslought this month and with Secret Wars coming, that’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

Starting next month, Marvel is basically replacing their entire line with books that largely are a callback to best selling events from years past.  From Civil War to Old Man Logan to One More Day, they’re all coming back AT ONCE.  On paper it looks like most other publishers are going to have a bad time but DC is doing a new sales initiative called ‘DC You‘ and offering some interesting sales incentives to retailers to try to combat this.

Other publishers are hoping that they can just hang in there.  Outside of the dependable indie performers like Walking Dead, its going to be some rough waters ahead.

Ray:  May should belong to Marvel, full-stop, as DC is still in the middle of Convergence and those titles sold decently but unspectacularly this month. Marvel’s tie-ins are far more a-list and should dominate. This month is still a mix of regular titles wrapping up their runs and new tie-in titles starting, but in June almost the entire run will have been taken over by this event. If people treat the big-name tie-ins like important events in their own right, the numbers for Secret Wars could be the best in years.

Outside the big guns next month, there’s a few smaller-press/creator-owned books to watch out for next month. Dynamite is launching a female-led crossover, Swords of Sorrow, with the main series anchored by Gail Simone. Aside from her Red Sonja series, few of these Dynamite titles make much of an impact on the charts, so it’ll be interesting if Gail’s name lifts this mini-event.

Cullen Bunn has a new horror series from Dark Horse, Harrow County, that sold out its first issue, and Image has new titles from Warren Ellis (Injection), Brian Buccellato (Sons of the Devil), Joe Casey (Valhalla Mad), Ed Brisson (Mantle) and Phil Hester (Mythic) that have been getting some buzz. Boom doesn’t seem to get the same momentum with their creator-owned books, but all of Arcadia, Oh Killstrike, and Lantern City debuted in May to great reviews. We’ll see if they catch on.

Probably the biggest-name creator-owned title of the month, though, is Fight Club 2, written by original writer Chuck Palahnuik and drawn by Cameron Stewart. This isn’t Chuck P. dropping by to give a story outline to a comic writer, this is him doing the whole thing. He could be bringing a huge non-comic audience with him. If there was ever a book that could surprise us, this is it.

Lots of interesting stories next month, as the summer of craziness continues to heat up. Until then!

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