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 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He eagerly awaits the arrival of his son next month (subject to change)
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 and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. When asked if he played Pokemon Go, Ray voices concern they would start eating his library of comics.
We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen! We talk about this sales chart (among many, many other things here
Full top 300 for June available here!
Glenn: Its June and another sales chart in what is quite possibly the craziest sales chart we’ve seen in quite some time.
For a long time, DC, the number two biggest company in comics has found it hard to get a win over the ever dominant Marvel.
In terms of Market share, they don’t quite manage it due to the sheer quantity of Marvel books released. However, the actual numbers and placements in DC’s first Rebirth month tell a different story.
DC has 7 of the top ten, 17 of the top 25 and 30 of the top 50. This gives them their most dominant month since…well the new 52 started. While the relaunches at Marvel (with more to come…yay?) seem to be fizzling out due to their frequency, DC doing it after 5 years has seemingly so far paid off. Next month will tell us more about how this all lands but DC should be proud of their performance this month.
Lets get into more detail but before we begin, one important thing to remember. Every single Rebirth book and number 1 DC released was fully returnable to encourage more orders from stores. To compensate for this obviously having a positive effect on the numbers that may be misleading, diamond automatically corrects the numbers we work with to present you this article. Usually they adjust between 20-25% so these numbers presented for DC are actually a lot LOWER than what shops ordered. Given how many reports all over there were on DC books selling out, there are probably a lot of books which sold a lot higher than even the numbers we’ll be quoting today with many a reorder to come.
Ray: This is easily the kind of month we haven’t seen since the first few months of the New 52, so I think we can safely say this is a massive win for DC. And keep in mind – this is just the tip of the iceberg. They launched a lot of their top books this month, but far from all of them. This is only about a third of the main Rebirth line. Sure, there’ll be a few duds in the mix, but overall DC has to be feeling very encouraged by these numbers. An especially promising note for them? These numbers do not look inflated. Look at Detective Comics a little ways down – it shipped two issues this month, and only lost 2K in sales between them. With Marvel #1s, you often see them losing close to half their sales in the same month. That doesn’t seem to be happening here.
Glenn: Marvel’s double shipping does seem to be counter productive where as, you said DC’s isn’t (perhaps being $1 cheaper helps). I think again the important difference is timing. Retailers inflate for issue one on Marvel books and then they usually go back to previous levels because the relaunches have been coming more frequently with the same names on the same titles with the same directions by and large. With DC this is the first line wide relaunch in five years and is seeing most the line in new hands with a new line wide ‘back to basics and really sorry, don’t hate us anymore, pretty please with sugar on top’ approach.
With so much success however, comes a small touch of defeat..in a manner of speaking. Despite losing the top ten for the first time since the Star Wars launched (I think? I don’t know, its your guys to read this stuff, we just write it) Marvel still takes the top spot. After a FCBD issue and an issue 0, Civil War II finally gets going properly with issue 1 selling well over 381k. A great success all told for the sequel to Marvel’s biggest event ever. Not as much as the first issue of the first Civil War but still impressive. However it seems that in the same month, the sweet victory of landing number one comes with its own bitter taste. The second issue of the sequel to the biggest Marvel event ever lands at 5 with 148k. So there’s a couple of ways to look at this, 148k number is still great, especially at the 4.99 (for 22 pages, yay) price point. However its a sharp drop by over half IN THE SAME MONTH. Seemingly retailers think that 233k of readers will come in for issue 1 and never return. Its a great number but with the Civil War branding, you would have thought Marvel would have wanted this to only land at around 150k towards the end. We’ve still got 5 issues to go so unless it stabilizes with issue 3 (which Marvel are hyping TO DEATH) we might be looking at an under performance if you compare this sequel with its predecessor.
Ray: Yeah, Marvel successfully inflated those Civil War II #1 numbers pretty nicely, but the #2 numbers are frankly pretty grim. This is what I would have expected from a run-of-the-mill event like Fear Itself or Infinity, selling 150K or so by the second issue. This bodes ill for both the main event and the tie-ins. Also, worth noting – the first issue sold twice the numbers of the zero issue, which directly preceded it. The bizarre order of the story clearly threw retailers for a loop on how to order this, a phenomenon that we’re seeing with a lot of the Rebirth issues as well.
Glenn: Again I’d expect a bump up for Civil War II 3 which Marvel have been hyping to tomorrow and back.
Next up is Batman 1, the new run by Tom King with sales of just over 280k. The previous Batman run was an paralleled sales success and retailers clearly have a lot of faith in the title. Having superstar artist David Finch on art is helpful but it seems that Batman sells itself due to the strong work the franchise has received for close to a decade. Curiously the prelude to this book, Batman Rebirth sells one spot lower at 199k. A lot of the Rebirth books did come across as ‘set up’ but I didn’t think there would be a big a gap as that. The Rebirth issue was written by King and previous Batman scribe and current DC superstar, Scott Snyder so it seems under ordered. Maybe retailers thought the real number ones would carry more weight to potential buyers?
Ray: Clearly Batman is an amazing success, still riding high off the character’s popularity and the incredible momentum it has from the previous Snyder/Capullo run. With these first-issue numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the series continue above 100K for quite some time! That being said, the Rebirth numbers are sort of odd. Most of the #1 issues outsold the Rebirth issues that preceded them, with a few exceptions. I think in the future, companies might be better off just launching with their new #1s and not getting fancy, because it stands the chance of confusing both retailers and customers.
Glenn: At number 4 is another Star Wars book from Marvel in the form of Han Solo which sells over 152.5k. Its another Star Wars book that sells well and has one of the most iconic characters in the massive franchise at the helm so the strong launch is no surprise. This is the only Marvel book not called Civil War II to sell over six figures this month for the record.
Ray: I said from the start that a Han Solo miniseries was one of the biggest slam-dunks in Star Wars comics. This comic had a slightly lower-key creative team than I would have expected, bringing back Marjorie Liu after a long absence from the company, but it certainly didn’t affect sales. The plot, essentially a take on “Fast and the Furious” in space, likely attracted a lot of sales as well. This is one of the best debuts for a Star Wars mini in quite some time.
Glenn: This might be my personal taste stepping in (in this article? Never!) but Mark Brooks is a pretty big name. He does covers a lot and hasn’t drawn interiors for years. I would say his name drew some attention to the book. Perhaps not as many as say John Cassidy on the main book but he definitely has his own fan base which is why Marvel throws a lot of cover work his way.
Next at 6 is the continuation of Dark Knight III: It doesn’t have a subtitle that I have to acknowledge. There’s been some delays but it hasn’t slowed down this prestige format epic which sells near 140k. This mini has been remarkably consistent at its price point after the usual issue 1 to 2 drop. The branding of the Dark Knight Returns shows itself immediately on the next spot also with the prequel book the Last Crusade which sells at over 122k. This is actually a dollar more than the regular DKIII mini so is really, really impressive. Of course, it features super popular villain the Joker which helps but also a little taste of legend John Romita JR’s work on Batman which we’ll see later this year in All Star. All in all, this revisit of Frank Miller’s classic is a very worthwhile endeavor for DC and will keep them in sales of trades for decades to come.
Ray: DKIII has been a huge success since it started, but I must say, I’m a bit taken aback by just how well this tie-in issue did. Not only did it beat all the Rebirth issues besides Batman, but it was a $6.99 book and still dominated in sales. Don’t get any ideas, Marvel! $4.99 for 22 pages is bad enough (and we’ll talk more about Marvel’s strange price points a little later on).
Glenn: Last Crusade was pretty big though at least. 57 story pages (yup I just counted).
Next is Superman Rebirth 1 at 8 with sales of just over 118k. Its been a long time since we’ve seen a Superman book at this level and sees the return of pre-New 52 (head…hurts) Superman to the role and the run of superstar writer Pete Tomasi start properly. A lot of interest here obviously. Superman also makes the top ten at number 10 with the first issue of the proper run selling just over 105k. Not that much difference in the two and it’ll be curious how this performs from next issue on. I think given how bumpy Superman was throughout the New 52 era, a lot of people aren’t sorry to see that version of the character to go.
Ray: Both Superman and WW have been top-tier DC properties that struggled in sales for a long time. A lot of this was due to the previous runs that were not well-received for a variety of reasons, so I imagine DC is very happy to see these numbers. With Superman, though, the news is a bit mixed for the character as we’ll get to a bit later on.
Glenn: Final book we haven’t talked about in the top ten which lands at 9 is the first issue (note: NOT the Rebirth issue) of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman which launches at over 107.7 k which is curiously higher than the launch of Superman’s main book (but not by much). The return of Rucka at DC is surprising given that he previously left on bad terms with the company before. However, he’s had some strong work at Marvel and Image, is known for writing strong female characters and has wrote Wonder Woman before. All this amounts to a great launch to DC’s third most iconic character. In issues to come, the alternate issues will almost have the feel of two books with one arc being set in the present and one arc being set in the past. It’ll be interesting if this will have an impact on the sales. For those keeping score, issues set in the present will be odd numbers and issues set in the past (yet another Wonder Woman: Year One story which will nearly bring us to FOUR of these in a year) will be even.
Ray: Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is trying an experiment that we haven’t seen before, with two stories in the same title at the same time. One thing I’m curious to see is if we see the two stories start to differentiate themselves in sales eventually. The much-hyped “The Lies” story is likely to do very well, but I’m less sure about “Year One”, especially with Legend of Wonder Woman covering the same ground so well.
First book out of the top ten is The Flash, with the #1 issue selling just over 100K and the Rebirth special just a little bit below. And frankly, I would imagine these were under-ordered a bit before people realized just how significant this would be to the overall picture of Rebirth. Much like Superman and Wonder Woman, this is a title that had been struggling. DC has to be very happy that one of their most valuable IPs seems to have a hit comic again, especially with the TV series going strong. And Josh Williamson finally has a big two hit!
Glenn: Very glad to have Williams have a title on the top end of the charts. There’s no doubt with Flash’s role in Rebirth and his link to the main story carrying on regarding THAT discovery at the end of Rebirth that the book was probably under ordered. Still a great launch and I think as a result of it being under ordered will find its feet (hah, hah) very quickly.
Ray: Just below it is Green Lanterns: Rebirth, selling 99K. However, this title starring new GLs Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz follows an unusual pattern and sheds 15K in sales the same month for its #1 issue. While on its own, the numbers are far higher for a GL title, I think that might be some early signs that people aren’t buying into this new status quo. We’ll have to watch this one carefully, especially after Hal Jordan’s GL title arrives next month.
Glenn: Green Lantern’s time in the sun has passed, this kind of makes it official. Still a great launch but hopefully it’ll land solidly enough. I think its wise for DC to seriously cull the amount of books starring Green Lanterns, the franchise is no longer in a position to handle multiple books any longer.
Note: We realized upon our notes on Green Lanterns that the first issue (aka the Rebirth issue) is co-written by Geoff Johns so that likely accounts for the sales difference
Ray: Detective Comics lands at #13 and #16, with two issues very close together and little to no attrition this first month. Very impressive, and it seems the Bat-books will continue to dominate the charts. Also important, very high issue numbers and that doesn’t seem to stop people from checking the book out! Take note, Marvel – don’t be afraid to let comics go past issue #12!
Glenn: Having James Tynion on will help and being a Batman book that is seemingly being treated as much of the ‘main’ book as Batman itself. It was marketed as new so the numbers on the issues themselves were completely irrelevant. I would say Tynion leading this book will allow it to find a home a lot higher than its predecessor and its now just a matter of time before it and Action hit that magic 1k.
Ray: Star Wars holds steady at around 96K this month. Normally, that’s good for a top five finish. This month, it’s only #14, which shows just how high the bar is this month!
Glenn: Shows that Star Wars can whether the storm. I think that pretty on level where it was which, in this month is really impressive. If this is the books level then Marvel can rest easy at least.
Ray: Green Arrow, a title that was at near-cancellation numbers by the end of its last run, has a very healthy debut for its Rebirth issue at #19 with 81K sales. However, much like Green Lanterns, the book has a very harsh fall to #33 and 69K the same month. The title didn’t change its writer coming into Rebirth, so the long-term impact of Rebirth on this book may be less than it was on some other titles.
Glenn:If Green Arrow can settle itself VERY quickly it would be performing around and/or better than most of Marvel’s upper mid tier which would be a great success. DC threw a lot at the the title during the new 52 (6 or 7 different creative teams I believe) so hopefully they let this creative team have their say and build a dedicated audience.
Ray: And proving the power of Star Wars, at #20 we have the first issue of the adaptation of The Force Awakens. An adaptation of a 7-month old movie that literally everyone in the world already saw. Star Wars! Coming soon – Nien Nunb ongoing series. It’ll land in the top ten.
Glenn: Just south of 80k is insane for any movie tie-in, especially one which as you said everyone already saw. Usually these things just exist for completists and such. It’ll be interesting where the rest of the mini lands, especially when its priced at 4.99. If retailers are trying to send a message that they want more comics set in the Force Awakens era. I’m sure Marvel would love to give them but I doubt its their call.
Ray: Just out of the top twenty, we have a very special issue of Deadpool! Packaged with issues of lower-selling titles – Daredevil and Power Man/Iron Fist – for $9.99, this was an experiment in doing a multi-book crossover in one package. And it sold 78K at #22, so watch for this to become a trick Marvel tries again, whether the fans like it or not. Ideally, though, some fans who like what they saw will give those other books a try and boost their sales.
Glenn: Its another idea that seems to pay off from the mad scientist lab that is Marvel. Its actually clever cause it boosts their Market share, creates more profit and gives more exposure to a handful of lower selling books. They keep getting away with it so they’ll keep doing it.
Ray: Aquaman #1 sells 77K at #24, a good 10K above its Rebirth issue. These are clearly the highest numbers for an Aquaman comic since the launch of the New 52, even though it’s keeping its writer from before Rebirth. We’ll see how it holds as time goes on, but DC has to be very happy with these numbers.
Glenn: Aquaman new 52 sold a lot higher but that had Geoff Johns at the helm and the title has had a lot of damage done to it sales wise since then. This is another one that will have to stabilize fast but yeah, a good start.
Ray: The other Superman title, Action Comics, is rock solid at 75K for both issues this month at 25/26, so no inflation for variants at all here. This is a bit lower than I was expecting, compared to Superman, especially as this is the book written by the man who brought OG Superman back – Dan Jurgens. But then, that’s a double-edged sword, as this could be seen as a spin-off of the low-selling Lois and Clark. I’m hoping that people like what they see here and these sales hold very steady.
Glenn: 75k is WAY higher than what the book was at previously and does a lot better than some of Marvel’s top pushed books. I would say that this one might be the one that doesn’t grab the top end of the chart but has a solid, dedicated audience that most books would kill for.
Ray: In the midst of all the DC crazy, Black Panther is rock solid this month despite some delays, selling 75K at #27. That puts it at Marvel’s top-selling ongoing superhero series this month, for anyone checking. Next month’s issue #4 will be the first to reflect sales adjustments, so we’ll see if it can hold on to this level, but right now this has all the markings of a runaway hit for Marvel.
Glenn: Agreed on Black Panther. The delays haven’t hurt it a bit and it can be considered a real success of Marvel NOW, the book/franchise that it has benefited from it the most. Of course, unlike the majority of other relaunched books, Black Panther hasn’t been here a number of times in recent years already. This is the first new run of the book since the Hudlin/JRJR relaunch around 10 years ago.
Ray: This is where we see the Civil War II tie-ins star showing up. Spider-Man’s tie-in has a very healthy debut at #28 with over 72K sales, above even his ongoing series. Likewise, a few spots down we see the X-Men tie-in at #34 with 68K. These are obviously the elite series, and we won’t see the same effect for things like the anthology series or Kingpin, but this is essentially a bonus Spider-man and X-Men book for Marvel, and they did what they were supposed to.
Glenn: Given his overall popularity and how prominent he was in Civil War last time, I’m not surprised his tie in did the best. Last Civil War saw the event tie in to the main books whereas the sequel has been partly released through spin offs. Some might say that if the tie in were in the main book, it would mean more but this way, releasing a decent or more than decent selling mini alongside the regular ongoing means Marvel can have its cake and eat it too.
Ray: We’ve got two Justice League issues this month at #29 and #32, both selling in the 70K range. These were originally solicited as Geoff Johns issues, but have since been changed to prequels to Titans and Action Comics. Needless to say, there was a lot of retailer confusion here, and these stealth Rebirth issues got a lot of eyes on them despite few people knowing what they were ordering.
Glenn: Apart from the bump it would have got anyway for 50, Justice League sells around 70k for both issues which is what is probably not a million miles away from where it would have been had it continued. While we have Bryan Hitch’s League book next month which will likely perform very well, DC has remained very suspiciously quiet over the continuation of the release of this Justice League book. We all know they’re planning something but who knows actually what form those plans will take.
Ray: The lowest-selling launch issue for a Rebirth book this month goes to Titans: Rebirth at #30, still selling a strong 72K. This was essentially a direct sequel to the low-selling Titans Hunt, which probably drove down the sales a bit – but it also may have been massively underordered, since the first issue indicates this book will be dealing with a lot of the direct repercussions from Rebirth, including the presence of the original Wally West. Watch this one to show up again in reorders next month, along with Flash.
Glenn: Yeah, another reorder one for sure. Also the Titans brand is very heavily damaged after the last number of years, so retailers are probably wary also. If it can land at only shedding less than say 15 k or so, DC will be thrilled.
Ray: Hey, Glenn! Remember last month, when Marvel trolled the whole world with “Captain America is a Nazi”? Sure, everyone was outraged at them, but they knew it would pay off in sales as countless people reordered the first issue and upped their orders on the second. Clearly, the numbers must be impressive, and – oh. So it lost 30K in sales from the first issue, tumbled all the way down to #36 on on the charts, and barely finished above a “Deadpool vs. Gambit” miniseries. Well, that’s embarrassing.
Glenn: Captain America: Steve Roger’s sells at 66k which in any other non-Rebirth month would have landed it top 15. Okay, not disastrous but Marvel took the biggest gamble in the world with their issue one cliffhanger in hoping orders would remain the same or (preferably) shoot up. We’ll see if it stabilizes at around mid 60k but I think given the dog and pony show that Marvel put on because of issue one, they had to be expecting more.
Stepping back a smidge, Walking Dead is there at 31 with sales over 71k with no returnable orders/variant/Civil Wars/ Rebirths or whatnot. Even with the equivalent of a massive shouting match going all around it trying to get people’s attention, it just shumbles along, being a hell of a success and not caring what anyone else is up to.
Speaking of Deadpool vs Gambit, it starts off at 37 with sales of 65.7k which is where Deadpool spin off books launch this weather. I doubt people even read past the ‘vs.’ in the solicitations anymore. Deadpool vs Gus Beezer would have probably done just as well, it just so happens to be Gambit there.
Ray: I think this Deadpool vs. Gambit book sold about 30K less than the launch of Mercs for Money, though, so there’s definitely a bit of diminishing returns. This was written by the unproven Deadpool writers of Acker and Blacker, as opposed to Duggan or Bunn, who are part of the brand. Plus, Gambit isn’t a draw on his own. Still, Deadpool continues to be bulletproof. And yet we still have no Deadpool vs. Rocket and Groot mini.
Glenn: Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel’s longtime steady performer continues to shed readers and is now down to mid 65k at spots 38 and 39. Of course, Dead No More is coming and I think is being its own mini which will be 4.99 per issue I believe. All will be right once more in the Spidey office soon enough I’m sure.
Ray: ASM continues its slow slide down the charts, but it’s still only behind Black Panther and Deadpool when it comes to Marvel ongoings, so that’s just a sign of the overall trouble Marvel’s having with numbers right now. Like you said, it’ll course-correct soon enough as it enters its next event. Spider-verse provided a huge boost to the whole line when it happened.
Glenn: The anthology ‘Civil War II: Choosing Sides‘ starts off as 42 with sales over 62.8k. Its got Marvel’s soon to be more regular than not price tag of 4.99 so I would consider that a good number for a book containing stories on the fringes of the event. Although Civil War II does not seem to have the literal midas touch its predecessor has, the market is a very different, more wild animal. This will probably sell above 40k for its run which will keep Marvel happy enough.
Ray: It seems like this month, at least, all the Civil War titles are doing strong numbers. There’s no Sally Floyd to drag this title down, although it seems like most of the heroes in this book are low-tier characters. I could see it dropping a bit further as retailers start to see that people just aren’t interested in seeing how Damage Control or Goliath Jr. interact with the event.
Glenn: Punisher takes a stiff drop to 42 to just over 47.5k. Its placement on the chart is much lower because of Rebirth and Civil War II so that’s to be expected but the unit number has crashed hard. Still on the upper end for a Punisher book but JUST. I guess retailers thought they would get interest on an issue 1 based on the appearance of the character on Netflix’s Daredevil but not much beyond that.
Ray: Punisher’s always been a hard sell, and I’m frankly still puzzled by last month’s insane numbers. A Punisher title selling 47K without variants or events is still something we haven’t seen in a long time, and its performance seems like it could follow Moon Knight or Black Widow quite easily – not a smash hit, but a solid long-term performer for Marvel. Netflix definitely helped here.
Glenn: The 4.99 (there it is again) Spider-Gwen annual sells at 55 with 43.7 k just a tad above the main book which is at 59 with sales over 41.7k. An annual selling above its main title is unusual but I think retailers might still be trying to recapture some of the Spider-Gwen fans that escaped the net during Secret Wars last year. Of course, the difference is not too much either way you look at it. The title has settled to a solid 40k performer. Far below the 90k or so it did in its first volume but an astonishing number for a character that didn’t exist until about a year ago.
Ray: I’m wondering if the Spider-Gwen annual was boosted by the fact that it was the first stand-alone Spider-Gwen story in several months, since her solo book was hijacked by an event. Either way, strong numbers for an annual, and an alternate-reality Spider-woman has firmly ensconced herself in the top 10% of Marvel’s output. Nothing to complain about here, even if it’s not quite the supernatural phenomenon it was in 2015.
Glenn: Amazingly, the number 1 book last month not only recharts at 58 with over 42.7k in sales but at a more expensive price of 5.99. This second/more expensive print outsells a LOT of new books which shows how in demand Rebirth really was.
Ray: I knew there was no way Rebirth wouldn’t have strong reorders, once the scope of the spoilers leaked. That puts it at around 300K. One of the most impressive reorder feats in a while – and not the one people were expecting. We’ll talk about the re-orders on that other book in a while.
Glenn: The next Civil War II tie in, Gods Of War opens at 63 with sales just over 39.6k. A decent launch for what Ray tells me is a direct continuation of Marvel’s ill fated Hercules series. If we look at a similar title from the first Civil War era in Dan Slott’s She-Hulk which sold about 20kish and shot up to around 80k with its Civil War tie-in then that tells a story of how this sequel event is doing in comparison.
Ray: …Look, it’s clearly one of the lowest-selling Civil War tie-ins, but it still sold roughly four times what the next arc of Hercules would have sold. So good job tossing some random CW references into this book and calling it a tie-in Marvel?
Poe Dameron seems to have stabilized pretty nicely with #3, holding at around 60K. That’s well above the level of things like Chewbacca or Obi Wan and Anakin, so we can probably put this book down as a new long-term fixture assuming the sales stay around here.
Three issues in, Moon Knight has stabilized at 40K. That’s very good news. This is a title that debuted without all that much hype, but quickly gained buzz in terms of how good it actually was. That’s being reflected here. It’s rare to see a Marvel book sustain 2/3rds of its first issue sales three issues in.
Glenn: Definitely a healthy level for Moon Knight who has been in the 20-mid 30k through his last few launches so this is a big uptake. Hopefully this book will be relatively isolated from everything else and just let the creative team do their thing.
Ray: Boom’s first powerhouse franchise, Power Rangers, launches its first spin-off “Pink” with strong numbers at #64, doing about 39K. This might have been helped by the presence of Batgirl writer Brenden Fletcher on the book, as he’s got a pretty solid audience by now.
Glenn: If this is any indication, we’ll probably get a lot of the more popular rangers get their own mini’s and one shots. I would bet good money on a Green Ranger/White Ranger mini before so long. All this Power Rangers material is also going to look very sensible when the movie hits.
Ray: Thunderbolts’ second issue holds fairly well, charting at #68 and shedding less than 10K from the first issue. We’ll see how it does next month when the adjustments come in, but the initial title may have been underordered a bit. Thunderbolts is a cult property, and it can easily shed another 10K in sales and be fine.
Glenn: Apart from the runaway hit of the a-list casted Ellis run, Thunderbolts has usually landed in the mid 20k range at best so yeah, just over 36k is a great number. Maybe its the involvement of Bucky on the team? In any case, the lukewarm reviews the book is getting doesn’t seem to be effecting it too much…yet.
Ray: You know, I see Guardians of the Galaxy down here at #71, selling under 35K, and I’m rather shocked. This is a top franchise, written by one of Marvel’s top writers. It should be doing much better than this, but it’s dropping like a rock. It’s being outsold by Doctor Strange by a good margin, and he hasn’t had a solo title in a decade!
Glenn: Momentum has died off for the Guardians books for sure. I’m wondering if it was a case of too many Guardians book all at once and it diluted their power overall. If we compare it to how a Guardians book would have done ten years ago, this number is brilliant but if we look at recent history its not a good sign. It might be best to give them a rest until the sequel to the movie hits next year and makes everyone Guardians crazy again.
Ray: To no one’s surprise, Wacky Raceland is the worst of the Hanna-Barberra debuts yet, selling just over 34K at #73. That’s about 15K less than Future Quest and less than half of Scooby. It didn’t have any big names attached and wasn’t critically acclaimed, so this isn’t a big surprise. We’ll see how Flintstones does next month – I expect it to tick up a bit from this due to how well-known the cartoon is.
Glenn: Its not a stellar debut but again, it depends what DC wants out of this line. In recent years, the ‘classic’ Hanna Barbara comics have sold about 11-12 k on a good month. Wacky Raceland was always the eyebrow raiser so a lot of this is going to be curiosity factor but it’ll probably end up a lot lower than the other titles it was launched with.
Ray: Gwenpool seems to have found its level, dropping only 5K in sales from last month and landing at #76. It seems 30K people want to read Gwenpool. God help us all.
Glenn: For something that started as a cosplay craze, that’s not too bad at all. It just makes me a little sad this sells 30k when there’s so many great Image/Vertigo/Dark Horse/etc books selling like 5 digits. This is why we get so many weird books that don’t make sense every new wave of books, its cause one of them by sheer accident will do decently.
Ray: While the Civil War II tie-in minis are doing well, it doesn’t seem like the effect is carrying over to the ongoing books tying in. Both Captain America: Sam Wilson and Totally Awesome Hulk are only able to do about 30-31K this month, an increase of less than 5K for both. I think this is more due to the weakness of the titles sales-wise than anything. We’ve talked a lot about the sales struggles here, and it’s interesting that Marvel is doubling down – Sam being the only heroic Captain America now, and Amadeus being likely to keep the role in the wake of spoilers that will be very well known by now. That may be a decision they should sweat a little.
Glenn: We all know you-know-who will be back in time for next year so its just one of those things the Hulk book will have to ride out. Totally Awesome hasn’t caught on at all but Marvel, to their credit is continuing to push the book and now has Cho-Hulk featured in the Champions title. At least they’re dedicated.
Ray: To no one’s surprise, Scooby Apocalypse drops a good 40K sales and lands at #82 with sales of 29K. The first issue was clearly inflated, but these are still decent numbers for a Scooby book by any stretch.
Glenn: That’s a lot lower than I expected but yeah, still great for a Scooby book and the first issue recharts at 239 with sales over 7.8k which is very good too. There seems to be some interest with this one in the new direction they’ve taken these iconic characters.
Ray: Vote Loki, a comedy miniseries with no real continuity significance, still manages to sell 29K at #84. People love Loki, people love political jokes, and Loki would still make a better President than (Insert candidate you hate)!
Glenn: Its a fun book that Marvel has managed to get some interest in, good for them. It seems that there is definitely still a solid interest in the trickster God in certain ways. How long until we get a Deadpool/Loki road trip mini?
Ray: One of the things that shocks me the most about this month’s charts is the placement of the second volume of Jupiter’s Legacy. #1, which came with Frank Quitely art and countless variants by top artists, only manages 28K sales at #86. The bloom is really off the rose with this one, for a book that debuted with six figures originally. I guess sometimes, delays and long absences do affect the sales.
Glenn: Back in the day, the market was very forgiving with delays but given how much choice there is now, I don’t think those times are still with us. Its hard to get readers money and its becoming increasingly more and more difficult. Fans aren’t willing to wait around anymore and will likely just wait for a trade or not bother at all.
Black Widow has found its level around 27k at 88, not too shabby for a Black Widow title which will keep Marvel happy for the time being. I bet they were hoping it to remain around mid 30k however.
Ray: Mark Waid still does have some sales pull, so it’s not a surprise Black Widow has settled above the previous run. If it can sustain sales in the mid-20s indefinitely, it’ll last as long as this creative team wants it to.
Glenn: Good for Vision to hang on to the top 100 in such a crazy month at 99 with sales just over 22,4k. Critical acclaim really does amount to something it seems. Like we’ve said, this one will keep the Marvel financiers happy with its collection for decades to come.
Ray: Vision is a rare example of a book that finds its level and just locks down. We had this title as in danger from roughly issue three, but at a certain points the drops just stopped. It’s kind of amazing and a testament to the word spreading on just how good this book actually is.
Glenn: 100th comic is Robin: Son Of Batman which sells over 21.6k which is around 3k higher than the same book at this point did last month. The market hasn’t magically recovered in one night (no matter how many newspaper articles written by ‘professionals’ may say otherwise) but its still a more reassuring result overall.
Ray: Sales as a whole are up a lot this month, and it’s good to see that 20K cutoff get so much higher. This Robin title’s always been a solid mid-level seller, and these numbers aren’t bad for a book that lost its original creative team a few months back.
Glenn: The next inter-company crossover comic (try saying that ten times fast) is Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy which sells over 20.6k at 106. This was never going to be the big hit Batman/Turtles was and I’m sure neither company expected it to be. Its a decent performance for two titles that have a steady cult following.
Ray: Yeah, definitely a long way from the sales of past crossovers, but it’s important to note that this crossover sold a good deal more than either of the actual books it’s crossing over. Gotham Academy is a niche title, and Lumberjanes seems to sell primarily in trades. This is a pretty good number, especially for a title that will likely sell well in collections.
Glenn: Taking full advantage of their appearance in the new Turtles movie, IDW releases a mini about Bebop and Rocksteady in which they apparently destroy everything, the first issue of which which sells over 18k at 119. Its okay for a shameless movie tie-in about two of the lamer Turtle’s villains. Interestingly, it sells nearly 2k above the main turtles book. I’m surprised IDW didn’t release a Shredder book too, that probably would have sold a few more units too. The rest of the mini does around 13k which isn’t too bad, it could be a hell of a lot worse and still manages to outsell the likes of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and Suicide Squad: Most Wanted.
Ray: This is the first weekly event TMNT has ever done, and these are solid numbers all around. Bebop and Rocksteady may be B-list villains in the context of the characters, but they have a huge fanbase from the old 90s cartoon, maybe even bigger than Shredder does. I’m not surprised they did so well, especially with them appearing in the movie.
Glenn: I didn’t think that maybe nostalgia for the cartoon could be pulling in people for Bebop and Rocksteady. I do think this did better than a Krang mini would do.
Star-Lord goes off into the quiet land of cancellations with the final issue charting at 131 with sales of 16.7k. The book is getting another relaunch soon so its not a big deal but I wouldn’t get too attached to any Marvel book selling below this one.
Ray: I think Star-Lord’s cancellation had more to do with Sam Humphries leaving for DC and Marvel not thinking it was worth replacing him given the sales. It’s just a summer break, as we know now any way. Chip Zdarsky will be relaunching the book soon.
Glenn: Speaking of books in trouble, Nighthawk’s second issue crashes hard down to 134 with sales just a shade over 16.5k. We’re still in the buffer months so this doesn’t look good, especially after Hyperion has already been put out to pasture. Maybe Marvel shouldn’t have called both characters boring in the latest issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool, even if they were doing it to take a dig at another company…
Ray: Oof, Nighthawk. I knew it would struggle, but I didn’t think it would hit near cancellation numbers two issues in. Some characters just aren’t meant to carry ongoings. And given that Squadron Supreme is well out of the top 100 itself by now, it seems this should be the end of this spinoff experiment.
As you say, the main Squadron Supreme book is having a hard time as is so its not the best book to be spinning out of. Now Hyperion and Nighthawk are its best known members and had relatively successful mini’s after Supreme Power but the property has taken a lot of hits since then. As much as Marvel tries, I don’t think its going to be a thing.
Dark Horse is there at 140 with Hellboy In Hell selling near 16k. This is their highest selling book this month, right in the middle of a bunch of lower selling/digital first/cancelled big two books. I think saying anything more would just be cruel.
Ray: The numbers continue to be absolutely grim for Dark Horse, as we’ve discussed. There’s a few tiny bright spots, like the fact that the excellent Harrow County seems to have found its level at around 7K, but overall most of their non-franchise books are well out of the top 300 already. There’s another company of sorts that may be doing even worse, though.
Glenn: Valient with their overwhelming amount of Harvey nominations keep their ever steady numbers on the second issue of 4001 AD which sells just over 13.5k at 158. They’re certainty not the biggest player on the battlefield but they’re the ones that seem to have a lot of people talking and paying attention to what they do.
Ray: Valiant seems to have found a very nice groove where it keeps its lineup mall but almost all books sell decently. With Faith and other upcoming launches, their streak should continue.
So, remember how everyone thought Steve Rogers #1 would rack up the reorders because of all the controversy? #167th place with with 13K in reorders. Certainly not what Marvel was hoping for. I guess it just goes to show, controversy isn’t always good if all people are saying is “How dare you”. That doesn’t drive sales, it just drives people away.
Glenn: The reorder numbers on Steve Roger’s makes the sales we mentioned earlier on DC Rebirth look even better. I mean, DC released the same thing, got 50k more sales while charging people $3 more dollars for it. Meanwhile, Marvel earns a lot of bad will that will take some time to recover from and gets…this. Yay?
Ray: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur keeps plugging along, selling just over 12K this month. Maybe Marvel sees something we don’t, because not only is Moon Girl continuing into Marvel Now, but she’s on the teaser poster!
Glenn: I’m wondering if they’re hoping for an audience to be caught by the trade and then jump on to the new book when it launches. I don’t think that will happen. Another example of Marvel not willing to give up. In a way that can be good but this market just isn’t going to give the space needed for these type of properties the time to find whatever audience Marvel is trying to grab with it.
Ray: There’s a new debut from IDW, Tales from the Dark Side by Joe Hill. This horror anthology starts pretty well for an IDW book, selling about 12K at #177, although I thought the creator of Locke and Key might push this a bit higher.
Glenn: I would have thought so too. Joe Hill is not only the writer on Locke and Key but he’s a bestselling novelist. Its true that his dad has more name pull but that’s like comparing Spielberg with Nolan. More people will know Spielberg on rep alone but Nolan is just as talented and makes super successful movies too. Maybe more for the book market?
Ray: Once again, there’s only one Vertigo book above 10K, Lucifer, which seems to have found its level. Astro City is just a little below it, both towards the bottom of the top 200. The news isn’t nearly as good for the other Vertigo books, which we’ll talk about later.
Glenn: Vertigo if it was considered as its own thing would be a company in severe trouble. As is, its a publishing line that has its audience literally evaporating. The introduction of a Fables spin off will help (I predict a steady 15-20k sales performance) and they seem to still be green lighting new books but how long can the straw bend before it breaks?
Ray: Albatross Funnybooks, a company we don’t see often, has a new title from Eric Powell, “Hillbilly #1″ at #192. I’m not sure what to make of this one, but Powell has a built in fanbase that probably pushed the book up higher.
Glenn: The Goon has been going for decades so yeah, its pure name power here. Its interesting he took it to a small publisher instead of Image or Dark Horse. He might enjoy even more freedom than those companies offer.
Ray: There’s a lot of odd reorders this month. Superman #52, Amazing Spider-Man #1 (twice, somehow), Black Panther #1, and the original DC Rebirth printing all chart just out of the top 200.
Glenn: That’s weird with Amazing, might be a mistake or it could be the last two Amazing relaunches? Its not as if they’re that far apart and maybe retailers ordered the relaunch before last by mistake…
Ray: There were no A-list Image launches this month, but there’s two new books on the lower end of the chart. Rich Tomasso’s She-Wolf and Howard Chaykin’s Midnight of the Soul both sell in the 9K-8K range. These are cult creators who have a built-in audience, but it’s small. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stay fairly level, especially Chaykin’s book.
Glenn: Cheykin is another one with a small but super dedicated audience. These are about what I expect these books to be doing and I’m sure they will have very stable sales until the creators decide they no longer have a story to tell.
Ray: Hey, remember Pink Panther? He’s back! With a new title from American Mythology Comics, selling just over 8K at #226. About what I’d expect from a property that’s been dormant this long. This one is almost as puzzling as the 3 Stooges book a few months back.
Glenn: I do remember the Pink Panther! Another example of comic companies raiding intellectual properties up for grabs and seeing if something might be a hit? It worked for Boom and Power Rangers but yeah, I wouldn’t say there’s much demand for Pink Panther. I can’t wait until we get that Love Bug comic in a few months.
Ray: There’s a new Tank Girl comic that sells about 8K at 221, but what interests me here is that it’s from Titan. I was always under the impression this was a Dark Horse property and they owned the rights, but I guess not. Odd.
Glenn: Tank Girl? I didn’t even know it was back. I think even back in the way, this was a book with a cult following and I haven’t seen any fanfare about its return. Considering how long its been and how much of a niche audience it had last time around, 8k ain’t half bad at all. I think properties at Dark Horse which are creator owned can go elsewhere if the people creating the book want to. It depends on each property contract I suppose. I doubt Dark Horse will feel the stink on losing this property like they have with Star Wars.
Ray: Lucas Stand #1, from Boom, sells just over 8K at #234. I expected a lot more out of this one because it’s by Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy. I think this one slipped under the radar like happens with a lot of Boom’s creator-owned properties for an older audience.
Glenn: Boom put out a lot of interesting books but Marvel, DC and Image dominate the headlines. They are currently shouting in a storm and in order to get more people reading the books they are putting out, they need to figure out a way to get noticed more.
Ray: Only a few new Dark Horse books make the charts this month, including Van Jensen’s Cryptocracy at #273. Fred Van Lente’s Weird Detective, a noir comic tied into the Cthulhu mythos, doesn’t make the top 300, which just goes to show how grim things are for Dark Horse.
Glenn: Again, I’m at a loss of what Dark Horse can do to turn things around. I’m sure they have a lot of hopes for the Lemire book coming out soon.
Ray: As we head out of the top 300, I feel compelled to note once again just how grim things have gotten for Vertigo. For the record, there’s only four Vertigo books in the top 300 this month. Two, Lucifer and Astro City, are healthy. The others are Clean Room, selling 6.3K at #277, and The Sheriff of Babylon, selling 5.7K at #296. Art Ops, Unfollow, and Suiciders are all gone. Sheriff will be out of the top 300 the next month and Clean Room might soon as well. These are books by Tom King and Gail Simone. They would likely be selling 10K at Image. Something clearly isn’t working at Vertigo, and it’s very odd and disturbing given the caliber of talent here.
Glenn: I’m not sure where it all went wrong for Vertigo. Sandman, Y, 100 Bullets, Fables, Ex Machina and more were all solid to great sellers for the imprint in the past. The talent putting out the books now are equal to that of the talent that were putting out those books (at the time, of course people like Gaiman have gone on to super super A-list) and the Wake was selling 40kish only a few years ago. Image has taken a lot from Vertigo in terms of talent and books that a number of years ago would have landed there but still, they’re getting some big talent on quality books and not many people seem to care. We know that Dark Horse started to run into trouble when they lost Star Wars but I’m not quite as clear what happened to Vertigo.
Ray: Looking ahead, it’s another big month for DC, as we’ve got a bunch of new Rebirth #1s. Most of the A-listers landed in June, but July does bring us the return of Justice League with two issues, along with Nightwing, Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern title, Gene Yang’s New Super-Man, Hellblazer, and two books starring Batgirl. Plus, Red Hood and the Outlaws is back. They can’t all be winners. Besides the Rebirth action, we’ve got the final Hanna-Barberra book, Flintstones, and a new Batman ’66 miniseries. Plus, we’re going to get to see some of these Rebirth titles find their level, which will be a very interesting story.
To counter this, Marvel is burying us with a cavalcade of Civil War II tie-ins and miniseries. There’s over 20 tie-ins this month, and while none of them are likely to really debut with huge numbers, we’ll see if there’s any sort of sales bump as the majority of books start tying in. Plus, this month brings us Civil War II #3, which had a massively controversial character death that was hyped months in advance. We’ll see if this moves the needle on the main series at all.
Indie books are having a quiet month, but there’s two major releases that I find very interesting. The first is Valiant’s ongoing series for Faith. This character got a ton of hype with her miniseries that, to be blunt, wasn’t borne out in the actual sales of the mini. It did well for Valiant, but not spectacularly. This book is launching with much more hype, even, so Valiant clearly sees something here. If trade sales translate to new readers, this could do surprising numbers. The other is the long-delayed Dark Horse title Black Hammer, from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormstrom (who recovered from a stroke to return to this book). This is the Dark Horse title with the most buzz in a long time, so if anything can turn their fortunes around and land them a book in the top 100, it’s this.
Glenn: Its going to be another interesting month for sure with lots more to look over.
Come and help us survive the Civil War avalanche people, only you can save lives.
See you all soon