By The Numbers: July 2016
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! This will be the last sales article he writes before the arrival of his son!
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. Ray has pondered the true meaning of reality since finding V’s mask in his closet a few months ago.
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: Well we promised an interesting July charts and at By the Numbers, we keep our word and then some. This is quite possibly the most insane top 300 we’ve seen since myself and Ray started doing this. Before we get to the insanity of the chart itself, lets talk about the overall Market share and Dollar share. For the first time in a while (years certainty) DC beat Marvel. Rebirth is here and the theme of old wounds being healed while trying to appeal a new audience is seemingly paying off in spades. Its not much of a victory with Dollar Share in particular only being around 1% higher.
On paper it doesn’t seem like a big deal but when you consider the fact that a) DC is releasing a lot less books and b) their books are a lot cheaper, this victory says VOLUMES. A win is a win and DC have demolished Marvel this month. Is it just a blip? Its possible but with All Star Batman clocking in at over 350k (reportedly) next month, this could be the turn of a tide. A mixture of Rebirth’s success, general indifference towards Civil War II and more than we can talk about here is crafting a story. If this continues, there is going to be a lot of big changes coming up at the house of ideas.
Of course, don’t just believe us. Lets see the story the numbers tell. Remember that all Rebirth books are returnable so actual numbers on those are likely higher than reported.
Ray: Even though the actual margin is small, like you said, this was an absolute trouncing in every way that matters. With the pricing difference and the difference in amount of product, it is near impossible for DC to win. The fact that they did is a testament to just how well every single Rebirth book did.
To put this in perspective, DC scored 20 of the top 22 books. In the middle of an event Marvel was hoping to be a blockbuster. DC essentially owned the top of the charts this month and sent a host of utterly dominant titles out of the top 20. And they still barely won the month. Readers, keep that in mind when you look at the market share every month.
Glenn: Rebirth has been a big win for DC and we’ve still got a lot of books to debut.
Debuting at number 1 is Justice League 1 written by Bryan Hitch and drawn by Tony Daniel. They’re both well top artists which helped them get sales of of over 209k but I think this is due more to the success of the Justice League brand. During the new 52 the title written throughout that period by Geoff Johns was a constant solid performer. Of course, this is essentially the ‘B’ level Justice League title while the main book remains shrouded in mystery *coughs*SnyderCapullo *coughs* so the sales are even more impressive taking that into account.
Right below that at 2 is Justice League: Rebirth continuing last months trend of the official launch usually faring better than the Rebirth intro. This book both written and drawn by Hitch sold over 177.6k, I might have thought it might have done better due to Hitch’s art but its still a great number.
Ray: Both Justice League issues did incredibly solid numbers, especially as neither the creative team (Bryan Hitch writing without Bryan Hitch art on most issues) or the book itself had a ton of buzz coming into this. The JL brand itself carries a lot of clout, and I expect we’ll see the title be a long-standing hit for DC. It’s surprising that #1 sold more than the Rebirth issue, since the Rebirth issue was the one with actual Hitch art.
Glenn: Number 3 this month is the second issue of Tom King’s Batman which sells over 177k here and just south of 170k for issue three at sales spot number 5. We’re still in the books buffer months but that’s a great hold for the book. Batman has become a title that sells well regardless of who is writing it but I’m sure King and co have plenty planned to make people glad they’re ordering it. Can it match the success of Snyder/Capullo Batman? It’s off to a promising start, that’s for sure.
Ray: Batman sandwiching THAT issue of Civil War is incredibly impressive. This book has been met with near-universal acclaim since it began, and these are some very soft, very impressive drops we see here. From 176 to 168K from issue 2-3? This is looking like a book that’s going to be in the 6-digit range for a long time. Can King get to 51 issues above 100K like Snyder did? We shall see.
Glenn: Next at 4 is Marvel’s Civil War II issue 3 which sells just over 176.8. Certainty a very good number but Marvel was hyping this one to the moon and back as it featured a major characters demise so you may have expected a lot more. Once upon a time, Marvel joked it was going to kill off a character every quarter to boost their numbers. Without actually going back to see if they’ve done exactly that, they’ve played the death card a lot in the last few years so the effect may be wearing thin. The other Civil War II issue 4 sold over over 126.8k at 7 which means they were the only two Marvel books in the top ten. Given how hyped Civil War II was and what it is a sequel of, the numbers can be viewed a number of ways. Its certainty selling very well but I think Marvel would have wanted more out of it. Given that its now been extended another part could we see their biggest event ever (until the next one) drop below 100k before we’re done?
Ray: As predicted, Civil War II did get a decent boost for the issue with the big death (about 25K over #2), but then it immediately loses all that and more, with #3 plunging right down to the lower half of the top 10 and around 126K. With that, especially given how poorly the big twist was received, I don’t think it’s an if anymore – this title will be out of the six-digit range by the end of its run, maybe sooner rather than later. Of course, given the recently announced delays, it’ll be absent entirely in August, and given how weakly the tie-ins are doing, August could be a very ugly month for Marvel.
Glenn: Compared to how well Secret Wars did last year, I think Civil War II is going to be a weak platform for some of the new titles Marvel is hoping to launch out of it. After the last relaunch, sales kept taking huge losses several issues in so it could be a very sad latter half of 2016 for Marvel.
Bucking the trend with a high selling Rebirth issue is Nightwing at 6 with sales over 127.8k. This is a great launch for a character that was nearly killed off a number of years ago. I’d say this is a mixture of fans being excited for Dick’s return to his costumed alias and writer Tim Seeley who was a major part of Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal. Its insane that Rebirth has made Nightwing outsell a lot of books branding a Civil War logo, including the fourth issue of the main title. It doesn’t just seem to be a fluke either with the first issue of the main book at number 9 with sales of over 114.7k. If this book can fall anywhere in the 70-80k region that would be an amazing success for a Nightwing book.
Ray: These Nightwing numbers are pretty incredible, given that this is a straight continuation from Grayson, which was always a solid seller but never a gangbusters one. I wonder if part of this book’s success is that the concept/brand has been absent for a long time and there was a hunger. If so, look for Supergirl and Blue Beetle to reap the same benefits in August. Absence makes the heart go fonder.
Glenn: I have every confidence that Supergirl will be a big hit with the new lease of life the Superman line has, Steve Orlando’s previous work and her being absent for a good bit. I’m not as confident in Blue Beetle but with the title returning to its roots, it could be a pleasant surprise.
In another surprise, New Super-Man launches at 8 with sales over 117.6k. Its always hard to get fans invested in a new character, even if its a play of an existing one but here it seems Rebirth is working its magic again. By all accounts, this seems to be the story that writer Gene Luen Yang came to DC to tell. Its impressive the title has gathered interested considering that Yang came at the end of a lukewarm selling/received Superman run coming from a long line of more of the same. This title seems to be offering something new and a little different to fans, for a change people have responded accordingly.
Ray: You won’t find a more shocking debut than New Super-Man. This title had some buzz coming into the relaunch, because a lot of people wanted to see what an indie talent like Yang could do on his own concept. But I was hoping for a debut in the 70-80K range, which would be huge for a new character spinning off from an existing franchise. A good comparison here is Ms. Marvel, although this title has a much bigger parent franchise. And it exploded out of the gate incredibly fast. If it can hold even a third of these sales long-term, the Super-franchise has a new mainstay.
Glenn: Skipping down to number 10 we have the launch of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth selling just south of 114k. It seems that people are just as interested in this than the ‘main’ Green Lantern title but I would say that’s to do with the name recognition Hal Jordan brings. Another great launch for Rebirth and a solid land for the titles ‘real’ launch at 11 with sales over 108.7k.
Ray: I think people may have honestly been a bit confused about which Green Lantern title was the primary one, and these two books did debut in similar ranges – with Hal Jordan having a slight edge. I will say, though, that Green Lanterns had one of the harshest slides of the new titles, which we’ll talk about later, so keep an eye on this one. Either it’ll firmly establish itself as the primary GL title, or it’ll join its partner book in dropping.
There was not one but two Batgirl books debuting this month, both selling just out of the 100K range. We’ve got Batgirl and the Birds of Prey at #17 with 99K in sales, and Batgirl three spots below selling 96K. Very healthy sales given what this character was doing a few months back, and the fact that BOP lands higher comes back to what I was saying – concepts that have been gone for a while are being rewarded upon their return.
Glenn: Barbara has had a very strong last few years. First Gail launched the book with the new 52 and made it the best selling Batgirl book in years and then following that, the Burnside era got all sorta of acclaim and a steady sales success. It seems that the combination of good reviews and name recognition has followed the character to Rebirth. It seems that DC has a lot of faith in the characters drawing power given that she’s named as part of the Birds Of Pray title akin to the says of ‘Batman and the Outsiders.’ You’re luring people with a name they know.
Ray: The rest of the top 20 is entirely Rebirth titles finding very healthy levels. Titans finds its first proper issue selling 102K at #14, no doubt boosted by the fact that it’s now one of the main staging grounds for the fallout of Rebirth. Given that the whole “Reunion Titans” concept has struggled ever since Winick first put it together years ago, DC has to be happy to finally have a hit with this team.
Beyond that, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Detective Comics all follow similar patterns, with the first issue of the month selling a bit over 100K, and the latter issue dropping anywhere from 6K-10K. These books are all clearly very healthy and DC has to be thrilled here. So far there’s no noticeable pattern about Wonder Woman’s two different stories and their sales, but if one emerges we’ll see it in the coming months.
Glenn: Titans is a massive debut especially when you compare it to its predecessor which only launched a few months ago. If the Teen Titans book can launch strong in a few months then that would be quite a turnaround on a franchise that has been struggling for close to a decade.
I’m really interested to sales on Wonder Woman differ in the coming months between the odd and even numbered issues. They’re essentially two different titles operating under one with the same writer. If one story line is more popular than the other we could see a very unusual trend of one issue being high and the other being low then the same again and again.
Ray: We finally get a Marvel book with Ol’ reliable Star Wars at #23, selling just over 90K. That’s a 6K drop from last month, so this book surprisingly still hasn’t found its level.
Glenn: At first glance, Star Wars at 23 may raise some alarms but its become an incredibly high performing sales success. It doesn’t seem to want to budge much at this point and that is a brilliant result. The fact that its achieved this success and is number 23 just underscores again how amazingly well Rebirth has landed.
Ray: Red Hood and the Outlaws gets yet another relaunch. This wasn’t a title anyone was clamoring to see included in the Rebirth lineup – and yet it still did 88K, an incredibly strong number for this book. And the issue was received better than expected as well. Could be a new lease on life for this title.
Glenn: Having a bat character will always help. I’m wondering if interest will hold in this book once Jason’s new team makes its debut. If it can even land anywhere between 40-50k I’m sure DC would be thrilled.
Ray: Amazing Spider-Man gets a nice boost to 87K this month, a rare spot of good news for Marvel. I believe this was the MJ Iron Spider issue, which probably helped things, and with Dead No More around the corner, numbers should remain strong.
Glenn: I predict that Amazing and Star Wars will be Marvel’s bread and butter until we finish 2016. They’ll be the titles that give them a fighting chance outside of major launches or whatnot. What Marvel needs quickly is high selling books that stay high selling. Dan Slott often jests he will never leave Amazing and considering how successful his run has been and how steady it sells, I don’t see why Marvel would want him to go. It’ll be interesting how the fact that Dead No More is a separate mini will effect the main book…if at all.
Ray: Han Solo and Darth Vader continue to deliver decent numbers for Marvel, with sales of 83K and 77K respectively. Of course, neither of these titles will be around in a few months, which has to worry them.
Glenn: I’m sure Marvel has more Star Wars books in the pipeline. They just need to start delving into the obscure character database. Who wants to see a book starring the Rancor?! Seriously I’d be amazed if we don’t get another Star Wars book and the inevitable Darth Maul mini/ongoing will be a huge hit.
Ray: One title’s performance that interests me a lot is Action Comics. This was one of the lower-selling Rebirth books last month, but the two issues were ordered at essentially the same level. This issue, the first issue of the month goes UP 8K in sales from those issues! Then the second sinks to around the same level as last month. I don’t think retailers really knew how to order this book, but it seems like it’s going to wind up healthy just like Superman.
Glenn: Action is selling nearly double what it was and is now remaining there steady. Its an astonishing turnaround in a short space of time, I’m sure that DC is very pleased.
Ray: Green Lanterns and Green Arrow continue to find their levels, a bit lower than the other Rebirth titles. This month, GLs has two issues at 82K and 78K, while Green Arrow lands two with sales of 72K. While the overall trends here aren’t clear, these are still miles above where these books would have been before Rebirth.
Glenn: Green Arrow actually saw an increase in sales from issue 3 from 2. This is one title I’ve seen people have been praising a lot online so perhaps good word of mouth is causing a slight uptick? Might be just a blip but like you say, both titles are miles ahead of where they were and have plenty of rope to fall.
Ray: John Constantine’s last title, Constantine: The Hellblazer, struggled from minute one and limped to the finish line with terrible sales despite critical acclaim. So it’s a real testament to Rebirth lifting all boats that his Rebirth issue lands sales of 76K at #31, just above Image megahit Walking Dead. Will these sales last? I’m dubious when it comes to Constantine’s mainstream appeal, but DC just got more eyes on his comic than he’s ever had before.
Glenn: Constantine is one of DC’s projects they’ve been trying to get working since they moved him from Vertigo. This is a fantastic launch and it’ll be interesting if it can hold. If it lands around 35k-40k that would be outselling a lot of higher profile Marvel characters.
Ray: Black Panther continues to hold incredibly well, selling 72K (down from 75K last month) as it remains one of Marvel’s few bright spots at the moment. The writer has recently committed to a longer stay on the title, so they have to be very happy there.
Glenn: Everything is working right for Black Panther and Marvel will want to keep it that way. They’ll want to keep the book stable as long as they can so when/if the writer leaves, the title has a strong enough audience to stick with it.
Ray: Archie has another strong debut with Adam Hughes’ Betty and Veronica landing 70K in sales at #37. However, this title had over 25 variant covers and didn’t get nearly the critical acclaim of the previous Archie launches, so I expect to see the sales sink fast here.
Glenn: I’m not sure if B and V will stay on schedule which will hurt its chances too. This is the first book that was a part of Archie’s controversial ‘Kickstarter line’ but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. The Archie line seems to still be benefiting hugely from the reboot from nearly a year ago.
Ray: The one Rebirth title showing signs of trouble so far is Aquaman, which is already under the 70K range with two issues at #38 and #39. Strong numbers for an Aquaman title right now, of course, but where will these numbers be in six month’s time? It doesn’t help that the run so far hasn’t been very acclaimed, rehashing a lot of classic Aquaman concepts and disregarding a lot of what Abnett was exploring in his arc prior to Rebirth.
Glenn: I think Aquaman is much like Fantastic Four at Marvel, no matter what DC throws its way, it struggles. Its doing very well at the moment but DC will have to be conservative about its expectations for the book, they can’t all be mega hits after all.
Ray: The Hydra Cap boost appears to have arrived, with Captain America: Steve Rogers holding on to 65K in sales at #40. That’s roughly even with last month, and it’s also a good 39 slots and double the sales above Captain America: Sam Wilson – which had the Civil War II branding this month! I don’t know what Marvel plans to do with all of this, but this franchise continues to be a giant train wreck for them.
Glenn: I’m still sure Marvel expected more out of Captain America’s apparent heel turn but 65k is a solid upper middle tier seller for them these days. Hopefully any ill feeling they garnered from the stunt will dissipate and people will stay with the book.
Ray: As we exit the top-tier books and head to business as usual, we have a new Deadpool #1! Deadpool and the Mercs for Money lands at #41 with sales of 65K. I’m kind of shocked its so low, given that the original mini sold six figures. Maybe because the comic just continued from the end of the mini into the ongoing, retailers ordered it like the next issue? Either way, Marvel marketing may have missed the boat here – Deadpool is usually good for absurd numbers.
Glenn: Could this be the first sign of the renumbering trick no longer paying off for Marvel? They’ve said many times that they don’t see a point in traditional numbering so perhaps Retailers are reacting that way too. If the company is saying ‘well in reality number 1 doesn’t really mean much’ then its hard to get people interested. It could also just be an over saturation of Deadpool…expensive Deadpool at that. Perhaps retailers are preferring to save their penny’s for all those 9.99 issues of the comic Marvel keep doing.
That being said, the new Deadpool launch proceeds both the main Deadpool book at 42 with sales of just over 62k and Spider-Man/Deadpool at 43 which sells a little less over 62k. Maybe this is just the Deadpool section of the charts? Chimichangas for all!
Ray: Deadpool has really turned into his own franchise for Marvel, with three titles all selling at very impressive numbers and miniseries doing decently well when they show up. I’m sure there’ll be a few more titles starring the Merc with a Mouth soon enough. Can a Deadpool/Gwenpool team-up book be far behind?
Glenn: The second issue of Spider-Man: Civil War II performs admirably with sales just over 52k. Pretty standard for a Spider-Man tie in mini these days and much better than most of the other Civil War tie in minis…or ongoings for that matter.
Ray: Yeah, it’s not a big surprise that Amazing Spider-Man’s tie-in is doing the best of all the CWII tie-ins, given how popular the character is. Like you said, it’s standard numbers for a Spider-man mini, and the CWII tie-ins here are actually pretty tentative – it more deals with the character of Clash than the actual event. It’s also written by the frequent co-writer on the main ASM title, so that probably helps the sales too.
Glenn: Yeah, this is labeled as a Civil War Tie-in but its pretty much a follow up to Dan Slott’s Learning To Crawl mini from a few years back which was a strong seller. I’m actually surprised this subplot involving Clash isn’t being followed up by Slott himself but maybe his 12,567,768th subplot was one too many.
Deadpool pops up again with his fight with Gambit at 48 with sales just under 50k. Pretty below average for a Deadpool mini but it could be worse. I’d say that Marvel would be better releasing more Deadpool solo mini’s than tying him with characters who are well past their peak popularity.
At 52 is the Force Awakens tie in at just over 49.4k on its second issue. Well below the other Star Wars books but a fantastic number for a movie tie in that adapts something literally everyone and their dog saw. To put it into perspective the comic prelude to the upcoming Doctor Strange movie sold just over 21k at 108 and that has completely new story that no one has seen yet. For a movie tie in that’s still very good but Force Awakens continues to have that magic touch.
Ray: Coming soon – Star Wars: Rancor! But yeah, for a straight adaptation, this is amazingly good sales. And that Doctor Strange prequel, interestingly enough, had some well-known characters making their MCU debuts. Marvel maybe should have hyped that one up a bit more.
Glenn: I don’t think many more people would have been interested regardless. When something is a precursor or side story or epilogue to something that is prominently to tie in with something associated with another media. This is why TV/video game and movie tie ins always struggle. Apart from Star Wars, curse Star Wars for ruining my point.
A surprisingly high launch for Civil War II: Kingpin. Not quite a launch on par with the mini’s the first Civil War produced but very good for a book starring the Spider-Man/Daredevil villain. The last time Kingpin had a comic it was nearly 10 years ago and was around 15k or so in sales. We know that this book is essentially continuing in a few months with a proper number 1 so we’ll see if it can do better.
Ray: Marvel seems to have a surprising amount of faith in Kingpin, as an ongoing series has already been announced spinning out of this by the same writer. These numbers are good for a Kingpin series, but I don’t know what it’ll look like as it goes on. The CWII branding doesn’t seem to matter much overall, but probably helped to give this book a bigger launch platform.
Glenn: Maybe they’re expecting an increase in interest in the character following Netflix’s Daredevil? Time will tell if its a worthwhile gamble. Its hard to gage what ‘good’ sales would be considered for a Kingpin book long term. Maybe somewhere between 25-30k? Its not impossible…
Selling under 44k is DC’s newest Hanna Barbera overhaul in the Flintstones. Given how iconic the characters involved are, I might have expected more but as we said with Walking Doo and Mad Races, it all depends what DC is expecting here. If it can land around 20-25k they’ll probably be happy enough as it’ll be doing better than what is remaining of the Vertigo line (more on that later).
Ray: By comparison, Flintstones sold about 4K under the first issue of Future Quest, and 10K above the first issue of Wacky Raceland. So by that standard, Flintstones looks pretty healthy. Only the Jim Lee-affiliated Scooby Apocalypse debuted on a higher level. We’ll see how it holds, but it seems to have been received pretty well.
Glenn: The newest Amazing Spider-Man ‘point’ mini ends with sales just under 40k. This was such a weird mini so this is a very solid end number, I’d say we’ll see more of these yet. Hopefully they’ll be a lot more like Learning To Crawl or Spiral than whatever this was.
Ray: It feels like anything with Spider-Man on the title has a pretty solid floor, and even though no one was talking about this weird Daredevil spin-off disguised as a Spider-man story, it still got the sales. I hope this doesn’t encourage Marvel to do more random minis.
Glenn: Second issue of Civil War II: Choosing Sides sells a shade over 38,5k at 67. That’s alright for an anthology starring side characters to the event but again, the sales power you would expect from Civil War just isn’t here. The sales benefit of what was hyped as a mega event seem to be middling at best. The third issue also is not far down at 71 with sales of 24.6k so at least its pretty stable.
Ray: These tie-in anthologies always do decently, but yeah, the returns are diminishing by the issue. There’s a third issue this month as well, losing another 4K in sales. As a whole, there seems to be very little interest in this event and its tie-ins.
Glenn: If only Ulysses had seen this one coming. There’s now reports of delays which could cause a delay across the line similar to last years Secret Wars and of course, Civil War classic. The delays on the original book didn’t hurt the power of that but I have a feeling it’ll be a different story this time around.
Paper Girls with no events or Reboots or whatnot manages to sell over 35k at 69,outselling a ton of Marvel books. Fear the power of Brian K. Vaugn.
The next Image book is Snotgirl which launches at over 34k at 72. I’m not sure what this book is about and hope its not as gross as it sounds. Its written by indie superstar Bryan Lee O’Mally so this is the level I would expect from a new Image book with a well known creator.
Ray: Snotgirl launched with mixed reviews, so I’m not sure how well it’ll hold, but this is definitely a good debut. It’s as gross – and weirder – than you imagine.
Glenn: IDW resurrects ROM: The Space Knight at 75 with sales over 33k. This is a great launch for a character who is something of a cult favorite and hasn’t been seen in a long time. I couldn’t imagine a relaunch at his formal home of Marvel doing much better so fans of the space knight can rejoice! I’m not sure if there is an arrangement in place with the family of ROM creator Bill Mantlo given his circumstances but I certainty hope so.
Ray: Spider-Gwen’s down to 35K, sadly, maybe the biggest example of a title suffering from Marvel’s dependence on relaunches and crossovers. This book was a genuine phenomenon. It doesn’t look like one now. And it’s only four issues above its ersatz spin-off, Gwenpool.
Glenn: Spider-Gwen is holding steady at least but yes, Marvel lost a lot of ground on this book following Secret Wars. Its still performing a lot of higher profile books and Civil War II tie-ins though. The book will likely remain around this level with the occasional bump depending on the story, I’m sure the upcoming Gwenom story will see a slight increase.
Ray: Moon Knight is out of the three month buffer zone, and it keeps a very impressive level of 40K. It seems the buzz for this book is genuine, and Marvel finally has a hit on their hands with this character. Jeff Lemire is riding a great hot streak on most of his books (more on him later).
Glenn: They’ve tried a few things with Moon Knight and this seems to have worked. Hopefully now that its working Marvel will LEAVE IT ALONE. No relaunches, no switching creators, just let it run its course.
Ray: Scooby Apocalypse has roughly fallen to the level of Future Quest, which shipped two issues this month. That’s impressive for Future Quest, which seems to be getting the most good buzz of the three by a mile. They’re all in the mid-20K range, which is pretty impressive for this line as they settle down. Wacky Raceland, though, is down to only 18K with issue #2, and that book is likely DOA.
Glenn: Wacky Raceland was the one that they changed the most and was the most far removed from its source material (and Scooby Doo is a cyborg in his book). We know we’re getting a spin off starring Dastardly and Mutley but I’m sure thats more to the sales that Garth Ennis can bring to well…anything than how this book has performed. I would expect Future’s Quest to be brought back in some form once it ends but I don’t like Wacky Racelands chances quite as much.
Ray: Flash, Batman, Titans, and Wonder Woman all have fairly impressive reorders for their first or Rebirth issues, all adding roughly another 20K to their already massive numbers. More good news for Rebirth on an amazing month.
Glenn: Its crazy to see reorders this high. Usually high profile reorders make the top 200 at most but here they are around the 90’s. We talked a lot about Rebirth issues being outsold by number 1’s and this is likely the correction on that previous month trend.
Ray: For the third month in a row, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 charts again, this time with about 27K in reorders. The delay is odd, but it seems like Marvel might have gotten their buzz for this story after it was revealed things weren’t what they look like. Botched roll-out that lost them a lot of good will, but now it’s paying off a bit.
Glenn: Better late than never on Captain America, its still not exactly burning up the charts but is doing better than some of Marvel’s books. When we see see Daredevil join the hand then…oh wait…well when we see Iron Man turn evil…oh wait…well we’ll know one way or another what lessons Marvel takes away from what happened when Steve Rogers launched.
Ray: It’s a rough month for Marvel’s recent push for female-led books. Ms. Marvel, one of their most buzzed-about characters, is down to 28K despite a Civil War tie-in. Captain Marvel and A-Force both sell about 23K. More relaunches a-coming? Although it’s worth noting that apparently Ms. Marvel does very well in digital, so I’m sure the sales are healthier than they look.
Glenn: Ms Marvel seems to have a lot of love from outside traditional comic markets so I’m sure that book will be fine, the character has caught on like no one’s business. I’m sure that Marvel will keep publishing it out of fear of a giant internet build robotic Godzilla otherwise. I’d say that Ms. Marvel will likely get yet another relaunch before so long. Given how popular the character is, I expect Marvel to introduce her into other media in one form or another so they’ll likely relaunch then.
Ray: Speaking of buzz-worthy female-led titles, Valiant relaunches Faith as an ongoing, and it gets about 22K worth of sales at 103. I think this is roughly what the previous miniseries launched at, and that ended at 12K. Not bad sales for Valiant by a long shot, but this seems like it’ll remain a mid-level hit rather than the smash they were hoping for given the hype.
Glenn: Faith has been brought to you by the power of the internet. It’ll probably do around the same and/or slightly better than Valients other books. They may not be hitting sales records but Valient seems to be very satisfied with the slice of the pie they’ve managed to get. As long as Faith has a small but dedicated fan base both her and her title will be around for a while.
Ray: Maybe the most buzzed-about Dark Horse release in years, the much-anticipated Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormstrom lands with just under 20K sales at 117. This is amazing numbers for a Dark Horse book – the top-selling Dark Horse book of the month, ahead of a number major franchise #1s – but given the insane creative reception this book got, I can’t help but wonder what these numbers would have looked like at Image. Remember, Lemire got Descender to a top ten debut.
Glenn: A couple of ways to look at Black Hammer. Its a great number compared to how Dark Horse has been doing but yeah, at Image this likely would have sold anywhere between 20-60k more depending on various things. Its a book a lot of people are talking about so I think it’ll find its level super fast and become a very healthy addition to Dark Horse’s library when its collected.
Ray: In what must be the second oddest title of the month behind Snotgirl, Rick and Morty: Little Poopy Superstar has a strong debut at 130 with sales of 17K. ‘kay then.
Glenn: Rick and Morty seems to have a serious cult following. That’s not a bad number for a tie in to an adult cartoon and will probably go down to around 9-11k next month which is enough to keep it around.
Ray: Dark Horse mashed up three different franchises with Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, and they still couldn’t beat Black Hammer! 17K sales isn’t too bad for a crossover of three past-their-prime franchises, though. This is Dark Horse’s second entry on the charts, at #131.
Ray: More reorders, for Superman, Green Arrow, Flash #1, Green Lanterns, and Aquaman all getting about 15K additional sales. Icing on the cake.
Glenn: Cake and late night pizzas served by Johns and Snyder no less.
Ray: It didn’t have any big names attached, so Image’s Horizon – a sci-fi tale about alien spies trying to prevent a human invasion – getting 15K sales at #153 isn’t bad at all. It should stay healthy with these debut numbers.
Glenn: Horizon sounded like a good concept so the interest here is based around how good it sounds which is something that is encouraging to see. It’ll probably join the likes of Nailbiter and Beauty around the 8k range which seems to be a healthy level for most Image books that don’t involve superstars upon launch.
Ray: I’m not bitter at all that I didn’t get in! But I have to say I’m a bit surprised that the Millarworld Annual was only able to get just under 15K sales at #156. This was a mash-up of all of Millar’s most popular properties, but he had no actual involvement in the writing, so that probably played a role.
Glenn: I actually thought the Millarworld annual did very well considering this was something that was done by all unknown creators. For fans of Miller’s various works it was worth checking up but if you were only a fan of one or two, you may have skipped it. I think it was a worthwhile experiment and hopefully it’ll lead to some of the new voices debuting in the title getting more work elsewhere. I will also note that I am not bitter. I have a collection of voodoo dolls that helps me cope.
Ray: A new comic book based on Disney’s Frozen by Joe Books manages to get 13K sales at #162. This property is obviously a full-on sensation, so I’m not surprised it had a very strong debut for a company we don’t see on this chart often. We’ll talk more about this company later, but this is an unusual number for them.
Glenn: I’m surprised that Marvel didn’t want in on a Frozen tie in but they may not get to make that decision. Frozen fever is still in abounds everywhere and its likely this book will do very well outside the direct market. I’m sure that Joe’s books had felt like they’d won the lottery when they got the nod to publish what is something that is guaranteed to make them money.
Ray: I believe Joe Books still has the license for all Disney animated properties, and they don’t really fit with Marvel’s branding, so they probably don’t care about getting them back. I believe the company usually sells much more in collected editions, so these numbers are especially impressive.
Glenn: Did they get that licence from Boom then? I remember Boom published a lot of Pixar stuff a while back. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of who can publish what until we all just realize its mostly Titan.
Ray: From what I’ve observed, Frozen has a VERY active teen and adult fanbase, unlike Finding Dory. That crossover appeal likely helped it to make an impact in the direct market. It really is the biggest killer app Disney has ever had in terms of cross-generational appeal and marketing. Given that, I don’t think PotC will do as well, especially with the franchise’s PR problems now, but it might appeal a little more to direct market readers than Finding Dory.
Glenn: Just above that at 161 is Batman 66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel which sells just under 14k. Not a terrible number for two 60’s shows, one of which hasn’t had much prominence in decades. I’m sure DC would have loved to called this one Batman 66 meets The Avenger’s but those Disney lawyers can make a cowardly and suspicious lot of anyone.
Ray: Definitely diminishing returns for Batman ’66 from the main series and the recent Man From UNCLE crossover, but like you said, one half of this property really doesn’t have any presence in the US anymore. In addition, the regular Batman ’66 writer isn’t on this miniseries, so that may have caused a drop as well. Still, decent numbers for what it is.
Glenn: Another debut from Dark Horse in Conan The Slayer which sells just over 13.3k. Conan has been a Dark Horse main stray for a few years now. Its not a terrible launch and will likely perform around 6-8k when it settles which is where the Conan titles usually occupy. Dark Horse is still showing a lot of care and attention to the licenced properties they have managed to keep a hold of which is something they need to do as those books are their bread and butter these days.
Ray: Conan is another member of Dark Horse’s bread-and-butter franchises, and they give him regular relaunches. This isn’t a bad number for the character, and it was probably helped by having Cullen Bunn on board – that guy is pretty much everywhere, and he’s become one of Dark Horse’s stars in recent years.
Glenn: Bunn really is everywhere, I keep expecting some sort of meme like ‘Cullen Bunn is currently writing a script for his 12th comic this month and has time to make dinner, what are YOU doing today?’ At least despite their position, Dark Horse is able to secure some prominent names for both licenced and creator owned comics.
Another Rebirth reorder for Action comics this time 176 with sales just over 12k. This tells me that like we speculated this month and last that Action’s initial sales where right on the money where retailers are catching up for books they didn’t expect the demand for…even though they still ordered plenty of those.
Ray: Action is definitely a title where retailers didn’t know what to do with it yet. I will say this, though – if this is the actual level of Action Comics, that is unbelievably good news for the line as a whole.
Glenn: The Hunt is another new launch from Image, specifically their Shadowline publishing arm which starts off with sales over 12k at 176. The Shadowline book tend to be at the lower end of Image’s publishing line, sales wise. Former books from the line like Peter Panzerfaust and Five Weapons have either vanished or been cancelled due to low sales. If you were a fan of the Hunt, try to share the word for it because it will need the support to survive.
Note: Since typing this, Panzerfaust has reappeared in the latest Image solicitations.
Below that is Throwaways which isn’t a Shadowline book but a full mainline Image book selling also around the 12k mark. The description of the book doesn’t grab me and didn’t seem to do so for retailers either. This one will need to find its audience fast or it may not be around long.
Ray: The Hunt and Throwaways debuted with little fanfare, and neither had any big names attached. The Hunt is by a near-unknown, and Throwaways is by the writer of Vertigo book Coffin Hill. Given that, the fact that The Hunt won out is pretty impressive. It didn’t have to do with initial orders, but Throwaways has gotten some pretty rough reviews, so it might struggle as issue go on.
Glenn: Boom launches another all-ages book but this is another other media tie in with Adventure Time. This sells just over 11,9k at 179. I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure what Adventure Time is but I know its super popular so this title will make its money outside the direct market I’m sure. Probably going to end up to be a pretty standard selling media tie in book released by a smaller press company.
Ray: Adventure Time seems to do pretty well overall for Boom, since they have a lot of spin-offs for that. In general, they seem to have formed a little niche for themselves a home for Cartoon Network spin-offs.
Glenn: Another book in the same genre is a book starring the Powerpuff girls who I absolutely know about. They launch at sales over 11.8k at 181. See pretty much the comments above but replace Boom with IDW, I don’t think its coincidence these two books were practically identical in performance.
Ray: Powerpuff Girls just relaunched a new cartoon, but the show’s heyday is far behind it. This was probably mostly nostalgia buys, but that’s not terrible numbers for an IDW debut.
Glenn: There’s a Street Fighter tie in at 183 with sales sales over 11k. It is what it is, a tie in to a video game no matter how popular is always going to perform around this level or worse.
In what I think should be seen as a little bit of a let down is the first issue of Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen. This is the mini launched on ‘Doctor Who day’ which last year saw the publishing of the Four Doctor’s weekly which performed a lot better than this titles 11k at 184. They did lose writer Paul Cornell from last year but gained the use of the shows second most iconic villains in another multi-doctor adventure. I guess last year it was a novelty but people don’t see it as special if it happens every year.
Ray: Cornell is a pretty big name, so I would think losing him would cause a drop. Still, this is Titan’s highest book on the charts this month by a good 4K, so I imagine they’re still pretty happy with the numbers. The overall level for the company is still pretty low.
Glenn: I’m just thinking that with the Cybermen’s involvement, it might have gathered more interest. The comics don’t really use them or the Daleks very often, likely due to licencing issues so I thought this would have created a bigger number since they were the villains of the much better selling Who/Next Gen crossover a while back.
Perhaps releasing almost a year too early is Boom’s Kong Of Skull Island which sells over 10.8k at 187. The latest movie starring the Empire State climbing gorilla is still a long way off so interest was probably minimal here. At least when the movie lands the trade will be there.
Ray: Yeah, definitely too early for Kong, and the actual series is weird, focusing on a race of Kongs sharing an island with an ancient tribe. Plus, it occurs to me that it’s a missed opportunity to have this title at Boom – Kong shares a cinematic universe with Godzilla now, and IDW would seem to be the natural home as a result. Well, inter-company crossovers are becoming more and more common!
Glenn: Aren’t they doing a Kong vs Godzilla movie if Skull Island does well? Maybe they don’t want to have the latest reboots of both long standing properties to go head to head in the comics world first but it may definitely be something that Boom and IDW get together to do down the road.
Ray: Welp, it’s the end of an era for Vertigo, as the last two titles dip under 10K. Lucifer and Astro City both sell about 9900 copies at 191/192. Grim to say the least. Even grimmer – only two other Vertigo titles, Clean Room and The Sheriff of Babylon, even chart this month, with both selling between 6K and 5.5K. What more can be said?
Glenn: I’m hoping Williamson’s upcoming book fares well for them, his Image stuff does around 8-9k and he has a much higher profile now. Given the weak state of Vertigo’s place in the market it’ll be the hit they desperately need. Things will improve when Fables will return but that will only be likely good for 12-10k long terms. When we see Sheriff and Clean Room go out of the charts we’ll be soon not talking about Vertigo at all instead of just delivering bad news.
Ray: At the bottom of the top 200, we have two new #1s. Mechanism from Top Cow/Image is a futuristic writer/artist book, while Bounty from Dark Horse is a space-faring bounty hunter comedy from the creator of Rat Queens. Both of these sell about 9.2 K and probably were hoping for more, although Mechanism debuted with little hype and Bounty was promoted much more heavily. The Dark Horse effect strikes again.
Glenn: Top Cow is another publishing line Image has that delivers at best, mixed results. Their best known franchise they have is well past its peak popularity so its hard for them to generate any new launch excitement.
Dark Horse books need a top level name to even deliver 20k. Their position is weak at the moment and there seems to be no sign of change on the Horizon. All they can do is keep publishing the books that get them the acclaim they deserve and hope something catches on.
Ray: Just a little lower, with sales of 8.9K at 206, is Black Mask’s latest debut, Kim and Kim. Definitely a bit more muted than their last debut, but this company is slowly but surely establishing a name for themselves as the home for edgy crime stories.
Glenn: Given how small Black Mask is, its amazing what they’ve been able to produce so far. There’s a lot of hype around the upcoming ‘Black’ mini which may be the thing that really gets them a seat at the big table and major attention that the rest of their books can ride off.
Ray: Speaking of Josh Williamson’s creator-owned books, both Birthright and Nailbiter are hanging around the 8K level. Not great, and they definitely deserve more, but this is a safe level for a long-running Image book.
Glenn: Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if Williamson’s turn on Flash will probably get new eyes on these books. It wasn’t all the time that Walking Dead was a super sales hit after all, once upon a time it was down at this end of the charts.
Ray: A bunch of other DC books, including Green Arrow: Rebirth, Aquaman #1, and issues of Detective and Action all get about 10K-7K in reorders as well. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every issue from the first month of Rebirth charted again this month. When have we ever seen that?
Glenn: I don’t think we have. The excitement about Rebirth has been something else and shows that a relaunch can still have a very positive effect, as long as you build and market right and don’t do it every year or so.
Ray: Hey, remember Groo? Sergio Aragones’ cult barbarian hero is still around, and he’s good for 7K in sales for Dark Horse at #242. I imagine by now retailers know exactly who wants a Groo book, so these numbers should hold pretty well.
Glenn: I wonder how many retailers are tempted to put a T on the end of Groo’s name and see if it helps :). Its an obscure property so yeah sure, this number is fine and will likely hold steady.
Ray: Dynamite crosses over two of their old-school franchises with Lone Ranger/Green Hornet, to the tune of 6.4K sales. This is definitely not a Batman crossover with these numbers, but Dynamite seems to be determined to make these pulp heroes work.
Glenn: The Pulp Heroes have been around as long or longer than some of the industry’s top superheroes and the test of time is the longest of all. These seems to be a small but dedicated fan base out there but the numbers here are likely inflated by Dynamites usual number of multiple variants.
Ray: Aftershock is attracting some seriously big names to their books, including Mark Waid for the new title Captain Kid. They seem to have trouble getting traction in the market, though, as even one of the biggest names in comics was only able to pull 6.1K for this book at #257. I think this is probably just most people not even knowing the company yet, honestly.
Glenn: This is definitely a sign of how Aftershock is known over who they have because as you said, the names they are getting is really impressive. It may take time but they could be ones to watch. It wouldn’t take much for them to start out performing Dark Horse if they manage to hold the fort and gain an audience.
Ray: Making those Frozen numbers even more impressive, Joe Comics has another #1 this month, a spin-off from Finding Dory, which came out just a month earlier and broke the all-time record for an animated movie in the US. Despite that, it was only able to pull just under 6K in direct market sales, landing at #261. Would have expected more, given the recent hype for the movie. We’ll see how the Pirates of the Caribbean book does in August.
Glenn: That figure doesn’t make any sense. Maybe because this is seen of a ‘kids’ book which always tend to sell lower but what is more of a kids book than Frozen? Finding Dory was massive so you would have thought that retailers would have ordered a little more just on the off chance an adult picked it up on a whim for their kid who they are looking to brainwas…erm encourage to read comics. 10 years ago I would expect big things from a Pirates comic but not so much now but you never know.
Ray: Interestingly, Disney properties are still all over the map, as IDW has the rights to the classic Mickey Mouse and friends characters, with a new title called “Mickey Mouse Shorts Season 1” debuting right under Finding Dory with 5.9K. Very old-school book, so these numbers aren’t surprising.
Glenn: These are for really big Disney fans so its probably to be packaged for sale in the multitude of Disney stores so I doubt the company is concerned, this is just another thing that happens to have Mickey on it.
Ray: I just looked it up and it seems Joe Books was founded by a former Boom Executive, essentially for the purposes of publishing books based on Disney animated properties. Interesting. Some weird things went on there with Boom’s licenses.
Glenn: I just have this image in my mind of him heading out the Boom door with a briefcase stuffed with characters. ‘Hey Mike, do I hear ‘Let It Go’ playing from your briefcase?’
Ray: Newbie publisher Lion Forge gets an entry on the charts with the adaptation of the popular Netflix cartoon Voltron, which pulls 5.3K at #289. The property probably would have done more at another company, but with so many companies trying to get a piece of the pie lately, this has to be considered a win for Lion Forge.
Glenn: Certainty a big deal for such a small company! I’m sure they weren’t the only interested parties so the fact that they got it and got it to chart is probably a big deal to them. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in the months to come.
The rest of the charts is the usual collection of reprints/media tie ins and whatnot with nothing really sticking out. Number 300 is the second issue of IDW’s adaption of little known movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which just sells over 5k. We won’t see it next month of course but the fact that its being ordered at a 4 digit number has to count for something, I doubt IDW expected much more.
Next month sees the Rebirth madness continue with the debuts of Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and more.
It also sees the launch of a new Batman title that is due to be one to smash everyone into paste and run home crying to their moms in despair. This is of course All Star Batman which at the moment is like DC taking its current advantage in a battle and deciding now is the time to unleash their weapon of mass destruction.
Marvel continues to slough through Civil War II with a few mini’s launching. I’ll be interested in particular in how ‘The Fallen‘ performs. A lot of retailers expressed a lot of outrage about Marvel keeping the creative team and content a secret well past ordering cut offs. This leaves retailers who live and die on how many copies they think they can sell to play a guessing game which is a risky move at the best of times.
Not much is springing to mind from the indie side of things but I somethings get mixed up debuting when and where there because I have the attention span of a goldfi…hey look a bear!!!!
Ray: For DC next month, the real question is which debut comes in second. We know All-Star Batman will come in at #1, maybe with a 100K lead over the second highest book. From there, we’ve got Suicide Squad #1 featuring Jim Lee art on half the book, Supergirl making her return to solo comics with lots of hype and a TV series behind her, and Harley Quinn resuming business as usual, which is always good for strong numbers. Deathstroke and Blue Beetle won’t get the same numbers, but if they can land around the same level of Red Hood or Hellblazer from this month, that should be considered a win for these properties. We should see DC increase their lead overall, because…
Marvel in August is going to be a disaster. Civil War II is on a skip month, leaving them without their only top-selling book at the moment. Their headliners this month are probably The Fallen and The Accused, both of which were solicited without any information, even on creative team. Retailers had to order blind, and that’ll hurt these books. I expect the top-selling Marvel book of the month to be the Dead No More prequel issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which should increase slightly from this month, enough to pass Star Wars. But given that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel shut out of the top 20.
There’s a few notable indie launches of the month. The headliners, undoubtedly, are a pair of Image launches from their biggest names – Kill or Be Killed, from the iconic Brubaker/Philipps pairing, and The Black Monday Murders from Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker. I expect both will land in the top 50 or so. Other Image books, including horror mystery Demonic and fantasy epic Lake of Fire, should have lower-key debuts.
Dark Horse brings its latest Brian Wood comic with Briggs Land, a thriller set on a survivalist compound run by neo-Nazis, which should get them some decent buzz, but probably not enough to put it in the top 100. The most unpredictable debut of the month is from Boom, The Backstagers, a quirky comic focusing on a stage crew dealing with supernatural goings-on and written by Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV. I’m predicting this will break the record for Boom’s highest-debuting original property (IE, not Power Rangers) ever. There seems to be a ton of buzz for it.
Glenn: I did not know Civil War was on a skip month so yeah, having delivered a strong blow, its DC’s opportunity to go in for the kill. The remainder of 2016 may be all theirs.
We’ll just have to see in the months to come and we hope to see you all there with us!
See you soon