By The Numbers: August 2017
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’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. It is Glenn’s firm belief that one can come out with an opinion that is understandable but still kind of come across like an ass. He also thinks that calling out said ass on assery does not make you immune to being an ass yourself.
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 and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Often when Ray sees people being an ass in response to another being an ass, he just silently shakes his head and reads some comics because that’s something we can all agree we love.
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!
Top 300 in full available here!
Here we are sales guys and gals at the beginning of the crazy in 2017! This month starts our big summer blockbuster showdown between Metal and Legacy with the former starting this month. Does the early dark night get the…metal? We’ll soon see!
Glenn: It should be noted that this month had pretty low sales for the industry overall. There was some massive launches this month but by and large, DC kept stable and Marvel continued to slide while waiting for the latest rebranding (it’ll work this time, Pet Cemetery style) to save the day. Concerning times? Maybe but still lots to celebrate all around this month.
Ray: With Metal just winding up and not bringing in any tie-ins yet, no major launches out of DC, and Marvel continuing their downslide, there just wasn’t much to drive sales this month. Still there’s a few promising omens for the long haul.
Glenn: So to no one’s surprise, Dark Nights Metal’s first issue was number one, rocking into the slot with ease with sales just under 262k. Spectacular launch of course and given that its Snyder, Capullo, people are super excited and Batman seems to be the central focus of the event, its no surprise. Retailers around the world are reporting heavy demand so we’re likely going to see reorders next month on this issue, especially with that ending. The entire event will undoubtedly perform comfortably in the six figure range, how high in that range we’ll see in the coming months but we have a great start here.
Ray: Chief among previous eluded to reasons of course, is Metal. That’s a great first-issue number, in line with Civil War II but DC events tend to have much smoother drops than Marvel events in recent years. I think the creative team did a lot to deliver these numbers – they’re probably the most bankable team in the market. Reception has been great right out of the gate, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see very healthy drops and reorders.
Glenn: The only title in the charts that comes close to Metal’s rocking success (get it? get it? I’ll see myself out…) is Batman, DC’s super tank title. Both issues 28 and 29 chart at 2 and 3 respectfully selling over 104.6k and 100.7k. Slow drops issue by issue as the War and Jokes and Riddles continues. No danger of this title losing its spot to anything regular I’d say.
Ray: We’re seeing Batman resume its usual sales level after a boost for the anniversary and the Batposal, and it’s still far ahead of anything else regular on the stands. It’ll probably get another decent boost when we get Selina’s answer in a few months – nothing is knocking this title down.
Glenn: Next at 4 is the final issue of Secret Empire! Issue 10 charted above issues 8 and 9 which were 6 and 7 in the top ten. The final issue got a bigger bump because of its finalness and the return of the proper (we think?) Captain America. Issue 10 sold over 86.1k, issue 8 sold over 81.4k and 9 sold just over 77k. So overall the event didn’t sell terribly but nowhere near the bigger Marvel events of the past and a far cry away from Metal. The storyline seems to have performed decently enough in itself but done little to nothing for the line as a whole. Considering the PR nightmare Marvel went through (and in some ways is still reeling from), it doesn’t seem like a fair trade. We have the Omega issue next month which won’t likely sell as strongly as the main mini if past evidence is any indication. Then Marvel moves swiftly onto Legacy and doubtfully will bring this up again in any major fashion.
Ray: The conclusion of Secret Empire got a good amount of mainstream hype for Captain America returning – more accurately being conjured out of thin air – to take on his doppelganger, so retailers were probably tipped off to order higher. As for the overall numbers, they’re somewhere between Original Sin and Axis, Marvel’s poorly received 2014 quick events. Definitely not what Marvel was hoping for out of this event. Gee, if only they had been warned by the entire internet for a full year before launch.
Glenn: At 5 is the highest selling of the Generation one shots which sees a current version of a hero travel back in time to meet the person that proceeded them or held the title originally. Surprisingly the best selling was the one featuring Wolverine (Laura and Logan). I’m surprised as this seemed like a throwaway one shot featuring a team up rather than something with lasting implications. Of course, this is the first comic the original version of Wolverine has been featured in since his death a number of years ago so that seems to have been good for some of the over 85.6k this title managed to sell. Impressive numbers on this particular team up.
Ray: Definitely strong numbers for a spin-off of a title that’s well-received but doesn’t sell as well as the Old Man Logan title. This is only one of three Generations one-shots that features a character that’s gone away for any length of time, and the only one where that character has a large fanbase on their own. It seems like we’ll see some big variations in the sales of the Generations one-shots based on how much they increase over the parent title.
Glenn: At 8 is another Generations one shot which is the one I thought would be the highest seller. This teams up Jane Foster Thor with Odinson Thor and was written by the titles regular writer, superstar Jason Aaron and does seem to have implications for the saga he is undertaking in the latter part of his Thor run. It still sold a good but more than a regular issue of Thor but I still thought it would have done higher than the over 76.4k it did manage.
Ray: Thor’s one-shot did essentially what I was betting for this mini-event – roughly twice the sales of the parent book. This was the one where retailers knew exactly what they were getting, with Jason Aaron telling another chapter in his multi-year Thor epic. It’s also a pretty direct lead-in to Legacy, so look for decent reorders here.
Glenn: Final two spots in the top ten is Marvel’s ol reliable Star Wars (here’s Jason Aaron again) which sell over 66.6k and 65.9k respectively. Another title that’s on a ridiculously slow slide down. I doubt Aaron leaving will have any major impact on the sales and the titles placement as Marvel’s most dependable selling ongoing.
Ray: I think Star Wars is the brand in itself, so Gillen will definitely keep it healthy and afloat long-term.
Walking Dead’s insane top ten streak is finally ended, as it lands at #11 with sales of 65K. And all it took was two books double-shipping, one book triple-shipping, and three event #1s!
Glenn: The next big story, anniversary or major death will propel Walking Dead up again, this is what usually happens. Its just having a very slow slide like the whole market but it always survives which is ironic given the title.
Ray: At #12 we have the next Star Wars mini, a prequel-era series starring Mace Windu, which lands with sales of 62K. This was one of the lowest-profile Star Wars titles, both in creative team and character. With titles like this and the upcoming Captain Phasma miniseries, you’re going to get lower sales, but this is still very healthy considering. And far from the last we’ll see of Star Wars on these charts.
Glenn: I think Phasma might do better cause of the movie and the fact that she’s being touted as the new Boba Fett. Considering Windu is from the *coughs* divisive prequel era, these are very good numbers. Probably going to do about 40k until its end which is fine and pretty much in line with other Star Wars mini’s.
Ray: At #13 is the next Generations one-shot, this one starring Hulk and Totally Awesome Hulk. It sells 61K, which is on average a 300% increase over the main title’s sales. Hulk hasn’t sold well – either version – in quite a few years, so this is a surprise. Bruce Banner’s eventual return may just move the needle. Writer Greg Pak is a popular name with Hulk, so his return to Planet Hulk in a few months may be what the title needs.
Glenn: This particular Generations one shot also seemed to have implications for the title’s future so that may have helped. It’ll be interesting how a sorta Planet Hulk sequel will perform, especially with the new Thor movie borrowing elements from that story. The recipe is there for success unlike the Hulk’s had for years but we thought the same for the start of this title and the Waid title, Aaron’s run and…well you get the idea.
Ray: I was even more surprised by the placement of the Jean Grey Generations one-shot, where she crosses over with…herself. It sold 55K at #16, which is also a 300% increase over the main title. Who knew there were so many people who wanted to see Jean cross over with her older self? Either way, while these Generations one-shots aren’t totally lighting up the charts, Marvel has to be happy with these four.
Glenn:Classic Jean Gray popping up still gets some buzz. I mean, it’s not like finding the Comedian’s button in a wall or anything but bringing her back is a major weapon Marvel has been keeping for a rainy day. This shows there’s some interest but the timing might be off considering all the competition is offering.
Ray: The rest of the top 20 is the usual suspects. All-Star Batman, in its penultimate issue, along with Darth Vader, Detective Comics, Flash, and Amazing Spider-Man. These books are the bread and butter of the industry right now.
Astonishing X-Men has a standard slide with its second issue, selling 51K at #22. This is a monthly book, so the attrition will likely be less severe than it is with the biweekly Blue and Gold titles. We’ll see how the rotating art teams affect things as the first arc proceeds, but these numbers look healthy.
Glenn: Decent enough for Astonishing X-Men, again its hard to say how the return to classic numbers will effect sales. Its done wonders for Detective and Action but those were only two books, an entire line of books is an unknown quantity. It might help or hinder Astonishing (along with everything else) or it might do nothing. This seems like a title that would benefit from 2 out of 3 of those scenarios so that’s not too shabby.
Ray: I was surprised by the healthy debut for Inhumans: Once and Future Kings, the new flashback miniseries focusing on the royal family. 50K at #24 is strong given recent Inhumans sales, and I put that one one man – Chris Priest, who is having an incredible comeback at the big two right now. I think a lot of people who don’t care about the Inhumans will pick this up for him alone. Plus, Lockjaw backups!
Glenn: Its astonishing to see Priest become a name that pushes comics once more when I had doubted he would ever return. Marvel is befitting from the groundwork DC laid. Maybe the ‘movie’ helped a little too but probably only marginally. should be healthy enough for an Inhumans mini.
Ray: The final Generations one-shot this month, Hawkeye, sells 45K at #28. The lowest sales, but then the Hawkeye title is the lowest-selling regular title. It’s also the only one of these where the two heroes can literally call each other on the phone the next day. There was no real urgency to this team-up, was there? I think, given that, these sales are fine.
Glenn:Yeah, the Hawkeye book used to have these two together all the time so this lacks anything special to offer readers. The branding is causing the additional sales so yeah, its a bonus for Marvel in that regard.
Ray: A new Star Wars one-shot focusing on Cassian Andor and K2-S0 lands at #30, showing how the Rogue One stars met. It sells 43K, a surprisingly low number for a Star Wars #1, but a one-shot doesn’t usually get the kind of promotional hype a regular series or mini does, and that includes variant covers. Healthy numbers for something that’ll likely be bundled in with a Star Wars collection and sell gangbusters there.
Glenn: Rogue One was popular but given how things ended for those characters, they’ll not be getting much exposure out of that movie so maybe that’s why this one shot seemed less vital? Like you said, it’ll make its money back thanks to collections and is doubtfully an indication of Star Wars fatigue in regards to comics. Just a story the fans may not be overly invested in given the events of Rogue One.
Ray: We’re seeing some major attrition settle in for the X-men books this month, as Gold charts two issues with sales of 44K and 43K at 29/31, and Blue is quite a bit lower with sales of 40K and 38K at 43/45. The Secret Empire tie-ins ended this month, so there may have actually been a small impact there, but either way, Marvel can’t seem to keep any franchise from slipping in sales significantly these days.
Glenn: Gold and Blue like their cousin (?) book Astonishing are just waiting to see how Legacy effect them at this point. In this market these days, these are average numbers for a Marvel ongoing. Concerning news for the company and the industry as a whole they’re hoping Legacy will change but I wouldn’t bank on it personally.
Ray: Two Spider-man books in the 30s. Spider-Men 2′s second issue lands at #33 with sales of 41.7K, a not-terrible slide from its first issue. It sold 11K more than Miles‘ main title, so that’s a win. And then there’s Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man, which lands its third issue at #35 and sells over 41K. Perfectly decent numbers for a secondary Spider-book, given the state of Marvel’s sales right now.
The latter two Edge of Venomverse issues rebound nicely, selling in the 41-40K range at #36 and #41. These were the Old Man Logan and Deadpool issues, with James Stokoe on the latter. Definitely more sales pull than Gwenpool and Ghost Rider.
Glenn:Again, the Edge Of Venomverse tie ins are just set up stuff for a mini event that spawned out of variants so this is all just a nice bonus. It seems that the spirit of the 90’s is alive and well in terms of interest in anything Venom related.
Ray: Captain America ends its current run in an odd way, fusing the two issues into one book just called “Captain America” for all of…one issue. That #25 oversized issue charts at #42 with sales of 42K. Retailers must have been so confused here.
Glenn: Better than either title manages on average but still lower than the two combined so yeah, this is weird. If someone had been supporting Sam but not Steve, they may have been puzzled too. We’ll see how Waid and Samnee fair with the super odd situation Captain America has been left with. I think they might have more luck raising the Titanic or preventing the Kennedy assassination and I don’t envy them.
Ray: As always, this is where most of the steady books like Superman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Harley Quinn, Thor, etc. lock down on the charts. Slow attrition continues for these books, but they’re firmly ensconced in the top fifty.
Doctor Aphra’s title has stabilized as well, selling 36K this month at #50. But more impressive is the 34K in sales its annual does only 2 spots below. Another very strong performance for an annual with the same creative team on board.
Glenn: Aphra has become a real fan fave. As long as Gillen wants to write her, she’ll have a solid footing in the charts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her pop up in the main Star Wars title more too since he’s taking over there from Aaron shortly.
Ray: More steady sales for titles including Nightwing, Suicide Squad, Super-Sons, Teen Titans, and Justice League of America, alongside a few Marvel books like Star Wars: Poe Dameron and Spider-Man/Deadpool (which is enduring despite becoming an anthology). These books are sinking towards the 30K mark, but given their overall place in the market, they’re all very safe.
A disappointing debut at #60 for Mister Miracle #1, one of the most critically acclaimed comics in years and a likely Eisner nominee. It only pulls in about 33.5K. Much like Tom King’s past offbeat takes on superheroes, Omega Men and Vision, it seems retailers weren’t willing to take a swing on it despite the gangbuster sales of King on Batman. But that likely means lots of reorders and an incredibly steady trajectory in months to come. A lot of retailers are lamenting ordering low on this book.
Glenn: Mister Miracle’s critical acclaim make it a surefire contender for high reorders, steady drops (if not *gasps* an increase) and an eventual collection that, if the series can keep the same quality will sell like a modern masterpiece. Mister Miracle is a third tier character so I think those sales are very good and a testament to the interest King can bring. Remember, King is not a creator like Snyder or Aaron or Johns that have had years and years to build themselves up. King has made himself a bankable name in a very short space of time. This title will have the last laugh, if not in terms of monthly sales then certainty as a collection and its all thanks to the skill of the creative team.
Ray: The controversial Nightwing miniseries “The New Order“, which finds Dick Grayson as the head of a Purifiers-like organization, lands at #65 with sales of 32K. This story received comparisons to Injustice and Hydra Cap, but for an Elseworlds story, these aren’t awful numbers.
Glenn: Its okay numbers and at least DC had the sense of making it an elseworld story. Don’t like it, well then its not real so its fine! The Bat line can support spin offs like no other and that’s likely why we have a decent number here. At the end of it, its success or failure ultimately won’t matter, they’re not going to wreck the line with one out of continuity mini. If only other companies had the same foresight…
More mid level performers in this area that have sunk their teeth into certain positions in the charts like Deadpool, Defenders, Green Lanterns (both titles), Avengers and Trinity. Some of these books have had better days but the range of around 31k-29k is where they live in the current market. As lone as they don’t budge from these spots, I doubt either company is too concerned…okay maybe Avengers but it seems Jason Aaron is riding in on his fiery mammoth to save the day there soon.
A new Titan book based off a cult 80’s series named Robotech launches this week at 82 with sales over 26.8k. I literally have no idea what this is but it seems to be an anime series so it’ll definitely have a small but passionate fanbase. I’d say this is rather brilliant sales from something that likely has the same notoriety as Blake’s 7.
Ray: Robotech had one of the biggest roll-outs Titan has ever done, with a ton of variant covers, lots of hype and advance reviews, and even launch events at prominent comic stores like Midtown Comics. It’s not a surprise it did well above the sales of a typical Titan comic, even if the property has mainly fallen into obscurity before this relaunch. #2 lands at #181 with sales of 11.6K, so while that’s a harsh slide, it’s still well above any other Titan book on the market.
Glenn: I miss another number 2 the same month. Please don’t replace me with Garth Ennis, Ray, I got a kid…
I would have expected the 25th issue of Daredevil to maybe get the standard anniversary boost but at 87 with sales over 25.3k it actually sells about 5k lower than last issue. Constant relaunches have made anniversary issues a bit less special in terms of Marvel and with Legacy returning Daredevil to original numbering shortly, retailers likely weren’t bothered about the actual number of this particular issue.
Ray: As I recall, this issue of Daredevil got nothing to commemorate the anniversary. It wasn’t oversized, it wasn’t the start of a new arc, so it was essentially just a standard issue and retailers treated it like one.
Glenn: It used to be that issue anniversaries would get a bump anyway but again, Marvel has been muddying the waters with that for a while now.
It seemed on the surface that the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby went all but ignored at Marvel, the company he helped create and make a name for. A few one shots reprinting some classic Kirby stories seem to have gotten some attention despite receiving little promotion. The $1 price tag always helps draw retailers interest as at 106, 114 and 115 respectively we have Captain America Reborn, Thor vs Hulk and Black Panther which sell over 21.9k, 20.3k and 19.6k. Captain America likely sold the best because he was the character Kirby co-created for Marvel first and the one he’s most identified with apart from the Fantastic Four (no surprise they are absent from this celebration). Maybe Thor vs Hulk got some help due to their upcoming off world slug fest in the movie and Black Panther had some help from his upcoming movie which has people very excited. Other Kirby birthday one shots included Captain America at 121 with over 18.2k in sales, Iron Man at 123 with over 17.8k and Groot at 125 with 17.7k Its just a shame Marvel didn’t do more considering these are good numbers for old material that didn’t get a lot of press.
Ray: Marvel didn’t promote these Kirby reprint one-shots at all, to the point where I didn’t even know they were out until I read these charts. Very different from the way DC handled it, and more on that in a bit. But these are essentially free sales for Marvel, with $1 reprints of old comics. These True Believers issues always seem to do decently for Marvel, so we should expect to see them for every major event or movie.
Glenn: The second book to get the Legacy renumbering is Ultimates 2...for one issue anyway. It manages to somehow assemble enough somewhat related comics to put a 100 on the cover causing it to sell over 21.6k at 107. Last issue sold 16kish so this isn’t a resounding success but hopefully this is more because its the title’s last issue rather than an indication of how successful Legacy will be overall.
Ray: This was such a bizarre strategy. A Legacy relaunch for the final issue? It got a decent sales increase, but if that’s the kind of launch increase other books get for their Legacy debut, Marvel’s going to be crying quickly.
Glenn: At 109 we have one of DC’s many Kirby tribute books in the form of Darkseid special which sells over 21.4k. This isn’t too bad considering Darkseid rarely appears in titles where he is the main focus and this issue is produced to honour one of the true legends of comics.
Ray: These are decent numbers for a Darkseid one-shot, especially as it was an oversized comic ($4.99 for about forty pages). These specials had either one oversized main story or two shorter stories, plus a few short backups of classic Kirby material. This was the top-selling one, with the New Gods special landing a good deal lower (#132, 16.5K), followed by Sandman (#152, 14K), Manhunter (#164, 12.9K), Black Racer and Shiloh Norman (#166, 12.7K), and finally Howard Chaykin’s Newsboy Legion/Boy Commando Special (#175, 12K). A lot of these issues were based around very obscure concepts that haven’t had a mainstream profile since Kirby’s day, so I doubt DC was expecting much higher for most of them. Still, in a month where DC pulled out all the stops to honor Kirby’s legacy, these specials were a fitting tribute for his fans.
Glenn: A Red Hood and the Outlaws annual sells about 5k less than the main title at 111 with sales over 20.6k which is decent enough for one of the annual for one of the lower end selling Rebirth tie ins
Ray: DC and to a lesser extent Marvel have done a good job recently of getting retailers to start treating annuals like issues of the regular series. We’ve seen some real stability lately, with them coming in only a small level below the main title. An exception is the Supergirl annual, which comes in about 10K lower than the main series’ issue this month, at #127 with sales of 17K. However, that’s also partially due to the main series getting a 6K bump over last month as it starts a new arc. Good news for the Girl of Steel!
Glenn: I do feel sorry for the 10k of readers who missed out on the annual which essentially had two issues worth of story in this arc. I doubt it will have an effect on Supergirl’s long term sales anyway but its still a puzzling decision. Also, the slight boost may have been for the new artist but probably not. We’ll know next month!
An artist switch six issues in has little to no effect on Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider at 112 which sells 20.5k reteaming writer Peter David with his 2099 collaborator, Will Sliney. The days of long creative runs on comics are not once they were and a new creator involved in a book isn’t a big deal anymore in itself.
Fan fave Future Quest returns at 120 with sales over 18.3k. I think that’s very good numbers for the cult hit and hopefully will encourage DC to produce more material when they can to please the Hanna Barbara book that seemed to be the most critically well received.
Ray: The Hanna-Barbera line had shrunk to one book recently, but with this return, plus the Dastardly and Muttley spin-off by Ennis, and the Jetsons coming soon, shows DC still has some faith in it. This book focuses more on the space heroes, and seems to have debuted to a good reception.
This is the portion of the charts where we see what a lot of mid-level Marvel books have sunk to. Books like Ms. Marvel, Iron Fist, Jean Grey, Captain Marvel, and Hulk have all slipped below the 20K level and seem to be stuck there. They are showing some decent legs in not sinking lower, though, especially Black Bolt. That title seems to be displaying legs close to Vision, as it has some genuine buzz despite being a character who can’t really sustain an ongoing normally. So a little good news for Marvel here despite all the titles slipping out of the top 100.
The new Image witch horror Redlands from colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire is the top Image debut of the month, landing at #134 with sales of 16.2K. While it’s a decent number for a new Image book without an a-list creative team, it’s also sandwiched between the 15th issue of I Hate Fairyland and the 34th issue of East of West, so not exactly a breakout debut either. Image seems to be slowing down a tiny bit, with not all that many debuts landing strong immediately.
Glenn: Redlands will probably perform better than the average non big league creative team Image title so no real concerns I’d say. I’d say the title probably sold both very well outside the American market too, especially here in Ireland.
Ray: Not much below, we have another new Image launch, Jay Faerber’s Elsewhere, starring Amelia Earhart. It sells just under 15K at #142. Solid numbers for a book by a creator who’s been doing consistent work for Image for a long time.
Glenn: I’m happy with that for Faerber who has always delivered great material but has had some bad luck on his creative owned books which is something I can empathize with. Hopefully this one turns out to be more prosperous!
Ray: To illustrate just how much Marvel is struggling lately, two of their titles that are only a few months old – Inhumans flagship Royals, and the new X-men spinoff Iceman – are already selling lower than DC’s low-rung title Superwoman, which is already slated for cancellation. They all sold in the 14K range, but one took well over a year to get there and the others took about four-five months. To put this into perspective – the Inhumans are getting beat by Lana Lang.
Glenn: Lana eats Inhumans for breakfast! Seriously there’s no surprises with either book but its still depressing. Poor Al Ewing can’t seem to get a steady gig.
Ray: Surprisingly, Benitez Productions seems to have landed a consistent performer in the top 200, as Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin lands its second issue at #169 with sales of 12.4K. I was expecting it to absolutely plummet after the first issue, but this company seems to be quietly building an audience.
New Super-Man, which has been one of the lowest-selling Rebirth titles despite strong critical reception, seems to be benefiting from the buzz. It’s basically locked down on its place in the charts, losing just over 500 copies since last month to land at #170 with sales of 12.3K. Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep it going past the first cull.
Another relaunch for The Shadow at Dynamite, with Si Spurrier’s take landing at #173 with sales of 12.1K. I’m wondering if the title might be getting some additional attention due to the successful Batman/Shadow crossover, which is getting another round at Dynamite in a few months. This relaunch, the first taking place in the current day in a long time, seems to be received well.
Glenn: I would say there is definitely more interest in the Shadow now than there has been for a long time due to the crossover. With a sequel shortly on the way, it seems that Dynamite are going to really benefit from teaming up with Marvel. Next up, Green Arrow/Green Hornet!
Ray: Mage: The Hero Denied #1 lands at #179 with sales of 11.7K, which is down all of…25 copies from the #0 issue. I’m guessing retailers essentially treated them as the same thing, and we might see some crazy holds over the course of this title. With a generation between volumes, retailers probably know exactly who wants these and aren’t planning for casual buyers.
Once again, the bottom two Rebirth books are Blue Beetle and Cyborg, with the gap with them increasing a bit more (#186, 11.5K vs. 192, 10.9K this month). However, once again even these two books are rock solid for what they are, slipping less than 1K each. Neither book is likely long for this world, but even the bottom rung at Rebirth is holding its own.
There’s a new five-part TMNT miniseries this month, TMNT: Dimension X. The main series, starting the new arc that this mini spins out of, charts at #158 with 13.5K, the mini lands its first issue at #190 with sales of 11.2K. The successive issues chart at #203, 209, 210, and #214, with the final issue ending at 9.6K. IDW didn’t seem to promote this miniseries all that much despite being pretty important to the main story, and it shows.
A new IDW mini-event, First Strike, lands at #195 with sales of 10.6K. Standard for one of IDW’s many GI Joe/Transformers/Rom events, although this debuted before the writer became a bit more…famous over the last few days.
Glenn: I would say that in this instance, controversy won’t benefit First Strike here and fans will likely respond with their wallets.
Ray: At #202, there’s the new Valiant miniseries War Mother, which lands with sales of 10.1K. That’s actually surprisingly good for a future title spinning out of the year-old Valiant event 4001 AD. Valiant as a whole seems to be gaining in buzz, and all the main-line titles are benefiting.
Glenn: Valiant be Valiant, always dependable and growing at a slow and steady pace.
This month’s Hellboy offering from Dark Horse is a one shot based in 1955 (or so I just read) it sells just over 10k at 204 which as we say every month is pretty much normal for Hellboy. The image from the upcoming movie reboot has some people excited so we’ll see if Dark Horse gets some benefit from that.
Just below that at 205 is the first issue of Zombies Assemble 2 selling around 10k as well. The numbering of this thing just confuses me. Its reprinted material so its a decent number, I just don’t know why this title seems to roll out a random number month after month.
Ray: I feel like we’ve had roughly ten #0 and #1 issues of Zombies Assemble. Weird title.
Glenn: Big slide for Bettie Page in the second issue losing a whopping 11k or so in sales as it delivers over 9.7k at 211. I’d still say this is really good for a comic about a centerfold icon from the 50’s.
With over 9.6k reorders out of nowhere is the Batman/Elmer Fudd team up which was released two months ago. To get reorders that chart at 212 two months later is a testament to how good the book was and its easy to see why DC reteamed King and Weeks on the upcoming Batman annual.
Ray: I knew this would get heavy reorders. It’s being called one of the best single issues of the year, and the entire event was really under-ordered. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more months of reorders.
Glenn: The writer of Plastic starts a new Image mini this month in the form of Hard Place at 223 with over 9k in sales. Pretty standard for a Image mini. It seems that Plastic had more interest but that seems to have been just for the ‘whaaaaaa’ factor.
Ray: Hard Place didn’t seem to get much advanced hype, and it’s a pretty standard crime concept. With no big name attached, that’s a pretty standard number for an Image miniseries.
Glenn: At 226 is a comic adaption of a board game, Dead Of Winter which sells over 8.8k. The board game is very good (if somewhat over complicated and insanely difficult) but a comic about zombies isn’t exactly a rarity these days. It gets lost in a pack of where Walking Dead is wayyyyyyyy at the front. If it makes its ways into stores that specialize in these type of games once collected or maybe packaged with the game then publisher Oni will be laughing but right now, its just another zombie book.
Ray: Oni doesn’t have many books that chart these days, and this has a preexisting fanbase, so this is a solid number. Worth noting this is also by the writer of fast-rising writer Kyle Starks, of Rock Candy Mountain.
Ray: At 229 is Devinity 0 which is solicited as a jumping on point for people curious about Valient. It sells just over 8.6k. Retailers probably figure that its going to be unlikely to get many people jumping on to Valient at this point but its standard sales for them.
Glenn: At 239 is Grumpy Cat vs Garfield and…*gets pushed aside by Ray* ow….
Ray: My moment has come! *dons Garfield hat* Grumpy Cat was a pretty big seller for Dynamite, much more than their other attempts at the kid market, and Garfield is obviously one of the most well-known comic strip characters of all time. With that said, this is a great number for an all-ages miniseries that will likely do much more sales in collections. Can’t wait for the sequel, where they team up against Heathcliff.
At #236 we have the new Boom series, Mech Cadet Yu by Hulk writer Grek Pak and Runaways artist Takeshi Miyazawa. This got great critical reception and was upgraded to ongoing immediately, so Boom is clearly happy here. Still, sales of 8.4K are a bit low for a creative team of this level, but we’ve talked about Boom’s struggles in the direct market. This is a clear win for them.
Glenn: Mech Cadet might do better in trades due to Pak’s name too. Given that Planet Hulk will get a new lease of life due to the partial adaption in the upcoming Thor movie and the sequel, people who read that may want more Pak stuff and pick this up as a result.
Ray: At 240, there’s the new series Galaktikon from Albatross Funnybooks. I don’t even know what this is, but from a cursory googling it looks like it’s a comic spinning out of the album by Metalpocalypse creator Brendon Small. A niche comic from a small company, so 8.3K is pretty impressive.
Glenn: Another comic linked to music? That’s been an odd trend the last few months and considering its an unusual mix, that’s definitely a great number.
Ray: At 247 with sales of 7.9K, we find Danger Doll Squad #0 from Action Lab. And you guessed it, it’s the crossover teaming up Zombie Tramp, Vampblade, and Dollface. I don’t know what the other two are, but Zombie Tramp is getting her own Avengers!
Glenn: Because we all demanded it! How long until DC teams up with this company too and Zombie Tramp is leading the Justice League, not soon enough say we at By The Numbers.
Ray: Just below, at 248 with 7.8K, we find Bill Willingham’s new creator-owned series Larks Killer from Devil’s Due. Willingham has been out of the public eye, save an issue of Kamandi Challenge, since the end of Fables, but this comic sort of came and went without much fanfare. It’s from a small publisher, so these numbers are decent.
Ghost Station Zero, the sequel to Codename: Baboushka, lands soft at #250 with sales of just under 7.6K. Much like with Copperhead a few months back, these multi-year hiatuses tend to really hurt the buzz of these low-level books. I don’t know if we’ll get a third arc, but the odds are retailers more ordered this for Antony Johnson completists than general audiences.
At #253, we see some reorders of 7.4K for Spider-Men II. This book doesn’t seem to have gotten much in the way of buzz, but Bendis is promising a game-changing reveal at the end of this series as well as in the Generations one-shot featuring the characters. That probably has retailers looking to make sure they have some in stock.
A crossover between the two wildly-popular Cartoon Network series, Adventure time and Regular Show, lands at #261 with sales of 6.9K. Boom’s cartoon-based titles don’t usually sell too well in the direct market, but a crossover likely got some additional attention. If it sells well, we might see more events like that in the future. Steven Universe/Over the Garden Wall, anyone?
Glenn: I’m not too familiar with Regular Show or Adventure Time but I’m sure through osmosis that I’ll be an expert in 5 or 6 years.
Ray: At #262, it’s Zombie Tramp: Origins! Two appearances this month for the unofficial mascot of By the Numbers.
Unstoppable Wasp limps to its conclusion with its eighth issue, charting at #265 with sales of 6.8K. While not quite as awful as some numbers we’ve seen on books like Slapstick or Solo, it’s still shocking that a Marvel title that got a lot of promotion – including two backdoor tie-in issues in Avengers – could sink this low, this fast.
Glenn: I would say that regular Wasp, Janet Van Dyne couldn’t have hoped for much better so an original character had little chance. I wonder how many Legacy books will suffer the same fate in the same time space?
Ray: Speaking of books that it’s shocking got this low, we’ve got Gotham Academy: Second Semester wrapping up its run at #270 with sales of 6.5K. This title is actually about thirty issues in, including the relaunch, but it’s sad it never caught on like it deserved to. I hope DC will realize they have a goldmine here and adapt it for their new streaming service.
Glenn:Gotham Academy will probably do well in collection form outside the direct market for many years to come. If that’s the case hopefully fans can see it return through an ogn format or some such.
Inspired by title’s like Tintin and such, Image’s offbeat Spy Seal sells just over at 6.1k at 279. A lot of people I knew were excited by how odd this one sounded but retailers may have been more confused than enthused. I would have expected a lot more for this one but it might have been under ordered.
Ray: Rich Tomasso is a cult creator and his previous book, She-Wolf, did similar numbers. Image knows what to expect with this type of book, and I imagine retailers do too. It seems to be taking a break after the first arc, though, so we’ll see what the future holds for Spy Seal.
Glenn: At 280 we have a James Bond: Moneypenny one shot from Dynamite selling around 6.1k too. This, I think is the lowest selling of the Dynamite bond offerings thus far but as we said earlier, one shots don’t have the best footing to start off with and most retailers probably thought this would be a comic about some secretary as opposed to the newer, post Craig version who is also kinda/sorta a spy.
Ray: Dynamite’s certainly been getting their money out of Bond lately, and while this may be more of a niche project, they’re still probably happy with it overall.
Glenn: The long running franchise Turok returns at 283 with sales just over 6k. This property has been around forever and I doubt its going to be picking up any new fans at this point. Retailers likely ordered for the small set of fans that would be interested which are going to be slim pickings as the sales suggest.
Ray: Turok may have been one spin-off too many for this line. While the new take on Magnus received positive reviews, Turok’s odd Planet of the Apes pastiche didn’t get the same buzz and seems to have been mostly ignored. This is likely to be one arc and done.
Glenn: Zombie Tramp makes it a triple threat at 288 with sales over 5.9k! We now have more Zombie Tramp titles than ongoing, Peter Parker Spider-Man titles!
Its been a long time since I’ve noticed Sex Criminals in the charts, I’m not sure if its because its not been out or its been missing the top 300. Either way, its back at 297 with sales over 5.6k. Given its title and crazy concept, I’m not surprised its one of the lower selling Image offerings.
Ray: There’s been a lot of Image titles coming back after lengthy breaks, and while this isn’t nearly as long a break as Baboushka had, it’s still likely to take its toll on the sales. Fraction’s output at Image has really shrunk recently.
Glenn: At 298 is another new comic from Boom with an interesting looking comic by female creators featuring an all female cast called Hi-fi Fight Club. None of the creators involved really ring a bell and as we’ve said, Boom really struggle with new original stuff without big names attached (and even with them) so sales over 5.6k is no surprise. If you like this title, you may want to recommend it to a friend.
Ray: This book got fantastic reviews, including from yours truly, and a lot of advanced hype. But we’ve seen how even creators like Tynion and Orlando struggle with getting sales in singles from Boom. The good news is, Tynion’s series The Backstagers, which debuted to similar numbers, was just announced as getting a second arc! So maybe Boom really isn’t looking at singles sales here, which could mean this book will be fine.
Glenn: At 300 we have the second issue of Garth Ennis, Jimmy’s Bastards selling around 5.6k also. Aftershock titles apart from a handful of their books don’t tend to stay in the top 300 for long, even for creators like Ennis it seems. Will likely do most of its business in collections so I doubt the company is concerned, this is pretty normal for them.
Ray: Looking ahead to September, DC is likely to dominate the top of the charts, with Metal #2 taking the number one slot and the first of the Dark Knights one-shots, Red Death and Murder Machine. I’d be surprised if both didn’t crack the top ten. We’ve got the first two parts of the “Resistance” crossover for Metal as well, and Action Comics should get a large boost for the start of “The Oz Effect”. Detective Comics may get the same for the return of Tim Drake. Plus, Gail Simone’s return to Wonder Woman with the Wonder Woman/Conan crossover!
For Marvel, the big event of the month is undoubtedly the start of Legacy, beginning with the oversized Aaron/Ribic Legacy one-shot. Will it be able to knock Metal off the top of the charts? I doubt it, but Marvel will be looking for a healthy number to give Legacy some positive buzz. There’ll also be the next five Generations one-shots, one last issue of Secret Empire (Omega), a Captain Phasma miniseries, and the relaunch of Runaways from a writer with a huge mainstream profile. Lots of new #1s, but we’ll see which if any of them land strongly.
Image has a good number of debuts this month, but none with any big names attached. Quirky titles like Realm, Retcon, Angelic, and Gasolina will be looking to get a foothold in this market, and we’ll also get a new installment of the Millarworld Annual, with stories featuring Millar characters by new talent. Outside the big three, we’ve got a new Cullen Bunn horror series, Dark Ark from Aftershock, and the launch of the new Bloodshot series from Jeff Lemire at Valiant. Of course, the biggest launch of the month from a smaller company is IDW’s Star Wars Adventures. Could this be IDW’s breakout into the top ten or even top five? I think so.
Glenn: Next month’s top ten is due to be the healthiest we’ve seen sales wise. We’ll see if it means better news for the rest of the industry. Join us next month to find out.
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