By The Numbers: December 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. He’s learned that former CIA operative Tom King has bugged his phone and has finally started writing the Batman/Booster Gold team up that Glenn always dreamed of because of it. Thanks Tom!
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. After hearing that Boss Baby is nominated for an Oscar, Ray went on a rampage that made Godzilla, King Kong and Brock Lesnar say and I quote ‘jeez man, chill.’
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 these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.
Top 300 in full available here!
Glenn: Welcome to 2018 sales fans. Glad to see that you all made it through another year that literally said ‘you thought 2016 was bad? Well hold my beer!’ You’ll be glad to know your favorite sales columnists are still here with you. We’re not sure where they are so you’ll have to make do with me and Ray instead.
We start off 2018 by looking back at the last sales of 2017, its month number three of Marvel Legacy as DC continues its duel wielding of atomic sales weapons on the other side of the street. While DC narrowly won market share, Marvel kept a loose grip on unit share for the month but really, the big two companies are now very close together in what has become a slow war of attrition. Comic sales overall were a big drop from last year overall but hey…that’s just the world we live in.
However, looking at the top of the charts you wouldn’t know it. The best selling comic this month was issue two of Doomsday Clock, the power house maxi series from DC which sold over 158.6k. Again, given what this book is I would have thought we’d see anywhere between 30-50k more but that’s more down to the state of the market than the book itself. Its’ still a brilliant success on a second issue sales and shows the series has strong legs. If it can remain consistent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing clocks over 130k for all 12 issues and dominates the top of the charts for the next year or so. The first issue also had very significant reorders which we’ll talk down the line so the demand is clearly there. We’re going to see every issue rechart most likely, especially when the series really starts gaining momentum.
Ray: This is actually very similar to what we saw for Metal #2 – the slide from the first issue sales to the second were harsher than anticipated, but then we saw it correct itself in month three as it increased somewhat. Either way, it’s very clear that these two events are dominating the market like nothing we’ve seen in a long time, with ridiculously good month-to-month retention for Metal in particular so far. I anticipate they’ll be 1/2 every month they come out, with the only books that have a chance to knock them off the top being Action Comics #1000 and potentially Amazing Spider-Man #800.
Glenn: Taking silver this month at 2 is the other mega successful DC event, Metal which has its fourth issue sell over 152.5k which has it very, very close to Doomsday clock. I think that is a big statement to not only how well this event has done but also the drawing power of Snyder and Capullo. The success of this event cannot be overstated enough and it continues to bring big benefits to any book even remotely associated with it as we’ll see very shortly.
In what I think is a big surprise is at number 3 is the awkwardly titled Phoenix Resurrection of Adult Jean Gray, a weekly series that starts with a bang with sales over 145k. I’m actually really surprised this book sold so well. Marvel brought the hype train of course but people seem to be treated the proper return of Jean like a big deal. I doubt the rest of the mini will sell as well but its still a strong start and a win for Marvel who has been in desperate need of success stories since Secret Empire. This potentially bodes well for the Jean Gray led X-Men Red that launches in a few months
Ray: A Phoenix miniseries that few people seemed like they were looking forward to came within 15K of defeating Doomsday Clock and Metal. That’s kind of insane, and a testament to the fact that while Marvel has trouble selling a lot of things these days, they don’t have any trouble racking up impressive first-issue sales on event comics. That’s some much needed money for them, but I don’t know if it bodes well long-term. I expect this will follow the trajectory of Venomverse pretty closely next month.
Glenn: At 4 and 5 its Batman being Batman selling over 94.3k and just under 93k for issues 36 and 37 respectively. These date night issues were brilliant and again, this isn’t a special mini or event comic, this is an ongoing that just goes against every rule the market has. Continues to sell amazingly well and that’s doubtful to change anytime soon.
At 6 is the third issue of Batman: White Night, the out of continuity Sean Murphy vehicle which is also performing better than anything similar to it. It sells over 72.6 so yeah there’s a MASSIVE gap between spots 5 and 6 but this is still a very strong performance for a prestige mini that doesn’t have any bearing on any other story. Unlike Marvel, DC doesn’t need success stories too much right now but here’s another one anyway.
Ray: White Knight was out of the top ten last month and increased 3K in sales this month, so clearly this is another massive Bat-hit for DC. Much like DKIII, it seems like these stand-alone Bat-titles do really well. Imagine what a sales force the eventual Snyder/Murphy finale arc is going to be!
Glenn: At 7 is Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc Alpha which sells 69.6k on the dot. Given it was this high on the charts, I though the units would be higher. 69k used to be the entry point for like the top 30 or 20 but those days seem to be long gone. This is a decent selling launch for a tie in between Marvel’s best selling superhero ongoing and a character that’s had a little bit of a resurgence in popularity lately (however that is slowly dying down but Marvel is going to milk it for all its worth before then).
Ray: Venom Inc isn’t a massive hit, but it’s one of two short-term crossovers this month that had a major impact on its involved titles. Amazing Spider-man cracks the top ten again, with another issue not far below, and Venom gains over 10K in sales for its crossover issue. I’m always puzzled by the 20K+ difference in orders for ASM and Venom, though – this is a hard crossover. Do retailers think people are just going to go “I won’t read parts two and four”?
Glenn: Discrepancy in sales between titles that tie in together has been a long standing puzzle here at By The Numbers and in the market in general. I’ve had times where my LCS hasn’t actively promoted the fact that one of the books I’m reading is tying into another book I’m not so it could be likely that either retailers forget or don’t pay attention and they ultimately miss out (as well as some likely very confused readers).
Another top ten surprise entrant is Marvel Two-In One which is only here because again, the entry point for the top ten this month is unusually low from spot 6 down. Still its a decent launch that is probably mainly interested in seeing if Marvel is gearing towards bringing the Fantastic Four back. Having writer Chip Zdarsky and superstar artist Jim Cheung likely helped a great deal too. Not sure how this will land long term, could be one that surprises if people want to show interest in an FF related story. This one sells over 66.7k at 8 and is the best selling of this months Legacy launches which…yeah.
Ray: A top ten debut is impressive and indicates that there’s a real hunger for the Fantastic Four again, but it’s worth noting that this was about 20K lower in sales than last month’s Captain America debut. That probably indicates that given second-issue Legacy slides, it’ll be lucky to land in the lower 30K range long term. But I think that qualifies as a mid-level hit for Marvel these days?
Glenn: 9 is Metal tie-in Hawkman Found which shows that if you have an event popular enough, you can make any character sell. Again I would have expected more unit wise due to not only this being a Metal tie in but also it was Jeff Lemire’s return to the DCU and had superstar Brian Hitch on art. Certainty a very commendable number for a 4.99 one shot starring Hawkman but the sales around here just seem odd.
Ray: Yeah, for a Hawkman one-shot this is a great number, but for a Metal book by Lemire and Hitch I might have expected a bit more. We didn’t see nearly as much hype for this one as we did for Batman: Lost or The Batman Who Laughs, so that might have played a role. It’s a one-shot, so no way of seeing anything more for this, but I’m curious to see how Lemire’s next offbeat DC project – The Terrifics – does.
Glenn: The Venom Inc story is enough to give Amazing Spider-Man some sales juice and give it the last spot in the top ten as it sells just under 62k. We’re on the home stretch towards issue 800 here so this crossover could be the start of a slow climb for the title as we look to the big anniversary issue which should land in April or May (I think). This is Marvel’s best selling ongoing right now and they’re being very elusive about plans for the title post 800 so hopefully they don’t anything to compromise the relative stability this book has too much.
Ray: The 11-20 range is full of some of the top books on the stands, including Star Wars, Detective Comics, and Walking Dead, all doing their things. Then at #17, we see the debut of the second volume of the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, featuring Bane. It sells 50K, which is well below the level of the first mini, but still an impressive debut for a mostly out-of-continuity crossover. The second issue holds onto the vast majority of those sales as well, selling 41K at #27. Another win for DC.
Glenn:The Batman/TMNT sequel seems to be treated like the Dark Horse minis were way back in the day. Gradual decrease on the first one, a bump on the first issue and then a resuming of declines again with increasing diminishing returns. Still, like you said this is impressive stuff and since this is the third Batman/TMNT crossover in two years, it would indicate companies are very happy with their performance.
Ray: Right below that, selling 49K is the one-shot Star Wars: Storms of Crait, which takes place during the original trilogy but on a planet key to The Last Jedi. Not quite as high as I would have expected, given the direct tie-in to the new movie. It might be the price point or the fact that the creators (Acker and Blacker, best names ever) are new to Star Wars comics, but I choose to blame the lack of Porgs.
Glenn: Oddly, books set during the Force Awakens era don’t seem to perform as strongly as New Hope era titles. It’s likely because there’s a strong nostalgia and 40 years of fans to cater to whereas the new films have their ultimate legacy outside the box office to be determined as the decades wind on.
Ray: At #19 we’ve got the Legacy debut of Weapon X, selling 48.9K. No renumbering, and this is really just the third arc of the series, so this is a standard jump that will fade away completely in a month or two. Legacy doesn’t have an impact on books that it doesn’t actually change anything for.
DC almost sweeps the 20-30 range, with Superman, Flash, and Justice League each shipping two issues here, as well as the return of Booster Gold in Action Comics at #29.
This is the debut of Priest on Justice League, and the numbers stay in line with the end of Hitch’s run, while Action maintains a decent bit of the sales it got from The Oz Effect. I imagine it’ll continue to build as it goes towards #1000. Superman stays mostly steady for the crossover event “Super-Sons of Tomorrow”, which features the return of the future versions of Conner Kent, Bart Allen, and Cassie Sandsmark, but the impact there is seen more in its fellow crossover titles – Teen Titans gains 8K copies from last month to land at #31, while Super-Sons jumps 7K and lands at #37. Clearly, the top tier of DC’s line is still rock-solid, even when you get outside of the Bat-line.
Glenn: Again, we see the title of Justice League seems to be able to hold sales regardless of a change of creator. Given how well received and stable Priest’s Deathstroke run has been, I would expect much the same for League.
Ray: Two Marvel books do sneak into the bottom range of 20-30. Mighty Thor lands at #28 with sales of 41K, which is almost flat from last month. This is a Marvel book that’s essentially performing like a top-tier Rebirth book, and they need that right now.
Meanwhile, then there’s Captain America, which lands at #30 with sales of 38K. That’s down from 87K for the debut of Waid and Samnee’s run, so clearly there’s still a lot of work to be done to win back the fans from the disastrous last few years. Reminds me of Teen Titans, in that by the time they got a good creative team back on board, so much good will had been lost. That being said…this is still the third-highest selling Marvel superhero ongoing this month that isn’t a Legacy launch. So it’s all relative, and this title will have the time to build that goodwill back.
Glenn: Yeah, Captain America is a weird one. A big crash in sales, more than Marvel would have liked most likely but still better than a lot of their books. Apart from Amazing and Star Wars titles, around 40k seems to be the best Marvel can hope for at this point…scary times.
Ray: Mister Miracle’s bizarre climb up the charts stops in sales count this month, as it drops a bit from #4 to sell 37.6K. But it also vaults up the charts, increasing from #43 to #34. This book is essentially unstoppable. You joked on the Stew (dong!) that it might be in the top ten by the time it’s over. At the rate it’s going, that’s not all that insane.
Glenn:Mister Miracle is now outselling the majority of Marvel’s line. This has to be credited to the team of King and Gerards who are delivering what many people consider to be a modern classic. No bells and whistles here, just plain quality.
Ray: Mister Miracle outsold Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman’s new creative team is…not going over great, and it’s showing in sales. The book slips to 36K this month with its second issue, as it continues to shed more copies per issue than most DC biweekly titles right now. Right now, it’s still in the top 40 – second issue is at #39 – but a lot of books are nipping at its heels. Rumors of top-tier creative teams are around the corner.
Glenn:Seeing sales on Wonder Woman is almost like watching history repeat itself. In the new 52, the title had a very well thought of creative run that brought it commercial success and then when that run ended, a new less than well received run started and the sales suffered. Now we’re in the exact same position but DC’s writing talent is a lot stronger across the board now than it was then so it’s hard to imagine them now being able to throw something and hit someone who would bring the title some much needed tlc.
Ray: A book I was glad to see did as well as it did was X-Men: Grand Design, which lands at #38 with sales of 37K. A $5.99, super-dense retelling of the X-men’s history by an indie cartoonist with massive talent but not much mainstream profile was a hard sell, but Marvel got the word out. This will do the vast majority of its sales in collections and this is just gravy, though.
Glenn:Grand Design was one I wasn’t sure what to expect from but yeah, this is a very good number for an out of the wheelhouse concept for a book and a high price point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel considers doing more stuff like this, DC already are with their alternate history of the DC universe coming this year.
Ray: The 40-50 range is dominated by mid-level Marvel books, including several X-men titles, some lower-selling Star Wars series including Doctor Aphra and Mace Windu, and Avengers, with Harley and Titans sneaking in there for DC. Not much movement here, although as Harley ends its iconic creative team, it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain these heights.
At #51, we’ve got one of the best debuts in a while for a Valiant book, with Quantum and Woody selling 29K. These characters had a few recent relaunches and none really caught on, so this might have a lot to do with the presence of Daniel Kibblesmith, a humorist with a huge online following. Can he pull Lockjaw to those same numbers when it debuts soon?
Glenn: Brilliant number for Valient and they seem to be really hitting a stride with some of these new launches. This is a property that people still have some affection for and shows that Valients strategy of only a (relative) number of small books to the same passionate audience seems to be working for them. Slow and steady wins the race.
Ray: Business as usual for Hal Jordan, Nightwing, Poe Dameron, Deadpool, and Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man at this level. The latter two seem like books that should be selling better than the 29K range, but here we are. SSM may get a boost with the upcoming #300 issue.
At #59 we’ve got the second issue of the prestige miniseries Batman: Creature of the Night, which sells 28.8K, a pretty good hold from last issue’s 35K. This was likely ordered knowing most people would wait until collections to pick it up. It’s been a while since DC regularly released prestige format comics, so that probably has an impact.
Glenn: Creature Of The Night is something I expected to be pretty stable. This will do most of its business in collections so these orders are probably the base line for the DC passionate (like yourself) that can’t wait for it to be collected in a purty hardcover.
Ray: What was hyped as a massive farewell storyarc for Brian Michael Bendis kind of peters out with weak sales, as Spider-Men II concludes at #61 with sales of 28.5K. Ever since Miles made his way over to the main universe, a comic like this has really lost its impact.
Glenn: The two Spider-Men teaming up is no longer a big deal, they can literally meet up for coffee in any issue of either of their titles. Given how Spider-Men II concluded, it’ll be interesting to see how Miles is treated now that his creator and main advocate has left. Will he join the likes of Mattie Franklin and Miguel O’Hara who languished for years after their initial run before being killed off and brought back for a somewhat successful revival decades later? Time will tell. The advantage Miles has is that he’s going to be in a Sony animation film this eyar but I think that he’s not the character people will be talking about after that movie is over if the title is any indication.
Ray: The wild climb finally ends for Supergirl this month, as it dips 6K to land at #62 with sales of 28.4K. But that’s still well above where it was before these crazy six months, and it’s outselling books like Suicide Squad and Green Lanterns. Whatever happened to this book recently, it’s catapulted itself nicely into the safe mid-range for DC’s line.
Glenn: Something weird happened with Supergirl and it could be the new artist, word or mouth, Jody Houser joining on writing or maybe people jumping over to the monthly after the first trade but whatever the reason, it worked and DC will be most pleased.
At 67, Ms Marvel has an underwhelming Legacy relaunch with sales over 27.1k. Its a little boost for the title but certainty not one that will stick if other Legacy books are any indication. I doubt Marvel will cancel the title as it sells well elsewhere and features a well liked minority hero but again it just seems to be a little underwhelming.
Ray: Ms. Marvel apparently does most of its sales in digital and collections, so a book like that’s naturally going to have a smaller bump for Legacy. I expect it to quickly decline back to its previous level and then stabilize.
Glenn: No real benefit for the 25th issue for Spider-Man/Deadpool which sells over 26k at 74 which is about half of last month. Given that it is issue 25, one might think the drop might have been worse otherwise. This is the level most of Marvel’s line lives at now though so I doubt there’s a need for concern unless there’s another big drop less month.
Ray: As I recall, they did nothing for the 25th issue of this title. It was just the last issue of a standard storyarc, and the next issue was the special one (the strange Oldpool/Spider-Senior issue). So they didn’t promote it like an anniversary, and the retailers didn’t treat it like one.
Glenn: Not much interest in Tales Of Suspense #100 despite it being a legacy book and having the almighty centurelial numbering that often gives titles attention. It sells over 25.3k at 78. This was a book featuring Bucky, Hawkeye and Black Widow and seemed to be almost nearly overlooked entirely.
Ray: To put this into perspective, the first issue of a brand-new title by a hot Marvel writer, picking up the biggest dangling plot thread from their last line-wide event and starring three major characters from the Avengers franchise, got outsold by the thirty-first issue of Aquaman.
Glenn: At this level we see a lot of Marvel books that are being cancelled. Those that are continuing on like Thanos (76 with sales over 25.5k) and Doctor Strange (82 with sales over 24.2k and 91 with sales over 23k) are likely being continued to show investment in Donny Cates while Spider-Gwen (over 24.2k at 83) is just to keep the characters visibility high since her merchandise does so well but since the artist (at least) is leaving, its unclear what the future of that book is. Any Marvel book below these numbers may be at risk.
Ray: This is basically the mid-level for Marvel books right now. Only the top franchises are above them, and if books like Strange, Thanos, and Champions stabilize here, they’ll be able to survive. But that’s a big if. Then there’s books like Generation X (cancelled), Hawkeye (cancelled), and Black Bolt (not cancelled, but feels like a finite run). These are their Legacy debuts, and they only manage to chart in the mid-20K range. That’s a complete, unmitigated disaster. Very few Marvel books are succeeding right now. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed Black Panther run is barely cracking 20K anymore. Squirrel Girl, like Ms. Marvel, gets a very muted Legacy debut but singles mean little to this book. And no wonder Guardians of the Galaxy was cancelled before the upcoming event – the latest issue before the finale gets outsold by the seventeenth issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws!
Glenn: Strong sales for this months Hellboy number 1, Hellboy Krampusneight sells over 22k at 96 which is better than what this characters titles have been doing. This sees Hellboy fight Krampus who has become a bit of a thing the last year or three so that probably helped. With Dark Horse losing Conan and a number of their other properties being owned by FOX which is now owned by Marvel, Hellboy is their real MVP at the moment. I also now have enough Hellboy number 1’s on my stamp card to get a free sarcastic demon, score!
Ray: Krampus also had a hit movie not that long ago, which probably gives the title some sales clout – even if it’s a different version of the old legend.
Glenn: Massive drop for Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows which is out of the top 100 already at 102 with sales just under 21k which is a roughly 40k drop from last month. I guess we maybe got too excited about people showing interest in the Spider-Marriage/Spider-Family. Not sure what the future might hold for this book now.
Ray: Unless Renew Your Vows manages to find the same bookstore/digital sales as some other young-skewing titles, its future probably holds two more arcs. Peter will probably be back in high school come the reboot anyway.
Glenn: Anything that’s not Star Wars or Spider-Man is really struggling at Marvel. We’ll see next month if Marvel’s new strategy with the various Avenger’s books works to their advantage as we await their next move to try to course correct the rest of the line.
This years DC Holiday special charts at 107 with over 19.2k of sales which if I didn’t lie last year is a little less than last years that sold about 23k. Given how packed with talent this years was, how well received last years was and how well received THIS years was, I would have expected more. Still it’s a 9.99 one shot so its a lot to ask of retailers and fans. Its not too much of a drop from last year so I would bet on DC giving us another one this year.
Ray: $10 specials are always going to be a hard sell. This significantly outperformed both the Halloween and New Talent Showcase books like this, so DC is probably pretty happy. These are essentially mini-trades, at this size.
Glenn: At 108 is a $1 True Believers one shot, Enter the Phoenix which is a reprint that is likely to give fans some background on the returning (adult) Jean Gray. It sells over 19.1k which is perfectly fine for reprinted old material that has been reprinted multiple times.
Ray: There are a LOT more of these Phoenix reprints on the charts. You’ll find them at 126, 133, 135-137, 141, 144, and 156, with the lowest selling about 11K. These are free sales for Marvel and they’re likely not going to be shy doing more themed months like this, but these numbers are more impressive than I would have expected. Jean Grey proper has been gone for over fifteen years now – could it be that there actually is some serious nostalgia? If so, that might bode well for X-Men: Red to be a rare hit for Marvel.
Glenn: The Phoenix Saga is still considered one of Marvel’s best stories ever has been felt in x-books since then up until today (even before Jean was back). People still have interest in these old X-Men stories even though they’ve been around forever and have been reprinted many, many times.
At 112 we have a new book from Dynamite in Barbarella which sells over 17.8k I’m not sure what this is but reading the description tells me it seems to be a revival of an old property. It has Mike Carey’s involvement which is likely why it generated most of these sales. Not sure of the history on this at all so Carey is the mvp here most likely.
Ray: Barbarella was a hard-R sex-filled sci-fi book that definitely wasn’t the most accessible comic Dynamite has put out, but it also had one of the most high-profile writers in Dynamite’s stable – Mike Carey of X-Men and Unwritten fame. It’ll be interesting to see if it keeps a majority of those sales due to the pull of the writer.
Glenn: Given I’ve never heard of Barbarella its surprising her first issue outsells the 75th of Iron Fist (protector of Kun-Lun, sworn enemy of the hand) which sells over 17.8k at 113. Again the 75th issue number has made no noticeable impact over last month so likely indicating we have seen lower numbers without it.
The second issue of the Neal Adams vehicle Deadman sells over 17.4k at 116. Quite a hefty drop from the combined sales of the glow in the dark and regular editions last month but its Deadman so you can’t expect too much. Still decent enough for a book that’s basically for the fans of the creator and has nothing to do with anything.
Ray: It’s really odd that this book, compared to Demon or Mystic U, was the one that seemed to get some sales momentum. Might be that as strange as his comics have gotten, Adams still has a significant fanbase.
Glenn: As mentioned earlier, the first issue of Doomsday Clock sees some really good reorders at 122 with over 15.5k. This is better than some Marvel/DC books are doing in their latest issues. Doomsday Clock was already a win, this is just icing on the cake…or syrup on the pancakes if you will.
Ray: Just icing on the cake at this point for DC, but given how many reorders we saw of Metal-related issues, this book could easily keep showing up on the charts for months at a time the way Rebirth did.
At #125, we’ve got a relaunch of Witchblade by Coffin Hill/Throwaways writer Caitlin Kittridge. This is, I believe, the third person to wield the Witchblade long-term, and the title is far from its glory days, but sales of 14.2K is pretty solid for a Top Cow debut, and I believe that’s the top Image debut of the month.
Glenn: Witchblade has certainty put its time as a hot property long behind it but these sales are pretty good for a Top Cow book. It’ll probably settle to about 7-8k which will probably be enough to justify its existence.
Ray: Speaking of Metal and reorders, there’s the Batman Who Laughs, haunting all our dreams in December with reorders of 12.9K at #132. Congratulations, Batman Who Laughs, and please stay far away from us. Keep in mind, this reorder outsold four ongoing DC Rebirth titles this month.
Glenn: I thought he was gone but he just keeps coming back. It’s hard to imagine this character will go away forever after Metal concludes, there seems to be a ton of potential with him and fans love him.
Ray: The Kamandi Challenge wraps up its run at #143 with sales of 11.7K. Not a great number in singles, but it outperformed quite a few DC Rebirth titles and will likely go on to a healthy life in trade, especially with the acclaimed King/Eastman issue considered one of the best single issues of the year included.
Glenn: The Challenge was done as a Kirby tribute by and large so considering that and that the property is not one of the most high profile in the world, the 12 issue series performed well, especially considering its unique nature.
Ray: At #147 we’ve got the Wicked + Divine Christmas Annual, selling 11.5K. This book regularly works in one-shots and annuals into its narrative, and they generally sell close to the level of the main title. This is a long-running cult comic with a set audience, and retailers know how to order for it.
More reorders for DC, as a Dark Knights Metal Director’s Cut lands at #153 with sales of 11.2K. At this point, it’s just running up the score!
For 90s cartoon fans, at #158 we’ve got the debut of Rocko’s Modern Life, the second cartoon-based ongoing from Boom. This sold about 2K less than the debut of Rugrats two months ago, and this was a more obscure cartoon. Thus, for a comic aimed at kids and nostalgia fans, 11K is a decent start.
Glenn: I never cared for Rocco’s Modern Life but I can’t remember why. I would say that’s a very good number for one of the more obscure Nicolodeon 90’s properties.
Ray: The second Klaus one-shot following up the acclaimed Morrison/Mora miniseries, Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville, sells 10.9K at #160. These specials aren’t picking up any casual new fans because of their complex mythology, but they’re likely bound for inclusion in a fancy oversized hardcover containing the mini and specials, and the singles sales are just a bonus. This one thematically felt like the end of the series as well.
Glenn: Given its a Morrison book, I would have expected more for Klaus but its been a while since the main mini now and if fans weren’t specifically told by their LCS or knew beforehand, they likely thought the story was done.
Ray: Surprisingly, it seems like last month’s oddball inclusion on the charts, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast from Heavy Metal, has some life in it past the first month. It holds decently to land at #162 with sales of 10.8K. Comeback for hard rock comics?
Glenn: I can’t wait for Iron Maiden to crossover with the Archie’s
Ray: The new Image title Paradiso, set in a post-apocalyptic future and featuring some promising new talent, manages to become the last comic to inch over the 10K threshold at #169. For a new Image book without household name talent, that’s pretty good, and a lot of Image books have held steady or even increased from their debuts.
We’ve got two revivals at the #170 mark. First up, selling 9.9K is Steve Niles’ own relaunch of his most famous property, 30 Days of Night – albeit sans the iconic Ben Templesmith art. Just below it at 171 and selling 9.8K is the relaunch of Image’s Rumble, with a new artist continuing the killer scarecrow fantasy. A decent debut for Rumble as it makes its comeback, but it feels like 30 Days of Night’s status as one of the hottest comics on the stands are long behind it.
Glenn: A self reboot is an odd one to do. Fans of the original will be like ‘well I read this already’ and years after its heyday, its not one that will be particularly sought out for new fans. All these years later, the series probably still does well in collections so eventually having another one of those won’t hurt.
Ray: Jetsons has a pretty hard fall from its first issue, landing at #180 with sales of 9.6K. If this brilliant comic is going to find its momentum, it’ll unfortunately likely have to be in collections.
Glenn: Given that Jetsons is a very serious take on the concept, people looking for their childhood may have been turned off by the Black Mirror type direction. I always felt also the Jetson’s seem to not be as well remembered as some other Hanna Barbera cartoons so DC might have had slightly lower expectations. Will likely hold firm as it finishes out the rest of the mini.
Ray: At #181 is another new Image debut, Sleepless. This is by the writer of Eternal Empire and the artist of Shutter, two cult Image books that never really dominated in single issue sales. So a debut here of 9.5K is probably about what could be expected, but it might very well maintain it’s momentum and lock down around that level.
In its penultimate month, Cyborg becomes the first DC Rebirth title to slide below the 9K mark at #187, while Blue Beetle is two spots above it with two months to go.
Note: Since this writing, Cyborg’s title has received a reprieve of at least one issue
Although it’s worth noting that it took these books well over a year to get here, while America from Marvel is down at #201, below 8K, in only 10 months – and that’s counting a Legacy relaunch only two months previously.
Glenn: Cyborg held in there well but it doesn’t seem that many people really have much interest in him as a solo hero. DC have really done their best to make it work over the last seven years since his big push in Flashpoint but time to give the guy a break and just be a member of the League for a while.
The second issue of Port Of Earth from Image loses nearly half its sales with over 8.4k at 195. No big names here so this is pretty standard Image stuff. If it can stay around this level, it’ll run for as long as the creators want.
The 25th issue of Teen Titans Go charts at 199 with sales over 8.1k. I don’t remember seeing this book the last few charts so I presume its missed the top 300 (I could go check beyond last month…but I’m sleepy) so I guess issues with a root base of 25 do mean something after all! Maybe the title might get a boost from the movie but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m also not going to mention the movie again cause Ray has that look in his eyes again…
Ray: *perches on top of a wardrobe holding an axe* BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! *gets cold water tossed on him* Anyway, I’m not a fan of Teen Titans Go. But yeah, this is definitely not the usual numbers for this comic, so DC must have put some promotion into the anniversary number.
Glenn: Another company taking advantage of the festive season is IDW with the production of the My Little Pony Holiday special which sells over 7.9k at 202. This is probably fine for a book that’s only for the most enthusiastic Pony fans (insert your own jokes here you sick people).
There’s a third printing of Batman: White Night’s first issue at 203 selling over 7.9k. More tasty reorder goodness for DC who are really hitting it out with these specialty projects. We also see the second issue rechart at 208 with sales over 7.2k. Perhaps Sean Murphy moves the needle?
A new Image book, Bonehead debuts at 207 with sales over 7.3k. This is an odd sounding book from a cult creative team so probably couldn’t have expected much more than this.
Ray: Bonehead was another of Matt Hawkins’ recent cyberpunk books for Top Cow, this one about a futurist parkour gang. This was always going to be a niche book, but these books are pretty normal for Top Cow. Port of Earth is one of their few books recently that’s performing more like a standard Image book.
Glenn: At 209 is the first issue of an IDW mini series, Asssassinistas which sell over 7.2k. The premise sounds odd, the creative team don’t seem to ring a bell and IDW aren’t known for original properties…all that considered I would say this isn’t too bad a number at all.
Ray: The main appeal for Assassinistas was probably the art of Gilbert Hernandez, the cult creator behind Love and Rockets (along with his brother). That’s a book that, while never being a sales force in the direct market, had a very loyal audience. I imagine that’s going to help this title stabilize a lot better than many creator-owned books.
Glenn: Another holiday special from Curse Words sells over 7.2k at 210, never forget there is never a better time of year to try to get money from people than at Christmas.
Ray: I think this, like The Wicked + The Divine’s frequent specials, essentially just got treated like another issue of Curse Words. They’re titles that have established their level pretty well and these side projects keep most of the sales.
Glenn: Not too bad a drop for Kong on The Planet of the apes second issue which sells over 7.2k at 211. This is a pretty fun sounding crossover so probably has Apes fans interested. We all know of course if it doesn’t have Kong climbing the half buried statue of liberty, it’ll be for nothing.
At 214 is more reorders for DC and its Doomsday Clock this time. The lenticular edition picks up another over 7k in sales. Thankfully, DC held off on the dog dead in gutter edition…although that would have sold too.
The Allred vehicle, Bug Adventures Of Forager sells over 6.9k on its final issue. This was another Kirby tribute book in essence and a bit of an oddball book from what I’ve read. DC likely knew what they were getting when they green lit this. It was published under the Young Animal banner, the success bar of which is still hard to say but will be subject for a relaunch shortly which Bug will miss out on but may benefit in its collection life. Maybe those picking up the Komandi hardcover may want more Kirby in their life.
Ray: Bug! was easily the lowest-selling and oddest book in the Young Animal stable, but it was also a spotlight for the work of the Allred family. I think it’s more likely to find a second life in collections as the creators’ fans find it. And it gets my highest recommendation.
Glenn: BOOM continues to take advantage of their access to the Jim Henson licence with the release of Jim Henson Storyteller Fairies at 220 with sales over 6.8k. Given that this isn’t connected to any of the major Henson properties this is probably for the hardcore fans. At least BOOM is showing they can certainty use any aspect of a property that comes under their purview if nothing else.
How Monsters Unleashed at 222 is still going with sales over 6.7k is anyone’s guess. It must sell somewhere but I’m not hearing where. Some websites say that Marvel aren’t cancelling it out of stubbornness due to a lawsuit that’s popped up from the Monster energy drink but who really knows.
Ray: That’s one of the possible explanations. The other is that it’s getting that sweet, sweet Scholastic Book Fair money. Moon Girl is only selling 400 copies more, but hey, it’s not the lowest-selling uncancelled Marvel book anymore! Clearly something odd is going on with these two that isn’t fully reflected on these charts.
Glenn: Coyotes from Image at 223 has its second issue sell over 6.6k. At the lower end of non major name selling Image books but given the writer isn’t that well known and the artist is seemingly completely new to comics, they’re probably both thrilled just to in the charts at all.
At 224 is a new mini from BOOM in Judas which retells a portion of the Bible from the title characters perspective. It sells over 6.6k which I can understand, its an interesting idea for a comic but religious material comes with a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to succeed, no matter what medium its in.
Ray: Judas was always going to be a hard sell, but I imagine the subject matter will get it some real buzz as the controversy over the twists in future issues starts to build. This is a four-issue miniseries, so that may not show up on these charts, but it could become a hotter item in collections.
Glenn: The second issue of Image’s Evolution slides to 227 with sales over 6.4k. Again this is another oddball book with a unique selling point in having multiple writers telling the same story. Probably confusing for most potential readers and retailers. I admire the books initiative but this isn’t the market to try to break the norm.
Gravediggers Union loses about half its sales on its second issue going to 230 with sales over 6.2k. Artist Wes Craig is certainty an unknown quantity as a writer but everyone has to start somewhere, I’m sure that big name artists turned writers like Bendis and Remender didn’t come out with hits right away either as they transferred from art to scripting. This one might earn its keep through trades.
Another month, another Aftershock comic, this time in the form of horror comic Backways which sells over 6.2k at 232. This one sounds really interesting and boasts Justin Jordan as a writer so I would have thought it may have done a little better but its within Aftershock’s usual range so nothing major to report either way.
Ray: Aftershock still seems to have a hard time getting decent launch sales, except for a select few books with bigger names. This is pretty much in line with their other recent launches, so Jordan will have time to build an audience for his horror-fantasy missing person tale.
Glenn: Back To The Future Time Train tells us what happened to Emmett and Clara Brown after they waved goodbye to Marty at the end of the final installment of the classic franchise. The Back To The Future comics thus far have seemingly been for the die hard fans only and this one doesn’t seem to be any different with sales over 6.1k at 23. IDW must be happy enough with these various books cause they keep producing them but then again, they’re hardly just going to let the licence sit around gathering dust either.
Vertigo’s Imaginary Fiends loses nearly half it sales from a less than stellar launch as its second issue is at 237 with sales over 5.9k. This is only a mini and that is maybe for the best because I’m not sure how long it was survive in the top 300 otherwise. There have been murmurings of a Vertigo overhaul for a while and a title with an interesting premise with a well known writer like this demonstrates why. Bookstores are Vertigo’s best friend so that’s where this book might thrive.
Ray: Yeah, this is more a symbol of Vertigo’s issues than anything. This is a title that did everything right – top creator, timely subject matter, great reviews – but retailers don’t think Vertigo can sell anymore. There’s a big retooling coming in 2018, but right now, I’m guessing this miniseries will do most of its money in bookstores.
Glenn: At 240 is the second issue of Betty and Veronica Vixens which sells over 5.8k. Pretty standard for your typical wacky Archie book.
Only the hardcore fans remain if the sales of the second issue of Wonderful World Of Tank Girl is any indication, it sells just under 5.6k at 244. No big surprise for a property that really is the definition of having a cult fan base.
By The Numbers official mascot (not official) Zombie Tramp has rock solid sales. We tell you all this because we know that you all, like us care deeply about Zombie Tramp. It sells over 5.4k at 246.
Ray: Zoooooooooooombie Tramp!!! Truly America’s most comic. (I have never read an issue of Zombie Tramp)
Glenn: (Me either)
At 249 is the second issue of the Tick which seems to be a bit delayed selling just over 5.1k. Much like Tank Girl, this is a cult fan base were only the pure loyal remain. In good news for Tick fans everywhere though, the Amazon show is getting a second season.
Ray: It feels like it’s been several months since the first episode of Tick, which is a problem I see with a lot of indie books lately. I’m wondering if that might drive down sales a bit.
At #245, we’ve got the final issue of the Andrew MacLean oversized fantasy comic Head Lopper, selling 5.5K. This has always been a cult series, packing eighty pages of head lopping into a $5.99 comic. This was recalled at the last minute and reissued the following month, so we might see it next month as well.
At #254, we’ve got the Faith Winter Wonderland Special from Valiant. This was a done-in-one comedy tale featuring one of Valiant’s fan-favorite characters, but it didn’t have regular series writer Jody Houser. I would have expected a bit more than just a tick under 5K, but one-shots can be a hard sell.
Glenn: Much like Spider-Gwen, Faith is a bit of a merchandise machine and one of Valiant’s best known characters. Obviously its on a smaller scale than Gwen but the same benifits likely apply for other forms of revenue so her comic sales don’t need to hit as much.
Ray: The new Leonardo Da Vinci-starring Monstro Mechanica from Aftershock has one of the lower debuts from the company, selling 4.9K at #255. This got positive reviews, but with no name creators attached, it suffered the same sales struggles as much of Aftershock’s line.
IDW has a new Rom and the Micronauts series, followed by a Transformers annual, in the next two slots, both selling 4.8K or so. IDW puts out more comics than any other company besides the big two, so there’s a lot of these books that won’t distinguish themselves sales-wise. IDW makes its money by catering to devoted, old-school fans of these properties.
Glenn: Now I’ve also completed my Transformers tracker card! Now I can get a free Graphic Policy!
Ray: At #258, we’ve got the debut of Giants from Dark Horse. This is the American debut of the Valderrama brothers, and they’re potentially bringing with them a big crossover audience. But it didn’t translate to first issue sales, selling 4.8K. Dark Horse debuts often struggle, but this is a miniseries and will likely have a better shot at that larger market in collections.
Glenn: I’ve not heard of these guys so its likely they aren’t going to carry much weight in the direct market. Mini’s without much buzz are destined to get lost in the shuffle in today’s market though so I would say that Dark Horse definitely is betting on collections here.
Ray: The regular Jem and the Holograms comic has ended, but there’s the new “Dimensions” miniseries for die-hard fans. Selling 4.5K at #270, it’s pretty clear why the original series faded out with the departure of series writer Kelly Thompson (now newly Marvel-exclusive).
At #272 is another new Mignolaverse series, Joe Golem: Flesh and Blood. Co-written with horror author Christopher Golden, this isn’t one of Mignola’s most well-known series, but it’s part of Dark Horse’s most successful in-house franchise. This is also a very stable franchise, so 4.4K in sales for the single issue wasn’t likely unexpected.
At #278 is this year’s Zenoscope Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Special. Glenn, take it away!
Glenn: When it comes to Zenoscope, Rebecca Bunch always says it better than I ever could.
Ray: I don’t even know what a “Street Fighter Shadaloo Special” is. Googling indicates it’s an anthology, and it gets UDON Entertainment on the charts at #285 with sales of 3.9K.
Glenn: UDON seems to pay its bills with Street Fighter nostalgia as its the only time we see them chart. There’s a new game out but its likely kids from the 90’s who mashed their SNES controller to death playing Street Fighter II Turbo or whatever that are the primary audience.
Ray: At #286 we have Zombie Tramp and Friends, aka “Danger Doll Squad“, selling 3.9K. Truly America’s most team book.
We have the second issue of Void Trip at #292, selling 3.8K. This is one of Image’s oddest books in a while, and it doesn’t seem to have caught on with retailers. Shame – it’s a hilarious and oddball space adventure with vibes of Star Wars by way of Hunter S. Thompson. Give it a cry before it says goodbye to the top 300!
Glenn: This is written by a fellow former Bendis Boarder who up to now has only written game tie-ins and the like so he’s building a portfolio here. If he continues to have a success story later down the line, Image will benefit long term from placing faith in him early.
Ray: At #294, we’ve got the debut of Scarlett’s Strike Force from controversial IDW writer Aubrey Sitterson. This was cancelled prior to the first issue being released, and first-issue sales of 3.8K don’t make it hard to see why. How much of this was his widely debated comments, and how much was one too many GI Joe relaunches, we’ll never know.
Glenn: Oh its this book. The book has gotten press that has more likely reached more people that ever would have heard of it otherwise. There are so many different sides to this particular story that its hard to know where to begin with looking at how it performed. If you’re unaware of what the heck we’re talking about…don’t google it, just watch something like American Vandal instead. You’ll thank us.
Ray: Hey, it’s a second appearance by Los Bros Hernandez on these charts! The latest issue of Love & Rockets Magazine from Fantagraphics sells 3.8K at #297. These were never comics designed for Wednesday Warriors, so this is a surprise.
Adam Warren’s cult classic Empowered makes an appearance on the charts at #298, selling 3.8K with the mouthful-named “Sistah Spooky’s High School Hell“.
Glenn: This franchise has been going for what seems like forever so it must do well in collections or something. Good for Adam Warren being able to just do whatever he wants in a book that he owns, whenever he feels like it. It may not be a book that sets the charts ablaze but a lot of creators would love the same freedom I’m sure.
Ray: And rounding out the top 300 this month is Joe Books with their Disney Princess anthology. This series, composed of a series of short comic strips focusing on the popular Disney characters outside their main adventures, started pretty hot but trailed off with the departure of popular webcomic creator Amy Mebberson. Joe Books doesn’t really seem like it’s making much of a push in the single issue market anymore – these titles will do much better in collections.
Glenn: I’m wondering if Disney remember if Joe Books still has this licence. They lend their licences to a lot of people and are bound to lose track.
Ray: Looking forward to January, we’ve got some interesting debuts for DC. The first two comics from the “New Age of DC Heroes” line arrive, in the form of Venditti/Daniel’s rampaging monster comic Damage and Abnett/Romita Jr.’s assassin-mom thriller Silencer. These aren’t the two most buzz-worthy debuts for the line, so it’ll be interesting to how they do in advance of books like Immortal Men and Terrifics in the coming months. We’ve also got new issues of Metal and Doomsday Clock, which should dominate the top of the charts, along with a new wave of annuals, the Swamp Thing Winter Special with stories by Tom King and the late Len Wein, the start of the Young Animal/DC crossover, and the end of one Harley run and the beginning of another.
Marvel’s delivered almost all their Legacy debuts already to mixed results, but we’ve got a couple of new launches from them – including X-men books Rogue/Gambit and Legion, Rise of the Black Panther, Old Man Hawkeye, and a one-shot focusing on the mysterious DJ from The Last Jedi. Helping them in sales this month, they’ll have four issues of both the Jean Grey resurrection miniseries, and the new weekly Avengers book.
The biggest indie sales force of the month will probably be the weekly Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny event, which should probably get IDW five more books in the top 100. Image has a bunch of new books coming out, including their oddest book in a while – the surreal horror comic Ice Cream Man. And Dynamite will be relying on two generations of Battlestar Galactica fans to power the franchise’s first crossover ever.
What will rise? What will fall? We’ll see next time on…By the Numbers!