Hey By The Numbers fans! Sorry about the delay in getting this up, it was a slow month sales wise but busy for yours truly. In order to get this out sooner, I didn’t include the random covers I usually do. I hope that’s okay just for this month, I’m hoping next months sales will come out in a more timely manner and we’ll be back to business as usual. Enjoy!
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 various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He was rooting for the ghost spirits to get Tom Taylor so he could take over Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, maybe next time.
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. If given the chance to run a red panda sanctuary, Ray denies he would train them to be his army to do not only battle but amusing tricks on demand.
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!
Glenn: It seems that we’re in the lull before the storm folks because the most we can say about February sales wise is that it sure was a month that happened. Most of the major companies are keeping things trucking along this month with a skip month (months?) on Doomsday Clock and War Of The Realms yet to drown us in comics, things were slow. Sure, some books had special events happen here and there on a small scale but there was no juggernaut that came along and laid waste to everything else. Still with it being a quiet month that gives us a better idea of how things stand without any artificial boosters and…oy.
Ray: This month reminds me a lot of those doldrum months in the pre-New 52 days, before this column kicked off. We would have months where the top comic would be a random issue of The Dark Knight and it would sell about 65K. Things obviously aren’t nearly that bad yet, but it’s still depressing.
Glenn: The biggest selling comic and the only one to pass the six figure mark this month was DC’s Batman Who Laughs which sells over 101.7k. It’s likely to drop below six figures next month but I doubt we’ll get below 85k before all said and done which is pretty stellar. Its hard to beat Batman when things are quiet and now you got him mixed with his most famous foe.
Ray: Yeah, The Batman Who Laughs is coming down to Earth a little bit, but when you spend three months on top the charts there is nothing to complain about. It’s a perfect storm of success, the best since Spider-Gwen.
Glenn: Further in that vein, the main Batman title is king (get it? get it? of ongoing as per usual. Issues 64 and 65 which was part of the Price crossover with Flash which we geniuses here at By The Numbers correctly predicted upped numbers. The title sold 93.4k and over 89.1k at 2 and 3 respectfully. Hardly the smash hit the Button was but this is tying into Heroes In Crisis, not the next part of the Rebirth story that Johns started and doesn’t have those super fancy covers. With it being a great selling title anyway, there is minimal benefit for Batman but hey an increase is an increase. Watch for things to kick off as we get closer to King’s endgame.
Ray: No real bump for Batman, surprisingly, but The Flash got the lion’s share of the help. I continue to be puzzled by the dramatic difference between issues when it’s a four-part crossover – are many retailers assuming people are going to drop out mid-story?
Glenn: There will be more people checking out part 1 and then they can always reorder more but yeah, the differences in these type of things always puzzle me too.
At 4 is insanity in Venom which IS THE HIGHEST SELLING ONGOING NOT NAMED BATMAN, WHAT IS HAPPENING. So this title shoots up a lot with it landing the number spot with sales over 89.4k. Why a near 4k increase in sales? Who knows but the title continues to be a massive hit which nobody could have predicted. Its clear to see why Marvel keep throwing things at Cates but there’s no way to discount the value that Stegman brings either. Crazy times.
Ray: We just got an announcement today (as I write this) that Cates and Stegman will be showrunning a summer event titled Absolute Carnage. Considering the staggering sales here, there’s almost no way that doesn’t dominate the charts during its run, maybe more so than War of the Realms. This is another huge increase as the title hasn’t found its level yet.
Glenn: It certainty has a fair chance of being as strong as War, probably a far better pairing than what DC has managed with Doomsday Clock and Heroes In Crisis.
At 5 is Heroes In Crisis the bizarre event comic no one knows quite what to make of. It continues the so-so performance its now known for which is good for sales over 79k. This one may have some impact felt but likely will be quickly forgotten shortly after it concludes.
Ray: This feels a lot more like a place-setting event than anything, setting up bigger things to spin out of it. The lack of major tie-ins has led to it being largely overshadowed, but I expect it’ll have big post-game effects like Identity Crisis.
Glenn: Continuing its odd random spikes and slides is Amazing Spider-Man which sells over 71.4k at 6 for issue 15 and over 64.1k at 11 for issue 16. The latter is interesting because its the prelude to ‘Hunted’ the new Amazing writer’s first in title event which Marvel are trying to make like its a big deal like Spider-Verse or Ends Of The Earth or Spider-Verse or…well you get the idea. Well its clearly not. Why one issue is always higher than others. Amazing has fallen into a very standard sales level which has come after years of it being built up. If there were adverse effects creatively on sales, it likely would take a lot longer to show up in sales. It continues to be a puzzle.
Ray: Hunted is the kind of mini-event that doesn’t really drive sales, especially since we’ve seen a lot of similar stories in better-regarded runs, but it is going to stabilize sales for the time being. We’ll see how the nonsense-numbered .Hu issues do next month.
Glenn: At 7 and 9 is Uncanny X-Men which has a 7.99 issue at 9 to celebrate Matt Rosenburg taking solo reigns and again despite everyone online saying otherwise, an expensive comic pays dividends as it sells over 66.9k. Again we keep saying we don’t want expensive comics but Marvel is hardly going to give us something at 3.99 for what it can sell roughly the same at 7.99 for. Those FOX purchases don’t pay for themselves you know. The following issue sells slightly more at 68.6k so retailers likely ordered these around the same level for the ‘new’ run but again, this issue is sold at 3.99 and sold not even 2k more than one that was nearly $4 more so whats the lesson here?
Ray: It does feel like these two X-men relaunches – first the weekly and now the regular run – have revitalized the franchise after a rough few years. A back-to-basics focus on Cyclops and Wolverine helps too. Of course, now the rumors are that Jonathan Hickman’s return to Marvel will be taking over the X-Men, so nothing is ever stable around here.
Glenn: At 8 is the bigger winner of the Price crossover, Flash which probably gets that juice because a) Batman’s there and b) Heroes In Crisis has likely more implications for his own title and the first part sells over 67.7k and the second is at 16 selling over 60k. Again we’re not at Button level bumps but 20k more than its usual numbers is nothing to sneeze at, we’ll see next month if any of those numbers stick around for the start of Williamson’s next big Flash story.
Rounding out the top ten is the start of sequel weekly series Avengers: No Road Home which sells over 64.5k then at 41 with sales over 36.3k and 34.8k at 45 for the other two issues next month. Apart from the standard first issue bump, retailers have seemingly ordered this along the lines of the series predecessor like its one long story…which it is. Grand numbers for an Avenger’s spin off not related to the Aaron main title and of course its likely to get a huge spike whenever well known Avenger, Conan shows up.
Ray: This sells pretty close to the main Avengers title, just a little below. Attrition will continue settling in over the run, but at only ten issues it’ll be over before it gets too low. I expect to see a lot more short-run weeklies like this and the X-men run in the future, because they work. Crom!
Glenn: So our entry point to the top ten is 64k which is the lowest in a while. Yay?
Ray: Detective Comics continues to increase as it approaches #1000, with #999 selling about 2K more than #998. They’re at #12 and #15, selling in the 62-60K range. Impressive, very similar to what Action Comics and ASM did as they approached their anniversary. Next month’s numbers will be ridiculous, natch.
At #13 is Daredevil #1, selling 61K from creative team Chip Zdarsky and Marco Chechetto. This is well above most of the Soule run and last month’s pointless filler event, but the second issue is down at #43, selling 35K. That’s still an increase, but rapidly approaching the level of the last run. Zdarsky’s critical acclaim aside, few of his books have been blockbusters and it’s been a while since a Daredevil run really rocked the sales charts. He’s a mid-level character for Marvel and he’ll usually perform like one.
Glenn: I remember a similar performance when both Waid and Soule’s run started, Daredevil seems to have a very set audience and there isn’t much to be done to increase it. For the best part of 20 years, Daredevil has delivered some of the best creative runs at Marvel and the only time the company tried to shake things up is where it went awry so they know just to leave it be.
Ray: Right below at #14 is Wolverine: Infinity Watch #1 selling 61K. That’s only 2K above the finale of the previous Wolverine mini, Return of Wolverine – and it’s a sequel to both that and Infinity Wars. As the latest in a never-ending sequence of Wolverine miniseries and Infinity Stones miniseries, I think confused retailers have just stopped trying to order them as anything but the next issue.
Glenn: The luster of the return of the ‘real’ Wolverine seems to be wearing thing. I hope Marvel doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot before they’re ready to give him his own ongoing once more.
Ray: Most of the top thirty is dominated by successful returning series this month, as Justice League, Fantastic Four, Superman, The Green Lantern, Avengers, The Walking Dead, and Action Comics all stay within the 55K to 45K range. This is the new comics A-list, such as it is, and they’re all delivering top performances for their company. One book that isn’t usually here, though, is Wonder Woman. It takes a big jump to land at #26/27 this month selling around 46K. That’s a jump of over 12K from last month’s issues, with no story-based explanation. G. Willow Wilson’s run finally got the attention and sales it deserves, it seems. It’s good to see this title return to the A-list.
Glenn: 2 years overdue but we’re finally here, great news for Wilson, DC and Wonder Woman fans!
Ray: The second Conan ongoing, Savage Sword of Conan, launches at #25 with sales of 47K. That’s about half of what Conan the Barbarian launched with last month, and this series is an anthology with a new creative team after this arc. The second issue sells 30K at #59, a decent slide but one that indicates it could face harsh waters as the months go on.
Glenn: It’ll depend how Marvel gages it, anything over the 15k mark is better than what Dark Horse could manage with the licence but they’ve hit us with a lot of Conan in very short order. In classic Marvel fashion, they’re giving us too much at once and it’ll be hard for the books to find their feet as a result.
Ray: Guardians of the Galaxy has a moderate slide this month to #30 for its second issue, selling 43K. That’s well above what the title was doing under its last few runs, but a little below what I expected from Cates’ next big project. Maybe a lot of Venom’s insane success is the character and Stegman.
Glenn: Maybe not having the majority of the movie team too? Could be a result of the Guardians overkill Marvel put us through some years back (see above point about Conan) this could be the best a Guardians book can manage after all that.
Ray: The Age of X-Man mini-event kicked off in earnest this month, and the sales results show it’s destined to play second fiddle to Uncanny X-Men. The flagship miniseries, Marvelous X-Men, sells 42K at #31, but the other debuts are far lower, with Amazing Nightcrawler and Nextgen both selling 32K at 50/51 and X-tremists selling 30K at #56. These are all five-issue miniseries, so the sales could get pretty hairy by the end.
Glenn: I don’t know what any of this is. If Marvel wanted it to be a big deal, then its a disappointment especially weighed against the major Spider-Man crossovers Slott put together but if its basically a second X-Book disguised as an event, then its fine. The colour relaunch of yesteryear seemed to be more stable overall but what do we know?
Ray: More long-running successes like Thor, Star Wars, Immortal Hulk, and Captain America are hanging around between #30 and #40, all selling 40K or a little below. It seems Shazam is destined to join them, selling 37K this month at #38. It’s displayed impressive stability since its launch.
Three top titles from last month all slide to around the same point this month, with Conan the Barbarian landing its third issue at #37, selling 38K; Captain Marvel selling 37K at #39; and Young Justice selling 37K at #40. While the results are similar, the first two have fallen from 100K+ in sales and YJ’s second-issue drop is less than 50%. While Conan is a successful new franchise and Captain Marvel finally has a mid-level hit title, Young Justice looks to have finally revitalized DC’s young heroes after years of disarray.
Glenn: That’s great for Captain Marvel especially, usually post issue 1 the sales go sour fast. I give big props to the creative team but yes I’m sure the movie helped too
Ray: The two newest Spider-spin-offs finally switch places this month, with Miles Morales landing at #44 with sales of 35K and Superior slipping to #55 with sales of 31K. I’m not sure if this is retailer adjustments based on results or just statistical noise, but both seem like they’re going to be healthy for a while.
Glenn: Them selling closely is great for Ock but not maybe so great for Miles. They will both justify their existence at around this level though and Marvel must be happy since we’re getting more Spidey related books coming in the middle of the year.
Ray: The two Age of Republic one-shots this month sell 32K and 30K respectively at #49 and #57, but what surprises me is Count Dooku outselling Anakin Skywalker. Maybe people REALLY don’t like Kid Vader.
Glenn: Maybe people were more interested by Dooku who didn’t get much spotlight in the films? Its hard to tell.
Ray: Old Man Quill, the latest sequel set in the Old Man Logan universe, sells 31K at #52. That’s about 7K above where Old Man Hawkeye ended, so this franchise should remain pretty stable. The second issue lands at #82 selling 21K. Bring on old man Rocket scooting around in a tank, please.
Glenn: This little universe seems to do okay for itself, depending on trade sales and such we could continually see various other characters in this settling for a while before the novelty fades entirely.
Ray: The latest Millarworld/Netflix Comics debut from Mark Millar lands at #52, as Sharkey the Bounty Hunter with Simone Bianchi sells 31K. That’s a lot lower than recent books like Prodigy or The Magic Order, and the concept seemed pretty generic and wasn’t matched with much hype in advance. I doubt this is a future movie or TV series.
Glenn: This one kind of snuck up on people, I’m not sure if maybe the deal with Netflix means that they can’t do much advanced hype. This is Bianci’s first interior work in a long time at a US company I think and he used to be a big deal so I’m surprised orders weren’t higher. Maybe retailers are finding that customers aren’t interested in these Netflix comics since they know an adaption is coming? Still Millar does command a decent audience where he won’t need to go back to work for anyone else ever again.
Ray: The obligatory Captain Marvel one-shot to tie in with the movie, subtitled Braver & Mightier, lands at #61 with sales of 28K. That’s well higher than the usual performance of these tie-ins, and I put a lot of that on Jody Houser’s pull compared to Ralph Macchio. He’ll be back in action for future tie-ins, it seems.
The third issue of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man lands at #63, selling 27K. This really feels like a case of retailers massively missing the boat and I’m expecting major reorders and adjustments down the line.
Glenn: Hope so, the books great. It seems to be falling a lot faster than the Zdarskey book did, maybe they should have given Taylor that book rather than force us into another pointless restart.
Ray: The third Wonder Comics title, Wonder Twins, makes its debut at #64 with sales of 27K. That’s better than expected and higher than Naomi did last month. This could be the characters having some leftover nostalgia from the 60s, but Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne might also be developing a fanbase. (More on Russell lay-tor)
#67 brings us the launch of the massively controversial Female Furies miniseries, selling 26K. I imagine a lot of these sales are due to the higher profile of Big Barda thanks to Mister Miracle, but this is a very different book and a rough read. If it even finishes its run, it’ll be pretty low by the end.
We saw Wonder Woman finally get the sales bump it deserved, but it hasn’t quite happened for Aquaman yet. It sells 26K at #68. That’s essentially flat from last month – impressive, but Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run has yet to pick up buzz in sales.
Glenn: DC has had Aquaman as somewhat of a pet project with them trying various things to gain interest and continually not getting what they would like. Its hard to think what more they could do.
Ray: We were shocked last month by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s low performance, but it has one of the more impressive retention feats I’ve ever seen. It sold 31K last month and 24K this month at #71, which puts it just above Firefly. It seems clear that the Whedonverse books are destined to be Boom’s biggest hits.
Glenn: I felt it would have a minimal drop, we might even see a boost for issue 4 which is hyping a major death and departure from the show.
Ray: After a lot of business as usual, the next comic of note is the $9.99 100-page special “Man and Superman“, a lost story from the archives by Marv Wolfman and Claudio Castellini. From three relaunches ago, it sells 19K at #85 – an impressive performance from an out-of-continuity retelling of Superman’s earliest days in Metropolis. I hope this encourages DC to release more stand-alone stories like this.
Glenn: Like I said on the Stew (Dong!) its great to see DC still using legendary creators like Wolfman and them being able to produce comics that people are interested in reading.
Ray: This month’s True Believers wave is Captain Marvel, tying in with the movie (shocking!). The top-seller is the debut of Ms. Marvel, which sells 19K at #91. Pretty impressive for selling old comics to people in a new format.
Glenn: This is the biggest exposure the characters ever had in the mainstream. Given how cheap the comics are, retailers likely felt it was a safe bet to have some on hand for those that saw the movie and wanting more.
Ray: Speaking of selling old comics in a new way, the $7.99 Marvels Annotated release sells just under 19K at #94. Given how many times this has been released and the high price tag, it just goes to show the enduring power of this book. One of comics’ all-time greats.
Glenn: Sales are good enough that we’re getting a new chapter to boot. This is one of Marvel’s strongest library performers so this being able to sell this well despite it being in print through various different formats forever is impressive.
Ray: Speaking of Mark Russell, his second launch of the month is at #98 – Red Sonja #1 from Dynamite, selling just under 18K. This is a stronger than usual debut for new Dynamite properties, especially since Red Sonja has been running consistently without any real buzz ever since Gail Simone left. Russell’s unique sensibilities and eclectic choice of comics have come a long way since Prez was completely ignored by retailers.
Glenn: Absolutely, this is the strongest Sonja launch we’ve seen in years. Like we’ve seen over the last year or so, Dynamite have been making a real effort to get some great creators on their properties and it seems to be paying off.
Losing just a little over half its sales for its second issue is Black Widow at 101 with sales over 17.5 and I actually expected worse. If memory serves this isn’t that much lower than what Waid/Samnee delivered on the character so there could be some room for some stability here but since the book was missing from Marvel’s June solicitations it seems like its already been jettisoned.
Ray: Black Widow came in without fanfare, and left the same way, it seems.
Glenn: Image’s Die has settled into one of the companies top performers with sales over 17.5 at 103, well deserved for a fantastic series.
Ray: Die is following basically the exact same sales trajectory as Gideon Falls starting moderately high and then finding its level ridiculously quickly. They’re also both excellent books designed to scare the living daylights out of us. I don’t want to play D&D in the barn, Glenn…
Glenn: It’ll be fine, Ray just let me check who that is in my driveway holding the scissors and wearing a red jumpsuit…
A very promising start sales wise from Vertigo’s new High Level title which sells over 16.8k at 104 which puts it at a really good Image launch which is surprising. Not sure what’s drawn people here but I’m sure DC won’t ask too many questions.
Ray: This is pretty similar to other Vertigo launches like American Carnage and the book we shall not name, and I’m guessing part of the success here is artist Barnaby Bagenda. He drew a little book called Omega Men, which has become a modern classic thanks to its writer, obscure indie creator Tom King.
Glenn: That’ll be it then!
No big surprise for the second issue of the new Criminal to find its level super promptly at 109 with sales over 16.1, like we said last month, retailers know by now who the buyers for this series are.
At 113 is the second issue of Naomi which has now been converted to a first season mini. With sales of over 15.8k I’m not too surprised. I’m going to wager she’ll probably only continue to be featured in Young Justice, unless Bendis really, really wants to bring her back in her own book.
Ray: It seems all the Wonder Comics books save Young Justice are now miniseries, so we’ll likely see a lot of concepts go in and out and see what stick
Glenn: At around here is the rest of the Captain Marvel True Believers which all sell around the 15-11k mark. That’s a better average than some of the bigger characters have managed but these stories probably haven’t been as heavily reprinted.
I remember when Kevin Smith writing comics was a big deal, he made best sellers out of Dardevil and Green Arrow but time has trucked on and things have changed. Sales of over 15k at 118 aren’t dreadful but given his power in the past, it was likely all involved would have liked more.
Ray: That is shockingly low for a new #1 for Kevin Smith, even if it is just a relaunch of Hit-Girl one month after the previous series ends. A weird number that shows his heyday in comics is far behind him – and so is the character’s, likely.
Glenn: Another of the kooky throwback books from Marvel this month, Love Romances (how appropriate for February!) sells over 14.5k at 121. Romance comics are not seen a lot in the market so this doing this well is probably as better than the company could hope for. Gunhawks which is more of your old school western sells over 13.5k at 127, nothing to write home about but given they’re just throwaway one shots these aren’t the worst sales imaginable.
Ray: All of these except Al Ewing’s horror one-shot last month have disappointed. Can’t wait to see the numbers for Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal next month.
Glenn: At 135 is the second issue of Fight Club 3 which sells over 12.6k which is quite a fair margin of distance when you look at Fight Club 2‘s sales but this is pretty standard Dark Horse numbers so its not disastrous. It seems that people who read Fight Club 2 weren’t interested in another round.
Decent numbers for last months Captain Marvel which sells another 11.7k at 143, this run definitely seems to be the winner Marvel’s wanted from the character for a few years.
Ray: That’s really impressive for Captain Marvel reorders, really showing some buzz for the property. And far from the last reorder we’ll see this month…
Glenn: Another set of reorders for a major launch from last month in Cates Guardians at 156 with sells 10.6k+ more copies. It might not be the runaway freight train that Venom is but it certainty seems to have a solid amount of interest and is likely to be a fixture of Marvel’s upper tier of books for the run.
Even MORE reorders, this time for Marvel Comics Presents which sells another 9.8+k at 163 and I’m genuinely surprised by this one. I’m not sure what but it seems to be working so there you go.
Ray: Yeah, this book got ZERO buzz at launch, so I’m really struggling to see what was driving the reorders here. Maybe because it’s Soule writing more Wolverine?
Glenn: Could be, we’ll see if future issues pick up steam as a result
DC has those sweet reorders too with Batman Who Laughs showing up again at 177 which is good for sales over 8.1k. Usually reorders of this amount 2 months later is unheard of and the last things DC managed that with were Rebirth and Doomsday Clock so yeah, this guy isn’t going anywhere.
Ray: This is the biggest runaway character hit in years, hands down. It feels like he’s out of DC’s control now. It’s the Batman who Laughs’ world now, we just live in it.
Glenn: At 184 is a new Valient launch in Incursion with sales over 7.6k which is within the normal level of the companies launches for the most part.
Ray: Given that Incursion is a mini-event continuing the Geo-Mancer storyline, and Forgotten Queen is a period-piece side story focusing on one of the villains from Unity, I would have expected a bigger delta between the two.
Glenn: I understand what all these things are *nods*
Given that it cost 7.99 and is all reprinted material I would say Marvel Presents Black Widow is a bigger success than the characters new series at 186 with sales over 7.5k. Marvel’s skill at us making us pay for the same thing over and over is something to behold.
Another Valient launch at 189 with sales over 7.4k for Forgotten Queen. See comments for Incursion above.
An all ages book with too long a title, Marvel Super-Heroes Adventures Spider-Man Web Of Intrigue has sales over 7.2k at 192 which is fine for a throwaway all ages one shot that is going to be aimed at other markets.
Getting double the Bruce Campbell for your money Bubba Ho Tep vs Army Of Darkness sells over 7.1k at 193 and its comics like this that make me want to stand up and salute how crazy Dynamite can still be sometimes.
Ray: When they’re not giving us brilliant creator-owned runs, their bread and butter is bizarre crossovers and rock stars fighting demons.
At #196 is the only Image debut of the month besides Hit-Girl: Season 2, Vindication. This crime-and-punishment serial from Top Cow only sells 6.7K, which is very low but not a surprise given the lack of any recognizable creators and the poor reviews.
Glenn: Top Cow also sells a lot less than mainline Image stuff too, the last big hit they had was Wanted and even that took years and a movie adaption to get buzz
Ray: Another bizarre example of Marvel selling us the same books over and over again is at #200, as Dazzler #1 Facsimile Edition sells 6.6K. I didn’t even know there was a Dazzler series originally.
Glenn: There was back in the day aye when every character could hold their own. Spider-Pig Facsimile when?!
Ray: #201 brings us the latest Berger Book, Girl in the Bay #1 by JM DeMatteis. It sells 6,5K, which seems in line with recent Berger Books, but it makes me sad that DeMatteis’ books don’t sell better. I think the G. Willow Wilson/Christian Ward book will be the big test for this line next month.
Glenn: I’m hoping it picks up some steam in trades. Given the single sales of the Berger books have been iffy at best but they still get put out, one would presume they are selling well in that format.
Ray: GI Joe: Sierra Muerte launches at #202 from IDW, selling 6.5K. This is in line with past GI Joe comics from the company, but this miniseries stands out due to art and story from Michel Fiffe. The creator of COPRA has a big cult audience, but I think it’s more likely to find it in trade.
Worth noting that the two James Bond books, 007 by Greg Pak and Origin by Jeff Parker, have leveled out to the exact same level. They’re at 210/211 selling 6.2K each. This is a good, restrained attempt at a franchise form Dynamite, so they might be learning – no more four alternate takes at the same time like they used to do with Shadow or Green Hornet.
Glenn: It also shows a pretty set fanbase for the property regardless of creators or direction so yeah, they’ll adjust accordingly.
Ray: At #214 selling 6.1K is Stronghold, the latest launch from Aftershock. This religious conspiracy thriller about an amnesiac God is by top creators Phil Hester and Ryan Kelly, but unless you’re an A-lister, good luck getting your Aftershock book to sell much. This company continues to puzzle me with their struggles, given the top names they get on board every month.
The two long-running all-ages books from Marvel continue to truck along despite rock-bottom sales, with Impossible Wasp #5 (in the middle of a critically acclaimed storyline about mental illness) selling 5.8K at #217 and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur selling 5.6K at #224. These are clearly selling elsewhere if they keep going, which makes me wonder – how long before Marvel outsources them whole to IDW?
Glenn: That seems to be the way it will go, IDW will likely be a more economical option who will be able to provide to the audience that are keeping these titles arou
Ray: It’s apparently 1995 again, as Lady Death: Apocalyptic Abyss sells 5.3K from Coffin Comics at #229. That’s two spots above Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special selling 5.1K from Dynamite. It’s not Zenoscope, but I think we should strike up the Rachel Bloom anyway.
Glenn: I think she’d be okay with it
Ray: Another Aftershock launch at #233, as Ryan Parrot’s fantasy comic Oberon sells 5.1K. This seems to be the range between established creators and less-known names at Aftershock. Shame, because both this month’s launches were strong.
We cover this every month and I have no intention of stopping. Avatar: Tsu-Tey’s Path, the spin-off from the most successful movie of all time, is now below 5K in sales, selling 4.9K at #236. *Nelson Muntz gif*
#239 randomly brings us 4.8K in reorders from Amazing Spider-Man #789. I’m not sure what this issue was, but maybe it’s just nostalgia for when this title was good?
Glenn: Its that or more excess stock shenanigans but that is rather high for that. Random.
Ray: The video game spin-off Anthem from Dark Horse sells 4.3K at #245. I believe this launched to tie in with the game’s launch, so maybe it doesn’t have the established audience yet to be a hit tie-in.
Glenn: I don’t think the game has been that well received either, these things are always a roll of the dice when companies like Dark Horse get into the licencing game.
Ray: Spider-Gwen #25 gets another 4.2K in reorders at #248. Another case of nostalgia for a bygone run, although Ghost Spider does seem to be getting a good reception.
I’m really puzzled by how low Hardcore is selling, landing at #249 selling 4.1K. That’s thrill spots below the final issue of the mediocre fantasy series Rose. Diggle’s a popular creator and it has Kirkman’s name on the cover, so I’m not sure what went wrong with this body-swapping action thriller.
Glenn: I think not having Kirkman’s direct involvement hurts it and Diggle has been struggling to recover since his Daredevil days which is a shame since he is a very good writer. These days he seems to be just getting gigs writing other people’s properties.
Ray: No real momentum for Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, as Kieron Gillen’s Watchmen pastiche sells 4.1K at #255 for its second issue. The writer alone should have been enough to get this to sell higher, but I guess the name didn’t ring enough bells for retailers to make the Watchmen connection. Watch for this one to be a sleeper in trade.
Glenn: Especially when you would think retailers could sub it in for those patiently waiting on Doomsday Clock. It clearly just didn’t get the press it needed and will def earn its way in trade.
Ray: A lot of regular low-selling books from Image, Dark Horse, and Dynamite here until we get to #266 where Naomi #1 sells an additional 3.6K copies. That shows some extra interest in Bendis and Walker’s original concept, but probably not enough to shift things dramatically for retailers. New concepts in the Big Two are a hard sell – ask Damage and Brimstone, if you can find them.
#268 brings us the launch of Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command from Dynamite, selling 3.6K. This is one of their niche properties, appealing to a limited audience of die-hard fans.
It’s a double-dose of boobie comics! Robyn Hood: Outlaw launches at #271 with 3.5K, followed three spots later by the Grimm Fairy Tales Annual with 3.4K. You know what to do, Glenn!
Glenn: Most other months, these Zenescope books would have maybe scraped through, just shows how slow a month it is
Ray: Lot of reorders down here, starting with 3.4K in reorders for the first issue of Conan the Barbarian at #275. The second also has 2.8K in reorders at #294. After that, there’s quite a few random reorders for issues of Detective Comics, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man, and Immortal Hulk.
Exciting Comics #1 from Antarctic Press launches with 3.3K in sales at #283. This seems to be a new shared universe starting with Sexy Lady Zorro in Red. ‘Kay.
Glenn: It didn’t seem to gather much excitement, how ironic
Ray: Speaking of sexy ladies, Zodiac #1 launches from Zenoscope at #285 with 3.2K in sales. This appears to be a high-fantasy set in the Arthurian age. Zenoscope always manages to surprise.
Glenn: How odd, retailers probably didn’t know what to make of it either
Ray: Barbie’s been a top toy franchise for over half a century, but I don’t know if she’s ever had a comic before. That changes this month as Barbie #1 launches from Papercutz by writer Sarah Kuhn. Kuhn is an acclaimed young adult author who is also writing the Cass Cain OGN for DC next year, but this only manages 2.9K at #293. This clearly isn’t one for the direct market.
Glenn: This one will definitely be making a boat load of money elsewhere cause its Barbie and there’s a reason she’s stuck around for this long and gets to have Margot Robbie play her.
Ray: 2.7K in reorders for Young Justice #1 at #299 as we exit the top 300. Lucky #300 book this month is Vampblade, from the world that brought us Zombie Tramp. Into the breach, Glenn…
Glenn: Vampblade sounds like a made up name for someone fan fiction character to feature in Buffy or somesuch. Given its in the same universe as Zombie Tramp, that could be on purpose.
Some reorders for the new Champions run which sells another 2.6+k at 302, doesn’t seem like retailers missed their estimate with first months orders but its better than nothing. I wouldn’t imagine this franchise to be surviving much longer and Young Avengers returning will probably be where it ends.
IDW’s Punks Not Dead: London Calling launches at 307 with sales over 2.3k despite a pretty decent premise. The names aren’t anything to write home about and its under IDW’s Black Crown label which always deliver subpar sales. I would assume since we continually get Black Crown books despite their single issue status, they’re performing well for the company elsewhere.
Ray: This is the second volume of Punk’s Not Dead, which essentially means the second arc. Retailers probably didn’t order this like a real premiere, so the super-low numbers make sense. IDW’s creator-owned market is rough as a whole, though.
Glenn: The first issue of BOOM’s new take on Buffy The Vampire Slayer gets reorders over 2.2k at 312. This again indicates retailers predicted this one pretty well but it seems to have stabelized a lot faster than Champions and will do good business once collection outside the direct market.
Likening itself to DC’s Elseworlds or Marvel What If’s, Aspen Visions Fathom: Spinning Our Fate are alternate takes on some of the companies better known characters. The sales over 2.1k at 315 indicate this is one for the most die hard of the already minimal audience the company has left.
Another video game tie-in at 317 in Crackdown which sells over 2k. The latest installment in this franchise has been much delayed and seems to have underwhelmed fans so this is no surprise.
Some reorders from Superior Spider-Man’s first issue at 322 with over 1.9k additional sales. Its not much but its nice to see still to have it get some attention even a few months after its debut.
The new BOOM series Avant-Guards seems to fall into Ray’s ‘come on people’ category with the second issue delivering sales over 1.9k, it’ll do well once collected but it seems that all ages sports type stories don’t appeal.
Ray: Avant-Guards seems to be aimed as the same audience as their low-selling Giant Days, which sells a similar 1.8K this month but is past its fiftieth issue. It doesn’t even feel like Boom is playing in this market anymore aside from the Whedonverse – they make their money elsewhere.
Glenn: Wrath Eternal Warrior from Valient seems to be something in the vein of Marvels True Believers where its an old comic charged for $1, it doesn’t entice people despite this only selling over 1.9k at 324. I would say more people will be willing to check out a new creative direction than a random throwback issue where Valient is concerned.
A fantasy comic from Scout, Wulfborne catches little interest at 326 with sales over 1.9k, pretty standard for the company really.
Ray: This was described by the solicitations as Adventure Time meets Hellboy with elements of Greek Myth, which is certainly a unique combo. Scout tends to struggle unless it has murderous bunnies.
Glenn: A collection of old Archie Comics titled Archie & Friends Music Jam sells over 1.9k at 327, this type of stuff from Archie doesn’t depend on the direct market at all so its moot really.
Some reorders for White Widow from Red Giant which picks up over 1.8k additional sales at 332, whether its genuine interest or retailers thinking they missed out on the Black Widow/White Rabbit series the market desperately needs it is good news for such a small company to get any reorders.
WW2 era comics Devils from Antartic Press sells over 1.8k at 336, pretty much what you can expect from a small publisher with two unknown creators.
There’s a comic at 338 but given the creator involved and a recent soliciation they’ve made, I’m choosing to ignore it cause its our article and if I want to ignore someone, I can.
Ray: Yeah, that dude’s random gags are a lot less funny all of a sudden.
Glenn: Lots of reorders and small selling indie books until we get to 352 which is Trump Titans Vs. The End which sells over 1.6k. I have a comic I wrote called Sparks: The Way I Was, please go buy it so it sells more that this.
Ray: I will endorse the call to buy more Sparks.
Glenn: Sweetie which sells over 1.5k from Action Lab at 361 and Honor and Cave from Mad Lab (?!??!?!) at 365 selling over 1.4k are two more small press creator owned books struggling to find an audience in an overstuffed market.
Ray: I think Sweetie at least deserves more attention – it’s an oddball martial arts comedy about a kid obsessed with fighting who becomes a vigilante. Like Hit-Girl if it was fun.
Glenn: Theshold Allure from Avatar is a first issue ‘nude’ which means I’m not going to google it, it sells over 1.3k at 368. Its priced at 7.99 and I’m pretty sure there’s certain magazines out there that are a lot cheaper that have you know…real woman in them that would be better sellers.
Randomly at 369 is Generations Spider-Man with Marvel throwing out over 1.3k copies of the book to random retailers to get rid of leftovers. Anyone remember Generations? Nope, me either. There’s a lot of Marvel stock shifting around here that they think no one is crazy to look for down this low. WE’RE ONTO YOU MARVEL!
Ray: Generations: Spider-Man was the most important of the Generations one-shots, with a Peter/Miles team-up that has shades of Spider-Verse. So there might be a little real interest there unlike so many of the reorders.
Glenn: The Amazing World Of Gumball from Kaboom which is based on a cartoon that is apparently something that exists sells over 1.3 at 370. This has some notable creators involved but again, this one isn’t for your local LCS but since its 7.99 I don’t see many parents being eager to buy it for their kid that watches whatever this is instead of watching She-Ra or Gravity Falls or Avatar (the good one) or…
Weird sounding God Of Bad Men from Amigo Comics (?!?!?!??!?!) sells over 1.1k at 386, they’re probably just happy to be here.
The non nude version of Theshold Allure shows up at 391 selling over 1.1k. Its priced at 5.99 making it 2 dollars cheaper than the nudey one. By Grabthar’s hammer, what a savings.
The excess stock shifting gets weird at 401 with Cage from Marvel, I’m not sure if this is the MAX series from back in the day or the mini from Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky but either way…wha? It had over 1k Marvel leaded to unload to some poor confused comic retailers. Yes we’re at 1k at just over 400 on the chart, no YOU need help/
Ray: I believe this is the recent Tartakovsky miniseries, which was out of continuity. This is very clearly a dumping-grounds month.
Glenn: Silver Sprocket (?!?!?!?!!?) releases Magical Beatdown which seems to be Sailor Moon meets Sin City which sells 996. Reads very much like for a specialist audience who likely got it through other means.
Ray: I believe Silver Sprocket puts out oversized comics done in an indie/zine style. I’ve never read one of them, but they’re trying something new and I’m glad they’re building a bit of an audience. That’s the rare bright spot of digging down here – seeing some small companies crawl their way up.
Glenn: Cave Pictures (?!?!?!?) releases George MacDonalds Light Princess at 429 which sells 921 copies. This is apparently some old Scottish Fairy Tale written/adapted by Meredith Finch. With her name attached I thought it might have managed to crack four figures but there you go…
I swear I’m not making these up, Cavewoman, A Wizard, A Sorceress and Meriem from Amryl (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) sells 909 copies. The company also releases Cavewoman Razor’s Run at 447 selling 861 copies so I guess this is some sort of shared universe? I’m tired.
Ray: The SexyCaveLadyVerse. Not to be confused with the SexyFairyTaleLadyVerse.
Glenn: So much stock dumping down here. SO MUCH!
Ray: The stock dumping is REALLY bizarre this month. Random issues of Weapon X or Hydra Cap, crossovers from two years ago like Venomverse, low-selling comics like America. All getting about 800 to 900 additional orders out of nowhere. Some other books get reorders like Flash, but they’re current and make a bit of sense. Marvel is a puzzle.
There’s even 752 reorders for Uncanny X-Men 3D at #472. That’s a reorder of a reprint from almost thirty years ago!
A rare new comic – of sorts – at #475, with American Mythology Archives: Three Stooges #1 selling 738 copies. I believe this is a reprint of their first Three Stooges comic, which apparently has an audience. Are they going to crossover with Bettie Page at Dynamite next?
We get a few indie reorders down here too, including Ogre #1 selling an additional 705 copies at #482.
It’s almost entirely Marvel reorders here with a few oddball comics like Belladonna: Fire and Fury, but the #500 comic amuses me – it’s a reorder of a True Believers reprint as Conan: Secret of Skull River clocks in at 629 extra copies. So ends the oddest month we’ve had on this column since we moved to a top 500.
Glenn: I think it nearly broke us but we made it!
Ray: After an uneventful month, next month is likely to blow the doors off with a huge #1 comic – both in size and numbers. We saw the ridiculous performance of Action Comics #1000. Can Detective Comics #1000 beat it? We’ll see. DC also has the final new Wonder Comics launch in Dial H for Hero, the likely six-figure selling The Grim Knight one-shot, and a new issue of Doomsday Clock. Good chance DC takes the top three next month with ease.
Marvel is holding its powder for a month with War of the Realms slated to bow in April and dominate the field. They do have quite a few launches, including the return of their newest hit character in Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, the alien infiltration comic Meet the Skrulls, the return of Gail Simone with Domino: Hotshots, and a new Star Wars miniseries in Darth Vader: Dark Visions. Ms. Marvel also relaunches with a new #1 and writer, Conan’s partner Belit gets her own miniseries, and two promising new Spider-Man miniseries launch – including Chip Zdarsky’s Spider-Man: Life Story.
Over in indieland, Mags Visaggio and G. Willow Wilson both launch new comics from Dark Horse. New Image launches like Assassination Nation and Little Bird debut, and we get the return of Lazarus from Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.
What will rise? What will fall? Just how much will Detective Comics crush the competition? Find out next time on By the Numbers!
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