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 is dreading returning to work after paternity leave and wonders how many escape plans he can come up with
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. Upon viewing the trailer for the live action adaption of Cats, Ray wishes he hadn’t wondered if there will be a more terrifying looking film than IT this year.
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: Welcome ladies and gentleman, boys and girls to the circus that has become the top 500 sales hosted by your favorite co-ringmasters Glenn and Ray! Well June sales seemed to take on a more interesting turn than expected…for a few reasons we’ll get to. For those keeping track of the overall action, Marvel once again dominated the market share but that isn’t hard to do when you put out more comics than your next two biggest competitors combined and work to make a farce of sales chart. Ignore the clowns, Disney sent them.
Why is it a farce? Well look no further than the number 1 selling book of the month, Black Cat which apparently sold over 255.7k which means a title starring a Spider-Man supporting character with a mid tier creative team outsold (among everything else) the start of mega hoopla event War Of The Realms. Now of course, surprises do happen, DCeased took us by surprise last month and Felicia has been prominently featured in Amazing lately. It had a ton of variants and J. Scott Campbell’s covers are a draw and him drawing Black Cat even more so. If sales were say 150k I could believe all that…at a stretch but it selling this much reeks of something very rotten in Denmark. Overshipping is not a new thing for Marvel with them reportedly doubling orders for Mark Waid’s Invisible Woman mini that’s coming up so who knows what this actually sold on demand. If there is shenanigans at play then what do we believe from the companies numbers. Given what some of their comics are selling its alarming to think those numbers might be inflated and its a real shame for books like Immortal Hulk that logically could be doing as well as it is out of quality alone but this number here puts a question mark over everything. Taking it as face value, even a 75% drop would see the book still among Marvel’s stronger performers so we’ll see if reality hits over the next few months or not.
Ray: I have a lot to say about this one, starting with the apparent actual explanation for the sales of Black Cat #1. There was a WalMart exclusive variant cover distributed en masse to the massive chain, in an attempt to get buzz for this otherwise forgettable comic. That likely explains close to 200K of these sales, and it also makes everything about this number suspect. Here’s the thing – as long as these numbers are retailer orders and not actual sales, they’re only going to give us part of the picture. But that becomes even sketchier when one company decides to start aggressively gaming the system. Disney has more money than God. Marvel Comics is a tiny little ant of a subdivision for them, and nothing they do is going to really take a bite out of the company’s bottom line. So they essentially just decided to print 200K extra of a comic and ship it out, then claim the top spot on the charts this month. That means absolutely nothing. It’s not a real number. It’s the equivalent of those ridiculous LootCrate orders we used to get when something like Bravest Warriors would sell 500K. It doesn’t reflect demand. No one ordered 255K of Black Cat comics, Marvel just decided to send them out and the printing costs don’t matter to Disney. The winner? Marvel’s fragile ego. The loser? A whole lot of trees.
Glenn: Oh no! Not Groot!
Next up at 2 is the second of DCCeased which shows last month wasn’t a fluke. It loses about 90k in sales but still over 152.4k is some Metal level success that’s hard to ignore. Again this is likely due partly to the awesome (and now somewhat controversial) variants the title is doing but I think the concept has hooked people and Tom Taylor is gaining some momentum as a creator after working tiredlessly for a few years on high quality work. He could be our new Dan Slott, a creator who did highly thought of work but never had a big sales success until one of the big two gave him a chance at a major property. Which will be first to bite (forgive the pun)? Marvel has definitely noticed the success here as we’re getting the return of Marvel Zombies soon and its hard to make fun of them for that given this book is a take on that concept in the first place but still…
Ray: DCeased seems more like a branded take on World War Z than anything else, given that it’s more about a true Zombie plague rather than the more tongue-in-cheek approach of Marvel Zombies. But with the end of Walking Dead, it seems zombie mania is as high as ever. This is the biggest hit of Taylor’s career by a long shot, and given how much good stuff he’s done for DC lately and how poorly Marvel promoted his recent runs, it seems likely he’ll be heading over to DC town soon.
Glenn: Huge sales at 3 for Silver Surfer: Black the new mini by Marvel MVP Donny Cates which sells over 129.4k which is huge for Silver Surfer and a mini at that. Now, again how straight up do we take these sales? Its hard to say since Cates is definitely Marvel’s hottest writer right now and I’d even argue this book may turn out to be under ordered given its stealth linked to Cates mega successful Venom run. This is on the surface a big win I’m willing to take at face value.
Ray: It’s definitely odd given that Cates’ Guardians of the Galaxy hasn’t been the hit his Venom has. As we know now, this is essentially a crossover between the two books, so I expect it to be a big hit for the entire mini and Tradd Moore’s loyal fanbase won’t hurt. I think it’ll still have a steep drop for the second issue, but it should finish its run above 50K – which given how the Silver Surfer run by Slott and Allred struggled, that’s amazing.
Glenn: The final issue of the news headline gathering Batman: Damned finally hits with sales over 115.4k at 4 which I would call a win. The series had some speed bumps in scheduling and erm…content but its been a strong performer. It’ll do well in collections for forever too and in 10 years when we get the Batwang edition DC can buy that farm they’ve had their eyes on for a while.
Ray: This performed almost exactly like Dark Knight III and Doomsday Clock. Black Label is a huge winner for DC so far and they certainly seem to be going all in on it with some exceptional creative teams.
Glenn: Batman Who Laughs Mini continues to perform with sales over 98.5k at 5, this series not only has an extra issue to it but the characters influence will be a big part of the upcoming new Batman/Superman title. Not much more to say than we have been saying for a few months in that the Batman Who Laughs=$$$ apart from DC just today announcing more prestige Dark Multiverse one shots featuring evil versions of their most major characters based on major stories of years past. Over Two Years later and Metal is still paying huge dividends for DC.
Ray: This isn’t a Black Label book, but it might as well be – much darker than the usual DC fare, top creative team, and selling like a monster. The Batman Who Laughs essentially seems to be becoming the new face of DC at this point, even if he’s not the actual big bad behind Year of the Villain.
Glenn: Can’t wait for the kid friendly spin off.
At 6 is a palate cleanser issue of Amazing Spider-Man with issue 24 with Hunted finally over (huzzah) giving it sales over 89.6k but again the oddness of the sales trends on the title continue as the epilogue to Hunted sells over 74k at 12. Yo-yo sales (especially between issues) could indicate sales shenanigans or people not really knowing what to do about the book and given this current run, either option is just as likely.
Ray: The real test for this book will be after the inflated sales for #25 next month, as the title settles into a rut of Superior Foes-based spinoff arcs. That’s where we’ll likely see attrition set in for real.
Glenn: At 7 is Immortal Hulk which continues its new streak of being a title that has become one of the strongest performers not only from Marvel but the market in general. The title sells over 88k this month and there seems to be indicating the run might be coming to a close based on recent solicitations, we’ll see if a risk filled relaunch will result.
Ray: Now this is a book where the inflated sales are clearly for real. The sales were good to start, but they’ve only gone up. Ewing says he has about fifty issues total planned, so this should eventually be Marvel’s #1 ongoing if they don’t screw it up like they did Spider-Gwen’s momentum.
Glenn: At 8 is the 1000% under ordered Walking Dead which is turns out the penultimate issue of the series. Solits made this sound like a big enough deal to get retailers to up their orders 85.7k which is huge but given the issues events and that it is indeed the second to last issue we’re going to see big reorders here. Next month, its hard to know what the final issue will sell because at time of ordering, retailers had no idea it was the last issue. Even though its the final issue next month expect very successful reorders for the last batch of issues until maybe towards the close of the year.
Ray: I think we might wind up seeing these last two issues of Walking Dead on the charts for a very long time, like we did with DC Rebirth and Doomsday Clock. It’ll also be interesting to see what becomes the #1 Image book with this and Saga both gone for now. (Spawn doesn’t count)
Glenn: My bet is on Die or Gideon Falls or the new book by Snyder/Soule
Glenn: At 9 and 10 is Batman which seems to have stabelized at around 80k, not the sales juggernaut it was but still pulling its weight for sure. Issue 75, the start of King’s final chapter on the main book will likely push it back up to the high 90’s at least and it could stay around 90k until he leaves with 85. When Batman/Catwoman launches I’m expecting it to sell around this number with the fate of the main title unclear while we await word of a creative team.
Ray: The increase from #73 to #74 is interesting, and probably shows some real momentum for City of Bane.
Glenn: Usually I bow out at this point but I have to talk a bit about Superman: Year One at 11 because while it delivered a respectable over 80.1k is sales one would have thought more from the creative team of Frank Miller and John Romita JR. Now, the line of Black Label was in an unclear place when this was due to be ordered. Titles were getting cancelled or delayed or not mentioned. The line seems to have gained renewed vigor with the announcement of Joe Hill’s line of books, some work from Lemire and a laughable amount of Batman related content. Still, I think given Miller’s last solo writing work for DC was All Star Batman, retailers may be even more wary about this book. It’ll likely settle quick and maybe pick up reorders but given the iffy reviews, I don’t think this will be the winner it could have been 20 years ago or more.
Ray: I think a big chunk of the sales drop is also that this just isn’t Batman. It’s another Superman origin only a few years after the last one, and Miller’s name is a draw but not as big of one without Batman. Either way, for an $8 comic that’s an oversized origin recap, this is still a great number and another win for Black Label. Not sure if the quality level of this and Batman: Damned really present the face they want for the line, though.
Glenn: The vision is more Batman!
Ray: At #13 we have the launch of Event Leviathan, the Bendis/Maleev event comic, selling 74K. That’s a big increase from last month’s prelude issue, about 100%, but this also doesn’t feel like much of an event. It’s a rather talky mystery with no tie-ins and little reflection in other books. I think the strongest comparison is to DC’s last cerebral mini-event, Heroes in Crisis – but Bendis just isn’t as hot a writer at the moment as King is.
Glenn: Its fine as a side event but I don’t think that’s what was expected of it, they even put it in the name! I think Bendis is carrying over his event fatigue from Marvel and not many were interested in this one. It’ll do okay for the rest of the run but be quickly forgotten.
Ray: War of the Realms limps to the finish line with its last two issues at #14/15 selling 68K for the finale and 66K for the penultimate issue. That’s just above the second issue of Savage Avengers, to put it into perspective. What went wrong here will be a mystery for some time to come – this was set up to be the perfect crowd-pleasing Marvel event – but ultimately it’s probably down to retailers just being very suspicious of Marvel mega-events after the last two. Smaller sub-line events seem to be what the market wants now. On to Carnage.
Glenn: A bit of an embarrassment for sure and something that Jason Aaron doesn’t deserve. Will Marvel learn their lesson here? I’d wager not.
Ray: Spawn continues to climb up the charts as it builds to a #300 issue with top creators on board, as #298 lands in the 19th spot this month with sales of 58K. Is Spawn relevant again? God help us all.
Glenn: With the big number, 90’s nostalgia at an all time high and Snyder/Capullo its likely that Spawn 300 will bring the title back to one of the strongest sellers in that month. It could ride of that momentum for a year or maybe more before going back to the level its been at for years, it may be a dated property but people still have a lot of passion for it.
Ray: Justice League has a small increase for its 25th issue, landing at #20 and selling 57K – 5K above the next issue. I would have expected a bit more, but this title is very steady so the increases tend to be smaller. It’ll increase when the Justice-Doom War kicks off. This is also where we see regular suspects like Detective Comics, Uncanny X-Men, Venom, Superman, Fantastic Four, GOTG, Green Lantern, Thor, Action Comics, Star Wars, Catwoman, Flash, and Symbiote Spider-Man between 20 and 40 on the charts and selling between 55K and 40K.
Glenn: I still think Justice League is underperforming but we’ll see if Year Of The Villain helps any. Its clear Symbiote Spider-Man is a big hit and Marvel has already announced a one shot to tie in to Absolute Carnage.
Ray: A very strong landing for Incredible Hulk: Last Call at #21, selling 55K. The success here is probably two-fold – the return of the creative team of David and Keown brought in old-school fans, and retailers wanted to cash in on the success of Immortal Hulk and Hulk’s recent high-profile role in Endgame.
Glenn: Def a hot time for a Hulk book, hopefully Marvel doesn’t poison the well with an onslought of Hulk or Hulk related titles like they did the last time the character got a sales spike with Loeb/McGuiness.
Ray: At #25 is Spider-Man Annual #1, selling just under 50K. This is notable because this is an annual for a title that doesn’t exist, and it’s actually a Spider-Ham issue. Spider-Ham just sold 50K copies thanks to Jason Latour and his movie.
Glenn: Branding also helps here but it probably would have sold around 30k if it had just been called Spider-Ham so that still would have been a win. It was a lot of fun to boot.
Ray: A much stronger than usual arrival for Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Vader at #26, selling 48K. That’s over 10K above the sales of the Luke Skywalker issue this same month, down at #48.
Glenn: People love their breathing impaired sith lords.
Ray: The Guardians of the Galaxy annual sells 46K at #30, which is actually about 5K above the main series for a one-shot anthology catching up on the cosmic heroes who didn’t join the new roster. That’s highly unusual, especially since Donny Cates only wrote a framing segment for the issue.
The True Believers one-shots do really well this month, a Spider-man lineup to tie-in with Far From Home. The top-seller is an Amazing Spider-Man #1 reprint at #40, which tops 40K in sales. Lots more of these to come.
Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, and Sam Keith united to do a Wolverine one-shot titled Wolverine: Exit Wounds and it had a healthy debut at #42, selling 39K. I think there’s some hunger for a traditional Wolverine comic.
Glenn: A solid performance for what is most likely a ‘found in a drawer’ comic. We’ve got a few one shots coming up in the next few months with old school creators at the helm, we’ll see how they do.
Ray: Spider-Man: Life Story is officially a hit for Marvel, with the fourth issue gaining about 1K in sales from last month to land at #45, selling 38K. The steady growth here has been excellent and this looks a lot like an evergreen book.
This is where we see a lot of the solid mid-level performers like Daredevil, Thanos, Conan the Barbarian, Shazam, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Justice League Dark, and Captain Marvel, selling in the 35K to 30K range. These books have all had their attrition already for the most part and are in a healthy spot.
A book we’ve never seen in the top 100 has a very strong debut as it transitions to a new company – Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo lands at #61 selling 29K, one of the best non-Marvel debuts IDW has had in a long time. Usagi has always been a book with a very loyal cult audience, so it’s great to see the title find a bigger audience.
Glenn: IDW has made the most of some newly acquired properties and have increased eyes on a few cult favorites, good for them.
Ray: Another wave of popular mid-level ongoings and miniseries here, including Young Justice, the Spider-Man spin-offs (Friendly Neighborhood, Miles Morales, Superior), Major X, Dead Man Logan, Harley Quinn, and Teen Titans all settle down here, selling in the 25K range.
The next really notable book is War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1, selling 24K at #75. No, you’re not confused – that’s 24K of reorders for Greg Pak’s all-Asian superhero team. A spinoff series is coming post-War of the Realms, so this seems like one tie-in that has real legs and interest.
Glenn: Marvel are trying to hit different demographics and they’re likely willing to taking a loss on monthlies if they get something that does better elsewhere like Ms. Marvel out of it but like you say, this is a promising start.
Ray: Ralph Macchio’s latest Marvel evergreen one-shot, Spider-Man: Reptilian Rage, sells 23K at #80. Someone’s buying these, so they’ll probably keep digging them up from drawers.
Glenn: I bet it would have sold better had Mysterio been the villain but they likely had to work with what they had.
Ray: At #86 is a new Valiant series, Psi-Lords by Fred Van Lente, selling 22K. A healthy debut for a series largely starring original characters – Valiant continues to grow slowly but surely.
The next True Believers is at #87, the very timely Spider-Man vs. Mysterio selling 22K. Not the last one paralleling the movie. It’s just above the very last issue of X-Men: Grand Design, but that one’s not meant for singles. And six spots below is the True Believers for Spider-Man vs. Morbius, selling 21K. That one will not be a movie tie-in unless the weird Jared Leto movie happens.
It’s mostly low-ranking Star Wars books like Galaxy’s Edge and Doctor Aphra, War of the Realms tie-ins, and long-running books hanging in here like Supergirl, Black Panther, and Deathstroke as we head out of the top 100, with 101 books crossing the 20K mark this month. The last book to jump over that line is Criminal #3, selling 20.2K.
As we exit the top 100, the next True Believers issue is at #104 – Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker, selling 19.9K. That’s almost 70K in Spider-Ham copies sold this month.
Glenn: People want to know, where’s the beef…er pork.
Ray: The top Image debut of the month is Sonata #1, from Brian Haberlin and David Hine, selling 19.3K. That’s a really strong debut for an Image book without any household names, and it seems to have gotten a lot of good buzz for the first issue.
Glenn: A very strong start here, it seems Image is getting some faith for people to check out books by lesser known creators more and more.
Next True Believers is Spider-Man vs Hulk, another solid performer at 111 selling over 18.6k which could be as a result of how hot Hulk is and that its from the McFarlane era.
Brilliant reorders for Batman: Last Knight On Earth at 114 selling another just over 18k additional copies this month. Definitely no doubt this one is going to be a strong performer.
Ray: That’s another incredible number for a reorder, and brings the title close to what we saw for books like Damned. It was a fifth-week book with only a few other titles, so I wonder if there was some glitch with the orders.
Glenn: Really good debut for Transformers/Ghostbusters which gets sales over 17.5k on launch at 118. Usually these properties barely sell 10k or at the lower end. I guess people were in on this double nostalgia fest. We’re seeing a new team up with the Turtles and Power Rangers hope for similar success towards the end of the year.
Ray: IDW: We’ll cross over anything! These properties both do have some lingering fan support despite the issues with the movies, so this seems like it’s hitting its core audience.
Glenn: Another True Believers doing well at 122 with new Spider-Man which is the first appearance of the Black Costume which is good enough for sales over 16.5k. Likely some residual Venom/Symbiote Spider-Man love here.
Another new Image debut at 124 in Ride Burning Desire which sells 16.5 which is another great performance, especially since this is only a mini. This is a sequel to a comic from long ago from the team behind the bizarre but enjoyable Plastic and Adam Hughes. Image may not be delivering many six figure debuts anymore but they’re putting out a lot of surprising winners.
Ray: Yeah, I’m a bit surprised this did so well – it’s been a long time since the last issue came out. But this is also pretty accessible and has a similar vibe to Criminal, plus Hughes being even tangentially attached helps.
Glenn: We have another new Red Sonja book in the form of prequel series Birth Of The She Devil at 125 selling over 16.5k which is top notch for a Sonja book. Perhaps the critical acclaim the Russell book got is benefiting the character overall?
Ray: Yeah, Russell seems to have elevated the character a bit and other titles are reaping the benefit. Dynamite, killing a golden goose with spinoffs? Never! (GIVE US MORE NANCY DREW!)
Glenn: Over 15.2k for another Spider-Man True Believer issue, the secret of the new costume at 15.2k and this is still strong for old material. This might be the best True Believers month across the board and again it’ll be a mix of the Spidey movie and how hot Venom is. No Venom to claim responsibility for the Wedding Of Aunt May and Doc Ock True Believers at 139 which sells over 14.5k. This is from one of the most infamously silly Spider-Man stories of all time but it doesn’t seem to matter this month. I’m actually surprised it outsold the Spidey goes to London True Believer issue at 142 selling over 14.3k since this issue has a link to the movie since it partly takes place in London also. Still, they all sold well and its free money for Marvel.
Another new Image Book in Thumbs at 145 were it looks at a world were technology obsessed youth are militarized. Given that I don’t recognize either creator the debut of over 14k is still really good indicating that again, Image seems to be developing a base line of trust with retailers.
Ray: They’ve done several other recent Image minis that all sold in this level, so retailers likely know how to order for books by them.
Glenn: The infamous Spider-Armour gets its own True Believers at 152 selling over 13.2k. Still great for old material…especially old material that isn’t that fondly remembered.
Ray: Can’t wait for True Believers: Sins Past in a few years.
Glenn: This months Hellboy related one shot places at 158 with over 12.4k which is a little better than the franchises usual range but nothing to call home about. Stable as always.
Good reorders for Symbiote Spider-Man at 160 selling another 12.2k+ for the first issue. We’ll definitely be seeing more from this concept one way or another.
Ray: It seems to be reorder month! We always see a lot of them, but rarely this high.
Glenn: Giving fans of steampunk their fix is Lady Mechanika: Sangre selling over 11.8k at 162. This is another property that seems to have a small but very loyal audience. Steampunk is still popular and this book is specifically tailored towards that genre so its filling a demand and doing well out of doing so.
Ray: This shows up every few months and we’re always puzzled by it.
Glenn: Go Go Power Rangers: Forever Rangers seems to be a one shot concluding a big story for the property which sells over 11.4k at 163. Considering this is priced at 7.99 that’s a very good number for this nostalgia filled BOOM property.
Ray: Yeah, the Power Rangers line is getting a shake-up with Marguerite Bennett leaving, Ryan Parrot jumping to the main title from GGPR, and Sina Grace taking over the spinoff. It’s still Boom’s biggest hit franchise.
Glenn: At 169 is another way Marvel makes money off old material in the form of the Howard The Duck facsimile edition which sells over 10.9k. Just all bonus money even if its at the low end but hey…its Howard The Duck, what more do you want?
I don’t know what Rick and Morty presents Mr. Meeseeks is but it sells over 10.4k at 176 and will likely do much better than that elsewhere to book. I’m not cool enough to know anything about this but I know it seems to be helping keeping the lights on at Oni.
Ray: Well, it did. Now it’ll keep the lights on at the new Lion Forge/Oni combo company!
Glenn: Okay enough drop for Angel issue 2 which loses about 6k to land at 180 selling over 10.1k. Its a good bit behind Buffy in terms of sales but its still 3k ahead of where it was at Dark Horse. I still think the property isn’t in the best place for a spin off right now in this new universe BOOM has created and sales maybe reflect that but if it stays here and does well in trades it’ll be fine.
Ray: The upcoming event will probably boost this a lot, but it feels like Boom hasn’t really articulated how this Angel is different from the last.
Glenn: Still the best selling Archie title by a fair margin in its third issue is Sabrina The Teenage Witch at 181 selling over 10k. If this doesn’t warrant a full ongoing by this creative team, I don’t know what does, its not like Archie can do without the money.
Ray: They’d probably be happy to have more, but the question is if KT would be available. She’s a very in demand author doing all the things!
Glenn: Such as being a guest on the now classic 200th episode of Rabbit Stew! #shamelessplug
At 184 is more old Spider-Man material, this time in the form of the 7.99 Marvel Tales format which sells over 9.8k. Money, money, money, money.
Humanoid (?!?!?!?!) launches Ignited at 190 selling over 9k. It has Mark Waid’s name on it which doubtfully helped, that’s really good for what I assume is a relatively or brand new company, good for them.
Ray: That’s a solid debut for a new universe, definitely driven by Waid’s name and the FCBD preview. The model here seems to be that they pair an established creator with a newcomer co-writer for each title. Next up is Strangelands top-lined by Mags Visaggio.
Glenn: Start of a new Bettie Page mini series where she travels the multi-verse (no seriously) in Unbound starts off at 194 selling over 8.6k. I can’t wait for Crisis Of Infinite Betty’s.
Ray: That’ll come after Bettie Page vs. Zombie Tramp.
Glenn: Two cult properties collide in Crow/Hack/Slash at 199 selling over 8.1k. I would say the small but loyal Hack/Slash fanbase is provising most of the interest here. The Crow is a franchise that’s been through the ringer and its selling within Hack/Slash’s usual level.
Ray: Hack/Slash doing a bunch of crossovers lately, which shows its strength as a cult property.
Glenn: We get the final issue of Silencer at 200 selling over 8.1k. Well wasn’t it nice we all pretended these books would be a thing instead of combining DC’s most popular villain and hero into one character? Let us all move on and never speak of it again…until the Terrifics ends.
Ray: Yeah, that’s the last of the original character books. They’ll never be seen again until The Batman Who Laughs kills them all in a single panel or something.
The cult favorite Image comic The Weatherman, set in a world where Earth has been destroyed and the culprit doesn’t remember doing it, returns for its second volume with 8.1K in sales at #201. Not a bad return, given that it’s not a true #1.
More high-level reorders here, as Thanos #1 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge #1 both sell about 7.8-7.7K at #205 and #208 respectively.
It’s a while before we get another #1, but it’s a decently healthy debut for Canto #1 at #208, as the odd dark fantasy from IDW sells 6.3K. That’s a bit stronger than most Black Crown titles, and it follows in the footsteps of sleeper hits like Road of Bones and Ghost Tree which also just had the IDW brand.
At #220 is the debut of Jughead: Time Police from Archie, selling 6.2K for the revival of the cult series. Now, this is by fast-rising creator Sina Grace and has gotten great reviews…but it’s also a revival of a bizarre 90s series that almost no one remembers. A good series that won’t likely get a second go unlike the Sabrina reboot.
Glenn: Wacky Archie books seem to perform all around this level so the company seems to know what to expect. If nothing else it can always be used as material for a new hit TV show spin off at some point.
Ray: Bizarre crossovers are Dynamite’s bread and butter, and it doesn’t get weirder than Warlord of Mars Attacks, which crosses over the heroic fantasy of John Carter of Mars with the violent sci-fi satire of Mars Attacks. It debuts with 6.1K at #224, which makes sense given that neither of these properties have sold much in the past – even when Mars Attacks had the brilliant Kyle Starks run recently.
I’m a little surprised that Donny Cates’ Redneck is only selling 5.8K at #230 for its 21st issue. This one doesn’t seem to have caught on as much in singles as his other work, although I imagine it does very well in trades.
Glenn: That is odd. Since Cates is so integral to Marvel at the moment maybe his profile there is making everything he does elsewhere seem secondary? Def should be a trade hit.
Ray: 5.5K in reorders for Savage Avengers #1 at #237. The high sales last issue seem to be partly genuine, as these characters all have a solid audience.
Chris Sebela has a new Aftershock crime thriller, Trust Fall, debuting at #239 with sales of 5.4.K. This is in line with Aftershock titles typically, and Sebela has always been a bit of a cult creator.
5.1K in reorders for Naomi #5, as this fast-rising series continues to build momentum before it goes on break after the July issue.
Two Disney debuts from Dark Horse sell almost identically, two copies apart at 4.7K. We have the launch of the third Frozen minseries to build to the new movie at #252, followed by Cecil Ceastellucci’s reinvention of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs right below it. Castellucci is doing the same for The Little Mermaid in October, so the company is likely happy with the sales here and in the bookstore market based on that.
Glenn: Graphic novels of Disney classics will always have a solid performance outside the direct market, even if they ship them in by the crate to the theme parks.
Ray: Skyward #14 sells 4.2K at #265, the same week the series unexpectedly ended with the next issue. It’s fallen a lot from its early days, but these sales aren’t too low and the odds are this was just a story decision to end it here.
4K in reorders for Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6 at #270, so the best Spider-man title may be picking up a bit of momentum.
Lots of reorders down here already, with 3.9K in reorders for Spawn #297 at #272 and Superman: Leviathan Rising Special at #274, and New Agents of Atlas #2 at #276.
A second cover of White Widow #2 sells 3.8K at #277, which puts that weird sexy-lady comic to over 12K in sales. And then a third cover at #299 puts it at over 15K combined! What the hell?
Glenn: Stupid sexy Widow.
Ray: At #285 is the debut of Trout: Hollowest Knock from Troy Nixey, which sells 3.4K. This is a cult property that returns with a new series from the creator occasionally, and it sells to a similar audience as the Mignola books but at a lower level.
Glenn: Never heard of it so I’ll take your word for it.
Ray: Cave Pictures Publishing has a decent debut at #289 as No Ones #1 from author Jim Krueger sells 3.3K. This is a dark superhero story about a team of famous heroes who accidentally erase themselves from continuity, and a nice performance for a new company.
Glenn: That’s a good premise and of course Krueger will still have sales pull from the Earth X/Justice days. This one could be a sleeper.
Ray: We talked a little earlier about how Black Crown seems to aggressively depress sales as a brand, and that’s definitely the case for the debut of Marilyn Manor. How this First Daughter dark comedy from Mags Visaggio could only muster 3.3K at #292 is puzzling.
Glenn: For a creator on the rise, for sure. Not sure why Crown and Burger books have so many problems gaining momentum in the direct market but here we are.
Ray: An odd debut from Ahoy Comics as they launch a one-shot titled Steel Cage, which sells 3.2K at #294. This had three short stories and we were supposed to vote on which got its on series – but they just announced that due to “voting irregularities”, they would be greenlighting all three as series.
Glenn: I blame Florida.
Ray: Just missing the top 300 at #301 is the dark Scout Comics race-and-religion satire Crucified, about an assassin hired to kill the returned Jesus. It sells 3K and somehow manages not to be pre-cancelled like Second Coming was.
Glenn: Odd to have two Jesus/resurrection comics so close to each other. Likely coincidence.
Ray: #303 brings the regular Street Fighter one-shot from Udon Entertainment. This one focuses on Necro and Effie and sells 3K. I don’t even know who Necro and Effie are. Where’s Blanka?
Glenn: Them kids and their fancy new Street Fighters
Next debut is from Source Point in the form of Samurai Grandpa which sells over 2.8k at 313. This is about an old man Samurai as the title suggests who is looking to rescue his granddaughter from enemies old and new. Sounds fun but Source Point have a ceiling for anything.
Ray: This used to be an Alterna comic before things fell apart over there, so I think this is actually a bit better than it would have done there. Source Point only puts out a few comics a month, but they’re consistently rising.
Glenn: The ever so clever parody titled Dead Sonja is the latest book by Keenspot to try to riff on a somewhat popular property selling over 2.7k at 314. I wonder how many stores ordered this thinking it was a genuine Dynamite spin off.
Ray: At a cost of $6.66, no less. There’s companies with worse leanings, of course, but Keenspot may be the most bizarre comic on the market.
Glenn: At 315 we get some random reorders for Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four so this is likely just stock dumpage. Its over 2.7k for the record.
V Wars: God Of Death is a one shot which is a return of a previous series by the same writer which is to promote the comic in time for an apparent TV show adaption. Never heard of this and sales of over 2.7k at 318 leaves me to believe not many others have either. Could be a collectors item if the TV show is a hit!
Action Lab releases new title Banjax which sells over 2.7k. It seems like a superhero book in a market drowning in them so sales here are as expected.
Next new book of the month, Category Zero from Scout debuts at 320 selling over 2.6k. This seems like another Scout comic with a decent premise but has limited market potential because of the companies size at the moment.
Ray: Banjax and Category Zero are both R-rated superhero pastiches, with one being very similar to The Boys meets The Punisher and the other being a darker take on X-men. Modest numbers for mostly forgettable concepts.
Glenn: The Valiant Handbook 2019 edition sells over 2.6k at 322. The core fans of this universe will likely know everything in here so this is a book of text for anyone wanted to do their research before diving in. This is likely only for completest who buy everything the company puts out.
Black Mask reminds us its still alive by putting out another new book in Lab Raider at 323 selling 2.6k. The once promising company seems to be in its final days and the sales of anything it releases will reflect that.
Ray: This animal-rights extremist book does not seem to have any post-apocalyptic couriers in it, sadly.
Glenn: More stock dumping from Marvel at 329 for Boba Fett: Age Of Rebellion for over 2.4k at 329.
Soulfire is an Aspen book at 334 it sells about as well as you’d expect with over 2.4k copies in June.
Carson Of Venus Warlord Of Mars sounds like a puzzling title from American Mythology which sells over 2.1k at 344. A google tells me this is a crossover between Carson Napier (Venus) and John Carter. The latter seems to be very popular for tie ins this month. I’d say any sales here are for die hard Carter fans.
Speaking of Venus, we get a Princess Of Venus title from American Mythology too which sells over 2k at 348. Its a spin off character from our Carson of Venus friend above so yeah…can’t expect miracles.
Ray: American Mythology does a lot of public domain books like this, but this is the first crossover that I know of. This might be a crossover with Dynamite as well, unless both companies can put out books with the same character.
Glenn: Stitched Terror is a new horror comic by Pat Shand selling over 2k at 350 which is priced at 5.99. It also comes with 50 copies of 50 shades of torture varients or something…ew…just ew to all the things. A second issue sells over 1.7k at 363, it is also priced at 5.99 for…reasons?
Ray: I believe this is an Avatar book? Ultraviolence is their brand, mostly.
Glenn: I can’t believe Aang would do this to us.
At 352 is Archie and friends Beach party which sells over 2k also. This is more old school Archie stuff so the sales don’t really matter here or there.
Ray: Archie’s got this line of books which essentially packages the original stories from the digests into a smaller package without all the retro stuff. It’s a different form of reprints, so these sales are probably fine.
Glenn: At 362 is At The End Of Your Tether, a new 3 issue mini from Lion Forge with a premise that doesn’t exactly set the world of fire. As you could have expected it sells over 1.8k.
Ray: This was an oversized experimental mystery book with a near-unknown creative team for a company with serious sales issues, so I’m not surprised. Shame – it’s actually VERY good.
Glenn: A new Casper book at 364 sells over 1.7k which is about right for material featuring the friendly ghost.
Boogily Heads which apparently POPS but non property specific and all goth get their own comic at 365 selling over 1.7k. Since I’m unfamiliar with the toy line I expect this is all that could be expected.
The no doubt super tasteful one shot from Aardvark press at 366 selling over 1.7k isn’t even worth my energy typing out the name of.
Legendary movie director John Carpenter lends his name to a comic sci-fi Nuclear Attack at 370 selling over 1.6k. I’m surprised this didn’t do better as not only does it have Carpenter’s name but both the creative team of Joe Harris and Cat Staggs are well known. Maybe the company Storm King (whom I’ve never heard of) doesn’t have a great distribution model.
Ray: It’s odd that John Carpenter would choose this tiny company to launch his books. Especially since he apparently has good ties with much bigger companies now, like his upcoming DC special.
Glenn: Another low selling Black Mask debut in Militia at 373 selling over 1.6k. See comments for Lab Raider but you know…worse.
Ray: This is actually from a small-press company titled Blackbox, not Black Mask. The source article got it wrong – and it’s especially amusing that this alt-right comic got attributed to far-left company Black Mask.
Glenn: Its fake news!
Both a 0 issue and 1 for Gargantuan which sell over 1.6k and 1.5k at 374 and 377 respectfully. Again, I’ve not heard of the company (Amigo) so they might just be happy to be here. It also comes with a price tag of yesteryear of 2.99 for the zero issue so good for them on that.
At 183 is a political ‘satire’ comic ‘starring’ Alexandria Ocasio Cortez which sells over 1.4k from Devil’s Due. Its that time in the charts where we start looking for the cyanide pills.
Ray: This is a reprint of said “Satire” comic. I think this is the “DC is suing us and we need money for legal bills” reprint.
Glenn: $10 for a Bettie Page Unbound ‘black bag’ cover at 390 selling over 1.3.k. Jeez.
More Marvel stock with Age Of Rebellion Han Solo at 391 ‘selling’ over 1.3k
Rock and Roll biographies does an issue starring Testament which is a *checks notes* Bay Area Thrash metal band. It sells over 1.2k at 395 so take that for what you will.
Ray: I’ve never even heard of Testament.
Glenn: I doubt Testament have heard of Testament.
Scout comics continues their ‘Binge’ line where they release on issue and then do a collection of the rest (including said first issue) at 397 selling over 1.2k. This is an example of how to kill your first issue buzz, by telling people they have to wait for the rest and then pay for the same thing again. Results as expected.
Ray: “Princess Revolution” is a manga-style fantasy comic for Scout. I probably would have picked up the second issue based on the first, but I’m not sure about the trade. It’s an experiment that seems more about saving money on printing costs than anything.
Glenn: Oh absolutely but why release any single issues at all? Why not go straight to trade? Its an odd business practice.
Ray: Amid a sea of reorders, including for recent middling comic events Infinity Wars and Heroes in Crisis, there’s a Rocky and Bullwinkle anthology titled “As Seen on TV” from American Mythology, selling 1.2K at #401. Into the depths we go…
There’s 1.1K in reorders for something called “Rogue & Gambit #1″ from Marvel. I don’t think this is the recent Mr. and Mrs. X series from Kelly Thompson. Does anyone know what this even is?
Glenn: It is a Kelly Thompson book by that name, some sort of precursor book? I don’t remember it…
Ray: 1.1K in reorders for Ghost Tree #1, a rare IDW book amid a sea of Marvel reorders, at #410. This is the third month in a row this has appeared on the charts, making this the first real buzz-worthy hit IDW has had from their creator-owned line in a while. I think Canto might follow suit.
Glenn: Locke and Key will be returning soon too. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does with the Netflix show on the way.
Ray: It’s almost entirely Marvel reorders down here until we get to #429, where Amped #1 from Red Giant Entertainment lands. This $9.99 variant cover of this new title featuring disabled teens given superpowers sells just over 1K – but the regular $3.99 comic doesn’t land on the charts. Also, this is the White Widow variant, which means the cover doesn’t feature the main characters, but the sexy lady from the same company. Hold me, Glenn.
Glenn: Why do we do this again?! Whose bright idea was this? Oh yeah, it was mine…shut up.
Ray: At #435 is the second printing of the Amazing Spider-Man #252 facsimile edition, selling just over 1K. This is a reprint of a reprint. We’re through the looking glass.
At #439 is the launch of Lady Death Merciless Onslaught, the latest relaunch for the 90s bad girl character, selling exactly 999 copies. It’s a rare original in a sea of reorders.
It’s almost entirely random issue reorders down here, including titles like Moon Knight #189, Miles Morales: Spider-Man #6, Detective Comics #1004, and Captain America #697, all in the 900-copies range.
It’s almost entirely Marvel reorders all the way down until we get to #484, where we have 837 reorders of Ghost Tree #2, more evidence that this is a legitimate hit for IDW. The third issue, for the record, is up at #268 selling 4K. The series is already over with #4, but this should be a great seller in trade.
#485 brings the Cavewoman: Pandemonium one-shot, selling 828 copies for its assortment of covers of…creative poses.
Glenn: I’m not even going to Google
Ray: Virtually nothing but Marvel reorders all the way down, but we close out with a different reorder – 788 copies of Road of Bones #1 for IDW at #500, indicating another slow but steady hit for the Russian cannibal thriller.
Glenn: New Rabbitt Stew superstar Grigory would approve!
Ray: Looking ahead to July, it’s a pretty big month for DC as Sean Murphy returns to DC with Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Young Animal returns with two new titles, and the Walmart stories are reprinted in new volumes – meaning new Batman and Superman titles by Bendis and King. We’ve also got the big #75 issues for Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash and #50 for Aquaman, and the launch of the Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane series by Fraction and Rucka.
Meanwhile, over at Marvel it’s the calm before the Carnage, as Marvel still has a bunch of launches including a Marvels Epilogue with an original story by Busiek and Ross, and and the likely top two comics of the month – the new Jonathan Hickman X-men series House of X and Powers of X. There’s also new series for Loki, a recap of the history of the Marvel Universe by Waid and Rodriguez, Valkyrie by Aaron and Ewing, an epilogue to War of the Realms, a prequel to Absolute Carnage by Cullen Bunn, and too many new miniseries and one-shots to count.
Image, meanwhile, has some big launches, including a new series by Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum, a new Cullen Bunn horror comic, titles from Justin Jordan and Mark Millar, and the finale of Paper Girls. The biggest x-factor of the month, though, may come from Dark Horse as they launch a Black Hammer/Justice League crossover that could be their biggest hit in a long time.
Glenn: Final issue of Walking Dead too but no one knew that at the time but still, it’ll definitely make an impact.
Ray: What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
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