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 several 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! Burned through the third season of She-Ra and The Princesses Of Power faster than he expected and found that even a show based off a cheesy 80’s cartoon created to sell toys can give all the feels.
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. Is off on Summer vacation and is spending it mostly indoors, thank you very much. He also burned through She-Ra and wants Entraptra and Hordak to have their own cafe with fully robotic staff.
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: We’re over the halfway point in 2019 and the sales chart has gotten super wacky in the month of July. There’s a lot of curiosity this month, particularly in the top ten with books ranking lower than they should and others ranking higher than they should. There’s a lot of confusion that we’re going to do our best to wade through because we love you. Yes, especially you.
Ray: This is just…wacky this month. Marvel’s sales are suspect in the best of times, as they frequently do incentives and overships that completely change the numbers, but now DC is doing a special month of enhanced covers to tie in with their Year of the Villain event. Because these covers are an extra dollar, they’re counted separately for the purpose of the charts and that essentially cuts the sales on DC books in half. So many titles that are normally top fifty mainstays miss or barely crack the top 100.
Glenn: This month’s top seller on the surface in the two first issues of the two Jonathan Hickman X-Men mini’s with House Of X selling over 185.6k and Powers Of X selling over 167.8k at 1 and 2 respectfully. After Secret Wars some years back, no one expected Hickman back at Marvel and while we all expected him to maybe do something at DC no one could have foreseen him helming a major property again but here we are. The last few years have told us that there is a decent amount of interest in X-Men but all it needed was a supercharge to launch it back to the top which Hickman more than covers. These two mini’s will likely sell over 100k or close enough to it during the duration and Hickman’s solo X-Men book will undoubtedly become one of Marvel’s heavy hitters. Its a big grab by the company to get him back and its already playing dividends.
Ray: These books definitely had a lot of covers, but I do think the interest here is genuine. This is the first true a-list X-men launch in a while, as neither the Blue/Gold/Red era nor the recent weekly garnered too much buzz. The return of Hickman to the Marvel Universe is a huge development and he’s returning from a high point. I think the flagship book will likely perform similarly to Venom as one of Marvel’s top guns.
Glenn: At 3 is the anniversary issue of Amazing Spider-Man which is oversized and overpriced at 7.99 cover price but once again expensive comics don’t seem to deter retailers with sales over 113.2k for the title. Now that hunted is over though and without a fancy multiple of 25 to support it the next issue is down at 18 selling over 59.6 which still puts it at the top of Marvel’s upper tier but the lowest the title has sold in years. The reaction to writer Nick Spencer’s run has been so-so and without a much hyped event or anything of interest to support it, interest is decreasing. Luckily Venom is coming in the form of Absolute Carnage and some tie-ins so we can all continue pretending that all is fine.
Ray: Overhyped Marvel anniversary issues always get big numbers, even if this one was a little silly coming just a year or so into the run. I think the second number is more significant, as we’re seeing some real attrition for the first time and the upcoming Superior Foes themed arc likely won’t help.
Glenn: At 4 is the final issue of the long running and ridiculously successful Walking Dead which sells over 111.1k which is Image taking some pity on retailers who didn’t know this was the last issue and upping orders a bit. Rumours are legit orders are around 80k but while there are some over shipping shenanigans again this month, in Walking Dead’s case its justified. Had this been made known what it was, this could have cracked anywhere between 200-300k easy and Image will see healthy reorders from this book until the end of the year and maybe even beyond. Will we ever see a runaway success from an indie book like this again? Time will tell but Walking Dead sales will continue to reap rewards for Image long after the corpse is cold but somehow still stirring.
Ray: I think this is going to be like DC Rebirth, Marvel Legacy, and Doomsday Clock in that we’re going to see these last few issues of Walking Dead show up on the charts for months on end as reorders come in. And more on that…lay-tor.
Glenn: At 5 is the second issue of Batman: Last Knight on earth which sees an uptick in sales to deliver over 105k units for DC. It seems the confusion about the future of Black Label has been partly settled in retailers minds and given last months strong reorders, demand for this title is high. Its a great number, still less for what I might have expected from the last Batman tale by Snyder and Capullo but this one will continue to do strong in reorders and well in collection form. Perhaps Black Label’s odd print format is seen as a bit of a potential risk to retailers, its hard to call. Still at 5.99 a pop, its still yet another Batman line hit for DC.
Ray: That’s a pretty significant increase and shows some real momentum for this title, as Snyder and Capullo are probably the closest thing DC has to an absolute gold standard creative team now. The last issue is unfortunately delayed – landing in November rather than October as planned – but I doubt it’ll hurt the sales at all.
Glenn: Delays can be a Black Label tradition!
Following up the mega hit he delivered two years ago, Sean Murphy is back with the follow up in the form of Batman Curse Of The White Knight at 6 which sells over 91.2k which is a strong debut and very close to where the previous mini ended. It seems most retailers have treated this as a straight up continuation but this is another Batman related mini that will deliver great numbers for DC during its run.
Ray: This is really exactly where Batman: White Knight left off, so I’m expecting there’ll be very little attrition here. This is a bona fide alternate universe hit for DC, and they just announced a spin-off focusing on Von Freeze with art by Klaus Janson in November.
Glenn: This one may not be drawn by Murphy but obviously Janson has all the Batman cred it the world and his name will still be there along with the all important branding so this universe looks to be branching out.
Finishing up the run of Batman mini’s is the final issue of Batman Who Laughs at 7 with sales over 88k. The hype died down a little but this was the issue we didn’t know would exist until very recently so retailers may have been caught by surprise but the entire mini was a runaway hit and its clear DC are not letting the character rest any time soon.
Ray: Yeah, this is a not-insignificant drop for the final issue and I think it’s partially due to the hurried addition of the last issue. But this is a monster hit.
Glenn: At 8 we either get the indication me and Ray are wrong or Marvel is still messing us all around as the second issue of Black Cat which sells over 82.2k and while I don’t want to say we’re never wrong…we’re not wrong on this one. Its already known some mini debuts which we’ll get to have had their sales bolstered this month and its clear Marvel is wanting this title to be a hit and is just pushing out thousands of unordered copies. How much more? Its unclear but I would be willing to maybe accept this at 50-60k but no…this number for this character and creative team makes no sense. In this case Marvel can’t be trusted but its unclear how much that is the case across the line.
Ray: Yeah, we’ll have to see how this goes in coming months, but something weird is going on here. There is NO reason for this title to be doing so well. The character doesn’t have a mainstream media presence. The event this title spins out of was not well-relieved. The creative team isn’t likely to have strong feelings either way, as they were last on the digital-first Daughters of the Dragon series. This is likely spill-over from the WalMart release and the crash will be coming.
Glenn: At 9 is Immortal Hulk which seems to be selling not due to shenanigans but due to the creative team delivering a high quality book (the horror!). It continues to be a surprise hit with sales over 83k although the following issue drops sharply down to 23 with sales over 54.3k. That still puts it among the upper tier of Marvel’s books and above where it was but its odd the book dropped so suddenly. Is news of the supposed relaunch killing the titles momentum or there something else at play? So many questions this month.
Ray: It doesn’t seem like a relaunch is coming, so it seems like this is just whatever the weird Marvel sales pattern is – the first issue of the month gets a huge jump over the second. I’m assuming the second number is the “Real” one, so that’s still a strong hit for the company as Hulk gets some real buzz for the first time since Loeb/McGuinness.
Glenn: Final part of the top ten is Batman issue 74 trailing behind a lot of shenanigans and successful launches and books also starring Batman. It sells over 78.5k as it continues its slow decend down the charts. Now as always, two Batman issues shipped this month and this might be the first time in 10 years an issue isn’t in the top ten but that seems weird when its the much hyped 75th issue which starts King’s final arc on the title. On first glance the issue is bizarringly at 13 selling over 70.2k which for most ongoings would be pretty solid if not great but for Batman and the start of a major arc and an anniversary issue, its a disaster. However to make this month even more confusing, DC released two covers for a lot of their books and a special variant specifically had a different price point so is charted separately. This issue shows up again on the charts at 74 selling over 29.9k meaning that actually the issue sold over 100.1k which is probably still a little on the low side but makes a hell of a lot more sense. This means that it would be the fifth highest selling book of the month sandwiched between Last Knight and White Knight. King’s run has lost some steam likely due to the news he was leaving being broken early and the incorrect label that he’d been fired off the book being attached to that fact. Momentum on the book has been stalted but I don’t see why the book can’t perform around the 80k mark for this last 10 issue arc with his final issue delivering about the same numbers as 75 did total. Given that this has messed up the entire charts for DC, they have tried to get diamond to make sure this doesn’t happen again because at first glance, it makes them look that they did much worse than they did while their main competitor effortlessly gets away with making themselves look better than they are.
Ray: Yeah…this is where the insanity begins. I think this is a decent number for the anniversary issue of Batman – 100K is always impressive, but I do wonder if the false reports about King being abruptly fired from Batman and his run being unfinished drove down sales a bit. But the decision to do these extra-priced covers has essentially kneecapped DC on the charts this month, making the sales on all their titles look worse than they are. DC kneecaps themselves, Marvel artificially boosts themselves, and here we are.
#11 is the most unexpected triumph of the month, as Dynamite Comics comes just shy of cracking the top 10 with Vampirella #1, the relaunch by Christopher Priest. It sells just under 77K, an amazing number for Dynamite – but this is largely on the strength of a Boundless-level number of variant covers from top artists. There’ll be a sharp drop next month, but I imagine it’ll still be Dynamite’s top comic long-term.
Glenn: An unexpected hit for sure and I think while the variant’s will have played a part, that’s nothing knew for Dynamite or Vampirella. I think Priest’s name may have garnored some interest as his involvement kind of makes you go ‘this is kind of wtf, I want to check it out.’ It’ll wane when people remember for all the bells and whistles in the world, its still Vampirella but this will definitely be the best selling the title has ever been for a bit.
Ray: #12 brings us the debut of Aero #1, selling 71K for Marvel. Except…it didn’t. This reprint of a Chinese comic featuring a young heroine with air powers (with a Greg Pak-penned backup) had its orders doubled as a promotional technique to spread word of this spinoff from Agents of ATLAS. So it actually sold just under 36K, which seems more realistic.
Glenn: It may be inflated but 36k ain’t bad especially when you consider this is a comic largely already bought and paid for. Much like many of Marvel’s reprint comics that are free money this is probably much the same here so this line of books could work to rules all their own.
Ray: At #14 – and #16 – is the latest example of DC’s cover gimmick backfiring, as we get the regular and specialty covers of DCeased #3 selling 68K and 63K respectively. That’s over 130K, putting this monster hit series at #3 for the month – but DC doesn’t get credit for that because the sales are split.
Glenn: The series at least continues to perform well. Like Morgan Freeman once said, we’re going to see more of these.
Ray: More Marvel games at #15, as Invisible Woman sells 64K – but it also had its sales doubled, which means it sold 32K. I don’t think Reed and Sue really have solo potential yet, since they’re too tied to the Fantastic Four while Johnny and Ben have more ties outside of it.
Glenn: Decent for the real sales as you can expect from a character who like you said has never had much solo success. Most of these sales will be Waid pulling it along but by the end, it will probably remind Marvel that even though Sue is a fantastic character (pun intended) you can’t change a mindset the company has laid into us for 80 years in regards to her sales potential.
Ray: Spawn keeps climbing the charts, as its 299th issue sells 60K at #17. I think the #300 issue, which has a Snyder/Capullo story in it, will easily break into the top ten or even top five.
Glenn: It depends what shenanigans go on next month but until the anniversary issue hype dies down, this will be Image’s new top ongoing all over again. Party like the early 90’s!
Ray: Amid ongoing hit series like Detective Comics (the second issue of the month, which was not split), Savage Avengers, Venom, Justice League, Avengers, and the finale of Uncanny X-Men, we get the second issue of Event Leviathan, selling 53K at #24. That’s definitely not event comic numbers, but given that it’s a mostly self-contained spy comic that’s getting completely overshadowed by Year of the Villain, I think these are fine numbers. Not too far off from Heroes in Crisis.
Glenn: A slightly less successful one, sure. Its going to be interesting how DC do their Events in the future after both this and Heroes underperformed. We know Snyder/Capullo are cooking something Crisis related which is a solid way to rebound.
Ray: Loki gets the best of this month’s War of the Realm tie-ins, with the new series by Daniel Kibblesmith debuting at #25 with sales of 51K. I think this is a sustainable debut number for one of Marvel’s most popular antiheroes.
Glenn: Loki is now one of movies greatest kinda/sorta villains even outside of comic book movies. His profile is higher than ever and he’s had a good run of critically acclaimed books starring him in the last decade or so, people don’t want to miss the boat here. This will likely settle to high 20’s to mid 30’s which should be okay for a decent run.
Ray: Silver Surfer: Black settles down after its blockbuster debut, selling 47K at #30. That’s less than 1K above where the 8th issue of Guardians of the Galaxy by the same writer sells, so I think we can safely say that Cates’ name is going to drive this book’s sales. The Venom tie-in might be good for some reorders down the line.
Glenn: For sure, this is before people realized what this was. This is still a great number historically for Silver Surfer and a mini especially.
Ray: A strong debut for History of the Marvel Universe by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez, selling 46K at #33. This is essentially a sourcebook narrated by Marvel characters and with original art, so that’s a testament to the strength of the creators, I think.
The anthology War of the Realms: Omega sells 45K at #34, so I think retailers got the word that this wasn’t a final issue of the main series but an epilogue teasing spin-offs.
Glenn: That does explain it. Among one of the better tie-ins for that reason.
Ray: Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre sells 45K at #35, a great number for a Cullen Bunn book following up on a supporting character from his Flash Thompson Venom run. It’s a lead-in to Absolute Carnage, so more evidence that’s going to be a monster.
Glenn: I’m scared.
Ray: More Venom at #37, as the annual sells 44K. This has no ties to anything Donny Cates is doing – it’s part of the Acts of Evil mini-events and has a Ryan Cady-penned tale where Venom fights Lady Hellbender. More evidence that anything Venom touches is gold right now.
Amid more strong regulars like Captain America, Thor, The Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, and Symbiote Spider-Man, we get the debut of Valkyrie: Jane Foster, selling 42K at #39. That’s a decent debut given that I don’t think anyone imagined a Jane Foster ongoing would be a thing years ago, but I also think an Aaron/Ewing book and one starring the former Thor should be debuting a little higher.
Glenn: Especially with the recent movie news. Why this didn’t get the inflation treatment Black Cat is getting when Jane is about to be the star of a big budget movie is another mystery only Marvel can answer. I think this one will settle fast or be a climber which will give it a healthy life.
Ray: At #41 is Marvels Epilogue, featuring an original 16-page story from Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross plus some backmatter. It sells 42K, not bad for a likely evergreen comic, but given how iconic this book is I would have expected more. I wonder if the price put some people off.
Glenn: I think the same or maybe people were put off by how much comic vs. price there was. Of course this will now be packaged in with all future Marvels collections so it ultimately didn’t matter. I really believed a top ten number for the first Alex Ross interiors in what feels like forever wasn’t out of line but there you go.
Ray: The other Agents of ATLAS spinoff, Sword Master, is at #44 selling 41K. I don’t think this one had its orders doubled, so it actually outsold Aero handily. Both of these are mostly free money for Marvel since the bulk of the comic is translated pre-existing comics, though.
Issues of Detective Comics and Justice League are at #45 and #47 selling about 40K, but there’s 15K in additional copies out of the top 100 for their second covers, so the numbers are deceptive here.
Lois Lane’s first solo series in decades has its debut at #46, selling 40K. I would have expected more from a Rucka/Perkins book, but this twelve-issue series is a slow burn mystery and Rucka’ tends to do very well in trades. This’ll level off quickly, but its sibling book has me worried. (More on that…lay-tor).
Glenn: Rucka books do tend to get a steady audience fast and DC likely have many collection types in mind for this. I don’t think this is a bad number at all for something a bit outside the normal Super family wheelhouse.
Ray: The first of many reorders for The Walking Dead is at #48, as #192 (where THAT happens) gets an additional 38K in sales. The total numbers for these last few issues are going to be massive in a few months.
Glenn: Robert Kirkman, how do you sleep at night?
Kirkman: On a bed of money with many beautiful corpses.
Ray: 37K in sales for Wolverine vs. Blade Special at #51, an oversized one-shot that feels like it could have been a miniseries. This was a rare mature-readers book from Marvel, but the launch of a new Black Label this is not.
Glenn: I think this is really good, Blade hasn’t had a major spotlight in forever (this will sure change soon) and its 5.99, can’t argue with much here.
Ray: Star Wars: Target Vader from Robbie Thompson launches at #52 with sales of 37K. These random Vader miniseries always do dependably but not spectacularly now that the Soule series is over.
#53 brings 37K in orders for New Mutants #98 Facsimile Edition, reprinting the first appearance of Deadpool. This actually outsold Deadpool’s solo series!
Glenn: Another key issue that people go gaga over. More free money.
Ray: 36K in orders for Batman Secret Files #2 at #54. Unlike last year’s edition, this one didn’t really have a clear hook and there was nothing to drive sales higher.
Glenn: I thought maybe the solicited and cover boasting ‘City Of Bane tie-in!’ might have been good for a few more but it ultimately was nothing of the sort. This sold along the lines of what it actually was. If King had been among the writers that could have maybe got it 10-20k more.
Ray: The first of the Walmart originals to get a regular comic release, Batman Universe from Bendis and Nick Derington sells 35K at #58. Given that many people have read these already, this seems to indicate some real interest for this series and it’s the highest-selling of this mini-line so far.
Glenn: Free money for DC this time. This will have made a ton from the Wall Mart thing and will do great in collections land. This is a great number, especially priced at 4.99
Ray: Naomi finishes out its short run for now with sales of 35K at #59, back down a little lower from the last issue but way up from its debut. The implied Legion ties really kicked the sales here up a notch.
X-Men #1 Facsimile Edition sells 35K at #61, as Marvel masters the art of selling us old comics – now at full price!
Glenn: Original ads though Ray. ORIGINAL ADS.
Ray: The Green Lantern Annual is at #62, selling 34K. That’s about 10K down from the regular series, maybe due to the absence of artist Liam Sharp.
Both DC and Dark Horse have to be pretty happy with the sales for their latest crossover, as Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #1 sells 34K at #64. That’s more than a 300% increase from regular sales of Black Hammer, which means DC’s clout just potentially tripled the audience of comics’ best series at the moment.
Glenn: This is brilliant and well deserved for Black Hammer which is probably the best comic out there at the moment. It seemed that this was Lemire’s Coda at DC but he’s sticking around to write some smaller tier characters.
Ray: Lots more of these split issues, which puts titles like Superman, Action, and Wonder Woman down here in the 60s instead of where they should be – but the actual numbers are close or normal to what they should be.
#67 has the Wolverine and Captain America: Weapon Plus special, selling 31K. That’s decent for an oversized one-shot picking up on plotlines from the Morrison X-Men run, but this is definitely one of the lower-selling of Marvel’s many one-shots this month.
Glenn: Maybe a little on the low side, maybe people just weren’t bothered about the much mined ‘Weapon X project’ connection?
Ray: Even more reprints, as Giant Sized X-Men #1’s Facsimile Edition sells 31K at #70.
30K in sales for Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 at #71. That’s way below what I would expect from the return of Matt Fraction to mainstream comics, but then, it is Jimmy Olsen. He hasn’t had a solo series for decades. So if this series will pick up momentum, it’ll have to build it off critical acclaim.
Glenn: This could very much be a Vision job where sales are so-so but it delivers an instant classic that picks up all sorts of awards, builds momentum and does tonnes of collection sales. Fraction hasn’t been at either of the big two for some time and was never one of the tip top sellers so that could be impacting things too. Time will tell.
Ray: A very good Image debut at #76, with Sea of Stars from Aaron and Hallum selling 29K. This is well above most recent Image debuts, but I think Aaron’s name on anything will drive sales.
Glenn: The unique format could have pulled people in too.
Ray: The oddball Marvel book, Death’s Head from Tini Howard, sells 29K at #77. I wonder if marketing it as the Wiccan and Hulkling series it seems to be would have boosted sales a bit?
Glenn: Still very good for a pretty obscure character taking the title but yeah, some sort of more obvious Young Avenger’s connection would have helped.
Ray: The first of the Age of Resistance one-shots from Star Wars, starring Finn, sells 29K at #78. The other that was released, starring Captain Phasma, is down at #85 selling 27K and the anthology special is down at #94 selling 23K.
Glenn: These have lost a bit of momentum it seems. Will do well on reorders closer to the movie perhaps.
Ray: The first of the Carnage-themed True Believers one-shots this month, Absolute Carnage – Carnage, sells 28K at #81, as anything Carnage-related flies off the shelf.
Tom King and Andy Kubert’s Superman story, Up in the Sky, sells 28K at #82 as DC gets more bonus sales from their Walmart books.
Glenn: Lower than expected with the creative team but Superman has the unfortunate disadvantage of not being Batman.
Ray: A surprisingly low debut for a Mark Millar book, as Space Bandits #1 lands at #83 with sales of 27K. Black Science artist Matteo Scalera is wildly talented, but he’s not as much of a “name” as Millar’s other recent artists.
Glenn: Not sure what happened here, I thought Millar’s name would have been enough even if you don’t consider Scalera a superstar (which his talent warrants). These Millar books haven’t been doing so hot since the Netflix deal, perhaps people are content to wait for the inevitable adaption as other comics which could use their money take priority.
Ray: Two more of Marvel’s niche projects that rolled out this month land around here, as Peter David’s sci-fi adventure begins in Fantastic Four: Prodigal Son with sales of 27K at #86 (the story will continue in Silver Surfer and Guardians one-shots), and the anthology Fearless, which spotlights female characters and creators, lands just below it selling 26K. This one may pick up a bit of steam due to a short Kelly Thompson story with an insane last page that went viral.
After a long hiatus, Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol returns with a new series and a new artist, and sells 23K upon its return at #95, which is a boost from the previous run.
The Justice League Dark Annual sells 23K at #97 in the biggest spotlight yet for rising creator Ram V. This would normally be about 10K below the sales of the parent title, but the sales are split this month which puts both of those issues out of the top 100.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is picking up steam in a hurry as the title heads for #100 and a creative team change, plus a major status quo change. #96 sells 22K this month at #99, a huge increase – and look for reorders to be big.
#102 brings Punisher Annual #1, which was an Acts of Evil tie-in featuring Punisher and JJJ vs. The Brood. 22K people loved this idea just as much as we did.
Glenn: I think this one could see some reorders, it was a lot of fun and a really good surprise of a great read.
Ray: After what seems like forever, Age of X-Man concludes with the Omega issue, which finishes out of the top 100 at #103 with sales of 21K. Not much of an event. It’s okay, Hickman’s here…
Glenn: Everyone like ‘don’t care, Hickman here, bye now’ and you can’t blame them since Marvel is doing that themselves.
At 111 is the next re purpose of Wal-Mart material with Wonder Woman: Come Back to me by the former creative team of Harley Quinn. I would have thought since this is the team that helped propel Quinn into a sales success against all odds this would have been capable of more than the over 20.3k it does. While the main Wonder Woman title is gaining some momentum thanks to G. Willow Wilson, the character has never performed well in spin offs or that. Again the sales here aren’t really a big deal because this material is all bought and paid for.
Ray: The level of talent DC managed to assemble for these books is genuinely impressive, but I think King and Bendis have more name pull than Palmiotti/Conner. And Wonder Woman never sells as well as the Big Two. I think overall these are just bonus sales and DC is obviously very happy with these stories.
Glenn: Right below it at 112 is the debut of a new Young Animal book, Collapser which launches with sales over 20.1k which is pretty good for an original property out of this niche line. We’ll see how we go but sales of around 10k is probably where it’ll end up which DC may be happy enough with, they knew what they were getting with bringing this line back.
Ray: This is co-written by a former member of My Chemical Romance, so it’s got a built-in audience, but the concept (essentially a darker version of books like Blue Beetle and Nova) doesn’t have much sales pull. I think this one might struggle.
Glenn: A strong debut from Titan at 114 with the first issue of Blade Runner 2019 which sells over 19,9k. The original movie still has a large and passionate audiance eager for more stories from this world so this has done better than most of these retro classic movie comic follow ends tend to do, This could easily become Titan’s biggest hit in their roster of never ending licensed properties.
Ray: That’s one of the top Titan debuts ever, impressive. The recent movie sequel disappointed at the box office, but the franchise has very loyal fans.
Glenn: That movie was genius and you’re all mad, ALL OF YOU MAD!
A new debut from Image at 115 in Unearth which sells over 19.8k follows the pattern of name debuts from Image for the last few months. This one has Cullen Bunn as a co-writer which helps but like we’ve been saying, retailers have been willing to order pretty sodily on Image debuts for a good time now showing that the company itself is creating excitement over anything it puts out which is a good thing.
Ray: Bunn on a horror concept will virtually always sell itself. He’s become the go-to guy for disturbing original horror minis from every company under the sun.
Glenn: The final issue of one of Image’s most steady sellers, Paper Girls gets a slight sales boost at 118 selling over 19.3. Its not even an increase over 2k but the series has been a solid performer throughout, is well thought of an is constantly present in high selling collections lists. With an adaption from Amazon on the way, there’s no doubt this will become another major asset to Image’s ever growing library.
Ray: I think Saga is more the case of that but I think Paper Girls is a more traditional tale and that’s saying something considering what wacky stuff this comic had to offer.
This title stayed pretty consistent throughout, and seems to be the Vaughn book that has the most universal fan love with little controversy.
Glenn: I didn’t remember ever seeing Captain America & The Invaders solicited but here it is at 119 selling over 19.2k. Some research tells me this another in a bizarre series of one shots of stories from legendary creators (in this case Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway) that Marvel fell over one day and decided to release. This is a great number for old school type comics, especially at 4.99.
Ray: Not sure if new content or something they dug up from the vault, but this one-shot made me want more Jerry Ordway comics.
Glenn: I think we can all agree on that one.
This month’s True Believers theme is Carnage in prep for Absolute Carnage next month with the first two offerings at 120 and 121 both selling over 19.1k. This is a clear indication that this is the event of the year for Marvel when objectively most of the Carnage material from yesteryear has been subpar at best so when retailers can offer the stuff that Cates has masterminded, all bets are off.
Controversy has reaped big benifits for company Ahoy Comics who picked up Second Coming after DC dropped it like a hot potato a while back. The company sees what is most likely its biggest sales ever at 122 with over 18.6k in units. Much like when DC fobbed off the Boys in years gone by and Dynamite scooped it up to big benefit, Ahoy Comics should likely send the editorial over their a fruit basket.
Ray: Yeah, this is well above the debut of Wrong Earth, Ahoy’s previous hit. This also shows Mark Russell’s star keeps on rising. This would have been a good debut for an Image book!
Glenn: The cult hit series, X-Statix returns with a one shot this month with Giant Sized X-Statix at 124 selling over 18.1k. I think that’s pretty good given the series is near 20 years old and a lot has changed in the industry since then. Marvel seem to be happy enough to use this as a launch pad for a new series which may pick up some of the momentum the x-line is getting overall.
Ray: This is another generation of comic readers, so I’ll be interested to see how the sequel series does. Do comic revivals do as well as TV revivals? We shall see!
Glenn: Justin Jordan is a writer of note and artist Rebekka Isaacs did some great work for Dark Horse on their Buffy line and now together they launch Reaver from Image selling over 17.9k at 126 which is another very solid debut from the company. While Marvel and DC have the majority of the top 100 on lockdown, Image seems to be living it up here under the surface.
Ray: Jordan is a name that consistently produces quality work but tends to struggle sales-wise. This is one of his best recent debuts and I hope it keeps that momentum.
Glenn: A bizarre sequal to a bizarre premise at 130 with Archie vs Predator II selling over 17.6k which is much higher than Archie comics tend to do. I can’t wait for Archie and the gang to stumble beneath Riverdale high and for Reggie to get his face way too close to a weird egg looking thing.
Ray: This one is a full-on ultraviolent mature readers comic, so I think it’s picking up a lot of the actual Predator fans from Dark Horse. This is roughly where the franchise’s new series’ land.
Glenn: The maxi series Adventures Of The Super Sons finishes up its run at 131 selling over 17.6k and I think this one performed really well given the status quo has moved on past its premise. Seeing these two together in a more recognizable state seems to resonate with people and maybe the last chance to see them again like this was enough to keep people sticking around.
Ray: This series had a good concept with a top creative team, but it never really caught on in either run. Both characters grew up too fast, I think.
Glenn: Agreed, this was a duo that could have been rolling for years even before they added a mysterious young girl that could fly and carried a lasso that made people tell the truth to the mix.
The start of the Dark Phoenix Saga way back in X-Men 137 gets a Facsimilie edition meaning more free money from Marvel with sales over 16k. The interesting thing to me is most of these have been reprinted to death in collections all over but people still want them, goes to show what I know.
Some Secret Warps this month with Soldier Supreme, Ghost Panther, Weapon Hex, ArachKnight and Iron Hammer all getting annuals selling over 15.9k at 147, 15.4k at 149, 15.4k at 150, 15.1k at 153 and 13.9k at 165 respectfully. These are odd concepts that retailers almost ordered like for like because they and most likely fans aren’t sure what to make of them. They all perform solidly enough given their weirdness and if Marvel doesn’t overdo the concept they can probably trot it out now and then to get a decent result back. The only one that doesn’t do too hot is Iron Hammer and while its not a big difference it is notable enough when the rest are so packed together, not sure what was different here.
Ray: The drop on Iron Hammer is odd because that had the two most popular combined characters, but it was also the last installment. Either way, this is a spin-off of an event that people forgot five minutes after it ended, so not a big surprise.
Glenn: Among these is the Ms. Marvel annual selling over 15.3k at 152 where Kamala fights the super Skrull as part of the soft non event Acts of Vengeance or whatever its called. Its a good number, nearly outselling Kamala’s main title by about 2k.
Ray: This “Acts of Evil” branding seems like it’s going to be selling based on the direct market popularity of the lead character, aside from anything else.
Glenn: Another Cullen Bunn book, a horror mini series with his Harrow County artist Tyler Crook in the form of Manor Black at 182 selling over 12k which is decent enough from Dark Horse these days. This is about the number Harrow County sold and is a short mini so little to worry about here.
Ray: Bunn is everywhere! (More on him…laytor) This is a pretty solid number for Dark Horse.
Glenn: Speaking of Dark Horse, they launch a new Alien mini titled Alien Rescue which sells over 10.9k at 197 which is around where the franchise has been with the odd exception for years. The company are either still waiting to hear if they’re getting one of their bread and butter franchises taken off them or hoping that Disney has forgotten about it, I won’t tell if you don’t.
Ray: Given that Disney now outsources most of their Disney books to Dark Horse, they might be okay here.
Glenn: The card stock editions of major DC comics really make the charts wonky this month with a lot of their books seemingly at this level with the other sales much higher. We might see the same thing come November when another batch of varients on certain books at different prices is available. Hopefully DC will have sorted things out with diamond by then.
Ray: *runs around with his shirt off* NOTHING MAKES SENSE!!!
Glenn: My eyes! The goggles! They do nothing!
Ray: For those who like the offbeat fantasy web series Critical Role, there’s a new miniseries from Dark Horse, titled Vox Machina Origins Series II, and it sells a little over 10K at #204. Dark Horse has had some success with cult properties like this lately.
Glenn: Given how the Kickstarter for the show made all the money, I’m sure there’s a large fanbase out there for this in other places/forms.
Ray: Speaking of spinoffs, IDW tests the water with their first Sonic the Hedgehog spinoff as they debut Tangle and Whisper, which teams a hyperactive lemur with a quiet spy fox. It sells 10.3K at #206, which is only about 1K below where the main series is selling.
Glenn: Considering that I’ve just learned about these characters and they’re not as well known as Tails or even Knuckles, I’d call that a big win
Ray: After a lot of stray cardstock covers from DC, at #216 we get the debut of The Orville: New Beginnings, a miniseries that covers the time jump between seasons one and two of Seth McFarlane’s sci-fi dramedy. It sells 9.7K, which is about right for a Dark Horse spin-off of a cult TV series. This is also a new Disney property thanks to the Fox purchase.
Glenn: Disney now owns Star Trek kinda/sorta? Orville/Space Balls crossover confirmed?
Ray: Cullen Bunn shows up for the third time with a new creator-owned series with Knights Temporal, a time-travel thriller from Aftershock that sells 9.7K at #217. Compare this to Manor Black and you see how much Aftershock continues to struggle.
The second month of IDW’s Usagi Yojimbo drops a lot but settles at #220, selling 9.6K. Still a world above where it was slowly selling at Dark Horse.
After a lot of variant covers and mid-level licensed titles, we come to #230 where we find Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim from Walt Simonson. It sells 8.8K. What the hell is this? Where’s Jane Foster?
Glenn: This seems to be solely directed at Simonson fans to see what he would do with the Norse legends without all that pesky Marvel stuff in the way? Its an interesting idea that I don’t think I’ve ever seen done before but without a top property, Simonson will be one of those legendary creators that can only do so well with their own stuff in the direct market.
Ray: At #238 is the World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia, a one-shot giving us the backstory of the cast of Jeff Lemire’s creator-owned hit. It sells 8.4K, which only puts it less than 2K behind this month’s issue of the main series. There’s some serious interest in this shared universe, maybe more than any since Astro City.
Glenn: This is an information booklet to grab new fans and for crazy people like you and me, Ray so this is pretty good. I’d say a lot of Black Hammer back material like this might be sought out given the launch of Black Hammer/Justice League
Ray: At #242 is the debut of Killers from Valiant, a B. Clay Moore thriller teaming several past members of the Ninja unit to track down an assassin hunting them. It sells 7.9K, not coming from a writer who is really associated with Valiant, but it got great first-issue reviews.
#250 brings us 7.6K in reorders for Silver Surfer: Black #1, so those mammoth first-issue sales didn’t even burn off all the interest!
Glenn: More reorders will filter in as the Venom connection come clear and we’re hit with some insane Absolute Carnage numbers
Ray: A pair of Vault Comics debuts are ordered almost exactly the same at #256/257, as the post-apocalyptic horror thriller Resonant and the fantasy epic Sera and the Royal Stars sell 11 copies apart, around the 7.5K range.
7K more sales for Vampirella at #259, as the “1969 replica edition” sells more copies for $6.99.
Glenn: Its not just DC splits causing confusion this month! I’m guessing this is a pricier cover? This concept always baffles me but I absolutely understand there’s a market for it.
Ray: The latest Boom young adult book, Ghosted in LA by Iceman writer Sina Grace, sells 6.7K at #264. This charming supernatural comedy about a college student who moves in with a mansion full of offbeat ghosts deserves better and will likely do most of its sales in trades.
Glenn: This makes me miss Image’s series of the same name but does sound like a lot of fun!
Ray: Another Vault debut, Test from Chris Sebela, lands at #267, about 1K lower than the books above it at 6.5K. This one has the bigger name attached, but it also has the more difficult concept to describe.
Glenn: *googles Vault’s Test* Erm yes…I see. Given the advance previews I’ve been lucky enough to read of The Mall and The Plot, Vault does seem to have a lot of strong stuff under the radar so this might be one of those.
Ray: More of Marvel reselling us comics we already read, as the oversized Marvel Tales line gets two installments at #268 and #270, with 6.4K for the Captain America and Hulk digests.
The oddball fighting anime adventure No One Left to Fight lands at #273 from Dark Horse, selling just under 6.4K. A pretty typical Dark Horse creator-owned debut, but Aubry Sitterson seems to have jumped companies after his dramatic exit from IDW pretty smoothly.
Glenn: Anime adaptions will obviously sell bananas in the regular market once collected and could be big, big money if they’re translated and sold overseas.
Ray: Speaking of odd next career steps and IDW, Matthew Erman of the twisted time-travel horror series Long Lost picks his next book – and it’s a Care Bears reboot, selling 5.9K at #276. ‘kay.
Glenn: Maybe he wanted a change of pace?
Ray: The acclaimed but low-selling Image title Bitter Root returns from hiatus with an anthology special titles Red Summer, selling just under 6K at #277. Lots of artists, but the same writing team writes all the stories, so this is a must-get for fans.
Hey, there’s Zombie Tramp at #281 Good ol’ Zombie Tramp, good for 5.8K in sales in her role as official mascot of By the Numbers.
5.7K in reorders for DCeased #1 at #285, proving there’s no limit to the audience’s hunger for zombies. Heh. Hunger.
Glenn: Puns, we got em
Ray: At #289 is the oversized one-shot Red Sonja: Lord of Fools, selling 5.5K. That’s less than half of the main series’ sales this month, despite this also being a Mark Russell issue tying into the main story, so I think retailers missed the boat here.
Glenn: They probably thought it was a throwaway I guess? We’ll see some reorders maybe or just some out of step oddity like we saw with Dead No More and such
Ray: At #298 is Strangelands #1, a new Humanoids comic co-written by Mags Visaggio selling 5.3K. Way lower than Ignited last month, which indicates it might have been Waid’s name driving those sales.
Glenn: Its hard to shelve out just another super hero universe, even if it is good or slightly different since there’s so much more to the market now. It really underlines how well Black Hammer does in a way.
Ray: Glenn, have you ever wondered what a comic about a girl who is the sole survivor of a massive space disaster and is rescued by a giant space tardigrade would sell? Now you have your answer, as the incredibly surreal Star Pig #1 sells 5.1K from IDW at #304.
Glenn: Well now I know and knowing…its half the battle. I’m just glad we’re halfway through this battle but the despair is about to kick in, sob.
Some reorders for Galaxy’s Edge this month at 312 selling over 4.7k. Again given this is just done to promote a new theme park, the sales aren’t important but always nice to get reorders.
At 314 we have Bionic Woman vs Charlies Angels selling over 4.6k and I’m not too surprised. Despite Angels getting another big reboot soon, these versions of the properties are long past their heyday and both have connections to failed TV shows. There might be some nostalgic interest but that’ll be it.
Ray: Both of these properties have had low-selling comics from Dynamite for a while, but there’s really also nothing to make this crossover stand out above them.
Glenn: Some reprint money for Disney via Marvel via IDW at 315 with Marvel Action Classics Hulk selling over 4.6k. It must be weird to see a title that literally has the world Marvel on it with an IDW logo on it too. These aren’t meant for the direct market which is why IDW is publishing it and not Marvel.
A continuation of a previous series in Postal: Deliverance from Image at 318 selling over 4.5k which is shockingly low for an Image new start. Perhaps this is a property many people didn’t clamor for too much? I don’t know much about it so I’ll let Ray fill in the blanks here.
Ray: This is essentially the new chapter of a series that wrapped a year ago and was selling pretty low by the end. Aside from a time-jump, there’s little new here, so I’m guessing retailers treated this like the next issue in a cult series and not a new Image series.
Glenn: Some reorders for Black Cat issue 1 at 323 selling another 4.4 plus copies. This is probably a real demand for whatever the real number was. I’m sure all extra copies were shipped last month and it’ll be a year or two before we see the stock dumps of any more.
Some reorders for Superman: Year One on its month off selling over 4.2k additional copies. Doesn’t seem to be the extra heavy demand here like there is for Last Knight on Earth. I still think this is a title that on paper that should be more powerful but having Frank Miller’s name on your cover has become a kind of poisoned chalice.
Ray: I still have no clue what’s going on with this series.
Glenn: Two new offerings from Zenescope in a row at 336 and 337 with Belle Oath Of Thorns selling over 3.8k which seems to be a typical heroine in the companies typical style and the *sighs* Swimsuit special which sells around the same. *does the heavy boobs dance while wheeping the end of Crazy Ex Girlfriend and the fact that CW is giving us Katie Keene instead*
Ray: How long before Disney buys this company just to keep Princess-loving kids from accidentally picking these books up?
Glenn: Not soon enough.
Another Marvel Actions Classic in the form of Captain America at 347 selling over 3.4k, same story as I mentioned for the Hulk version above. Little to see here.
I’m surprised that Image Firsts: Spawn 1 didn’t do better than sales over 3.4k at 349 given its significance and with the 300th issue coming up. I guess unlike Marvel, most people are happy to check out older Image works via collections even if its cheap.
Ray: I don’t think anyone is all that interested in going back to the beginning with Spawn, given how many weird twists and turns this series has taken.
Glenn: Leave On The Light at Antartic is another Kickstarter book that met funding so the sales here of over 3.3k at 351 can be deceptive given a successful Kickstarter campaign could have your books in a lot of people’s hands already so it lessens the potential when you get to direct market if its out there and moneys been made.
More sales for Batman: Last Knight On Earth at 354 selling over 3,3k more. Its slowed down a lot obviously but it made it onto top 500 for three months which is nothing to be sneezed at.
Ray: The increase for the second issue clearly indicates there’s some real interest in this book and I expect it to be a perennial seller for DC.
Glenn: The 5.99 Talk Bernie To Me one shot from Devil’s Due is at 362 selling over 3.1k. Usually we get to 400 before having to deal with nonsense like this.
Ray: Like I said on Rabbitt Stew, they need to stop trying to make this happen. How’s that lawsuit from DC over their cover games going?
Glenn: X Liefields, a parody comic of the work of Rob Liefield sells over 3k at 366. I’m sure Liefield is very upset by this as he blows his nose on a $100 and thinks nothing of it.
Ray: He actually issued a statement that he wouldn’t sign these comics and he wasn’t affiliated with them!
Glenn:Good for him.
The Quiet Kind sells bizarringly low for a Dark Horse comic with a decent concept and some creators who in theory should be able to do better at 370 with sales over 2.9k. Something doesn’t fit here.
Ray: A one-shot is always going to be a super-hard sell. No future issues, no incentive to order up. This might become a collector’s item as the creators take off.
Glenn:A new volume of Lola XOXO from Aspen launches at 371 with sales over 2.9k. I’ve never heard of this but I’m guessing this is a set fan base and the company was just relaunching for story reasons rather than the Marvel reasons.
At 375 is an adaption of Watch Dogs the video game, the GTA clone that got a lot of people mad about how it didn’t look as good as the trailers implied. The franchise never fully recovered and it reflects here in sales over 2.7k.
Fellow Northern Irish writer Michael Gordon gets his creator owned title Red Winter on the charts at 378 selling over 2.7k. This was another Kickstarter book that’s also sold well locally so this is likely just a nice bonus to even feature on the charts for Michael.
Ray: This was released through Scout, so that’s a pretty decent number given that a lot of the sales were elsewhere.
Glenn: A lot of reprints and low selling offerings without anything of note until we get to 399 and the GLOW summer one shot which sells over 2,3k just below the main title at 398, This implies that there is a small market for GLOW fans outside of the show and retailers just treated this like another issue. This is one of Netflix’s hidden gems and is a wrestling comic that has advantages other wrestling comics won’t have in that it can predict what talent it can feature without worrying about drama or injuries or whatever.
Ray: It seems like GLOW is going to be a series of one-shots and minis with new #1s occasionally, instead of a regular series.
Glenn: Next up is Gears Of War Pop One Shot at over 2.1k at 413 which I’m guessing is the popular video game but…Pops? Gaming tie-ins never do too hot but this especially low because its not a video game tie in, its a comic about Pops. POPS!
Ray: Porg Pops Adventures comic when????
Glenn: If this happens, I might have to kill you.
Gutt Ghost Till We Meet Again is a new offering from Scout Comics debuting at 414 selling over 2.1k With the rare exception, this is where Scout kinda lives as a company and they make the majority of money with trade shows and such.
Ray: Another really low-selling one-shot. This one was a bizarrely gory comic about a disemboweled ghost, so I don’t think these numbers are unexpectedly low.
Glenn: At 421 is one of the patented Archie Comics reprint material books selling over 1.9k but again…it doesn’t matter. This is Betty and Veronica doing something something, those pesky boys, etc.
Another puzzling low seller from Dark Horse at 429 selling over 1.8k in the form of Starcraft survivors. Its another video game tie in but they’re usually good for more than this, this title also has Jody Houser to boot. I think a box or two was lost…or possibly opened and replaced with copies of Black Cat.
Ray: I think this also sells most of its copies outside of the direct market.
Glenn: At 434 is the insanity I have grown accustomed to at this level. We can stop panicking, normalcy has returned as this one shot which I can’t even be bothered naming sells over 1.7k
Ray: *long, deep sigh*
At #439 is the horror comic Vampire PA: A Bite out of Crime #1 from American Mythology, selling 1.7K. This company usually does public domain material, so they’re not really known for their creator-owned comics and low sales are to be expected.
At #441 is a hidden gem that deserved to do much better, from American Gothic Press. Monster World: Golden Age is a creator-owned title focusing on a PA trying to unravel a mystery involving an ancient race of beings. It only sells 1.7K, but I expect this one to pick up a lot of buzz and reorders.
1.5K in orders for the drug-based horror comic Nasty Pills from Amigo Comics at #450. This company usually specializes in pretty extreme horror comics and is more of a niche product.
Lots of recent Marvel reorders recently until we get to #457, where Midnight Mystery launches its second arc from Alterna with sales of 1.4K. About where it was selling before it took a break, so this is one of Alterna’s steadier books.
The no-doubt tasteful Fornicators Inc. one-shot is at #458, selling 1.4K. Anyway, NEXT.
A weird entry at #462 as the Vault comic Cult Classic: Return to Whisper sells 1.4K for its debut issue. I’m pretty sure this is a reprint, as the first issue came out two years ago and then nothing, but the second and third issues are coming out next month. More odd Vault scheduling tactics.
Mostly reorders down here, almost all Marvel but including 1.2K in reorders for Stranger Things #1 at #473, no doubt to tie in with the third season.
American Mythology has been doing a series of creator-spotlights for famous artists on Zorro, and they have one for Alex Toth at #476, selling 1.2K. Art books are always a niche product.
Keenspot Entertainment did a $1.99 spotlight issue featuring short segments of their most popular books, and it lands at #478 with sales of 1.2K.
Selling just under 1.2K are a pair of Source Point Press comics, with the Victorian supernatural adventure Boston Metaphysical Society at #479 followed immediately by the family tragedy noir The Love She Offered at #480. Both of these could become sleepers.
At #485 is the colorfully titled Unholy Agent vs. Onyx Nude Variant, selling 1.1K. That’s what I expect down here in the depths.
Glenn: Okay I’m back from that monstrosity at 434 so lets…well I’ll just leave again then.
Ray: Speaking of creative titles, All Time Comics Zerosis Deathscape is at #490, selling 1K. It’s strange and scary down here, Glenn.
#493 brings 1K in sales for Lady Death: Sworn, the latest revival for the old Chaos Comics character. It’s odd that they’ve wound up at separate companies, with many like Chastity winding up at Dynamite.
The final comic on the list is 960 reorders for Angel #1, and it’s worth noting that 495 comics this month sold over 1K.
Glenn: Not too shabby compared to the last few months.
Ray: Looking ahead to next month, we’ve got quite a few big launches including Batman/Superman from Josh Williamson and David Marquez and Year of the Villain specials for Black Mask and Sinestro. There’s also a Titans series from the Walmart line, but this month is the calm before the storm for DC.
At Marvel, though the story is very different. Absolute Carnage drops like a bomb on the line, and it should be a tight battle for the #1 spot this month between Absolute Carnage #1 and Marvel Comics #1000, which has dozens of covers. Expect some very successful tie-ins for Absolute Carnage, and a whole bunch of one-shots and miniseries launching as they ramp up content in one of their biggest months in a while.
Image has a few big new launches as well, including White Trees from Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka, Coffin Bound from Dan Watters and Dani, and the ultra-violent superhero comedy Pretty Violent. Also look for a big new Jeff Lemire launch in Berserker Unbound from Dark Horse.
What will rise? What will fall? Tune in next month at…By the Numbers!
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