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! He would have read Marvel Comics 1000 but he was washing his hair that day.
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. He did buy Marvel Comics 1000, it sure was pretty.
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: More crazy sales this month as yes again the decision for DC to have two separate covers as two separate covers does create some confusion with the numbers. Our Rabbitt Stew co-host Brandon James kindly did the math for us on a spreadsheet which myself and Ray will be using as a basis for our analysis the top 500 at the link above will say slightly different. We do this to try to give a more accurate view of where things stand and hope it doesn’t cause too much confusion, enjoy!
This month was a big one for Marvel with them nearly doubling in market share over their biggest competitor in DC comics. This is due to some legit hits and smart moves by the company with only one apparent use of their fancy tricks on show for a change. Is it sustainable? Absolutely not but hey, its something to be commended if not a bit worried about.
Ray: Let’s be real – when you put out nearly double the content, it stands to reason that you’ll have nearly double the market share. But Marvel hasn’t done that for a while, and the fact that they pull it off this month is testament to the fact that they have a pair of creators that have fans genuinely excited and are putting out exciting and unpredictable stories from them. They’re still suffering from the lack of faith they’ve caused retailers to have, but talent could turn the corner for them.
Glenn: At number one this month is the mini event spinning out of Venom in the form of Absolute Carnage selling over 233,1k is a massive debut. We’ve talked a lot over the last few months how hot Venom is and Cates and Stegman have made the character even hotter. This is the creative teams first chance at the big stage and they’ve certainty made their presence known with this performing stronger than any Marvel main event since Civil War II. The second issue also hits this month and sees a vast drop but still manages to pull in sales over 94k at 9 (using our adjusted numbers). For a mini event,that’s great and this is even better than the much more hyped and seemingly ‘important’ War Of The Realms. However, this second issue is still being outsold by the fourth issue of DC’s silly out of continuity zombie book DCeased and the Batman Who Laughs only got around this level after 5 issues and a Grim Knight one shot. This is still very good but they fact that’s below 100k already indicates retailers are still majorly wary of Marvel events. Still, Cates and Stegman should be more than pleased on this one.
Ray: The numbers for that first issue aren’t far off from what Dark Nights: Metal did last year for DC, so that shows there’s some genuine interest here. But below 100K for the second issue? Oof. That’s what I said above – retailers don’t trust Marvel events at the moment. But I think the demand might surprise and we could see an uptick for the third issue. Like War of the Realms, this one is over in a short time – only four months – which means there isn’t as much time for course correction
Glenn: No need for that pesky buyers remorse but with Absolute Carnage, I doubt that’ll be something retailers will have…for the main mini anyway.
At 2 is the shenanigans that is Marvel Comics 1000, the fake anniversary issue Marvel hopes will catch some of the success Detective Comics and Action Comics have had in recent times. This issue had a ton of variants and a large assembling of top talent and a lot of hype which is good enough to get it over 206.9k which is roughly 1 third of what Detective and Action did. Considering that Marvel cheated and charged us 9.99 for the pleasure of it, you can’t argue with the results. Of course there’s no way to judge how well this will do cause literally nothing is coming of this apart from issue 1001 next month. This is a big blip, no doubt but that’s all it is for now, smoke and mirrors.
Ray: The events of this comic will apparently be spinning off into the upcoming “Incoming” event, but this was a weird comic. Part prelude to an upcoming event, part anthology, part art-jam issue with random cameos from Miracleman and Darth Vader, it was an event comic without an event and I imagine much of the sales are down to the hype and the number of covers, plus the talent involved (for one page each). I think this was overordered and will likely be found in the dollar bin soon enough.
Glenn: At 3 is the debut of the new Batman/Superman team up book by Josh Williamson selling over 156.6k which is an excellent number and although there would be a lot of interest here anyway is largely due to the presence of the ever popular Batman Who Laughs. How well the title will hold is hard to call but during this ‘infected’ story line where the Batman Who Laughs corrupts other DC characters, it could easily be a top ten staple. On the surface, another long term hit for DC.
Ray: That darn ol’ laughing Bat, man. He’s a powerhouse character like we haven’t seen in a long time – I compared him to Spider-Gwen initially for the way he took off like fire, but I think he might actually be DC’s Venom. Think about it – dark, violent mirror to their most popular hero. So popular he starts getting spinoffs and duplicates himself into other versions. This is the biggest hit of Williamson’s career, and well deserved, but I think TBWL is the main draw here. The long-term success of this title will depend on how long both writer and villain stick around. The past team-up series lost their momentum when the creators left.
Glenn: At 4 as mentioned above is the combined sales of DCCeased which continues to do amazingly well with sales over 119.7k. This continues to be a big hit and seems to be leading to Tom Taylor jumping to DC full time sooner rather than later.
Ray: The sales are basically split down the middle for the two covers on this one, because these horror-themed variants are so popular and people pay the extra dollar. This continues to be an insane out-of-nowhere event and likely sealed the deal for Taylor to jump to DC. How long till Batman who Laughs vs. DCeased Zombies?
Glenn: You should copyright that before its too late!
At 5-8 are the four issues of Jonathan Hickman’s 2 X-Men mini’s leading to his overhaul of the mutant line. The House Of X third issue actually outsells the second issue at spots 5 and 7 with sales over 109.1k and 101.9k while the other mini Powers Of X sells at 6 and 8 with sales over 107.5k and 100.2k respectfully. This is some great stuff with some slowing down but nothing to panic over as this thing will be over soon. The X line will definitely have one big hit out of this with the title Hickman is writing, the others will be a bigger question mark but right now it seems that for the first time in many years, this is the line at Marvel everyone is talking about.
Ray: Very little attrition for these four issues, as the whole wave stays above 100K. Hickman’s return, after so long, and bringing the X-men back to the A-list reminds me a lot of the megahit debut of JMS’ Thor way back when. I think it’s a safe bet that the Hickman/Yu X-Men book will be Marvel’s top ongoing if not the top ongoing overall.
Glenn: Depends on how well Batman does post King but it has a fair shot to be sure.
Finally at 10 is Batman, DC’s MVP title that keeps some of the sales boost from 75 with sales over 84.8k and 81.2k with the following issue at the spot below it. ITs not the power it once was but Batman has reclaimed its place as the most stable ongoing in the market. These sales will likely be where the title lives until writer Tom King’s exit in 85 which will see an increase before he jumps over to do his Batman/Catwoman spin off. The titles future beyond that is unclear but I doubt DC will let their most stable title slip into the wrong hands.
Ray: The sales for Batman #76 are combined from the two covers, and they put it right above the sales for #77 in the next spot. Batman’s definitely picked up some momentum for the City of Bane storyline, and I suspect #77 was heavily under-ordered due to the massive events within. Look for a top 100 placement for this comic again next month, maybe.
Glenn: Of course! How silly of me. Especially since it seems to something thats sticking…for now.
Ray: Batman: Curse of the White Knight continues to do numbers that would normally be good enough for top ten, landing at #12 with sales of 74K. Picking up right where the previous one left off, although a bit down maybe because Azrael is the focus instead of Joker.
Glenn: Still a very stable performer in the upper tier. Sean Murphy has built himself a powerful brand that he can extend to other licenced characters or creator owned down the line should he so choose.
Ray: I would have expected a slightly bigger boost for Venom, which sells just under 67K for its first Absolute Carnage tie-in issue at #13. I think retailers might not have figured out that this one is essentially the second part of Donny Cates’ main story, but obviously normal Venom sales are very healthy.
Glenn: Kind of the opposite effect we saw when Dead No More came out and sales on the companion title were way ahead of the main mini. This is still impressive, no doubt but I feel we’ll see good reorders on this book. Still one of Marvel’s strongest anyway.
Ray: For the first time we see the two Amazing Spider-Man issues settle into a similar range, as the second of the month sells 66K at #14 and the first sells 63K at #17. This is probably about as low as Amazing Spider-Man will regularly go, but it does seem like we’re seeing some real attrition on this ill-regarded book. Not looking good for the 2099 spin-offs.
Glenn: If memory serves this is around as low as sales got on the Brand New Day and dipped briefly towards the first part of Slott’s solo run. This is probably bare bones Amazing, what the title will do on autopilot. Absolute Carnage is on its way to boost things again soon.
Ray: The first three Absolute Carnage tie-in minis have a good start, with all landing in the top twenty. Leading the pack predictably is Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool, which sells 66K at #15. In the next spot is Absolute Carnage: Scream, which surprises me with sales of 64K. I’m not sure how this one did so much better than the others, but Marvel obviously has faith in the character since they’ve greenlit a spin-off. Plus Cullen Bunn’s name helped, I’m sure. And at #20 is Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales, selling 53K, which is a huge boost from his ongoing series. Definitely better results than we saw for the War of the Realms spin-offs.
Glenn: I’m not sure if it makes sense but I think Scream has a slightly more prominent presence in the mainstream than any of her other symbiote bretherin so that likely helped. This is pretty much where I would have expected the order to go and like you say, the story is paying off in terms of overall performance in the first month.
Ray: Immortal Hulk seems to have settled into a groove, selling 62K this month at #18. Way down from its bizarre highs that started months back, but still one of Marvel’s biggest hits at the moment.
Unlike the Bat-books in Black Label, Superman: Year One isn’t showing the same staying power. The second issue this month sells 59K at #19, down about 1/3rd from its debut. Maybe there just isn’t that much market for a Frank Miller Superman book.
Glenn: I think retailers a bit wary of Miller because of his odd output in the last decade. I think the exception was Dark Knight III cause of the branding, we’ll see how the one shot tying into that universe does in December. I don’t think this will be as well remembered as Miller’s other Year One offering.
Ray: Amid the top books hovering around the 50K range are Detective Comics, Justice League, Avengers, and Savage Avengers – which is quickly turning into a surprise hit for Marvel at #27 with sales of 48K. Conan, Venom, and Wolverine walk into a bar…
This is also where we find the third issue of Event Leviathan, selling just under 50K at #26. Given how disconnected this is from every other title – I think Supergirl and Action are the only titles tying in – I think the fact that it’s leveled out this quickly is actually impressive. Bendis’ fanbase isn’t what it used to be, but I think he still has a loyal audience.
At #28 is the third issue of Black Cat, selling 48K. That’s…slightly closer to reality, I guess? But we’re still in the blind-ordering phase, and next month we see sales adjust to actual demand. I wouldn’t be surprised by a 50% drop.
Glenn: We’re getting there, we’ll see. This is more along where I would have imagined the series to launch. Maybe there’s still smoke and mirrors or people really like those J. Scott Campbell covers.
Ray: At #29 is the first issue of Ghost Spider, selling 47K – but then, this isn’t really a new series at all. This is the same writer, same artist, essentially picking up with a new #1 and a new storyarc. It’s a healthy boost in sales, more than a 100% jump, so they got what they wanted out of it – but clearly the character’s top-selling days are well behind us.
Similarly, Spider-Man: Velocity #1 sells 47K at #30, and that’s essentially just the next arc of Dennis Hallum’s new series set in the Spider-Man game universe. People really love the game, and these numbers are incredibly healthy for a licensed spin-off.
46K people bought Gwenpool Strikes Back at #31. Whether we like it or not, this character seems to have a genuine fanbase and I’m hopeful she winds up in Kelly Thompson’s hands again soon when she launches Deadpool soon.
Glenn: That seems to be a safe bet. Marvel seems to have had a lot of success with this joke character who took the internet by storm.
Ray: This is where we see a bunch of ongoing hit comics in the 40K range, including both Superman books, The Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy and its spin-off Silver Surfer: Black, and the final regular issue of Jason Aaron’s Thor. Consistency in comics? *gasp*
Glenn: Shocked Pikachu face!
Ray: Two titles showing some real staying power are Valkyrie: Jane Foster at #35 and History of the Marvel Universe right below it, both selling 43K. The latter only loses 3K from its first issue, while the former GAINS about 1K in sales. That one must have been really under-ordered, but I think we have two hits here.
Glenn: The latter is only a mini so it’ll do well for its short life. Great result for Valkyrie, we’ll see if Aaron sticks around and if he leave what effect it’ll have.
Ray: At #39 is the next Absolute Carnage Spin-Off – Lethal Protectors, which stars Misty Knight and reunites the characters from the 1990s Maximum Carnage event. It sells 43K, which is pretty healthy for a glorified Heroes for Hire spin-off.
Glenn: That’s a really good result based on what this is. I guess retailers linked the subtitle with what I think was the first Venom spin off back in the day and ordered accordingly.
Ray: At #41 we find Future Foundation #1, the quirky FF spin-off written by Unstoppable Wasp’s Jeremy Whitley. It sells 41K, which seems decent enough…but Marvel doesn’t think so, since the series has been cancelled with #5. Depressing. When will Marvel either give Whitley some all-ages OGN work geared towards the bookstore market, or DC clue in and nab this talent for their own fast-rising OGN line?
Glenn: Grim times here. It seems Whitley was as surprised as anyone. Titles below this might wan to watch out. Since Dan Slott has worked his magic on FF, Marvel maybe expected more but they also need to learn how much demand a certain franchise might have without its name creator.
Ray: At #43 we find Age of Conan: Valeria #1, which sells just under 40K. This is a spin-off for a rather obscure female Conan character who Howard created but – unlike Belit – hasn’t been used much in the comics since. The fact that this series by Meredith Finch did so well is a testament to how hot Conan is right now. No wonder Marvel picked up Solomon Kane and the rest too!
At #45 is the lowest-selling Absolute Carnage spin-off, the horror one-shot Separation Anxiety, which sells 39K. For a book not featuring any famous characters and playing on one of the less-well received Venom series from the 90s, that’s still a pretty strong debut.
Glenn: I think this’ll get some good reorders cause of out of all the spin offs, its the best thus far and seems to have some relevance to the overall plot. The rest so far apart from Venom don’t seem to be overly important to the overall story.
Ray: A book that’s been massively increasing in sales recently is IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which sells just under 39K at #46 as it counts down to 100 and a creative team change. The title’s introduced a game-changing new character (no spoilers here!) and that’s turned it from a sleeper hit to a genuine smash.
Amid solid sellers in the 30K range like Flash, Captain Marvel, Star Wars, Captain America, Spider-Man: Life Story (ending its run and heading off to collections where it’ll sell forever), and Daredevil, we’ve got the return of Agents of Atlas for a new miniseries spinning out of War of the Realms. It sells just under 38K at #50, which is pretty much where this series always lived. As it’s only a miniseries, it’ll be fine and should get periodic revivals.
Glenn: Agents Of Atlas has always been a cult favorite and doesn’t seem to be able to move beyond that. The fact that Marvel still rolls it out now and then is a testament to how dedicated the small fan base out there is.
Ray: Vampirella proves it’s not just a one-off fluke after its top ten debut last month, as it sells 35K for its second issue at #54 – easily blowing away anything else Dynamite does and being a pretty big feather in the cap for underappreciated long-time writer Priest. His other title, Deathstroke, is wrapping soon, so either big two company would be smart to offer him a big project if he can make frickin’ Vampirella a hit.
Glenn: Yeah no kidding. Priest came back to comics in a big way only a few years ago and has made himself more relevant than ever. We’ll see who else is quick to click on in the new year.
Ray: At #59 is Major X #0. This is a reprint of a 1990s X-Force issue with about ten pages of new Major X content by Rob Liefeld. It sells 31K. I’m scared, Glenn. The top 100 aren’t supposed to make me feel uneasy.
Glenn: Not sure if this is better than Marvel making money on old content…or worse. I can see more of these types of one shots happening sadly.
Ray: At #61 is the Esad Ribic one-shot Conan the Barbarian: Exodus. It got a lot of hype as an original Conan story, but turned out to be more of a Ribic art book with no dialogue. I’m still surprised it only sold 30K, 10K under what Valeria did. I would have thought Ribic’s name alone would have boosted it.
Glenn: Not sure why this didn’t sell more. Too much Conan? Ribic untested as a writer? Its unclear but at least it looked all purty.
Ray: #66 has the debut of The Once and Future, a new creator-owned book from Boom by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora. It sells 29K, which blows away pretty much any creator-owned Boom title in recent memory. This clever take on modern Arthurian legend has already been upgraded to an ongoing, and well deserved.
Glenn: This is also considering that BOOM were offering this outside the direct market too in a new sales initiative. This outsells all of Image’s titles which is astonishing in itself, Gillen has suddenly become a force to be reckoned with in creator owned land.
Ray: This month’s Age of Resistance one-shots from the Star Wars line have a pretty big disparity in sales, with the Poe Dameron one landing at #71 with sales of 27K, and the General Hux one down at #86 with sales of 24K. Not surprising, given that one is a beloved fan favorite hero and the other is Hux.
Glenn: Poor Hux. We should prank call him and cheer him up.
Ray: The two Year of the Villain one-shots this month do similar numbers, as Tom Taylor’s Black Mask special is at #74 and Mark Russell’s Sinestro is at #78, both selling 26K about 400 copies apart. We should see bigger numbers next month for villains like Riddler and Lex Luthor.
Glenn: Joker too of course. Still that’s great for Black Mask who hasn’t been relevant in years. I would have expected more from Sinestro but it just shows how long ago the golden age of Johns Green Lantern really was.
Ray: The Deadpool Annual, pitting him against Nightmare as part of the Acts of Evil branding, sells 26K at #75. Pretty standard numbers for a Deadpool side comic.
The second chapter of the Prodigal Sun storyline from Peter David, this one starring Silver Surfer, sells 26K at #77. These are pretty decent numbers for a random cosmic side story.
#79 brings us 25K in sales for Amazing Spider-Man/Venom 3D, which is a reprint of the first Spider-Man vs. Venom fight. In 3D. It’s that time again for Marvel to sell us comics we already own!
Glenn: This sold very well not too long ago in a True Believers one shot! Crazy times! I thought 3D was dead again, makes me sad.
Ray: The second issue of Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice sells 23K at #89, blowing all other Dark Horse books out of the water this month. That’s a huge new audience picking up this universe, which bodes well for the future.
Glenn: Double what Hammer books usually do, this is brilliant. I really hope it floats over to the main books. Very cleverly, Lemire is debuting a new maxi series set in this universe the month after this mini ends.
Ray: #90 brings us the debut of Punisher Kill Krew, a War of the Realms spin-off where Frank murders the monsters left behind after the war. It sells 23K, lower than I would have expected. This mini really left behind very little in the way of waves.
Glenn: Punisher seems to flounder with these off beat takes. We’ll see how well Ennis return is received towards the end of the year.
Ray: It’s a relatively gentle slide for Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, as it debuted with 30K this month and sells 21K this month at #95. A Jimmy series was never going to be a hit, but it could gain momentum thanks to good reviews and the crack creative team.
Glenn: It’ll do well in collections and probably be an award darling which will lead to a long healthy collection life. I doubt DC expected much more than this.
Ray: With Walking Dead gone, Saga on break, and Spawn doing a skip month before the big 300, the top Image book of the month is all the way down at #96. It’s the return of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die, selling 21K and making a good case that it’ll be the new top Image ongoing.
Glenn: That’s fantastic and the book deserves it. We’ll see how life for Spawn is after 300, it’ll probably keep some holdover sales for a few months. I think Undiscovered Country has the best shot of being Image’s new top heavy hitter.
Ray: #100 is the DC Facsimile Edition of Batman #232, the first appearance of Ra’s Al Ghul. It sells 21K, so DC gets into that business of selling us old comics again too!
Glenn: Ra’s himself would approve of the recycling.
Ray: #101 brings us the debut of the very odd Coffin Bound from Image, as this backroads horror story from Dan Watters and Dani sells just under 21K. That’s 21K very confused people.
Glenn: Still, its the highest selling new Image title which is nothing to be sneezed at. I don’t think either of these creators are heavy hitters so we’re seeing another month of Image themselves being able to get faith in new books by default.
Ray: #102 has the debut of Fantastic Four: 4 Yancy Street, as the FF’s quarterly anthology sells 20K. Not a great number, and the second piece of evidence that the FF isn’t really ready for too many spin-offs yet despite the huge success of the parent series. Shame – it was a fun Thing story.
Glenn: Don’t get too attached to this one folks.
Ray: Next up at #103 is the Sensational Spider-Man: Self-Improvement one-shot, which sells 20K for a pair of anthology tales including an alternate Black Costume story from the vault before the symbiote existed. There’s a lot of these random “from the vault” anthology books coming from Marvel in the coming months, and I might have expected a bit more from this one.
Glenn: Especially given how hot Venom is at the moment even though this isn’t ‘really’ a Venom book. It seems from the sales, retailers were more confused than anything about what to make of this.
Ray: Jeff Lemire goes two-for-two as the author of the top Dark Horse books this month, as the debut of Berserker Unbound sells just under 20K at #112. It’s definitely a healthy number for a creator-owned Dark Horse book, but I wonder if the numbers were blunted a bit by how prominent Conan has been lately. Trying to sell an original inspired by the character is harder when the OG is everywhere.
Glenn: Yeah I think this is a victim of Conan overkill at the moment. Lemire usually cooks his stories in development for a long time so this could have been stirring longer than Marvel has had the property but these are how things go sometimes. This is a great creative team though so I’m expecting it to stabilize fast and get good collection sales. At the end of the day this is still better than what Dark Horse averages these days.
Behind Batman universe which is at 85 with sales over 24.4k is the second issue of Superman universe at 111 with sales over 19.9k. Given the talent involved these should be selling more on paper but they’re both reprints of existing material and both tales that will perform handsomely in collections. The monthly sales of these two for one monthly offerings are secondary.
At 114 is the second issue of Fearless which sells 18.7k which is very good for a mini which is highlighting female talent and female heroes. Those that say these kind of
things don’t have a place in the market might want to rethink that.
Pretty Violent is a new Image book that seems to blend the concept of popular Image runs likes Hit Girl and I Hate Fairyland and mush them together. Perhaps the riding of the coattails is why it did well at 115 selling over 18.6k despite it being superheroes (which people aren’t interested in from Image unless its Spawn atm) and two creators I’m not too familiar with. Perhaps having a variant by Scottie Young helped. We’ll see where it drops to next month.
Ray: I’m wondering if many retailers thought this WAS a Skottie Young book based on that cover. We’re almost in Hellicious territory here with this.
Glenn: Despite not having an ongoing at the moment, She-Hulk still gets an annual at 122 selling over 17.1k. This is another installment in the non event, Acts Of Evil. This is decent enough for what is essentially a throwaway one shot with nothing to do with anything.
Ray: Annuals not actually spinning out of an ongoing are so odd. We’re getting another with Moon Knight next month that will probably do a bit better.
Glenn: Second issue of Aero sells over 16.6k at 124 which I think is great considering this is merely translated material. If Marvel makes movement with these titles in other markets like they have done with Moon Girl and Ms. Marvel it’ll be a sleeper hit.
Ray: This is a decent number, but looks worse due to the sales being doubled on the first issue. This is mostly free money for Marvel as a reprint, though.
Glenn: The second issue of the new Doom Patrol sells over 16.2k at 126 which is a good bit ahead of what the previous series was before it ended. The relaunch seems to have benefited here, hopefully this one doesn’t lose its schedule which may kill any renewed momentum.
After 12 issues, Mirka Andolfo’s odd sexy pig comic Unnatural ends with sales over 15.1k at 128 which is great. This has been very consistent despite the apparently odd premise and Andolfo is already working on her next creator owned project which will debut in Europe first. I can’t wait for the undoubtedly lovely hardcover collection.
A Marvel Monsters one shot released to tie in with the 80th anniversary of the company sells over 15k which I think is really good. I think this is largely due to the impressive talent on offer here and some nostalgia for these old school monster stories that kept the lights on at Marvel for two decades or so.
Ray: This was mostly an art book with a wrap-around story by Cullen Bunn. Another odd one-shot in a month full of them.
Glenn: At 130 is Titans Burning Rage, the latest Walmart repackaging with a new original Teen Titans story by Dan Jurgans which sells over 14.9k. That’s very good considering again this is existing material and the Titans brand has been less than stellar for the last two decades. Perhaps the Wonder Comics line has brought new eyes to stories starring this team.
Ray: This is by far the lowest-selling debut of the Walmart books, but that’s to be expected given the franchise. This is an attempt to create an evergreen version with four of the five core TV Titans for kids, so I think it’s doing what they want.
Glenn: Boom continues to kill it with the Buffy licence at the Chosen Ones one shot lands at 131 selling over 14.8k which is only 4k or so behind the main title. Considering this is priced at 7.99 and really only features one ‘big name’ this is brilliant. We’re going to see more of these every so often if this is any indication.
Ray: That’s easily the best performance for one of these $8 one-shots from Boom. If this can do this well, I think a top twenty debut for Hellmouth might be possible.
Glenn: Top 25 worst case
Another great result at 135 for Power Pack: Growing pains another random one shot tying into Marvel’s 80th. Considering this is a property that hasn’t been popular for like…ever and writer Louise Simonsons output as a writer has been minimal in the modern day I’d call the sales of over 14.1k a big win.
Ray: Especially given this is a direct follow-up, essentially the next issue of a comic that ended decades ago. It was a fun read, but I would like to see more of what the two younger kids are up to now.
Glenn: Oddly low but not disastrous number for Chip Zdarskey’s White Trees at 137 selling over 14k. Fantasy doesn’t have a huge presence in the market so retailers may have been wary here. The mature content label (which this earns in a big way) may have put some off. It’s nothing terrible but considering how good it was and how talented Zdarskey is I thought it would have done a little better.
Ray: I don’t think retailers knew what to make of White Trees. A two-issue miniseries is almost unheard of these days. I suspect we’ll get a lot of reorders in coming months.
Glenn: Especially if what Zdarskey says is true and these two issues will not be collected. You either buy these or miss out, an interesting strategy in the collection age.
I would have thought an Image Comic with Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum’s names on it would manage more than 13.9k at 139 but there Sea Of Stars is anyway. Perhaps the duel narrative of the story put some off? Again its fine where it is but deserves more based on the names involved on paper. Remember the lesson people, don’t dare be different.
Ray: Only a very select group of Image books manage to get above this level now, so I don’t think they have anything to be worried about.
Glenn: This is true.
Way behind its Batman and Superman brethren is the Walmart repurpose of Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me which sells over 13.3k at 141. This is the team of the mega successful New 52 Harley Quinn run but still…existing material…collection sales…money for nothing…yada yada but the large gap for the third member of DC’s trinity is…odd.
Ray: Honestly, the three Walmart books starring the Trinity are performing pretty much in proportion to where their regular books sell.
Glenn: A good bit behind similar title Aero is Sword Master at 145 selling over 12.9k. Another noticeable difference but this is merely translated material that Marvel is likely willing to take a hit on monthly due to the economics of that and hoping to use these titles to reach groups outside of the direct market.
Two second issue Image books in a row next with Reaver at 146 selling over 12.8k and Space Bandits doing around the same at 147. I’m surprised Space Bandits isn’t doing better since its Mark Millar but we’ve been saying for a while now that since his Netflix deal his star isn’t quite as bright but likely much more profitable. Reaver on the other hand I think is a big win for Jordan and Isaacs.
At 148 is your favorite regular offering from Marvel, old material for more money! This time its Immortal Hulk directors Cut which reprints the start of the now very popular series which sells over 12.7k. Great numbers for material that isn’t that old with only a few bells and whistles added. The second issue in the same month sells over 10.3k at 169 but its just icing on top of the green rage cake.
At 149 is the second issue of Blade Runner 2019 selling over 12.6k. This is a great result for Titan, much higher than their usual licensed properties tend to perform. It just shows how popular Ridley Scott’s 1982 continues to be. Oh and the genius of the 2017 sequel of course…*puts up umbrella for incoming fruit and veg)
The move from Dark Horse to IDW seems to have done wonders for Usagi Yojimbo which sells over 11.6k at 155 which is miles ahead of where it used to be. With Buffy and now this finding better options as well along with the question mark of some of their former FOX properties now belonging to the mouse, the company has to be worried.
Ray: Great news for Usagi – as a first-time reader, it’s been a great read from IDW. Don’t worry about Dark Horse, Disney will give them more Frozen.
Glenn: I suppose they can’t afford to…let it go *boooooooo*
Good launch under Mags Vissagio for Doctor Mirage for Valiant which sells over 11.3k at 159. A little higher than Valiants default range it’ll likely settle to around 8k where most of their titles live.
Ray: This is a B-list character for Valiant, too, so the strength of the debut is probably down to Mags’ growing profile.
Glenn: This months Hellboy one shot is at 162 selling over 10.9k. This is where Hellboy lives. Its fine. Its all fine.
Surprised Marvel Action Captain Marvel didn’t do better than sales over 10.1k at 171 considering how big the character is now and this issue features a plot invoving a Flerkin. Still, these comics are intended for other markets really and given the delays on the other Marvel action books, retailers may be wary.
Ray: Yeah, these will make their money elsewhere. This is also a three-issue miniseries, so retailers are likely looking ahead to the trade in November. Still, Flerkens!
Glenn: Over 9.9k reorders for Powers Of X 1 at 173, whatever Marvel did to get Hickman back has paid off.
Second issue of former Black Label title Second Coming sells 9.8k at 174. This would be troubling if it was still at DC but this is brilliant for Ahoy so good for them for scooping this up.
Ray: Honestly, this second-issue number is still probably above where it would be at Vertigo! Good for Russell and former Bendis Boarder Richard Pace.
Glenn: Big drop for the second issue of Collapser at 178 with sales over 9.6k. Not great but around where the previous level the Young Animal books largely did. It’ll again depend on what DC expects but I don’t think this will last.
The relaunch of the classic hero the Death Defying Devil from Dynamite sells over 9.1k at 184 which is pretty good for such an obscure character. This is pretty much mostly due to the fact that its written by Gail Simone who always brings her own audience. Should be good for about 5k and decent collection sales to run for as long as she wants to write it.
Ray: Yeah, a good debut for a character few people care about. We’ll see if Max Bemis can do the same for Black Terror in October.
Glenn: Given it has the involvement of Cullen Bunn I’m surprised Unearth isn’t doing better. It manages to sell over 9k at 185 on the second issue. Not a disaster but again, a title that on paper should be doing better which is becoming the theme of the month.
Ray: This is where Dark Horse creator-owned books live. Both have at least one top name attached, so they’ll probably hold well. Dark Horse has a decent trade program
Glenn: Second issue of Aliens Rescue is at 186, the sales don’t matter because the title is now cancelled because Brian Wood is a horrible person and Dark Horse jettisoned him out an airlock faster than the titular Xenomorph’s.
Strayed, an oddball new mini from Dark Horse debuts at 188 with sales over 8.9k. Pretty good for such an odd concept and really unless its Hellboy or Jeff Lemire, this is the best Dark Horse can seemingly do for new launches with names not well known.
Former Black Bolt writer, Christian Ward comes to Dark Horse with a magic based gangster story in the form of Tommy Gun Wizards which sells over 8.8k. I would have thought it would have done better than this with a known creator but this month is all sorts of odd with that sort of thing so I don’t think its really the fault of Dark Horse.
At 196 is Archie: Married Life 10 years later, the continuation of one of the more popular Archie alternate takes which sells over 8.5k. This is where Archie related material seems to live by and large, like we’ve said the glory days of the initial sales of the Waid relaunch are far behind us.
Ray: This was the very first older-skewing Archie book way back when, even before Afterlife, but it’s sort of been eclipsed since. This is really more for Archie loyalists than anything.
Glenn: Only over 7.5k in sales at 210 for the second issue of Manor Black, the new horror movie from the creative team behind the excellent Harrow County. I think this month needs to go home, its drunk.
Ray: That’s not a bad number for the second issue of a Dark Horse book! Bunn is doing good work with Lemire to keep them afloat.
A very strong debut for The Dark Age from Red 5 Comics at #211. This post-apocalyptic thriller in a world where the bonds of metal stop working sells 7.5K from a company we rarely see in the top 300.
Glenn: Good for them, they should have a little bit of the bubbly.
Ray: More reprints from Marvel with X-Men: Marvel Tales at #212, selling 7.1K.
The new creator-owned thriller Mountainhead from IDW charts at #216, selling 6.8K. This kidnapping thriller got great reviews, but IDW continues to struggle in the creator-owned field – they just canned the Black Crown line.
Glenn: A big change for IDW, one has to wonder what may be happening there behind closed doors.
Ray: An impressive 6.6K in reorders for TMNT #96 at #217, as the debut of a major new character continues to build buzz for the series. I could see #100 breaking into the top 20.
A new Aftershock thriller, Bad Reception written and drawn by Juan Doe, lands at #218 with sales of 6.5K. This is a little lower than they usually live, so a disappointment for the off-the-grid wedding murder mystery despite Doe being a go-to artist on a lot of the company’s titles.
The facsimile edition of X-Factor #87 charges at #221, right after a My Little Pony one-shot, as the acclaimed issue featuring Doc Samson pulls another 6.3K in sales.
Glenn: Just imagine what they would have sold if Doc Samson gave therapy to one of the Pony’s.
Ray: The Gabriel Rodriguez adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau sells 6.2K at #222, a not-surprising number for a niche literary adaptation by one of IDW’s brightest stars.
Glenn: This has book store market written all over it. Even Marvel tried that about a decade or so ago. It does look rather lovely.
The Vault post-apocalyptic thriller The Mall lands at #224, selling 6K. This is not to be confused with the Scout comic of the same title, which is essentially Scarface meets The Breakfast Club.
There’s another 6K in reorders for Canto #2 at #225, as this is one IDW creator-owned series that seems to be taking off. That’s about 2/3rds of what the first printing of the third issue did this month, and another 2K in orders for the first issue are below. A well-deserved hit!
Humanoids Inc continues to stumble out of the gate, as their third ongoing series, Omni, launches with sales of 6K at #226. Much like Catalyst Prime, these original superhero shared universes seem to struggle to gain momentum.
The Star Wars Adventures Annual for the year sells 5.8K at #231. As usual, this is not where the sales are coming from – but I do think the price point on these annuals is deterring people a bit.
Hey, there’s Zombie Tramp at #235, selling 5.7K. Zombie Tramp, official mascot of By the Numbers.
At #241 is the return of Lenore, the undead chibi cartoon from Titan, selling just under 5.5K. This is a cult favorite with a large cross-audience with Invader Zim (right above it), and it’s been gone for a while, so these numbers seem pretty good.
Amid a lot of Image Firsts $1 issues, which sell in the 5K range, we also get 5K in reorders for Aero #1 at #250. There seems to be some genuine interest in this title.
At #254 is the return of Ducktales from IDW, with a new one-shot titled “Science and Silence”. It sells 4.8K, which is pretty typical for a cartoon spinoff that will do most of its sales in IDW’s mini-trades.
At #258 is the latest spin-off of one of my favorite cartoons, Over the Garden Wall. The theater-based thriller “Soulful Symphonies” sells 4.6K at #258. a typical number for Boom cartoon spinoffs that are geared towards the bookstore market.
Glenn: I thought if you liked it so much, you would talk about it more…*puts umbrella back up*
Ray:Formerly known as Songs of the Dead, Necromancer’s Map debuts with 4.3K in sales from Vault at #262. Given that this is more of a second arc than a debut, I’m guessing retailers didn’t order as heavily as they do for launches.
Fairlady wraps up its first arc – and run – at #265, selling 4.2K for its final issue. This is one that got great reviews but never really took off sales-wise. Happens to a lot of good books, and two of my favorites – Gogor and Outpost Zero – are joining it soon.
Glenn: The market is more crowded than ever, its going to mean sadly some great books will get lost in the shuffle.
Ray: 3.9K in reorders for Reaver #1 at #273, so this is a title with some real buzz. Justin Jordan often struggles a bit in single-issue sales, so this is good to see.
Copra is soon to relaunch at Image, so Michael Fiffe’s creator-owned thriller has an Image First issue at #275, selling 3.8K. Odd since the first volume wasn’t Image, but this should raise the series’ profile a lot.
Glenn: Just to raise its profile and get people on board most likely, a good marketing move.
Ray: 3.7K in reorders for Batman: Last Knight on Earth – which increased for its second issue already – at #280, so this is clearly a monster hit.
Glenn: The biggest winner of the Black Label line so far but there’s lots more to come.
Ray: At #281 with sales of 3.7K is Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter from Zenoscope. I’m sure Dracula’s Daughter has a very practical and not at all exploitative costume.
Glenn: She’s not too bad after a google search but like all Zenescope women she is rather…chesty. I don’t know why Van Helsing is dressed like a hooker cosplaying steampunk Zatanna though.
Ray: It’s a bunch of reorders and low-selling indie books in this section, until we get to #293 where Donny Cates’ Babyteeth returns from an extended hiatus. This book sells 3.4K on its return to Aftershock’s line, which shows the huge difference between their reach and what Cates usually does at bigger companies.
#295 brings us “Grimm Universe Presents Fall 2019“, their latest swimsuit edition selling 3.3K. I’m cold, Glenn.
Glenn: Those girls will be too. They don’t have much to wear.
Ray: At #303 is 3.2K more in reorders for the first issue of Batman: Last Knight on Earth, so we’ll be seeing that for a while on these charts.
#305 brings us 3.1K in reorders for Amazing Spider-Man #25. HEY GLENN, DID YOU KNOW CARLIE COOPER IS BACK IN TOWN?
Glenn: I have wondered about the big neon arrow pointing to her saying ‘I iz Kindred‘
Ray: #310 brings us 3K in sales for the latest Scout Comics launch, Headless – a book that fuses the sensibilities of concepts like It and Stranger Things with the legend of Sleepy Hollow. This got good reviews, so it could be a sleeper (pun intended) hit.
Glenn: He’s a horseman…headless!
Some reorders for Jane Foster: Valkyrie at 328, Venom 329 and Silver Surfer: Black at 330 all selling around 2.7k. Good signs for all these books.
Bunch more reorders, mostly for Marvel until we get to 346 and Barack Panther: Barack In Black which sells over 2.4k at 346. Send help.
Ray: I wonder if Barack Panther fights a version of Klaw with yellow hair who wants to make Wakanda great again. This is cutting satire here, folks.
Glenn: They’re going to leave Wakanda by hook or by crook on October 31st.
Three new launches from various small press companies with Dead End Kids at 347 selling over 2.4k, Planet Caravan at 348 doing exactly the same so we get two 347’s but no 348 and Show’s End from Mad Cave Studios selling over 2.3k at 351. This just illustrates how close small press books by unknown talent are all grouped together as they all try to get noticed among the massive amount of noise created by the bigger companies.
Ray: Dead End Kids had the best reception of all of these, selling out quickly and going back to print. Source Point seems to be trending up. Show’s End is a pretty good result for a company that rarely gets into the top 400, as well.
Glenn: Its reorder city combined with small press ongoings until we get to 372 and a Tangled one shot titled Hair It Is (ha, puns) selling over 1.7k. Dark Horse seems to be doing better with their Disney output than IDW but Tangled sadly has been overlooked in favour of the likes of Frozen. This will sell oodles to fans of the animated series outside the direct market. The Disney Princess line makes a lot of coin for the mouse.
Ray: IDW’s Disney things generally do dreadful numbers in single issues and then head to trades, so they’re going for more one-shots and short minis.
Glenn: Source Point Press released an anthology based around Hope in Comic For Flint Hope at 383 selling over 1.5k which was to benefit a charity which supports adults with development issues. The only name attached is a musician named Jonathon Diener but I can’t find any other talent involved which may have made creators wary despite the good cause. Hopefully Diener has a large fanbase outside the industry to support the book the charity can get some additional support.
Ray: This was an odd one – it was to raise money for Flint, but unlike many great projects like Love is Love or Where We Live, it didn’t connect directly to the Flint crisis. The comics were just a collection of random indie stories, and I don’t think it had anything to drive sales despite it being for a worthy cause.
Glenn: Not much excitement for Exciting Comics Extravaganza from Antartic press and I think the cover pretty much sums them up quite well. It sells over 1.4k at 385.
Small press company T Pub sees some headway in the top 500 for the first time that I remember with a new title in Traveller 1 at 386 which sells over 1.4k.
Ray: Traveler was a Kickstarter comic, so it got a lot of its sales already before this. The company hasn’t really gained much buzz yet, but this book seems to be getting good reviews.
Glenn: We’re usually a lot further down before we get to numbers like this so we’re going to see a lower entry point than usual and probably a lot of tears before we’re done.
Another publisher that doesn’t ring a bell is Blackbox Comics who have a new offering in Psycho List at 395 which sells over 1.3k among a bunch of major company reorders and noise from small press ongoings.
Ray: Blackbox is another company that doesn’t really seem to have a strong identity yet – it’s had books by Chuck Dixon and Kevin Grevioux, two writers who one would not expect to go together.
Glenn: At 399 is this months Dave Sim one shot selling over 1.3k, I’m sure he’s just pleased as punch.
*sighs* Pussycats…Eat Death or…*sighs again* Get Naked at 408 from E-Comix selling over 1.1k. No seriously people, send help.
In what reads as the indie horror comic event of 2018 returning… *looks silently at Gideon Falls* no not that, the first issue of Eternal Thirst Of Dracula sells over 1.1k at 411. This is not the time to be making such sweeping statements about your horror game.
Adventure Finders launches its second volume so there must be a fanbase to warrant such a thing. It sells over 1k at 416. It reads like a generic fantasy adventure by unknowns from Action Lab so…yeah.
Ray: Adventure Finders was originally at Antarctic and the creator left over the Comicgate affair, so he’s got a built-in audience. It’s a small core audience, but Rod Espinosa has a big following from his webcomics.
Glenn: More reorders and small press stuff until we get to Superbabes Starring Femforce which sells 901 copies at 433. This is apparently comics premier female superhero team by a creative team offff *checks* guys I’ve never heard of. Yup that fits.
Some sort of giant monster offering from Antartic Press at 437 in Konnichiwa Kaiju Kun sells 856 copies. Godzilla is not losing sleep here.
Red Range Pirates Of Fireworld from Its Alive (?!??!) sells 825 copies at 437. This is a single issue publication of a Kickstarter book that is written by the original creators son. I’ve never heard of this property so most of the diehard fans probably scooped it up during the campaign.
Ray: Lots of odd Kickstarter launches this month – this is probably a lot of the stuff that slips out of the top 500 in normal months.
Glenn: The market demanded (?) more sexy Cavewoman and by jove, it got it in the form of the Cavewoman Riptide One Shot that sells 824 at 442. USA! USA! USA!
Another offering from Antartic Press in Cookie Kid which sells 819 copies at 443. This one reads as if it might be good for young readers but the company that’s pushing it out will never get the support that the likes of Boom will cause you know…things and stuff.
Then its just reorder city with the exception of one small press launch with Roman Ritual (Vol. 2 again) at 478 selling 593. Its really depressing how low the numbers are this month.
Ray: Roman Ritual is a horror book from cult publisher Amigo Comics. They’re one of those that really has yet to break through at all, but they publish a lot of books.
Glenn: We finish at 500 appropriately enough, a reorder of the first issue of Blade Runner 2019 which sells 488 additional copies. What a month…
Ray: Been a while since we had a book below 500 on these charts.
Looking ahead to next month, I’m sure it’ll be dominated by the regulars as – *gets bowled over as Spawn rampages through the charts* It’s already been confirmed that Spawn #300 will be the top comic of the month, as it came in as the #2 comic of the year so far, only behind Detective #1000. That’s an insane number, and is likely to set an all-time record for Image comics in the modern day. Image also has the former Vertigo title Safe Sex, and the return of cult series Pretty Deadly and Trees.
Over at DC, we’ve got a new pair of Year of the Villain specials featuring Luthor and Riddler, the launch of a Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy team-up mini, a Bendis prelude mini for the Legion, and a Stepan Sejic Harley Quinn Black Label series. There’s also a Wally West miniseries, and an unlikely Jeff Lemire project in Inferior 5.
Over at Marvel, there’s JJ Abrams and Son’s Spider-Man series, plus the launch of War of the Realms spin-off Strikeforce and a looooooot more Absolute Carnage. Add in Jim Zub’s Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda, Jody Houser’s Black Widow series, and the debut of Aaron and Ribic’s King Thor, and there should be a big fight for the remaining nine spots in the top ten.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
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