By The numbers september 2020
By The Numbers
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 many 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! By the time this out, the election will be over. So either congrats President Biden or wow, how did you get an internet connection with all that doomsday radiation?
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 sees coming to the end of 2020 like a video game boss fight…shame that Ray is made of 99% comics and doesn’t videogame! Snake! Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaake!
No more cover images until WordPress stops being useless in its new format outside the top book. Sorry for the wall of text! We promise laughs in place of images!
Glenn: Its By The Numbers…now with actual numbers kinda/sorta. While exact sales are still elusive to us somehow, there are estimates that range from high end to low end. For the sake of this article and all future By The Numbers until actual numbers return, we’ll go by the lower end. At least there we know a baseline and can judge accordingly. In general, these sales are still just ballpark figures and lack the general trends of the sales charts prior to March. At least it gives us a rough idea of where we are.
Ray: You mean I don’t have to describe things in terms of how many Avengers they sold anymore? This will make counting change at the grocery store a lot easier.
Glenn: In my day, milk used to cost a half an Iron Man!
Top of the charts for the second month is Three Jokers, issue two sells at least 190k which is just over 100k drop. Not too shabby really and this seems like with an ending the next month this will not drop too much further. This is another big story that got a lot of interest and will sell forever in collections. Its a big win for DC and I know that because not only is the second issue here but the first recharts very high this month and while our source doesn’t have numbers on that it seems to have sold around 70-80k at least which is INSANE. Clearly these speciality projects from DC continue to bring in interest.
Ray: Geoff Johns certainly had one hell of a final act at DC Comics, if this is the end. I suspect these will be monsters in collections, and they’ll undoubtedly be ready to back up the money truck for a sequel. Get ready for Batman: Three Harleys!
Glenn: Number 2 this month is the anniversary issue, Detective Comics 1027 which was a giant anthology celebrating 1000 issues of Batman (more or less) in this book. It sold 175k which while it wasn’t runaway stream train that 1000 was this is still big numbers. Issue 1000 likely had an easier time cause 1000 is an easier number to promote than 1027 but the creative energy behind this one still had it deliver big, especially priced at 9.99.
Ray: This is at least 50K more than the Joker 80th Anniversary special did, so that’s huge. This didn’t have the #1000 branding that made those two issues absolute monsters, but the heavy-duty creative team on this one – all four recent iconic Batman writers going back almost fifteen years – made it a must-buy for Bat-fans
Glenn: Next is Venom which sells 130k as it continues its dominance as Marvel’s top book as we continue the march towards King In Black. While I expect Venom to continue its climb during that event and the event mini itself to sell incredibly well, I’m not quite as sure around the satellite tie-ins. I don’t think this is going to have the ever elusive Civil War tie-on magic touch but I could be wrong.
Ray: Too many tie-ins. As we saw for Empyre, there’s a consistent attrition the more you do. That being said, all indications are that King in Black is going to be the biggest Marvel event since Civil War II.
Glenn: At 4 is the launch to the first Hickman led X-Men event, Swords Of X: Creation which does very well with sales over 115k. There’s still a lot of hype behind this run and there is similar success for other X-Books this month, this event is over 20 parts and those are all the main story, not skippable spin offs. It’ll be interesting how the whole thing does over this period of longevity.
Ray: Decent numbers, a slight increase over the main X-book. That being said, if this is the ceiling for the big launch chapter, I don’t think it’ll hold up sales-wise too well over the entire run. The first half has been a little loose with crossovers, with only the Ben Percy books directly leading into each other, so we’ll see how retailers respond.
Glenn: The other Donny Cates Marvel ongoing Thor is at 5 selling around 110k which is the best the book has sold since the Jane Foster days. Its the Donny Cates effect which we’re going to see get bigger and bigger as we move towards King In Black and his already reportedly ridiculously successful Image book, Crossover.
Ray: Cates is pretty clearly the biggest guy at Marvel right now and anything he touches turns to gold. I’m mostly shocked that Thor isn’t crossing over with King in Black!
Glenn: While not having quite the top ten dominance of some months, Batman takes no time off. Issue 98 sells at 6 with 100k sales and 99 sells 90k at 9. Unusual to see a drop as the story goes on but 100 will doubtlessly be a monster next month. The title after languishing in the 70k range for a bit has beefed up back to its former sales status. It didn’t have to content with Venom or Thor before (aka Donny Cates) but can’t keep a good bat down, especially in the middle of a hot story.
Ray: Some slight attrition for Batman, but it’ll rebound for sure – maybe to #1 next month. It’ll be interesting to see how much of these gains it keeps as time goes on and Tynion enters the second year of his run.
Glenn: BIG jump for Spawn issue 310 with sales around 90k. This is the start of a new arc it seems but otherwise, I’m not too sure why it got such a jump. The title has been riding quite a wave of momentum since 300 but this sudden jump is odd…good for them though. They’re going to have some serious competition as the top Image book next month however.
Ray: Yeah, this seems random for such a big increase. I checked solicits to see if any iconic Spawn villains like Violator were in the current arc, but it doesn’t seem like that. Spawn will remain a mystery to us all.
Glenn: Web Of Venom: Wraith sells at 8 cause its written by Donny Cates and serves as a direct prequel to King In Black, not on the named character on the front. The combination of Cates and anything Venom relates is good for at least around 90k so yeah…Knull is indeed coming.
Ray: I barely even know what a Wraith is, so the fact that this one-shot did so well is a testament to just how big that whole universe is right now. It’s the equivalent of DC doing a Joker War: Anarky one-shot and it landing in the top ten . (Damnit, DC, why didn’t you do that????)
Glenn: Lonnie ran into Clownhunter, it didn’t go well.
Final book in the top ten is the launch of a new Iron Man title which is good enough for 80k which I think is around the same level the Slott run launched at. Standard Marvel relaunch in other words with a return to the 20-30k range next month.
Ray: Decent numbers, but early reception on this run’s status quo has been seriously mixed. I’m not seeing this being the run that turns around Iron Man’s trouble at getting a hit ongoing long-term.
At #11, speaking of Joker War one-shots, we have the oversized anthology Joker War Zone, which sells at least 75K. Strong for an anthology tie-in, but this one had a lot going for it – elite creators including Tynion, Williamson, and Hollywood screenwriter John Ridley among others, and a lot of direct tie-ins into major 2021 stories. This one could become a collector’s item.
Glenn: Plus Joker War is on fire right now (and in the story too) and everyone seems to dig Clownhunter, even if its not quite Punchline level chaos.
Ray: Speaking of that James Tynion IV! Down at #12, we have his monster new Image debut, The Department of Truth, selling at least 75K. This is one of the best debuts for an Image book in recent memory save a few Millar books that had incentives. Of course, it won’t hold that title long given Crossover coming, but this is the latest feather in the cap of a guy having a career-best year.
Glenn: This is great and will likely settle at around 30-40k or more. After 10 years being a high quality workhorse, Tynion has turned into a superstar and he deserves it.
Ray: Right under the latest issue of X-men, we have Fantastic Four #24, with a huge jump selling at least 75K. This was a special flashback issue drawn by Paco Medina illustrating the origins of the rivalry between Human Torch and Iceman, and was one of the best issues of the series, but I wouldn’t have expected it to do this well. A testament to how well-received Slott’s run has been, maybe?
Glenn: This seems unusually high, it could be quality catching up with the book like we’ve seen with Venom or it could be shenanigans, its hard to tell. Nice to see Slott’s new book doing so well though.
Ray: Marvel Zombies Resurrection returns from a long layover to have a strong debut at #14, selling at least 75K. The original franchise had a lot of fans and this had a lot of variant covers, plus zombies will always be hot. But the second issue is all the way down at #87, only selling 22K, so these first issue sales are clearly more illusions than anything.
Glenn: DCeased this is not. Sure Marvel had the idea first bit that was a long time ago now and the franchise worse itself into the ground pretty quick, especially after Kirkman left to run Image.
Ray: A big jump for Amazing Spider-Man’s only issue this month, selling at least 75K as it approaches the big anniversary issues, but I still think these numbers are largely air, and we’ll talk about why further down the list.
Glenn: The title shifts so much in sales it can be quite a whiplash. I guess this is also partly because this is the return of Norman Osborn and not counting Absolute Carnage this is the first follow up we’ve had to Red Menace so retailers maybe expected some level of interest for that.
Ray: At #17 we have another issue of Thor, which sells just over half of what the one above it did, and it’s followed by Strange Academy #3 at #18 – selling more than double what its second issue did, and about what its first issue did back in March! So clearly something a bit wonky is going on with Marvel sales again this month.
Glenn: Shenanigans or momentum? It’s really hard to tell with Marvel these days but I hope for Strange Academy its somewhat genuine. We’ll know in future solits if it gets past issue 12.
Ray: It seems like Marvel sales as a whole are really good this month – or really inflated – as Fabien Niceiza’s Juggernaut miniseries lands at #18 selling at least 67.5K, which seems really high for a random X-men spinoff.
Glenn: Could be because X-Men is having a moment and Juggernaut is an iconic character? Sales will drop to around 20k next month I’d imagine.
Ray: After another 65K of Thor #6 – these are apparently reorders, which is insane! – We come to Shang-Chi #1 at #21. This had Superman Smashes the Klan writer Gene Luen Yang on board, and the movie’s raised the character’s profile, but 63K is much more than I would have expected given current trends.
Glenn: Even Batman struggles to battle Donny Cates! Shang-Chi had a lot of momentum due to the film that now isn’t but he’s also been absent from any notable presence forever. Usually when a character is shelved for a long time, they lose any market presence but Shang-Chi may have been gone so long they moved passed that onto the ‘I’ve been gone so long they miss me’ phase. Another one likely to drop when we get to next month though.
Ray: The one-shot Immortal She-Hulk, spinning out of Immortal Hulk, sells at least 60.5K at #22 – basically the exact same level as this month’s issue of the parent series. Another piece of evidence for how much Ewing has revitalized this series.
Surprisingly low debut for Black Widow #1 at #24. The lengthy delays couldn’t have helped – it was supposed to come out in April – but Kelly Thompson deserves better and I’m hoping it levels out quickly. 60.5K minimum isn’t bad, but it’s odd that this month’s Marvel releases are all very clustered around this level.
Glenn: I think it’ll stabelise pretty fast but yeah I think the series and Thompson deserve better. The title will certainly have lost momentum but its strange that Marvel didn’t try to bump up the numbers for the comic featuring the comic starring their first female movie lead and instead decided to support *checks notes* Amazing Mary Jane.
Ray: #26 has a change of pace – and more Al Ewing – as the sci-fi thriller We Only Find Them When They’re Dead lands at #26, selling at least 60K. That’s another massive win for Boom as more and more top creators choose them as their new home. But it’s nothing compared to what Keanu will do here in a few months!
Glenn: Ewing has gained some serious cred following Immortal Hulk and Boom are riding an unreal wave of momentum so yeah this is excellent. Likely to be around the same levels of Something Is Killing The Children and Once and Future next month but they both outsell a lot of Image regulars.
Ray: It was Storm’s turn in the spotlight at #27 for the latest issue of Giant-Size X-Men, selling at least 55K. The gulf is starting to grow between this and the main Hickman X-book, but then that’s in a crossover.
Glenn: It seems retailers are treating this like an ongoing as long there’s a recognisable character on the cover. Stable and decent enough.
Ray: A decent jump in sales for X-Factor #4, selling at least 50K at #28. This was the first official chapter of Swords of X after the launch one-shot, so clearly they’re all not going to be huge in this crossover. Still, it seems like every title will be getting a boost.
Glenn: Boosts are good but the sales on some titles being higher than others is odd, doesn’t everyone want to read this story and be confused when they skip the books with lower sales?
Ray: Those inflated Marvel sales have wreaked havoc on the rest of the charts, as we see DCEased: Dead Planet #3 sinking all the way down to #29, selling 49K. Still strong, but much lower on the charts.
Glenn: There is definitely something amiss with DC sales and its most likely to their new non diamond distribution model. These low end sales seem especially low end so all their sales could come with an asterix.
Ray: At #30 we have the latest Dark Nights Death Metal one-shot, Multiverse’s End, selling 48K. This one had James Tynion IV attached, but didn’t get too much advance promotion for its John Stewart-focused story.
Meanwhile, Empyre limps to a close at #31, selling 47.5K for its final issue. Womp womp. Don’t worry, Knull is coming.
Glenn: Empyre? We hardly know ya! Wakka, wakka.
Ray: #33 brings us a new licensed property for Marvel, The Rise of Ultraman, selling a pretty decent 47K right out of the gate. I think this will drop a lot coming up, but it still shows some interest for a property that hasn’t had any real presence in the American market for decades.
Glenn: Really good for a licenced comic coming from a company not known for doing this type of stuff on a property well past its prime. Obviously Marvel sees money in this somewhere.
Ray: Nice jump for Justice League as it begins its Death Metal tie-in at #34. It sells at least 45.5K in a preview of what could be a Josh Williamson JL run, and that’s about 20K above what the last regular issue sells down at #61.
It’s been a looooooooooong layover for Abrams and Abrams Spider-man, but there’s still some interest as the massively delayed fourth issue sells 41K. I wonder where the final issue will chart once our kids take over this column in decades to come and it’s finally released.
Glenn: Selling on name alone at this point. Unless they need new red shirts for Spider-Verse III: The Versing, we’ll never see these characters again or have this story referred to again ever.
Ray: Slightly low numbers for the other Death Metal tie-in this month, as Speed Metal charts at #40 with sales of 39K. I wonder if retailers ordered this more like a Flash epilogue than a true chapter of the main mini, but it’s a pretty key chapter and an important issue for Wally West fans. Watch this for reorders.
Right below at #41, actually, is Dark Nights Death Metal Trinity Crisis, selling 38.5K. This one was by Snyder and Manapul and was essentially a key issue of the main series. Retailers missed the boat on this a bit, so I’d expect all these skip-month tie-ins to get reorders in the coming months.
Glenn: Again, screwy sales for DC around.
Ray: At #42 we have Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn, an oversized chapter in the Sins Rising story that sells 38K – only half of the main series issue this month. This indicates the actual level of interest for the series is pretty low, as every time they do a spin-off it loses a lot of sales. Doesn’t bode well for the .LR issues coming soon.
Glenn: This was the end of the current arc too so a lot of people picking up Amazing 850 will likely be more than a little puzzled. It was also terribgle
Ray: Next book of note is Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four at #47, selling 33.5K. This was the higher-selling of the main two, probably because people just like Slott’s FF and treated this like a bonus issue.
Maestro #2, which had a surprise top ten debut last month, levels out to 33K for its second month at #48. Not spectacular, but easy to see why they greenlit a second mini.
Glenn: Yeah, all things considered this is very good.
Ray: At least 33K in reorders for Venom #27, so this continues to be a monster at #49.
A surprise entry at #50, Giant-Size X-Men: Tribute to Wein and Cockrum. This is the classic story to Giant-Size X-Men #1, redrawn by dozens of today’s top creators as a tribute to the two late creators. It’s a passion project for the company, and enough fans were interested to generate at least 33K in sales.
Glenn: Not quite free money but an interesting idea and enough of a success that we may see similar future projects.
Ray: Jeff Lemire’s Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place one-shot lands at #53, selling at least 31K. This issue doesn’t really have anything to do with the main series, so it likely got most of these sales on Jeff Lemire’s name and the title’s popularity alone. Impressive, and just above this month’s issue of Strange Adventures.
Glenn: This seems to have sold more like a Lemire comic than an Immortal Hulk comic. Marvel are seemingly fine with these as we’ve got a third Immortal Hulk one shot coming in January.
Ray: Immortal Hulk has a pretty big presence this month, as #0 sells at least 28K at #60. This is a reprint of two famous Brian Banner-related comics with about 15 pages of original framing segments, so there’s some meat to this issue.
Empyre Aftermath: Avengers is down at #69, selling at least 26K. Unlike the FF one, this wasn’t a direct tie-in to any ongoing book and even the hype of the Hulkling/Wiccan wedding didn’t really drive any interest to it. Empyre seems destined to be forgotten rather quickly.
Glenn: What’s an Empyre? Is it a bird?
Ray: No real bump for the final issue of Josh Williamson’s Flash at #70, selling 26.5K and about 1K above the previous issue. Retailers knew how to order this by now and it’s been a long time without any renumbering, so this comic’s main strength is its consistency.
Glenn: Insanely consistent for its 100 issue odd run, a rarity to be saluted in the modern comic era.
Ray: Another Black Label launch at #75, as Tom Taylor launches Hellblazer: Rise and Fall. This pitch-black classic Constantine tale sells 25K for its oversized first issue, a pretty good number for a character who’s struggled to really carry a title since he came over to the DCU.
Glenn: This seems to be where more specialised Black Label books live that star characters that are a bit more off the beaten track. Still a good number and of course it’ll do oodles in collections.
Ray: A Justice League Annual, an epilogue to Robert Venditti’s short run, lands at #78 selling 24K. Decent, but this one didn’t have much to drive sales beyond the name on the title. It was an old-school story with no ties to the main book.
A new Umbrella Academy spinoff, subtitled You Look Like Death, is Dark Horse’s top title this month selling 23K at #81. This is undoubtedly a pretty big boost due to the successful Netflix TV series.
Glenn: Umbrella, Lemire and Hellboy paying Dark Horse’s bills at the moment with Gaiman popping in to treat everyone to ice cream now and then.
Ray: A big boost for Ice Cream Man at #82, as it sells at least 22.5K. I believe this one had a lot of incentives for a bizarre story involving a very disturbing series of storybook parodies.
Chip Zdarsky’s new horror title Stillwater lands at #83, selling 22.5K for its first issue. This is above average for an Image debut, but a bit below where I’d expect it to land given Zdarsky’s fast-growing reputation as a top writer. Reviews are fantastic for this chilling immortality tale, so expect heavy reorders in coming months.
Glenn: This is a lot lower than I expected. I didn’t expect it to be Undiscovered Country or Department of Truth but I thought it would crack 40k easy. Too much noise from everywhere? Who knows but I think it’ll do well in collections and find itself a stable, loyal audience fast.
Ray: A Cyclops tale by Jay Eddin in X-Men: Marvels Snapshot is good enough for 21.5K in sales at #88. This was the most acclaimed of these Snapshots so far, so don’t be surprised if it becomes a collector’s item.
Last month’s huge sales for Horizon Zero Dawn #1 weren’t a fluke, as the second issue sells 21.5K at #89. Titan may just have a regular book in the top ten thanks to this popular game.
MORE Thor reorders at #90, with #4 picking up an additional 21K.
Ray: Josh Williamson’s fabulously bizarre Bat-Mite/Mxy story in Batman/Superman Annual #1 lands at #92, well below the main series but likely to pick up steam once people hear how funny it was.
Glenn: These characters are an acquired taste and annuals always do lower than main books these days so no big surprise.
Ray: The movie might be delayed, but Wonder Woman 1984 gets a comic book special! Repurposed from a Walmart giant, this comic with two original stories is good for 20.5K in copies at #93.
Glenn: With no movie to help it out, this was left to fend for itself and the results show.
Ray: 19.5K in reorders for Venom #26 at #97, as anything Donny Cates continues to be the hottest thing in town.
At #99 we have the debut of Dan Panosian’s witch thriller An Unkindness of Ravens, selling 19K from Boom. It’s well below some of the top debuts from Boom, but it’s also a world higher than Boom teen-oriented books used to debut. The company continues to grow like crazy.
Glenn: Plus this is a writer with no real presence in the market so nothing to sneeze at in regards to a debut.
Ray: And at #100, it’s the latest issue of Fire Power, which seems to have leveled out just under 20K – another hit for Kirkman that should run for as long as he wants it to.
Glenn: Its not like he’s short for money…
More reorders for Thor at 104 for issue 2 and 106 for issue 3. Normally I’d chalk this up to stock dumping but I think its just the Donny Cates magic creating some momentum and interest in the book,
Seven Secrets drops quite a bit to 112 with sales at least in the 16k. That’s still very good, its not that far behind one of Image’s most successful books, Undiscovered Country although that book is on its 8th issue mind.
Some reorders for the first issue of Strange Academy’s first issue at 120 with another 14.500+ orders. This launched high so these are good reorders and as we saw above there was an odd bump for the book. Perhaps the great concept is catching on?
Free money for a facsimile edition of the first appearance of Iron Man at 121 with sales around 13.5k.
Third generation writer/artist Emma Kubert makes her comic debut at 125 with the first issue of Inkblot with sales at least around 12.5k which is pretty standard for an Image launch from a creator who is known but not huge. The Kubert name definitely still draws a lot of attention and I can’t recall any other third generation creators off the top of my head so Emma Kubert has the advantage of being a trailblazer in a way too.
Ray: Kieron Gillen always said that if an Image book launched above 10K, it was probably good for the run. Given that, Emma Kubert is probably pretty happy with this
Glenn: At 131 we have Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team by Cullen Bunn. This is a tie-in to a hotly anticipated game so likely helped get numbers of around 12k which isn’t bad for a comic of this type. With the game now delayed to December (as of this writing) people will be taking their Cyberpunk 2077 content where they can!
Ray: This is a great debut for Dark Horse, and definitely more due to the game’s hype. Still, another win for Bunn as he continues his quest to have a comic at every company.
Glenn: The Stranger Things: Science Camp mini launches at 146 with sales around 10.5k. This is the first comic tie-in that goes beyond the first season but only features one of the kids in a side story so there could have been some interest lost there. These are still decent enough and likely do very well in collections. Given that Dark Horse keeps rolling them out, they must be happy enough.
Ray: These all sell pretty close to each other, but I think we might see a bump for the upcoming crossover with Dungeons and Dragons.
Glenn: A new book from AWA in the form of Grendel Ky at 148 selling around 10k. This seems to be where AWA’s starting point is despite having a well known creator like Tommy Lee Edwards on board.
Ray: This was the first one without an a-list writer on board, too, so it’s pretty clear they’ve found their level as a company for now.
Glenn: Vampirella: Trial Of The Soul One Shot manages around 9.5k at 155 which is about right for anything not being put out by Priest.
Ray: Bill Willingham isn’t the sales draw he used to be, especially not on non-Fables stuff.
Glenn: Heavy from Vault sells lower what I might expect at 157 with around 9.5k. Max Bemis is a known entity but then again Vault is still growing but they’ve been making good headway too so I’m not too sure what went on here…
Ray: Vault continues to rise as a company. This book is basically John Wick meets The Good Place, so that concept is a little out there. Bemis is doing his thing!
Glenn: A collection of comics put out by the Ice Cream Man creative team starring the sinister frosty host sells around 9.5k. This isn’t too bad considering this material is already out there and even though this book comes with good intentions, people likely are avoiding any and all reminders of our current mess.
Ray: Nothing says feel-good quarantine comics like the team behind the most disturbing book on the stands! A lot of people heard about this but didn’t get the original comics, so there’s definitely a market here.
Glenn: Firefly: Blue Sun Rising sells a shade lower than the main series at 159 with again around 9.5k in sales. These zero issues always get treated oddly by retailers no matter what the property and no matter which company it is. Its not low enough below main issues to cause concern however which suggests a solid cult audience for the book.
Ray: Double the price, too, so that didn’t help. Firefly is still pretty healthy as a franchise, but we’ll see what happens with the time jump to the post-Serenity continuity
Glenn: The last of the Sandman tie-in books, Dreaming: Waking Hours sells around 9.5k too at 160. This line of books didn;t exactly set the world on fire but will likely do healthy enough in book store markets.
Some reorders for the first issue of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters at 165 selling around 9k. Perhaps retailers are prepping their shelves for the second season of Madeloreon not realizing that all we want is a baby Yoda comic.
Spy Island from Dark Horse, the new comic from Chelsea Cain has a muted debut at 167 with sales around 8.6k but this is what the company can do outside of its main dependants and Cain has a somewhat erratic history in her short career in comics.
Ray: Spy Island was scheduled to launch right before the shutdown, too, so that probably hurt its momentum.
Glenn: Speaking of Dark Horse, they launch a new Bill & Ted mini to tie in with the new movie at 173 selling around 8.4k. The laid back surfer dude time travellers are very much a cult thing so I doubt any company could have done much better.
Ray: This was always going to be a lower seller, but it’s good to see two popular creators like Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge put out a new book for some fan favorites!
Glenn: The True Believers theme this month is X-Men related but considering this imprint has likely done all the big issues we’re starting off with a Havok one at 175 selling around 8k and going down from there. Its still worth Marvel’s while doing these of course as it costs them very little to nothing to produce and it takes away precious shelf space among other things.
Typical Aftershock launch in the form of Lonely Receiver at 186 from two creators that aren’t well known. It manages around 7.4k sales.
Nipping at its heals is new horror offering from Vault in Autumnal which does 7.4k too at 187. In very short order, Vault has caught up to Aftershock and their books seem to have better acclaim and staying power.
Ray: Vault is really having a great year and they seem to be developing a pretty strong brand for horror in general.
Glenn: At 200 is a curious one, Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious which is part of a very ambitious multi platform crossover telling the story of an alternative tenth Doctor gone rogue. The Who comics never manage to gain much momentum in the direct market and this sells around those which surprises me as the comic is just one small part of the story. It does around 6.6k and I’d wager the tie-in audio dramas which do very well for the BBC and BigAudio will do far, far better.
Another new Aftershock offering, Miles To Go debuts at 208 selling around 6.3k. Pretty standard for a small press publisher with no name power in the title. The concept sounds interesting but people are still watching their wallets out of lockdown.
Star Trek Hell’s Mirror is a J.M Dematteis written tale about fan fave villain KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN in the mirror universe. Star Trek comics always kind of sell low and this is an alternate reality version so despite having a legendary writer it is what it is. It manages around 6k at 215.
Sort of staying with Star Trek we have Orville: Launch Day at 216 also selling in the 6k mark. This now cancelled show has a very loyal cult audience. Will we see enough support from them for comic tie-ins years after the show is gone like Firefly? We’ll see.
Ray: It’s been so long since The Orville aired that I imagine the tie-ins are sort of falling by the wayside.
Glenn: Mostly reorders and ongoing indie books now until we get to Marvel Tales: Captain Britain at 325 which sells around 5k. This of course is just a newly packaged reprint and the classic version of Captain Britain hasn’t had a prominent role in Marvel for years so the muted response here is no response but again has very little downside for Marvel.
Sex Criminals: Sexual Gary is a one shot special just before the long going Image series comes to an end at 237 selling around 4.8k. This is a very specialist title that due to its adult nature has always had a small following in single’s only to do much better in collections.
Ray: Ah, Sex Criminals. You provided almost as much comedy as Zombie Tramp.
Glenn: Hotline Miami Wildlife (??!?!!?!?!) from Behemoth comics (?!?!?!?!??!?!) is at 243 at around 4.6k which I’d say is very good considering I’ve never heard of either.
Ray: This is apparently also a video game tie-in, but not as popular of one as Cyberteam 2077. Definitely the best showing Behemoth has made on the charts.
Glenn: I would have thought there’d be more interest in the dollar reprint of the first issue of Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman run at 245 selling only around 4.4k but I suppose this is like 4 crisis events ago now or so…
Ray: Yeah, especially since the last few runs on the character have followed up on that run for the first time in a while, bringing Selina’s sister back from limbo.
Nailbiter Returns seems to have stabilized a little bit, landing at #250 with sales of at least 4.2K. This is apparently being solicited as the next volume in the numbered Nailbiter trades, so everyone involved is just treating it as the next arc.
A strong showing for Albatross at #257, but they had help – Fearless Dawn Meets Hellboy is one of their top-selling books ever thanks to a crossover with Dark Horse. It sells at least 4K, but other countries down below push it even higher, maybe into the top 200. Fearless Dawn appears to be a monster-hunting lady in a sexy costume.
Glenn: The dedicated Hellboy audience will help a good bit in this instance. Albatross continues to make good headway.
Ray: There’s Zombie Tramp at #261! We were getting worried.
#264 has Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp, selling at least 3.8K. These books aren’t meant for the direct market, but I expected a little more out of this one. It’s not only a secret to one of the most popular books, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, but it’s written by successful YA novelist Marieke Nijkamp.
At #267 we’ve got 3.6K copies of a Spider-Man #1 Facscimile edition, reprinting the wildly popular Todd MacFarlane run from the 1990s. Marvel getting some more use out of that backstock!
Glenn: I think they reprinted another version of this not too long ago? I may be misremembering its hard to keep track what they reprint and what they don’t.
Ray: Amid a lot of reorders and oddball books, we come to the Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams Lost Year Compendium at #284. This crossover between the obscure Image series from the 1990s and the world’s most popular superhero was massively delayed even before the shutdown, and this one-shot reprints the three issues that came out before the return of the series next month. It sells 3.2K, not bad for a $7.99 reprint.
Glenn: Especially since the material isn’t that old and this a Sam Keith vehicle more than anything.
Ray: At #285 is the Batvark Penis one-shot from that mad mind of Dave Sim. It sells 3K, and we’ll leave it at that.
The British publisher Heavy Metal is getting back into the single-issue game, and their first wave launched this month with Brooklyn Gladiator being the top seller at #288. It sells 3K, which is an okay launch. But it’s going to be really hard for any new or new-ish company to get a foothold in this chaotic market. Their next launch, the crime thriller Fishkill, is down at #292 selling 2.8K.
Glenn: They likely will fare better in the UK bookstores that sell they likes of 2000AD and such. Then again those shops may be cutting orders due to the current situation but these British institution types usually find a way to survive.
Ray: At #300, it’s the Belle: Ghosts and Goblins one-shot from Zenoscope. I wonder if the ghosts and goblins are sexy ladies.
Glenn: They better be.
Ray: Another Heavy Metal launch, Suneater, at #304 selling 2.4K. I wonder if launching all of these at the same time may have kept any of them from breaking out.
Hey, it’s more Sexy Lady Belle at #311, with the Belle: Hearts and Minds one-shot. Glenn, strike up the band!
Glenn: There she goes her ample bosom giving Zenescope fans from feeling so lonesome…
Ray: Zenoscope has a pretty big presence around this level with their annual Halloween special, Tales of Terror Quarterly: Hellfire, landing at #314 selling 2.2K. I wonder if the devil is a sexy lady.
Glenn: He’s a sexy man in Taylor’s Constantine so either way.
Ray: IDW is definitely learning from Marvel how to make a great reprint, and they’ve started a series of TMNT reprints focusing on classic stories of the four main Turtles. The first, Best of Raphael, is at #317 selling 2.2K.
After a bunch of reprints and low-sellers, we come to the latest Conspiracy one-shot from Zenoscope, this one titled Black Knights: Satellite at #328, selling 2.K.
Next up at #329 is a new series from Devil’s Due, Arkworld, selling 2K. It claims to have invented a new genre called “Archeopunk”. That’s setting the bar high! It actually picks up another 2K of sales from a second edition five spots lower, so this seems to have been a hit for Devil’s Due.
Glenn: I have no idea what that word means. I hate it.
Ray: #336 sees the launch of the new Mad Cave series, Stargazer. The alien abduction thriller charts 1.8K, but Mad Cave is one of the many companies trying to find a foothold in a crowded market right now.
Source Point had a lot of launches this month, starting with the post-WWI thiller Broken Gargoyles at #338, selling 1.8K. Got to say, this company’s aggressive promotion and strong digital program have helped them catch up to some much larger companies pretty quickly. Check them out – they put out some good books.
Red 5, another small company, launches their Loch Ness thriller Riptide: Draken at #342, selling 1.8K. This is a pseudo-sequel to a tsunami thriller they did a few years back, but it’s more like an anthology under the same branding.
A new horror comic from Clover Press, Possessed, lands at #346 selling 1.6K. I don’t even know some of these publishers anymore!
Glenn: I guess the pandemic caused some room at the bottom of the charts since DC and Marvel cut a few books allowing room for oddities.
Ray: The latest mini-digest of original stories, Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Good Citizen, is at #348 selling 1.6K. As always, this is only a fraction of what the company is hoping to do long-term. With Archie going day-and-date with Comixology, they probably have less invested in the direct market than any other company.
Glenn: They’ve made some vague promises about big things next year but yeah, they seem to be focusing on the archive stuff they sell to the outside market. That’s what pays the bills.
Ray: After a lot of reorders, we find the next Source Point original, the all-ages adventure Bug Bites. This bizarre story of children kidnapped for a monster cooking competition, lands at #364 and sells 1.4K.
Glenn: Now I want to know if its monsters who cook children or children who cook monsters.
Ray: Right behind it at #365 is the Mad Cave teen thriller Dry Foot, set in the Miami crime scene of the 70s and also selling 1.4K or so. It’ll be interesting to see which of these many launches find a larger audience.
A new Zorro series with a pirate theme, “Galleon of the Dead” launches at #367 from American Mythology at 1.4K. I’m mostly surprised this character has never been snapped up by Dynamite.
Glenn: Is he public domain? I could google it but I’m lazy…
Ray: Virtually every issue of Wynd continues to get reorders at some level, with the third issue down at #368, so there’s clearly some long-term interest in this all-ages fantasy from the creators of The Woods.
There are a few interesting reorders down here, including 1.4K in reorders for Nebula #1 at #371. This series got two issues out before the shutdown and never resumed, so why are retailers reordering it now? Could it resume shortly – finally?
Glenn: Magic 8-ball says ‘no chance’.
Ray: The Bayou-based horror series It Eats What Feeds It launches at #383 from Scout, selling 1.2K. This is one company that sort of feels like it’s going backward, mainly due to the lack of any digital program. Other, newer companies like Source Point are lapping it.
The experimental square-bound one-shot Burning Tree, more an art book than a traditional comic, lands at #386 from Source Point. All their books seem to launch at a similar level at this point, with this one selling 1.2K. If that’s their basic level, it lets the company experiment a bit more.
Lots of Marvel reorders and some from other companies down here, including some from years back, until we get to 800 reorders of the Street Fighter 2020 Swimsuit Special at #422. Clearly the audience wanted more of that stupid sexy Zangief.
Glenn: If M. Bison was drawn like Raul Julia they might get more attention.
Ray: Another reprint of an unfinished comic, Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 at #436, getting 700 additional copies. This was by the writer of Incognegro, one of comics’ most acclaimed indie writers, so they’d be dumb not to finish this.
Glenn: Ray come on now, look at who they have writing Amazing Spider-Man. Of course they’re dumb enough.
Ray: It’s almost entirely reorders down here, with the next one of note being Gwen Stacy #2 selling an extra 600 copies at #463. So retailers are clearly hopefully this miniseries from Gage and Nauck will resume at some point. There are also some orders for the first issue and the second issue of Nebula around this level too.
Glenn: Smells like stock dumping of series Marvel have given up hope on getting finished or have quietly abandoned.
Ray: Victor Crowley Hatchet Halloween Tales from American Mythology is down here at #482, selling 500 copies for a niche Halloween comic a month early. I don’t know what a Victor Crowley is.
Glenn: Relative of the demon from Good Omens perhaps?
Ray: 500 reorders for the unfinished Dark Agnes series from Marvel at #502 as well. This just goes to show how much Marvel has dropped the ball on their line in the aftermath of the shutdown. It’s basically just them and Valiant that hasn’t really rebounded fully yet.
On the heels of a movie adaptation announcement, the first issue of Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank charts again at #519, selling 400 extra copies. This was a rare hit for Black Mask, so they’re undoubtedly very happy to see it reappear.
Remember Saga? I remember Saga! The on-hiatus-indefinitely series from BKV and Fiona Staples shows up again with 400 copies of its Image Firsts dollar comic at #521.
And it would be all reorders all the way down if it wasn’t for #540, where we find “Margo: Intergalactic Trash Collector Attack Space Vampire” from Fantagraphics, selling 300 copies. Fascinating. I’m so confused.
Glenn: This gets published but my love letter to classic crime fiction can’t? I feel robbed.
Ray: And it’s reorders all the way down with the first issue of Empyre: Captain America being our very last comic at #549. I can’t believe Cap lost to an intergalactic trash collector.
Glenn: The garbage man can Ray, the garbage man can.
Ray: Looking ahead to October, we’ve got quite a few heavyweights, with Batman #100 doing battle with the final issue of Three Jokers and the next issue of Death Metal. But don’t count out Rorschach #1, which will be trying to follow up on the massive success of Doomsday Clock and contend for that #1 slot. Plus, there’s a new White Knight series focusing on Harley Quinn and the return of Scott Snyder’s first hit – American Vampire.
Over at Marvel, it’s another big X of Swords month, plus two jumbo-sized Amazing Spider-Man issues. And then there’s the debut of Kieron Gillen’s Warhammer 40,000 series.
Over in indie-land, we’ll see new Image launches from Rick Remender, Steve Orlando, and Sina Grace as everyone battens down the hatches in advance of Crossover crash-landing in November.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
Like what you read? Have any comments, questions or concerns then let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield