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! In a few days Glenn is free from the worst run of Spider-Man ever, he cries tears of joy daily.
Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Is hoping that all those that sent refusals/legal warnings and such have all left and now will finally get Batspoiler this year.
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 been a few weeks wait but the sales for August 2021 are finally here and things are hotting up to say the least so let’s not waste time and get going!
Back on top of the sales chart is not just Todd McFarlane’s long running creator owned comic Spawn but King Spawn! A new direction starring the iconic character manages to generate sales over 479.9k to make it the top selling comic of the month. For a long time it seemed that Spawn had been relegated to background noise in Image’s catalogue as the publisher moved on but the past few years has seen an astonishing resurgence of popularity for this hell bound hero. This is of course a long way away from the sales of Spawn 1 back in the day but comics are in a much different place. These are excellent sales for any comic debut, spin off or not and especially priced at 5.99. We’ve got an onslaught of Spawn stuff coming soon so we’ll see how far this property can stretch but if these sales are any indication, its at a healthier point its been in quite some time and McFarlane knows to strike the iron while its hot.
Ray: I still don’t know what’s going on here! The franchise was at a low point, and then suddenly it starts turning around to become one of the biggest things in comics. I know less than nothing about this whole shared universe, so I can’t say I get it, but everything 90s is hot again.
Glenn: At 2 is Batman…but with a twist! This is the first issue of Batman 89, the continuation of the Tim Burton directed movies with screenwriter Sam Hamm returning to tell us what the future of Gotham could have been had things gone a different way. It seems like these movies and these versions of the characters still hold a lot of appeal as the first issue gets sales of around 134k and I believe that’s even with this being digital first. It’s a long way from the number 1 slot sales but still a great performance of what I would have thought would have been a pretty niche project. By comparison Superman ’78 1 which sees a return to the Christopher Reeves movies has its first issue sell 33k at 78, Still very good for an even older property but the clear difference hear is the Batman factor. I know people get annoyed when DC gives us all Batman all the time but that right there is kinda why…
Ray: I don’t think this is digital-first anymore, but these are phenomenal numbers. Sure, Batman gonna Batman, but this is also a beloved classic movie and having the original screenwriter back is huge. This is one of the biggest surprise hits for DC in a long time and I expect we’ll see it extended after the original series just like the B:TAS series was.
Glenn: Speaking of which at 3 is the latest issue of the main Batman book selling 118k at its usual level as we head into this years big Bat crossover, ‘Fear State’. The Fear State Alpha one shot also charts in the top ten selling 98k at 5. I’m expected the one shot didn’t crack six figures but the oddball one shot leading into or tying into a big event starring a specific character has always been a mixed bag sales wise. Still nothing to be concerned about here, it all keeps Batman’s status as the top selling regular ongoing now that pesky symbiote is gone. We’ll see next month how he does against the second issue of King Spawn.
Ray: Tynion has done an amazing job, but this title is just bulletproof and I suspect it’ll see Williamson’s run stay this high or close.
Glenn: The influx of new characters has caught people’s interest and that seems to be continuing with Williamson so we’ll soon see.
Another mini event launches for Marvel this time with X-Men: Trial Of Magneto selling over 117.3k at 4. This is the ongoing death of Scarlet Witch story that ties into the Krakoa era of X-Men which as we’ve said has done very well for Marvel. I think if Marvel had let Ray be Magneto’s lawyer it would have sold 4 billion copies, a missed opportunity says I.
Ray: My man did nothing wrong. Have you ever spent any time around humans? Can’t stand them! Either way, this is a new X-event and those always do pretty well, but I expect Inferno will blow those numbers out of the water next month.
Glenn: The second issue of the regular X-Men book under the new direction of Gerry Duggan sells over 95.2k at 6. Even with Hickman moving on to Inferno and other things, the line as a whole has gained substantially from his involvement. If this holds here it’ll easily make it Marvel’s top selling book.
Nipping at its heels however at 7 surprisingly is Moon Knight which has its second issue selling over 93.5k. This is an astounding number for any ongoing but for Moon Knight its particularly making me want to go out and buy a monocle so it can fall off in shock. Much like last month however I do have to be a little suspicious that we’re seeing some Black Cat and Amazing MJ style number tampering. If Marvel was say…tripling its sales for market share it would mean this is selling at 31k which makes a lot more sense. Is this genuine? If it is then good for Moon Knight exploding in popularity but I can’t help but be suspicious. We’ll know by next year what the real number is and if the series gets cancelled if Marvel’s gamble of possibly flooding retailers with extra copies of Moon Knight doesn’t work out.
Ray: Yeah, this is really odd. The first issue was a typical Marvel “adjustment”, but I’m not sure why they would do it for a second month in a row. I do expect it’ll find its level eventually at between 30-40K in a few months, but this is a very good start for a surprisingly strong series.
Glenn: At 8 is the first part of a Kang The Conqueror series selling over 82.2 which at any other time I would have also perhaps questioned but this one makes a lot of sense. This character recently debuted in the MCU and people will be curious. Marvel can be sneaky but they’re not stupid, this is the perfect time to launch a Kang mini and a well renowned creative team attached doesn’t hurt either. This will; probably drop to around 60k or so but still very good for a villain who hasn’t seen a spotlight like this since Avenger’s Forever and that didn’t have his name on it.
Ray: Yeah, these numbers aren’t ridiculous and I think the TV series tie-in helped a lot. I’m just happy to see Lanzing and Kelly get a hit! They’re having a great few months.
Glenn: At 72 is Amazing Spider-Man selling over 81.2k which is what you get when Marvel bludgeons retailers over the head with THIS IS IMPORTANT, NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN over and over. The sales of tie-in mini, Sinister War at 18 with 65k is what you get when the story isn’t very good. It could be and should be worse but I’m in a time when I don’t have to read this run anymore so that deserves celebrating, cheers.
Ray: Just limping to the close. This run should be getting a lot higher numbers given how much the run has been building towards this finale, but…no one was actually excited to see this run’s finale except to see it be gone. There’s another issue of Sinister War down at #28, which…woof.
Glenn: Hopefully the start of the next run won’t be impeded.
Final spot in the top ten is the third issue of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters which sells over 80.5k. We’ll see how the rest of the line fares under this mega sized Star Wars comic event but people do seem genuinely interested in the main story of playing ‘pass the parcel’ with carbonite Han Solo. This line still continues to be a big win for Marvel and one of the biggest benefits of them getting bought out by Disney all those years ago.
Ray: This has been a pretty solid mini-event, and apparently it’s only part one of a three-part event by Soule over the next year, so there should be a lot of hit Star Wars books coming.
In between mainstays Joker and Thor, we have a surprisingly strong debut for Skottie Young and Jorge Corona’s The Me You Love in the Dark at #12. Selling 76K, this dark horror-romance is an odd story but the numbers really show just how much Young’s star has risen over the last few years.
Glenn: Absolutely plus horror is hot and people that were fans of Middlewest in trades or whatever might have wanted to get on the ground on this one. We talk a lot about how Chip Zdarskey has built a brand as a writer but Young is up there for sure.
Ray: Nice House on the Lake seems to have leveled off a lot already and is still going strong at 71K at #14. As it heads towards its hiatus, this is easily the biggest creator-owned hit DC has had in years and I’m sure they’ll be happy to have it back when it returns in 2022 no matter where Tynion’s making his home.
Glenn: I’m sure DC will be calling him on the regular to make sure its back asap. Hopefully absence in this case does make the heart grow fonder.
Ray: Al Ewing’s new Defenders miniseries lands at #16 with sales of 66K. These are good numbers, especially since this is a bizarre, continuity-heavy adventure that doesn’t feature too many a-list heroes. It’s another piece of evidence that Ewing is one of Marvel’s top writers at the moment.
Glenn: Yeah Ewing has really made a name after Immortal Hulk and has earned a lot of loyalty from readers and retailers from that. This is the highest a Defenders book has debuted in some time but I’d say it’;ll level out to high 30’s which isn’t too terrible considering its 5 issues.
Ray: The Extreme Carnage event continues this month, with Lasher charting at #19 with sales of 62K. Surprisingly, the Riot issue is well below it #33 with sales of 50K. They’re part of the same storyline and both are obscure symbiotes – Riot has more public awareness, in fact. Maybe just standard attrition as the event goes on, but solid numbers.
Glenn: I have no clue who these people are. At this point I wonder if Marvel would pick a name out of the Symbiote generator and it wouldn’t make too much a difference because of the strength of the symbiote brand still seemingly strong. This whole thing is proving to be a solid hit while the Venom book takes a breather.
Ray: Right under the ongoing hit Department of Truth, we have a new horror hit in Eat the Rich from Boom. This plutocrat cannibalism thriller sells 61K at #21 – similar to what Cullen Bunn’s Basilisk did a few months back, and nothing short of amazing given that this is a title without a well-known creator. Boom continues to rise super-fast.
Glenn: Astounding, retailers are trusting the publishers track record which is something invaluable.
Ray: Immortal Hulk lands its penultimate issue before a several-months hiatus, selling 57K at #24. The final act has been somewhat overshadowed by controversy over the artist’s toxic politics, but I still expect the jumbo-sized finale to do much higher numbers, maybe top ten.
Glenn: Agreed and I think the next run with Cates and Ottley will do very well too. Marvel has set this title up to continue its success long after the Immortal is gone from the title.
Ray: Deadpool joins the Black, White, and Blood crazy, selling 59K at #26. It’s odd how the franchise has fallen so far since its hottest days, to the point where he doesn’t even have a title right now, but these numbers aren’t terrible for an anthology.
Glenn: Its decent enough for sure but it seems while he obviously still has a presence in the charts, Marvel is letting Deadpool cool off in terms of a main title. Given how much Deadpool we were getting I do think its time he took a well earned rest while we prep the next big run.
Ray: Joker, meanwhile, is as hot as ever. Matt Rosenberg’s digital-first series The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox launches its first print issue and lands at #27, selling 56K. That’s nuts for a digital-first book, and shows that we should probably be looking out for a lot more Joker books.
Glenn: The ongoing I thought might be mostly due to Tynion but apparently not! I hope we don’t get overkill on Joker but we’re already seeing him a lot in the main line and over at Black Label but the stuff still sells so its hard to tell. DC usually doesn’t push its luck as much as Marvel beyond Batman titles but I wouldn’t be surprised we see a consistent run of Joker related mini’s for the foreseeable future.
Ray: The Aquaman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super-Spectacular lands at #29, selling 54K. That doesn’t look great at first glance, especially compared to the bigger characters, but it’s actually 21K more than the Green Arrow one last month. It probably helps that Aquaman is coming off an acclaimed Kelly Sue DeConnick run – although oddly, she wasn’t included in this book.
Glenn: Aquaman despite having a billion dollar movie under his name does not have the same notoriety as some other DC heroes and still has a reputation as being a bit of a joke unfortunately. Still, it’s a decent number given the price of it and that the character doesn’t have an ongoing at the moment.
Ray: A very nice jump for the 25th issue of Ice Cream Man, an oversized special for the bizarre horror anthology, as it lands at #31 with sales of 52K. This is one of those that has been plugging along successfully for a while, but we rarely see a jump of this size unless it’s Spawn.
Glenn: This is one of Image’s hot collection sellers and has a very loyal audience. It doesn’t grab the headlines but it chugs along with a jaunty tune and a sinister tone along the way.
Ray: I Am Batman, the new Jace Fox series by John Ridley, launches with a zero issue at #34, selling 49K. We’ll see if this ticks up for the actual #1 next month, but this is similar to what happens to legacies for other heroes – retailers know if you’re not THE Batman, and they don’t order as if you are.
Glenn: This probably what a Batman title would sell if Bruce wasn’t running around regardless of who it is. This is a gage of how much Batman’s worth is while Bruce is still under the title and its not bad but its interesting to wonder what could have been if the rumours are true and Jace was planned to be THE Batman.
Ray: Remember 4-Lom and Zuckuss? Marvel does! Their one-shot tying into the War of the Bounty Hunters event manages to sell 48K at #36, certainly not a bad number for two of the most obscure bounty hunters in the roster.
Glenn: Shows how well the event seems to be doing despite its astounding size.
Ray: A whole lot of DC books around this level including the penultimate issue of Rorschach, and they’re joined by the launch of Darkhawk by Kyle Higgins at #41. Higgins is certainly riding a hot streak of writing about ordinary people who get alien artifacts that give him superpowers, but this is probably about as high as a Darkhawk book could reasonably get. I assume his resume from Radiant Black helped to boost these sales a bit.
The Harley Quinn annual, revealing Harley’s new arch-enemy Keepsake, charts at #42 with 46K – 14K above the sales of this month’s issue of Harley Quinn. That’s nearly unheard of. Good marketing all around!
Glenn: This run seems to be connecting with fans and I love the new direction for Harley’s character. We’re not at the level the Palmiotti and Connor brought the character to sales wise but this is a very solid performance for a secondary tier hero.
Ray: Something that’s probably going to get a lot more orders down the line is Batman: Urban Legends #6. The conclusion of the first major stories, this book sells 43K at #47 but features both Tim Drake coming out of the closet AND Jason Todd reuniting with the Bat-family, so expect this to be a collector’s item.
Glenn: Yeah, the speculators and the LGBTQ+ community will likely drive up reorders here. Let them fight!
Ray: A pretty good number for Spirits of Vengeance: Spirit Rider over at Marvel. This one-shot featuring an obscure Native Ghost Rider sells 41K at #51, and the character will be getting an Infinite Comic spinoff soon.
Glenn: Ghost Rider has never been a sales driver and given this is not the more famous version this is a very good number. Avenger’s isn’t the force it once was but perhaps the inclusion of Ghost Rider there helped a little?
Ray: After the conclusion of the anthology Skybound X, Marvel’s latest Marvel’s Voices anthology lands at #53. Identity, celebrating Marvel’s Asian heroes, sells just under 41K but didn’t seem to get the hype or critical buzz of the previous Festival of Heroes anthology from DC.
JH Williams and Haden Blackmun’s return to monthly comics is a big deal, and the launch of Echolands from Image sells 40K at #55. A decent start for the book, but the unusual binding and the higher price tag might have driven it down a bit – and I imagine some retailers are a bit hesitant about it staying on schedule.
Glenn: This will probably do better in collections and outside the direct market for all the reasons you mentioned. Williams work is always something special to behold and a lot of people might be waiting for a pristine hardcover to get it on the best scale they can. Still given this does have a lot of unconventional stuff against it, its still a solid debut and will likely keep most of its initial audience.
Ray: Speaking of closets and collector’s items, Superman: Son of Kal-El sells 40K for its second issue at #56, but I think everything related to this character is about to become a hot item on the back market.
Glenn: Oh yeah, no doubt. The issue with the kiss/coming out is going to be big I think and really elevate the title to a higher number. Good for DC and Tom Taylor for all the great press they’ve gotten over this. For those that didn’t like it or gave it bad press a hoity screw you to you!
Ray: Spider-Man: Life Story was a pretty big hit for Marvel when it launched, and people were thrilled to see it come back for a J. Jonah Jameson-focused annual. That lands at #62 with 38K, which is pretty impressive for a Marvel anthology and I believe more than any of the recent Infinite Destinies issues.
Glenn: Zdarskey writes a fantastic Jonah and given the positive reaction the main mini had, this is no surprise. This is one of those ones that people will look back on as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told.
Ray: Speaking of which, the Avengers annual that closes out that story lands at #66 with sales of 36K! This was fine, but it didn’t even really end the story, spinning out into the final issue of Black Cat. Weird choice of an event that didn’t really come together into a cohesive story, and it shows in the sales.
Glenn: Perhaps ‘look infinity stones! Like from the movies!’ Wasn’t the best strategy for a mini crossover.
Ray: The Miles Morales Annual, also tying into the event but only loosely, sells 34K at #71.
IDW’s Marvel Action line has fallen apart, but the Star Wars Adventures line is still going strong. A new High Republic spin-off, The Monster of Temple Peak, manages 33K in sales at #76, impressive given that the book doesn’t even gear itself towards the singles market.
A massive difference between the two revival books, as Superman ’78 lands at….#78, which is ironic but also very disappointing. While 33K in sales isn’t terrible for a revival of a decades-old movie, it’s also not anywhere near the same ballpark as the Batman book and the creative team of Venditti and Torres deserved better. Buy this book!
Glenn: I think it just once again demonstrates the gap in popularity of the title character. I would say that Superman 78 is much more well regarded that Batman 89 and people still say Chris Reeves Superman was the greatest ever but still here we are. I think it won’t fall too much and good word of mouth will give it a decent life in sales heaven. Can’t wait for Superman ’13 when he rips of Metallo’s head and turns it into his toaster.
Ray: Speaking of books that deserve better, the brilliant flip-book annual for Batman/Superman only sells 32K at #85. This run by Gene Luen Yang has been a gem and everyone needs to read it.
Glenn: FINE I’LL READ IT! GAWD!
Ray: Al Ewing’s Cable: Reloaded one-shot bringing back Old Man Cable sells 31.7K for a team-up with Rocket Raccoon at #86. One-shots are a hard sell, and I don’t think anyone quite knew where this would lead next.
Glenn: Al Ewing writing Rocket should always sell regardless.
Ray: I am surprised the Clownhunter issue of Batman Secret Files didn’t do better than 31K at #88. This is a little lower than the Huntress one but higher than the Signal one, but given how big the character’s profile is, I expected we’d see higher numbers. The next two, focusing on Miracle Molly and Peacekeeper 0-1, are written or co-written by Tynion, so we’ll see if those do better.
Glenn: I think the Tynion factor is the missing element here. There are also a LOT of Batkids, I think people are more interested in the likes of Punchline and Molly cause they’re off doing their own thing.
Ray: And it’s all regular books as we head out of the top 100, with the next book of note (besides the Infinite Destinies Guardians of the Galaxy annual at #102), is the launch of the final Milestone revival title. Hardware by Thomas and Cowan sells 27K at #103, 5K below last month’s Icon launch. Of the three, this is the character who had the least mainstream profile, but none of these numbers have been bad given how long the characters have been gone.
Glenn: For sure, I think DC kind of likely had a rough idea of how these would do. Hopefully the sales are enough to keep the character from fading into obscurity again.
Avenger Tech-On is a title where the Avenger’s get some mech suits. I’m not sure if its canon or not but as said above, The Avenger’s property is not one to hold much interest with random throwaway mini’s so the sales here of over 26.7k at 106 seems about right. This will likely end up in the mid 10k range for the remainder. Not sure who this is really for.
Ray: Apparently the previous Avenger robots comic sold well enough to get a sequel, and Marvel never saw a minor trend they didn’t want to run into the ground.
Glenn: The second issue of Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads sells over 25.5k at 110 so retailers are basically treating this like a regular book it seems. This is decent enough for a Spidey story set in the past where writer Peter David uses it to do any crazy thing he wants. It’ll be interesting how the Ben Reilly flashback book sells come January.
Glenn: I would have thought Superman Vs Lobo would have done a little better than 112 selling 25, especially with red hot artist Mirka Andolfo drawing. We did figure out last month that people seem to be more interested in her art when she’s writing too though. The price tag of 6.99 likely kept people away too. This isn’t Batman vs Lobo.
Ray: This is also a very odd book by the writing team behind the sci-fi sex comedy Money Shot. Non-Batman Black Label books tend to struggle, so this will likely have to find an audience in trade.
Glenn: Movie tie-in time with Winter Guard at 115 which features a bunch of the secondary characters from the recent Black Widow movie in the team. I wonder if having Natasha in the book and labelling it Black Widow: Winter Guard would have gotten it better sales than 24.3. The number isn’t too bad however considering most of these characters are b list at best and have only come to prominence following the movie.
Ray: Honestly a case of bad branding, as Yelena Belova plays a pretty big role in it – and she’s a Black Widow! They definitely could have gotten more sales out of this.
Glenn: The second issue of the new Shazam book sells 23k at 119 and without Geoff Johns around this seems to be the best the character can manage on his own. This book primarily exists to remind people the character is around.
Right under it at 120 selling over 22.6k is the second Warhammer 40k mini from Marvel selling 22.6k. No Kieron Gillen this time but it doesn’t seem to have mattered too much, retailers likely know who their 40k fans are and of course this will sell a lot more outside the direct market for the massive fanbase that has never set foot outside an LCS.
I’ve honestly never heard of ‘Trover Saves The Universe‘ but uit has a very good launch from Image as the first of the five issue mini sells over 21.9k at 123. This describes itself as a read for fans of Rick and Morty and the art style definitely lends itself to that so that may explain its very decent debut.
Ray: Apparently Trover Saves the Universe is also based on a popular video game series, so this might be designed to be evergreen and sold in game stores down the line.
Glenn: An offering from AWA from Mark Russell in Not All Robots which launches at 21.3k at 124. This seems to be how their launches perform no matter who the creative team is.
Ray: Russell’s books tend to have a healthier trade life and staying power, so this might wind up being one of AWA’s stealth hits.
Glenn: Another decent Image launch at 128 with Second Chances which sells over 20.8k. Not familiar with the creatives but the premise is very good. It’ll likely settle to about the 9-11k mark where a lot of the non superstar Image books live.
Pennyworth, the comic based on the TV show that I’m told is still airing sells 20k at 130. This is basically what you get at the bottom end of something that is tentively connected to Batman but not really. This is digital first I believe but this doesn’t seem to be the hit some of the other DC comics based off TV/movies past and present have been.
Ray: This series has really slipped under the radar, being on a little-known cable channel. But it’s moving to HBO Max soon, so Alfred may have more solo adventures in his future.
Glenn: Ablaze’s new offering Porcelain sells over 19.6k which is about where this publisher manages to launch most of their books which is impressive given what a relatively new company they are. The company also does a lot of translation stuff which has sold well elsewhere so I assume this is the same in which case its a very good number.
Ray: Maria Llovet is basically becoming a brand in and of herself, similar to Mirka Andolfo, so this is likely heavily due to her name being attached.
Glenn: Justice League Infinity, the JLU cartoon continuations second issue sells 19k at 139. Its not the hit that the Batman Adventures comic is but this cartoon doesn’t have the rep that one does. I would say that this is a decent enough performance for what is essentially an all ages Justice League book and will likely do well in bookstores and whatnot.
Ray: Yeah, DC seems to have realized how much of a great back catalog of animation they have here, and I suspect future spinoffs will land around this level.
Glenn: Miles Morales: Marvel Tales is a collection of key Miles stories repackaged in one comic for 7.99 so its just bonus money for Marvel on stuff they’ve sold multiple times in multiple formats. Its good enough for over 18.2k at 142 which again…free money.
Some reorders for the new Moon Knight title at 144 selling over 17.6k more copies. These reorders are likely genuine as this is about what a first issue reorder would do on a book that features a b/c character that has gotten some critical buzz would do.
KISS Phantom Obsession from Dynamite reminds me that KISS band comics are a think. They sell over 15.3k at 150 which I would say is an astounding number given what this is.
Ray: This is a book about the band Kiss – who appear to be in their 20s despite it taking place today – being kidnapped by an evil Japanese mad scientist who wants to steal their rock energy. This is a real comic that exists.
Glenn: The second issue of Icon & Rocket sells 15k at 152, this seems the best that the Icon heroes outside Static can likely manage given they’ve never been quite as prominent. There’s an animated movie starring this universe of characters coming out so we’ll see if that brings a new generation of fans to the collections.
Two horror icons meet at 155 in Elvira meets Vincent Price which sells 14.5k. This is much better than I would have imagined something like that as I doubt the kids are frothing at the mouth for new Vincent Price content.
Ray: Dynamite has really made a brand of weird horror and music revivals lately. Takes all kinds.
Glenn: The second issue of Boom’s Dark Blood sells over 14.2k at 157 which is in line for what I would say a book like this would be doing at Imager (maybe even a touch better). The mid section of Boom’s catalgoue and Image’s catalogue seems to be about even sales wise which is very, very interesting.
Ray: This is also by the writer of Canto, so it might get some solid reorders. If I had to pick creators to watch, David Booher would be atop that list.
Glenn: The second issue of the Red Sonja colour anthology sells over 14.1k at 159 which is about normal for the characters secondary titles. Red Sonja has a set audience and sells about the same by and large regardless of who is working on the book outside of a big superstar.
Grimlock am King! King Grimlock is this month’s IDW Transformers title which sells over 14.1k which is around the level they always sell. Grimlock want more sales!
New property from an all LGBTQ+ creative team, Killer Queens from Dark Horse sells over 13.5k. This is pretty much where new properties from new name creators sells from Dark Horse but its nice to see more LGBTQ+ creators getting their content out there.
Video game tie-in Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation sells about what video game tie-in’s from Titan usually sell with over 13.4k at 165.
Lucky Devil, a new book from the Cullen Bunn clone farm sells over 12.7k at 172 and given that Bunn does have a name, I thought it would have done better, Dark Horse just isn’t the place for creator owned these days but seems to have a decent trade distribution thing going.
Ray: With Bunn’s Basilisk selling a stunning 61K a few months back to start, this is another testament to how Boom is just lapping the creator-owned field at the moment.
Glenn: St. Mercy sells on the low side for an Image launch but its a mini with a very specific concept so that probably explains it. Still good for over 12.6k at 173 but the creative team are likely hoping for good sales in trades.
Ray: This is a Top Cow launch, and those always sell much lower than the rest of their books. Complicated concept, too.
Glenn: The internet tells me that 179’s Elric-The Dreaming City is an adaption of a cult classic novel. Unless your name starts Neil and ends in Gaiman, book adaptions into comics don’t tell to be of much interest. It sells over 12.1k but publisher Titan likely has their eyes on the bookstore market for the trade to make their money here.
Terrible numbers for Midnight 2021 annual at 180 selling just 12k. THIS IS NOT A REPRINT. This is tying into the current backups but no one seems to have had much interest.
Ray: This is an annual without a book to tie into, so yeah – that’s not a great way to promote it. An odd one for DC, and one that will likely do a lot better when the whole backup story is collected in trades.
Glenn: TMNT Berst Of Casey Jones is I guess a reprint of existing material starring the hockey mask wearing vigilante that most people likley remember from the 90;s cartoon/movie. It sells over 11.6k at 184 which I’d say is very good given it is existing matereal that the small but fiercely loyal Turtle comic fanbase likely already own.
Black Hammer mini launch does Black Hammer mini launch numbers at 185 selling over 11.5, I would say most of Black Hammer’s money comes from trades but they’re always some of the best comics coming out. Expect this to be an evergreen title like Hellboy for Dark Horse long after its all said and done and 90% of the other creator owned books on this list are forgotten.
Ray: This one is a take-off on the Teen Titans and Doom Patrol, and is a bit lower than the average Black Hammer minis. Like you said, with the minis being short and collected in trade soon, I think a lot of fans are getting their Black Hammer fix that way.
Glenn: Campisi is another new creator owned launch from Aftershock which sells over 10.8k which is what the publisher manages to do when they don’t have known names at the helm. I do remember James Patrick from my Bendis Board days so I hope this does well for him and launches him onto bigger things.
Ray: I’m a little surprised Campisi didn’t do better, because the writer just did the well-regarded Kaiju Score, which has already been optioned for a movie. But then, Aftershock books are all minis and collected in trade shortly.
Glenn: Despite us already covering our obligatory Transformer’s 1 this month, there’s another one at 193 with Shattered Glass selling over 10.5k. Again, no big surprises here.
Next book of interest is 208’s God Of Tremors which sells over 9.2k and pretty much see comments above for Campisi which likely only sold margianlly better cause more retailers like the concept.
Ray: This is a one-shot by Peter Milligan, part of Aftershock’s new line of horror one-shots. So it has a bigger name attached, but one-shots are a notoriously hard sell.
At #212, we’ve got Runaways #38, which is also the legacy #100 issue and the final issue of Rainbow Rowell’s run. It sells 8.9K, and it’s really a testament to just what a disaster Marvel’s management of this property was. You have a wildly popular YA author and these are the sales you get? Marvel has zero infrastructure to sell books to the audience that actually wants them, they don’t seem to care, and now I don’t get anymore Runaways! I’M GONNA EAT A BRICK!
Glenn: Let’s hope Rowell’s upcoming She-Hulk run gets a little more love from Marvel. I suspect it will since it has a Disney+ show coming. Hopefully this run will find the love it deserves in trades.
Ray: It’s so weird to see Wynd down here at #216, selling 8.4K when every other Tynion book sells like wildfire. I guess it never recovered from being originally solicited as an OGN, and will probably do incredibly well there. Everyone should be reading it.
Glenn: I think the switch to sales really effected in retailers minds but I have no doubt the collections will do big business considering the you know…everything.
Ray: Another new Mignola-verse book, The Golem Walks Among Us, launches at #225 with sales of 7.8K. Pretty standard for the book, but it’s always good to see more Golem material!
A big scroll down until we reach a new book of note – Cinnamon, from Behemoth Comics at #238 with sales of 6.7K. This is a comic about a crazy little cat who dreams about being a big-city gangster while tormenting her owner. I love that this is the comic book industry we live in right now, Glenn.
Glenn: They’re targeting that key Ray demographic right here.
Ray: A new Invader Zim comic, subtitled “Dookie Loop Horror” lands at #245 with sales of 6.1K. This is a pretty old cult cartoon, so Rick and Morty it is not.
Glenn: Still maybe better than expected from a cartoon that aired *google* 2001?!?!?!?!?!?!? Ray…are…are we old?
Ray: It’s mostly reorders and some low-selling books down here, until we get to Van Helsing vs. Invisible Woman from Vault down at #261, selling 5K. But how can we sing the Rachel Bloom song if we can’t see her cup size?
At #264 we’ve got the launch of The Heroes Union from Binge. This is a retro superhero comic from a trio of comic legends, and is notable for being the first book in years submitted through the Comics Code Authority. It sells 4.7K, and it’s an odd niche project that I don’t exactly know who it’s aimed at.
Glenn: People that miss the comics code? I have no idea.
Ray: Albatross Funny Books is known for its oddball comics, and they have a new entry called Lester of the Lesser Gods at #266. It slls 4.6K, and aside from the more popular The Goon franchise, that’s about as high as they go.
Scout has the new Viking horror comic We Don’t Kill Spiders down at #274, selling 4.1K. This is a company that puts out a lot of interesting books, although their quality record is often hit and miss, but I think they’re a bit hamstrung by distribution issues.
Glenn: It makes me realize that the smaller companies are going to really suffer from these paper shortages. We’ll see how if I’m right in the next months if any company below the top 5 start to see a sharper drop than usual or an absence entirely
Ray: Another odd Scout book, Count Draco: Knuckleduster, lands at #282 with sales of 3.6K. This one is part of an odd space-opera shared universe that resembles 1980s cartoons, so more of a niche product.
Source Point, another small-press publisher, has the debut of the sci-fi adventure Suicide Jockeys at #292, selling just under 3K. This one has a complex concept and didn’t get much hype in advance.
Oh, boy. At #295 we have the cancel-culture comedy Snelson from Ahoy, selling 2.8K. I don’t know who the audience is for a comic where a horrible man talks about how horrible he is, but apparently it’s not in the single-issue market. This is one of Ahoy’s lowest launches ever.
Glenn: Why can’t I get publishers to look at my concepts again?
Ray: Clover Press has the superhero noir Cassidy’s Secret launching at #296 with sales of 2.7K. This is actually a book with some major creators attached, but there are so many small publishers right now that a lot are struggling to find their footing.
Glenn: Superhero books very rarely do well outside of the big two, its hard to get a hit with the genre outside of Marvel or DC. Even ones that have acclaim like Invincible and Black Hammer have only ever been moderate sellers at best in monthlies.
Ray: Zenoscope closes out the top 300 with two books, Grimm Red Agent: Beast of Belgium at #299 and Belle: Dragon Clan at #300, selling about 2.7K each. Glenn, strike up the Rachel Bloom!
Glenn: She should really join us for one of these. Brett, can we afford Rachel Bloom?
Brett: Who are you? Get out of my house!
Ray: Heading out of the top 300, we find a lot of reorders and low-sellers, but there are a few new launches mixed in there. Djinn Hunter from Black Box, Zodiac vs. Deathforce from Zenoscope, World War 3 from Antarctic, Box from Red 5, and Technofreak from American Mythology all stay just above the 2K mark. I have never heard of any of them.
Glenn: Am I out of touch? No, it is the children who are wrong.
Ray: Things are staying classy down here, with Crisis on Infinite Quarantine from Aardvark-Vanaheim at #325 with sales of 1.8K.
Glenn: Its not comics are dying, just the ones that are catering to complete tools, go figure.
Ray: The all-ages sci-fi horror Lifeformed sells 1.4K at #339, which is a shame – this is one of Scout’s better and more clever concepts recently.
Glenn: I read that as Lieformed at first and imagined a Rob Liefeld based horror which you know…I’d be there for.
Ray: Oh, hey, there’s Fartnite vs. Minecrapt at #340. Just under 1,400 copies of this were ordered.
Ray: It’s mostly reorders all the way down until we get to #460 where we find…277 additional copies of Spawn Universe. It’s Spawn’s world, we’re just living in it.
Let’s look ahead to September! Fear State is in full swing this month with several tie-ins, including the proper launch of I Am Batman and Miracle Molly’s Secret Files issue. We’ve also got the launch of the first Batman/Fables crossover, new titles featuring Deathstroke, Black Manta, Jackson Hyde, the Titans, King Shark, and a pair of anthologies including Wonder Woman’s anniversary mega-book.
Over at Marvel, we’ve got the launch of Tom Taylor’s Dark Ages, Jonathan Hickman’s Inferno – which is probably the favourite to top the month – the end of one event in Extreme Carnage and the start of a new one in The Darkhold, and the end of our long national nightmare as the current Spider-man run ends. We’re in the future. It’s beautiful here.
Over at Image, we’ve got new terror from Jeff Lemire as Primordial launches, plus the debut of Frontiersman in an otherwise quiet month. Boom brings us the new horror book Maw, and Jeff Lemire writes and draws Mazebook over at Dark Horse.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!