Author Archives: glennmatchett

By The Numbers: June 2018

 

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. Missed out on going to SDCC yet again but was there in spirit, ooooo I’m a ghost.

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.  When he heard of the delay of Young Justice until next year, Ray went into a destructive rampage a Sharknado would be proud of.

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 500 in full available here!

Glenn:  Its hotting up for sure this Summer with heat in my small country rising to record highs and Ray in constant threat of turning into a puddle.  Its also hotting up in the comic charts as we see the end of some long runs, the start of some new ones and Marvel’s latest relaunch (fresh start) start to really get rolling.

Image result for justice league 1 2018

To no one’s surprise, Scott Snyder’s new Justice League title hits the number 1 spot with sales over 200k.  I thought this might be higher to 250 or even 300 but still a great number.  Since Geoff Johns left the title at the end of the new 52 its been slowly bleeding sales so DC has fixed this by giving the entire property to three of their biggest writers.  Having recent pinch from Marvel, Jim Cheung on art for this first issue likely helped also.  A great start that shows a lot of sales promise for DC as it also has a second issue in the top ten at 10 which sells just a smidge over 86k.  114k is a sharp fall but that’s the market we’re in folks but this is a ridiculously strong hold when you compare it to say, Avenger’s which was around 60k last month and below that this month.  The title sold in the 75-85k range under Johns (with some boosts for various particular tie ins and stories) so I could see this equaling that and of course we’ll have the sales of Odyssey and Dark too which will make the League franchise the strongest its been in years.  In quieter months this will be a top ten staple I would say.

Ray:  Yeah, early rumors were pointing to 250K, but as a whole the numbers are a bit lower than expected this month. This definitely fell less harshly than Avengers did last month, so it feels like it’s likely to lock down as one of DC’s top ongoings, well above the level that the Hitch and Priest runs were selling. It’s not Batman (what is?) but DC’s elite writers are still able to easily launch hit books.

Glenn:  I was really shocked to see Image’s The Magic Order by Millar and Coipel at 2 and even more shocked when I saw the numbers which were over 157.7k until Ray said that the numbers might not be what they seem.  Long time fans of the article will remember that Loot Crate got the first issue of IDW’s Orphan Black the number one slot a few years ago and something similar has happened here where the sales are inflated by some sort of promotion.  How much they’re inflated by is unclear so its hard to judge this title at present.  The story will become clear next month but somewhere in the 55-70k range is probably what I would suggest which is exceptional for an Image launch and in the usual range of other Millar properties.
Ray:  Yeah, the reports were that ReedPop bought six figures of this book for promotional purposes. That would put the actual launch numbers at around 50K, which is not spectacular. Still, Millarworld books tend to launch higher than almost any other Image books, and that’ll likely continue in the new Netflix age. 
Glenn:  After ten years on Spider-Man, it seems that writer Dan Slott is bringing some people with him to Iron Man as the characters latest book launches at 3 with over 135.7k.  When Bendis first relaunched this the title sold around 250k but its a very different landscape for Marvel these days and the property hasn’t nearly been that healthy since then for various reasons.  I could see a decent hold of 55-60k which would put it at the current upper tier of Marvel’s books.
Ray:  Yeah, Slott’s one of the few writers – along with Aaron – at Marvel nowadays who seems to be a brand unto himself. He drives sales, and even on B-list properties like Silver Surfer he’s able to keep them above water. On flagships like Iron Man, he delivers a legit hit. The early rumors are that Fantastic Four will be much higher.
Glenn:  At 4 and not too far behind Iron Man is Dan Slott’s final issue of Amazing Spider-Man which sells over 122.2k.  Given how insane the sales were on 800 last month and this is the return of Marcos Martin to mainstream comics, I would have thought this would be higher but I’m sure it’ll sell very well in reorders.  Bringing Slott’s final issue of Amazing and his first issue of Iron Man was a stroke of genius on Marvel’s part and it shows, both issues sell very close together.  Amazing Spider-Man will be back with a fresh new number 1 and a great steal from Image as an artist.  The new writer and his impact on the book is the hardest to predict so for now we’ll salute you Dan Slott and we’ll miss you.
Ray:  I’m wondering how much of this is the issue slipping under retailers’ radar? 800 would have seemed like a perfect finale, and they may have assumed it was his swan song. So a lot of them underordered. I wouldn’t be surprised to see major orders on 801 in coming months.
Image result for amazing spider-man 801
Glenn: For a few months, we thought the return of the Joker and his quest to be Batman’s best man for the upcoming wedding might boost the sales of the characters title.  Turns out we were right as Batman 49 and 48 sell over 121.8 and 112.1k at 5 and 6 respectively. This title seemingly can’t be stopped and I have no doubt issue 50 and its dump truck full of talent and varients will take the top spot next month, controversy or not.
Ray:  A 20% increase is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s probably only a tease of what’s to come next month. Of course, the #50 issue has turned out to be highly controversial, so who knows how this is going to affect things in months to come.
Glenn:  At 7 is another fresh start with Deadpool with superstar artist Scottie Young on writing duties.  It sells over 105.5k which I think is also less than the last number 1 but again, Marvel was over there, then some stuff happened now its over here.  Its Deadpool, its a good number cause of that.  I would say it’ll return to its standard numbering next month or month after.
Ray:  I would have definitely expected a higher debut for Deadpool, given that the movie was just out and Skottie Young has a big fanbase. This is yet another example of Marvel’s frequent relaunches taking a toll, although Deadpool’s had a consistent creative team for years and doesn’t feel as in flux as some.
Glenn:  At 8 is the next chapter in Jason Aaron’s epic Thor run which sells over 102.5k.  This book has been the second most regularly best selling thing Marvel has put out and has been for years.  People are likely using this as a new jumping on point but I doubt the sales will be any more than the standard 50-60k this run has been doing for years.  That’s fine though.
Ray:  Likewise, Thor has been Marvel’s most consistent title next to Spider-Man for years. This is a big increase, but it’s also not quite what I would have expected for the return of the original Thor. Maybe because it’s a continuing run, not a fresh start, we’ll see a smaller debut and better holds? Thor #2 charts this month at #17 with 63K, which is well above where it was before the final arc of the previous run, so this is likely to continue to be a long-term hit for Marvel.
Glenn:  At 9 is the wedding issue of X-Men Gold 30 where Marvel yells out ‘we have a wedding shaped thing going on too!’ which manages to get sales over 88.3k.  The previous non wedding shaped issue also comes out this month landing at 39 with sales over 36.3k.  The title is ending regardless despite being a steady seller for Marvel.  The happy couple who get married here are getting their own title, I’m not too optimistic on the chances of that one but hey ya never know!

Ray:  That’s a very impressive sales bump, and the sales of this and the non-wedding wedding special shows that that there was a surprising amount of interest in this storyline. They did a bait-and-switch on this one as well, but I kind of think the couple that did get married has a slightly bigger fanbase than the one that didn’t. 

Thor wasn’t the only longtime Marvel character to return to their mantle this month, as Bruce Banner took back the Hulk title in The Immortal Hulk #1. That charts at #11, selling a healthy 84K. Hulk’s been struggling in sales for a while, and the Amadeus Cho version was one of the replacement heroes to struggle the most in sales despite the presence of fan-favorite writer Greg Pak. This back-to-basics horror-influenced version seems to have gotten some interest, but we’ll see if it can hold it down the line.
Glenn:  I remember the numbers for Totally Awesome Hulk being really underwhelming but this new direction and its sales leave me optimistic.  If it can land in the 30k range, it’ll do fine so anything over that will be a huge bonus.
Ray:  One book that is having zero problem holding sales is Donny Cates’ Venom, which charts two issues this month. #2 sells 73K at #12, followed by #3 selling a healthy 57K at #21. We speculated that this was going to be one of the biggest hits of the new wave, and it seems to be confirmed. Months before Venom outsells the new ASM run?
Glenn:  Venom could possibly take its place as the second or third healthiest ongoing in Marvel’s staple.  This seems to have been just the right blend of creative team to go along with a new direction.  Marvel must be happy since we already have tie-ins by Cates linked to his main story on the way in a few months.
Ray:  Even in an insanely competitive month like this, Walking Dead is hanging in there, selling 71K at #13. Unstoppable!
DC gets an edge in the top thirty this month thanks to eight issues of strong-selling miniseries. Man of Steel charts four of its six issues from #13-18, selling between 69K and 62K. This is pretty well above what the Superman titles were selling prior, so at least on that point Bendis seems to have a win on his hands. We’ll see how it does when the actual titles launch next month.
Glenn:  I might have expected more due to the hype machine and the caliber of artists but Man Of Steel is a healthy start for Bendis at DC.  If Superman and Action can sell around this long term, DC will be thrilled.
Ray:  The Batman: Prelude to the Wedding specials also deliver a solid performance, with the remaining four issues landing from #19-26 with sales of 60K to 53K. Harley vs. Joker sells the highest to no surprise, followed by Nightwing vs. Hush, Batgirl vs. Riddler, and Red Hood vs. Anarky bringing up the rear.
Glenn:  The wedding specials absolutely sold on the characters involved.  Given recent events, how much they matter long term is dubious at best so this was a pure cash in by DC but in this case, it worked.
Image result for batman prelude to the wedding harley vs joker #1
Ray:  Avengers #3 levels out nicely to land at #20 with sales of 59K, a minor drop from the second issue last month. Jason Aaron does have a lot of sales pull, and he’s going to make the Avengers a healthy franchise again despite some ominous signs last month.
Glenn:  I really thought Avenger’s would be doing way better with this new team and direction.  I’m sure Marvel wanted more out of it too but apart from Slott’s Amazing, they rarely get ongoings crack over 65k any more.
Ray:  Flash continues to increase, landing its two issues this month at #24-25, with #49 increasing over the previous issue to sell 54K. This plotline has really hit a chord with audiences, and the reveals in the final issue will likely keep this book hot.
Glenn:  Issue 50 will see a big jump too and we’ll see if some people maybe stick around.  Even if it settles back to its previous level, Flash is the healthiest its been in years.
Ray:  An interesting little subplot this month is in the Star Wars titles. They land at #30 and #31, both selling at about the 50K mark, but for the first time Darth Vader outsells the parent Star Wars title. Given that Vader is a post-prequel-set story as opposed to the post-ANH main title, this is extra surprising, but I suppose it’s the power of Vader!
Glenn:  I’m really surprised at this.  I’m glad Star Wars is still a solid performer nearly 50 issues later but I’m shocked one of the other books have surpassed it. Great news for the Vader book of course.
Ray:  A title that didn’t get the relaunch bounce it was hoping for was Doctor Strange, which manages 47K at #32 for the new creative team of Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz. I don’t think the concept, featuring Doctor Strange losing his powers for the third time in three runs, helped much. The second issue also ships this month, and loses roughly a third of its sales at #46, selling 33K.
Glenn:  Its still better than the Doc would have managed to sell a few years back but the character has had three very quick creative turnovers in a short space of time which probably confuses some fans.  It’ll probably sail around its normal level before so long with maybe a bit extra due to Waid being able to maintain interest from readers.
Ray:  Hawkman’s new series by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch lands at #33, selling 42K. This title got swallowed up a little bit by the hype over bigger books, but this is a healthy number for a Hawkman title.
Glenn:  Very healthy for Hawkman, maybe not if you consider this is a lead on from the characters appearance in Metal and Bryan Hitch on art.  Still, the numbers might have been a lot less had those two factors not been in play.  We’ll see how this one does next month, if it levels out quickly then it’ll be fine.
Ray:  Two DC titles that just keep gaining buzz can be found at #34-35. First is Mister Miracle, which returns after a month off and sells 39K as it heads towards the finish line. Right below it is Deathstroke selling 38K as it keeps most of its bounce for the Batman vs. Deathstroke storyline. I’m just glad more people are reading these exceptional books!
I don’t know what’s going on with Spawn, but it seems to have found a new permanent place in the top part of the charts. This month it sells 38K at #37. If it’s the 90s again, I can’t wait for the new Jurassic Park movie…wait.
Glenn:  Evil clowns sell, I can’t wait for Pennywise to turn up in all Marvel books October (I jest but…)
Ray:  Black Panther does seem to have gotten a bit of a bump from the relaunch, landing at #41 with sales of 34K, but that’s not as good a hold as some of the other relaunches. I’m wondering if Marvel buried the lead a bit with this one – most people probably assumed it’s just a continuation from the previous run, but it’s actually an essential read for fans of the movie in a lot of ways.
Image result for black panther issue 2 2018
Glenn:  If Panther can maintain a mid 30k performance that would be solid enough and I’m sure that once word spreads about who is showing up in this new run then reorders will surely follow and people will gravitate to the book slowly.
Ray:  DC set up their relaunches (sort of) of both books in the Titans line this month with special one-shots, and to say both got a mixed reception would be putting it lightly. They were both ordered roughly around the level of the previous runs, with the Teen Titans Special selling 32K at #49, while the Titans Special is at #54 with sales of just under 32K. Given the poor response, though, I think those sales will flatline quickly.
Glenn:  The Titans franchise has been on a roller coaster for nearly two decades now.  Watching DC trying to make it work with mixed results (at best) is something to behold.
Ray:  At #50 is the launch of Deadpool: Assassin, a generic Deadpool miniseries by Cullen Bunn and Mark Bagley. This is a back-to-basics story with Deadpool taking contracts, and given how similar that is to the main Deadpool comic this month, that probably explains why it only sold 32K. Maybe the wrong month to launch alongside the big relaunch.
Glenn:  Still pretty decent I think for a throwaway Deadpool mini.  Bunn has written a lot of these hasn’t he?  The amount of Deadpool mini’s he’s had is almost like having a shadow second Deadpool book.  I wonder if this would have done better like you say if it had been relaunced month before last or month after next.  The second issue also charts at 74 selling over 27.1k.  It could be worse but the diminishing returns won’t get any less diminishing.
Ray:  Gail Simone and Adriana Melo’s Plastic Man lands at #52, selling just under 32K. Definitely not the success that her other B-list character relaunch was at Marvel two months ago, but then Plastic Man doesn’t have a movie. For an out-of-continuity miniseries that had to compete with the launch of Justice League and two weekly miniseries, this is a decent debut that will probably level out quickly.
Glenn:  I think we can call this a win.  Gail’s been talking about doing this title FOREVER so she’s likely happy to see it in the flesh (or the paper as it were).  Its amazing how much of a solid fanbase Gail has, I think she doesn’t get the praise she deserves in that regards.
Ray:  A rough debut for the Fresh Start miniseries Ant-Man and the Wasp, which lands at #56 with sales of 31K. Given the movie, Marvel had to be hoping for a lot more, but I’m wondering if part of this is just how little interest the traditional comic market has in Nadia Pym. Her series is getting relaunched with a look towards the bookstore market, but this isn’t that, and I don’t think it really had an audience.
Glenn:  I wonder if sales would have been better if it had been Hope in one shape or form?  Ant-Man has always struggled in sales, movie or no movie so this is probably the best Marvel could expect.
Ray:  The debut of Jeff Lemire’s Sentry at #63 is pretty grim. I suppose even Lemire can’t drive sales for one of the most reviled characters in recent Marvel history. However, knowing Lemire’s history with acclaimed 12-18 issue runs on smaller Marvel properties, this is likely to level out very quickly and might even finish its run higher than it launched, a la Mister Miracle.

Glenn:  Yeah, the Sentry really is the Roman Reigns of comics.  Once reviews pick up and people are like ‘Ohhhh this is a Lemire book riiiiiight’ then things might get better but yeah you’re right, I don’t see this one lasting a long time.

Right below Sentry is the Marvel Two In One Annual at 64 which sells over 28.7k.  This title is essentially being retired in the wake of Fantastic Four proper coming back so the sales here are kind of mute.  Still promising it sells 1k more than the main book.  Seems like this one got a loyal fanbase quick.
Ray:  Marvel Two-in-One has been a solid mid-level hit for Marvel, showing just how much interest there was in a Fantastic Four relaunch. The FF proper relaunch is predicted to top the charts when it launches in August, but I hope Marvel keeps giving Zdarsky bigger gigs – he’s earned it.
Glenn:  Second Wonder Woman annual sells over 28.4k at 66.  Diana’s had a rough time creatively and the sales reflect that.  We’ve just learned that G. Willow Wilson will be riding in to save the day though so we’ll see how things stand with the character next year.
Image result for wonder woman annual 2
Ray:  I think Wilson will definitely bring in some of the fans who left, but she’s never been a big draw in the direct market – the primary market for Ms. Marvel is trades and digital. It’s a great pick creatively.
Glenn:  At 67 is another Infinity War Countdown tie-in, this time focusing on Black Widow and it sells over 28.2k.  Pretty standard for this event that probably isn’t getting as much love from the movie that Marvel hoped it would when it was given the green light.
Ray:  The main Infinity Countdown mini is doing decently, but the tie-ins are being ignored. Of course, when you remember that this isn’t actually the event, but the prelude to the event, it makes a lot more sense.
Glenn:  I’m losing track of where we get with events.  They all just blend together in a non stop blend of blerg.
At 69 is the latest and probably last of the new wave of DC titles, the Unexpected by writer Steve Orlando selling over 28k.  Apart from the Terrifics, these have been all been pretty much a disaster and are likely soon never to be mentioned again.
At 73 is Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual selling over 27.5k which makes it 1.5 ahead of the main book.  Pretty solid and I would say that’s partly because of Mike Allred on art and partly cause of the great stuff Zdarksey is doing with Spider-Man and Jonah.  Another book with a loyal following it seems.
The second issue of Lando Double Or Nothing ends up with more than half of its first issue sales of over 26.9k at 76.  Not too bad for a Star Wars spin off that ties into a film that underperformed.  This likely benefits from having the one thing in the movie everyone had and will do well in trades, especially if rumours about Lando being back in episode 9 are true.  The Star Wars line isn’t what it used to be for Marvel but still performs decently and will bring them big money in collections for a long, long time.  Even in a galaxy far, far away.
The first of a batch of ‘Wakanda Forever‘ one shots which features some characters from the movie teaming up with various Marvel heroes starting with Spider-Man begins at 80 with over 26.1k.  Its a throwaway tie in to cash in on the success of the movie so for that type of thing, this is fine.  The other tie ins that don’t feature Marvel’s most popular character might be a bit more ‘eh’ in the coming months.
Ray:  Next up is the X-Men, so Wakanda Forever should keep a lot of these sales. The writer is a popular novelist, but none of her comic work has caught fire in the direct market yet. I imagine this is being geared towards Black Panther movie fans in the bookstores, anyway.
Glenn:  Another Infinity Countdown at 92 with the Champions taking the center stage, it sells just over 23k.  This property sure started with a lot of promise but due to various reasons has fizzled out in a big way.
Some reorders for the insanely successful Amazing 800 at 93 with over 22.8k additional sales.  This and Action 1000 are two massive recent successes for both companies, it’ll be interesting to see how Batman 50 compares next month.
Ray:  Not on the level of the insane reorders we saw for Action last month, but still incredibly impressive. Like I said above, watch for big reorders for #801.
Glenn:  Multiple Man gets a new mini at 22.3k at 94.  If Marvel had pretended this was an ongoing (as they are often wont to do) then I’d be concerned but for a mini about a character that hasn’t been in the limelight for years and was never a big sales draw in of himself this is perfectly fine.
Ray:  It’s another new project for Matt Rosenberg, who Marvel seems to have a lot of faith in. He’s more of a cult creator, though. This is decent for a long-dead second-tier X-man whose most popular run ended years ago.
Image result for multiple man 1
Glenn:  Not even the might of Scott Snyder can stop the new Challengers mini to drop sales in its second issue to over 22k at 95.  I wonder if Snyder maybe saw the writing on the wall before showing up at a Justice League writing meeting and totally pretending he should be there to get away from this one asap.
At 100 is a Dazzler one shot selling over 21.8.  Its Dazzler and this is apparently based off a script that’s sat in a drawer for years so I’d call this a win because even before you finish reading this article you’ll forget it existed at all in the first place.
Ray:  This is probably the base audience for an X-character title, so retailers ordered accordingly. Although Mags Visaggio is building buzz as a writer – we’ll see her again later on in the charts with a new launch.
Glenn:  At 102 is Marvel Super Hero Girls aka Marvel Rising which sells over 21.2k which is very good for something aimed at younger readers.
Ray:  This would be Marvel Super Hero Girls, if it wasn’t for the presence of the reviled Inferno and Patriot 2.0. Still puzzled by the casting decision. This is a decent number that I largely put down to the presence of Kamala Khan.
Glenn:  Kamala is pretty awesome.  Do you mean Patriot 2.0 as in the weird one from Gillon’s Young Avengers or has there been another?  So many replacement heroes!
Ray:  No, I suppose this would be Patriot 3.0, introduced in Secret Empire. He has no ties to the Bradleys and no one likes him.
Glenn:  No one likes something to do with Secret Empire?  Say it ain’t so!
I didn’t realize last month that Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk was more than one issue but here we are.  The second issue remains very stable selling over 20k at 106.  Not as many people are buying into this story as maybe Marvel hoped but they are maybe investing in it to create key stability.
The second issue of Rick Remender’s new Image offering, Death Or Glory lands at 108 with sales over 19.2k.  This is within Remender books usual range and all his titles perform very well in collections so this will see its run to the end.  Well within the usual Image safe zone.
Ray:  Remender, like BKV, Brubaker, and Lemire, has found a niche where all his creator-owned books show amazing stability. Well-deserved, and this is likely going to raise the profile of Bengal a lot as well.
And speaking of Gideon Falls, it actually gains about 1K this month to land at #105 with sales of 20K. I think we can safely say this is another long-term hit for Lemire, if retailers are upping orders. I don’t want to go in the barn, Glenn.
Glenn:  Stupid barn.  I’d burn it if I wasn’t so terrified.
I didn’t know what ‘The Weeknd presents Star Boy‘ was and how it somehow got sales over 19.2k at 109 and then I googled it.  My brain now hurts so much I just have to tag Ray in.  I need to lie down.
Ray:  Apparently it’s based on a song on the artist’s album? Okay? It didn’t translate particularly well to comic book form, but I imagine that the artist’s name was responsible for a lot of the sales. 
Glenn:  Good for the singer.  Is he classically trained at all?  *lifts plastic/empty champagne glass, takes sip*
Ray:  Rick and Morty continues to be Oni’s bread and butter, with two issues in this range. The main series sells 19K at #110, while a new special titled “Krombopulous Michael” sells 18K at #115. I don’t know what a Rick and Morty is.
Glenn:  I know!  I know!  I watched an episode where a clear parody of Doc Brown told a kid to shove something up his butt!  Its apparently hilarious but I must have missed that part.  Still, whatever keeps the lights on.
Ray:  The second issue of Ant-Man and the Wasp has another big slide the same month, landing at #119 with sales of 17.5K. Woof. I think we know why this was only a miniseries.
Glenn:  Also its a mini because of the heroes involved.  Eh?  Eh?
Ray:  As Spider-Gwen gets closer to wrapping up her run at #124 with sales of 17K, I think that’s still sort of impressive given how long this series has been going without a relaunch. It’s a long way from its heyday, but most Marvel books would kill to have a run like this. She’ll likely get a relaunch with a new creative team soon enough, probably in time for her film debut.
Glenn:  Spider-Gwen, victim of the renumbering game.  Still she’s kind of everywhere now isn’t she?  This is another reason why I don’t think we’ll ever see the end of comics.  Disney needs their idea farm alive to keep giving them new very profitable characters that no one knew they wanted.
Image result for spider-gwen 33
Ray:  There were a lot of smaller Image debuts this month, and the top-selling one was post-apocalyptic futuristic murder mystery The Weatherman, selling 16K at #130. While none of the creators had sales pull on their own, the concept of an unassuming man who may have killed half the world sold itself.
Glenn: That is a good concept.  I’ve likened Image to a TV network at times where people pick and choose on concept when they don’t know the names.  This one sounds like it would definitely be a hit show.
Ray:  Completely random, and the first of many random reorders this month, is the 16K in reorders for Secret Empire #3 at #131. Why? Did people want to remind themselves that however Marvel is struggling now, it could be much worse?
Secret Empire #1 gets just under 15K in reorders at #138, and Civil War II #5 is a few hundred copies less right below. These are old events, so I’m struggling to make sense of it. Civil War II #4 is at #147 with 13.7K as well.
Glenn:  Secret Empire might be something to do with the new Spidey direction?  Civil War II is anyone’s guess…maybe one shop got reallllly drunk one night while ordering.
Ray:  The latest Ralph Macchio one-shot, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Living Legends, charts at #145 with sales of 14K. What’s surprising here is just how close this is to the second issue of the main book. This is likely just to cover the bases in case of fans coming in after the movie.
Glenn:  Macchio is returning to Marvel is some advisory capacity so maybe these one shots were written more recently than we assumed?  In any case, these one shots sell pretty well for the throwaway material they are.
Ray:  Speaking of Ant-Man, we get a new wave of True Believers one-shots for him. To no surprise, they don’t do nearly as well. The top seller is the first appearance of Scott Lang, selling 14K at #145, followed by The Birth of Giant Man at #149 with 13.7K. There’s more down below at #155 (Trail of Spider-Man), #159 (Til Death Do Us Part), #167 (Incredible Shrinking Doom), #171 (Ant-Man and Hawkeye: Avengers Assemble), and an Iron Man book packaged with them as a Ghost spotlight (#177). They all sell between 12K and 10K, so retailers likely ordered a lot of them as a bundle. None of these are particularly well-known stories, so the comparatively lower sales aren’t a big surprise.
Another Image launch, Stellar, lands at #153 with sales of 13.3K. This is a deep-space superhero adventure from Joseph Keatinge, the creator of Shutter. He’s always been a bit of a cult creator, but he’s launched two books in the last few month, so Image clearly likes what he’s putting out.
Glenn:  A cult following is better than no following, it works for Valient so if Image knows what they’re going to get from this guys books, they’ll keep investing in him if they’re happy with that result.
Ray:  Solid numbers for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers anniversary special, which sells 13K at #157. Given that this is a $7.99 book, it sells pretty close to the main series. It features stories from some top creators and a follow-up to one of the series’ most popular plotlines, so Boom seems to have put a lot into making sure it felt like a necessary part of the franchise.
The final Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic from Dark Horse for now, The Reckoning, debuts at #160 with 12.2K. Clearly the series is a long way from its heyday, and even the addition of the characters from Fray didn’t boost it much.
Glenn:  The days of Whedon making a difference in sales seems to have gone too.  I’ll be curious what the franchises future is now that it’ll likely be owned by Disney after the FOX merger wraps up.  I could see Boom or IDW doing comics or graphic novels set during the high school era for book store markets or a reboot of the whole thing.  I doubt this is truely the end either way.
Ray:  An oddball entry at #163 is the miniature graphic novel Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Book 2, which sells 12K at a $12.99 price point. I’m surprised it’s here instead of on the OGN charts. This is another book that I wouldn’t be surprised to see reclassified as a Black Label title one day.
Glenn:  Seems likely, everything is a black label now.  Even this article is black label.  Lets get some nudity whooooo
Ray:  Another new Image debut, the female-led Pirate revenge thriller Shanghai Red, lands at #173 with sales just under 11K. Chris Sebela’s been working in indie comics for a while, without any real breakout hits. However, he’s consistently a solid creator, and this title is essentially just debuting in the safe zone for an Image title. I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue, so it may hold well.
Image result for shanghai red 1
At #179 is Brian Wood’s latest Viking-era adventure, Sword Daughter. Featuring a mysterious mute girl and her formerly catatonic father, it sells in the usual range for his books at Dark Horse – 9.7K.
#183 brings us the Dynamite launch of Charlie’s Angels, selling 9.4K under the pen of John Layman. This was a book that got a lot of advance hype due to Layman’s reputation from Image, so I might have expected it to do a little higher. The retro tone probably appeals more to older fans.
Glenn:  There will always be a ceiling for things like Charlie’s Angels, a creator like Layman can only do so much.  Fans of the original show aren’t likely to show up for the comic, the movie fans won’t care and Disney has made us all forget the reboot so sales could be worse.  This will be one of those Dynamite franchises that is just lucky to be here.
Ray:  A new Vampirella miniseries, Roses for the Dead at #186, selling 9.2K. Dynamite gonna Dynamite.
Astro City heads off to collection and OGN heaven with its final appearance on By the Numbers, with its final issue selling 8.9K at #188. We’re definitely a while away from the title’s heyday in sales, but it’s held incredibly well over the years, especially compared to its mostly departed fellow Vertigo books.

Glenn:  We salute you Astro City.  This is one that has a small but very dedicated audience that will follow it no matter where it goes.  I expect new audiences will come to appreciate it in collected form for decades to come.

A new Tank Girl book from Titan sells over 8.6k at 191.  Pretty standard stuff for a franchise that was a thing once.

Red Sonja/Tarzan loses about half its sales this month pulling in over 8.6k at 194 putting it just about 300 units above the main Sonja book at 195.  I think given its a mini and co-stars a character with no sales pull, that’s not too bad.  Most mini’s would love to sell this close to the parent title.
I think TMNT: Urban Legend stabilizes pretty well in its second issue selling over 8.3k at 195.  Given the bizarre nature of the book and how my own pal Ray says its quality is dubious at best, I think this is a great number.  I can literally hear IDW digging through the discard pile now for more Turtles stuff to publish.
Ray:  I hope they get to continuing TMNT Adventures from Archie soon, then!
Glenn:  At 200 is poor Cyborg selling over 8.1k, sheesh no wonder this book got recancelled.
Huuuuuuuge drop in sales for Valients Harbinger Wars 2 which loses about 14k in sales pulling in only over 7.8k at 204.  This is within the usual Valient range for a second issue but that is a massive drop from one issue to another at this level.
Ray:  Yeah, this is performing much more like a standard Valiant book than a big event. I guess when Valiant’s line is small and manageable like this, people tend to buy almost all the core books anyway. Plus, Valiant is working on making inroads into the bookstore market and this will likely sell more there. 
Glenn:  A new Image mini, Proxima Centauri launches at 208 with sales over 7.4k.  This one seems a bit more on the indy side of the usual Image offerings so I’d say this number is about right.
Bloodstrike 0 which I think is a redo of an old Image property by cult comic legend, Michel Fife launches at 209 with sales over 7.3k which is probably the hardcore Fife/EXTREME comics fanbase meshed together.  Maybe the 90’s aren’t back after all.
Ray:  Farel Dalrymple and Michael Fiffe are both cult indie creators, and neither of these concepts is really friendly to new readers. Books like Prophet did these numbers regularly, but tended to hold very well in coming months. 
Glenn:  At 210 is the new version of Nancy Drew selling over 7.3k and I would have thought this one would do a lot better.  It was a well known creative team with an interesting update for a classic character.  I suppose no matter what, Nancy Drew will have that same ceiling problem that we mentioned above from Charlie’s Angels.  I think it’ll stabilize fast and do well in collections, its a great book.
Image result for nancy drew 1 comic
Ray:  More so than Charlie’s Angels, Nancy Drew is a book that was made for the bookstore market. This all-ages, manga-inspired take on the property (that takes her back to her roots as a plucky girl detective) isn’t going to find its core audience in the monthly market, but if they’re smart they’ll package it in a small, affordable graphic novel format for the middle-grade reader.
Glenn:  For a throwaway kiddie book, MSH Adventures: Webs, Ants, Arrows, Oh my sells pretty decently at 211 selling over 7.3k.  This one isnt meant to sell here in this chart so its pretty moot.
At 215 is the second issue of Coda selling over 7.1k which isn’t too steep a drop from its first issue.  This is kind of in the usual pattern of BOOM comics not based on an existing property so its standard stuff.
There’s Secret Empire again at 216, the second issue sells another 7k.  I’m wondering if doing the top 500 now is messing with our sanity.
A new maxi-series, By Night from BOOM sells over 6.7k at 220 which again is just what the creator owned books from this publisher do.  Its good in one way it doesn’t deliver any surprises but that is also a bad thing in another.
Ray:  By Night is by John Allison, the popular cartoonist behind Giant Days. He doesn’t draw this one, but he’s one of Boom’s most reliable creators and this twelve-issue maxiseries will likely hold very well long-term. 
Glenn:  At 221 is Black Panther 1 which picks up reorders over 6.7k.  Word of who showed up might be getting around.  They’re not mind blowing reorders like Action 1000 or Amazing 800 got but more interest in a book to make it reappear in the top 300 is always good.
More Marvel reorders at 226, this time for Avengers 1 which sells another 6.5+ sales.  See above but it seems this title is likely to be behind Snyder’s Justice League by a good 20k surprisingly.  It’ll be curious how it fares against Dark and Odyssey when they launch.
THERE’S CIVIL WAR II AGAIN AT 236 FOR ITS THIRD ISSUE SELLING ANOTHER 6.1+ ADDITIONAL SALES?!?!?!?!?!  WHAT IS HAPPENINGGGGGGGGGGGG.
More reorders that make sense with retailers keep going back to Slott’s final arc wanting more, this time its Amazing 797 at 239 selling over 6.1k additional units.  This has to be one of the best selling stories outside of events Marvel’s had in decades.
New Dark Horse horror book Blackwood’s second issue sells over 5.6k at 248.  It’ll likely take place of Harrow County in terms of Dark Horse offerings and sellings which isn’t a bad place to be.
Yet MORE reorders for Marvel with Venom at 250 which sells over 5.5k more this month.  This is definitely going to be one of Marvel’s newest hits it seems.
Ray: Unlike so many of the others, Venom’s reorders make sense. This issue was the return of Eddie Brock to the role, so the horde of new fans jumping on board with Donny Cates may want to catch up. Costa is also doing a stand-alone mini to close out his run starting in August.
Glenn:  That DOES make sense.  I like things that make sense, they comfort me.
Image and DC also get on the reorder party with Oblivian Song’s second issue selling over 5.3k at 252 which is much higher than its reorders last month and the final part of No Justice picking up over 5k at 259.  It seems the books at the upper end of the charts are the ones people are coming back to time and time again while everything else fights for the remaining scraps.

Ray:  Aspen Comics has been doing a big wave of relaunches in recent months, and their flagship book Fathom returns at #260 with sales of 5K. This is the most famous creation of the late Michael Turner, so it’s likely got a lot of nostalgia fanbase that helps lift it above the rest of the company’s books. 

Just below 5K at #262 is the latest Aftershock title, Lost City Explorers. This adventure series dealing with a brother and sister looking for their father in the lost city of Atlantis (hey! That’s my turf!) seems to be going for the Stranger Things audience in tone, and may hold well if buzz builds. Overall, Aftershock continues to have trouble launching new titles.
Man of Steel #1 picks up a quick 4.6K in reorders at #268, proving that there may be some long-term interest in this new direction. I expect the Superman books to launch much higher than this miniseries did next month.
Just below at #269 is the second issue of Flavor, which loses about 40% of its first issue sales to sell 4.6K. Come on, people! This book is great!
Image result for flavor issue 2
Glenn:  Maybe a bit too oddball for the main comic market?  It’ll do well in collections, I’m looking forward to reading it myself.
Ray:  It’s a double-dose of Cullen Bunn in this area, as his long-running Harrow County from Dark Horse closes out its run with a slight bump at #272, selling 4.5K. Two spots below selling 4.5K as well is the launch of Shadow Roads, Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s spinoff to their epic The 6th Gun from Oni. I would have expected a bit more for this one, but The 6th Gun has been gone for a while and likely picked up most of its audience in collections.
Glenn:  Now that Harrow County is over, it can head over to collection heaven.  I would say that there’s enough interest in it in collected form for Dark Horse to grant it the Library Edition treatment.  Plus it seems prime for a TV adaption so the collections will be there when that happens.
Sixth Gun like you say is another one were people read in collected format so the single issue sales are almost redundant.
Ray:  In more random reorders, Donny Cates’ breakout comic God Country charts another 4.4K in reorders at #277. At least this one is a comic that I’m glad more people are reading!
Glenn:  I‘m going to assume this ones down to Cates rising star power.  Retailers want to have more of his stuff available to meet demand.
A disappointing debut at #280 for Archie’s Superteens vs. Crusaders, crossing over their two long-running super-teams. Selling only 4.3K can’t be what they were hoping for, and I think it shows how much buzz has faded for the new Archieverse. They’re revamping everything massively in the coming months, and it may not be for the best…
Glenn:  Archie never really recovered from that controversial story a year or so back and they’ve been trying to decide what to do next.  Its amazing these days what one bad story decision can do to a company.
Ray:  The new Garfield miniseries Garfield: Homecoming, which features indie cartoonists putting their own spin on the traditional Garfield style as the fat cat runs away from home and tries out new homes, sells just under 4.3K at #283. This book will likely sell more to kids in bookstores, so this is a case where single issues are likely irrelevant.
There’s reorders allllllllll around the charts this month. Some in this range include about 4K more in sales for Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #5, Doomsday Clock #2, last month’s Robin vs. Ra’s Al Ghul wedding prelude, the third issue of No Justice, and the second issue of Avengers. I’m not sure what’s been going on with the rush in reorders this month, but it’s one of the oddest things we’ve seen in a while on By The Numbers.
At #287 is the offbeat new Dark Horse series Modern Family, selling 4.2K. This oddball comic about the everyday lives of fantasy creatures in the big city seems to be getting good reviews, so it may hold well once word gets out.
#293 brings us the debut of Mike Hammer, a Titan comics revival of the obscure 1930s pulp detective hero, selling 4.1K. I’ve never heard of the character, so this is clearly going for a specific but small audience.
Glenn:  This will likely be for fans of pulp rather than fans of this character (whom I don’t know either).  There are other comics out there higher profile scratching this itch so this one will be living off scraps.
Ray:  Just below, selling just under 4.1K, is the new miniseries Tomb Raider: Inferno. As Dark Horse loses more properties, this has become one of their bread and butter licenses. I wonder if these might sell better in video game stores?
Glenn:  Maybe, they have a new game coming next year which will help.  I doubt the movie drove people to seek out the comic so the game stores are the better bet.
Ray:  At #296, selling 4K, is a new series titled Regular Show: 25 Years Later from Boom. I am an old man and I don’t know what a Regular Show is.
Glenn:  I can’t hear you, I’ve lost my hearing aid.  I also wish for more jello.
Image result for regular show 25 years later
Ray:  As we exit the top 300 and head into the scary territory, BSG vs. BSG from Dynamite is the last book to crack the top 300. This was a bold experiment crossing over the two versions of the property, but it was always a cult property and never quite found a bigger audience.
Glenn:  YOU LEAVE BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA ALONE!!!!!  I mean…yes, the two series have their fans but I doubt many of them overlap or had a strong desire to see this crossover.  They’d probably rather have a new high quality TV show.
Ray:  Lots of licensed properties down here, and we have new miniseries for the 7th Doctor (#302) and Halo (#303), both selling 3.9K. I think the 7th Doctor is not one of the most popular, and Halo has never translated that well outside the video game world, so missing the top 300 isn’t a big surprise.

Glenn: Seven is popular enough but the older doctor’s will have a much more old school dedicated audience.  I think most people just want their Doctor’s in the female form at the moment (that sounds wrong).

Remember when Halo was at Marvel and was by Bendis and Maleev?  Glenn remembers!
Ray:  More oddball reorders in the 310-320 range, selling around 3.7K include the first issue of the recent Captain Phasma miniseries, Invincible Iron Man #12, and the first issue of Duggan’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I confus.
Glenn:  Our fellow podcaster and pet rabbitt, Brandon James speculated the mass of unusual amount of Marvel ‘reorders’ was random distribution of excess stock.  I’d be inclined to agree.
Ray:  Keenspot Entertainment gets into the Trump parody comic market with Trump’s Titans vs.Dark Donalds Mental, which parodies Dark Knights: Metal and shows us the Trumps of the Dark Multiverse. It lands at #320 with sales of 3.6K. I don’t want to go in the barn, Glenn.
Glenn:  So many jokes.  So many.  I don’t want to get in trouble though…or do I…
Ray:  The weakest of the month’s new Dark Horse debuts is the horror comic Bedtime Games, which lands at #332 with sales of 3.1K. This It-inspired book didn’t have any name creators attached, but it did have an incredibly creepy cover that may help with casual audiences. I’m hoping it picks up some interest, because it was a good, creepy read.
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The second issues of No Justice, All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, and Domino are all hanging around here as well, all selling about 3K. The first issue of Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man is just a bit lower. I have no idea what’s going on, but I would say that close to 1/5th of the charts this month is reorders.
A little lower, selling in the 2.6K range, are reorders of GOTG #146 (the launch of the short Legacy run), the recent failed Secret Warriors comic, and the prelude issue to Hunt for Wolverine. The former and latter make sense given the events going on right now, but Secret Warriors? Maybe interest in Inferno due to Marvel Rising?
Now we’re getting into some really weird reorders. Teen Jean Grey’s solo series debut charts again at #361, followed by International Iron Man #5 at #364 and the Hulk funeral comic from Civil War II, Fallen at #365. All sell about 2.4K. What is relevant about any of these comics right now? At least the first issue of Adamantium Agenda, at #367, is an ongoing miniseries.
Justice League: No Justice #1 completes the set at #371, selling 2.3K. I suppose this makes sense for people who feel like they missed something with the debut of Justice League.
Another new Aspen launch, the flight-based teen adventure Awaken Skies, had a $1.50 prelude issue this month that landed at #372 with sales of 2.3K. This one didn’t really have much to lure new fans in, and it’ll probably lose most of these sales when it debuts for real next month.

Monsters Unleashed #1 at #374 with 2.2K sales. I got nothing, Glenn. Who is ordering these? Who thought “You know what my customers want? The first issue of a cancelled book from last year.”? Gonna go lie down now. Over to you.

Glenn:  But I wanted to lie down…
A new launch from Action Labs, Aberrant sells over 2.2k at 376.  I read this description and I don’t know what this book is about but is from some Hollywood screen writer apparently.  I hate it down here…
Death Of Love ends at 383 with sales over 2.1k.  Seeing this title on the charts selling low made me sad initially, now the whole thought of it makes me sad for personal reasons.  Comics is a weird place and does weird things to people.
Ray:  Death of Love seemed to be getting a good amount of buzz, so the sales being this low is a puzzle. Sadly, it seems VERY unlikely there’ll be a sequel for a number of reasons.
Glenn:  Zinnober, a post apocolyptic comic featuring dragons from Scout Comics sells over 2k at 390.  They reasons why dragons are successful in Game Of Thrones is that they also have zombies you see.
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At 391 is some reorders for Image’s Isola selling over 2k more additional copies.  Seems to be this one will be a sleeper hit for sure.
At 392 in more random stock clearen…er reorders is Accused 1 from Marvel selling over 2k too.  This was Hawkeye standing trial for the murder of the Hulk.  He should have clearly plead the Jean Grey defense.
Ray:  This was the comic that had Matt Murdock trying to get Hawkeye the death penalty. I suppose they’re friends again now. After all, if Hawkeye got the needle he’d just be back in a month anyway. 
Glenn:  In the Marvel universe, death is easier than community service.
From Vault comics we have Vagrant Queen which sells over 2k at 393.  This actually sounds quite good and is written by Madeline Vissagio who is making a name for herself rapidly in the industry so not sure what happened here.  I guess Vault have a ceiling that’s hard to get through.
Ray:  The only Vault comic to get consistently higher than this was Reactor, by an up and coming guy by the name of Donny Cates. Mags is still growing her brand, but this is decently above Vault’s usual launches.
Glenn:  At 395 we have Dave Sim being himself with Un-Bedable Vark selling over 1.9k.  He’s having fun at least.
At 396 there’s a comic called Jungle Fantasy Secrets 0-Ivory Nude which sells over 1.9k.  You know I once met Scott Snyder at New York comic con a few years ago.  I got a picture taken with him (which I somehow lost) and in the process totally didn’t notice and thus ignored Jim Lee.  It was one of my best and most embarking moments as a fan and someone who one day wants to work in this lovely industry.  This has nothing to do with this comic, I just like telling this story and needed to go to my happy place.
Ray:  That 1.9K is less impressive when you remember that the company gives every issue 25 covers. Gotta make sure everyone has their personal choice of sexy jungle lady comics.
Glenn:  Vol. 2 of a Gene Ha vehicle Mae launches from Lion Forge at 402 selling over 1.8k.  Not sure why this is Lion Forge but this is the result despite Ha being very well known in the industry.
Ray:  This was a Dark Horse miniseries that also did pretty low numbers, and it moved to a much smaller company years later. Not a big surprise.
Glenn:  Brother Nash, a new title from Titan which apparently is a mix of American Gods, Preacher and Hellboy doesn’t seem to drum up any of the interest of those properties and sells over 1.8k at 406.  Titan is not a company placed to sell original properties.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m ignoring the crazy reorders to keep my sanity.  Now excuse me while I talk to my dentist who is also an elephant.
Ray:  Good old Dr. Trunkington. He fixed my teeth…for peanuts. Eh? Eh? Eh?
Glenn:  You’re fired, even though you don’t work for me.
Statix Press (?!?!?!??!) delivers a new medieval fantasy type comic selling over 1.7k at 414 that is priced at 5.99 for some reason.  To be honest, considering I don’t recognize the creators or the publisher and its priced that its a Superman anniversary or something, that’s probably really good.
Ray:  I think Statix is an imprint of Titan, printing European comics translated for a US audience. They tend to put out oversized issues.
Image result for KONUNGAR WAR OF CROWNS
Glenn:  At 415 we have Michael Turner’s Legacy from Aspen selling over 1.7k.  This is likely for his remaining hardcore fanbase only.  This reminds me of my time at Prufrock Prep School…
Its pretty much all insane reorders until 467 where we have John Carpenter’s Tales Of Sci-Fi stand off, the first in a new mini by Storm King Productions (?!?!?!?!?!).  We’re in the Barn, its the only explanation!  Get out, save yourself!
More random reorders until we mercifully end with…a  reorder at 500.  This one makes a tiny bit of sense, its the first issue of New Challengers which launched last month.  An additional 980 sales for a new Scott Snyder book.  This new age of DC is really something.
Ray:  Yeah, this line as a whole has gotten zero buzz. Shame. The creators involved will larely be onto bigger and better things soon.
Glenn:  What’s next month Ray?  If you say reorders, I will have to kill you.

Ray:  Don’t worry, Glenn. I’m sure we’ll get random reorders of Solo and Foolkiller burning up the charts next month. 

Looking ahead to July’s sales, we’ve essentially got a four-way run for the top of the charts. The overwhelming favorite, of course, is Batman #50, the Bat-wedding issue – or is it? There’s been a lot of controversy here, but that didn’t affect orders and this could easily hit 250K. Nipping on its heels is the debut of Bendis and Reis on Superman, their proper launch. After the disappointing debut of Man of Steel, this could do much higher.
Marvel is answering with a pair of major launches of top titles. Amazing Spider-Man has a new #1, which usually signifies top numbers. However, without Dan Slott and with a divisive new writer, can it equal that? I don’t think it can touch Batman. It’ll be interesting to see if it can beat Captain America #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who led his first Marvel book to one of the best debuts of 2016. There’s also two new titles from Donny Cates – Death of the Inhumans and Cosmic Ghost Rider.
None of the indies can touch these big guns, of course, but there’s a few interesting Image launches. We’ll see how oddball Kirkman/Burnham launch Die!Die!Die! shows up on the charts with its unusual release. Plus, the return of Sean McKeever and the debut of Rob Guillory as a writer artist should make an impression.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next time on By the Numbers!
Image result for batman wedding variant
Like what you read?  Have thoughts, questions or comments?  Let us know below or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: May 2018

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. The gift that Glenn is getting for the Bat/Cat wedding is a lifetime of bat anti-shark repellent.

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.  The gift that Ray is getting for the Bat/Cat wedding is a list of other nine weddings that are the must attend functions of the year.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  Its time for May sales with another month where things went a bit crazy for several reasons!  It seems that top 500 sales are going to be a regular thing and I suppose our integrity (what’s left of it) dictates we cover it all.  Main points for 300 and highlights for the rest though…I need to sleep.

Let’s get going.

So to no surprise, with all the sales momentum in the world, a pack of great artists and a writer doing his last huge story before riding off into the sunset next month (or this Wednesday as of this typing), Amazing Spider-Man #800 slams into the sales charts with a bone crushing performance over 411.4K which in the modern market for a $9.99 book is INSANE.  This has surpassed even the high expectations we had for it and I’m sure Marvel is thrilled.  The only comic that MIGHT match this is Batman 50 with its significance, all star artist roster and insane amount of variants but this right now is the best selling issue of anything in years.  Just brilliant numbers and I bet Marvel are wondering if letting Slott go is a huge mistake.  Of course, I bet he’d rather go out on a high like this and take some momentum with him to FF and Iron Man.  I think Amazing 801 will see very well too since its Slott’s last issue for real and its the return of Marcos Martin to the big two but this is something that there should be champagne passed around about.

Ray:  That is a MASSIVE number for Amazing Spider-Man. In this month, with so many premieres, nothing even came close and that’s amazing. It’s the #2 comic of the year, behind only Action Comics #1000 about 30K higher (as of last month, more on that lay-tor). Given that the top two comics of recent memory are a $7.99 issue and a $9.99 issue, it feels like the companies aren’t going to be shy about going for these mega-issues in the future, which worries me. However, the quality and quantity on both of these justified the price. Given how easily this outpaced many of the big launches from both companies this month, Marvel is seriously going to miss Slott. I suspect #801 tops 200K as well and comes in #2 next month

Glenn:  Good point on the pricier comics selling.  If people are promised a good package, they’re willing to pay.  We’ve talked a lot about how DC has made some good sales on quality specials in recent times, the success of this will undoubtedly drive Marvel to perhaps produce more but they’re likely to see any similar success due to the ‘perfect storm’ of elements that encourage the sales.

To underscore the success of Amazing, the next best selling book sold 200k less but still pulled in fantastic numbers.  The latest relaunch of Venom by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman surpassed expectations also by selling over 225.7k outdoing regular heavyweights and some times you wouldn’t have expected it to leap over (more on that in a bit).  Venom is having a major renew of interest but the involvement of this creative team seems to have caught a lot of interest.  I think this is going to end up doing a lot better than the previous volume and will be one of Marvel’s strongest performers.

Ray:  That’s an astounding debut for Venom, easily enough to top the charts almost every month. We’ve seen Venom #1s debut very strong out of nowhere before, but they always crashed down to earth soon enough. This might not do that, between Donny Cates and the upcoming movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up being a top-twenty fixture, and we’ve already got some spinoffs announced.

Glenn:  I have a feeling if Venom is a success it’ll be in spite of the movie.

Despite the delays, Doomsday Clock remains rock solid at 3 with sales over 146.8k.  This seems to be performing similarly to Dark Knight III which had great sales despite various delays.  Again like that book this will also do very well in collections for decades too come.

Ray:  Yeah, this is barely a drop at all from previous issues and the fact that Doomsday Clock continues to outpace major launches every month is amazing, despite the delays. I think we’ll probably see a similar performance, if a bit lower, from DC’s upcoming stand-alone event Heroes in Crisis by Tom King and Clay Mann, especially as it spins out of events in Batman.

Glenn:  At 4 is the latest Avengers relaunch by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness which sells over 131.4k.  Another very solid performance but I would have expected maybe more from this creative team and the book that is being pushed as the flagship of Marvel’s line.  Being outsold by Venom is a big surprise and then we have Issue 2 selling this month also, landing at 13 with sales over 66.6k.  Not terrible sales, this would put it in Marvel’s upper tier of ‘regular’ books but given what this book is and who is producing it Marvel must have been hoping for more.

Ray:  The fact that Venom so handily trounced Avengers by this megawatt creative team is a testament to just how much these few years have damaged Marvel’s core brands in the comic world. If it can hold most of those second-issue sales, it’ll be fine, but this should be Marvel’s new flagship book, and it’s not selling like it at all.

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Glenn:  At 5 is another strong debut from Marvel in their latest onslaught of new books, this time its Black Panther which sells over 122.3k.  Considering this title was getting into danger territory previous, this is a great sign and either a good thing in terms of Marvel’s ‘fresh start’ or just as and/or more likely more Black Panther fans existing after the movie. This likely won’t stay a top seller but even sales around 40-50k once things settle would put it well above where the title was before and I see that being possible.

Ray:  Obviously a lot of this is the retailer bump for the first issue, but I expect there to be a lot more interest in this run of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther than the last run due to the multiple new-ish characters who popped up there. If they can get even a tiny fraction of the fans who loved the movie to give this a try, it’ll stay very healthy.

Glenn:  At 6 and 7 is Batman who still shows up in his usual top ten spot despite all other wackiness.  Issue 47 of the series slightly edges out issue 46 with them selling over 101.5k and 100.1k respectively.  Momentum gathering for the wedding or just damn good writing pulling people in?  I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a mix of both.

Ray:  Batman seems all but invincible. I expect a decent-sized bump for next month’s wedding prelude issues featuring Joker, followed by a massive landing for #50 in July.

Glenn:  At 8 is the first part of the Justice League weekly series No Justice which serves as a bridge between Metal and Snyder’s League run which starts proper next month.  Part 1 sells over 86.7k, issue 2 is at 12 with sales over 68.8k, issue 3 is at 14 with just under 66k and the final part is at 15 with over 64.3k.  The drop from 1 to 2 isn’t too bad and then it stabilizes fast. Given the success of Metal, I would have thought there would be more interest here.  I think this is where we’ll see Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey sell with Snyder’s book doing about 70-80kish.  Again as we all know, consistency in this market is key and if DC can pull off this Justice League line around these numbers or better on a regular basis then there will be much to celebrate.

Ray:  Apparently Justice League #1 has sold over 250K for June, so I think this is much more of a hiccup than any lack of interest in the post-Metal status quo. Remember how we were consistently puzzled by the event series Clone Conspiracy selling less than the main ASM title? I think this might be something similar – retailers underordered on this weekly event not knowing just how critical this would be to the core series. Still, DC got over 250K in sales for the franchise in one month, so that’s hardly a disaster.

Glenn:  I see what you mean in regards to the Clone Conspiracy comparison but I think DC did a very good job of marketing this as important.  There was a lot of hype and a lead in that was printed in the pages of the massively ordered DC Nation #0.  Who knows?  It doesn’t matter in the long of course and this isn’t a bad seller by any means and like you said, the combined sales are very good.

Another first issue of a weekly comic event from DC at 9 (although the other issues shipped next month in this case) and its the start of Brian Bendis at DC proper and his start on Superman proper.  The first part of Man Of Steel sells over 86.7k which is very good but given this is Bendis proper big full issue debut I would have expected three figures.  Still, if this mini follows a similar pattern to No Justice and Bendis can deliver two Superman titles over 60-70k then DC will be delighted.

Ray:  Yeah, if the Superman books follow this sales pattern, Bendis will have his first big win for DC on his hands. I don’t know if this will be the case, but it’s worth noting that DC did far fewer variant covers for this event than for almost any other. The rollout was almost a little muted, so that may have depressed sales but lead to a stronger hold for the weekly issues next month. We’ll see – reception has been a bit mixed so far.

Glenn:  Final part of the top ten is the Walking ‘we don’t care what the rest of you do, we sell by existing nyah nyah’ Dead which sells over 73.7k.  This book lives the dream.

Ray:Every month! Almost like it’s…unkillable.

At #11, Batman: White Knight wraps its run with sales of 73.6K. It’s kept growing and stabilizing through the run, so I think this is a massive hit for DC. They’ve just announced it’ll be collected under the new Black Label brand with some minor new content, so it’s likely going to keep selling well for years to come.

Glenn:  Yeah, White Knight is a worthy addition to the DC back catalog and Murphy seems content to just work away in this little corner he’s created for himself.  This is good news for DC if his other books sell around this level (and I don’t see why they wouldn’t)

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Ray:  Despicable Deadpool wraps its run with issue #300 at #16 on the charts, selling just under 60K. A major increase for the series, but a bit weak given that this is Deadpool’s longest run ever and this came out right around the time of the second movie. I think Deadpool’s brand in this run was hurt quite a bit by having to tie in with the reviled Secret Empire and upending its status quo. Skottie Young is up next with a run that’s essentially a hard reset.

Glenn: I would expected more for the end of Duggan’s run too.  Similar to the latter end of Brubaker’s Cap run, I think he missed an opportunity to end his run earlier.  He still did solid work but nothing like what came before.  I’m sure next month’s new Deadpool launch will be strong and it’ll return to the standard 50-65k range its been doing for years after.

Ray:  That’s right above the next issue of Infinity Countdown, the pre-event by Gerry Duggan, which sells 59K. Solid numbers for Marvel, but they’d better hope the second event increases when it launches, or it’s not the kind of numbers that really carry a summer’s worth of tie-ins.

Glenn:  Yeah, those numbers are rather muted aren’t they?  I guess people that were fans of Infinity War didn’t want to sign up for this one as opposed to people who liked Black Panther.  This event will stabilize quickly I think but won’t be anything to write home about.  Line wide events at Marvel could be a problem in the near and possibly distant future given how the last one was handled.

Ray:  Surprised both of these beat Invincible Iron Man #600, the much-hyped final Bendis comic for Marvel. This landed at #18 with sales of 58.5K. Bendis’ days as a Marvel sales powerhouse were behind him when he left – we’ll see if his DC career brings back the heat.

Glenn:  It seems that this last tenure of Bendis time at Marvel was rather muted.  He was getting strong praise for some of his work but this book, the one that was supposed to be his latest big project faltered.  Iron Man’s been a tough nut to crack since Fraction left sales wise so we’ll see if Slott can bring momentum with him.

Ray:  #19 has the X-Men Wedding Special, selling 56K. I imagine a lot of retailers were very annoyed with this when they realized there was no wedding in this issue – it’s an anthology of bachelor party related stories. And given spoilers about the actual wedding that have come out by the time this article sees print, this may take the cake for one of the most over-ordered issues of all time.

Glenn:  Given how fickle their sales are past launch, Marvel shouldn’t really be trying to mess with retailers.  Its cute that they’re trying to steal some of the Bat/Cat wedding heat though

Ray:  A decent-sized increase for Flash this month, as the two issues gain about 7K in sales for the launch of Flash War, selling 53K and 52K at #20 and #22. I wouldn’t be surprised to see major reorders, as well, as it seems this event is – like The Button – a key part in the unraveling of the post-Rebirth status quo.

Glenn:  Flash is the biggest benefactor in terms of sales and story post Rebirth even a couple of years in.  Its become one of DC’s hottest books and this upcoming ‘Flash War’ might give it a platform to reach a higher level as it carries on.

Ray:  The first of five Batman: Prelude to the Wedding one-shots lands at #21, selling 53K for an issue pitting Damian Wayne against Ra’s Al Ghul. Solid numbers for a series that everyone knew wasn’t really essential reading, and it shows the interest in this storyline overall.

Glenn:  Interest for the wedding is high so DC may as well capitalize on that.  I wonder if perhaps this would have been much higher had King been involved in some way given this while story is his idea.  Still if the rest of the mini can sell around this (the highest selling will probably be Harley vs Joker) then that’s icing on the cake (pun intended).

Ray:  Speaking of reorders! What an impressive second month of sales for Action Comics #1000, selling 52K more copies and putting the total sales just over the 500K mark. I would say this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it’s not – stay tuned for Detective Comics #1000 in early 2019.

Glenn:  Its always insane to me when reorders on a book do better than the majority of new books but then again, this is a special case.  Like we said, DC did this one right in every aspect and I have no doubt that the Detective one will be every bit the same accomplishment…if not more so.

Ray:  James Tynion wraps his run on Detective Comics at #24 and #25, with both issues closing out the run over 50K. It’s been incredibly steady in sales, but the next few months feature three writers between now and September (Michael Moreci, Bryan Hill, James Robinson) with no sign of a permanent creative team. That’s worrisome as the series heads towards its big anniversary.

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Glenn:  DC is trusting Detective to fend for itself while they hold off on the new long term creative direction.  Its a curious strategy but DC are no doubt just treading water for something big here to coincide with the anniversary issue coming up.

Ray:  The previous Superman creatives teams got to wrap up their runs with oversized one-shots this month, and there’s a pretty big delta between the two. Dan Jurgens’ Action Comics Special lands at #28 with sales of 47K, while Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman special is down at #34 with sales of 43K. Given how much higher Superman originally sold, it shows that Jurgens really won the crowd over with his old-school run. He’s headed off to Green Lanterns next.

Glenn:  Jurgans will go down as one of the greatest creators on Superman ever so I’m glad he gets to go out on a relative high.  He’s also been writing Batman Beyond for DC for a few years so I don’t see him going anywhere else at this stage.

Ray:  The four Hunt for Wolverine miniseries debuted this month, and to a one the numbers were sort of unimpressive. The highest selling was Jim Zub’s Mystery in Madripoor, focusing on an all-female team of mutants, which sold 47K at #29. Next was Charles Soule’s detective thriller Weapon Lost, selling 44K at #32; Tom Taylor’s spy adventure Adamantium Agenda, selling 42K at #36, and Mariko Tamaki’s horror-themed Claws of a Killer one spot below with 41K. All acceptable numbers, but certainly not the event Marvel seems to think it was and a huge drop from last month’s one-shot, which sold 138K in setting this up.

Glenn:  I think like we’ve joked that everyone realized that all these mini’s were just cash ins and no one was really going to find Wolverine during them.  Given the amount of mini’s there were, its been a success in terms of managing to get people to pay money for what is essentially an intermission.  The publishing schedule for Wolverine continues to be curious in the month ahead as writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven bring him back for realsies in another mini before a real ongoing starts.  Got to get in all the number 1’s we can I suppose.

Ray:  A solid debut for the latest Star Wars miniseries, Lando: Double or Nothing. It sells just under 43K at #35. Maybe a bit lower than expected, but this was expected to tie in with the Solo movie, and we all know how that went…

Glenn:  The Star Wars line has become less of a spectacle over the years also.  These mini’s used to sell insane numbers but things have steadily calmed down now that the initial ‘Star Wars is back!’ wave has passed.  Still the franchise always performs respectfully or better for Marvel and this is no exception.  I could see good reorders on this and will likely be a good seller in collections, especially if this version of Lando gets his own movie down the line.

Ray:  The Paul Dini/Bret Blevins miniseries Harley Loves Joker took the place of the main Harley series this month, bringing back the classic animated Harley Quinn. It’s a pretty healthy increase over the usual fare, with the first issue selling 41K at #38 and the finale clocking in at #46 with sales of 37K. That’s 11K and 7K above where the series was last month.

Glenn:  Dini writing Harley always draws interest.  A solid replacement for the main book which has Sam Humpries coming on board for a bit shortly.

Ray:  The one-shot Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla sells 39K at #40, and I’m a bit surprised it was this low. The conclusion of the main Thor storyline sold 56K last month, and the #1 next month will probably top 100K. It’s probably another case like No Justice, where retailers ordered a bit light on a bridge story that they thought was a side story. Expect strong reorders on this one.

Glenn:  Yeah, there was clearly some misunderstanding here.  This one should have sold a lot more and likely will pick up 10-15k additional sales next month.  We’ll try to remember to check!

Ray:  The X-Men Red annual lands at #43 with sales of 38K (just below a Star Wars annual by Cullen Bunn selling 39K). That’s 6K below the main X-Men Red issue this month, and shows how Tom Taylor’s acclaimed, socially relevant take on the X-Men and Jean Grey is easily outpacing the rest of the X-line at this point in terms of buzz and sales.

Glenn:  X-Men Red has become a strong performer for Marvel, Tom Taylor is a creator who doesn’t seem to grab the headlines like some but always seems to pull off these successes on the down low.

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Ray:  Spawn, surprisingly, keeps 75% of the sales it had last month for the return of the Violator and lands at #44 with sales just under 38K. Maybe the hype of the movie announcements is helping, but this is currently Image’s #2 book, just ahead of Saga. Is it 1994 again?

Glenn:  With the return of popularity to Venom, it just might be!

Ray:  A typically disappointing debut for the latest member of the New Age of DC Heroes lineup,New Challengers. It lands at #47 with sales of 36.5K, which is surprising given that Scott Snyder’s name is on the cover. This comic was announced cancelled, and resolicited with a co-writer as a miniseries, so I’m guessing retailers smelled a lot of behind-the-scenes meddling. Snyder seemed to have big plans for this, but that was before he was announced as the new architect of the Justice League books, so it seems to sort of have fallen by the wayside.

Glenn:  Yeah, this seemed to be his next big project but that could have been prior to him being given the keys to the Halls Of Justice, who knows?  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the challengers feature into Justice League proper and some of the ideas Snyder may have had re-purposed there.  If that does happen then this could be one that does well in collections.

Ray:  A title that seems to be keeping last month’s sales bump is Deathstroke, which lands at #49 with sales of 35K. The addition of Batman for a self-contained crossover event dealing with Damien’s parentage is getting this book a lot of new eyes, and hopefully they’ll stick around for the long haul on this excellent book.

The top-selling Image debut of this month easily goes to Death or Glory, the futuristic crime thriller from Rick Remender and Bengal. It charts at #57 with sales of 32.8K, very strong for an Image title. Remender’s sort of building his own brand at Image now, and he’s good for healthy numbers on virtually anything he does.

Glenn:  I liked the look of this new Remender book a lot.  Given how good his work at Image usually is, he seems to have built quite the following.  I can see his stock only going up following the adaption of Deadly Class to TV.

Ray:  The experimental miniseries You Are Deadpool, which combined an Al Ewing Deadpool comic with tabletop gaming, ran weekly in May and opened at #59 with sales of 31.5K. Future issues landed at #90, 100, 101, and 105, selling between 24K and 22K. An odd comic, for sure, but it’s done decent numbers for a comic with a limited audience.

Glenn:  I remember Marvel did weird game like comics before in the late 90’s.  I guess its good they did something different and Deadpool is the type of character that is tailor made for this type of book.

Ray:  Speaking of weeklies, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin release their multi-lingual alien abduction thriller Barrier in print for the first time, and it does very strong numbers for an Image weekly. The first issue (which was also released in a different edition on Free Comic Book Day) sells just under 29.4K at #65, with the next four issues charting at 80, 86, 93, and 98, selling 26-23K. Given how many people already read this in digital, that’s a great showing.

Glenn:  Some people (like me) prefer print I guess!  This is also Martin’s first comic work in a while so that may have gotten interest.  People who have read the webcomic (as it were) may have wanted a print copy too.  I can see this doing well in collections after its completed in singles form also.

Ray:  Infinity Countdown launches three tie-ins this month. Captain Marvel and Daredevil release one-shots which chart at #66 and #70, selling 29K and 28K respectively. Decent numbers, in line with their main series for the most part. The news isn’t quite as good for Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk, the miniseries spinning out of the Darkhawk one-shot from the start of Legacy. It launches at #91, selling only 24K.

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Glenn:  There’s never going to be anything with Darkhawk’s name on it does well, sorry fans of his.

Ray:  The Terrifics remains the only one of the New Age of DC Heroes titles to actually maintain some momentum, as its fourth issue lands at #67 selling just under 29K. That’s already ahead of the second issue of The Immortal Men, which lands at #71.

Glenn:  The power of Jeff Lemire strikes!

Ray:  The Star Wars: The Last Jedi adaptation arrives at #76, selling 27K. Decent numbers for a delayed adaptation of a story everyone knows, and the second issue is down at #107 selling 22K.

Glenn:  These adaptions of the movies are just done likely because Marvel is obliged to do them.  They’re fine for what they are and I’m sure Marvel considers them an acceptable aside to getting to still print the majority of Star Wars comics.

Ray:   At #82, we have Domino #2 selling 26K. Not a bad number for a Domino series, of course, but that’s a nearly 70% crash from the first issue’s massive sales. Combination of retailer over-ordering due to the movie and the usual Marvel #1 tricks? I knew it would crash back to Earth, but not this much.

Glenn:  That is quite a Domino fall (get it, get it?  I’ll see myself out) but still good numbers considering she’s a c list character with no ongoing to herself ever.  I think this could stableize and remain around here as long as Gail is the writer which will give Marvel a reason to keep it around.

Ray:  90s nostalgia continues in full swing, as Medieval Spawn/Witchblade launches at #85. This crossover between two properties well past their prime manages to sell 25K, which probably means we’ll be getting a lot more crossovers and revivals.

Glenn:  Wasn’t there a lot of wacky copyright stuff with Medieval Spawn?  Sometimes I feel like the charts are a time machine.  I can’t wait until Sam Keith brings back Ma…oh wait…

Ray:  DC gave us another wave of oddball DC/Hanna-Barbera crossovers this month, and there’s a pretty big gap in sales based almost entirely on the DC character involved. Despite being written by Scott Lobdell and getting the worst reviews of the four, Flash/Speed Buggy sells the best of the four, landing at #89 selling 24.6K. Not far below is Super-Sons/Dynomutt, which sells 23.8K at #92. Then it’s a big drop to Aquaman/Jabberjaw, selling 21K at #115, and finally is the most acclaimed of the four – Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey, selling 18.5K at #128. That one might get some reorders as writer Bryan Hill takes over Detective next month.

Glenn:  These sold based on the popularity of the main DC hero it seems.  I would say the ones that were better viewed might pick up some reorders.  These bizarre little teams ups seem to perform well enough for DC to keep doing them in any case.

Next book of note is the launch Harbinger Wars II from Valiant which is at 103 selling over 22.6k.  I didn’t even know there was a Harbinger Wars I!  This is a great number for a Valiant book, they’ve had higher numbers in the past but their launches usually perform much lower.  They keep on trucking.

Ray:  I sort of expected a bit more for Harbinger Wars II, given that this is their biggest event comic in a long time. It’s sort of their Civil War and much of their line is tying in. Still, Valiant does the majority of their sales in trades, and they’ve just announced a new line expansion to follow this up, so they’re clearly very happy.

Glenn:  Its anniversary issue time with Punisher #225 selling at 112 selling over 21.7k.  No special increase here as 224 is released the same month and sells more. I guess we only get big numbers for 50 and 100’s nowadays.  Punisher is getting his new coat of paint in a few months none the less.

Ray:  Punisher, much like Deadpool, got hit very hard with the aftermath of Secret Empire where he sided with HYDRA, so that may be hurting sales as well here.

Glenn:  At 113 is the Green Lantern annual which sells over 21.4k which is only around 3k below the main title.  That’s very good and DC annuals continue a pretty decent streak of solid performances.  There’s rumours that the whole direction of Green Lantern is about to undergo a big creative change, time will tell.

Following the pattern of its fellow books, the Curse Of Brimstone title drops in sales to just over 20.2k at 118.  This line has been a misfire apart from the Terrifics all in all.

At 119 is the launch of Quicksilver: No Surrender with sales over 20.2k too.  Not bad for a title starring Quicksilver who hasn’t been able to sustain any sales draw for decades but Marvel maybe expected better given its spinning out of Avengers: No Surrender which performed quite well for them.  The pattern of Marvel readers not really interested in any follow up stories from big events has been an issue for the company for years.

Ray:  Saladin Ahmed tends to be a creator who gets good reviews but doesn’t really sell, although many of his properties display very good holds once they hit a certain level (like Exiles this month, which only loses 2K from issue #2 to #3). Still, this is very low for a comic spinning right out of a major Avengers event. More evidence of the damage Marvel’s done to their own brand.

Glenn:  Another DC Annual!  Green Arrow this time which sells over 18.5k at 129.  Again  about 2k less than the main title so quite consistent there but this was a tie in to the big Justice League: No Justice mini I think?  I think retailers probably didn’t realize, I certainty didn’t until I saw the cover in my LCS.  Those that did know didn’t seem to care all too much.  This one might be another one for the reorder pile.

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Ray:  This one slipped under the radar, yeah, and it pulled double duty as the only No Justice tie-in during the month of release, and a lead-in to the Benson Sisters’ regular Green Arrow run. This is one to watch.

Glenn:  The True Believers One Shots are here again, this time focusing on Wolverine (he’s coming back ya know).  The highest selling of the batch is Wolverine: Sword Quest which is a reprint of the first issue of a mini by Chris Clairemont and John Buschema from back in the day.  I’m surprised this is the best selling, I’ve never heard of it but there ya go.  This sells over 18.2k at 131 which is great for a reprint like this.  At 140 is the new Wolverine True Believers one shot, this one putting him up against everyone’s favorite symbiote Venom!  This one sells over 16.7k.  Given how hot Venom is I’m surprised it didn’t do better but hey its all free money to Marvel.

Ray:  I’m pretty sure this is not the first Wolverine: True Believers wave, so almost all of the true A-list issues have been released in this format already. That’s probably why we didn’t see any of them sneak up on us and do huge numbers like the Venom ones did. All in all, like you said, free money for Marvel.

Glenn:  Second issue of Image title Isola is at 135 with sales over 17.5k which I’d say is very good.  This is from two creators that are well known and well thought of but neither have had major ‘sales pull’ as it were.  Maybe people just are interested in this book, fancy that!  Its well within the Image safe zone.

Ray:  That’s a really solid number for Isola, and means it should probably wind up in the top tier of Image books overall. This might actually wind up selling better in single issues than the creative team’s last collaboration, Gotham Academy, did. That’s a testament to how Image can sell a greater diversity of material in the direct market than the big two can.

Glenn:  The sequel to 300, Xerxes: The House Of Dariussells over 16.8k at 139 losing about 8k from its first issue.  Again, the single issue sales here are basically irrelevant but its a strong enough performer for Dark Horse in any case.

A crossover between Red Sonja and Tarzan debuts at Dynamite from megastar writer Gail Simone selling over 16.3k at 142.  This is another great number considering the characters involved.  Dynamite will be thrilled and Gail Simone I think again proves she can bring interest to any property (see also: Domino)

Ray:  Yeah, this is 100% the power of Gail’s sales, as Red Sonja rarely sells this well and Tarzan has zero sales power in the market. She can make anything sell better, although usually more on a cult hit level (see the second issue sales of Domino).

Glenn:  Another Wolverine True Believers at 143 with Wolverine vs Sabretooth it sells over 16.2k.  These are a lot more consistent sales wise than the usual true believers one shots.  I’m not sure which fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth this one collects, I choose to believe each page is from a different fight in a different comic and no one can tell me different.  The next one of these at 155 in the form of Wolverine: Fatal Attractions which sells over 14.1k.  I doubt Sharon Stone is in this comic but hey, ya never know.

Ray’s favorite comic of last month, TMNT: Urban Legends sells over 12.7k at 161.  This is a continuation of the long abandoned Turtle’s series from…Image I want to say?  Ray is the Turtle’s expert, he’ll fill you in.  Pretty decent for something you would have thought no one cared about anymore.

Ray:  Ohhhhhhhh jeez. This run is generally considered the worst Ninja Turtles run of all time, and it never actually finished its initial run. Despite this, it sells higher than the main series by about 1K. I don’t expect it to keep that once readers get ahold of it and tell the retailers “WTF?”

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Glenn:  There’s Wolverine again in Dying Game at 167 selling over 12.7k.  I googled this one and saw a cover where Wolverine has large teeth so we’ll say this one is the story of Red Riding Hood starring our stabby mutant friend.

New Image book, Last Seige launches at over 11.8k in sales at 173.  Good sales for a book from two creators I’m not familiar with, will likely land at about 7k which is pretty normal for none big name Image offerings.

Ray:  That is a pretty strong number for a title by Landry Walker, who is best known for his all-ages series Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures. This medieval thriller is definitely not all-ages, but it seems there’s some real interest.

Glenn:  At 174 is the next issue of Black Hammer: Age Of Doom which sells over 11.6k. Pretty stable as always from books in this universe.  If books sold on quality then this one would be in the millions.  Dark Horse must be happy with this universe of titles, we’re getting another Black Hammer spin off that’ll run in tandem with this one this month (June).

Ray:  That number for Black Hammer is down less than 2.5K from the launch, and still well above what it was selling before the relaunch. So this book continues to build buzz. Worth noting that Gideon Falls (#121, 19.4K) lost less than 1K in sales from the second issue to the third as well. Lemire has among the most stable books on the market in quality and sales.

Glenn:  I would say a lot of Lemire’s books do well in trades too.  Again, Dark Horse is letting him do more and more Black Hammer for a reason.

Ray:  At #169 we’ve got an unusual entry, SHIELD #5 by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver. This was a comic that was released to mass critical acclaim for its complex take on the history of Marvel Universe…until it just stopped coming out years ago. The creative team finally found the time to finish it and Marvel released the first few issues as a mini-collection at a reasonable price, but there was still a lot of sales attrition. It sells 12K, showing there’s only so long audiences will wait. It’s likely to do much better in collections. The mini-compilation of the first four issues charts at #198, selling 9.4K

Glenn:  I can’t remember how well this book did but yeah, it seems that interest passed on this one.  I’m sure people maybe wanted it but didn’t get the memo it was back or completely forgot.

Ray:  The new Star Trek: The Next Generation weekly spin-off mini “Through the Mirror” lands at #176, selling 11.5K. This got previewed on FCBD and features a major new villain, I believe. It’s getting a bit more hype than most IDW Star Trek comics. The second issue holds well at #184, selling 10.2K, and the remaining issues of the month sell in the 9K range with only minor attrition.

Glenn:  Pretty good sales for a Star Wars mini for sure.  It’ll be interesting to see if IDW benifits from the rumors of a show that continues from Next Gen.

Ray:  A strong debut for Garth Ennis’ new Aftershock series A Walk Through Hell, selling 10.8K at #179. Ennis has said this is the darkest book he’s ever written, so if it turns out more like his Punisher Max run than, say, Hitman, it could be one to watch.

We almost never see Tokyopop up this high, but they’ve got a hit in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey, a spinoff from the popular movie. Selling 10K at #187, it’s a nearly wordless book geared towards young readers. The power of nostalgia is strong!

Glenn:  Nightmare continues to be a popular property for Disney even after all this time, the film ages remarkably well and Disney pushes it hard in their parks every Halloween and Christmas.  The fandom for this property is still respectfully high.

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Ray:  Coda #1, Si Spurrier’s latest weird worldbuilding epic from Boom, has a strong debut for Boom at #193, selling 9.7K. This is a 12-issue miniseries, so I don’t know how it’ll turn out by the end, but it’s starting with more room to fall than many Boom offerings.

Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude #1 shows up on the charts at #201, selling 9.2K. This was a stand-alone issue that set up the conflict between Livewire and the government, by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer. Great issue, but remember all those #0 issues that did half the numbers for Marvel that the main event did the next month? Might be a similar pattern.

Glenn:  Valiant’s audience behaves very differently than Marvel’s though so you never know.  Stay tuned for next month!

Ray:  #207 has a fairly strong new Dark Horse debut, the haunted-college thriller Blackwood from Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish. It sells 8.6K, which makes it the fifth-highest selling Dark Horse book of the month behind Miller, Gaiman, and two from Lemire. Likely to do well in the bookstore market as well. It’s enough to beat the final issue of Falcon!

Glenn:  This book sounded really good, it seems that Dark Horse has a lot of these interesting looking horror books on the go.  They seem to be happy with another horror offering in Harrow County to let that book conclude so I don’t see why this would be any different.

Ray:  Cyborg selling badly isn’t news – the latest issue of the relaunched-but-not series sells 8.3K at #216 – but what is notable is that as we type, DC has just announced that the upcoming issues of the series have been cancelled. June’s #23 will be the last, which means that the story will go unfinished. Those upcoming sales numbers must have been absolutely horrible – that has only been done once by DC in recent years, for the Vigilante reboot that turned out to be a mature readers book in disguise.

Glenn:  The decision to bring the book back was an odd one to start with and now the re-cancellation makes it seem even weirder.  I suspect we’ll only see Cyborg in Snyder’s Justice League for the foreseeable future.

Ray:  #217 brings us My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries. It sells 8.3K. I hope they have to investigate the Black Barn next issue.

Glenn:  I would buy every copy if they did.

Ray:  Batman #44, the “wedding dress” issue, picks up another 8K in orders at #221. Just more evidence that the Bat-wedding in July is going to be massive.

Glenn:  Can Batman 50 outsell Amazing 800 I wonder?  I think that it might manage it, especially with the amount of variants (I’m decorating my entire house with them and still have some left over)

Ray:  And now it’s time for me to yell “Come on, people!” At #223, we’ve got the launch of Flavor by Joe Keatinge and Wook Jin Clark, selling just under 8K. This fantasy cooking gladiator adventure deserved so much better for its inventive concept and gorgeous art, and I would think the success of Shutter would boost it. Booooooooooooo.

Glenn:  I liked the sound of this but maybe too quirky for some people?  Then again, Chew (another food based comic) never did too hot in singles but delivers in collected format so maybe this will be the same?

Ray:  Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers #1 lands at #227 with sales of 7.7K. I didn’t know there were this many Bubba Ho-Tep fans, but you never know!

Glenn:  The Bruce Campbell fan club are a small but passionate bunch.  I suspect that there would be similar interest in a comic based on ‘The Room’ (which I now want to read)

Ray:  Analog has a pretty harsh fall to #229, losing about half of its sales to land at 7.6K. Gerry Duggan’s name on the title helped the first issue, but this book doesn’t seem to be picking up as much buzz as expected.

Glenn:  This seems to have missed the mark, yeah.  Its healthy enough to carry on but is performing around the level of Image books from people that aren’t as well known which is odd.  I couldn’t get into the first issue myself so maybe I wasn’t the only one?

Ray:  The second Marvel Super-Heroes one-shot, The Spider-Doctor, sells 7.5K at #230. This all-ages book is likely going to repackaged into a small digest for bookstores, so these sales are almost irrelevant.

Glenn:  Spider-Doctor sounds supper terrifying though.

Ray:  Matt Kindt’s cult favorite Dark Horse book Ether returns with a new volume, subtitled “The Copper Golems” at #233 with sales of 7.4K. This is pretty typical for Kindt’s small-but-steady books, and I expect it won’t drop too much from here.

Also a pretty harsh fall for Skyward, selling 7.4K at #234. There’s been a few acclaimed Image books lately that haven’t debuted or held as well as expected. Maybe too many comics in the monthly release schedule making it a bit hard to find an audience?

Glenn:  Image are putting out more content than ever and people have limited budgets.  Books will find they have to sink or swim quickly to grab readers attention but that’s a problem for every book at the moment, especially when Marvel is releasing best selling books at $10 a pop.

Ray:  Selling just under 7.4K at #235 is a new Fraggle Rock series from Boom. Obviously, this title isn’t geared towards the direct market, but raise your hand if you already have the song running in your head!

Glenn:  *raises hand* given that Fraggle Rock never captured the level of success as the Muppets or Sesame Street, I think this is a very good number,  Either this is nostalgia at work again or people are buying this for their kids who then have no idea what a Fraggle Rock is.

Ray:  7.3K in reorders for Batman #45 as well, the launch of the Booster Gold arc at #237. I think this arc could become a very hot commodity now that it’s clear it’ll be a major prelude into Heroes in Crisis.

Glenn:  Good call, this will probably pick up more reorders which we will now see because the length of the sales chart is nearly double.

Ray:  As the four miniseries reach their halfway point, all four Young Animal books are incredibly close in sales this month, ranging from 6.9 to just under 6.4K. We’ve got Shade the Changing Woman at #242, followed by Mother Panic: Gotham AD at #244, Eternity Girl at #245, and Cave Carson at #249. This was a bold experiment, but it doesn’t seem like it was made for the direct market. Here’s hoping for a revival for some of these in a new format.

#250 brings us the new Dark Souls comic, Age of Fire, selling 6.3K from Titan. Obviously for a cult audience of gamers, but is it really Dark Souls if you’re not screaming in frustration?

Image result for dark souls: age of fire

Glenn:  I was thinking that the comic can only give you a true Dark Souls experience if it tries to give you paper cuts while you read it.  I’m totally copyrighting that idea by the way.
Small drop for the Star Trek Discovery Succession mini not even losing 1k with sales over 6.2k at 251.  This is another one to do with the mirror universe so maybe people are interested in an evil version of the federation?

Another new Aftershock book at 263 selling over 5.5k in the form of Pestilence: Story Of Satan.  This is from writer Frank Tieri who has some big work under his belt but never hit the big time and hasn’t done anything of note for a while.  Pretty standard Aftershock sales on a first issue with that taken into account.

Ray:  This is the second volume of Pestilence, a medieval zombie thriller. Given that, it probably didn’t get all that much of a first-issue bump either.

Glenn:  Reorders for Deathstroke 30 which was the first part of the Deathstroke vs Batman story which sells over 5.4k at 264.  Not often you see reorders for Deathstroke, the magic of Batman is unending.

At 268 is a new Judge Dredd comic, Under Seige which sells over 5.3k.  Like we’ve said before on these charts, Dredd never really does too well in the direct market but has a massive scope outside it.  These sales are pretty secondary to the property as a whole.

Steve Orlando’s Image book, Crude loses about half its sales selling over 5.2k at 269.  Like Analog, this is a book that has a writer attached that you think would get a lot more attention.  This is one that might not last too long.

Ray:  I think Crude is a miniseries, but it’s odd that Orlando doesn’t seem to be able to parlay his DC success into creator-owned success just yet. His Boom work recently also struggled to make the top 300.

Glenn:  Another launch of a comic based on a video game, this time from Dark Horse and Garth Ennis in the form of World Of Tanks: Citadel which sells over 5.2k at 271.  This is one for hardcore fans of the game and Ennis only it seems.  I think this is an online and/or mobile app game only which likely explains why is has even less sales than video game tie-in comics usually do anyway.

A Simpsons comic, Mighty Moe Syslak sells over 5.1k at 274.  These Bongo one shots keep showing up more and more in the top 300.  The demand for Moe is more than I would have thought.

Ray:  It is odd how more and more niche characters are getting spinoffs from Bongo, but when we’re talking close to thirty years of a fanbase, it makes sense. I wonder what will happen when Disney takes ownership of the Simpsons – they’d be smart to keep this arrangement with Bongo going.

Glenn:  Given the move DC just made with Wal-Mart, they might appreciate a company like Bongo who has a lot of reach outside the direct market.

Obligatory Hellboy comic time in the form of Witchfinder: The Gates Of Heaven, the start of a new mini which sells over 4.9k at 278.  On the lower end of the usual Hellboy sales but nothing too dramatic.

An odd sounding Vampirella one shot, Savage Tales (she fights barbarians apparently) sells over 4.8k at 279.  This is pretty good sales I’d say for something that doesn’t sound like the type of thing that usually gets attention.  Do dead barbarians move the needle?

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A reprint from Titan in the form of Tank Girl: Full Color Classics 1988-1989 launches at over 4.8k in sales at 281.  If these comics are indeed around 30 years old than those are some good numbers that will cost Titan very little to produce.

Some reorders for last months True Believers: Infinity Gauntlet at 283 which sells additional sales over 4.8 too.  Its almost as if there was a massive blockbuster with the same name or something.

Some reorders for Donny Cates Thanos at 287 with issue 14 picking up additional sales over over 4.7k which is more than the reorders it picked last month.  It seems investing in Mr. Cates is going to pay off for Marvel.

The Robocop: Citizens Arrest book loses about half its sales at 290 selling over 4.6k.  Like we said last month, no one really cares about Robocop anymore.

A new Adventure Time comic debuts at 292 with over 4.6k sales.  This comic will be picking up most of its sales in collections and outside the direct market so these are inconsequential.

In the past, the fifth issue of Back To The Future: Time Train would have been the last comic we covered at 300.  It sells just over 4,4k in sales and this is where things start to get scary kids.

Ray:  I don’t want to go in the sub-300 barn, Glenn. Hold me.

Glenn:  This was your idea.  I wanted to be lazy but then you were all ‘but we have a duty to our readers!’  Stupid scary duty.

Ray:  Also worth noting that the 31st issue of Harrow County is at 299, selling 4.4K. It should likely get a small bump for its June finale, which will mean it stayed in the top 300 for its entire run. Well deserved!

Glenn:  Having read the first two trades, I agree.

Scout Comics releases the first issue of Cybre Spectre, a former Kickstarter project that sells over 4.3k at 303.  Not too bad for a book that presumingly the Kickstarter basically already paid for.

Ray:  Cyber Specter is drawn by Ale Garza, who’s done some major DC and Image work over the years. That probably explains why this sold a lot better than most Scout debuts that aren’t Stabbity Bunny.

Glenn:  At 308 is Delta 13, a new horror book from 30 Days Of Night creator, Steve Niles.  This one sounds quite interesting but only sells over 4.2k.  Another likely victim of IDW not having that strong a footing with creator owned.

Ray:  Steve Niles is one of those names that almost everyone knows due to his one iconic work (30 Days of Night) but few of his future works get anywhere near the same level of buzz. He’s taking over Kick-Ass in a few months, which is an interesting choice.

Glenn:  Doomsday Clock piles on the reorders with issue two (which is now 6 or 7 months old) picking up another 4.2k+ additional sales at 310.

Valient High from…Valient debuts at 316 with sales over 4k.  A lot lower than Valient debuts usually manage.  I really hope this is an alternative reality starring high school versions of their characters, those are usually fun type stories but may not have appealed to their usually dedicated audience.

Ray:  This is not only an alternative reality, it was a digital-first comic that got most of its sales online months earlier. Given the young-skewing audience and the fact that it was a reprint, I doubt Valiant was expecting much more out of this – it’s a novelty book.

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Glenn:  A new Sherlock Holmes mini, Vanishing Man debuts from Dynamite at 322 with sales over 3.8k.  I would assume Holmes stories do better in collections and there isn’t much demand for the single issues given that his type of stories don’t lean towards installments.

Some additional reorders for Domino at 324 with 3,8k additional sales.  It may have crashed hard in sales but clearly people were interested to see what the title had to say right off the bat, this really makes me thing a quick stabilization is more than likely.

Ray:  Yeah, I expect Domino might even increase from second-issue sales once the true reader interest level becomes clear.

Glenn:  Crossed Plus 100 Mimic, a revival of a series created by Alan Moore returns from Avatar press at 333 with sales over 3.6k.  I’ve never heard of this property and without Moore’s involvement there seems to only be minimal interest.  Probably not too bad in terms of how Avatar books usually sell though.

Ray:  I know this used to be a Garth Ennis property as well, but since then it’s really slipped below the radar. Essentially Walking Dead with more gore and religious iconography, I guess it has its audience.
A Kong of Skull Island special, which is becoming a yearly event for Boom, lands at #337 with sales of 3.5K. This one had Kong vs. Vikings, which is apparently a niche concept. But not in my heart!

Right below at #338 is a spinoff of Zenoscope’s Oz series, focusing on the Wizard. Rachel Bloom needs to put out more songs to make our job easier…

Glenn:  She just needs to do more things in general.  More Bloom, less Zenoscope a By The Numbers dream.

Ray:  The Highest House only sells 3.5K at #341 and I’m gonna throw a chair. This better sell six digits in trade and get a Netflix deal ASAP.

Glenn:  I bet its not that great…Ray put down the knife…

Ray:  3.3K in reorders for Sonic the Hedgehog #1 at #344, proving further that this is a new hit franchise for IDW.

Jasmine: Crown of Kings sells 3.1K at #350 from Zenoscope. Rachel Bloom, why have you forsaken us…

Glenn:  She has friends, lots and lots of friends.

Ray:  A new mini-collection of stories, Betty and Veronica Best Friends Forever, sells 3.1K at #353. This was hyped as a new series like Your Pal Archie, but it’s actually just a collection of themed stories from the digests – the first issue is themed around movies. Unlike the other major new Archie releases, this one isn’t really providing new content, just a new format, and it seems retailers realized that.

Titan Comics seems to have a lot of debuts here, with both a new Warhammer spinoff titled Deathwatch, and a series called 2021: Lost Children, both selling 3K at 354 and 356. Titan books seem to have higher price points, European creative teams (many are reprints and translations), and a small but loyal audience.

The spectacularly titled Alien Toilet Monsters lands at #368 from Omnimorphic Press, selling 2.8K. I’ve never heard of this company before, and their output seems to be…unique. I’m gonna campaign for making this book a companion for Zombie Tramp as the official mascot of By the Numbers.

Glenn:  The writer of this series, Carol Zara seems to work hard to promote this book so good for her.

Image result for alien toilet monsters #1

Ray:  It outsells the excellent Sleepless (#369, 2.7K) and Scales and Scoundrels (#371, 2.6K) from Image. Booooooooooo.

At #383 we have another new launch from Black Mask that sort of breaks the mold. We Are Danger, written and drawn by Fabian Lelay, is a teen-oriented comic about the underground music scene, and it eschews the company’s usual hard-edged political themes for a more accessible tone and diverse main characters. It only sells 2.5K, though, which makes me think Black Mask’s sales issues aren’t going anywhere.

2.4K in reorders for Isola #1 at #388 (it actually outsells the fourth issue of Justin Jordan and Donal DeLay’s Death of Love four spots below). This seems to be a genuine hit for Image, and much deserved for the creative team.

Apparently Executive Assistant Iris is a long-standing franchise for Aspen, because volume 5 arrives this month with sales of just under 2.4K at #391. Clearly this is a niche book at a niche company, and the sales show it.

The best-selling True Believers issue of all time shows up again, selling an additional 2.2K for Venom vs. Spider-Man at #396.

Glenn:  No wonder we’re only at issue 3 of the new Venom and Spidey is showing up.

Ray:  The return of Aardvark-Vanaheim to the comic book charts has been one of the oddest subplots of recent years, and Dave Sim’s indie creation shows up twice this month. Undateable Cerebus is right above Love & Aardvarks at #398 and #399, both selling 2.1K.

There’s quite a few Image reorders right about here, with the first issues of smash hit Gideon Falls (for its third month) at #415, followed by more modest hit Skyward at #416 in its second and Kirkman’s latest hit Oblivion Song in its third at #420, all picking up another 1.8K in sales. Always good to see quality books picking up steam. Gideon Falls #2 shows up again as well, with 1.5K in sales at #435.

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The latest seasonal Boom Garfield special, Vacation Time Blues, sells 1.6K at #430. Boom’s sort of transitioned this series to mini OGNs, so the comics aren’t usually big sellers in the direct market. There’s a more hyped Garfield miniseries titled Garfield: Homecoming next month. Let’s hope he’s eating his lasagna to get strong to battle his way up the charts!

Glenn:  We can but dream.

Ray:  Based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pellucidar: At Earth’s Core sells 1.5K at #434 for American Mythology. The cover makes it look like a vaguely more respectable Boundless Comics “sexy cave lady” book, so that still has its audience, I guess.

Speaking of American Mythology, Pink Panther 55th Anniversary Special sells just under 1.4K at #446. I think this is the cat, not Inspector Clouseau. I wonder, have they ever crossed over with each other?

Glenn:  I think the cat was in the movies in some aspect.  Now I have the Pink Panther theme in my head…

Ray:  Tis the time for really low-selling indie comics from small companies to show up. These include barbarian adventure Ruin of Thieves: Brigands (1.3K, #450) from Action Lab, and surreal musical-horror-crime book Jazz Legend (1.2K, #459) from Scout. There was just an article about what they called a glut of mid-level comics, with many startups competing for space in a shrinking market and many falling by the wayside. These two seem like they fell prey to that.

American Mythology is giving us a lot of odd books this month, including Three Stooges Slaptastic Special, selling 1.1K at #461. “Old properties that have not been relevant for decades” is an odd brand for a comic book company, but everyone’s got a theme, I guess!

There are apparently exactly 1,033 fans out there for Gingerdead Man Meets Evil Bong #2 at #474. And God bless ’em, everyone.

Glenn:  If this comic can make it, I can keep my dream of a successful comic career alive.

Ray:  Cavewoman: Lycan Run sells 964 copies for Amryl Entertainment at #481. I think that averages out to about 7 copies per cover? Another Cavewoman series, Return to Labyrinth, is 58 copies below at #489.

The mostly black and white haunted town thriller Long Lost has been getting among the most buzz of any release from Scout Comics, and creators Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle have been raising its profile a lot on Twitter, so I’m a bit surprised to see it down here at #493 selling 841 copies. The upcoming trade will likely give it a big boost.

Rounding out the top five hundred is three reprints – the final issue of Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman run, the penultimate issue of Batman: White Knight, and at #500 is 769 more copies of one of the Thanos True Believers one-shots, Thanos the First (not related to Sofia the First). What’s most notable about the end of the charts this month for me is the complete absence of any of the seven Catalyst Prime series that make up the bulk of Lion Forge’s line right now. To have a full line of books and none of them cracking 800 copies nationwide is odd.

Glenn:  Now I want Marvel to convince Disney to let them do a comic where Sofia the First gets the Infinity Gauntlet.  YOU’D ALL READ IT, DON’T LIE!

Image result for true believers thanos the first #1

Ray:  Looking ahead to June, it’s another big month for DC. We’re getting the launch of Scott Snyder’s Justice League, which is a strong contender to win the month with over 250K in sales, per the latest reports. We’re also seeing the rest of the prelude issues for the Batman/Catwoman wedding plus the return of Joker in Batman, and debuts for Hawkman, Plastic Man, and Steve Orlando’s The Unexpected.

Dan Slott may be battling himself for the top Marvel book of the month, as he drops the final issue on Amazing Spider-Man the same day as the launch of his first new book, Tony Stark: Iron Man. There’ll also be big debuts for Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Immortal Hulk. Not to mention a little guy named Deadpool, and a certain Norse God. Plus, we’ll see if the power of Jeff Lemire carries on to one of Marvel’s most mocked characters, The Sentry.

The indie headliner of the month will undoubtedly be the debut of The Magic Order from Image/Netflix by Mark Millar and Oliver Coipel, which may jump into the top ten. There’s quite a few interesting indie debuts, including Michael Fiffe’s Bloodstrike, Kelly Thompson and Jenn St. Onge’s Nancy Drew, and Mags Visaggio’s Vagrant Queen from Vault.

What will rise? What will fall? Will Ray throw a chair when his favorite indies don’t make the top 300? Find out next month on By the Numbers!

Glenn:  Where Glenn will no doubt, get a chair to the face.  Or he might melt first.

Like what you read?  Have any questions, comments or suggestions?  Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: April 2018

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. Trying to attend the Royal Wedding, Glenn accidentally instead showed up Wakanda several years late for the Black Panther/Storm wedding.  Awkward.

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. For the last month, Ray has sat in front of a board with notes, little bits of ropes signifying connections and mutterings about patterns that only he can see.  Yes, its sweeps season.

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 500 in full available here!

Glenn:  Welcome to (a delayed due to holidays) April sales 2018!  Once again I look forward to breaking down the top 300…wait…there are 500 here.

Ugh, FINE
Ray:  The sales charts are trying to break us!
Glenn:  Its a conspiracy Ray!  Despite the delays, the spirit of Rorschach is with us!
Image result for action comics 1000
So to absolutely no surprise, Action Comics 1000 from DC comics was at the top of the charts with sales over 449.7k which is a hell of a lot for a 7.99 comic but this had literally everything going for it.  The legacy, the talent, the variants, everything was a ‘how to’ lesson in how to celebrate a huge landmark like this so kudos to DC for pulling it off.  Both Superman titles are now going on a break to make room for the Bendis led run that starts in the Man Of Steel mini.  Of course, we’re not going to get sales like this there but the name of Bendis alone should give the books a boost from their previous numbers.  A brilliant achievement all in all.
Ray:  Absolutely no surprise that Action Comics #1000 dominates so thoroughly. People use the term “once in a lifetime event” a lot, but this is something that actually fits the bill. The first comic ever to legitimately reach a thousand issues. (Looking at you, Deadpool with the gimmick numbers) It shows that there is a lot of genuine interest still in Superman, and that might bode well for Bendis as he takes over. What will be fun to watch – does Detective Comics #1000 beat these numbers in less than a year’s time? And also, does Amazing Spider-Man #800 challenge this mark?
Glenn:  Detective could match, maybe exceed depending on who is at the helm but Amazing?  Not as sure.  It’ll be interesting to see though!
Back in the land of normality, two issues of Amazing Spider-Man (798 and 799 respectfully) take the number 2 and 3 slots with sales over 233.2k and 192.6k a piece.  Its an odd drop off between the two issues but both are great numbers as the title builds momentum towards the conclusion of the Red Goblin story and the end of Dan Slott’s run.  Slott is going out on a high and after delivering a solid run and Marvel’s most consistent superhero title for a decade, no one deserves it more.
Ray:  If the sales on 798/799 are any indication, Action #1000 might have a fight on its hands. I knew it would keep climbing, but I never imagined it would be anything on this level. This is more than triple its usual sales for this final arc. Which begs the question…just how high can #800 go? Either way, Marvel will likely very much miss this run in a few months. I’d say it’s 50-50 that ASM #798 outsells ASM #1.
 
Glenn:  The first of the many ‘Where’s Wolverine?’ books hits at 4 with Hunt For Wolverine 1 selling over 138.5k.  This is higher than I would have thought since Wolverine’s never really been gone in a sense but hey, whatever works!  If this continues onto the multiple hunt for Wolverine mini’s and leads on to a similar success that Return Of Jean Gray has had then Marvel’s cycle of killing and bringing their heroes back may have some life yet!
Ray:  Yeah, this is a strong debut number for a one-shot, but the unusual set-up for the rest of the event means the actual story is yet to be told. Next month this spins out into four four-issue miniseries written by Charles Soule, Tom Taylor, Mariko Tamaki, and Jim Zub. If they can sell half of what this one-shot did, Marvel will be very happy. But we still don’t know where Wolverine is! I bet he’s drunk and passed out in the Danger Room and no one looked there. 
Glenn:  At 5 and 7 is Batman doing what Batman does and that’s selling comics!  Issues kicking off the arc guest starring Booster Gold (fresh off his appearance in Action Comics!) sell over 125.8k and 96.4k.  This is a boost from Batman’s previous slow melt of sales and I personally completely credit Booster for this.  Time to give him a book DC!
Ray:  #44 of Batman is the near-silent wedding prelude issue where Catwoman goes to steal her wedding dress, and the fact that it got such a huge bump over the last and next issue shows that most likely, the wedding issue is going to be absolutely huge. This is another rare event that will get people talking – for now, as dark rumors are circulating. As for Booster, if DC did want to give him a solo spotlight soon, this would be the way to set it up. 
Glenn:  The meat in the Batman sandwich is Venomized 1 at 6 selling over 103.7k.  This is the last mini of Cullen Bunns various ‘Venom‘ themed mini’s and once again, this character has come back to monthly comics and to the sales chart with a bang.  Issues 2, 3 and all sell this month respectively at 30 with sales over 44.5k, at 35 with 42.4k and 36 just over 42.1k which is very good for a one month mini event.  I’m expecting big things from the new Venom series by rising star Donny Cates and fan fave artist Ryan Stegman next month.
Ray:  Venomized is the third in this series of mini-events, and the conclusion to Cullen Bunn’s long-running Venom run before Cates completely upends the status quo. Venom always seems to be a solid seller, and I fully expect to see Cates’ Venom be here in the top ten again next month.
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Glenn:  Another big surprise at 8 is the first issue of Domino which sells over 89.1k.  This could be because its Gail’s return to Marvel or the upcoming movie the character will be in or perhaps, a combination of both.  Domino is a third tier character so debut sales like these are incredible.  If it can even keep around 30k of them, that would be a brilliant achievement a big win for Marvel and the creative team.
Ray:  That’s a genuinely amazing debut for Domino, which is likely down to the two factors you mentioned. Still, I thought this would be a hit, but compared to the other major Marvel debut of the month (more on that lay-tor), it’s a world of difference. Companies would be well-advised to take notice – Gail Simone’s following is a game-changer. It’ll be interesting to see if her other upcoming projects also blow the doors off like this. 
Glenn:  Another big anniversary issue for a character from the golden age at 9, this time its Captain America!  Issue 700 sells over 77.7k which is respectable.  Releasing an anniversary issue when you’re always going to play second fiddle to Action 1000 is a big ask but Captain America is a title still very much recovering from its previous run. Creators Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have made a herculean effort to make the title credible again and I doubt many others at Marvel could have done much better given the long hill they’ve had to climb.
Ray:  Marvel and the crack creative team of Waid and Samnee did as well as they could with the horrible circumstances the character found himself in, and these are solid numbers. Overall, the book seems to have stabilized a bit – which it’ll need to, before Ta-Nehisi Coates proceeds to upend everything again with a controversial, politically driven run that will likely get people yelling again. Quality-wise, it should be an improvement over the run that got us all into this fix, though. Pray for Spider-Man
Glenn:  Finally at 10 is Walking Dead, doing what it does best (along with Batman) and that’s sell comics. It sells just under 74k.  It literally can’t be stopped.

Ray:  Almost as consistent as Walking Dead is Batman: White Knight, which is at #11 at 73K. It’s kept climbing over its entire run, and should likely get one more surge for its final issue. 

An interesting switch-up is that Marvel seems to have dominated the top twenty this time, thanks to hit titles both old (Mighty Thor, #15, 56K) and new (X-Men: Red, #16, 56K). Mighty Thor, of course, is wrapping its acclaimed Jane Foster storyarc, and X-Men Red seems to have gained a lot of buzz for its unique take on the returned Jean Grey. Look! Female characters sell!
Glenn:  Will wonders never cease?  We just talked about these sales on the Rabbitt Stew podcast (go listen!  all the cool kids do!) and it looks like X-Men: Red could hold its own as the premier X-Men title with its success.  Lets hope Marvel doesn’t rock the boat with this one with fresh start but all seems oddly quiet on that front
Ray:  The Avengers weekly experiment seems to have been a win for Marvel, as the four issues this month land at #14, #17, #23, and #26. Selling between 59K and #46K, that’s a pretty wide range but all more than double what Avengers was selling with the previous run. Of course, this run was more about dismantling the previous status quos to set up what comes next – and these numbers will likely look downright puny when it comes to Avengers next month.
Glenn:  The new Avengers title will be in its own league but as a short run (output wise if not issue wise) this one did very well.  I wonder if Marvel will be looking to repeat the experiment elsewhere.
Ray:  With its final issue, Thanos somersaults up the charts once again, selling 51K at #18. That’s an insane climb for a title that was selling about 20K at the end of Lemire’s run, and Marvel will undoubtedly be selling countless collections. Not much further down at #32, selling 43K, is the Thanos annual which features a story by Cates and bridges the gap between the Thanos series and the upcoming Cosmic Ghost Rider spin-off. Amazing run.
Glenn:  Cates has climbed up the ranks quickly in the market but the sales here will undoubtedly be also attributable to people coming in from Avengers: Infinity War hungry for more Thanos.  These sales do give Cosmic Ghost Rider a good platform to start though and indicated that mini might be a hit.
Ray:  At #22, we see the debut of Immortal Men, which sells 48K. This is the second highest debut for The New Age of DC Heroes, only lagging behind Lemire’s The Terrifics. Of course, James Tynion IV’s name and the presence of The Batman Who Laughs in a cameo likely helped, but there’s one big x-factor here – this was supposed to be drawn by Jim Lee, who didn’t manage to finish the first issue and will be replaced by Ryan Benjamin on future ones. That means this title could be in for a much harsher slide than normal for this line.
Glenn:  This title had a lot going for it on paper but now seems to be a representation of all that has gone awry with the DC new era of heroes titles.  With Tynion involved and the Batman Who Laughs as a key player this will probably still place this book ahead of the other titles that proceeded it (apart from the Terrifics) but how it could have done if it had managed to pull off what it was presented as originally is anyone’s guess.
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Ray:  #25 brings us a puzzle, as Spawn #284 sells over 46K. That’s almost a 300% jump from the previous issue in February. This appears to have been the return of his arch-nemesis, the Violator, to which I say…what? I didn’t even know people remembered Violator! I have a toy of him buried somewhere at my mom’s house, I think, but I didn’t think 30K other people did! Can Venom vs. Violator be far behind?
 
Glenn:  If IT and the popularity of the Joker has taught us nothing else its that everyone loves an evil clown.  Once upon a time, Spawn was Image’s mvp title so its kind of nice in that sense to see it back up at this level but this is definitely a rarity, back to the lower end of the chart it goes next month.
Ray:  Flash is rock-solid this month, with two issues selling 45K at #27/28, but look for it to make a major jump next month when Flash War begins to ramp up.
Holding over 50% of its first issue sales and ensconcing itself as the #3 Image book of the month – even beating Saga by 6K – is Robert Kirkman’s new series Oblivion Song at #29. 44K is rare air for creator-owned titles, and it shows exactly how powerful Kirkman’s name is now, even without a TV series. Helps that it’s excellent so far.
Glenn:  No one wants to miss the boat on Kirkman’s new book this time around and it shows, great sales for his newest offering.
Ray:  It may have been lapped by Thanos, but Mister Miracle continues to rock the sales charts, landing at #39 with sales of 39K. That’s barely down 1K from last month, and it seems to have locked down a place in DC’s top tier of books right now. Tom King’s titles tended to sell low in single issues, high in trades, but this has finally broken that pattern. He’s conquering both singles and trades now!
Taking a huge jump for the start of Batman vs. Deathstroke, Deathstroke jumps over 100% to land at #40 with sales of just under 39K. DC has promoted this “custody battle” storyline like a mini-event and it’s paid off. What’ll be interesting to see is if we see any long-term sales boost for the series once the storyline wraps. It certainly deserves it.
Glenn:  Just shows you how much benefit adding Batman can be!  The story also in of itself seems interesting and seems to have caught the attention of fans and retailers so good on Christopher Priest on continuing to keep Deathstroke one of the high points of DC’s current line.
Ray:  Weapon H loses almost 2/3rds of its sales with its second issue, landing at #45 with 36K in sales. That’s closer to what I would expect, and still healthy. Greg Pak’s fanbase probably has a lot to do with its success here, because the character has no pre-existing fanbase and it’s selling in line with Old Man Logan and well above the current Hulk series.
No performance like last month’s Venom issues, but we get another wave of True Believers specials, this one focusing on Thanos. The top entry is a reprint of Infinity Gauntlet #1, which sells 36K at #46.
Glenn:  It helps in the case here when you have a billion dollar grossing movie serving as an unoffical advertisement, I suppose.
Ray:  The debut numbers on Exiles are shockingly low, given the hype this series got pre-release. #52 with sales of just under 34K is not good for a series by the writer of the acclaimed Black Bolt and starring the movie version of Valkyrie. Marvel’s been having some big sales successes recently, but this is a disappointment.
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Glenn:  Exiles has never been a big franchise but Marvel pushed this series hard and had an interesting line up on the team but it didn’t seem that many people cared.  It shows up again at 99 meaning its going to be out of the top 100 next month already with sales over 23.7k.  These are sales I would be advising to not get attached to after a year but this is the first month so…yeah.
Ray:  Not good news at all for The Curse of Brimstone, one of the less-hyped New Age of DC Heroes titles. It sells 33K at #53, which isn’t sustainable at all long-term. Depressing, but not unexpected given what we saw from titles like Silencer and Damage.
Glenn:  I’ve honestly not even heard of this one so I don’t think it was nearly as hyped as well as the others.  The large majority of these are going to be gone soon.
Ray:  The latest Ralph Macchio one-shot, Avengers: Shards of Infinity, lands at #56 with sales of 32K. That’s better than most of these cash-ins, which I probably put down to just how much hype there was for anything Infinity-related in recent months.
 
Glenn:  I’m still curious when these one shots were all written given that Macchio hasn’t worked for Marvel for years.  Still, its probably been lying gathering dust in a drawer somewhere until someone could find a use for it so that considered, these sales are very good.
At 59 is the slightly delayed final issue to the Batman and the Signal mini series which sells just over 31k.  Not bad for a mini starring such a new character with such a unique role in the bat family, more than enough to justify an ongoing if DC sees fit.
Ray:  Batman and the Signal had some pretty significant delays along the way, but it doesn’t seem to have affected it. Snyder’s name on the cover definitely helped, but it does show that there’s some genuine interest in Duke Thomas and the mysteries about him spinning out of Metal. Duke is headed for Detective Comics next, and likely a new Outsiders title afterwards, if rumors are correct.
Supergirl wraps its run at #61 with sales of 30K, overall strong sales that would have easily kept the series going long-term if all was equal. But it’s not, and circumstances ended the series for now. Hopefully Bendis will loosen his grip soon enough and let her be the solo hero she deserves.
Glenn:  Such a shame for Supergirl’s time to be cut short but hopefully as you said, a relaunch will be here before we know it.
Note:  It has since been announced that Supergirl is being brought back with a new creative team, huzzah!
At #64 we have another True Believers special, Thanos the First, which sells 30K. All essentially free sales for Marvel.
Image result for true believers thanos the first #1
 
Ray:  Another extremely strong hold for The Terrifics, which lands at #68 with sales of 30K. That’s down less than 4K from its second-issue sales. Much like most of Lemire’s books, it seems to be extremely sustainable and will be around as long as Lemire wants to write it.
Glenn:  I’m going to be fascinated how this compared to Fantastic Four by Slott in a few months, anyone want to take bets?
Ray:  Oh, I’d be surprised if Slott’s FF wasn’t a regular top twenty book. The FF have been gone for a while, and Slott is coming off an all-timer run. People will follow him to his next books.

Glenn:  As we predicted last month, the New Mutants mini that was supposed to tie in to the movie we may never get crashes with sales at 79 with over 26,7k units sold.  If it stabilized here that will be decent enough for what will ultimately be a throwaway X-Men mini.

The second Titans annual sells close to the main title pulling in sales of over 25,5k at 87.  I’ve heard middling things about this run but the sales seem to be verly stable so that’s always a good thing in todays market.
Highest Image debut this month is Isola at 91 with sales over 24,7k.  This is the former creative team of Gotham Academy taking on a sci-fi book that sounds very bizarre.  I think this a great win for the creators involved and should land the book well in Image’s safe zone.
Ray:  This is very impressive for Isola, given that Gotham Academy didn’t light up the sales charts. Aside from a few megawatt creators like Lemire, Millar, Vaughan, and Kirkman, 20K and above is pretty elite air for an Image book. I’d expect they can now write their own ticket on this title for as long as they want, especially as the floor on Image titles seems to be pretty low (more on that lay-tor!)
Glenn:  At 95 is the sequel to 300, Xerses: Fall Of The House Of Darius with sales over 24.4k which is a lot lower than I expected.  In all truth I expected this to be a top ten hit but then I’m not sure how many people read 300 in singles (or even it was released in singles) so the majority of fans of the story will be wanting a hardcover collection that matches.  This is still the highest Dark Horse book of the month by quite a fair margin.
Ray:  I expected much more from Xerxes, thinking we could see a performance like a Dark Horse version of DKIII. Not the case, and I think a big part of this is that the majority of readers never saw 300 in single issues. There’s a huge audience here, but it’s heavily a bookstore market, and that’ll show in future collections sales. Dark Horse is still very happy with this, I imagine.
Glenn:  Mega reorders for the True Believers one shot from last month, Spider-Man vs Venom which sells over an additional 22.1k at 107 which is pretty crazy.  Issue 300 of Amazing Spider-Man and Venom in particular is still a big asset to Marvel, clearly.
Ray:  That puts this $1 reprint at close to 100K in sales. Crazy.
 
Glenn:  At 111 is the all new Sonic The Hedgehog comic from IDW with sales over 21.3k.  This title has been at Archie for decades and it seems that these are good sales post move.  This was of course only the first issue of a 4 issue weekly that IDW put out to pull fans in with 2 selling at 144 with over 14.6k, 3 at 148 with sales over 13.7k and 4 at 152 with sales over 13.2k  This is pretty good for a video game tie in comic actually.  It’ll not be a mega hit but it’ll be a decent asset to IDW it seems.
Ray:  This is a world apart from what Sonic did during its many years at Archie – although those sales were heavily bolstered by newsstand sales, of course. The weekly launch gave us the chance to see how it would perform with attrition and it seems there’s a solid audience here. These are the top four IDW books of the month by a pretty decent margin, too. 
Glenn:  More Thanos for those wanting more of that sort of thing at 117 with sales over 19.6k for Rebirth Of Thanos.  I wonder how many people are reading these Thanos stories for the first time given that apart from Infinity Gauntlet, his stories haven’t had as many reprints as say the likes of Venom until recent years.
Losing a few sales in its second issue is Jeff Lemire’s new horror comic, Gideon Falls which sells over 20.2k at 114.  Still within the upper tier of Image books and this one doesn’t have quite the same mass appeal as some of his other works but there’s no doubt that this one will have no issues during the course of its run.
Ray:  That’s the #7 Image book of the month, so yeah, Lemire and Sorrentino are likely very happy with these numbers. This is a strange, intense book, but it’s found its audience. 
Glenn:  There’s more of the Mad Titan at 117 (Avengers vs Thanos sales of over 19.6k) and 119 (Infinity War with sales over 19.3k) and 129 (Thanos Rising with sales over 17.4k) again free sales for Marvel that they’re getting due to the insane success of the newest Avenger’s which sees…
THANOS DEMANDS YOUR SILENCE
Never mind
Another True Believers simply titled ‘Carol Danvers‘ which I’m assuming also features Thanos in some way or is to take advantage of her upcoming movie (so early?) sells over 16.4k at 132.  Lets hope her upcoming Year One type series does better but when it comes to Carol its really hard to tell.
Ray:  At #139, we’ve got the new Gerry Duggan techno-crime thriller Analog, which sells 15.1K. I might have expected a little more given Duggan’s pull at Marvel, but this is still a relatively healthy level for an Image debut. The series has had a bit of a mixed reception, so we’ll see how it holds from here. 
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Glenn:  I would have thought more for Analog too, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares against Duggan’s other upcoming creator owned offerings coming up
Ray:  Black Hammer: Age of Doom lands at #145, selling 14.6K. That’s about a 3K jump from where the series left off at the end of the first year. This continues to be Dark Horse’s most successful franchise at the moment – and we see it make a second appearance with the second issue of Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, which lands at #169, selling 10.5K. Power of Lemire!
Glenn:  It seems Dark Horse is investing more and more in this universe which I’m all for cause its brilliant.  They could be eyeing this as their next (or current) big original franchise
Ray:  Tying in to the current Shattered Grid event in Power Rangers, the annual sells just under 13K at #153. Pretty strong numbers for a $7.99 one-shot that was a pretty deep dive into Power Rangers continuity.
At #156, we’ve got the Marvel Super Hero Adventures one-shot teaming up Spider-Man and Black Panther by Jim McCann, selling 12.8K. This comic obviously wasn’t intended for the direct market, as chibi superheroes aren’t exactly a big draw, so these numbers are to be expected.
One of the top Dark Horse debuts of the month is Aliens: Dust to Dust, by Gabriel Hardman. This sells 12.6K at #160, which is well above the level that the Aliens and Predator franchises usually do for the company. Hardman seems to be coming up in the industry at the moment, as he was also involved in the hit Green Lantern: Earth One with his wife, Corrina Bechko.
Glenn:  This is much better than the average than what the two classic FOX (as of this typing) space monster franchises can pull in comics.  This creative team definitely have some juice and considering that they’re already doing work for DC, its hard to imagine the company won’t capitalize on that and get them on something else soon.
Ray:  Lucifer showrunner and former Bendis Boarder Joe Henderson has a solid debut for his new humanity-vs-gravity series Skyward, which sells 12K at #162. Although Henderson is a big wheel in Hollywood now, he doesn’t have all that much of a comics presence yet – but the series is gaining buzz and has already gone to a second printing, so look for reorders and a very strong hold.
Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast still holding strong! It’s at #172 with sales of 10.5K. There’s Marvel and DC books that would kill for these kind of sales and stability.
Glenn:  Maybe both companies need to have heroes set up death metal bands?  I bet Ghost Rider plays a killer guitar.
Ray:  Two new Image debuts, Kyle Higgins’ Dead Hand and Steve Orlando’s Crude sell nearly identical numbers, selling 10.4 and 10.3K at #173/175. It’s been a while since we heard from Higgins, so it’s a bit surprising that he manages to outsell Orlando, who’s a pretty big name at the moment. Orlando’s creator-owned titles have struggled a bit, but these debuts are acceptable in the Image range.
Glenn:  Orlando doesn’t seem to be able to sell himself as his own brand which as you say, is odd considering how big a voice he’s been in DC in recent history.  I would say that it might be more down to the concept here that the names on the book.
Ray:  There’s a lot of reorders in this area, including Amazing Spider-Man #796 (10.3K, 174), ASM #795 (9.5K, #183), and Thanos #16 (9.5K, 184). And even more lower down on the list. This is something we haven’t seen in a long time, with multiple storylines building so much buzz that they keep on getting reorders months later.
Glenn:  Again its nice to have Slott’s Amazing run end on a sales high and both companies managing to get some long term investment beyond what happens to be hot at that particular moment.
Ray:  One title that’s actually doing amazingly well is the oddball anthology horror title Ice Cream Man, which actually gains 21 copies from last month to land at #179 with sales of 10,090. It started low, but has built momentum from there and will likely be freaking us out for a long time to come.
Glenn:  My little boy has an aversion to ice cream, maybe this horror title is why!
Ray:  At #190, we’ve got the Star Wars Adventures Annual selling 9.2K. This had stories by both John Jackson Miller and Cavan Scott and was sold in the form of a mini-trade, and this series as a whole is geared more towards the bookstore market. IDW’s jump into the Star Wars market continues to pay dividends for them. Besides Sonic, TMNT, and an issue of Star Wars Adventures, this is their top book.
Glenn:  IDW really are living it up in the licencing department.  They and Titan seem to have replaced Dark Horse in that regards while no one was looking.
Ray:  Hey! Remember when DC decided to randomly revive Cyborg with Marv Wolfman writing, after cancelling it three months earlier? And not renumbering it or promoting it heavily? I ‘member! The result – just under 8.3K at #200 – is both shocking for a main-line DC title, and utterly predictable. Cyborg just isn’t a headliner and DC can’t make fetch happen.

Glenn:Poor Cyborg, he’s had a rough few years in his own title sales wise.  Maybe King and Gerards will give him a homicidal cyborg family next year.

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Losing roughly half its sales is Eternity Girl which has its second issue sell over 8.2k at 201.  The Young Animal line has just days ago been announced to have been killed off apart from Doom Patrol and Gerard Way says that was always the plan.  Seems like a whole lot of fuss for little back.  The Young Animal line was an interesting experiment but probably too ‘out there’ to ever really work long term.

Ray:  Yeah, Young Animal is folding except for a potential second season of Doom Patrol (likely to come along the same time as the next season of Umbrella Academy). This line tried a lot of new things, but it didn’t find a big mainstream audience.
Glenn:  Image horror mini Infidel has a slightly better drop to sales over 8k at 204.  Not too bad for a book like this from an unknown creator, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of the writer Pornsak Pichetshoe (you’re right, it is a fun name!)  in years to come.
Ray:  Infidel is only a miniseries, so it’ll definitely go down as a modest hit for Image, and Pornsak Pichetshote will be able to write his own ticket for future books. (Hee hee)
Glenn:  Two more rebranded young animal books Mother Panic: Gotham A.D and Shade The Changing Woman land at 205 and 208 on their second issues with respective sales of over 8k and 7.8k.  See what we said for Eternity Girl.
Boom publishes a new Robocop comic from writer Brian Wood at 216 with sales over 7.5k.  Despite some past controversies, Woods name still holds some sales weight and I guess some people might have some nostalgia for Robocop despite the property being dead for over 30 years (remake?  what remake?)
Ray:  This is about as well as could be expected for a book like this, with so long since the property was relevant. (Remake? What remake? I don’t know what you’re talking about.)
Glenn:  At 217 is Cave Carson, the second issue of the new volume sells over 7.5k.  Milk Wars really didn’t have the desired effect here.
At 219 is a new mini spinning out of Star Trek Discovery which sells over 7.2k.  This show hasn’t had a lot of time to build up the massive fan base the other Trek shows have and its not really a Star Trek show so this is probably as best as could be expected.
Right below it at 220 is a new Prisoner comic from Peter Milligan who is probably largely responsible for the sales over 7.2k  The property is about as cult as you can get so it’ll be his fans likely checking out this one.
Ray:  That’s about as high as we usually see a Titan comic, save the much-hyped Robotech launch, so it seems The Prisoner still has a notable fanbase. 
Glenn:  Brothers Dracul from Aftershock sells over 6.4k which is pretty standard for their launches despite the insane talent level they can seemingly attract.
Ray:  Aftershock books tend to struggle, at least when it comes to debut sales. It’s interesting that there’s only about 1K in sales between Cullen Bunn’s book, when he has a big established fanbase already, and Her Infernal Descent with an unfamiliar creative team just making their mainstream comic debut a little while back on Cable
Glenn:  A new Dungeons and Dragons comic is at 237 selling 6.1k.  Its a hard sell to do something spinning out of a game where you largely tell or at least contribute to your own story.  This is like having a video game tie in comic but an extra level of interaction taken away.
The Black Mirror take on the Jetsons wraps up with sales over 6.1k at 238.  Still pretty good for these odd takes on classic cartoons and will probably do well in collections once people catch up to how good it was and look past the fact that its ‘just the Jetsons’.
Ray:  Jetsons was so good. Sooooooooo good. We’ll be hearing that refrain a lot as we get lower on the charts. But I hope it gets some awards buzz and picks up steam in collections.
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Glenn:  There’s Star Trek Discovery with an Annual at 242 at 5,6k.  There’s a reason why we never see Enterprise comics you know.
Second issue of Cyber Force sells about half of the first issue at 247 with sales over 5.4k.  Like we said last month, there’s no place in the market for books like this anymore, at least not from Image.
Her Infernal Descent is a new take on Dante’s Inferno from Aftershock.  This is one where I don’t recognize the creators attached and it sells appropriately at over 5.4k.at 248
It might be delayed but Doomsday Clock issue 4 picks up reorders of just under 5.4k sales at 249.  It just keeps going up and up.
A 9.99 one shot celebrating the 20th Anniversery of J. Scott Campbells Danger Girl sells over 5.3k at 251.  Campbell basically does retailer variants these days and his name has serious pull still.  Given the price and the property I’d say this is very good.
Ray:  Remember Danger Girl? She’s back, in overpriced form! I’m surprised the property still has that much sales heft, especially at that price.
Glenn:  My Little Pony Annual at 253 selling over 5.3k because it doesn’t matter how colourful (or creepy in some ways) your licenced property is if you can make money out of it then its all good.
The second issue of the Crow comic has a verly short fall to 254 with sales over 5.3k.  It wasn’t selling that great to begin with so it didn’t have much room to fall.  Decent enough for a property well past its prime.
At 255 is Jeeper Creepers 1 with sales over 5.2k.  Yup.  Moving on.

Ray:  My mama always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, move on to #256.

From obscure publisher Coffin Comics, there’s a new Lady Death comic subtitled Unholy Ruin, selling 5.1K at #257. First Danger Girl, now Lady Death? It’s 90’s nostalgia month at By the Numbers!
Glenn:  Also dangerously sexy ladies month!  I’m sad I used up all my good Rebecca Bunch gif’s on ruddy Zenescope.
Ray:  #260 has the return of Sacred Creatures, with the ambitious Image title selling 5,075 copies for the delayed end of its first arc. This book has always shipped in oversized issues, and the higher price point and delay before the end of its first arc may have hurt its sales momentum.
As always, we find some real oddballs in this section of the chart, so let’s wave hello to Vampblade Season 3 #1 (#263, 5K), The X-Files: Florida Man (#264, 5K), and Danger Doll Squad: Galactic Gladiators #1 (#268, 4.7K). God bless ’em, every one.
Glenn:  Not Danger Doll Squad!  Take me instead!!!!!
Ray:  I did not expect to see God Country on the charts again, but that Donny Cates is going places! #5 lands at #270 with sales of 4.7K, almost a year after the series ended. He also has a $1 reprint of the first issue of Redneck at #291, selling 4.1K.
Glenn:  That’s really odd in respect to God Country, maybe some unofficial fan petition for a follow up series?  That’s blind and unfounded speculation though.  Cates has really come out of nowhere but we’re having one of those decades where every year we’re getting a Scott Snyder or Jeff Lemire or Tom King or Donny Cates or…
Ray:  And speaking of reorders, the Shattered Grid storyline in Power Rangers seems to have had a lasting impact on the title, and we see the game-changing #25 issue re-chart again with sales of just under 4.7K at #271.
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Tim Seeley’s Vertigo horror miniseries Imaginary Fiends wraps with sales of 4.3K at #285. Compared to the sales on other horror titles at other companies (Harrow County is nine spots above at 4.5K, and that’s issue 30), it shows why Vertigo is wrapping up business.
Glenn:Fair well Vertigo, may you go to the collected hall in the sky where your archive sales of Sandman, Y, Fables and whatnot will keep your legacy alive forever.
Ray:  They can’t all be winners, and Ron Marz’ attempt at an IDW original superhero universe falls flat at #300, as Demi-God only sells 3.8K. It barely edges out reorders of Gideon Falls #1, and as we’ll see later, this isn’t even the lowest-selling IDW original launch of the month.

Glenn:  There’s plenty of options out there for people wanting super heroes and creators with more current buzz than Marz are going to be getting the few people that look elsewhere than Marvel and DC for them, it doesn’t need much to go around.

Let’s blow this joint Ray!  Enough of these losers, lets go spend Graphic Policy’s business card and…ah crap there’s still more.
Ray:  As we exit the top 300, we can see for the first time how some of the smaller publishers are faring. It’s rare to see Scout or Vault in the top 300 (unless they have a Donny Cates book), but Scout got closer than I expected. Their cult horror title Stabbity Bunny manages to land at #302, selling 3.8K for its first issue. The power of an appealing title, I suppose? I want to see the bunny stab things.
Glenn:  We all do.
Ray:  The Dynamite relaunch Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues has a rough launch at #304, selling only 3.7K. Dynamite can usually command a lot more than that for a launch, but this is not your usual licensed property – it picks up from an obscure Bill Mantlo comic that ended on a cliffhanger over twenty years ago, and starts directly from that cliffhanger. So this is obviously going to be a niche comic, and it sold like one.
Glenn:  Come backs are all the rage on television but in comics its hard.  The market and what it wants can change so much.  This will be for those people wanting a resolution and that’s about it.
Ray:  Hey, there’s Grimm Fairy Tales from Zenoscope at #306, selling just under 3.7K. Glenn, strike up the Rachel Bloom video!
Glenn:  I suppose I have to now, not that they deserve it.
Ray:  The latest Black Mask comic about a courier in a poltically charged post-apocalypse, Survival Fetish, lands out of the top 300 at #308, selling 3.6K. The company has been doing a lot of launches lately, but few of them besides Calexit have really garnered any buzz.
Glenn:  I think we talked on the Stew (dong!) about them slowing down things.  Maybe launches like these is why.
Ray:  A $7.99 Wrestlemania special for Boom at #312. Sales of 3.6K aren’t terrible given that this is less than 1K below where the parent title usually sells. This line clearly has a small, devoted comic audience.
Glenn:  I would have expected a bit more cause Wrestlemania is the companies big ‘mainstream appeal’ show but not many wrestling fans will want to see more of their faves in comic form regardless.
Ray:  American Mythology launches a new comic featuring some of the Harvey Comics classics at #320, as Casper and Wendy sells 3.4K. Is it just me, or did they launch another Casper series not long ago that just stopped?
 
Glenn:  It became a ghost.  Oooooo.
Ray:  An alternate universe Star Trek title, “New Visions: Enemy of My Enemy”, lands at #323 with sales of 3.3K. IDW puts out a lot of Star Trek material, and this seems to have been one of the more niche offerings.
Glenn:  This is a weird comic where they take pictures from the old original show and make a new story with them.  Its an odd idea and it seems only to appeal to the most hardcore of original series fans.  The most curious thing is that its from John Byrne, at least he’s keeping busy.
 
Ray:  Now, for a portion of this column we’re going to call “Come on, people!” where I get angry at great books selling way too little.
The Highest House #3 at #322? Under 3.4K? Come on, people! This is one of the best books on the stands and you all need to buy the collection. This is by the team behind The Unwritten!
Glenn:  The way you hype Highest House, it sounds like something that should be given as compulsory reading in schools.  I guess the odd format is something that IDW can’t make work as Image did with something like A.D.
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Ray:  It should be required reading in school!
Sleepless #5 at #324 (3.3K)? Elsewhere #6 at #327 (3.2K)? Come on, people! Two of Image’s most underrated gems.
Black Mask has another launch of sorts in “Black AF: Widows and Orphans“, which spins out of the successful “Black” Kickstarter. It sells just under 3.2K at #330. This book was criticized for not at all working as an entry point if you hadn’t read the original, so that probably led to retailers ordering cautiously, even if the original was a hit.
Glenn:  The Kickstarter roll out post funding seemed to get Black some bad press with some people still not having got their rewards.  I think there could be some ill feeling there too.
Ray:  A new Zenoscope horror series, GFT Tales of Terror, lands at #333 with sales of 3.1K. There’s a sexy grim reaper on the cover. Yep. There’s a lot of Zenoscope down here, including things like Van Helsing vs. Robyn Hood a little below at #343, and Robyn Hood: The Curse down at #350. These were the secrets the top 300 was keeping from us. How innocent we were…
Glenn:  I think I’d rather go inside the red barn from Gideon Falls.
Ray:  The most surprisingly low debut of the month has got to be Antar #1, from IDW. Retelling the story of the famous “Black Knight” and written by hit novelist Nnedi Okorafor, I would not expect it to sell only 3K at #338. A historical comic may be a bit of a hard sell, and IDW has not had much success in the creator-owned market yet, but this is still much lower than I would have expected.
Mech Cadet Yu only sells 2.9K at #344? Come on, people! It’s Grek Pak doing the Iron Giant meets Independence Day!
A solid debut for Vault Comics at #345, as Wasted Space by Michael Moreci sells 2.9K. Moreci is slowly building a brand with his indie work and his DC work, and this complex space/religion drama is one of Vault’s higher debuts that wasn’t by Donny Cates, I imagine.
Scales and Scoundrels and Fence only selling 2.8K at #353/354, respectively? Come on, people! TWICE! Give these books a try! Teen dragons! Fencing drama!
I’m actually a bit offended that Death of Love only sells 2.7K at #358. Not only is it a great book by the always reliable Justin Jordan, but artist Donal DeLay (a personal friend making his big three debut) is turning out some all-time great work. Come on, people! Give an underdog book about a jerkass killing cupids a try!
Glenn:  The chart doesn’t like Donal?  Well we say the charts is wrong!  ITS ALL WRONG!

At 366 is Deep Roots, a disaster movie type comic where roots over take the planet.  It actually looks decent but Vault has a small presence in the market and the creators names don’t ring a bell.  It sells over 2.6k.

From Dark Horse at 368 is the start of a new mini in a current series of them (???) Resident Alien: An Alien In New York which sells over 2.6k.  There must be a fan base if there’s more of these but I’ve never heard of it.  Its WEIRD down here.
At 374 and 376 are two one shots starring the Tremendous Trump which is like if the President became the Hulk from Antartic Press who make a living making comics like this. They both sell over 2.3k.  I bet there’s one bigly fan of the series who resides in the West Wing.
Ray:  “Antarctic makes bigly comics! Jared! Ivanka! Get me Gamma-flavored gummy bears!”
Glenn:  Its like he’s in the room…
Season of the snake is a new title at 377 selling over 2.2k.  Its a a weird looking sci-fi/fantasy comic from someone I’ve never heard of publishing with Titan so this is what you get.
Ray:  Season of the Snake is a translation of a classic French comic, and each issue is the size of a small OGN. It’s also VERY weird. So these sales are to be expected.
Glenn:  ROM gets a new book which debuts at 378 with sales over 2,2k.  Not much nostalgia for poor ROM.  They should just let him back at Marvel, let the Guardians have him, he can be Rockets new obsession.
Supermansion is a spin off of some sort of super hero parody by the makers of Robot Chicken selling over 2.2k at 385 on its first issue.  The laughter never ends with this one I bet.
Man I miss the top 300, at 396 is Rugrats: R is for Raptor selling over 2.1k.  I guess someone out there might want these if Rugrats ever comes back again…
Forever Free is a comic follow up to a sci-fi novel from the 80’s and sells over 2k at 404.  The book I’ve not heard of but it seems to be well thought of, I would say people interested aren’t visiting their LCS regularly for this sort of thing.  Will probably do decently in collections.
From Alterna Comics (they sometimes print my work!) is Tinseltown, a murder mystery set during Hollywoods golden age.  It sells over just under 2k.  Alterna is making great progress outside the direct market but with only the most minute presence in the market, I’d say this is very good.
Ray:  Tinsel Town was one of the best-reviewed Alterna debuts yet, so it’s not a surprise it gets these numbers. The company is still new, but it’s also getting more buzz by the month. We may be seeing them creep their way into the top three hundred soon enough. Especially if they hire that Matchett fellow to do more!
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Glenn:  From the genius who brought you Spider-Man vs Kittens and Batman vs Goblins…
Portal Bound is an odd looking Fantasy Book from Aspen which sells over 1.7k at 414.  The company had a moment maybe 20 years ago but no longer.  This is probably the best they can hope for these days.
Ray:  Aspen seems to be broadening their output, trying to get away from the 90s reputation they have. It’s not working just yet, but persistence is rewarded and this is actually a pretty enjoyable book.
Glenn:  From Hero Tomorrow Comics (huh?!) is Tap Dance Killer which sells over 1.7k at 416.  This also sounds like a decent book but most likely is down here cause the company I have literally never heard of and probably couldn’t do much promotion on this or whatever else their line may consist of.
Ray:  I…I got nothing. Is it about a killer of tap dancers? Or a tap dancer who kills people? It is weird down here. I’m scared, Glenn. But seriously, I’ve never heard of this comic company, and they seem to put some very odd books out. This is actually pretty decent for this kind of material. 
Glenn:  A Dredd One Shot (The Furies) sells over 1.6k at 417.  We’ve said before on the charts that the mainstream chart is not where Dredd earns his keep, the amount of of copies he sells in the pages of 2000AD in the UK alone is insane so anything else is just window dressing.
At 420 is Pink Panther vs Inspector which sells over 1.6k.  I want to go home.

Ray:  There, there, Glenn. It’ll be over soon. 

 At #421 is another new Alterna miniseries, Zero Jumper by Patrick Mulholland. It sells 1.6K, but seems to have sold briskly and the writer/artist has already picked up bigger work at Boom. Expect to see a lot from this guy at Alterna and elsewhere.
Glenn:  I met him today!  Super nice, humble guy.
Ray:  Dodge City falls HARD, landing at #427 with sales of 1.5K. Boom no longer really gears itself for the direct market when it comes to their teen books, of course, but this is rough even by those standards. I guess competitive dodgeball doesn’t have the same appeal as fencing or scouting.
A bit surprised by how far Donny Cates’ Reactor has fallen after becoming the first Vault book to break into the top 300. It sells 1.4K at #431, and I put a lot of that drop down to the long delays between issues.
Glenn:  He’s a busy fellow!
Ray:  Another Alterna debut, this is the oversized all-ages Fear Diaries one-shot, which was 56 pages of story for only $1.99. It sells 1.3K at 439, which isn’t their best debut but a decent one for an oddball concept.
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It sells six more copies than the book right below it, the Zenoscope original sci-fi concept Mainframe, so yay Alterna!
Glenn:  I’m building Peter Simiti a statue as we speak
Ray:  Red 5 Comics, one of the new and smaller publishers, gets onto the top 500 at #442, with their new horror series A Fractured Mind selling 1.2K. This book didn’t get good critical reviews at all, and is likely going to be one and done on these charts.
Speaking of debuts slipping under the radar, the Scout Comics post-apocalyptic cyclist book Welcome to Paradise is only able to command 1.1K at #450. No well-known creators and no real buzz means this is no Stabbity Bunny.
IDW had high hopes for Black Crown Quarterly, their prestige anthology, but it’s down here at #452, selling only 1.1K. IDW’s creator-owned books continue to struggle, as the rest of the Black Crown lineup isn’t all that much higher. The price tag is probably an issue here as well.
Hey, it’s Weed Magic Vol. 2, costing the unique sum of $4.20! It sells 1.1K at #453. What a shame it didn’t sell 1420 copies instead.
Glenn:  The charts has no respect for synergy
Ray:  At #455, it’s another oddball entry. Apama the Undiscovered Animal, apparently adapted from a classic comic, sells 1.1K from Hero Tomorrow Comics. It’s like the table of misfit kids down here. I hope no Marvel books take their lunch money.
A Trio of Alterna books in the middle of their runs – Sonitus, The XII, and Doppelganger – all stay above the 1K mark in the #456-458 range. Slow but steady wins the race, and Alterna’s limited output and solid promotion is building them a brand.
I always wondered just how low an Image book could get, and we might have our answer here – Throwaways, the military conspiracy thriller by Caitlin Kittridge and Steven Sanders, is still going despite only selling 996 copies at #463. That’s shockingly low, but neither the creative team nor Image have pulled the plug. Maybe the collected editions are carrying its weight?
Glenn:  Isn’t it largely up to the creators if it keeps going?  Image will take what they take and then its up to the creators so if they’re happy enough..
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Ray:  This is the range where we see a lot of ongoing series from small-press companies mixed in with some reorders. Things like Songs for the Dead, Cult Classic, Call of the Suicide Forest, and Long Lost all sell in the 900-copy range once the first-issue boost wears off. Long Lost, though, is on issue #5, so that might show some staying power for Matt Erman and Lisa Sterle’s black-and-white horror story at #477.
I want to meet the person who decided to combine Donald Trump with manga and stare at them. My Hero MAGAdamia lands at #478 selling 871 confounding copies. I got nothing.
Glenn:  ‘Its Donald Trump…but manga!’ is a pitch that has to be seen.
Ray:  The original Action Lab fantasy series Helm only sells 784 copies at #490, just below the fifth issue of Alterna’s only ongoing series Scrimshaw. One last plug, because I was surprised by how much I liked Helm – give this book a try!
At #494 is Catalyst Prime: Superb selling 755 copies. This has Marvel writer David Walker co-writing, which probably explains why it’s the highest-selling of the line (although flagship series Noble is on hiatus). What’s surprising is that the other five series currently running do not make the top 500. Lion Forge is committed to this diverse superhero franchise, but it hasn’t translated into sales at all.
#497 brings us the Bitcoin Comic Handbook, selling 730 comics. I don’t want to go into the barn, Glenn.
Glenn:  That creepy little red thing is smiling at us again, don’t look.
Ray:  And at lucky #500, selling 711 copies is…Archie Jumbo Comics Digest. Archie very much does not care about these 711 copies, since they remain one of the few comic companies with a legitimate newsstand presence. Digests aren’t aimed towards comic book stores at all.
Image result for ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #288
*exhales* Victory!
Looking ahead, if this month was crazy, next month is Thunderdome. Both Marvel and DC are bringing their biggest guns out to play. In addition to the next issue of Doomsday Clock, DC is bringing us the weekly comic event No Justice, spinning directly out of Dark Nights: Metal. In addition, the Brian Michael Bendis reinvention of Superman will be launching on the last week of the month with Man of Steel #1. Plus, there’s the latest lineup of DC/Hanna-Barbera one-shots. In a just world, Aquaman/Jabberjaw would be selling a million copies.
However, DC’s got their work cut out for them, because Marvel is coming to play this month. Undoubtedly taking the #1 slot of the month will be the blockbuster Amazing Spider-Man #800, the penultimate issue of Dan Slott’s run. That’s in addition to two issues of both Jason Aaron’s Avengers and Donny Cates’ Venom, the relaunch of Black Panther, plus four new miniseries kicking off The Hunt for Wolverine. Plus…You Are Deadpool! For those tabletop gaming fans out there.
With the Big Two playing pistols at dawn, it’s kind of a quiet month for the indies. Image has a few key launches, though, including Top-Chef-Meets-Hunger-Games adventure Flavor, and the weekly Brian K. Vaughan series Barrier.
 
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
Glenn:  Back to top 300 as well next month only.  Its scary past there.
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Is Disposable Heroes Back As Island Earth? A Follow Up

Hey all!

Back in 2016, I wrote an article about my suspicions about a new online comic website Island Earth and how it caused me concern. The reason I was concerned was that Island Earth seemed very similar to an online retailer I had used that had vanished with my own money but hundreds of others also, Disposable Heroes.

You can read all about it here.  I reported Island Earth to who I could just in case and hoped my article could save some people money, just in case. I never thought anything would happen following this.

A few weeks ago, Graphic Policy chief sent me an e-mail where a user described an all too familiar story.

I would comment on this article, but comments seem to have been disabled. I guess you’ve probably noticed that Island Earth have now done a disappearing act. They emailed the following in September last year, and nothing since:

‘UPDATE ON DELAYED ORDERS

Hi Guys,

Nikki here. Just wanted to take a few minutes out to update everyone on where Island Earth is at as there are rumours floating here there and everywhere that we have vanished.

Just to put things straight that we haven’t. Though with the amount of Facebook beeps I hear from my phone on my personal account I wish my phone would vanish for a day or two :)

As many of you know James (Island Earths co-founder) was undergoing personal issues after the passing of a family member who was suffering from a long term illness. Due to this and ongoing issues following that he has made the choice to step away from Island Earth as he feels he cannot give 110% at this point in time.

This has left me in a bit of a hole both in terms of how to progress with the management of Island Earth on my own plus the loss of the equivalent of a full time staff member and the only person fully trained with certain operations within the business so….. yay!

As it stands I have decided to knuckle down and carry on so orders are and will still be going out. I have set myself a target of ALL outstanding orders including those released tomorrow to be in the hands of customers by Wednesday 4th October or sooner.

Moving forward Island Earth will not be taking any pre-orders for November or December. There are 2 reasons for this.

Firstly, and this is the saddest part, there is no profit currently gained by trading in comics online. The business has entered a strange period when retailers feel the need to sell comics at cost or less just to maintain a customer base. That means everything sold is at a loss. This is something that we can’t continue to do. At the end of the day as much as I love comics the business needs to turn a profit. Bills need paid including staff wages so for us to follow this trend would not make any sense.

We are in contact with various sources to cut costs when and where we can so that we can come back to running pre-orders from January onwards.

Secondly we are opening a bricks and mortar store in the new year. As it stands we have way too much stock spread out over 3 storage units which is costing us a fair amount in storage costs. The next 3 months will be spent consolidating this stock and also running a clearance sale with bulk lots and full boxes of comics. I believe that with the current climate online that going the traditional route in retail is the best way forward and will create an anchor for us to create our online presence around once we return to it. And as a side note we haven’t even began sorting through all the boxes of bronze and silver age books so expect to see a few key books popping up for sale over the next few months.

I would appreciate it if customers could give myself a chance to get back up to date with you all in terms of orders by the date stated above. The situation over the last few weeks has not been great and I do appreciate all the patience shown so far.

Island Earth aren’t going anywhere……..

Thanks again,
Nikki

Lets party like its 2016?  So after two years, it seems Island Earth have gone the way of Disposable Heroes. The gentleman who e-mailed us thankfully didn’t lose any money but I would highly encourage anyone waiting on refunds and/or orders to file a paypal claim asap. Its how I got my money back when this happened with Disposable while others waited and got nothing.

It could all be coincidental but the similarity of why its happened, the delayed comics, the promise of an eventual return/physical store is all the same. Once again IF Island Earth is different, they’ve chosen to do things remarkably the same.

Those who read the original article may remember a ‘Nikki’ also coming to the defense of Disposable and chastising me for my words. Again, could all be coincidental but eventually I have to maybe except that 1 and 1 does make 2.

Will they be back again? Who knows, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to get rid of excess stock at local cons and then move forward to their lives.

I’m not here to paint anyone as the villain, I’m here because I love comics and I hate people using them to take money from others with ill intent. The industry is in a fragile place with some of the best content in decades being sold to a smaller audience. Genuinely good comic shops need support and places like Disposable and perhaps Island Earth give retailers a bad name. They drive people to trade wait or even out of comics. It might sound like an odd step to take but in today’s world, if you lost £30 or more to comics when you could have bought I don’t know…food, would you really be as quick to do so again?

Maybe its all a coincidence and if that’s the case, I hope Island Earth gets past this hard difficult time and goes back to supporting its customers.

If its not and they’re stealing scum bags who have used the same trick twice well I’ll be keeping an eye out for attempt number three.

As the man used to say, keep em peeled.

Glenn

By The Numbers: March 2018

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. Because of Booster Gold personally messing with his time stream (its a gift!) Glenn is now imprisoned for various cases of arson and murder in America, don’t ask.

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. Due to Booster Gold messing with the time stream (its a gift!) Ray has no longer interest in cooking shows, in fact he hates all type of food.  He lives off corn and water.  He is an unhappy fellow.

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!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  March madness is upon us for the sales charts for March 2018.  We see a lot of unexpected twists and turns including some surprising numbers, the healthiest top ten in a while and some books coming off better.  Of course, its not all cause for celebration as we’ll soon see.

Ray:  This month seems like it was a much-needed boost for the industry, as a lot of books hit major events that boosted their sales overwhelmingly. It shows there’s some real interest in what the companies are doing – albeit only on some fronts, as other areas showed real trouble spots.
Glenn:  The top book of the month was the final chapter in Metal by Snyder and Capullo which sold over 187.5k.  This event has been a major hit from start to finish and it seems to want to go out with a bang, event outselling the other big DC event book going on at the moment for its final chapter.  There’s been delays on this one but they haven’t hit the numbers that hard at all with people investing in Metal and its tie ins through out in spades.  Of course some of the new books that spawned from this event haven’t landed the best but really the main title this will lead into it seems is Snyder’s Justice League book which should end up being another top ten staple for DC.  This event was balls to the wall insane but came out on top.

Ray:  This is a jump of almost 40K from Metal’s fifth issue, which was totally unexpected. The event really seemed to capture the unpredictable feel of classic events, and audiences responded in spades. Every book that tied into this event reached surprising highs, and the main mini did numbers we haven’t consistently seen since Secret Wars. If anything, the failure of New Age of DC Heroes to really take off is due to the characters not being properly set up inside this mini, aside from a few cameos.

Glenn:  They got a better lead in here with the epilogue but I would say in most cases it’ll be too little, too late.

In second place is Doomsday Clock which barely loses any sales and pulls in over 148.5k despite the delays that have hit it.  Metal might be over but DC has this cooking too and even though it won’t have tie ins or that to sate the demand that there seemingly is for it, its another big win for DC in terms of new sales and also reorders which we’ll see later.

Ray:  Doomsday Clock only loses 8K in sales out of 150, despite the delays. You know what this is performing a lot like? The recent Dark Knight Returns sequel that dominated the charts when it slowly came out last year. With no tie-ins, this feels like it’ll be both a successful event for DC and an evergreen seller in the future.

Glenn:  Jumping up over double its previous range, Amazing Spider-Man swings in at 3 with sales over 128.1k.  This is the start of the much hyped ‘Go Down Swinging’ story which is the start of the end of Dan Slott’s decade run on the title.  Retailers have found it hard to keep copies of Amazing in stock lately due to this story featuring Norman Osborn merging with the Carnage symbiote.  That concept plus Slott’s leaving and the fact that Amazing 697 was the first of the build to 700 and was vastly under ordered so retailers may have been prepped this time.  This is being treated like the mini events Slott has pulled off to great success over the years like Spider-Island, Ends Of the Earth, etc.  Hopefully he will bring this strong momentum with him to Fantastic Four and Iron Man in the future while I think Amazing is going to miss him very much.

Ray:  This is over a 100% jump for the start of Slott’s final arc and his big Norman Osborn storyline. That’s the kind of jump you don’t see often at all, and it really shows just how much Marvel is going to miss Slott on this title when he’s gone. If he can bring this same kind of buzz to Fantastic Four and Iron Man, he could go a long way towards helping Marvel’s issues.

Glenn:  At 4 is Weapon H, a big surprise for the book that sees the government meld together the Hulk and Wolverine.  This was treated like a much bigger deal than I expected and probably took Marvel by surprise when it pulled in numbers over 98.6k.  I guess all of still have that desire to see their favorite characters mushed together for lolz.

Ray:  This title was a lot better than it had any right to be. However, I’m still betting that these numbers are largely statistical noise. It spins out of two middle-selling books, one of which has now concluded. That being said, it doesn’t have to keep most of these sales – if it can sink down to the level of parent title Weapon X and stay there, it’ll likely be a safe mid-level hit for Marvel in the long run.

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Glenn:  At 5 is Batman selling over 93.8k and its also at 8 selling over 91.6k which is a bigger gap between the two issues than usual but that’s cause this is a very strong top ten.  Despite a lot of books coming in either with higher profiles or over performance, Batman just carries on as normal.  the sales are gradually reading the high 80 mark but with the wedding just around the corner, it’ll rejuvenate things for the title but even at that, it’s still solid as a rock.

Ray:  Good ol’ Batman. With the numbers revealed for DC Nation #0 (over a million copies), I don’t see any way that the wedding issue in Batman #50 doesn’t outright win the month in July.

Glenn:  At 6 is another Marvel title getting a massive boost in the latest issue of Mighty Thor which sells over 93k.  This is the conclusion to the Death Of Thor story and retailers may have thought this would be the end of Aaron on this book (orders I think would have needed to have been in prior to the announcement he was staying) but I just think that people are enjoying the hell out of this run which seems to be one of the all time greats and is currently still going.  Much like Dan Slott, Jason Aaron has a skill to make people care about his books without needing to be involved in the bigger Marvel picture.  These two are clearly Marvel’s most valuable assets in terms of writers right now.

With Chris Hemsworth hanging up his hammer in the movies, we might see (recast) Jane Foster as Thor in an upcoming MCU movie so this might not be the end for this character, you never know.  I would say that this momentum will carry over to the new Thor title much like the Amazing relaunch (the first one with Slott) really benefited from Superior’s success.

Ray:  Again, over a 100% jump in sales for this issue, but this was hyped as a big event issue and it delivered. I think we’ll see strong numbers, but not on this level, for the next issue and the epilogue. I’m curious to see how the title will do when it returns the Odinson to the lead, as Jane seems to have brought an enormous amount of buzz to the title. It’s ironic. The one replacement hero who really took off is the one Marvel couldn’t keep.

Glenn:  In another big surprise at 7 in Infinity Countdown, the event comic by Gerry Duggan featuring the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Thanos which sells over 93k.  This was much better than I was expecting too, especially since its a direct follow on from Duggan’s Guardians which was selling around 30k at the time it was cancelled.  I guess that movie that’s coming out in a few weeks (as of this typing) motivated retailers to stock up.

Ray:  Yeah, that’s almost 40K over the prelude issue last month. Retailers seem to be treating it like a legitimate event, and the movie should keep it relatively hot. I’m glad to see Duggan’s Guardians run getting the love it deserves, at least in event form.

Glenn:  Even though Ray doubted me, Robert Kirkman’s new Image title Oblivion Song sells just over 80.2k at 9.  This is a brilliant debut no matter how you look at it.  The last new title Kirkman launched, Outcast didn’t do as nearly as well as this so I would say people were more intrigued by the concept on this one.  It won’t be anywhere close to this next month in all likelihood but still a very strong starting number.

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Ray:  That’s one of the best Image debuts in a while, easily besting what we saw from Kick-Ass last month. It shows, Kirkman’s a brand in himself right now, and it keeps on building. This one feels incredibly marketable as well, although with a higher budget for adaptation than the others, but I expect it to stay high on the charts from here.

Glenn:  Its interesting that Kirkman’s last title launch, Outcast didn’t do nearly this well.  Maybe this concept has more mass appeal?  Demon related stuff can be off putting for most.

Finally at 10 is Sean Murphy’s White Knight which sells over 73.3k   Only losing a few thousand copies between issues and we’re on the home stretch.  Amazing success for DC and Sean Murphy who no doubt has been given free reign to do what he wants next.

Ray:  Even in a highly competitive month like this, White Knight keeps rock-solid. It’s no surprise that Murphy has said to expect an announcement from him about the future of his creator-driven Batman comics in a few months. DC will want more!
Likewise, Walking Dead is locked down at #11, selling 74K, which is down only 3K this month. It’s invincible, and likely would have been safely in the top ten if it wasn’t for all the events.

Glenn:  Invincible was the other Kirkman book, silly Ray and now its gone and I remember and I’m sad and…anyway.  Yeah, Walking Dead just does its own thing as usual. The latest trade was also the top selling one this month (no surprise there).

Ray:  Daredevil #600 had a similar performance to the other Marvel events of the month, increasing over 100% from its normal issue sales for a double-sized anniversary. It charts at #12 with 67K in sales. Soule’s Daredevil has been a solid performer that’s slipped under the radar a bit, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this big spotlight allows it to climb up the charts long-term.

Glenn:  The return to original numbering really has helped the books that were near a centennial issue with the noted exception of Spectacular Spider-Man but unlike that title, Soule has been guiding Daredevil for a while now.  I don’t think we’ll see a long term benefit here because Daredevil has always been one of those titles that sells at around the same title no matter what the title is doing and who is writing it but good to see it get the opportunity here.

Ray:  Easily the oddest entry this month is True Believers: Venom vs. Spider-Man, a $1 reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #300, which sells a staggering 65K at #13. This is unheard of numbers for a True Believers reprint. It outsold the vast majority of both DC and Marvel’s first-run lines! And spoiler alert, there are a LOT more of these Venom True Believers one-shots this month, although none do anywhere near these numbers.

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Glenn:  Amazing 300 is still a hot comic all these years later.  This one has been reprinted and retold multiple times but retailers and fans can’t get enough.  Its no surprise that Marvel are continuing to invest in Eddie Brock’s Venom.

Ray:  A surprisingly good debut for New Mutants: Dead Souls at #15, selling 54K. It was supposed to be a movie tie-in, but it wasn’t the movie team, and now there’s no movie. Despite this, it seems retailers thought there was a big audience here that wanted a New Mutants title. We’ll see if it can hold any of those sales, but early buzz hasn’t been great.

Glenn:  Maybe people have a lot of nostalgia for this title even though this isn’t the traditional team?  With the film being delayed again and this perhaps not being what people expected, the sales will probably drop next issue.

Ray:  The return of the Hulk in Avengers #684 wreaks havoc on the rankings for the weekly Avengers titles, as that issue sells 54K at #16, over 8K more than the other three issues, which are clustered in the 24-28 range on the charts. But as this event series enters its final act, it’s safe to say it can be called a hit for Marvel – it’s consistently outselling the previous main Avengers book, only four times a month.

Glenn:  No Surrender has definitely been a win for sure.  Aaron’s run on the book will absolutely be a sales hit too so the future seems optimistic for the Avenger’s for the first time since Bendis left.

Ray:  As Action Comics approaches its massive anniversary issue next month, the title continues to climb, selling 51K at #19 for its 999th issue. That’s even above Detective this month (right below it at 20-21), making it the second-highest selling DC ongoing of the month. Quite the feat for a title that was struggling at the start of Rebirth. And spoiler alert, it’s going to chart a LOT higher next month.

Glenn:  Momentum towards 1000 and having a number so close to that definitely upped the interest here.  It’ll be interesting to see how Action does post 1000 since the title is taking a break for the Man Of Steel mini.  With Bendis writing, its hard to not imagine it (and Superman) doing these numbers on a more consistent basis long term.

Ray:  X-Men: Red seems to be off to a good start, keeping 50% of its first issue sales to land at #22 with 49K. That’s more than 10K above the other main X-books, and it’s getting a much better reception from fans. This could be the proper X-book revival fans and Marvel have been waiting for.

Glenn:  People really seem to be excited for this book and for (adult) Jean Gray returning.  Hopefully it’ll remain unaffected by the larger relaunch happening in the shape of ‘fresh start’.  The announcements seem to have stopped for that though and the X-titles are just going towards a line event in the form of extinction instead so we’ll see how that goes but this could be a winner for sure.

Ray:  Even though Saga did absolutely nothing unique for its 50th issue besides continuing its story, the title gets a 7K bump in sales to land at #26 with sales of 45K. Retailers like their round numbers.

A huge jump for the penultimate issue of Donny Cates’ Thanos, selling 42K at #33. That’s up a full 13K from last month. With this being a short-run series, retailers didn’t have all that much time to react to just how big this got, but I expect we’ll see a lot more reorders for this title down the line. 

Glenn:  Reorders and collection sales will be the main thing for this title, especially for those hungry for Thanos content when a certain movie comes out in a few weeks.  I’d say that retailers will be less conservative when ordering Cates work in future when it comes to his mainstream work.  We’ve seen DC have Tom King bring in numbers on name alone, Cates could very well do the same.

Ray:  Speaking of King, right below Thanos is perennial chart-climber Mister Miracle, which returns from a skip month by gaining another 2K in sales to chart 40K. It feels like we’re seeing a new era of these “boutique” comics spotlighting less-known characters by elite creators who can go nuts with the concept. If they’re as good as these two, it could be a new golden age for the industry.

Glenn:  Mister Miracle’s success is astounding and will live out a long healthy life in collections. When we’re old folks this one will be one of those collections that is given to every comics fan as a must read like Dark Knight and Watchmen.

Ray:  To put it into perspective, Thanos and Mister Miracle are outselling Wonder Woman, Captain America, and both primary X-books besides Red.

Glenn:  Wonder Woman is going through a…less than stellar run at the moment and Captain America is recovering from a lesser run than that but still that is really quite a jarring thing to see.  Coates coming on will help Cap to a certain extent but there seems to be no immediate plans to help out poor Wonder Woman, its not like DC isn’t spoiled for choice.

Note:  Since typing this, former Supergirl writer, Steve Orlando has announced he is hopping on Wonder Woman briefly and a new regular creative team will soon follow!

Ray:  A pretty solid slide for The Terrifics this month, as it keeps about 75% of those first-issue sales to land at #43 with sales of 34K. We’ve seen retailers ordering cautiously on these New Age of DC Heroes books, followed by decent slides the next month. Terrifics actually feels like a hit, with the audience responding to the odd mix of characters and Jeff Lemire has a built-in fanbase.

Glenn:  The Terrifics is sure going to be the winner out of the new age of DC heroes launches.  I wonder if this books performance or even presence is partially responsible for the new Fantastic Four title coming from Slott and Picheli.

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Ray:  Speaking of that built-in fanbase for Mr. Lemire, right below selling 33.5K is Lemire’s new Image creator-owned title Gideon Falls. I was maybe expecting a bit more for Lemire’s first foray into horror in a while, but then – this is a weird book. I’ve read the second issue the same day I write this, and I still have no clue what it’s about but I love it. It’s an odd project and retailers may have been a bit cautious. However, Lemire’s books tend to be extremely stable long-term.

Glenn:  I think this will be one that stabelizes fast, could even be a slow climber as word of mouth spreads.  The concept is odd on the surface but I think anyone that took the chance on it will spread the word quickly.  It’ll definitely end up well into Image’s safe zone I’d say.

Ray:  A good debut for Shadowman at #45, selling 33K. This is the return of Andy Diggle to mainstream comics, and the return of a Valiant character who was off on the dark side for a few years, but the first issue seems to have gone over well. I’m a bit surprised by how well it did, but I wouldn’t be surprised if retailers ordered a bit heavily to ensure that fans wanting to support the return of Valiant’s most prominent African-American hero didn’t go home empty-handed. We are in a post-Black Panther world, after all.

Glenn:  Good logic on Shadowman, it is becoming more common to see Valient being able to launch pretty strong numbers on some books which is great to see for them.  There’s been a lot of corporate changes at Valient but their strategy of slow and steady seems to be really working for them and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon.

Ray:  Doctor Strange: Damnation started low, but seems to have had a decent second issue slide this month, selling 32.9K at #47. That’s down about 25% from the first issue. The third issue is the same month, selling 30K at #58. So it seems like this quick event has at least given Donny Cates’ Doctor Strange run a slight boost, in sales if not quality.

Glenn:  Not too bad a drop for Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman which has its second issue sell over 31.8k at 49.  Still might have expected more considering the characters involved and the creator involved but for a throwaway mini, this is very good.

Ray:  Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man comes back down to Earth after its big anniversary issue, and it keeps 3K of that anniversary boost to land at #54 with sales of 31K. Not a huge increase, but this title is a solid mid-level performer for Marvel. And it’ll soon be the only Spider-book once Slott leaves! Hooray for Zdarsky!

The penultimate issue of Supergirl lands at #55 with sales of 30K. That’s down about 1.5K from the last issue, but this was also a special issue cowritten by guest writer Vita Ayala. It’s been massively praised for its nuanced take on LGBT issues and teen alienation, and I would expect to see it get a lot of reorders in the coming months. This is not a title that should be ending based on sales and buzz, but here we are. Bendis is coming!

Glenn:  This Supergirl issue should be given to kids in school’s to help those struggling with their identity (gender or sexual orientation or otherwise) and help kids support those going through the struggles this issue deals with.  This is one of my favorite comics of the year so far so I hope it picks up some reorders.  I really hope DC has more plans for the character because it seems a shame for multiple reasons to just kill off the book at the behest of a new creator.

Ray:  At #61 we have the Damnation: Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider one-shot, selling 29K. That’s a decent number for a one-off story featuring a B-list supernatural hero spinning out of a minor event. What’s worth noting is that both this and the recent Spirits of Vengeance miniseries did a bit better than expected. It seems the supernatural characters from Marvel have a bit of an untapped fanbase.

Glenn:  People might be wanting more Ghost Rider since the cosmic version has been such a hit also.  We’re not going to see Ghost Rider (the normal version anyway) be able to hold his own title anytime soon so for a one off that is tied into an event that people seem pretty blegh about, this is a pretty great number.

At 77 is the next of those multiple Venom True Believers you mentioned, this one reprinting the first issue of the Lethal Protector mini which sells over 25.9k.  Much lower than the Amazing 300 reprint but still incredibly impressive.

The newest Kick Ass comic loses about half its sales selling over 25.1k at 81.  That’s quite a drop but still but it as a comfortable Image level.  I would say the upcoming ‘Netflix wave’ of Millar books will do a lot better for him than these revisits of his older creator owned properties.  I think this is only a mini (DC will be wanting Romita JR back) so in terms of that this book will fine.

Ray:  I think Kick-Ass is ongoing? Romita Jr. doesn’t have any formal DC deal and is co-creator on Kick-Ass (although it’s owned by Netflix now, obviously), so I imagine this will take priority for him. I find it amusing that I can refer to “That John Romita Jr. comic about a mom who has a secret life as a brutal vigilante” and I could be referring to two books.

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Glenn:  Millar hasn’t done an ongoing for quite a while so that would surprise me.  Let us know if you know, loyal Numberites!

No increase for Poe Dameron’s Star Wars title at 88 but it only loses a couple hundred sales from last issue with its 25th selling over 24.5k.  The book is now going to cover the period of time that the Force Awakens does so it’ll be interesting to see if that has any impact.

Much like the majority of its other new era brethren, Sideways has a troubling second issue sales performance of over 23.8k at 92.  It could be worse of course but this book along with the others that proceeded it are likely to be not here this time next year apart from Terrifics which will continue as long as Lemire is involved most likely.

Ray:  All the New Age of DC Heroes titles had rough debuts but moderate slides. The problem is, there just isn’t much room for them to keep falling – and when these a-list artists leave, we might see bigger drops.

Glenn:  The roll out of the books was a big mis fire, then them losing the artists (who were supposed to have the spotlight) is an even more baffling decision.  There still be the specter of stupid decision over at DC.

Last appearance of a Venom True Believer in the top 100 at 98 with a Venom/Carnage reprint selling over 22.3k.  This is a reprint of Carnage’s first story so I’m surprised it didn’t do better than Lethal Protector, especially with the Carnage symbiote being such a major part of Amazing at the moment.  Still great stuff for a comic that’s like 20 years old or so.

Not quite losing half its sales like Kick Ass, Hit Girl nearly does with sales over 21.1k at 100.  Considering how popular Hit-Girl is I might have expected more but still fine for as long as Millar wants it to be around.

At 101 its True Believers: Venom Symbiois which is a repring of Web Of Spider-Man 1 which doesn’t even have Venom in it!  The connection here is black suit Spidey on the cover I guess?  I don’t know how this one qualifies but it sold over 21k regardless.

At 102 is an odd comic, Iron Man: Hong Kong Heroes which sells just under 21k.  This is a promotional comic to tie in with a new Iron Man themed ride opening at Disneyland: Tokyo.  So this is an ad that you pay for, genius!  This being such an oddball of a book, I’d say sales around 21k is sensational.

Ray:  I suspect retailers didn’t really know what to expect out of this one, and just went “Iron Man? 20K sounds about right”. The fact that there’s only about 10K between this theme park tie-in and Bendis’ proper Iron Man title, though, is sort of crazy.

Glenn:  Wrapping up the Ivy/Harley & Betty/Veronica mini at 104 with sales over 20.7k.  Pretty strong sales from a mini that seems to have just been done for the lolz.  Again DC benefits greatly for letting others play with their characters and I don’t think that’ll be stopping anytime soon.

At 105 is the second issue of video game tie in Batman Sins Of The Father which sells over 20.4k which is very good for a video game tie in.  Batman, the people can’t get enough of him!

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Ray:  I recall that the Batman digital-first tie-ins always did better than any other book from the Digital-First line, so DC has got to be glad to have a new video game to tie in with!

Glenn:  After a very surprising debut, Mera: Queen Of Atlantis has second issue sales of over 19.7k at 108 which makes a lot more sense.  Still very good stuff for a mini focusing on one of the lesser known supporting characters in comics.

Ray:  Yeah, this is about what I would have expected from a Mera title, selling just a little below the level of Aquaman. Not bad, but certainly nothing that is going to make DC order an ongoing like the first issues made look like a possibility.

Glenn:  At 109 is a competitor for the oddest comic debut this month, Vampironica which is Veronica from Archie becoming a vampire.  Its typical old school wacky Archie stuff and sells over 19.7k which I’d say is very good.  These Archie horror books seem to have a lot of interest in them.

Ray:  These Archie horror books sell in a different league from anything else from the company, and this one has Greg Smallwood on board. As long as they keep selling, we’ll keep getting new ones. They’ll listen to me and greenlight Moosenstein one of these days!

Glenn:  I personally am hoping for Betty and Veronica but its more like Jekyll and Hyde than two girls hanging out.  Betty and Veryde?  Why Archie hasn’t called me yet is a mystery.

Next at 110 is Rick & Morty present the Vindicators which I assume means something to someone?  It sells over 18.8k which is on the upper tier of how tie in comics usually do but Rick & Morty’s popularity explains how this one has done better than average.

The next part of the comic adaption of American Gods debuts at 114 with sales just under 18.5k.  Seems like retailers gave this a slight boost for the number 1 but will likely treat it as a continuation overall like they did for the Dark Tower adaptions back in the day.  This is a title that Dark Horse seems to be glad they have.

Ray:  Even though Gaiman isn’t writing this, his name on the cover gives it a big boost. That certainly bodes well for Sandman Universe at DC this summer.

Glenn:  At 121 is another wrap up of another inter company crossover, The Shadow/Batman which sells 17.5k.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see another part to round out a trilogy coming along.

Ray:  Dynamite has a lot of these properties that could mesh well with DC in the future. This is one of the biggest successes of the crossover wave overall, so we’ll definitely see more.

Glenn:  More Venom in the form of True Believers at 126 with this one focusing on Agent Venom aka Flash Thompson Venom.  It sells over 16.7k which is still very good for a reprint, especially one that’s not that old.

Ray:  There’s quite a few reorders on the charts this month, including Amazing Spider-Man #796, which charts again at #127 with sales of 16,6K, above first-run sales of multiple DC and Marvel books. This was the prelude to Slott’s final arc, and there’s clearly an enormous amount of interest here. 

Glenn:  Retailers can’t pry copies of this arc of Amazing from people it seems.  It could be interest in the red Goblin, Slott’s final arc, the first proper Green Goblin/Peter Parker Spider-Man story in years or a combination of all three.  This is like a perfect storm.

Ray:  The Young Animal books get their relaunches this month following Milk Wars, and the highest-charting one is the new one, as Eternity Girl – Magdalene Visaggio’s personal story of a depressed immortal superhero – lands at #129 with sales of 16.2K. Impressive that it beat the established ones, which are a bit below. Mother Panic: Gotham AD lands at #143 with sales of 14K, followed by Shade the Changing Woman at #154 (12.7K) and Cave Carson has an Interstellar Eye at #163 (11.6K). These books largely continued from the previous run, but they all got decent-sized boosts in sales from those final issues. This is clearly a niche line, but let’s hope some of those new eyes from Milk Wars stick around!

Glenn:  Decent numbers from what we’ve come to expect from Young Animal by now.  If they can land above 10k and do well in trades, DC will likely keep the books around as long as each respective writer wants to work on it.

Ray:  Venom is all over the charts this month, with five more True Believers one-shots in this range. Venom: Shiver lands at #130 with sales of 16K, and then not far below we have Flashpoint, Dark Origin, Homecoming, and Toxin all selling in the 15K range between 135-138. This feels like the biggest True Believers wave yet, and probably the most successful.

 

The magnificently-named Pornsak Pichetshote makes his debut on the charts at #142, as his modern haunted house thriller Infidel sells 14.2K. For a creator without a mainstream profile yet, that’s a really strong debut. This is a miniseries and should keep healthy numbers throughout, but I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more of the name Pornsak Pichetshote in the future.

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Glenn:  You’re having way too much typing that name, I can tell.  Infidel has a great concept and sometimes, that’s all you need to draw the eye of the reader.

Ray:  In the latest installment of “comparisons that make Marvel look bad”, let’s look at three titles. Ms. Marvel (#145, 13.7) is Marvel’s most popular new character in years. Deadman (#146, 13.3K) is a much-mocked Neal Adams title featuring a character with little to no buzz. Runaways (#148, 13.1K) is a critically acclaimed run by a mainstream novelist featuring the stars of Marvel’s new hit TV series. Should these titles be selling in the same range? I think not.

Glenn:  It seems that this is where Ms. Marvel lives now as a sales entity which is a real shame.  I have no doubt her collections and larger outside of comics presence keep her safe but its a really good book with a fresh protagonist which is what Marvel needs more of right now but if the market tells them otherwise, they’re hardly going to give us that.  We’ll probably get Ms. Marvenom in a few months.

Ray:  More reorders for Amazing Spider-Man, as #795 charts again with sales of 13K at #150. Clearly, fans are going to miss Slott a lot on this title. I suspect Marvel will too.

Mystic U, DC’s prestige-format magical college adventure, comes to a close with sales of 11K at #166. This is a title that didn’t find the audience it deserved in singles, but DC has an opportunity here – they can repackage it as part of the DC Ink line and get that collection into bookstores. If they’re smart, it could still be one of their biggest hits in a long time.

Down at #167, we’ve got the second issue of Labyrinth: Coronation. Selling just under 11K, this is Boom’s second-highest selling comic of the month. Unlike the other Jim Henson comics from Boom, this one seems to have caught some serious buzz for its prequel revealing the origin of Jareth.

Glenn:  There’s a lot of love for Labrynth and for Bowie so these could be key factors helping this book be a healthy offering from BOOM.

Ray:  And MORE Amazing Spider-Man reorders, as #794 sells an additional 10K at #172.

Top Cow relaunches one of their oldest franchises, Cyber-Force, with Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill at the helm. It sells 10K at #172, not a great showing. The time for these old-school Image properties with a distinct 90s vibe may just be past.

Glenn:  There will always be a little bit of an audience for them but Image has changed SO MUCH from what it was when it launched that these are not the type of books people want from the company anymore.  It might be more beneficial to them to farm them out to smaller companies that could use these sales that Image don’t.

Ray:  At #177, we’ve got the debut of the latest Black Hammer spinoff, Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows. It sells 9.8K – but that’s deceptive, because there was an odd case last month where 4.5K worth of copies shipped a week early in the previous month. That puts the title’s total orders at a very healthy 14K+, which is close to in line with the main series. This book continues to prove itself to be Dark Horse’s first original hit franchise in a long time.

Glenn:  There’s soon going to be two Black Hammer books going at the same time with a third on the horizon.  Clearly Dark Horse loves the franchise and Lemire loves doing it, I know I love reading about it.

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The second of issue of Lockjaw sells just over 8.4k at 190.  Pretty much what you would expect from a comic about the Inhumans dog.  The Death Of The Inhumans series by Cates coming soon will likely be the final word on this franchise for a long, long time.

Ray:  It’ll be interesting to see if Cates’ general hype and buzz can lift the Inhumans sales-wise, but quality-wise it’s more likely to get people talking than most of their recent projects.

Glenn:  The Crow: Momento Mori from IDW is a new installment of a franchise exploring the unique gothic super hero who has a somewhat colourful history in terms of an excellent first movie, a string of meh to terrible sequels, and middling to terrible other types of adaptions.  It sells over 8.2k which is probably the die hard fans only.  Might be good long term for IDW to have it in their library if that Mamoa remake ever gets going.

Ray:  This property’s heyday was over twenty years ago, and I don’t think it even quite worked outside of the context of its creator’s very personal story, so these numbers aren’t a big surprise. Not every nostalgia revival is going to work.

Glenn:  Odd sounding sci-fi title Prisim Stalker debuts from Image at 198 with sales over 8k.  Pretty standard stuff from creators that don’t carry sales clout and a quirky premise.

Ray:  Making the situation worse for Prism Stalker, it debuted the same day as two massive new Image launches by Kirkman and Lemire. That likely made retailers order even more cautiously on this. The title’s concept doesn’t become fully clear until the second issue, so it might pick up reorders from here.

Glenn:  Hope so!

Very small drop from the Buffy: Giles mini at 199 with sales also around the 8k mark but it didn’t have that far down to go.  This franchise, even with the return of Whedon on co-writing duties is long past its heyday.  We’re going to have one more four issue mini wrap things up here and Dark Horse gets a healthy Buffy/Angel library for future generations that will come to discover the classic show that want more.

At 202 is another Marvel Movie prelude in the form of Ant-Man and Wasp which sells over 7.7k at 202.  I’m guessing this is a retelling of the events of the Ant-Man movie so you can’t expect much.  The fact that all these cash gra…errr preludes are getting their own Omnibus in a few months is hilarious.

A new female led Green Hornet series from Amy Chu and Dynamite launches at 207 with sales over 7.5k.  This franchise has its small  set audience and is unlikely to do anything to create a great resurgence of interest in it. Dynamite might have liked to have more interest on paper but its not horrible, just standard Green Hornet performance.

Sharp drop of over 10k for Dejah Thoris on its second issue with sale over 7.4k at 209.  This is more what I imagine this book to live at after its unusually high launch last month.  Like Green Hornet, its not brilliant but its not terrible…as long as it doesn’t lose another 10k readers next month and has negative readers.

Ray:  Interesting that Green Hornet sold about the same with its first issue as Dejah Thoris did with its second. Bump from Dejah Thoris’ #0 issue getting a wider audience? Maybe, because Dejah Thoris has far less mainstream presence overall than the Green Hornet does.

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Glenn:  The creator of Spy Seal, Rick Tomasso takes a break from that series to launch Dry County which sells over 7k at 217. Retailers probably ordered this based on how well Spy Seal sold but that was a very particular type of book for a very specific audience, on the surface this book reads like it has more mass appeal.  Maybe it’ll find its audience in trades?

Ray:  Tomasso does very offbeat comics, and this slice-of-life crime comic didn’t really have a strong hook to grab retailers and make them order heavily. I expect it’ll have pretty stable but low sales for the miniseries.

 
Glenn:  For those that still care, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur sells over 6.7 at 220.  No word on this getting a Fresh Start style paint job.  Could the mystery be finally at the end?

Ray:  I doubt it’ll be ending, especially with the recent announcement of an animated series coming. What’s happening here is that Moon Girl likely does 95% of its sales in collections and bookstores, and no one cares about the single issue sales. Once the cartoon begins, don’t be surprised if IDW shows up to take the property into custody. It’s better this way. They’ll be happier there. Devil Dinosaur will have a bigger yard to play in.

Glenn:  The book that Ray has been yelling about how awesome it is, Highest House from the creative team behind the Unwritten launches from IDW at 224 with sales over 6.5k.  Ray talks about this one like it should be selling ten times as much but IDW never as much luck with creator owned material and this one is printed in a unique fashion (much like A.D: After Death from Image which went on to do amazing in collections) so this one seems like one that will earn its keep from collection sales both inside and outside the market for many years to come if its quality is anything to go by.

Ray:  If you’re reading this column and you’re not reading Highest House, what are you doing with your life???? In all seriousness, this will be a classic in bookstore form for years to come, and you’re all going to wish you had the single issues when it’s a hit Netflix miniseries.

Glenn:  Deathbed, the latest Vertigo series from Joshua Williamson sells over 6.2k at 230.  Even one of the biggest writers at DC right now can’t get a lot of interest through Vertigo anymore.  Uncle Neil Gaiman and his seven endless children are coming to save the day next year.

Ray:  That’s a roughly 50% slide for Deathbed, a little lower. Worth noting than the conclusion of Deathbed is the only Vertigo title solicited for July – and that the upcoming Sandman books are not going to be under the Vertigo brand, but get their own line.

Glenn:  So it is!  Sorry Vertigo.

Spider King, another creator owned from IDW sells over 6.1k at 231.  I don’t know these creators so they’re probably delighted they came so close to the likes of Mike Carey up a few spots at Highest House.  Again, this isn’t about the material but about IDW’s position in terms of a creator owned publisher.

Ray:  IDW’s slowly pushing more and more into the creator-owned market, but they don’t quite have a brand yet on that front, and interested people have to sift through roughly 900 licensed books to find these books. That doesn’t make it easier to find these hidden gems.

Glenn:  Ghostbusters: Crossing Over sees multiple versions of the ghost busting team join together with sales at over 6.1k checking in at 232.  This is going to be one for die hard Ghostbuster fans only who want to see the iconic movie team interact from everyone to the extreme version to the reboot cast of the movie no one talks about anymore.

Ray:  Making things rougher for this Ghostbusters crossover, the fanbases of the two groups of movie Ghostbusters do not play well together. As for the Extreme Ghostbusters, they’re just happy to be here.

Glenn:  Pretty soft fall for Xena on her second issue as she sells over 5.8k at 237 but she couldn’t afford to fall much further with where she launched.  Another one for the die hard fans…or the Collector.

Ray:  At #235 is the second Ian Flynn-penned issue of Archie, and it only sells 5.8K. That’s close to a 50% slide for the main Archie title in less than six months, most in the last two issues. To say this isn’t good is an understatement. The book seems to have lost almost all of its buzz since the Over the Edge story petered out with few permanent consequences, and the new creative team hasn’t helped. Flynn will probably have more success on next month’s Sonic relaunch from IDW.

Glenn:  Its a shame they couldn’t get another name like Waid to come on board.  The comic industry is thriving with some very talented folks, surely at least one of them would be interested in writing Archie?  I’ll write Archie, I’ll make it about crime and time travel!

Ray:  At #242 is Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story from Valiant. 5.5K isn’t great, but Valiant’s one-shots rarely sell too well. This is more of a prequel, introducing fans to the stories of the players for the upcoming Harbinger Wars II, so look for these to maybe pick up some reorders when that event ramps up this summer.

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Not getting an animated series like Moon Girl is Monsters Unleashed, which wraps up its run at #244 with sales of 5.4K. These are shockingly low numbers for a main line Marvel book – and yet, still probably not as low as Solo or Slapstick, the latter of which actually fell out of the top 300. Just another attempt to make something happen for Marvel lately. It didn’t happen.

Glenn:  Marvel threw the kitchen sink at this one to make it happen.  Another one of their growing number of recent misfires.

Ray:Usagi Yojimbo’s been running for a very long time, and had high numbers – until now, as Stan Sakai debuts a new miniseries titled “The Hidden”. It sells 5.2K at #248, which isn’t huge but definitely an improvement from the title’s usual numbers. This is a book that has a very loyal audience of longtime readers, similar to Savage Dragon, I imagine.

The latest Boom original property, Lucy Dreaming, debuts at #252 with sales of just under 5K. Not unusual for Boom miniseries, which probably do better numbers in collections, although this one had hit musician/writer Max Bemis and the acclaimed artist of The Woods. This will be a complete story in a few months and will sell on bookstore shelves for years to come.

At #253 is an unusual entry, the promotional Image Expo 2018 Preview Book. It’s a $1 collection of opening pages from a host of upcoming books announced at the Expo, and it sells 4.9K. I’m surprised this was counted as a regular book at all, and I might have expected it to be ordered a bit more heavily.

Glenn:  Interesting idea for a promotional tool, much like DC’s been starting to do but not on a regular basis by any means.  Considering Image books need perhaps the promotion to get them in mind of readers if they don’t have a big name creator attached and retailers like making money, you would have though investing in this to get more readers to buy more books would have been a no brainer.

Ray:  More reorders for some hit comics, including Thanos #14 (4.7K at #256) and the unkillable Doomsday Clock #1 (#261, 4.5K), which will be on these charts until we’re long gone.

Glenn:  It helps to be the follow up to the most critically acclaimed comic ever but Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are doing the work of their careers and deserve the success.

Ray:  Another Boom debut, Dodge City, about a scandal-scarred competitive dodgeball team, debuted with 4.5K at #264. This one didn’t seem to have much hype behind it or any name creators, and it’s not the first Boom title about oddball competitive sports, so I think this one might have slipped under the radar.

Glenn:  We don’t really have dodge ball here as far as I’m aware.  Getting people committed to a sports book is usually not something that goes well in today’s market.

Ray:  Black Mask debuted two new comics this month, the body horror/social media thriller Come into Me and the cryptozoology/big pharma conspiracy Breathless. Both sold about 50 copies apart in the 4.4K range at #266 and #270 respectively. Black Mask is apparently going through some transition right now as many books and collections have been cancelled due to delays. Numbers like this aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement for the future, since I don’t think they really have a bookstore market presence yet.

Glenn:  Black Mask seemed to be going somewhere a year or so ago but no…its not looking good.  That may maintain a small presence, vanish entirely or rebound.  With the unpredictability of the comic market today, any of these three things could realistically happen.

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Ray:  The Berger books have absolutely crashed on the charts, with the second issue of Mata Hari and the third issue of Hungry Ghosts selling in the 4.4K range at #271 and #273 respectively, and as for Incognegro – unknown. It’s not on the charts. Depressing news, especially since the latter book is exceptional.

Glenn:  Dark Horse have to betting on these doing well in collections otherwise we may not see too many more of the Berger line.

Ray:  4.3K in reorders for the Swamp Thing Winter Special at #275, as Tom King and Jason Fabok’s acclaimed story gets some additional sales. Retailers may have ordered cautiously because of the price tag, but that King dude has built a fanbase! And an additional 4.3K sales for Avengers #276 right below, as the return of the Hulk builds buzz for this weekly run.

A rare creator-owned debut for Oni, as Ed Brisson’s violent kung-fu assassin thriller The Ballad of Sang debuts at #279, selling only 4.2K. There’s no way this wouldn’t have sold twice as much or more at Image, which is probably while Oni seems to be ramping down their production of single-issue originals.

Glenn:  Like Black Mask, Oni seemed to have a few interesting things on the horizon and have gone nearly dark in terms of monthly.  Did we ever even get the book that resulted from their much hyped open submission a few years ago?  If we did then I missed it.

Ray:  A very low debut for the all-ages fantasy Betrothed, Sean Lewis’ new Aftershock title, at #287 with sales of 4K. Despite growing their output and talent pool every month, Aftershock still has trouble getting decent-sized launches for books without boldface names on the cover.

Glenn:  Aftershock still seem to be doing something to get the attention of bigger names than a company their size and their relative newness would really warrant.  They must be doing something right somewhere.

Ray:  A Ghostbusters annual sells 4K at #290, showing once again that this franchise is struggling for IDW. The split in the fanbase will likely hurt the property for a long time to come.

3.8K in reorders for the first issue of The Terrifics at #298, showing some real buzz for this series. Combined with the healthy second-issue drop this month, this feels like it’s the one new hit for DC in this wave.

Glenn:  One out of five (or however many it was) isn’t bad?  Probably not but hey…at least Lemire is writing big two comics again!

Ray:  And at #300, it’s Matt Kindt’s creator-owned title Grass Kings. It’s ending in two issues, so we’ll see if it can rebound a tiny bit and complete its run in the top 300, the way Tom King’s Sheriff of Babylon did towards the end of its run.

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Glenn:  I’ll pretend I know what this book is and agree!

While we leave the top 300, I want to take a quick glance as the collection sales for this month.  Even though the output from the line is a rarity these days, the latest Earth One offering in the form of Green Lantern does really well.  It comes second only to the new Walking Dead collection (of course).  This line basically only consists of Batman (put on hold for Doomsday Clock) and Wonder Woman.  Superman is MIA with the writer of the first three volumes presumably not returning and the promised Flash book never materializing.  Considering all of that, this sells really well and that’s especially interesting since this creative team of Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Beckho are probably the least known creators this line has seen thus far.  That’s very encouraging for any other Earth One books DC might deem fit to put out in the future and one to keep an eye on!

Ray: Hardman and Bechko are acclaimed indie creators who are not all that well know to fans of the big two, but are bringing their own fanbase to the picture. This goes to show that DC should maybe take some chances with these titles, let lesser-known creators with big ideas take a chance on top characters. Every time an installment of the Earth One Series has come out, it’s sold very well, but the pace of the franchise is so unpredictable that it doesn’t do for DC nearly what it should. There’s a similarity to the All-Star Line in that way (only without kids being forced to eat rats).

Image result for action comics 1000Looking ahead, there’s no real question what wins the month – we know Action Comics #1000 is crash-landing and destroying the top of the charts with sales of over 500K. These are unheard-of numbers for superhero books in this market, and this is a massive event (that DC will be able to recreate in less than a year with Detective). With 500K at $7.99, could DC win the month outright? I think it’s possible. They’ll also have two new debuts from The New Age of DC Heroes – Brimstone and Immortal Men, but this month, a lot of series are ending to make way for new launches in May and June.

This isn’t Marvel’s month, but they’ll be trying to keep up with two issues of Amazing Spider-Man’s blockbuster storyline, and the launches of soon-to-be cult favorite titles Domino and Exiles. Plus, the mini-event The Hunt for Wolverine kicks off this month before splitting into four miniseries the following month. And they’ve also got the weekly Venomized, the conclusion to Cullen Bunn’s Venom storyarc before Donny Cates jumps on board.

It’s a big month for indies as well, including the return of Frank Miller to Dark Horse, with an original Xerxes miniseries spinning out of 300. They’ve also got the return of the proper Black Hammer title’s second volume. Image has a host of new launches, including Isola from the Gotham Academy creative team, Steve Orlando’s Crude, Kyle Higgins’ Dead Hand, Joe Henderson’s Skyward, and Gerry Duggan’s Analog. IDW’s got one of their biggest launches in a while with the weekly rollout of the new Sonic the Hedgehog series, following that property’s departure from Archie.

What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers?

By The Numbers: February 2018

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. Is wondering when podcasts about Spider-Man got so fashionable and is up to the challenge of not being able to be out quizzed on Spidey by ANYONE (except maybe Dan Slott).

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. After weeks of therapy, Ray has come to terms with the cancellation of Supergirl. To help him, we’re telling him that Scott Snyder is now writing Amazing Spider-Man, please don’t tell him any different.

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!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  Its the month of looove as we look back at February here at By The Numbers only there isn’t any feeling of looove here, only poor sales.  With the absense of DC heavy hitters Doomsday Clock and Metal (kinda/sorta) while Marvel is just coasting along the sales for February weren’t the best.  Only one book managed to get above 100k and only 16 above 50k.  Grim times.

Ray:  This was very much a down month, across the board. Still, there were a few small hits that buoyed the companies.

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Glenn:  Lets take a look and start right at the top with Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt which sells just over 101.3k.  In the absence of a main Metal issue, this one shot serves as Metal 5.5 and features a lot of big name DC writers and artists including the big two return of Grant Morrison.  Like most major Metal tie-ins it sells very well and its clear why Metal scribe Scott Snyder has already announced the Dark Knights will be sticking around post event, people seem to dig them.  Very good performance for a one shot that was put together due to Metal needing an extra month to complete.  Now if anyone could explain what this issue was about, that would be swell.

Ray:  Metal, pretty clearly, is invincible. We’ve seen every single tie-in special do top ten numbers, I believe, and most of the tie-in issues of regular titles gained five-digit increases on their regular sales. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an event have effects of this kind, and even though Doomsday Clock itself is not having any tie-ins, we’ve seen similar effects for their side tie-ins like The Button and The Oz Effect. DC’s hit on something incredible here, and I think we’ll see a similar effect for No Justice. 

Glenn:  No Justice being a direct follow on for help and if the entry for the top ten remains at this level, all of the issues that are released that month will easily make the top ten

As we predicted from the sales of Phoenix Resurrection, X-Men Red launches big for Marvel selling over 98.4k on its first issue.  Fans and retailers are buying into (adult) Jean Gray being back and even if sales drop by half, Marvel will have another solid performer.  I’m not sure what effect ‘Fresh Start’ will have on the X-Men line but hopefully Marvel will realize the lines colour coded relaunch has actually not done too badly at all and leave well enough alone.

Ray:  As always, this will take a heavy slide next issue like all Marvel books do, but there’s a decent chance this winds up being the top-selling X-book overall. It seems to be getting some major positive buzz, and as of today it’s been announced that it’ll be the place where Tom Taylor’s breakout character Gabby Kinney (and fellow breakout Jonathan the Wolverine) make their home after All-New Wolverine wraps in May. 

Glenn:  Its unclear if the not too long relaunched X-Men books will be getting the ‘Fresh Start’ treatment.  Hopefully not because it could kill this books momentum such as the relaunch prior to the previous but before the last one did to Spider-Gwen

As is customary, Batman takes two spots in the top ten at 3 and 4 with the latest issues of the character selling over 95.5k for issue 40 and over 93.8k for issue 41.  Usual amazing performance but the title will get some major boosts as we head towards the 50th issue and the upcoming Bat/Cat nuptials.  If any book on the stand doesn’t need anything else than its title to see its this one but why not go for it anyway?  Big risk and big reward and I would definitely bet on the latter.

Keeping a strong number of its anniversery sales, Walking Dead sells over 77.4k at 5.  With everything else falling, Walking Dead’s insane stability will always give it an advantage in a ,market like this.  While most books will launch big and then drop like a stone, Walking Dead shuffles along at around the same level and comes out ahead of the pack as a result.

Ray:  Batman and Walking Dead are insanely steady, continuing to rise up the charts as everything else sinks. In event-less months, they could easily be topping the charts.

Glenn:  Batman could have a number one in one of the Doomsday Clock skip months after Metal finishes but prior to Snyder’s Justice League for sure.

At 6 is the amazingly successful Batman: White Knight which sells over 77.3k.  This out of continuity mini has been revealed as a trial book for DC’s upcoming Black Label imprint so if this is any indication, that line will be another big win for DC.  Writer/artist Sean Murphy seems to want to only draw his own material from now on and if he can produce results like this, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.

Ray:  That’s another 4K increase in sales for White Knight, which I would say is unheard of…but it’s not. It’s a similar pattern we’ve seen on books like Mister Miracle and Supergirl in recent months. Retailers are starting to respond more aggressively to positive buzz, taking risks on increased orders midway through. And this effect so far only seems to happen for DC.

feb2

Glenn:  Brace yourself for a big drop in sales as over 20k below the title above it, the 300th issue of Spectacular Spider-Man sells just over 56k at 7.  Quite subdued for an anniversary issue, especially on a title that launched big.  This is only like the 6th or 7th issue of the book though so that might have taken a lot of wind out of sails in regards to the enthusiasm the anniversary might have provided.

Ray:  Yeah, the number definitely helped Spectacular more than double it’s usual issue sales, but this is just an oversized issue of the main series with a funny backup, not a big event. Legacy likely confused a lot of people. “#300? But I just started reading it! How did I miss 295 issues?”

Glenn:  They’re probably going to be even more confused when the title gets a new number one soon too (this hasn’t been announced yet but wouldn’t make sense for it not to happen cause lolz)

Its not the force it once was (ha, get it?  I said Force, me be funny) but Star Wars is still a strong performer for DC because its the highest selling title from the publisher this month that didn’t have a snazzy number 1 or anniversary number to help it along.  Its at 8 with over 56k and even three years later, Marvel is still getting big returns on having this property under their umbrella.

Ray:  Star Wars climbs back up as everything else falls for Marvel. They’ve be in such dire straits if it wasn’t for Disney helping them out.

Glenn:  At 9 we have the first issue of ‘event’ comic Infinity Countdown Prime which sells over 55.2k.  Very subdued launch for a title Marvel had a lot of buzz about.  Its not terrible if you compare it to where the book it replaced (Guardians) was but the company probably expected better.  Likely its main reason for existing will be to have a collection that says ‘Infinity’ on it in time for a certain film coming out in just under 2 months.

Ray:  Given that this is essentially a spin-off of Duggan’s Guardians run which sold relatively poorly, and that it’s only a prequel event to the real event starting around the time of Infinity War, I’d say a top ten debut is pretty healthy here. 

Glenn:  Wrapping up the top ten is Amazing Spider-Man issue 796 which sells over 55.1k which curiously outsells the proceeding issue which charts at 12 with sales over 52.8k.  Its not a huge difference but a climb is a climb.  Obviously the hype train is strong for Dan Slott’s final big Amazing Spider-Man story as people are in getting these issues hoping they’ll pay for their future homes in ten years or so.  I do think in all seriousness, people are hyped for the end of Slott’s epic run and the numbers here will keep climbing until we get to 800.

Ray:  Marvel is going to really miss the steady sales on this title in a half-year’s time. Almost as if they were repeatedly warned and this was completely avoidable. Most of the top twenty-five is dominated by steady favorites, including Darth Vader, more ASM, Detective Comics, Flash, and Justice League. We do have a few new debuts in this area, though, starting with Star Wars: Thrawn which sells 52K at #13. This is the Marvel Star Wars comics’ first attempt to bring the old expanded universe villain into the new Star Wars universe, so this is probably a but more of a niche product for the line. So on that level, this is a great number and shows how anything Star Wars will sell decently for Marvel.

 Glenn:  Yeah, Thrawn does have a big presence in the larger Star Wars community but to people who are only with the film portion of the Star Wars universe, they won’t know who he is and retailers were maybe a bit conservative because of that.  Still, like you said its a solid launch considering that and will do well in book stores once collected because of the huge presence the character has among expanded Star Wars fans.  They’ll maybe hope to get Disney to include him in a film if they show there’s an audience there.  If we can make Doctor Aphra a toy we can do anything!

feb3

Ray:  At #16 (the last book selling over 50K this month) we have the revival of Kick-Ass, featuring a new female lead. Good number, maybe a bit surprising and showing that the pull of Kick-Ass wasn’t really Dave? Interestingly, Hit-Girl is all the way down at #31 selling only 39K. Given that they’re both Millar books and Hit-Girl was the breakout character, that’s odd. Maybe it’s because Hit-Girl will become an anthology with Millar only on the first arc, or maybe it’s the pull of Romita? (Although that doesn’t seem to have helped his new DC title…)

Glenn:  Kick-Ass might be seen as the ‘safer’ bet because of the films too?  I’d say that probably Hit Girl is there more popular character but the Kick-Ass brand is stronger (even if its a new person under the mask).  Still, pretty good sales for both and well within the usual range of Millarworld titles.

Ray:  At #20 is the debut of The Terrifics, which is easily the best debut for one of these “New Age of DC Heroes” books for DC, selling 45K. Not a great debut given that it spins directly out of Metal, but when you consider that it stars Mr. Terrific (last solo series lasted 8 issues), Metamorpho (hasn’t sustained a solo series in decades), Plastic Man (popular but niche character) and Phantom Girl (second-tier team member on a team that hasn’t had a title in five years), it looks a lot more impressive. I put a lot of this down to the fact that

Jeff Lemire is one of the few writers who genuinely can sell anything. The news for the line as a whole is distinctly mixed, though.

Glenn:  The sales are purely down to Lemire and Ivan Reis (although he’s leaving soon but is soon to be replaced by Doc Shaner which is nothing to be sneezed at) and given the characters, the number is amazing.  This title as well as the Immortals and Challengers (downsized to a mini but still) were always going to be at the top end of how well these books could do and will likely be the only survivors long term.  Interesting experiment by DC but it hasn’t worked overall but if they can get two more solid ongoing performers out of, it could be worse.

Ray:  One interesting thing worth noting is that Action Comics and Superman are now selling roughly the same level, with all four issues being clustered in the #24-27 range. Given that Superman started out selling almost twice as much, this is impressive for Action and the pattern should likely continue when they’re written by the same man in a few months.

feb 4

Glenn:  Both Superman titles will get a big sales boost soon.  Whether that stays will be interesting to see but given there is now one creative voice for both titles, the two will likely orbit each other for the foreseeable future.

Ray:  At #28 we have the debut of Liam Sharp’s Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman, selling 42K. It really depends on how you look at this series – as a Wonder Woman series (which it seems to be more of), it sells 6K above the main series. Of course, when you consider that it has Batman on the cover and only sold 42K, it’s definitely not a series with the buzz of White Knight or Batman and the Signal (which stabilizes at #40 this month, selling 37K).

Glenn:  Yeah, Brave and the Bold is an interesting one.  Wonder Woman had a big year last year, Batman is the biggest commodity in the charts today and it has an a-list artist.  Maybe people are just waiting for a super lovely collection on this one?  If it can stabilize around this level or maybe even 10k later, its not going to be a complete waste but this is like a number we saw on Batman teaming with another companies character like Shadow or the Turtles rather than DC (and arguably comics) most iconic female hero.

Ray:  Not looking much like an event is Doctor Strange: Damnation, which charts at #29 selling 41.5K. Donny Cates’ Doctor Strange run is great, but not a best-seller, and tying it in with Secret Empire and bringing that writer on board likely didn’t win many new fans. The much-hyped debut, combined with variant covers, only just barely edged out the latest issue of Mighty Thor (one of Marvel’s steadiest books) by 31 copies.

Glenn:  Was this supposed to be a thing?  I definitely missed the memo on that if that’s the case.  Yeah, its an underwhelming performance for sure if it was supposed to be a big deal.  Follow on mini’s from big events have never done particularly well for Marvel in recent years.  Maybe they should have a think about that one.

feb 5

Ray:  Avengers has leveled out quickly, selling four issues in the 38-39K range, with sales actually jumping a bit at the end of the month for the return of Hulk. Landing in the thirties isn’t great for Avengers, but given that it’s selling four issues roughly on the level of Waid’s former Avengers title, that’s definitely an improvement overall.

Glenn:  Yeah so doing the ‘Brand New Day’ strategy for Avenger’s has worked a treat for the overall sales of the Avenger’s line but the title itself isn’t really a heavy hitter.  Still, constancy on a weekly is great to see and Jason Aaron will be riding in to help with that pesky sales issue soon enough.

Ray:  At #39 is the Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock special, which sells 38K. This was more of an offbeat side story, complete with Mike Allred art. Selling roughly 60% compared to the much more mainstream Infinity Countdown: Prime is probably a pretty good sign for overall interest in the event.

Glenn:  Back in the day, the ‘outer space’ stuff from Abbett and Lanning had a really respectful dedicated audience that made everything they did in the cosmic Marvel universe a success so there seems to still be some hunger for that.  

Ray:  We’ve got two titles, Captain America and Marvel Two-in-One at #43/44, which have leveled off extremely quickly from Marvel’s new wave. Captain America sheds less than 1K from last month (although the run is ending soon), and Marvel Two-in-One actually increases 3K from last month. Roughly 36K isn’t great, but for Marvel these days, it’s a good sign for these books overall. No wonder Marvel showed enough faith in Zdarsky to give him an exclusive.

A surprisingly strong debut for Mera: Queen of Atlantis at #45 with 35.7K. This is more than 10K above the sales of Aquaman this month, and roughly in the same range as this month’s issues of Wonder Woman. Some hidden interest in the character? Either way, I bet we’ll be seeing her used more prominently in the DCU if these sales don’t collapse after the first issue.

Glenn:  That’s a surprising number for a Mera mini.  Maybe its a show that people DO want female led books in some cases?  We’ll see how the rest of the mini performs but definitely first issue sales that are worth not ignoring.

Ray:  The other new launch for New Age of DC Heroes, Sideways, lands at #48 with sales of 35K. This is marginally lower than Damage last month, but a good deal higher than Silencer. Not terrible for a title that’s basically best described as “What if Blue Beetle, but with the powers of The Spot“, but this line has to be a bit of a disappointment for DC. We’ll see how the month two books stabilized a little further down, but there isn’t all that much breathing room with launches like this.

Glenn:  This is the character that explores the DC multi-verse yes?  Maybe some DC fans are hoping to see some of the work Morrison has laid down in that regard be explored here?  Hard to say but yeah, halfway decent for a first issue but I doubt this one will be anything to write home about sales wise long term.

Ray:  One DC book that definitely exceeded expectations was Batman: Sins of the Father at #52. Selling 32.4K, this is a spinoff of the Telltale series with Batman dealing with the fallout from revelations about how the Wayne fortune was built. This is a lot higher than we usually see digital-first books sell. There’s often harsh falls with the second issue, but I think we can chalk this up to the power of Batman.

Glenn:  Maybe ordered as a normal Batman mini than a telltale tie in?  Then again all those Arkham game mini’s haven’t done too badly in the past.  There’s no stopping the Batman in any media.

Ray:  Supergirl has another unexpected jump of over 5K this month to land at #56 with sales of 31.6K. This title continues to have one of the most unexpected resurgences in recent memory, and the issue that came out as we’re writing this column (with a different guest cowriter, Vita Ayala) is getting an enormous amount of buzz. So given all that…it’s kind of puzzling that it’s getting cancelled because Bendis. I understand that he wants the entire Super-family under his hand, but Supergirl is a hit character in her own right with a strong series and a TV show. She deserves her own book. She’s outselling Harley Quinn now!

Glenn:  Yeah, I really hope that DC have the sense to course correct here.  Can they (or any company) afford to ditch a book that is gaining momentum like this?  I mean unless you’re Batman or Walking Dead or a Tom King rein-visioning of a c list character, your sales don’t tend to rise just for no reason but here it is.  I doubt Bendis came in and went ‘You cancel Supergirl now, grrrr’ I mean if the Batfamily can show up in Detective and some of them have their own books too, can’t Supergirl have her own title as well as show up in a Superman book?

feb6

Ray:  One interesting subplot of this month is just how many strong-selling titles are getting cancelled by DC for story reasons. They include Titans, Super-Sons, Teen Titans, and Justice League of America, all selling above 25K (with Supergirl being the highest), not counting the Justice League title which is getting relaunched with Snyder. That’s six mid-level hit titles that DC is ready to say goodbye to simply to advance the universe’s plot. Marvel would kill for books as stable as these!

Glenn:  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that DC is cooking plans with the Super Sons and Teen Titans but yeah, its a puzzling move.  Hopefully it’ll be for the greater good.

Ray:  I don’t think anything sums up the poor state of Marvel Comics proper right now than the two comics at 60/61. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, an original Star Wars title featuring a spinoff character, outsells Iron Man only a few issues into the relaunch bringing back Tony Stark, with neither getting much above 30K.

Glenn:  Yeah, that comparison sells volumes.  I mean Aphra is literally a character that only exists in comics form (and a toy the majority of ‘casual’ Star Wars fans won’t have a clue about) and Iron Man is now celebrating ten years as a media icon thanks to the first MCU movie onwards.  The direction Marvel has been in for the same amount of time has put them in a position that has left them very weak.  They survive on pure power of volume, going back to the relaunch wall repeatedly and a handful of great runs.  Will Fresh Start be the thing that magically fixes all things and make life sunny and happy again?  In the case of the last few reboots, for a select few books that are lucky then sure but across the board?  No, no it will not.

Selling incredibly well for a 7.99 one shot is the Swamp Thing: Winter Special which charts at 64 with sales over 29.7k.  The power of Tom King getting people interested in third tier characters continues but also have to give a lot of credit to top DC artist Jason Fabok also.  This was also contained the last work of Swamp Thing’s creator, Len Wein and I’m sure people that have been fans of his over his historic career wanted to have his last work in their collection.  Its always sad to lose any creator but Wein contributed so many great characters and concepts to comics, the industry is a less special place without him.  I hope these sales also mean that DC will give King/Fabok a Swamp Thing season special for the upcoming year, it would make me so very happy.

Ray:  Despite the high price tag, that’s really impressive. This is a testament to the strength of all the creators involved, and I imagine it’ll get some pretty decent reorders given the critical buzz.

Glenn:  At 67 is the end of the Deadpool vs Old Man Logan mini which sells over 29.3k and only around 300 units less than the main Deadpool title, very impressive.  We’re not going to see a slow down of Deadpool mini’s anytime soon.

The second issue of Damage sells over 27k which is not too far below the previous issues sales.  Its at 75 so still in the top 100 (Remember when 27k wouldn’t get you in the top 200?  Rabbitt Stew farm remembers) and this relatively calm drop could be the book and this entire line of DC books saving grace but we’ll see how we do next month and how it does after losing its a-list artist in a few issues.

Ray:  That’s actually a pretty decent slide for Damage, losing less than 25% from its first month sales. I think this shows that the main problem with this line was in advance hype. Retailers didn’t feel this line was anything to really commit to in big numbers, since it’s almost entirely based around original characters. If it can continue leveling out, though, this title could survive for a while.

Glenn:  Part of the uber weird Milk Wars which is going to relaunch the Young Animal line, Batman/Mother Panic sells over 26.1k at 80 as the power of Batman makes this the best selling tie-in this month.  As stated last month, these books are not really performing any bigger than the previous Young Animal books would have so this renewing of focus on the line and bringing in main DC characters maybe hasn’t gotten the result that may have been wanted.  Although it shows stability in the line and in this market as its been proven time and again, a stable seller is worth its weight in gold.

Ray:  Overall, all of the Milk Wars tie-ins this month got much more significant bounces than the launch issue did last month. That’s mainly because the other titles sell much less regularly than Doom Patrol (thanks to the built-in fanbase of Gerard Way). It’s no surprise that Batman outsold Wonder Woman who outsold Swamp Thing, but I’m hoping that all three of these books keep some of those new eyes on the title when they come back with relaunched #1s next month.

feb7

Glenn:  The 25th issue of Justice League Of America received no special sales bump cause of the number on the front.  It sells just over 25.3k at 82 with the previous issue selling over 26.5k at 78.  It matters little as Snyder is coming in to revitalize the Justice League line.  I wonder who he’ll have to help him on that one *googles and spits out coffee he’s not drinking* erm yeah, I think DC has this one covered…

Another Milk Wars special at 96 with sales over 23.3k with JLA/Doom Patrol.  See comments above for Batman/Mother Panic pretty much.

Second issue of the Rogue/Gambit mini sells 22.2k at 100 on the charts.  Quite a drop from the launch last month but nothing too disastrous for a mini that is essentially built for old school X-Men fans it seems.

Ray:  Yeah, that seems to be another one of those puzzling first-issue bounces like Iron Fist had, but for a miniseries Rogue and Gambit should be fine. The rumor is that this may be a test run of sorts for Kelly Thompson to take over an X-book.

Glenn:  At 101 go back for more Milk with Shade The Changing Girl/Wonder Woman tie in which sells over 21.6k,  See above.

An odd batch of reorders for the first issue of *deep breath* Phoenix Resurrection Return Of (Adult) Jean Gray which picks up another additional 21.6+ sales at 102.  Its a few months since this issue was originally out so reorders at this level is brilliant.  In likelihood retailers had a lot of interest in X-Men: Red and likely wanted to give customers who wanted that book who maybe missed out on this mini a chance to catch up.  Good stuff.

Ray:  That is a really impressive reorder number, given that the title didn’t seem to have all that much buzz. Credit to Marvel – they somehow managed to make this one-month miniseries bringing back a confusing character into a bigger event than their last line-wide event!

Glenn:  Another not too terrible drop for another new age of heroes title in Silencer at 104 with sales over 21k,  Again considering the talent here DC probably expected better and superstar artist John Romita JR is leaving very soon so the title could see another big dip in its future.  There are exceptions of course but I just don’t think the market wants to see original characters from the big two at the moment.  They’ll take existing c or d listers in a new light like with Terrifics sure but new characters must stay over there because of stranger danger and such.

 Ray:  Silencer lost almost 1/3rd of its sales from its first month, so that’s steeper. I’m not sure what went wrong with this title, given that it has an a-list artist and got teased in Metal, but this is one I wouldn’t get too attached to – I have a feeling it’ll finish out its planned storyarc and head off to supporting-character-land.

Glenn:  Supporting character land is pretty sweet though.  That’s where Solo hangs out and where he is, terror dies.

At 105 is the Black Panther annual selling just under 21k.  This one had three legendary Black Panther writers returning for new stories and you’d think the hype and massive success of the new film would have helped this one a little more.  One of the writers that returned was Reggie Hudlin who despite writing Black Panther for years had a run that had middling success at best so maybe retailers had memories of many copies of unsold Black Panther comics from way back when?  Even the power of career phoenix Christopher Priest couldn’t counter that.  Its only around 8k behind the current book so it could be worse but if any month were to have a success for a Black Panther comic that people didn’t have to worry too much about the larger goings ons of issues past it was this one.

Ray:  Interesting that the annual sold just about as much as the second issue of the Panther’s latest origin miniseries, and the requisite Ralph Macchio one-shot for the casuals. Did Marvel not hype it up enough? I’d think that the return of two of Panther’s most legendary writers, Priest and McGregor, would have brought in more eyes. I expected this to at least sell on the level of the main series.

Glenn:  At 115 is the conclusion of Wonder Woman/Conan which wraps with a respectful sales over just under 19k.  Now that Conan is heading back to Marvel, we’ll likely never see these characters team again in the near future so there will no be sequel series here.  Another solid performer from the somewhat regular DC character/other company character here crossovers we’ve been treated to the last few years.  Why we haven’t had Flash on the Planet Of The Apes and think its just gorilla city is anyone’s guess (copyright Glenn Matchett, I’m watching you DC…)

feb8

Ray:  DC’s had a lot of success overall with their crossovers recently. I think they’ll keep going. I’m kind of surprised we haven’t seen a Buffy crossover unless Whedon won’t have it. I highly endorse Flash on the Planet of the Apes.

Glenn:  From recent solicits, it reads like the Buffy comics are wrapping up but a throwaway mini series starring Spike and Constantine battling over who gets the last cig from the packet is just money waiting to be printed.

At 118 is the launch of new Dynamite book, Dejah Thoris which sells over 18.5k which is astonishingly high for a new Dynamite number 1, especially starring a character I’ve literally never heard of.  I’m sure Ray will fill you in here *pushes all responsibility on Ray and runs away*

Ray:  Well, it’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet. It’s something about a princess of Mars? It’s by Amy Chu and had a 25-cent preview issue, which undoubtedly drove up initial sales. This might be Dynamite’s cheap-zero-issue experiment paying off. 

At #119 selling 18.4K, we’ve got Si Spurrier’s reinvention of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, with a 19th-century story fetus for Boom, so they have to be really happy with this. I wonder if David Bowie’s passing has helped drum up a bit more business and interest here.

Glenn:  It could have done.  These might do well in trade form once nostalgia really kicks in for Hensen properties once Netlfix releases their Dark Crystal series.

Ray:  #120 brings us the top non-Millar Image debut of the month in Ivan Brandon and Esad Ribic’s VS. Otherwise known as the book that took Ribic off Avengers, it sells just a hair under 18K, a respectable debut for this future-set combat/sports drama. But roughly 1/10 of what that Avengers book would have sold! I kid, I kid…

At #125 we find Invincible #144, the conclusion to the decade-plus-long creative run by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley. It sells 16.8, an almost 50% increase from the last issue two months ago. So there was some pretty healthy interest in the end of this series, even as the majority of readers migrated to collections long ago.

Glenn:  *weeps for Invincible* this book never sold as well as it deserved but will have a long life in collection form.  I am still very much in the denial phase where I hope that Kirkman brings it back in the future.  I am very excited that Ottely is drawing Amazing now, that could possibly be Marvel’s biggest talent grab in years.  That book will look pretty if nothing else.

Ray:  Speaking of impressive reorders, we’ve got an additional 16.7K of last month’s issue of Dark Knights: Metal charting at #127. This book is unstoppable.

Gwenpool also gains about 3K in sales for its final issue, landing at #130 with sales of 16.3K. Gwenpool…will not be remembered like Invincible.

Glenn:  I’m wondering if this is due to sales or the fact that editor (and possibly real life Gwenpool) Heather Antos left the company.  I don’t ever recall an editor being so personally invested in a book before and even if Gwenpool is never referenced again, that is something that I’d lose to see more of from all editorial staff so kudos and best luck.

Ray:  Down at #139 we have the debut of Lockjaw by Daniel Kibblesmith, selling 14.4K. I don’t think anyone was expecting the adventures of the Inhumans’ dog and D-Man to be a big direct market hit, but this oddball, hilarious book seems to have received strong reviews and will likely find a big audience in collections as a new all-ages book. Kibblesmith has a huge audience outside comics, as well.

feb9

The fact that Ms. Marvel (#140, 14.2K) is barely outselling Deadman (#142, 14K) is yet another testament to how badly Marvel’s hurt their position in the direct market. This is one of their longstanding hits with a ton of audience goodwill. And they both outsell Legion (#143), 13.7K) and Runaways (#144, 13.6K), which are coming off hit TV series!

Glenn:  Poor Kamala deserves better than this.  I doubt she’ll be going anywhere but her existence in comics is now playing second fiddle to the larger world she has been introduced to through merchandise, cartoons and the like.

Ray:  Down at #146 we’ve got the $9.99 anthology Young Monsters in Love, which combined some top creators (including Paul Dini, Tim Seeley, and Steve Orlando) with a selection of oddball DC horror characters. Given the price and the obscure characters involved, it selling 13.2K has to be considered a big win for DC, as they continue to have a strong streak with their anthologies.

Glenn:  This anthology definitely had some obscure characters compared to past offerings.  I wasn’t sure who some of them where but all the stories included were very good and this is a decent number for this type of thing at this price tag.  This could very well become a yearly thing like the DC holiday special.

Ray:  I would have hoped for more for the rebranding of New Super-Man and the Justice League of China, which only gains about 1.5K in sales to land at #152 with sales of 11.9K. This is a cult book that’s still one of the lowest-selling DC titles, but DC’s showed some faith in it. It might be finding the Ms. Marvel effect where it’s getting a big audience in unconventional ways. It’s a book they’d be wise to invest in and expand to other forms of media.

Glenn:   I wouldn’t be surprised to see these characters show up on the new Young Justice season.  The characters seem to be well thought of and could appeal to a wider audience for sure.

Ray:  In the latest edition of “comparisons that make Marvel look horrible”, the 22nd issue of edgelord Scooby Doo remake Scooby Apocalypse (#155, 11.6K) outsells the fifth issue of the latest issue of Marvel-declared flagship title Captain Marvel (#156, 11.4K). You know, the Captain Marvel that has a movie coming in a few months. It might be time for Marvel to admit that the character just isn’t happening – and they should hope that only applies to the comics.

Glenn:  Don’t fear Ray, Captain Marvel is getting another relaunch in ‘fresh start’ by…the same writer.  Okay, maybe fear a little.

Ray:  I didn’t see it coming, but Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast is sticking around the charts, selling another 11.4K at #157. That’s actually up about 500 copies from its last issue. An 80s metal band only missed outselling Captain Marvel by 89 copies.

Glenn:  Iron Maiden merch will still be selling long after we’re dead for they likely have some sort of deal where immortality and souls are involved.  I’m sure our children Jack and Wednesday (yup I named your future child) will still be talking about it in their version of By The Numbers, coming exclusively to Graphic Policy 2033ish.

Ray:  I’m hoping Wednesday wasn’t named Wednesday because they were born on Wednesday! That might derail me getting my comics! Eh, I’m sure my wife will understand.

Glenn:  She’s named in honour of New Comic Day of course!

Ray:  The Mignolaverse continues to be Dark Horse’s bread-and-butter at the moment, as a new one-shot teaming Hellboy and the BPRD sells 10.5K at #164. And it outsells the fifth issue of Falcon right below it. Another popular MCU character with zero presence in the comic market. This guy was Captain America a half-year ago!

Glenn:I hope Mignola enjoys those muffin baskets that Dark Horse should totally be sending him.

feb10

Ray:  At #167 is the debut of Deathbed, Josh Williamson and Riley Rossmo’s latest Vertigo series. This high-adventure mystery sells 10.2K, and for Vertigo that’s a decent number. Really, that imprint has massive problems and the vast majority of the sales will come from collections, so we’re just seeing a fragment of the whole picture here. Over six issues, it should hold a decent portion of these sales.

Glenn:  It’ll sell well in collections.  If this had been Image, you thought it would do over 25k.  It seems that daddy has to come home in the form of Neil Gaiman to save Vertigo and to be honest…that’s not a bad idea.

Ray:  #173 brings us the debut of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles, a new miniseries where the de-aged Giles goes undercover in school. Despite the return of Joss Whedon as co-writer, it only sells 9.7K, which makes me think you’re right in your suspicions that the Buffy comics may be wrapping up after the next season.

Glenn:  Yeah, I think the property has had its day in the comics world.  Whedon writing comics has lost its special feeling (see also: Kevin Smith) and the property is slowly fading away to a point that the Angel series just can’t hold its own weight anymore.  

Ray:  A book I would have expected a little more for is the Mister Miracle Director’s Cut, which contained an original eight-page story from King and Mike Norton reinventing the title character’s origin. The series took a month off due to personal (and happy) events for Mitch Gerads, and this filled the gap to the tune of 9K at #182. Given that it’s mostly a reprint, that’s fine, but given the white-hot reception of the series, I assumed it would have landed a bit higher. Maybe DC didn’t publicize the original content quite well enough.

Glenn:  The reprint is for a comic not that old so yes, not too bad at all.  I would say some fans who bought it the first time round would be miffed to learn they have to spend another $6 plus tax for something they already own for a little short story so that could have been a factor too.

More reorders from the Batman Who Laughs at 191 who chuckles up additional sales of over 8.1k.  Yeah, there’s no question that this guy isn’t going anywhere and will be around to haunt our dreams for decades to come (sob).

The second issue of Snagglepuss just under 8k at 198 which is really stable after its debut last month.  This is one of the more obscure Hanna Barbera characters and a very odd take on him so retailers likely had a rough idea who the audience was here.  These types of projects from DC will likely continue now and then.

Ray:  Mark Russell seems to have carved out his odd little niche in the Market right now with things like Prez, Flintstones, and Snagglepuss. Despite none of them selling too much more than this level, DC seems to be ready for more from him. I’m glad – variety is a good thing for a company, and DC’s current dominance allows them room to experiment.

Glenn:  At 202, Xena the 90’s TV icon is back, in comic form and sells over 7.9k.  The TV show has been off the air for like close to two decades so this is probably one for the hardcore Xena fans still out there.  The only time I’ve really seen anything of Xena was the brilliant Treehouse Of Horror episode where we learned she can’t fly but Lucy Lawless can.

Despite being missing a new issue, Doomsday Clock appears on the charts anyway with the third issue picking up reorders of over 7.8k at 204.  The book has its detractors for sure but it doesn’t seem to have an effect on the interest it continues to drum up.

KISS is back on the charts again and this time they’re teaming up with…Ash from the Army Of Darkness…k.  As we’ve seen above with Iron Maiden there seems to be a bizarre spot in the market for these types of things.  It sells at 209 with sales under 7.7k

Where’s the Beef I hear you ask?  The new Image book is at 214 on the charts selling just over 7.1k!  This is a mini with an odd premise where the only name I know is letterer, Richard Starking.  The result could be worse considering all the words I just typed.

Ray:  The Beef mainly seemed to appeal to fans of Starkings’ last work, Elephantmen. That makes this a pretty clear cult property, and for a miniseries Image has to be fine for these numbers.

feb11

Glenn:  Heavy Metal’s iconic (or so the description reads) female warrior Taarna debuts on the charts at 215 with sales over 7k.  Alex De Campi is involved here but I have a feeling that this book is for an audience that is not your conventional comic book reader.  It could have stable sales if retailers are pretty certain who they can sell it to.

IDW debut’s a comic called Punks Not Dead which has a fun premise but only sells a bit above 7k at 220.  We’ve said here a few times that IDW have a hard time with creator owned stuff but I think this comic has an interesting enough premise that it could gain a cult following fast.

Right below it at 221 selling 7k on the button is Death Of Love from Image.  This is another mini from writer Justin Jordan and personally friend of myself and Ray, Donal Delay.  Its premise is offbeat but I think it’ll do well in collections.  I’m really pleased for Donal who has always been a nice guy and super talented, I’m sure his name will come up on these charts in the future for years to come.

Ray:  Donal’s new to the big leagues, but he has a great career in front of him. Justin Jordan, despite being a mainstay of the big two for years, doesn’t seem to have really found a big audience for his creator-owned work yet, but he’s a cult creator with a loyal audience, so this might level off quickly and get some reorders, hopefully.

Glenn:  A comic based on real life spy, Mata Hari comes from Dark Horse at 223 with sales over 6.9k.  This is another Berger books offering that doesn’t seem to have caught much interest.  The link to a real person is certainty interesting but these type of things can really be 50/50 in terms of success and I think this title has landed on the wrong side of that.

Ray:  Thus far, none of the Berger books have really caught on. They have some big names like Anthony Bourdain attached, but they’re all concepts that don’t lend themselves to the direct market at all. If quality turns out to be strong, they might do well in collections, especially one of them (more on that in a bit).

Glenn:  A new Red Sonja book from Dynamite launches at 224 with sales over 6.8k.  This is Red Sonja and the people buying this book will be the same that have bought her book for the last 10-15 years so retailers ordered appropriately.  Unless someone like Jason Aaron or Scott Snyder wanted to write her, Red Sonja is the type of character who has a set dependible audience that is unlikely to shift much these days.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this market though.

Ray:  Not just Red Sonja – Steampunk alternate universe Red Sonja! Given that, I don’t think they were expecting all that much out of this.

Glenn:  Verly soft drop for Kochchei the Deathless on its second issue selling over 6.8k at 226.  Typical performance for a Dark Horse title these days that isn’t based on a property or has Mignola or Lemire involved.

Notoriously hard as nails video game, Bloodborne gets a comic spin off selling over 6.7k at 227.  These things always tend to sell low numbers as again, the audience that will be interested are likely to get the issue another way.  

More Metal reorders, this time its the nearly 8 month old (or so) Dark Knights Metal 2 which sells another 6.6k at 231 all this time later.  DC won’t know why, DC won’t care why.  No wonder they threw Justice League at Snyder after him giving them this.

feb12

At 232 is the second issue of Ninjak vs Vu which sells 6.6k and pretty much within that set Valient range that the majority of the companies books seem to live at.

Sales this month being down across the board means By The Numbers and Rabbitt Stew unofficial sponsor Zombie Tramp is all the way up at 233 with sales over 6.5k.  You go tramp!

Ray:  Zombie Tramp keeps on rising…but maybe not for long! Apparently The Death of Zombie Tramp is just around the corner, per Danger Zone. I’m excited for the polybagged bleeding g-string collectible issue.

Glenn:  I expect it to have people lining up at their LCS to buy a copy ala Death Of Superman

At 240 is a Krusty The Clown one shot (no seriously) it sells 6,3k.  I tried to get my brain to think about analyzing what this could mean sales wise but instead, I’m going to clown college.

Ray:  It really is impressive how Bongo has managed to carve a twenty-year-plus existence as a comic company out of one property. Now, where’s my Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel megaseries?

Glenn:  They said no to my pitch on that but are coming back to me on ‘Choo-choose me train: Mass murderer’

Ray:  You never know what property is going to get a revival in comics these days. Now Cullen Bunn, or one of his twenty comic-writing clones are doing a Pumpkinhead comic for Dynamite. Pumpkinhead’s last movie was in 2007, with the last theatrical release in 1994. Still, it’s a cult favorite with a unique monster, so that’s good enough for 6.4K at #242. Bunn will write all the things!

feb13

Glenn:  He had like one hour allocated to sleep and decided to do this instead.  Also the news of newish Pumpkinhead movies has blown me away.

Ray:  IDW is going to cross over all your childhood faves! Next up, GI Joe vs Six Million Dollar Man selling 6K at #244. I’m sure all those 80s kids are thrilled. IDW continues to win their game of quantity, as it’s worth noting that they’re pretty firmly ensconced as the #4 comic company on the market.

Speaking of IDW, right below at #245 is the first issue of their new miniseries based on Tangled: the Series selling 6K. This is not likely geared towards the direct market, as it’ll make a very nice trade with ten individual stories for kids. Still, this is more evidence of IDW’s cozy relationship with Disney, maybe the most interesting subplot in the market right now.

Glenn:  Marvel can’t come to the IDW/Disney picnics.

Ray:  After a long break, Calexit returns with its second issue at #248, selling 5.8K. This controversial title does seem to have gotten people talking about Black Mask, but it’ll need to find some sort of regular shipping schedule to maintain any momentum. This isn’t DKIII.

Glenn:  Or Doomsday Clock or Metal or…

Ray:  There’s Zombie Tramp again at #249. It’s the earlier of the two issues this month, which shows this title keeps on growing. It’ll get to the top ten sooner or later! Just in time for the ZTCU to destroy the box office.

A modest 5.7K in reorders for the kickoff of Avengers: No Surrender at #250…but that outsells a first-run issue of Monsters Unleashed right below it. Woof. That experiment is over with next month.

Glenn:  Monsters Unleashed is really the Mercs With The Mouth spin off for the modern By The Numbers Reader

Ray:  Christopher Sebela and Hayden Sherman’s new Aftershock series Cold War debuts at #255 with sales of 5.5K. Clearly on the low end of Aftershock debuts, but this is one of their most experimental titles so far. If it’s going to find a bigger audience, it’ll likely be in collections.

The James Bond: M One-Shot from Dynamite sells 5.4K at #258. This is one of Dynamite’s most popular franchises, and doing these one-shots seems to be working out for the company – instead of attrition over a miniseries, they just spotlight different characters and get #1 numbers for each installment.

Glenn:  Cool note that this was set in Belfast by two Irish creators!  Apparently it did some good business here so there you go.

Ray:  Speaking of Zombie Tramp, the latest addition to the Zombie Tramp Universe, Black Betty, debuts at #259 with sales of 5.4K. God bless ’em, someone’s buying these books and they’re buying a lot of them, because it keeps on growing! Next up, Baby Badass, who is way too close to Boss Baby for my tastes.

Glenn:  I can’t honestly tell if you’re joking or not.

feb14

Ray:  At #261 is another Black Mask title, The Wilds #1 written by Vita Ayala – who just had a career breakout moment as cowriter on DC’s Supergirl. 5.4K isn’t the best Black Mask’s titles have done, but this one seemed to get a bit more mainstream attention than their usual edgy fare.

Glenn:  Maybe the title might get a good stabilization or an increase over the buzz on her Supergirl issue?  We’ll see next month.

Ray:  At #264 is the debut of the third Berger Book, Incognegro: Renaissance. This is the lowest debut by a wide margin, but it also may be the book in the best shape. This is a sequel/prequel to a very well-regarded series from ten years ago, and 90% of people familiar with it read it in collected form. These 5.2K are not at all representative of its audience – it’s going to finish its run, get collected, and go right next to the first volume on the bookshelf.

Glenn:  Ten years is a long time for a fellow up in indie land so the fact that it made the top 300 is something but yeah…fans of the original series will want that super nice collection

Ray:  Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits, the latest Archer and Armstrong one-shot from Fred Van Lente, doesn’t find a big audience at #271, selling only 5K. Still, this is a long-post-cancellation sequel to a cult series, without much hype. I get the feeling these one-shots are really just the company letting a creator they have a good relationship with keep telling these stories when he gets an idea, and I fully support that.

The Optimus Prime Annual, one of a cavalcade of comics based on 80s toys from IDW, lands at #276 with sales of 4.8K. IDW knows who’s buying these by now, I think.

One of the biggest disappointments of the month has got to be Twisted Romance, the weekly anthology from Image written by Alex De Campi with art and backup stories from a group of indie artists and cartoonists. More of an experimental comic, Image probably wasn’t expecting big numbers – but I was still shocked to see the first issue down at #280 selling 4.7K, with all the other issues out of the top 300. The latter two issues had some great stories, but it seems not too many people saw them. $20 for a month of unknown stories may have been too high an ask for retailers and readers.

Glenn:  Good for Image for trying something different but this isn’t the market to roll the dice in.

Ray:  It’s rare you see us really stumped here at By the Numbers, but #285 has done it. That’s Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, which sells a shockingly low 4.5K for a Black Hammer spin-off. This would be horrible news – except that Doctor Star didn’t come out in February. It shipped in the first week of March, alongside Lemire’s other creator-owned launch, Gideon Falls. So then what’s this? Ghost comic, wooooooooo. My guess is it was an odd advance ship that snuck in, and to see the real level for this comic we probably have to add these sales to next month’s additional orders. But that’s math…

Glenn:  Pft, math.  Numbers are dumb…wait, what are we called?  Yeah this reads like some shops maybe got some Black Hammer material early, lucky sods.

feb15Ray:  At #289 we’ve got Walt Disney Showcase, a collection of old Disney comics from IDW. The numbers of 4.4K are small, but IDW’s very quickly becoming Disney’s go-to publisher, and that’s more valuable than any sales.

Batman: White Knight sneaks into the top 300 again with an additional 4.2K in orders for the third issue at #294. It’s just going to keep building momentum, and you know Murphy can write his own ticket at DC now – along with his own comics.

#295 has the launch of Lucas Stand: Inner Demons from Boom. This is a sequel miniseries to the horror comic by the creator of Sons of Anarchy. The original series was more of a cult book, and the sales here of just under 4.4K indicate that’s not changing.

Taking the #300 position this month is the latest issue of Multiple Warheads, Brandon Graham’s offbeat Image anthology comic. Given its erratic schedule and the fact that it’s spinning out of oversized Image anthology Island, I imagine it’s just happy to be here.

Glenn:  Its a low entry point to the charts these days so we’re bound to see some randomers.

Ray:  Looking ahead to next month, it’s sort of a quiet launch month for the big two, although DC will have both their big events – Metal concludes, and Doomsday Clock wraps up act one, so those should pretty easily take the top two slots. DC will also be dropping the relaunches of three Young Animal titles, as well as new #1 Eternity Girl. There is an issue of Supergirl getting some massive buzz that could boost the title even more, as well.

feb16Marvel is still playing out the string on Legacy before Fresh Start, which will be followed in six months by “C’mon, give ol’ Gil a chance!”. But they do have a few launches this month, including the proper launch of Infinity Countdown, the New Mutants mini that was supposed to be a movie tie-in but isn’t, and the Weapon H spinoff comic featuring Hulkverine. ‘Kay.

It’s actually the indies who shine this month, as Jeff Lemire and Robert Kirkman launch a-list new independent comics from Image, Cyber-Force gets a new relaunch, and one of the most acclaimed creative teams of all time, Mike Carey and Peter Gross, return with a new original property from IDW, The Highest House. We could see some big breakout hits from these independents as the big two give them a bit of a break.

What will rise? What will fall? How high will Zombie Tramp go? Find out next month on By the Numbers!

Glenn:  I’m going to bet on a top ten number for Gideon Falls, if I’m wrong, I will Jeff Lemire a massage…no don’t warn him he’ll be fine with it I’m sure.

Liked what you read or have any questions, comments or concerns then let us know here or on Twitter via @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield!

By The Numbers: January 2018

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He’s seen the pencils for the much delayed Sparks: The Way I Was by Katie Fleming and they look super awesome and can’t wait to show you all!

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.  When contacted about his thoughts on Supergirl being cancelled (announced after the typing of what you will read below) it is said that Ray walked into the distance with the sad music from the Hulk TV show mysteriously playing in the air…

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!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Note: This article was written previously to Marvel announcing their all new all different ultimate stupendous spectacular relaunch.  Yes it really is that time of year again.

Glenn:  Its a new year for sales and in January we get the first impression of what the year will bring for all our favorite titles and comic companies respectively.  Market share and units sold were split between Marvel and DC respectively which essentially means that Marvel made more money but DC sold more comics.  Its a very steady even race between the two now as Marvel continues its slow slide and DC continues its slow rise.  It was considered another poor month in sales overall but lets take a closer look and find out for ourselves.

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Ray:  As I recall, this is the first time in a while we’ve seen real movement in the market share portion of the charts. DC seems to be pretty consistently gaining, and this is before Marvel cancels a large segment of their line. They’ll lose a lot of raw sales, which may just allow DC to surpass them in unit sales as well.

Glenn:  For the third month in a row, DC juggernaut Doomsday Clock topped the charts with over 157.7k which is a very, very minimal drop from last month.  There are also reorders for the previous two issues which we’ll talk about later but if sales have stabilized this fast, its a great sign for the title. Again, I might have expected more overall for the sequel to Watchmen but I still would say that’s the market, not the book.  Of course, the title is about to hit some big delays the issue after next so we’ll see how that effects things.  It didn’t seem to impact Dark Knight III too much so I wouldn’t expect it to here.
At the second place in the podium is DC’s other juggernaut event (they’re just being greedy) issue 5 of the ridiculously successful Metal which sells just over 149k.  There could be an argument that since Metal has tie ins and is a bigger scale than Doomsday Clock, its going to be seen as more of a success.  Everything this tie-in has remotely brushed against has benefited and even though there have been some delays on the main mini, DC has capitalized with some very well selling tie-ins and one shots.  The event is money and now is going to spin off into a Justice League run which will make the company even more money.  People say the market is tired of events but DC has proved with Metal that when they’re done right, the market will respond.

Ray:  Both Doomsday Clock and Metal seem to have pulled off a near impossible feat of holding almost steady or in some cases increasing from month to month. Compare this to recent Marvel events where we saw huge slides in sales mid-run. Delays are never good for a comic, of course, but we saw Dark Knight III weather massive delays with little to no slide in sales, and Doomsday Clock is actually relevant to the overall picture of the DCU, so I imagine the same effect will happen here.

Glenn:  At 3 and 4 is the latest issues of Batman selling over 98.4k and 94.3k respectively.  The ongoing that sells like an event book just keeps on trucking as we build towards the only superhero wedding this year that’ll matter.

Ray:  Now that we know Batman #50 will feature the Bat-wedding (supposedly) and the return of the Joker, I could see that issue going over 200K and topping the month.

Glenn:  200k is a lofty call but its possible.  We’ll definitely see it above the 150k range for sure.  I would say the title will probably continue its slide down from that higher point rather than going back to previous levels as that’s been its pattern for a few years.

Walking Dead returns to the top ten at 5 with an anniversary issue in 175, a new story and a new villain which is enough to send its sales up to over 82.3k.  It doesn’t take much to get people interested in Walking Dead again as it repeats its eternal pattern of great sales, very slow slide until they get great sales again.  Rinse and repeat.  When your little black and white indie comic is taking second place to Batman as the most consistent title on the charts, you don’t have much to worry about.

In an interesting experiment, Avengers 675 lands at 6 on the charts.  So this is an anniversary issue which hasn’t really helped Marvel the last few months but mainly the increased sales of just under 80k is due to the much hyped ‘No Surrender’ storyline and the swapping of the title to weekly as all the other Avenger’s books under one banner.  Marvel did the same thing a few years ago with Amazing Spider-Man to great success and it seems initially to pay off.  Initially anyway.  With it being a weekly we see immediately how this has performed and its not encouraging.  Issue 676 is at 36 with sales under 40k, 677 is at 40 with sales over 38.4k and 678 is at 42 with sales over 37.4k.  So its not a complete disaster by any means and the entire Avengers line is better off with the sales being a bit better than what the main title was doing prior to this, never mind how its performing versus how the secondary ones like Uncanny were doing.  In that way, its a success so far but I’m sure Marvel were hoping for a little better.  Next month if it stays around here, Marvel will have a decent weekly performer which is nothing to sneeze at but they were probably hoping for a top ten staple from this experiment and that is definitely not something on the cards here.

Ray:  This Avengers book essentially replaces Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and US Avengers, and the following issues after the first-issue jump are essentially doing what the Waid Avengers book had been doing post-Legacy. So Marvel replaced one decently selling book and two poorly-selling ones with four decently selling books, and they have to be at least somewhat happy with that. It’s not any sort of big hit, but it stops the bleeding a bit for now on a title that they need to be able to sell decently.

Glenn:  At 7 is the surprise success of the DC line, Batman: White Knight which has a small increase this month to sales over 73k.  This is performing like a much smaller scale Dark Knight III which is probably surprising everyone involved.  Big props to writer/artist Sean Murphy and a huge pat on the back to DC for managing to find another steady seller that has surpassed expectations.

Ray:  White Knight is the little Bat-book that could. A title consistently increasing in sales and rank like this is…well, actually a lot less rare than it used to be for DC, with books like Mister Miracle and Supergirl. This is very impressive, and I expect we’re going to see more curated Bat-projects like this in the future – elite creators given free reign to tell their own odd Elseworlds take on Batman.

Glenn:  Batman makes money, DC knows this and giving high profile creators free reign over the character can only help their monthly performance as well as getting more collections out to earn money off for years to come too.

In the finale of Venom Inc, Venom Inc Omega sells over 63.3k at 8 on the charts.  Decent number for the finale here, not too much lower than the Alpha issue last month.  This crossover was not as good as some of the ones Slott has masterminded in the past for the title but it was still enjoyable in a Saturday Morning Cartoon way and delivered good sales for these book ends and the Amazing issues it tied into.  All eyes on the countdown towards Slott leaving the title which we’ll talk about below but Amazing is probably going to be seeing some sharp sales increases as we get closer to issue 800.

Ray:  Interesting that Venom Inc. sold above the levels of both books for the finale. This is a pretty traditional crossover, going chapter by chapter between the books. Either way, it’s clear Slott can still drive an event, and Marvel is definitely going to miss him on one of their last reliable franchises. We’ll see if his sales pull extends to Iron Man soon.

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Glenn:  I think moving Slott to Iron Man is a solid move, he’s a proven creator who can hold steady sales and get people talking about his books.  He may not be at the forefront like some other creators all the time but he brings stability which this market and Marvel in particular needs in spades.  I’m more curious how Amazing will perform without him, Marvel are still very quiet about future plans there.

Great numbers for the first issue of three part mini, Batman and the Signal which sells over 62.3k.  Its a Metal tie-in so that will help but it also has Scott Snyder’s name on the cover which will really, really help.  This will doubtlessly be a decent little performer as its going to be over with before we realize.

Ray:  Scott Snyder and Batman undoubtedly drew sales here, but this is essentially a Duke Thomas solo comic written by a new creator, so on that note, DC has to be thrilled here. Without proper branding and Snyder on plot, a Duke Thomas title could have followed in the footsteps of other positively reviewed books that didn’t find an audience, but now 62K people just got introduced to the character’s first big adventure.

Glenn:  If we compare it to Duke’s previous ‘We Are Robin‘ book, it is in a completely different league sales wise, that’s for sure.

Last spot in the top ten is the first part of the twelve issue maxi series, Old Man Hawkeye which sells over 57.4k.  This a prequel to the extremely popular and best selling Old Man Logan story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven from a number of years ago so people are probably excited to return to this world which seemed interesting but we didn’t see very much of.  Neither Millar (who is living it up in Indie land counting his Netflix money) or McNiven (who is…somewhere?) are back so sales are a but lower than maybe I would have expected.  Still, a decent launch for an out of continuity mini that no matter what story its connected to is still starring Hawkeye.  Not sure how this will go but anywhere in the usual high tier Marvel range of 30k-40k will serve it fine.

Ray:  Given that this is a Hawkeye comic by a first-time Marvel author, a top ten debut is incredible. I’m not sure what’s driving sales for this alternate universe so much, but clearly people want to see more from this world. This reminds me of Iron Fist a bit, in terms of just how out of nowhere its massive success is.

Glenn:  Another very low entry point for the top ten with a good bit under 60k this month.  Ray, would you say its time to panic, crack each others heads open and feast on the goo inside?

Ray:  Of course, massive success is in the eye of the beholder, as you pointed out about the entry point to the top ten. Very, very low. The time is absolutely right to eat brains. Braaaaaaaaaaaains. 

*wipes away brains and composes self* Out of the top ten, this is where we see the mainstays, as most of the top ten is dominated by Star Wars, Darth Vader, Detective Comics, and Flash. These are the few titles that can consistently stay above or close to the 50K mark, and they’re the company’s bread and butter. But note that for one company, those characters are their top heroes, and for the other it’s an imported film franchise…

We saw shocking numbers for the debut of Phoenix Resurrection last month, and we predicted it wouldn’t last. We r smrt. It didn’t. The title lost about 2/3rds of its sales from the first issue, with the next four issues landing at 17, 20, 24, 23 (with a slight bump for the finale) and selling between 51-46K. Not terrible for a Jean Grey miniseries by any stretch, but clearly more of a limited scale character event than the first issue sales indicated. Marvel can get those early sales going, but they can’t keep them.

Glenn:  If the upcoming X-Men: Red can sell in this range that would put that book among one of Marvel’s most successful.  It’s a slightly different ball game though as this mini was hyped like a mini event and was released quickly where Red has all the potential pitfalls of any other regular monthly book.  Still on paper this is an encouraging sign for that book for sure.

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Ray:  Amid mainstays like Superman and Justice League, we see two DC annuals selling fairly strong numbers. Flash Annual and Detective Comics Annual land at 27 and 28 with sales just under 45K. Flash, being a lead-in to the title’s next big event, sells very close to the main title’s numbers, only 3K below. Detective, meanwhile, was an origin flashback for Clayface and there’s a bigger delta of about 8K. Still, both of these books are holding fairly close to the main title and another sign of just how successful these books are for DC.

Guardians of the Galaxy closes out its run with an oversized issue that charts at #30, selling 42K, which is more than a 100% jump from last issue. As we all know, this title has been cancelled and will be replaced with a summer Infinity Stones event. There’s clearly still an audience for these characters, but something went wrong with the last incarnation.

Glenn:  I think of overexposure and being relaunched amid a line wide relaunch that stumbled out of the gate overall really hurt Guardians.  Hopefully the rebranding and bigger spotlight can garner some interest back in the characters again.

Ray:  At #31, we’ve got the one-shot for Star Wars character DJ, which sells 42K. These numbers are fairly similar to what we saw for the Storms of Crait one-shot last month, about 7K lower. There’s a bit of attrition with these Star Wars spin-offs, but they reach numbers that few other Marvel books do anyway.

Glenn:  Nearly 3 or 4 years on and Star Wars titles still perform anywhere from great to very good no matter the character or era.  The franchise coming back to cinemas have revitalized its popularity and Marvel are definitely getting the full benefit

Ray:  At #35, selling just over 40K, we’ve got the miniseries “Rise of the Black Panther“. This is being billed as the definitive origin story for the character, and it has Coates collaborating with an acclaimed young writer named Evan Narcisse. Definitely a success. Hm, I wonder if there’s a reason Marvel might be putting out a lot of Black Panther content at the moment…

Glenn:  I have no clue why we’re seeing so much Black Panther stuff, maybe its worth a google?  Since we had the retelling of the Panther’s Origin by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita JR roughly 15 years ago, I doubt many will mind a repeat, especially since the character is going to get the biggest spotlight he’s ever received.

Ray:  Selling 38.6K at #37, this is a healthy debut for Rogue & Gambit, a romantic comedy miniseries from newly exclusive Marvel writer Kelly Thompson. It did a lot better than another niche X-book spinoff this month, so maybe this is Thompson building a brand, or maybe it’s some nostalgia for Rogue and Gambit, but for a miniseries this is pretty strong.

Glenn: Very respectable for a mini and I would say that’s pure 90’s nostalgia and how popular this pairing is.  Maybe Marvel should have announced them getting married instead?

Ray:  The climb continues for Mister Miracle, as it lands at #38 this month and gains another 1K to sell 38.6K. Has there ever been a title that consistently performed like this? We’re seeing a word of mouth sensation here.

Glenn:  Next year: King and Gerards make Wild Dog sell!  Is there nothing they can’t do?!

Ray: A very rare case of an annual outperforming the main title, we’ve got the X-Men Blue annual at #39, selling 38.5K. This was the start of a crossover with Venom spinning out of the Venomverse story, and it outperforms the main X-Men Blue issues this month by 5-6K. It seems like Venom lifts anything it touches, even if the main Venom title isn’t a powerhouse. (It’s two slots below this issue.)

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Glenn:  This renewed interest in Venom is pretty crazy to watch and Marvel is taking full advantage of it as he’s showing up everywhere.  It’ll be handy for them to have loads on Venom orientated collections on shelves for people that go to see the Venom movie and either want something that actually features the character or it makes them want to find out more.

Ray:  A bit of good news for Marvel – Captain America seems to have leveled out very quickly, losing only 1.8K sales from last month with its third issue. It’s selling 37K this month at #43, and is settling in the top tier of Marvel’s superhero comics. So one franchise that seemed to be damaged severely is recovering. Let’s hope another, bigger one doesn’t wind up in the same fix soon…

Glenn: After a long journey, Captain America has found its way back to where it was roughly when Remender was writing it.  It turns out when you write Captain America in a traditional, character consistent way, it works!  Crazy times.

Ray:  Bad news for DC for a change, as their new line “The New Age of DC Heroes” lands with a shocking thud. To be fair, their two debuts this month didn’t have the most buzz behind them, but these numbers are still depressing. Their Hulk pastiche, Damage, by Robert Venditti and Tony Daniel, lands at #44 with a 37K debut, while assassin/mom thriller Silencer by Dan Abnett and John Romita Jr. lands at #62, selling 30K. Given that there’s usually a big slide after the first issue, this is…not good. The fact that the big-name artists, who are a huge part of the draw here, are gone after issue #3, is…very not good. We’ll likely see higher numbers for books like The Terrifics, which is Jeff Lemire’s return to the DCU, but this is a big warning sign for DC on this new line. Even they can’t bring original characters to huge numbers, no matter what a sales hit Legacy has been.

Glenn:  So yeah, this isn’t a good sign.  It could be that these two books don’t maybe have as much buzz but they still have two very big creative teams and DC has really pushed the hype machine on these titles hard.  They also were marketed as spinning out of Metal (kinda/sorta) and its not made much impact at all.  Of course, further solicitations have shown the all star artists on these titles seem to be leaving quickly and considering that’s what the branding of these books were built around, that can’t mean good things.  I suppose in a way, its comforting to know that a part of DC will always act like its 2011.

Ray:  The X-Men Gold annual, which was a team-up with the characters of Excalibur, sells extremely close to the main issues of X-Men: Gold this month, only 2K lower at #52. Sales of 34K is pretty strong for an annual featuring cult characters, but then the sales on the main title are no great shakes.

Glenn:  Maybe some nostalgia for Excalibur?  Hey the nostalgia parade is making Venom a thing again so you never know.

Ray:  Whole lotta Harley in this range this month, as the character claims four slots between #54-60. The conclusion of the Palmiotti/Conner run lands 33.2K sales, and then the first two issues of Frank Tieri’s run don’t slide much and sell 32K and 31.6K. Sandwiched in between them is the reprint of the Loot Crate exclusive “Be Careful What You Wish For“, where Harley irritates a genie. Strong showing for a random reprint that many people got already in the crate or in the HC.

Glenn:  Even though the contribution of Pilmioti/Connor and co to Harley’s current status is immeasurable, she’s at a position now that titles involving her will sell regardless of who the creative team is.  Who thought that a character that started off as a one off would rise to be one of DC’s most popular?  Just goes to show.

Ray:  Marvel Two-in-One loses about 50% of its impressive first issue sales to land at #56 with sales of 32K. Not terrible, but it’s been a while since there was a Fantastic Four book, and this isn’t making the case that there was a massive untapped audience. Or maybe Marvel just has trouble selling anything lately.

Glenn:  Probably down to your latter point.  If it can stay here or around 25k at the lowest, it won’t be doing any worse than anything else.  If Marvel are using this title as a form of testing waters for a Fantastic Four title return, its not the most encouraging sign for sure.
Second issue of X-Men: Grand Design sells over 28.8k at 69 losing roughly 9k from its first issue sales.  Still very impressive performance for an unconventional specialty title that’s priced 5.99.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these unique projects with a specific vision get green lit at Marvel if they can get the right creators involved.

Ray:  Grand Design is clearly designed for the collected edition, so this is just icing on the cake for Marvel, but it’s clear that there’s a market for these creator-driven takes on iconic characters like this and White Knight. As the market continues to shift around, I think a bigger spotlight for writer-artists like this on mainstream properties is a great move.

Glenn:  A new Raven mini series written by her co-creator, Marv Wolfman debuts at 81 with sales over 26.1k.  I think if memory serves this is around where the last Raven mini sold and someone at DC was clearly happy with that to green light this.  With the Titans show coming, DC might be wanting to raise Raven’s profile along with her team mates but there seems to be a respectful dedicated audience for her.

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Ray:  There were a lot of smaller-scale minis recently starring magic-based characters, and most of them started well below Raven’s. Wolfman still has some fanbase, it seems, and Raven will always have a big audience from the TT cartoon. This is a twelve-issue miniseries, though, so it could still sink pretty low by the end of that run.

 Glenn:  Another mark in the ‘bad news’ portion for DC who were probably hoping for more out of the JLA/Doom Patrol one shot which sold just over 25k at 91.  This crossover is aimed to get the Young Animal books a higher profile but doesn’t seem to work at all in regards to that.  This was another one DC hyped to death and while its not terrible, all they’ve managed is to sell 10k better than this months Doom Patrol issue (133 with over 15.5k) so the aim of expanding the audience doesn’t seem to have worked.  I mean we got much better sales out of the JLA/Power Rangers crossover.  Still, nothing ventured and all that and it could have fallen flat on its face, which I wouldn’t say it has.  I would just say there’s a certain ceiling for these Young Animal books and DC need to figure out if that’s acceptable or not.

Ray:  Milk Wars is…aggressively weird, and it’s definitely dominated by the Young Animal characters. So I think retailers were cautious here, treating it more like a bigger version of the Doom Patrol title with a-list guest stars. Young Animal as a whole seems to be geared more towards trade audiences as a whole, and Milk Wars will likely all be packaged together in one volume. There’s four more specials coming next month, for the rest of the books plus a finale.

Glenn:  Another new X-Men mini from Marvel this month is Legion which sells over 22.7k at 100.  It doesn’t compare too favorably with the Rogue and Gambit series which was announced at the same time but this character hasn’t really been in the limelight comics wise for like 2 decades so I’m not sure Marvel could have expected any better.  The TV show is there of course but I doubt that will have much impact on this.  Probably will be back to limbo for Legion after this one wraps.

Ray:  I’m really surprised Legion barely squeaked into the top 100, given the TV series and a semi-popular run for the character in X-Men: Legacy a few years back. This is only a five issue miniseries, and these numbers are likely to get much, much lower by the end of the run.

Glenn:  At 102 is some reorders for Hawkman Found as we add over 22.2k to its title.  Metal: the event so strong it can give Hawkman reorders.

Ray:  That’s some huge reorders for Hawkman: Found, which cracked the top ten last month but sold well below the rest of the major Metal books. No Batman in the title probably caused retailers to back off a little bit, but everything Metal is gold, and we’ll likely see more reorders for this in coming months, on a smaller scale.

Glenn:  The experiment in regards to the Inhumans ends with not a bang but a whimper as Inhumans: Judgement Day sells just under 18k at 120.  Now we can all move on with our lives and never speak of it again.

Ray:  That’s about the level that Royals had been selling, a bit higher, so retailers clearly treated it just like the next issue of that storyline. Save Ms. Marvel, rumor is that the entire line is getting canned (Royals and Secret Warriors are over, Black Bolt is getting to the close of a year-long run). Experiment…failed.

Glenn:  The Deathstroke annual sells about 2k lower that its main title counterpart at 129 with sales over 16.3k.  Around 2k less seems to be the average for DC annual sales, not bad at all.  Of course, Deathstroke is experiencing an all time great run and the people who read the main title won’t want to miss anything Priest has to say in regards to the character here.

Ray:  Deathstroke was one of those annuals that was a hard chapter of the main book, concluding the major storyline that had been going on for the better part of a year. Given that, the two books staying very close makes sense.

Glenn:  At 135 is the first of many ‘Forces Of Destiny’ Star Wars one shots from IDW, each focusing on a different female character from the Star Wars saga and they sell pretty much like a one month mini with Leia selling the most with under 15k, Rey (not our Ray) selling over 13.5k at 139, Ahsoka and Padme selling over 12.4k at 147, Hera selling over 12.2k at 149 with Rose and Paige coming in last at 155 with sales over 11.7k.  If this was Marvel, I’d be predicting a problem but its IDW and this is pretty good for them and will undoubtedly do gangbusters once its collected and available at your local Disney outlets, especially when the cartoon starts rolling.

Ray:  The only thing that surprises me with these sales is that Rose and Paige sold the least. I would have expected the characters introduced in the recent megahit film to outsell the prequel-era comic or the one starring a supporting character from a somewhat successful cartoon. Maybe retailers were worried about Last Jedi backlash and ordered light? Either way, these sold right around the range of this month’s issue of Star Wars adventures, which is at #142 with sales of 13.3K, and are six of IDW’s seven top selling comics this month (with TMNT sneaking in there), so it’s overall a hit experiment for IDW. 

jan6Glenn:  I get what you mean about Rose and Paige but it just seems this was ordered as a regularly numbered mini rather than who the specific character being featured was.  Then again, Rose is a character that’s only been known to a large audience for 2 or 3 months so she hasn’t had as much time to pick up momentum like the other characters who have had years or even decades.

Ray:  Now here’s something completely strange out of nowhere – we saw Supergirl #16 take a pretty hefty fall last month, down to 28K copies (it sells 26K this month) – but this month, it picks up huge reorders of 17.6K at #123, almost an additional 40% in sales. What’s going on here? I don’t know, but it’s very good for the Girl of Steel. We might see something like this again next month. For the record, the reorders for Supergirl this month land in between new issues of Jessica Jones and Batwoman.

Glenn:  Supergirl is a puzzle and all I can think of is a) people are digging the book and its gaining momentum through word of mouth or b) there was an error in ordering last month and here’s the correction.  Either way, great news for the title that will likely have it secure in its current direction for years to come.

Note: As mentioned above, since writing this Supergirl has been cancelled cause Bendis.

Ray:  Monstress, the Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda Image series, returns from a lengthy hiatus to sales of 15K at #134. The delays don’t seem to have hurt it much, as it’s actually the sixth-highest selling Image book this month and even outsells Marvel books like Ms. Marvel and Runaways. I suspect the trade sales are helping here, as Monstress may have picked up quite a few new fans during its hiatus. 

Doomsday Clock #2 picks up an additional 13.3K in sales at #141, proving once again that DC’s latest events are monsters that drive sales like nothing we’ve seen in the industry in years.

Glenn:  We also see the first issue get some decent reorders two months later at 242 with over 6.2k. Getting reorders is impressive but its rare to see a title still get reorders more than a month later.  Its definitely something DC have been benefiting from since Rebirth and a lot with Metal and now with this.  Impressive beyond words.

Ray:  Similar to Monstress, Southern Bastards returns from hiatus (extended due to family tragedies for the creative team) to sales of 12.4K at #146. Given that this is a mature readers title without the YA audience of Monstress, it was always a harder sell, but this is another one of Image’s strongest books when it’s shipping.

Glenn: It does very well in collections too so fans won’t have to worry.  This title will stick around until it reaches its conclusion.

Ray:  One amusing juxtaposition I found is at #150/151, where we have Captain Marvel and Scooby Apocalypse, selling 12.2K and 12K respectively. Marvel’s highest-profile female hero at the moment who has a much-anticipated movie in the works is selling the same as DC’s grim-and-gritty Scooby Doo/Walking Dead pastiche. I wonder which company is in healthier shape at the moment…

Glenn: Poor Carol, its going to be a long year while she waits for the movie to help her out

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Ray:  At #161, we have Superwoman wrapping its run with sales of 10.9K. It wasn’t the lowest-selling DC book – there’s three ongoings below it, with one since cancelled and another cancelled then revived – but it didn’t really have any buzz or media push behind it.

Glenn:  Superwoman was created purely as a Jiminez vehicle and when he left, the title didn’t have a purpose but stumbled along anyway.  It was likely green lit to keep a top creator under the DC umbrella and will fade into obscurity.

Ray:  After a whole host of lower-selling DC and Marvel books that are either cancelled or likely to be soon enough, plus a few licensed books, we come to #163, where we have Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles selling 10.9K. This is clearly one of the oddest properties DC has put out in some time – a Red Scare-set comic starring a gay talking cat – and these numbers are fairly in line with what we saw for similar property Ruff & Reddy a few months back. Bring on Top Cat, I guess?

Glenn:  These more ‘serious’ takes on Loony Toons characters all sell about the same and Snagglepuss isn’t exactly as popular as say your Scooby Doo or Flintstones so yeah, this one was always going to be niche.  I’m sure DC will be happy with whatever they can get out of it.  I do hope that Top Cat is a hard boiled gangster who brutally slays his rivals while keeping his gang in line through cat nip drugs and officer Dibble is a Marv like anti-hero who wants to take him down with brutal violence as his only ally.

Ray:  At #168, we’ve got the Strangers in Paradise 25th anniversary revival comic, selling 10.2K. Terry Moore’s got a small but devoted audience, and this is by far his most iconic property. Abstract Studio is a fairly rare presence on the top ten, so this is clearly a testament to just how beloved this comic still is, years after it put Moore on the map.

Glenn:  Strangers In Paradise is one of the comics to read, even if you’re not a comics fan and its had many successful collected runs to build up a new audience.  Its likely this new book will see most of its money made from that same format but retailers have likely made a good bit of money from the franchise over the years and thought that some people would be interested in getting smaller portions of the story but faster.

Ray:  At #170, we’ve got the debut of Ales Kot’s latest Image book, Days of Hate. It sells 10.1K, and this is his most politically charged series yet, so retailers are likely ordering for an established audience here.

New Super-Man stays just above the 10K mark at #171 for its final issue before a rebranding next month. This was a fill-in issue, so retailers may have ordered a bit lighter.

At #173, we’ve got the latest Vertigo launch, the sci-fi bounty hunter thriller Motherlands, which sells 9.7K. Unlike Imaginary Fiends and the upcoming Deathbed, this one doesn’t have a big-name DC writer on board, so I don’t think DC was expecting big numbers here. Still, these numbers likely would have been a bit higher at Image.

Glenn:  I really thought Vertigo would have grinded to a halt by now.  Still miles away from the force of nature it used to be, DC still seems to have some faith in it.  I suppose you never know where your next surprise hit can come from and they’re keeping their lines and thereby their options open.

Ray:  At #180, Marvel sells 9.4K of a two-years-late adaptation of Captain America: Civil War that they called Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War Prelude. Because some people still don’t know what these things are. Suckered once. Never again!

Glenn:  These comics are easy wins for Marvel and as long as people keep buying, they’ll keep doing them.
At 182 is Ice Cream Man, a new Image book that at first glance you’d think has a link to DC’s Milk Wars but it doesn’t.  It debuts with sales over 9.4k.  It doesn’t have any big names attached and the concept sounds super duper weird so this is the usual result from Image when you combine those two things.  I’m sure the creators are thrilled.

Ray:  This was an aggressively weird comic, one of the most offbeat Image has put out in a long time. Given that, I think it can safely be called a success.

Glenn:  Pretty average drop for the second issue of Barberella which sells over 9.2k at 184.  I’d say this is actually pretty good since Dynamite don’t have a large piece of the market and its a very specialist property.  If it can stay around here or the 7k level, Dynamite will likely be thrilled.

Ray:  Barbarella may not be a character with much of a market presence anymore, but Mike Carey still has some pull as a writer, which probably keeps this a bit above the line for your average Dynamite book.

Glenn:  The 50th issue of the long running Astro City sells over 9.1k at 186.  This property has been going forever and has hopped between several companies and has a set dedicated audience that will likely not change at this point.  The interesting thing is here is that this will be the final single issue of Astro City as moves exclusively to graphic novels in the future.  This likely indicates that this is where the titles core audience is but is also writer Kurt Busiek seeing that graphic novels and book stores are how the market is going and wants to move the book to that format to keep it going.  At this point, Astro City isn’t going to end until Busiek wants it to and will continue evolving and changing to keep itself going, an admirable feat for a title that’s been going so long that a lot of the other books on the market could learn from.

Ray:  I think there’s a lot of similarity between Astro City and Strangers in Paradise at this point, in that they’ve both been published for over twenty years. You’ve got a hardcore audience of loyal fans, so there’s a stability guaranteed there. I think transitioning to OGNs will probably ensure it keeps going for longer, as Vertigo’s future is uncertain right now.

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Glenn: At 190 is Ninjak vs Vu from Valient which sells just over 8.9k.  Its not too far from the main Ninjak title which is at 183 selling over 9.3k so I’d say Valient is pretty happy with this number.  Over the last few months, Valient has had a few breakouts but this is still within their normal average of sales they usually get from their set audience.

Its this months Hellboy title in Koshchei the Deathless at sales over 8.9k at 191.  A little lower than the usual Hellboy stuff but that’s probably because the characters name oddly isn’t in the title.  Pretty standard fare from Dark Horse.

At 192 we have more DC reorders in the form of the second Batman annual which pick up over 8.8 in additional sales.  This is great stuff for the company and yeah, there are going to be a lot of reorders for them from here on out.  Here at By The Numbers, we advise you not to turn this into a drinking game.  You have been warned.

At 197 and 198 respectfully are Blue Beetle and Cyborg, the lowest rungs on the DC Rebirth ladder.  They sell over 8.7 and 8,6k a piece and the latter has already been cancelled but has found a mysterious salvation.  These titles will not continue for much longer, even if one has been temporarily saved but both characters will continue to have prominent places elsewhere in the universe.

Ray:  Cyborg’s upcoming revival with Marv Wolfman may be only one issue, or it may be an ongoing, but we’ll see. The character’s struggled for a long time under multiple creative teams. Blue Beetle, on the other hand, is probably just not meant for a solo series unless a big-name creator wants a go.

Glenn:  There’s more of those reorders we were talking about for DC and its White Knight issue 3 picking up another 8.4ishk sales at 203.  Don’t expect DC to be letting this Murphy guy go anywhere.

After being missing from the charts last month even though its only its second issue, Star Trek: Discovery sells just over 8k at 212.  It hasn’t been on long enough to build an audience anywhere outside of the core show so this is probably the best IDW can hope for now.  People looking for Star Trek in their comics will probably prefer to invest in an adaption of something that’s actually you know…Star Trek.

A new Image title with a slightly unconventional premise, Dissonence debuts 216 with over 7.5k in sales.  Another title with no major creators but probably below the usual Image launch level.  I guess it seemed more bizarre than the comic about the Ice Cream Man and the psychedelic cold delights he sells.

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Ray:  Dissonance did fairly standard numbers for a Top Cow series, I think. This is apparently the third part of a franchise along with God Complex and Bonehead, but they don’t seem exactly connected yet.

Glenn:  At 217 we have Battlestar Gallactica vs…Battlestar Gallactica as the two different version of the franchise face off.  It sells over 7.4k and I’m not that surprised.  The rebooted BSG is one of the best tv shows ever but I think you have to be a fan of both shows and a really, really dedicated one at that to be interested in this title even though it is written by the always dependable Peter David.  One for the really, really, REALLy hardcore fans of both and it sells appropriately.

Ray:  This is the very definition of a cult book, as neither Battlestar Galactica franchise quite broke out into the mainstream. Peter David being attached likely helped it quite a bit, but it’ll need to stabilize quickly from here.

Glenn:  Another debut at Dark Horse with Hungry Ghosts which sells over 7.3k at 220.  This is another book with a super weird concept that is going to be a hard sell but since its not Image it does a good bit less business.  This is one of the new line of Berger books and it doesn’t seem to have made that big of a difference to the numbers.  Karen Berger was the figurehead of Vertigo for years and was involved in the books that basically validates that lines existence today so I guess Dark Horse will hope that her involvement will give them some success in the trade market.

Glenn:  This also had global superstar chef Anthony Bourdain attached as co-writer, but it didn’t seem to help. This also got pretty poor reviews. I’m not sure if any of the Berger Books will really find much of a footing on the charts. The next month’s installments are a sequel to an acclaimed decade-plus-old book, and a Russian history comic. This doesn’t feel like a line geared for your average comic book shop.

Ray:  More reorders for DC for Metal issue two which is like five months old or so.  Selling over 6.8k at 225, the fact that this issue is several months old but still pulling in interest is insane.

Glenn:  The first issue of mini series, The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson from Image sells just over 6.8k at 226.  Unlike the other debuts from Image, this is by creators that are verly well known and has a decent premise that is easy to digest so not sure why this one didn’t do better.  This one might not last in the top 300 for its full run but that bar is very low these days.

Ray:  This is very much on the low end of Image debuts and the title oddly made me wonder if it was a sequel at first. Given that, low orders for it makes sense, but it could hold steady or even increase from here. Still, it barely beat the later-issue sales of mid-level books like Port of Earth or Extremity. 
A whole host of reorders for Batman: Metal-related issues, including the first and third issues of the main series plus The Red Death, The Dawnbreaker, and The Murder Machine, all chart again with sales in the 6K range. Doomsday Clock #1 shows up again in the same range again, for its third month on the charts. The Merciless, The Drowned, and Batman Lost are a little further down, in the 5K range. The last time we saw numbers like this was the Rebirth special, which showed up on the charts for half a year. This indicates an ongoing interest in these events that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Glenn:  Its no surprise that Metal writer Scott Snyder said we’ll be seeing more of these characters in the future.  More Batmen=more money

Ray:  At #237, there’s Secret Weapons #0, which is the first in a series of one-shots giving us the origins of the characters from Eric Heisserer’s miniseries. There’ll be a second miniseries at some point, but this special holds pretty close to the numbers from the end of the original miniseries.

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At #241, we’ve got Monsters Unleashed, which is now selling 6.2K. The series is finally ending with the next issue, I believe, and it seems like it might have all been an elaborate game of chicken between Marvel and Monster Energy Drink. I think it still hasn’t sunk as low as Solo and Slapstick did, though.

Glenn:  We got a letter from Marvel not to remind people of those things Ray.

Ray:  There’s quite a lot of new licensed properties launching in this range. At #247, we’ve got a one-shot for James Bond titled The Body, and just below we’ve got Transformers vs. The Visionaries, both selling 5.9K. Down at #252 selling 4.7K we’ve got a solo miniseries for Planet of the Apes villain Ursus, and at #264 selling 5.3K we’ve got a rare entry from Udon Comics, Mega Man Mastermix. These are all fairly niche comics, often spinning out of better-selling books.

At #268 is the debut of acclaimed novelist Saladin Ahmed’s new creator-owned comic Abbott, which is a supernatural detective period piece from Boom. 5.1K is pretty low for a debut by a writer of this level, but we saw the same for writers like Steve Orlando and James Tynion. This is a miniseries, so I have a feeling it won’t matter in the long end – Ahmed’s fans will find this in the bookstore, where it’ll sell a lot better for a lot longer.

#274 brings us the oddball new Dark Horse miniseries Vinegar Teeth, about a hard-boiled detective whose new partner on the force is a shape-shifting eldritch abomination. Given just how aggressively strange this book is, and how it has no actual connection to any franchise, I think it’s probably just happy to be in the top 300 and we’re all rooting for it.

Glenn:  Such an odd title too.  It sounds like a fun concept though, might find a good audience in trades.

Ray:  Marvel gets in on the reorder game at #284, as X-Men: Grand Design sells another 4.6K. More evidence that this is a rare buzz-worthy book for Marvel, and retailers will likely order heavier on the second round later this year.

Glenn:  Yeah, we’re definitely going to see more of these sooner than later.

Ray:  There’s a Gears of War tie-in book at #285, selling 4.5K. These are usually primarily sold to video game stores, so there’s a market here that doesn’t get reflected on the charts.

Who lives at the bottom of the charts at #300? Spongebob Squarepants! I didn’t even know this comic was still coming out, but it makes a rare appearance on the charts with sales of 4.2K, which is a VERY low bar for entering the top 300. Basically, it seems like comics as a whole are struggling even as we have more top-tier content than ever before. The market’s in a transition period right now, and we’ll see which can find a new way to deliver their content.

 
Glenn:  The bar to enter the market is so low is that comics like the one here starring Mr. Squarepants can sneak in even though these type of books don’t make their money in comic shops.  Low bar for the top 300 is again another indication that things are far from peachy keen.

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Ray:  And on that cheery note, let’s look ahead to next month! As always, it’ll be a big month for DC, with two new debuts from The New Age of DC Heroes. Teen teleporter adventure Sideways should do similar numbers to this month, but Jeff Lemire-helmed The Terrifics should be the first test of this line’s true strength. Alongside issues of mainstays like Batman, Doomsday Clock, and Metal 5.5 Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt, we’ve got a few new miniseries including Liam Sharp’s Batman/Wonder Woman team-up, the later issues of Milk Wars, and Josh Williamson’s new Vertigo series Deathbed.

Marvel is giving us the launches of two new mini events – the Dr. Strange/Secret Empire follow-up Damnation, and the Guardians of the Galaxy spin-off Infinity Countdown. I’m guessing muted debuts for both. We’ve also got top-tier Black Panther and Amazing Spider-Man annuals, but Marvel’s best two bets for a top ten spot this month.

Image has a good chance at locking down three spots in the top ten next month, as they’re giving us not only Walking Dead as usual, but the debuts of both Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl’s new series. Beyond that, their highest-profile debut may be VS, by Ivan Brandon and Esad Ribic. And if you want an underdog book to root for, there’s Death of Love, the man vs. cupid horror-comedy by Justin Jordan and indie artist Donal DeLay making his Image debut.

What will rise to the top? We’ll see next month on…By the Numbers!

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By The Numbers: December 2017

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He’s learned that former CIA operative Tom King has bugged his phone and has finally started writing the Batman/Booster Gold team up that Glenn always dreamed of because of it.  Thanks Tom!

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.  After hearing that Boss Baby is nominated for an Oscar, Ray went on a rampage that made Godzilla, King Kong and Brock Lesnar say and I quote ‘jeez man, chill.’

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!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  Welcome to 2018 sales fans.  Glad to see that you all made it through another year that literally said ‘you thought 2016 was bad?  Well hold my beer!’  You’ll be glad to know your favorite sales columnists are still here with you.  We’re not sure where they are so you’ll have to make do with me and Ray instead.

We start off 2018 by looking back at the last sales of 2017, its month number three of Marvel Legacy as DC continues its duel wielding of atomic sales weapons on the other side of the street.   While DC narrowly won market share, Marvel kept a loose grip on unit share for the month but really, the big two companies are now very close together in what has become a slow war of attrition.  Comic sales overall were a big drop from last year overall but hey…that’s just the world we live in.

However, looking at the top of the charts you wouldn’t know it.  The best selling comic this month was issue two of Doomsday Clock, the power house maxi series from DC which sold over 158.6k.  Again, given what this book is I would have thought we’d see anywhere between 30-50k more but that’s more down to the state of the market than the book itself.  Its’ still a brilliant success on a second issue sales and shows the series has strong legs.  If it can remain consistent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing clocks over 130k for all 12 issues and dominates the top of the charts for the next year or so. The first issue also had very significant reorders which we’ll talk down the line so the demand is clearly there.  We’re going to see every issue rechart most likely, especially when the series really starts gaining momentum.

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Ray:  This is actually very similar to what we saw for Metal #2 – the slide from the first issue sales to the second were harsher than anticipated, but then we saw it correct itself in month three as it increased somewhat. Either way, it’s very clear that these two events are dominating the market like nothing we’ve seen in a long time, with ridiculously good month-to-month retention for Metal in particular so far. I anticipate they’ll be 1/2 every month they come out, with the only books that have a chance to knock them off the top being Action Comics #1000 and potentially Amazing Spider-Man #800.

Glenn:  Taking silver this month at 2 is the other mega successful DC event, Metal which has its fourth issue sell over 152.5k which has it very, very close to Doomsday clock.  I think that is a big statement to not only how well this event has done but also the drawing power of Snyder and Capullo.  The success of this event cannot be overstated enough and it continues to bring big benefits to any book even remotely associated with it as we’ll see very shortly.

In what I think is a big surprise is at number 3 is the awkwardly titled Phoenix Resurrection of Adult Jean Gray, a weekly series that starts with a bang with sales over 145k.  I’m actually really surprised this book sold so well. Marvel brought the hype train of course but people seem to be treated the proper return of Jean like a big deal.  I doubt the rest of the mini will sell as well but its still a strong start and a win for Marvel who has been in desperate need of success stories since Secret Empire.  This potentially bodes well for the Jean Gray led X-Men Red that launches in a few months

Ray:  A Phoenix miniseries that few people seemed like they were looking forward to came within 15K of defeating Doomsday Clock and Metal. That’s kind of insane, and a testament to the fact that while Marvel has trouble selling a lot of things these days, they don’t have any trouble racking up impressive first-issue sales on event comics. That’s some much needed money for them, but I don’t know if it bodes well long-term. I expect this will follow the trajectory of Venomverse pretty closely next month.

Glenn:  At 4 and 5 its Batman being Batman selling over 94.3k and just under 93k for issues 36 and 37 respectively.  These date night issues were brilliant and again, this isn’t a special mini or event comic, this is an ongoing that just goes against every rule the market has.  Continues to sell amazingly well and that’s doubtful to change anytime soon.

At 6 is the third issue of Batman: White Night, the out of continuity Sean Murphy vehicle which is also performing better than anything similar to it.  It sells over 72.6 so yeah there’s a MASSIVE gap between spots 5 and 6 but this is still a very strong performance for a prestige mini that doesn’t have any bearing on any other story.  Unlike Marvel, DC doesn’t need success stories too much right now but here’s another one anyway.

Ray:  White Knight was out of the top ten last month and increased 3K in sales this month, so clearly this is another massive Bat-hit for DC. Much like DKIII, it seems like these stand-alone Bat-titles do really well. Imagine what a sales force the eventual Snyder/Murphy finale arc is going to be!

Glenn:  At 7 is Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc Alpha which sells 69.6k on the dot.  Given it was this high on the charts, I though the units would be higher.  69k used to be the entry point for like the top 30 or 20 but those days seem to be long gone.  This is a decent selling launch for a tie in between Marvel’s best selling superhero ongoing and a character that’s had a little bit of a resurgence in popularity lately (however that is slowly dying down but Marvel is going to milk it for all its worth before then).

Ray:  Venom Inc isn’t a massive hit, but it’s one of two short-term crossovers this month that had a major impact on its involved titles. Amazing Spider-man cracks the top ten again, with another issue not far below, and Venom gains over 10K in sales for its crossover issue. I’m always puzzled by the 20K+ difference in orders for ASM and Venom, though – this is a hard crossover. Do retailers think people are just going to go “I won’t read parts two and four”?

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Glenn:  Discrepancy in sales between titles that tie in together has been a long standing puzzle here at By The Numbers and in the market in general.  I’ve had times where my LCS hasn’t actively promoted the fact that one of the books I’m reading is tying into another book I’m not so it could be likely that either retailers forget or don’t pay attention and they ultimately miss out (as well as some likely very confused readers).

Another top ten surprise entrant is Marvel Two-In One which is only here because again, the entry point for the top ten this month is unusually low from spot 6 down.  Still its a decent launch that is probably mainly interested in seeing if Marvel is gearing towards bringing the Fantastic Four back.  Having writer Chip Zdarsky and superstar artist Jim Cheung likely helped a great deal too.  Not sure how this will land long term, could be one that surprises if people want to show interest in an FF related story.  This one sells over 66.7k at 8 and is the best selling of this months Legacy launches which…yeah.

Ray:  A top ten debut is impressive and indicates that there’s a real hunger for the Fantastic Four again, but it’s worth noting that this was about 20K lower in sales than last month’s Captain America debut. That probably indicates that given second-issue Legacy slides, it’ll be lucky to land in the lower 30K range long term. But I think that qualifies as a mid-level hit for Marvel these days?

Glenn:  9 is Metal tie-in Hawkman Found which shows that if you have an event popular enough, you can make any character sell.  Again I would have expected more unit wise due to not only this being a Metal tie in but also it was Jeff Lemire’s return to the DCU and had superstar Brian Hitch on art.  Certainty a very commendable number for a 4.99 one shot starring Hawkman but the sales around here just seem odd.

Ray:  Yeah, for a Hawkman one-shot this is a great number, but for a Metal book by Lemire and Hitch I might have expected a bit more. We didn’t see nearly as much hype for this one as we did for Batman: Lost or The Batman Who Laughs, so that might have played a role. It’s a one-shot, so no way of seeing anything more for this, but I’m curious to see how Lemire’s next offbeat DC project – The Terrifics – does.

Glenn:  The Venom Inc story is enough to give Amazing Spider-Man some sales juice and give it the last spot in the top ten as it sells just under 62k.  We’re on the home stretch towards issue 800 here so this crossover could be the start of a slow climb for the title as we look to the big anniversary issue which should land in April or May (I think).  This is Marvel’s best selling ongoing right now and they’re being very elusive about plans for the title post 800 so hopefully they don’t anything to compromise the relative stability this book has too much.

Ray:  The 11-20 range is full of some of the top books on the stands, including Star Wars, Detective Comics, and Walking Dead, all doing their things. Then at #17, we see the debut of the second volume of the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, featuring Bane. It sells 50K, which is well below the level of the first mini, but still an impressive debut for a mostly out-of-continuity crossover. The second issue holds onto the vast majority of those sales as well, selling 41K at #27. Another win for DC. 

Glenn:The Batman/TMNT sequel seems to be treated like the Dark Horse minis were way back in the day.  Gradual decrease on the first one, a bump on the first issue and then a resuming of declines again with increasing diminishing returns. Still, like you said this is impressive stuff and since this is the third Batman/TMNT crossover in two years, it would indicate companies are very happy with their performance.

Ray:  Right below that, selling 49K is the one-shot Star Wars: Storms of Crait, which takes place during the original trilogy but on a planet key to The Last Jedi. Not quite as high as I would have expected, given the direct tie-in to the new movie. It might be the price point or the fact that the creators (Acker and Blacker, best names ever) are new to Star Wars comics, but I choose to blame the lack of Porgs.

Glenn:  Oddly, books set during the Force Awakens era don’t seem to perform as strongly as New Hope era titles.  It’s likely because there’s a strong nostalgia and 40 years of fans to cater to whereas the new films have their ultimate legacy outside the box office to be determined as the decades wind on.

Ray:  At #19 we’ve got the Legacy debut of Weapon X, selling 48.9K. No renumbering, and this is really just the third arc of the series, so this is a standard jump that will fade away completely in a month or two. Legacy doesn’t have an impact on books that it doesn’t actually change anything for.

DC almost sweeps the 20-30 range, with Superman, Flash, and Justice League each shipping two issues here, as well as the return of Booster Gold in Action Comics at #29.

This is the debut of Priest on Justice League, and the numbers stay in line with the end of Hitch’s run, while Action maintains a decent bit of the sales it got from The Oz Effect. I imagine it’ll continue to build as it goes towards #1000. Superman stays mostly steady for the crossover event “Super-Sons of Tomorrow”, which features the return of the future versions of Conner Kent, Bart Allen, and Cassie Sandsmark, but the impact there is seen more in its fellow crossover titles – Teen Titans gains 8K copies from last month to land at #31, while Super-Sons jumps 7K and lands at #37. Clearly, the top tier of DC’s line is still rock-solid, even when you get outside of the Bat-line.

Glenn:  Again, we see the title of Justice League seems to be able to hold sales regardless of a change of creator.  Given how well received and stable Priest’s Deathstroke run has been, I would expect much the same for League.

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Ray:  Two Marvel books do sneak into the bottom range of 20-30. Mighty Thor lands at #28 with sales of 41K, which is almost flat from last month. This is a Marvel book that’s essentially performing like a top-tier Rebirth book, and they need that right now.

Meanwhile, then there’s Captain America, which lands at #30 with sales of 38K. That’s down from 87K for the debut of Waid and Samnee’s run, so clearly there’s still a lot of work to be done to win back the fans from the disastrous last few years. Reminds me of Teen Titans, in that by the time they got a good creative team back on board, so much good will had been lost. That being said…this is still the third-highest selling Marvel superhero ongoing this month that isn’t a Legacy launch. So it’s all relative, and this title will have the time to build that goodwill back.

Glenn:  Yeah, Captain America is a weird one.  A big crash in sales, more than Marvel would have liked most likely but still better than a lot of their books.  Apart from Amazing and Star Wars titles, around 40k seems to be the best Marvel can hope for at this point…scary times.

Ray:  Mister Miracle’s bizarre climb up the charts stops in sales count this month, as it drops a bit from #4 to sell 37.6K. But it also vaults up the charts, increasing from #43 to #34. This book is essentially unstoppable. You joked on the Stew (dong!) that it might be in the top ten by the time it’s over. At the rate it’s going, that’s not all that insane.

Glenn:Mister Miracle is now outselling the majority of Marvel’s line.  This has to be credited to the team of King and Gerards who are delivering what many people consider to be a modern classic.  No bells and whistles here, just plain quality.

Ray:  Mister Miracle outsold Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman’s new creative team is…not going over great, and it’s showing in sales. The book slips to 36K this month with its second issue, as it continues to shed more copies per issue than most DC biweekly titles right now. Right now, it’s still in the top 40 – second issue is at #39 – but a lot of books are nipping at its heels. Rumors of top-tier creative teams are around the corner.

Glenn:Seeing sales on Wonder Woman is almost like watching history repeat itself.  In the new 52, the title had a very well thought of creative run that brought it commercial success and then when that run ended, a new less than well received run started and the sales suffered.  Now we’re in the exact same position but DC’s writing talent is a lot stronger across the board now than it was then so it’s hard to imagine them now being able to throw something and hit someone who would bring the title some much needed tlc.

Ray:  A book I was glad to see did as well as it did was X-Men: Grand Design, which lands at #38 with sales of 37K. A $5.99, super-dense retelling of the X-men’s history by an indie cartoonist with massive talent but not much mainstream profile was a hard sell, but Marvel got the word out. This will do the vast majority of its sales in collections and this is just gravy, though.

Glenn:Grand Design was one I wasn’t sure what to expect from but yeah, this is a very good number for an out of the wheelhouse concept for a book and a high price point.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel considers doing more stuff like this, DC already are with their alternate history of the DC universe coming this year.

Ray:  The 40-50 range is dominated by mid-level Marvel books, including several X-men titles, some lower-selling Star Wars series including Doctor Aphra and Mace Windu, and Avengers, with Harley and Titans sneaking in there for DC. Not much movement here, although as Harley ends its iconic creative team, it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain these heights.

At #51, we’ve got one of the best debuts in a while for a Valiant book, with Quantum and Woody selling 29K. These characters had a few recent relaunches and none really caught on, so this might have a lot to do with the presence of Daniel Kibblesmith, a humorist with a huge online following. Can he pull Lockjaw to those same numbers when it debuts soon?

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Glenn:  Brilliant number for Valient and they seem to be really hitting a stride with some of these new launches.  This is a property that people still have some affection for and shows that Valients strategy of only a (relative) number of small books to the same passionate audience seems to be working for them.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Ray:  Business as usual for Hal Jordan, Nightwing, Poe Dameron, Deadpool, and Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man at this level. The latter two seem like books that should be selling better than the 29K range, but here we are. SSM may get a boost with the upcoming #300 issue.

At #59 we’ve got the second issue of the prestige miniseries Batman: Creature of the Night, which sells 28.8K, a pretty good hold from last issue’s 35K. This was likely ordered knowing most people would wait until collections to pick it up. It’s been a while since DC regularly released prestige format comics, so that probably has an impact.

Glenn:  Creature Of The Night is something I expected to be pretty stable. This will do most of its business in collections so these orders are probably the base line for the DC passionate (like yourself) that can’t wait for it to be collected in a purty hardcover.

Ray:  What was hyped as a massive farewell storyarc for Brian Michael Bendis kind of peters out with weak sales, as Spider-Men II concludes at #61 with sales of 28.5K. Ever since Miles made his way over to the main universe, a comic like this has really lost its impact.

Glenn:  The two Spider-Men teaming up is no longer a big deal, they can literally meet up for coffee in any issue of either of their titles.  Given how Spider-Men II concluded, it’ll be interesting to see how Miles is treated now that his creator and main advocate has left.  Will he join the likes of Mattie Franklin and Miguel O’Hara who languished for years after their initial run before being killed off and brought back for a somewhat successful revival decades later?  Time will tell.  The advantage Miles has is that he’s going to be in a Sony animation film this eyar but I think that he’s not the character people will be talking about after that movie is over if the title is any indication.

Ray:  The wild climb finally ends for Supergirl this month, as it dips 6K to land at #62 with sales of 28.4K. But that’s still well above where it was before these crazy six months, and it’s outselling books like Suicide Squad and Green Lanterns. Whatever happened to this book recently, it’s catapulted itself nicely into the safe mid-range for DC’s line.

Glenn:  Something weird happened with Supergirl and it could be the new artist, word or mouth, Jody Houser joining on writing or maybe people jumping over to the monthly after the first trade but whatever the reason, it worked and DC will be most pleased.
At 67, Ms Marvel has an underwhelming Legacy relaunch with sales over 27.1k.  Its a little boost for the title but certainty not one that will stick if other Legacy books are any indication.  I doubt Marvel will cancel the title as it sells well elsewhere and features a well liked minority hero but again it just seems to be a little underwhelming.

Ray:  Ms. Marvel apparently does most of its sales in digital and collections, so a book like that’s naturally going to have a smaller bump for Legacy. I expect it to quickly decline back to its previous level and then stabilize.

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Glenn:  No real benefit for the 25th issue for Spider-Man/Deadpool which sells over 26k at 74 which is about half of last month.  Given that it is issue 25, one might think the drop might have been worse otherwise.  This is the level most of Marvel’s line lives at now though so I doubt there’s a need for concern unless there’s another big drop less month.

Ray:  As I recall, they did nothing for the 25th issue of this title. It was just the last issue of a standard storyarc, and the next issue was the special one (the strange Oldpool/Spider-Senior issue). So they didn’t promote it like an anniversary, and the retailers didn’t treat it like one.

Glenn:  Not much interest in Tales Of Suspense #100 despite it being a legacy book and having the almighty centurelial numbering that often gives titles attention.  It sells over 25.3k at 78.  This was a book featuring Bucky, Hawkeye and Black Widow and seemed to be almost nearly overlooked entirely.

Ray:  To put this into perspective, the first issue of a brand-new title by a hot Marvel writer, picking up the biggest dangling plot thread from their last line-wide event and starring three major characters from the Avengers franchise, got outsold by the thirty-first issue of Aquaman.

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Glenn:  At this level we see a lot of Marvel books that are being cancelled.  Those that are continuing on like Thanos (76 with sales over 25.5k) and Doctor Strange (82 with sales over 24.2k and 91 with sales over 23k) are likely being continued to show investment in Donny Cates while Spider-Gwen (over 24.2k at 83) is just to keep the characters visibility high since her merchandise does so well but since the artist (at least) is leaving, its unclear what the future of that book is.  Any Marvel book below these numbers may be at risk.

Ray:  This is basically the mid-level for Marvel books right now. Only the top franchises are above them, and if books like Strange, Thanos, and Champions stabilize here, they’ll be able to survive. But that’s a big if. Then there’s books like Generation X (cancelled), Hawkeye (cancelled), and Black Bolt (not cancelled, but feels like a finite run). These are their Legacy debuts, and they only manage to chart in the mid-20K range. That’s a complete, unmitigated disaster. Very few Marvel books are succeeding right now. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed Black Panther run is barely cracking 20K anymore. Squirrel Girl, like Ms. Marvel, gets a very muted Legacy debut but singles mean little to this book. And no wonder Guardians of the Galaxy was cancelled before the upcoming event – the latest issue before the finale gets outsold by the seventeenth issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws!

Glenn:  Strong sales for this months Hellboy number 1, Hellboy Krampusneight sells over 22k at 96 which is better than what this characters titles have been doing.  This sees Hellboy fight Krampus who has become a bit of a thing the last year or three so that probably helped.  With Dark Horse losing Conan and a number of their other properties being owned by FOX which is now owned by Marvel, Hellboy is their real MVP at the moment. I also now have enough Hellboy number 1’s on my stamp card to get a free sarcastic demon, score!

Ray:  Krampus also had a hit movie not that long ago, which probably gives the title some sales clout – even if it’s a different version of the old legend.

Glenn:  Massive drop for Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows which is out of the top 100 already at 102 with sales just under 21k which is a roughly 40k drop from last month.  I guess we maybe got too excited about people showing interest in the Spider-Marriage/Spider-Family.  Not sure what the future might hold for this book now.

Ray:  Unless Renew Your Vows manages to find the same bookstore/digital sales as some other young-skewing titles, its future probably holds two more arcs. Peter will probably be back in high school come the reboot anyway.

Glenn:  Anything that’s not Star Wars or Spider-Man is really struggling at Marvel.  We’ll see next month if Marvel’s new strategy with the various Avenger’s books works to their advantage as we await their next move to try to course correct the rest of the line.

This years DC Holiday special charts at 107 with over 19.2k of sales which if I didn’t lie last year is a little less than last years that sold about 23k.  Given how packed with talent this years was, how well received last years was and how well received THIS years was, I would have expected more.  Still it’s a 9.99 one shot so its a lot to ask of retailers and fans.  Its not too much of a drop from last year so I would bet on DC giving us another one this year.

Ray:  $10 specials are always going to be a hard sell. This significantly outperformed both the Halloween and New Talent Showcase books like this, so DC is probably pretty happy. These are essentially mini-trades, at this size.

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Glenn:  At 108 is a $1 True Believers one shot, Enter the Phoenix which is a reprint that is likely to give fans some background on the returning (adult) Jean Gray.  It sells over 19.1k which is perfectly fine for reprinted old material that has been reprinted multiple times.

Ray:  There are a LOT more of these Phoenix reprints on the charts. You’ll find them at 126, 133, 135-137, 141, 144, and 156, with the lowest selling about 11K. These are free sales for Marvel and they’re likely not going to be shy doing more themed months like this, but these numbers are more impressive than I would have expected. Jean Grey proper has been gone for over fifteen years now – could it be that there actually is some serious nostalgia? If so, that might bode well for X-Men: Red to be a rare hit for Marvel.

Glenn:  The Phoenix Saga is still considered one of Marvel’s best stories ever has been felt in x-books since then up until today (even before Jean was back).  People still have interest in these old X-Men stories even though they’ve been around forever and have been reprinted many, many times.

At 112 we have a new book from Dynamite in Barbarella which sells over 17.8k  I’m not sure what this is but reading the description tells me it seems to be a revival of an old property.  It has Mike Carey’s involvement which is likely why it generated most of these sales.  Not sure of the history on this at all so Carey is the mvp here most likely.

Ray:  Barbarella was a hard-R sex-filled sci-fi book that definitely wasn’t the most accessible comic Dynamite has put out, but it also had one of the most high-profile writers in Dynamite’s stable – Mike Carey of X-Men and Unwritten fame. It’ll be interesting to see if it keeps a majority of those sales due to the pull of the writer.

Glenn:  Given I’ve never heard of Barbarella its surprising her first issue outsells the 75th of Iron Fist (protector of Kun-Lun, sworn enemy of the hand) which sells over 17.8k at 113.  Again the 75th issue number has made no noticeable impact over last month so likely indicating we have seen lower numbers without it.

The second issue of the Neal Adams vehicle Deadman sells over 17.4k at 116.  Quite a hefty drop from the combined sales of the glow in the dark and regular editions last month but its Deadman so you can’t expect too much.  Still decent enough for a book that’s basically for the fans of the creator and has nothing to do with anything.

Ray:  It’s really odd that this book, compared to Demon or Mystic U, was the one that seemed to get some sales momentum. Might be that as strange as his comics have gotten, Adams still has a significant fanbase.

Glenn:  As mentioned earlier, the first issue of Doomsday Clock sees some really good reorders at 122 with over 15.5k.  This is better than some Marvel/DC books are doing in their latest issues.  Doomsday Clock was already a win, this is just icing on the cake…or syrup on the pancakes if you will.

Ray:  Just icing on the cake at this point for DC, but given how many reorders we saw of Metal-related issues, this book could easily keep showing up on the charts for months at a time the way Rebirth did. 

At #125, we’ve got a relaunch of Witchblade by Coffin Hill/Throwaways writer Caitlin Kittridge. This is, I believe, the third person to wield the Witchblade long-term, and the title is far from its glory days, but sales of 14.2K is pretty solid for a Top Cow debut, and I believe that’s the top Image debut of the month.

Glenn:  Witchblade has certainty put its time as a hot property long behind it but these sales are pretty good for a Top Cow book.  It’ll probably settle to about 7-8k which will probably be enough to justify its existence.

Ray:  Speaking of Metal and reorders, there’s the Batman Who Laughs, haunting all our dreams in December with reorders of 12.9K at #132. Congratulations, Batman Who Laughs, and please stay far away from us. Keep in mind, this reorder outsold four ongoing DC Rebirth titles this month.

Glenn:  I thought he was gone but he just keeps coming back.  It’s hard to imagine this character will go away forever after Metal concludes, there seems to be a ton of potential with him and fans love him.

Ray:  The Kamandi Challenge wraps up its run at #143 with sales of 11.7K. Not a great number in singles, but it outperformed quite a few DC Rebirth titles and will likely go on to a healthy life in trade, especially with the acclaimed King/Eastman issue considered one of the best single issues of the year included.

Glenn:  The Challenge was done as a Kirby tribute by and large so considering that and that the property is not one of the most high profile in the world, the 12 issue series performed well, especially considering its unique nature.

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Ray:  At #147 we’ve got the Wicked + Divine Christmas Annual, selling 11.5K. This book regularly works in one-shots and annuals into its narrative, and they generally sell close to the level of the main title. This is a long-running cult comic with a set audience, and retailers know how to order for it.

More reorders for DC, as a Dark Knights Metal Director’s Cut lands at #153 with sales of 11.2K. At this point, it’s just running up the score!

For 90s cartoon fans, at #158 we’ve got the debut of Rocko’s Modern Life, the second cartoon-based ongoing from Boom. This sold about 2K less than the debut of Rugrats two months ago, and this was a more obscure cartoon. Thus, for a comic aimed at kids and nostalgia fans, 11K is a decent start.

Glenn:  I never cared for Rocco’s Modern Life but I can’t remember why.  I would say that’s a very good number for one of the more obscure Nicolodeon 90’s properties.

Ray:  The second Klaus one-shot following up the acclaimed Morrison/Mora miniseries, Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville, sells 10.9K at #160. These specials aren’t picking up any casual new fans because of their complex mythology, but they’re likely bound for inclusion in a fancy oversized hardcover containing the mini and specials, and the singles sales are just a bonus. This one thematically felt like the end of the series as well.

Glenn:  Given its a Morrison book, I would have expected more for Klaus but its been a while since the main mini now and if fans weren’t specifically told by their LCS or knew beforehand, they likely thought the story was done.

Ray:  Surprisingly, it seems like last month’s oddball inclusion on the charts, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast from Heavy Metal, has some life in it past the first month. It holds decently to land at #162 with sales of 10.8K. Comeback for hard rock comics?

Glenn:  I can’t wait for Iron Maiden to crossover with the Archie’s

Ray:  The new Image title Paradiso, set in a post-apocalyptic future and featuring some promising new talent, manages to become the last comic to inch over the 10K threshold at #169. For a new Image book without household name talent, that’s pretty good, and a lot of Image books have held steady or even increased from their debuts.

We’ve got two revivals at the #170 mark. First up, selling 9.9K is Steve Niles’ own relaunch of his most famous property, 30 Days of Night – albeit sans the iconic Ben Templesmith art. Just below it at 171 and selling 9.8K is the relaunch of Image’s Rumble, with a new artist continuing the killer scarecrow fantasy. A decent debut for Rumble as it makes its comeback, but it feels like 30 Days of Night’s status as one of the hottest comics on the stands are long behind it.

Glenn:  A self reboot is an odd one to do.  Fans of the original will be like ‘well I read this already’ and years after its heyday, its not one that will be particularly sought out for new fans.  All these years later, the series probably still does well in collections so eventually having another one of those won’t hurt.

Ray:  Jetsons has a pretty hard fall from its first issue, landing at #180 with sales of 9.6K. If this brilliant comic is going to find its momentum, it’ll unfortunately likely have to be in collections.

Glenn:  Given that Jetsons is a very serious take on the concept, people looking for their childhood may have been turned off by the Black Mirror type direction.  I always felt also the Jetson’s seem to not be as well remembered as some other Hanna Barbera cartoons so DC might have had slightly lower expectations.  Will likely hold firm as it finishes out the rest of the mini.

Ray:  At #181 is another new Image debut, Sleepless. This is by the writer of Eternal Empire and the artist of Shutter, two cult Image books that never really dominated in single issue sales. So a debut here of 9.5K is probably about what could be expected, but it might very well maintain it’s momentum and lock down around that level.

In its penultimate month, Cyborg becomes the first DC Rebirth title to slide below the 9K mark at #187, while Blue Beetle is two spots above it with two months to go.

Note:  Since this writing, Cyborg’s title has received a reprieve of at least one issue

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Although it’s worth noting that it took these books well over a year to get here, while America from Marvel is down at #201, below 8K, in only 10 months – and that’s counting a Legacy relaunch only two months previously.

Glenn:  Cyborg held in there well but it doesn’t seem that many people really have much interest in him as a solo hero.  DC have really done their best to make it work over the last seven years since his big push in Flashpoint but time to give the guy a break and just be a member of the League for a while.

The second issue of Port Of Earth from Image loses nearly half its sales with over 8.4k at 195.  No big names here so this is pretty standard Image stuff.  If it can stay around this level, it’ll run for as long as the creators want.
The 25th issue of Teen Titans Go charts at 199 with sales over 8.1k. I don’t remember seeing this book the last few charts so I presume its missed the top 300 (I could go check beyond last month…but I’m sleepy) so I guess issues with a root base of 25 do mean something after all!  Maybe the title might get a boost from the movie but I wouldn’t bet on it.  I’m also not going to mention the movie again cause Ray has that look in his eyes again…

Ray:  *perches on top of a wardrobe holding an axe* BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! *gets cold water tossed on him* Anyway, I’m not a fan of Teen Titans Go. But yeah, this is definitely not the usual numbers for this comic, so DC must have put some promotion into the anniversary number.

Glenn:  Another company taking advantage of the festive season is IDW with the production of the My Little Pony Holiday special which sells over 7.9k at 202.  This is probably fine for a book that’s only for the most enthusiastic Pony fans (insert your own jokes here you sick people).

There’s a third printing of Batman: White Night’s first issue at 203 selling over 7.9k.  More tasty reorder goodness for DC who are really hitting it out with these specialty projects.  We also see the second issue rechart at 208 with sales over 7.2k.  Perhaps Sean Murphy moves the needle?

A new Image book, Bonehead debuts at 207 with sales over 7.3k.  This is an odd sounding book from a cult creative team so probably couldn’t have expected much more than this.

Ray:  Bonehead was another of Matt Hawkins’ recent cyberpunk books for Top Cow, this one about a futurist parkour gang. This was always going to be a niche book, but these books are pretty normal for Top Cow. Port of Earth is one of their few books recently that’s performing more like a standard Image book.

Glenn:  At 209 is the first issue of an IDW mini series, Asssassinistas which sell over 7.2k.  The premise sounds odd, the creative team don’t seem to ring a bell and IDW aren’t known for original properties…all that considered I would say this isn’t too bad a number at all.

Ray:  The main appeal for Assassinistas was probably the art of Gilbert Hernandez, the cult creator behind Love and Rockets (along with his brother). That’s a book that, while never being a sales force in the direct market, had a very loyal audience. I imagine that’s going to help this title stabilize a lot better than many creator-owned books.

Glenn:  Another holiday special from Curse Words sells over 7.2k at 210, never forget there is never a better time of year to try to get money from people than at Christmas.

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Ray:  I think this, like The Wicked + The Divine’s frequent specials, essentially just got treated like another issue of Curse Words. They’re titles that have established their level pretty well and these side projects keep most of the sales. 

Glenn:  Not too bad a drop for Kong on The Planet of the apes second issue which sells over 7.2k at 211.  This is a pretty fun sounding crossover so probably has Apes fans interested.  We all know of course if it doesn’t have Kong climbing the half buried statue of liberty, it’ll be for nothing.

At 214 is more reorders for DC and its Doomsday Clock this time.  The lenticular edition picks up another over 7k in sales.  Thankfully, DC held off on the dog dead in gutter edition…although that would have sold too.

The Allred vehicle, Bug Adventures Of Forager sells over 6.9k on its final issue.  This was another Kirby tribute book in essence and a bit of an oddball book from what I’ve read.  DC likely knew what they were getting when they green lit this.  It was published under the Young Animal banner, the success bar of which is still hard to say but will be subject for a relaunch shortly which Bug will miss out on but may benefit in its collection life.  Maybe those picking up the Komandi hardcover may want more Kirby in their life.

Ray:  Bug! was easily the lowest-selling and oddest book in the Young Animal stable, but it was also a spotlight for the work of the Allred family. I think it’s more likely to find a second life in collections as the creators’ fans find it. And it gets my highest recommendation.

Glenn:  BOOM continues to take advantage of their access to the Jim Henson licence with the release of Jim Henson Storyteller Fairies at 220 with sales over 6.8k.  Given that this isn’t connected to any of the major Henson properties this is probably for the hardcore fans.  At least BOOM is showing they can certainty use any aspect of a property that comes under their purview if nothing else.

How Monsters Unleashed at 222 is still going with sales over 6.7k is anyone’s guess.  It must sell somewhere but I’m not hearing where.  Some websites say that Marvel aren’t cancelling it out of stubbornness due to a lawsuit that’s popped up from the Monster energy drink but who really knows.

Ray:  That’s one of the possible explanations. The other is that it’s getting that sweet, sweet Scholastic Book Fair money. Moon Girl is only selling 400 copies more, but hey, it’s not the lowest-selling uncancelled Marvel book anymore! Clearly something odd is going on with these two that isn’t fully reflected on these charts.

Glenn:  Coyotes from Image at 223 has its second issue sell over 6.6k.  At the lower end of non major name selling Image books but given the writer isn’t that well known and the artist is seemingly completely new to comics, they’re probably both thrilled just to in the charts at all.

At 224 is a new mini from BOOM in Judas which retells a portion of the Bible from the title characters perspective.  It sells over 6.6k which I can understand, its an interesting idea for a comic but religious material comes with a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to succeed, no matter what medium its in.

Ray:  Judas was always going to be a hard sell, but I imagine the subject matter will get it some real buzz as the controversy over the twists in future issues starts to build. This is a four-issue miniseries, so that may not show up on these charts, but it could become a hotter item in collections. 

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Glenn:  The second issue of Image’s Evolution slides to 227 with sales over 6.4k.  Again this is another oddball book with a unique selling point in having multiple writers telling the same story.  Probably confusing for most potential readers and retailers.  I admire the books initiative but this isn’t the market to try to break the norm.

Gravediggers Union loses about half its sales on its second issue going to 230 with sales over 6.2k.  Artist Wes Craig is certainty an unknown quantity as a writer but everyone has to start somewhere, I’m sure that big name artists turned writers like Bendis and Remender didn’t come out with hits right away either as they transferred from art to scripting.  This one might earn its keep through trades.

Another month, another Aftershock comic, this time in the form of horror comic Backways which sells over 6.2k at 232.  This one sounds really interesting and boasts Justin Jordan as a writer so I would have thought it may have done a little better but its within Aftershock’s usual range so nothing major to report either way.

Ray:  Aftershock still seems to have a hard time getting decent launch sales, except for a select few books with bigger names. This is pretty much in line with their other recent launches, so Jordan will have time to build an audience for his horror-fantasy missing person tale. 

Glenn:  Back To The Future Time Train tells us what happened to Emmett and Clara Brown after they waved goodbye to Marty at the end of the final installment of the classic franchise.  The Back To The Future comics thus far have seemingly been for the die hard fans only and this one doesn’t seem to be any different with sales over 6.1k at 23. IDW must be happy enough with these various books cause they keep producing them but then again, they’re hardly just going to let the licence sit around gathering dust either.

Vertigo’s Imaginary Fiends loses nearly half it sales from a less than stellar launch as its second issue is at 237 with sales over 5.9k.   This is only a mini and that is maybe for the best because I’m not sure how long it was survive in the top 300 otherwise.  There have been murmurings of a Vertigo overhaul for a while and a title with an interesting premise with a well known writer like this demonstrates why.  Bookstores are Vertigo’s best friend so that’s where this book might thrive.

Ray:  Yeah, this is more a symbol of Vertigo’s issues than anything. This is a title that did everything right – top creator, timely subject matter, great reviews – but retailers don’t think Vertigo can sell anymore. There’s a big retooling coming in 2018, but right now, I’m guessing this miniseries will do most of its money in bookstores.

Glenn:  At 240 is the second issue of Betty and Veronica Vixens which sells over 5.8k.  Pretty standard for your typical wacky Archie book.

Only the hardcore fans remain if the sales of the second issue of Wonderful World Of Tank Girl is any indication, it sells just under 5.6k at 244. No big surprise for a property that really is the definition of having a cult fan base.

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By The Numbers official mascot (not official) Zombie Tramp has rock solid sales.  We tell you all this because we know that you all, like us care deeply about Zombie Tramp.  It sells over 5.4k at 246.

Ray:  Zoooooooooooombie Tramp!!! Truly America’s most comic. (I have never read an issue of Zombie Tramp)

Glenn: (Me either)

At 249 is the second issue of the Tick which seems to be a bit delayed selling just over 5.1k.  Much like Tank Girl, this is a cult fan base were only the pure loyal remain. In good news for Tick fans everywhere though, the Amazon show is getting a second season.

Ray:  It feels like it’s been several months since the first episode of Tick, which is a problem I see with a lot of indie books lately. I’m wondering if that might drive down sales a bit. 
At #245, we’ve got the final issue of the Andrew MacLean oversized fantasy comic Head Lopper, selling 5.5K. This has always been a cult series, packing eighty pages of head lopping into a $5.99 comic. This was recalled at the last minute and reissued the following month, so we might see it next month as well.

At #254, we’ve got the Faith Winter Wonderland Special from Valiant. This was a done-in-one comedy tale featuring one of Valiant’s fan-favorite characters, but it didn’t have regular series writer Jody Houser. I would have expected a bit more than just a tick under 5K, but one-shots can be a hard sell.

Glenn:  Much like Spider-Gwen, Faith is a bit of a merchandise machine and one of Valiant’s best known characters.  Obviously its on a smaller scale than Gwen but the same benifits likely apply for other forms of revenue so her comic sales don’t need to hit as much.

Ray:  The new Leonardo Da Vinci-starring Monstro Mechanica from Aftershock has one of the lower debuts from the company, selling 4.9K at #255. This got positive reviews, but with no name creators attached, it suffered the same sales struggles as much of Aftershock’s line.

IDW has a new Rom and the Micronauts series, followed by a Transformers annual, in the next two slots, both selling 4.8K or so. IDW puts out more comics than any other company besides the big two, so there’s a lot of these books that won’t distinguish themselves sales-wise. IDW makes its money by catering to devoted, old-school fans of these properties.

Glenn:  Now I’ve also completed my Transformers tracker card!  Now I can get a free Graphic Policy!

Ray:  At #258, we’ve got the debut of Giants from Dark Horse. This is the American debut of the Valderrama brothers, and they’re potentially bringing with them a big crossover audience. But it didn’t translate to first issue sales, selling 4.8K. Dark Horse debuts often struggle, but this is a miniseries and will likely have a better shot at that larger market in collections.

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Glenn:  I’ve not heard of these guys so its likely they aren’t going to carry much weight in the direct market.  Mini’s without much buzz are destined to get lost in the shuffle in today’s market though so I would say that Dark Horse definitely is betting on collections here.

Ray:  The regular Jem and the Holograms comic has ended, but there’s the new “Dimensions” miniseries for die-hard fans. Selling 4.5K at #270, it’s pretty clear why the original series faded out with the departure of series writer Kelly Thompson (now newly Marvel-exclusive).

At #272 is another new Mignolaverse series, Joe Golem: Flesh and Blood. Co-written with horror author Christopher Golden, this isn’t one of Mignola’s most well-known series, but it’s part of Dark Horse’s most successful in-house franchise. This is also a very stable franchise, so 4.4K in sales for the single issue wasn’t likely unexpected.

At #278 is this year’s Zenoscope Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Special. Glenn, take it away!

Glenn:  When it comes to Zenoscope, Rebecca Bunch always says it better than I ever could.

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Ray:  I don’t even know what a “Street Fighter Shadaloo Special” is. Googling indicates it’s an anthology, and it gets UDON Entertainment on the charts at #285 with sales of 3.9K.

Glenn:  UDON seems to pay its bills with Street Fighter nostalgia as its the only time we see them chart.  There’s a new game out but its likely kids from the 90’s who mashed their SNES controller to death playing Street Fighter II Turbo or whatever that are the primary audience.

Ray:  At #286 we have Zombie Tramp and Friends, aka “Danger Doll Squad“, selling 3.9K. Truly America’s most team book.

We have the second issue of Void Trip at #292, selling 3.8K. This is one of Image’s oddest books in a while, and it doesn’t seem to have caught on with retailers. Shame – it’s a hilarious and oddball space adventure with vibes of Star Wars by way of Hunter S. Thompson. Give it a cry before it says goodbye to the top 300!

Glenn:  This is written by a fellow former Bendis Boarder who up to now has only written game tie-ins and the like so he’s building a portfolio here.  If he continues to have a success story later down the line, Image will benefit long term from placing faith in him early.

Ray:  At #294, we’ve got the debut of Scarlett’s Strike Force from controversial IDW writer Aubrey Sitterson. This was cancelled prior to the first issue being released, and first-issue sales of 3.8K don’t make it hard to see why. How much of this was his widely debated comments, and how much was one too many GI Joe relaunches, we’ll never know.

Glenn:  Oh its this book.  The book has gotten press that has more likely reached more people that ever would have heard of it otherwise.  There are so many different sides to this particular story that its hard to know where to begin with looking at how it performed.  If you’re unaware of what the heck we’re talking about…don’t google it, just watch something like American Vandal instead.  You’ll thank us.

Ray:  Hey, it’s a second appearance by Los Bros Hernandez on these charts! The latest issue of Love & Rockets Magazine from Fantagraphics sells 3.8K at #297. These were never comics designed for Wednesday Warriors, so this is a surprise.

Adam Warren’s cult classic Empowered makes an appearance on the charts at #298, selling 3.8K with the mouthful-named “Sistah Spooky’s High School Hell“.

Glenn:  This franchise has been going for what seems like forever so it must do well in collections or something.  Good for Adam Warren being able to just do whatever he wants in a book that he owns, whenever he feels like it.  It may not be a book that sets the charts ablaze but a lot of creators would love the same freedom I’m sure.

Ray:  And rounding out the top 300 this month is Joe Books with their Disney Princess anthology. This series, composed of a series of short comic strips focusing on the popular Disney characters outside their main adventures, started pretty hot but trailed off with the departure of popular webcomic creator Amy Mebberson. Joe Books doesn’t really seem like it’s making much of a push in the single issue market anymore – these titles will do much better in collections.

Glenn:  I’m wondering if Disney remember if Joe Books still has this licence.  They lend their licences to a lot of people and are bound to lose track.

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Ray:  Looking forward to January, we’ve got some interesting debuts for DC. The first two comics from the “New Age of DC Heroes” line arrive, in the form of Venditti/Daniel’s rampaging monster comic Damage and Abnett/Romita Jr.’s assassin-mom thriller Silencer. These aren’t the two most buzz-worthy debuts for the line, so it’ll be interesting to how they do in advance of books like Immortal Men and Terrifics in the coming months. We’ve also got new issues of Metal and Doomsday Clock, which should dominate the top of the charts, along with a new wave of annuals, the Swamp Thing Winter Special with stories by Tom King and the late Len Wein, the start of the Young Animal/DC crossover, and the end of one Harley run and the beginning of another.

Marvel’s delivered almost all their Legacy debuts already to mixed results, but we’ve got a couple of new launches from them – including X-men books Rogue/Gambit and Legion, Rise of the Black Panther, Old Man Hawkeye, and a one-shot focusing on the mysterious DJ from The Last Jedi. Helping them in sales this month, they’ll have four issues of both the Jean Grey resurrection miniseries, and the new weekly Avengers book.

The biggest indie sales force of the month will probably be the weekly Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny event, which should probably get IDW five more books in the top 100. Image has a bunch of new books coming out, including their oddest book in a while – the surreal horror comic Ice Cream Man. And Dynamite will be relying on two generations of Battlestar Galactica fans to power the franchise’s first crossover ever.

What will rise? What will fall? We’ll see next time on…By the Numbers!

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By The Numbers: November 2017

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He’s hoping his comics career does way better in 2018 than 2017.  He’s also hoping his 16 month year old son can learn to put these articles together…which is probably more likely.

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.  Although Ray enjoyed the recent Star Wars movie he is very much against how it taught us that Porg’s are delicious instead of simply adorable.

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!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  The end is here fans of sales numbers as DC rolls in the final By The Numbers of the year (or the first, depending on when I can pull this together…) with the launch of Doomsday Clock which continues on the major ‘wtf’ moment from Rebirth and also is a sequel to the best selling and critically acclaimed comic of all time.
Just how well did it do and how other DC books did while Marvel entered its second Legacy month and more are all here in By The Numbers.

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So yes, in the least predictable plot twist than Tommy Elliot being Hush (12 year old spoiler warning here), Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank not only takes the top spot but the top TWO spots this month.  The best selling version is the regular one which featured two different covers by Frank and the second being a lenticular version of art by Dave Gibbons from Watchmen.  So yes, the two versions sold like bananas and unlike the lenticular versions of the Button issues earlier this year, they were ordered closely together with sales of over 119.4 k and 119.2k respectively.  A combined sales of over 238.6k is heads above everything else.  One thing I would say is I thought the sales would be a lot higher, easily passing 300k or maybe even 500k but the market is not in the best shape by a long shot.  Overall, figures were down historically and the days of even a Watchmen sequel breaking 300k are gone for the time being so considering where the market is now, this is probably as good as its going to get.  The question is, how will the rest of the 12 issues perform?  I could easily see each issue selling in excess of 150k and taking the top spot each month (the only book in the next year which may give it serious competition is Action Comics 1000) until it finishes.  Then it goes off to collection heaven where if it sells a quarter of Watchmen has in its 30 years in various forms, DC will be collecting major bank off this for years to come.  This is an event that competition Marvel would kill to have but the funny thing is that Doomsday Clock is not the only major successful event DC is running right now.

Ray:  Yeah, I have a feeling that the days of comic book events topping 300K are just over for now. Between a shrinking number of comic book stores, more and more fans migrating to digital, and some events becoming cost-prohibitive, the base just isn’t there to get the numbers of Civil War anymore. But if this is the top of what a company can do regularly these days, then it’s very much worth noting that DC has two events that are regularly getting to that peak now, while Marvel would kill for one. Doomsday Clock is designed to be an evergreen story, playing out on its own for a year before it’s even reflected in any DC books. Based on that, I imagine sales will be stable and eventual collection sales will be massive. Barring any surprise events in the next year, you’re right – it should hold the top of the sales charts with the possible exception of Action #1000.

Glenn:  This brings us to 3 on the charts, the Batman Who Laughs.  A major tie-in to DC’s OTHER successful crossover event, Metal.  There was a bit of a debate between myself and Ray about if this or Batman Lost would play second fiddle to Doomsday Clock and in truth, it was close but I still called it and I take wins over Ray where I can.  This event covers the origin of the leader of the Dark Knights, is written by bat scribe James Tynion and is one of the best mainstream horror comics for years.  It sells over 105.1k indicating to me that there is interest in this character that could go beyond Metal.

Ray:  I’m kind of surprised that Batman Who Laughs only did about a 10K jump over the other issues of the Dark Knights spotlights, but I’m thinking that’s more a testament to just how strong the event as a whole has been. There was virtually no attrition over the course of the event – and in fact, The Devastator jumped about 7K over last month’s lowest-selling issue, The Merciless. That feels like retailers adjusting for demand.

Glenn:  As indicated, Batman: Lost takes the number 4 spot.  Impressive since it was a bizarre tie-in that was created to give Greg Capullo time to catch up on Metal.  This was Scott Snyder doing his best Grant Morrison impression and basically served at Metal 3.5.  It didn’t get as much hype but the strength of Metal overall still got it to deliver an impressive number of over 101.2k.  This issue was of course solicited as being drawn by Olivier Coipel but it didn’t quite pan out like that but I doubt retailers who may have invested based on his name were disappointed.

Ray:  Batman: Lost doing about 2/3rds of the main Metal series isn’t spectacular, but it’s still a great number for a tie-in that may not have been seen as completely critical to the story. If The Wild Hunt does similar numbers between 5/6 in a few months, DC will be very happy.

Glenn:  Sick of Batman and DC?  Well tough because here’s our regular top ten Batman sales!  Issues 35 and 34 hit this month with the former curiously outselling the latter with 35 taking spot 5 and 34 taking spot 6.  Now issue 35 was also the 800th issue of Batman but DC didn’t make too big a deal about it so the slight difference could be to do with that or it could be that its Batman and it doesn’t play by the conventional sales rules.  This month the title sells over 97.4k and 96.6k respectively.  Insanely stable and insanely successful as always.

At 7 we have Batman: The Devastator where we see Batman becomes Doomsday.  Its another Metal tie-in and thus draws in big numbers of over 94.4k.  Most companies would kill for one event with numbers like these but DC has two at the same time.  It shows that Doomsday still has some sales juice potentially with this one shot doing better than the ones last month were indicating.  Its probably more about how these once sales generating tools are used more than anything.  Doomsday showing up to job out to Superman in a random issue of his title won’t get sales but involve the character in an already popular event and then people take notice.

At 8 we’re reminded that Marvel comics is a thing with the Legacy launch of Captain America by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, one of the companies best regarded creative pairings over the last few years.  The recent history of Captain America is well documented here and the return to a more traditional take where Captain America punches Nazi’s as opposed to well…you know gives it a sales boost to over 87.1k.  This is the best Captain America has sold in ages and would give me some optimism but the sales on the books that performed well last month on their Legacy launch this month are well…we’ll get to that.  Could Waid and Samnee delivering a more traditional Captain America run buck the trend?  Its possible but given the weight the character has been saddled with creatively and how Marvel’s positioned itself in the market, it won’t be easy.

Ray:  This was about what I expected to see from Captain America, and that makes it one of the healthiest Legacy launches with the exception of Thor’s anniversary issue last month. A back-to-basics approach combined with a fan favorite creative team will do that. But this month we saw how Legacy books did in their second month, and…it’s not good. It’s terribad. There’s going to be a lot of fallout from this as we head down the charts, but a lot of books are simply cratering, and as we speak it’s one day after the March solicits dropped – and took a good chunk of Marvel’s line with them. So based on that, I expect Captain America to fall hard next month. A lot of damage was done to this property that will take a while to undo, besides Marvel’s overall sales issues. The good news is, even a hard fall from this number will likely make it one of Marvel’s least problematic books for a while sales-wise. And it’s great, so there’s that.

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Glenn:  Back to By Batman The Numbers with the second Batman annual selling over 75.9k.  Impressive sales for an annual, not as good as last years if memory serves but still impressive. I think there might be some decent reorders for this, it was a beautiful issue.

Ray:  This book was underordered. Like crazy. It sold out pre-release, and my store – Midtown Comics, one of the biggest comic book stores in the USA – had to restrict fans to one copy on Wednesday. Retailers underestimated just how much fans wanted this Batman/Catwoman story, and there are likely to be major reorders in months to come.

Glenn:  At the final spot in the top ten is that money in the bank Star Wars comic which continues to be Marvel’s most stable seller by quite a fair margin.  It sells over 73.8k showing on first glance that making Kieran Gillon the writer has had no impact but then issue 39 which charts the same month is down to 24 and sells just over 56.1k. Still decent for Marvel this weather but good lord that’s a massive drop and the worst numbers for the title by far.  Is this a mistake or has the news that Jason Aaron is gone now effecting the title?  It could be a cause for concern as Star Wars has been the title Marvel has been depending on for a while and if it now is in a spot where its being outsold by DC’s upper tier of books…that bodes ill.

Ray:  That Star Wars number is up 8K from last month’s final issue for Aaron, but the big slide the same month is worrisome. I wonder if this title might get a boost from new fans now that there’s a movie out? You might have heard about it? I think it’s called “The Last Porg“.

Glenn:  I’d forgotten that the sales on Star Wars were reaching their 60’s and we’re seeing the customary ‘last issue of a big run’ bump before it resuming normal service.  Its still healthy enough and it’ll be doing bonkers business in collections both in and out of comic stores so there’s no concern but still, sad to see the title dip to such low numbers when its been one Marvel could previously really depend on.

Since I’m counting the two versions of Doomsday Clock as one (I HAVE THE POWER) we get Justice League at 11 (also at 12) for Metal tie ins that sell over 73.8k and 71.7k respectively.  It seems that limiting the tie-ins that Metal have has done the titles that are tying in a world of good.  Hopefully another major comic company can learn the lesson that less can indeed be more.

Ray:  That’s an almost 30K jump from the last regular issues of Justice League for the crossover! Massive. Next month brings a new creative team in Christopher Priest and Pete Woods, so we’ll see if it keeps any of these increased sales. 

Glenn:  It’ll probably go back to where it was and continue its glacial decline.  Justice League seems like one of those books where the property can remain verly high despite whoever is producing the book.  Big names can help move the needle in a more positive direction of course.  Given how stable the numbers have been on Priest’s Deathstroke, moving him to League is probably to create a similar stabling effect there, not a terrible move at all.

Ray:  Heading out of the top ten, White Knight holds extremely well with its second issue, keeping about 75% of its first-issue sales to land at #13 with sales of just under 70K. That’s pretty rare to see, and shows that the sales on this one must be genuine interest, not retailer speculation.

Glenn:Even more impressive when you consider its an out of continuity story which tend to be treated with general indifference.  Once again we see the power of Batman but don’t count out the impact of this being a Joker story (he’s been used very sparingly the last few years making his appearances seems more special as a result) and Sean Murphy’s name power.  This bodes really well for the series he’s doing with Snyder which will likely become a top ten staple when it sees production next year.

Ray:  There’s Walking Dead at #14, basically level with sales of 63K+. Good ol’ Walking Dead. Even when the TV show is pissing everyone off, the comic is still here going strong.

Glenn: Kirkman can taste your anger, he says it tastes like chicken.

Ray:  We’ve got four Legacy debuts here in the 15-18 range, and what surprises me the most is the order – Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Old Man Logan, and Daredevil. They all sell sell in the 62K-58K range, but it’s a much different story when you look at the previous issue sales. Old Man Logan sold 39K last month, while Daredevil sold 24K with its last issue, Renew Your Vows 22K, and Punisher 20K. So it seems like the dramatic and controversial status quo change for Punisher had the biggest effect, and similarly the time-skip and new creative team for Renew Your Vows was very successful. The other two titles kept their creative teams, and Old Man Logan basically changed nothing while Daredevil began a major new arc. Relaunches seem to do better when they feel like events, but as always, we’ll see what happens next month.

Glenn:  Good numbers for these four books, especially Renew Your Vows which outsells the regular Amazing Spider-Man by about 11k.  Of course, numbers on the second issues of Legacy books don’t bode well for these titles keeping their success but hey…you never know.  Something particularly noteworthy about Renew Your Vows is that this is the first time we’ve had a regular female writer on a Spider-Man title.  Sure we’ve had brief runs in the past, usually for only an issue or two here and there but Houser seems here to stay.  Its a big deal that isn’t being talked about much and I’ll be curious to know if that got any sales interest and may separate the title from the pack in upcoming months.

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Ray:  The final issue of the Oz Effect charts with its lenticular edition at #21, selling 56K, but adds another 21K from the standard edition at #104. Put together, that would actually make it the #9 book of the month overall. Clearly, anything the overarching mystery of Rebirth touches turns to absolute gold.

Glenn:  We’re over a year later and Rebirth is still getting DC a lot of interest and has done wonders for some of their properties.  We’re talking a lot about the success of Doomsday Clock and Metal but Rebirth had a far bigger impact and although everything hasn’t been a winner spinning out of it, its realy allowed DC a platform to compete at the perfect time when their main competition isn’t have the best string of fortune.

Ray:  The two satellite Spider-Man books, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man and Miles Morales’ title “Spider-Man” both sell around 56K at #22-23. The former sold 33K last month, while the latter sold 27K, making this a pretty similar jump for the titles. The increase for Miles might be explained by the return of a major villain and Miles’ media profile, but given the upcoming creative team change may shake things up again. (A second issue of PPSSM charts this month, the previous issue before the Legacy jump, and sells 40K at #41. Maybe retailers upping their orders a bit in advance of the relaunch?) 

Glenn:Don’t forget the second Peter Parker book this month featured the major change to the character.  It wasn’t advertised or promoted at all but someone may have got wind of it and this issue might get some reorders because of it.  Considering how major a development it was, I’m surprised its not being talked about more.

(Note:  Since writing this article, events in the Spider-Man title indicate the title may be ending and later relaunched.  Yay for Legacy.)

Ray:  Spider-Man/Deadpool kicks off a new regular creative team, with frequent Spider-Man side-writer Robbie Thompson and popular artist Chris Bachalo. It gets an almost 100% sales jump to land at #27 with 53K in sales. This is a title that SHOULD sell gangbusters for Marvel, but we’ll see in coming months.

Glenn:  Spidey/Deadpool may keep a good majority of those sales.  They’re two of their most popular and sales dependable characters and the title now has a consistent creative voice and an a-list artist (at least for this arc).  Its a recipe for success but when it comes to Marvel, the market hasn’t really cared about things like that recently.

Ray:  Marvel has a few oddball books that are resuming old numbering without actually continuing from a current book. The first of those is Moon Knight, which sells just under 51K at #29. Not a bad number for a side book, and the last run by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood had an incredibly strong hold over its run, but this one is unlikely to maintain that pattern. However, anecdotal evidence does indicate this new horror-influenced run has caught on a bit.

Amazing Spider-Man continues its slow slide, leveling out very quickly from its second Legacy issue. It sells 50K at #31, which indicates that the title is still Marvel’s healthiest. Worth noting that this is Marvel’s top-selling superhero ongoing that isn’t the start of a Legacy run this month. Of course, the rumor is Slott is leaving the title in a few months, so who knows where the book will be after that…

Glenn:The lead up to 800 will help Amazing, when we had the fall out of 700 the title saw a strong period during the Superior Spider-Man era so how the title performs now is moot due to the future being clouded in mystery.  Given how closely Slott is associated with the book and how consistently its sold under him, its unclear what Amazing Spider-Man looks like as a sales performer without him.  Of course, he’s not gone yet and Marvel can be the house of smoke and mirrors.  Retailers will want to know answers soon or may react negatively to being kept in the dark.

Ray:  Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange both begin their Legacy runs as well, landing right next to each other at #33-34 and selling about 48K. This is more than a 100% increase for both books, which were out of the top 100 last month – but before anyone gets excited, GOTG is one of the few books that shipped two issues this month, and the second is way down at #102, selling 22K and barely outselling the pre-Legacy run by 2K. Clearly, zero impact overall, even in the same month. The Doctor Strange run, the first Marvel work of Donny Cates, has been getting great reviews and may build momentum from here, but GOTG is already ending this run in advance of a spring event comic.

Glenn:  It’ll be the first time since the first movie that we’ve not had a regular Guardians title.  Only a year ago there was like 10 of them, how times change.

Ray:  It’s worth noting that while all this is going on, books like Detective Comics, Flash, and Superman continue to be insanely steady. The 34th issue of Superman sells about the same as GOTG’s Legacy relaunch, despite having no incentives or variants. That’s what a successful relaunch actually looks like.

Speaking of Donny Cates, his first issue of Thanos lands at #37 with sales of 44K. That’s a big increase over Lemire’s final issue, but Thanos was one of the few genuine success stories out of Marvel in the last year – a creator-driven book that told a planned story and maintained its small-but-devoted audience through its entire run. Can Cates’ run duplicate that effect? We’ll see, but the fact that it debuted alongside much bigger-name books is a very good sign.

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Glenn:  While we continue on the road to Infinity War, the stock with Thanos will only continue to rise so this book might become something of a dark horse in Marvel’s stable…or not.  Next month will tell us more.

Ray:  Mighty Thor, coming off the blockbuster anniversary issue which topped 100K, is back down to standard numbers, selling 43K at #38. Nothing is having much of an effect long-term here, but this remains one of Marvel’s brightest stars for now, as long as Aaron is on board. It’s built this audience over years and doesn’t need gimmicks and anniversaries to save its sales.

The little book that could, Mister Miracle, finally sees its streak of sales increases end – but only so it can decline by about 1000 copies to land at #43 with sales of 39K. To put this into perspective, that puts it between this month’s issues of the top-selling X-Men book, X-Men: Gold. It’ll be outselling the entire X-line next month!

Glenn:  Scott Free can even escape the X-Men, who knew?  I think its safe to attribute this to King and Gerards who are receiving high quality and highly critically acclaimed books and making it look easy.  This book is doing well just because its amazing, what a novel concept.

Ray:  She-Hulk (renamed from adjectiveless “Hulk“) has a fairly modest Legacy debut, selling 36K at #48. That’s up from 16K last month. A big percentage increase, for sure, but not likely enough to help the book in the long run or change its overall sales trajectory.

Glenn:  There’s talk of She-Hulk joining the slew of Marvel cancelled books next month so we’ll see.  It very much seems like just a one issue bump considering it hasn’t benefited too greatly from the renumbering.

(Since this writing, the rumours indicating that She-Hulk is getting cancelled are mounting up.  Yay Legacy.)

Ray:  At #52, we’ve got Batman: Creature of the Night, Kurt Busiek’s horror-influenced take on a “real world” version of Batman. This spiritual sequel to Superman: Secret Identity (considered an all-time DC classic) sells over 35K. A bit disappointing on the face for a new Batman book, but this is out of continuity, $5.99, and likely geared more towards collections. It’s going to sell for DC for a very long time.

Glenn:  This is an unusual book, very pricey with no continuity relevance that is a kinda sequel to a book that is nearly 14 years old by a writer who is well known but hasn’t had a major property run for about 15 years..  Given that its done this number is not too bad with all those things considered and yeah, this will be packaged as a very successful collection for years and decades to come.  I’m sure DC are happy with how its doing with all that it comes saddled with and the promise of great collection sales that are virtually guaranteed based on how many times Secret Identity has been reprinted.

Ray:  Speaking of little books that could, Supergirl gets another unexplained sales increase, selling 34K this month at #56. It’s now outselling Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Titans, and is on the cusp of passing Harley Quinn. I’ve never seen something like that – it was getting close to worrying numbers for a while, but then it did a complete 180 and it’s well deserved.

Glenn:  The mystery of Supergirl continues…maybe its the new artist or the addition to the writing team of Jody Houser, who knows?  It seems that Houser is having quite a lot of positive influence on her various books.  In actuality though, we know that Ray is just ordering more copies each month.

Avengers 673 and Despicable Deadpool 289 are two second month Legacy titles that slide back to their previous places after their initial bumps.  They sell over 32.k at 61 and 31.7k at 62 respectively and are now being outsold by Titans…yes Titans.  For
Avenger’s we have the weekly status quo with the other Avenger’s creative teams coming on which will have an undermined effect.  It’ll certainty lift the other two books higher but probably won’t have a major bump  on the title overall.  Another question mark for Marvel this month.  Deadpool sales have waned off quite a bit but I think that’s just the entire line rather than him.  The movie coming up will help things and Marvel will never stop throwing random Deadpool shaped things at us at this point.

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Ray:  Avengers will definitely get a bounce for the start of the weekly run, but then remember how the weekly DC comics did – if they weren’t extremely well-received like Batman: Eternal, it just magnified the slide by 4x each month. That could get ugly quickly. As for Deadpool, I don’t think this return to evil for Deadpool is going over very well, so that’s certainly not helping the sales much.

Glenn:  Also in its second post legacy month is Invincible Iron Man, same story as we’re seeing with everyone else where the title resumes business as normal with sales over 30.2k at 68.  The title at this stage is waiting around for a new writer and creative direction so you guessed it…another title shrouded in mystery.  The shrouds are starting to make me a little too warm…

Ray:  Iron Man should end on a high, as Bendis‘ final issue will be the big #600 anniversary issue, and will supposedly serve as a capper on his entire run for Marvel. But otherwise, Tony’s big return is doing roughly the same numbers as Riri’s solo title was doing before Legacy.

Glenn:  Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica has a decent enough little slide to 71 with sales just over 29.4k.  Pretty much probably the best you could hope for from a tongue in cheek crossover like this.  It’ll probably finish out its run here which isn’t too bad at all.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more inter company crossovers from DC next year, they’ve been performing from solidly to brilliant in each case.

Another Legacy month 2 title, another big drop, this time for Incredible Hulk which is at 75 with sales over 28.7k.  The rebranding of the title to a more iconic one and shipping Amadeus Cho Hulk off to Skaar hasn’t had much effect.  I would say the Planet hulk sorta sequel will find this title stabilize fast but as is the case with literally every other Legacy title, you’d have thought Marvel would have hoped for more than a one month interest.

Ray:  This is still a good 10K above where Totally Awesome Hulk was selling, so this has to be considered somewhat of a win for Marvel. The previous run was being treated like a Hulk spin-off, while this is actually performing like a Hulk title thanks to the renaming and the return to Planet Hulk. It’ll probably get another boost when we get to World War Hulk II.

Glenn:  Selling bizarrely well is the Deadman Glow In The Dark Edition which sells over 27.3k at 79 which shows that the spirit of silly 90’s gimmicks is indeed alive and well.  A standard edition of the same book also charts at 231 with sales over 7.7k giving it around 34-35kish overall which means Deadman sold better than Avengers and Deadpool overall.  If that’s not a win, I’m not sure what is.

Ray:  That’s…way more than anyone was expecting for Deadman, which blew the sales for similar books like Ragman and Demon out of the water. Was it the cover gimmick? Neal Adams still having a sizeable fanbase? The fact that it continues from Batman stories? No way of knowing, but we’ll see how many of these sales it keeps next month. I’m not optimistic.

Glenn:  A new Valiant book called Ninja-K sells over 25.5k at 84.  I don’t know much about what this is but that’s a great number for a Valiant book who usually life in a range that is at most 10k less than this.  Not sure what the interest is here specifically but good for them.

Ray:  Yeah, that’s one of the biggest debuts in a while for Valiant, especially as the long-running previous series had been pretty low on the charts. Valiant’s decision to keep its output limited and its line focused seems to be paying off with some decent brand loyalty.

Glenn:  Sick of bad news about month 2 of Legacy?  Too bad!  Here’s Venom this time who sells over 25.4k at 85 on the charts and another issue selling just over 24k at 90.  The titles tying in to Amazing Spider-Man shortly so that’ll help but it seems the Venom nostalgia wave of ’17 is wearing off and fast.

The Super Sons annual does about 5k less than the main title at 86 selling just over 25.3k.  Apart from Batman which is an anomaly, the rest of the DC annuals sell pretty decently compared to their main counterparts.  DC puts a lot of effort into their annuals and the benefits show in the sales.  The Justice League annual compares favorably too, selling about 4k less than the main title with sales over 24.4k at 89.  All good news here.

Ray:  DC’s done a good job of making all their annuals feel like integral parts of the book, and they’ve been rewarded with better sales. Most of them have the regular writer on board, although there are some exceptions like Aquaman.

Glenn:  Secret Warriors gets a massive bump, going against the Marvel trend with its last (?) issue selling just under 24k at 91.  I’m guessing this is a weird final issue bump, if its not the final issue I’m guessing its cause of Legacy.  If its neither of these things, I have no clue.

Ray:  This is the Secret Warriors Legacy debut, so it’s clearly a muted number. Not a great debut, but not a surprise, given the low sales to begin with. The book is still being solicited, but I doubt for much longer. Especially with the mass culling coming. (More on that lay-tor!)

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Glenn:  In their second Legacy month Black Panther (over 23.7k at 92), Uncanny Avenger’s (over 23.7k at 93), Moon Knight (Over 23.1k at 95) and Defenders (Over 23.1k at 96) all follow the pattern we’re all familiar with when it comes to November from Marvel (don’t worry there’s a lot more where these came from).  Uncanny is already gone to be repackaged with the main Avenger’s book and Defenders seems to have been quietly cancelled with the departure of Bendis to DC or due to his health concerns or both.  Black Panther has a movie coming out so will be okay for a few months, Moon Knight could hang on if it keeps those numbers but the title will miss Jeff Lemire quite a bit.

Ray:  This trio of books all lost well over half of their sales from their Legacy debut, which is a pretty consistent pattern. There’s been little to no long-term impact from the latest relaunch, and the suits at Marvel have got to be getting very worried. Defenders is already gone from solicits, although that’s likely more related to Bendis leaving. 

Another inter company crossover Shadow/Batman sells over 22.4k at 97.  Not as massive as its predessor but still very good, especially since its published by Dynamite this time (the next highest selling Dynamite book after the debuting John Wick is at 196!!!!) so still a big win overall I’d say.

Glenn:  At 99 we have a comic adaption of action movie John Wick, I haven’t seen the movie but I believe its about a retired assassin who goes out for revenge after the mob kills his dog.  The two movies have quite a cult status so sales of over 22.3k I’d say is really good, especially for Dynamite.  It’ll probably drop to 9-12k next month but that’s probably the best Dynamite could have hoped for with regards to a tie in comic like this.

Ray:  Decent month for Dynamite. This prequel to John Wick in particular seems to have gathered some buzz, as it has popular writer Greg Pak on board. The company seems to be gaining a bit of momentum as of late. 

Glenn:  More second month Marvel titles, this batch includes Spider-Gwen and…now I’m sad….Ray, cheer me up

Ray:  Ohhhh, boy. This is where the Marvel section of the charts gets depressing. You mentioned Spider-Gwen, which was one of the Marvel titles that had the biggest bumps in recent months – due to a combination of the relaunch and the popular Gwenom story. That was enough to put it in the top 20 last month with sales of over 73K. This month? Over a 2/3rds drop to 101, with sales of 22K. That’s down 14K from the issue BEFORE Legacy? Could Legacy actually be hurting titles? That’s probably the worst omen possible for Marvel.

Glenn:  If we’re seeing fans/retailers react negatively to Legacy long term then that’s not a good thing at all considering the event was to turn things around.  It seems that Marvel has the opposite of whatever the midas touch is recently, perhaps its the touch of Manos.

(Since writing this, retailers have been made aware Spider-Gwen will be cancelled.  While this is most likely due to some creative switches or changing her name to Ghost-Spider its still a case of…yay Legacy)

Ray:  Similar drops for Guardians of the Galaxy (already ending to make way for an event), and Champions (despite a crossover with Avengers). Both barely outsell the standard addition of Action Comics this month, which is essentially just free additional sales for DC on a popular comic!

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur can’t even crack the top 100 with its Legacy debut, charting at #107 and selling 21K. Still going nowhere, though – the sales are clearly coming from elsewhere.

Glenn:  Moon Girl is a mystery that will never be solved, like what space air tastes like and when Ray sleeps

Ray:  One Marvel book that the news isn’t all bad for is Spirits of Vengeance, which sinks down to 108 with 21K sales. Not great, but considering it’s selling in the general range of Guardians and Champions, that’s not bad for a b-list property that’s been absent for a while. The Marvel sales problems are across the board, so this individual book is probably a small win.

Glenn:  Its only a mini too so definitely a moral victory at least for Spirits.  If it sells well in collections then the series might be back as a more regular thing…or not.  Who can tell anymore?

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Ray:  Like was mentioned about Super-Sons before, we see both the Aquaman and Green Arrow annuals sell pretty consistently about 5K below the level of the parent title. The Aquaman annual was the DC debut of writer’s workshop graduate Phillip Kennedy Johnson, so that’s a good sign for his DC career.

Glenn:  DC are really starting to invest in these writers workshop folks, even giving books to the latest batch before they go through the program.  Using the workshop as a platform to make people familiar with new writers while teaching them the craft of how they like to do things is an interesting strategy.  We can see that DC is thinking about the writers of tomorrow even though their talent roster there is insane already.

Ray:  At #113, we see Jessica Jones, which loses well over 50% of its sales to sell 19K the month after its Legacy debut. This title will obviously be shifting creative teams in April, but with these sales for the original creator’s final act, that could be a big problem.

Glenn:  Apart from her brief appearances in other titles, no writer apart from Brian Bendis has spent a great deal of time with Jessica.  She’s got a critically acclaimed Netflix show which will help her profile but it’ll be interesting to see how she does once Bendis heads to DC without her.  Getting in a female writer already seems like a smart decision to keep fans happy but I’m not sure how prosperous the title might be long term but these days, I’m thinking that about the majority of Marvel titles.

Ray:  At #116, we’ve got the DC debut of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, which sells 18.7K. This is the return of original creator Tony Isabella to the character, but despite the upcoming CW TV series, it doesn’t seem to have gained much momentum. Maybe because the status quo in the comic doesn’t really match the one in the TV series?

Glenn:  The last time I remember Black Lightning having anything resembling a high profile was back during Meltzer’s Justice League days so this book is likely for the die hard fans.  DC are likely testing the waters to see how a BL book might perform once the TV show hits and this certainty isn’t the best indication.  If they want Black Lightning to have something of a profile along with his TV show, I’d wager he’ll simply shows up somewhere else.

Ray:  This is where the strange collection of one-shots that accompanied Legacy month landed on the charts. Given that all of these were books that Marvel didn’t think could actually sustain their own title, it’s not a surprise the debuts were unimpressive to a one. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack surprisingly has the biggest debut of the five, maybe due to her recent prominence in ASM, selling 18.5K at #118. Not much below at #124 is Darkhawk, selling 17K. This is a spin-off of the current Guardians arc, which helped. The other three have no such sales booster. Master of Kung Fu sells 16.8K at #128, roughly around the same level as Iron Fist’s current title. Power Pack is at #137, selling 15.3K, which is in line with the third issue of Runaways (probably not a title that’s going to do well in the direct market). Then there’s Not Brand Ecch, which sells just under 13K at #154. Needless to say, Marvel didn’t win any favor by letting the writer of their much-reviled recent event parody his own story.

Glenn:I’m not sure what the purpose of these one shots were apart to take up shelf space and maybe get a few bucks.  I doubt any of them were considered too much as serious contenders for new regular books apart from Silver Sable who has been part of a recent Amazing story line and has been absent for a few years.  If these were ground testers then I doubt Marvel will ever admit to as such.  Look for these in dollar store bins everywhere next year if you were curious about any of them.

Ray:  At #123, we’ve got the debut of Mystic U from DC. This oversized, three-part miniseries has been much delayed from the DC You era, and it sells just over 17K. Given that it’s an alternate universe and most of these characters don’t have their own titles, this is actually a fairly good debut.

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Glenn:  ‘What if the magic users of the DC universe had their own Hogwarts’ isn’t the worst elevator pitch in the world.  This will probably do well in collections to the non-direct market in the future but for what it is, I would say this is better than DC were expecting.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel of something similar like ‘what if the Suicide Squad were in the Hunger Games’ or some such (copyright Glenn Matchett)

Ray: It’s a total crash for the second issue of Falcon, which sold 54K with its first issue, and 16.8K with its second. This title is still being solicited, but probably not for long. The character’s clout has been seriously hurt by his disastrous run as Captain America and the event that he was thrown into.

Glenn:  Falcon’s had the worst time since being thrown into the spotlight as Captain America so this reaction to him returning to his original status quo isn’t surprising.  One that will no doubt be silently cancelled once Marvel hopes people forget about their last wave of cancellations.

Ray:  At #129, we’ve got the debut of Jetsons from DC’s Hanna-Barbera line, selling 16.6K. This book was massively critically acclaimed and has one of the writers of Harley Quinn on board, but it hasn’t translated into sales just yet. Still, given that it’s a six-issue miniseries, I imagine it might do very well in collections.

Glenn:  Jetsons will likely settle down and like you said, do well with collections.  People seem to dig this one and is once again showing that DC has managed to make something of these Hanna Barbara properties that in the past have lived in the 4 digit range when they’ve been just episodes of the classic cartoons but in comic form.  Doing something different with these various properties has done quite well for DC and has gotten them a few books that people seem to enjoy reading.

Ray:  There’s always a few oddballs on the charts, and at #132 we’ve got a book from Heavy Metal Magazine – Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, which sells 16.4K. I guess 80s hair metal still has a significant fanbase? Either way, this title from a company we very rarely see on the charts outsold several major DC and Marvel books.

Glenn:  I’m sure that company is thrilled just to be here.  Remember a few months ago that we had an eclectic bunch of rock band comics?  Maybe this one just missed the boat a bit…or waited until there was less competition.  Either way, this isn’t too bad at all considering who it is targeted to.

Ray:  One of them would be the debut of The Demon: Hell is Earth from DC, at #134. DC’s been doing a stealth relaunch of some of their magical concepts over the last few months, but aside from Deadman, none of them have really caught on in sales. This is also by a DC writer, Andrew Constant, making his big two debut, so 16.3K is probably in the range they were expecting.

Glenn:  Etrigan has never really had a solid sales base even when he’s had the likes of Gail Simone or John Byrne attached to him.  Just as you perfectly said, probably what DC was expecting.

Ray:  IDW’s Star Wars Adventures sells just under 16K at #135. It started much higher, but given that this is aggressively being marketed for collections – with small trades being released every three months – it’s likely that single issues are just a side perk for this book. A spinoff based on the Forces of Destiny cartoon has already been greenlit.

Glenn:  I’m sure IDW is just thrilled to have something with a Star Wars label on it which will be sold plenty of places outside comic shops.  These comics are going to be sold in normal book stores, theme parks and toy stores worldwide and that will mean a huge return for IDW.  These books being intended for a younger audience likely also have more sales potential outside the direct market than the Marvel Star Wars books which I’m sure still coins them a pretty penny each month, especially with a new film is out.

Ray:  The top-selling Image debut of the month is the Top Cow book Port of Earth, which sells 14.3K at #140. This is by the writer of the well-received Eclipse, and has a strong concept – Earth becoming a spaceport for visiting alien species, some of which don’t exactly have high regard for humans – so I imagine the strong sales here are a product of word of mouth and genuine interest.

Glenn:  As we’ve said for a few months now, it seems that most Image series that don’t have big names attached sell based off their concept.  Its like pilot season in the US but all year round.  Its always interesting to see what people gravitate towards when it seems to be the concept alone bringing them to the table.  Truely though the saying is true, there is a comic for everyone,

Ray:  And this is where we see some very ugly news for Marvel. Several books that have already made their Legacy are down here, including Gwenpool (#139, 14.5K), Captain Marvel (#138, 15K), Iceman (#158, 12.6K), Luke Cage (#168, 11.9K), and America (#225, 8.3K). And they’ve all been cancelled now, aside from Captain Marvel (whose fate is ambiguous so far, not appearing in the last solicits). And that’s not counting the books that are already ending, like US Avengers or Royals, or those like Generation X, which were cancelled prior to the sales of their Legacy debut even coming in. Needless to say, rough times at the House of Ideas.

Glenn:

Yeah, its rough times.  Its even harder when the Editor in chief, Akira Yoshida….

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 Wait, what?

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 But…

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

Right…anyway so its harder with editor in chief C.B Yoshida awol because of…reasons.  So PR cleanup on the fan backlash isn’t up to par.  Its not the best start to Marvel for 2018 for a number of reasons.  As a fan of the characters, let us hope that things get turned around…and fast.

Ray:  At #147 there’s a very unusual DC Book – Batman: The Dark Prince Charming #1. This is a small hardcover, part one of two, and it sells 13.2K. A hardcover in the single issues list is unusual, to say the least, but it was speculated on Rabbitt Stew (dong!) that it may be classified as a miniseries because it’s part one of two. Either way, it’s hard to gauge what sales DC expected in this format.

Glenn:  Weird to see an OGN on the singles chart so hard to judge it.  Its very good numbers by usual collection standards but a complete unknown by normal conventions.  I wonder if we’ll see that fancy pancy pricey Action 1000 HC end up here too?

Ray:  At #148 is another Image debut with some decent momentum behind it – Coyotes, by Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky. This Mexican-set werewolf horror story got very strong reviews and sells 13.2K in its debut. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it get decent reorders next month.

Glenn:  Image comics, catering for literally all your non super hero needs and even some of them too!

IDW does an internal crossover in one month in Ghostbusters and TNMT, two very popular franchises that have lasted the test of time for sure but not two properties that are automatically associated with each other.  The reason behind this team up is an odd one, did Vego pollute the sewers again?  Did Slimer eat the Turtles pizza?  Who knows!  Its an odd mix of two properties that don’t quite gel and the sales for each issue underline that further.  I think IDW was wise to get this one out the door and over with before sales had time to catch up to them.  The first issue sold over 12.7k at 155, second at 179 with sales over 11.2k, third at 183 with over 10.8k, fourth at 187 with over 10.7k and 189 with 10.6k.  One can’t help but wonder how much better sales would have been if the Ghostbusters had teamed with Mystery Inc.

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Ray:   IDW does quite a few of these weekly crossover events (the first TMNT/Ghostbusters was one of them as well), generally every five-week month. They usually sell a bit below the level of the parent title, but not too far below, and I believe this one did handily outsell any Ghostbusters comics. So they’ve got a strategy here that delivers some increased market share for the month.

Glenn:  Given that Wes Craig is the artist on popular Image book, Deadly Class I would have thought there would be more interest in his writers debut in Gravediggers Union which sells over 12.7k at 157.  This is still very good for IDW in terms of creator owned considering that’s not what they are mainly known for and perhaps people missed the fact that the writer on this is already an artist on another popular series.  Might stabilize quickly which will ensure it a healthy existence.

Ray:  I don’t think Wes Craig is quite a household name in the comic industry yet. Deadly Class is deservedly a big hit, but this book had an odd concept (albeit a very good first issue), and Craig is most known as an artist, not a writer. Feels like this one is one of those Image books that could easily catch on and stay solid or even grow from its first issue sales.

Glenn:  Its funny to think back to indie artist Brian Bendis and how people probably overlooked his first foray into writing.  It’ll be interesting to see if Craig can follow the success of other Image artist turned writer, Chip Czardarsky

Ragman doesn’t have too much to fall in its second issue with sales over 12.5k at 159.  A 5k drop for a third tier DC hero who is having his origin completely revamped in this version isn’t too bad at all, especially since its a mini.

Ray:  These DC magic titles all debuted with relatively little fanfare and few variant covers, so the first-issue sales were more reflective of actual interest. Given that, smaller slides are probably in the cards for all of them except maybe Deadman.

Glenn:  Rasputin: Voice of the Dragon is this months obligitory new Hellboy book about the series long standing antagonist, the mad Russian himself.  The title sells just under 12k at 167 which is pretty standard for Hellboy books, shows how dedicated the fan base is that they’ll even turn up in similar numbers for a book about the villain.

Another new Image book this month, Evolution sells over 11.8k at 170.  This is an unusual book featuring a range of writers (including Image writer turned DC superstar Joshua Williamson) exploring the same concept to do with the next stage of human evolution.  Considering there’s multiple writers attached, I’m sure retailers were confused and orders were effected rather than what they might have been if one writer had been at the helm.  Another odd book in a month of oddities.

Ray:  Evolution was easily the oddest Image release of the month, with most people I talked to not even being sure who was writing what. However, it got very good reviews out of the gate, and probably has a lot of room to grow from here.

Glenn:  At 177 is the first issue of the comic adaption of the sweariest, sexiest Trek series yet, Discovery.  This one hasn’t been around enough to build a large fan base like all the other Trek series so I don’t think IDW could have expected much more than the over 11.3k sales they got.  Might gain some traction as the show gets more episodes out.

Injustice 2 Annual edition sells over 11.2k at 178 which is only a stones throw away from the main title which is at 169 with just under 12k.  This series has been running for several years now and has become a small but dependable performer for DC.

At 182, DC smushes Metal preludes the Forge and the Casting into a directors cut one shot which sells just under 11k which is impressive for material that isn’t that old and is 7.99 to boot.  Metal is the event that keeps on giving for DC, these sales are just another easy win for them.

186 sees Locke and Key artist, Gabriel Rodriguez take on writing and art with Sword Of Ages, a lovely looking sword and sorcery epic which sells over 10.7k.  Much like Gravediggers Union above it, I would have expected more considering how big a following Locke and Key has.  This one could do well in collections, especially when Rodriquez hits the big time whenever Locke and Key finally gets that tv show we all want like yesterday.

Ray:  IDW creator-owned books have an extremely hard road, with some (including one of my favorite comics of 2017, Time and Vine) not even cracking the top 300. Given that, this is probably a decent hit for IDW. IDW’s bread and butter is licensed books, but it does seem like as of late they’ve managed to get some top-tier creators to commit to them for their own visions.

Glenn:  Another Planet Of the Apes comic, this time bringing in the biggest Ape King Kong debuts from BOOM at 190 with sales over 10.5k.  These two properties go together brilliantly and both had well received, lucrative movies this year so I’m not sure what happened here.  Perhaps these are movie franchises that don’t lend themselves to the fandom going to another medium featuring the same characters…or apes as the case may be.

Ray:  A crossover is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and this is about the same level of where both Kong and Planet of the Apes generally sold. I don’t think Boom was expecting too much more out of it – in general, they’ll probably do most of their business in trades.

Glenn:  At 192 we have the second issue of Wildstorm, Michael Cray selling over 10.3k.  I’d say that DC will keep these Wildstorm tie ins to a minimum, the main series written by Warren Ellis does very well but there’s not enough interest beyond what he wants to say with the universe to really get much more out of it.

No.1 with a Bullet from Image uses social media as a major element to its plot, its something that a lot of media is doing to try and capitalize on the current generations obsession with their phones.  The results can vary depending on the story but here it gets sales of over 10.2k at 193.  Not great but not dire for a property by two unknowns in a field of fiction that is fast becoming very crowded.

Ray:  Yeah, I don’t think this title really had anything to drive sales, unlike some of the other Image launches of the month. A lot of Image creators have said that if your comic debuts above 10K without A-list creators attached, that’s a win, so based on that I would say this is probably an okay debut. I think this one has sort of slipped under the radar, though.

Glenn:  The second issue of Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion Of Evil sells over 10.2k at 194.  Once again, everything related to Black Hammer remains solid for Dark Horse.  I would say that like its main counterpart, it’ll do well in collection format for years to come.

Ray:  A bit lower than the parent series, typically, but only by about 1K or so. Black Hammer is a bona-fide hit franchise for Dark Horse, for once.

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Glenn:  At 195 is Cyborg who I think at this point has been put out of his misery now that Justice League the movie has run his course.  The series finishes out with sales just over 10.1k so at least it managed to stay above five figures for its run.  I doubt with his solo film being apparently shelved we’ll see much more of Cyborg in a solo capacity anytime soon.

Ray:  Worth noting that Cyborg got a bit of a boost this month. It actually jumped up above Blue Beetle, which is the lowest-selling DC book this month. Maybe a slight bump for the conclusion of the main run on Cyborg? Or maybe the movie and retailers hoping it would give the title a new lease on life.

Glenn:  A few months ago, DC comic debuted a new comic where the female heroes and villains of that universe where reimagined through a Sons Of Anarky lens so naturally, Archie wants to do it too with Betty and VeronicaBetty and Veronica: Vixens sells over 9.7k at 200 which is pretty standard for wacky Archie stuff that isn’t anything to do with the new rebooted title.  It’ll have its audience and retailers will know who they are, no surprises here.

Ray:  Archie’s been putting out a lot of product lately, and most of the AUs haven’t really clicked sales-wise. When the debut of the new series sells around the same as the 25th issue of the main series, it’s not a great sign for the rookie. It’ll be interesting to see how the company does when they start rolling out concepts that don’t feature the classic characters, like “Cosmo“. 

The “Zine issue” of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl charts at #197, with sales of just over 10K. This was an all-star issue featuring stories by indie cartoonists – including Garfield creator Jim Davis – but it sells just about the level of the regular title. This is a title, like Moon Girl, that’s always had mediocre sales in singles at best, doing most of its business in trades. We’ll see how the Legacy debut does next month, but this title has its own market that these sales don’t really reflect. 

Glenn:  Given the other books that have been put on the cancellation fire, I can’t imagine Squirrel Girl lasting too much longer despite its fan base.  Then again, she is featuring in a TV show relatively soon so who knows?

Ray:  At #204 is the debut of Dark Fang, which sells 9.6K. This surreal, anime-inspired vampire thriller about a vampire queen who resurfaces from the deep after spending decades trapped under the water didn’t get much advance hype, and isn’t really a mainstream concept. I think this is one of Image’s more niche books lately.

Glenn:  It seems that sunlight has hit the vampire market because it wasn’t that long ago that they had so much momentum that even the X-Men featured them.  This is a title that probably would have done better a few years ago but could have done worse.

Ray:  Rough times for Vertigo continue, as Tim Seeley’s Imaginary Fiends – a horror concept inspired by the real-life Slenderman Murders – lands at #206 with sales of 9.6K. Seeley is DC exclusive, and that likely includes a deal with Vertigo, but this concept would have likely sold much more at Image. Vertigo has the quality product and creators, but somehow they don’t seem to be able to translate that to sales.

Glenn:Imaginary Fiends sounds like such an amazing concept, you can’t help but think it would have easily done double this at Image.  Vertigo is certainty a publishing line well past its prime but DC don’t seem to be wanting to give up on it yet, they have a few more announced books to come and big plans over the coming year.  You have to admire their persistence and maybe even hope that the Vertigo brand which is much more powerful in terms of a back catalog might get some attention on these books once they’re collected and put into book stores next to Sandman and Hellblazer.

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Ray:  Selling 9.4K at #207 is this year’s DC New Talent Showcase. Last year’s installment was generally regarded as somewhat of a disaster, more for the structure than anything, and that may have affected orders here. The fact that Scott Snyder had a Wonder Woman story in this issue (possibly a preview of a run to come?) didn’t seem to have an impact, and it’s worth noting that next year’s crop – including Philip Kennedy Johnson and Mags Visaggio – have already seen DC work solicited, meaning this experiment may not be repeated next year.

Glenn:  Don’t say that Ray!  I need my last hope!  Ah who am I kidding…*weeps* well anyway, the fact that Snyder was included here I don’t think was made that well known.  If it turns out this is some sort of preview for things to come in terms of his future at DC, we could see a few thousand issues pop up in reorders in a few months.  Otherwise, yeah this one shot was hurt by the eclectic nature of last year and the fact that the stories (apart from maybe Snyder’s) have little relevance.  Just a way for DC to shift some comics, I guess.

Ray:  At #208, selling 9.4K, we get the latest special from Boom based on the cult movie Labyrinth. They’ve put out quite a bit of content for this movie as part of their Jim Henson license, but they have a major new series debuting in February. They clearly see something worth pursuing here.

Glenn:  These Jim Henson movies have a very big cult fanbase so they have a small but solidly dependable audience that will likely show up for these things.  There are worst properties to have in your back pocket, especially when the new Dark Crystal series rolls out as you hinted at.

Ray:  The 25th issue of Mark Waid’s Archie relaunch sells 9.2K at #211. The title got a decent-sized bump based on the major new story that saw Betty critically injured, but the buzz seems to have dissipated since and it’s back down to its standard levels.

Glenn:  Waid Archie has lasted well though and seems to be doing well in trades.  It seems that this more ‘serious’ version has become quite popular and will stick around likely as long as Waid wants to write it or Archie is interested in continuing it.

Ray:  A pretty hefty second-issue drop for Maestros at #218, losing over 50% of its sales to land at 8.9K. I’m a bit surprised, as we don’t really see Image titles drop like this. Wonder what went on here, but Steve Skroce has a loyal cult audience and the title should stabilize from here.

Mighty Thor #700, easily the biggest hit for Marvel so far in the Legacy era, charts again with reorders of 8.7K at #219. Retailers might have been a bit hasty slashing the title’s sales back to pre-Legacy levels – this one feels like it might be rising.

Glenn:I could see Thor pick up momentum as we either go towards the end of Aaron’s run or certainty the end of Jane Foster as the title character.  Solid character work and Aaron doing some of his best work has made this book immune to the rest of the chaos happening at Marvel, I’d say the same can be said for Amazing.  If appearances and rumours are to be believed then both titles could miss their long term writers more than we could possibly imagine.

Ray:  At #222, we’ve got the Image debut of Void Trip, which sells 8.5K. This is a book about intergalactic con artists on a trip through space in a rocket-powered RV, and a lot of the book is about psychedelic fruit. So clearly, this is an oddball book, and the quality will determine if it can build its audience from here. (I love it so far.)

Glenn:  Void Trip sounds like an odd book but that didn’t do Chew any harm long term so we’ll see if it can grab an audience and stick around.

Ray:  Remember Tank Girl? I sort of do! But she seems to be having some sort of resurgence lately, because here she is again with a new debut from Titan, titled “The Wonderful World of Tank Girl“, which sells 7.6K at #233. It’s clearly a niche book…and yet, it’s the second-highest selling Titan book on the stands, only behind Robotech (their most hyped debut ever).

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Glenn:  I remember a movie starring Tank Girl and an artist I worked with having an odd obsession with her but that’s about it.  I’m sure the property has a few fans left and that’s probably who retailers expected to turn out for her apparent return.

Ray:  At #235, we have the debut of Young Adult sports comic Fence, centered around a pair of fencing rivals at an elite prep school. This Boom title sells 7.4K, which is above the debut of books like Backstagers, which had an A-list DC writer on board. But then, this title has a best-selling author on it as well. Either way, as is standard with Boom, this will do most of its sales in collections.

Glenn:  We’ve discussed BOOM’s struggles with creator owned in the past and this is a concept that seems a bit odd for a comic, it sounds more like a Disney channel original movie more than anything on paper so might not have caught much interest.  Still, BOOM do have a skill of reaching their collections out to a wide market so this title will probably serve more favorably in places that don’t know their Green Arrow’s from their Hawkeye’s.

Ray:  I’m not sure if Vault Comics has ever made it to the top 300 before, but they arrive in style this month, with the debut of Reactor at #237, selling 7.4K. This, of course, can be mainly attributed to the writer, a little-known guy by the name of Donny Cates, aka the Great Marvel Hope. How Vault got ahold of this book, we don’t know – maybe they bought the pitch before he broke in to Image, the way Avatar acquired a Jonathan Hickman book back in the day? – but it’s definitely a huge feather in their cap.

Glenn:  Great for Vault comics!  Always good to see new names in the charts!  If they saw something in Cates before he hit the big time and get to ride some success off that then more power to them.  Hopefully, this will get them more exposure for other new talent or maybe a few well known ones.

Ray:  Vault Comics outsold a first-run Legacy title this month, everyone. Just below it is Monsters Unleashed #8 at #239, selling 7.4K. And yet, this title is still being solicited. Maybe it’s getting that Moon Girl Scholastic audience after all? It must be, because these sales are getting to Solo/Slapstick levels.

I hope those 6,991 people who bought copies of Black Panther Prelude #2 enjoyed their reprint of Civil War. That’s good enough for #244, but it amazes me that Marvel continues to do these and doesn’t get more flack for disguising recaps as original comics.

Glenn:  Probably because it sells so little that not many people care?  Or it could be that they have bigger fires that get all the attention, a little overpriced retelling of a story that millions of people in the world saw is not the worst thing that Marvel could be doing.

Ray:  The first of the Dark Knights one-shots, The Red Death, charts once again at #248 with sales of 6.8K. At this point it’s just the cherry on top for DC, who’s riding the biggest hit event in comics in years right now. Metal can’t be stopped!

Glenn:  I tried to stop Metal once…it hurt my face

Ray:  At #250, it’s the first issue of Dark Horse’s Jenny Finn, which is a newly colored reprint of Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey’s acclaimed early work. Given that this is a reissue, Dark Horse is probably pretty happy to chart with it. Mignola’s one of their most dependable talents. At least until Disney buys him!

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Glenn:  I can’t wait to cue with my little boy once he’s older to get an autograph from a guy in Disney dressed as Mignola!  In all seriousness though if this is old material then this is a very good number.  If Disney buying FOX ends up taking away the few franchises Dark Horse can depend on to pay the bills then their relationship with Mignola is going to become incredibly important.
The second issue of Paul Jenkins title, God Complex sells over 6.3k at 256.  Jenkins might get a little buzz with the Sentry apparently being back but he never hit the big time that his peers at Marvel did so this is probably the best he could hope for.

At 257 is Harbinger Renegade 0 which sells over 6.3k.  A quick googling seems to hype this issue as a prelude to an event taking place in Valient comics in 2018 so I would have thought there would have been more interest.  Its still within the standard Valient range but perhaps the weird issue 0 confused people what exactly it was?

Ray:  Valiant has been doing these #0 issues as transitions between runs for a while now. I’m not sure it’s working, but they seem to be doubling down on it, so they’re pretty happy!

Glenn:  The return of Hack/Slash in the form of Resurrection is an interesting experiment.  Without its creator the series is back and the second issue sells over 6.2k at 259.  This tells me that the hardcore fans are likely still here despite the creator, Tim Seeley not being involved but the relaunch hasn’t got much attention from new potential fans.

Ray:  Hack/Slash has always been a cult property, and I believe it’s been gone for a while, so this was always going to be a hard sell. Still, Tini Howard is rising fast, with a major launch for IDW coming next month as well.

Glenn:  At 260 is the Simpsons comic, it sells over 6.1k which is standard but the purchase of FOX by Disney does make me curious what happens to Bongo comics.  They’re a company who have a far reach that could rival or even surpass anything any other company has so I doubt it’ll be shut down.  If anything, Marvel might be interested in taking a look at their business model because while Bongo have never been the strongest direct market sellers, their presence in book stores and retailers is rather insane and something Marvel might want to duplicate.

Ray:  It’s crazy to think about, but Bongo Comics has been going strong for well over twenty years, and Simpsons Comics may be one of the longest consecutive numbered comics right now without a relaunch, if not the longest. Given that, and given Disney’s…issues with Marvel and licensed properties right now, I’m guessing they’d be happy to continue the status quo with Bongo.

Glenn:  At 261 is Minky Woodcock Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini from Titan.  No, doing these articles hasn’t driven me mad, that’s really what the book is called.  It sells over 6.1k and is probably the weirdest titled comic ever.  This is published under Titan’s ‘hard crime’ banner which usually sells around this range if not lower.  I would say most of these orders were for the title alone.
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Ray:  Good ol’ Minky Woodcock. I hope she’s not a one-off on the charts. I could see her joining Zombie Tramp as our mascot!

Glenn:  Here’s Tim Seeley again publishing another creator owned with Aftershock this time in the form of Brilliant Trash which sells just over 6k at 262.  This is about standard for new Aftershock stuff.  It seems that Seeley has done the Image thing and had the opportunity to go back to it but has decided to publish his own work with other people, he must be happy with how its doing so who are we to argue?

Ray:  That’s a surprisingly low debut for a Tim Seeley book, but this title didn’t have a very clear concept from solicits. I’m two issues in and I’m still not 100% sure of what it’s about!

Glenn:  Giantkillers 0 reads like a prelude to an upcoming IDW series by Bart Sears who was popular in that wild wacky time known as ‘the 90’s’ it sells just under 5.8k at 269.  It’s not like Bart Sears was a huge name back in the day and he’s not done a title of any note to my recollection for years so given what we’ve established how IDW creator owned tends to far this is probably what could be expected.

Ray:  Giantkillers probably wasn’t helped by debuting the same month as the much more hyped Sword of Ages from the same company, as well.

Glenn:  Speaking of IDW, here’s this months new Transformers number 1 in Transformers: First Strike which sells over 5.7k at 270.  I wonder if all these Transformers comics can be assembled to form a much bigger Transformers comic.

Random James Bond one shot from Dynamite ‘Solicited‘ sells over 5.6k at 273.  Pretty decent for a one shot for probably the only die hard of die hard Bond fans.  It does seem that Dynamite is certainty getting the most out of this licence.

There’s more Metal reorders, this time for the Merciless which sells over 5.6k at 276.  This is the Wonder Woman/Batman mash up which I thought would have sold more so I guess this is retailers realizing they should have ordered more after all.  Either way, more Metal money for DC.

Second issues of Image book Family Trade and Hack/Slash Vs Vampirella fall at 277 and 278 respectively with sales of under 5.6k and over 5.4k a piece.  The first one is by Justin Jordan so could be healthier, maybe just a concept that didn’t grab people while the latter is what it is.  The small but dedicated fan base will turn out for the properties regardless.

Second issue of Archie title…the Archies which has the main characters function as a full time band sells over 5k at 287.  Again, pretty standard for wacky Archie title number 1005 but I would have expected more here given some of the talent involved.

Ray:  Yeah, Archies being the lowest-selling of the new Archie line is a bit odd. This is a title that has a best-selling novelist (Alex Segura), a popular Marvel writer (Matt Rosenberg), and an artist with a significant fanbase (Joe Eisma), plus it’s been setting up all sorts of guest appearances by real-life musicians. Maybe a music comic is a hard sell because you can’t actually hear the music?

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Ray:  Proof that 90’s nostalgia will never die, Street Fighter Reloaded sells over 5k at 288.  I’m currently trying to beat the game on my SNES mini so I can’t really poke fun here…I would so buy this if it gave me the magic combination to beat M. Bison too.

Second issue of Animosity International, the spin off series from Aftershock sells over 4.7k at 299 so will likely be gone from the charts next month.  Still, the property getting another title has to be a great sign for Aftershock’s faith in it.

Last title, the winner of the chicken dinner is Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose which is a comic I’ve never heard of but is apparently 107 issues into its run.  Its published by Broadsword Comics (?!?!?!?!?!?) and lets see what its ab…erm its about cute animals.  No need to google, just take my word on it…

Ray:  Ah, Tarot. There’s a blast from the past. Hope no one’s got any haunted body parts thanks to this comic!
Looking ahead to the last month of the year, the big two are a bit lighter for big debuts than they have been in recent months. DC should easily claim the top of the charts this month with Doomsday Clock, Metal, and a Hawkman one-shot by Jeff Lemire tying into the latter. There’s also a major crossover playing out in the pages of Superman, Super-Sons, and Teen Titans that features the return of the YJ core four – at least in the form of their evil future selves. And then, of course, there’s the sequel to the mega-popular Batman/TMNT crossover! Plus the latest DC Holiday Special. And this is a slower month for the company!

Meanwhile, over at Marvel, there’s two major returns – one much-anticipated and one…less. Marvel Two-In-One, the closest thing we’ve had to a Fantastic Four book in years, should be the biggest Marvel debut of the month, while the first issue of the weekly series “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of (Adult) Jean Grey” may benefit from a lot of covers. Minky Woodcock says “That’s a ridiculous title”. We’ll also see the launch of new series Tales of Suspense, which starts with #100 and features three popular Avengers, plus quite a few Legacy launches and a Star Wars one-shot that serves as a prequel to The Last Jedi. We’ll also see how Ed Piskor’s bold experiment X-Men: Grand Design does – I’m expecting numbers akin to Creature of the Night this month, with similar blockbuster sales in collections down the line.

And of course, there’ll be a host of indie comics including new launches from Archie (Mighty Crusaders), Valiant (Quantum and Woody), Image (Sleepless, Paradiso, Boneheads), and IDW (Assassinistas) among others. One last By the Numbers to go for 2017! And lots more crying over Marvel sales to come.

Glenn:  Get your tissues ready and have a happy New Year everyone!

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Liked what you read or have a suggestion?  Let us know!  Comment here or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: October 2017

Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He has a story featured in this years IF anthology which is available courtesy of Alterna comics from all your favorite local comic shops and Amazon.  Go buy!

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 also thinks you should buy the IF anthology and things Glenn is the best writer in comics.

Ray:  Well actually…

Quiet you!

Ray:  Yes master…

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:  Its Legacy month everyone!  I know I said that last month and that’s because it was then and it is now!  Last month was the super successful Legacy one shot that launches the whole legacy renumbering for Marvel in what is, by our tally their 1,767th try at stabilizing themselves (figure may not be accurate).  So how are things going this time?  Did Marvel get the result they want?  Let’s find out and explore the top 300 for comic sales in October 2017!

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Back on top this month with no uberly hyped one shot to throw it off is DC’s monster event in Metal 3 which sells over 158.6k.  These are actually better numbers than the last issue, not by much but when numbers go up in this market instead of down, something is going right.  The team of Snyder and Capullo had an unprecedentedly successful run on Batman (that the title is still getting some juice from) and they haven’t missed a beat.  Fans love Metal and so do retailers it seems.  I would call this the event that DC will be able to coast on for a while but its about to have some stiff competition come November…still this is a great success and that rolls out across the tie ins just like last month.

Ray:  Any time a book is consistently going up in sales, it’s a very good sign for the comic and the publisher. We saw it with Donny Cates’ Image work recently, and we see it with another DC book further down the charts. The reception Metal is getting can only be described as red-hot, and everything it touches is working. This is just another sign.

Glenn:  Number two is the highest selling of the Marvel Legacy books in Mighty Thor 700 which sells over 115.6k.  So this issue had a lot going for it, this is the latest issue in a multi-year epic by Jason Aaron who now after recent developments is unquestionably Marvel’s top writer.  His run has been a bright spot for Marvel and has been one of three properties (outside of Star Wars which he also wrote) that Marvel has been able to count on through multiple reboots, renumberings and whatever.  The other two we’ll talk about very shortly but Thor by Aaron has been performing very well in comparison to Marvel’s titles.  There’s also a movie which will help, the fact that this is a big number and from what I understand, this is the issue that narrative wise, follows the closest from last months Legacy one shot.  Also there’s a lot of legends involved in the crafting of this issue, a lot of care was put into it.  All this packed together deems success, Next month its likely that Thor will be back to its usual 50-60 range though.  This seems like a  general increase for a key issue rather than anything to do with Legacy so its unlikely to have long standing effects but anything is possible.

Ray:  Yeah, this is one of Marvel’s best-received books at the moment, it follows directly from last month’s #1 book, and it was an anniversary issue. There was no question this was going to be a huge hit. I do think there could be some spillover from this to the next issue, as this story is going to be one of the biggest of the entire run, and it’s feeling like Aaron might be building up to a mic drop on this book. This is one of Marvel’s few real hot spots right now.

Glenn:  At number three is another long standing MVP at Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man which legacy numbers itself to sales of over 110.3k.  Dan Slott’s run has been one that has held up strong sales wise and this issue sees a return to a more traditional Peter Parker that likely got a lot of interest.  Again, if like Thor this was the only issue this month there might be room for optimism but the very next issue also charted at 33 with sales at over 52,8k which was lower than pre Legacy sales.  Not a disastrous number as that would have likely been where it would be had the numbering continued as standard but it does not bode well for Legacy’s impact overall.  Again, historically we’ve seen Amazing been the title Marvel can depend on so after that initial bump it ending up lower than before, it bodes ill for the rest of the line.

Ray:  Yeah, we’ll talk more about Legacy down below, but this is a pretty typical performance for these books – a sizable but not huge boost for the start of Legacy, follows by a quick slide to standard numbers or below. Amazing Spider-Man will likely rebound quickly, as it always does, but this is the first sign that Legacy is not doing what Marvel hoped.

Glenn:  At numbers 4 and 5 are the latest issues of Batman.  Nothing special here, its just Batman and it sells just under 109k and over 97.8k resectively.  Now issue 32 had a sales boost, likely because of the end of the War Of Jokes and Riddles but also because it was finally the answer to the Batposal.  Beyond that, there’s no fancy bells and whistles needed because its Batman and his domination over the top ten is very much alive this month.

Ray:  Batman will likely keep seesawing up and down around the 100K mark as things move forward (that wedding issue, if it happens, will be huge), but there’s no question it’s the class of the entire field right now in terms of ongoings.

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Glenn:  The final Marvel book in the top ten is the final of Marvel’s MVP superhero books, Deadpool or the Despicable Deadpool as his business card reads lately.  It sells just under 94k mostly likely because people love Deadpool, people love Duggan writing Deadpool and the thought of Deadpool going evilllll is interesting.  Again this ships another issue this month which is down at 68 with sales over 33.8k  Its around 4 k higher than pre legacy then so…yay?

Ray:  Those second-issue sales on Deadpool aren’t encouraging, as it barely keeps any boost from its new direction. The new direction doesn’t feel particularly popular either, so I wouldn’t be excited for a rebound here as long as Deadpool is still a bad guy.

Glenn:  With Deadpool 2 hitting next year, I doubt the despicable story will be around for long but yeah, people aren’t digging ‘evil on purpose’ Deadpool.

Spots 7-9 is all Metal one shots featuring one shots starring the Dark Knights or more accurately, their back stories.  I had thought these would be ordered based on who the character was but the pattern of sales here seems to be retailers treating it like a mini series.  I can’t think of any other reason why the Drowned (Aquaman/Batman mash up) outsells the Merciless (Wonder Woman/Batman mash up).  Still, these have all performed great with the Drowned selling over 89.8k, the Dawnbreaker selling over 89.4k and the Merciless selling over 87.9k.  For one shots by creative teams beyond the main mini’s team starring the villains of the story, that is all very impressive.  Of course, they’re all likely to be outdone by next months ‘Batman Who Laughs‘ but these issues have nothing to be ashamed of. DC struck gold with Metal (pun intended) and managed to outdo the majority of Marvel Legacy due to it (more on that in a moment).

Ray:  I’m expecting The Batman Who Laughs to wind up being the #3 book next month, easily. But the rest of these seem to have been treated as essential Metal tie-ins, no matter what the inspiration for the character is. Cyborg and Aquaman selling in the same sales range as the higher-profile heroes is amazing.

Glenn:  The final book in the top ten is Batman: White Knight, the Sean Murphy vehicle which sees a story where Batman goes bad and its up to the Joker to save Gotham.  Its an interesting premise and Murphy is a real a-lister (who apparently can move the needle) so this getting a lot of interest doesn’t surprise me.  It sells over 86.7k which for an out of continuity maxi-series is fantastic.  I could see this easily selling 50-60k for the rest of its run before it goes off to collection heaven and Murphy reteams with Snyder for their Batman story to dominate the sales chart again in 2018.

Ray:  As I recall, the initial reports were that White Knight had been ordered more heavily than this, so that surprises me, but this is still an alternate universe Bat-book that broke the top ten in one of the most competitive months on record. Very impressive, and will likely garner great reorders and do gangbusters in collections.

Glenn:  So in the month of October, 2017 the result is that Batman smashes Marvel legacy and hard.  Even if you say Metal is a JLA/DCU story more than a Batman one (which is debatable but okay), Batman starred in six top ten titles.  Its just sheer dominance and now, Marvel’s latest mega push publicizing wise is playing second fiddle to Batman.  Only their top three super hero titles could compete and two of those crashed to near their previous sales level or below the same month.  Meantime Batman’s solo title is enjoying a six year run or so above 95k because…its Batman.  There’s a lot more to break down this month but I think that’s the real headline to take away from this months charts.

Ray:  Batman beat the entire Marvel Universe 7-3 in Legacy month. Is there nothing he can’t do?

Glenn:  To be fair, he had the prep time.

Ray:  As we head out of the top ten, we see the 11-30 range dominated by Marvel books like we almost never do, thanks to the bulk of the line getting its Legacy launch. Across the boards, we see some pretty healthy first-issue boosts, but it’s important to note that these are the Lenticular variant issues, which likely meant heavy ordering. Unless a comic shipped two issues this month, it’s hard to tell what’s just noise. 

Glenn:  We do see a noticible uptick across the board for Marvel in spaces that have been dominated largely by DC books since Rebirth.  If this will have the same staying power will be hard to determine but current evidence would incline it isn’t likely.

Ray:  The two X-men books, which launch a crossover “Mojo Worldwide” this month, get pretty sizable bumps of about 30K to land at #11 for Gold (81.9K) and #15 for Blue (71K). But they ship two issues this month, which means we can see them down at #47 for Gold and #61 for Blue, selling 41K and 37K respectively. That’s essentially flat for both books from last month, so status quo has resumed here. But then, these books didn’t get Legacy renumbering, just a crossover and rebranding.

Glenn:  At least the new two X-Men books seems to be sticking to that high 30k range.  Its not super brilliant but unless you have pointy ears and a cape, nothing is these days.  It seems that this latest ‘color’ relaunch has done the X-Men books some good.  Hopefully by adding in a new team (red) in the next few months won’t over saturate things.

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Ray:  Despite already having its Legacy renumbering a while back, Venom gets one of the biggest increases at #12. It only sold 24K last month, and sells a whopping 76K this month. The yo-yo performance of Venom continues to confound.

Also proving the power of Venom is Spider-Gwen, which leaps a full 100% to land at #13 with 72K in sales. This is a combination of Legacy and the proper start of the Gwenom storyline. But it’s great to see Gwen this high up here again.

Glenn:  Its been a while for Gwen hasn’t it?  She was one of the big victims of the post Secret Wars relaunch sales wise.  Is this going to be righting the ship or just a blip?  More rhymes next month will tell us for sure!

Ray:  I was surprised to see Cable jump so high to #14 with sales of 71K. Last month it sold 32K. New creative team of Brisson and Bachalo, so the artist has some pull and the writer is rising fast. But I’m wondering if this had more to do with the buzz from Cable’s appearance in Deadpool 2. We’ll see if it can hold any of this increase.

Glenn:  I’m also surprised by Cable but given than the renumbering has given it the all powerful anniversary number of 150 may have helped a good bit too.  It really seems that Brisson is paying off spades for Marvel on the books they’ve given him so far.

Ray:  Avengers had a healthy boost with its Legacy renumbering, which coincided with a crossover with Champions. It sold 33K last month, and 70K at #16 this month. However, what’s odd is that its partner in a hard crossover, Champions, only sold 47K at #43. That’s only an 18K boost from last month, and a huge delta between the two parts of the crossover. I’m not sure why Champions doggedly refuses to sell.

Glenn:  I just think Champions launched at a bad time and never got a chance to find its feet.  It’ll be interesting to see how Avenger’s can perform once it goes weekly in a few months.  Even if it sells around 35-40k per issue it’ll end up doing a lot better as a title in of itself overall.

Ray:  Now come the A-listers, as two icons who have been struggling for a while jump into the top ten with their relaunches. Invincible Iron Man, which combines the books featuring Riri and Doom into one where Tony Stark will return, sells 70K at #17, which is up from 34K for Riri’s book last month. Meanwhile, the well-timed Incredible Hulk sends Amadeus Cho to Planet Hulk and is rewarded with sales of 66K at #19. That’s a massive jump from Totally Awesome Hulk’s final issue – which sold 19K. I’m not sure how these two titles will hold their numbers, but they’ve got a lot going for them – rebranding, renumbering, and either the return of an icon or the return of a fan-favorite setting. These two could surprise – but then, as we now know about Iron Man, it’s getting a creative team shift soon enough.

Glenn:  Incredible Hulk may have got a slight movie boost too.  Also the initial Planet Hulk story was a big hit back in the day so retailers may order more than they would during this story.  Everything will become clearer next month as we’ve said but these are encouraging signs.

Ray:  The only DC book breaking up the Marvel presence in this area is The Flash, which was the first part of the Bats Out Of Hell crossover for Metal. This crossover didn’t seem to get all that much hype, but it’s good for 69K at #18, which is an 18K jump over the title’s other issue this month.

Glenn: Flash is still one of Rebirth’s big winners.  Much like we see with Detective and its current high profile tie-in, the crossover will only benefit a title that is already doing well so much.

Ray:  Top ten mainstays Star Wars and Walking Dead chart at #20 and #22, selling 65K and 64K respectively. That’s essentially flat for Star Wars, which was the finale of Aaron’s run, and down 20K from Walking Dead as its odd yo-yo sales continue. But these books are still rock solid and among the top-selling regular ongoings that aren’t Batman. It just shows how competitive this month was.

With the incredibly packed slate this month, the second halves of the major storylines in Action and Detective fall out of the top twenty, but take up 4 spots from 20-30. However, they’re both still rock solid, as Action sells 64K and 59K, only a small decrease from last month (and adds 23K and 21K for the two issues in the non-lenticular editions). Detective, meanwhile, actually gains about 3K for its two issues this month from last month, as buzz for this Tim Drake-centric storyline continues to build.

All-Star Batman ends its run at #29, selling 56K. I imagine DC will be very sorry to see this comic go – unless, of course, they happened to sign a new writer who had the same kind of megawatt sales pull and relaunched it…

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Glenn:  Given Snyder’s name, I thought this book would go out with higher numbers but I suppose you can only do so much with what is now the third tier Bat title.  It seems Snyder will be back to Batman before so long in a special mini with Sean Murphy on art which will probably be a lot stronger in sales overall.

Ray:  There were relatively few #1s this month from Marvel, but two titles did launch. One did surprise me in sales, and what was Spirits of Vengeance, which landed at #25 with sales of 58K. Marvel didn’t seem to have much faith in this title, cutting it back to a miniseries before launch. But it seems like there’s some hunger for these characters – Blade, Ghost Rider classic. It’s a concept we haven’t seen in a while, and the audience responded a bit.

Glenn:  I’m glad to see Spirits of Vengeance do so well. Like you said, its been a while since Marvel did a book like this so it just shows that maybe doing something different can bring rewards.  If the rest of the mini can do in the 30-35k range, I could see it easily become an ongoing.

Ray:  In the middle of the Legacy madness, there’s a new Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan miniseries that sells 56K at #27. Pretty good numbers for a standard Deadpool fights stuff mini – these won’t go away any time soon.

Glenn:  Given that this is essentially Deadpool vs Wolverine, I thought it would have done a little bitter but it probably got a little lost in the Legacy shuffle.  Still will probably perform admirably for the rest of its run.

Ray:  Black Panther’s Legacy launch hits at #31, selling 55K (a roughly 100% jump from last month). This issue brought back Panther’s arch-nemesis and came out around the same time as a very popular trailer for the movie, so it might keep some of its past momentum from the days when this was one of Marvel’s top-selling books.

Glenn:  This really is a great time to be a Black Panther fan it seems.  Hopefully Marvel have learned their lesson with the failed spin off books starring the character and instead on focusing on making the main book a success.  

Ray:  At #32, we’ve got Falcon #1, which sells 54K. Not terrible, but I was surprised it sold less than the less-hyped Spirits of Vengeance. Of course, Falcon is coming off a run as Captain America and a major event comic – and neither of those things are a positive. This book might have a very hard road ahead of it, and I wouldn’t be shocked by it being a stealth miniseries. 

Glenn:  Despite his double edged sword high profile over the last few years, this is better than I would expect a Falcon book to launch.  Of course, its not a great place to start for an ongoing.  It’ll need to probably settle at around 30-25k or so to justify its existence and fast.

Ray:  At #34, proving there’s no limit to crossover madness, we’ve got a very strong debut for Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica. 52K is a pretty strong number for what’s essentially a comedy lark that puts the two pairs of iconic comic ladies in misadventures. Archie and DC have to be very happy here. Don’t doubt the power of Harley!

Glenn: Great numbers for another DC/insert another company here crossover!  Even if we’re seeing the regular Harley team say their farewells soon, it doesn’t seem as if the character will be losing any momentum any time soon.  It should also be noted that people really like seeing Harley and Ivy together and of course, it doesn’t hurt that Archie’s Betty and Veronica have a popular (with the kidz) tv show and a well regarded monthly book themselves.

Ray:  There were a lot of Legacy books that had neither renumbering nor big status quo changes, and those include Uncanny Avengers and Defenders. Both sold about 28K this month, and this month they sell 49K at #36/37. A decent increase, but I suspect they’ll drop right back down – there’s nothing new driving sales here. And Defenders might be in real trouble when Bendis leaves.

Glenn:  With the Netflix show the series is based off likely not getting another series until 2019 at the earliest it might be in Marvel’s interest to just end it when Bendis leaves.  I can’t imagine too many of their current writers pool that are available being able to get the same interest to the book.

Ray:  Venomverse and the conclusion of Gotham Resistance over in Green Arrow both sell roughly 49K this month at #39/40, and that’s two mini-crossovers that the companies are likely very happy with.

At #41, we start to see the impact of Legacy on lower-selling titles with Iron Fist, which brought in Sabretooth to the tune of 47K sales. That’s a nearly 200% increase from last month’s 17K sales, but will it matter in the long run? Even keeping 33% of the increased sales could make the difference for some of these titles.

The story’s basically the same for Jessica Jones at #46, which sells 43K, a more than 100K jump. Of course, this title’s future is now completely in flux. The character’s had one writer driving her story for the better part of twenty years.

Glenn:  Hopefully Jessica won’t be sent to the obscurity cafe along with the likes of Gravity, Arana and Patriot after her creator leaves.  Having a popular Netflix show will help her a lot stick around as a fixture.  There are plenty of writers who could do interesting things with her both male and female.

Ray:  Captain Marvel has one of the biggest jumps and smallest overall numbers, selling 41K at #48 for its sort-of-anniversary #125 issue, up from only 13K last month. But with no real status quo changes here, I expect those sales to crash down to earth and fast.

Glenn:  This is another one benefiting a bit extra from an anniversary number so overall, that’s not an encouraging sign.  Poor Carol’s had a rough time the last few years and the title is trying to combat that baggage while patiently awaiting her MCU debut which is still over a year away.

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Ray:  Astonishing X-Men is still trying to find its level, sliding a hefty 17K in its third month to land at #50 with 40K in sales. The numbers are hurt by the onset of Legacy, of course, but this is a book that may have a bit of trouble in this market.

Glenn:  Its one X-book too many.  Long gone are the days of the market being able to support 501 X-Men titles.  This is why I think the upcoming ‘X-Men: Red‘ may struggle and hopefully will not damage the relatively still waters both Gold and Blue have found themselves in.

Ray:  The opposite side of the equation is the little book that could, Mister Miracle, which charts at #51 with sales of 40K. That’s basically even with last month, so it seems to have found its level between Superman and Wonder Woman in sales. Unlike past King cult hits like Omega Men and Vision, the direct market is finally taking notice!

Glenn:  Brilliant stuff for Mister Miracle which is already being touted as an all time classic.  It seems that delivering solid stories eventually does equal sales success if you do it often enough.

Ray:  Like his fellow Defenders, Luke Cage reaps some of the biggest increases, selling 39K up from 11K last month to land at #52. Same creative team, but a story that’s getting some buzz likely means this title may have bought itself a few more arcs.

Glenn:  Luke also has the Netflix card in his arsenal so is doubtfully going anywhere do to that.  I’m surprised he didn’t do better than Iron Fist since he’s had a much higher profile the last decade or so.

Ray:  A similar story for Gwenpool, which sells 39K at #57, up from 14K last month. The title changed up basically…nothing, so I don’t expect it to really hold any of the new sales. This is a lenticular boost, nothing more.

At #58, we see the launch of The Shadow/Batman, Dynamite’s turn at the helm for the next part of this crossover. It sells 38K, which is in a whole other stratosphere for Dynamite’s titles. Below what the DC series did, but it seems retailers may have treated this as a direct sequel.

Glenn:  It just seems that these crossovers are paying huge benefits for both companies.  Dynamite are likely very excited to do the Red Sonja/Booster Gold crossover you all didn’t realize you wanted until just now.

Then its business as usual for the next few spots as DC books keep their levels and Marvel titles await their legacy renumbering.

Ray:  There’s a few more Legacy titles that were selling very low before the relaunches that get a boost this month, but not nearly enough of one to make a difference. These include Gwenpool (14K in September, 39K this month), Jean Grey (24K in September, 38K this month), Royals (12.9K in September, 35K this month), Iceman (13.2K in September, 34K this month), US Avengers (13.4K in September, 30K this month), America (9.1K in September, 26K this month) and Monsters Unleashed (11K in September, 25K this month). All decent increases, of course, and every Legacy book this month made the top 100. But none of these increases are enough to make the difference for the titles once the natural decline sets in next month. The benefit from the first issue was across the board, but I see nothing to indicate the status quo has changed.

Glenn:  The next title of note is Punisher Platoon which sells over 32.8k at 73.  Decent for a Punisher mini which sees the return of probably his most iconic writer Garth Ennis.  The next issue sells just over 25.5k at 100 so I doubt we’ll see much of a fall in sales as Ennis on Punisher brings with it a lot of stability, at least it did in the past.  Perfect timing for this given Punisher debuts on Netflix…today (as of this typing).

Ray:  Ennis on Punisher is one of those all-timer creative teams that will drive sales whenever it returns, and despite this being the first book published under the MAX banner in ages, that hasn’t changed. That’s a very strong second issue slide as well, which indicates relatively little inflation on the first issue and genuine interest. This will sell even better in collections.

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Glenn:  Next thing of note is Gotham City Garage which sells over 25.8k at 98.  This is a title in the same vein as DC Bombshells but instead of a retro WW2 feel, this instead reimagines some of DC’s iconic female characters as biker chicks.  This is another property that is likely going to earn its keep through the merchandise arm of DC like Bombshells does but it sells very will for this type of thing.

Ray: Gotham City Garage doesn’t seem to have received the same level of critical acclaim that Bombshells has, though, so we’ll see how it performs. The second issue has a relatively decent slide to 15K at #135 this same month, which indicates it has a bit of rope. Especially as it’s designed for digital and we don’t see most of its sales.

Glenn:  Dropping about 10k from its debut issue is Wonder Woman/Conan’s second issue which sells over 22.1k at 112.  I’d say that basically this book is likely being sold on Wonder Woman and Gail writing alone that this is very good.  Another winning crossover.

Ray:  Conan fans tend to be trade-waiters too, so I wonder if that’ll be a lucrative second market for the book when it’s done. It’s excellent so far.

Glenn: At 120 is the I Hate Fairyland Special edition which sells over 20k.  I think this is a reprint of a previous FCBD comic with some special bells and whistles so that’s very good considering that people paid exactly nothing for it before.

Ray:  This is essentially free sales for I Hate Fairyland to a degree, so these age great numbers.

Glenn:  Falling by over half its sales in its second issue is Runaways issue 2 which sells over 20k also at 121.  The writer said that if this series did well, the series might return as an ongoing .  Despite a tv show adaption coming soon I don’t see that as a likelihood judging from these numbers.  Its only a mini at the moment so losses are minimal and barring the return of series creator Brian K. Vaugn, its unlikely the Runaways will ever have a solid place in the market again.

Ray:  Runaways has really always struggled in the direct market, even under Vaughan. I’m not sure why, but given trade sales it may be too early to write this book’s obituary. The writer is a huge name in the YA market, and if it does 90% of its sales in bookstores, it could make a return. But retailers can’t be happy with this performance.

Glenn:  If Runaways does see more of a life in bookstores (as it has done previously) it might be better to change the format of the series much like we were speculating for Moon Girl a few months back

Image series Realm sees an uptick in its second issue which sells over 18.5k at 124.  Its not a mega increase (barely 1k) but its definitely a positive sign for a book by creators that don’t ring any bells for me.

Ray:  Yet another book that seems to be building momentum for Image. Any time a book stays flat or increases from its debut is a genuine sign of success, and it seems to be happening more and more for Image.

Glenn:  One shot, Thor: Where Walk The Frost Giants sells just under 18k at 126.  This is a very random one shot written by former Marvel editor, Ralph ‘not the karate kid’ Macchio that has no doubt been rescued from a drawer in a desk and released to get some juice from the movie.  I’d say that the sales are very good, all things considered.

Ray:  Marvel does this sort of random one-shot whenever there’s a movie out, and it always does similar numbers. This was a decent entry-level read for Thor fans brought in by the movie, and I imagine that Marvel can call that a success.

Glenn:  New Steve Skroce vehicle, Maestros from Image debuts at just under 18k at 128.  This seems to be some sort of blend of sci-fi/medieval saga that has a decent debut.  Skroce certainty has his audience still despite not really being in the limelight for some time.

Ray:  Skroce seems like he has a loyal fanbase that would turn out for anything he does. Even though he’s not a big mainstream name right now, this is still an very healthy debut for a new Image book. Especially in a month as competitive as this.

Glenn:  In a case of ‘they can’t all be winners’, a new Ragman title from DC sells over 17.2 at 130.  This might be a fair number if it were Young Animal or Vertigo but its main DC so under that microscope, its not up to much.  Its not a disaster for sure, after all, even if he did have a blink and you miss it role in Arrow last year, how many people can DC get to care about Ragman?

Ray:  This Ragman miniseries also completely rewrote Ragman’s origin in a way that many fans weren’t pleased with, so this seems to be one that is destined to be forgotten quickly in the vein of the recent Odyssey of the Amazons

Glenn:  Odyssey of the whoazons?  Do you mean Legend Of Wonder Woman?  Man that book was great…*takes break to flick through Legend of Wonder Woman*

Ray:  At #132, selling just under 17K is the latest DC anthology “House of Horror“. Plotted by Keith Giffen and written by horror author Brian Keene and a group of indy writers, it took icons of the DCU and twisted them in a horror direction, reinventing Harley as a vengeful ghost, Superman as a vicious alien monster, etc. Without any top names attached and a $9.99 price tag, these are decent numbers for an anthology.

Glenn:  You said that this anthology wasn’t to the amazing high standard DC has been producing in the likes of the Holiday special and such but of course, no one knows how good a book is going to be before it comes out.  Horror seems to be more at home in selling indie books rather than any big two titles by and large.

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Ray:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits its #75 issue anniversary with an oversized comic that sells 14.8K at #138. That’s an increase of about 2K from last month. Not huge, but then this is a title that’s been consistently under one creative team for its entire run. It’s always been incredibly stable and that continues.

At #139 is the new crime comic Slots from Image, by writer/artist Dan Panosian. It sells 14.7K, which is a decent number from a book with no name creators attached.

Glenn:  That’s very good for Slots, despite DC and Marvel grabbing the majority of the headlines (for reasons good and bad) it seems Image is still managing to capture interest in the vast amount of interesting properties they launch every month.

Ray:  Werewolf Jughead returns! His new ongoing lands at #143 with sales of 14.5K, proving there’s an audience for everything. Archie’s been trying a lot of unique things as of late. Let’s see how Biker Betty and Veronica do next month!

Glenn:  I remember the one shot doing surprisingly well.  I guess when it comes to stuff that can be silly and get away with it, such as the Archie characters then the fans are more than willing to buy in

Ray:  At #144, we see the relaunch Hack/Slash Resurrection, which sells 14.5K for Tini Howard’s relaunch of Tim Seeley’s classic horror property. A creator-owned title switching creators is extremely rare, so it’s hard to judge the pattern here, but these numbers seem in line for a cult property.

Glenn:  I don’t remember the last time the title came out so it shows that a good amount of fans have stuck around and the property can still perform decently after its creator has passed it on.  We saw Kingsman do this last month, how many more Image creator owned books may lease themselves out to other creators in the future?  It makes for some interesting possibilities.

Ray:  Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run wraps up at #145 with sales of 14.1K. This has been a cult property for some time, but it leveled out towards the end of its run and will likely be off to some great sales in trades as a modern Marvel classic.

At #146, we’ve got Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1, which sells 14.1K. That’s about 5K below the 8th issue of the parent title. While Warren Ellis co-plotted this comic, it’s written by Top Cow writer Bryan Hill. This seems to indicate that Wild Storm’s success is heavily due to Elli’s name, which makes future spinoffs of this line feel a bit in doubt.

Glenn:  Wildstorm is a property that had its heyday long, long ago.  It serves as a sandpit for Ellis to do what he wants and not be bothered by anyone and no one bother him, which is fine and its working as that.  The property though is long past being able to support spin off titles that aren’t featuring Midnighter and even that can be very heavily depending on his writer.

Ray:  At #151 is the awesomely named Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, the first Black Hammer spin-off. It sells just under 13.5K, which is about 2K higher than the last issue of the parent title. Probably a bit of a variant cover boost for the first issue, but it seems like this is just being treated like the next arc of the series, as it should be. This is one of the few genuine hits Dark Horse has had in the last few years, and it’s still going strong.

Glenn: This property is really working well for Dark Horse and I’m sure they’re very grateful to have it.  It may not set the singles chart alight but it performs well for what it is and the trade sales will make Dark Horse some serious coin over the next several decades once everyone starts to realize how great the book is.

Ray:  There’s Dark Knights: Metal #2 again, selling an additional 13.3K at #154. The drop last issue was surprisingly steep, so it’s clear this is some correction. This book just keeps on racking up all the sales.

At #155, selling 13.2K is a new Boom series based on the 90s cartoon Rugrats. That’s a surprisingly strong debut for a comic geared towards small children (although it may have gotten some 90s nostalgia readers as well). I’m not reading, but any time Boom does well I’m happy.

Glenn:  People who watched Rugrats as kids are now in the age range of the average comic fan so maybe there was some view that this would be a nostalgia buy?  I don’t see the title drawing in young readers and will end up probably in the 8-10k range for die hard old school Nicelodeon people who still send Disney letters every week demanding they give Doug back.

Ray:  Eternity #1 is at #158, selling just over 13K from Valiant. This is the latest part of the Divinity saga from Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, and this is in line with what the rest of the cycle debuted at in years past.

Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan’s new sci-fi crime saga “The Family Trade” lands at #162 with sales of 12.7K. Jordan’s never had huge sales pull in the direct market, so this seems like a healthy enough debut for a title that didn’t seem to get a lot of hype in advance.

Surprisingly, Benitez Productions seems to have locked down a decent spot on the charts for Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin. It charts at #163 with sales of 12.5K. This is above three DC Rebirth books, for the record. I’ve never heard of this book, but it’s selling to someone!

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Glenn:  Lady Mechanika will likely appeal to the vast steampunk culture out there that does overlap with comics culture quite a bit.  Its never going to be a huge audience but enough to give this obscure publisher an in against some real heavyweights.

Ray:  The Top Cow cyberpunk mystery God Complex lands at #175 with sales of 10.7K. Top Cow books usually sell in this range, but I saw no real buzz for this one. I read it, and I’m still not sure what it’s about…

Glenn:  Don’t ask me, all I know is that David Bowie is a kettle (obscure Rabbitt Stew joke number 4576!)

Ray:  Decent reorders for both of last month’s Dark Knights issues, with Murder Machine selling an additional 10.5K at #177 and the higher-ordered Red Death landing an additional 9.8K at #186. Clearly some genuine heat for this event and everything it touches.

Glenn:  Nothing can stop the Dark Knights and I’m sure this months issues will have some pretty good reorders too.  If DC didn’t have the sequel to the best regarded comic ever coming they would still making everyone jealous with how well this event is doing.

Ray:  At #182 we have Kid Lobotomy #1, the surreal new Peter Milligan comic set at a haunted hotel/medical clinic, which sells 9.9K. This was designed as a cult comic for those very much into Milligan’s oddball style, so these numbers are probably right in line with what IDW was expecting.

Glenn:  Milligan has always been a fringe creator and IDW are better at property output than creator owned so yeah all in all, this isn’t too bad for a mini taking everything into account.

Ray:  17 months into DC Rebirth, we finally see the first Rebirth title slip under the 10K mark. It’s Cyborg, naturally, down at #184 at 9.9K. The title’s ending hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s got to be coming.

Glenn:  They’re likely keeping it alive just so he has a title on the shelves for when the movie hits.  When the movie is out of the theaters (which it isn’t as of this typing but tomorrow, who knows?) I’d say that Cyborg will be only featured in the main League book for the foreseeable future.

Ray:  At #187, it’s another oddball crossover – Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella from Dynamite. This is a niche book, so 9.8K is probably as high as it was going to get. Hack/Slash is all over the place again, suddenly!

Glenn:  Well that’s random.  It doesn’t seem to have quite the random appeal of the DC cross company crossovers but clearly some people would be interested.  Likely only for the most die hard fans of both properties.

This month the second issue of Kingsman: The Red Diamond sells just over 9.3k at 193.  Not terrible for an Image mini but it had a big budget film to help promote it.  The decision to have this mini be its own thing is puzzling and it seems that Millar has moved on to bigger, Netflix sized fish.

Ray:  What’s interesting is that Kingsman and Kick-Ass, Millar’s two most successful properties to this point, are now sort of wild cards because they’re the only ones not owned by Netflix. Millar is relaunching Kick-Ass soon, but he seems to have farmed out Kingsman with little fanfare. I’m not sure whether he’s more or less invested in these two now.

Glenn:  Kick Ass is in some ways his biggest success, its the one that’s had the most material published in any case.  That one could be the one he does for ‘fun’ while the others serve his contract and get him working with some of the best artists in the industry.

More an understandable performance from Elsewhere on its 3rd issue selling just over 9.3k at 194.  This is more in line with what I would expect the book to do and it’ll likely settle around here and perform decently enough in trades to keep it around for as long as Faybaer wants it to.

Decent enough slide for Gasolina 2 which sells also, also over 9.3k at 195.  If it settles fast, this will be another steady performer for Image by creators that aren’t that well known.

Atomahawk also from Image at 196 sells just under 9.3k for a zero issue which collects some early work by Donny Cates who if you’ve been paying attention the last few months has become a little bit of a dark horse in the market.  This is perfectly fine numbers for material that’s a few years old and was likely an easy win for Image, especially when priced at 5.99.

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Ray:  This was an oversized one-shot which was a reprint of obscure material, yeah, so I’m guessing these sales are 100% due to Cates’ new sales clout. Impressive.

Glenn:  Another bizarre Hanna Barbera reinterpretation in the form of Ruff & Reddy sells over 8.7k at 200.  Its a mini and likely gets most of its attention due to the involvement of Howard Chaykin more than anything.  I’ve honestly never heard of this particular duo so this may have been ordered under the assumption it was Chaykin doing a wacky mini series for DC and this is probably decent numbers with that mentality.

Ray:  These characters, a cat and dog vaudeville comedy team, are so obscure that reportedly the team developing the Hanna-Barbera line didn’t even know they had them at first. Given that, and Chaykin’s reputation as a cult creator, four-digit sales for a DC book aren’t really a surprise, but still kind of shocking to see a new DC #1 launch there.

Glenn:  Very good launch for the Tick which has a new series launch to coincide with the well regarded Amazon show.  It sells over 8.6k at 201.  This property has been around forever and seems to never really go away, I’d say the long time publisher is happy with this.  This was probably also boosted by having Cullen Bunn attached and may have a decent life in the top 300 due to that.

Ray:  New England Comics is a small published basically known for…well, The Tick. Feels like it’s been a while since they had a new comic out, so any time a small-press company gets on the top 300, it’s a good sign.

Glenn:  At 203 is the Archies 1 which saw the Archie crew form a band, it sells over 8.5k.  There was some great talent on board here but this is performing much like Archie titles would have done prior to the Waid led reboot so I’m sure the company is happy enough with that in mind.

Ray:  So I guess we can say people would rather read Jughead shred flesh than shred chords, amirite? *does dance number off-stage*

Glenn:  The wacky (pun intended) Gart Ennis vehicle, Dastardly and Muttley has its second issue at 204 selling over 8.5k.  Not great but its only a mini and likely will just appeal to people who want to read what Ennis does to the iconic villainous cartoon duo.  I’d say DC wouldn’t have expected much more.

Somehow Marvel got over 8.4k worth of people to buy a retelling of Captain America: Civil War by calling it a Black Panther movie prelude, good for them.  It charts at 205, bring on the movie says I.

Ray:  You fooled me once, Marvel! Not this time! NOT! THIS! TIME!!!!!

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Glenn:  Sexy jungle lady Sheena loses half her sales in her second issue charting 209 with sales over 8.2k.  Not entirely surprising since you know…its Sheena but its decent enough for a Dynamite title and will likely have a decent life on the shelf as long as Marguerite Bennett  is attached.

Ray:  That’s Dynamite’s third-highest book of the month and their top one that isn’t a crossover, so yeah, good sales for them and probably a lot due to Bennett’s sales clout.

Glenn:  Next creator owned second issue this month is another Image one in the form of Angelic which drops to 212 with sales over 8.1k.  There are books with worse drops in the charts and the unknown creative team are probably thrilled to just be below Rick Remender’s Deadly Class, even though its well into its run by this point.  I know I would be.

Cullen ‘who needs sleep?’ Bunn’s creator owned Dark Ark sells over 8k on its second issue at 215.  This is an Aftershock title so I’d call that a pretty decent hold all things considered.  Much like his other horror title, Harrow County its unlikely to set any sales records but will remain steady and do well in collections.

Final issue of Mother Panic sells over 7.8k at 218.  Not brilliant but probably better than the book would have finished off at had it been released under Vertigo rather than Young Animal.  DC is giving Young Animal a bit of a spotlight and tying it in to some of the main DCU characters and giving it its own mini event involving a Milkman (I don’t know) so someone was clearly happy with how these books did.

Ray:  Sales on these Young Animal books really trickled off, except for the intermittently-released Doom Patrol, although Mother Panic’s bat-link helped it stay a bit higher. I think this creative team could be back for a vol. two if they want down the line.

Glenn:  Short term, Young Animal will be taking part in their mini event crossover.  How those books do sales wise will likely dictate the future of the line moving forward.

Aftershock spin off, Animosity Evolution sells over 7.1k at 221.  I think this is roughly were the last version of this book left off so retailers are likely just ordering it as the next issue.  this title has performed really well for Aftershock and they clearly have a lot of faith in it.

Ray:  Yeah, this was essentially a direct continuation from the previous spin-off, Animosity: the Rise. I think retailers essentially ordered it like a standard issue with a slight boost. But this is clearly Aftershock’s first actual franchise.

At #223, we’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, selling just over 7K copies before it begins its Legacy run next month. I don’t know where those sales are hidden, but they’ve got to be somewhere, because woof. 

Glenn:  Clearly someone at Marvel really, REALLY loves this book.  I doubt Legacy will change much for the character but at this point, I expect it to keep being published long after I’m dead.

Ray:  Down at #236, we’ve got the launch of Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight from IDW, which sells 6.4K. This title is not really aimed at the direct market, as it’s going to be doing short three-issue arcs aimed at affordable trades for bookstores, much like the much higher-selling Star Wars Adventures. Given that, it’s likely to hit its sales target.

Glenn:I might have expected more out of Goosebumps because it’s one of the most enduring young reader franchises ever and had a big movie out not too long ago.  This ultimately is just another part of author R.L Stein’s plan to feature his work in every format possible.  It’ll sell well to book stores to go along with the other trillion and one Goosebumps books.

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Ray:  And just below Goosebumps at #237 is Danger Doll Squad #1! Witness the power of Zombie Tramp and her sexy lady sidekicks. Can’t wait for the blockbuster shared universe film series.

Glenn:Given that Zombie Tramp would have trouble cracking the top 300 when we started these articles, that certainty shows the publisher has gathered a little momentum.  This time in five years, Zombie Tramp will be the Batman of its time.

Ray:  IDW’s been consistently putting out minis from the “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse” series for a few years now, and this cult series has a new installment – where the titular corpse runs for President! – at #239, selling 6.4K. This is clearly a case where retailers know what to expect by now, much like with the BPRD.

Glenn:  I’m not sure what Wormwood is but yeah, IDW will know what returns to expect from a long running cult franchise like this

Ray:  Arguably the oddest book of the month, Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd, sells 6.3K at #241. That’s apparently the audience for supernatural rap comics set in the Valiant universe and dealing with demonic contract law!

At #242, we’ve got the launch of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1, the first solo adventure of the female Ghostbusters from the recent movie. And at sales of 6.2K, I think a comic sequel may be as likely as a movie sequel.

Glenn:  Given the venomous response the movie got, I’m surprised it did this well.  Of course, those that came to the movies defense in an extreme reaction to the negative extreme reaction may keep this version of the Ghostbusters on the fringes of pop culture but yeah, fans of the movie and these characters won’t be seeing many more of their adventures in comics form based on these sales.

Ray:  One of the lowest-selling Image debuts in recent memory, Top Cow’s video game tie-in Warframe, lands at #246 with sales of 6.2K. I’m assuming retailers knew this was really only for completists.

Just below, selling 6.1K, is James Tynion IV’s acclaimed horror series Eugenic. This tale of genetic manipulation and the extinction of humanity isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither were its predecessors in the “Apocalypse Trilogy”. Given Boom’s struggles in the direct market and the fact that these will likely all be bundled together in a hardcover at some point, these sales are to be expected for a cult property.

#249 brings us the return of Fighting American, now published by Titan. I believe this is Titan’s highest-selling book of the month, so clearly the Kirby and Simon team still has some pull in the modern day.

At #250, selling 6.1K, is the second arc of Ray Fawkes’ Underwinter, with a new title and new #1. This is one of Image’s strangest and most cult-like books, so the fact that it’s selling this high (comparably) is probably a testament to the decent reception of the disturbing first arc.

Zombie Tramp at #252! Second Zombie Tramp sighting of the month! Woot woot!

At #261 it’s the first sighting of Lion Forge on the charts this month, for the second series of their Voltron: Legendary Defender tie-in. This is a wildly popular Netflix series, so it’s got enough clout to push a small company like LF into the top 300. Looking ahead, it’s their only book on the charts this month, so while 5.5K isn’t much to other companies, to Lion Forge this looks like reason to celebrate.

Glenn:  Voltron is a very niche property with a very passionate fan base so good for Lion Forge for securing the property.  I’m sure they’re thrilled to just be featured among some of the industries heavyweight companies.  Every company has to start somewhere.

Latest Transformers number 1, Optimus Prime: First Strike sells over 5.3k at spot 265.  Its Transformers, its IDW, for additional thoughts see nearly every ‘By The Numbers’ for the last two years or so, exclusively on Graphic Policy (ding)

Some reorders for Marvel Legacy at 268 with more sales 5.3k, getting more copies sold is always good but given the hype for the one shot, you would have expected maybe a tad more.  It seems that the mega numbers retailers ordered last month seemed to satisfy most of the demand.

Ray:  Yeah, generally the higher something goes, the less reorders will be needed. DC Rebirth being the exception, though, cuz’ Watchmen.

 
Glenn: A new X-Files mini, JFK Exposure launches from IDW at 4.8k.  The new season is on its way next year but the audience don’t seem to be interested in reading the tales of Mulder and Scully in comic form.  For die hard fans and people who have been reading X-Files comics since the 90’s only.

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An odd one at 291 in the form of Black Crown Quarterly 1, fall edition by IDW which sells over 4.5k.  Even after reading up about it, I’m still not entirely sure what this is.  It just seems to be a selection of short stories by names I don’t really know.  Its priced at 6.99 and is a odd ball comic if there ever was one so not sure how IDW could have expected better.

Ray:  A dark, surreal anthology without many name creators attached? I’m sure IDW is thrilled just to be in the top 300. This seems to be a new boutique imprint they’re putting together, sort of their Vertigo.

Glenn:  Odd concept Image book Retcon faces a hard fall to sales just over 4.5k at 293.  The idea in principle to me sounded interesting but the mystery behind it may have turned a lot of people off.  It may not make the charts next month and shows that not all Image turns out can lead to winners.

The second issue of a book called Galaktikon from Albatross Funnybooks sells over 4.4k.  It didn’t chart last month so good for them for making the cut this time.  It has the involvement of cult creator Eric Powell so I thought it would have had a bit more of an audience but I’m not sure when the Goon was last out and his Action Comics brief stint wasn’t yesterday and its a company called Albatross which can’t be a good omen.  Still, good for them for making it in.

Ray:  Rare to see a title increase from last month, although it may have also snuck in with the slightly decreasing sales. Still, that’s a definite win for Albatross and Eric Powell.

Glenn:  A GFT Halloween special from Zenescope sells over 4.4k at 297.  Maybe people get their sexy vampires, witches and werewolves elsewhere these days.

Former Marvel character ROM returns to comics at 298 from IDW with sales over 4.3k.  For die hard ROM fans only it seems as the character has been awol for quite some time.  I’d have liked to have seen it done better just because of the story of his creator, Bill Mantlo but I doubt he sees any benefit from this character these days (I could be wrong there however)

Ray:  IDW and Titan do a lot of licensed books – it’s essentially their bread and butter. It makes them their money, but diminishing returns are going to creep in at some point.

Glenn:  Last comic this month at 300 is Doctor Who: Lost Dimension Special 1 which sells over 4.1k.  It seems that multiple Doctor stories don’t have the same impact when you do them every year.  Either the rest of Titan’s Doctor Who line is all on vacation or they all missed the charts this month.  The property might get a jolt when the 13th Doctor gets her own comic but otherwise, its not really in the limelight this weather.

If you’re keeping score at home, the lowest selling comic last month did slightly better than the lowest selling last month but only by 130 odd copies.  Still not good times at the bottom of the chart.

Nothing interesting next month it seems, right Ray?  Ray put that giant clock down…

Ray:  Ah, yes. November. Nice, quiet month that – *gets run over by stampede to purchase Doomsday Clock*

So, yeah, needless to say, we’ve got Doomsday Clock sitting atop the charts next month, likely with sales far exceeding what Legacy or Metal did, and probably topping the charts for the next eleven months as well if it hits its schedule. This is one of the biggest events of all time, and all else will bow in its wake. We’ve also got Batman: Lost and The Batman Who Laughs, which should easily take the silver and bronze. Besides that, DC will have their new annuals, plus a few smaller projects including a new launch for The Demon and the return of Kurt Busiek to the world of Secret Identity – this time with Batman!

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Marvel, as it heads into its second full month of Legacy, will find it hard to compete. Their sole A-list launch this month is Waid and Samnee’s Captain America, which should make it into the top ten, but I’m not sure what else will crack that list. Star Wars, as Gillen jumps on board? Certainly not any of this month’s launches. And those five one-shots reviving old titles? I’d be surprised if they were more than a ripple in the comic pool. Although it will be interesting to see how Donny Cates moves the needle on his new Marvel titles.

With the big two putting up their dukes, it’s a quite month for the indies. There’s a few Image launches, but no real a-listers. It’ll be interesting to see how titles like Coyotes or Port of Earth do, and we might see some sleeper hits. Also, do Archie fans want to see Betty and Veronica on motorcycles? We shall see!

Glenn:  Come back next month to see Doctor Manhatten turn us into ducks!  See you all then!

Like what you read or have any questions, comments or suggestions?  Let us know here or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield

 

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