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 Matchettis a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was fromYellow Bear Comics! Blown away by the end of the Mandoloreon, Glenn still finds it hard to believe that Disney managed to get Rodney Dangerfield to appear
Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He sees coming to the end of 2020 like a video game boss fight…shame that Ray is made of 99% comics and doesn’t videogame! Snake! Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaake!
Glenn: Welcome folks to the last By The Numbers article of the horrible, no good year 2020. There hasn’t been as many articles this year and its been odd for all of us but I hope that those reading this will find some reprieve in our little number obsession.
Hitting the hat trick, Three Jokers concludes where it started at the top spot selling at least 195k. Once again this book has lived up to the hype in terms of sales and will now doubtlessly become an evergreen for DC with artist Jason Fabok saying he is blown away by the overall sales. This has done so well that we already have a sequel (Four Jokers?) on the way. I’m sure DC are very pleased and will hope that even though Johns has surprisingly announced his first Image book he will continue to crank out the odd book for them because it means $$$$$ and the next project Fabok touches will be a top seller. No doubt this has been part of the reason for the new Joker ongoing coming March 2021.
Ray: What an amazing performance. This has just been a barn-burner from the moment the first issue debuted, and it barely slowed down at all in its final issue. And this is just the beginning – it’ll head to collections now. Between this and Doomsday Clock, Geoff Johns couldn’t have found a better final act for his extended time as DC’s top writer.
Glenn: Second is the 100th issue of Batman, the conclusion of Joker War and the continuation of James Tynion’s surprise hit run which sells at least 150k. I’m surprised it maybe didn’t do better but the days of 200-300k sales are becoming increasingly rare. Initially what started as a fill in run has seen Tynion turn the title into a hit once more. The next issue falls slightly to 100k at 9 which is still very good and it’ll likely have a slow bleed until Tynion spices things up again. No matter what else happens in comics, its hard not to bet for Batman’s continued success.
Ray: I thought it might have hit 200K too, but this is a monster number. Between Punchline and Clownhunter, Tynion has really injected some new blood into the Bat-world and that’s translated to massive success. Not only will this continue to be one of the top ongoings once it returns in March, but the new Joker series (with Punchline backup) might be the only thing that could rival it – also by Tynion!
Glenn: Despite being labelled on the charts as issue 49, the number 3 spot was published as issue 850 for Amazing Spider-Man overall which helps it zoom up to 155k with the next issue also being an anniversary number (cause Marvel) and selling 105k for the 50th issue of the latest volume at 7 which also has the start of the much hyped ‘Last Remains’ story. DC has proved over the last few years that anniversary numbers still mean something and Marvel take full advantage of that here. With the boost it might make you think that people might be interested in Last Remains but there’s another issue of Amazing this month wayyyyy down at 41 selling 39k which is the lowest the title has sold for years. Now the good news here is that the Last Remains tie-in mini Amazing Spider-Man (number here) .lr sells just one below at 41 with the same low sales ball park.of 39k meaning that for the time being everyone reading the main book want to read the tie-in book. The problem is that not many people want to read Amazing beyond anniversary numbers. Marvel better hope this is a blip because this used to be one of the books they could really depend on but years of poor quality writing on the book might have caught up to it.
Ray: Obviously, big anniversary numbers will create a boost in sales, but the long-term sales trends for this series aren’t good at all. This title has been mired in two much-hyped but poorly received event arcs in a row, and yet the numbers on the regular issues are lower than ever. Makes you wonder just how long Marvel wants this run to go on for.
Glenn: Venom continues to rack up sales as it marches towards King In Black with sales around 150k for just a normal issue at 4. This has become Marvel’s strongest ongoing by far and King In Black will doubtlessly be a monster hit in terms of the main series and likely at least the Donny Cates written Venom tie-ins.
Ray: This is insane for Venom, and likely indicates that King in Black will top the charts for every issue. After a frankly dreadful year, Marvel finally has something to be happy about.
Glenn: I’m not sure what has gotten into the water with Spawn but it keeps its random sales bump from last month selling around 125k at 5. The boost for 300 I understood and I also understood the residual higher sales than previous following that but this sudden popularity is…odd. There’s something I’m missing here and I’m not sure what that would be, any readers of Spawn please feel free to let us know but this is the best the title has sold for ages so good for it.
Ray: Yeah, I can’t figure out what would cause this massive surge all of a sudden. But despite these big sales, it may not be the top-selling Image book for long. Cates is coming.
Glenn: Dark Knights Death Metal continues to also perform strongly at 6 with sales around 120k. The event seems to have become a steady hit with still some way to go as we start to see the future of the DCU that will result from it. Although I suspect Snyder and Capullo might revisit DC for the odd Black Label project now and again this is a hell of a way for them to go out if this is indeed their last work on the main line.
Ray: Rock-solid to the end. This is less accessible than Doomsday Clock or Three Jokers, but it’s the perfect capper to Snyder’s decade-long tenure at the company. It’s still doing numbers most events don’t reach these days, and the limited tie-ins are strong as well.
Glenn: At 8 we have the other mega hit from Donny Cates and Marvel in the form of Thor. It doesn’t need no King In Black it seems (so far) as it does fine on its own selling around 105k, Whatever Marvel is doing to keep Cates around, they better keep doing it.
Ray: Cates is THE guy right now, one of the only ones who seems to be able to turn books into megahits on his name alone. Marvel nabbing him quickly is basically keeping them afloat right now.
Glenn: Rounding out the top ten is Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men which I believe is still tying into Swords Of X. Despite tying into a 20+ part crossover the title is selling 90k at minimum and this is the magic of Hickman as his run seems to be doing the near impossible job of pleasing fans old and new. We’ll see if things quiet down ater Swords Of X but I would speculate that this is a best seller in spite of the event, not because of it.
Ray: Swords of X has given every book in the line a bit of a boost, I believe. The line has flagged a little since its beginning, but we’ll see if the new launches in the aftermath of the crossover can lift it again.
Wolverine also got a pretty big boost at #11 for the crossover, selling at least 85K at #11. This was the issue that introduced Wolverine’s new nemesis, Solem, so retailers were warned to order heavily.
Far outselling the other tie-ins, we have Dark Nights Death Metal: Robin King at #12. This one focused on the breakout villain of Death Metal and sells at least 70K, pretty strong for a $5.99 book.
Glenn: Death Metal is a strong brand and people want to see if they can be on the ground floor of the next breakout character but obviously Evil Batman/Joker will trump evil Robin/Joker.
Ray: I would have expected more for Rorschach #1 from Tom King and Jorge Fornes, the next Watchmen spinoff. It sells at least 70K at #13, strong for a Black Label prestige King book. But it’s performing more like the next Strange Adventures than the next Doomsday Clock. I wouldn’t be surprised by some heavy reorders and a strong hold here.
Glenn: It’ll hold strong but I see this more of a niche thing than an ‘event’ like Doomsday Clock was. This is more like a strong character piece like King’s other works rather than a balls to the wall wacky thing like Doomsday Clock. Retailers are likely just ordering it like most of the other King niche character books and if it holds steady, it’ll be grand and will do great in collections like Vision and Mr. Miracle. Watch to see his new Batman maxi series perform big numbers.
Ray: The White Knight verse still has some strong fan appeal, with the Harley Quinn spinoff co-written by Murphy landing at #14 selling at least 67K. Controversies aside, people like this universe and we’ll likely get more spinoffs unless Murphy blows up his career.
Glenn: Batman related stuff by a top artist selling? Perish the thought! This is another one that will also do long business in collections.
Ray: The Marvel weirdness starts early this month as Spider-Woman #5 lands at #16 selling at least 66K. That’s a massive jump from last issue and there’s no real reason for that – it’s the end of the first arc. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the chart making sense.
Glenn: For the last year or so we’ve seen a lot of odd sales from female characters connected to Spider-Man and I would say this falls under that. We’ll see how long the book goes before being cancelled/relaunched and how we stand next month.
Ray: Dark Nights Death Metal: Rise of the New God lands at #18 selling 60K, another strong showing for an oversized one-shot in this event.
Glenn: See comments for Robin King basically. This is an event that is performing well across all tie-ins.
Ray: Speaking of oversized one-shots, at #19 we have the halfway-point one-shot X of Swords: Stasis cowritten by Hickman and Tini Howard. It sells at least 61K, a strong showing for a necessary chapter in the event that retailers may have underordered on a bit.
Glenn: I think retailers are unsure how to treat this event. They’re letting it boost the higher selling books and the others to a lesser degree but its so long and so in depth that it might not appeal to those outside the die hard X-Men fandom the same. With that in mind, this is very good sales and shows Hickman has basically turned the X-line into a talking point once more with a snap of his fingers.
Ray: People aren’t tired of Walking Dead yet, as the colorized reprint Walking Dead Deluxe #1 sells over 48K at #21. This is a crazy cash cow. Can’t wait for the hologram reprint in ten years.
Glenn: Considering how many reprints and variations there is of this already, this is ridiculous. This property just won’t die (pun very much intended).
Ray: Down at #23, we’ve got the long-delayed launch of Champions selling at least 48K. This was the main series for the Outlawed crossover, which started in March right before the shutdown. This couldn’t have helped its momentum, but I also don’t think there was much hunger for “Civil War III: Adults vs. Kids”. I expect fast drops from here.
Glenn: If it stayed here it would be fine but yeah, it won’t. I honestly forgot Outlawed was a thing and I think Marvel has too so this title has been left to drift and that’s not a good thing where every book that doesn’t star Batman and isn’t written by Cates or Hickman needs all the help it can get.
Ray: We continue to see weird numbers, with Strange Academy doing another shockingly high number of 46K at #26. Could there be hunger for a Teen Titans-style book in the Marvel Universe that’s helping this? Sure, but this title doing so much more than Waid’s Dr. Strange book did seems odd.
Glenn: Back in the day, Young Avenger’s was a hit and I don’t think Marvel ever really provided a proper substitute. Obviously sales here are much lower than YA at its beak but that was a LONG time ago and had a Hollywood writer and Jim Cheung. Everything considered, this might be the book people have long awaited and its caught on.
Ray: After a few regular titles, we see one of the highest entries IDW has ever had for the launch of TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 at #31. Selling at least 44.5K, this future-set TMNT thriller focusing on the last Turtle standing against a new Shredder brought back original series creator Kevin Eastman and even had Peter Laird involved. The $8.99 price tag didn’t seem to deter people from what’s essentially Old Man Turtle/The Dark Turtle Returns.
Glenn: This has a concept that appeals outside the hardcore turtles audience and reunites the original creative team. This is one of those prestige books that IDW has very much lucked into and it reflects in sales. I could see this holding well and doing very well as a collection too.
Ray: I’m still surprised by how popular this Catwoman series is, with the #26 issue (the first regular issue of Ram V’s run) selling 42K at #32, higher than the final issue of Batgirl. This bodes well for next month’s launch of Batman/Catwoman.
Glenn: King has brought new interest to Catwoman and Joelle Jones didn’t hurt either. The character is having a moment again and DC seems to have faith in this creative team as I think they’re only the second to stick around post Infinity.
Ray: Black Widow’s second issue has an excellent hold, selling at least 41.5K at #36. Great news for Kelly Thompson, even if the series has been beseiged by delays.
Glenn: Apart from Deadpool oddly, Thompson always has great success with book stabilisation. Hopefully the delays for the book won’t hurt its sales momentum too much.
Ray: It’s been a great year for creator-owned books, and Rick Remender’s joining the party with the launch of The Scumbag. This mature-readers book about the world’s worst accidental super-soldier sells at least 41.5K at #37, easily another hit for Remender at Image.
Glenn: Although he perhaps doesn’t grab the headlines like some others, Remender is a creator who very much has found a solid niche in creator owned. His books perform always at a good level and very well in collections and are highly thought of. Its something in modern comics that is becoming increasingly common.
Ray: Crossovers are big money, and that apparently goes even when the characters themselves aren’t big draws! Die!Namite, the latest Dynamite crossover pitting John Carter, Red Sonja, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, and Vampirella against a zombie army sells 41K to start at #38. Most of this is probably due to the massive number of covers, but a zombie crossover is a no-lose proposition right now.
Glenn: This is an insane concept too that’ll draw some eyes for people that are curious how these things that shouldn’t fit together do. I’m not sure how Dynamite pulled this off with having some licensed properties in here but they did and it seems to have had a good effect. Its rare to have something like this outside of the big two that have multiple properties interacting.
Ray: This is a pretty big jump for Something is Killing the Children at #44, selling at least 39K this month. That’s almost double what it was previously selling. Could this be a side effect of Tynion’s massive Joker War success, or just statistical noise?
Glenn: I think it could be the former of your suggestions or the fact that Tynion is on a hot streak.
Ray: Steve Orlando’s had some forays into creator-owned work before, but he has his biggest hit yet with Commanders in Crisis at #46. This diverse multiversal superhero team concept from Image sells at least 38.5K for its first issue, which puts it solidly in the top tier of Image launches without a superstar attached. That’s just above the second issue of Department of Truth, which is looking like it might be Image’s new top non-Spawn dog – at least until Crossover arrives.
Glenn: Great debut for Commanders and a great hold for Department, both will become great additions to the Image library.
Ray: Batman: The Adventures Continue continues to impress with its numbers for a digital-first title, selling 34K at #50. DC would be silly not to make this an ongoing, which is why they’re doing an immediate one-shot sequel focusing on Harley and Ivy soon.
Glenn: The power of the animated series remains long after its conclusion.
Ray: Iron Man has a pretty hefty drop for its second issue, selling 32.5K at #55. That’s definitely not what Marvel wanted to see – it barely outsells a random 13th issue of Batman/Superman – so their search for a successful direction for Tony continues.
Glenn: It could be worse, its still selling slightly more than the end of Slott’s run but it needs to stop falling or there will be trouble as its not a million miles away from that level.
Ray: Another hit for Boom at #59, with Dune: House Atreides selling at least 32K. I believe this was the first comic adaptation of the cult hit novel series, and this was likely timed to tie in with the movie. That tie-in…is not happening right now, but this is still a healthy number. Remember when this kind of number would have been a huge hit for Boom instead of a normal middle-of-the-road success?
Glenn: I remember! This is a cult property with a very loyal fanbase that will either check out here or in collection, the latter of which will deliver healthy sales once the movie hits theatre’s…or your home.
Ray: After a lot of business-as-usual books down here, we drop to #70 for the launch of Werewolf By Night. This Native American-themed reinvention of the classic horror character had former Black Eyed Peas member Taboo co-writing, but the market is rough and it couldn’t manage more than 29K for a debut issue – below the second issue of Shang-Chi.
Glenn: It’s Werewolf By Night so they can get all the outside the market cred they want, it’ll still have a ceiling. Hopefully it stabilizes fast or the second issue drop is going to be ugly.
Ray: We Only Find Them When They’re Dead sells at least 26.5K for its second issue at #76. While that’s a significant drop, it’s also worth noting that this is above almost every Image book this month. Boom continues to carve out a significant piece of the creator-owned market.
Glenn: That’s mental and I would consider this a mid level hit at Image so with it being at Boom…
Ray: The annual giant-sized Halloween anthology from DC, this year titled The Doomed and the Damned, is down at #77. This team-up issue pairing DC heroes with supernatural ones, sells at least 24K. Not bad at all for a $9.99 anthology and higher than the last few anthologies.
Glenn: The horror aspect likely helped put it ahead of the pack. People love to be spooked.
Ray: Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s Vertigo classic has been gone for a while, so American Vampire 1976 #1 landing at #78 with sales of 24K seems healthy. This will likely sell much more in collections.
Glenn: This is only being released monthly for posterity. It’s selling well above where the series was but its been so long since the last mini and so many fans (including myself) have come along since then that many will just hold out for the collection which will sell gangbusters.
Ray: Venom is a powerhouse, as the 27th issue charts again down at #81, selling an additional 24.5K.
Glenn: Knull is coming. So are sales. Lots of sales.
Ray: X of Swords put out a handbook featuring character profiles, and it sells 24K at #82. That’s very high and was likely helped by the fact that this story has so many characters it might be genuinely needed, but it points to some real interest in the event.
Glenn: I’ve never heard of this X-Men with the power to take on the property of a scented candle! He must be made up I…oh no wait here he is. How about that?
Ray: The biggest upset in the top 100 this month has to be down at #83, as Alex Paknadel’s Giga scores a rare top 100 finish for Vault. This giant-robot adventure with a unique hook sells at least 23K, and Vault continues to be the fastest-growing company out there besides Boom.
Glenn: Another company that has seen insane growth despite the you know…everything. They are bagging bigger creators and doing some interesting books and this is steadily building them a strong brand. In 5 years or less they could be where Boom is now.
Ray: DC released two Halloween anthologies this month, and the smaller Legend of the Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular sells 21K at #86. Decent numbers for a character who hasn’t had a solo title in a while – although that changes in January.
Glenn: I’m surprised since this had a singular character focus this was the least selling of both anthologies. Obviously DC are happy because as you mentioned the character gets a new book by the creative team that book ended this anthology.
Ray: If you had told me that Deadpool would be the lowest-selling of Kelly Thompson’s three books at Marvel, I would have laughed at you. But here it is floundering at #87, selling 22.5K. Maybe this King of the Monsters subplot has gone on a bit too long?
Neil Gaiman helps Dark Horse into the top 100 with the debut issue of Norse Mythology from a talented collection of artists. It sells 22.5K at #88, similar numbers to what his American Gods adaptation did.
Glenn: Bound to sell more through the book market but still a decent little performer.
Ray: Glenn, do you know what a Warhammer 40K? I barely do, but Marvel has started publishing comics based on it. The first – a Marneus Calgar series from Kieron Gillen – sells 22.5K at #89, showing this tabletop game has a big fanbase.
Glenn: I know they’re apparently fun to paint and what some of the models look like? This is a mega popular property outside comics and model and game workshops will be buying this book in by the barrelful in singles and collections for the die hard audience.
Ray: IDW is known for crossing over EVERYTHING, and they launch another bizarre one with Transformers/Back to the Future. It has a healthy debut at #90 with sales of 22.5K, but oddly – the second issue has not come out yet in December.
Glenn: Much like Die!No!Mite! People are likely here for the wtf factor.
Ray: Speaking of IDW, they relaunch Star Wars Adventures with a new #1 and it charts at #92 selling 22K. This is still not geared towards the direct market, but it does healthy numbers compared to the similar Marvel books.
Howard Chaykin is always a bit of an acquired taste, so retailers may have ordered a bit cautiously on Spider-Man Marvels Snapshot as a result. It lands at #94, selling 21K – similar to the other one-shots with no bounce from a bigger character.
Glenn: When I don’t pick up something Spider-Man related it says something. This was the oddest pairing of creator and character of all of these I think and it reflects in sales.
Ray: The much delayed conclusion to Spider-Man Noir rounds out the top 100 with sales of 19.5K, proving people love any and all Spider-verse content. This also isn’t a bad floor for the top 100 overall.
Glenn: Could be much worse and I think this will do well in collections, especially when the Spider-Verse sequel hits.
Ray: #104 brings us the first spin-off from the fantasy series The Last God, with Dan Watters‘ one-shot Songs of Lost Children selling 18K. This series is ending with #12 in January and should make an excellent hardcover that will sell in perpetuity.
Glenn: DC are seemingly impressed enough to give the writer Superman so that says a lot,
The Ralph Macchio one shot meant to tie into the much delayed (COVVVVVVVVIDDDDDDD) movie, Black Widow: Widows Sting sells decently enough with at least 18k at 107. At least it’ll be out there when the movie does hit…eventually.
True Lives Fabulous Killjoys National Anthem is the other Gerald Way creator owned book from Dark Horse. I don’t think this one has the mass appeal of Umbrella Academy and seems much more specialist. Its also a continuation of a previous series so I think the sales here of 18k at 109 are very good.
A new Aftershock creator owned at 115 in the form of ‘We Live’ which sells 16.5k which is along the lines of a non big name Image launch so not too bad. Interesting to note that some Vault launches are now leapfrogging Aftershock despite the former not being around nearly as long.
Ray: Aftershock’s record is spotty, but this is one of the better debuts they’ve had in a while. Maybe their model is starting to pay off? This one did get a bit of good advance hype.
Glenn: True Believers has a Black Widow theme this month to again tie in to the movie that we ultimately didn’t get. The highest selling of the bunch is unsurprisingly a Task Master related issue which sells 16k at 118.
Stillwater, the latest horror offering from Image lands at 123 with its second issue making it around your average Image mid level performer. I’m surprised because it is horror and it has a big name creative team but its still fine here and will likely do well in collections.
Ray: That’s a pretty soft drop, which means Zdarsky should be giving us nightmares for some time.
Glenn: Right below it at 124 is Web Of Venom: Wraith reorders getting the issue another 15k in sales. I would say that once retailers got the memo Knull was in this, they went back to order fast and puts the issue overall at an insanely good number considering it stars a character 5 people know about.
Long running Image series Sex Criminals reaches its climax (arf arf) with issue 69 (arf arf) selling 15k at 126 which is slightly higher than normal. This book of course sells much better in collections and will be one that performs well for new fans in years and decades to come. Its certainly one that can’t be critizised for not being different enough.
Ray: Honestly, I’m shocked this bizarre and wonderful book did as well as it did in singles. The madmen actually did it! They pulled it off!
Glenn: I hear they like to pull it off on the regular.
Pretty standard launch for a non JMS book for new publisher AWA in the form of American Ronin which sells 13k at 132. At this point its unclear what this company expects of itself and what its usp is so it’s hard to judge.
Ray: Of all of AWA’s launches, this had the most Vertigo vibe and was by a veteran creator in Peter Milligan. That might give it a bit more life than some of them – but this company has zero brand identity right now.
Glenn: Next thing of note is the Stranger Things Halloween special which sells 12.5k at 144 so the comic has lost some of its initial momentum but still performs well for an outside media adaption. Clearly Dark Horse are happy as we continue to get more of these.
Ray: This was a one-shot taking place before the series, so it probably didn’t have the momentum of some of the ones filling in blanks from past seasons.
Glenn: A Sonic spin off mini focusing on his bad guys does pretty well considering all those things I just typed at 146 selling 12.5k.
The newest Black Hammer mini focusing on Colonel Weird launches at 148 selling 12k and this has pretty much more or less become the standard level for Black Hammer. Obviously this universe is very well received and does great in collections at Dark Horse can’t stop pumping out more and more parts.
Ray: Yeah, I expect all books in this universe will sell close to this level – besides the Visions one-shots featuring megawatt creators.
Glenn: Vault has another series at 153 in the form of Devil’s Red Bride which sells around 12k which isn’t too bad from a small company and a creative team I’m not familiar with. Its all relative and while Vault has bigger hits, this is still a decent launch all things considered.
Ray: If this is basically Vault’s level for launches without A-list names attached, that’s an amazing coup for them and basically puts them in the top ten publishers after very little time.
Glenn: Considering its a tie in for a series that has long been MIA and is likely never coming back I thing Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: Madam Satan sells very well with around 11k at 159. This most likely sold on the strength of the Netflix show more than anything.
Ray: Yeah, but I don’t think there’s much hunger for more spinoffs that don’t actually continue the story. Shame what happened to this universe.
Glenn: A new Friends like comic at 160 in the form of Getting It Together which sells around 11k. This is from Iceman writer Sina Grace so I might have expected a little more but its a pretty standard no flashy lights Image launch otherwise.
Ray: That’s a pretty rough debut for an Image book, but it’s also a very rare case of an Image book with zero genre elements. I don’t know if there’s the hunger in the market for hard-R dating comics, no matter how diverse the cast is.
Glenn: The newest Rick and Morty thingy from Oni sells 10k at 171 for Oni who could probably plaster the walls of their entire hq with Rick and Morty comics at this point. Once again, these are selling much, much better elsewhere.
Mostly reprings and ongoings of indies and Black Widow True Believer issues until we get to 187 and Sympathy For No Devils from Aftershock which sells 8.4k. Pretty standard stuff from this company these days who have lost a lot of their momentum they had in the early days.
Back in the day, Marvel Zombies was a hot property and sold like bananas, a Marvel Spotlight issue that covers some of that original run is still good for 8k in sales at 191. Its no Walking Dead…now with colour.
Very much a die hard item at 196 in the form of the Conan handbook which sells 7.6k which when you consider its 5.99 for a lot of text and old material isn’t that bad.
King Tank Girl reminds us this property still exists and apparently has somewhat of an audience at 7.4k at 198. Not much more can be said really, it is what it is.
More reprints and ongoing books aplenty until 213 where we get a Life Is Strange book to tie into the cult video game which is good for 6.4k. This game is much more niche than some of the others that are generally on the charts and it lacks the interaction that is the games usp so I’m not surprised its on the low end of video game tie-ins.
Ray: Life is Strange has a massive cult fanbase thanks to its cast, especially among LGBT fans. Titan getting this license is going to pay off for them.
At #216 we have the latest oversized reprint collection, TMNT: Best of Raphael from IDW. This sells 6.2K and is a collection of classic stories featuring each Turtle in turn. It’s free sales, and the franchise obviously still has a big fanbase.
At #220 we’ve got the facscimile edition of Marvel Fanfare #10, selling 6K. This was the origin of Black Widow, so another tie-in to what was supposed to be Black Widow’s month.
A new creator-owned title from Oni, The Vain at #221. This vampire heist/Nazi hunter thriller is by Elliot Rahal, who has been at multiple companies lately. I don’t think Oni has much of a brand for creator-owned books right now, so about 6K is in line with what I’d expect.
Glenn: Its proven with Scott Pilgrum that Oni’s money with creator owned is in collections so this will likely find an audience there. I’ll be honest and thought they had stopped doing non licenced monthlies for this very reason.
Ray: Amid a bunch of reorders and low-selling creator-owned books, we have the debut of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Song of Glory at #228. It sells 5.6K, but I suspect more orders are going to video game stores where the core audience for this is going to be.
Glenn: Its a popular franchise and it has Vikings in it so it’ll sell somewhere. Another one that could benefit long term from the Netflix adaption.
Ray: Hey, at #232 we’ve got the Tales of Terror Quarterly 2020 Halloween Special from Zenoscope, selling 5.4K! Do we really need more tales of terror in 2020? Glenn, strike up the band!
Glenn: The breasts that wouldn’t die.
Ray: 5.2K more in reorders for Stillwater #1 at #235, so there’s some clear interest in this.
There’s Zombie Tramp #74 at #237, selling 5.2K. The mascot of By the Numbers should get a boost for the anniversary next month. All I know is, Zombie Tramp #100 better come in at #69 or I’ll throw a barrel.
Glenn: We quit if it doesn’t.
Brent: No you don’t.
Glenn: No we don’t…
Ray: And it’s followed by the loooooooong running Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose right below it. The bar for scary things on this chart keeps creeping higher and higher every month.
Glenn: Horror is the second biggest genre in comics right now and its not particularly close.
Ray: It’s mostly reorders and some low-sellers down here, but the kickoff to Firefly: Blue Sun Rising does pick up another 4.8K in reorders at #250. The first Firefly event looks like a hit, and will apparently be leading into a spinoff soon.
Remember Scream: Curse of Carnage? The Venom spin-off that abruptly had its second arc shitcanned after the pandemic? For some reason, the first issue gets 4.4K in reorders at #253.
Glenn: Could be stock dumping or Venom being hot right now or retailers getting copies in to go along with the King In Black one shot coming in a few months. Could be all three!
Ray: Lots of odd reorders down here, including the third issue of the offbeat comedy book by industry legend Mariko Tamaki, Spider-Man/Venom: Double Trouble. It charts at #258 selling 4.2K, which helps to explain why a Thor-Loki themed sequel has been greenlit.
Glenn: I would say collection sales for this book outside the market is the main reason for that more than anything else.
Ray: This is where Scout starts to chart, and a new sci-fi launch called Phantom Starkiller lands at #261 selling 4K. This company still seems to exist in a separate “indie space”, unlike Vault, and hasn’t had a breakout hit in a while.
Glenn: I think they annoyed some retailers with their first issue then straight to trade program. A risky move for sure.
Ray: I’m always amused when we get really old reorders, and US Avengers #1 is down at #273 selling 4K. To put this into perspective, this came out during the last days of the previous presidency.
Glenn: That long ago?! What is time?
Ray: The latest mini-digest, Archie’s Halloween Spectacular, is down at #276 selling 3.8K. Pretty routine for these books, which mostly seem to exist to give comic book store readers a chance to read the new stories without buying the digests.
3.4K in reorders for Autumnal #1 down at #282. The two combined covers for this horror series sold close to 20K this month for the second issue, so this seems like it’s quietly become one of Vault’s biggest hits.
Glenn: That’s amazing for Vault and well deserved, its bloody good.
Ray: More Zenoscope down at #295, with Myths and Legends Quarterly: Ares selling 3.2K. I wonder if Ares is a sexy lady, or if the reason he starts a war is a sexy lady. Call it a hunch.
A Zenscope book without many sexy ladies – probably – is Conspiracy: Planet X One-Shot at #297. Selling 3K, this seems to be part of their foray into sci-fi and horror. Unless the aliens of Planet X are sexy ladies.
Glenn: The spaceship is a giant sexy lady.
Ray: A new arc from one of Ahoy’s properties, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood, launches at #298 selling 3K. Ahoy is struggling to find a foothold in the market despite a unique business plan.
And more Ahoy at #301, with the unique superhero adventure Penultiman launching with 3K. Maybe the sequel to the Wrong Earth series will turn this around next month, but this company is struggling.
The bizarrely profane supernatural police thriller Concrete Jungle launches from Scout at #303, selling 2.8K. This is one of their hardest sells, yet did close to their other books. Not sure what the overall model for the company is right now.
Unholy Bastards vs. the Future, a strange spinoff of The Goon, sells 2.6K from Albatross at #306, pretty in line with a cult property like this.
Glenn: Yeah, retailers will know exactly who to order this for and not expect any surprises.
Ray: Action Lab has a weird model right now, as they released books during the earliest days of the pandemic on Comixology and are now releasing them in print. That makes titles like vampire thriller Carmine – which lands at #308 selling 2.6K – an odd duck where much of the audience has already read it.
Glenn: Bonus sales? This is for anti-tech weirdo’s like myself he says realizing he is using an online blog to talk about comic sales he saw online…
Ray: The horror series Muertana from niche publisher Verotik launches at #312, selling 2.6K. We’re well down into obscure territory here already.
Glenn: Already? But I haven’t even poured the brandy yet…
Ray: The Twilight Zone inspired horror series The Electric Black returns with a new one-shot, Electric Black Presents, at #320. This was one of the most hyped series from Scout when it launched, but spotty scheduling has dulled the hype since.
Glenn: Only big name creators can pull off the disappearing act these days. Even big companies find it hard to keep momentum on missing titles.
Ray: At #327, Red 5 Comics enters the charts with Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #1. This teen adventure from Erica Schultz revamps some of the Flash Gordon supporting heroes in a modern setting. The company and the characters don’t have much of a presence at the moment, but this was enough for 1.8K and it might be aimed more at the Comixology market.
Glenn: I thought this would have done slightly more even if the heroes its involved with are well past their most prominent. Schultz is a great writer and I hope this finds readers somewhere.
Ray: It’s time for the latest nonsense from the creator of Cerebus, with the Vault of Cerebus one-shot selling 1.8K at #328.
Another entry from Red 5 at #330, with the sequel to Butcher Queen, titled Planet of the Dead, selling 1.8K – pretty in line with the last volume of this sci-fi thriller.
American Mythology continues to make the most of public domain licenses that Dynamite doesn’t have, with Zorro in the Land that Time Forgot selling 1.8K at #335.
Glenn: Zorro versus dinosaurs? No wonder they went extinct.
Ray: Mad Cave is another publisher trying to establish a foothold in the market, and their dark-edged superhero thriller Villainous lands at #336 with sales of 1.8K.
Action Lab’s attempt at an all-ages launch, Miranda and the Maelstrom, lands at #345 with sales of 1.6K. This is another one that was released digitally in April, so these sales don’t show the whole picture.
And at #348, we have the confusingly named Necromorfus from Behemoth, selling 1.6K. I still have never seen a Behemoth comic book.
Glenn: With a company name like that you’d think the comics would be hard to miss!
End of the year and stock dumping a plenty as we have a ‘Enter The Spider-Verse’ one shot from 2018 which sells around 1.4k.
Hollywood Trash which looks to be a comedy of sorts from Mad Cave charts 365 selling 1.4kish too. Looks like it could be fun but its a small company and no name creators so here we are.
Book 3 of the Eternal Thirst of Dracula which is how you know they’re really Eternal since they’re on book 3 and all is at 1.2k at 374. Since they are indeed on the third volume and its a book by American Mythology, retailers are ordering for those that are already reading.
I had to google what 376 was and I care too much about you faithful By The Numbers fans to force you to do the same. This is a pro-Trump comic featuring a parody of the Mandolorian. It sells 1.2k…somehow.
Ray: What will Antarctic do when they don’t have Trump parodies to make anymore?
Glenn: Biden and Harris parody where they both live in a wacky 50’s sitcom.
So much reprinting and low selling and stock printing down here. One of the most comics all among it all is an animated something or other starring funny animals which has the involvement of John Carpenter who directed and wrote *checks notes* Halloween and The Thing. Okay. It sells 1.2k at 382.
Remember Royals? One of the many Inhumans series that Marvel were forcing on us when they were trying to make that franchise a thing? I sure as heck don’t as the last issue ‘mysteriously’ appears at 398 ‘selling’ 1k.
Ray: Looking forward to the hard-sell of a dozen Eternals books in a year.
Glenn: Its all Marvel landfill down here and stuff like Batvark Xxxxx selling 900 copies at 410. I hope I didn’t miss out an X there, I’d hate to make this title look unprofessional.
I’ll be honest with you folks, there is just a sea of Marvel here with the odd appearance by low selling Mad Cave and Scout offerings so I’ll let you know that the lowest selling charting comic this month was the fourth issue of Scream: Curse Of Carnage which shipped another 400 comics at 539.
Is 2020 over? Is it done?
Ray: And yeah, this is almost entirely reorders down here, including some random books from three or more years ago. I don’t even remember what Civil War II: The Oath was.
Glenn: *opens mouth to speak but then realizes he doesn’t know either*
Ray: Looking ahead to next month, things are ramping up as we head to the end of the year. November from DC is going to bring us the massive hit of a Punchline special, plus John Ridley’s Other History of the DC Universe from Black Label, plus a trio of new Tales from the Dark Multiverse one-shots, and the return of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth.
It’s the calm before the storm for Marvel in November, as King in Black is just around the corner. But this month they’re wrapping up X of Swords and launching a few minis like Wolverine: Black, White, and Blood. We’ve also got Chris Priest’s US Agent, but otherwise it’s a pretty quiet month – for now.
Of course, Donny Cates is busy elsewhere this month – launching Crossover from Image Comics. There’s a good chance this will be the first creator-owned book to top the charts in a long time.
What will rise? What will fall? When will we finally get November sales? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
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