Author Archives: glennmatchett

By The Numbers: October 2020

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!

Liked what you read or have any questions or comments? Let us know below or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The numbers september 2020

By The Numbers

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! By the time this out, the election will be over. So either congrats President Biden or wow, how did you get an internet connection with all that doomsday radiation?

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  He sees coming to the end of 2020 like a video game boss fight…shame that Ray is made of 99% comics and doesn’t videogame! Snake! Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaake!

No more cover images until WordPress stops being useless in its new format outside the top book. Sorry for the wall of text! We promise laughs in place of images!

Glenn: Its By The Numbers…now with actual numbers kinda/sorta. While exact sales are still elusive to us somehow, there are estimates that range from high end to low end. For the sake of this article and all future By The Numbers until actual numbers return, we’ll go by the lower end. At least there we know a baseline and can judge accordingly. In general, these sales are still just ballpark figures and lack the general trends of the sales charts prior to March. At least it gives us a rough idea of where we are.

Ray: You mean I don’t have to describe things in terms of how many Avengers they sold anymore? This will make counting change at the grocery store a lot easier.

Glenn: In my day, milk used to cost a half an Iron Man!

Batman: Three Jokers #2 review | Batman News

Top of the charts for the second month is Three Jokers, issue two sells at least 190k which is just over 100k drop. Not too shabby really and this seems like with an ending the next month this will not drop too much further. This is another big story that got a lot of interest and will sell forever in collections. Its a big win for DC and I know that because not only is the second issue here but the first recharts very high this month and while our source doesn’t have numbers on that it seems to have sold around 70-80k at least which is INSANE. Clearly these speciality projects from DC continue to bring in interest.

Ray: Geoff Johns certainly had one hell of a final act at DC Comics, if this is the end. I suspect these will be monsters in collections, and they’ll undoubtedly be ready to back up the money truck for a sequel. Get ready for Batman: Three Harleys!

Glenn: Number 2 this month is the anniversary issue, Detective Comics 1027 which was a giant anthology celebrating 1000 issues of Batman (more or less) in this book. It sold 175k which while it wasn’t runaway stream train that 1000 was this is still big numbers. Issue 1000 likely had an easier time cause 1000 is an easier number to promote than 1027 but the creative energy behind this one still had it deliver big, especially priced at 9.99.

Ray: This is at least 50K more than the Joker 80th Anniversary special did, so that’s huge. This didn’t have the #1000 branding that made those two issues absolute monsters, but the heavy-duty creative team on this one – all four recent iconic Batman writers going back almost fifteen years – made it a must-buy for Bat-fans

Glenn: Next is Venom which sells 130k as it continues its dominance as Marvel’s top book as we continue the march towards King In Black. While I expect Venom to continue its climb during that event and the event mini itself to sell incredibly well, I’m not quite as sure around the satellite tie-ins. I don’t think this is going to have the ever elusive Civil War tie-on magic touch but I could be wrong.

Ray: Too many tie-ins. As we saw for Empyre, there’s a consistent attrition the more you do. That being said, all indications are that King in Black is going to be the biggest Marvel event since Civil War II. 

Glenn: At 4 is the launch to the first Hickman led X-Men event, Swords Of X: Creation which does very well with sales over 115k. There’s still a lot of hype behind this run and there is similar success for other X-Books this month, this event is over 20 parts and those are all the main story, not skippable spin offs. It’ll be interesting how the whole thing does over this period of longevity.

Ray: Decent numbers, a slight increase over the main X-book. That being said, if this is the ceiling for the big launch chapter, I don’t think it’ll hold up sales-wise too well over the entire run. The first half has been a little loose with crossovers, with only the Ben Percy books directly leading into each other, so we’ll see how retailers respond. 

Glenn: The other Donny Cates Marvel ongoing Thor is at 5 selling around 110k which is the best the book has sold since the Jane Foster days. Its the Donny Cates effect which we’re going to see get bigger and bigger as we move towards King In Black and his already reportedly ridiculously successful Image book, Crossover.

Ray:  Cates is pretty clearly the biggest guy at Marvel right now and anything he touches turns to gold. I’m mostly shocked that Thor isn’t crossing over with King in Black!

Glenn: While not having quite the top ten dominance of some months, Batman takes no time off. Issue 98 sells at 6 with 100k sales and 99 sells 90k at 9. Unusual to see a drop as the story goes on but 100 will doubtlessly be a monster next month. The title after languishing in the 70k range for a bit has beefed up back to its former sales status. It didn’t have to content with Venom or Thor before (aka Donny Cates) but can’t keep a good bat down, especially in the middle of a hot story.

Ray: Some slight attrition for Batman, but it’ll rebound for sure – maybe to #1 next month. It’ll be interesting to see how much of these gains it keeps as time goes on and Tynion enters the second year of his run. 

Glenn: BIG jump for Spawn issue 310 with sales around 90k. This is the start of a new arc it seems but otherwise, I’m not too sure why it got such a jump. The title has been riding quite a wave of momentum since 300 but this sudden jump is odd…good for them though. They’re going to have some serious competition as the top Image book next month however.

Ray: Yeah, this seems random for such a big increase. I checked solicits to see if any iconic Spawn villains like Violator were in the current arc, but it doesn’t seem like that. Spawn will remain a mystery to us all.

Glenn: Web Of Venom: Wraith sells at 8 cause its written by Donny Cates and serves as a direct prequel to King In Black, not on the named character on the front. The combination of Cates and anything Venom relates is good for at least around 90k so yeah…Knull is indeed coming.

Ray: I barely even know what a Wraith is, so the fact that this one-shot did so well is a testament to just how big that whole universe is right now. It’s the equivalent of DC doing a Joker War: Anarky one-shot and it landing in the top ten . (Damnit, DC, why didn’t you do that????)

Glenn: Lonnie ran into Clownhunter, it didn’t go well.

Final book in the top ten is the launch of a new Iron Man title which is good enough for 80k which I think is around the same level the Slott run launched at. Standard Marvel relaunch in other words with a return to the 20-30k range next month.

Ray: Decent numbers, but early reception on this run’s status quo has been seriously mixed. I’m not seeing this being the run that turns around Iron Man’s trouble at getting a hit ongoing long-term. 

At #11, speaking of Joker War one-shots, we have the oversized anthology Joker War Zone, which sells at least 75K. Strong for an anthology tie-in, but this one had a lot going for it – elite creators including Tynion, Williamson, and Hollywood screenwriter John Ridley among others, and a lot of direct tie-ins into major 2021 stories. This one could become a collector’s item. 

Glenn: Plus Joker War is on fire right now (and in the story too) and everyone seems to dig Clownhunter, even if its not quite Punchline level chaos.

Ray: Speaking of that James Tynion IV! Down at #12, we have his monster new Image debut, The Department of Truth, selling at least 75K. This is one of the best debuts for an Image book in recent memory save a few Millar books that had incentives. Of course, it won’t hold that title long given Crossover coming, but this is the latest feather in the cap of a guy having a career-best year. 

Glenn: This is great and will likely settle at around 30-40k or more. After 10 years being a high quality workhorse, Tynion has turned into a superstar and he deserves it.

Ray: Right under the latest issue of X-men, we have Fantastic Four #24, with a huge jump selling at least 75K. This was a special flashback issue drawn by Paco Medina illustrating the origins of the rivalry between Human Torch and Iceman, and was one of the best issues of the series, but I wouldn’t have expected it to do this well. A testament to how well-received Slott’s run has been, maybe?

Glenn: This seems unusually high, it could be quality catching up with the book like we’ve seen with Venom or it could be shenanigans, its hard to tell. Nice to see Slott’s new book doing so well though.

Ray: Marvel Zombies Resurrection returns from a long layover to have a strong debut at #14, selling at least 75K. The original franchise had a lot of fans and this had a lot of variant covers, plus zombies will always be hot. But the second issue is all the way down at #87, only selling 22K, so these first issue sales are clearly more illusions than anything. 

Glenn: DCeased this is not. Sure Marvel had the idea first bit that was a long time ago now and the franchise worse itself into the ground pretty quick, especially after Kirkman left to run Image.

Ray: A big jump for Amazing Spider-Man’s only issue this month, selling at least 75K as it approaches the big anniversary issues, but I still think these numbers are largely air, and we’ll talk about why further down the list. 

Glenn: The title shifts so much in sales it can be quite a whiplash. I guess this is also partly because this is the return of Norman Osborn and not counting Absolute Carnage this is the first follow up we’ve had to Red Menace so retailers maybe expected some level of interest for that.

Ray: At #17 we have another issue of Thor, which sells just over half of what the one above it did, and it’s followed by Strange Academy #3 at #18 – selling more than double what its second issue did, and about what its first issue did back in March! So clearly something a bit wonky is going on with Marvel sales again this month. 

Glenn: Shenanigans or momentum? It’s really hard to tell with Marvel these days but I hope for Strange Academy its somewhat genuine. We’ll know in future solits if it gets past issue 12.

Ray: It seems like Marvel sales as a whole are really good this month – or really inflated – as Fabien Niceiza’s Juggernaut miniseries lands at #18 selling at least 67.5K, which seems really high for a random X-men spinoff. 

Glenn: Could be because X-Men is having a moment and Juggernaut is an iconic character? Sales will drop to around 20k next month I’d imagine.

Ray: After another 65K of Thor #6 – these are apparently reorders, which is insane! – We come to Shang-Chi #1 at #21. This had Superman Smashes the Klan writer Gene Luen Yang on board, and the movie’s raised the character’s profile, but 63K is much more than I would have expected given current trends.

Glenn: Even Batman struggles to battle Donny Cates! Shang-Chi had a lot of momentum due to the film that now isn’t but he’s also been absent from any notable presence forever. Usually when a character is shelved for a long time, they lose any market presence but Shang-Chi may have been gone so long they moved passed that onto the ‘I’ve been gone so long they miss me’ phase. Another one likely to drop when we get to next month though.

Ray: The one-shot Immortal She-Hulk, spinning out of Immortal Hulk, sells at least 60.5K at #22 – basically the exact same level as this month’s issue of the parent series. Another piece of evidence for how much Ewing has revitalized this series. 

Surprisingly low debut for Black Widow #1 at #24. The lengthy delays couldn’t have helped – it was supposed to come out in April – but Kelly Thompson deserves better and I’m hoping it levels out quickly. 60.5K minimum isn’t bad, but it’s odd that this month’s Marvel releases are all very clustered around this level. 

Glenn: I think it’ll stabelise pretty fast but yeah I think the series and Thompson deserve better. The title will certainly have lost momentum but its strange that Marvel didn’t try to bump up the numbers for the comic featuring the comic starring their first female movie lead and instead decided to support *checks notes* Amazing Mary Jane.

Ray: #26 has a change of pace – and more Al Ewing – as the sci-fi thriller We Only Find Them When They’re Dead lands at #26, selling at least 60K. That’s another massive win for Boom as more and more top creators choose them as their new home. But it’s nothing compared to what Keanu will do here in a few months!

Glenn: Ewing has gained some serious cred following Immortal Hulk and Boom are riding an unreal wave of momentum so yeah this is excellent. Likely to be around the same levels of Something Is Killing The Children and Once and Future next month but they both outsell a lot of Image regulars.

Ray: It was Storm’s turn in the spotlight at #27 for the latest issue of Giant-Size X-Men, selling at least 55K. The gulf is starting to grow between this and the main Hickman X-book, but then that’s in a crossover. 

Glenn: It seems retailers are treating this like an ongoing as long there’s a recognisable character on the cover. Stable and decent enough.

Ray: A decent jump in sales for X-Factor #4, selling at least 50K at #28. This was the first official chapter of Swords of X after the launch one-shot, so clearly they’re all not going to be huge in this crossover. Still, it seems like every title will be getting a boost. 

Glenn: Boosts are good but the sales on some titles being higher than others is odd, doesn’t everyone want to read this story and be confused when they skip the books with lower sales?

Ray: Those inflated Marvel sales have wreaked havoc on the rest of the charts, as we see DCEased: Dead Planet #3 sinking all the way down to #29, selling 49K. Still strong, but much lower on the charts. 

Glenn: There is definitely something amiss with DC sales and its most likely to their new non diamond distribution model. These low end sales seem especially low end so all their sales could come with an asterix.

Ray: At #30 we have the latest Dark Nights Death Metal one-shot, Multiverse’s End, selling 48K. This one had James Tynion IV attached, but didn’t get too much advance promotion for its John Stewart-focused story. 

Meanwhile, Empyre limps to a close at #31, selling 47.5K for its final issue. Womp womp. Don’t worry, Knull is coming. 

Glenn: Empyre? We hardly know ya! Wakka, wakka.

Ray: #33 brings us a new licensed property for Marvel, The Rise of Ultraman, selling a pretty decent 47K right out of the gate. I think this will drop a lot coming up, but it still shows some interest for a property that hasn’t had any real presence in the American market for decades. 

Glenn: Really good for a licenced comic coming from a company not known for doing this type of stuff on a property well past its prime. Obviously Marvel sees money in this somewhere.

Ray: Nice jump for Justice League as it begins its Death Metal tie-in at #34. It sells at least 45.5K in a preview of what could be a Josh Williamson JL run, and that’s about 20K above what the last regular issue sells down at #61.

It’s been a looooooooooong layover for Abrams and Abrams Spider-man, but there’s still some interest as the massively delayed fourth issue sells 41K. I wonder where the final issue will chart once our kids take over this column in decades to come and it’s finally released. 

Glenn: Selling on name alone at this point. Unless they need new red shirts for Spider-Verse III: The Versing, we’ll never see these characters again or have this story referred to again ever.

Ray: Slightly low numbers for the other Death Metal tie-in this month, as Speed Metal charts at #40 with sales of 39K. I wonder if retailers ordered this more like a Flash epilogue than a true chapter of the main mini, but it’s a pretty key chapter and an important issue for Wally West fans. Watch this for reorders. 

Right below at #41, actually, is Dark Nights Death Metal Trinity Crisis, selling 38.5K. This one was by Snyder and Manapul and was essentially a key issue of the main series. Retailers missed the boat on this a bit, so I’d expect all these skip-month tie-ins to get reorders in the coming months.

Glenn: Again, screwy sales for DC around.

Ray: At #42 we have Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn, an oversized chapter in the Sins Rising story that sells 38K – only half of the main series issue this month. This indicates the actual level of interest for the series is pretty low, as every time they do a spin-off it loses a lot of sales. Doesn’t bode well for the .LR issues coming soon. 

Glenn: This was the end of the current arc too so a lot of people picking up Amazing 850 will likely be more than a little puzzled. It was also terribgle

Ray: Next book of note is Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four at #47, selling 33.5K. This was the higher-selling of the main two, probably because people just like Slott’s FF and treated this like a bonus issue. 

Maestro #2, which had a surprise top ten debut last month, levels out to 33K for its second month at #48. Not spectacular, but easy to see why they greenlit a second mini. 

Glenn: Yeah, all things considered this is very good.

Ray: At least 33K in reorders for Venom #27, so this continues to be a monster at #49.

A surprise entry at #50, Giant-Size X-Men: Tribute to Wein and Cockrum. This is the classic story to Giant-Size X-Men #1, redrawn by dozens of today’s top creators as a tribute to the two late creators. It’s a passion project for the company, and enough fans were interested to generate at least 33K in sales. 

Glenn: Not quite free money but an interesting idea and enough of a success that we may see similar future projects.

Ray: Jeff Lemire’s Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place one-shot lands at #53, selling at least 31K. This issue doesn’t really have anything to do with the main series, so it likely got most of these sales on Jeff Lemire’s name and the title’s popularity alone. Impressive, and just above this month’s issue of Strange Adventures. 

Glenn: This seems to have sold more like a Lemire comic than an Immortal Hulk comic. Marvel are seemingly fine with these as we’ve got a third Immortal Hulk one shot coming in January.

Ray: Immortal Hulk has a pretty big presence this month, as #0 sells at least 28K at #60. This is a reprint of two famous Brian Banner-related comics with about 15 pages of original framing segments, so there’s some meat to this issue. 

Empyre Aftermath: Avengers is down at #69, selling at least 26K. Unlike the FF one, this wasn’t a direct tie-in to any ongoing book and even the hype of the Hulkling/Wiccan wedding didn’t really drive any interest to it. Empyre seems destined to be forgotten rather quickly. 

Glenn: What’s an Empyre? Is it a bird?

Ray: No real bump for the final issue of Josh Williamson’s Flash at #70, selling 26.5K and about 1K above the previous issue. Retailers knew how to order this by now and it’s been a long time without any renumbering, so this comic’s main strength is its consistency. 

Glenn: Insanely consistent for its 100 issue odd run, a rarity to be saluted in the modern comic era.

Ray: Another Black Label launch at #75, as Tom Taylor launches Hellblazer: Rise and Fall. This pitch-black classic Constantine tale sells 25K for its oversized first issue, a pretty good number for a character who’s struggled to really carry a title since he came over to the DCU. 

Glenn: This seems to be where more specialised Black Label books live that star characters that are a bit more off the beaten track. Still a good number and of course it’ll do oodles in collections.

Ray: A Justice League Annual, an epilogue to Robert Venditti’s short run, lands at #78 selling 24K. Decent, but this one didn’t have much to drive sales beyond the name on the title. It was an old-school story with no ties to the main book. 

A new Umbrella Academy spinoff, subtitled You Look Like Death, is Dark Horse’s top title this month selling 23K at #81. This is undoubtedly a pretty big boost due to the successful Netflix TV series. 

Glenn: Umbrella, Lemire and Hellboy paying Dark Horse’s bills at the moment with Gaiman popping in to treat everyone to ice cream now and then.

Ray: A big boost for Ice Cream Man at #82, as it sells at least 22.5K. I believe this one had a lot of incentives for a bizarre story involving a very disturbing series of storybook parodies. 

Chip Zdarsky’s new horror title Stillwater lands at #83, selling 22.5K for its first issue. This is above average for an Image debut, but a bit below where I’d expect it to land given Zdarsky’s fast-growing reputation as a top writer. Reviews are fantastic for this chilling immortality tale, so expect heavy reorders in coming months. 

Glenn: This is a lot lower than I expected. I didn’t expect it to be Undiscovered Country or Department of Truth but I thought it would crack 40k easy. Too much noise from everywhere? Who knows but I think it’ll do well in collections and find itself a stable, loyal audience fast.

Ray: A Cyclops tale by Jay Eddin in X-Men: Marvels Snapshot is good enough for 21.5K in sales at #88. This was the most acclaimed of these Snapshots so far, so don’t be surprised if it becomes a collector’s item. 

Last month’s huge sales for Horizon Zero Dawn #1 weren’t a fluke, as the second issue sells 21.5K at #89. Titan may just have a regular book in the top ten thanks to this popular game.

MORE Thor reorders at #90, with #4 picking up an additional 21K. 

Glenn: Insane.

Ray: Josh Williamson’s fabulously bizarre Bat-Mite/Mxy story in Batman/Superman Annual #1 lands at #92, well below the main series but likely to pick up steam once people hear how funny it was. 

Glenn: These characters are an acquired taste and annuals always do lower than main books these days so no big surprise.

Ray: The movie might be delayed, but Wonder Woman 1984 gets a comic book special! Repurposed from a Walmart giant, this comic with two original stories is good for 20.5K in copies at #93. 

Glenn: With no movie to help it out, this was left to fend for itself and the results show.

Ray: 19.5K in reorders for Venom #26 at #97, as anything Donny Cates continues to be the hottest thing in town. 

At #99 we have the debut of Dan Panosian’s witch thriller An Unkindness of Ravens, selling 19K from Boom. It’s well below some of the top debuts from Boom, but it’s also a world higher than Boom teen-oriented books used to debut. The company continues to grow like crazy. 

Glenn: Plus this is a writer with no real presence in the market so nothing to sneeze at in regards to a debut.

Ray: And at #100, it’s the latest issue of Fire Power, which seems to have leveled out just under 20K – another hit for Kirkman that should run for as long as he wants it to.

Glenn: Its not like he’s short for money…

More reorders for Thor at 104 for issue 2 and 106 for issue 3. Normally I’d chalk this up to stock dumping but I think its just the Donny Cates magic creating some momentum and interest in the book,

Seven Secrets drops quite a bit to 112 with sales at least in the 16k. That’s still very good, its not that far behind one of Image’s most successful books, Undiscovered Country although that book is on its 8th issue mind.

Some reorders for the first issue of Strange Academy’s first issue at 120 with another 14.500+ orders. This launched high so these are good reorders and as we saw above there was an odd bump for the book. Perhaps the great concept is catching on?

Free money for a facsimile edition of the first appearance of Iron Man at 121 with sales around 13.5k.

Third generation writer/artist Emma Kubert makes her comic debut at 125 with the first issue of Inkblot with sales at least around 12.5k which is pretty standard for an Image launch from a creator who is known but not huge. The Kubert name definitely still draws a lot of attention and I can’t recall any other third generation creators off the top of my head so Emma Kubert has the advantage of being a trailblazer in a way too.

Ray: Kieron Gillen always said that if an Image book launched above 10K, it was probably good for the run. Given that, Emma Kubert is probably pretty happy with this

Glenn: At 131 we have Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team by Cullen Bunn. This is a tie-in to a hotly anticipated game so likely helped get numbers of around 12k which isn’t bad for a comic of this type. With the game now delayed to December (as of this writing) people will be taking their Cyberpunk 2077 content where they can!

Ray: This is a great debut for Dark Horse, and definitely more due to the game’s hype. Still, another win for Bunn as he continues his quest to have a comic at every company. 

Glenn: The Stranger Things: Science Camp mini launches at 146 with sales around 10.5k. This is the first comic tie-in that goes beyond the first season but only features one of the kids in a side story so there could have been some interest lost there. These are still decent enough and likely do very well in collections. Given that Dark Horse keeps rolling them out, they must be happy enough.

Ray: These all sell pretty close to each other, but I think we might see a bump for the upcoming crossover with Dungeons and Dragons

Glenn: A new book from AWA in the form of Grendel Ky at 148 selling around 10k. This seems to be where AWA’s starting point is despite having a well known creator like Tommy Lee Edwards on board.

Ray: This was the first one without an a-list writer on board, too, so it’s pretty clear they’ve found their level as a company for now.

Glenn: Vampirella: Trial Of The Soul One Shot manages around 9.5k at 155 which is about right for anything not being put out by Priest.

Ray: Bill Willingham isn’t the sales draw he used to be, especially not on non-Fables stuff. 

Glenn: Heavy from Vault sells lower what I might expect at 157 with around 9.5k. Max Bemis is a known entity but then again Vault is still growing but they’ve been making good headway too so I’m not too sure what went on here…

Ray: Vault continues to rise as a company. This book is basically John Wick meets The Good Place, so that concept is a little out there. Bemis is doing his thing!

Glenn: A collection of comics put out by the Ice Cream Man creative team starring the sinister frosty host sells around 9.5k. This isn’t too bad considering this material is already out there and even though this book comes with good intentions, people likely are avoiding any and all reminders of our current mess.

Ray: Nothing says feel-good quarantine comics like the team behind the most disturbing book on the stands! A lot of people heard about this but didn’t get the original comics, so there’s definitely a market here. 

Glenn: Firefly: Blue Sun Rising sells a shade lower than the main series at 159 with again around 9.5k in sales. These zero issues always get treated oddly by retailers no matter what the property and no matter which company it is. Its not low enough below main issues to cause concern however which suggests a solid cult audience for the book.

Ray: Double the price, too, so that didn’t help. Firefly is still pretty healthy as a franchise, but we’ll see what happens with the time jump to the post-Serenity continuity

Glenn: The last of the Sandman tie-in books, Dreaming: Waking Hours sells around 9.5k too at 160. This line of books didn;t exactly set the world on fire but will likely do healthy enough in book store markets.

Some reorders for the first issue of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters at 165 selling around 9k. Perhaps retailers are prepping their shelves for the second season of Madeloreon not realizing that all we want is a baby Yoda comic.

Spy Island from Dark Horse, the new comic from Chelsea Cain has a muted debut at 167 with sales around 8.6k but this is what the company can do outside of its main dependants and Cain has a somewhat erratic history in her short career in comics.

Ray: Spy Island was scheduled to launch right before the shutdown, too, so that probably hurt its momentum. 

Glenn: Speaking of Dark Horse, they launch a new Bill & Ted mini to tie in with the new movie at 173 selling around 8.4k. The laid back surfer dude time travellers are very much a cult thing so I doubt any company could have done much better.

Ray: This was always going to be a lower seller, but it’s good to see two popular creators like Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge put out a new book for some fan favorites!

Glenn: The True Believers theme this month is X-Men related but considering this imprint has likely done all the big issues we’re starting off with a Havok one at 175 selling around 8k and going down from there. Its still worth Marvel’s while doing these of course as it costs them very little to nothing to produce and it takes away precious shelf space among other things.

Typical Aftershock launch in the form of Lonely Receiver at 186 from two creators that aren’t well known. It manages around 7.4k sales.

Nipping at its heals is new horror offering from Vault in Autumnal which does 7.4k too at 187. In very short order, Vault has caught up to Aftershock and their books seem to have better acclaim and staying power.

Ray: Vault is really having a great year and they seem to be developing a pretty strong brand for horror in general. 

Glenn: At 200 is a curious one, Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious which is part of a very ambitious multi platform crossover telling the story of an alternative tenth Doctor gone rogue. The Who comics never manage to gain much momentum in the direct market and this sells around those which surprises me as the comic is just one small part of the story. It does around 6.6k and I’d wager the tie-in audio dramas which do very well for the BBC and BigAudio will do far, far better.

Another new Aftershock offering, Miles To Go debuts at 208 selling around 6.3k. Pretty standard for a small press publisher with no name power in the title. The concept sounds interesting but people are still watching their wallets out of lockdown.

Star Trek Hell’s Mirror is a J.M Dematteis written tale about fan fave villain KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN in the mirror universe. Star Trek comics always kind of sell low and this is an alternate reality version so despite having a legendary writer it is what it is. It manages around 6k at 215.

Sort of staying with Star Trek we have Orville: Launch Day at 216 also selling in the 6k mark. This now cancelled show has a very loyal cult audience. Will we see enough support from them for comic tie-ins years after the show is gone like Firefly? We’ll see.

Ray: It’s been so long since The Orville aired that I imagine the tie-ins are sort of falling by the wayside. 

Glenn: Mostly reorders and ongoing indie books now until we get to Marvel Tales: Captain Britain at 325 which sells around 5k. This of course is just a newly packaged reprint and the classic version of Captain Britain hasn’t had a prominent role in Marvel for years so the muted response here is no response but again has very little downside for Marvel.

Sex Criminals: Sexual Gary is a one shot special just before the long going Image series comes to an end at 237 selling around 4.8k. This is a very specialist title that due to its adult nature has always had a small following in single’s only to do much better in collections.

Ray: Ah, Sex Criminals. You provided almost as much comedy as Zombie Tramp

Glenn: Hotline Miami Wildlife (??!?!!?!?!) from Behemoth comics (?!?!?!?!??!?!) is at 243 at around 4.6k which I’d say is very good considering I’ve never heard of either.

Ray: This is apparently also a video game tie-in, but not as popular of one as Cyberteam 2077. Definitely the best showing Behemoth has made on the charts. 

Glenn: I would have thought there’d be more interest in the dollar reprint of the first issue of Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman run at 245 selling only around 4.4k but I suppose this is like 4 crisis events ago now or so…

Ray: Yeah, especially since the last few runs on the character have followed up on that run for the first time in a while, bringing Selina’s sister back from limbo. 

Nailbiter Returns seems to have stabilized a little bit, landing at #250 with sales of at least 4.2K. This is apparently being solicited as the next volume in the numbered Nailbiter trades, so everyone involved is just treating it as the next arc. 

A strong showing for Albatross at #257, but they had help – Fearless Dawn Meets Hellboy is one of their top-selling books ever thanks to a crossover with Dark Horse. It sells at least 4K, but other countries down below push it even higher, maybe into the top 200. Fearless Dawn appears to be a monster-hunting lady in a sexy costume. 

Glenn: The dedicated Hellboy audience will help a good bit in this instance. Albatross continues to make good headway.

Ray: There’s Zombie Tramp at #261! We were getting worried. 

#264 has Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp, selling at least 3.8K. These books aren’t meant for the direct market, but I expected a little more out of this one. It’s not only a secret to one of the most popular books, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, but it’s written by successful YA novelist Marieke Nijkamp

At #267 we’ve got 3.6K copies of a Spider-Man #1 Facscimile edition, reprinting the wildly popular Todd MacFarlane run from the 1990s. Marvel getting some more use out of that backstock!

Glenn: I think they reprinted another version of this not too long ago? I may be misremembering its hard to keep track what they reprint and what they don’t.

Ray: Amid a lot of reorders and oddball books, we come to the Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams Lost Year Compendium at #284. This crossover between the obscure Image series from the 1990s and the world’s most popular superhero was massively delayed even before the shutdown, and this one-shot reprints the three issues that came out before the return of the series next month. It sells 3.2K, not bad for a $7.99 reprint.

Glenn: Especially since the material isn’t that old and this a Sam Keith vehicle more than anything.

Ray: At #285 is the Batvark Penis one-shot from that mad mind of Dave Sim. It sells 3K, and we’ll leave it at that. 

The British publisher Heavy Metal is getting back into the single-issue game, and their first wave launched this month with Brooklyn Gladiator being the top seller at #288. It sells 3K, which is an okay launch. But it’s going to be really hard for any new or new-ish company to get a foothold in this chaotic market. Their next launch, the crime thriller Fishkill, is down at #292 selling 2.8K. 

Glenn: They likely will fare better in the UK bookstores that sell they likes of 2000AD and such. Then again those shops may be cutting orders due to the current situation but these British institution types usually find a way to survive.

Ray: At #300, it’s the Belle: Ghosts and Goblins one-shot from Zenoscope. I wonder if the ghosts and goblins are sexy ladies. 

Glenn: They better be.

Ray: Another Heavy Metal launch, Suneater, at #304 selling 2.4K. I wonder if launching all of these at the same time may have kept any of them from breaking out. 

Hey, it’s more Sexy Lady Belle at #311, with the Belle: Hearts and Minds one-shot. Glenn, strike up the band!

Glenn: There she goes her ample bosom giving Zenescope fans from feeling so lonesome…

Ray: Zenoscope has a pretty big presence around this level with their annual Halloween special, Tales of Terror Quarterly: Hellfire, landing at #314 selling 2.2K. I wonder if the devil is a sexy lady. 

Glenn: He’s a sexy man in Taylor’s Constantine so either way.

Ray: IDW is definitely learning from Marvel how to make a great reprint, and they’ve started a series of TMNT reprints focusing on classic stories of the four main Turtles. The first, Best of Raphael, is at #317 selling 2.2K. 

After a bunch of reprints and low-sellers, we come to the latest Conspiracy one-shot from Zenoscope, this one titled Black Knights: Satellite at #328, selling 2.K. 

Next up at #329 is a new series from Devil’s Due, Arkworld, selling 2K. It claims to have invented a new genre called “Archeopunk”. That’s setting the bar high! It actually picks up another 2K of sales from a second edition five spots lower, so this seems to have been a hit for Devil’s Due. 

Glenn: I have no idea what that word means. I hate it.

Ray: #336 sees the launch of the new Mad Cave series, Stargazer. The alien abduction thriller charts 1.8K, but Mad Cave is one of the many companies trying to find a foothold in a crowded market right now.

Source Point had a lot of launches this month, starting with the post-WWI thiller Broken Gargoyles at #338, selling 1.8K. Got to say, this company’s aggressive promotion and strong digital program have helped them catch up to some much larger companies pretty quickly. Check them out – they put out some good books. 

Red 5, another small company, launches their Loch Ness thriller Riptide: Draken at #342, selling 1.8K. This is a pseudo-sequel to a tsunami thriller they did a few years back, but it’s more like an anthology under the same branding. 

A new horror comic from Clover Press, Possessed, lands at #346 selling 1.6K. I don’t even know some of these publishers anymore!

Glenn: I guess the pandemic caused some room at the bottom of the charts since DC and Marvel cut a few books allowing room for oddities.

Ray: The latest mini-digest of original stories, Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: Good Citizen, is at #348 selling 1.6K. As always, this is only a fraction of what the company is hoping to do long-term. With Archie going day-and-date with Comixology, they probably have less invested in the direct market than any other company.

Glenn: They’ve made some vague promises about big things next year but yeah, they seem to be focusing on the archive stuff they sell to the outside market. That’s what pays the bills.

Ray: After a lot of reorders, we find the next Source Point original, the all-ages adventure Bug Bites. This bizarre story of children kidnapped for a monster cooking competition, lands at #364 and sells 1.4K. 

Glenn: Now I want to know if its monsters who cook children or children who cook monsters.

Ray: Right behind it at #365 is the Mad Cave teen thriller Dry Foot, set in the Miami crime scene of the 70s and also selling 1.4K or so. It’ll be interesting to see which of these many launches find a larger audience. 

A new Zorro series with a pirate theme, “Galleon of the Dead” launches at #367 from American Mythology at 1.4K. I’m mostly surprised this character has never been snapped up by Dynamite. 

Glenn: Is he public domain? I could google it but I’m lazy…

Ray: Virtually every issue of Wynd continues to get reorders at some level, with the third issue down at #368, so there’s clearly some long-term interest in this all-ages fantasy from the creators of The Woods. 

There are a few interesting reorders down here, including 1.4K in reorders for Nebula #1 at #371. This series got two issues out before the shutdown and never resumed, so why are retailers reordering it now? Could it resume shortly – finally?

Glenn: Magic 8-ball says ‘no chance’.

Ray: The Bayou-based horror series It Eats What Feeds It launches at #383 from Scout, selling 1.2K. This is one company that sort of feels like it’s going backward, mainly due to the lack of any digital program. Other, newer companies like Source Point are lapping it. 

The experimental square-bound one-shot Burning Tree, more an art book than a traditional comic, lands at #386 from Source Point. All their books seem to launch at a similar level at this point, with this one selling 1.2K. If that’s their basic level, it lets the company experiment a bit more. 

Lots of Marvel reorders and some from other companies down here, including some from years back, until we get to 800 reorders of the Street Fighter 2020 Swimsuit Special at #422. Clearly the audience wanted more of that stupid sexy Zangief

Glenn: If M. Bison was drawn like Raul Julia they might get more attention.

Ray: Another reprint of an unfinished comic, Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 at #436, getting 700 additional copies. This was by the writer of Incognegro, one of comics’ most acclaimed indie writers, so they’d be dumb not to finish this.

Glenn: Ray come on now, look at who they have writing Amazing Spider-Man. Of course they’re dumb enough.

Ray: It’s almost entirely reorders down here, with the next one of note being Gwen Stacy #2 selling an extra 600 copies at #463. So retailers are clearly hopefully this miniseries from Gage and Nauck will resume at some point. There are also some orders for the first issue and the second issue of Nebula around this level too. 

Glenn: Smells like stock dumping of series Marvel have given up hope on getting finished or have quietly abandoned.

Ray: Victor Crowley Hatchet Halloween Tales from American Mythology is down here at #482, selling 500 copies for a niche Halloween comic a month early. I don’t know what a Victor Crowley is.

Glenn: Relative of the demon from Good Omens perhaps? 

Ray: 500 reorders for the unfinished Dark Agnes series from Marvel at #502 as well. This just goes to show how much Marvel has dropped the ball on their line in the aftermath of the shutdown. It’s basically just them and Valiant that hasn’t really rebounded fully yet. 

On the heels of a movie adaptation announcement, the first issue of Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank charts again at #519, selling 400 extra copies. This was a rare hit for Black Mask, so they’re undoubtedly very happy to see it reappear. 

Remember Saga? I remember Saga! The on-hiatus-indefinitely series from BKV and Fiona Staples shows up again with 400 copies of its Image Firsts dollar comic at #521. 

And it would be all reorders all the way down if it wasn’t for #540, where we find “Margo: Intergalactic Trash Collector Attack Space Vampire” from Fantagraphics, selling 300 copies. Fascinating. I’m so confused. 

Glenn: This gets published but my love letter to classic crime fiction can’t? I feel robbed.

Ray: And it’s reorders all the way down with the first issue of Empyre: Captain America being our very last comic at #549. I can’t believe Cap lost to an intergalactic trash collector. 

Glenn: The garbage man can Ray, the garbage man can.

Ray: Looking ahead to October, we’ve got quite a few heavyweights, with Batman #100 doing battle with the final issue of Three Jokers and the next issue of Death Metal. But don’t count out Rorschach #1, which will be trying to follow up on the massive success of Doomsday Clock and contend for that #1 slot. Plus, there’s a new White Knight series focusing on Harley Quinn and the return of Scott Snyder’s first hit – American Vampire. 

Over at Marvel, it’s another big X of Swords month, plus two jumbo-sized Amazing Spider-Man issues. And then there’s the debut of Kieron Gillen’s Warhammer 40,000 series. 

Over in indie-land, we’ll see new Image launches from Rick Remender, Steve Orlando, and Sina Grace as everyone battens down the hatches in advance of Crossover crash-landing in November. 

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

Like what you read? Have any comments, questions or concerns then let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: August 2020

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! In a few days Glenn will be visiting Bly Manor, please send help.

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 votes in a few weeks, Ray is writing himself in. It’s 2020, you never know!

No more cover images until WordPress stops being useless in its new format outside the top book. Sorry for the wall of text! We promise laughs in place of images!

Glenn: Three so close together? It can only happen in 2020! We’re nearly caught up folks, have no fear!

Ray: This is the first month that we have more than 500 books on the stands again, so it seems like most of the industry is returning to normal. We also have confirmation that for the second month in a row, Avengers is the new “index book” replacing Batman due to Batman’s sky-high sales.

DC: Batman: Three Jokers #1 from Batman: Three Jokers by Geoff Johns  published by DC Comics @ ForbiddenPlanet.com - UK and Worldwide Cult  Entertainment Megastore

Glenn: Once again with Joker War in full swing now, Batman rules the top of the charts with the much anticipated Three Jokers Black Label mini. We know this sold in the 300k mark and its no surprise. This is Johns first work on a mainstream Batman book, Jason Fabok is a hot artist, years of hype, a pseudo sequel to Killing Joke and three times DC’s hottest villain. It was a recipe for success and is no surprise it took the top of the charts.

Ray: Much like last month, we have a comic that just completely outpaced the field. Three Jokers sells exactly double what the next book on the list does, which is a staggering number. This is probably going to be another Evergreen smash for DC, much like Doomsday Clock. It’s only three issues for us, but the total content is closer to a nine-issue miniseries, which should make for a nice collection. 

Glenn: Batman the regular book also continues to dominate, surprisingly still outselling the huge event Dark Knights: Death Metal as James Tynion has restored the title to its former sales prestige. Issue 100 is a sure fire finner for October.

Ray: The index indicates that Batman is coming down to Earth just a bit from last month, as retailers probably over-ordered on the first month back due to Punchline-mania. But these numbers are still spectacular overall and Tynion’s run will likely see long-term benefits. 

Glenn: Speaking of Death Metal it charts at 4, its not slouching by any means it just underlines how much Tynion’s Batman has surpassed expectations. A lot of good news for DC at the moment.

Ray: The index has it pretty close to Batman this month, so more evidence of its staying power. This mini had the proper hype and buildup that other recent events didn’t.

Glenn: Aforementioned good news continues at 5 with the newest issue of Detective Comics which is now in full Joker War tie-in.with the other issue this month charting at 7. Lets see how this story benefits other bat books as we go.

Ray: Yeah, this is what I expected – Detective probably almost doubled its sales from previous months, and next month’s mega-issue should dominate the charts and be an easy #1. Are we eventually headed for a month where only Batman books make the top ten?

Glenn: Splitting up the Detective issues is Venom at 6 as it continues its own stride of momentum towards the King In Black event. 

At 8 is Thor as it seems only the power of Donny Cates is powerful enough to stop Batman this month. It seems Cates has restored Thor to a top seller which it hasn’t been since the JMS years and at various points during the Aaron run. Excpent Cates upcoming Image comic to do big numbers.

Ray: I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Cates is Marvel’s #1 writer. I’d be surprised if King in Black didn’t bring some Thor elements in – it’s too big a plot for Venom alone – so the odds are good that’s going to be a sales monster

Glenn: At 9 is Harley Quinn which benefits from a combination of final issue/anniversary number and Joker War bump. The character has now gone full chaotic good and seems to be a satellite member of the bat family. No word on what her next book will look like but Harley has become a strong franchise in herself so its only a matter of time.

Ray: I’m honestly shocked there hasn’t been any announcement on Harley’s new series yet. Maybe we’ll get a printed version of the digital-first Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red first, but the character’s journey from henchwoman to headliner has been amazing. 

Glenn: Final spot in the top ten belongs to Maestro, the Peter David written Hulk series that finally tells the background story of quite possibly his most famous Hulk story. Thanks to the success of Immortal Hulk, the character is hot at the moment and while I don’t expect the rest of the series to sell this well this seems to be a pleasant surprise.

Ray: David’s Hulk always had a big fanbase and the character is red hot right now, but this is a little bigger than I expected. Worth noting – this beat every issue of Marvel’s big event comic this month. 

As the X-line heads towards its first big event, the latest Hickman issue charts at #11, selling probably somewhere in the 50K range. Still solid, but that’s fallen a lot and it’s dropped out of being the #1 ongoing pretty quickly. If I was the X-editor, I would not be optimistic about a twenty-part hard crossover. 

Glenn: Its almost like forcing everyone that just wants to or can afford to read Hickman’s X-Men to read every X-book under the sun was a bad idea!

Ray: Amazing Spider-Man also continues dropping, with the first issue of the month at #12 and the second at #15, both selling about 45K. We got word today that Ryan Ottley is leaving the title, so it feels like the wheels are coming off between this and the sales drop. 

Glenn: They’re cheating a bit (no big surprise from Marvel) by having 850 and 50 one after the other so that’ll help. I don’t expect the Kindred story to draw in the big sales like Metal, Joker War and King In Black do/will.

Ray: At #13, we’ve got Dark Nights Death Metal Guidebook, which featured both a new Darkest Night story and the DC debut of Chip Zdarsky. Despite the title making it sound like a sourcebook, it still delivered strong numbers. 

The story is basically the same at #16 for Dark Nights Death Metal: Legends of the Dark Knights. This anthology featuring new evil Batmen featured an eclectic group of creators plus a Darkest Knight framing story. Interest for the limited tie-ins to this storyline is very high – indicating that flooding the market may not be the way to go.

Two Bat-books get a huge boost from their Joker War tie-ins, with Batgirl landing at #17 and Nightwing #19. All together, this makes 11 of the top 20 books Batman or Bat-family related. 

Glenn: Batgirl probably won because of one of Joker’s most iconic stories being so heavily associated with her. This event is red hot.

Ray: Sandwiched in between them is the fourth issue of Empyre at #18, selling about 35K. This was the issue with the biggest reveal, and #5 is down at #21. Needless to say, this was not what Marvel was hoping for out of this event, and I’m sure the news won’t be much better from the tie-ins. 

Glenn: Never to be mentioned again. Let’s just try not to get overwhelmed but the twenty billion King In Black tie-ins Marvel is doing to make up for this.

Ray: We observed last month that the numbers on Venom #25 weren’t great, and here’s why – an underorder is reflected here, with the issue charting  again at #20, selling close to 35K copies. That puts the book well over 70K overall, a monster showing. 

Glenn: Its insane that Venom is Marvel’s biggest book right now and the second steadiest ongoing right now.

Ray: We’ve got an odd entry at #22, as the video game tie-in Horizon Zero Dawn charts the highest we’ve ever seen from a Titan book. To put this in perspective, it outsells all the Star Wars books this month, which are clustered in the 20s for the most part. Video game store orders, maybe? Or maybe a very passionate fanbase.

Glenn: Passionate fanbase for sure, this was a very popular game with a very easy concept to transfer over to comics. 

Ray: Spawn holds solid at #26, remaining the top creator-owned book – for now, but some big names are coming down the pipe. Keanu crush puny Spawn. 

Glenn: We’ll see but Spawn is still doing the best it has done in years. There seems to be some momentum from the anniversary issue which is nothing to sneeze at.

Ray: I continue to be impressed by how well Batman: The Adventures Continue does, landing at #28 and selling roughly the same as Immortal Hulk. This far outpaces what similar books like Injustice did. 

Glenn: People love their BTAS. They even got Kevin Conroy giving people directions in their cars now.

Ray: The oddball FF mini, Fantastic Four Antithesis by Mark Waid and Neal Adams, lands at #29. It’s a high-profile creative team, but largely an unconnected side story in an earlier era and Adams’ pull isn’t what it used to be. 

Glenn: Some loyalty for Waid and a little curiosity for Adams but yeah, not quite what he used to be able to pull in after a few years of odd works.

Ray: Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex lands at #32. This series is benefiting a lot from the fact that it’s a new #1 every month, but this is the lowest we’ve seen it. General attrition, or lack of interest in Fantomex compared to the other leads?

Glenn: I don’t know what a Fantomex is so I’m going to go with that.

Ray: #33 has the Spider-Man #1 facsimile edition, selling likely under 30K. That’s wild for a reprint. Is this the 90s #1 that sold an insane number of copies with McFarlane art?

Glenn: It is which explains why its still hot after all this time. McFarlane Spidey will never not be an easy sell.

Ray: Justice League #50 lands at #34 with no real bounce for its anniversary issue, but then this was just the final chapter of a Simon Spurrier fill-in arc. Very good story, but the $5.99 price tag likely hurt a bit rather than helped. 

Lots of regular books down here, with Strange Adventures holding strong at #38. 

The next book of note is Seven Secrets #1, Tom Taylor’s new creator-owned Boom title, which lands at #47 between issues of Legion of Super-Heroes and The Green Lantern. A strong debut, but a little lower than I expected given the hype that this broke sales records for Boom. Unless the index is much higher than we think, we might be in for some heavy reorders here. Boom continues to pick up momentum ahead of upcoming debuts from Al Ewing and Matt Kindt (with Keanu Reeves). 

Glenn:  Great start here for sure. Boom is having a great year despite you know…all the things. It seems to be making at least Image up their game too as they have a few heavy hitters set up to make things interesting.

Ray: Empyre: X-Men #2 lands at #52, much lower than the first issue. Hickman was involved in the first and last issues, but despite that we didn’t see any sales jump for the last issue. They land at #57 and #59. 

A couple of strange reorders this month, with the first issue of Strange Academy #1 landing again at #54, selling about 25K. 

The same goes for the first issue of Fire Power, landing at #56 with impressive reorders. 

Something very odd, with the second issue of DCeased: Dead Planet landing at #58 and selling about 25K. That’s clearly VERY off, and I’d expect there to be many reorders. Maybe it was something with the classification of the variant covers? There are still a lot of kinks to be worked out here. 

Glenn: DC’s new distribution people may be figuring out how this stuff works. ‘Wait, it has the same content but…costs more…and is rarer?!’

Ray: Venom #26 charts again as well at #60, selling a little over 20K in reorders. 

Glenn: Crazy stuff.

Ray: Daredevil Annual #64, a wild story featuring Mike Murdock, lands at #64. It’s a similar number to what the title usually did, in between Justice League Dark and Catwoman. 

Fire Power #2 lands at #67, showing the title’s likely final standing at near 20K.. It’s likely to be one of the few creator-owned books to establish a regular beachhead in the top 100.

Glenn: Beyond Walking Dead this seems to be where Kirkman’s Image books seem to live.

Ray: Right under that at #68 is reorders of Negan Lives #1, which might show up on this chart pretty consistently in the coming months. 

Glenn: As we mentioned last month, retailers didn’t know this was coming so more than likely Image underestimated the demand.

Ray: After a few routine Marvel books, including the Empyre issues of Captain Marvel, we see the next new #1 – Mega Man: Fully Charged from Boom at #72. This video game tie-in didn’t really get the hype of other Boom launches, but the character has a big fanbase and the last time he had a regular comic was at Archie, I believe. 

Glenn: That’s a really solid debut for a video game tie-in, especially one that will doubtlessly do better outside the direct market.

Ray: After a bunch of Marvel books including the final issue of Black Cat, we get the launch of a new Power Rangers miniseries at #77 – Drakkon: New Dawn. This post-apocalyptic adventure is going to lead into the upcoming relaunch, which should do well. Boom’s proven this line can sustain a number of spin-offs. 

At #80 we have the ninth issue of Ghost-Spider, which was printed after being released digitally months earlier. Decent numbers for a second-run book, but what an inauspicious end to the solo title of one of Marvel’s biggest new characters for years. 

Glenn: Marvel have handled this character so poorly its outright depressing. This is just bonus sales on top of what it did for re-orders. It’s only here because fans that prefer print were so pissed off.

Ray: At #82, we have the third issue of Spider-Woman. This series bottomed out much more quickly than other Marvel series that started unusually high, likely due to the time off between issues. 

More than 15K in reorders for the second issue of Thor at #83, as retailers catch up on their Donny Cates in the rush before King in Black. Similar numbers for Thor #4 at #87. 

It’s a quiet end to the Slott era on Iron Man at #84, with the final issue of Iron Man 2020 selling just over 15K. 

Glenn: We’ll see what the new run brings, but Marvel still seems to have a problem benefitting off the characters newfound statue as a cultural icon because of the movies.

Ray: Dynamite’s streak of odd crossovers continues with Mars Attacks Red Sonja at #86, by John Layman. It’s not a crossover I ever would have expected, but it’s surprisingly good and it sells about 15K. 

The Empyre tie-ins slide down the charts, with Lords of Empyre: Celestial Messiah at #90, spotlighting the big bad of the event. No one really knew who he was except old-school Avengers fans, so these numbers aren’t a surprise – and it won’t be the lowest-selling tie-in on the list. 

Glenn: It gets worse from here? Oooph.

Ray: #91 has the final issue of The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage, as this Black Label series heads off to collections to sell there forever like so many of Lemire’s books. 

Glenn: This was essentially an epilogue to the brilliant 80’s series and the Question doesn’t have quite the fan base that some of the more iconic heroes do so it performed as expected. Like you say, it’ll perform fine as an evergreen.

Ray: A strong showing from Vault at #94, as their new spinoff of the tabletop game Vampire: The Masquerade sells about 15K. This is probably a combination of the established fanbase and the name of Tim Seeley

Undiscovered Country #7 lands at #97 – lower than I would have expected, but still one of the top five creator-owned books of the month. Marvel and DC really dominated this month. 

At #102 we’ve got the debut of Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go, a two-issue spinoff of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s popular fantasy thriller. While these are solid numbers, we all know this book makes most of its money in collections.

Glenn: We may see an exception for the upcoming Sandman team up but time will tell!

Two annuals down here with Teen Titans selling at 103 Wonder Woman’s selling at 105. Interesting that Wonder Woman wouldn’t sell better because this is the end of the run Steve Orlando had not too long ago. It seems that ending a story much later in an annual is an old trick that still doesn’t work as far as DC is concerned.

Ray: Teen Titans was also one of the most significant issues of the run, but didn’t really get much attention. 

Glenn: The Dreaming gets a new subtitle (Waking Hours) and a new creative team including writer G. Willow Wilson at 108. These books seemed to launch with a little momentum and quickly became second tier with some life in the collections market most likely. This will be much the same, especially with Wilson’s name attached.

Ray: The entire line has sort of collapsed, down to just one book in a few months. But this will eventually make a very good Sandman-related graphic novel, even if it mostly focuses on satellite characters. 

Glenn: New Mighty Morphin Power Rangers title from BOOM is at 110 which is another solid performer in terms of a licensed property that BOOM is reaping benefits from on the down low.

Lords Of Empyre: Swordsman sells at 112, no one knows and no one really cares.

Same thing for Empyre Handbook at 120. These could have done worse of course but they could have done a hell of a lot better too.

Ray: The sales on these tie-ins are disastrous. I think the King in Black ones will do better, but as a whole there seems to be very little interest in anything but the main books on Marvel events. 

Glenn: New Image book from writer/artist Jason Howard Big Girls launches at 123. Nothing spectacular but a decent enough number from a premise that sounds like a lot of fun on paper.

Wynd finally seems to be picking up (ha, get it?) as the third issue lands 1t 125. It seems retailers and fans are probably figuring out what this is.

Ray: This is good to see. Even as the main market is collections, Tynion’s name should be enough for solid single-issue sales. And I think this is destined to be a modern classic, so all eyes on reorders next month. 

Glenn: In what will be the last Alien comic they publish, the first issue of Dark Horse’s adaption of the original screenplay of the first movie lands at 126. While Alien 3 had a lot of notoriety for its various screenplays, Alien is less so and as a result this is probably one just for the hardcore audience the idly curious.

Ray will have to help me out here but Canto II: The Hallow Men seems to be a new property from the original creator of the Turtles. That alone is seemingly enough to get it to 128 on the charts which is very good by IDW standards.

Ray: This is actually the sequel to the acclaimed Wizard of Oz pastiche from IDW! Canto’s first series had some of the most consistent reorders prior to the apocalypse, so this one should be a pretty solid performer as well. 

Glenn: In an example that proves that you can crossover anything, My Little Pony/Transformers is at 132. I’m not sure how these fandoms intersect but I’m mildly curious and I only partially care about one of these (its My Little Pony)

Ray: The Transformers try to learn about the ponies by downloading all information on them from the internet and spontaneously combust. 

Glenn: Reprint special as Marvel Tales: Maestro sells 1t 146. These stories have been heavily reprinted and most that haven’t read it are likely just to check it out when its collected in the Hulk Omnibus that Marvel are putting out containing Peter David’s run.

We’ve spoken about how Vault comics seems to be getting some momentum as a publisher and while one of their newest books, Shadow Service lands lower than some of their other recent hits at149 that’s still not too bad from a relatively small publisher with a writer whose name I don’t recognize.

Despite having hotshot artist Mike Deotado on board AWA’s Bad Mother only manages 162 on the charts. Considering AWA is newly minted its hard to gage how well they’re doing, we’ll find out if the stick around or not in due course.

Ray: This seems to be where all non-JMS AWA books land, for the most part. 

Glenn: Oni continues to release Rick and Morty comics to keep the lights on with the latest being ‘Birdperson’ which is at 165. These of course are madly successful outside the main comic market.

Jimmie Robinsons Bomb Queen returns with a political commentary book entitled Trump Card at 172. The buxom villainess has always been a cult hit at best and political commentary doesn’t fare well in comics generally.

The Star Wars Action Figure Variant comic which is literally just a 9.99 comic that reprints all the action figure variants that Marvel has put out for Star Wars comics since requiring the licence is at 175. This is literally the easiest money Marvel will make this month.

Ray: I can’t believe over 10K people bought a $9.99 collection of variant covers. 

Glenn: Strange Academy falls hard to 178 on its second issue. It’ll have to earn a little more of its keep if it wants to stay around. No doubt a King In Black tie-in will be along soon to help.

Voyage to the stars, a space adventure featuring anamaraphorphic (sp?) animals from IDW sells at 193, no big surprise considering it seems to be from a group of names that aren’t familiar to the market.

The Street Fighter Swimsuit special somehow makes it to the top 200 at 197. People need their sexy drawings of M. Bison.

At 200 is Sex Criminals which has been an oddball schedule for the last few years as most of its fans have likely transitioned to trades in the meantime. It might get a boost for the final time jumping 69th issue, we’ll see.

Ray: Heh. 69. Heh

Glenn: Among a bunch of reorders and lower indie books is our beloved Zombie Tramp at 221, You never call, you never write, you never try to eat my brains. Where’s the love gone Zombie Tramp?

Ray: Zombie Tramp should be selling 69K every month!

There’s a random reorder for Champions #13 at #205, and it’s worth noting that we’re in the area of the charts that only has rankings, no estimates. It was a weird month, with only 169 books being properly indexed. And you’ll also note that there are countless Marvel reorders this month, many from months or even years ago. Yep, it’s stock-dumping time – which is why there were about 200 more books this month than the last on the charts. 

Glenn: Marvel be like ‘no one talks about sales anymore, no one is that stupid.’ In fact Marvel, we are that stupid.

Ray: At #210 are reorders for Empyre: X-Men #1, which might get a boost due to being one of the ones Hickman wrote in full. Look for #4 to get the same boost in the coming months. 

More Zombie Tramp at #221, for the second time this month! At least she’s keeping busy. And again at #228! 

A GI Joe one-shot, A Real American Hero: Snake Eyes Origin #0, charts at #233. This has been one of IDW’s longest-running licensed properties, and it has a small but very loyal audience. 

At #242 we have the debut of Patriotika, an Antarctic comic that seems to be about…a sexy Captain America-type superheroine who is also the Goddess Athena. Kay. That lack of chest protection doesn’t seem feasible. 

Glenn: Just as the profit Liefield predicted. Perhaps her ludicrously giant breasts double as shields?

Ray: Talking about strange Marvel reorders, there’s Monsters Unleashed #7 at #247. That’s a 2017 comic. Back in the olden days, in the before times…

Glenn: Bloody hell I’d forgotten about this book. Now watch as I forget again.

Ray: It’s a long jump with a lot of reorders until we get to the next original #1 at #267, which is…Ninjas vs. Robots from Keenspot. I like both those things, but it’s getting scary down here early, Glenn. 

At #276, we’ve got the debut of a new Scout Comics launch, Atlantis Wasn’t Built for Tourists. This supernatural small town thriller does not have any fish-men or undersea cities in it, shockingly. 

Glenn: No dreamy Jason Mamoa? I demand a refund!

Ray: #283 brings us the first issue of Amalgama Space Zombie: Most Wanted. One of Zombie Tramp’s pals gets her own spinoff! But she’s no Zombie Tramp. No one really is. 

#286 has Conspiracy: Men in Black one-shot from Zenoscope. I wonder if the Men in Black are sexy ladies here. 

#293 brings us the latest instalment in Scout’s most bizarre series, Gutt Ghost: Trouble with the Sawbuck Skeleton Society. This is definitely a niche book, but this issue had a Mike Mignola cover, which undoubtedly boosted sales a bit. 

#299 brings us the latest Archie mini-collection, Archie & Friends Endless Summer. It’s been a rough year for Archie, and they’ve basically stopped putting out their new line of rebooted books, but they’re still putting out the all-ages material. 

#300 brings us the fourth issue of Dryad, and with that into the breach we go. 

It’s mostly reorders down here, including a reprint of the 25th issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur at #308 – from 2017 again!

At #313 it’s the one-shot “Amicable Spider-Vark One-Shot“. I guess that’s a thing the creator enjoys putting out.

Glenn: Must be nice to be able to be able to yell out your own nonsense while people are literally dying around the world.

Some reorders for Chu at 321, nothing groundbreaking but it does show some interest.

Raven Hex from *checks notes* Broadsword comics sells at 327. This seems to be a property from well known Catwoman artist Jim Balent who will have a fanbase that like the way he draws breasts with people attached to them.

Ray: Good for Balent getting his own company, I guess! Sexy lady books are very much underrepresented in comics these days. *nods*

Glenn: Despite being reprinted more times than I’ve had hot dinners, Image First’s Walking Dead still does a decent amount at 332. Look for the new coloured issues to sell surprisingly well starting in a few months.

Another Joe comic in Snake Eyes: Deadgame at 334. Retailers will know this is for completeists only by this stage.

More Heavy Booby Captain America at 340 with some sort of variant which means the issue sold a respectful amount considering its material combined. Lockdown has been lonely for some people I guess.

Shanna the Firehair who I assume is some not so subtle Shanna the She Devil rip off sells at 342 from Antartic. Sexy ladies in fur bikini’s is about what I’d expect from them.

Among many low reorders and low selling indie books is Amalgama Space Zombie who from the cover is some sort of associate to our beloved Zombie Tramp. YOU CAN’T BE HER SO DON’T EVEN TRY SPACE ZOMBIE.

Proving that any politician can have their own comic, Yang Gang from Keenspot is at 372. I’ve either taken too many pills or not enough.

Ray: Every politician with a wacky fanbase is going to get a comic from them, I guess. At least they’re equal-opportunity?

Glenn: Remember Hunt For Wolverine? I sure as heck don’t but some reorders/stock dumping of the first part shows up at 374.

Gutt Ghost something something Glow In The Dark edition is at 376. Again an indie book that sells better than would first appear based off split sales. I have vague memories of a Ghost Rider glow in the dark cover from like 25 years ago so I’m glad that Scout has their fingers on the pulse.

I just can’t type the name of the comic at 385. I just can’t. I assume this is the hell Dante wrote about.

Ray: Keenspot, keeping it classy at 385!

Glenn: In a case of just happy to be here, Behemoth Comics (?!?!?!?!) brings us Cardinal Dragon at 390. We’re not making these up.

Ray: I have still never encountered a Behemoth Comics book. 

Glenn: If a comic is published and Ray doesn’t know about it, does it happen?

So many reorders/stock dumps down here until we get to Metalshark Bro 2 issue 1 at 405. How did I miss Metalshark Bro 1, HOW?!?!?!!??!

Junior High Horrors is on first glance a kid friendly spooky anthology from Keenspot at 408. I refuse to trust anything from this company after 385.

At 417 is Rock & Roll biographies: Sublime. Is this one of those popular bands you yanks like on your newfangled ‘cassette players’ Raymond? Pip, pip.

Ray: You just don’t get today’s music, Glenn! *stomps up to his room*

Glenn: So much random stuff here. The Domino mini from a while back shows up at 476 for the THIRD issue. What? Why?

Ray: This is almost entirely reorders down here. I’ve never seen anything like this. I would estimate close to a third of the comics this month are all reorders, mostly Marvel with a scattering of DC and Image. I think this was the Gail Simone run, but that’s still something people would logically be picking up in trade, not singles. 

Jeff Lemire’s Sentry #1 charts again at #479. This is more a reminder that this miniseries was awesome and you should buy the trade!

Glenn: It was great, the only good use of the character since the original mini.

Ray: Silver Sprocket puts out the most interesting titled books on the market, of course. And that includes #486, aka “Yes I’m Flagging: Queer Hanky Code 101 One Shot“. This is a very niche company that mostly specializes in indie zines. 

Glenn: I don’t know what this title means. I could google it but I’m already on enough watchlists…

Ray: Scout’s oddball Funny Monsters comic Adventures of Byron: Comic Capers one-shot charts at #496, a rare original comic at this level. Scout’s one-shots usually don’t pick up much of an audience. 

At #500 is a reprint of the 101st issue of TMNT from IDW, which normally would meant the end of this strange journey – but this month there are new depths to plumb. 

Glenn: Look I won’t go further than 500, you can’t make me. Its not human. Noooooooo.

Ray: Aside from the Image First reprints, maybe the earliest reorder on this list is Gwenpool #3, which appeared in June 2016 originally. Down at #521. It’s so weird to see cancelled series getting reorders four years later. 

Remember “Tales of a Well Hung Man” from Gumby last month? Well, it’s still hanging! Down here at #530. So many jokes.

Glenn: Inhuman says I!

Ray: #534 brings us the Litho edition of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #122. Glenn Matchett! You have to get out of here! Your comic list is haunted!

Glenn: It turns out the knocking was coming from my Scott Snyder box all along.

Ray: And just before we head out, there’s the earliest reorder yet – All-New Hawkeye #1 by Jeff Lemire at #539, which originally debuted in March 2015! 

Glenn: This was a great series. The artist is now drawing Stillwater which we’ll likely see in at least the top 30 next month.

Ray: And down at #547 is Image First Rat Queens #1, the very last book on the list. What a long, strange journey it’s been…

And in a month we get to do it all again! So looking ahead, at DC we have the likely clear #1 of the month in Detective Comics #1027, a massive $10 Batman anthology featuring just about every major Bat-creator of the last few decades. Add that to the ongoing Joker War storyline and the Metal tie-ins, and DC should once again dominate the top of the charts. 

Over at Marvel, it’s the last of Empyre and the launch of the next event, Sword of X. We’ll also get to see how Kelly Thompson’s Black Widow does as it launches months late. 

Glenn: Without the movie to support it, I’m not predicting big things unless Marvel flubs the numbers. It’ll be interesting if they don’t considering they have on a number of female Spider titles which they don’t have nearly outside interest in as much as Black Widow.

Ray: And over at Image, we’ll likely see a rare top ten debut for them as James Tynion IV’s Department of Truth lands. And not to be undone, Boom has the record-breaking launch of We Only Find Them When They’re Dead from Al Ewing. 

What will rise? What will fall? Will we go insane after covering six months in a little over a month? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!

Like what you read? Have any comments, questions or concerns then let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield

By The Numbers July 2020

Batman #95

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! In a few days Glenn will be visiting Bly Manor, please send help.

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 votes in a few weeks, Ray is writing himself in. It’s 2020, you never know!

Glenn: What’s the old saying? You wait months for a By The Numbers article and then two show up around the same time?

Things continue to return to normality in July but we’re still not quite there yet but we’ll see how we go.

Ray: This month’s index book is a tie between Avengers #34 and Hellions #2, so we can estimate those probably sold in the 30K range and we can base everything off tha

Glenn: To no one’s surprise the Joker War story is turning out to be a big hit for DC as issues 95 and 94 of Batman take the top two spots in the charts respectfully. We still don’t have numbers but I have little doubt that this story, the hype around new character Punchline and the lead up to 100 has brought the back up to the six figure range. This run by James Tynion which was supposed to just be a holding pattern has taken everyone by surprise and now he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and why would he?

Ray: The most impressive thing about Batman this month isn’t that it topped the charts – it’s that it demolished the charts! Its indexes approach 500, aka 5x the index book, and nothing else even approaches that. Whatever Tynion’s doing, he can probably write his own ticket at DC from here on out. 

Glenn: These two issues actually outsell the second Dark Knights: Death Metal which doubtlessly did gangbusters too. This event seems to have big implications on the way but people are seemingly just enjoying the ride for the time being.

Ray: The student has become the master as Tynion defeats Snyder! This is probably more a result of Batman being so red-hot, but Death Metal only selling an index of 288 is kind of surprising. Could this be a bit of the War of the Realms factor, in that this is a conclusion to a story that’s been going on so long that it’s kind of inside baseball? Either way, this is still a very big hit for DC even as Joker War laps it. We’ll see how the tie-ins do – DC keeps them relatively moderate, with there never being more than one Death Metal book a week. 

Negan Lives #1

Glenn: The fourth book is a bit of an oddity, it’s a new Walking Dead book from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard in Negan Lives! This book wasn’t solicitated to retailers but instead was essentially a gift from Image to help retailers get people back through their doors. I assume that Image matched orders on the last batch of Walking Dead books so this is probably anywhere between 75-100k. It seems retailers really appreciated the gesture too.

Ray: A great move to get retailers back on their feet. This book wasn’t offered digitally, so I imagine it’s going to be a big collector’s item in coming months. It also makes me wonder if the universe is gone for good. 

Glenn: Next at 5 is Marvel’s highest selling ongoing, X-Men. While Marvel basically waits around for everyone to forget about Empyre and bring along King In Black at the end of the year, I don’t see any of their titles topping it apart from maybe…MAYBE Amazing Spider-Man 850.

Ray: Still the class of the Marvel line – for now. Anniversary issues and launches may top it, but nothing else. But with a twenty-part hard crossover coming for this book soon, we’ll see if that drives some people to drop it and wait for trade. While the Hickman book is a big hit, the same can’t be said for the rest of the line. 

Glenn: Next up is the new launch of the latest DCeased series Dead Planet, the proper sequel to the mega successful zombie focused story. This surprise hit keeps surprising and its setting up Tom Taylor as a big name to be watched as he has several big out of continuity stories coming from the big two and a big BOOM launch coming soon.

Ray: Closer to what I was expecting than what Unkillables did, but it doesn’t seem like any of the DCeased sequels are quite hitting the massive numbers of the first series. But these numbers are more than good enough to keep it going as long as Taylor wants. 

Glenn: Plus it likely does very well in collections.

Ties into Joker War lifts up Detective Comics into the top ten once more as issues 1023 and 1024 chart 7 and 8 respectfully. This story seems to be beniffitting the main bat books a great deal, let’s see how it does down the line otherwise. Of course Detective 1027 is going to be a monster come September charts.

Ray: 1025/1026 are full Joker War tie-ins, not preludes like this, so those should soar even higher in August. 

Glenn: It may be due to Swords Of X or it might be because people missed their violent Canadian mutant but Wolverine seems to have settled into a comfortable spot towards the top of the charts. Issue 3 is at 9 likely selling between 50-60kish. Nothing amazing but still very good these days. Look for it to get a little boost for issue 350 *cough* towards the end of the year.

Ray: This title had a lot of bad luck with its launch time, but I think there was genuine hunger for a proper Wolverine ongoing again. It’s getting a bit of the same effect as the JMS Thor relaunch. 

Glenn: Final spot in the top ten is for the launch of the big new event…Empyre which likely sells in the low to mid 50k range. Fine for an off shoot Young Avenger’s arc perhaps but not what Marvel wanted from this line wide event that turned into a game of ‘Empyre? What’s an Empyre? For reasons that are now self evident.

Ray: Yeah, this is honestly an unmitigated disaster. Let’s look a little down the list to find #2 at #16, selling likely in the 45K range, followed by #3 at #20 a little lower. This is not remotely what a high-level Marvel event should be selling, and it’s not a surprise they cut back the tie ins quite a bit before launch. I don’t think this is all on the pandemic, but King in Black should be a rebound for the company in December. 

Nightwing gets a significant boost from Joker War as well, charting at #11 with sales in the upper-50 range most likely. We’ll see if it keeps any of these sales post-Ric Grayson era. 

Glenn: This reminds me when Snyder’s stories crept into the other Bat books like Court and Death In The Family and everything got lifted as a result. Let’s party like its 2010 again!

Giant Size X-Men Magneto

Ray: Mutantkind’s greatest hero is back to bail Marvel out again. Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto is at #12. This side Hickman series has been very stable – likely due to the fact that every issue is a #1, but I think Hickman’s name has more to do with it. 

Amazing Spider-Man is one of those books that’s bulletproof, with two issues at #13/14 selling in the 50K range. But as we’ll talk about later, there are warning signs on the horizon for this title’s audience. 

Glenn: Much lower than the Slott run but yes the title itself will only go so low before it just sells by default.

Ray: Spider-Woman’s second issue, after that absurd first-issue launch before the pandemic that came out of nowhere, charts at #17. This is roughly similar to the trajectory Black Cat took, launching sky high and then taking a few issues to find a reasonable level. I predict in 12 issues or so, they’ll be in the same place. 

Glenn: Cancelled?

Ray: Batgirl also likely doubles its sales and lands at #18, selling in the 45K range thanks to a Joker War tie-in. Lots of indications that this might be a major storyline for Barbara with lasting repercussions. 

Glenn: A good build for the 50th and so far final issue. No word on where the character is going after this but there’s a lot of questions to be answered with regards to DC’s line.

Ray: Despite being a digital-first book that’s been reprinted, Batman: The Adventures Continue sticks around in the top twenty for its second issue, charting at #19. That’s above 40K sales, most likely, and it’s all due to the powerful nostalgia for the classic animated series. DC would be stupid not to do more in this world. 

Glenn: People love this version and it’ll do well in collections too. The initial release just makes this an easy win.

Ray: Strange Adventures still sticking around, landing at #22 with sales in the 40K range. King has come a long way since obscure characters like Vision and Omega Men were barely staying alive for their whole run – he can make any character a hit now. 

A new X-launch, X-Factor by Leah Williams, has a muted launch at #23, selling around 40K. This is a mystery title about the nature of death for mutants in the Krakoa era and features a team of cult-favorite B-listers, so these numbers are fine and well above where it would have launched pre-Hickman, I think. 

Good numbers for the latest Kirkman book at #24, as his fantasy epic Fire Power with Chris Samnee sells close to 40K. Not on the level of Oblivion Song, but keep in mind this one had an FCBD preview and a graphic novel prequel. Odd launch plan, which might have put some people on the trade path immediately. 

Glenn: Kirkman’s last superhero title, the exceptional Invincible could barely crack 15k monthly so this will likely do a lot better. Nothing Kirkman writes will be a dud, it’ll find its audience somewhere.

Ray: Now we’re in the area with lots of mainstays, including Immortal Hulk, Batman/Superman, Venom, Justice League, selling in the 30K-40K range. 

The next book of note is Empyre: X-Men #1 at #30, selling around 35K. This one had Hickman attached to the first and last issues, which likely lifted it well above your standard Empyre tie-ins. 

Spawn remains the top ongoing creator-owned title not launching this month at #31, selling about 35K, but other big names are coming for it soon. 

Glenn: Poor Spawn is ready for the power of Truth.

Ray: After a bunch of ongoings including the fast-rising Daredevil climbing up to sit among favorites like Superman, Fantastic Four, The Green Lantern, and Guardians of the Galaxy, we come to Catwoman #23 at #43, which wasn’t your standard fill-in issue. Written by the controversial duo of Blake Northcott and Sean Murphy, it got some mainstream attention and a lot of debate – but it didn’t seem to matter, as the title sells pretty close to its standard numbers, just above the index books. 

Glenn: Given how successful the White Knight line is, I thought Catwoman might have gotten more of a boost. Perhaps the controversy you alluded to cancelled out any boost it might have seen? It’s likely to remain on its current level as the next writer is not anyone huge but will maintain the title’s current trajectory just fine.

Ray: Remember when I said there was bad news for Amazing Spider-Man? The oversized Sins Rising Prelude, a key part to the current major storyline, lands down at #44, selling just over the index books. That’s a good 15-20K below the main series, which indicates that a lot of people are just continuing to buy the main book because it’s Amazing Spider-Man. After the upcoming Kindred story, it’ll be interesting to see if Marvel changes course. 

Glenn: Why this wasn’t just a regular issue or an annual baffles me, it would have doubtlessly sold better. I’ll be interested to see how the additional issues of Amazing sell once this ‘big’ story gets going.

Ray: More mainstays here including the long-runners of Flash and Wonder Woman and Kelly Thompson’s well-regarded Captain Marvel run, we come to Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files at #52. This sells just under 30K, which is pretty decent given that it was just a collection of backmatter for this Black Label title while it struggles to keep a schedule. Those two names on the cover, man. 

Empyre: Fantastic Four and Empyre: Avengers, the two prelude issues to the main event, are down here at #53/#54, selling about 27K. They were ordered nearly identically and are written by the writers of the main event, so this is probably where we’re going to see the main series bottom out next month or close. 

A nice jump for the oversized anniversary issue of Oblivion Song at #57, as the 25th issue sells in the 25K range and is the fourth highest-selling Image book of the month. 

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills Extended Cut lands at #59, selling in the 25K range. This is pretty strong for a reprint of a book that’s been released many times, but it’s an all-time classic and very relevant today. 

Glenn: This is why Marvel (and DC to be fair) keep chugging these out, its easy money.

Glenn: The last of the Iron Man 2020 tie-ins, iWolverine 2020, launches at #60 selling in the low 20K range. This stars Albert and Elsie-Dee from the 1990s, so…not exactly a real sales pull here. 

Empyre: Savage Avengers, a one-shot starring Conan and Venom battling plant monsters, is down at #62. I think this might have done better if it was just an issue of the main series. 

At #64, we have the launch of Chu, the continuation of John Layman’s bizarre detective thriller Chew. It sells in the low 20K range, which is definitely a world better than the last series was when it ended up. Layman and Guillory’s classic got a lot more fans in trade, so they might have jumped on early this time, plus this was a spinoff, not a continuation. 

Glenn: This is one of Image’s bread and butter titles in terms of collections and more people have come to it since it ended. If Layman wants to do another 70 odd issue run, there won’t be any reason why he can’t, just continue the Smorgasbord editions!

Ray: Amid a lot of lower-selling Marvel and DC books, we get some more Empyre tie-ins. The Captain America miniseries launches at #70, selling around 21K. Not impressive at all. 

Glenn:  No one cares. Its a shame since Johnson is a good writer and would be a solid choice to be the next writer on Captain America after Coates leaves.

Ray: Just below that is Lords of Empyre: Hulkling – maybe the most important tie-in of the event, as it gives the supposed big bad’s motivation. The audience doesn’t really seem interested, despite a crack writing team of Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Olivera. Lots of good books got lost in this event, I think. 

Glenn: Like you said, this seems as important to the story as one of the main issues much like The Illuminati and Confession book ends to Civil War by Bendis and Maleev back in the day. The mighty Marvel hype machine has managed to get some people to check out the main book but otherwise its a passing interest at best.

Snake Eyes Deadgame #1

Ray: The sales on The Cimmerian from Ablaze, the mature-readers European Conan comic, continue to be impressive. The second issue of Red Nails is down at #75, selling about 20K. Marvel hasn’t fully resumed the Conan books yet, so this may be filling the void. 

Rob Liefeld’s Snake Eyes: Deadgame launches at #78 from IDW, selling just under 20K or so. Liefeld books are…acquired tastes, but he still has a very loyal audience and it shows in the sales – this is the only IDW book in the top 100. 

Glenn: Despite having a polarizing online persona, Liefield has 90’s X-Men/Image cred which means he’ll always be a sellable commodity. I think the reason he is how he is because he doesn’t have to care cause apart from some horrifying scandal, he’s bulletproof.

Ray: A lot of DC books down here and some of those top Boom books selling in the 16K range, until we get to our next notable book at #91 – Hedra, an Image one-shot by sci-fi cartoonist Jesse Lonergan. A bizarre and challenging book that many people loved even as they didn’t fully understand it, this issue sells in the 16K range – pretty amazing for a $5.99 book like this. No wonder Image is giving Lonergan a longer-form project late this year. 

Priest launches his first spin-off for Vampirella, the southern Gothic mystery Sacred Six, at #97. It sells in the 15K range, and I suspect the sales might have been blunted by the lack of a familiar character in the title – it sold less than the issue of Vampirella that came out this month from the same writer. 

Glenn: Makes sense, this will be for the hardcore fans/Priest loyalists only.

Ray: Similar numbers for the launch of Bliss #1 at #98 from Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky, pretty common territory for Image books without a lot of hype. This isn’t a bad launch, but I believe it’s an eight-issue series and it’ll need to level out quickly. 

Glenn: A lot of the non high profile Image books are often left to fend for themselves. The creative team is fortunate that the series will likely be over before sales would make that decision for them.

Ray: #104 brings us a $4.99 reprint of Witchblade #1, which sells around 14K. Unto the breach we go, Glenn – right now, outside of the top 100 is scary territory.

Glenn: A lot of nostalgia for this one and it does have a little bit of name recognition outside of comics. This is likely one for the nostalgia generation.

I don’t want to go outside the top 100 Ray.

I’m surprised that yet another Bettie Page number 1 charts so high at 114. Not sure if this is just rising to a higher spot because of the chaos or this somehow got some unusual interest. I really don’t think it was that long since the last one and not long since I commented that very same thing on that one.

Ray: Tons of covers and featuring Spider-Woman writer Karla Pacheco, so that definitely helped get this a bigger launch. 

Glenn: The Boys: Dear Becky’s second issue drops to 124. Likely not selling much more than the series was when it was around back in the day so high teen’s/low 20’s. This is fine for this property and will join an evergreen collection for Dynamite once t finishes.

Goddamned: The Virgin Brides seem unusually low for an Image book by Jason Aaron at 126 but this is basically a continuation of the series. It may have got a slight first issue bump but otherwise retailers likely are ordering this like it never reset number wise.

Ray: We’re talking years between the last arc of The Goddamned and this one, and that one didn’t catch on like Aaron’s other massively delayed Image book, so I’m not surprised it’s so low. This will likely do better in collections. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer WIllow #1

Glenn: Spin off mini, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Willow launches at 130, again lower than I expected given BOOM’s done well with this property and its by hot writer Meriko Tamaki. Of course this was planned to go before a pandemic hit and people are tightening their wallets lately so stuff like this might be a trade wait for most.

Ray: Yeah, this is definitely a trade-wait book. The franchise is doing well, but Mariko Tamaki’s biggest appeal is in the graphic novels and collection markets.

Glenn: 134 sees the latest AWA launch in Devil’s Highway by writer on the rise, Ben Percy. This might have done better at Image or BOOM but for a new company this is fine for a launch. The rest of the series will sell lower of course so it just depends what AWA’s expectations are.

Ray: Percy seems to be keeping very busy at AWA. This one doesn’t have the hook of Year Zero, but it’s in line with the other launches. The company isn’t breaking down any doors, but at the least it’s starting in a comparable position to many other mid-level publishers. 

Glenn: Turtles annual charts 15 comics lower than the main title at 135. I’m not sure how closely this was tied to the main story but unless its Batman or some such, annuals continue to be treaded as secondary concerns to the main audience in the current market. This was also priced at 5.99 though so swings and roundabouts.

Pretty decent standard Image launch in the form of Lost Soldiers at 136. We’ll see how much of the audience sticks around next month which is the true test for Image books these days.

Ray:  Ales Kot is one of those niche creators who retailers know how to order by now. This Vietnam-set thriller is in line with his other books. 

Glenn: The final issue of Middlewest hits this month and charts at 137. This has stayed pretty consistent through its run and now heads off to collection heaven where I now doubt it’ll become a valuable asset to Image’s impressive library.

Pretty good launch for a Scout book at 140 for It Eats What Feeds it, they’re not giving any of the big companies any sleepless nights yet but they seem to be establishing a decent audience.

Ray: This Bayou-set horror story didn’t get much hype, but it blew the rest of this month’s many Scout launches out of the water. People love horror. 

Glenn: Selling lower than the usual anthologies they put out, DC’s Cybernetic Summer comes in at 141. This one was kind of sprung on retailers and wasn’t in the original solicitations so that’s probably why its a little lower than usual. DC keeps putting them out though so they must be happy enough.

Ray: Yeah, the combination of the late announcement, the odd theme, and the lack of many a-list creators made it pretty guaranteed this would be the lowest-selling anthology. The Halloween one should be back to business. 

Glenn: Another decent launch from Scout in the form of Vlad Dracul at 144. Month in and month out we’re seeing a trend of vampires being a popular subsection of the horror genre which has quickly become comics second most popular.

Another Edgar Write Burrows property, The Monster Men comes from American Mythology at 145 which again is far better than they usually manage. Could be the horror hook or could be just everything is upside down right now, who knows?!

At 149 is a GI Joe One Shot: Complete Silence focusing on Snake Eyes. I know nothing about GI Joe apart from I’ve learned from memes. This seems again, better than the regular offerings from the franchise, Go Joe!

Power Rangers spinoff, Ranger Slayer is at 154 and while the main series is doing quite well, this is lagging behind. I think it has the same misfortune Willow have in terms of when it was released and comic buyers having to make choices with what spin offs to what books they can invest money in right now.

Ray: This was also a $7.99 comic, which is a hard sell for a Power Rangers book. Maybe Boom’s one weak spot is that their oversized comics tend to be highly-priced. Only two dollars less than the 144-page Detective Comics #1027. 

Glenn: Another decent start from a Scout Comic in Grit at 156. They’re doing something right.

Engineward #1

I’m surprised Engineward didn’t do better than 162 considering its by two verly well known creators in George Mann and Joe Eisma. The concept is very high science fiction which is something that usually only Hickman can sell to the masses so perhaps that’s why.

Ray: Engineward is a tough genre to sell, and didn’t seem to get the advance hype of other Vault books recently. The company is still rising fast. 

Glenn: Transformers: Secrets and Lies is your obligatory Transformers one shot for the month at 163. Even in a time of crisis, the Autobots have not abandoned us.

Canto and the Clockwork Fairies is a one shot from IDW that charts at 164, I have no clue what this is so I guess this is a success?

Ray: This is a bridge one-shot between the two arcs of IDW’s popular fantasy epic that was getting lots of reorders before the shut-down. Expect this one to chart again in the future. 

Glenn: A 7.99 Sonic annual sells at 170, given the price and the book this is probably about right.

A new Green Hornet from *checks notes* no one worth mentioning charts at 171. This person does have their own set audience so if that’s what Dynamite wants for Green Hornet (spoilers: it is) then this is fine probably.

Ray: Everything else aside, Green Hornet is the one property Dynamite has never really been able to get any buzz going for. Too old-fashioned? Either way, this looks like yet another false start. 

Glenn: Oddly Nailbiter Returns 3 sells at 175 while the second issue sells at 182, I am not sure if that’s an anomaly or a very good sign but since I love the series I choose to believe the latter.

A new DS9 offering comes at 183 which would roughly make it roughly the same as most spin off Trek offerings.

Everglade Angels is more along the lines of what I might expect from Scout at 186. Its by the same writer as Green Hornet but their fans don’t seem as interested here.

Ray: Hoooooooo boy, this comic. The three people on the creative team are an accused sexual harasser, a CG-adjacent creator, and a domestic abuser. This was ordered before the controversy hit, but no second issue has been solicited and Scout actually put out an apology for releasing the book. 

Glenn: Faithless II, the naughty Azzarello comic from Boom launches at 198 so it seems retailers just ordered this like the next issue. This whole thing screams like its really meant for collections anyway.

Ray: This is the most niche of Boom’s books, featuring a strange mature-readers story in a company known for its all-ages books. Low sales make sense, especially in singles. 

Savage Dragon #250

Glenn: At 200 is the 250th issue of Savage Dragon. Its never been the success of its Image cousin Spawn but it has held a solid cult following for 25 years or so, retailers likely just ordered a few extras for speculators but I would say there would be very few people checking out the very story heavy book at this stage. They’re more likely just to check out the many, many, many, many (this time tomorrow), many collections.

Ray: Savage Dragon has never sold well in singles in decades, but the fact that it’s gotten this far is stunning. Long may it reign!

There’s a collection of Marvel Action Classic stories featuring Iron Man at #201, as IDW continues to get into the Marvel game of selling us old comics in new packages. 

Hey, look, it’s the launch of Robyn Hood: Justice from Zenoscope at #202! I assume the Sheriff of Nottingham has confiscated all the bras in Sherwood Forest. Glenn, strike up the band!

Glenn: I wish I could come up as good a joke as this. I can’t. I am ashamed.

Ray: At #205, we have Archie #713, which is the delayed conclusion to the Katy Keene arc. This is notable for being the last issue of the classic Archie series solicited. No further plans have been announced for the reboot-verse. The series has fallen a long way since the hype of the Waid relaunch. 

Glenn: Latest Archie solicits have been pretty bare bones overall. They seem to be using the pandemic as a chance to figure out things. Them putting out archive material and releasing day and date on Comixology might be an indication that they’re moving towards a largely reprint model.

Ray: The new dark superhero comic Dose from experimental publisher It’s Alive lands at #210, a good showing for a publisher that’s mostly known for autobiographical indie books. They’re one to watch, and this one was written by Bliss creator Sean Lewis.

A lot of business as usual down here until we get to #226, where we find a Belle vs. Black Knight one-shot from Zenoscope. I assume the Black Knight wants to steal the magical rose that will make Belle’s clothes fall off or something. Glenn, keep playing. 

Glenn: If the Black Knight doesn’t have big metal bazoomba’s, we riot.

Ray: Source Point released a lot of new comics this month, starting with No Heroine at #228. This vampire noir thriller featuring a hard-boiled female lead featured a lot of bits and pieces of more popular books, and that was enough to win the month for them for their lineup. 

Glenn: Here’s vampires again. Remember when they sparkled? Nope I don’t either.

Ray: The ape-mother thriller Xira from Red 5 Comics launches at #234, another odd entry from a company that hasn’t quite found its niche in the market. 

A company that definitely has its niche is Amigo Comics, which aims horror comics at latino fans and fans of color. Their latest entry, Ezequiel Himes, Zombie Hunter, lands at #240, above a few ongoing Image books like Pretty Violent.

I continue to be puzzled by the low sales for Wynd, with the second issue down at #243. Maybe the retailers just assume everyone will stick with the original plan for a trade? This is the furthest thing from what I’d expect a book by the hottest writer in comics to be doing.

Glenn: It will do better in collections either in direct or without. YA fiction is where its at and an LGBTQ+ comic by a creator from that community? It’ll be a licence to print money when its out there in collections.

Yasmeen #1

Ray: Not all Scout horror books are doing well, as the giant turtle-monster Loggerhead: Bloody Bayou one-shot lands at #244. One-shots are in an odd market all their own and retailers probably don’t know how to order them. 

Scout’s most acclaimed book of the month, the real-life thriller Yasmeen about a young refugee, lands at #246. Disappointing, but I think this one could find some second life once word spreads. 

At #249, it’s a book called “Attractive Cousins One-Shot” from the company behind Cerebus. I don’t know what this is and I’m not googling to find out. Next. 

Glenn: Well the last time I googled Attractive Cousins, the police had to have a word with me. So yes.  Moving on.

Ray: The latest installment of the Monstrous series, subtitled “Witch Hunt” and featuring Baba Yaga, lands at #251 for Source Point. 

Glenn: Surprised it didn’t get more sales after Baba Yaga’s appearance in Ant-Man and Wasp.

Ray: More Amigo at #256 as their longest-running series, Nancy in Hell, gets a one-shot titled “Hell’s Door”. Odd books, but this company has been going strong for a while. 

The Hollywood/comic book satire Backfired lands at #260 for Source Point. Most of Source Point’s books fit neatly into a classic comic book genre, and this one didn’t, so it makes sense that it’s more of a niche book. 

Zombie Tramp down at #265! 264 spots to go before she conquers the world. 

Glenn: Oh no, she dropped a fair bit.Don’t worry Zombie Tramp, we still love you.

Ray: Another Scout one-shot at #266. It’s the…creatively named “Murder Hobo: Beaten, Broken, and Buggered“, which is an ultra-violent medieval fantasy comedy. They can’t all be winners, folks. 

Source Point’s black-and-white mature-readers reinvention of Sleepy Hollow, “The Hollow”, lands at #274 for its debut issue. This company’s roll-out of so many books in one month likely cannibalized some of the audience. 

Glenn: Yeah no kidding.

Ray: Fan-favorite movie The Nightmare Before Christmas got a manga sequel a few years back, and there’s a zero issue released this month at #278. It’s interesting that the story has continued in multiple mediums, including video games and comics, but never a whiff of a sequel.

Glenn: Some of the voice cast has sadly passed on but hey, you never know. I’d love to see Jack and Sally’s kids/abominations bringing Halloween to another holiday. 

Ray: After a bunch of ongoing low-selling books, we get a new launch – Offworld Sci-Fi Double Feature from Antarctic, which lands at #291 followed immediately by the second issue. 

At #295 we exit the world of comics with sales estimates, and head into the brave unknown – everything down here is selling so low there’s no estimate available. That includes things like “Storm Kids: Hyperbreed” at #300. 

Glenn: I wish I could say we’re now playing a game to see what titles Ray is making up but they’re all real folks. This is the true horror.

Ray: American Mythology continues to put out comics based on a lot of public domain books, including the new launch Zorro: Timeless Tales at #307. Not likely to be Bruce Wayne’s favorite comic, but the old Spanish hero still has a fanbase. 

Glenn: Joker set up a subscription for him cause lolz.

Ray: Image is getting into the game of reselling us old comics, with the Image Giant-Sized Artist Proof of Oblivion Song #1. It’s down at #318 – for a whopping $20 a copy!

Glenn: *spits water on Ray*

Ray: While Archie is done with new comics for the title character for now, their digests are still going strong. They launch a new series called Archie Showcase Digest at #322. As always, these are not geared towards the direct market. 

Bigs and Tiny, an oddball superhero comic from new publisher Blackbox, charts at #325. As usual down here, it’s a scrum of small-press companies battling for a tiny share of the market. 

At #328, it’s “Warcorns: Combat Unicorns for Hire“, a one-shot from Source Point. I’m done, Glenn. Tell my friends I loved them. 

Glenn: Don’t you die on me!

Ray: A very odd entry at #330, the Batman #50 Michael Turner cover. So this is a variant cover of Batman #50, drawn by an artist who died a decade before Batman #50 was released, and released by a company other than DC (Aspen) for $99.99. It’s strange down here, Glenn. 

Glenn: I think it might be haunted.

Ray: Silver Sprocket, one of the most indie-geared companies on the stands, releases a $10 one-shot called One Million Tiny Fires at #334. It’s described as a “Queer cosmic horror tale” from cartoonist Ashley Franklin

Likely far less artistic is the Gold Digger 35th Anniversary Special from Antarctic right below it at #335. 

More Source Point books at #336, with the debut of the high-fantasy all-ages adventure Skylin, which really deserved better. Check this one out on Comixology if you get the chance. 

Source Point also debuts the second edition of their sci-fi thriller Norah at #339. 

Absolute Flipbook #1 is at #340 from Red Giant. But a flipbook of WHAT????

Glenn: At this stage? I’d guess demon penguins.

Ray: A trio of Red Giant books down here, as Darchon, Duel Identity, and First Defense take over the 344-346 slots. I have not heard of any of these books. 

Broken up by the $9.99 monster epic Kona from It’s Alive at #349, we also get the debuts of Katrina and Magika from Red Giant. They dropped a lot of books this week, which I have also never heard of. 

Remember Sublime? I ‘member! Their Rock & Roll Biography is at #351. 

Glenn:…Who?

Ray: It’s a bunch of new debuts including Shadow Children, “Starring Sonya Deveraux Spidershark Snakebear”, “Tales of a Well-Hung Man”, Wayward Legends, and Wayward Sons down in the 350s. 

Glenn: I’m calling the police.

Ray: Closing us out this month is a $5 one-shot titled You Will Be Okay Anti-Anxiety One-Shot from Silver Sprocket. After seeing some of these entries, I don’t know that I am. 

Glenn: Agreed. We will never speak of this again.

Ray: Looking ahead to August, the big two continue to get back to normal. While Marvel cranks out Empyre tie-ins aplenty, DC drops some of the biggest books of the year – including the likely monster-level Batman: Three Jokers, which will duel with Batman and Batman’s event comic for the #1 book of the month. 

Over in indie-land, we’ve got some big debuts like Jason Howard’s Big Girls, and a new Mega Man series from Boom. 

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

Liked what you read? Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield sementI7����

By the numbers: the missing months

There is a cave in a mountain in Northern Ireland where no one has dared go to for months. Only one man, one brave, handsome man who should as their policy give every occupant of such a cave a pay rise, Brett Schenker dares go near it. Inside this cave he finds a figure dressed in rags over a fire, in the flames burns hopes and ambitions and hopes that the poor figure had for the year ahead.

Brett: I come looking for the writer of By The Numbers…

Glenn: Heh…no one…no one’s called me that for a long time…

There is a cave in New Jersey. Buried deep inside it, a crystalline matrix has been sitting since time immemorial. Finally, after eons, it cracks. Into the light steps a mysterious being. A man who they say can read limitless comics. At long last, he is unleashed upon the world once more. 

Ray: Finally. Good thing I had digital comics in stasis. 

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! During the whole Covid mess, Glenn lost his sanity 2020 times!

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 was largely uneffected by quarentine as he is in fact a sentiant escaped computer from DC Comics.

Sorry about the lack of images folks. I’m out of practive and it took me ages to get it into this state. Next article should be back to normal. I also hate new WordPress. HATES IT.

Glenn: Well its been a hot minute folks but we’re back and since *looks outside to see fire is raining down* that’s going on, its time for the long awaited return of By The Numbers. Since it has been a while we’re going to treat you to not one but TWO articles that will go verly close together (statement not legally binding). In this first one, we’re going to look at the missing months, the ones where the comic industry started to fire up again after Covid ruined everything for everyone. We sadly don’t have actual numbers but we have rankings so we’ll have to surmise for now. Even though they are no longer distributing through Diamond, DC comics are included. How much their new distribution model makes? Who knows?! It’s like the wild west but instead of cowboys we have confusion and instead of indians we have indigestion…

Ray: So, needless to say, we’re back but comics are definitely not what they were. For the first time, we have one of the major comic companies not distributing through Diamond. Will others follow? Maybe, especially with some making big shifts towards the bookstore market. Some companies resumed a full schedule relatively quickly, like DC and Boom. Others, like Marvel and Valiant, have yet to rebound fully even in September. This has been a wild and uncertain year, but it does feel like comics have overall rebounded and may come out of this a healthier, more diversified industry. 

April

Glenn: Only 5 books this month as DC gets out of the gate before anyone else with resuming business. These books are issue 4 of Daphne Byrne, issue 20 of Dreaming, Batman Giant 4 and reprints of Batman 89 and Nightwing 70. Not much to say here except its a good sign that one of the Hill House books not written by Joe Hill himself outselling the much more historical and prestigious Sandman book is something to take note of. We’ll likely not see any new Hill House material for a while but DC will be eager for more considering how they were doing prior to the end of the world and that#s without the juicy, juicy collection sales to come.

Ray: This lineup of books was just DC testing the waters with their new distributors through Midtown Comics and DCBS, putting out a few low-stakes books without any of their heavy hitters. It seemed to go over well, although all these books have since concluded. The Hill House books were solid sellers, even the ones that didn’t have a-list creators attached. The Sandman Universe books struggled a bit more sales-wise and the line’s now been cut back to just G. Willow Wilson’s flagship title. As for the Batman Giant, these books have since been repurposed into digital-exclusive daily stories as DC continues to shake up its product line. The crazy thing is? This rollout happened only a month after the shutdown, when most comic book stores were still closed. The other companies didn’t start up again till late May, and so the only other books released this month were some digital-first Action Lab titles. 

May

Glenn: Things start to get somewhat back to normal as we have nearly 100 comics chart this month as Marvel, Image and others start production themselves. Top book of this month is the 25th issue of Venom. Anniversary issues always do well and this is Marvel’s best selling ongoing but as we’re often reminded…Knull is coming. After this turned into a sequel to Absolute Carnage and continuing the build to The King In Black which will undoubtedly do tremendous business. The hype train very much starts here.

Ray: The first thing to remember about May is that while DC was the first company out of the gate, they didn’t unleash any of their top comics because this month was essentially still them testing the waters. They wanted to make sure as many stores as possible were open before they unleashed Punchline-mania on us again. So it’s not a surprise Marvel dominated up top, but I kind of suspect Venom might have won the day either way. This book is huge and as The King in Black ramps up, it’s only going to get bigger. 

We don’t know the numbers, but Comichron is using Justice League #45 as the baseline and gives us an index for how many books each comic sold compared to it. Venom sold 2.83 Justice Leagues. 

Glenn: Since everything is so slow to get going again, Amazing Spider-Man gets second place by name alone. Its been selling anywhere between 50-80k randomly so these overall sales for this chart are probably quite low but…its odd times. This is almost a month that won’t count but retailers will be taking what they can get and no matter how bad it is (and its bad) Amazing will sell steadily.

Ray: Amazing has one mini-event followed immediately by another in the coming months, so that should stop any attrition for now. But this run is really trudging along on name recognition alone.

Glenn: Highest selling DC book at 3 is the third issue of DC Unkillables. This has killed into a killer (get it? Get it?) franchise for DC to such an effect that Marvel wants Taylor to work his magic with them too for a similar post apocalyptic themed event. These mini’s aren’t going anywhere and Taylor might have the easiest/best gig in comics where he gets to write all the big icons at once but gets to do what he wants in little pocket side universes.

Ray: I think this is the combined sum of all their covers, which is pretty impressive. Unkillables didn’t sell the numbers of past DCeased comics, because it just featured some supporting players instead of the big guns, but this performance is more than enough to indicate we’ll be seeing future spin-offs as long as Taylor wants to write them. 

Glenn: Next at 4 is the newest issue of Jason Aaron’s Avenger’s, another steady stellar which will give Marvel and retailers some consistency while everything tries to regain some semblance of normalcy.

Same with Marauders at 5, this was the highest selling X book outside of Hickman’s own so again no surprise to see it high while everything is on autopilot.

At 6 is the relaunch of Doctor Aphra, a fan favourite who continues to do well despite the fact she is entirely a creation of Marvel and has yet to appear in any outside media. By being able to add to the franchise in such a manner Marvel will be keeping the big wigs at Disney happy in times where every win counts.

Ray: Doctor Aphra had an odd roll-out, being released unexpectedly three weeks before its print release in digital for “May the Fourth”, so that may have blunted the sales a bit. Still, an original character doing this well is significant. How long before she makes her way into live action or animation?

Glenn: The Black Label Harley/Joker Criminal Sanity charts at 7. With Harleen over with and Birds Of Pray pushed back a bit, this is the default prestige Harley book this month. The character always performs well and Black Label has carved itself out a nice place for reliability for DC in these strange times.

Ray: This title has been besieged by delays for a while and was followed by a Secret Files issue in the coming months. We’ll see if the long waits between issues holds back the sales in coming months, but the names on the title are probably enough to guarantee good sales. 

Glenn: Issues 44 and 45 of Justice League chart at 8 and 9 respectfully and although Snyder’s run is done the title has enough juice to keep it trucking along until the next big direction. There’s a metal crossover headed its way written by DC trusted hand Joshua Williamson on its way which will give it a new lease of life. For now its just another steady performer in a month with very little happening.

Ray: Yeah, this title has been in limbo for a while with decent but underhyped runs from Robert Venditti, Simon Spurrier, and Jeff Loveness. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the call-up to write the title long-term for the next run – there are probably a lot of relaunches coming soon. 

Glenn: Final spot in the top ten is for Image’s Ludocrats which likely got here due to the fact it is co-written by Kieran Gillan who has had quite the success rate in small press recently. I’m not sure how well this sells compared to his other work but given where Justice League was prior to the pandemic I’d estimate 20-25k. This isn’t bad for a quirky book that’s also a miniseries.

Ray: This title was delayed a looooooooooong time and picked up a co-writer along the way. It’s definitely not a mainstream title, but Gillen’s name is likely enough to give it a sales boost. We’ll see how it holds up once people actually try to puzzle it out. 

A trio of DC titles return at 11, 12, and 14 as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash all sell pretty close to each other. But they’re interrupted at #13 by the second issue of Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy, which indicates that title is probably going to sell in the 30K range for the run of its miniseries. That’s a well-deserved hit for her. 

Glenn: Mirka is also drawing the upcoming Punchline one shot in a few months which will sell big and make her an even bigger name. She’s one of the best artists working today and I’m really happy to see her explode in popularity to this degree.

Ray: At #15, we randomly have a facsimile edition of DC Super Stars #17, which was the first appearance of Huntress. A significant issue, for sure, but not one you’d usually see in the top twenty. This makes me wonder just how low the overall orders were this month, and that’s not the only odd stuff. 

Glenn: I’m guessing this is due to the movie since this comic would have been ordered when it came out. That’s a very different version of the character though so just seems to be a bit of an oddity.

Ray: After an issue of Vengeance of Vampirella and more orders of Daphne Byrne #4, we’ve got the launch of Rogue Planet #1 from Cullen Bunn. That’s an Oni book in the top 20. We’re certainly in crazy town now. 

Glenn: Bunn;s name will definitely help this sell better than likely anything Oni has put out monthly for a while but yeah…its not a normal month for obvious reasons.

Ray: Maybe it’s the Diamond difference vs. a new distributor? After an issue of Red Sonja, we have a lot more DC books, including Harley Quinn, Basketful of Heads, Plunge, and another issue of Flash. I’m sure we’ll see the sales charts recenter themselves in the coming month, but right now the numbers are very odd. 

Glenn: Stupid 2020, they’ve messed everything up!

Ray: Artists, Writers, and Artisans had the misfortune to start publication the week before the shutdown, and they’re also one of the first books to resume with a new #1. Year Zero, Ben Percy and Ramon Rosanos‘ zombie apocalypse thriller, debuts at #24 with sales that are probably in the 20K range. Aside from the JMS/Deodato book, this feels like the AWA title that’s the most set up for success. 

Glenn: Percy has been building some solid name draw for himself and zombies always have a place in the market, especially for those missing Walking Dead so yeah this was likely an easy win for sure.

Ray: At #25, we have the next issue of Mirka Andolfo’s Unsacred, an amazing showing for an indie book from Ablaze and well above the levels of other DC Books like The Dollhouse Family, Suicide Squad, Lois Lane, Justice League Odyssey, Teen Titans, and Batman and the Outsiders – all of whom are likely hovering around the 20K range. It also beats one of Boom’s flagship books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

At this point, we’re seeing a lot of ongoing titles that were selling lower than the average – none of these would normally be in the top 100. DC titles like Batman Beyond, Hawkman, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, and He Man and the Masters of the Multiverse, Boom books like King of Nowhere and Go Go Power Rangers, and lower-selling Image titles like Outer Darkness/Chew, Farmhand, and OutCast. Many of these had the misfortune of just starting before the shutdown, and they sell about 40% of Justice League. Surprisingly, at #37 we have the latest issue of The Goon from Albatross Comics, far higher than it normally would be. This is a title that’s always had a strong cult audience. 

At #43 we have another new launch, the Aftershock Joe Harris thriller Disaster Inc. Aftershock has been struggling for a while, and this title sells about 1/3rd of Justice League. Pretty standard, and barely outselling the latest issue of Terry Moore’s creator-owned crossover Five Years from Abstract. 

After a bunch of creator-owned titles like Deadly Class and Alienated, we have a new licensed launch from IDW – the cumbersomely-named Star Wars Adventures: Clone Wars Battle Tales. This sells about 25% of Justice League, which is about right for a title that’s geared towards collections. It’s five issues, which is on the long side for one of IDW’s trades. 

Glenn: That might hold the record for title with the longest title right now so that counts for…something?

Ray: Aside from House of Whispers (cancelled) and some giants, the lowest-selling DC book this month is Red Hood: Outlaw at #55. The longevity of this title is somewhat impressive, and I’m most amazed that they’re keeping it going after Lobdell leaves in a few months. 

Glenn: They’re rebranding it to just Red Hood so we’ll see how that affects the book…if at all. DC might be just keeping it rolling until we get whatever the heck is coming as we’re getting a lot of titles cancelled or in the middle of a bunch of short runs. Obviously the cancellation of 5G threw everything for a loop but something is coming and Red Hood will either be a victim of that or will get a relaunch with more of a strong link to the always popular Batman line.

Ray: At #59, just after the latest issue of the long-running Savage Dragon, we have the launch of the intriguing new Aftershock title Dead Day, about a world where a zombie apocalypse happens one day a year and lets people reunite with the dead. It sells 22% of Justice League, a low debut even from Aftershock. Shame – writer Ryan Parrot actually created something original here. 

Glenn: Is it as sad as Coco? Remember meeeee….

Ray: At #66 is Our Fighting Forces Giant, which featured an Unknown Soldier story from Priest. This was later repurposed into a digital comic, where it probably found a much bigger audience. 

Glenn…it’s official. Comics are healing. At #68, it’s Zombie Tramp #69! Only sells 17% of Justice League, but it sells 145% percent of our hearts. 

Glenn: Why couldn’t it have been 69?! That would have been so perfect for Zombie Tramp and its unlikely to ever get this close again! Damn it! Damn it all to helllllll.

Ray: Vault was one of the only companies to keep publishing, releasing a few digital comics during April. They resumed print publication in May, with Sera and the Royal Stars #7 landing at #69. They seem to be a company that’s growing aggressively, so keep an eye on them. 

Glenn: They’re low key putting out some high quality work too. Boom took a while before it exploded (pun very much intended) look for Vault to do the same in the next 5 years or so.

Ray: At #72, it’s time to get Rachel Bloom out of quarantine and strike up the band! It’s Grimm Fairy Tales #37!

Glenn: Oh Rachel Bloom joke no one either gets or finds funny except us, how I missed you.

Ray: #73 brings the latest low-selling Marvel Action title, Marvel Action Captain Marvel guest-starring Nadia Van Dyne. This was a really fun run by Sam Maggs and Sweeney Boo, but it didn’t make an impact in the direct market. Let’s hope IDW can get the word out there for the trades. 

Glenn: I don’t think these books are really meant for the direct market and are bound to do better elsewhere. The book has just received some award buzz so it could be a dark horse.

Ray: After some low-selling Mignolaverse books and licensed properties, we get the 6th issue of the Image title Exorsisters at #76. This title has been on hiatus for a while, and the sales were so low that the creative team has apparently moved it to digital-exclusive. One of the biggest challenges for Image titles is production delays, as great titles can just get lost in the shuffle. 

Ray: After some more low-selling creator-owned titles wrapping up their run soon at Dark Horse and Boom, we get to some odd entries. Titles like “Green Dante/Green Virgil One-Shot” from Aardvark-Vanaheim and “Cat-Sh*t #1” from Antarctic all sell less than 10% of Justice League, but sneak into the top 100 due to the odd times.

Glenn: I think as well unless a title has a big name attached, books like Exosisters depend on momentum and of course, the pandemic affected everyone’s wallet. People are more likely to keep Batman around than an original property if they’re cutting down…

Ray: I don’t even know what some of these books are towards the end! Exciting Comics! 21st Centurions! Storm Kids: Monica Bleue Werewolf Story! These are probably the titles we never saw because they didn’t make the top 500 in the Before Times. They all sell just over 5% of Justice League this month. 

Glenn: Proof we’re indeed in the darkest timeline.

Ray: And at #91 this month, we have V-Card #4, a vampire thriller from Antarctic. No estimate on its relation to Justice League #45, but it’s the lowest-selling book on the charts on this very odd month. 

Glenn: These companies can boast forever they made it into the top 100 one time. Who cares about the details.

Ray: On to June, when things might start looking a bit more normal.

Glenn: Wazzit June?

June

Things do seem a lot more normal because what’s more normal than a lot of Batman in the top ten? DC swept 9 of the top ten spots with 7 of those being Batman centric or related and one being Metal which is a event focused around…Batman. I sometimes wonder if DC just decided to set up a seperate publisher that just did Batman how much of the market share they would get…

Ray: Yeah, DC played it safe for April and May, but in June they showed just how powerful their lineup is and they absolutely dominated this month with some huge events. Look at the indexes here – Death Metal #1 sold more than 5x the index title of Justice League. Batman #92 sold 4x. Even in this market, we’re talking two titles that undoubtedly sold six figures, maybe more. So Snyder and Tynion can reach a sales level no one else can at the moment, clearly. 

Glenn: So yeah, to no surprise the new event from superstars Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Dark Nights: Dark Metal the follow up to the other mega event from the same pair, Dark Nights: Metal is the best seller. We don’t have numbers but I wouldn’t be surprised if this did over 200k with ease. While Marvel has been limping along with Empyre, this event is here to show them how its done. 

Second highest seller is Batman 92 which I believe has the first full appearance of new sensationally popular character Punchline. I think James Tynion is having one hell of a year (with more to come) and I think it’s benefiting this title hugely. The other issue released this month charts at 5 this month. I’m not sure if Batman is back over 100k on the regular but the Tynion run/new character hype and build to 100 are all bringing the title back to its previous dominance.

Ray: I believe Batman is definitely over 100K at the moment, and the odds are Batman #100 will do numbers that are almost never seen outside of megawatt event comics. 

Glenn: At 3 is the Joker 80th anniversary which saw a multitude of top creators, variants and arguably their most popular villain. Its a winning formula and we’ll soon see that these anniversary issues are big winners for the company.

Ray: We knew Joker would be the top-selling of these, with both Snyder and Tynion contributing stories. Punchline’s origin also basically guaranteed this would be a huge hit, even at $10.

Glenn: Did I say soon? I meant right now! At 4 is the 80th anniversary for Catwoman, an iconic character, one of the most important female leads in comics and another issue jam packed with talent. Expect to see more of these…on these very charts even!

Ray: The stunning thing here is that Catwoman sold almost as many copies as Joker, probably right around the 100K mark based on the index. Without the same creative team pull or hit movie, what could explain this? Maybe ongoing hype from the wedding, or maybe the inclusion of iconic Catwoman writer Ed Brubaker, whose story with (REDACTED) was likely the most anticipated vault story of all time. 

Glenn: King continuing his Batman/Catwoman saga kinda/sorta likely helped too.

Third 80th anniversary in a row for Green Lantern this time at 7. The characters heyday is gone but this is another packed issue that had the defining writer for the property Geoff Johns return which helped a great deal on its own no doubt. This issue also has the unfortunate distinction of having Denny O’Neil’s last new story in it. 

Ray: This one clearly sold lower due to not having any Batman ties, but it also had almost every iconic GL writer save Grant Morrison, and a tribute to the late great Dwayne McDuffie. All of these one-shots have put together an amazing creative roster, and that goes a long way to get people to invest in an oversized special like this. 

Glenn: At 7 is Batman: The Smile Killer, essentially the fourth issue of Batman: Killer Smile by the nightmare inducing team of Lemire and Sorrentino. I have a feeling this duo will be back for more of the same, especially with the pant wetting Gideon Falls coming to an end later this year.

Ray: At this point, the sales are getting a little low in the top ten – Smile Killer likely sold about 60K – but that’s still pretty good for a prestige one-shot. I don’t want to go in the clown barn, Glenn. 

Glenn: That rascally Mr. Smiles just wants to be our friend.

Batman + nostalgia wins big at 8 with the first issue of Batman: The Adventures Continue which carries weight on the fact that its a continuation of one of the best animated series ever. This performance is especially impressive since this was digital first so the printed sales are essentially a bonus. I don’t think future issues will chart as high but it shows that people still adore this version of the character and for good reason.

Ray: This is undoubtedly the highest ranking ever for a digital first series. I believe this was supposed to be a six-issue miniseries (Twelve chapters digitally), but with the sales and critical response, there’ll be a lot of temptation to expand it. Bring on the animated Court of Owls, Punchline, and Mr. Bloom!

Glenn: I think we’ll get a lot more. There’s plenty of room pre-Return Of The Joker flashback to cram more stories in.

Batman finally takes a breather at 9 to let Thor carry the load for the launch of his new title written by current Marvel MVP, Donny Cates.  Cates is Marvel’s biggest sales and quality asset combined right now so this is no surprise. If we had numbers, I’d guess this sold anywhere between 70-80kish. It’ll likely settle to just above where it was before under Aaron at high 30k-40k which is great in todays world.

Ray: Damn it, Donny Cates! Always ruining DC’s party. 

Glenn: Last spot goes to Detective Comics which doesn’t usually chart this high but this issue was vaguely attached to the lead in to Joker War which launched properly next month. If a prelude to a tie in to an event can do this well, Joker War is going to be one to watch.

Ray: It’s a good sign for the upcoming Detective Comics #1027 mega-issue as well, as that should probably be one of the top books of the month. 

Ray: Out of the top ten, the list is starting to look normal again, with mainstays like Immortal Hulk, Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, Justice League, Superman, The Green Lantern, and New Mutants. The standout, though, is Strange Adventures, which had the misfortune to launch right before the shutdown. But it’s held very well, landing at #12 and showing those classic King/Gerads legs. 

Glenn: I don’t see why DC won’t just keep throwing King on projects like these. They sell well, they receive acclaim and get ton of awards before becoming evergreens in collections. Its a winning formula. No doubt Rorschach in a few months will be a top ten mainstay.

Ray: #19 brings us our first creator-owned title, as Spawn #307 keeps up the book’s streak. But I think its time on top will be coming to an end as Snyder and Tynion prep new creator-owned books like Department of Truth and Nocterra

Glenn: We know Department Of Truth sold over 100k for issue one which would be the biggest Image launch in…quite some time. The fight is still in the giant I.

Ray: Empyre: Avengers lands at #21, selling less than a standard issue of Justice League, which has to bode poorly for the cosmic event that was rushed out the door by Marvel. 

Glenn: Rushed out the exit just as fast too. ‘Don’t look at that…look at Sword Of X oooooo Sword Of X’

Ray: Lots of mainstays at this level, including The Batman’s Grave by Hitch and (REDACTED), Legion of Super-Heroes, Excalibur, Daredevil, two issues of Flash, Deadpool, and Action Comics. At #28 we have the final issue of Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as the stars of the two most successful DC crossovers in recent years have their own team-up. Dex-Starr Vs. Garfield when, DC and Boom?

Glenn: Yeah both of these weren’t that critical to the overall picture so its just a good sign of both books off shoot brands at the moment.

Ray: A pair of specials for popular DC titles at #31 and #32. First up is Batman Secret Files #2, which was a spotlight for the squad of assassins Joker hired in Tynion’s opening arc. This did have a Punchline cameo, but it wasn’t hyped up. Right below it is Flash Annual #3, which was a Captain Boomerang spotlight and a tie-in with Suicide Squad. Decent sales for oversized side stories. 

Sandwiched by two issues of Wonder Woman, we have the Detective Comics #475 facsimile edition at #34. This was the iconic Joker story The Laughing Fish, so DC is getting some good mileage out of old comics here. 

Glenn: One that is still referred to today and was adapted into one of the best B:TAS episodes so yeah…easy money.

Ray: Amid a bunch of mid-level DC books, we have the hit creator-owned book Undiscovered Country, returning from hiatus at #38. It’s probably still selling in the 20K/30K range, so that’s an unqualified hit for Image and the creative team. 

Glenn: Absolutely and the trades and inevitable adaption will only help.

Ray: At #40 we have the debut of a new Image series, That Texas Blood. This hard-boiled western sells about 2/3rds of Justice League, putting it at around 20K or so. That’s a hit for Image, which is a bit of a surprise since the series got very little advance hype. 

Glenn: Jason Phillips, long time colourist is the writer here so maybe his mere association with some well regarded Image classics (like Criminal) helped here?

Ray: Black Cat still hanging around at #42. Remember when it sold 300K back in the before times? In the long long ago? It’ll be relaunching in December with a King in Black tie-in. 

Glenn: We knew it smelled like kitty litter. We’ll see how long it lasts beyond said tie-in.

Ray: Decorum returns from its long hiatus with a second issue selling .6 Justice Leagues at #48. The unexpected hiatus right after the first issue couldn’t have helped, but I think no Hickman creator-owned book will ever sell too well in singles. 

Glenn: He has his own steady audience and his success with X-Men will help too.

Ray: The Marvel Snapshots launched right before the shutdown and are finally resuming now, starting with the Captain America one. It sells just over half of Justice League at #54, so likely under 20K. These flashback stories are still very much niche books, but they’ll make a good collection for evergreen Marvel stories spanning the eras. 

Ablaze continues to rise pretty quickly as a new company, with their off-brand Conan title launching its second arc, “Red Nails” at #56. This is one of the ten highest-selling non-DC/Marvel books on the charts, so that’s pretty impressive for a company less than one year old. 

Glenn: Abalaze seems to have stumbled on a formula that works and are doing better than companies that have been trying to get to this level for years and/or decades so fair play to them.

Ray: Amid a sea of mid-selling DC books at this level, we see some creator-owned mainstays like Die and The Once and Future – a double-dose of Gillen! They chart at #60 and #66 respectively, both selling in the 15K range most likely. Something is Killing the Children isn’t much lower, at #72. 

#69 brings us the second installment of the Brian Azzarello demonic sex thriller Faithless. Heh. 69. Glenn, it did what Zombie Tramp couldn’t last month!

Glenn: I feel better about the synergy of the universe now.

Ray: At #71 is the second issue of Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, selling .45 of Justice League. I’m a little puzzled by the low sales here, given that this is by the iconic creative team of Palmiotti and Conner. I would have expected this to be one of the biggest Black Label titles. 

Glenn: Something isn’t adding up here. Maybe sharing the title with a polarizing movie hurt it? I have no doubt it’ll do well in collections.

Ray: The highest-selling ongoing AWA book, Resistance by JMS and Deodato, returns with its second issue at #74. 

#73 brings us the launch of Adventureman by the crack creative team of Fraction and the Dodsons. I’m really confused by how this pulp adventure-themed superhero story from Image only did 2/3rds of That Texas Blood. 

Glenn: Fraction has been MIA from the industry for a while. Maybe a lot of his drawing power is still too hard to determine for retailers to make a more solid commitment?

Ray: The Boys, one of Garth Ennis‘ longest-running titles, returns with a sequel/prequel, Dear Becky, from Dynamite at #75. I don’t think this franchise is likely to pick up too many new fans since it’s so continuity-deep, despite the ongoing TV series, but this is going to be another hit volume of the series in collections for Dynamite. 

Glenn: Yeah this will be just the dedicated fan base coming back for more but it was always a decent seller for what it was. The Amazon Prime adaption is bringing a new audience in the collections so this one will more than earn its keep eventually.

Ray: As absurd crossovers go, Transformers vs. Terminator is holding up pretty well. After three months off, it returns at #79 and is the highest Dark Horse book and the highest IDW book on the charts. 

Stephanie Phillips has been making her way around the comic book world over the last few months pre-shutdown, and now she makes her way over to Image. The historical pirate adventure A Man Among Ye lands at #83, with sales probably in the 12K range or so. 

DC’s DC Classics line of affordable all-ages comics has an entry in the top 100, with the first issue of The Batman Adventures landing at #86. Similar to what the best-selling True Believers books did. 

Glenn: Its almost like selling comics cheap to kids to get them addic…interested is a good idea or something.

Ray: Remember when DC announced a Brian Azzarello Birds of Prey series? And then it became a three issue Black Label series? And then it became a one-shot? And then it was delayed repeatedly? Well, it’s finally here as DC released it as a $9.99 comic and it charted with a thud at #87. Between this and the box office of the movie, I don’t think dark-and-edgy Birds of Prey is the future for the franchise. 

Glenn: SO much weirdness here. Maybe this also damaged the momentum of the other Harley and the Birds mini because retailers thought THAT was THIS?

Ray: Remember Rick and Morty? They can go to hell! No, literally, Rick and Morty Go to Hell is at #90 from Oni. 

Glenn: I do remember Rick and Morty. This is about the cat and mouse killing each other, right?

Ray: Sabrina: Something Wicked, the sequel to Kelly Thompson’s acclaimed mini, launched in March but almost no one got their hands on it in stores. So it charts again this month at #92, selling in the 10-12K range. Let’s hope it gets more eyes on it. 

Glenn: Better than anything else Archie could manage I’d wager. This one had a weird roll out with the pandemic too so a lot of people may have opted to wait for trade.

Ray: A surprisingly low debut for Nailbiter Returns #1 at #95. Josh Williamson’s star has risen a lot since he sunset this comic in the last run, but it’s also a very firm continuation of the original with no real jumping on point. Maybe retailers just ordered like it was the next issue?

Glenn: Maybe a slight bump, hard to tell without numbers but this seemed like a cult hit and retailers likely weren’t expecting any surprises.

Superman Giant #3 charts at #97, as one of the last of this line to be released before DC changed them to digital stories. 

#100 brings us the second issue of Year Zero, as AWA continues to try to find a foothold in this fast-changing market. The sales were likely roughly in the 8K range for this global zombie thriller.

Glenn: While everyone took a breather, AWA chugged along. Right now, top 100 is not too tricky to land but once the full machine gets really going…well…

A 7.99 Buffy one shot, To Every Generation charts at 101 from BOOM. This franchise seems to still be in far better shape than the Dark Horse days of old.

Ray: This one-shot was hyped as major for the Buffyverse, but the price tag probably offset any boost it would get. 

Glenn: A novel adaption from 103 from IDW in Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties. This is charting relatively high for IDW based on King’s name alone no doubt. This will do very handsomely in collections also.

Ray: This is a pretty dense, complex story getting a ten-part adaptation, so I imagine it’ll sell a lot more in a full collection down the line. 

Glenn: It seems that we’re getting vampire comics the same as we used to get zombie comics with another one at 104 in the form of Bleed Them Dry, a ninja based vampiric tale from Vault. This seems to be more targeted to a more specific fandom than some of Vault’s most popular books but is still delivering good numbers.

Ray: This one has kind of a hilarious hodgepodge concept – cyborg ninja vampires in the year 4000! – but Vault is rising fast as a company. I think they’re sort of becoming what Aftershock was trying to be. 

Glenn: Next new book is the Last God sourcebook at 116 and I don’t think that’s too bad considering this isn’t a big hit for Black Label and is essentially just a bonus issue with some handbook type info.

Ray: This one is definitely geared towards completists and tabletop gaming nerds, but the main book is getting some buzz. This will probably be included in the collection as well.

Glenn: Right below it is the third Nightwing Annual at 117, perfectly standard for a Batman offshoot book written by a reliable creator.

Ray: Much lower than the main book, but this was a flashback story focusing on a one-off supporting character. 

Glenn: Justin Jordon launches a new Image mini at 122 with Dead Body Road Bad Blood. His books always kind of sell around 11-15k and I would guess this is the same. Image seems to know what they’re getting when they green light Jordon’s books so no big surprised.

Ray: This is a sequel/anthology follow-up to a Jordan book from years ago, so that probably depressed the opening sales as well. As we saw with Nailbiter Returns, retailers tend to order cautiously for creator-owned revivals. 

Glenn: There’s a new Locke & Key mini at 123 and given how well thought of the main series is plus the Netflix show I thought this would have done a little better. Still since the start, Locke & Key is a collection driver with multiple versions having been released by IDW so that’s where the sales here are no doubt with these single issue sales being a bonus.

Ray: Yeah, Locke and Key is a monster in collections, and this one will likely be no different, especially with the period-piece theme. 

Glenn: Next new book is way down at 144 with Invader Zim Quaterly launching from Oni. I remember this cartoon from when I was in university which was no yesterday. I’m guessing it got the nostalgia relaunch? This will be only for the hardcore fans with Oni hoping to get some magic out of it like they do with Ralph and Murphy.

I think there must be some mistake with Wynd at 145. I mean this book has James Tynion, is all ages, is BOOM and has been universally praised prior and since release. Why is it so low?! There seems to be talk that the book was repurposed from an ogn so maybe retailers are holding out from that but still…this is puzzingly low.

Ray: This is really puzzling, but yeah – this was resolicted as a mini in a hurry. I imagine there will be reorders, and the eventual graphic novel will be huge. But remember – Tynion’s other all-ages property, The Backstagers, also struggled in singles.  

The top ten debut last month for Ludocrats was definitely a fluke driven by Gillen’s name and the VERY low bar, as the second issue is down here at #149 selling .13 Justice Leagues. That’s VERY low. 

#150 brings us a new #1, Grievling, from a small-press publisher named Clover. This is a new horror comic from Steve Niles, and that it’s doing in the same range as Image and Dynamite books is kind of impressive. 

Glenn: Niles name carries some weight to it and this is an odd month.

Ray: #153 has the debut of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew, selling around the same as Grievling. Given the hype and controversy for this book, I would have expected much more. Not Kelly Thompson’s Nancy, me no care. 

The latest AWA book, Old Haunts, launches at #154 with similar sales. This Mafia ghost story by Ollie Masters, Rob Williams and Lee Loughridge got the least hype of any launch book so far, so it’s not surprising it’s way down here. 

Glenn: Williams name I thought might have been good for a few more units but he’s not at the rockstar level of sales as some of his peers are.

Ray: The new Ahoy comic, Ash & Thorn, is down at #157. This fantasy adventure about an elderly woman who finds out that she’s a magical chosen one was a change of pace for the company, but didn’t get much advance buzz despite good reviews. 

The new publisher Behemoth, which launched in the middle of the pandemic without much hype, has their first launch titled Osiris Path at #165, selling .11 Justice Leagues. 

Glenn: Same old, same old in some cases sadly. Some of these smaller publishers are going to find this to be an especially rough year.

Ray: Similar numbers for Storm Kids: Hyperbreed, the latest spinoff from niche publisher Storm King. These are selling alongside the levels of ongoing titles from bigger publishers like Sonata, Tartarus, and Doctor Tomorrow, so that’s not bad. 

Source Point was one of the first indie publishers to resume publication, and their offbeat superhero comic Danger Devil launches at #176. They launched a lot of new #1s during this month. 

Glenn: Maybe they were hoping to get some people picking up a new jumping on point while things were quiet?

Ray: More Rick and Morty at #185, with a one-shot based on the Council of Ricks. I still don’t know what a Rick or Morty is. 

Glenn: I asked some cool kids the other day but they gave me a wedgie and took my lunch money.

Ray: Lady Zorro from American Mythology launches at #187. I wonder if it’s time to break out the Rachel Bloom here as well. 

Glenn: You go Zorro.

Ray: A new Archie anthology, Geeks and Games, arrives at #188. These comics are an alternative to the digests for the direct market, printing only the original modern stories, but they don’t make much of an impact. 

A new title, Deep Blue from Mythos, lands at #189. Seems to be a sci-fi comic about the last survivors of an AI apocalypse, and it sells. .07 Justice Leagues.

Glenn: We don’t need a prediction of our future Mythos.

Ray: A pair of Source Point one-shots, Classic Pulp Ellery Queen and Monstrous: See No Evil, are down at #192 and #193. Pretty standard for this company. 

The numbers on After Realm Quarterly at #194 are pretty shocking. No wonder the brilliant Michael Avon Oeming norse fantasy is going to Kickstarter instead. 

Another entry from Storm King, with John Carpenter’s Tales: Sci-Fi Vortex 2 at #196. 

It’s a jump down to the next comic of note at #208, as the sci-fi thriller Zero Day Threat from Red 5 sells…well, we don’t know. At this point, the sales are below .05 Justice Leagues, but there’s no estimate from here on out. 

Down at #214 we have Casper Spotlight: Ghostly Trio from American Mythology, as they continue to have the oddest library of books on the market. 

The Grimm Fairy Tales 2020 Annual is down at #226. Strike up the band, Glenn!

Ray: They’ve been out of work since March, poor people.

Glenn: You never used to see Fantagraphics on this chart, but they’re at #231 with something called Psychodrama Illustrated. We’re seeing books on the chart that never used to make the top 500, so this is interesting and surreal. 

#234 and #235 are the first two issues of Gutter Magic: Smoke and Mirrors, the sequel to Rich Douek’s urban fantasy adventure from Source Point, late of Kickstarter. Douek has gone on to much bigger properties at IDW. 

The sci-fi one-shot Remnant from Source Point charts at #239. This one’s actually a hidden gem, so pick it up for $1.99 on Comixology. The same goes for the fantasy adventure Skylin. 

The musical one-shot Holler from It’s Alive is at #240, as this small-press company continues to build its reputation as the home for offbeat books from cartoonists. 

Another entry from It’s Alive at #242, Air War Stories. This $9.99 one-shot is illustrated by actual WW2 veteran and Golden Age comic artist Stan Glanzman

Speaking of war, Black Hops: Hare Trigger One-Shot is at #245. Because war bunnies. It’s scary down here, Glenn. 

Glenn: It says very specifically in our contact that the crazy shouldn’t start until 300!

Ray: The Catalyst Prime universe concludes for now with Catalyst Prime: Seven Days down at #246, undoubtedly the lowest-selling book Gail Simone has ever written. This won’t stop dozens of other publishers from trying to prove they can do with Kurt Busiek and Jeff Lemire did with analog superhero universes, though.

The Doctor Sleepless Manual from Avatar is at #247, another odd entry. This appears to be a spinoff from a Warren Ellis book. 

#249, the last regular book on the charts this month, goes to…White Widow #4! Good for Red Giant, getting back in print. I wonder what spine-twisting pose White Widow got up to this month. 

Glenn: It seems retailers have finally realized this isn’t a Marvel book.

Ray: And that’s the three missing months! Next up, we’ll look at July in a coming article, as the big publishers get back to publishing their top books. We’ll see who wins between the big events of Dark Nights: Death Metal and Empyre, and see how the return of Punchline fares as Joker War launches. 

Who will rise? Who will fall? Find out next time, because we’re back from the dead at By the Numbers!

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

By The Numbers March 2020

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He can’t recall the taste of food.

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 the great eye bearing down on him.

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 fellow isolaters to By The Numbers: Social distancing edition. A lot has happened since our last update and because of various changes to the industry because of Covid-19, this might be the last traditional By The Numbers ever. Changes are a-coming and we don’t know what that’ll look like but we will figure it out. That is a problem for future Ray and Glenn (suckers) whereas today we try to make sense of sales of March 2020. Now, obviously this was before we were in lock down territory and its unclear how much the virus impacted the sales here but we’ll be taking most of this at face value. Of course, if we spot shenanigans, we’ll call it out and don’t worry…we won’t be waiting long. Before we get started, I hope everyone reading this is staying safe and sensible. We will all get through this and I hope we can provide you some light entertainment in this difficult time for us all.

Ray: The biggest question going forward, I think, will be how sales are reported. Diamond’s sales monopoly has let them report for the entire industry, but DC has broken from them now. We won’t get a sales chart for April for obvious reasons – unless we get ten books or so reporting – and it’s unlikely we’ll get one for the forty or so books released in May, but come June it’ll be very interesting to see what happens.
Glenn: So the world might grind to a halt but Marvel still plays its odd sales games as is clear evidenced by the fact that the new Spider-Woman title is the number 1 book this month and apparently sells over 142k. I’m sorry but…no. Jessica’s peak in popularity was during Bendis New Avengers when she was a Skrull and the spin off series from that by him and Maleev didn’t nearly sell this well. This is in the same pattern as Amazing MJ, Black Cat and the new Gwen mini. Being very generous I’d say half these sales are more realistic and even that is a push. No disrespect to Jessica or the creators involved but these sales for this character at this time just doesn’t make sense. Normally we’d see how things really shake out in short order but…well you know. If the series settles around mid 20k that’s likely going to be the best it can hope for.
Ray: Of those four, only Gwen’s first-issue sales feel remotely relevant, as something like doubling-up sales as an incentive would reach those numbers. But over 100K for a random debut of Spider-Woman, by a creative team with little to no sales pull, and no real advance hype? This smacks of Marvel just adding about 80K to the sales for the hell of it and claiming that #1 spot for the month. That’s been one of the biggest issues with this column over the last few years – how are you supposed to analyze the charts when one company just makes things up?
Glenn: The second highest selling book this month (most likely actually the highest selling book) is the special Flash 750 which sells over 82.4k which would make it the lowest highest selling book I can remember since the launch of David Finch’s Dark Knight many a moon ago. These anniversary specials continue to perform very well despite their price due to the variants and talent involved. This does the least well because sadly, Flash isn’t on the same sales level as Batman and isn’t as iconic as Superman or Wonder Woman.  Issues 751 and 752 also chart this month selling over 30.7k at 50 and 29.9k at 52 respectfully. This continues the long slow sliding pattern its had since Rebirth started and continues to be one of DC’s upper level performers (especially when you add on the bonus sales for the split).
Ray: This is a healthy number, but well below all the other anniversary jumbo issues. I think this one felt like much less of an event than the other ones – it wasn’t a big event in the comic, and it had fewer stories than the others with only a few creative teams. There was Williamson (twice), Johns, Manapul/Buccellato, and Marv Wolfman. It was a good Flash issue, but it didn’t feel like a super-sized special issue in the same way as the ones for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Glenn: As we leave giant special number issues we’ll start to see 80th anniversery ones coming. It’ll be interesting to see how some perform in the near (?) future but we’re going to talk about one of those in short order.
Great numbers 4 issues in for Donny Cates Thor  at 3 which sells over 75.9k which makes it the most successful the title has been in quite some time. Once again it seems Cates has brought a fresh perspective to a property and with it, quite a bit of sales success. Can it maintain this and become one of Marvel’s top performers? We’ll see.
Ray: This is a huge jump for the series, very similar to the way Cates’ Venom exploded. It seems pretty clear that whatever comes next for Marvel, Cates is destined to be their new #1 writer once Aaron mic-drops.
Glenn: Hickman’s X-Men continues to deliver strongly despite having lost a little uber number momentum. Issue 8 sells over 75k at 4 and issue 9 at 8 with sales over 70.2k. Time will tell if Thor can lap it but right now, X-Men is Marvel’s best selling ongoing,
Ray: This X-men line is pretty golden so far, and it should remain so as long as Hickman is on the main book. I think Wolverine is also benefiting from the Thor effect a bit, where it’s been a while since the original had a series. 
Glenn: Speaking of which, holding very well is Wolverine at 5 with sales over 74.2k. No one expected this to stay in the six figure club for long but sales like these are what is considered strong these days. It seems that the traditional Wolverine’s time away and the top creative team has done the book a world of good.
Another decent debut for Strange Academy at 6 with sales over 71k for basically the Marvel Universe does Hogwarts. Retailers probably ordered this on the strength of the creative team and the hope of another big hit for a younger audience. Its a very good concept but once things resume normality this will likely deliver the same numbers as Dr. Strange’s title if not a tad lower. If it can manage that, Marvel will probably be happy enough for the time being.
Ray: It’s definitely a good debut for a title mostly dealing with original characters. Marvel hasn’t had a well-received title starring its younger characters in a while (more on that lay-tor), so this could be a sleeper hit.
Glenn: Split sales again for Batman 90 and 91 which on the service sell over 70.5 and 66.6k at spots 7 and 10 respectfully. However once you add its other sales down at 104 for 90 and 80 for 91 (Punchline varient/debut) we have sales of  over 86k for 90 and 88k for 91 which actually means both issues outsell Flash 750 (and whatever numbers Spider-Woman actually sold. On the surface, Batman isn’t doing too hot but once math is had, its still doing great and is likely to build up speed as we move closer towards Joker War and get more Punchline.
Ray: Batman is waiting for June for Punchline-mania to resume, but apparently the next issue has over 200,000 orders. So this is about to explode. Just how big is #100 going to be? Tynion can probably write his own ticket for DC from here on out.
Glenn: Last title to speak about is Immortal Hulk which sells over 68.7k which if you consider its priced at 5.99 this month is great and enough to give it the 8th spot on the charts. After years of trying multiple things to get the title moving, once again its plain to see Al Ewing has made this one of Marvel’s hottest properties by sheer quality and word of mouth,
Ewing is another one like Cates who seems to be Marvel’s future. Hopefully Empyre won’t hurt his momentum.
Glenn: Everyone is allowed one blemish on their record
Ray: At #11 you have the debut of the latest Star Wars spin-off, Bounty Hunters, which sells just under 62K for a title featuring Boba Fett (Boba Fett? Where?!) and cyborg bounty hunter Valance. It’s a decent launch, but definitely a long way from the heyday of the line. The second issue sells just under 40K at #34 the same month.
Glenn: That’s pretty good for a Star Wars spin off. The bounty hunters have always been a popular part of the fringe part of the mythos and I’m sure the popularity of the Mandeloreon didn’t hurt.
Ray: #12 has the first of the 100-page 80th anniversary specials that are duplicating the format of the #1000/#750 giants for characters who don’t have an ongoing for an anniversary issue. First up is Robin, selling 60K with ten stories ranging from Wolfman to Tynion and covering the four main Robins plus Stephanie Brown. It’s a strong number for a random Robin anthology, and should probably be the general area that the Catwoman and Green Lantern issues do – although I expect the Joker issue to be one of the top books that month due to the presence of Punchline.
DC Comics Celebrates Robin 80th Anniversary with Super Spectacular #1
Glenn: Its been a while since Robin had a strong ongoing so this is pretty good indeed, especially at its cover price. Anything Batman related continues to do well for DC.
Ray: Lot of debuts around this level, with Strange Adventures #1 landing at #13 with sales of 58K from the team of King, Gerads, and Shaner. That’s well above where Mister Miracle or Vision debuted, so King’s growing fame has brought some nice dividends. I expect it’ll stay above 40K for the entire run, whenever that resumes.
Glenn: After the success of the books you mentioned no one wants to miss the boat here. This sells better than any Adam Strange book has any right to so this is great and I would say King’s future at DC is in these more obscure properties rather at the big guns.
Ray: #14 has the launch of Hellions, the oddball villain-focused team from Zeb Wells spinning out of the Hickmanverse. It sells 55K, which is in line where the lower-tier books in the line do.
Amazing Spider-Man is still finding its level, as the two issues this month sell 53K and 52K, easily the lowest the title’s been in a very long time. We’ll see where it goes as it approaches #50, but the signs aren’t good for this run.
Glenn: Things will pick up with the next big story (or it better or they’re really boned) but its putting a plaster on a gushing wound. Change is needed.
Ray: Cable #1, the second X-debut this month, sells 52K for Kid Cable’s debut as a solo hero. Definitely a better number than Cable’s past titles did, even if the book completely rewrites the lead character’s personality.
The Alex Ross-curated anthology Marvel #1 lands at #19, selling 50K mostly off the nostalgia for the classic Marvels and the shiny Alex Ross covers. It’s an incredibly strong number for an anthology, but we’ll see if it holds up and how the quality of stories by various creative teams is received. Worth noting that this is the last book to sell over 50K this month, and we’re still in the top twenty.
Glenn: Insert gif of Superman boozing it up from Superman III here.
Ray: It’s rare to see an Image book this high, but Jonathan Hickman has the power! His oddball space assassin thriller rounds up the top twenty with sales of 47K. This oversized issue was the most Hickman-y Hickman book in years, and it’s clear interest is high for a new concept from him.
Glenn: Hickman has always had a strong pull but I’d say the recent success he’s had revitalizing the X-Men line has helped him as much as its helped Marvel.
Ray: #22 has the next issue of Giant-Size X-Men, featuring Nightcrawler. It sells 46K, so this is probably the level for a Hickman X-book that isn’t the main series.
Another fantastic Image debut for Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy, landing at #24 selling 46K. Hot off the success of Unnatural, this sold out before release and is probably in for a lot of reorders. Andolfo is probably the hottest female creator in the industry at the moment.
Glenn:  She’s become a sellable commodity in herself which is rare air in this industry. Its easy to forget but this is an English reprint of a comic already doing well in Europe so this successful Image debut is BONUS sales. Insane. It won’t be long until she’s given a project at the big two to go to town on unhampered I’d say.
Ray: The bar is pretty low this month, and so Spider-Man Noir #1 is able to round out the top 25. The character’s hot at the moment thanks to Nicolas Cage’s excellent rendition of him in the Spider-verse movie, and that’s good for 44K in sales.
Glenn: If he doesn’t put matches on himself just to feel something it was all for nothing.
Ray: That’s followed by a lot of old favorites from Marvel including Venom, Captain Marvel, and the rest of the X-line. The next new book is Road to Empyre: The Kree/Skrull War, which sells 42K at #31. This was essentially a stealth sequel to the low-selling Meet the Skrulls one-shot from last year, and gives a little more background on the main plot but isn’t really an event.
Glenn: Prequels to big events can be hit or miss and like you say, this a sequel to a low selling mini series with branding to make it sell better. Its fine but Marvel best hope its not inductive of Empyre’s success because its going to get real ugly if that’s the case.
Ray: It’s a big gap, with a lot of Marvel and DC favorites (and Spawn #306 at #40, selling 35K), until we get to the next debut. One that surprises me is Doctor Doom, at #46 selling 32K. That’s above Fantastic Four and Guardians of the Galaxy, which shows the power of DOOM!
Glenn: That is surprising, maybe the exposure he’s gotten from Secret Wars onwards has helped. People want to see what he’s up to next. Of course we’ll likely be down to around 20k next issue but that’s fine for a character focused maxi series.
Ray: The next debut is Marvels Snapshot: Sub-Mariner at #53, selling just under 30K. This was an acclaimed issue focusing on Namor’s PTSD post-WW2 through the eyes of his civilian girlfriend, and the Marvels branding undoubtedly helped the sales a good deal.
Glenn: This is a very niche range of books and given that Namor hasn’t had a regular ongoing in forever this is very good indeed.
Ray: We mentioned Gwen Stacy early in the article, which had a top ten debut last month. This month it sells 29K at #56, which is probably in line with what I’d expect a Gwen title to do without Spider-powers. I do think there’s some genuine interest in the character, but not top ten levels.
The split sales wreak havoc on the charts again, as DCeased: Unkillables #2 charts at #58 and #61, selling about 28K for each covers for a total of 56K. That actually puts it in the top 14, just under Strange Adventures. So the sequel with A-list heroes returning will likely be much bigger.
The news is much less good for Marvel’s latest mini-event, as the teen-hero focused Outlawed has its debut issue land at #60, with sales of just under 28K. This is basically Civil War III crossed with the Adults vs. Kids song from the Simpsons . With more grimdark nonsense about heroes fighting heroes, and bad turns for a pair of Marvel’s most well-liked young heroines, it’s clearly not what the public is looking for right now.
Glenn: Not pretty. After the sales indifference and critical poo pooing of Civil War II no one wanted a third part, even if its under a different name. As myself and Ray have discussed, I loved in a recent issue of Ghost-Spider how Gwen and Peter openly talked about how stupid the whole thing was.
Ray: The new studio Artists, Writers, and Artisans debuted in the shops this month only two weeks before everything totally shut down, but their flagship book The Resistance made a splash. Landing at #65 with sales of 26K, J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato’s pandemic-superhero-fascism thriller had a good debut for a new company, but didn’t pick up much buzz. The first issue is available for free on their website, so judge for yourself! We’ll see where the other three land.
Glenn: They would have had to work hard not to sell this given the talent involved and its a good debut from a new company with that in mind. They have taken some steps to piss off retailers by deciding to continue producing material digitally during the lockdown so we’ll see if that decision costs them dearly down the road.
Ray: #69 brings us the anthology Superman: Villains, following up on the dark side of Superman’s identity reveal. It featured some Luthor, some Bizarro, and a lot of conspiracy courtesy of Bendis and the rest of the Super-team. It sells 24K, which is about 9K below the current level of Action Comics.
Glenn:  Not bad for a bonus one shot that is material that is likely unessential given the main points will be covered in Action and Superman.
Ray: Valiant gets in the top 100 this month with X-O Manowar, as Dennis Hallum’s take on Valiant’s flagship hero sells 23K at #73. He’s one of the line’s headliners and it shows compared to other Valiant launches recently.
Glenn:  The last launch did about double this if memory serves but this is still very high for Valiant.
Ray: Undiscovered Country continues to be the top ongoing non-Spawn creator-owned book at the moment, selling 22K at #78 for its fifth issue. That’s above some elite Marvel and DC books like Star and Justice League Dark, even if it’s a far cry from its top ten debut.
Undiscovered Country #5 | Image Comics
Glenn: It’ll do killer in collections and likely stay at this level through its run with some boosts here and there.
Ray: We’ve got an oddball entry at #85, as IDW and Dark Horse’s latest crossover event Transformers vs. Terminator lands just under 21K in sales. The variant covers help a lot, but the bonkers continuity-bending plot seems like it’ll appeal to fans of both heavy-metal properties. Let them fight Robocop in the sequel!
Glenn: There’s always some appeal of getting action figures from different properties and bashing them together. Both franchises are well past their prime but there seems to be some interest here. Dark Horse and IDW both continue to benefit with cross property partnerships.
Ray: Another surprising entry in the top 100, as #91 brings us Cimmerian: Queen of the Black Coast from Ablaze. Selling 18.4K, this is the English-language reprint of the classic European Conan comics for mature readers, with a faithful retelling of the original Belit story. It’s a far cry from the Marvel comics, and Ablaze had to fight a legal battle against the Mouse for the right to publish it (hence why Conan’s name isn’t in the title), but it’s another win for the rookie publisher.
Glenn: People must have got the Conan link regardless as obviously Marvel has made that property a talking point again and ablaze is benefiting from that. Good for them, they’re come out of the gate very strong.
Ray: A lot of mid-level titles (including Dynamite mainstays Vampirella and Red Sonja: Age of Chaos) around this level, but the level to exit the top 100 this month is only 17K. That’s easily the lowest we’ve seen in ages. Related to the pandemic, or just ill omens for the industry?
Glenn: As we discussed on the podcast we do, Rabbitt Stew (dong!) orders for this month would have been early Jan at latest. Well before things went to pot. I think its just a piss poor month. Maybe the industry needed a break.
Ray: The next book of note is the Fantastic Four Marvels Snapshot, selling 16K at #107. That’s much lower than the Namor issue, which makes me wonder if retailers are ordering these as a series rather than one-shots. One would think the FF would have a bit more sales pull than Namor.
Glenn: Indeed, it might also depend on the creators too. I’d say that these are going to very quite a bit.
Ray: More good news for DC as Punchline-mania continues, with Batman #89 picking up 16.1K in reorders at #111. Good thing nothing’s interrupting the momentum of this – oh. Well, I’m sure Punchline will be fine in June. We’re just making her angrier. There’s no stopping her now.
Glenn: I’ll run, you hide.
Ray: The Iron Man 2020 one-shots continue to underperform, with Rescue’s one-shot landing at #119 with sales of 14.8K. Not what you’d want to see from an event tie-in, for sure, but the main mini is doing okay. I expect this pattern to continue for Empyre.
Glenn: Not what Marvel were hoping for I’m sure. I think these mini events are starting to become a strain for fans and retailers and its reflecting on sales.

Drop of around 20k for the Falcon and Winter Soldier’s second issue which sells over 14.8k at 120. Pretty standard for a mini starring two heroes that don’t have a big name attached. The goal here was to have a trade out to coincide with the Disney+ show and sadly now both are delayed.

At 124 is the Facsimile edition of Detective Comics 38, the first appearance of Robin to coincide with the anniversary special. This is an issue that like most of these things has been reprinted more times than you’ve had hot meals so at standard price the over 14.1k in sales is essentially free money.
The True Believers theme this month centre’s around Empyre and the highest selling of the bunch is the She-Hulk one at 127 selling over 13.7k. Another easy win for a comic that has been printed over and over many times.
At 130 we have King Of Nowhere a new BOOM series which sells over 13.3k so while its not the runaway freight train some of their books are, this is by a much less known creative team. As BOOM continues to build its brand this might be the new lower end of the publishers pull which is miles better than they’ve been able to perform in the past.
Ray: This one is by the creative team of Ice Cream Man, one of Image’s oddest books. So it’s likely this strange Twin Peaks dreamland thriller isn’t going to be very mainstream either. Based on that, I think it’s likely this will be considered another hit for Boom.
Glenn: Right below it at 131 is X-Ray Robot the new comic from the legendary Mike and Laura Allred which sells over 13.2 which is at the higher end of publisher Dark Horse’s pull for creator owned these days. The Allred’s have a strong pull in of themselves but they’ve had several very well regarded runs on various Marvel characters over the last few years which always helps.
Ray: Like Matt Kindt, the Allreds are creators who have been building their brand for a long time and I think it’s finally paying off. This is going to be a future classic, I bet.
Glenn: Next Iron Man 2020 tie in is 2020 Iron Age which sells over 12.7k at 137. It could be worse but interest here beyond the main story is on the cold side of lukewarm. Main Iron Man writer Dan Slott is moving on after this story so Marvel goes back to the drawing board once more to try to figure out how to make the property sell better, a puzzle they’ve been working on for well over a decade.
Ray: This is an anthology, which is usually the lowest-selling type of tie-in. They’ve never recovered from that one where the reporter told Cap to get a MySpace account. This didn’t get the attention it deserved for its delightful Dr. Shapiro: Science Cat solo story, though.
Glenn: Hey kids, remember MySpace? Captain America does but then again he is very, very old.
About a 9k drop in sales of TMNT Jennika which isn’t too bad for a spin off starring a new character to the franchise. It sells over 12.3k at 139.
Pretty standard far for Killing Red Sonja at 153 selling over 10.7k. The franchise has had a little bit of a shot in the arm following runs by Gail Simon and Mark Russell but she’ll only have so much sales reach.
Ray: This is the first spin-off from the Russell run, co-written by him and focusing on a major antagonist, so it might have some decent legs.
Glenn: It seems Russell has put the franchise in a good place that it can support a spin off with similar sales to the main series.
More standard stuff from Image this time in the form of Stealth which sells over 10.3k at 160 which is about the average level for a new mini from the publisher by two creators with no real pull but a concept that’s caught some eyes.
Ray: Superhero comics from Image are a rough sell, because there’s so much content out there for them from other publishers. I think over 10K is a win given the lack of A-list creators.
Glenn: Second issue of the Nebula series sells over 10.2k at 161, no one wants these Guardians spin offs any more.
164 is game tie-in Marvels Adventures Black Widow which sells a little over 10k and this is the last book to do even that and we’re some ways away from out of the top 200. Not great Bob.
At 174 is the second issue of Amethyst which has a small drop to over 9.5k so its done what it needed to do and drop small and settle fast (fingers crossed) I doubt DC expected much more from a very obscure character.
A combo of two John Layman books at 180 in the form of Outer Darkness/Chew selling over 9.2k which is the range that these two properties would have sold in. No real benefit sales wise from the crossover but it shows that Layman has a decent and loyal following which is not the worst thing in the current market.
Ray: Both Outer Darkness and Chew are cult hits, never breaking out in singles. So this crossover is likely only for the die-hard fans while one book takes a brief break and the other prepares for a spin-off.
Glenn:Several spin offs apparently. Bring on the chicken aliens!
Another Marvel’s Avengers game tie in for Captain America this time at 184 selling over 9k. I’m surprised Widow did better but there’s only 1k in it and she was supposed to have a movie coming out soon *sob*
Small drop for Bang, Dark Horse’s new book on its second issue selling over 8.6k at 192. Pretty standard for Dark Horse these days.
More standard Dark Horse fare at 199 from Starship down, a new title by creators that have no sales presence and it sells over 8.2k due to that. Not many surprises from the charts this month,
Ray: This one was dropped the same week as X-Ray Robot with little fanfare, and Dark Horse barely promoted it. Given that, these numbers are actually decent.
Glenn: A new Aftershock book, Join The Future sells over 8k at 203. Unlike most Aftershock books there’s no star power here so it sells on the power of the brand once again…standard.
Ray: Aftershock gonna Aftershock. This one got some good buzz, but the company can’t sell outside this range yet aside from a few creators.
Glenn: Anthology of reprints Marvel Tales Silver Surfer sells over 7.5k at 214, something something 7.99 something something free money.
Not too bad a debut from Oni on a rare monthly from them in the form of Dryad which sells over 7.4k. The sales here are nearly moot here as the Oni basically exists in monthly form to publish Mick and Rorty (that’s it right?) and the occasional creator owned.
Ray: That’s actually pretty solid numbers for a new Oni launch with little hype. Some people pointed out the similarities in tone to Saga, and given the long absence there, that may have helped.
Glenn: People may be looking for a replacement, you’re right. It’ll most likely fare better in collections in that case.
The comments for Join The Future above could also apply to Artemis and Assasins at 224 which sells a little lower with over 7.1k because it just didn’t grab as many people with the concept. Say it with me, standard, standard, standard.
Ray: Stephanie Philips is a writer who’s rising fast, with stories at four companies in the recent and coming months. But Aftershock isn’t likely to be where she finds her biggest audience.
Glenn: Hotell from new company Artists, Writers and Artisans sells over 7.1k at 224 which means that apart from one book after a LOT of hype and bluster they’ve managed to be on par with…Aftershock. Not a bad place for a new company to be but with the people at the top, I’m sure more was expected.
Ray: Aside from the JMS/Deodato book, few of these books had big-name creative teams, but with all the hype and rollout I would have expected more. Some bigger-name creators are going to be launching titles with them in coming months, so we’ll see if they can build momentum, but this definitely isn’t the rollout AWA was hoping for.
Glenn: We’ll see how things go, there’s a lot of fighting for scraps where they’ve ended up and they’ve come out of the gate with some serious weapons at their disposal. Not sure what else they can do in the short term to grow and the current situations throws everything in doubt.
Wicked Things at 229 selling over 7k is much more how BOOM used to perform but the overall turnaround across the publishing line is not going to happen overnight.
Ray: This is well above where its parent book, Giant Days, was selling, so I’d say the creative team has to be happy with the numbers on this spin-off miniseries. It’ll sell even better in collections. 
Glenn: Giant Days has gotten a cult following and people may have been eager to get on the ground level on this one. Definitely one that will sell oodles in collections.
Vault delivers new title No One’s Rose from a creative team that again doesn’t seem to have any sales pull but given their size I’d say over 7k at 242 isn’t too bad. Like BOOM but on a smaller scale, Vault has made some big advancements but it’ll take more time to get everything up to the next level by default.

Ray: Vault continues to be one of the fastest-rising companies, and this is another feather in their cap along with books like Money Shot and The Plot in recent months. 

Glenn: Absolutely, destined for bigger things when sanity resumes and people can you know…go places
ADVANCED REVIEW: No One's Rose #1 — Comics Bookcase
Ray: The remaining AWA titles do similarly mediocre numbers, with angelic assassin thriller Archangel 8 from Michael Moreci selling 6.5K at #240, and Mexico-set gang thriller Red Border from Jason Starr selling 6.1K at #251. You can’t brute-force a new power player into the industry, and the company’s new moves since then – going digital in the middle of the shutdown – aren’t likely to endear them to retailers.
Amid some reorders and low-selling creator-owned books, we have the relaunch of Marvel Action Avengers, with a new arc by all-ages creator Katie Cook. Unfortunately, it debuted the week the industry shut down. It sells 5.5K at #262, but will likely do much more in the direct market if it finishes.
A new Crow miniseries by Tim Seeley, subtitled Lethe, debuts at #265 with sales of 5.3K. It’s just above reorders of TMNT: Jennika #1, which kind of shows the difference between the two franchises.
Glenn: The Crow has been cooking on fumes for decades. Even a creator like Seeley is going to struggle to bring attention to it. All IDW can do is hope the new movie does come and is a hit and gets them some collection revenue.
Ray: At #269 is the one-shot Man-Eaters: Tomorrow Belongs to You, which is a magazine-style bonus to the irregularly paced series. The thing is, no one knows if the series is even continuing, given the way the last arc ended and the controversy over the book and creator. So 5.2K is probably about as good as could be expected, especially at $4.99.
Glenn: What an odd story this book has had. Perhaps it will end up on a certain handsome Northern Irishman’s autopsy table one day.
Ray: Judge Dredd, not exactly a hot character at the moment, launches a new IDW series titled “False Witness” with sales of 4.9K at #273.
Glenn: Like we’ve said many times now in this article, Dredd’s money is earned through 2000AD and not the direct market. This is only for hardcore fans that want everything related to the character and few else and it sells appropriately.
Ray: Mark Russell returns to Ahoy following the success of Second Coming with a new satirical thriller titled Billionaire Island, selling 4.9K at #276. That’s well below his usual numbers, probably down both to Ahoy’s sales trouble and the fact that this is one of Russell’s darkest comics yet – not his usually wacky fare.
Glenn: He’s one of those creators like Bunn and Houser that has a very diverse portfolio. They can’t all be winners.
Ray: It’s a big drop down to the next book of note, and it’s quite the book of note. At #288 we have Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #121, the 20th Anniversary special, selling 4.6K. For the record, this is the “Your Vagina is Haunted!”  comic.
Glenn: The what now? That’s…quite a premise.
Ray: A very odd debut at #291, Super Duck from Archie, sells 4.5K. This is a mature readers book from Frank Tieri about a depressed, drug-addicted talking duck who worked as a superhero and things go very south from there. Not exactly your normal cheery Archie material.
Glenn: So discount Howard The Duck it seems. Its an odd choice for Archie to go outside their wheelhouse with a parody of a parody but the company is likely trying to find a footing again.
Ray: Zombie Tramp at #295, selling 4.3K. Zombie Tramp, Zombie Tramp, does whatever a…you know.
Glenn: We love you Zombie Tramp, don’t ever change.
Ray: Sending us out of the top 300 this month is the Image political thriller On the Stump, which sells 3.9K with its second issue. This one seems unlikely to be a long run.
Glenn: Sadly not. Time to buckle up I guess.
Ray: At #307, we have a unique new thriller from Action Lab, Sweet Heart. Set in a world where monsters stalk chosen people throughout their lives, it sells just under 3.7K. That’s a surprisingly good number for this company, but with the world in upheaval, the rest of the issues were released digitally. The entire series is up for only $5.99 on Comixology and it’s well worth the buy.
Sweet Heart #1 Launches From Action Lab in March 2020 Solicitations
Glenn: That’s a great deal. You have to wonder how the company makes money at that but they’re probably hoping to get more eyes on it that way. Works for me!
Ray: Lots of reorders down here, but one that’s a little puzzling is 3.4K in reorders for Aggretsuko #1 at #314. The second issue came out this month, but it’s not exactly a book that many people are talking about. Maybe bulk orders for Sanrio stores?
Glenn: I guess? Maybe it did quite well somewhere?
Ray: Cates Thor continues to pick up steam, as we have the second and first issues getting 3.6K and 3.2K in reorders respectively just out of the top 300. Not surprising given the huge jump we saw this month.
At #317 we have a book titled “My Little Pony Canterlot High: March Radness” selling 3.4K. I got nothing, Glenn. NOTHING!!!
Glenn: There’s a comic for everyone.
Ray: Amid a lot of reorders and low-selling books, I continue to be surprised by how well Love and Rockets Magazine does. This cult sensation by the Hernandez brothers charts at #330 selling 2.9K, right between Looney Tunes and Predator.
I don’t know what “Jasco Games” is, but there’s a Grimm Fairy Tales one-shot about it at #339, selling 2.8K. Glenn, strike up the Rachel Bloom!
Glenn: *googles* Its some sort of…card game? I think? It seems young and cool therefore it confuses and terrifies me.
Ray: More Judge Dredd with a 100-page giant selling 2.7K at #340. I think these are mostly reprints, selling for $5.99 as a jumbo-sized primer for the characters.
Glenn: Aye see comments on Dredd comics in the mainstream above.
Ray: I didn’t even know what Upshot Now from AWA was, but apparently it’s an anthology magazine that contains clips of their new series. Being sold for $5 (not $4.99), it sells 2.3K at #247, a very odd project that seems overpriced for a preview comic.
Glenn: That’s crazy I mean DC has done books like this and either offered them for free or for very cheap. This is more like a Marvel move and you are not Marvel, AWA.
Ray: The next original is the martial arts adventure Shang from Zenoscope, selling 2.3K at #353. Do you think the hero fights sexy ninjas?
Glenn: I mean, they’re all sexy. (Joke shamelessly stolen from OutsideXBox)
Ray: At #355 we have the launch of the new Scout series North Bend, selling 2.2K. A very dense conspiracy thriller, it was dropped without much promotion and doesn’t seem to be picking up any real buzz for the rookie company.
Glenn: Dense comics can be a hard sell. You need to have a rep to be able to float these and much more market presence. Good for the company trying to offer something different I guess but it doesn’t seem to have got them very far.
JAN201960 - NORTH BEND #1 CVR B TULA LOTAY - Previews World
Ray: And another small-press original from Red 5 Comics, we have the steampunk fantasy coming of age story Dragon Whisperer, selling 2.2K at #357. With so many books struggling to establish themselves every month, a lot just slip under the radar. As I recall, this was one of close to 10 small-press #1s that same week!

Glenn: We’re getting into stock dumping territory at 359 with over 2.1k additional sales for Black Cat 1. Last year it was Marvel’s highest selling comic *coughs* and now its one of many books to be shifted over for digital only for at least one issue. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

Impact Theory Comics *shrugs to audience* gives us Hexagon at 370 selling over 1.8k. They’re probably just happy to be here.
Ray: Surprisingly, Hexagon is a Michael Moreci book at a super-obscure company. He’s probably responsible for most of these sales.
Glenn: More typical stuff from Action Lab this time with new series, Twin Worlds selling over 1.8k at 374. Small published + no big names=low sales.
Ray: Action Lab and other companies like them released a lot of first issues right before the shutdown. Most of these series have concluded in digital and will never be heard from again.
Glenn: Right below that at 375 is this months Sim comic which sells over 1.8k. ‘Parody’ is where its at folks.
Below that is the latest Archie reprint package, Betty & Veronica: Friends Forever All Relative which sells over 1.7k at 376 but again, when it comes to these it doesn’t matter.
Sexy aliens abound in Zenescopes Conspiracy Alien Abductions which sells over 1.6k at 383. Insert your own joke of anal probing here!
Some reorders for last months Giant Size X-Men featuring Jean Gray and Emma Frost at 388 with over 1.6 additional sales. Not quite the same overwhelming demand that the Power and House of X mini;’s but still a little interest in Hickman written fringe X titles.
Another low selling Action Lab title at 390 with Argus selling over 1.6k. See comments above for Twin Worlds.
FantaCo (like the drink?) releases Screaming Horror at 392 selling over 1.5k. Horror at the moment is second only to super heroes in terms of busyness in today’s market so this likely got lost in the shuffle, especially since it came from a company I presume is better known for fizzy orange.
Charlie Chaplin’s two most iconic roles combine in Fuhrer and the Tramp at 399 selling over 1.4k, very much a niche book. I hope in years to come we’ll get the adventures of Korg and imaginary friend Adolf.
Alterna releases a one shot, Legend Of Log at 400 selling over 1.4k. I remember when it seemed like they had momentum.
Planet Comics does better than first appears since its two covers are listed separately for some reason (Cover A sells over 1.4k at 402 while Cover B sells 752 and 490) which means ir sells a little over 2k which priced at 9.99 and from an unknown publisher is not too shabby.
Grumble Memphis & Beyond The Infinite seems to be the continuation of long going small press property, Battle Pug so retailers likely just treated it the same as what that property delivers which is over 1.3k at 408.
Ray: It’s not related to Battlepug by Mike Norton, it’s just another series with a superpowered pug in it! Like you do.
Glenn: Pft, you and your ‘correct information’
JAN201451 - GRUMBLE MEMPHIS & BEYOND THE INFINITE #1 (OF 5 ...
Mostly reorders down here and low selling ongoings but at 414 we have a number 1 for the third volume of a book called Blood Realm from Alterna which I’ve never heard of which sells over 1.2k. The creators must be happy enough if this is the third volume.
Cat Sh!t takes the prize for worst name for a comic ever and the 414 spot on the charts with sales over 1.2k. The marketing/branding part of me just died a little inside.
Ray: This is apparently an acclaimed war manga from Japan with an unfortunate translation of its name. I guarantee you the latter is what drew Antarctic to it.

Glenn: Another stray Edgar Rice Burrows character from American Mythology selling over 1k at 422. Its clear they’re trying to get some residuals from the success Marvel has made of Conan and the like but it doesn’t seem to have carried over as we’ve seen over the last few months.

Scout Comics releases a follow on from a comic mini from last year at 435 in the form of Kyrra Alien Jungle girl which sells 999 copies. This seems like a slightly younger take on the Shanna/Red Sonja character type. There must have been interest somewhere for them to do more but I’m not sure from where.

More from Scout at 443 with Hank Steiner Monster Detective selling 922. The company has chosen to separate from Diamond so its clear they have other avenues of revenue that aren’t obvious in these sales charts, if that’s the case then good for them.
Ray: Given that it’s a Nonstop book and a reprint, I don’t think they were expecting much from this, but it’s easily the lowest Scout debut in a while.
Shriek Special is a 5.99 British horror anthology with four stories by a writer whose name I don’t recognize. Again there are horror books out there from bigger publishers and more well known creators that anyone else is going to be left fighting for scraps which in this case is good for 898 sales at 446.
Ray: This has apparently been a massive year-long crossover between obscure horror movies, with Puppet Master being the headline. Takes all kinds.
DEC191711 - SHRIEK SPECIAL #1 (MR) - Previews World
Glenn: The Fantastic Four villain?! Don’t tell Disney…
Some serious boobie comics that would put Zenescope to shame sells 822 copies at 453 in the form of Cavewoman Spellbinder. Got to cater to the creepy side of the market.
All stock dumping, low selling indies and some small reorders here until we get to 491 and Deadly Ten Presents Shadowheart Curse which sells 550 copies. Some sort of horror film tie in seems to be the case from the description. What’s scariest is how low the sales are getting this month.
At the bottom of the list is a Laurel and Hardy comic selling 513 comics. Will things be better or worse after comics have had an unplanned break for a while? Its hard to tell but this is pretty grim.

Ray: Now this is the kind of absurdity I’m looking for in the #500 slot!

So what’s up next month? Well… *tumbleweeds blow by*
Obviously, we’re in uncharted territory and it’s not clear what the sales charts will even look like when they resume. DC has split from Diamond, so I don’t know how we’ll get their sales in the future. Only three print comics were released in April, all from DC through their new publishers, so we’re unlikely to get a chart for April as the only other releases were some small-press digital books. May is a little more complicated, as major companies like Image and Marvel are releasing partial schedules in the last few months with bigger slates starting in June. Stay tuned, loyal readers. By the Numbers…will return.
Glenn: You make it sound like a threat…its totally a threat.
Artblog | Stay safe and healthy and help each other
Like what you read? Have any questions or comments? Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield
Also, stay safe.

By The Numbers: February 2020

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! During the current pandemic, Glenn is spending priceless time with his two very young children. Please send help.

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.  During the current pandemic, Ray is being forced to eat his comic collection. Please send help.

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 back to another By The Numbers where we hope to distract and entertain during these very odd times. While the world may be slowly shutting down, we don’t stop no matter what!

No surprise here is that the top book of the month is Wolverine which sells over 190.5k! This is the first proper Wolverine book in some time and while we’ve had Old Man Wolverine and young female Wolverine along with various mini’s this is the first ongoing in quite some time. Pushing it to the moon with all the variants a decent creative team, this almost had to be the number one book of Marvel would have had to start to become very worried. Of course, this month as we’ll go onto see is very poor sales wise and the fact that a new Wolverine with all the bells and whistles in the world couldn’t top 200k is an indication of the type of month we’re in for. Historically Wolverine generally sells around the 50k mark, we’ll see if that is the case next month when the initial launch boom dies off.

Wolverine #1 Dominates Advance Reorders

Ray: Yeah, this had everything going for it – a ton of variant covers, a lot of hype, and a long absence for the main character that boosted titles like Thor in the past. But while these numbers aren’t close to what this title would have gotten in years past, it still blew past the rest of the field by a more than two to one margin and was the only title topping 100K this month. A harsh drop is likely, but I think this should be able to secure itself a place as the #2 X-book for the future.
Glenn: If nothing else it’ll be a solid performer in the middle of the mass X-Men pack.
Taking second place this month is more Hickman X-Men with the next issue also getting the third spot with these selling over 92.2k and 76.6k respectfully. That’s quite a sharp drop for the 7th issue but still a good bit ahead of everything else Marvel is putting out. Oh yes, we’re not even out of top 5 and we’re already circling 75k *takes drink*
Ray: #7 was an oversized issue, which might have dulled sales a bit. But this is still the #1 ongoing on the market – for now. However, the omens aren’t great overall.
Glenn: At 4 is the first issue of the Nancy Drewish Gwen Stacy mini which sells over 68.3k which seems on the high side. I mean, people may be wanting a return for classic Gwen but something about these numbers gives me the sense they’re inflated. Still on face value, its very good for what it is. I expect the rest of it to sell about low to mid 20’s.
Ray: Very similar to the bizarre sales boost we saw for the first issue of Amazing Mary Jane, but this title seems to be getting a bit more good buzz. I suspect it’s a stealth ASM tie-in to the Kindred storyline, so it might get a boost down the – wait, no one cares about that storyline.
Glenn: No one. It could pick up a decent life in collections cause it’s a very good creative team and reviews seem to be good.
More Hickman related X-Men stuff at 5 in the first of the Giant Size One Shots that feature around a different character drawn by a variety of top artists with this first installment focusing on Emma Frost and Jean Gray. It sells over 63k and I’m surprised it didn’t do better because its by Hickman but we’re flooded with X-Men books and if you treat this as just a one shot that’s fine. I would say these will range in sales depending on the character being featured.
Ray: Essentially just being treated as a third Hickman X-book per month, I think. All the characters featured are similar to these two – popular but not headliner X-men – so I think this should find a decent place on the charts, probably in the top ten.
Glenn: Amazing Spider-Man bumps a bit up in sales at 6 selling over 60.3k with the second issue this month at 12 in the charts selling over 54.2 which is quite a big difference. The number at 12 seems more in line with the titles current trend. The odd bump is seemingly for no reason but that’s the odd pattern we’ve seen with Amazing during this run.
RayWhen I saw the placement on the charts, I thought it might be doing those weird sales jumps again. But nope, this is just how low the entry point into the top ten is this month. So this title continues to slide, likely under 50K in a few months. How low can it go before we start seeing chatter about a new creative team and new #1?
Glenn: Sooner rather than later one would hope
We’re really getting concerning stuff at 7 when we’re already hitting sales over 59k for Darth Vader. Again, the bloom is off the rose for Star Wars titles but that seems especially low for the franchises ‘b title’. It’ll probably settle around the 35k mark which will be in line with what Marvel gets out of the line these days.
Ray: Yeah, this is really low for arguably the franchise’s #1 character. I’m wondering how much the lukewarm reaction to the end of the franchise had to do with the buzz for these titles dropping. We need a Baby Yoda series, stat!
Glenn: We all know Jar Jar is the #1 character.
DC finally shows up to the party at 8 with the newest issue of Batman which sells over 56.9k and then another issue is at 10 selling over 56.4k so while its very consistent it is very low for Batman. Of course, this being DC the sales are split and there’s another 17 odd k down 102 for issue 88 and 16.9k for issue 89 at 108. All together this means that both issues sold about 74k which makes them the third and fourth highest selling books overall so that makes more sense. Of course, Punchline mania shortly followed by Joker War is coming and then all bets are off.
Ray: The addition of those extra sales makes a big difference. I’m guessing we’re going to be seeing this take over as the #1 ongoing in the coming months, given the trajectory of this and X-men.
DEC190442 - BATMAN #88 - Previews World
Glenn: On the lead up to 100 I would say that is definitely the case. Initially Tynion seemed to be here for a fill in but given the insane buzz he’s getting and things up in the air editorially at DC it might be the companies best move.
Final book left in the top 10 is at 9 with X-Men/Fantastic Four, the first issue of yet another X-Men related mini by Chip Zdarskey which sells over 56.4k. Not bad for an X-Men mini in a sea of them, it should do pretty well for the duration of its short run.
Ray: It’s a solid debut, if not great – maybe too many X-books on the market? But this one seems to have major implications for both the X-men and FF, so I think the retailers might have missed the boat here. Expect low drops, reorders, and another win for Zdarsky.
The entry point for the top ten this month is ridiculously low, with only 13 books selling above 50K. That might be the lowest we’ve seen in ages. The top twenty is full of mainstream hits like Curse of the White Knight, Ewing books Guardians and Immortal Hulk, Cates books Thor and Venom, Avengers, X-Men, and Star Wars. All strong, well-regarded titles that should be doing better as the market continues to contract. Good thing there’s nothing that could cause further losses in the months ah – *looks out window* crap.
Glenn: I’m glad there seems to be some faith in Guardians. It seems the title has settled in to an upper tier performer (such as that is these days) following Cates run and now under Ewing there should be stabilization.
Ray: #21 brings us an Immortal Hulk spin-off, the Spider-man focused Great Power. Written by Tom Taylor, it sells 42K and is a good example of how Hulk is slowly becoming a franchise again. I’m guessing the Jeff Lemire-penned issue in coming months will do similar numbers of not better.
Glenn: Taylor’s also building a solid brand for himself too which will have helped.
Ray: At #24 we have the debut of Falcon & Winter Soldier, selling 42K. A decent debut for a miniseries starring two popular Marvel supporting heroes with a Disney Plus series in the works. Well, if it ever finishes filming. Unspectacular numbers, but about in line with what miniseries do from Marvel lately.
Glenn: Pretty much. The trade will pick up some interest after the show lands…eventually.
Ray: A small boost for the launch of season two of The Green Lantern, from Morrison and Sharp. It sells 41K at #25, up a few thousand copies from where it ended the last run. This is clearly being treated as the next issue – it didn’t miss a month thanks to a bridge miniseries penned by Morrison – but confusion over the length of the series due to the recent editorial shakeups might have thrown retailers for a loop.
Glenn: It did seemed to be cut off at the legs initially but no longer. The uncertainty at DC (and the world in general) will hopefully not affect the book too much. This run has been a big hit for the property and DC will have to go some to match it once Morrison leaves.
Ray: At #28 we have the debut of the sequel to DCeased, Unkillables. The sales of 40K look distinctly unimpressive, but when you add in the additional 31K for the cardstock variant at #45, you get total sales of 71K. That places it as only under Wolverine and two issues of X-Men and Batman – more in line with the previous series. I think the lack of A-list characters in this one (Cass Cain is A-list in my heart) may have blunted it a bit, which means Dead Earth should be a monster in June. If OUR Earth survives till then.
Glenn: This property is still a pretty heavy hitter, I think the proper sequel will see a bump but we’ll see. This still must be more than DC ever dared dream for it and I’m really happy for Taylor.
Ray: Next book of note after a bunch of X-books is the one-shot Batman: Pennyworth RIP, which has some recent Bat-writers teaming up to tell stories of how Alfred influenced the Batfamily. It sells 38K, very low for a major death like this. The problem is, the weird pacing and editorial shakeups make many people think Alfred will be back soon, at the end of Batman/Catwoman at the latest. So this monumental death didn’t feel like one at all.
Glenn: That and this one shot is a good bit after the death, likely put together when the editorial at the time decided the death was going to stick. Any momentum has waned but it sold well enough given the circumstances
Ray: #37 brings the debut of Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey from the iconic Harley team of Palmiotti and Conner, selling 35K as an oversized Black Label launch. That’s lower than I would have expected, given how popular the creative team’s run was. Maybe the mature readers brand and lack of Joker, plus the price tag, led more people to wait for the trade on this one? It’s faring better than the Azzarello run, though – that one’s looking as cursed as New Mutants.
Glenn: I’m really surprised here. I would have thought this would have been a top ten delivery for sure, especially with this month’s low entry mark. Perhaps some retailers viewed it as a movie tie in rather than a continuation of a best selling run? Its selling around the same as the regular book but at a higher price so its nothing overly concerning but I just expected more. I have no doubt it’ll be an evergreen performer long term.
Ray: Spawn #305 maintains its title as the top creator-owned book of the month, clocking in at 35K at #38, just above the second issue of Star.
At #44 we’ve got the debut of Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown, selling 32K. This is about 1K below the launch of the new Conan the Barbarian creative team at #41, so this seems like it’s basically the level for mid-range Conan things. Marvel’s got to be happy with how the franchise is doing overall.
Glenn: Absolutely, a world away from how it was performing at Dark Horse.
Ray: Can someone explain to me how Ravencroft #2 (29.7K, #52) is outselling Iron Man 2020 #2 (29.1K, #54)? Please? Is it just the faint Carnage connection in the former? What an odd success story this is, and I can’t say too many great things about the performance of this mini-event for Iron Man.
Glenn: Either there’s sales shenanigans or Absolute Carnage bumped up anything vaguely relating to Carnage but I expect a big drop either way next month.
Ray: But speaking of mini-events, at least they have to be feeling better than the creative team of Leviathan Dawn, which sells 28.1K at #59. This is a bridge one-shot between the previous mini and the upcoming Checkmate storyline, but it seems to have mostly slipped under the radar.
Glenn: This one didn’t land at all. On paper it seemed like a winner originally but event saying literally in the title it was an ‘event’ did nothing to benefit it.
Ray: #62 brings us the anthology Superman: Heroes, which focuses on the reaction of people in Superman’s life to his big identity reveal. It ties into the main story, but is also a jam issue with several writers and artists. It sells 27K, about 5K below the main series – maybe partially due to the $5.99 price tag.
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Glenn: Some may have seen this as disposable as well with them expecting most of the significant reactions in the characters main titles.
Ray: The last of the “Marvel: The End” one-shots lands at #66, as Erik Larsen’s Captain America one-shots sells 26K. I think Larsen’s days as a sales power are mostly behind him, but this is a number in line with most of these.
Glenn: Yeah, these all sold around the same with Venom being the leader of the pack. Its always kind of cool to see Larsen back as Marvel but it doesn’t have as much weight as it would have done around 20 years ago or more.
Ray: Undiscovered Country #4 clocks in at #71, selling 24K. That’s a big drop from the first three issues, but it’s still well ahead of every other creator-owned book besides Spawn.
Glenn: Walking Dead was the exception to this but this does seem to be around the upper tier for indie books out the gate regardless of creator or publisher or whatnot
Ray: Selling 23K at #73 is the launch of Dark Agnes, the second book from the Conanverse. I guess it’s a decent debut for a solo title for a character that hasn’t really had any relevance in decades, but I don’t think Marvel should stretch this franchise too far.
Glenn: When we see ‘Conan’s good friend Bill’ we’ll know a line has been crossed.
Ray: #75 brings us Savage Avengers #0, a $4.99 one-shot that had about five pages of new story and two issues of Kulan Gath’s last appearance as a villain in Marvel Comics for decades ago. The fact that it managed 23K in sales is a testament to how well the parent book is liked right now.
After a bunch of mid-selling normal comics in the 20K range, we have the latest DC jumbo-sized anthology – DC’s Crimes of Passionat #83. It sells 21.9K, a little more than most of the seasonal anthologies. This one had a lot of top creators and was very heavily focused on Gotham characters – including a reunion between Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer – so interest was a little higher.
Glenn: Plus February is the month of looooooove.
Ray: #85 has the debut of TMNT: Jennika, a spotlight miniseries for the new fifth Turtle from the IDW franchise. This sells 21K, about 6K above what the main series sells this month. So clearly the franchise as a whole is doing much better than it used to.
Glenn: Still, the creative team must be pleased and the title can only grow from here. There will be some interest in the new character too, it opens the franchise to a new potential demographic which is always good.
Ray: It’s also doing better than Guardians of the Galaxy spin-offs, as the Nebula solo series has a pretty dreadful debut at #89, selling 20K. Didn’t we try this before? The Guardians don’t need individual titles. Nebula isn’t fairing any better than Drax or Yondu.
Glenn: No big surprise here. The characters have become pop culture icons due to the movies but not many people are floating over to the comics to read their solo exploits outside of maybe Rocket and Groot and even then it’s a push.
Ray: #92 has the final issue of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, selling 20K, but there’s another cover selling 14K at #127. That puts it at 34K and roughly the #40 mark, definitely an overall win for the franchise – even if the ending caused no small amount of controversy.
Glenn: Very good for a mini, I’d say we’ll get a follow on
Ray: #96 has the one-shot Spirits of Ghost Rider: Mother of Demons, an oversized issue introducing the new villain Lilith. It sells about 4K below the main Ghost Rider series, but it’s also essentially just the next issue. So we can basically just consider that standard attrition, but I don’t think the special branding is giving them the results they want.
The bar for the top 100 is spectacularly low this month, with Ghost Spider #7 sneaking in at #100 with sales of only 17.6K. Rough month for comics all around.
Glenn: With the dreaded virus putting the world on hold, this may get worse as we go through the rest of the year.
Ray: #104 has a Facsimile Edition of Wolverine #1 by Claremont and Miller, selling 17.2K. That’s a pretty seminal issue, so not surprised it did well even at full price.
A surprisingly horrible debut at #109 for a new Ant-Man series penned by Zeb Wells. Focusing on Scott and his daughter Cassie and clearly designed to tie in with the character’s popular presence in the movies, I would have expected much more than 16.9K for the first issue.
Glenn: Its still Ant Man though so it will only do so well. I would say that this is about the best they could have hoped for and it’ll settle quickly.
Ant-Man (2020) #1 | Comic Issues | Marvel
Ray: #112 has the final Hill House book, Plunge by Joe Hill and Stuart Immonen. While the main cover only sells 16.5K, it picks up another 6.8K in a variant cover which puts it around #72 on the overall charts.
Glenn: Not that far behind where Undiscovered Country has landed so that’s extremely good. All these books are going to sell gangbusters in collections of course so there will be more of these for sure.
Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir is at 114 selling over 16.1k which I would consider good enough considering Fantastic Four isn’t known for its success in terms of spin offs and this was likely repurposed from the FF quarterly anthology that has vanished without a trace where it likely would have sold a lot less.
An odd one at 119 in Marvel Voices which is a comic written by a group of podcasters I believe and has nothing to do with anything. I find sales over 15.6k very good considering that these aren’t known creators in the industry and it has nothing to do with anything. This is taking the numbers at face value of course.
Ray: Marvel’s Voices is apparently a very popular podcast, but it didn’t really translate to a one-shot that was mostly one-page stories with no apparent through-line.
Glenn: News to me! I can’t wait for the Rabbitt Stew edition
First Iron Man 2020 spin off, Force Works lands at 121 selling over 14.8k. This is Slott’s first big crossover story since he left Amazing Spider-Man and the success of those doesn’t seem to have followed him over.
Ray: It seems pretty clearly that we are NOT going to see the modest success of the main series translate to the way too many tie-ins here.
Glenn: About a 6k drop to over 14.3k for Hill House’s Daphne Byrne’s second issue at 125. These have all settled rather nicely. Again, more of these will be coming at some point when the scary story we’re all living through is over.
Si Spurrier comes aboard the BOOM bandwagon with Alienated at 126 selling over 14.2k which is a great result, I doubt he could have expected much more at Image had the comic been released there. BOOM continues to become a force to take note of.
Ray: Both DC and Marvel have had him take over some runs that are usually associated with certain creators so they must think highly of him and he’s transitioned that over to smaller press.
Another hit for Boom. This seems to be the new level for most of their mid-level books. Like Matt Kindt, Spurrier is one of those creators whose output has gotten just a little bit more mainstream and he’s been rewarded with better sales that he’s deserved for some time.
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Glenn: The second issue of Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle sells over 13.4k at 133 which is about right for a generic Spider-Man related mini at a time where the Amazing brand and the market itself has seen better days.
2020 Machine Man at 136 sells over 13.2k, I believe this character is involved quite a bit in the main story so I would have thought maybe a bit more but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. These mini’s better have a low fall or the numbers will be very low by the time this is over.
Ray: They’re all two-part minis, so any falls should be minor and new ones will be rotated in soon enough.
Glenn: A Young Justice spin off starring a new character, Amethyst sells over 13.1k at 137. I doubt that DC could have expected much better than this.
Ray: Amethyst gets another 5.7K in orders for a variant cover at #267, so that puts it at close to 20K and a modest hit for the line.
Glenn: Good enough for a relatively obscure character
Second issue of Ant Man this month too at 138 selling over 12.8k. If it hadn’t been a mini it would have likely become one swiftly.
Some free money for DC for a fascimilie edition of the Flash 123 selling over 11.7k.
The tie ins for the upcoming Avengers game continues at 147 with the Hulk selling over 11.6k. Its a video game tie in for a game that will come out who knows when now so it is what it is.
Just below it is Death To Army Of Darkness at 148 selling over 11.6k which is on the high end for what this property usually delivers. This one franchise is the definition of cult so it’ll have its set, small and loyal audience.
Ray: Dynamite books always have dozens of covers for the first issue, so this is about in line with that. But it does have fast-rising Boom writer Ryan Parrot on board, so it might pick up a bit more momentum based on that.
Glenn: Only about 3k drop resulting in sales over 11.4k for the second issue of Stranger Things: Into the Fire, after a few of these mini’s retailers seem to know what to expect from the franchise in terms of sales.
Pretty standard Hellboy numbers for Hellboy & BPRD Return Of Effie Kolb which sells over 11k at 156. A franchise which as we’ve said before I’m sure, you can set your watch to.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #1 :: Profile ...
Decent launch for an Image book without any known names for Tartarus at 157 selling over 11k, especially since its 5.99. If the virus hits the industry hard, it’ll be hardest on series like these that need momentum to get successful and that requires output and well…you know.
Ray: That’s a fairly strong debut for Tartarus, especially with the price tag. Gillen once said that if an Image book debuts over 10K, the writer has to buy the other writers the drinks that night. Decent for On the Stump too.
Glenn: Matt Kindt seems to be able to do only what only recently Jeff Lemire and Mike Mignola have managed at Dark Horse, having a good debut. His new book Bang! debuts at 161 selling over 10.7k. Very good for Dark Horse these days, I would say it’ll stabilize fast.
Ray: This is a really inventive book, essentially a meta take on the constant recasting of James Bond, but it’s also the most action-heavy book Kindt has done. It’s a well-deserved success and a shot in the arm for Dark Horse. Well, it will be if it ever finishes due to the pandemic…
Glenn: It’ll be fine, it’ll all be fine. I can’t believe how fine everything will be *cries*
Election process turns MMA fight in Image’s On The Stump which sells over 10.5k at 166, again this is pretty standard for a new Image book without a big named creator attached.
Marvel Action Spider-Man from IDW relaunches at 178 selling over 9.9k. Far lower than your standard Spider-Man far but its IDW and this is intended for other markets they have access to that Marvel mysteriously don’t seem to.
Its out favorite modern day trick in the market, old material being resold as new! This time its Marvel Tales: Wolverine which sells over 9.1k which is grand for a 7.99 comic full of old material that has undoubtedly been already created and reprinted and reformatted many times before.
Finger Guns is a new wacky and fun sounding book from Vault selling over 8.4k at 201. They’re not at the levels BOOM is getting too but Vault is holding its own all things considered. Today the company announced a break in publishing due to the virus so hopefully that doesn’t kill the momentum they’re starting to get.
Ray: That’s another great debut for Vault, closer to an all-ages concept than anything they’ve done so far and a well-deserved hit. The company is really picking up momentum and could be the next Boom.
Glenn: A high seller for Aftershock in The Man Who Effed Up Time which sells over 7.9k at 208. This is a shade higher than their usual launches have been doing but this is likely due to John Layman who has had a few hits with Image, most notably CHEW.

Ray: The fact that a Vault title by an unknown creative team beat the sales of a new John Layman title from Aftershock really says it all about how the company struggles to drive sales, doesn’t it?

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Glenn: No kidding.
Ray: Amid a sea of Dollar Comics and True Believers one-shots, we get another new Aftershock title – Godkillers, a religious horror story by Mark Sable. It sells 7.7K at #216, and the closeness between this and Layman’s book really drives home how much of the issue here is Aftershock’s lack of traction.
Glenn: It seems that retailers must treat their books all at a similar level at this point too. They know who will be curious enough to try them out or as we call them here ‘The Ray’s’.
Ray: A new Dark Horse title with a decent debut at #223, Hidden Society. Selling 7.2K, this is a magical adventure title by the creative team of Scavone and Albuquerque. Rafael Albuquerque was a really big name at DC for a while, so I might have expected a bit more, but this is in line with Dark Horse’s usual.
Glenn: I would have expected more off his name too. Maybe it’ll pick up traction in collections when the uber successful American Vampire returns…at some point.
Ray: The Valiant time-travel teen comedy Doctor Tomorrow debuts with 7.2K at #224, a standard debut for a Valiant book without a big name. This was a 1997 series being revived now, so it’s not a new property, but it’s one of their least-known characters.
At #235 we have the Dollar Comics version of Amethyst #1 from 1985. I don’t think this is the character’s debut, but it is the first issue of her most famous run by Dan Mishkin. It sells 6.8K, decent numbers for a low-cost reprint of a cult character.
A surprisingly low debut for the latest Berger Book, Tomorrow #1 by Peter Milligan. A techno-pandemic thriller focusing on siblings stranded across the country from each other, it sells 6.7K at #239. Milligan is an acclaimed creator, but it’s never translated to sales.
Glenn: Yeah and Berger books sales are always a bit muted. Likely one for the collection market eventually.
Ray: There’s a Star Trek Valentine’s Day special at #241, selling 6.7K. There were a few of these specials, but Star Trek is having a bit of moment thanks to Picard and that probably boosted sales a bit.
Glenn: I wonder how many Kirk/Spock shippers went out to buy this in the hopes that their shipping dreams may come true.
Ray: Another new Aftershock launch, the modern western revenge thriller Undone by Blood, launches at #245 with sales of 6.6K. Aftershock has its level, and it’s very hard for anyone to break out of it.
Glenn: Western’s aren’t usually a thing either in comics but expect Brubaker and Philips to buck (heh, get that) that trend but again that’ll be an OGN so it’ll be different economics there.
Ray: Archie gonna Archie, with another bizarre crossover – Archie Meets the B-52s, a rock comedy co-written by hit novelist Alex Segura. It sells 6.4K at #249 as the company struggles in the direct market, but I’m sure it’ll be reprinted in an Archie musical crossover collection and sell gangbusters.
Glenn: I don’t know who the B-52’s are. I’m not cool.
Archie Meets the B-52s #1 (One-Shot) – Archie Comics
Ray: It’s a jump to the next new #1, as we find an absolutely disastrous debut for another new Image title – the Michael Avon Oeming epic After Realm Quarterly. This original take on Norse mythology is a passion project of Oeming’s, possibly spinning out of his brief run on Thor and giving us an absolutely terrifying take on Loki, but it seems to have slipped completely under the radar – only selling 6K at #259.
Glenn: Oeming never quite got the success that his POWERS partner found for some reason (see also his Dick Tracy book from a while back) and Simonson is already delivering his own Norse epic so it might just be a case of timing too.
Ray: The Transformers Valentine’s Day special sells just under 5.9K at #262. Robots in loooooooooooove.
Glenn: Time for Starscream to profess his love for Megatron.
Ray: 5.8K in reorders for the first issue of the Power Rangers/TMNT crossover at #264, showing those franchises have some real staying power at #264.
A standard-issue debut for a new Predator miniseries at #266, selling 5.7K. The Mouse doesn’t seem to want those licenses back, so we’ll probably keep getting new stories featuring these two popular monsters. Except it sells another 4K below at #294 for a Glow in the Dark cover, so the characters clearly still have some buzz.
Glenn: Glow in the dark is such a 90’s style gimmick but with Predator it kinda fits.
Ray: The cult hit Sanrio/Netflix series Aggretsuko, featuring a red panda with rage issues and a taste for death metal, debuts a comic spinoff from Oni at #268, selling 5.7K. Obviously this is an odd book, but I think it’s a good number for a company that had largely dropped off the map recently. They seem to be becoming a home for strange cartoon spin-offs.
Glenn: Due to their success with Rick & Morty, I’m not surprised. Much like that property, this will probably sell very well in collections to a larger audience who are into this cartoon I had never before heard of.
Ray: Remember Lady Death? The only Chaos Comics character who Dynamite couldn’t get? She has a new comic, subtitled “Scorched Earth” that sells 5.3K at #275. But there were about twenty covers for it, so grain of salt.
Glenn: Seems about right for busty death in this market. Is she even death actually? I don’t know.
Ray: Titan gets into the top 300 with a new book titled Adler, but it might as well be subtitled “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”. Featuring Irene Adler, Jane Eyre, and Carmilla among others, it sells 4.7K at #284. An interesting concept that seems to have picked up some buzz.
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Glenn: That’s a great idea with some interesting characters but Titan aren’t known for original stories so it may get lost in the water a bit more than it deserves. but its their standard non licensed level here.
Ray: I don’t even remember what happened in Astonishing X-Men #7. Was this the issue where Xavier got some strange new look? Either way, this title from three X-status quos ago manages to sell an extra 4.5K in reorders this month.
Glenn: Is this the Whedon book? It was the start of the second arc is all I know.
Ray: Zombie Tramp gets into the top 300! There she is at #293, selling 4.1K and doing her job as the unofficial mascot of By the Numbers.
Glenn: Yay, you go Zombie Tramp!
Ray: At #301 we have Grimm Universe Presents 2020, an anthology selling 3.9K. I don’t know what it’s presenting, but I’m guessing sexy fairy tale ladies have something to do with it.
Glenn: Sexy lady everything I’d counter. Including sexy female orc’s.
Ray: Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish’s supernatural college thriller Blackwood returns for a second volume, selling 3.9K at #302 for the first issue of The Mourning After. Very low debut, but I’m guessing retailers ordered it like #6 rather than #1.
Glenn: Yeah, this seems to have lost in the usual shuffle as it was well received. Again unless you’re Lemire or Mignola or Kindt it seems that Dark Horse can’t do good numbers outside some of their licensed stuff.
Ray: #308 has the debut of Van Helsing vs. the League of Monsters from Zenoscope, selling 3.6K. So, are the monsters sexy ladies, is Van Helsing a sexy lady, or is the answer both?
Glenn: Both of course.
Ray: #313 has a giant-sized Transformers one-shot, subtitled “Power of Predacons“. It sells 3.5K, not a bad launch for a reprint of multiple old comics for $5.99.
The third Incredibles miniseries, Slow Burn, debuts at #315 from Dark Horse, selling 3.4K. Clearly this isn’t the market for these comics, because Dark Horse is greenlighting a lot more Disney content.
Glenn: They’re selling somewhere which is great for them as a company.
Ray: The next book of note is the supernatural time-travel racing drama Backtrack from Oni, selling 3.1K at #324. Did you ever think The Fast and the Furious needed more T-Rexes and Satan? This book has you covered! It’s not a great debut, but given that this is the first major creator-owned release from Oni since The Long Con, it makes sense.
IDW’s been putting out a selection of classic all-ages Marvel stories under the banner Marvel Action Classics, and this month it’s Dr. Strange’s turn with a $4.99 one-shot selling 2.6K at #337. No creators to pay here, except maybe some royalties, so this is all profit for IDW and Marvel.
Glenn: They’ll likely be bundled into a digest sized trade too where the real money will come in.
Ray: A new Zenoscope book at #343, continuing their “Conspiracy” subline. This one focuses on Area 51 and sells 2.4K. But are they hiding sexy aliens in there?
Glenn: The sexiest.
Ray: Scout’s newest title, the deep-space psychological mystery Canopus, sells just under 2.4K at #344. It’s an intriguing series, but with no name creators or real hook to drive sales immediately.
At #353 is the lowest-selling of the IDW Valentine’s Day specials – Napoleon Dynamite, which sells 2.1K. Not far off from what I’d expect from a cult movie from well over a decade ago. Odd choice to spin a comic book franchise out of it, but IDW knows what they’re doing.
Glenn: I guess if they paid for the license they want to get the most out of it.
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Some reorders for Venom: The End at 359 getting over 2k in new sales. This was clearly the standout of the punch, mainly thanks to how hot the main series is I’d wager.
Tart, one of Scout’s comics number one’s they release as a preview before a trade including said number 1 sells over 1.9k at 364 which is okay for them considering they’re going to resell it again in a trade in a few months.
Mostly reorders and continuations of low sellers until 377 and a one shot from Gutt Ghost, an odd property from Scout selling over 1.7k. It likely has its own set audience.
More Archie at 384 with Archie & Friends Winter Wonderland, one of their repackages of classic material selling over 1.5 here but as usual will sell better elsewhere.
Customary bad taste one shot from a certain creator at 389 which sells over 1.5k. They sure are making the rest of the industry shake in their boots.

Reorder and low ongoing city down here until a new number 1 at 414 in the form of

Carson Of Venus Eye Of Amtor at 414 selling over 1.2k. This is another Edgar Rice Burrows property which is doing gangbusters at Marvel but making very little impact elsewhere.

Another barbarian type thing at 459 with Barbara The Barbarian selling over 1k. Its slightly better than the image you’ve already got for it in your head but only slightly.
For those that are fans of golden age cinema comedy we’ve got Laurel & Hardy Meet The Three Stooges selling over 1k at 465, there be niche comics in these waters.
Captain Ginger Season 2 (there was a season 1?) launches at 470 with sales over 1k. Its not an Archie book as you might first suspect but actually a book about an anthropomorphic cat starship Captain. I wonder if Fox McCloud knows he’s got competition.
Ray: Ahoy Comics, the company behind Captain Ginger, has a really odd library of books, but this might be the oddest.
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Glenn: The first of an anthology series exploring the apparent ‘rich’ history of Battlecats comes from Mad Cave studios at 480 selling 943 copies. I too was never a fan of history.
Ray: I don’t even know what a Battlecats is.
Glenn: Oh good,not just me then.
Vault’s very successful horror mini, Plot delivers a deluxe black and white edition at 492 selling 843. This is likely for anyone who missed the boat first time round and big fans only. Even though they’re doing better than they possibly ever have, Vault aren’t in a real position to move these specialist editions of their own books quite yet.
I’m sad that the 785 copy selling Cavewoman Habroks Witch is at 499 because it would have made a perfect 500 for this month. Alas these truly are trying times.
Ray: Cavewoman had like thirty covers, so that’s about twenty copies a cover!
Glenn: What is at 500 this month is 777 reorders for Family Tree’s third issue, how nice.
Now you figure out what the heck is going to happen next month Ray, I’m going to….oh I’m going nowhere.  Never mind.

Ray: Looking ahead…it’s the last normal month we’re going to have for some time, apparently. DC had a lot of new content, including the launch of Strange Adventures by King, Gerads, and Shaner. It’s also the month Punchline-mania seems to hit its apex, as retailers adjust their orders for the hit new character. We’ve got two more giant-sized specials – Flash #750, and the Robin 100-page Anniversary Giant

Over at Marvel, we get some more of the ramp-up to Empyre, with a special following up on Robbie Thompson’s Skrull characters. A new Star Wars spin-off focusing on the Bounty Hunters debuts, as do some of the Marvel Snapshots one-shots. The next mini-event, Outlawed, has its launch issue, and we get a few new titles like Strange Academy and Spider-Woman making their debuts. Plus, two new entries in the X-men line with Hellions and Cable.
In indieland, we get a brand new Hickman joint, Decorum, from Image, along with the dark superhero thriller Stealth, a new Allred and Allred joint from Dark Horse, and the return of X-O Manowar from Valiant. Along with the launch of the first four books from Axel Alonso’s AWA Comics, featuring the return of JMS.
What will rise? What will fall? Will comics survive? Find out next month on By the Numbers!
Punchline Variant Cover By Stanley "Artgerm" Lau Moves To Batman ...
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Stay inside, stay safe and wash your hands.

By The Numbers: January 2020

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for several years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He wonders if he too might be the Doctor.

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. Suffering from allergies, Ray’s only request for quarantine is that he still gets his comics.

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!

Check out the top 500 in full here!

Glenn:Happy New Year Numbers fans and welcome to 2020! Since its officially the future now let us rely on the first sales chart of the New Year to give us hope, excitement and *looks at sales numbers* oh boy….

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Okay, so its not all bad news, the top selling comic this month is Wonder Woman 750 as DC pulls a Marvel and goes back to original numbering for a sales bump. It works here just like it did for Action Comics and Detective Comics 1000 respectfully but not quite to the same degree. This special anniversary issue for the Amazon Princess still pulls in sales over 167.3k which for a one shot costing 9.99 is impressive. Of course the decade variants will have helped here and in taking more inspiration from Marvel, DC is flogging this horse as long as it’ll stand. We have Flash 750 next along with special 80th anniversary character focused one shots for Robin, Joker, Catwoman, Green Lantern and more to come no doubt. The decade variants seem to have great appeal here and we’ll probably continue to see this little trick brought out for the foreseeable future.

Ray:I wasn’t sure how well these would do because of the high price tag and the lack of a massive anniversary like #1000. But it seems the decade variants and the top-tier creative teams are doing the work. I think we’ll see good results for all of these – Joker probably the highest-selling of the ones to come, Catwoman and Robin the lowest-selling – but I expect all of them to land in the top ten if not #1.

Glenn:Taking inspiration from their completion, DC seems content to milk this idea for all its worth. So far they’ve picked characters that make a lot of sense and will probably continue to carry good sales, the era variant covers will always help things of course.

At 2 is the launch of Thor under the pen of Marvel MVP Donny Cates which enough to give a thunderous debut of over 158.8k which is absolutely massive and the biggest Thor number I can remember in quite some time. I’m pretty sure we’d have to go all the way back to the JMS era to see Thor numbers this high but things return to normal with the second issue at 15 selling over 51.2k. This is pretty much the level the title has been at for years so it still puts it in Marvel’s upper mid range. We’ll see how the run plays out but Cates seems to be here for the long haul and could be one big story away from turning this into a big hit but for now, its how its always been which isn’t the worst thing in the world given how far Marvel titles usually land.

Ray:I think this is going to be a hit for Marvel, but a hit is very different than what it used to be due to the contracting market and the damage they’ve done to their reputation. This is a fantastic first issue, followed by a normal brutal fall. If it can level out to where the Aaron run was, which seems likely, it’ll be a long-term win. If it struggles, there’s always a crossover with Venom around the corner.

Glenn:There’s enough residual Star Wars hype for the new title which takes place between Empire and Jedi to get it selling over 97k at 3. Its a great number but we’re miles away from the insane launch of the last volumes title and again with the second issue we’re pretty much where we’re at before with sales over 44.6k at 28. Marvel’s holding pattern of high relaunch numbers turning into business as usual seems to continue but still Star Wars has settled into a solid middle tier performer without much movement and as we always say here, consistency is key in the market.

Ray: That’s a very disappointing launch for a new Star Wars series that shows how far the franchise has fallen. The controversy the last few months couldn’t have helped. But if it’s back where it was two months ago, could be worse. Soule and Pak (on next month’s new Darth Vader series) are creators known for steadiness but rarely for breaking out sales-wise.

Glenn:It’s a very different world from 2014 when new Star Wars was coming and the title was back at Marvel and they threw Jason Aaron and John Cassidy at it. If you look at this as a separate line ala Black Label (which it essentially is) then its doing very well still and is a reliable performer for the company even though it’s not the juggernaut it was.

At 4 and 5 is the newest issues of the hit X-Men series which is slowing down but still pulling in big numbers for the time being. Issue 4 sells over 93.3k while 5 sees sales over 80.4k which seems like a lot for one month. The title should stabilize soon as easily the top ongoing in Marvel’s arsenal unless having to tie into Empyre doesn’t kill its momentum.

Ray:So, this is the books finding their level now that retailers are adjusting their orders. It seems like the main Hickman book is destined to fall below Batman as the top ongoing on the charts, which can’t be what they were hoping for. Too many books, a confusing reading order, and crossover tie-ins, etc. I just hope Hickman’s enjoying himself and gives us another extended masterpiece.

Glenn:Another relaunch at 6 with Guardians Of The Galaxy by Al Ewing selling over 66.8k which is very good but not amazing. The franchise really suffered from over exposure when it was hot a few years ago and this is likely the best that could be expected especially since it wasn’t that long ago that we had a high profile relaunch by Cates. No issue 2 on this one this month but it’ll probably settle somewhere below Star Wars in the 28k-35k range where it was before.

Ray: I expected a lot more from the new book from Ewing after what a huge hit Immortal Hulk became, but this is another franchise Marvel seriously damaged with too many spinoffs. Yondu just ended and Nebula is coming, whee. Hopefully this one will pick up on reorders, because the first two issues were excellent.

Glenn:If Ewing sticks around (which he tends to) he could build an audience over a period of time, like he’s done for Immortal Hulk. Until then he has to hope Marvel doesn’t continue to flood the potential Guardian readership.

At 7 is at first a surprisingly small debut for the start of the new Batman run by long time DC scribe James Tynion with issue 86 selling over 61.7k which is far from the title’s usual dominance but its another month for split covers so this actually sold over 78k making it the number 6 title. Still a little on the low end for the title but things at DC seem to be moving towards a big shake up so retailers might be overlooking this one. Look for the upcoming Joker War and debut of Punchline to take this title to the top again. For the other issue this month it sells over 56k at 11 but again additional sales put it at 71k so that’s some encourage fast leveling out for the new run at any case.

Ray:It seems to have stayed pretty steady with the end of the King run to start, but I don’t think retailers were expecting Punchline-mania, for sure. People seem to think this is a bridge run, lasting only a year or so, but with recent shakeups we’ll see what happens. Tynion’s off to a good start for jumping onto an ongoing book without the benefit of a new #1.

Glenn:No magic additional numbers for the newest issues of Amazing Spider-Man at 8 and 9 which get into the top ten with sales of over 57.7k and 57.5k respectfully. It was a quiet month relatively so entry point for the top this month is lowwwwwww. This title continues to be one of Marvel’s most dependable but historically the numbers are something of a disaster. I can’t wait for classic villains like Chance and Gog to spice up interest.

Ray: This is about as low as an Amazing Spider-Man run normally gets, without any sales tricks. If it sinks much lower than this, we’ll probably see a push to change things up. But hey, Sin-Eater is coming, I suppose…

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Glenn: The Sin Eater story will bump it back up again probably. Not by a lot but enough for Marvel to point and go ‘look! It isn’t terrible!’

Finally at the tenth spot is the debut of Star, the spin off from Captain Marvel about the mysterious new character created by writer Kelly Thompson which sells over 56.7k. Considering this is a spin off mini starring an all new character from one of the companiesmid tier performers, I’d say that’s very good. It’l not going to set the charts alight but there’s some interest here and it seems like the continued faith that Marvel shows Thompson continues to deliver respectful numbers.

Ray: This is a dreadfully low entry point for the top ten, but a very good debut for a Captain Marvel villain spin-off. Another win for Kelly Thompson, and she’ll probably get another top ten debut when she delivers on Black Widow this April.

Glenn:Oh no doubt, it’ll probably then land around the same level as what Captain Marvel is normally which would be very good historically for Black Widow.

Ray:Amid some mainstays like Curse of the White Knight and the second-tier X-books like New Mutants and X-Force, we get the launch of Iron Man 2020 at #13, selling 54K. That’s a big improvement from what the Iron Man title under Slott and Gage was doing, but it also doesn’t feel much like an event debut. This main mini should do well – but I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the tie-ins.

Glenn:The tie-in numbers are going to be pretty ugly. When Slott was doing his big stories on Amazing, it usually resulted in great sales for the titles and the spin offs. However despite having brilliant mainstream exposure and this story tying into an older story that tied in the year 2020 which we’ve now smacked into. This is pretty good but not great but this seems to be the ceiling for Iron Man at the time being.

Ray:#16 has the debut of Marvels X, spinning out of the Earth X series from years back. It’s a very good debut for an alternate-reality series spinning out of a decade-old story, so I think much of the sales come from the Alex Ross covers. This is the first of many tie-ins coming related to Marvels, at least in title, so this bodes well.

Glenn:I always think of Earth X as more of a cult favourite than Kingdom Come, the story it was a derivative of so yeah, this is as much as can be expected. Marvel seems to have a lot of stuff coming from old Ross material that’s being brought back in different ways. It’ll all do respectfully but unspectacularly before moving over to collection heaven where Ross stuff always does well.

Ray:There’s a big gap this month with lots of ongoing titles including Venom, Immortal Hulk, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity, and Detective Comics all selling in the 55K to 45K range. It’s not until #31 that we get a new debut, and it’sVenom: The End, selling 44K. This is a very strange Adam Warren book taking place at the end of the universe and has less than nothing to do with the main Venom book, but Venom is red hot right now, so it outpaces the competition in this mini-line.

Glenn:There was never any doubt that Venom would be the head of this. I can only imagine this would have sold a lot more had they got Donny Cates or someone not so out of left field but it’s still very good for a throwaway one shot.

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Ray: At #33 is Ravencroft #1, selling 41K. This was the launch of a miniseries focusing on the mysteries behind the famous asylum, and it outsold the one-shots preceding it. But the series hasn’t really been praised, with most people seeing it as an attempt to force Arkham-style mythology on Ravencroft.

Glenn:It’s a stupid idea for a book but it’s a pretty good launch, likely due to the success of Absolute Carnage. The rest of the issues are likely not to sell as well, we’ll see.

Ray: Detective Comics Annual #3 is at #38, selling 35K. This was a tribute issue focusing on Alfred’s past, and I kind of expected it would do a little more. Maybe the sales are being held for Pennyworth RIP next month.

Spawn once again manages to be the top-selling creator-owned book of the month at #40, selling 34K, but sales continue to drop.

Glenn:It’s still the best the title has sold in years but yes, hype is dying down. It won’t be long until Undiscovered Country laps it if this continues.

Ray: At #42 is Avengers of the Wasteland, the latest spinoff from the Old Man Logan-verse. Picking up directly from Logan’s death, it has an audience to build on and 32K isn’t bad for a title starring Danielle Cage who is both Captain America and Thor.

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen holds pretty well, keeping about 75% of its first issue sales to land at #43 with sales of 32K. Retailers may have missed the boat on this a bit and we’ll see some correction.

Kelly Thompson’s Deadpool falls to #45, selling 31K this month, but it’s been hit by serious delays right out of the bat. That can’t help the momentum, so hopefully it’ll find its footing in the second arc.

Glenn:It seems that series artist Chris Bachalo was stolen away to do Spider-Man instead, an odd decision to bait and switch by Marvel but not out of the realm of their usual antics. This is still higher than where Deadpool was before iirc to be fair.

Ray: #47 brings us Web of Venom: The Good Son. This one-shot focusing on Dylan Brock and Normie Osborn sells 30K, and I would have expected a little bit more. Retailers probably ordered cautiously because it wasn’t Cates, but this one might be primed for some reorders.

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Glenn:This ties directly into the sub plot of Venom Island involving Dylan’s pet symbiote so yes, there will definitely more call for this. These Web Of Venom one shots are dying down slowly but the Wraith one shot by Cates will no doubt pull in very good numbers in a few months time.

Ray:#48 brings us the latest issue of Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil, selling 29K. This is interesting, because the title isn’t exactly going up in sales, but it is going up on the charts. It’s holding much more strongly than almost any other Marvel book, while a bunch of other books fall below it. Zdarsky is continuing Daredevil’s insanely good streak of not having a bad creative team in ages.

Glenn:By not doing anything apart from being really good and consistent, Daredevil rises up so this is why we say a dependable seller is better than a big hit and then a massive drop.

Ray: At #56 we get the top reprint of the month, as DC sells 28K in reorders of Dollar Comics: Batman Adventures #12, the first comic book appearance of Harley Quinn. Evil or chaotic neutral clowns are big money business for DC right now.

Some more of the “The End” one-shots are down here, with Deadpool coming in first at #57, selling 28K. Two spots lower is Miles Morales, selling 27K.

Glenn:No big surprise that Deadpool got the silver medal here given that this one shot is by two of the characters most iconic creators. I’m surprised this didn’t do a bit better but like Guardians, Deadpools spin off potential has been curtailed by serious overkill when his popularity was at a peak a few years back.

Ray:#61 brings us the launch of Hawkeye: Freefall, selling 27K. I don’t think there was much interest in a Clint Barton comic sans Kate and bringing back Ronin, and it shows in the numbers. But the second issue has a pretty solid fall of only 4K the same month, landing at #81, so this might be close to the miniseries’ level.

Glenn: Hawkeye is a character that is well liked but apart from Matt Fraction, no one has ever really been able to have a hit with Clint Barton in an ongoing. I understand Marvel want him out there because he is a well-known character and the TV show is coming but still, every character can’t hold their own. It is crazy that it seems Kate is more of a sale commodity these days but that might just be Kelly Thompson.

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Ray:Taking the silver position for creator-owned books this month is Undiscovered Country, selling 26K. It’s miles ahead of any of Image’s non-Spawn books, and should level out nicely next month.

It’s mostly business as usual without too many new launches this month, as more one-shots land around the 24K mark – Captain Marvel: The End at #70, and Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage at #72.

The Alan Davis retro Avengers miniseriesTarot lands at #79, selling 23K. A solid debut for a property largely appealing to old-school fans.

Marvel puts out SO much product that a lot of promising projects fall by the wayside. That’s the case for the first issue of Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle, a journalism-themed miniseries by the incredibly talented indie creator Mat Johnson (Incognegro). It sells 23K at #84, but hopefully it’ll get a new life in collections.

Glenn:Due to the direction of the main title, Spider-Man’s sales potential for spin offs and other ongoings are being hampered by the direction of the franchise I feel.

Ray: At #84 is Red Sonja: Age of Chaos, which crosses over the she-devil with the non-Lady Death Chaos characters. It sells 22K, mostly on the strength of its many, many variant covers. But it’s not going to get an iota of the creative buzz of the main Sonja run by Mark Russell.

The lowest-selling of The End one-shots this month is Dr. Strange, selling 22K at #87. This was an odd one, mostly spinning out of the previous What If featuring Magik,

Glenn:Likely would have done better if it had been by Waid or Cates or Aaron, a sequel to a What If that not many people read sure is odd.

Ray: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles falls a lot from its peak over the last few months, but the debut of Sophie Campbell as the new writer/artist sells 20K at #89. That’s still close to double what the book was selling before it started leaping up the charts. So the fantastic last year has probably had a long-term impact.

At #90 we have the cardstock cover for Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5, selling 20K. But the regular cover sells 15K further down, putting the penultimate issue of this miniseries in the top 40 overall. Almost as if there’s a fanbase here and DC should stop keeping them apart…

Glenn:Stop talking crazy stuff Ray!

Ray:The third installment in the Marvel’s Spider-Man series, featuring Black Cat, debuts at #93 with sales of 19K. With no real break between the series, retailers are just treating this more like an ongoing series.

#94 has the one-shot Weapon Plus: World War IV, which focuses on a weaponized Man-Thing mutant clone. It sells 19K, which is honestly more than I would have expected for this weird niche book. The Weapon-something connection probably helped.

Glenn: Undoubtably but even then, retailers probably are wary since the Weapon X related Hulk/Wolverine hybrid didn’t seem to set the sales charts on fire.

Ray:#95 is the launch of Atlantis Attacks, spinning out of Agents of Atlas. It sold 19K, which is close to the level of the main series, so retailers didn’t buy into the event hype at all. They’re just treating it as the third arc of Agents of Atlas.

Glenn:You have to admire that Agents Of Atlas continues to have its small but loyal audience even years after their last series. Namor doesn’t seem to have a lot of sales power these days but he hasn’t had his own book for ages.

Ray:#102 has the second of the Ravencroft one-shots, selling 18K. This is Sabretooth’s spotlight, so he doesn’t have as much pull as Carnage but more than Dracula (down at #117, selling 17K).

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Glenn: I wish the Dracula one was about an insane madman who thinks he’s Dracula and gets stalked by the real deal. I doubt the Ravencroft one shot was as much fun.

At 119 Spider-Ham faces a sharp drop from its debut last month selling over 16.7k but considering its you know…Spider-Ham I would say that’s not too bad and I doubt Marvel would expect much more. No doubt it’ll be more valuable to have this trade on shelves when Spider-Verse 2 hits.

The Alan Davis vehicle Tarot has its second issue this month too selling over 16k at 124. This is pretty standard level for throwaway series projects by known creators like Davis, Adams, etc.

Low, Low Woods holds only losing about 6k in sales to make it over 15.9k without its card stock variant this month at 125. All These Hill House books continue to perform very well and much better than the last few batches of Vertigo offerings.

Jessica Jones Blind Spot which is a monthly reprint of a digital first turned collection sells very well considering this is material that is available in other formats (and cheaper too) at 128 selling over 15.5k. Not sure if the market likes Kelly Thompson or Jessica or both. The second issue also is this month selling over 12.8k at 150 which isn;t too bad considering this is the third time Marvel have sold this story and there’s still undoubtedly a lovely hardcover to come. This is by far the standout of the digital first wave from a while back.

Ray:The entire line has essentially been forgotten already, but Marvel got a twelve-issue Jessica Jones series by one of their top new creators, so that’s a win. Anyone who wants to see more of KT writing Jessica, she’s playing a supporting role in Star.

Glenn: Team up with Deadpool when?!

The penultimate Hill House book, Daphne Byrne launches with its normal cover at 133 with over 15.1k but there an additional 6k sales for a card stock variant so this sells about 22k which is what roughly what Low, Low Woods managed. It’ll likely be a while before there’s another line of similar books but the first wave has been enough of a success that DC will doubtlessly do more.

Ray:DC has absolutely gotten what they wanted out of Hill House. These are performing better than the average Image horror book lately. Given Hill’s schedule, who knows when we’ll get more, but DC will be happy to have them.

Glenn:A new Stranger Things mini launches at 134 with Into The Fire selling over 14.8k which is seeing the comic adaptions of the incredibly popular show start to face diminishing returns. Howeverits still a decent number for Dark Horse who can need any extra sales success they can get these days.

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Ray:These Stranger Things minis don’t feature any existing characters besides some minor ones like Kali and Brenner, so that’s probably going to drop the sales a bit.

Glenn:The True Believers theme this month is Criminal Insanity with some of the picks being a bit more odd than others. The highest selling of them is one featuring the Green Goblin which is a cheap reprint of his classic first appearance. As usual these type of books are just free money to Marvel, give them some extra shelf space and have little to no consequence otherwise. This Goblin issue sells over 13.6k at 143.

A new Firefly title, Ma Reynolds launches from BOOM at 145 selling over 13.2k. This cult property seems to be a respectful performer for the publisher and I think that is a good 5k higher than what Dark Horse used to be able to get out of it.

Ray:This was one of Boom’s $7.99 oversized specials, which always sell lower than the main series. Still, this is definitely a win for the company as they get the most out of the Whedonverse.

Glenn:Some really good reorders for the new Symbiote Spider-Man mini, Alien Reality which sells over 12.7k additional copies at 151. We’ll probably get a third one of these.

More than a 50% drop for American Jesus: New Messiah as retailers figured out what this was. The new volume of one of Millarsolder and more obscure properties sells over 12.6k at 153. How well these books do ultimately mattering to Millar who gets Netflix money regardless is hard to say.

Although it shares a name with the classic history making mini from yesteryear, 156’s Crisis On Infinite Earth’s Giant is actually a tie in to the big TV showverse crossover this year. It sells over 12.1k at 156 which is fine considering the Giants aren’t meant for the direct market and this is a multimedia tie-in which rarely do great.

Ray: I think this is the highest-selling of the giants in a while, likely due to that hot TV tie-in.

Glenn:To tie in with the upcoming video game, we get Marvel’s Avengers Thor at 161 selling over 11.8k which is pretty standard given what this is. It does show than by comparison the Spider-Man comics relating to the latest game universe perform very well.

Right below that is the Hellboy 2019 Winter Special which sells over 11.5k at 162. Well within this franchise’s normal area.

Another DC giant, this time for Superman at 172 selling over 10.9k. Again this is not the place where these giants will thrive and will at best serve as excess stock for comic shops.

More Hickman X-Men 1 reorders as it picks up another 10.8k+ additional sales at 174. Things may be slowing down a little for the book but those early issues are still in demand.

After missing a month, Image’s Killadelphia delivers a second issue selling over 10.7k at 176. Pretty standard for an Image book from known creators that aren’t superstars. There’s a lot of vampire books out there at the moment so this one has just settled in amongst the rest. The third issue also charts this month selling over 8,7k at 213 further emphasizing this point.

Top Cow’s Clock sells over 10.3k at 179. This sub Image line have delivered sales around this level for years, even the involvement of legendary artist Colleen Doran can only get it so far. It’ll likely do well in collections.

Ray:It’s also a Matt Hawkins book, and he’s one of the line’s most common creators. Retailers know what they’re getting when he launches a new sci-fi series.

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Glenn:Sharp drop for Dejah Thoris which had a good launch last month but nothing too bad where Dynamite is considered at 182 selling over 10.2k.

Frankenstein Undone is another Hellboy universe offering selling over 9.3k at 200, a little on the lower end for the franchise but retailers may have missed the memo on this being by Mignola and related to his signature franchise. Nothing too disastrous though.

Valiant launches a new Quantum and Woody book at 207 selling over 8.9k which is well within their normal range of steady but unspectacular sales. Like most of the Valiant characters, these two are cult favorites that are unlikely to take the market by surprise but the company seems to do fine regardless.

Ray:This one had Gwenpoolwriter Christopher Hastings on board as a writer, which probably boosted it a little, but these characters aren’t quite in the thick of the Valiant universe. They’re having wacky adventures while everyone else stops the world from ending.

Glenn:A prelude to the Black Widow movie by Peter David sells over 8.8k at 209. The market seems to treat most of these movie prelude’s as disposable now, which the majority of them do seem to be in fairness but apparently this one did have some interesting material cause you know…Peter David.

Ray:This one was also an original story, which is rare for this line! It was a prequel showing how Natasha went from outlaw to being inducted into SHIELD.

Glenn:A 3D version of Wolverine vs Sabertooth sells over 8.7k at 212 which considering its old material and its 7.99 isn’t too shabby. I had thought 3D had died again for the IT like 27 years rest it takes but it seems to be lingering around.

Red Mother from Boom loses about half its sales for its second issue coming in at 214 selling over 8.4k. This is more standard BOOM fare but they seem to be getting more new talent to get them more exposure so books like Red Mother may benefit from that down the line in terms of collections.

IDW’s Dying Is Easy lands at 217 selling over 8,4k. Not too bad for an IDW creator owned. If it can stay here it’ll be fine.

Some reorders for Scream Curse Of Carnage with over 8.3k additional sales at 218. People love their symbiotes this weather.

We’re starting to get into decent reorder/lower level big company sellers and some decent level indie sellers here until we get to 264 and the launch of Year Two of the Thirteenth Doctor’s comic adventures which sells over 6.3k. I really would have expected much better considering this story sees her team up with the ever popular Tenth Doctor and features the Weeping Angels.

Ghostbusters Year One which fills the gap between the guys taking out Gozer and being overshadowed by He-Man at a kids birthday party sells over 6.3k at 266. The franchise is down to the loyalists now but if the new film is a hit these various series may do well in collections.

Ray:This one had regular IDW creator Erik Burnham on board, and got a bit more hype than the average Ghostbusters book as a jumping-on point. But the franchise isn’t what it was.

Glenn: Kidz, a zombie themed kids adventure story from new publisher Ablaze sells over 5.9k at 276. Not going to set the world on fire but this new publisher has had some solid numbers out of the gate considering its size.

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Ray:Ablaze continues to do well, but this one didn’t launch with the hype of Gung-Ho and also didn’t have a top creator like Charlie Adlard orMirkaAndolfo. Still, a strong start for a book from a company that came out of nowhere less than six months ago. Their mature-readers Conan reprints in March should be another interesting test for them.

Glenn: Conan?! How did they land that gig? That’s a big feather in the cap of a new company.

I’m not sure if the comic adaption of Clash Of Kings at 283 is a reprint or not since I thought these Game Of Thrones comic adaptions have been going a lot longer. Given that fans already have the books and the TV show, sales over 5.6k isn’t very surprising.

At 287 is Marvel Tales Ravencroft, a 7.99 reprint which doesn’t get much attention but doesn’t matter since its…yup you guessed it, free money for Marvel which sells over 5.3k. Look for these in your dollar bins at a LCS near you.

At 297 is Rising Sun from IDW which another low selling creator owned launch from them. It sells over 4.7k at 297 and the fact that the company is 20 years old this year and is being outperformed on a new launch by a new company like Ablaze should be more than a little concerning.

Ray:This was by Ron Marz, who has had quite a few low-selling creator-owned books from IDW in the last few years. It’s a fantasy samurai book, which didn’t get much hype before launch.

At #301 we have the launch of UsagiYojimboColor Classics, reprinting some of the most iconic arcs from Stan Sakai’s classic series. It sells 4.7K and brings a whole new audience to a book where the bulk is only really available in collections.

Glenn:Its also easy money for IDW, something that is welcome at any company.

Ray:#302 has the launch of the Ryan Ferrier supernatural crime thriller I Can Sell You a Body, selling 4.7K. This one got a lot of advance buzz and some great reviews, and Ferrier was involved in hyping it only, but it still doesn’t crack the top 300. IDW’s struggle in the creator-owned market. The second issue sells 2.1K down at #389.

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Glenn: This one sounded like a great premise and would undoubtably sell better elsewhere. It might gather some life in trades.

Ray: IDW does most of their business off franchises, and one of their lower-selling ones is ROM, which launches a new series subtitled “Dire Wraiths” at #305, selling 4.5K. Standard for the franchise

Glenn: Poor ROM, at least Aaron Meyer loves you.

Ray:This isn’t very significant number-wise, but I am VERY amused that Sex Criminals XXX Latour Variant is sandwiched by a Lady Death comic and an issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose between 307-309. Staying on brand, Fraction and Zdarsky. You madmen.

A newDucktales miniseries, subtitled “Faires and Scares” lands at #315 selling 4.3K. Pretty standard for a cartoon tie-in that’s probably doing more of its business in collections.

Hey, there’s Zombie Tramp at #322, selling 4.1K. Good ol’ Zombie Tramp.

After a bunch of reorders and mid-level creator-owned books, we’ve got Red Agent: The Island of Dr. Moreau from Zenoscope, selling 3.6K. I somehow think Gabriel Rodriguez is feeling safe and secure in his take.

At #344 is a new thriller from Scout Comics, White Ash. A suspense mystery set in a mining town, it sells 3.2K right out of the gate. This is a monthly book, so probably a bit better than the Binge issues, but it doesn’t really have any name creators attached.

A new Dragon Age miniseries, “Blue Wraith” launches at #351, selling 3.1K. Dark Horse has been quietly publishing these for years, usually from the writing team ofDeFillipis and Weir, formerly of my beloved Academy X.

Glenn: These likely have a decent audience outside the direct market. Another quiet performer for Dark Horse, something that takes up the majority of their catalogue these days.

Ray:A surprisingly low return for Vagrant Queen: A Planet Called Doom at #365, selling 2.6K. Retailers may have followed up on Mags Visaggio’s sci-fi mini by treating it as the next arc, but it puzzles me that the coming TV series didn’t get more interest for the comic. Maybe reorders are coming?

Glenn: It’ll probably do well in that regards and is going to do well in trades with the new audience coming in.

Ray:Titan reprints the classic Dark Horse titleTank Girl in color, and a reprint of the 1993-1994 era sells 2.5K at #369, as Titan continues to get healthy business out of reprints and licenses.

Glenn: It works for Marvel!

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Ray:An odd entry at #370, as Airboy #51 sells 2.5K from It’s Alive. This is a 9.99 book continuing a series that is resuming after thirty years off, and is written by now-alt-right creator Chuck Dixon. Certainly one of the strangest books on this list. The series is going to continue every six months or so, it seems.

Glenn: What an odd combination. I’m sure it has…a certain audience.

Ray: At #383 we have the launch of Apocalypse Girl, a sexy-lady western warrior comic from Source Point Press, selling 2.3K. This is the highest-selling Source Point debut on the charts this month, even if it’s pretty off-brand for them. Strike up the…Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist song? I dunno.

Glenn: Katy Keene, its similar but just not the same.

Ray:The latest single-issue collection from Archie, Betty and Veronica Friends Forever: What If?, sells 2.1K at #388. This features such fascinating concepts as “What if Archie had a twin?” and is a re-collection of special stories from the digests.

Glenn: Bless Archie, the business they do in these outside the direct market is their bread and butter.

Ray: Stabbity Bunny returns! A one-shot titled Emmet’s Story sells 2.1K at #394. Stabbity is not really in this comic.

Glenn: No Stabbity means no sales!

Ray:Just over 2K in reorders for Far Sector #1 at #399, as NK Jesimin’s Green Lantern concept continues to pick up buzz. The Young Animal line has all but faded away, but his one seems to be headed for something bigger.

It’s all reorders and small-press titles down here, until we hit Classic Pulp Horror, a one-shot from Source Point selling 1.8K at #412. The company’s been doing a few of these one-shots lately, and this one is reprints of classic horror with some edits, I believe.

Star Trek: Picard keeps on racking up reorders, even after the series is over, as the first issue sells another 1.6K at #426. This definitely bodes well for the future of the TV series if there’s this much interest.

Glenn: I hope it features Patrick Stewart’s quality acting. IT WAS NO LONGER STARFLEEEEEET.

Ray: House of Cerebus lands at #432, selling 1.6K. Oh, that wacky Dave Sim. What will he think of next? I think it’ll be another parody title.

It’s almost all reorders and low-selling books, but it’s worth noting that Catalyst Prime: Seven Days is still selling about 1.4K in its fourth issue at #443. That’s close to three times what the books it spins out of was selling regularly, so Gail Simone jumping onto the franchise seems to have worked wonders.

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Another Source Point debut, The Seance Room, lands at #454, selling 1.3K. This is a haunted house take on Fantasy Island that was available on their website and at cons previously before going through Diamond, so these are essentially bonus sales. The fourth issue of the series, I believe, will be exclusive to Diamond (because I haven’t read it yet.

Glenn: This sounds really interesting but the disjointed nature of release (cons then diamond then just diamond) might mean more pick up the trade.

Ray:You have to go down to #474 to find the next book of notes. Sort of. American Mythology is still holding onto the Casper license, and the baby devil Hot Stuff gets his turn in the limelight with a one-shot titled “Sizzlers“, selling just over 1K. I guess there’s that many Casper fans still alive? Or undead and friendly.

Source Point has another horror one-shot at #479, this one titled Horror Double Feature and selling 1K. This one is all original modern content, which makes it interesting that it sells less than the reprint issue.

Glenn: If its an anthology those are always a hard sell at indie level.

Ray:It’s almost all reorders all the way down, as things like Powers of X, New Mutants, Last Knight on Earth, and Avengers sell another 800-900 copies. At #500 this month is more orders of TMNT #100, selling 839 copies – but selling one more copy at #499 is a book titled “Deadly Ten Presents Femalien: Cosmic Crush“. I feel robbed, because that would really be the perfect #500 comic, no?

Glenn: I believe perfect and that comic don’t belong together, no.

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Ray: Looking ahead to February, it’s a pretty quiet month for DC. With Flash #750 pushed back to March, the headliners include a new Amethyst series from Amy Reeder, one-shots dealing with the follow-up to the death of Alfred and the Superman identity reveal, and the final Hill House book bringing us the return of Stuart Immonen to comics. And Punchline-mania begins, so we’ll probably see some effect on the sales of Batman and Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen. There’s also a new Valentine’s Day themed anthology – and maybe the top-selling new book of the month, the return of DCeased with “Unkillables“. And over at Black Label, Palmiotti and Conner reunite for a new Harley Quinn miniseries.

Over at Marvel, the top book of the month will definitely be Wolverine #1, complete with a raft of variant covers. X-Men/Fantastic Four and Giant-Sized X-Men should continue the X-aissance, and characters like Ant-Man, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and Nebula hope to get some of that MCU cash with new minis. The Iron Man 2020 spinoffs start, we learn if Gwen Stacy can carry her own title (Note: spoilers, she can’t), and a little character named Darth Vader returns in a new series.

Over at Image, some smaller titles like The After Realm, On the Stump, and Tartarus try to stand out from the crowd. Jennika gets her own series over at IDW, and the next buzz-worthy Boom title launches in the sci-fi teen angst thriller Alienated.

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

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Liked What You Read? Have any questions, comments or concerns? Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield!

By the Numbers: December 2019

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for many years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He didn’t nearly cry at the first episode of Picard, you did!

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 watching Picard, Ray wants to know why baby Yoda can’t be on this show too. Why can’t he be on all the shows?!

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 new decade of comic sales madness as we look to the year and the decade that was. In the era of replicants and so on, sales in comics are just as wacky as ever with DC books still being split in most cases so some books appear to sell a lot lower than they actually did but DC still killing it in the top ten at the end of the year. That’s the first impression we get at the top of the chart but let us dive deeper and see how various books fared as we closed out the year that was 2019.

Ray: This was a packed month with a lot of debuts and special issues, but it seems like the sales to end the year overall were pretty weak. Lots of unanswered questions as the companies ramp up their 2020 slates.
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Glenn: Finishing out the year with the top spot was the final issue of Doomsday Clock which despite its delays sold remarkably consistently throughout and exceptionally well. The final issue sells over 117.9k and now will go off to collection heaven. Opinions may very but I thought of this as a worthy sequel to Watchmen that deserves its predecessors acclaim and accomplishments. Its safe to say that Johns next prestige project, Three Jokers will be a big hit when it finally hits sometime this year (maybe).
Ray: It just got in under the wire! Doomsday Clock has been amazingly rock-solid since the start, and as one of only two comics to top the 100K mark this month, it’s another big win. Off it goes to evergreen collections-land, and I seriously doubt DC will be able to resist doing more stories in this verse if a top creative team wants to. Paging King and Gerads or Snyder and Jock
Glenn: Taking second place this month is Marvel’s new top book, X-Men which sells over 105.7k for its third issue. This is an unbelievable success and Marvel will be hoping to keep Hickman chained to this franchise as long as they can. Naturally, not to let a good thing just be that, Marvel has announced tons of new X books to come, we’ll see how the first wave did on their second month in short order but the main book seems to be bulletproof.
Ray: It’s been a while since we had a megahit regular title like this, but the other books are dropping out of the top quickly. Let’s hope they keep letting Hickman do what he wants to with little interruption, but given that he’s already doing an Empyre tie-in in April – outlook not great. 
Glenn: The final part of the Black Label three part post apocolyptic epic, Batman: Last Knight On Earth which sees the last solo Batman work by modern Bat legends, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is at third with sales over 90k. This is a sharp increase over the previous two issues and likely due to the fact that this does seem to be the end of the road for the legendary Batman team. So far, Black Label has been doing wonders for DC and this title much like Doomsday Clock, heads off to collection heaven where it could become as successful as legendary tales like Year One or Dark Knight Returns.
Ray: Retailers really missed the boat on the first issue here, but they’re course-correcting now. This was a fitting finale to the Snyder era, but it’s far from done selling as it’s going to make a perfect collection.
Glenn: Keeping with a Batman theme is the newest installment of the aforementioned Dark Knight saga with Dark Knight: The Golden Child selling over 88.7k at 4 this month. That’s about 20k lower from where Dark Knight III generally sold which I was surprised about but perhaps it is because in the mainstream market,Rafeal Granpa is an unknown quantity and retailers are wary of solo proects from Miller without anyone to reign in the crazy? Its hard to tell but even though its low compared to DK III its an excellent number for an out of continuity throwaway Batman one shot but the Dark Knight brand is as strong as it was in the mid 80’s in some ways.
Ray: Rafael Grampa is a legendary indie artist, but him doing a licensed work is near-unheard of. The brand has a lot of power, as we saw with DKIII, but this installment also focused on some of the lesser-known characters in the franchise. Overall, it’s definitely a hit, but the brand isn’t quite what it used to be.
Glenn: Another top book from Marvel at 5 with Venom selling over 74k meaning this is one of the lowest selling top ten comics in a while not counting some of the combined numbers we’ll get to later. This book has obviously benefited from Absolute Carnage and is likely to be Marvel’s second highest ongoing without counting Amazing which has has sales like a schizophrenic. What Donny Cates has done with this book is nothing short of astonishing.
Ray: This was the debut of Mark Bagley’s guest arc, Venom Island. I wouldn’t be surprised if that goosed sales a bit.
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Glenn: In a bit of a surprise, the interactive comedy title Harley Quinn: Villain Of The year charts at 6 selling over 73.1k. This is a massive hit for a comedy one shot that likely benefited from Harley’s popularity and the unique interactive aspect more than being associated with Villain Of The Year. This bodes well for the Black Label Harley/Birds mini coming a little later this year.
Ray: Harley is a DC superstar, but this is big even for her recent sales levels. I wonder if part of the appeal was the likely appearance of the Batman Who Laughs? That guy sells like Watchmen.
Glenn: Batman Who Laughs vs Comedian confirmed!
At 7 is the Symbiote Spider-Man sequel mini series, Alien Reality that rather than being treated like a continuation seems to have gotten some interest as it sells over 71.3k. Symbiotes are hot at the moment and this title proves that but there might also be a hunger for a Spider-Man title from a writer who you know…knows what he’s doing.
Ray: It’s a perfect storm of factors to make this title sell right now, between Venom being a megahit and ASM being…rough. But it’s also a testament to Peter David’s ongoing sales power. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a secondary Spider-man ongoing soon.
Glenn: One that isn’t cancelled before its time or he isn’t fired from? Yes please.
At 8 is the much hyped Incoming, priced at 9.99 and features a bunch of teasers for the year to come. Selling 69k there’s two ways to look at it. As a prelude to the next big event, Empyre its underwhelming and further indication that retailers either have no faith in Marvel events, are sick of them or both. Looking at it as a series of teases Marvel made you pay $10 for, its an incredible success. Imagine going to the cinema, paying normal price and buying your popcorn and seeing 5 trailers and then going home. You’d feel shortchanged but the cinema would be rubbing its hands together. Marvel is rubbing its hands together but I bet they expected more rubbing than what they got *coughs*
Ray: If you’re going to do a 9.99 comic, you have to do something special. This didn’t feel like that. Sure, a lot of the stories were great, but it felt like thirty trailers, like you said. The controversy over the ending reveal and the muted response makes me think Empyre might underperform War of the Realms.
Glenn: Amazing Spider-Man is back to its base level at 9 selling over 67.1 and the next issue at 11 selling over 63.7k. This is bare minimum for the book I’d say when it doesn’t have Donny Cates or Marvel book cooking to prop it up. We’re getting a lot of Marvel Handbook inspired stories as we drag our ways towards issue 50, the conclusion of the very tired Kindred story and hopefully the book getting back to its rightful place in the charts and in readability.
Ray: The weird thing where one issue gets a huge bump over the second seems to have faded away, and I don’t think there’s anything to boost the sales coming, at least until April when he homages Sins Past. So this should keep declining.
Glenn: I’m thinking more Death Of Jean DeWolff with the name taken from the Sin Eater as opposed to the JMS story of yester year. Doing a pseudo follow on to one of the most critically acclaimed stories in Spider-Man history got the title some buzz for Hunted, even though it was terrible. We’ll see if that’s the case here.
Final spot in the top ten this month is Superman for the big identity reveal issue which sells over 66.6k. If DC hadn’t done this exact story only a few years ago, it likely would have sold much happier but right now people are just staring at the clock in the wall waiting for us to go back to status quo. Still, always good to get a bump but sales will likely be back to normal next month.

Ray: Despite the story being told in another way less than five years ago, this take by Bendis on Superman’s identity reveal has been received very well. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the sales bump is permanent, because the title seems to be getting some real buzz for the first time. 

At #12 is the finale of Tom King’s run, selling 60K. The preceding issue sells 58K three spots below. But that’s deceptive because of the split DC covers, and when you add about 20K more sales for the variant covers, that puts both of them in the top six for the month and gives DC five of the top six books – all of which starred Batman besides Doomsday Clock.
Glenn: Which just very heavily featured Batman. I thought this would boost up to 100k for the finale but the way the end of this run was done was…odd. I think retailers were confused due to the unceremonious end and yet the run not being really over cause Batman/Catwoman is still to come. We’ll see how the run fares up under the watch of long time DC workhorse James Tynion IV the next month.
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Ray: After some more Batman in side books like Harleen and Curse of the White Knight, we get the return of Spider-Man by Abrams and Abrams at #16. It sells 54K, which is a huge drop from the first issue but pretty level with the second. Star power and the title character are powering this, but I don’t think it’s going to be remembered for long after it wraps.
Glenn: Given the names attached, I have to think Marvel was expecting more. I think the mystery kept over the direction of the title might have hurt it. I don’t think the delays are going to help too much either, Watchman sequel this ain’t.
Ray: At #17 is 53K in sales for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100, the much-hyped anniversary issue that had been building sales for the book for a year. It didn’t quite reach the top ten ranking I was hoping for – the $7.99 price tag couldn’t have helped – but it’s a world apart from where it was last year. It’ll be interesting to see how the title holds when it gets a new creative team in January.
Glenn: Brilliant steady climb and a big win for the title, IDW should treat themselves to a coke. The price obviously gave this thing a ceiling but its still a remarkable improvement as you say. These sales won’t stick but if they can hang on to being better off than where they were, it’ll be a big win.
Ray: At #18 we have the relaunch of Dr. Strange, by Mark Waid and Kev Walker. This directly continues Waid’s run from only two months earlier, so it’s not going to get a huge debut. But 53K in sales indicates that it probably got a decent boost from variant covers and the buzz from the previous run.
Glenn: This is pretty standard fare now when Marvel pulls this trick. It’ll be back to normal next month or month after.
Ray: #19 has the 50K in sales for Revenge of the Cosmic Ghost Rider, which has Dennis Hallum continuing the adventures of crazy space Punisher. But the sales on this first issue are likely skewed because it had a backup by Cates and Shaw, picking up on the events of their miniseries. We’ll see next month if that was the source of the top twenty debut or if the character is really that hot.
Glenn: Hard to judge because of the backup but the character is the biggest debut Marvel has had for years. The market loves it when heroes go super loony and jolly it seems.
Ray: This is where the regular top books are lurking, with New Mutants, Marauders, Immortal Hulk, Excalibur, Justice League, all selling between 50K and 45K. But a surprise in this range is the launch of Conan: Serpent War at #23, selling 47K. A Conan/Moon Knight team-up introducing Howard creations Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes to the Marvel Universe, it seems like a niche product but debuted strong. Looks like the Conan franchise still has some heat even once Aaron peaces out.
Glenn: The novelty will have attracted interest I think. Marvel was also marketing it as a Conan event and retailers acted accordingly. They seem to be firing it out quickly too so there won’t be much chance for it to fall before its all said and done.
Ray: More good news for Boom to end their spectacular 2019, as their crossover event with IDW, Power Rangers/TMNT, debuts at #29 with 46K sales. Both these properties have been part of hit crossovers with DC properties recently, which raised their profile, and the Power Rangers are getting the turtles at their hottest point in years. Batman and the Justice League? Who needs them?
Glenn: Can’t wait for 30 Days Of Night/Power Rangers.
Ray: At #31 we have the launch of Tom Taylor’s Suicide Squad, selling 46K. The creative team and characters involved seem like they should have done more, but it’s been close to a decade since we had a good Suicide Squad comic and the movie didn’t help. Taylor is a fast-rising writer, so look for some reorders here. 
Glenn: Probably DC’s most abused property outside of Teen Titans so considering it got some interest is testament to Taylor who has been hyping the book hard. I’d wager this will settle quick and pick up steam once Taylor has had time to settle in and build up a little steam.
Ray: Also a surprisingly low debut at #33 is Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, selling 45K. A comic book where Luthor fights the Batman who Laughs should be a guaranteed megahit, but DC didn’t really promote this Tynion/Epting mini like an event. It falls into the same pattern of how the spinoffs from Year of the Villain don’t seem to get treated like essential parts of the story. Everyone’s holding their powder a bit for whatever Metal 2/Crisis event we’re getting this summer.
Glenn: That is a big surprise for Hell Arisen, I didn’t expect it to explode like Batman Who Laughs did last year but considering it features that character and the next part of the Apex Lex story, I would have expected a lot more. There was a lot of noise in Year Of The Villain and most of the one shots sold around and about the same so retailers seem to have treated it as an extension of that event rather than the next chapter in the story. Could be failure on DC’s part to market it property. If it had been called Batman Who Laughs Vs. Apex Lex then things may have been very different indeed. I think this will be another one that stabilizes fast and picks up some reorder hype.
Ray: The first of the 2099 books this month land in the low 30s, with Venom 2099 being the highest at 36 and Spider-Man 2099 being a bit lower at 39, selling 41K and 39K respectively. Not much retailer interest in this mini-event, but the titles sell by which character is the hottest at the moment.
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Glenn: Yeah, no one’s really bothered about this are they? Venom wins cause he’s having his little renascence but otherwise its general apathy towards it. The 2099 universe will likely go back in the drawer for a few years again once more. Chalk another property up for the kill count of the orchestrator of this.
Ray: #37 brings us the debut of Spider-Ham by Zeb Wells, selling 41K. That’s REALLY good for a Spider-Ham book, but I think like Dr. Strange and Venom, the sales were inflated by these being among the only four Marvel books released the day after Christmas. Limited supply means more demand.
Glenn: Being such a prominent character in Spider-Verse and several other comics the last few years likely helped. It’ll probably fall a good bit but its got the room to do so, if there was any time for the character to bring home the bacon, it’s now (sorrynotsorry)
Ray: #38 has the end of King Thor, the final Jason Aaron Thor title before he hands the baton over to Donny Cates. 39K is a little low for what I would expect, but then it’s not exactly a jumping on point. Like Snyder on Batman, this run heads into immortality now.
Glenn: Usually ends of big runs get a bump but not here which is odd. I thought people would have tuned in to see how this very long saga ended. Its sold around the level that the majority of the run has sold, nothing wrong there. It’ll be something that is read for generations to come in collected format. I think Cates new take on the book could have it pick up a lot of momentum sales wise, we’ll see next month.
Ray: Weird and wacky sales games continue, as Amazing Mary Jane #3 jumps 15K in sales for its third issue to sell 38K after being down to 23K last month.That’s good enough for #41, but color me skeptical that this isn’t games.
Glenn: Methinks some extra copies may have been included. It could be possible the title is seeing some genuine interest but with Marvel its always a guessing game since they love to cook the books.
Ray: Top creator-owned book of the month once again goes to Spawn, as the #303 issue sells just under 37K at #45, but only seven spots lower we have the second issue of Undiscovered Country, selling 32K. That’s far ahead of any other Image book and probably means the new Snyder/Soule joint should lap Spawn shortly.
Glenn: It could be as soon as next month. It’ll be very interesting to see what Spawn’s new level is though, maybe it picked up a bit of steam off 300. Undiscovered Country is selling lower than I might have thought but is selling over double what most of Image’s line does which is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. It’ll be a solid hit for as long as the creators want to tell what is turning out to be an excellent story.
Ray: At #50 we have the latest Black Label title, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth from Daniel Warren Johnson. It sells 35K, which is well below the level of the Batman-related titles. But given that Wonder Woman titles sell well below Batman titles and Johnson is an acclaimed indie creator but not a big name yet, this feels like a strong debut. It’s great to see DC taking chances on indie creators in this line.
Glenn: I think that’s an excellent number all things considered. Its clear that while there’s only a few megawatt hits like this months Last Knight, the majority of Black Label are delivering in the numbers. If this had been presented simply as an out of continuity tale by an indie creator I doubt it would have done this well. The Black Label line is one of DC’s biggest successes of the last few years.
Ray: The Tales from the Dark Multiverse line comes to a close with The Judas Contract, which sells 31K at #55. Not bad for what’s essentially a line of oversized What Ifs, but they could have doubled sales with The Batman Who Laughs as the Cryptkeeper!
Glenn: This is also one of the most iconic DC stories ever and arguably the definitive Teen Titans story so it’s no surprise it sold well. Perhaps there could have been more room if certain choices were made with the narrative like you indicated but given that these (so far) seem pretty throwaway apart from their ‘cool’ factor, I am sure DC is very pleased. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more of these later in the year.
Ray: A new Star Wars minseries, The Rise of Kylo Ren, lands at #56 with sales of 31K. This feels really low for a direct prelude to The Rise of Skywalker, but then that movie didn’t get the numbers people were expecting either. The response to the conclusion of the franchise for now seems muted.
Glenn: Apart from the main books, this is where Star Wars books seem to live around this level. You could argue that given the movie it should have done better but its not done worse than any other Star Wars related miniseries. The line’s dominance is not as strong as it once was but its still a consistently solid performer no matter what character or era they choose.
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Ray: Two spots below we have Star Wars: Empire Ascendant, the anthology wrapping up the previous wave of Star Wars titles. It sells 31K, not bad for a $5.99 epilogue.
Glenn: This is another one where we could get a big bump for a new creative direction on both Star Wars and Vader. I feel that Aphra will always be a step behind since she’s exclusive to the comics…for now.
Ray: One of the most surprising recent success stories has been the Priest run on Vampirella, which sells 30K this month at #61. That puts it above some Marvel mainstays like Captain America and Miles Morales, and gives Dynamite its first top 100 regular in a long time.
Glenn:It’s astonishing how much of a revitalization that Priest has had and how it’s benefited this property of all things. Dynamite will be thrilled obviously.
Ray: At #65 we have Thor: Worthy, which does better than the average Marvel nostalgia anthology with sales of 28K. It had stories from Tom DeFalco and Kathryn Immonen, but the headliner was definitely the return of Walt Simonson to the character he defined.
More Marvel 2099 one-shots down here, with the Ghost Rider and Doom issues selling about 28K, followed by the Omega issue selling 26K between #66 and #72.

Glenn: I’m surprised Doom didn’t do a bit better since it was one of the original 2099 mainstays, not surprised that Omega did this low.

Ray: This is also where we see the Annihilation Scourge one-shots, with Silver Surfer being the highest-selling one at #70, selling 26K. Maybe due to the lingering success of Silver Surfer: Black? The Omega issue, Beta Ray Bill, Fantastic Four, and Nova issues sell between 25 and 23K.
Glenn: Pretty acceptable stuff for Annihilation, this was never going to set the charts on fire. I think the original story sold about the same back in the day.
Ray: Absolutely, its still a better debut than they normally manage though. I doubt this will have the sticking power of Vampirella (insert own pun here) and will likely fall to whatever the standard is next month.
At #71 we have the debut of Dan Abnett’s Dejah Thoris from Dynamite, selling 26K. The character’s been around at the company for a while and recently appeared in Warlords of Mars Attacks, but these sales – as always – are heavily due to Dynamite’s aggressive variant cover program.
An odd entry at #73, with the debut of American Jesus: The New Messiah with 26K in sales. This is one of the earliest Millarworld books, coming from the Dark Horse days. But the most notable thing about the sales is that this book was ordered blind. It was part of “Project X-Mas”, a secret rollout where this was released as a Christmas present that was solicited without a title. Clever gimmick, but I think retailers probably expected a bigger-name sequel. It’s only a three-issue miniseries, so there will be no time for retailers to adjust.
Glenn: In a way, this was quite a clever tactic by Millar. Had this been a sequel to one of the Juniper titles or Kick-Ass, this would be quite low but this is one of his more obscure properties from many moons ago. By not telling what this really was, he probably made sure the sales were better than they would have been as retailers literally gambled on whatever this would be.
Ray: At #84 we have the third issue of Basketful of Heads, which sells 23K. That once again makes it one of the top-selling creator-owned books of the month, and is worlds above where it would have been at Vertigo.
Glenn: Fantastic success for Heads but I somehow thing the other Hill House book Hill himself is writing might do a little better because of the involvement of the previously retired superstar artist, Stuart Immonen.
Ray: The last two Infected miniseries, featuring characters who never carried their own titles, are down here at #90 and #94. Deathbringer, featuring Donna Troy, sells 22K, with The Commissioner starring Jim Gordon selling only 900 copies less. I thought the latter might do a bit more due to its ties to The Batman Who Laughs, one of DC’s top recent books.
Glenn: I would have thought that too but maybe retailers assumed it would be throwaway since it wasn’t Snyder writing. It seems like the Batman Who Laughs popularity doesn’t necessarily extend to characters stealing/being leant his bit. Still you have to wonder that without the extra level there that one shots starring these characters wouldn’t have done nearly as well.
Ray: #106 brings us the cardstock variant cover of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, but that’s just over half the sales as another cover charts at #129. Together they sell above 33K, which puts the book just around the top 50 for the month.
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Glenn: This mini has been a solid performer for DC, Harley continues to bring in the money as DC preps the shelves for the movie starring her and some other female characters I don’t recognize.
Ray: Another strong issue for The Dollhouse Family, which sells 17K for its second issue at #111. This again puts it above all but three Image titles and not far below the Joe Hill-penned flagship title.
#116 has the Ocean Master: Year of the Villain one-shot, selling 17K. None of these one-shots sold well besides the Harley and Joker ones, but this one-shot by Dan Watters (heh) seemed like it was setting up future stories.

Glenn: At 118 is the final issue of Deathstroke from Christopher Priest who made this book one of DC’s most critically acclaimed and solid performing mid tier performers. It never set the sales chart on fire but it may be the best the characters ever been written since the Wolvman/Perez days. The finale saw sales over 16.6k which is around where it sold pretty consistently for years. Off it goes to collection heaven while Priest makes Dynamite money on Vampirella.

Ray: 50 issues of Deathstroke by the same creative team and it finishes just outside the top 100. That’s pretty amazing. Worth noting that Priest’s book is one of only four DC Rebirth titles to get this far with a single writer, along with Batman, Batman Beyond, and Flash.
#120 brings us one last DC anthology to wrap the year, as the villain-focused New Year’s Evil selling 16K. This is roughly the area these 9.99 anthologies sell, but this one had some a-list creators including the return of Kurt Busiek to DC that may have driven sales up a little.
Glenn: Plus villains have been hot this year, we can’t forget that. I never would expected Busiek returning to DC so yeah, that likely got some attention. Once again as we say when one of these comes out, given how they’re priced and how good they are, there’s no reason for DC to stop them.
The newest launch from BOOM in Red Mother hits the charts at 123 selling over 16k. While its not the runaway hit of recent offerings from Tynion IV and Gillan that’s still a great debut as it outsells every Image title not Spawn or Undiscovered Country. Last year was a very big game changer for BOOM and this year they could very well make even more growth if they play their cards right.
Ray: This title didn’t have a superstar creative team, and the writer Jeremy Haun is currently dealing with some controversy over the abrupt cancellation of The Beauty. Given that, this performed not just well it probably performed above what it would have done as an Image book. That’s another win for Boom.
Glenn: A facsimile edition of Star Wars 1 is at 124 selling over 15.8k which is very good for old material. I’m not sure if this is the newer run or the classic run but either way, its free money for Marvel on older material.
At 125 is the next Hill House comic, The Low, Low Woods which sells over 15.8k here but also another 6.6kish at 263 for a card stock variant meaning it actually sold over 22.4ish which is a brilliant number for a brand new horror property. This would not have done nearly well as a Vertigo mini which it most likely was repurposed from. This line has been a big hit under the Black Label umbrella.
Ray: This didn’t have an A-list talent like Joe Hill or a superstar comic team like Carey/Gross, but writer Carmen Maria Machado has a pretty big following herself. The line as a whole seems to be solid gold sales-wise, and next month brings a fourth title with art by horror maestro Kelley Jones.
Glenn: Star Wars Saga is a retelling of the story that has been told in the main title since it relaunched a few years back. This isn’t even old material, its telling what it is in old material so sales of over 15.3k at 127 is pretty damn good considering that.
Dying Is Easy, a new creator owned comic by Joe Hill not from DC but IDW sells over 14.7k at 131. IDW has less of a reach obviously than DC so its no surprise it sells lower than the Hill House stuff but this is a very good number from IDW who have likely benefited by Joe Hill’s increased presence in comics at DC and some of his work getting adapted. They’re obviously waiting for the Locke and Key money to come pouring in early February.
Ray: That’s one of the best creator-owned IDW debuts in a while. Power of Hill!
Glenn: At 132 is a video game tie in with Marvels Avengers Iron Man which sells over 14.3 which is pretty good for a throwaway other media tie in. The game itself seems to have some genuine hype behind it given how hot the Avenger’s property is in larger media so anything like this will get a small piece of that.
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Ray: The game got delayed and doesn’t have a built-in fanbase yet, so that probably blunted sales a bit. Spider-Man gameverse this is not.
Glenn: A new Black Hammer universe comic launches in the form of Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy which sells over 13.7k at 137 which makes me giggle slightly. This is slightly higher than the last few Black Hammer spin offs have done so there might be some float over from the Justice League crossover but nothing unusually out there. The entire universe of comics is remarkably solid and Dark Horse’s crown jewel at the moment.
Ray: Like Doctor Star, this is one of those that takes place outside the main Black Hammer narrative. It’s a gritty non-powered vigilante story, essentially “Punisher and Robin“. It’s the least marketable concept from the franchise yet on the face, so that it did so well is a testament to how strong the franchise has become.
Glenn: Right below it at 138 is another Lemire property in Family Tree which sells over 13.5k on its second issue losing roughtly about 8k in sales. That’s not too bad I don’t think and it isn’t that far away from Image hits like Oblivion Song and Die so another win from the Rabbitt Stew 2019 creator of the year.
Ray: This one sort of seems to have slipped under the radar compared to Lemire’s normal hype, but this is still a strong number.
Glenn: New Image launch at 146 in 20xx, the new Luna property which sells over 12.7k. The Luna’s have their own set loyal fanbase, its clear that Image must be happy with how their books perform because they keep green lighting them. It’ll probably settle around 8-9k which is where their books usually land but they usually do very well in collections thereafter.
Ray: This is a black-and-white mature readers thriller from a writer making her comic book debut, so I’d say everyone involved is very happy with this number.
Glenn: Around 15-20 years ago Annihilation the first hit and it got a lot of cult love, now Marvel is revisiting the event but also doing some True Believers starting with Nova at 147 selling over 12.6k which again is just more free money. This is especially impressive considering this material has got a lot of reprinting love over the last decade or so.
A return of one of Greg Rucka’s rotating cast of properties at 156 in the form of Old Guard Force Multiplied with sales over 11.8k. It seems retailers will know who will be coming in to buy this so that’s why its not higher given it’ll have a set fanbase.
Ray: This is one of Rucka’s least-known properties and it’s been years since the first volume, but a Netflix adaptation is coming. I think all of Rucka’s series do better in collections. 
Glenn: Some more reorders for Hickman’s 1st X-Men issue at 157 selling over 11.8k in additional copies. Insane stuff.
Superman Smashes The Klan sells over 11.4k at 161 for its second issue which is pretty good for a Golden Age set Superman story that is a passion project from its writer. This will sell oodles in collections outside the direct market for years to come so its largely moot anyway.
Ray: It was apparently designed as an OGN for the Zoom line originally, but was too big for a single volume. This wasn’t meant for the single issues market in more ways than one.
Glenn: At 162 is a comic that Image should be ashamed to have its logo on. It sells over 11.2k likely cause of the controversy surrounding it and morbid curiosity. If I was a retailer who had ordered this I would have returned it with specific instructions on what Image can do with it.
Ray: The less said about this, the better, but these are pretty mediocre sales. Even for those who don’t know it’s a self-justifying treatise from a domestic abuser, it looks like a thoroughly generic werewolf comic.
Glenn: Cheap reprints of old comics from DC this time in Birds Of Prey selling over 10.8k cause there’s a movie coming out. Its old material so its no big deal how it sells but it likely didn’t do better cause it has no Harley Quinn and features characters I know are named in the trailers but I have to see any true sign of yet in the footage or posters.
More True Believers Annihilation stuff at 166 for Super Skrull which sells over 10.7k, Annihilius at 172 which sells over 10.4k, Super Adaptoid (seriously?) at 176 selling over 10.3k and Moondragon (seriously?!?) at 178 selling over 10.2k . Shelf space takers which make money for very little production cost. There are more of them this month, I just feel lazy.
A facsimile edition of Jack Kirby’s original Eternals 1 at 168 selling over 10.6k I thought might have caught a bit more interest from people who you know have no clue who these characters are and wanted to prep prior to the upcoming films.
Ray: Almost as if there’s a movie coming or something!
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Glenn: The second issue of Mirka Andolfo’s horny devil comic, Unsacred sells over 10.2k at 177 which is remarkably good considering the content, the size of the publisher and that its just a translation off existing material. The upcoming Mercy which has much more of a general material could be a big hit for Image in the new year.
Ray: Yeah, Andolfo’s star is rising like a shooting star based on these numbers. Image has got to be really glad they have a working relationship with her.
Glenn: A DC giant focusing on the duo of Batwoman and Supergirl with the title ‘world’s finest’ sells over 9.8k at 185. Might have expected a shade more but this isn’t for the direct market so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Ray: This is a one-shot, which means DC is mostly trying to raise awareness of the two ladies’ comics for fans of the shows, I think.
Glenn: Publisher Ablaze reprints European comic, Gung Ho which charts at 200 with sales over 9k which is remarkably good from a company I’ve never heard of. The marketing really pushes similarities to Walking Dead which people seem to have bought into so good for them.
Ray: I didn’t know this was a European comic, but it’s been a lot of fun so far – essentially a radical teen rebel version of The Walking Dead. Between this, Unsacred, and Vampire State Building, Ablaze is having a really good time right out of the gate.
Glenn: I forgot about Ablaze doing Vampire State building, they are out of the gate pretty solidly then. To have a new company show up on the top 200 or so this early is a very impressive achievement.
Vampironica returns in a new series at 204 which sells over 8.9k which is pretty standard for Archie stuff now, especially the more weird and wacky takes on the property.
Ray: As much as they’ve watered down the horror line with spinoffs, it’s still their most consistent seller.
Glenn: One of Dark Horse’s bread and butter properties, Alien Vs Predator returns at 211 with Thicker Than Blood, a new mini pairing off the iconic space horrors. The concept is long past its glory days, selling over 8.7k but its likely to have a continued cult fanbase that Dark Horse can rely on to make it worth their while carrying it on for the time being.
Ray: Dark Horse and Disney still have good working relations, so I imagine the license for these two will stay with them for now.
Glenn: Absolutely, this isn’t Star Wars, Predator hasn’t had a peak since the 80’s and has been coasting ever since. If they wanted to do Guardians vs Predator though…
Some reorders for the new X-Men line books in New Mutants at 223 selling over 8.1k additional, X-Force selling over 8k additional at 224 and Excalibur at 227 selling over 7.9k. This is one that’ll be fine for a while to say the least.
Eternals: Secrets From Marvel Universe seems to be more material going into background on the obscure Marvel property in prep for the movie. It sells over 8k at 226. This is essentially a handbook so sales this low, especially on a more obscure property (movie or no movie) are to be expected.

Ray: Almost as if there’s a movie coming, etc etc. 

At #228 is Boom’s annual event from Grant Morrison and Dan Mora, Klaus: The Life and Times of Joe Christmas. It sells 7.9K, very low for a Morrison book, but given that this is a 7.99 silent Christmas book based on a series that ended its regular run five years ago, it’s a good number. It seems like this is going to be a yearly tradition as long as they want to do it.

Glenn: Since it has become an annual thing and presumingly the main narrative is over, this is probably just the diehard fanbase for the property. I also like to think Morrison keeps doing these just to deprive our Rabbitt Stew friend Brandon James of the complete collection he so covets.

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Ray: Almost 8K in reorders for the second issue of Scream: Curse of Carnage at #231. Seems this odd franchise fusing two B-list Venom characters does have some real heat behind it.
Glenn: I would say B list is generous which makes it even more impressive.
Ray: At #236 is a new Valiant launch, The Visitor. This sells 7.5K, but it’s an odd one. It’s the debut of DC legend Paul Levitz at the company, but doesn’t feature any existing Valiant characters. The main character is a masked antihero whose identity will be revealed later. That sort of makes this series a guessing game for retailers.
Glenn: What an odd one. Levitz hasn’t contributed to a comic in quite some time so his name won’t be pulling in many new fans to this universe I’d say. This seems like pretty set level Valient which is fine in itself. No nasty surprises.
Ray: Proving you never know when a reprint will crop up again, at #243 we find 7,3K in reorders for Secret Wars #1. Yes, the Hickman event from over five years ago. Is this just due to interest in anything Hickman right now? Or are we in for a mass of stock dumping below? Stay strong, true believers…
Glenn: It might be because of X-Men? Its hard to tell with Marvel what’s genuine and what isn’t sadly.
Ray: At #246 we have 7.2K in sales for a facsimile edition of Giant Size Defenders #3, which as I can tell is the first appearance of Korvac. What won’t Marvel do a facsimile of?
Glenn: The Sins Remembered story.
Ray: Dynamite reboots James Bond again, this time by Vita Ayala and Danny Lore, and it debuts at #247 with sales of 7.1K. This run didn’t seem to get the hype of the just-concluded Greg Pak one that rebooted Oddjob, and the lack of time between them probably didn’t help.
Glenn: Retailers likely just ordered it as a continuation, diminishing returns and all that. You would have thought they would have waited until the new film is out because we’re bound to get yet another number 1 then to try and get some heat off that.
Ray: At #249 we have the return of one of the best creator-owned books in recent years, Harrow County. Cullen Bunn’s rural horror masterpiece is back for a new miniseries, Tales from Harrow County: Death’s Choir, set a decade after the original series. It sells 7.1K, well above where the series concluded and proving there’s some interest in a revival.
Glenn: Harrow County was a solidly performing series and this spin off/sequel is the same. The books seems to do well in collections with Dark Horse. We often mention that Lemire and Magnola are keeping the lights on at Dark Horse but Bunn isn’t far behind.
Ray: One of Image’s longest-running series, Hack/Slash, has a 15th-anniversary celebration one-shot that sells 7.1K at #250. Tim Seeley came back to his original creation, which probably helped boost the sales here.
#257 has one of the lowest-selling DC books in recent memory, Inferior Five by Jeff Lemire and Keith Giffen. It sells 6.8K with the bump from the launch worn off, which led DC to end the series after six. Disappointing. Lemire will probably stick to Black Label for his offbeat DC books from now on.
Glenn: Even with a creator like Lemire, a book like this can only go so far under the main line. Like you said, Lemire’s future at DC is likely bound for the different lines like Black Label or maybe even Zoom or something like that.
Ray: Another IDW creator-owned book at #261, as the period piece horror series Wellington launches with sales of 6.6K. This one is co-written by the creator of the hit podcast Lore, but IDW still has trouble with creator-owned launches (more on that…lay-tor)
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Glenn: Unless your Joe Hill that seems to be the case. IDW has become known largely as a property farm rather than a creator owned haven like Image or what BOOM is becoming.
Ray: A new Dungeons and Dragons miniseries, Infernal Tides, launches from IDW with sales of 6.5K. Standard sales from a cult property.
Dark Horse launches a new WW2-set horror series, The Butcher of Paris, at #269. This was loosely based on real events and has gotten strong reviews, but the 6.2K sales show Dark Horse still has trouble launching new series unless they’re by Lemire.
More Annihilation at #272, as the oversized Marvel Tales collection sells 6.1K. More essentially free sales for Marvel.
The prequel issue to the mostly reviled Civil War II charts again at #275, selling 5.9K, It’s beginning to smell a lot like stock-dumping…

Glenn: Its the end of the fourth quarter, got to get those dust gatherers out the door to make your market share larger than it is!

Ray: Another new IDW creator-owned book, The Kill Lock, launches at #276 with sales of 5.8K. This is essentially The Dirty Dozen with droids, about a dangerous escape from a robot penal colony, but it slipped under the radar despite being released on the last week of the month when only a selection of books were dropped.

Glenn: This sounds like a great concept and may have done better elsewhere bit it’s hard to tell. By the end of 2020 I would wager we’ll see less creator owned from IDW but more licensed stuff from big daddy Marvel.
Ray: IDW has been doing comics from all areas of Star Trek, but the middle series are the ones that definitely get less attention. At #282 we have a Voyager one-shot, selling Mirrors and Smoke, selling 5.6K. I don’t know the last time I heard someone talk about Voyager.
Glenn: I’m assuming this a mirror universe version of the crew, they did one of Next Gen so decided to do this property too. Apart from the upcoming return of Seven Of Nine on Picard, Voyager is not really at the forefront of the Trek fandom. It doesn’t get the deep love that Next Gen does or the outright hatred that Enterprise did. It was very good, even excellent at times but mostly its treated as…kind of there.
Ray: 5.5K in reorders for Undiscovered Country #1 at #285, as this monster hit of a comic keeps on chugging.
Just before we exit the top 300, we have the debut of Kill Whitey Donovan from Dark Horse, selling 4.6K. Essentially a feminist hybrid of Kill Bill and Django Unchained, this comic had a promising concept but no name creators and got lost in the shuffle.
An incredibly low debut for Hardcore: Reloaded from Image, selling just under 4.5K at #301. This book got a new writer in Brandon Thomas, but the body-swapping thriller didn’t get too much buzz in the first volume and it seems to have shed most of it when it switched talent.
At #304 we have a comic adaptation of the hit Netflix series Narcos, selling 4.3K. I’m not sure a fact-based drug war drama is the best fit for translating to comics.
Glenn:  What an odd show to do a comic about. Spin off’s of TV shows rarely do well in comic form unless they have a strong built in geek audience that lean that way anyway (Buffy or Stranger Things for example) but I would say most people who would be interest in this will just watch the show. Financially it makes more sense to pay 5.99 for a month or two to binge the whole thing rather than pay 3.99 a month for who knows how long until its all retold.
Ray: Stock dumping continues apace, as books like Iceman #6, Avengers #672, X-Men Gold #13, and random issues of Secret Wars get about 4K in reorders around this point.
Glenn: Why Iceman 6 I wonder. What if someone has been waiting for Iceman 4 and not been able to find it? Are they out of luck? Poor Iceman 4 person, we feel your pain.
Ray: IDW repackages some of their Star Wars Adventures comics in a dollar comic called Greatest Hits, just in time for the last movie. It sells 3.7K at #323 as IDW gets into the Marvel game of selling their comics more than once. I hope none of the kids who picked up this book visited any Star Wars message forums after the movie came out…
Glenn: Or Twitter or Facebook or general street conversation. We won’t get into toxic fandom here, By The Numbers is a place of peace!
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Ray: The cult Dark Horse property Criminal Macabre launches a new series at #326, with sales of 3.6. “The Big Bleed Out” is probably going to stay pretty stable for the series overall, as retailers know who wants it.
#327 has a new installment of AOC and the Freshman Force Squad, selling 3.6K. No word of any copyright infringement lawsuits for this one yet.
Glenn: I was about to say this is at least better than another Trump comic but I think its probably about the same. Can’t wait for the adventures of Captain Brexit.
Ray:  #330 brings us the launch of Sina Grace’s new cyberpunk detective thriller, Read Only Memories, another creator-owned launch from IDW that didn’t click with a bigger audience. Grace is a fast-rising writer with DC and Marvel work and a hit book at Boom, so I’m surprised it didn’t do more than 3.4K.
Glenn: It’s likely just because of where IDW is in the creator owned game. Had this launched elsewhere it likely would have done a lot better.
Ray: #331 has the space horror thriller Angela Della Morte, selling 3.4K from Red 5 Comics. This is a weird book, but I’m pretty sure the startup company is just happy to be here.
Glenn: Ahoy Red 5! Welcome to the north wing of the madhouse section of the top 500. There is cake around the corner and to the left.
Titan continues to put out English translations of the manga adaptions of BBC’s mega popular Sherlock in the first issue of Sherlock In Belgravia which sells over 3.3k at 333. That’s a lot of 3’s! It’ll be die hard Sherlock fans that want this I guess but like most manga, it likely does a lot better in collected formats.
There’s a zero issue for IDW’s version of Marvel Team Up which chose to take the much more convoluted name of Marvel Action Classics Spider-Man Two-In-One. A bit odd since Marvel Two-In-One was the Thing’s team up book but you know, whatever. It sells over 3.2k at 336. As usual these are comics aimed outside the direct market that daddy Disney IDW can reach better than Marvel…which is right of course.
Remember last years Marvel Knights 20th overseen by Donny Cates? Of course you don’t! The one shot that kicked it off shows up randomly at 342 selling over 2.9k. I guess they were gathering up space in a closet at Marvel HQ.
IDW is getting into the facimilie game with Star Trek: The Motion Picture adaption at 345 selling over 2.8k. Since this is one of the weaker films and its a reprint of existing material, its a little less free money than what Marvel or DC enjoys on such things but it is free money none the less.
Spawn 300 is still getting some reorders a few months later 349 selling over 2.7k in additional copies. Image really made this one seemingly near unmissable.
Also selling around 2.7k is Archie’s Christmas spectacular which is our standard point in the charts where this is classic Archie reprinted and the sales here don’t ultimately matter very much. Tune in next month for the same.
Among some stock dumping and low selling small press is Stabbity Ever After at 361 selling over 2.2k. This is the follow up to Stabbity Bunny which didn’t do too badly too long ago. I guess the joke wore thin.
Speaking of stock dumping, I forgot that Marvel tried to make the comic Mosaic a thing. They brushed that under the rug faster than whatshisface from Civil War II. The excess stock was over 2.1k that Marvel enforced upon retailers who likely wondered what the hell it was.
Now I’m confused, there’s another Stabbity Bunny comic? Stabbity Bunny: Emmets story sells over 2k at 372. Ray! Explain! I shouldn’t have this much of a headache over a bunny which stabs people!
Ray: There is never enough Stabbity Bunny, Glenn! But yes, these are two separate one-shots expanding the universe before the main series returns. The bunny murder universe.
Glenn: Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade is more young reader stuff from IDW that will sell elsewhere. Here it does over 2k at 373.
Steve Niles delivers a new horror comic that has an association from John Carpenter in the form of Storm Kids Monica Belue Welwolf Story at 1.7k at 392 from Storm King press. I would have thought Niles name would have been good for a few more sales but this seems like a brand new company so again, they’re probably thrilled to be here.
Ray: That name is certainly a mouthful. The publisher is so small even two huge names couldn’t really help.
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Glenn: Source Point comic homages Eerie Comics in the form of Classic Pulp Horror at 393. Given how horror is likely the number 2 genre in comics right now I would have thought this might have done a little better than 393 but Source Point only has so much reach at the moment.
Ray: I’m sure the outdated name really didn’t help when making retailers want to order this.
Glenn: Christopher Sabela delivers a one shot from Scout Comics in the form of Eskimo Kisses which is another horror book, this time from Scout which sells over 1.6k at 395. Again I might have expected a little more given the name involved and the genre but its likely just the reach of the publisher at this point.
MAD (not sure if from ‘the magazine’ fame) come in at 400 with Over The Ropes, the pro wrestling crime story that actually seems really interesting. If they’re just new or even MAD magazine stretching out then the sales over 1.5k aren’t too big a surprise. Happy to be here again and I can see this one getting some traction in collections.
Ray: It’s from Mad Cave Studios, and it did an additional 1K or so for a special preview edition last month. So I think this is a hit for the small company. This feels like one of those that could be a sleeper hit.
Glenn: Breathers, another comic with promise debuts from ‘It’s Alive!‘(??!??!?!?!?) selling over 1.4k at 406. Initially I thought this was another one lost in the shuffle but a variant cover drawn by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt also shows up at 443 selling over 1.1k meaning combined sales of around 2.5k which isn’t two shabby at all, especially when its priced at 2.99.
Ray: Breathers is It’s Alive’s first ongoing series and it’s endorsed by Kindt and Lemire, so I think this is a great outing for the small company. It’s kind of a prestige company, but they’ve got some amazing names working for them out of the gate like Craig Thompson and Madson.
Glenn: Vark Thing One Shot at 408 selling over 1.4k. Stay classy Dave.
Ray: I’m sure it’s a tasteful comic about the anthropology of primitive humans and the role of women in primordial society.
Glenn: Reorders for Deaths Of Vic Sage at 410 meaning it sells an additional 1.4k copies. Not quite the barnstormer than some of the other ones in terms of reorders but obviously there’s interest here.
Among other small reorders, much stock dumping (mostly the Amazing Spider-Man Hunted one shots, shock and horror) is Seance Room from Source Point which sells over 1.2k at 422. This was originally a Kickstarter book so most of the interested readers likely have this and again, Source Point outreach. This one also looks very interesting.

Getting into the true meaning of the festive season we have Scary Christmas at 423 selling over 1.2k from American Mythology. This is a mature themed horror anthology with a Christmas theme. Bit of an unusual one for American Anthology to go for such a specialist part of the small audience they usually have access to.

A lot of stock dumping around this level from Marvel, you can’t fool us Marvel!

Some reorders for BOOM’s Folklords at 426 selling over 1.2k. Not the runaway success of Once and Future or Something Is Killing The Children but there is some interest here.

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Next spot that isn’t a low selling ongoing or stock dumping is the one shot Seeress Reckless from Source Point selling over 1k at 451. This is another former kickstarter that likely had most of its primary audience get the book there.

Mostly reorders down here and stock dumping until we get to 487 and Cavewoman: Terror in the Skies from Basement that sells 758 copies. I see they named their company after where their output likely belongs, that’s nice.

At 495 is Deadly Ten Presents….Sorority Babes. It sells 722 copies. I want to go home.

Ray: Sounds sexy. I’m sure they have a lovely pillow fight and no one gets murdered.

Glenn: This months last book at spot 500 is some reorders for Countdown: Picard which picks up additional 696 orders. The TV show is amazing so I think people will want to go back and check this out, I know I do.

Ray: A testament to the hype for the TV series! IDW is getting the most out of the Trek license these days.

Looking ahead to 2020, it’s kind of a quiet month to start the year. DC is wrapping up a couple of runs, with the headliners this month probably being the giant-sized Wonder Woman #750 (can it come close to the success of the #1000 issues?) and the debut of James Tynion on Batman. We’ve also got the launch of the fourth Hill House book, the gothic mystery Daphne Byrne.
Over at Marvel, we’ve got a lot more material. Surprise surprise. New Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy runs kick off with what are sure to be big numbers, and the Iron Man 2020 event kicks off by Slott and Gage. The Ravencroft mini-event launches, and we get most of the “The End” one-shots from top creators. A sequel to Earth X, Marvels X, debuts, and a bunch of new minis featuring characters from Hawkeye to Namor jockey for space. Oh, and a little book called Star Wars relaunches.
Over at Image, there are some small launches like Protector and The Clock, the return of Sex Criminals from a long hiatus, and a few books ramping up for the finish. Otherwise, it should be a quiet month as companies hold their powder for a big 2020.

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

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Liked what you read? Have any questions or concerns? Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield!

By The Numbers: November 2019

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for several years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He’s hoping we can pretend 2019 wasn’t a thing, we can totally do that right?

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. Tis the season for a Chinese food filled Ray to be rolled down the street making a ‘whooooo’ noise.

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!

Check out the top 500 in full here!

Glenn: Its the final article for By The Numbers in the year 2019 (assuming we get this out in a timely manner. Stupid needs to eat and sleep) as we turn to November to see how things are going in the industry this weather for a very interesting month.

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Top seller of the month with over 138.4k in sales is the launch of New Mutants under the Hickman era which is the largest of the spin off books in terms of sales. Its no surprise since this is the one that has Hickman’s name on it (for the moment at least) and its solid right out of the gate. The second issue sells over 60.5k at 14 which again due to Hickman’s involvement likely gives us an indication of where the ceiling is on these spin off books which is very impressive given the X franchises up and down history for the last decade or so. This new era has caught on it seems and if the 70 or so X-Men titles we have coming can all deliver around 50-60k then Marvel will be sitting very pretty indeed.
Ray: This is a pretty strong debut, as I think this one is considered the book most closely linked to the main Hickman book. The second issue sales are great, but there’s a wrinkle here. The third issue is out now, and it’s a completely different story focusing on the next generation of mutant kids. It seems like Hickman will be writing the original class in space and Brisson will be writing the Morrison/Academy X kids on Earth. That could affect sales going forward.
Glenn: Number 2 this month is the main X-Men book which sells over 117.5k so this book solely written by Hickman is being treated as the MVP line…which it is. If this is where it has settles after a monster debut last month, that is Marvel’s biggest success story in quite some time. This could very well be a top ten staple for as long as Hickman is around and be the equivalent for Marvel that Batman was for DC for close to ten years.
Ray: Yeah, that is a fantastic hold and it seems likely this will be the #1 ongoing going forward for a while. The hype here is real and well-deserved.
Glenn: Breaking up the avalanche of X-Men success is the final issue of Absolute Carnage selling over 106.8k at number 3 this month which means a slight uptick in sales for the send off. This mini event has been a monster, outperforming many of Marvel’s bigger events in recent years and puts more stock in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman than ever.
Ray: Both the main event and the tie-ins for this one did a lot better than War of the Realms and other recent Marvel events. This reminds me of how DC had a lot of success with smaller, line-centric events recently. Marvel would be smart to copy that – as well as giving Donny Cates anything he wants to keep writing symbiotes as long as he wants.
Glenn: Back to X-Madness now with number 4 in the charts being the launch of X-Force which sells over 105.1k. Historically this has been one of the franchises most successful spin off titles so its no surprise it to take the silver medal in the spin off races this month. The second issue this month sells over 53.6k at 18 which is still very good for what has been a once successful franchise long thought past its heyday.
Ray: This one didn’t get a lot of hype in advance, but it seems to be very key to the overall Krakoa status quo. Percy’s one of those few writers Marvel has managed to poach from DC recently, and it seems like they have a lot of faith in him as he’s launching a Wolverine book shortly.
Glenn: More X-Men at 5 with Bryan Hill bringing back the Fallen Angels spin off which launches at over 86.6k in sales with the second issue at 27 selling over 46.8k. Still decent to put it at a mid tier hit if it was sticking around but the book is going on ‘hiatus’ as Hill is off to look into other opportunities. This then can be looked at a very good selling spin off X-Men mini which we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming months.
Ray: If there’s any proof that the Hickman X-line is bulletproof right now, it’s this. This is a book starring New Psylocke, Kid Cable, and X-23 minus her Tom Taylor character development, by a well-liked writer who hasn’t launched a major hit yet, and it still does great numbers for its content. It’s being replaced by a strange-looking Hellions book in March, so we’ll see if the aura holds till then.
Glenn: Writer Kelly Thompson gets a crack at possibly her biggest property to date in Deadpool with a new relaunch selling over 83k at number 6 in the charts. This is a very good launch but low compared to other recent Deadpool relaunches but since there has been 4 of them in the last few years (including this one) as well as an infinite number of mini’s and spin offs, fatigue is going to set in eventually. I do think its a lot to be said for Thompson and legendary artist Chris Bachalo that they got as much interest for their launch considering how frequently Marvel has gone to the Deadpool well. Lets hope it settles to a level the creative team deserve.
Ray: The addition of Jeff the Land Shark will surely make this a megahit! The character’s a long way from the days he was a franchise headliner for Marvel, partially due to overuse, but this is a good debut and not the only good news for Kelly Thompson on this month’s charts.
Glenn: Crawling (heh, get it?) back into the top ten is Amazing Spider-Man in one of its odd bumps for no reason at spot 7 in the top ten for issue 33 which sells over 77.8k which has been the upper tier of its level not counting crossovers. Its back to normalish levels for this run at the tenth and final top ten spot selling over 67.9k. With the weird fluctuation the book has it indicates that Marvel is playing games with the numbers or retailers don’t know what to do with this run and either is equally possible. Its hard to know where Amazing’s actual level is at the moment and that could be very well be the point.
Ray: *shrug* I got nothing. This is the middle of a 2099 tie-in that has only barely played into the main title, and the larger story involves Chameleon and Doctor Doom. There’s no real reason things should be ticking up now. Wacky Marvel numbers. More on those…laytor.
Glenn: In what we knew was going to be a hit for Image Comics due to the creative team, concept and hype is Undiscovered Country at 8 selling over 73k. I actually expected higher but this is still very impressive for Image and I doubt there will be much decline next month and this could turn into a Walking Dead type monster very quickly. Big kudos to the creative team because this is the biggest Image launch I can recall for several months at least.
Ray: Yeah, this is a monster debut from a pair of top writers and an artist who has been steadily building a very impressive brand for years. It had a good number of covers, but nothing like the wave of Millar or Spawn covers that drove those sales. It’s just a combination of a great creative team and a concept that immediately got people talking. I was sold from minute one, and I think a lot of people were too. We almost definitely have our regular new top Image title.
Glenn: We’re getting to the end of the epic Tom King run on Batman with issue 82 selling over 71.3k for the acetate cover but there was also a stock card cover (cause DC hates us and likes to make us use…ugh….math) at 116 selling over 18.2k which means the book actually sold around 90k which would mean its the number 4 selling book of the month and the subsequent issue charts at 15 selling over 60.3k which is abysmal for this title but then we have another fancy variant version at 92 selling over 21.6k which means it actually sold about 81k which makes it the number 7 selling book of the month so after a lot of redirection its business as usual for the title as it reaches its finale next month. I need to lie down now after all that punching numbers into a calculator.
Ray: This is definitely an impressive uptick as City of Bane winds down, and shows that there’s still some interest in King’s run. I’m not sure what went on behind the scenes there, but it bodes well for Batman/Catwoman when it debuts. 
Glenn: Don’t care how, I want it now!
Ray: Immediately after the latest issue of Venom, we get the debut of Scream: Curse of Carnage at #12. This is an odd one since retailers didn’t even know who would be under the symbiote when they ordered this – but does it really matter? The 64K in sales are more because people love the character design and she saw a surge in interest with her high-selling tie-in mini. The odd thing is that this isn’t written by Bunn, who wrote the mini and created the character Scream is now bonded with. Still a very strong debut that proves anything Symbiote is super-hot right now.
Glenn: Scream is the distant third most famous symbiote but that still counts for something. This will likely settle as a solid middle tier performer which for a book starring a character (kinda/sorta) that hasn’t been referenced that much since the mid 90’s, that’s very good.
Ray: There’s a huge increase for Captain Marvel, as the twelfth issue lands at #13 with sales of 62K. That’s almost a 100% increase from the previous issue for the start of “The Last Avenger”. A mystery “dark future” story, or so it seems, that has a Kree-controlled Carol killing the Avengers, it’s the biggest hit the character’s had in comics and a massive feather in Kelly Thompson’s cap. Marvel fans love their darker takes.
Glenn: Bring on the dark Marvelverse! Seriously this is all it takes to get people interested, good stories and Thompson can deliver that in spades.
Ray: This seems to be where the X-books are going to settle down for now, as we see the second issues of Excalibur and Marauders stay above 50K. Excalibur sells 55K at #16 while Marauders does 51K at #22, which is the opposite of what I would expect based on relevance. Maybe just because one has more history as a title?
Glenn: With that little difference its hard to know but it could easily flip around. Retailers seem to be treating the large majority of the spin off titles the same so this is probably our ‘core’ X-Men fanbase with a few thousand extras while more newer and older fans are coming back in droves to support the main title. This overall puts the franchise in the best situation its been since the Whedon/Morrison era.
Ray: The Murphyverse stays strong for its first spinoff, as Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze sells just under 52K at #19. Given that this is a WW2-set dark tale featuring the origins of an alternate version of Mr. Freeze, I’d say that qualifies as a major success. Murphy wrote this but had Klaus Janson do the art, so that’s a big win for him as well.
Glenn: This universe continues to deliver solid numbers and DC are clearly very happy since they’ve already green lit a third chapter. No doubt the first collection did magnificent numbers which doesn’t hurt.
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Ray: Spawn stays strong but starts dropping, as #302 sells just under 52K at #20. This is still a world from where it was a year ago, but we might see Undiscovered Country lap it as the months go on.
Glenn: Falling faster than I would have guessed but it was inevitable. Still double where it usually is, we’ll see if it continues to fall or can hold on to some new fans in the new year.
Ray: #22 brings us the debut of Legion of Super-Heroes with sales of 51K. Not a great debut for Bendis and Sook, but better than the tie-in mini (which barely featured the Legion) and well above the characters’ usual level. There’s a reason they haven’t had a regular title since around 2013, and tying them in with a top book is sure to help long-term.
Glenn: Its a hard one because a launch by Bendis no matter what the property was used to be a guaranteed top ten delivery but those days are gone. DC tried to get renewed interest in the Legion many times about 15 years ago before giving up entirely. This is about the same as most of those launches did so we’ll see next month where it goes. It just might be one of those properties that can’t survive the modern day market.
Ray: #25 has the first issue of Morbius from Marvel, selling 50K. There’s normal Marvel sales mischief (multiple variant covers and incentives) and special mischief (doubling sales, etc). This feels like the former, as almost any Marvel title can debut with 50K the way they promote them. The problem is, with standard drops easily hitting 50% or higher, it feels like this could hit choppy waters soon.
Glenn: We’ll see if they can keep it chugging along until the movie. I’m going to wager…no. This is not a character that should have his own book, we learned that back when the last ‘ongoing’ launched around Amazing 700 but Marvel clearly didn’t.
Ray: Batman/Superman is at 45K at #29 for its Acetate cover, but there’s another 13K in sales below, putting it over 59K and into the #16 spot overall. That’s a great result, largely due to the book being one of two core titles for the upcoming Hell Arisen event, alongside Justice League. DC’s done an excellent job of making their regular titles feel like events lately.
The main Star Wars title wraps up its run at #32, selling 42K. There’s a special issue tying the various series together, following a relaunch in January, but the title seems to have lost a lot of its momentum from when it was the biggest thing in comics.
Glenn: Its been five years and still…this is at the very upper end of what the property would deliver with Dark Horse back in the day. Will the relaunch that spins out of the much ballyhooed Empire Strikes Back give it a new lease of life is the question or will it just end up frozen in carbinite sales wise?
Ray: The bridge miniseries between seasons of Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern, titled Blackstars, is basically being treated like the main series despite the art shift. It sells 42K at #33, keeping pace with previous issues. A new season of the main series launches in January.
At #36/37 we’ve got the launch of two new Marvel mini-events no one really asked for, 2099 and Annihilation: Scourge. The former sells 41K and the latter 40K for their “Alpha” issues. The low sales emphasize that it it definitely not this event driving the increased sales on Amazing Spider-Man. 2099 has some tie-ins this month, while Annihilation Scourge begins its main story next month.
Glenn: Side events at a smaller scale that Marvel seems to think will have juice. The only thing they do is bump up the number of comics they can sell us to retain their ever important market share and little else.
Ray: One of the strongest debuts for a Young Animal title as the sci-fi conspiracy Green Lantern title Far Sector debuts at #40 with sales of 39K. This is by sci-fi novelist NK Jemisin, who brings a big audience from outside comics, and Naomi artist Jamal Campbell. This also feels like one that will have great legs in collections.
Glenn: Absolutely but it is a good debut for a new character by a writer that’s unknown to the industry in terms of comic work. Could this be DC’s Ms. Marvel?
Ray: #43 has the debut of one of the oddest Marvel books in recent memory, the Mariko Tamaki/Gurihiru comedy book Spider-Mam & Venom: Double Trouble. This is a body-swapping story where Spider-man and Venom are roommates, and Venom steals Spider-Man’s body so he can go on reality TV. I am not joking. It sells 37K, which makes me think either symbiotes are super-hot right now, or body swap comedies have a hidden audience comics need to tap in on more.
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Glenn: Why not both?! Yeah so Venom + Spider-Man = money and this will have a YA readers appeal that Donny Cates current run definitely does not have. It’ll do well for its tenure and probably better in collections land.
Ray:More Tales from the Dark Multiverse one-shots this month, both based on 2000s events, as Tim Seeley’s Blackest Night reinvention sells 36K at #46 followed by 35K for the Infinite Crisis tale where Ted Kord goes evil two spots below. Good results for $5.99 What Ifs.
Glenn: I might have expected a tad more for Blackest Night since it was the hottest thing going back in the day but while Grant Morrison has turned Green Lantern into a property worth taking note of once more, its not the powerhouse it used to be.
Ray: The last two Absolute Carnage tie-ins, Weapon Plus and Captain Marvel, sell 34K and 32K respectively at #53 and #55. These were dropped in at the last minute with no real ties to the main event, but the Captain Marvel one does have a Carnagized Flerken. The fact that even the low-rung late tie-ins did this well is a vote of confidence in the main series.
Garth Ennis’ return to Punisher with Punisher: Soviet lands at #60, selling 31K. The Marvel MAX line has hit some rough waters, unlike its Black Label counterpart at DC, but this is easily the most iconic run and Ennis has a strong fanbase.
Glenn: Ennis Punisher will always have its smallish but rock solid fanbase and then sell loads in collections. Marvel is still earning bundles off new versions of collections from his previous Punisher runs from like 15 years ago.
Ray: One of Vertigo’s most popular characters returns to the world of mature readers, selling 30K at #62 for the debut of John Constantine: Hellblazer. His fame as a character definitely made this one of the top Sandman Universe titles, especially with line architect Simon Spurrier on board.
Glenn: My memory isn’t what it used to be but this is around double what the last Hellblazer title was doing before DC moved him over to the ‘proper’ universe so there’s seemingly new interest to see the character go back to his roots. The Sandman universe line is obviously delivering what the company wants if they’re adding new books to it and Hellblazer always sells oodles of collections. By having this and John still pop up in main continuity is the very definition of having your cake and eating it too.
Ray: Tim Seeley’s oddball Hanna-Barbera spin-off He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse, coming off the Injustice crossover, lands at #64 selling 29K. Apparently there’s quite the audience for Chibi He-Man!
Glenn: Alt realities are hot at the minute I guess? I also wonder if retailers are expecting some back issue hunters when the new Kevin Smith He-Man cartoon gets off the ground.
Ray:  At #65 is Jeff Lemire’s second Black Label book, The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage. It sells 29K, well below what Killer Smile did – but given that it’s been ages since The Question had a series and this will likely do most of its sales in trade, it’s another victory for Black Label. This is one of the few non-Batman properties they’ve done.
Glenn: This is also almost a direct continuation from the brilliant Denny O’Neil series from over 30 years ago. Still, its very good for what it is and will do well in the inevitable collection.
Ray: The Black Cat annual lands at #66 selling 29K, which is about 500 copies above what the main series did three spots below. This is probably the book’s new level, and the slight increase for the annual probably has to do with Spider-man guest-starring for a fake wedding.
Glenn: The bat wedding this was not.
Ray: The next phase of Year of the Villain launches with The Infected – a series of one-shots following the corrupted heroes who are serving The Batman Who Laughs. The highest-selling of them this month is The Infected: King Shazam, which sells 28K at #71. Few of these heroes are A-listers, so I’m not expecting great numbers, but these prequels to the upcoming Hell Arisen may get some reorders. Worth noting this sells within 200 copies of the main Shazam series.
Glenn: I would have expected more since The Batman Who Laughs is so popular but retailers may be seeing the concept being stretched too much too soon. We’ll see how Hell Arisen does in a couple of months.
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Ray: The first 2099 one-shot, Fantastic Four 2099 by Karla Pacheco, sells 26K at #73. The more popular characters and creators seem to be next month, and this one didn’t actually have any Fantastic Four characters in it.
Punisher 2099 is up next at #78, selling 25K. Most of these should fall in this area, so not a very inspiring performance.
Glenn: Also most of the original versions of these 2099 characters only had a cult audiance to begin with and according to our 2099 Rabbitt Stew Expert Brandon, these one shots are not about those characters.
Ray: At #79 we have the debut of a Yondu miniseries selling 25K. I guess there’s a limited audience for the character despite the scene stealing in GOTG2. He’s Mary Poppins, y’all, but she doesn’t need a solo comic either.
Glenn: Comic fans know any retrofitting to align with the films is often an eyebrow raising moment (see also Nick Fury jr). Marvel fails to realize that we will quite happily love two different versions in two different mediums. Don’t cross the streams!
Ray:  The third 2099 one-shot of the month is Conan 2099 at #82, selling 24K. This is close to what the secondary Conan title sells every month and it had next to nothing to do with the 2099 event, so I think retailers just ordered it like that.
Hey, Glenn! Remember when Amazing Mary Jane sold over 100K last month! That was surely a completely organic debut and not at all Marvel playing numbers games! I mean, just look at its robust second issue sales of *checks* 23K at #86. Never mind. This has apparently been cut back to six issues already. Womp womp.
Glenn: I am shocked, this is my shocked face. At least with the upcoming classic Gwen comic coming up, Marvel are treating it like a mini up front.
Ray:  An additional 23K in sales for Legion of Super-Heroes #1, which changes the picture a LOT thanks to the split covers. Its total sales are 74K, which puts it in the top ten. (You can edit that one together with the Legion entry up top if you want, Glenn)
Glenn: I could…but I’m lazy. So yes, ignore what we said above. Still lower than what I would expect from Bendis back in his heyday but brilliant for the Legion. If it can settle around 40-50k that would be brilliant for the franchise historically speaking.
Ray: We have a few creator-owned titles sneaking into the top 100, starting with Killadelphia, Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s black Philadelphia vampire noir. It sells 22K at #90, which is an impressive debut for a book that didn’t seem to get a lot of hype.
Glenn: Vampires are having a moment again it seems, I wonder if any of them sparkle?
Ray: Another big win for Boom, as Matt Kindt’s fantasy conspiracy adventure Folklords sells 21K at #94. This isn’t on the level of Boom’s other recent hits, but Kindt’s been plugging away in creator-owned comics for a long time and this is one of his bigger single-issue hits. Well deserved.
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I was a little surprised to see both of those beat out Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester’s Family Tree, which sells 21K at #95. Lemire is usually gold, but this book has a very creepy concept and was delayed a lot from its announcement. Retailers may be ordering cautiously.
Glenn: Like most Lemire books I think this will find its audience fast and pick up good sales in trades. It is a little more unusual than his usual (which for Lemire is saying something) but no doubt will find its readers, quality always does.
Ray: At #99 we have the debut of The Dollhouse Family, the second Hill House book. This is by the legendary creative team of Lucifer, The Unwritten, and The Highest House, Mike Carey and Peter Gross. It sells 21K, which is roughly in line with what I’d expect this cult creative team to sell if they launched a new Image book. These minis will do most of their sales as evergreen horror trades, but the comparison between this and Basketful of Heads probably doesn’t bode too well for the ones without “name” creative teams.
Glenn:This actually has a card stock variant selling over 9.6k at 193 so this sells around 30k which is brilliant. Especially compared to any of the Vertigo launches we saw before that lines death and this mini may have been retrofitted from that so DC will be very happy.
Ray: There was a promotion called Local Comic Shop Day this month, featuring special reprints of comics. The top-selling outing is a book called Walking Dead: Alien, which appears to be a 2016 crossover comic of sorts written by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. This was its first time in print, so it’s not a surprise it picks up a lot of sales at #101, selling just under 21K. 
#103 brings us the second The Infected one-shot, Scarab. This features Jaime Reyes, the second Blue Beetle, and sells 20K. The character has had trouble sustaining a solo series, so these sales are pretty in-line with what I’d expect.
At #110 we’ve got an Umbrella Academy one-shot, Hazel and Cha Cha Save Christmas. It sells 19K, showing the cult property will always have an audience. Maybe the Netflix series boosted it?
Glenn: I would say so. They are very entertaining side characters too who maybe have their own fanbase.
Ray: Mike Carey shows up again at #111, but I don’t think his Fantastic Four: Negative Zone one-shot will be remembered in the same terms as his work with Peter Gross. It sells 19K, pretty standard for a random one-off comic.
Glenn: This might be a repurposed story from the Yancy Street anthology that debuted a while back and has mysteriously vanished. This does better than that so if this is the case then Marvel came out ahead.
Ray: #123 brings us this year’s Supergirl Annual, which sells 17K. I think retailers missed the boat on this one, because it’s essentially her Infected one-shot. I wonder if having this written by a third writer as the creative team changes over made retailers think it didn’t matter? It definitely did and Robert Venditti’s one-shot could be in for some reorders.
It’s a pretty big jump until we see our next comic of note, and it’s the top-selling Big Two reprint of the month. DC gets 16.5K in sales at #128 for a Dollar Comics reprint of Batman #497, which was the famous issue where Bane broke Batman’s back.
Speaking of Bats, at #131 we have the looooooooong delayed final issue of Batman: Creature of the Night from Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon. It sells 16K, not too far off where the series was selling years back. John Paul Leon battled back from cancer to finish this series, so I hope the creative team gets a lot of royalties in trade as it gets the audience it deserves.
Glenn: Absolutely, I think a lot of people missed the boat on this one so I hope much like Secret Identity it goes on to be read and reprinted for years to come.
Ray: The last Future Fights one-shot, Crescent and Io, sells 15K at #132. Pretty standard for this line of video game tie-ins. The core audience is elsewhere.
A shockingly strong debut for a company few have heard of, Ablaze Comics, as Mirka Andolfo’s Unsacred lands at #133 with sales of 15K. This profane, sex-joke filled comic about a horny demon in love with a chaste angel is reprinted from some of Andolfo’s old webcomics, and this kind of debut from a new company shows just how fast her star has risen. She’s going to be one of the hottest names in comics after this.
Glenn: I love Andolfo’s work and although this comic isn’t my taste, I’m thrilled with her success here. I hope she starts getting the work her talent deserves but she seems to be happy doing European comics which are then translated into well selling Image maxi’s which is not a bad position to be in.

The next to points of interest are two second issues from DC comics in the form of Batman Giant at 136 selling over 15.1k and Metal Men selling over 14.8k at 138. I think the former of the two is a good result considering this is material aimed at Walmart so anything they get here in the direct market is a bonus while Metal Men is kind of to be expected. The franchise has never been a hot seller in the modern day and while Shane Davis is certainly an artist with weight to his name, Dan Didio’s books have all a certain identity to them so readers here knew what they were getting and interest was appointed appropriately. It probably won’t last too long.

Decent leveling out for Last God at 143 with sales over 14.5k especially when you consider that this is 4.99. This would have been great for a Vertigo book towards the end of the lines life so clearly Black Label is working, even for new properties that have nothing to do with DC heroes. Another encouraging sign for the book is that it packs in some healthy reorders at 183 selling over 10.5k more copies.
Ray: This is the first original Black Label book, followed quickly by the Hill House books, and I think they’re essentially performing like strong mid-level Image books at the moment. This is definitely one of the more modest hits for the line, but still something to build on.
Glenn: Two fascimilie editions sell very close together with Marvel putting out issue 10 of Tomb Of Dracula in that format resulting in sales over 14.3k at 144 while DC goes with Green Lantern 85 which sells over 14.1k at 145. The former has the first appearance of Blade which likely gives it the edge over the infamous Roy Harper junkie issue. Still, great sales for old titles that include one that’s relatively obscure and one that’s been reprinted to death.
About 7-8k in sales droppage for new Image book Marked on its second issue at 147 resulting in sales over 13.9k,which I think is very good as this makes it the 10th best selling Image book of the month and the rest are released by creators of much bigger renown.
Ray: Hine and Haberlin are creators who hadn’t been heard from in a while, but their hit series Sonata (currently on hiatus until the second arc) has driven up interest in this too.
Glenn: On the cheap reprint side of things, Flashpoint 1 gets a dollar comic rerelease which gets sales over 13.5k which isn’t too bad considering its not too old and was a whole relaunch ago. Another major DC crossover from years past, Blackest Night also gets a cheap reprint at 153 selling over 13.4k. Again a decent result for something that’s not that old and was a major hit back in the day.
Another decent landing for BOOM’s big Buffy crossover Hellmouth which sells over 13.5k at 150 for the second issue. This mini is essentially the main story featuring both Buffy and Angel while their normal books deal with the side characters left behind. Curiously Buffy is still selling 3k more at 130 but the franchise as a whole is doing great compared to the latter Dark Horse Days.
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Ray: This doesn’t seem to have gotten the big buzz for the franchise they were hoping for. It reminds me a little of the reception of Dead No More, where the event miniseries itself got lost in the shuffle.
Glenn: Another real solid result for a new BOOM book in the form of Heartbeat at 153 selling over 12.9k which while it isn’t the runaway successes of Once and Future or Something Is Killing The Children it is worlds and above where the publisher was only a year ago. This book doesn’t have the names that the other two books have so this is even more impressive. Although they’re not scaring off Marvel or DC yet, BOOM has probably made the most headway of any company this year.
Ray: Maria Llovet is very much a cult creator and this is a breakout for her coming from indie comics, so I’d say it’s still a pretty impressive hit for them.
Glenn: Valiant comics delivers Rai at 160 selling over 12.3k which at the upper end of their standard range probably due to the fact that it has known workman Dan Abbott’s name on the cover. Apart from a surprise hit here and there, Valiant are the very definition of established and steady.
Ray: This launched directly out of their event miniseries Fallen World and has the same creative team, so I think retailers ordered more cautiously since they knew the general level.
Glenn: At 162 is a dollar comics for Infinite Crisis which is so many relaunches ago, I lost count. This one isn’t looked too favorably on with hindside so its probably ordered for anyone picking up the Dark Tales one shot who might be curious who didn’t read it back in the day. It sells over 12.2k which is all still bonus numbers for DC.
At 167 is a Giant edition of Super Hero Girls, the cartoon series featuring a large array of female teen versions of DC heroes in high school. Its a fixed audiance that is definitely not primarily in the main market and will do wonders other places but all things considered, sales over 11.8k aren’t too shabby.
Ray: This property rebooted itself for the new cartoon and the current version is sort of controversial, so I think that might have kept this issue from breaking out as well.
Glenn: Your random metal band comic of the month is KISS zombies selling over 11.4k at 172. Its zombies and KISS so…I guess this is what these two things sell when you smoosh them together?
Ray: The Rocking Dead?
Glenn: Boooooo! Don’t make me replace you with Donny Cates mister!
Another DC giant for kids show Teen Titans Go at 176 selling over 10.7k. Everything I said about Super Hero Girls applies here except Teen Titans Go seems to be aimed at a younger audience.
Iffy sales for the debut of Olympia at 185 selling over 10.3k but this is a very personal story for the creator which may not resonate. Its also a super hero comic by and large and people don’t go to Image for that type of thing. I hear its very good so it might sell well in collections.
Ray: Curt Pires isn’t a big name yet, and Kieron Gillen said a while back that anything over 10K for a non-name creator is considered a hit at Image. This is a five-issue miniseries and a passion project, so hopefully it’ll find a bigger audience in trade.
Glenn: We get to the end of one of Marvel’s longest ongoings in recent memory with Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which caps off at issue 50 selling over 10.2k. These aren’t great sales obviously but this book clearly had success somewhere to stay around this long so kudos to the creative team in the regards.
Ray: Much like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, it must have done 95% of its sales elsewhere to last this long. It’s just a shame Marvel isn’t as aggressive at seeking out this alternate audience like Boom and DC are.
Glenn: Dollar comic edition of Luthor 1, the start of the prestige mini by Azzarello and Bermejo from like 12 or 13 years ago. Its good for another 9.9k at 188 in sales which isn’t too bad considering DC recently reprinted this and their pseudo follow up, Joker under the Black Label line as trades not too long ago.
At 190 is the newest one shot in the brilliant Locke and Key universe, Dog Days which sells over 9.8k at 190. This series never sells what it deserves but look for money to come its way like a tidal wave when the Netflix series hits in Feb 2020.
About standard far for Star Trek comics in terms of the prequel to upcoming CBS On Demand original series Picard at 192 selling over 9.6k. I think the show will be a huge hit but Trek comics have always been a bit of a miss in terms of success.
Ray: This one seems to have direct plot lead-in for the CBS All Access show, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see heavy reorders once it launches.
Glenn: Not to be confused with BOOM’s Heartbeat, Image’s Heart Attack debuts at 196 selling over 9.6k. It sells a little less than most Image’s debuts have been doing as standard recently most likely cause its a super hero book and once again that is most likely the weakest part in Image’s line apart from Spawn.
Ray: No name creator here and a concept that seems oddly similar to a lot of books recently, so I’m not thinking this had much to drive first issue sales. If it gets buzz as the series goes on, we could see some reorders.
Glenn: At 199 we have the second issue of Dead Eyes selling over 9.4k. Look for sales to boost up on this one once the new content starts up but in the meantime this is just full priced reprints of a very recent book so its grand.
At 200 is a new comic for the Magicians tying into the cult TV series selling over 9.4k which along the lines of the BOOM of old. This is something for hardcore fans of the show most likely.
Ray: This series has a lot of fans and a major creator on board in Lilah Sturges, but Boom has been putting out OGNs with these characters for a while and the audience is likely more in that market.
Glenn: We go to 218 for the next book of note, another BOOM offering reminiscent of their old days in B B Free selling over 8.1k. Not sure how this missed the wave of success BOOM is experiencing right now, All I can think of is that it got lost in the shuffle.
Ray: The only previous comic work of the writer, Gabby Rivera, was the short-lived America series at Marvel. This is a clever book with an inventive world, but it’s not the type to have good sales in the direct market.
Glenn: A new Rick and Morty at 221 with Unity selling over 8k. These books apparently do gangbusters in collections and are the main bread and butter for Oni in the direct market. Something is working somewhere.
Gen Lock is an animated series of some sort that randomly DC are putting out a comic in relation to. It sells over 7.9k at 223, its odd to see DC putting out a book like this but I would presume hey’re continuing to try and diversify their options as a publisher. I’m not sure how popular the show is but I assume this will do better in collections for fans of said show.
Ray: This one isn’t as popular as its sister series RWBY, but it still has a loyal audience for its webseries. I think most of these are going to be sold in other markets. It does sell another 5.6K at #265 for its cardstock cover.
Glenn: At 230 is Black Hammer 3 for $1 which reprints three first issues from various Black Hammer mini’s for a dollar. A great way to get new fans hooked on the brilliant universe that sells over 7.5k
At 234 we have Black Stars Above, a new Vault comic which sells over 7,3k. Much like BOOM, Vault has had some break out hits recently but this is more along the lines of their standard level. They’re getting there though.

Ray: This is a Lonnie Nadler period piece supernatural drama set in the Canadian north, so I don’t think it’s exactly a concept that will get immediate sales attention. But it got great reviews and feels like another feather in Vault’s cap as they assemble an impressive lineup.

We make fun of it, but Red Giant Entertainment actually seems to have a legit hit on their hands in White Widow, which sells just under 7K at #244. Sure, it’s a sexy lady boobie comic, but this is impressive for a new publisher I’ve never heard of before this book.
A new Crow series launches from IDW at #248, as Crow: Hark the Herald sells 6.8K. This was penned by Tim Seeley and seems to be a reboot of sorts, which probably boosted its sales.
#250 has the second issue of Money Shot from Vault, selling 6.7K. That’s well above the sales of a usual second issue from the company and the second-highest Vault book of the month. This is every bit the breakout it looked like last month.
Glenn: They just announced more Money Shot (errrr) so Vault must be very pleased, as they should be!
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Ray: #253 has the latest oversized reprint from Marvel, Marvel Tales: Doctor Strange, selling 6.3K. Free sales, but this isn’t the character who would get the most sales.
Some holiday specials in these parts, with the Doctor Who 13th Holiday Special from Titan selling 6.1K at #254, followed two spots later by the My Little Pony Holiday Special selling just under 6K.
Glenn: Titan marketed the Who book as them doing the Christmas Special that BBC doesn’t any more. I wonder if we might get a relaunch to coincide with the new series that starts in a few days.
Ray: The hit IDW all-ages miniseries Canto wraps up its run at #258 with sales of 5.9K, an impressive showing for the company. A second round has already been greenlit by the same creative team, one of the few IDW creator-owned books to get a return engagement.
#263 brings a new Dark Horse creator-owned series, Crone, better described as “Old Woman Sonja”. It sells 5.6K, showing that this company still has trouble launching new creator-owned comics not by Lemire.
Glenn: Image, BOOM and even Vault are showing off as better prospects these days for creators. It’s weird times for Dark Horse.
Ray: At #266 is the launch of Big Hero 6: The Series, selling 5.5K. This book had a lot going against it – long wait between the movie and the comic, lack of buzz for the animated series it spins out of (unlike Tangled: The Series), and a very public spat between the company and creator Hannah Blumenreich. The second issue did not ship in December, so I’m guessing this series’ future isn’t bright.
Glenn: I would say they’re looking for a new writer for starters. I’m sure most people don’t even consider this a comic based property to start with and treat it like every other Disney spin off that is long past the corresponding movie’s release date.
Ray: 5.2K in reorders for the finale of DCeased at #273, proving there’s still life in this undead horror book. The spin-off, The Unkillables, should be huge when it launches early next year.
The latest Frozen miniseries from Dark Horse, True Treasure, launches with 5.1K in sales. This one’s a direct prequel to the new movie, but these comics always don’t do too much in single issues.
Another new Vault launch, Heist: How to Steal a Planet, debuts with 5.1K in sales at #278. This one didn’t catch on despite a major creator in Paul Tobin, and I wonder if it’s because the concept is so similar to other recent launches like Space Bandits.
A spinoff series to the Hellboy franchise, Witchfinder, subtitled Reign of Darkness, launches a new mini from Dark Horse at #279, selling 5K. This is one of the things that keeps the company afloat.
We’ve got some reorders here, with Spawn #300 and the first issues of Marauders and Excalibur each selling about 5K more this month.
The recent Addams Family animated film gets a spin-off comic, The Bodies Issue, from IDW and writer Zoe Quinn at #286. It sells 4.8K, in line with their animated spinoffs.
Glenn: It might do okay elsewhere but the movie seems to have come and gone with little fanfare.
Ray: Red 5 Comics launches a new sexy lady book, but this one’s a sexy cyborg lady book titled Machine Girl! It sells 4.8K at #287.
Glenn: ‘She’s definitely upgraded her enhancements’. I feel dirty now.
Ray: Speaking of sexy ladies, it’s that time of year – Grimm Fairy Tales 2019 Holiday Special sells 4.7K at #289. Tis the season for Rachel Bloom songs, Glenn!
Glenn: Just started Crazy Ex Girlfriend Series 4, thinking of that makes me happier than anything Zenescope related.
Ray: We’ve had a lot of new company launches lately, and next up is a publisher titled Stranger Comics. They launch with a comic titled Niobe: She is Death at #293, selling 4.6K. This is cowritten by teen star Amandla Stenberg, so that probably helped, but a lot of new publishers get lost in the shuffle.
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Glenn: Not bad for a new publisher at all, the name of the lass I’ve never heard of helped I would say quite a bit. I’m sure the company will be thrilled.
Ray: At #296 is the latest Archie mini-digest – Archie & Friends: Travel, selling 4.5K. These are just repurposed original stories from the digest with a specific theme, so any sales are a win for the company.
Hey, there’s Zombie Tramp at #299! She barely outsells the third issue of The Plot at #300. The 300 line is about 4.4K in sales as we exit the normal range and enter the zone of terror…
Glenn: Not the zone of terror! Save me Zombie Tramp!
Ray: Black Mask seems to be winding down production and is one of the easy favorites among the smaller publishers to close up shop in 2020, with the number of series they’ve cancelled and folded into trades to no small amount of anger. Despite that, they manage to launch one new series at #304, the sci-fi punk rock action series Space Riders: Vortex of Darkness, which sells just under 4.3K.
Glenn: They’ve been on life support a good bit now, its a shame they showed promise when they started out but I think invested in some poor properties.
Ray: House of X is still going strong, getting an additional 4K in reorders long after the series has ended down at #308. There are also 3.6K in reorders for Powers of X #1 at #321
At #313 is Robyn Hood: Vigilante, the sexy lady take on the classic Sherwood Forest hero for Zenoscope. 3.7K readers apparently want this.
Glenn: This version has been going for some time, she’s probably one of the companies core characters. I think a modern day take on Robin Hood (especially a female) would be great but not from this company.
Ray: Mad Cave Studios, which hasn’t quite broken out with a signature book yet, launches the assassin comic RV9 at #314. Selling 3.7K, it’s less of a cheesecake comic than the title indicates but hasn’t really caught much buzz.
Selling 3.6K at #318 is the LCSD variant for Super Dinosaur #1. This is one of Kirkman’s less-known books, but I think the Amazon TV series is giving it some new life.
Glenn: First I’ve heard of this Amazon series. Give me Invincible already!
Ray: At #325, we have the conclusion of Curse Words, which sells 3.4K. That’s a lot lower than I would have expected for a creator-owned book by a prominent writer like Soule with a lot of positive buzz, and it makes me wonder if Image as a whole is struggling. But this will be successful in trade, no doubt.
Glenn: Image has had a nightmare of a year, we’ll talk more on Rabbitt Stew about it but Undiscovered Country really saved their bacon from 2019 being a near complete disaster.
Ray: #326 brings us the Grimm Fairy Tales 2019 Armed Forces Appreciation comic. I’m sure our troops are honored by 3.4K in sales for a comic with a sexy lady bursting out of her non-regulation Army uniform on the cover.
Glenn: Non-regulation?! This required a very strongly worded letter. ‘Dear Charles Soule…’
Ray: It’s a big gap to the next #1, which is GLOW vs. the Babyface. The next short miniseries based on the Netflix hit sells 3K at #334.
Glenn: This is one of Netflix’s more cult hits so I doubt many fans are that interested in stories outside the core show. Interestingly enough, this is co-written by former WWE wrestler AJ Brooks (AJ Lee) and actress Aimee Garcia.
Ray: #338 brings us a hundred-page giant for Dungeons & Dragons: Baldur’s Gate, selling just under 3K. This is only $5.99, so I assume much of it is reprinted content. This is definitely one of IDW’s more niche properties.
Glenn: D and D is facing something of a rejuvenation lately so this might do well in gaming stores.
Ray: At #344 is the launch of Dragonfly and Dragonflyman, a spin-off from Wrong Earth from Ahoy Comics. It sells 2.5K, way down from the book’s launch but still the easy class of the line.
Souce Point Press launched a lot of new horror minis and one-shots this month, starting with Touching Evil at #345. This thriller about a woman who gains a death touch from a mysterious prisoner sells 2.5K.
The new Scout Comics future thriller Wretches debuts at #349 with sales of 2.4K. This one kind of got lost in the shuffle.
Archie relaunches one of their more obscure properties with Cosmo the Mighty Martian, selling 2.4K at #350. It has Sonic writer Ian Flynn writing, but the property just has no profile today,
Glenn: First I’ve heard of it to be honest. Isn’t there a Cosmo in the Marvel universe whose a dog? I know there’s an inept super hero who’s overdue for a return.
Ray: Another Source Point book, the afterlife-set thriller Misplaced, sells 2.4K at #351. This is a strange, artistic book that feels like it could get some buzz, but retailers didn’t really invest big early.
Glenn: Source point is getting some traction but not enough to still be largely overlooked. Perhaps their back catalog will find an audience as they continue their slow but steady growth.
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Ray: Remember Alterna? I ‘member! They have a new book out, Void Walker, which sells 2.3K at #355 for a concept that can best be described as “White Spawn”.
Glenn: Well if its something we definitely need as an audience, its more white variants of minority heroes.
Ray: Reorders for some hot titles, as both Basketful of Heads #1 and Something is Killing the Children #1 get 2.2 – 2.3K in reorders down here.
The popular Shades of Magic series gets another comic book adaptation, selling 2.1K from Titan down at #362.
It’s mostly reorders down here, including New Mutants: War Children, House of X #4, and others until we get to #366. There we see the debut of Ogres, the sequel series to Bob Salley’s fantasy adventure from Source Point. It sells 2.1K, likely treated more like the next issue than a new series by retailers.
IDW sells 2K of a Marvel Action: Ant-Man digest at #368. Low sales, but then it is Ant-Man and is likely just there to promote the movies.
Glenn: It’ll also sell better elsewhere. If our thinking is right, Ray and Cassie gets suited up in Ant-Man 3 I could see her comics being popular with young girls outside the direct market which would be awesome.
Ray: The latest of Scout’s new Nonstop! line, the superhero satire Last Stop, sells just over 2K at #372. It doesn’t feel like any of these books in the new format have caught on.
An odd case, as one of Mad Cave Studios’ December books, the wrestling crime drama Over the Ropes, gets a preview for LCSD and sells 1.8K for that edition at #382. That should boost the overall sales of the series when we see how it does next month.
Glenn: This one sounds great, I hope it catches on.
Ray: Hey, it’s almost 1.7K in reorders at #386 for the black bag variant cover of Money Shot #1! Tim Seeley is rolling in the dough for this one. Let’s hope he doesn’t use it to purchase Slug Monster Porn.
Glenn: Please, a writer of Seeley’s notoriety has standards. He’s all for Snail Monster Porn all the way.
Ray: At #387 is the launch of a new Minions series by Titan, selling 1.6K. This book is not meant for the direct market, but it is meant for BANANA!
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Glenn: Don’t let them near any super expensive (also: stupid) art exhibits.
Ray: At #388 we have the launch of a new comic from Antarctic called Dog Eaters, followed immediately by “Vark Wars” from Dave Sim’s company. Both sell 1.6K and are completely non-problematic in every way, I’m sure.
After a bunch of reorders, we get the second issue of Craig Thompson’s Ginseng Roots at #397, selling 1.6K. This is a new company focusing on stand-alone or quarterly titles by cartoonists, and while it hasn’t exploded in sales yet, it feels like it could grow fast as these books get buzz.
Glenn: Thompson’s name should be good for the collection market if nothing else.
Ray: Some niche titles launch around the 400 mark, with the next installment of the Rivers of London series from Titan at #400 followed immediately by the latest Carpenter Tales one-shot, Redhead. Both sell 1.5K in this packed marketplace.

Glenn: At this level its mostly reorder city until we get to 413 and Casper’s Classic Christmas which sells over 1,2k at 413. At this point I’m betting its nostalgic parents buying their kids Casper comics and explaining about how, once upon a time, a friendly ghost was cool and them thinking their parent has lost it.

A very small press company, Uncivilized releases a Jack Kirby bio comic in ‘For Real‘ at 414 which is priced at $6 but sells over 1.2k. Kirby is of course one of the most legendary comic creators ever and his life story in as fascinating as any of his character origins but this seems very much like a specialist item. It’s a labor of love by the creator and may pick up steam once its collected and becomes very well thought of critically.

Ray: This is from the same company as Ginseng Roots, and they launched their first fiction series Breathers in December. They put out oversized books aimed at the indie comics market, so this one should be interesting.

Glenn: At 421 we have the first issue of Badass from Antartic Press which sells over 1.1k. Unknown creator and a small publisher is exactly what delivers a sales results like this.

I’m more surprised by the sales of the second issue of Vampire State building at 422 which drops hugely to selling over 1.1k at 422. This is the Charlie Adlard that took me and Ray by surprise with its strong debut last month. This publisher is so new and so small that this is likely the best they can do despite having Adlard on board. We’ll have to see if they can weather the rough waters of starting fresh and end up on the other side.

Ray: That’s a gigantic drop of over 95% from its first issue sales. The first issue sales were incredible, but I guess it was almost all down to the covers and hype. That’s got to be a massive disappointment for the people involved and the company. Wow.

Glenn: From Cave Pictures Publishing *shrugs* is Shapes an all ages type deal by Jason Brubaker (no relation I’m assuming to Ed) and Rekedel with art by the former of the two. This sells over 1.1k at 423. I’ve never heard of this publisher or these creators so they’re probably thrilled to make it into the top 500 at all.

Ray: This month saw a lot of creator-owned books from small press with no real hype or names behind them. This is what I mean when I talk about “peak comics” and the way many books never get a second look because of the cavalcade of material.

Glenn: The remains of the Edgar Rice Burrows properties that Marvel didn’t scoop up are alive and…not well? Is that a thing? At 429 for Monster Men: Soul Of Bast which sells over 1k from American Mythology. Unless its Marvel or maybe Dark Horse, I doubt many people are interested in what Burrows properties crop up in comic form.

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Ray: My favorite part of this fantastically titled book is that it teases a modern-day sequel to its Visgoth-themed thriller.

Glenn: Keenspot pop up at 432 for Ruwans which sells over 1k. Small publisher, unknown creators, you guys know the story by now.

Ray: This title had some weird, massive delays and apparently just reprinted the first issues to catch people up on this comic about a little girl who gets eaten by a demon and then becomes a demon. The delays were so long, when it first came out Antarctica wasn’t associated with any bad elements yet!

Glenn: Source Point usually averages a little higher than around this are but a one shot which is the first of a series of one shot (why not bundle it as a Crypt Keeper mini some idiot writing an article asked) called Goth: Young Lovers At War sells 971 copies at 437. This is horror too so on paper this should have at least done four digits so not sure what went wrong.

A local comic shop day treasury edition of Invader Zim sells 891 copies at 440 but its priced at 14.99 so I assume its more like a graphic novel? Zim is a cartoon with a very sparce cult following so with this price I’m not sure what else could have been expected.

In a similar vein, Lion Force offers a 9.99 one shot at 443 for Catalyst Prime which sells 854 copies. Its odd since this seems like a format aimed outside the direct market but literally is an edition aimed at comic shops.

Full Moon Comix *shrugs* offers a one shot horror comic in Deadly Ten Presents Necropolis Legion. I tried saying the title ten times fast and lost consciousness, this has been your By The Numbers safety warning. This is an adaption of a script written by the Puppetmaster scribe (good lord) Shawn Gabborin selling 811 copies at 449. Kids ask your parents about Puppetmaster and when they don’t know, just get them to Google it.

At 454 is Apex Predator Cavewoman, more booby comics selling poorly because we’re not all 12 years old. It sells 811 copies.

Antartic Press is back again with a decent horror comic Teether at 459 selling 706 copies but this seems like a republish of an old series so this is small press selling us old comics too I guess? The second issue is here too at 491 selling 498 copies which maybe the closest we’ve ever gotten to the comic selling the same number of units as its sales number so…yay?

This is the land of tiny reorders and small selling indies until we finish at last with 500 selling 472 which is the fourth issue of Boston Metaphysical Society. Considering the entry unit level is so low this may be their first and last time on the charts so grant them a hearty wave. This sales here at the bottom are really low compared to the last few months, really poor month overall.

Ray: This is one of Source Point’s few ongoings, and it’s struggled to maintain momentum. They do better with one-shots and short minis. 

Looking ahead, the last month of the year saved the biggest for last! DC in particular is hitting us with a wave of Black Label books, including the conclusion of Doomsday Clock and Last Knight on Earth, the launch of Daniel Warren Johnson’s Wonder Woman: Dead Earth, and the latest installment in the Dark Knight Returns continuity. There’s also a new main line event in Hell Arisen, as Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs go to war, a new Suicide Squad relaunch by Tom Taylor, the third Hill House book, more Infected and Year of the Villain one-shots, the last Tales from the Dark Multiverse, and the mic-drop of Tom King on Batman.
Marvel won’t be upstaged, starting with the giant-sized one-shot Incoming, which sets up the company’s next event. Also look for more Annihilation and 2099, new titles for Dr. Strange, Spider-Ham, and Cosmic Ghost Rider, more Symbiote Spider-Man, and the conclusion of the first cycle of Marvel Star Wars books. Plus, Jason Aaron mic-drops on his Thor run.
Over at Image, we’ll see how a Mark Millar book does when no one knows what it is – Project X-Mas, now revealed as American Jesus 2. We’re also getting the dark superhero plague thriller 20xx from Jonathan Luna and Lauren Keely, new Hardcore and Old Guard minis, and the PR nightmare that is Lucy Claire: Redemption. Boom launches Jeremy Haun’s Red Mother and a big-stakes TMNT/Power Rangers crossover, plus we get more Klaus. And IDW delivers a new original Joe Hill comic in “Dying is Easy“.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on By the Numbers!
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