Category Archives: By the Numbers

By The Numbers: November 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He’s looking forward to spending Christmas with his newborn son and seeing Doctor Who back.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s looking forward to the greatest holiday tradition of all, Chinese buffet!

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!

Full top 300 for November available here!

Glenn:  Welcome friends to the last By The Numbers for 2016!  Of course we have one more month to come in terms of sales for both companies in 2016 but that won’t be until January!  As we end the year, it seems that with the percentages and market share, Marvel has reclaimed the summit after DC’s Rebirth craze has settled down.  However, while their market share victory is to be commended…closer inspection brings much concern.

batman-10-suicide-squad-spoilers-dc-comics-november-2016-solicitationsMarvel may have won market share overall but DC takes the top two spots with the same book!  The new Batman run by Tom King continues to impress as issues 10 and 11 of the series take spot one and two with sales of just over 120.9k and 116.6k respectively. For anyone keeping track, we’re now into 63 issues of Batman selling over 100k and the King run is still performing steadily.  No matter what, DC can count on Batman for a few top ten spots (four this month) whereas it seems Marvel hasn’t had a consistent title in the top ten since Star Wars left these waters some months ago.

Ray: I think the first thing that really needs to be noted is that for the first time, Marvel’s new relaunch did not move the top of the charts at all. We saw success with Champions last month thanks to aggressive incentives, and Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme thanks to a promotion box (much more on those two later), but this month, nothing. Atop the charts we have the tenth and eleventh issue of an ongoing series, followed by the seventh issue of an event, in a month when several top-tier Marvel titles launched. There’s absolutely no way to spin this in a good way for Marvel (something I’ll say a lot this month), but it’s also a testament to the insane strength of the Batman title. It’s slowly sinking towards the 100K line, but it’ll be above it for a good while.

Glenn:  Number 3 is Civil War II #7 which was originally supposed to be the finale but another issue was added, much like Secret Wars last year. While the sales of over 116.4 in themselves, comparing the book to its predecessor, against last year’s Secret Wars and as a book that is supposed to lift the line as a whole, Civil War fails in every regard. Still, these are good numbers if you look at it as an isolated mini. Marvel will miss these sales when it concludes as its replacement event(s) haven’t hit nearly as well (more on that in a bit).

Ray: The numbers for Civil War II are…acceptable. It’s far more in line with smaller events like Fear Itself than it is with super-events like Civil War or Secret Wars, but I think that’s just attrition taking effect. Marvel has four events currently in progress or announced. Something’s got to give.

Glenn: The delays with Civil War II has caused some serious delay overlap. Two years in a row, Marvel have had line spanning events and now, like you said they have Civil War II, IvX, Clone Conspiracy and Monsters Unleashed. It’s a lot to ask any fan. Choices will be made and people will only buy what they can afford and retailers will have an unenviable task trying to balance all this also.  This is another major reason a lot of high profile launches from Marvel are finding it hard, they’re finding it hard to be heard amongst all the noise.

Here’s Batman again at number 4 with Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman selling, selling just a shade over 99k.  Again, I think the price point is probably stopping it from being in the 6k club every month much like the main book.  Still, 99k for a 4.99 monthly book is some serious business.  The units may be lower than the main book but per issue, this book is going to be making DC far more money and as long as Snyder wants to do it, that won’t change.

Ray: I think this is Scott Snyder’s first Batman issue under 100K in over five years! That being said, given that this is a side title with a higher price point, DC has to consider this a massive success. It reminds me of when Marvel launched Wolverine: Weapon X with former Wolverine writer Jason Aaron on board, and it was treated as a second-tier book and bombed. DC has fully avoided that trap here, and they get to both have and eat their delicious, delicious Bat-cake.

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Glenn: That’s a great point about the massive misfire on Weapon X a couple of years ago (arguably the Wolverine books never fully recovered). DC did take a risk here by removing Snyder off Batman, replacing him with someone completely new to DC and then placing him on a completely separate much more expensive Bat book. However, its worked spades for them. I don’t think any other major character from either company could manage this.

Number 5 proves a very important fact, don’t bet against Glenn!  Myself and Ray debated how well the new Invincible Iron Man title starring new series protagonist Riri Williams would do. I speculated it wouldn’t manage 100k and it didn’t. True it wasn’t far off because it sold 97.7k which on the surface is great for a new character launching in their own book. Looking closer though, as we said last month with the launch of the Doctor Doom led Infamous Iron Man the previous volume of Invincible launched at around 250k and settled around 40k.  Given that and how well Champions sold last month versus where it is this month (more on that later…a lot later) this is troubling.  Marvel pushed this character and this book hard and it got outsold by the 10th and 11th issues of a book written by the guy they had on Vision. Much like the market share, the sales are great on this issue but the deeper underlying thread across the line is very concerning and we’ll be covering that a lot this month.

Ray:  …I will bow to you here, Glenn. However, I will say this. My assumption was that this would be one of the highest-selling Marvel launches of the month, and it was in fact the highest. I just never imagined a world where the top-selling new Marvel #1 of the month did not crack 100K. That’s possibly the darkest omen for this relaunch possible. People are not buying into Marvel’s new direction, and given the hype for this issue’s #1, I think the sales slide here will be fast and harsh.

Glenn: A bit of a surprise on the sales of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows which launches just over 96k at 6. Great debut for a spin off of a Secret Wars mini which I’m sure sold better than anyone expected it too.  Are people yearning for the Spider-marriage or much like Spider-Gwen, did something about this alternate take resonate with a larger audience than normal? I’m not expecting this book to be a top ten staple but with the regular book in a major crossover selling 63k (again…more on that later) if this book can be in the 45-55k range then Marvel will be thrilled.  This is one that’s hard to judge on its long term success. If Marvel lets it be and doesn’t tinker with it too much they might have a great success from an unexpected source here.

Ray: This is definitely one of the few bright spots for Marvel here, and I think it’s entirely a grassroots success. It’s great to see Gerry Conway get a hit title again, and although I’m sad to see the title lose its quirky backups next month, the fact that it’s going down to $3.99 should help it keep its sales. I definitely think if Marvel lets it stay off in its own corner, it will be a success – let’s hope they don’t drag it into crossovers and relaunches like they did with Spider-Gwen. (Obligatory 616 Spider-Man better watch his back joke)

Glenn: It is really something to see Conway return to an ongoing Spider-Man title and it to sell this well.  This was the second regular Amazing writer and 40 years later, he can still pull it off.  Not many creators can return to a character multiple times, like Conway has and still be relevant.

Its unusual to find annuals in these waters but when it stars Batman, it helps.  The Batman annual sold just over 91k giving it spot 7. Really impressive but with Tom King, David Finch, Scott Snyder, Paul Dini, Neil Adams and more on the line up, DC put a lot of effort into this one. Annuals are often seen as disposable but the talent here caused retailers to take note. There’s a few other annuals on the charts but this one I think should be a used as a model for any company that wants to do such things.

Ray: This is an incredible performance for an annual, and I put a lot of that on the fact that DC lined up a murderer’s row of creators on this book. The return of Paul Dini on Harley Quinn? That’s an event. And he’s writing her again in the DC Rebirth Holiday Special next month, so watch for that to surprise as well.

Glenn: Another surprise at 8 is the new Venom book which launches with sales just over 90k. This is well above any recent Venom launch in recent years and it seems that retailers are betting that fans of old school ‘eat your brains Venom’ will come out to buy. The reviews of the book haven’t been particularly strong and it doesn’t star Eddie Brock as everyone’s favorite deluded symbiote so it’ll be interesting to see where it lands. Given the pattern of similar books, the next month could see a hard fall.

Ray:  …Yeah, look, I have absolutely no clue how this happened. This Venom series has no recognizable characters, no critical buzz, and a creative team that wouldn’t move sales on its own. Was there really that big an audience that wanted to see Venom eating people again? We’ll see how it holds up, but I’m betting this was a one-month blip. This is one of two books this month that did far stronger than I was expecting, actually.

Glenn: At number 9 is Image’s crown jewel the Walking Dead selling just over 88.3k. This book is on issue 160 and outsells a lot of Marvel and DC noise, month in and month out. We say it every month but this is the book that all other books (not starring Batman) are jealous of and wants to hang out with.

Ray: Everyone wants to be Walking Dead! It’s such an outlier in terms of Image’s sales. It’s really the ultimate example of just how well a media property can impact a comic if the tie-ins are savvy enough.

Glenn: Last book in the top ten is the first (kinda) issue of new mega Marvel crossover Inhumans vs X-Men which sells just over 84k. Okay for a new event these numbers are somewhat dismal. For any other ongoing or whatnot, 84k would be great but this is supposed to be the big follow up to Civil War II. Now, this is a 0 issue and those often cause confusion with retailers, you would almost wonder what the point of them is because they never really perform as well as the ‘real’ number one book. The first ‘real’ issue will probably do a lot better but this isn’t a good indication of where the series goes from here. We’ve seen the Inhumans pushed time and time over again with middling results at best. I’m sure Marvel would have been much happier if it had even scraped over 100k but in relative terms, a troubling start. Of course we’re only at spot 10 here and the news only gets worse here for the biggest comic company in the world.

Ray: A zero issue is always going to be hard to gauge, but I’m looking at some long-term trends here, and to put it lightly, they’re not good. Civil War II also had this zero issue, and that one sold 177K to this event’s 84K. It then more than doubled those numbers to 381K the next month for #1 – only to shed over 60% of those sales the same month with #2. If I follow this pattern for IvX, next month’s #1 should do close to 180K, but then shed that entire gain and then some, with #2 coming in below the level of the #0 issue. We’ll see if the pattern plays out, but if it does, Marvel’s in for a rough few months as this event plays out.

Glenn: I would say it won’t do as well because try as they might, Marvel hasn’t caught people’s attention with the InhumansCivil War II had a big movie and was the sequel to the biggest event ever.  Even if this is seen as a kind of successor to Avengers vs X-Men (which it isn’t) it’ll be probably lucky if it can manage 68-75k regularly.  Hope I’m wrong for Marvel’s sake.

Ray: I never thought I would live to see the day a new Avengers #1 landed out of the top ten, especially not the flagship book, but here we are. Avengers #1 by Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo, the successor to All-New All-Different Avengers, is only able to land at #11 with sales of just under 82K. We’ll see how it holds from here, but the best case scenario is that retailers are just tired of relaunches and gave it a very small relaunch bounce, just treating it like another Avengers issue. If that’s the case, the attrition should be lessened. On the other hand, if it falls like other big Marvel launches did, this book could hit scary numbers soon.

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Glenn: This is a huge surprise but I think it is relaunch overkill really hitting Marvel hard now.  This is like the ninth of tenth Avenger’s relaunch in the last five years. I think its only (only he says) the fourth or so for the main book so yeah…its not a big deal any more. The last Marvel relaunch fest didn’t fare too great for All New All Different so hopefully there’s more of a hold here.

Ray: Both Justice League and Detective Comics land both their issues in the top twenty, with very gentle slides as they continue to find their level. For those keeping track, that’s eight books so far in the top 20 starring Batman. (They’re joined by Flash, the title whose fortunes have improved the most in Rebirth, with both issues in the top 20)

Glenn: Things have settled down as we said for DC but they’ve settled down at quite a respectable level. The big winners of Rebirth are the Superman line, Wonder Woman and Flash.  That’s eight more books DC can count on to give them very solid sales, there are other books still performing admirably which we’ll get to later but these are the big winners.  This is the pattern Marvel wants.

Ray: And speaking of Batman! The previous Batman/TMNT crossover was a smash hit, debuting in the top ten. I don’t think anyone was expecting the same performance out of the IDW sequel, Batman/TMNT Adventures, crossing over the animated series. However, its debut at #14 with sales of over 75K blew all the expectations out of the water, and might be one of IDW’s best sellers ever. For those keeping track, that’s nine comics in the top 20 featuring Batman. Has any character ever dominated the charts like this?

Glenn: Apart from Batman himself? Probably not. There’s obviously still a lot of fan for the animated versions of the characters depicted in this book but this is still a very nice surprise, especially for IDW. The mainline version of this team up was a great success so retailers probably ordered on the strength of that also. We’ve got a lot more DC intercompany crossovers coming and if they’re up for it (which they seem to be), smaller companies don’t seem to be only benefiting from the arrangement.

Ray: Star Wars hits #25 and celebrates its anniversary by…sliding 3K. Marvel didn’t really promote this double-sized issue all that much, and as such there’s no sales impact. Star Wars is still one of Marvel’s bright spots, but the impact is becoming less and less impressive with every month.

Glenn: Star Wars has settled into a comfortable role of an above average strong seller. Its’ not the unstoppable monster it was for the majority of its first two years but as long as Disney keeps cranking out new movies (which will probably be forever now), this will be a solid performer for Marvel. I’m surprised that with Rogue One coming out we’re not seeing them take advantage of that in the comics in some way but again, its probably not up to Marvel what Star Wars toys they do/do not (there is no try) toys they get to play with.

Ray: One of the stronger debuts for Marvel this month is Unworthy Thor, a five-issue miniseries from A-list Thor creative team Jason Aaron and Oliver Coipel (for now). I might have expected more from this series given how anticipated it was, but given how depressed all the Marvel sales seem to be right now, it’s pretty impressive. It sold a good 30K more than the most recent issue of The Mighty Thor this month, which is still in the top third of Marvel’s titles overall.

Glenn: I think also that female Thor has been such a hit that people are going to be more invested when classic Thor resumes the role ‘properly’ which will likely take place later this year. Hard to go wrong with this creative team but the changes and non changes have been…confusing. It’ll be interesting to see how retailers react to that. If this book can stay above the main book then it’ll be a good indicator of what business Thor can do once the Jane Foster era wraps up.

Ray: As we exit the top twenty, it feels worth noting that DC won the top 20 11-8-1 if you count the Batman/TMNT crossover as a win for DC. This was in the month that Marvel had their big relaunch unfolding.

Glenn: When you break it down like that, the overall trend is really telling. Yes, Marvel won market share but they release a lot more books at much higher prices so its not too difficult. If their goal is to win the market share game, they’ll never have too much of a problem but if they’re looking to sell comics, the trends are getting to the very troubling. Whenever Marvel has had these numbers given to them, certain staff members have reacted rather…aggressively. In my personal experience, you generally go on the defensive when you’re wounded, like an animal. There will be massive changes somewhere/somehow but its just a matter of when.

Ray: Speaking of annuals, the Star Wars annual, guest-written by Kelly Thompson, had a fairly strong showing with a Leia-centric story, selling 59K at #26. There were a lot of annuals this month, and quite a few exceeded expectations. Others…did what annuals normally do.

Glenn: I think last years Star Wars annual did a lot better (I should check…but I won’t).  If it had been written by Jason Aaron or regular Star Wars mini writer Cullen Bunn it might have fared better. Still, its fine sales for a $4.99 annual.

Ray: We talked last month about how Clone Conspiracy didn’t sell what one might expect it to, and that continues this month with its second issue, which charts at #28 with sales of just under 59K – seven spots and 4K below Amazing Spider-Man. At this point, it seems pretty safe to say this is the result of retailers now knowing how to order this and not being fully aware that this is the main Spider-man book for the duration. As long as it stays relatively close to the main book – and there’ll be some course-correction, Marvel can’t be too upset, because these are still the top two non-#1 non-Civil War non-Star Wars books they have this month. Still, they probably need to get the word out much better next time.

Glenn: Yeah, there was a lot of confusion here. It was very heavily promoted within the books themselves but I don’t really remember a big roll out for Clone Conspiracy apart from Dan Slott running around reminding people they should really order it.  With Amazing serving as a tie-in book, its puzzling to see it out sell the main crossover book. Slott also tried to get word out that retailers will really, really want to order more of issue 3 for reasons we won’t spoil here (go to Rabbitt Stew for more!). We’ll see if he managed to get word out and if there is a bump next month.  I don’t expect it to be a long standing effect however but I don’t imagine it having another severe drop much less than this.

Ray: Books like Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Trinity, Harley Quinn, and Nightwing continue their current pattern – they’re slowly sliding month by month, but their general spots on the chart are staying similar. They’re all still firmly ensconced in the top 40, which means that DC continues to dominate the top fifty overall. Rebirth hasn’t found its level yet, per se, but its slide seems to coincide with attrition in the market as a whole. That’s really good news for DC as a whole, but they’re going to have some trouble spots further down the line.

Glenn: This is the midcard for DC which is better than Marvel’s regular midcard and on par with Image’s higher selling offerings that aren’t the Walking Dead. All very good news for them so far.

Ray: The mid-thirties is where we see some more Marvel debuts, and the results are mixed based on which book it is. Ghost Rider at #32 with sales of 57K? That’s a huge surprise given that the previous run by this creative team hit cancellation numbers very quickly. Could it be Agents of Shield moving the needle this much? Would be a surprise, if so. I expect next month’s numbers to tell the tale pretty quickly about if this is a real surge in interest or just some sort of speculator bump.

Glenn: Ghost Rider has always been a character that finds it hard to get traction (pun intended). Agents Of SHIELD will help because retailers will hope that some casuals may watch the show and come in pick up the book starring the focus of the latest series (to date anyway). Will it continue? I don’t think so. Ghost Rider has always been a hard sell but maybe he can manage slightly better than some DC books like Cyborg which might be good enough.

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Ray: On the other hand, #33 with sales of 57K is NOT quite so good news for Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1, given the massive initial sales of the parent book and the fact that this has two NY Times Bestselling authors on the writing team. Much like with Dr. Strange, it seems Marvel needs to be very cautious about trying to turn smash hit books into franchises too quickly.

Glenn: This book screams of trying to go to the well too quickly once its been full to the top. The regular book (selling 56 with just over 43.4k) is an insane success for a character who has never had numbers like that on a regular basis. The last thing Marvel wants to do is to test this new interest. I don’t think the main book will be negatively effected but I don’t see World Of Wakanda lasting more than 12 issues. Perhaps Marvel is looking to get grease from the squeaky wheel but they have to think of tomorrow rather than today.

Ray: A few slots below them at #36 with sales of 54K is the debut of Thanos by Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato. I’m not sure a Thanos book could be expected to do any higher than this, even with the character’s prominence in the movies and the top-tier creative team. I think this is this wave’s top contender to be a critically acclaimed 12-issue maxiseries, a la Vision.

Glenn: Yeah, I doubt anyone could have done much better either. Thanos was only used sparingly prior to the MCU casting him in such a prominent role and since then, Marvel’s been pushing him hard. Villain books are always a tough sell so this is a very good start and if it can land in the 30-35k range or so that would be great. If it does around 25k or less than yeah, like you said it’ll probably be next years Vision.

Ray: Further ill omens for IvX next month – Death of X limps to a finish with #3 selling 53K at #38, and #4 wrapping up at #45 with sales of just over 50K. Not terrible numbers, but definitely not the event numbers Marvel was hoping for given that it’s a direct prequel and has a huge story reveal for the coming event.

Glenn: Lead in stories to big events are always a mixed bag.  Sometimes they can gain genuine interest but this one while decent hasn’t set the world on fire. The X-Men line isn’t the unstoppable force it was and hasn’t been for years so unlike Spider-Man, mini’s starring them are going to probably perform around here at best no matter what they’re building up to. In a few months all the X books will be relaunching (again) so lets see if they can grab a few new fans on the way.

Ray: Teen Titans seems to have stabilized at #40 with sales of 52K, just above sister book Titans. That’s a fairly gentle slide from its second #1 issue last month, which might indicate DC finally has a popular take on this property for the first time since 19-Dickety-Six. We had to use the word Dickety in those days because Scott Lobdell had stolen our word zero and turned it into a time-travelling serial killer, you see

Glenn: Considering the damage Teen Titans has suffered over the last ten years or more, the sales here are somewhat miraculous.  Its interesting that the two books are so close together given Titans started first. Featuring Damien Wayne probably helped here but fans (like Ray) have probably been chomping for a half decent Titans book for years so the demand was there. Even if it loses around 20k that would still be very respectful.

Ray: The Amazing Spider-Man annual sells 52K at #42, owing primarily to the strength of this franchise title. The actual comic was a series of anthology stories without much story relevance to them, albeit with a guest writer named Wayne Brady. Not much to say here, except listen to Rabbitt Stew Comics to hear Glenn’s brilliant rant on this issue!

Glenn: *bangs head on table* Spider-Man is Marvel’s Batman but on a much smaller scale. Put his name on something and it’ll perform respectfully (much like Deadpool). Given that this annual is entirely passable in every sense story wise, I wonder if again, Marvel is getting a quick win over long term gain. I would buy another Batman annual tomorrow given how good that was but these passable and (being nice) below average Spider-Man throwaways will diminish confidence in buying the next Spidey ‘extra’ Marvel tries to put out.

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Ray: Meanwhile, the Superman annual comes in with sales of 49.7K at #46, just in between the two issues of Action Comics this month. Although the writing team of Superman was on this issue, it didn’t have the same sales success. However, selling on the same level as the lower-selling Superman book is a pretty decent number overall, so DC’s first experiment with annuals in the Rebirth era has to be called a success.

Glenn: That’s quite a bit lower than the books parent title but annuals (apart from Batman apparently) are what they are.  These sales are fine by annual standards. By delivering a story by the regular team, at least DC is keeping good will for the people that did buy it.

Ray: You know, for all the mediocre-to-bad news for Marvel this month, nothing made my head spin quite as much as the placement of Champions on the chart. For the record, last month, Champions sold 328K, and looked like potentially Marvel’s first successful new franchise launch in a while. The idea of a real Marvel version of the Teen Titans featuring all their most popular young legacy characters was kind of brilliant, and it had an a-list creative team and great reviews. Then this month, it loses over 80% of those sales right away and craters to #47, with sales of only 49K. This may be the best indication yet that Marvel has lost the trust of the comic-buying public due to their constant relaunches and flooding of the market. If the second issue of Marvel’s most-hyped new ongoing spinning out of Avengers can barely beat the 10th issue of Green Lanterns, what is going to turn this around for them?

Glenn: Yes, this is the reason that we’re really running around with our hands in the air screaming like the sky is falling.  Some of the sales we’ve talked about earlier are worrying but this…this is something else entirely. IF Marvel hadn’t pushed this title so hard and IF sales on issue one had been about 80k I would probably be feeling pretty okay as long as the sales quickly stabilized. Losing 80% of your audience in one issue though…is not good and this was on a book Marvel was really counting on. If this drop is a general indicator of where the much lower debits go next month then there won’t be any Christmas cheer for Marvel.

The latest Millarworld book from Mark Millar and artist superstar Greg Capullo Reborn has its second issue chart at 61 with sales of just over 41.4k.  I may have expected more with Capullo on board but this is still Image’s third highest selling book this month and for a book outside the big two, over 40k is not to be sneezed at. I doubt the book will fall much further than this too so it will perform most admirably in its limited run and have a very long and happy collection afterlife. Another happy story from Image.

Ray: Yeah, coming in only behind the long-standing megahits Walking Dead and Saga is a pretty great place for Reborn. Millar hasn’t had a megahit in quite some time, since the original Jupiter’s Legacy run, but almost all of his new properties are consistently strong (besides, ironically, the recent runs of Jupiter’s Legacy).

Glenn: Decent drop from Batman Beyond to 62 with sales just over 41.3k.   The last iteration of this book had mixed reviews at best so people are clearly happy to see Terry back. This book will have a good bit of rope but if it follows the pattern of other Rebirth books in the ‘middle’ of the line then it’ll probably settle around 30k which would be very good for a title completely separate from the rest of the line.

Ray: Batman Beyond is another example of how Rebirth had really lifted all boats (with one exception, as we’ll talk about later). Any title that relaunched with Rebirth is still doing consistently better than it was before, and Batman Beyond has had one of the most dramatic turnarounds. I’m not sure if it’s the return of Terry McGinnis, the Rebirth branding, or the use of the Joker, but something is working.

Glenn: At 62 is another Avengers launch in the ‘Point’ miniseries by regular Avengers writer Mark Waid. This is a mini set in the past during the second Avenger’s line up which is also known as ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet.’  Although Avenger’s events are a regular event at Marvel, mini series aren’t too regular with the last one I really remember being ‘Avengers: Prime‘ a number of years ago.  With sales of of just 41.2k there’s a few ways to look at this.  This story is set in the past and seems to be just a vehicle for Waid to write one particular period he wanted to write.  If that’s the case, these sales aren’t too bad. The Avengers name not being able to get sales much higher though is telling of the franchises overall current ‘pull’ however. Hard to tell what Marvel expected out of this book, I would have thought more but given what their output is and how their marketing generally is, they’ve created an audience that wasn’t going to care very much about an Avenger’s line up from close to 50 years ago.

Ray: I think the .1 branding from Marvel has really become associated with “irrelevant side story”, and that’s probably the biggest impact here. Overall, though, this is the third bit of bad news for Waid’s Avengers run this month, and that was one of the healthier lines going into this latest relaunch. We’ve got the two major companies going in distinctly opposite directions right now, and this is a good indication.

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Glenn: To further the point that Avenger’s 1.1 was kinda of an ‘eh’ launch was that it barely outsold an entirely new property coming from DC’s new Young Animal line in the form of Mother Panic which sells just under 41k at 63. This is a really good debut for a new property in a specialist line but is no doubt helped by the fact that its set in Gotham. The Young Animal line has been a real solid edition to the DC publishing line, if you imagine this book debuting at Vertigo it would be a much different story.  It also outsold the second issue of a new Iron Man title, how about that?

Ray: Mother Panic is well below the debut of Doom Patrol, but well above the debuts of Shade and Cave Carson. I’m going to attribute this at least partially to the Batman cameo and the Gotham setting, but overall DC has clearly managed to make Young Animal a successful new brand. It really reminds me in a way of the early days of the Marvel Knights line, when there was real buzz circling around a small group of books that felt very different from the rest of the line.

Glenn: The comparison between Young Animal and Marvel Knights is an interesting one. Marvel Knight books were in continuity but were designed to be more mature and have a different voice than the rest of the line and renewed long fledging properties like Daredevil. We’ve speculated about Young Animal being a replacement for Vertigo but this comparison is much more accurate.

Speaking of said Iron Man title, Infamous Iron Man is at 64k at 40k.  Much better than the disastrous International Iron Man but not great from a book Marvel pushed so heavily. If the drops stop here, then fine, it’ll be selling around the same as the previous volume of Invincible Iron Man but it doesn’t have the rope the book above it will have.

Ray: It’s going to be interesting to see how the sales of Invincible Iron Man and Infamous Iron Man perform opposite each other, but the first month sales were not impressive for either of them and this drop is even more worrisome.

Glenn: We’re not done with mediocre sales on new books in the Avenger’s brand just yet!  At 73 is Occupy Avengers which sells just over 38k. Unlike the point Avenger’s book, this is supposed to be an ongoing so this is even further indication that the Avenger’s aren’t the high selling gig in town any more. Now, the roll out for this book was very strange which may have helped it. Fans didn’t respond well to what Marvel sold the series as but the comic produced seemed to be very different but no one was told that. So either rush changes were made about what the book was or someone in the soliciting department got the wrong idea entirely. Either way, a rather auspicious start for a new Avenger’s book which better hope it stabilizes fast.

Ray: This book was doomed once Marvel gave it an odd, off-putting promotional campaign that made it seem like Hawkeye was going to be going after his fellow superheroes as some sort of “defender of the common man”. Needless to say, that was not a popular concept, and this book – really a generic road trip adventure with Hawkeye and Red Wolf – never had a chance. This is feeling like a miniseries to me.

Glenn: Supergirl after a crazy success with the Rebirth and issue one sales is settling in at around 37k at 75.  Not the lowest selling Super family book…or even the second lowest but still far removed from the two Superman titles way up at the top.  The last Supergirl book would average about 12k lower so this is an impressive amount of add on. If the book can settle here then DC will be happy enough but given the lift the main Superman books have gotten and the impressive ratings the TV show manages, you would have thought it could at least crack 40k.

Ray: Yeah, I’m kind of puzzled by Supergirl’s performance. Long wait between this and her last title, a TV series to raise her profile, a high-profile acclaimed creative team, and great initial sales. So what went wrong? These numbers are still acceptable, but I would have placed it a good 10-15K higher right now. I’m wondering if the attempt to expand the Superman line so much with Rebirth may be hurting it a bit? It’s the highest of the spin-off titles, but they may all be cannibalizing each other a bit. More on the latter two later.

Glenn: Supergirl has never been a particularly high seller apart from when Jeph Loeb revitalized the character roughly ten years ago. I would say it is the case of the Superfamily ‘side’ books not seen as important as the main two. Compared to the other two in the line (which like you say, we’ll get to) Supergirl compares very favourably.  I would say it’ll just be stable and that seems to be a key thing in the current market.

Second issue of Jessica Jones lands at 78 with sales of over 36.8k.  It loses half its issue one sales roughly but these are numbers the Alias series could only dream about.  If this can continue around this level, it’ll have a very long life as long as Bendis/Gaydos want to put it out. Even if it drops another 10k or so, it can be seen as a decent low tier seller. It just depends what Marvel expected from it, I doubt they could have thought this would do much better.

Ray: These are solid numbers from Jessica Jones, and it’s pretty much amazing that it’s right in line with Infamous Iron Man right now. This is probably one of the brighter spots of the relaunch so far, and Marvel will need more of those.

Glenn: Another annual, this time its the Uncanny X-Men annual at 82 with sales just over 35.3k. This one is a lot closer to its parent title which is at 77k with sales just under 37k. Not too bad at all in terms of how annuals perform.

Ray: The Uncanny X-Men Annual is mainly significant for being the Marvel debut of Iceman writer Sina Grace, and that book’s creative team was announced after its arrival, so there was no real hype behind this book. Not a big surprise it underperformed.

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Glenn: Not really an Avenger’s book but certainty in the same vein, Ultimates 2 launches at 84 with sales just over 34.6k.  From what I know, this book is essentially a continuation of the last volume so there’s likely going to be minimal effect from the relaunch, much like the main Avengers book. There’s still some launches to come from Marvel so buckle in from here keeping in mind this was supposed to be their new line with all new exciting directions.

Ray: Yeah, same writer and same storyline. Ultimates was a low-selling title already, and while the #1 issue doubled the sales of the last run, that won’t hold. By #3 it’ll likely be below the level of where it was selling before the relaunch.

Glenn: Selling a good bit higher than most of those aforementioned launches is the first issue of Valiant’s Harbinger Renegade which is at 89 with sales just over 33.1k.  Very impressive from Valiant who continue to have these stealth successes from their relatively small line. When you’re outselling new Marvel titles that are being given huge promotion and incentives a company like Valiant could only dream of you’re absolutely doing very well.  It’ll probably join the rest of its Valiant ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ at around the same level they all seem to do but still a very respectful launch.

Ray: That’s probably about double the numbers your average Valiant #1 does, so that’s really impressive. The property’s been gone for a while, so I’m not sure why it over-performed like this. Could it be the presence of long-time fan favorite artist Darick Robertson, who’s been on a lot of very popular runs over the years?

Glenn: Robertson has been a lot of really high performing creator owned books (The Boys was his last I think?) so yeah, I think his presence will help.  It’s probably just that Valiant can create a little bit of interest on specific books, probably something they can manage to do better than most companies that are much larger than them.

The second issue of Marvel’s newest Inhuman superstar Mosiac sells just under 32k at 93.  We’re probably going to see this one drop out of the top 100 next month unless it stops right about here, this book won’t be around for long.  We’re seeing Marvel using top tier Inhuman characters like Black Bolt as the basis for new ongoings, I’ll be curious if they fare much better than the new characters in that group tend to perform.

Ray: That’s actually a fairly decent hold for Mosaic, keeping about 75% of its modest first-issue sales. It could hold here, or this could be a momentary blip because Marvel often offers incentives to retailers that result in bounces like this.

Glenn: A big surprise at 95 with AD: After Death Book 1 selling just over 30.6k which has the creative team of Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire, you would have thought it would be a lot higher than this.  There are a few factors to consider here however as the book was meant to be a graphic novel then was changed, has a hefty price attached and is in an unusual format. Doing something different is to be commended for the book but it could also make retailers and potential buyers wary.  I would say that a lot of people are going to be waiting for the collection because that’s what they were already mentally associating this book with. Still, for a 5.99 book 30k ain’t too shabby and I wouldn’t be surprised if parts 2 and 3 perform nearly identically. After this, the series will have a long life in collections for Image, long after the majority of the books being published by the big two are long forgotten.

Ray: Seeing AD down this low really surprised me, because these are arguably the two most bankable creators in the industry right now.That being said, this is a very unusual distribution model, and it’s possible that this is a bit of the Clone Conspiracy effect, with retailers sort of missing the boat. If the first issue is any indication, though, buzz is going to spread fast about this book. Watch for it to potentially appear on the charts with reorders in coming months.

Glenn: The size of it might have put retailers off too.  If a retailer has limited shelf space then putting this book means taking 3 books off to make room for it. Retailers will be like ‘Do I want to sell a few of this 5.99 book or lots of these 2.99/3.99 books?’ Maybe it didn’t matter but it could have had an effect. I would expect it to do handsomely on reorders also.

Ray: Well, looks like I have to give you yet another win this month. You were skeptical of Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme last month, despite its top ten debut. We all knew it would take a hefty fall, especially as part of its huge debut was a Collectors Corps tie-in – but I don’t think any of us called it plummeting all the way down to #99 and losing over 75% of its sales. Needless to say, this is a book that might have a lot to worry about if it doesn’t stabilize and fast.

Glenn: Yeah, it seems much like the number one book last month, this book had its sales inflated by an incentive fan crate.  This also explains the odd blip one issue of Amazing Spider-Man had a few months ago. It’s something we’ll have to be noteful of in future articles. The result is a seemingly sharp drop but given how Doctor Strange has only operated in the land of the mini for the past number of decades its no big surprise, even with the movie out.  This is another 12 issue mini it looks like.

Ray: Much like Mosaic, Great Lakes Avengers has a fairly gentle slide of roughly 25% to land at #100 with sales of 29K. Could we be seeing a new trend of retailers not buying into Marvel’s huge incentives to get big first-issue sales? That could account for better second-issue holds.

Glenn: 29k is a lot better than you would expect for a GLA book.  It could survive here if it holds.

Ray: It’s time to look at the bottom of the Rebirth rankings this month, and the only books this time that land out of the top 100 are Hellblazer, two issues of Cyborg, New Super-Man, and Blue Beetle. For Hellblazer, this isn’t a big surprise. New Super-Man is a new character, so it’s also not shocking. For Cyborg and Blue Beetle, though, it feels like DC is attempting to give another chance to characters that, unfortunately, have flopped in direct market sales every time an ongoing with them is tried. Cyborg has already been dialed back to monthly, which may slow the bleeding starting in January, but it’s probably too late. As for Blue Beetle, it’s already monthly and four issues in it’s the lowest-selling title, so it’s in big trouble. Maybe a major role for the character in YJ S3 will help, but the book might be gone by then.

Glenn: Fans just don’t seem to be interested in either Cyborg or Blue Beetle in terms of their own solo series.  Neither have a history of strong ongoings but like you say, DC seems determined not to give up. I would say that these books will be quietly cancelled, both characters moved onto other books (well Cyborg is obviously still in Justice League) and we’ll see something else replace them before so long.
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Ray: Then we come to the lowest-selling of Marvel’s misguided ongoing attempts – Foolkiller #1, which charts at #105 with sales of 28K. This is basically an exact mirror of Solo‘s performance last month (more on him later), and I expect Slapstick to do the same next month. This is actually a shame, because I’ve found both issues of Foolkiller to be surprisingly clever and compelling, but this is a title that was doomed from the moment it was announced.

Glenn: These books were Marvel just testing to see if one could maybe land.  The answer it seems, is no.  Back to Mercs With A Mouth for all involved and these books never to be mentioned again.

Ray:  I would like to point out that Spider-Gwen is beating Gwenpool this month, edging it out by 11 spots and 4k. Even though both of them are out of the top 100 now, I think this has to be considered a win for the world.

Glenn: We have to take small wins where we can.  It’ll be interesting to see how the crossover with Spider-Man effects Spider-Gwen (if at all). The last crossover she was involved in seems to have done more harm than good.

Ray: The weirdest comic of the month, Catwoman: Election Night, manages 23K at #116, which isn’t all that bad considering this is a political inventory story and a short Prez sequel. The real puzzle is why DC thought a $4.99 comic that seemed designed to anger both sides of the election was going to do any better.

Glenn: Oh man this book. Given how much of an odd ball it was, they can’t have expected much less. You have to feel sorry for Prez fans who were promised a proper continuation and had to go out and buy this comic. Maybe starring in this is what really motivated Selena to kill all those people?

Ray: Serenity: No Power in the Verse manages to be the top-selling Dark Horse title for the second month in a row, selling 24K at #113. That’s a pretty decent hold, and just goes to show how the property still has a seriously active fanbase over a decade later.

Cage has one of the bigger slides of the new Marvel lineup, not a big surprise given how out of step it was with the rest of the line. It loses about 50% of its sales to land at #118 with sales of 22K.

Glenn: Not a big surprise for Cage, even when it was first announced it was going to be a specialized item. 10 years ago it might have done line 10k more but Marvel’s probably just happy to get it out the door.

Ray: All-ages books don’t usually do that well in single issues, so the debut of Super Powers for DC has got to be considered a win. 22K at #121. Baltazar and Franco have a long-running fanbase from their Tiny Titans days, and it’s paid off here.

To put the debut of Super Powers into perspective, it outsold the latest issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson, but I think that says more about the way this current Cap relaunch has been received than anything else.

Both the lower-selling Young Animal books hold decently in their second month, with Cave Carson and Shade staying around the 20K line. That’s not necessarily a recipe for long-term success, but it does seem like all the Young Animal books are getting some eyes on them and people are liking what they see.

Glenn: You’d have to expect these books would be around the 8k mark or so under other circumstances.  Its all relative so when it comes to outside the box properties, the Young Animal line seems to have managed to be able to let them find an audience, hopefully it continues.

Ray: It’s been months since the debut of Betty and Veronica by Adam Hughes, and while the first issue had a strong debut thanks to a literal cavalcade of variant covers, the second issue loses all that momentum and freefalls down to #133 with sales of 19.7K. Despite the long-term success of Archie and Jughead’s titles, it seems like the rest of the line might struggle a little bit.

Glenn: From what I hear from yourself, the other Archie books seem out of step with what Mark Waid is doing.  This is still better than anything Archie could have dreamed of a few years ago so they’re probably happy. I don’t think it’ll be too long before the book goes on hiatus in any case.

Ray: If you want to see just how bad things are going to be for the new Marvel titles that are underperforming from the start, look at Prowler, which started at #82 last month, but promptly loses over half these sales and plummets to #142 with sales of 17K, which is near cancellation level. To put this into perspective, that’s only a few slots above the fourteenth issue of Carnage‘s solo title. We’ll get to another title that’s much, much worse later on.

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Glenn:  Launching as part of a major storyline just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. You’d have to imagine the title would be doing worse though if it was just asked to stand on its own. I think Hobie will go back to his more usual role as a supporting character and this book will not be mentioned again. We saw a similar pattern with Morbius a few years ago which launched alongside Superior Spider-Man. Another example of lessons not being learned.

Ray: Empress wraps up its run at #158 with sales of 14.8K. Probably the best sales Icon has had in a while, but then we have to ask ourselves – how would be a big Millar/Immonen space opera have done at Image?

Glenn: Empress hasn’t been terrible but not where his books usually sell.  This is probably due to the fact that Empress had to be published through Marvel’s Icon imprint which won’t have the strength on the creator owned scene that Image does. It shouldn’t feel bad about that, no one has the indie pull Image does, Empress likely would have sold the same with IDW, BOOM!, Dark Horse or anyone else.

Ray: The #2 Dark Horse book of the month is Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #1, which only manages to pull 14.8K at #160. It’s pretty clear that this franchise’s best days are well behind it, because it was barely able to get a minor jump out of the start of a new season – and came in 8K behind the second issue of Whedon’s less-known property.

Glenn: I remember when Season 8 launched at the very top of the charts but that was with Whedon writing it and before he nearly burnt the house down at the end of that story.  I think we’re only seeing the dedicated remain or sticking to trades.  I’m sure Dark Horse is glad to have the sales that they can somewhat count on.  It’ll be interesting to see how Angel launches without being paired with Faith this time.

Ray:  Frank Barbiere’s Violent Love is one of those Image titles that doesn’t get all that much hype going in, but it manages to pull a fairly decent debut of 14K at #162. Certainly not spectacular, but well in line with the sales of the mid-tier of Image. It’s also a great book, so hopefully more people will check this book out! (Official By The Numbers Recommendation!)

We’ve talked before about the insane stability of Black Hammer, which only slides a modest 300 copies from November’s issue at #169. It’s basically locked down at the 12K+ range, which is great for a Dark Horse original property in its 5th issue.

The first issue of BOOM!’s new WWE series debuts at #171 with sales of 12.9K. However, I think this is actually a preview issue with the subtitle “Then. Now. Forever”, so the actual #1 may do better next month.

Glenn: WWE comics never really perform really well.  Its hard to do a comic about the lives of characters that are there to help you get excited about seeing them beat each other up. The fight scenes in the comic won’t have the same effect so you have this odd blend of fiction and reality. Also, WWE is a company that changes so fast with stars leaving, getting injured or losing favour with the company it’ll be near impossible for any comic to keep up.

Ray: Speaking of bad news for Marvel, let’s check in on Solo! Last month it did just over 30K. This month, it slides all the way down to 12.7K at #173. Needless to say, this is gone after one arc and will probably not be alone. To put this into perspective, the second issue of the first-cancelled All-New All-Different Marvel Now book last year, Black Knight, sold 22K with its final issue, so just how ugly are these numbers going to be by the end of this run?

Glenn:  Wow that is pretty jarring when you lay it out like that.  My only memory of Solo is his role in Revenge Of The Sinister Six from like 20 years ago where he just seemed like a lame Punisher rip off. Again I’m sure the logic here was cause of Mercs For Money but as we mentioned last month, the reason that book performs respectfully (107 this month with sales over 26.5k) is cause of Deadpool. You could put him in a book with a tree (not Groot, just a tree) and it would sell, it doesn’t mean I want to read a book about said tree. Yes I just compared Solo to a tree, largely cause of all the ones being killed to publish this comic that not many people care about.

(Note: Solo was missing from the most recent Marvel solicitations so consider it a goner)

Ray: The DC New Talent Showcase, a $7.99 anthology volume showing off the graduates of the first DC Writers’ Workshop, sold 12.4K at #174. Not great numbers, clearly, but I don’t think DC really expected much more from an $8 comic without any big names attached by design.

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Glenn: This is DC just looking to get some money on the investment and maybe test the waters for some of the characters involved in the book. It was always going to be disposable so I think only people curious about what could be DC’s next generation of writers had to offer being interested.  Ironically, the Millarworld annual which featured people even less well known did a good bit better, albeit it was a lot cheaper.

Another annual, this time its Injustice Gods Among Us Year 5 (where does the time go?) at 176 with sales just over 12.2k.  Blah, blah game tie in, blah, blah.

Ray: Injustice is relaunching in a few months with original series writer Tom Taylor on board, so we’ll see if that gives the franchise a boost. Otherwise, not bad for a digital-first tie-in annual.

Glenn: It seems Taylor isn’t sticking around. The series will probably just sell what it always does. A steady but low selling game adaption is better than nothing.

Talking of Archie spin offs, here’s Josie and the Pussycats second issue selling at 177 with sales also just over 12.2k.  Still better than probably would of happened to the book in years past but there’s a clear divide between the main two books and everything else. The clear star of the show is the main book is Archie which is to be understandable as it has the most hype around it. Hopefully Archie doesn’t continue testing their luck and lose some of the buzz they’ve managed to gain.

Ray: That’s a pretty sharp fall for Josie, much more than any of their other books. It would be nice if Archie focused on their strongest properties – but instead they’re giving us spin-offs for The Archies and Werewolf Jughead in March as part of a “pilot season” event.

Glenn: Now that you mention it, there are some odd books coming from the company. Maybe they’re trying more of their old style books on the new audience? Don’t think it’ll float but that’s why you test the waters with a ‘pilot season’ I guess

There’s a new Matt Kindt book from Dark Horse at 179 with sales just over 11.9.  This is just the average Dark Horse launch with a fairly well known name these days. This underscores how well Black Hammer is doing of course. Kindt is an acquired taste but has his loyal fans, this is one book I don’t think would have done much more business at Image. It’ll probably have a relatively small drop off.

Ray: I think this is actually slightly higher than Kindt’s last new creator-owned book for Dark Horse, Dept. H. Slowly but surely, Kindt is building his brand at Dark Horse and they probably weren’t expecting much more out of this. He’s a cult creator.

Glenn: Startling numbers for the first issue of the Serenity mini with sales of just under 11.6k at 181.  That’s some serious dedication for such a long cancelled property and a Dark Horse book also. Like you said earlier Ray, fans are perhaps few for this property but are still deeply as passionate as ever about it.

Ray: This is a reprint of the first issue of Serenity, so these are actually great numbers. Dark Horse has a genuine hit on their hands with this mini, so I’d be surprised if we didn’t get a Serenity ongoing after this, if Whedon is allowing it.

Glenn: Motor Girl is the newest book from Terry Moore and its at 182 selling over 11.5k. Decent launch for Moore’s publishing line.  His books tend to do small but reliable numbers with a good business in trades also. Like Image books from Hickman and Brubaker, retailers probably know who is going to be coming in looking for the new Terry Moore comic.

Ray: Given that Moore publishes out of a small independent publishing house without the reach of the big companies, this is definitely a big win for him. I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about this book, too, so it might hold these numbers better than Rachel Rising, which finished out of the top 300.

Glenn: A new Hellboy title Hellboy and the BPRD 1954 Black Sun launches at 186 at 11.1k. Again, retailers also probably know who is going to be buying Hellboy at this stage and aren’t going to order too heavily on the character. He’d a cult favorite, not a bad thing mind but this is what Dark Horse will expect from one of their oldest creator owned properties at this stage.

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Ray: That’s a roughly 2K bump for Moon Girl for the start of its new “Smartest One There Is” storyline, which got a lot of hype. Needless to say, not a game-changer and the bounce will wear off as soon as next issue. Marvel’s clearly seeing something here that we’re not, but I’m guessing the character’s ongoing will run out of time when she moves over to Secret Warriors after the conclusion of IvX.

Glenn: Second issue of KISS still manages to pull out five digits with sales just over 11k at 188. Those are some dedicated rock fans out there, I doubt there’s any band in the world that could manage sales like this, they are what the are.

By the way, sandwiched between these two is Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. I don’t know what’s keeping it around but when you’re below a new Hellboy book and just above a KISS comic you’re clearly doing your business somewhere else.

The second issue of Vertigo’s Lost Boys is at 190 with sales just over 11k.  Better than the average Vertigo book by quite some bit, maybe they should think about turning this line into continuing cult favorites rather than creator owned ventures?

Ray: Bring on miniseries for Pumpkinhead, Gremlins, and The Frighteners! I would actually read all of these.

Glenn: A new five issue mini from Image called Mayday debuts at 191 with sales over 10.7k. It’s a mini so it won’t drop too much before we’re at the end. The name of the writer rings a bell but I don’t think he’s exactly someone huge so this is an average ‘below the radar’ Image launch.  Probably a portfolio builder for bigger things for all involved down the line (see also: Severed, Existence 2.0, Battlepope, etc)

Ray: This is by Alex De Campi, who’s been in Image comics for some time – she’s the author of No Mercy – so they may have been hoping for a bit more here, but given that it’s a Cold-War era spy comedy with tons of nudity and sex, it’s pretty clearly a niche book. This is on the low end of where a main-line Image book will launch these days, but still well above Top Cow’s usual.

Glenn: I’ve never quite understood the point of ‘Director’s Cut’ in comic but with Batman involved its still good for 10.3k sales at 192.  Impressive given the cover price and how many orders/reorders the book has already gotten.

A new month, a new Transformers launch from IDW. This time its Transformers: Till All Are One but this is just a one shot tying into the companies Revolution story. It sells just over 10.2k at 194 making it the highest selling one shot of the crossover, no surprise since due to the recent films it has the most exposure in todays media and the insane amount of Transformers books that IDW indicates that there is a verly dedicated audience that will buy them regardless.

The next Revolution one shot is from GI Joe which is at 199 with sales of 9.6k. I would say this is from people interested in the crossover more than people interested in GI Joe. The property was at its peak 20 years ago and the sales show.

At 200 is what appears to be a new MASK book from IDW who seemed to pick up every popular boys action figure franchise in a garage sale somewhere. This sells just over 9.6k too, just below GI Joe which is popular around the same time with the same audience. Not sure what else they could have expected, this is something only long time fans will be after.  Perhaps IDW were hoping for another surprise hit like Power Rangers? Odd to see so many old ‘one hit wonder’ properties come out from one particular company.

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Ray: Those Transformers, GI Joe, and MASK numbers are about what I’d expect from IDW. They do a decent if not spectacular business with 80’s nostalgia properties, and it seems to be their company’s bread and butter, aside from the prestige collections they release. What’s interesting is that they have a rather heavy output, putting out more books per month than any company besides the big three. It might be that they’re succeeding by attrition more than anything – their books have a loyal audience, and the more they put out, the bigger their market share.

Glenn: Last month both myself were puzzled by the performance of Green Valley from Image. The book manages to just over 9.7k at 198 with two well known creators attached. This is a number I would expect from someone relatively new so I’m not sure what happened here. Maybe people are waiting for the trade?

Ray: Selling even lower than Moon Girl is the twelfth issue of Patsy Walker: Hellcat, which does just over 9K. Again, Marvel must be seeing something here we’re not, but I expect time will run out for this book soon enough. Marvel doesn’t seem to have given it much promotional attention, unlike Moon Girl.

Glenn: As of recent solicitations, Patsy is still going. It seems that the female led books get a bit more rope at Marvel. How long that can sustain itself however…

Ray: After an unusually long wait between issues, the second issue of Joe Books’ Frozen comic lands at #210 with sales of just under 9K. That’s a hefty drop, but it’s still miles ahead of anything else Joe Books puts out. When you have the license for a genuine phenomenon like this on your hands, you should take care to not lose the fans, so hopefully the rest of the run will stay on schedule.

Glenn: The delay may have hurt it as Frozen crazy fans may have just not bothered returning when the second issue was delayed.  Still, like you say the 9k is still very impressive and if the company can keep a steady schedule, they’ll benefit hugely when the sequel is released.

Ray: The debut of Valiant’s latest experimental property, Savage, lands at #211 with sales of 8.9K. A title best described as Kid Tarzan on Jurassic World, it doesn’t appear to have any real ties to the Valiant Universe, same as Brittania (which has its third issue seven spots lower) and Valiant’s core audience doesn’t seem to be particularly interested. I salute Valiant for attempting to broaden their line and explore other genres, but they have a very effective brand on a small line, and their attempts to step outside it don’t seem to be paying off.

Glenn: Pretty much ditto on my side. Valiant may feel like they should be trying to do new things but what they do with the majority of their line works incredibly well. Due to their size, they might be best focusing on their connecting books and building themselves up like they are there before trying to diversify their brand.

Ray: As always, there’s a few oddball books sprinkled in here, like a Vampire Hunter D book and a Dark Souls spin-off, at 231 and 233 respectively. Both books do about 7K, and it seems likely that both were ordered for a specific small fanbase, likely based off actual requests from readers – especially in the case of the former.
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Glenn: Vampire Hunter D is a cult anime and Dark Souls is a game for hardcore gamers who love to have their games make them cry so yes, both will have a very select group of fans. It really is true what they say though, there is a comic out there for everyone.

Ray: It’s been well over a year, but Mark Waid and JG Jones’ controversial miniseries Strange Fruit from BOOM! wraps up with sales of just over 7K at #237. I think the long wait between issues probably killed the momentum here a lot.

Glenn: I don’t even know what this is! The delay must be to blame as both are very big names. JG Jones isn’t known for his speed so I’ll be curious how many companies give him projects now without lots of lead time, could be a while before we see his name again. This one might do well for BOOM! though in trade because in trade, the waiting game doesn’t matter.

Ray: One of the most unexpected returns to comics in a long time is Dave Sims Cerebus, which makes its re-entry with Cerebus in Hell #0. 6.8K at #241 is not a huge number for any book, but given that this is a privately published black-and-white comic reviving a cult property that’s been gone for twenty years, these numbers are fine. Cerebus‘ audience will find it. I’m more amused that this comic is $4, not $3.99. Dave Sim always liked to do things differently.

Glenn: Yeah, Cerebrus has its set amount of fans and although it never had a huge appeal, these will be the people coming back to check it out. There won’t be many new fans coming in to buy Rebirth or any new Marvel book that will pick this up on a whim. I would say this could be quite stable and if nothing else, will maybe cause some cross promotion in Indie comics that Sims was very much passionate about the first time around.

Ray:  Champions #1 charts again with re-orders of 6.7K at #244. This title had an amazing debut last month, but obviously seems to be running into some trouble this month. These reorders are a nice boost, but don’t address the overall issue for the book.

BOOM! continues to have trouble launching original properties, as their roller derby drama Slam is only able to do 6.5K at #250. This is a book that got a lot of promotion and fits nicely in with their female-centric line of books like Lumberjanes, Goldie Vance, and Giant Days, despite being for a slightly older audience, so I’m surprised this didn’t break out a bit. Not the most shocking Boom debut of the month, though.

Glenn: Roller derby seems very ‘in’ at the moment so yeah, I would have thought that it could have caught a little more interest. I wouldn’t have imagined it doing much better unless it has something else to it though like Paper Girls for example. Asking people to come back month after month to read about something that is obviously a very physical sport and the impact can’t be felt on the page is a big ask without another interesting hook.

Ray: In another case of “Year Too Early Comics”, Titan has a new book based on Hammer Horror’s The Mummy. Clearly Titan wants this to capitalize on the new Tom Cruise movie, but it doesn’t seem to have worked – 6.3K at #254. No one’s all that hyped for The Mummy yet, if they ever will be.

Glenn: I was talking to my brother that I don’t think this latest Mummy will do that great.  Are comics an indication of such things?  Well Marvel’s Star Wars was huge a few months before Force Awakens was released and some other tie ins and such can create indications but there’s no set rule. I just think that there are so many Mummy’s and similar creatures in comics already that its not as if anyone is crying out for a book that’s all about them.

Ray: Frozen ships its third issue this month as well, selling only 6.2K at #256 and dropping 2.5K from its second. The delays have to be taking their toll here for Joe Books, as the title’s already sank below their successful Disney Princess franchise, which is ten spots above this.

stl015893-600x943Little-known publisher Papercutz managed to get their hands on the Tales from the Crypt franchise rights, and this title’s debut manages to sell 6K at #260. Really, though, any time a small company gets into the top 300 is a victory for them, especially with an ’80s property like this.

Glenn: The name will have its fans, there’s a lot of nostalgia for this series. Props to such a small company being able to land a cult series like this, all it takes is one book to get you on the map.

Ray: A comic that’s had an interesting journey to get here is IDW’s Comic Book Comics, which has been through several different publishers and this reprint manages to sell 5.5K at #274. I’m not sure if this cartoon history of comics is still in print in any other format, but this is a seminal work in the field and I’m glad to see it finding new audiences.

Glenn: Considering this isn’t original material and is already out there in multiple formats, that’s very good for IDW. This will be cheap for them to produce so even though the sales aren’t particular strong its still something that will likely have a very healthy return.

Ray: Hands down the most shocking numbers of the month go to Namesake #1, from BOOM!, which pulls 5.4K at #277. Why is this so disturbing? Because the writer of this creator-owned dimension-hopping adventure is none other than Steve Orlando, the hottest rising writer at DC at the moment. This reminds me a lot of The Backstagers, James Tynion’s offbeat theater adventure, which debuted extremely low and has disappeared from the top 300. Boom gets top-tier talent on board and delivers incredible stories – but somewhere, something’s not clicking. Retailers aren’t ordering, and I don’t know why. So once again, I will put the call out for our readers to try a Boom book this month!

Glenn: I would say both Tom King and Orlando are DC’s biggest new names but yes, this one is puzzling. All I can assume as like we’ve discussed before, Boom doesn’t seem to have the marketing power that many of its competitors do. Fans that read their books seem to greatly enjoy them but retailers have to have faith too otherwise there’s nothing there for people to read and enjoy and its hard (if not impossible) to build up a brand. I would say this is something Boom is very aware of and something they’re working on, they don’t want to seem less favorable than a smaller company like Aftershock or such would be.

Another creator owned launch by James Robinson comes from Dynamite in the form of Grand Passion which gets over 5.3k sales at 279. James Robinson is still a well known name and has had many critically acclaimed runs in the past so I would have expected more. This is likely just due to Diamond’s size more than anything but still, I would say that’s on the low side.

Ray: Grand Passion got virtually zero hype from Dynamite, as I only found out about it when it was time to order the books. I think this is Robinson’s first creator-owned work since the utterly bizarre Airboy, though. The fact that Namesake just barely outsold this goes to show exactly how much work BOOM! has to do to raise their profile.

Glenn: Vertigo’s Sheriff Of Babylon ends at 283 with sales over 5.2k. Not great at all but this is what you have to expect from Vertigo these days. Unlike many other of the titles it launched near, it managed its entire run in the top 300 which is something. I doubt though that sales are the primary reason its being brought back for a second volume. I doubt there will be much more interest on a launch but DC is likely thinking long term with trade sales and keeping the writer of their top selling book happy.

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Ray: The numbers were certainly lower than Vision, mainly because it’s Vertigo, but we saw a similar effect to that title on Sheriff of Babylon. It held onto the bottom of the top 300 with the edge of its nails these last few months, and managed to finish it out respectably. This is obviously yet another example of Vertigo’s major problems right now, but it’s also a good example of how Tom King still has some pull. Like Vision and Omega Men, I expect this to become a classic in collections.

Glenn:  Paul Jenkin’s Alters from Aftershock lands its second issue at 284 with sales of 5.2k. Pretty standard for what Aftershock does, especially by a creator like Jenkins who is been out of the limelight for some time.

At 287 is a Sonic one shot from Archie which sells just under 5100 which is very close to the main book so I guess this is what the audience is for comics starring the fastest/coolest hedgehog alive. Like we’ve said in the past, video game tie ins aren’t usually worth much but there seems to be a small but dedicated audience supporting comics starring Sonic.

Ray: It’s kind of amazing just how long Archie has been putting out Sonic books. That being considered, yeah, this is very much a niche comic that is likely being ordered exactly as it’s going to sell.

Black Mask gets another new launch in the top 300 at 291 with No Angel with sales over 4.5k.  They might be breaking sales records but with a company of their scale, 2016 could be looked back as a turning point where the company started to get noticed.  I expect we’ll be seeing them a lot more in charts in the years to come.

Glenn: No Angel is actually written by the Palicki siblings, including Adrianne “Was Almost Wonder Woman” Palicki. I’m surprised it didn’t do a little better, given that. Black Mask is a company that’s rising, but some of their creator-owned books debut much higher than others.

Glenn: Lets finish up with another random Disney cartoon tie in from IDW. This time its Donald Quest which sells just over 4.8k at 298. Disney properties seem to be all over the place and these will be nice earners for IDW at places outside the direct market I’d say. Having anything remotely associated with Disney these days is a good investment, even if direct market sales don’t indicate as such.

 Ray: Like you said, Disney is all over the place, spread out over at least three companies. IDW is going for the most old-school audience with the classic characters, and a lot of these books are actually reprints of classic stories. Given that, IDW has to be happy with sneaking into the top 300.

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Looking ahead to December, it’ll be a pretty big month for both DC and Marvel. DC’s launching the first event of the Rebirth era, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. With a top-tier creative team and major implications for the Rebirth status quo – not to mention a weekly schedule – I’m guessing DC is expecting a lot here. We’ve also got the $9.99 DC Rebirth Holiday Special, which will test the power of Paul Dini writing Harley Quinn, and a duo of oddball crossovers published by other companies – Wonder Woman ’77/Bionic Woman, and Star Trek/Green Lantern 2. Plus, there’ll be prestige format Supergirl miniseries “Being Super“, which is described as DC’s attempt to gear the character for the YA audience.

Meanwhile, over at Marvel, we’ll see how Inhumans vs. X-Men makes its proper debut. Can it beat the final issue of Civil War II? We shall see. There’s also the tricky Star Wars spin-off Doctor Aphra, which will try to make the breakout original of the books a solo character. And it’s also time to see how the rest of Marvel Now shakes up sales-style. Can any of Nova, Slapstick, Hawkeye, Star-Lord, Gamora, Mighty Captain Marvel, Rocket Raccoon, and the new, angrier She-Hulk have a chance at sales success? Outlook…cloudy. Hawkeye probably has the best odds.

The big two are clearly dominating the sales, but there’s some interesting debuts from outside the big two as well. Image is bringing us the racing thriller Motor Crush from the former creative team of Batgirl, as well as the Joe Harris rock-horror book Rockstars. Valiant is launching its own House of M with Divinity III: Stalinverse and a related Bloodshot spin-off. Boom is giving us a new Klaus one-shot just in time for the holiday season, as well as an oversized Steven Universe one-shot, while Archie attempts to make the villainous Reggie a solo character, and IDW spins a new GI Joe book out of Revolution. We’ll see which of these are able to make an impact in the market!

Like what you read?  Any questions or comments?  Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @RayGoldfield

By The Numbers October 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He is still hoping you order the IF Anthology at this very link!.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. A few weeks ago, Ray did an interview with Scott Snyder and soon will be starring in a buddy comedy TV show with the writer!  That’s what he told me anyway.

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

Full top 300 for October available here!

Greetings folks!  Sorry about the delay but sadly, life happens.  We’ll not keeping you waiting any further and dive in immediately with a look of the sales of comics from October 2016!

Glenn:  For the past few months, DC has dominated the top ten and the charts overall due to DC Rebirth and while in terms of market share, they lose out to Marvel, they manage to draw Marvel with four of the top ten (all of which, naturally star Batman) but the chart had plenty of new surprises and oddities.

Ray:  Marvel takes back the lead this month, yeah, but I think the overall picture of the month is not particularly good for them. We’ll talk about this more later, but they no longer seem to have any ability to launch titles featuring lesser characters at a decent level. For DC, meanwhile, some of the Rebirth effect is wearing off and we’re starting to see which titles are going to stay at a higher level permanently, which are resuming their past trajectory – and which couple of titles are going to run into trouble fast.

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Glenn:  Lets start out with the number 1 book which may be the most surprise and odd of them all.  Its not not any of the new Marvel launches or a DC book, its Big Trouble Little China/Escape New York from BOOM! which sells over 421.6k.  Huh?  How did this happen? Sure both properties that star actor Kurt Russel have their fan base but how did it manage that? Well they didn’t, Loot Crate did. The crossover was included in this month’s Loot Crate with a special variant exclusive to people subscribed to the monthly mystery box.  We saw the same effect roughly around the same time last year with IDW’s Orphan Black comic adaption. Its essentially a comic that will find itself in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people that wouldn’t have bothered if they’d known. Certainty a big financial boom for the comic and for BOOM! but the sales are artificially inflated quite a bit. This comic will tumble down to about 12-15k if not next month then certainty the next. Still, a win is a win! I hope they got to include a lot of promotional pages in those special Lootcrate editions for their own creator owned books. This is giving them a huge audience they don’t have access to at the moment and hopefully they’ll be able to take advantage of it. As a result however, everything else has slid down one slot lower than it normally would be as a result.

Ray:  I said this when it came to Orphan Black and Bravest Warriors, and I’ll say it again here – this is noise. There’s virtually no impact on future sales, and this book will fall down to its natural level when it resumes its standard distribution next month. I agree with you about the inevitable massive fall, but I think you might honestly be a bit too generous. I predict this will be under 10K next month with virtually no bounce. And I really wish Loot Crate numbers wouldn’t be included in Diamond’s chart or at least would come with the actual numbers aside from the Loot Crate orders included.

Glenn: Stuff like that would be nice as it would give this book a bit more of a realistic figure.  The chart would likely be vastly different if things like promotions/variants and stuff were removed.

Second up is the first of All New-All Different-NOW-With Added Sprinkles and Pixie Dust Marvel launches in Champions which sells over 328k. Marvel pushed this one HARD and it seems to have served well for the title that is spinning out of the previous Mark Waid written Avengers title.  This book revitalises an old Marvel property with a cast of its most popular young heroes and (insert YOUR least favorite here!).  Its a great hit for a book that is also a new incarnation of the Young Avengers series of old and seems to have picked up a great critical reception.  Its launched very favorable to some other titles that we’ll get to later but if it can manage sales of about 60-70k then it’ll be great so anything over that as the book finds its level is a bonus.

Ray: Champions seems like the one Marvel NOW! book that’s had the most good buzz behind it. You’ve got two fan-favorite creators, and an all-star cast of Marvel’s most popular young heroes. It strikes me that this is the closest Marvel’s ever come to a proper Teen Titans-style title (Young Avengers and Runaways were both original characters, while Young Allies featured more obscure heroes). That’s them filling a legit gap in the market with this book, and I think they’ll be rewarded. A settling point at around 70K sounds a bit right to me.

Glenn: Another new Marvel launch in a spin off book for the movie fresh Doctor Strange in a title featuring him and Sorcerers Supreme of the past and future. Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme launches with sales just under 150k which a lot more than I would have expected for a character who only recently has managed to support his own ongoing title for the first time in decades. This figure may be inflated by fact it was included in the Marvel’s Collectors Corps for the month of October but I’m not sure if those copies influence these numbers like it did with Loot Crate and the number one book. It obviously also helps that Doctor Strange has a big budget movie coming out which makes a new title starring him an easy sell. The latest issue of Doctor Strange the regular series is at 68 with sales of 41.2k, which is great but usually spin off books no matter who the character is sell less and Doctor Strange has never been able to support his own title, never mind split offs. The book will probably settle around the 15-20k range and be shuffled off this plane of mortal existence in 12 months.  Could be wrong however as the sales here have surprised.

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Ray: I wasn’t aware of Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme having a boost from the Collectors Corps box, but I’m not sure how big that was. I guess we won’t be able to see exactly how this book is genuinely doing until next month, but this is a healthy start. The book did get good reviews and Dr. Strange is very hot right now, so I think it can do better than you think. I think it winds up settling down at 20-25K, well enough to ride out its run. That being said, I also see this probably being a twelve-issue maxiseries that doesn’t get relaunched when the next relaunch comes along.

Glenn: No, you’re definitely right. There will be no relaunches here but we might see a few more Doctor Strange mini’s before all is said and done

Number 4 however is no surprise as its regular By The Numbers guest, Batman! Hey Batman!

Batman: Don’t bring me into this.

Glenn: Fair enough. The latest issue of the delayed added Dark Knight III sells over 133.6k which is still incredibly consistent. This book which is prestige format, experiences delays and a big price manages to still shift copies better than most regular ongoings. The Dark Knight brand is strong and I think this has been a big win for DC.  Like I say every month it comes out, it pays them here (their highest selling book this month) and will pay them in the form of collections until Death herself turns the lights out on the universe.

Ray:  #AlwaysBatman, I guess! The delays on DKIII have been significant, but with no ties to overall continuity, it doesn’t seem to have hurt it at all. Frank Miller still seems to have a major draw, and this will go down as one of DC’s more successful swings in recent years.

Glenn: 5 and 6 are both issues of Tom King’s Batman which sells over 129.8k and 126k respectively. The streak lives and the book seems to have found its level at a very, very, very good number. DC’s gamble to make their highest selling, most financially successful title month in, month out twice monthly has paid off in spades.  Not much more to be said, we’ll just see it again at around the same number no doubt.

Ray: The stability of Batman has been amazing. It’s still well above the line that Snyder and Capullo’s book ended at, although I expect it’ll find that level soon enough. Still, this really goes to show just how strong Batman is. We’ll keep everyone updated to see if it can make it to #52 above 100K just like the last run did!

Glenn: Issue 7 is the latest issue of Civil War II which sells over 118.6k.  This event has turned into a head scratcher as books set after it and spoiling its conclusion are starting to roll out this month and we still have an issue to go.  It looks like it’ll manage to finish in the six figure mark and has sold well in of itself but I think as a cross line event, the effect its had on the tie in books has been troubling to say the least.  I doubt we’ll be back in ten years for Civil War III where Tony and Captain Universe fight over who’s turn laundry day it is.

Ray: I expected Civil War II to suffer more from the constant delays and terrible buzz, but it seems like the low 100K range is the floor for a huge event like this. Still, I think it has to be considered a failure because of the genuinely toxic effect it has on its tie-ins, and the fact that it doesn’t seem to have been able to serve as an effective launchpad for the new line (much more on that later).

Glenn: 8 is the final issue and a massive sales bump for everyone’s favorite Sith lord, Dark Vader with sales of 111.3k, this one had a lot of variants which will have helped but I’d say people were probably interested how a book so well received would end. It’ll be interesting to see how Doctor Aphra performs when it launches as its essentially this titles successor. Strong ending for a book from one of Marvel’s most consistent lines right now.

Ray: Healthy boost for Darth Vader, and this finale got a pretty good amount of hype. I do think Doctor Aphra will be able to capitalize on that momentum. It definitely won’t be able to get the same sales that Darth Vader did on a regular basis, but I think it can perform similarly to Chewbacca or Kanan. If that’s the case, that will nicely show that Marvel’s original Star Wars characters are a franchise in and of themselves.

Glenn: All-Star Batman is number 9 with sales of just south of 107 and will probably jump below that six figure margin either next month or month after. I’d say the new storyline starting with issue 6 will give it a bump as that was always the pattern with Snyder’s time on Batman but even if it doesn’t, don’t feel too bad. The book is still $4.99 so even if is oversized, its still a big buy in for an ongoing so its sales are brilliant. If it can land at over 75k (spoilers: it will) its a great success. DC are letting Snyder do what he wants in his own little Bat corner and watching money magically appear in front of them.

Ray: For a $4.99 book that’s sort of on the side of the main line, this is still amazing. However, I do think it’s worth noting that next month will probably be the first Snyder Bat-title since the New 52 to sell under 6 figures. This is definitely a big hit either way, but I think that’s further proof that the “Batman” title is more powerful than any creator.

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Glenn: Final spot in the top ten is The Walking Dead from Image which sells over 91k. You know the drill. Walking Dead is the comic every other comic wishes it was. Business as usual.

Ray: Walking Dead, amazing as always. I wonder just how strong the numbers will be for its special 25 cent issue a few months from now, if they even count the sales like normally instead of as an incentive.

Glenn: If they are listed on the charts I wouldn’t be surprised if Walking Dead, Invincible and Outcast (which are all involved in the promotion you mentioned) are the top 3 selling books for that month.  Walking Dead doesn’t need a promotion like that so retailers will be chomping at the bit to be able to sell the book so cheap to some of the millions of fans that watch the TV show that haven’t gravitated over to the comic yet.

Number 11 is the first part of this years big Spider-Man story in Clone Conspiracy which sells over 90k on its debut. The big storyline that Dan Slott has been building for the last long while is finally here! I thought sales would have been higher but I know a few months ago, Slott did mention there did seem to be some confusion to retailers about this being a separate book while the main book (Amazing) only contained side stories. This is the first time Marvel have done this with Slott’s big Spidey stories so I’m wondering if some confusion led this to not crack to 100k mark (which I thought it would easily). I suppose if that’s the case we’ll see some big reorders and a bigger demand for issue 2! Still a very good number though and a lot better than these mini crossovers tend to do. We’ll see if the event can help launch some new books over the next few months.

Ray: That’s well lower than I would have expected from Clone Conspiracy. I was betting on easy six figures. It’s possible that retailers didn’t quite understand how important this was – but on the other hand, maybe they did, and as such they ordered it essentially just like the Amazing Spider-Man title with a slight boost, assuming this would perform like a family event for the fans of the title as opposed to a full-on event. Maybe a bit of a missed opportunity here, because no one does Marvel events these days like Slott and co.

For the record, Clone Conspiracy sold about 17K more than this month’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which was down at #24, a difference likely explained by the variant covers available.

Aside from Batman, three other DC Rebirth books land both their issues in the top 20 this month (or rather, top 21, given the strange #1 book this month). Those are Justice League, (12/13, 89k/85k), Detective Comics (14/20, 81K/74K), and The Flash (17/21, 76K/74K). Those are the titles that are clearly the most successful Rebirth titles, with Detective and Flash having popular, critically acclaimed runs and Justice League having all the top heroes and Bryan Hitch on board. Superman is also doing consistently well, landing two issues at 26 and 30, with sales of 69 and 67K. Wonder Woman is just behind at 31 and 34, with sales of 66K and 64K. The attrition is slow on these books, and it looks like they’re all going to firmly land themselves in the upper part of the chart for the foreseeable future. The news is a bit more mixed for other DC books that haven’t found their levels yet, though.

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Glenn: All success stories at this end for DC on Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman in particular. These books are all doing 20-30k or so better than they were, which is brilliant. Given that all these books are bi-monthly also just sweetens the honey pot.

Ray: There were two new limited series from Marvel that made it into the top twenty as well, and while their placement on the charts is similar, what the company was hoping from them likely isn’t. Deadpool: Back in Black is a throwaway flashback miniseries where Deadpool gets ahold of the Venom symbiote and chaos ensues. That managed to land at #15 with sales of 78K, predictably strong sales for Deadpool. Meanwhile, Death of X is the heavily hyped prequel to the upcoming IvX event, written by the writers of the two main titles from the franchises. That managed to land at #18 with sales of 75K. Both numbers are probably acceptable for a first issue, but I’d say this is an ill omen for the upcoming sales of IvX. Much more worrisome is that Death of X then promptly loses 16K and over 20 spots with its second issue the same month

Glenn: Deadpool is Deadpool and is usually good for a very decent mini launch. Venom is a character that despite spending the last 10 years or so as a very different version from the one that slobbers and threatens to eat your brains can still garner interest so a combination of the two is an easy win out of the gate. Its not something that will be a long term hit but its just a throwaway mini to add to the Deadpool section of the collection shelf so this is a good launch for that kind of thing.

Yeah, Death of X is an okay launch in of itself but not what you would consider for a book that’s meant to be the lead in to the big event. IvX is supposed to be 2017’s version of Civil War and if this is any indication, not many people seem overly bothered. Perhaps the actual event will generate a few more sales but this is a bit of a luke warm start to a mini that was promoted by Marvel as being so important.

Ray: Good news for Reborn #1, which lands in the top 20 with sales just under 75K at #19. Capullo is maybe the most popular artist in the industry at the moment, so this isn’t a surprise, and it’s worth noting that this is apparently the best sales for a Millarworld #1 since the first volume of Jupiter’s Legacy eons ago. Still, it’s strange to note that the much-hyped debut of a Millar/Capullo book sold 16K less than a standard issue of The Walking Dead.

Glenn: Great launch for Reborn which had one of the best selling creator owned writers in comics and like you said, possibly the best artistic commercial draw out there at the moment. This will be a high performer throughout its run and be a great collection seller for years to come, especially when the inevitable movie adaption is released. The fact that it sold so much less than Walking Dead is probably another underscore of how ridiculously unstoppable that book is rather than a reflection on this one I’d wager.

Ray: We’ve got two new Bendis books right next to each other at 22 and 23, with Jessica Jones selling 74K and Infamous Iron Man selling 73K. Jessica Jones has always been a low-selling cult title that was previously part of the MAX line, so I think we can call these first issue sales a major success. No way of knowing how it’ll sell down the line, but this is a good start. On the other hand, a new Iron Man title not even being able to scratch the top 20 with its first issue? That strikes me as an unmitigated disaster, and is probably the first really bad sign we’ve seen as to how this new Marvel relaunch is being received. I’m sure next month relaunch of Invincible Iron Man will sell better, but how much better? The titles spinning directly out of Civil War II don’t seem to be off to a strong start.

Glenn:  You’ve nailed it here, although the two books are right next to each other and have the same writer, they are very different stories. The Alias ongoing was never a strong seller and the Pulse wasn’t either so this is a great start and the book is probably good for 35-45k at least which would be brilliant for an adult orientated comic starring a character who has been a supporting player for a few years now. This book will have enough juice to last as long as Bendis/Gaydos want it so hopefully Marvel doesn’t relaunch it to death.

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The last Iron Man launch (not counting International) by Bendis sold well over 200k and was the top selling book of that month so yeah, the difference here was staggering.  True it stars a villain and those books generally don’t so as well but this is a continuation of Doctor Doom’s story from Secret Wars from only 2 years ago, its not as if the book has had a big lead in because it has. This title is essentially a continuation of the dreadfully selling International Iron Man so its a decent bump compared to that and will likely sell higher in the long run but not by much and this books rebut bids ill for a lot of other launches. Sadly, this is one of the wins of this months Marvel launches.

Ray: The second issues of Trinity and Teen Titans fall to a still healthy 65K this month, next to each other at 32/33. Batman Beyond surprisingly holds very well too, selling 60K at #39. However, it’s worth noting that for BB and TT, these issues are still labeled as #1 due to the Rebirth issue. We’ll have to see how the #2 issue holds, because there’s a title down the list that illustrates that there’s a serious retailer effect when there’s two #1 issues and the real attrition doesn’t start until the issue labeled #2.

Books like Nightwing, Suicide Squad, and Harley Quinn are still selling healthy numbers, but what’s worrisome for them is that they’re consistently losing 3-6K between issues in the same month. They’re all at healthy numbers in the 60K range right now and well above their pre-Rebirth numbers, but the long-term trend is worrisome. The effect is the same for both Green Lantern books, Green Arrow, and Aquaman, but they’re lower on the charts – making those drops in between issues in a month look all the grimmer. We’re starting to see books like those four drop below the 50K range about five months in.

Glenn: If most of those books can stay above 40-45k that would still be a large victory for DC. Where Marvel has been dominating the last year or so is the middle so if DC can take that from them, then they won’t be doing too badly. These are still some very good numbers but yes, we’re at a point where we need to see them slowing down.

Ray: The one book that seems to be beating the Rebirth attrition trend besides Batman is Action Comics, which holds steady this month in the mid-50K range, landing two issues next to each other at 44/45. This title started low and has had the steadiest performance in the entire line since then.

Glenn: Selling about 15k higher than where it used to and like you said, incredibly stable. The Superman led books are selling better than they have in years and since that’s a puzzle DC has been repeatedly trying to solve, they’ll be more than happy.

Ray:  And Supergirl #2 lands at #58 with sales of 45K – a full 50% drop from its second first issue to its actual second issue. That’s really troubling, as it seems the sales for the books with a #1 on the cover may have been heavily inflated. Still, 45K is well above the level Supergirl had been selling for a long time, and the book is being received well, so I can see it finding its level very quickly from here.

Glenn: Same here. It is a big drop but nothing to be alarmed at yet. Even if it drops another 15k I’d say that DC would be very happy. I would have thought the TV show would have brought new eyes to a book starring the girl of steel but if it can land around 45k maybe that includes the new audience?

Ray:  Now that neither book is inflated by an extra #1, the two Batgirl books have landed right around each other at 40K, with the main Batgirl book three spots higher at #69, and Birds of Prey selling only a few hundred copies less. Still decent numbers for Batgirl compared to where the last run ended, but the Rebirth boost is wearing off fast with these two.

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Glenn: Its interesting to see the books paired together so closely, almost as if they’re being treated the same because they have Batgirl in them even though they’ll both have very different voices and dynamics. That’s a very good number historically for Birds Of Prey in particular but as we’ve said, the sales need to settle here before the smiley faces become neutral before finally becoming sad.

Next new Marvel launch is the latest Inhuman superstar Mosiac.  Oh wait, it only managed over 44.3k at 61. This is another new Inhuman character that Marvel says is a thing that turns out not to be a thing.  I have to give Marvel credit put apart from Ms. Marvel, they just can’t get the market to care about new Inhuman characters. This will be one that will be not long for this world.

Ray: Yeah, Mosaic very much looks like an 8-12 issue miniseries to me, especially without the likeliness that it would do better in digests/digital the way Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl apparently do. Ms. Marvel was a unicorn, in that it is an original character selling well without any big name attached. This is not going to duplicate that success.

Glenn: Underlining that point further is that Mosiac barely outsold Cage which is at 62 with sales of over 44k. If this was a new Luke Cage title then it wouldn’t be anything to write home about but its not. This is a much delayed, out of continuity mini by an artist who doesn’t usually do comics. Its something that to me, would only appeal to a certain part of the market so with that taken under consideration, this is a great launch. After all this time, Marvel isn’t probably expecting much from this book so if i can do about 15-20k until it ends that’ll be more than fine.

Ray: Cage is only a four-issue miniseries, as well. Based on these numbers, it’s likely that this is going to be a modest hit for Marvel, even if a lot of the fans picking this up based on the Netflix series are likely to be very confused by this version.

Glenn: The last issue of Invincible Iron Man sells just over 44k and is one of the higher mid level performers for the company at the moment. Can newcomer Riri Williams do better?  We’ll see in a few months. Myself and Ray seem to disagree whether Riri’s new book can crack six figures so let us what you think about that one numberites.

To the shock of no one, Great Lakes Avengers (minus their most popular character) debuts at 71 with sales of just over 40k. Wonderful numbers for a GLA book if we were a few issues in but not the best launch in the world by quite a fair margin. Take your bets now whether it can outlast Mosiac.

Ray: Marvel actually put a lot of promotion into Mosaic. It didn’t pay off, but they’re likely to give that a bit more rope than GLA. GLA is likely gone quicker – although not as quick as some comics we’ll talk about later.

Glenn: Given how much Marvel wants to make Inhumans and their various books work, they may be willing to take a hit on Mosiac but yeah, GLA won’t be given as much rope. I wonder even if Squirrel Girl had been involved if it would have helped that much.

A new Serenity comic launches at 73 with sales over 39k making it the highest selling Dark Horse title this month. The good will this property has after its cancellation over 15 years ago is astonishing.  The fan base is incredibly loyal and this book launched a lot better than I would have expected. It outsold a lot of new Marvel launches (yes, there’s still more of those to come…yes we know) and is surprisingly one of the few valuable properties Dark Horse still has in its catalogue.  Always good to see Dark Horse in the top 100 given their current problems.

Ray: Firefly‘s fanbase isn’t huge (if it was, it would have lasted on Fox! *cries*) but what they are is incredibly loyal. They’ll follow this property anywhere. That may not be enough for a TV show or movie, but it definitely is a nice starting point for a comic book.

Glenn: The second issue of the Young Animal flagship title, Doom Patrol lands at 79 with sales over 37.8k.  Still a great number for a Doom Patrol book that is being released separate from the main DC line. This is double or even triple than any Vertigo books which for lack of comparison for the new line is where I think Young Animal is measured against. We still have plenty of room to fall and still call it good news, there’s more great numbers from DC’s new line further down the charts in a bit also.

Ray: Thus far, Young Animal is looking like a nice surprise for DC. I was expecting acceptable early numbers, but this is much higher than I saw coming. I think a big part of this may be the fanbase of Gerard Way, who is a massively popular music star and some of his fans might have jumped over to his oddball take on DC. We’ll talk more about two Young Animal books later, one with Way on board and one without.

Glenn: It can’t be all good news at DC as Cyborg issue 2 crashes all the way down to 80 with sales just over 37.7k and then issue 3 at 98 with sales just over 32.5k making it seem like it’ll definitely be out of the top 100 next month. It seems the book has promptly been turned into a monthly which will slow the bleeding in theory but this is one book where the Rebirth magic hasn’t worked. The market isn’t interested in Cyborg as a solo hero, its that simple. DC are trying to make him a thing given how high profile he is in their other media but no one cares.  These Cyborg issues are still returnable by the way so once that stops, expect it to fall even further.

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Ray: I’m going to make an analogy here – Cyborg = Captain Marvel. Both are characters that DC and Marvel respectively have decided should be headliners and solo title stars. Both are starring in upcoming movies. Despite this, the companies can’t seem to make a solo title starring these characters work. Captain Marvel is on her fifth relaunch, while Cyborg is only on his second, but the collapse is accelerating. Even with the monthly schedule slowing down the decline, this will likely be the lowest-selling Rebirth title in only a matter of months at this pace.

Glenn: That’s a very apt comparison and even throwing some a-list talent at each book isn’t a guarantee so its doubtful DC or Marvel will do that. I’d say Captain Marvel will be due for another relaunch before so long, as for Cyborg…he might be getting a regular guest star in Batman…who will also have his name on the cover.

People care even less though about the new ongoing* from Marvel in Prowler #1 which starts off at just over 37k.  Decent enough start for a D lister like Prowler and I could almost live with it if it was the start of a random mini but this isn’t that. This is one of the launches of the all new Marvel line and spinning out of Clone Conspiracy. Given those two factors, a launch of 37k is quite startling and alarming. This indicates a lot of similar numbers for future launches but actually…we’re not done with new Marvel launches just yet.  No seriously, there’s ones that did less than this. No seriously!

*may not end up be an ongoing

Ray:  Yeah, there’s nothing good to say about Prowler‘s numbers. A Prowler title was always going to be a hard sell, but I assumed the tie-in would boost it a bit. I can see this being a one-arc-and-done book like Black Knight or Weirdworld, but there’s something more worrisome at work here – we saw it with Civil War II, and now it’s happening with Clone Conspiracy. Could it be that Marvel events have stopped having a positive effect on their tie-ins altogether? If this pattern continues with IvX and Monsters Unleashed, Marvel’s event-crazy strategy might have had serious long-term negative effects on their line.

Glenn: For over 10 years, Marvel has gotten a lot of good results from events, lead ins and aftermath but in the last number of years, the results have been increasingly dwindling. There are a number of factors that could have an entire article on its own but no matter what the reason is, its happening. If the current pattern holds then there’s going to be some troubling numbers into 2017 for Marvel.

Ray: The digital-first Deadpool mystery-comedy “Too Soon” manages to sell 36K at #85. Given that Marvel already sold a lot of copies of this online, they have to be happy with this. Deadpool lifts all boats!

Glenn: Economics are very different with digital first so like you said, now that this book is in print these numbers are grand. The seemingly never ending output of Deadpool mini’s will likely continue for the foreseeable future as books starring him are an easy win.

Ray: One thing I love is when something really strange and out-of-nowhere shows up on the charts, that’s the case for this month’s Kiss #1, from Dynamite, which sells 36K at #86. That’s right, the make-up heavy rock band. Gene Simmons gotta eat, I suppose. How long till Dynamite puts Grumpy Cat in makeup for the inevitable crossover?

Glenn: I’d buy that crossover! I guess retailers hoped that KISS fanatics would come into comic stores to get their latest bit of the bands merchandise?  Its an unexpected one like you said and even though its likely issue 2 will sink, I bet Dynamite is very pleased with this one by quite a fair margin.

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Ray: Wonder Woman celebrated her 75th anniversary last month, and DC put out a massive one-shot anthology featuring dozens of top creators to celebrate. Anthologies are usually a hard sell, especially with a $7.99 price tag, so the numbers here of 36K at #87 are pretty solid. The presence of Gail Simone, among others, made this a must-read for many Wonder Woman fans.

Glenn: The anniversary and creators was the big selling point here.  True, number 1’s will always attract a bump but characters with a legacy like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman will have things like this that can’t be artificially created or messed about with to produce a sales bump. There may be some interest given how big a year Wonder Woman has ahead of her too and at that price point, 36k is rather brilliant.

Ray: The other two Young Animal books that debuted this month had distinctly smaller debuts than Doom Patrol, which isn’t a surprise since they feature characters many fans might never have heard of and have lesser-known creative teams. Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye, which had Gerard Way co-writing and Michael Avon Oeming on art, was able to swing 35K at #89, while Shade the Changing Girl, by Vertigo/Indie mainstay Cecil Castelucci, landed at #100 with 32K. We’ll see how well these books hold, but these numbers are still 2-3 times higher than what the average Vertigo launch does.

Glenn: Lower than even the second issue of Doom Patrol but great launch numbers for some truely obscure properties. If these books had a Vertigo label on them, they would have charted much lower as you said so its clear that the Young Animal brand does have a strong identity right out of the gate. Even if the books can do about half that would be brilliant but I think these are books that are going to find their audience very fast given their critical acclaim and general buzz.

Ray: It didn’t do the same numbers as this month’s other big Image launch, but Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s return to monthly comics in Image’s Moonshine had a healthy debut with 34.5K at #90. This will likely hold very well and do even better in trade, so chalk this up as another win for Image.

Glenn: A big win for Image as doubtlessly this book wouldn’t have performed nearly as well with Vertigo which they printed their previous creator owned collaboration, 100 Bullets with. Image clearly sit at the top when it comes out for the potential audience for creator owned which means they will continue to be the first choice for most big name creators. Rebirth and Marvel NOW! may grab the majority of headlines but Image just puts out quality books by great creators and deliver sales steadily on new properties unlike the big two really can anymore.

Ray: Random crossover He-Man/Thundercats from DC didn’t get much hype or much in the way of positive reviews, but despite this it managed to pull just under 33K at #96, a decent showing for two old-school nostalgia properties. A lot of people played with the toys as kids, I guess? This is well above the numbers that the He-Man series DC used to put out would do.

Glenn: A lot of nostalgia at work here. Perhaps retailers felt that a lot of fans of classic 80’s cartoons would be coming into their stores? Its one that launched a lot higher than I expected, that’s for sure. I doubt it’ll have a sustained level of these sales but still a very good launch.

Ray: Worth noting that this month the low-water mark for a Rebirth title is New Super-Man #4 with 31.7K at #102. However, the decline here seems to have slowed a little bit and based on this month’s numbers, both Blue Beetle and Cyborg will be below it next month.

Glenn: New Super-Man launched very handsomely but has now crashed to one of the lowest Rebirth books but given its an all new character, these numbers are very good. If it can prove itself to have a steady audience around here then I doubt too many people will be unhappy.

Ray: That’s basically where the good news for DC ends this month, though, as the new miniseries without the Rebirth or Young Animal branding all bombed, to a one. We start with Death of Hawkman #1, a title that changed its name to something more…dramatic after being solicited. I don’t know if orders increased due to the name change, or if not enough people cared about Hawkman, but #103 with sales of 31K can’t have been what DC was looking for here.

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Glenn: Like with Raven last month, the decision not to ‘share’ the Rebirth branding clearly hurt the book here. I can certainty see the logic of DC wanting to protect that brand but by not using it, they told retailers and fans that this book didn’t matter. I’m guessing this was a book that wa sin production before Rebirth was a thing, otherwise the logic with bothering at all as the book itself seems a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation is puzzling.

Ray:  There’s a random Doctor Strange tie-in mini, Mystic Apprentice, which does 31K at #104. Nothing special, but for one of the inventory stories that Marvel dresses up and ships out when a movie hits, not bad.

Now we come to maybe the worst bit of news for Marvel this month, and that’s the debut of Solo, the first book spinning out of Deadpool and the Mercs for Money. #105 with sales just over 30K. Gong. Now, this is awful on any conceivable level, but the news is actually far worse. This is the first of three books starring these characters, with Foolkiller coming in November and Slapstick in December. Moreover, this is the one of those three that actually has the Deadpool writer, Gerry Duggan, attached. Based on that, does anyone think those other two books has a chance of doing better? I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see all three of these books gone after 5-8 issues in the vein of Black Knight or Starbrand and Nightmask

Glenn: While Solo lives, sales die. I’m not sure what the logic was here beyond ‘well lets see what happens’ but I think everyone predicted this was going to bomb and it has. Solo is a 90’s castaway that no one cares about anymore. He’s not the reason behind people buying Mercs For Money (spoilers: it’s Deadpool) and no one was asking for this book. Irish comic shop, the Big Bang is one of the biggest comic shops in the world and they reported issue two of the book sold three copies…total. Next month is going to be ugly.

Ray: The hits keep coming for Marvel this month. You know Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Gwen, and Ms. Marvel? Three of the biggest bright spots in Marvel’s line for a while? They’re all under 30K, out of the top 100, and falling fast. This section of the chart is basically a graveyard of Marvel books that should not be out of the top 100 – Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Uncanny Inhumans, etc – but these three are especially depressing given how far and fast they’ve fallen. Something’s gone very wrong with Marvel’s line over the last year, and they’re running out of time to figure it out.

Glenn: Spider-Gwen is particularly depressing as it has now been taken over in sales by Gwenpool (91 at just over 34.3k).  We’ve covered extensively how Marvel dropped the ball with the title but given how popular she remains outside of comics (merchandise and what-not) the book will probably get a lot of rope. All the books you mentioned you would think would be doing a lot better there’s a lot of reasons for the overall stagnation in the Marvel line. They’ll keep leading in market share as long as they keep churning out more books than anyone else but at the moment, under a microscope the whole house of cards is very wobbly.

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Ray:  Future Quest, the brightest spot in DC’s Hanna-Barbera line, has stabilized quickly in the mid-20K range and is selling around the same level as a lot of those Marvel books at #115, to put this into perspective. It ships a second issue this month that only sheds about 1K, which is great attrition. Scooby Apocalypse, which started with much higher numbers, is around the same level at only 200 copies and four spots lower.

Glenn: Future’s Quest has been graduated to an ongoing hasn’t it?  It seems that the old school feel its going for in terms of these properties has worked. I would say it’ll soon be the highest seller out of the new Hanna Barbara line which shows sometimes, the key to success is to do whats worked for over 50 years.

Ray: This is also where we’re seeing Image books like Seven to Eternity and Kill or Be Killed settle down to, a historically healthy number for Image books. Not the top tier, but likely to stay strong for the long haul

I’m actually a bit surprised by how well Raven’s second issue holds, as the book stays above 20K at #123. The first issue numbers were pretty weak, as were all of the non-Rebirth minis (more on that later), but there may actually be a small audience for this one, given her fanbase from outside comics.

Glenn: Raven gets a good amount of exposure due to the Teen Titans Go cartoon and such so yeah, she has a steady fan base. People may also be interested in having legendary writer Marv Wolfman back on a character he created when Teen Titans was DC’s biggest franchise (no really, it was) also.

Ray: Midnighter and Apollo #1 at #128 with sales of 20K…it’s not great. At the same time, I don’t think DC was expecting much more, given the sales of Midnighter. This strikes me as a bit of a gift, the same way Omega Men was allowed to continue to 12 despite the disastrous sales. Steve Orlando is one of DC’s brightest new stars since, well, Tom King, so they’re allowing him to continue his critically acclaimed book in miniseries form despite the low sales. Good on them, and I hope this book finds its audience in trades.

Glenn: There is a mix of creator placation and also probably because an editor liked his pitch and thought ‘eh, why not?’  In a few months, Warren Ellis will attempt to bring back some interest to some Wildstorm characters so that may lead to the trade of this and Orlando’s Midnighter run proving worth having on shelves at that point.

Ray: Vision finally does dip under 20K for its final issue at #132, which is still fantastic attrition for this title. This will likely sell hundreds of thousands of copies in trade over the next few decades, so Marvel’s going to be very happy they greenlit this before King dipped over to DC town.

Glenn: I’ve not read Vision but it seems to be deemed as an instant classic so yeah, more than worth Marvel’s time. A Vision series selling over 20k over the majority of its run is a notable achievement. This would have been a wonderful platform to launch King onto a top franchise and watch the money roll in but DC got there first, oops.

Ray: And the best-selling new Vertigo debut of the last few months isn’t an original Josh Williamson thriller, it’s not the return of Fables, it’s…a comic sequel to the 80’s vampire movie The Lost Boys. This does have Tim Seeley on board as writer, but still, 19.8K is very impressive given Vertigo’s recent struggles. Maybe there was a hidden group of Corey fans who came out in droves?

Glenn: Lost Boys is a serious cult favorite, to me its the ideal 80’s film and fans have been incredibly loyal to it, much like Firefly but instead of 15 years, you’re talking 30. Having Seeley write a vampire book after the Blade debacle likely garnered some interest too. Honestly, I think DC is fortunate they found out they still had this property (it was down the back of the sofa), any indie company would have loved to have a property like this one.

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Ray: It’s no Haunted Mansion, but 18.2K at #138 is a bit better than I expected for Enchanted Tiki Room, easily the oddest choice of comic based on a Disney attraction yet. This will likely do most of its business in trade form at Disney World for years to come, so I imagine Disney got what they wanted out of this.

Speaking of odd comics on the charts, a one-shot where Archie teams up with the Ramones, written by the creator of Five Kids Walk Into a Bank – good for 18K at #140. Archie’s certainly chasing the unusual lately, and it seems to be working out for them. At the very least, they’re certainly not predictable anymore.

It doesn’t have any household names attached, so the lower debut of new Image book Cannibal (17K at #144) is perfectly acceptable for this title by a former Flash and Injustice writer, Brian Buccellato.

Glenn: About what you’d expect (maybe a bit higher since Buccelletto did co-write Manapul’s Flash run) from this type of thing. Will probably land a bit higher than the standard non big name Image number of around 8-10k.

Ray: More pain for DC’s new miniseries as their much-hyped Vigilante: Southland miniseries lands at #150 with sales of just over 16K. These numbers are going to be incredibly ugly by the time the end of the mini rolls around, and we’re really starting to see a “Tale of Two DCs” with the gulf between Rebirth and everything else.

Glenn: I wonder if DC had waited until the character had debuted on Arrow if they’d had gotten more interest?  Maybe a little but not a lot. DC has got some serious momentum going on but books like this are very reminiscent of their mistakes of the past and the sales clearly reflect that. This isn’t the DC people are interested in anymore.

Ray: The month’s other big Image launch, Green Valley, by Max Landis and Marvel artist Giuseppe Camuncoli, has a surprisingly weak launch at #155 with 16K. I expected more given the names attached, but Landis has a mixed reputation and retailers may have ordered cautiously as a result.

Glenn: Landis is a big name and Camuncoli is the regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man so yeah you would have thought this could have done slightly below Moonshine. There was a very mixed response to the recent Superman mini Landis wrote so maybe along with his reputation, retailers didn’t want to take the risk as you suggest. The question now is that if anyone will come in wanting it when its not necessarily on the shelves to remind them it exists?

Ray: The last of DC’s new miniseries, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love (love that name!) had the lowest debut, just over 15K at #159. However, this is a double-sized $5.99 comic with three issues released bimonthly, so it might hold a bit better than the others. This is clearly an experimental project and it shows in the sales, but it’s closer in sales to some of the other minis than I might have expected.

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Glenn: That is a great title and given the price point, the news is slightly better. I’d say that next month this book will be put to shame sales wise by Image’s After Death which has the same price point and is also 3 issues. I would have imagined Deadman would have fallen under the same net as the other Young Animal properties so perhaps there is a lost opportunity there. Perhaps Way had his pickings of properties as part of his DC deal and Deadman got left out in the cold as a result?

Just below it is the latest Star Trek mini titled Boldly Go from IDW which sells just over 14.6k, about standard for a new Trek launch as we discussed in last months charts at length.

Selling 14.5k is the newest chapter in Jeff Lemire’s Valiant epic in Bloodshot: USA. This is the highest Valient launch in a bit due to Lemire’s name and the fans of the previous Bloodshot series likely just shuffling over here. I think this is the closing chapter of Lemire’s tenure on the property  and the sales are off to a solid start.

Ray: Yeah, Bloodshot Reborn has been a decent seller for Valiant since the start, and this is a nice jump for the final arc as a miniseries. I do think it probably debuted about six month’s before Lemire’s career really exploded, and a Bloodshot run by him today would likely do even better, but Valiant has to be happy with this. Lemire is probably the top-name creator they’ve ever had on board.

Glenn: We see Mockingbird crash to an end with 8 with sales just over 14.3k. It’s not the lowest selling Marvel ongoing so she won’t be alone for long and as we’ve discussed earlier, she’ll have some company soon.

Ray: For all the sad drama surrounding Mockingbird, it was a title that never actually got much attention while it was running. It was one of many casualties from the last relaunch – and as we’ve talked about in this column, many more are coming.Glenn: On its second issue, Gotham Academy sells just over 13.8k at 167. This is roughly 20k or so less what it would have sold if someone had stuck a Rebirth banner on it. Its not disastrous given the books history, its always been a cult book but the opportunity to increase its audience continues to puzzle me.

Ray: That’s a pretty rough fall for Gotham Academy, losing over 1/3rd of its sales from its modest first-issue debut. It’s a cult comic that may do well in digital and trades, so I hope DC shows it the same rope Marvel showed to Runaways back in the day.Glenn: Dynamite relaunches James Bond again with a new series subtitled ‘Hammerhead‘ which also sells over 13.8k. Bond has always been at his most popular on the big screen and now that Warren Ellis has moved on from him, I doubt Dynamite could have expected much better.

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Ray: Yeah, Bond has proven to be one of Dynamite’s most resilient licensed properties recently, and they’ve resisted the urge to do spin-off titles for each of the Bonds and several supporting characters, so the sales are looking pretty stable. Dynamite doesn’t really have many top-level hits, so this is a good debut.Glenn:  In their biggest launch to date, small publisher Black Mask releases Kickstarter funded Black to sales of just over 12.3k. Given what is currently happening in the news at the moment, the message behind this book seems more important than ever and it seems to have garnered a little buzz. I can see this finding its audience very promptly and doing very well in collections for the company. This was a big grab for Black Mask and I’m happy the company has managed to land this book relatively strongly.

Ray: Black is an interesting case, because the book was essentially pre-sold before Black Mask even put it up, with the incredibly successful Kickstarter. I’m wondering if this is a model we’ll see more small publishers taking – picking up independent books once they’ve already found their audience.Glenn: That’s an interesting point. We saw the same thing with Image when it chose to publish the Kickstarter funded Five Ghosts. Small press companies like Alterna have actually felt it more advantageous to offer a book through Kickstarter than through diamond which is interesting.

Just below that at 177, Dynamite launches a new Betty Boop comic that sells 12.3k.  I…erm…well…you see…Ray?

Ray:  …She can team up with Pink Panther and the Three Stooges, maybe? I don’t know why forgotten old cartoons have been getting such a resurgence in comics lately, but this is actually a decent debut considering the subject matter.Glenn: Again, maybe companies are just raiding the cupboards for properties they happen to have a hold off and throwing them out there to see what interest they can gather. Maybe it can make its money back in trade form at the Universal theme parks? Then again, perhaps not.

Another new launch by some heavy duty creators is Aftershock’s Shipwreck by Warren Ellis and Phil Hester.  This is the biggest creative duo Aftershock has managed to get together and sales respond appropriately with just over 12.2k. Aftershock is still very small despite the talent they’ve been able to attract but this is a solid enough hit for a company that isn’t very old at all.  If they can show creators they can deliver a solid potential readership, they might get more big names as the months go on.shipwreck

Ray: I think this is Aftershock’s biggest debut yet, which isn’t a surprise given that both creators have a long track record of hits. We’ll see how it holds from month to month, but if they keep picking up top-tier creators like this, they might be able to carve out a place in the market.Glenn: The second issue of Frank Cho‘s Skybourne lands at 182 with sales just under 12k. Given how big Cho is, I’m still surprised this isn’t doing better but these are solid enough sales. As Cho continues to be at the center of a lot of controversy in the comics world, this may be effecting his sales draw as a creator owned guy and its not as if his Hulk run was anything to write home about sales wise but its likely more important to him to be able to deliver a middling sales book that allows his creative freedom over anything else.

Ray: We’ve talked before about how Boom seems to have a hard time launching new creator-owned books, and I think a part of that comes down to promotion. They have a very strong brand when it comes to teen books like Lumberjanes, but their regular line seems to struggle. Frank Cho is a big name, but I knew very little about this book before it launched.

Glenn: Every month I feel like I’m reporting a new Transformers launch from IDW.  This month its Revolution which sells just under 12k at 183. Its Transformers, the audience is what it is.

Ray: Black Hammer continues to be the most stable book on the charts, losing only roughly 300 copies from #3 as #4 charts at #171 with sales of 13.3K. The buzz and quality of this book is quickly turning it into Dark Horse’s first lasting hit in a long time.

A strong debut from Albatross Press for #1, their new horror anthology, which sells just over 10K at 190. This is probably explained by the fact that the creator is Eric Powell, who built a small but devoted fanbase during his long tenure at Dark Horse. They followed him here, so this is a pretty big get for the up-and-coming publisher.

Glenn: Powell also drew a very brief stint on Action Comics many moons ago but of course is best known for his work on The Goon, so yeah a big grab for a company I’ve only recently started to hear about. A lot of small press companies like to release anthology works and sometimes, they don’t work but glad to see this one have a half decent launch.

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Ray: Also just over 10K at #191 is the return of a long-time creator-owned institution – Love and Rockets Magazine #1, published by Fantagraphics. This is new stories by the original creative team, and while Love and Rockets has never been a mainstream hit, it’s one of those books that will have an audience that follows it wherever it goes. We don’t see Fantagraphics on the charts often, because they do most of their business in trades, so this is definitely a win for them.

Glenn:  It seems there is still a fan base for these characters on a montly basis. If Fantographic’s business is based solely on trades then this title charting here could come as a pleasant surprise.

Ray: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur stays in the four-digit range, selling 9.5K at #196. I said it before, but Marvel is definitely seeing something here that we’re not, because big two comics don’t survive at this level. The book is starting its new arc in November, but with no re-numbering, I doubt it will move the needle.

Glenn: This could be a book supported by digital sales or trades or any number of things but its a Marvel book getting outsold by a lot of other stuff by publishers the vast majority of comic fans are unaware of. Either Marvel is taking a hit on this one for other reasons or like you say, its performing elsewhere. If it is a book that performs digitally better, it may be better to release it first there and then repackage for print later, surely it would make them a bit more money?

Ray: There were quite a few Image books launching this month, and the bottom rung is Romulus #1, the latest Top Cow title by Bryan Hill, which only manages to muster 9.5K at #197. Top Cow hasn’t had a new hit in a long time, and this book didn’t really attract any critical attention when it launched, so the weak numbers aren’t a surprise.

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Glenn: We talked about Top Cow last month and how they’re a brand that fails to create any excitement any more. I doubt their books are held to the same standard that regular Image ones are so they might be happy enough with this? I don’t really recall them charting anything in a long time so anything might be a win.

Ray: Frostbite sheds 4K copies from its first issue, going down to about 9.3K, just out of the top 200. Needless to say, there is no real good news for Vertigo here, if a well-reviewed genre title by a top DC creator can’t muster higher numbers.

Glenn: Still slightly higher than Williamson’s creator owned books at Image but yeah…I don’t think much more needs to be said about Vertigo. I’d say that this time in a year or two, projects like this are more likely to be released under the Young Animal banner and Vertigo to be basically used to produce library stock and the odd mini here and there involving Sandman or whatever.

Ray: Nighthawk wraps up with just under 9K copies at #204. Womp womp. It’s almost as if trying to spin individual titles out of a team with middling sales to begin with is a terrible idea. (Looks pointedly at the Mercs for Money)

Glenn: The books fan base was small but seemed to be enjoying the book so it sucks for them seeing the book go away so quickly. For fans of these types of books, it must create some frustration towards Marvel who have to suspect that the titles aren’t going to garner the sales to keep them going when the green light is given.

Ray: The slide for the new Fables spin-off continues, with the second issue of Everafter only mustering about 8,4K at #213. It’s already selling below Lucifer, which is almost a year older. This franchise is officially well past its prime, and bringing it back was probably a poor move.

Glenn: On paper, one of the premier Vertigo properties coming back probably seemed like a good idea and its worked somewhat for Lucifer (the TV show might help there) but not with Fables. There doesn’t seem to be much interest as fans know the ‘proper’ story is done. This isn’t Harry Potter and the Cursed Child people, no one wants to see Fables continue on at this point.

Ray: Crossovers seem to be very much in vogue right now, and one of the oddest is the Dynamite miniseries Army of Darkness/Xena: Forever and a Day, combining two of creator Sam Raimi’s cult properties, which kicks off at #217 with just under 8.1K. It was written by controversial DC writer Scott Lobdell, which may have brought in a few DC fans – but I’m not sure it was the best move to bring in Xena fans.

Glenn: What an odd team up. Sometimes these team ups make little sense to me and just get drawn out of a fishbowl of whatever properties the company seems to have and/or can agree to with someone else. Beyond having a creator in common, I’m not sure how Evil Dead meets Xena can gel. Both franchises have a solid following to this day but not many of them seem to be interested in the bizarre crossover.

Ray: The latest Dark Tower miniseries kicks off from Marvel, selling just over 7.9K, which is pretty standard numbers. It feels like this line of books has been going for about ten years now, and they’ve carved out a small niche in the market that I imagine is mostly geared towards collected editions. They might get a bounce with the upcoming movie, though.

Glenn: The Dark Tower books have been coming out for a very long time and likely do well not only in comic shops but in regular book stores also. Having Stephen King on the cover will always help sell this book to people who have never ventured into a comic shop in their lives and it may benefit Marvel to have such an extensive library of these things already in time for the movie. I believe this current mini is set during the second book so Marvel is clearly in for the long haul here regardless.

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Ray: American Vampire has been gone for a while and the schedule was spotty before that, so that can’t have been good for the sales of the second American Vampire Anthology, which lands at #232 with sales of 7.3K. It was the same price as the Wonder Woman anniversary anthology, but there’s a pretty big gulf in how the two issues performed. I’m interested in seeing how American Vampire vol. 3 does when it returns.

Glenn: Maybe fans of the series have grown tired of waiting or are just wanting the regular series to start up again? Given how Vertigo is as a whole, the sales may not be the best whenever the series finally returns. Much like most of the stronger quality Vertigo series that are coming out, it will still be a strong seller in collection form for years to come, no doubt.

Ray: Another month, another Dark Horse book with a lot of promotion and a promising creative team underperforming. This month it’s Spell on Wheels, by Kate Leth. Leth has had successful comics at multiple companies, and Dark Horse put a lot into selling this one, so they had to be hoping for more than 6.6K at #241. This is the state of affairs at Dark Horse right now, with very few titles able to break away from the pack.

Speaking of Dark Horse, the bizarre Eric Powell/Stephanie Buscema freakshow comedy Chimichanga: Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face manages to debut at #245 with sales of 6.4K. This is very clearly a niche book, so no surprises there. This is probably one of those books that the retailers already know exactly how to order.

Glenn: It’s strange that one book seems to be for a specific audience where another it appears Dark Horse was maybe expecting both out of but they sold at nearly the same level.  I guess this is the standard launch for a new Dark Horse property without a-list creators regardless of the material?  Not good if that’s the case but that’s what we say every month about Dark Horse. I wonder how many people ordered/bought Chimichanga cause of Deadpool’s love of the food though?

We see the second issue of new Dark Horse launch, Rise Of The Black Flame sell just under 6.4k at 246 as it gets outsold by the latest issue of the Simpsons comic. If it were Harrow County which is 17 issues in and has the 248 spot then I probably would be feeling a lot less sorry for it.

Ray: It’s good you mentioned Harrow County, because that’s another book, like Black Hammer, that found its level and just locked down there. A good deal lower than Black Hammer, of course, but it’s one of Dark Horse’s few success stories over the last few years.

Glenn: Another Dark Horse launch and a video game tie in is Call Of Duties: Zombies sells literally just over 6k at 255. Call Of Duty is an insanely popular gaming franchise but as we’ve seen in the charts before, that doesn’t necessarily mean a high selling comic make. This one tries to lure more potential patrons in by including Zombies but with Walking Dead as the clear high standard for that type of comic, anyone else doing something similar probably won’t be paid much attention.

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Ray: Video game comics tend to be hard sells overall. Maybe it’s because people would rather play the game than read about it? We see the same thing with video game movies. Interactivity is the biggest draw when it comes to video games, so any expanded material without that might struggle.

Glenn: I just want to mention the second issue of Tarzan and the Planet Of The Apes (selling just over 5.9k) at 257 because clearly someone who makes decisions reads these articles. We asked for Green Lanterns and the Planet Of The Apes and you readers are getting it, you’re welcome.

One of the new Vertigo launches to last the test of time is Clean Room which sells just over 5.8k at 261. I would say this is largely due to Gail Simone’s loyal fanbase and the fact that she seems to be one of the nicest people in comics more than anything else. A lot of the Vertigo books it launched alongside are long gone so credit to this one for managing to stick around.

Ray: Clean Room and Sheriff of Babylon (about 700 copies lower at #286) seem to have found their levels, at numbers well below what a Gail Simone or Tom King book should be selling. Such is the state of Vertigo, but these two seem to have stopped the bleeding. We’ll see if Sheriff can rebound and start higher when volume two lands.

Glenn: Volume 2 of Sheriff might see an initial bump but I don’t think it’ll be anything significant and will probably fall to previous levels.  If it were repackaged at Image it might be a different story…

At first I thought A Year Of Marvel’s Unbeatable was a reprint but a quick google tells me…no?  It seems to be a fully bonified new Marvel one shot so what its doing down here at the ‘depressing section’ of the charts when it comes to the likes of Vertigo and Dark Horse is baffling. It only sells 5.6k at 268 and I can’t help but feel I missed something here.

Ray: That is insanely low for a Marvel book with original material. Anthologies without an impact on continuity are always a hard sell, but even by those standards, wow. Marvel puts out such a glut of content that retailers are probably having to make some hard calls. This is just further evidence that Marvel’s current strategy is backfiring. Could the future issues of this anthology miss the top 300 entirely?

Glenn: This isn’t just a one shot?! Oh wow, that’s grim. Even if Marvel cancelled this it doesn’t seem many people would notice.

Just below that at 269 is a new launch from Titan in the form of Hard Case Crime Peepland which sells around 5.6k also. This is a new mini series based in a super pulpy looking crime world that seems along the lines of the stories Ed Brubaker tells. Without the former Captain America writer attached though, interest seems to be slim.

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Next we’re looking at Duck Avenger from IDW which sells just over 5.4k at 274. This appears to be a new book starring Donald Duck as a superheo so this is pretty standard level for a new Disney launch from someone who isn’t Marvel. I used to love Darkwing Duck so I demand his return also!

Ray: Apparently Duck Avenger precedes Darkwing Duck, too. This is an odd little chapter of Disney history I was not aware of. Standard numbers for IDW’s Disney books, but it continues to be sort of surprising the way Disney rights are still split between three different companies.

Glenn: Next at 276 is Warlords of Appalachia from BOOM! which sells just over 5.3k. This title is another attempt from BOOM! to do more adult orientated creator owned work and seems to struggle like similar books they put out do. In the past few years, BOOM! has managed to carve itself a nice little niche with all ages books so going against that when the demand is being met by literally everyone else is puzzling.

Ray: Similar numbers to the last book from this creative team, Last Sons of America. BOOM! has a wide variety of genres in their line, and their darker books seem to consistently struggle.

Glenn: Also from IDW is Action Man: Revolution, the spin off from the toy version of the Expendables we saw launch last month. It sells just over 5.3k. Given that Action Man was only a thing for roughly a month in the early 90’s, I’d say this is only for people wanting to be completionists with the overall story.

Ray: Black Mask has a new title debuting at #281 with 5.2K, The Skeptics. This one didn’t have any big names attached, so these numbers aren’t a big surprise. Still, Black Mask has slowly but surely carved out a place in the market, even if this is one of their less impressive debuts.

Glenn: Given how new Black Mask is, the fact they can get books to chart at all is impressive. There are a lot of older companies still around that hardly ever chart any more. I think Black will be the book that brings them a lot of attention which they can expand their audience through.

Ray: There’s a few other debuts, like a new Pathfinder comic from Dynamite and another of those Hard Case Crime titles from Titan, the second this month. As usual, the bottom of the chart mostly consists of tie-ins, low-selling creator-owned books, and the occasional oddball comic like X-Files: Origins, the teen adventures of Mulder and Scully. I hope they have to rule out Red Herring as the culprit in every issue.

One bit of depressing news, though, is that Revival is circling the bottom of the top 300 at 291 with sales of 5.1K. The series is one of Image’s longest-running, and it’s ending in a few month, so I’m hoping it manages to stay in the top 300 till the end.

Glenn: If Revival does drop out, it’ll likely pop back in for the end but the audience might see it over the finish line.

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Ray: Looking ahead to next month, it’s a very quiet month for DC as they continue to settle into their new post-Rebirth normal. There’s only two new series launches – Mother Panic, the fourth of the Young Animal books and the only one of the four set in Gotham City. Given that, I think it’ll debut a bit higher than Shade and Cave did. There’s also a new all-ages miniseries, Super Powers, from Baltazar and Franco, as well as a pair of unique one-shots. The first, Catwoman: Election Night, seems like a bit of a trainwreck in reviews, but the second, the DC New Talent Showcase, is an anthology giving spotlights to the graduates of DC’s first talent workshops. We’ll also get to see how the first two annuals of the Rebirth era, Batman and Superman, perform. There’s also the latest Batman/TMNT crossover, this one based on the animated series, published by IDW.

For Marvel, it’s yet another big month of relaunches, as we’ll likely see Avengers and Invincible Iron Man compete for the top spot with six-figure debuts (my money is on Avengers). Two of Marvel’s most popular series get spinoffs as well, with the Unworthy Thor miniseries, which should be a solid hit, and Black Panther: World of Wakanda (although the creative team from outside comics and the $4.99 price tag makes me wonder if this one struggles). Then there’s the alternate universe Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which has a lot of anticipation behind it, and Mark Waid’s flashback mini Avengers .1. There’s also some smaller books, like Ultimates 2, Occupy Avengers, Venom, and Jeff Lemire’s Thanos. Some of these might find their footing, others are going to struggle. And of course, there’s Ghost Rider and Foolkiller, this month’s contenders to debut outside of the top 100. We’ll also start to see how some of these books settle down. What will Champions or Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme look like in month two? Or more ominously, how low can Solo and Prowler fall?

After a huge month of debuts for Image, it’s a bit of a quieter month for creator-owned books this time, with one big exception – A.D. After Death, Image’s prestige format miniseries from Snyder and Lemire, two of the biggest creators in the industry. I don’t think it’ll quite equal the numbers of Reborn, partially due to the $5.99 price tag (for 69 pages of story), but I expect a very healthy debut here. Other books like Alex De Campi’s cold war thriller Mayday and Frank Barbiere’s rural noir Violent Love will have more modest debuts. Outside of Image, we’ve got Steve Orlando’s new creator owned book, Namesake, from BOOM!. We’ll see if his sudden rise at DC boosts the numbers on this one. Matt Kindt brings another one of his strange, dense fantasy worlds to life in Ether for Dark Horse. And Valiant has another one of their more offbeat projects in the mysterious Savage.

Glenn: A lot of interesting launches next month but as you indicate, the more interesting story might be how these new Marvel books perform in their second month.  Magic 8 ball says ‘We’re doomed, Jim’.

A delay in these charts means less time to wait to see what happens!  Good news for all!  See you then!

By The Numbers: September 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He is excited for the upcoming release of the IF Anthology 2016 which he has two stories in. You can order from Amazon here and make him happy.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Chuck Norris wished he could read as many comics as Ray could.

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

Full top 300 for September available here!

Note: Sorry about the delay folks :)

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Glenn: Welcome friends to the report on what’s hot and what’s not in terms of comic sales for September! More than halfway through the year and a lot has changed in a short space of time! DC now dominates the top of the charts with Flash outselling every Marvel book apart from the latest issue of Civil War II. Sales aren’t as crazy as they have been however as things start to settle down but that doesn’t mean there’s a bunch to go over.

Ray: The overall numbers are going down a good deal as we enter month four of Rebirth (I believe this is where the majority of books are no longer returnable), but the overall line is still incredibly healthy. DC is dominating the top of the charts like never before in recent history, and it looks like the majority will stay there. To put this in perspective, every Rebirth book and one additional title, for a total of 50, landed in the top 68.

Glenn: Taking the top spot is Batman with sales of over 138.8! Now we’re into the period where the books aren’t returnable but it doesn’t seem to have made a big difference in the main Batman title. It seems that Tom King is filling the shoes of Scott Snyder rather well as we finish the first part of his first story. Continued brilliant sales for Batman here and at 3 where issue 7 sells over 135.5. A very minimal drop with the first part of “Night Of The Monster Men” which will be also crossing over with Nightwing and Detective not seeing much of an impact on an already high selling title. Given his appearances in team books, Batman is in 5 of the top ten titles which is just crazy.

Speaking of which, All-Star Batman issue 2 is in between the 6th and 7th issue of the main book with sales over 137.7k. This is the Batbook by Snyder and a whole range of top talent artists and that seems to be enough to not have retailers or fans put off by the 4.99 monthly price tag. Snyder’s name continues to be a huge draw and that has no signs of slowing down.

Ray: The power of Batman! DC has a pulled off a pretty amazing hat trick, giving the main Batman book a strong enough creative team and enough buzz that it maintains the sales of the previous book with the blockbuster creative team – and taking that same A-list writer, giving him his own side book, and watching as that does the same. They’ve turned one megahit title into three megahit issues per month, and they’ve pretty much locked down the top of the charts for now. Especially with All-Star at $4.99, this is an incredible feat.

Glenn: I agree, the strategy on the Batman line has been flawless by DC. You can’t forget about Detective Comics which charts at 12 and 17 this month with sales of just under 83k and 81k respectively. They’ve given this book to a someone who has worked extensively in the Bat line the last number of years and was mentored by the main title’s a-list writer you alluded to. There was no wrong decisions here and its paid off across five books.

Ray: There’s an interesting sales pattern developing with Detective Comics. It didn’t sell as high as the other Batman books when it started out, but it’s been climbing up the charts as other books sink below it. It seems to have found its level at around 80K, although this month had the boost of both an event issue and a crossover tie-in. The entire Bat-line has been firmly established as a huge hit in Rebirth, and we’ll talk more about this in a bit.

Glenn: Coming back this month is Civil War II at number 4 on the charts with 120k and its still holding in there. The story is not in the same league as its predecessor but compared to the many other Marvel events, its performing around the same level. Sadly the tie-ins aren’t seeing the same benefit but this will be one that continues to produce a solid number for the remainder of its run which as of this writing concludes in January.

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Ray: Civil War II seems to have found its level somewhat, although we’ll see how that plays out with three issues (over five months or so) to go. This is an event that no one is talking about, with the tie-ins providing zero benefits. It’s still Marvel’s biggest hit at the moment, but this likely bodes very ill for the numbers of the Marvel Now books being unveiled next month.

Glenn: The books rolling out of Civil War II have an uphill battle to climb for sure. I’m also wondering how retailers will treat all future events by Marvel following the overall underwhelming performance Civil War II has had for its tie-in books. I’m not seeing a lot of hype for Monsters Unleashed or IvX so next year might not be pretty for Marvel.

At 5 is Justice League with sales of over 95.5 which is still a solid showing for DC’s top team with sales . The book has seemingly become a place for big screen action but people are buying into it because its still the Justice League which has been a rock solid performer for DC since the Johns/Lee relaunch over five years ago. It’ll be books like this that have the brand power that helps DC keep their dominance at the top of the chart currently. The following issue also takes the number 10 spot with sales over 89k. There’s definitely a slow slide and the book might be out of the top ten next month but its still a very strong performer, especially at twice a month.

Ray: Justice League has its own brand, but there’s no real buzz around this book right now. I sort of expect that to change with the upcoming JL vs. Suicide Squad event, which should lift both books as they tie into the overall Rebirth picture.

Glenn: A surprise at number 6 in the form of Image’s Walking Dead which leaps up in sales by about 20k to 94.3k. As discussed last month, last issue was the start of the books latest big storyline and apparently this issue was hyped a significant death or plot development, It seems that much like the zombies in the book, the title can still get comic fans in the stores of their local stores by the rabid thousands. Always a solid performer, Walking Dead is a comic that I feel is history in the making due to its astonishing success.

The top three superheroes at DC (yes, including that Batman chap) star in Trinity which launches strongly at 7 with sales over 93.7k. Batman always had a strong pull but Rebirth has done great service for Wonder Woman and Superman so there is no doubt going to be a lot of interest in a book starring all three. The writer/artist is Francis Manipul who is a big draw also so his involvement should not be discounted either. This is going to be another 70kish performer when things settle down I think, which is another huge win for DC.

Ray: Given that this is a replacement for the lower-selling Batman/Superman and the widely disliked Superman/Wonder Woman, this is a very good number from Trinity. Helps that this has Francis Manapul’s amazing art, and the issue was very well received as a whole. I have a feeling that if Manapul stays on art for most issues, this could find a very solid niche much the way Spider-Man/Deadpool has.

Glenn: I think it manage better than that by a smidge. Spider-Man/Deadpool is at 28 with sales of just over 65.5k, which is very good but I think Trinity can settle about 5k better.

The biggest selling DC book not starring Batman in some way is Supergirl, launching the series proper at 8 with sales over 90k. Like I said with Trinity, Rebirth has done wonders for the Superman line and the proof is right here. I could see Supergirl cracking 50k easily which would put it double what it was selling before her title vanished. Astonishing.

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Ray: Supergirl is probably the most impressive sales success of Rebirth, although we have yet to see how it performs when it’s not a #1. Still, while New Super-Man and Superwoman plunged in numbers (more on that later) past their first issue, this seems to be maintaining an incredibly high sales level. The character’s been gone for a long time and people are excited to have her back. And Steve Orlando seems to be following in the footsteps of Snyder and King as a DC up-and-comer who has very quickly graduated to the A-list.

Glenn: The New 52 relied heavily on names of the past apart from a few exceptions but Rebirth is the exact flip side of that. DC has put a lot of trust in a crop of writers never given these level of books before and its paying off big for them thus far. I think we should copyright this as the ‘Scott Snyder effect’.

Next up is the second issue of Suicide Squad, checking in at 9 with sales over 89k. Movie hype and a big push from DC has made this book seem important to retailers and this is the result. Although the film garnered a mixed reaction (to put it kindly) the fact that it was made raises the Squad’s profile significantly. We’re seeing here the same effect that the Guardians film had for Marvel a number of years ago even though it was a much, much, much, much (50 years later) much better thought of movie.

Ray: Suicide Squad is still finding its level, dropping 7K between issues 2 and 3. The event should help it much like it does JL, but the unusual division in the story each issue is going to make it a bit of a hard sell long-term, I think. It probably needs a more consistent creative team if it’s going to maintain its movie boost.

Glenn: Keeping the big name artists on the back ups will help but it does seem to be in a bit of an unusual trend creatively. Promising Jim Lee as one of the artists on a bi-weekly book was ambitious so they’ve had to rearrange a fair bit. Hopefully they get a solid grasp of this soon.

Ray: The franchise has been in such deep trouble for a while that Teen Titans: Rebirth at #11 with 84K has to be considered a huge boost. The team’s completely cut ties from the Lobdell era, instead focusing on a combo of the Wolfman/Perez characters and the new kids, and it’s been received fairly well. It won’t hold these numbers, but if TT can hold at around 40K long term, our long national nightmare may finally be over.

Glenn: Given how the Teen Titans book has been received for close to over a decade, this is a sensational debut. I thought perhaps, the book may not be salvageable but I think the Rebirth branding has given people a chance to trust DC with this property one more time. Given the reception the first issue got, I think it can easily do 40k or better which would be brilliant. If Rebirth can make Teen Titans a success, it might be the best relaunch any company has done since…well maybe ever.

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Ray: A book that’s the opposite of Detective Comics would be Harley Quinn, which shocked the world with the best sales numbers of the entire Rebirth wave last month – and has shed the vast majority of the boost it got in only one month. Issue #3 is down to 81K, and then issue #4 falls to 73K. This is rather quickly dropping down to the consistent 50K level it found in the previous run, which makes sense – this is the exact same book. But I think this is the first example we’ve seen of a DC pointless relaunch performing exactly like a Marvel pointless relaunch!

Glenn: They can’t all be winners and yeah, this is the book that probably needed the Rebirth branding the least apart from the Batman line (which one could argue its a part of but still…). Even if it drops to its previous level, its still an unqualified success and is now coming out twice a month, so even better.

Ray: Although DC is obviously tops this month, there’s more Marvel books in the top of the charts than last month, but they’re all continuing to shed sales. Star Wars is at #23 with 82K, which is pretty steady. I’m surprised to see the big drops for both Amazing Spider-Man (24 with 71K) and Black Panther (down to 34 with 58K), especially since this ASM issue was a very pivotal one for Clone Conspiracy. No book seems to be safe from Marvel’s consistent sales slide right now.

Glenn: The Amazing one is a head scratcher. Last month saw a huge boost because of Clone Conspiracy so you think this issue would be the same? This issue also was very much in the vein of the Superior sales of Superior Spider-Man so I thought that would have got some interest. It’ll be interesting if the tie-in issues to the Clone Conspiracy mini will have the same roller coaster effect.

Ray: Maybe the most surprising debut of the month is Doom Patrol #1, from Young Animal. This performed almost exactly like a Rebirth title, selling 76K at #19. In fact, I think it might have performed better than a Rebirth Doom Patrol book would have. If Young Animal is essentially a re-branded Vertigo, that’s a very big win for DC. This book sold more than 60K higher than the two new Vertigo launches of the month. (More on those later).

Glenn: A fantastic start for Doom Patrol which may benefit from an outside fandom influence that Gerard Way would bring along. Getting him to do anything is a big coo for DC and even if this book does about 30k when all is said and done that would be amazing. If all Young Animal books perform like this, could it be time to put Vertigo out to pasture? Sometimes all a brand needs is a name change.

Ray: Speaking of Rebirth lifting all boats, the Batman Beyond number is extremely impressive as well, selling 67K at #27. This is a book in a side timeline that was only selling 17K with its final issue in its previous incarnation. I don’t think there’s ever been a more dramatic display of the power of Rebirth. We’ll see if this holds its numbers at all, but either way, it’s got a huge cushion to beat its previous numbers.

Glenn: The return of Terry McGuinness and the jettison of the previous odd status quo may have helped too. No one liked Tim Drake Batman Beyond and the sales reflected that. The brand still holds some weight so it may be able to manage a respectable following, I doubt DC will be expecting anything massive from this book so anything above its previous level will be a bonus.

Ray: I’m always puzzled by the difference in sales numbers when it comes to crossovers between titles. “Night of the Monster Men” was a hard crossover playing out in three different titles over a month, but the Batman chapter sold about 50K more than the Detective chapter and almost 70K more than the Nightwing chapter. Solid numbers for a Nightwing book, still, but those 50K Batman readers are going to be awfully confused!

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Glenn: Personally, my store didn’t make me aware of the crossover when I picked up my copy of Batman. I knew about but yeah, maybe the crossover wasn’t pushed hard enough in that case? Still good sales for Nightwing historically of course though. I thought doing an inter title crossover this early into Rebirth was an odd move but it doesn’t seem to have done any harm in any case unlike some other tie-ins…

Ray: It’s rare that we have overt bad news for a Rebirth title right away, but I think these debut numbers for Cyborg qualify. The Rebirth issue sells 64K at #31, and the #1 issue falls down to 37 with only 56K. That’s really weak, and only about 20K above the debut numbers of the last Cyborg series which launched with the ill-fated DC You branding. A title that debuts at this level can’t really sustain a biweekly schedule – and I think it’s worth noting that DC only solicited one issue of Cyborg to ship in January, the first adjustment like this we’ve seen.

Glenn: Cyborg is very much DC’s version of the Inhumans. He hasn’t been a thing for decades and now suddenly, DC saying he is suddenly one doesn’t seem to make it so. Cyborg, to my knowledge has never had his own ongoing and being a member of the Justice League doesn’t necessarily increase his likelihood of being able to have sales on one. Its not a disastrous debut but the slide is concerning for sure. Given that he has a major film based on him coming out as a part of the DCCU, this is the reason they’re pushing him but I’m not sure anyone is particularly bothered right now. If it can settle about 40k it won’t be what they want but it could be the best they could hope for.

Ray: Blue Beetle loses about 20K from its Rebirth issue, but still holds above 50K for its first issue. This was always going to be the hardest sell of the line, given how the original titles struggled, so DC still has to be pretty happy with this. Rebirth lifts all boats, unless you’re Cyborg. If they want more of a sales boost, though, maybe he should call himself Bat-Beetle?

Glenn: He doesn’t need Bat anything, he’s got Ted! Blue Beetle is one of those great characters that a lot of people outside of comics don’t know about (any version really) so DC will have minimal expectations for this book too. Given that he’s the only Charleston character to have his own book (even though Jamie is vastly different from that version) it could be a book to watch when the big Watchmen story hinted at in Rebirth comes around.

Ray: All the Bat-books continue to dominate, but the same can’t be said for Superman’s family. While the two main Superman titles and Supergirl remain extremely strong, Superwoman loses almost half its sales in month two. Some might claim this is due to the controversy over the twist, but I think it might just be due to this being an unknown quantity. I have doubts a Lana Lang solo title is sustainable. More surprising and depressing is the way New Super-man is plunging down the charts. It’s now the second-lowest selling Rebirth book this month, selling only 41K two months out from its six-digit debut. I’m hoping it levels out and soon, the way Moon Knight (the title directly above it on the charts) did.

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Glenn: I doubt the twist will have effected numbers much as when retailers were ordering this book, they wouldn’t have known about it. The Superman line has been a shaky one for years and while we’re seeing Action, Superman and yes, Supergirl do very well now, retailers may have found these two books ‘two too many’. Still, both books are clear passion projects from their respective creators so they may be allowed to carry them on rather than risk losing them all together.

Ray: Someone’s always got to be on the bottom, and for Rebirth this month the dishonor goes to Hellblazer. Constantine has always sold not that great since his debut in the main DCU (and the original Hellblazer was never a direct market dynamo either), so this isn’t a surprise. If it levels out quickly, it could still wind up well above the previous volume. If not, well, Rebirth can’t pull off a miracle for everyone.

Glenn: Just over 40.7k is good for Hellblazer and probably has about 10k-15k to fall before we can start to be ‘worried’ about the book. I think even though Constantine probably has a more dedicated audience than most characters, he’s one to always end up at the bottom end of the charts no matter what. With talk of him featuring more in the CWverse, in other media and a Justice League Dark movie, DC will keep this book around regardless.

Ray: Other than that, the Rebirth line mostly continues to level off, as books still find their level while most remain at more than double the level they were selling pre-Rebirth. Superman, Green Arrow, Flash, Nightwing, Titans, and Green Lanterns all still look pretty strong, while Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and Aquaman look to be struggling. A couple of interesting patterns are emerging, though. For one thing, the bottom of the sales charts for Rebirth right now is Hellblazer, New Super-man, Batgirl, Aquaman, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Deathstroke, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Superwoman. Aside from Aquaman and Deathstroke, these are all the monthly titles. Could the audience be seeing the monthly titles as less important? Going biweekly on the central titles seems to have paid off for DC in a big way. We’ll see if future adjustments prioritize these books.

Glenn: As I mentioned on Rabbitt Stew (dong!) asking someone to invest in a comic story these days is a big ask, even at $2.99. You’re waiting 6 months or more in the past to get one story but now you’re waiting three…or less! I think readers are enjoying the fast paced nature of the books and waiting around for the monthlies must seem extra slow by comparison so yeah, you could be onto something there!

Ray: Second, we’ll just jump ahead a bit on the charts to discuss the power of the Rebirth branding, because the first major DC book without the Rebirth branding, Raven, just debuted at #87 with sales of 28K. Needless to say, that’s pretty grim. It’s feast or famine right now for DC, with Rebirth (and Young Animal) dominating and everything else struggling. DC has got to be regretting their decision to do next month’s cavalcade of minis without the Rebirth branding.

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Glenn: The decision not to play the Rebirth card is a puzzling one. Perhaps they didn’t want to make the same mistake Marvel has by diminishing a strong brand by sticking a certain label on it? Mini’s and such may not seem very ‘Rebirthlike’ so it makes it a hard decision for DC. They either kill material already paid for, risk tarnishing the Rebirth brand or this. Not a lot of good options and we’re going to see the fallout of that next month for sure on a bunch of DC monthlies.

Remember all the annuals last month? It’s still a thing with the Extraordinary X-Men, Deadpool and Doctor Strange annuals. All sell close to their main books with Deadpool at over 51.6k at 45, Doc Strange at 62 with sales of over 44.7k and Extraordinary just over 38.8k at 72 just a smidge below the main book at 70 with sales of over 39k. Again, having the writer of the main book just makes the annual feel like another issue…at a higher price worked for Deadpool and Extraordinary while Doctor Strange seems to have had enough of renaissance to outsell the X-Men when its written by one of the biggest names in comics right now, go figure.

Ray: As I recall, Deadpool did have the main writer on board for the annual, while Doctor Strange and Extraordinary X-Men definitely didn’t, so it seems like there isn’t a big impact either way based on creative team. Marvel seems to have made Annuals seem relevant again – which makes me wonder how well the November Batman and Superman annuals will do for Rebirth. Maybe almost as good as the main books, especially in the case of Batman.

Glenn: Well shut my mouth more than Deadpool in Wolverine: Origins! I would say the Rebirth annuals will do very well, especially Batman. People have reinvested in DC so will be up for any extras I’d wager.

New Image launch from Rick Remender at 81 selling over 32.7k in Seven To Eternity, the highest selling Image book not featuring zombies or whatever Saga is about. Its a decent launch but I would have thought we’d get more from this creative team, it’ll likely settle down quick at this level but I’m puzzled why it didn’t launch higher but its a strong start.

Ray: That is a slightly lower debut than I expected for Seven to Eternity, given that this was the fan favorite Uncanny X-Force team. However, over the last few months we’ve seen this happen quite a few times – an Image book with an a-list creative team debuts a little lower than expected, but then holds their first issue sales extremely well. Maybe retailers are just getting more consistent when it comes to ordering Image books and they don’t over-order the first issues anymore? Either way, this will probably do similar numbers to Black Science overall, which would make it very healthy for Image.

Glenn: IDW’s Revolution which sees a mash up of various properties like Transformers, G.I. Joe, Rom and more sells just under 29k at 85 which I think is rather brilliant. Considering that this comic is equivalent of when you’re 7 or 8, you get a bunch of toys and you just yell and bash them against each other just cause, this is pretty great, especially when a lot of these properties are well past their prime. I mean it has Action Man, ACTION MAN!!!!

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Ray: IDW always launches these odd crossover events with a lot of fanfare and variant covers, so they deliver solid numbers but always drop off quickly. Still, this is a company that usually slips under the radar, so to see them get an event in the top 100 on a month like this is pretty impressive. Action Man outsold Captain America: Sam Wilson!

Glenn: Then again, Action Man is the greatest hero of them all so can we be surprised? (Yes, yes we can)

Just under it is the newest of Archie’s relaunches in their vast relaunch/reboot in Josie and The Pussycats (long tails and ears for hats) which sells over 28.7k at 86. Its a good debut for an Archie property but not as strong as the sales the main book or Jughead had upon their releases. I doubt Archie could have expected a whole lot better, if it sells about 8-9k after all is said and done, they’ll probably be very happy.

Ray: This is by far the lowest of any of the new Archie debuts, and that’s not a surprise. It was announced without much fanfare a few months ago, and despite a lot of variant covers, there wasn’t much buzz surrounding it. Any numbers Archie does in the direct market these days are above what they would have done previously, where they had virtually no presence, but I see this one bottoming out around the level of Jughead (8K last month, didn’t ship this month) as opposed to Archie (still healthy at around 14K).

Glenn: Harley Quinn and the Gang of Harleys ends its run at 89 with sales just under 28k which isn’t bad for a spin off mini. Given the sales of Harley last month, we can likely expect a lot of books starring everyone’s female clown.

As predicted by Ray last month, Kill Or Be Killed barely loses any readers with a 23.8 and change performance giving it the 100th spot. The dedicated audience that Brubaker has is something a lot of other creators would love to have on their creator owned books.

Ray: Both Kill or Be Killed and Black Monday Murders, a little further down the charts at #117, shed about 7K in sales which is a pretty healthy drop from 1 to 2. Both Brubaker/Philipps and Hickman are very known quantities in the creator-owned world, and retailers know what they’re doing. In the big scheme of Image books, they’re fifth and ninth overall and very healthy.

Glenn: Next new debut is from BOOM! in the form of Skybourne by writer/artist big hitter and controversy stirrer, Frank Cho. It sells just over 22k which is very good for a BOOM! title. It probably would have done much better at Image but I would say Cho had his choice of publishers and went to BOOM! specifically to tell this story. It’ll probably have a strong hold on these numbers as long as it can stay on schedule.

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Ray: For a comic with an a-list name like Frank Cho on board, this book got very little hype. I barely knew it was coming out until I saw it on the order form. That being said, for a BOOM! comic, 22K is a very healthy number. We’ve talked a lot about their problems getting sales and buzz for their original properties, so I imagine they’re happy with this.

Glenn: Surprisingly low down the charts is the much praised Gotham Academy and the start of its second semester. This is a bat title all the way down at 106 with sales just over 22k. I mean…where to start? The book gets critical acclaim, has a lot of goodwill and DC didn’t do much to push it. Unlike Raven its not a mini, its priced at 2.99 and is for all intents and purposes a Rebirth book but without the branding that could have seen it have a sales bump of 30-40k if not more. This seems like a missed opportunity to me and is a decision I fail to understand.

Ray: I’m gonna cry on your shoulder now, Glenn. *weeps in a totally manly fashion* Gotham Academy is such a good book, with one of the best, most diverse casts in comics, and DC missed out on a golden opportunity to give this book a much needed boost. It was originally listed as a Rebirth title, and their decision to strip it of that branding likely cut its sales in half. This is still close to double what the title was doing before the relaunch, so that’s some good news, but unfortunately, it’s likely to fall down to its previous levels again.

Glenn: *pats Ray* It’ll be alllll right. The decision is even more baffling then if they said they were going to do it. Perhaps there was some sort of disagreement behind closed doors? A lot of unanswered questions in Gotham Academy with the ultimate bottom line that its going to be one that likely lives at the lower end of the charts.

Ray: Decent numbers for Brittania, Valiant’s latest number one. Almost 20K at #115, which is surprisingly strong for a book that doesn’t actually tie into the main Valiant universe as far as I can tell. Valiant’s doing a number of unconventional stories in the coming months, including the Turok-esque Savage, and this probably bodes well for the line as a whole.

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Glenn: It seems that Valiant have pretty similar numbers across all their books. Since they have a relatively small output, they could be one of the few companies that sells all their comics to the same audience. Still has a decent place among the rest of the chart. Consistency is key where Valiant and companies at a similar level are concerned.

Ray: It’s wrapping up next month, but we should give a shout out to Vision, which sank to the 25K range by its fourth issue and then has amazingly held above 20K all the way to #11. This book has carved out a small but loyal audience, and it’s likely going to be regarded as a classic for years to come when it wraps. Another feather in Tom King’s cap this year.

Glenn: Vision will have a long and healthy life in collection form as Tom King’s star continues to rise. The series has been universally loved and while it was never going to be a smash hit, mid 20k throughout its run and a story that we’ll likely still be talking about in 10 years is not the worst investment Marvel could have made here.

Ray: Speaking of consistent sales, besides Revolution, IDW’s top book this month is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with sales of around 15K at #135. What’s really impressive is that this is issue #62, which makes this the longest-running book so far on the charts without a relaunch besides Walking Dead (Action and Detective don’t count – they’ve relaunched twice since TMNT began this run). Given how long it’s been running with relatively little in the way of stunts to boost sales, it just goes to show the enduring power of this franchise.

Speaking of long runners, X-O Manowar approximately doubles its sales for its #50 grand finale. A relaunch is coming next year with a new status quo, so Valiant seems to have gained some buzz around their oldest workhorse.

Two Image books without big names attached, Surgeon X and Glitterbomb, both have relatively healthy debuts of around 14K, which is standard for a lower-profile Image book. They seem to have gotten good reviews out of the gate, so I could see them both stabilizing at a healthy level.

…This is a first for your resident comic book geek, but there’s a book on the charts that I genuinely do not know of! Lady Mechanika: La Dama De La Muerte, from Benitez Productions, does over 14K in sales, which is very surprising. I’ve seen titles from Benitez on the charts before, but never this high up.

Glenn: Lady Mechanika actually rings a bell with me. I think its an existing property that has an existing (albeit small fan base). This would likely explain the numbers if that’s correct. I doubt it’ll hold close to this but not a bad start for a property that seems at best to be very obscure if not completely new.

Ray: We’ve talked at length about the struggles Vertigo faces right now, and he’s some titles that illustrate this. We just saw a Doom Patrol relaunch from Young Animal debut with almost 70K. Meanwhile, we have a creator-owned title from one of DC’s hottest new writers, Josh Williamson, debut with… just under 14K at #151. Granted, Frostbite is only a six-issue miniseries and will probably maintain acceptable numbers for the duration of its run, but not even an A-list creative team can deliver big numbers for a Vertigo book right now.

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Glenn: The good news with Frostbite is that like you say, its a mini and I don’t think any of Williamson’s Image books launched that much higher. Of course, Williamson is now the guy writing Flash and the upcoming Justice League vs Suicide Squad so you would have thought this might have made an impact. Perhaps at Image, it would have. Sadly this isn’t the worst news for Vertigo this month.

Ray: Much more grim is the numbers we see for the book down at #167 – Everafter: From the Pages of Fables. The first Fables spin-off released since the series’ grand finale can only pull just over 11K in sales for its debut issue. Part of this is undoubtedly Vertigo’s brand problem, but the bigger issue might be Fables being seen as done and the fact that this series features characters not many people care about. No one wants the next After MASH. To put this into perspective, this book just got outsold by the second issue of Marvel Tsum Tsum.

Glenn: Fables was the book that kept Vertigo alive for over a decade so the logic of seeing it bring some attention back to the imprint is there but the practicality of it is clearly not. As we continue to see more Young Animal books launch, it could be the final hurrah for Vertigo apart from collections and the occasional special whenever someone like Gaiman takes a whim.

Ray: At #152, we find Black Hammer #3, which is stablilizing extremely quickly with sales in the 13K range – and is also the top-selling Dark Horse book this month. The ceiling for Dark Horse books is still worryingly low, but they seem to have a well-deserved hit on their hands here.

Glenn: The acclaim for Black Hammer is considerable, I think Dark Horse will be very pleased they got it locked down with them. This is a book that like Vision, may not be making sales records but has people talking and will be ultimately a book Dark Horse can add to its library and sell to more and more new fans as the series progresses.

Ray: Their next book down is a new Aliens #1, which manages to do just over 13K at #155. It seems like new Aliens and Predator books are their most consistent seller outside of Black Hammer, so it’s not a surprise that these launches are becoming more and more common.

Glenn: This franchise does seem to have more life in it and is the only licenced property Dark Horse has apart from the Buffyvere. Aliens is as popular now with its fans since the first movie’s release and the people that have come to it along the way. Its something that Dark Horse can depend on, which is something they desperately need at the moment.

Ray: This also seems to be where most of the Revolution tie-ins from IDW are landing. ROM, MASK, and Micronauts all do in the 12K-10K range. While not particularly impressive numbers, these are IDW’s highest selling books other than the main event title and TMNT, plus My Little Pony which is obviously a different audience. By IDW’s standards, these are healthy numbers – especially for a cavalcade of 80’s toy properties.

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Glenn: I suppose 80’s nostalgia definitely has its own audience and people might want a dose of properties they grew up loving with seeing them through the mind of someone like Michael Bay. This is a decent to good performance to IDW might try stuff like this in the future.

Ray: We find two smaller Image properties a little further down the charts. First is Top Cow sci-fi mystery Eclipse, which does around 12K at #162. Top Cow usually struggles a bit in sales, so this is healthier than quite a few of their recent debuts. I was surprised to see Hadrian’s Wall, by the COWL creative team, barely crack 10K at #178, though. Not sure what went wrong there, although COWL was also a hard sell.

Glenn: I do remember also being puzzled at COWL‘s sales back in the day. The writer, Kyle Higgins was someone who worked with Snyder at DC so you think his name would carry more weight but it seems not. He has been out of DC for a while and was never someone who was on anything overly memorable while he was there so perhaps the comic buying public have simply forgotten about him? He could probably use another round at DC before launching any of own properties.

Ray: Red One comes back from a length hiatus with a big drop, barely breaking 10K at #179. And by the time I write this column, the book is on hiatus again indefinitely after releasing two issues. They’ve got a plan, I guess. Not sure it’s a good one, but it’s a plan!

Glenn: Like I said a few articles ago, no matter who you are, the comic market has become very unforgiving in regards to delays. High profile books with top creative teams could disappear for months at a time and see little to no impact when they do put out a book. Those days are long gone with more choice and higher prices than ever. Comic fans don’t have the patience to wait on a book that may not know is ever going when they will just go and pick up something else that looks interesting. The Dodsons are great but they seem to indeed be misjudging the amount of people wiling to to pick up an issue of Red One when it does indeed come out.

Ray: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is now in the four-digit range, selling 9.7K at 183. Marvel’s fully committed to this book and is announcing upcoming storylines, so they’re clearly seeing something we’re not.

Glenn: Could be digital making the difference with Moon Girl. Marvel could also be keeping it on thinking the “Monsters Unleashed” tie-in may boost sales. I don’t think we should hold our breath but stranger things have happened.

Ray: Briggs Land had a very impressive debut last month for Dark Horse, but it quickly sheds over half those sales in month to and lands at #189 with sales in the 9K range. Unlike Black Hammer, this book is not defying gravity for Dark Horse. Brian Wood’s books have a loyal but small audience, so this will probably perform similarly to The Massive.

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Glenn: Yeah, at Dark Horse you need to be one of the biggest names in comics to get to stick with you or work on a popular, existing property to have a chance. By and large, they just don’t have the power they once had to properly promote new ideas by creators and encourage stores to check it out when they might want to use that money to check out the new Batman title that features Bat-Mite. Dark Horse seems to be battening down and willing to weather this storm but its difficult to see sunlight at this point.

Ray: Another new Aftershock title, Paul Jenkins’ Alters, has a healthy debut at 9.3K at #190. Aftershock hasn’t had that breakout hit yet, but these are decent numbers for a new company.

Glenn: Considering the company started like, 5 minutes ago they’ve managed to craft themselves a decent place in the charts. They have a lot of top tier talent which helps of course but will only get you so far. It seems that people are enjoying the output they have and like Valiant, they’re one of the few comic companies in the market today where they don’t sell big numbers but you could reasonably buy all their comics since they’re wisely keeping their line to the minimum at the moment.

Ray: BPRD spin-off Rise of the Black Flame barely makes the top 200, selling 8.4K at #199. This has been Dark Horse’s most enduring franchise, so these numbers for a new #1 have to be pretty troubling for them.

Glenn: BPRD/Hellboy is past its peak popularity but yeah, Dark Horse needs more books like Black Hammer or better to start to make themselves relevant again. They’ve become completely lost since losing the Star Wars books and there doesn’t seem to be any hint of that changing. At this point, the best they can hope for is a minor miracle while they continue to truck along.

Like DC though, Dark Horse doesn’t seem to mind sharing their toys as they team with IDW to produce Tarzan and the Planet Of The Apes which debuts at 205 with sales just under 8k. The Tarzan film this year didn’t indicate that many people were clamoring for more of this character, even if the crossover with Planet Of The Apes seems too good an opportunity not to do. DC is getting great traction out of inter-company crossovers but this one seems to have landed a bit flat. On paper it sounds like a great idea but neither franchise is a huge draw in comics anyway.

Ray: That’s definitely the strangest crossover I’ve seen yet, and it has a heavy-duty creative team attached with Tim Seeley and David Walker. These numbers are a bit disappointing given that, but not out of the standard for Dark Horse. Next time they should team with DC and set it in Gorilla City. That’ll boost those sales!

Glenn: That may not actually be a half bad idea where Dark Horse is concerned, you know. They could even pair him up with Kamadi and boom, there you go.

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Titan releases yet another Doctor Who comic starring the Third Doctor portrayed by Patrick Troughton. It sells just over 7.7k. Not terrible but not great but given this is old school Who, only the die hard fans will be turning out for it, even if its written by Paul Cornell. Titan is definitely getting their value out of the Doctor Who property, that’s for sure but given that its only reached a wider audience since its return in 2005, anything prior to that will be a struggle to move copies of.

In an astonishing accomplishment, DC Rebirth charts AGAIN with sales just over 7.6k at 211. The fact that people are still interest in this one shot is amazing and the total number of issues sold has to make it one of the highest selling comics in the last decade if not more. There is no bad news here.

Ray: DC Rebirth will still be charting in reorders when we’re all dead and gone. I’ve never seen anything like this before, where it keeps on getting reorders month after month. This has to be the top-selling comic of the decade by now.

Glenn: If it isn’t, it has to be damn close and still probably has a few more months to claim that title if it hasn’t already

Just below that is the second issue of oddball continuation and Garth Ennis vehicle, Sixpack and Dog Welder Hard-Travelin Heroz selling just over 7.6k also at 212. This is only the second issue and it got outsold by a one shot that is now nearly 6 months old. That really says it all here. This book is for the die hard Ennis fans and DC likely agreed to put it out to keep him in their good books in the hope he might do something a bit more…commercial in the future.

Ray: Much like Bloodlines (which finishes out its run at #257 with sales of 5.5K), this is one of DC’s strange niche properties that they keep on trotting out. I’m assuming that this is essentially a pet project for Garth Ennis, which means he gets to do it whenever he wants regardless of the sales. These sales are disastrous, but given that, likely irrelevant.

Glenn: Next new debut is from Black Mask in The Forevers which sells just over 7.2k at 218. Not bad from a company that is continuing to get good buzz with titles by unknown creators. When Black hits stands, I would say its really going to increase Black Mask’s presence in the market as a whole but for now, this is what you would expect from a publisher at this level putting out a book with no big name creators.

Ray: Black Mask has quickly been building itself a reputation as the home for offbeat, dark crime comics. However, this one didn’t seem to have much advanced buzz and got some mixed reviews. Thus, this debut well below things like 4 Kids or Kim and Kim isn’t really surprising.

Glenn: At #225 is the second issue of Demonic from Image, selling just over 6.9k. Probably lucky this one is only a mini series, haven’t heard much hype about this one and I don’t recognize the names so it gets lost in the shuffle as a result.

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Issue two of Generation Zero from Valiant sells just over 6.8k at #227. Not disastrous but certainty a the lower end of Valients usual sales range for sure.

Ray: That’s pretty rough for Generation Zero, losing well over half its sales with the second issue. I wonder if part of this is that unlike things like X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Ninjak, etc, this property has no real name recognition and has never had a title before. Still, Valiant books tend to stabilize quickly, so it may be okay if it holds these numbers.

Glenn: Next at #228 is a Street Fighter swimsuit special selling over 6.6k. Priced at $3.99 and essentially doing something that screams 90’s gimmick, I think its astonishing it charted at all. Maybe there is a serious market out there for seeing M. Bison in a mankini?

Ray: …And we have this month’s winner for the strangest comic in the top 300! Bring on the spreads of Blanka and Dhalsim at the beach!

Glenn: I’ve personally always found Johnny Vega rather dreamy, its all in the mask

At #230 is Star Trek Weypoint selling just over 6.5k. This is a mini telling stories from various Trek properties in a celebration of the franchise’s 50th birthday. I really would have thought there would have been more interest here but apart from the release of the film, I’ve found the celebration of Trek’s 50th year a bit lackluster. No one seems overly bothered, hopefully IDW will benefit from having the franchise when the new series launches next year.

Ray: Surprisingly, IDW’s Star Trek comics have never really made much of an impact in the direct market. I think Star Trek may be more of a niche franchise without casual appeal, unlike Star Wars. As such, this is only going to reach really hard-core Trekkies.

Glenn: I would have thought general comic fans and Star Trek would have seriously overlapped (we nerds travel in packs) but you’re likely right. I suppose die hard Trekkies are probably this books only audience, I would personally consider myself a big Trek fan and I’ve never felt compelled to try out the comics so…there you go.

On its second issue, Aminosity is selling 6.3 at #234, again these Aftershock books definitely seem to find an audience, even if its a small one. Certainty a book in the same vein from Marguerite Bennett from say, Image would likely do a lot better but Aftershock seems to have an appeal to those currently putting out their work through them Perfectly fine for a company their size.

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Ray: That’s a fairly decent second-issue hold for Animosity. As Aftershock ramps up its promotion, I imagine more and more fans will pick up these books and become aware of the company. Next month will bring their highest-profile book yet, Shipwreck from Warren Ellis.

Glenn: Charting again is last months insane success, Harley Quinn 1 with an extra 6.1 and change k being ordered at 238. Given the mega number it hit last month, you would have thought that the issue would have found every Harley fan in the direct, American market but it would seem not!

Ray: Joe Books is coming off their biggest success ever two months ago, the first issue of their Frozen comic (although issue #2 has yet to ship). That success isn’t replicated this month with the first issue of Pirates of the Caribbean, which only manages to sell 5.8K at #248. Joe Books seems like it’s mainly playing to kids, so low numbers aren’t a surprise, but this just goes to show how Frozen is pretty much a singular phenomenon for Disney.

Glenn: I kind of think Pirates may have had its day. I didn’t get much excitement from the new trailer and the last movie had a very lukewarm reaction. I don’t see many people venturing out to read the further adventures of Jack Sparrow in comic form when so many other much more currently popular adaptions struggle.

Ray: Ted Naifeh is one of those creators who has been around for a while, telling brilliant stories as a writer/artist for Oni, but he never sells what he should. His latest, the supernatural fantasy heist thriller Night’s Dominion, follows in that pattern with sales of 5.6K at #255. I think these numbers are acceptable for Oni if they level out quickly, but it’s disappointing that books like this and Princess Ugg can’t get more momentum in the direct market.

Glenn: Oni’s market is very niche. I think they probably do better outside the direct market but with so much crazy going on at the top of the chart, its always going to be hard for anyone to get their book out there, even from a relatively well known company like Oni.

Ray: The epic battle between dogs and cats has been settled. Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog sells only 5.5K at #258, a far cry from the top 100 finish of Grumpy Cat’s first comic. Cats 1, Dogs 0! Also, maybe “cute” isn’t quite enough to make a comic book character.

Glenn: The thing is as well as that you can publish a Grumpy Cat book and basically make it Garfield but with a different name. I’m not sure how many exciting adventures a cute dog can have. I think they should jump to the inevitable zombie spin off, watch it kick DC Rebirth right in the Dr. Manhattan’s.

Ray: I don’t think the actual numbers increased much, but Sheriff of Babylon did improve its chart position a lot, as its 5.2K was enough for #268 this month. That should hopefully be enough to carry it through for two more issues so it wraps its critically acclaimed run in the top 300.

Glenn: Like Vision, this is another Tom King title that got a lot of praise but far less readers. However, like Vision it’ll probably have a long healthy life in trade, especially with King making DC his home for at least the next few years.

Ray: Top Cow’s crossover event Eden’s Fall will be lucky to finish its run in the top 300, as its second issue only manages to pull 4.5K at #288. This has to be a bit of a disaster for them, although not surprising given the sales of the parent books.

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Glenn: The last Top Cow comic of note that I really recall was Wanted and that certainty wasn’t yesterday. Even Witchblade (if it still comes out?) can’t make the top 300 any more. I’m sure if one of the Image founders weren’t at the head of the imprint it would have been silently shuffled off years ago.

Ray: And now, we close out the charts with Three Stooges: Red, White, and Stooge at #299. ‘Kay.

Glenn: Sales just over 4.3k for the Stooges. I just get the feeling that the publisher putting out this book found the contract for the property under a comically placed ladder and after a bump to the head, decided it would be ‘swell’ to put it out there.

Ray: Looking ahead, it’s another busy month for all the major companies. DC has the next two Young Animal books, Shade the Changing Girl and Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye, both of which have landed with strong reviews. They also drop the #1 issues of Teen Titans and Batman Beyond, and test their luck with a cavalcade of new miniseries without the Rebirth branding, including Deadman, Death of Hawkman, Midnighter and Apollo, and Vigilante, among others.

After taking what seems to be several months off, Marvel gets back into it with their latest relaunch. They’ll have the likely #1 book of the month in Champions #1, as well as some likely hits like Jessica Jones and Infamous Iron Man...as well as a few less likely hits like Solo, Mosaic, and Great Lakes Avengers. All odds are on Deadpool: Back in Black, which has Deadpool in the Venom costume, outselling most of them. And of course, there’s a little comic called Amazing Spider-Man: The Clone Conspiracy, which may just put Civil War II to shame in sales.

Image certainly isn’t taking the month off, with a host of new #1s, the top attraction almost definitely being Reborn #1 by Millar and Capullo. Would not be surprised at all to see this break six figures and have a top ten debut. There’s also Moonshine #1 by the 100 Bullets creative team of Azzarello/Risso, which should have a strong debut. We’ve also got Green Valley by Max Landis, Cannibal by Brian Buccellato. There’ll also be some smaller launches like Spell on Wheels from Dark Horse, Angel City from Oni, and Warlords of Appalachia from BOOM!. And Valiant is kicking off their latest event comic, Bloodshot USA, spinning out of Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed Bloodshot run.

All in all, looking like October will be an exciting month.

Glenn: A lot of risks being taken by the big two next month with a bunch of non Rebirth mini’s from DC and D list and below characters getting ‘ongoings’ from Marvel. There will be a lot more stiff competition in the top ten I think but I still believe that DC will come out on top again, although there will be a bit of a narrower gap.

We’ll find out next month, hope you all come with us to see for yourselves!

Liked what you read? Let us know @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield!

By The Numbers: August 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He is currently making sure his son is asleep and that his music isn’t too loud.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s still crying following the first US Presidential Collection but he hasn’t gotten any water on 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! We talk about this sales chart (among many, many other things) here

Full top 300 for August available here!

Glenn: After the massive Rebirth explosion back in July, one might think that it may have all settled down.

Anything but I’m afraid. Not only did Rebirth continue to come up trumps for DC but their market share saw another increase for the third month of the row. Not only did DC win 9 of the top ten but then had 26 of the top 30 and 39 of the top 50. Now full disclosure, Marvel’s big heavyweight Civil War II was delayed but that was only one comic and I don’t think it would have fiddled with those numbers too much. Rebirth had toppled Civil War II in every measurable way and we’re only two months in. So far, every book is managing a steady hold that launched last month but we saw some insane debuts this month.

Jumping right back in, let us crown All Star Batman as the easy winner for the number one sp…

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…………

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Well just to prove we don’t know everything (just most things) and in the biggest surprise in the charts in some time (apart from Rebirth pwns all) is the success of the new volume of Harley Quinn. Given that its by the same creative team and that the last volume only ended a few weeks ago, Harley Quinn storms the competition to land the number one spot with a whopping total of just under 360k. This number is almost as insane as the books protagonist and a glass has to be raised for everyone involved. The last book was an unqualified hit, nearly proving wrong every standard rule for how a comic should perform and the trend continues here. Of course, Harley was the audience favorite in Suicide Squad, a movie otherwise panned by fans, critics and movie goers.

The second issue of the book also lands in the top ten, taking number 9 with sales of over just 116.6k. Its a big drop but still a huge success for the creative involved. I wouldn’t be surprised with how books that were less than anything to write home about prior to Rebirth are doing so well that Harley could end up selling 70-80k steadily which would put it above the majority of Marvel’s titles. It seems fans sure do want to have a ride on their Harley.

Ray: Yeah, look, I am rarely at a loss when it comes to the sales. This time, I am. We knew Harley was big. She’s sort of become her own franchise for DC as of late, their closest analogue to Deadpool. But this is a whole other thing. To put it in perspective, this is not just the highest-selling comic of the month. This is the highest-selling comic of the entire Rebirth event. It outsold Batman #1. It outsold Justice League #1. It even outsold DC Universe: Rebirth. By a margin of almost 100K. This is just such an odd phenomenon, because in terms of Rebirth, this book was a non-event. It was launched one week after the final issue of the previous volume, and the creative team remained intact. The book just launched right into a new storyarc, with a new #1. And yet, here we are.

The #2 issue’s sales make a lot more sense. Falling down to #9 at 116K sales is a huge drop, but still an extremely healthy level for this book. Harley is going to clearly remain one of DC’s top books, and this number is a huge boost from its previous volume’s final level.

Glenn: When you put it like that with the final issue out the week before its even more insane! I’m sure DC will be up for producing more Harley related books in no time flat.

Taking the silver medal was everyone’s pick for gold in All Star Batman by superstars Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. Now, don’t feel too bad because this book which is the only Rebirth book not costing $2.99 (it actually costs $4.99) sold just under 290k. A great number for a book with that price tag and I have little doubt it’ll settle a lot higher than Harley on a regular basis. Asking 4.99 from fans is a big request but here’s an ongoing that I believe is being to do it in the six digit range month after month.

Ray: As much as it’s shocking that it lost to Harley, I still can’t say enough about how well All-Star Batman did. It outsold Batman #1 by 8K, and that was the big launch event for Rebirth as a whole. Snyder clearly has a lot of pull, and Romita Jr. definitely has a huge fanbase as well. I think DC has pulled off a pretty amazing hat trick here, by creating a situation where there are two genuine A-list Batman titles running at the same time. That’s three locked-down slots in the top ten every month. And at $4.99? That’s going to help them maintain their market share lead a lot on its own.

Glenn: Speaking of the movie, the first issue of Suicide Squad takes the third spot with just over 217.6k. Movie hype and Jim Lee’s involvement will be the main reason here. DC has gone to a lot of effort to make Suicide Squad seem like a must have book and it seems to have paid off. The critical response has been mixed but with the inclusion of hot artist Gary Frank to the team shows that DC is very committed to keep drawing eyes to this book.

It shows up in the top ten again with its Rebirth issue selling just under 178k at 5 continuing the odd trend of sometimes the Rebirth books not performing as well. Its still a great number and should have Suicide Squad settle at a much higher level than where it was and in a whole different league to the majority of Marvel’s titles.

Ray: Between Harley and the very strong debut numbers for Suicide Squad’s two issues, I think we can safely say that the the movie has moved the needle on this property a huge deal. However, the unconventional style of the book, splitting between the main story and origin backups, has gotten a mixed reception. As long as Jim Lee stays on the title, it should do well, but I’d watch for some pretty significant drops as time goes on.

Glenn: The only Marvel book in the top ten this month is their MVP title, Amazing Spider-Man which sells just over 185k. This is a massive jump but this issue is the prelude to the hotly anticipated Spider event of 2016, The Clone Conspiracy/Dead No More. Dan Slott has this midas touch on his self contained Spidey events that has earned a lot of retailer/fan trust. Given this is only the prelude, the numbers for the main mini and the real tie-ins should be massive. I would put solid money on the story outperforming Civil War II by quite a fair margin.

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Ray: That is a MASSIVE leap for Amazing Spider-Man, almost 100K worth. I’m surprised, because I don’t think the prologue issues got that much hype. I’m wondering if there was some retailer incentive that we might not know about. Keep in mind, the next issue is down at #32, selling over 100K less than this issue. And that issue was the one with two major twists in it about players in Clone Conspiracy. Odd.

Glenn: That is a pretty big drop from issue to the next, how odd. Still, the story line is due to be a big win at Marvel which they need at the moment.

Steady for the third month in is the 4th and 5th issues of Tom King’s Batman which get sales of just under 153k and just over 142k respectively. The drops are very small and the title is due to settle well above 100k before all is said and done. A remarkable success for the creative team who had big shoes to fit both creatively and financially.

Ray: All the Rebirth titles are still finding their level, but it seems very clear that Batman is going to be one of DC’s top titles if not the top one. This bodes well for the coming crossover with Nightwing and Detective, which will probably get a boost from their link to this book.

Glenn: We definitely can’t discount Detective Comics either which sells just under 89k and just under 81.5k at spots 17 and 26. Certainty not the runaway freight train success of Batman and All Star but still a big hit and destined to end up at a much higher level than its previous volume. DC has taken their almighty Bat line and somehow, made it stronger.

Showing to be another steady performer at a high level post Rebirth is Brian Hitch’s Justice League which has the second issue chart at 8 with sales of just over 127k. Given that Hitch is only handling the writing side, I think this is a big success and has boosted the book quite some bit. The other issue this month just misses out in the top ten and charts at eleven with sales of just over 110.7 so again the drops aren’t that big yet. It won’t be the hit Batman is but I would say it could be good for sales around 80k which is about the level the last volume ended on and without the involvement of Geoff Johns and having that twice a month will make DC very happy I’d wager.

Ray: Justice League seems like it’s sliding pretty fast, and will likely miss the top ten next month, but the numbers are still healthy. Given where the JL book under Johns wound up by the end of the run, I think this will likely find a similar level or a little below. This is going to be a book where having the title twice a month will be a major benefit to DC.

Glenn: The final book in the top ten this month is Supergirl’s Rebirth issue which sells just below 113k at 10. Miles ahead of the previous volume of Supergirl and maybe the biggest selling Supergirl title since the Jeph Loeb/Ian Churchill relaunch over ten years ago. Hype around the TV show will have helped but I think the Superman as a whole could be the biggest benefactors from Rebirth as a whole. The line never really found its footing in the new 52 but here it seems to be faring up a lot more. Another big win for DC and for one of their newest talent grabs in writer, Steve Orlando.

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Ray: The numbers on Supergirl: Rebirth are essentially right below what New Super-Man did last month, but given the way Rebirth issues do less than the actual #1, I wouldn’t be surprised to see September’s issue do 120K or more. This title has benefited from a long gap between Supergirl titles, and the fanbase has responded very well to the title overall. I think it’ll fall significantly from here, but if it settles roughly at the level of Superman or even Action Comics – very reasonable goals – DC will be very happy here. They have a Supergirl title that appeals to classic fans and fans of the TV series, with one of their hottest up-and-coming writers at the helm. Definitely another big win for Rebirth.

Glenn: I could easily see Supergirl pulling about the 60k level which will be fantastic. Probably a smart move not to make this one bi-monthly, DC knows on what books they can push their look by and large.

Ray: As we leave the top ten, I think it’s worth noting exactly what a slaughter this month was. Every single Rebirth title this month – 40 of them – landed in the top 52 this month. None sold under 54K. There were only 11 Marvel books and one Image mixed in with DC’s lot. Most of the Rebirth titles had fairly healthy holds from last month, so I’m primarily going to focus on the notable titles that launched this month.

Featuring Priest’s return to Big Two comics, Deathstroke: Rebirth has an incredibly impressive debut of 99K at #12. This is a title that was barely making a wave pre-Rebirth, but now it’s got a combination of critical buzz, a top-tier creator, and some of the most hype of any book in the wave. While the #1 issue falls 16K to #23, that’s still amazing numbers for a Deathstroke book, and if it keeps even half these sales six months from now, it’ll be one of their biggest success stories.

Glenn: DC Rebirth has really shown how to do a mass line relaunch well. I would say that the competition could learn a few lessons but given the amount of relaunches that have happened over the last number of years, they would really need to sit and be patient for a few years before trying something similar and I don’t see that happening.

Its great to see Priest back in Mainstream comics as he’s been absent for nearly 10 years (apart from his backup in the Deadpool wedding issue). It seems that Deathstroke has still got a solid fanbase despite having a few critical bumps the last few years. This seems to be a big critical hit so hopefully that’ll mean that this could be one that will climb rather than fall.

Ray: Even amid the wave of Rebirth books, Walking Dead gains nearly 20K in sales from last month, jumping to 97K. I’m not sure what went on with this issue, but it’s a testimony to just how powerful this book is. It weathered the storm of Rebirth far better than Marvel did.

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Glenn: Walking Dead doesn’t slow down for rain, hail or snow. I think this issue might have been the start of the books latest big story but either way, Walking Dead doesn’t need relaunches or incentives or whatnot. It just performs and just remains steady in the storm of stunts that goes on around it, its amazing to witness.

Ray: In month three, there’s a lot of books like Detective, Wonder Woman, Flash, Nightwing, and Superman that seem to be holding incredibly well. They start in the low 90K/high 80K range, and end with their second issue in the low 80K range. These books clearly haven’t found their level just yet, but they’re all selling roughly what double most of them were doing before Rebirth. There are no losers in Rebirth just yet.

Superwoman, the third new title launching out of the Superman line, kicked off its run with no small amount of controversy when it killed off one of its leads. However, it definitely got enough interest to start things off, as it landed at #16 with 92K sales. I’m not sure if it’s going to hold well, given the anger and the fact that the Superman line has never sustained this many books a month before, but at this point, Superman and his satellite characters are looking like the biggest winners coming out of Rebirth.

Glenn: Superwoman has one of the biggest named artists both on writing and drawing duties, I’m sure that it will find a very steady audience. It also got people talking which yes, can be for bad reasons but then again, the old saying is sometimes true about no such thing as bad press.

Ray: Continued strong numbers for Red Hood and the Outlaws as well, selling 83K for its #1 issue, only down 5K from its Rebirth issue. This is another book, like Deathstroke, that was doing mediocre numbers before the relaunch and has benefited massively from the fresh start. The new direction continues to get better reception as well, so this bounce may have lasting results.

Glenn: Jason had some major roles in both the hugely successful Bat weekly’s so he’s likely got his own dedicated fan base. Given how odd his co-stars are and how Lobdell is perceived by long term fans, these are brilliant numbers. They might lose a few readers when Artimus and Bizarro step in but even if it sells around 50k (which I’m sure it’ll do better than) then that would be brilliant.

Ray: Marvel did have some good news in the top 30, with both Star Wars and Black Panther doing strong numbers (85K and 83K respectively), although their ranking is obviously way down. These two seem fairly bulletproof, although Star Wars still hasn’t really found its level. It dropped 5K – while Black Panther actually jumped almost 10K! That book continues to be one of Marvel’s most impressive feats in recent years.

Glenn: Unlike most of the books that get the relaunch treatment over at Marvel, we hadn’t seen a Black Panther book in some time. Hopefully this absence making the heart grow fonder strategy will work for Fantastic Four when Disney crush Fox like puny ant.

Star Wars still conties its very slow glacial slide. Marvel continues to show they love having these books by announcing a Yoda book and a mystery new ongoing by Darth Vader writer Kieren Gillan.

Ray: Both the Green Lantern books are still falling fast, with Hal Jordan dropping over 10K between #2 and #3, and Green Lanterns losing 7K between #4 and #5. They’re both down to the mid-60K range, which bodes ill for the franchise as a whole.

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Glenn: Its like watching the house Geoff Johns built be knocked down. 70k isn’t a terrible number by any means. It is still doing a hell of a lot better than the most of Marvel’s line but yes, the franchise’s best days seem to be gone…for now. A creative shift and a new angle on the book could make all the difference. Until then as long as it settles around 60k I’m sure that DC will let this one go…for now.

Ray: One interesting note for me is the two Batgirl franchises, and how they’re distancing from each other. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1 sells over 77K, while Batgirl #2 is down to only 62K. However, retailers seem to be treating both the Rebirth and #1 issues as launches, so Birds is likely due for a harsher fall next month. We’ll see how they shake out when neither has that advantage, but Batgirl is falling harder than I would have expected. There’s only Three Rebirth issues below it.

Glenn: Its still a good 20k where it was before. If it settles soon, its won’t be a misfire but it could very well just land around the same numbers. Although the Bat books are all big performers, perhaps this one will prove to be the one that’s slightly left out in favour of the ones starring Bruce’s ‘sons’. The book is also written by new voices to comics that come from other media and this often breeds mixed results.

Ray: There’s a couple of other Marvel books hanging around the top 50, including Darth Vader, Han Solo, Spider-Man/Deadpool, Deadpool, and that second issue of ASM. None are doing spectacular numbers, but all remain mostly healthy.

Glenn: Black Panther, Deadpool, Spidey and Star Wars is where its at over at Marvel. Otherwise…

Ray: Blue Beetle was one of the more obscure characters getting the Rebirth treatment, and his Rebirth issue does healthy numbers at 72K. Most Rebirth titles have done far better, but given how Blue Beetle has struggled in the past to even stay alive as an ongoing, this is very good news. If it can hold half these numbers, DC will have a new modest hit on its hands.

Glenn: Jamie was a character that suffered a lot from the new 52 so hopefully his fans (as well as Ted Kord fans) will be here to support the book. This one will definitely end up being one of the lower selling Rebirth titles but if it can do about 40k it would still be outselling some X-Men books, some Avenger’s books, Guardians and Sam Wilson. Nothing to sneeze at.

Ray: Titans is also holding well, selling 72K for its #2 issue. It’s helped, I’m sure, by the fact that it’s Wally West’s main title, but these are the best numbers DC has gotten for any sort of a Titans book in a decade – and 400% the sales of Titans Hunt on average. Rebirth is lifting all boats, and this is one of the biggest winner.

Glenn: I’ll be curious how Teen Titans proper performs with the franchise languishing for close to a decade. If this is anything to go by then it might be a nice surprise for DC!

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Ray: New Super-Man, the most shocking debut of last month’s lineup, holds pretty well at #35 with 72K sales. This is more like I would have expected from this property, and it looks like the character might have some staying power.

Glenn: This is where I would expect a book like this to start but if it can settle around this number, then that’s brilliant. As you said on the Stew, the Superman line is the biggest winner overall from Rebirth I’d say.

Ray: It’s one of the lower-selling DC books right now, but Green Arrow has some really good news this month. Only losing 3K between #4 and #5, it seems to have stabilized quickly. The current run is getting some good reviews, so it may have found its level. If Green Arrow can find its place alongside Green Lantern in sales, that’s one of the biggest wins of Rebirth.

Glenn: Marvel books on their last relaunch were still seeing sharp differences in numbers by this point so those small drops are great news. Given how the title was performing previously, if it can hold steady around these numbers then yes again, its another huge win.

Ray: The biggest disappointment for Marvel this month, undoubtedly, has to be the sales of its two major Civil War II tie-ins, The Fallen and The Accused. Retailers didn’t treat them like must-buy comics, but rather like standard tie-ins. The Fallen, written by Greg Pak as a send-off for Bruce Banner, did a decent 66K at #41 and was generally well-received. The Accused, meanwhile, focused on Clint Barton’s trial and did 62K, but was not received nearly as well.

Glenn: Both books had the infamous mystery solicits and that’s something I think aggravates retailers more than anything. Local comic shop, The Big Bang stated how frustrated they were about the Fallen for example. We might see some reorders for both in the lower end of the chart next month. I do think this is a game that Marvel maybe needs to change their strategy on.

Ray: Something’s got to be at the bottom of the Rebirth roster, and the last three this month were two issues of Aquaman and one of Hellblazer. Aquaman continues to sink fast, but it’s staying above that critical 50K line. Hellblazer, while the second-lowest selling Rebirth book overall, it still sells almost 60K. That’s more than 400% over what the critically acclaimed previous series was doing.

Glenn: That’s a big upswing for Hellblazer and yes, not so good news for Aquaman but this is a title that has continually struggled unless it was written by Geoff Johns. If it can remain around this level then that’s fine, like you said, someone has to be last.

Ray: So, another massive, massive month for Rebirth. It’s not just how high the ceiling is for these books, it’s how low the floor is. Nothing from DC’s main line sold less than 54K this month. Aquaman sold more than all but 11 Marvel books. This is a full-on revolution in the industry, and DC is just getting started. They recently announced that wave two starts in January.

Glenn: I can’t wait to see B’wana Beast be DC’s next big hit and yes, I’m only half joking.

Ray: B’wana Beast may be a while off, but DC is testing the water with characters like Adam Strange, Vigilante, and Deadman in a few months’ time. They don’t have the official Rebirth branding, but we’ll see what the numbers show.

Glenn: Without the Rebirth brand, I’m not optimistic but you never know. We’re more likely to see some characters like Booster Gold or The Question and yes, I have now ventured into my own personal fantasy land lalalala.

Now that all the Rebirth madness is behind us, time to get some updates on how the other half is doing. Captain America: Steve Roger‘s seems to have stabilized with sales just under 50k at 58. Not terribly, not great and not worth all the song and dance we got about evil, evil, boo, hiss Hydra Cap. Still down a lot better than Sam’s Cap book which is at 91 with sales over 30k, I can see a scenario very soon where we just have one Captain America book once more.

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Ray: It’s quite the statement that even with this universally reviled twist, evil Hydra Cap is still outselling Sam Wilson by such a big margin, even with Sam Wilson in the middle of a Civil War II storyline. I don’t know the last time a replacement hero flopped this hard, but this is up there. We’ll see how long it is before Marvel gives up the ghost.

Glenn: It can’t be too long left and maybe the last time a replacement hero went down this poorly was maybe Simon Baz but he hasn’t really had the same opportunity to stand on his own like Sam (even though it wasn’t for long). The clock is definitely ticking on Sam Cap and female Thor, just in time for female Iron Man (sorry…Iron Heart) and evil Iron Doom.

Its time for some annuals with All New All Different Avengers Annual (try saying that 10 times fast) checking in at 61 with sales over 45k. This is just a shade below the newest issue of the main title so that’s pretty damn good for an Annual. It seems that retailers know what the audience is for this book pretty well. It’ll be interesting to see how that may change after the majority of the books cast gets moved over to Champions in a few months time.

Punisher has settles around mid 40k at 66. Better than some past Punisher series have performed in the past by about 10k or so if memory serves. Punisher has had a lot of relaunches and creative directions in the past number of years. This one seems pretty solid so I would say it’ll stick around.

Ray: Yeah, most of the past Punisher series were selling half these numbers by six months in. Punisher’s had a hard time selling outside of the MAX line for a long time, so Marvel has to be pretty happy with these. I think a big part of the success is probably due to iconic Punisher artist Steve Dillon coming back on the book. It gives it more of that Ennis/MAX vibe that people associate with Punisher.

Glenn: Becky Cloonan has also amassed herself a solid audience in recent times but yeah, Dillon is probably going to go down as the definitive Punisher artist so his involvement no doubt helps a lot.

Another annual, this time for Daredevil which sells just under 40k at 73. Again, this isn’t too far away from the books main numbers. Annuals usually sell a lot less than the main series so this is basically like Marvel getting more money for a regular issue which I’m sure isn’t upsetting anyone over there.

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Same again for All New Wolverine at 38k at 78. It probably helps that Marvel seems to have made an effort to try and get the same writers doing the annuals once more. For a period the annuals were sometimes were by completely random people and I think it caused disinterest, having the main writer on them makes it seem like an important part of the story to pick up.

Ray: These annuals did really well. I think a couple of factors went into this. First up, all of them had the regular writer on them – at least, ANAD Avengers for a few pages before it became an anthology. Daredevil was plot-relevant, ANAD had the much buzzed-about “Avengers fanfic” plot, and All-New Wolverine had the debut of WolverGwen, although it turned out to just be Gwen and Laura switching bodies for the issue. Either way, Marvel managed to get decent sales out of these, and I expect them to test the water with more annuals in the future.

Glenn: As long as they’re relevant, I wouldn’t be opposed to them, even if it is paying more for a mostly regular issue. Hopefully long gone are the days are random annuals that are random *looks at Avenging Spider-Man Annual #1 with shaking head*

Ray: It’s been gone since long before Rebirth, but Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America still puts up decent numbers, with 44K at #64. It’s lost some sales since its last issue, of course, but remember that it was one of DC’s top selling titles in its original run. That shows just how much Rebirth has moved the needle – this book sold 10K less than the lowest-selling Rebirth title this month.

Jane Foster as Thor is still doing really well, in Marvel’s top 20% of books, but that’s likely reaching the natural end of its storyarc much the way past popular replacements like Dick Grayson and Bucky did. Aaron made clear it wouldn’t be permanent from the start and Thor: Ragnarok is around the corner.

Glenn: The question I have is what happens to Thor once this story is done? Is Aaron moving on or does he have something else major up his sleeve? After Steve came back as Captain America during Brubaker’s run, it seemed to suffer ever so slightly but performed well sales wise. Will we see history repeat itself? Dan Slott shows it can be done so time will tell.

Guardians at 84 with sales just under 35k. Sad times.

Ray: Guardians has really lost virtually all the momentum it had as a franchise. Just in time for three new #1s starring the characters to launch in a few months! This won’t go well.

Glenn: Yeah, its like chasing the hype they had only a year ago. They’re probably pumping them out to get as many Guardians trades out in time for the next movie as possible but I don’t think those monthly numbers will be too healthy outside of maybe Rocket.

New Turtles book from IDW in the form of TMNT Universe launches at 85 with sales of just over 34k. Around the number you would expect for a new Turtle’s verse book but priced at $4.99. I’m not sure if this is for every issue but $4.99 for issue ones is becoming a rather unsettling regular trend.

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Ray: That’s strong numbers for TMNT Universe. IDW’s slowly but surely built up a small franchise around their TMNT comics, and this book is essentially a way to combine the various miniseries they’ve been doing into one cohesive series. It seems to have paid off, as it definitely outsold most of the miniseries in recent times.

Glenn: At 90 we have Marvel Tsum Tsum with sales a shade over 30.5k. I’d say that’s a whopping success for a comic about stuffed toy versions of Marvel’s heroes. I’d make a joke about a POP tie-in but we’ve already had a lot of variants and I just don’t have the energy to be sad about the reality of it probably happening.

Ray: That’s…actually a shockingly good number for Tsum Tsums? Most of these kids’ tie-in books do terrible bumbers in the direct market, but this actually seems to have a bit of momentum. For a book about little flying stuffed peanuts. Can’t wait for the miniseries where Deadpool teams up with Tsum Tsum Deadpool.

Glenn: Don’t tempt them Ray. Much like POPs, Tsum Tsums have caught on incredibly fast and have amassed a very passionate collecting community. This is likely the explanation for the sales I’d say.

New Image launch in the form of Kill Or Be Killed at 93 with sales of 30k nearly on the dot. Given this is a book from the regular duo of Brubaker and Philips, I might have expected more but its still a very good debut. This creative team have spent the last number of years delivering one critical hit after another so its just another one in the long run for their already impressive library of work at Image.

Ray: I think Brubaker and Philips have become a brand in their own right by now for Image. Retailers know what to expect from their books, they know who wants them, and they order accordingly. It’s like a much higher-volume version of what I said about books like Prophet and Groo in the past. I expect while it didn’t launch as large as some top-name Image books, it’ll hold extremely well.

Glenn: That’s true, the hold on the Bru/Phillips book will probably be around the same as launch numbers. Nothing to sneeze at if it sells this every issue while their current saga plays out.

Sharp drop for Civil War II: Kingpin with it being at 97 with sales of just over 28.7k. Not sure that bodes well for the ongoing Marvel has planned for a few months but if it can perform at these sales on a regular basis, it might buy it some life. The real test will be where next issue lands.

Just below that at 99 is Spawn Kills Everyone with sales just over 28k. I assume this is some sort of take on the Punisher Kills Everyone graphic novel from years past but I’d not sure. Given that Spawn is well past his peak popularity, that’s not too bad a number.

Ray: Spawn Kills Everyone was…an odd comic. It was about Chibi Spawn going to Comic Con and murdering everyone he meets, and that was about it. Given what a bizarre comic it was, I think this was actually a pretty decent number. That being said, I’m kind of surprised how little attention Todd McFarlane actually being involved on this comic got. The days of the Image old guard being a big draw are long gone.

Glenn: Except for Jim Lee but he went to DC probably at the right time to avoid the effect we’re now seeing on the other founders. I’d wager that if McFarlene said he was going to draw one more issue of say, Spider-Man it would sell like hot cakes but yeah, the Image founder properties don’t seem to get the same benefit.

At 100 is the fourth issue of Scooby Apocalypse with sales over 28k. Its anyone’s guess what DC is expecting out of these Hanna Barbara books but I think this is a pretty great number for a tie in that has little to do with the source material. DC must be happy as we’re getting two more HB comics in the near future. This book selling this at 100 shows that we’re a good bit away from the grim overall outlook we were talking about only a few months ago.

Ray: Hanna-Barbera seems to have found its level, with Scooby Apocalypse still doing solid numbers and Future Quest only a few spots below with sales of over 25K. These books are fine. The other books may have trouble, though – Flintstones is down to only 19K at #128 with issue #2, which is a really steep drop from the first issue. And the less said about Wacky Raceland‘s 13K at #170, the better. And the really worrisome thing? The two additional upcoming books are spinoffs of the latter two.

Glenn: Is Jetson‘s a spin off of Flintstones? You learn something new here every month at by the numbers! Again, I would chalk up Wacky Raceland getting a spin off cause Garth Ennis just showed up one day and said he wanted to do it. I would expect some sort of continuation of Future’s Quest by the same creative team is in the pipeline.

Ray: Jetsons isn’t a spin-off of Flintstones per se, but I think the two are forever linked in most people’s minds because of the very popular “The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons” movie that was maybe the biggest spotlight for both franchises. I think Flintstones is probably the high end for Jetsons, although the creative team on Jetsons is higher-profile.

Glenn: The creative team will def help Jetsons, those writers outsold Batman!!!

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Ray: Besides JLoA and Scooby Apocalypse, there were only three other additional non-Rebirth books in the top 100. And they all feature Harley Quinn. Little Black Book is still selling well at #76 with 38K, while the sales are less impressive for the Gang of Harleys spin-off, which ships two issues this month at #87 and #94. As we saw by the top of the charts, though, Harley definitely still has some huge pull.

I think it’s worth noting that it’s only six issues in, but International Iron Man, Bendis’ big secondary Iron Man book revealing the truth about Iron Man’s parents, is at #98, just about to fall out of the top 100. 28K in sales. That does not bode well at all for Marvel’s attempt to launch two new Iron Man titles with two different characters soon.

Glenn: The writing is on the wall for International, we’ll see if the relaunch of both Iron Man books will serve them well but I’m having serious doubts.

Ray: Much like with Kill or Be Killed, I think retailers mostly know how to order a new Jonathan Hickman title, and his supernatural Wall Street mystery The Black Monday Murders sells just under 27K at 104. This is a dense and ambitious comic that will likely be very popular in trades, but I expect its direct market sales to remain relatively strong as well.

Glenn: The comic sounds quite high brow so yeah, retailers probably know who is going to come in and pick this up. I expect it to have a solid hold too. The group of Hickman, BKV and Brubaker have carved themselves a nice little decent sized audience over at Image. Perhaps not the chart breakers that Millar or Snyder come out with but very respectable and very stable.

Ray: The spin-off miniseries exploring the central character of Civil War II, Ulysses, didn’t crack the top 100 and only sold 25K at #107. To put this in perspective, that’s only 2K more than the third issue of Civil War II: Gods of War, which is a repurposed Hercules are. I don’t think I need to tell you just how bad this is.

Glenn: Yeahhhhhh, the less said here the better. Given how vital the character is to the whole story, I would have thought there would be more interest. I remember something similar to a mini titled ‘Osborn‘ released after Seige which for all intents and purposes was a follow on and it sold abysmally. I don’t like the chances for the new Inhuman character, Mosaic when that book launches in a few months.

Ray: Much like with the other annuals this month, Uncanny Inhumans annual did very close to the main book as well, selling only 6K below. Obviously, the numbers as a whole are lower, because Inhumans just isn’t the franchise Marvel wants it to be, but as a whole, it seems like Marvel has managed to get annuals to sell again.

And speaking of annuals, BOOM! is getting into the money with them as well! Their top franchise, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, sells 25K with its regular series this month, at #108, and then another 18K for its $7.99 annual at #137. Good numbers for such an expensive book, and easily Boom’s two highest-selling books this month.

Glenn: BOOM! has really hit gold with these Power Rangers books. You would think it would suffer from the same issue the Skull Island book has (too early) but apparently not. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boom starts releasing a lot more Power Rangers books featuring side characters much like the Marvel Star Wars books. That Bulk and Skull book the market has been clamoring for can still happen!

Ray: August was obviously a good month for Suicide Squad, as we saw by four related books in the top ten. The news wasn’t as good for the franchise if you didn’t have a Rebirth logo on the cover, though. DC launched two new spin-offs. One, War Crimes by original series writer John Ostrander, was a one-shot and sold 25K at #105. The other, the next volume of the Most Wanted anthology series, only sold 18.6K at #133. This one features El Diablo and a rotating second feature starting with Captain Boomerang, so these aren’t really A-list characters, although it is notable for being the first book featuring graduates from the initial DC Writers’ Workshop.

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Glenn: Side books starring even top franchise characters with the exception of Batman and Spider-Man always have a hard time. DC was probably pushing their luck here but they could have done a lot worse I suppose. On the latter book, it could be just a test of the chops some of those graduates have more than anything.

Ray: Snotgirl had a pretty hefty fall to #113, but it’s still selling roughly 23K, which puts it in the top tier of Image books – for now. It’s selling about the same as I Hate Fairyland and Outcast, but those two are much further into their run.

Glenn: Snotgirl could stabilize, Brian Lee O’Mally has his own dedicated audience and it seems to be one of those books that people will make their mind up on quickly. If it can even do 17k or so that would still put it 10k above the majority of Image’s output.

Ray: Another decent debut for Dark Horse, as Brian Wood’s new slow-burn thriller Briggs Land – which has already been optioned for a TV series – lands 20K in sales at #127. The top-selling Dark Horse book of the moth, and about 500 units more than Black Hammer sold last month to launch.

Glenn: I’m surprised Wood’s name pushed more copies than Lemire’s but perhaps people are going by the concept on these books rather than the creators? Its hard to tell with Dark Horse’s murky situation. That’s a decent debut for sure but like we said with Black Hammer last month, you have to wonder what the numbers would have been over at Image,

Ray: Talking again about Annuals, DC Bombshells has its first annual this month, and it pretty much keeps pace with the parent book, only 1K in sales between them at #140 and #149. This is an out-of-continuity book, so retailers probably know its audience will follow the story in any issues it puts out, and it’s usually oversized so there’s only one dollar’s difference between a regular issue and an annual.

Glenn: We’re getting some Rebirth title Annuals in a few months and I’d expect them to be much the same. They’ll sell well if the main book is doing well (like Batman, etc) but others like Aquaman may be lower. It seems to be a good month for annuals, like you said and that is very much going against a trend outlined over the last number of years.

Ray: More slightly good news for Dark Horse, as Joelle Jones’ creator-owned series Lady Killer returns for its second volume with sales of just over 16.6K at #147. For a cult book published by Dark Horse, that’s pretty decent numbers.

Glenn: I’ve not heard of this one so yeah, I’d say that’s a very strong showing for the title. Given that this is a follow on series, the audience is already probably pretty firmly established so this will probably see another solid hold which is something that Dark Horse will find handy.

Ray: And just below it, Black Hammer holds more than 75% of its sales with #2 to chart at #153 with 16.2K. I think we can call this one a lasting hit for Dark Horse, and we’ll see if the it reclaims its spot as the top-selling Dark Horse book next month.

Black Hammer outsold Jupiter’s Legacy by one spot. Lemire/Ormstrom just beat Millar/Quitely. That blows my mind, and man, Jupiter’s Legacy has really lost all of its momentum due to the delays.

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Glenn: The effect on the delay on Jupiter’s Legacy is rather astounding isn’t it? Very different from the market 10 years ago, the current day comic buying public don’t have the funds or patience to wait on books that are no shows in regards to indies at least. Great news for Dark Horse and the Black Hammer crew of course, given how much critical hype the book has gotten, I could see it holding this level for its duration and being a steady collection seller for decades to come.

Ray: So, remember that miniseries from DC You, All-Star Section Eight? Apparently DC thought people wanted a sequel focusing on the drunk and the guy who welds dead dogs to people. Well, it only sold 15K to start at #160. Not a strong start. This will probably be selling four digits very soon if not next issue. Ennis doesn’t have the pull he used to, which bodes ill for Dastardly and Muttley.

Glenn: I don’t remember All Star Section Eight and neither do many others. I think with Ennis it also depends on the property so you never know. His books also seem to stabilize quick s lets see if this one can stay around the 10k mark at least.

Ray: The new Image horror series Demonic has one of the weaker debuts of the month, selling 14.4K at #165. This one seems to have sort of slipped under the radar, but if it holds well from here it could survive. About average for an Image book without big names attached.

Glenn: I think Image really should be pushing these unknown creative team books a bit more. We all know about the big ones but the smaller ones like Demonic do tend to slip under the radar. Like you said, not a terrible debut and about normal for a book that will have to sink or swim very soon.

Ray: The news wasn’t good for all the month’s annuals, as Gotham Academy‘s annual, coming a month before the title relaunches, only gets 11.5K in sales at #188. This was a great issue, but the title has always struggled in sales. I’m hoping it gets some new momentum when it comes back with a new #1 in September, but I’m worried that this is destined to be another one of my favorites that’s gone way too soon.

Glenn: Gotham Academy is a very niche book, I think. It has a small, dedicated and passionate audience so the lowish sales of the annual don’t surprise me. Given how long its been since a regular issue came out, some of its fans may not have returned for this but may show up for the second semester. If the new launch of the book can go around 30k or so then it’ll be a big win.

Ray: It’s three months into Rebirth, but DC Universe: Rebirth manages to chart again, selling 11K at #192. The book that started it all just keeps on adding sales as more and more people get on board. I wonder what the sales on this book will look like totaled up. It’s likely massive.

Glenn: I COULD go and check…but I won’t. I’m just going to estimate that the number is somewhere between a lot and a whole lot. Hopefully this still shows that fans who are new or are coming back to comics are still coming in wanting to read it to see if Rebirth is for them. I think it was a stunning issue so I think it deserves any unit it sells.

Just above that at 189 is Nighthawk at 11k. The reason for its cancellation status continues to become apparent.

Ray: There’s been a lot of thinkpieces on Nighthawk and its cancellation, and what it means given the subject matter. But at the end of the day, it was a Squadron Supreme spinoff and it never had a chance. I’m hoping Marvel takes the lessons of this wave of failed launches and applies them to -(sees Foolkiller, Prowler, Solo, Slapstick, GLA ongoings coming towards him) Oh.

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Glenn: Marvel just really likes to see what works. Sometimes they get a surprise hit, mostly it just seems to be books that not a lot of people read. Its a very haphazard strategy but one they’ve been implementing steadily for years.

Issue 2 of Batman 66 Meets The Avengers (the British ones) sells just over 11k also. Pretty standard for an out of date version of Batman and a property that had teddy bears as the villains in its last major showing (no seriously).

Ray: These Batman ’66 crossover spin-offs always have an audience, but this one has neither writer Jeff Parker, or the popularity of a franchise like Man from UNCLE or Green Hornet. Given that, these numbers are acceptable.

Glenn: Faith from Valient has just over 10.5k on her second issue at 195. That’s not too bad and given how dedicated her audience is, its another one due to stabilize fast. Again, in the current market Valient continues to be the scrappy underdogs/dark horses in the race.

Ray: Valiant seems to have carved out a small but solid niche in the market, and they have another #1, Generation Zero, which is a spin-off of Harbinger, launching at #152 with sales of over 16K. That’s pretty solid, and the title seems to be getting good reception. Faith is stabilizing nicely, and the one-shot War Mother does decently for a tie-in with no name recognition as well.

Glenn: To drive the point home further another one of their titles launches at 198 with sales just under 10.3k. It seems like retailers know who the audience is for these books and if their whole line is around the same level, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a company still establishing itself.

For the sake of balance, Civil War II also recharts at 200 with sales just over 9.7k. It’ll definitely make an impact when it returns but where it’ll chart and how many digits it’ll sell will be something I’ll be very interested to see. The main mini has certainty been a good seller as long as its not compared with the runaway freight train of its predecessor but its had a lot less impact than the tie ins of the first Civil War did. I would say that we’ll not be getting Civil War III but even Secret Wars III happened…

Ray: I think Marvel will probably go through Secret Invasion II and a few others first, but I’m sure we’ll get there. Next time, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man battle over whether heroes should have to wear long pants. Spider-man says it’s just too hot out.

Glenn: Just below it at 201 is BOOM! publishing an anniversary comic about the Jim Henson classic, Labyrinth selling just over 9.6k. I thought it would have been good for a few units more given the tragic passing of the films star, David Bowie this year but given that it was priced $9.99 and its always been something of a cult classic that’s still very impressive.

Ray: Yeah, for a $9.99 book that may be partially reprints, that was definitely a decent number. I imagine Bowie’s passing did get it a lot of added attention, as I rarely see the Henson Studios books in the top 300.

Glenn: Second issue of Conan the Slayer lands at 203 with sales of 9.5k. Pretty standard for Conan in the past, this is for the same fans that have been reading his loin cloth wearing adventures for decades and I wouldn’t say much will change in that regard.

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Ray: Dark Horse has been consistently selling Conan books for well over a decade, and they’re always sold steadily if unspectacularly. Much like a few other books, this is one where retailers likely know exactly who wants it and it’ll stay steady from here.

Glenn: There’s another new Dark Horse launch in Kingsway West at 205 which also sells 9.5k. This is a book by Greg Pak who is hardly an unknown but…here we are. Its not the worst debut ever but the numbers are likely to get very ugly, very fast. I don’t want to keep beating a Dark Horse but…this is just the way things are at the moment for the company. Its sad.

Ray: I was definitely hoping for more out of Kingsway West. Van Lente, Jensen, and now Pak have all launched books at Dark Horse recently and had poor numbers, although I believe this is significantly better than either Weird Detective or Cryptocracy got.

Glenn: Titan has yet another TV tie in with Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin off at 9.4k which gives it #206. Given that the last Torchwood series aired five years ago (and was awful) this could have been a lot worse. This is one for the die hard fans hoping for a revival of the series. I’m wondering if Titan will also publish a tie-in comic for the upcoming Doctor Who spin off, Class. It would make sense and would probably fare a lot better sales wise given how hard the BBC is promoting it.

Ray: Much like Power Rangers at BOOM!, Doctor Who seems to be Titan’s one reliable franchise. As they continue to get decent numbers, I’d be surprised if they didn’t milk it for all its worth.

Glenn: Next up in Doctor Who comics, K-9 and Handles vs the universe! You know, that would actually probably be awesome.

We’ll not tell Marvel that all these books outsold Drax at 207 with sales just over 9.3k if you don’t. I wouldn’t expect to see many more comics being written or co-written by CM Punk in the near future, at least at Marvel but…you never know.

Another Image launch at 208 with Lake Of Fire which sells just over 9.1k which is written by Nathan Fairbairn who has some pretty impressive credits as a colourist but this is his first venture as a writer. The concept seems quite niche to me and I’m sure that’s what retailers go by if the name attached to the book doesn’t resonate that much.

Ray: Yeah, Lake of Fire is an oddball one. Crusaders vs. Demons. The art is absolutely gorgeous, but this is definitely one of Image’s more niche efforts. Still, if it stays fairly steady from here, it should be fine for the run.

Glenn: Yet another launch from Aftershock by another top creator in Marguerite Bennett’s Animosity which sells just over 9k at #209. Not bad for a small company that continues to roll out book with one top name after another. This comic got some buzz so might have a growing audience out of curiosity more than anything but we’ll see.

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Ray: Animosity has reportedly done really well in reorders, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it stay relatively steady from here. Still, Aftershock may have the names, but it clearly doesn’t have the hype just yet. We’ll see if they can build on these books with new ones coming from big names like Warren Ellis soon.

Glenn: Likely for die hard Ellis heads (they’re not called that) and people interested in the subject. There really is a comic out there for everyone.

I won’t tell Marvel that all these outsold Hyperion at #211 with sales of 8.9k on the dot if you don’t. *sad trombone noise*

Ray: Garth Ennis has a new military comic out from Dark Horse, World of Tanks, which charts at #224 with sales just over 8K. Very much a comic for military buffs without Ennis’ usual over-the-top style, this is probably about what could be expected for this title.

In more bad news for one of our usual targets here, Vertigo’s top-selling title this month is Lucifer with sales of 9.5K at #204 – but then it’s a drop of over 70 slots to find the next one. Clean Room sells just under 6K at #284, and The Sheriff of Babylon – by the hottest writer in comics right now, Tom King – is circling the bottom at #296. With three issues to go, this brilliant military noir likely won’t end its run in the top 300.

Glenn: More and more bad news for Vertigo. Fables coming up will help but I don’t think it’ll hold for long but will likely be a 300 main stray. We’ll see how the Young Animal line performs starting next month, if it manages to stay around the 20-40k range, would there be a need for the Vertigo brand anymore?

Ray: Top Cow likely had high hopes for their first major crossover in a while, featuring all of Matt Hawkins’ properties – Postal, The Tithe, and Think Tank. These were all sort of niche books, but I imagine they were still hoping for more than sales of 7.6K at #236. Crossovers don’t really boost sales if there’s no large existing fanbase.

Glenn: Top Cow is a company that doesn’t really grab many people’s attention any more. They have their die hard fans and that’s it. They just do what they do and shuffle along as part of Image. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a Top Cow comic.

Ray: There’s a lot of holdovers and small-scale debuts like a new Evil Ernie book or a Mycroft spin-off from Titan’s Sherlock books, but there’s one new debut in particular circling the very bottom of the top 300 that genuinely shocked me, and that’s The Backstagers, from BOOM!, at #288 with sales of just over 5.7K. This was a book that got a ton of hype, with the author of Batman and Robin Eternal and now Detective Comics on board – and it had one of the worst debuts for a comic of this scale in a long time. What went wrong? I have genuinely no idea. BOOM! Box has developed a reputation as a popular teen brand with books like Lumberjanes, Giant Days, and Jonesy, but this theater-crew adventure didn’t seem to benefit despite having the highest-profile creative team of any of them. The only thing I can think of is that Boom Box’s core audience didn’t want to read a story about boys, and boys don’t read BOOM! Box. Very disappointing, and I hope it rebounds in the coming months and in collections. James Tynion has talked about how personal this book is for him and it deserves more attention.

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Glenn: This is the guy who co-plotted and drove both Eternal weekly’s, has written Batman here and there and oh yeah, is the writer on Detective Comics. Did maybe just no one notice this? All I can think is this book maybe not finding an audience or retailers missing the boat on it. We’ll see if many people miss it, obviously with his status at DC, Tynion has a lot of supporters so if he keeps pushing the book it could creep up. It’ll need to do that soon though at this level.
The Mycroft title is interesting cause its based off a book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former basketball player who decided to write a Sherlock Holmes story. The funny thing is, the book is apparently brilliant but novel adaptions are rarely big drivers in comics. People that read them in the original prose aren’t looking to reread with fancy pictures. Game Of Thrones is arguably the hottest show on television and has made the books must reads but the comic never charts (when it comes out).

Final book on the charts this month is some reorders for Uncanny Inhumans 11 which sells just over 5.4k. Its a Civil War II tie-in but it doesn’t leap out to me why this sold a bunch of extra copies for no apparent reason. A mystery!

Ray: I believe this issue of Uncanny Inhumans features the first appearance of Mosaic, who’s jumping into his own series immediately. The reorders are a decent boost, given that this issue was ordered before Mosaic’s role was revealed, but this isn’t the kind of reorders that make a difference for the upcoming title. I still expect a book with a new Inhuman lead character to be a hard sell. Mosaic isn’t getting Kamala’s buzz.

Glenn: Next month sees a few more Rebirth launches and the return of Civil War II. Can it make the top ten? We’ll soon see. We also will see the first book from the Young Animal line, Doom Patrol so that’ll be interesting to see how that goes for DC and see if their hot streak can extend beyond Rebirth. There’s also a Raven mini but without the Rebirth branding it may struggle. We might see a surge on Detective for the infamous incident that happened a few weeks ago which I won’t spoil here. Image sees the launch of Horizon’s Wall by the creative team behind C.O.W.L., a new title by Rick Remender while Archie launches another ongoing with a new take on Josie and The Pussycats. I’m expecting big things from the Remender book, otherwise we’ll just see.

Ray: Yeah, this month brings some interesting Rebirth launches. It’s a lot of the lower-tier titles. Blue Beetle, Cyborg, Batman Beyond, as well as a few bigger names like Teen Titans and Trinity. Plus, we’ll see how Supergirl holds with its #1 issue. We won’t see the meteoric numbers for some books like we did this month, but it’ll still likely be some good numbers. The most interesting thing for me is what book takes #1 this month – my money is on All-Star Batman. There’s also a few interesting side books like the aforementioned Doom Patrol, plus Gotham Academy: Second Semester, and two Vertigo launches, Everafter and Frostbite (from Flash writer Josh Williamson).

Marvel…not much. The main story will be how much Civil War II falls, but it’s the calm before the storm, as Marvel’s next big relaunch begins in October.

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Seven to Eternity, by Remender/Opena is definitely the big new launch of the month from indie companies, and I’m expecting big numbers, probably bigger than we saw for Kill or Be Killed this month. I’m also interested in seeing how oddball Valiant miniseries Brittania does when it launches. It’s one of Valiant’s riskiest properties.

Plus, will Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog be able to duplicate the success of Grumpy Cat? I know that’s the question everyone is wondering. That and other questions answered next time on By the Numbers!

Enjoyed what you read? Let us know and follow us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: July 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press, Nemeses Studios and Alterna! This will be the last sales article he writes before the arrival of his son!

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Ray has pondered the true meaning of reality since finding V’s mask in his closet a few months ago.

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

Full top 300 for June available here!

Glenn: Well we promised an interesting July charts and at By the Numbers, we keep our word and then some. This is quite possibly the most insane top 300 we’ve seen since myself and Ray started doing this. Before we get to the insanity of the chart itself, lets talk about the overall Market share and Dollar share. For the first time in a while (years certainty) DC beat Marvel. Rebirth is here and the theme of old wounds being healed while trying to appeal a new audience is seemingly paying off in spades. Its not much of a victory with Dollar Share in particular only being around 1% higher.
On paper it doesn’t seem like a big deal but when you consider the fact that a) DC is releasing a lot less books and b) their books are a lot cheaper, this victory says VOLUMES. A win is a win and DC have demolished Marvel this month. Is it just a blip? Its possible but with All Star Batman clocking in at over 350k (reportedly) next month, this could be the turn of a tide. A mixture of Rebirth’s success, general indifference towards Civil War II and more than we can talk about here is crafting a story. If this continues, there is going to be a lot of big changes coming up at the house of ideas.

Of course, don’t just believe us. Lets see the story the numbers tell. Remember that all Rebirth books are returnable so actual numbers on those are likely higher than reported.

Ray: Even though the actual margin is small, like you said, this was an absolute trouncing in every way that matters. With the pricing difference and the difference in amount of product, it is near impossible for DC to win. The fact that they did is a testament to just how well every single Rebirth book did.
To put this in perspective, DC scored 20 of the top 22 books. In the middle of an event Marvel was hoping to be a blockbuster. DC essentially owned the top of the charts this month and sent a host of utterly dominant titles out of the top 20. And they still barely won the month. Readers, keep that in mind when you look at the market share every month.

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Glenn: Rebirth has been a big win for DC and we’ve still got a lot of books to debut.

Debuting at number 1 is Justice League 1 written by Bryan Hitch and drawn by Tony Daniel. They’re both well top artists which helped them get sales of of over 209k but I think this is due more to the success of the Justice League brand. During the new 52 the title written throughout that period by Geoff Johns was a constant solid performer. Of course, this is essentially the ‘B’ level Justice League title while the main book remains shrouded in mystery *coughs*SnyderCapullo *coughs* so the sales are even more impressive taking that into account.

Right below that at 2 is Justice League: Rebirth continuing last months trend of the official launch usually faring better than the Rebirth intro. This book both written and drawn by Hitch sold over 177.6k, I might have thought it might have done better due to Hitch’s art but its still a great number.

Ray: Both Justice League issues did incredibly solid numbers, especially as neither the creative team (Bryan Hitch writing without Bryan Hitch art on most issues) or the book itself had a ton of buzz coming into this. The JL brand itself carries a lot of clout, and I expect we’ll see the title be a long-standing hit for DC. It’s surprising that #1 sold more than the Rebirth issue, since the Rebirth issue was the one with actual Hitch art.

Glenn: Number 3 this month is the second issue of Tom King’s Batman which sells over 177k here and just south of 170k for issue three at sales spot number 5. We’re still in the books buffer months but that’s a great hold for the book. Batman has become a title that sells well regardless of who is writing it but I’m sure King and co have plenty planned to make people glad they’re ordering it. Can it match the success of Snyder/Capullo Batman? It’s off to a promising start, that’s for sure.

Ray: Batman sandwiching THAT issue of Civil War is incredibly impressive. This book has been met with near-universal acclaim since it began, and these are some very soft, very impressive drops we see here. From 176 to 168K from issue 2-3? This is looking like a book that’s going to be in the 6-digit range for a long time. Can King get to 51 issues above 100K like Snyder did? We shall see.

Glenn: Next at 4 is Marvel’s Civil War II issue 3 which sells just over 176.8. Certainty a very good number but Marvel was hyping this one to the moon and back as it featured a major characters demise so you may have expected a lot more. Once upon a time, Marvel joked it was going to kill off a character every quarter to boost their numbers. Without actually going back to see if they’ve done exactly that, they’ve played the death card a lot in the last few years so the effect may be wearing thin. The other Civil War II issue 4 sold over over 126.8k at 7 which means they were the only two Marvel books in the top ten. Given how hyped Civil War II was and what it is a sequel of, the numbers can be viewed a number of ways. Its certainty selling very well but I think Marvel would have wanted more out of it. Given that its now been extended another part could we see their biggest event ever (until the next one) drop below 100k before we’re done?

Ray: As predicted, Civil War II did get a decent boost for the issue with the big death (about 25K over #2), but then it immediately loses all that and more, with #3 plunging right down to the lower half of the top 10 and around 126K. With that, especially given how poorly the big twist was received, I don’t think it’s an if anymore – this title will be out of the six-digit range by the end of its run, maybe sooner rather than later. Of course, given the recently announced delays, it’ll be absent entirely in August, and given how weakly the tie-ins are doing, August could be a very ugly month for Marvel.

Glenn: Compared to how well Secret Wars did last year, I think Civil War II is going to be a weak platform for some of the new titles Marvel is hoping to launch out of it. After the last relaunch, sales kept taking huge losses several issues in so it could be a very sad latter half of 2016 for Marvel.

Bucking the trend with a high selling Rebirth issue is Nightwing at 6 with sales over 127.8k. This is a great launch for a character that was nearly killed off a number of years ago. I’d say this is a mixture of fans being excited for Dick’s return to his costumed alias and writer Tim Seeley who was a major part of Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal. Its insane that Rebirth has made Nightwing outsell a lot of books branding a Civil War logo, including the fourth issue of the main title. It doesn’t just seem to be a fluke either with the first issue of the main book at number 9 with sales of over 114.7k. If this book can fall anywhere in the 70-80k region that would be an amazing success for a Nightwing book.

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Ray: These Nightwing numbers are pretty incredible, given that this is a straight continuation from Grayson, which was always a solid seller but never a gangbusters one. I wonder if part of this book’s success is that the concept/brand has been absent for a long time and there was a hunger. If so, look for Supergirl and Blue Beetle to reap the same benefits in August. Absence makes the heart go fonder.

Glenn: I have every confidence that Supergirl will be a big hit with the new lease of life the Superman line has, Steve Orlando’s previous work and her being absent for a good bit. I’m not as confident in Blue Beetle but with the title returning to its roots, it could be a pleasant surprise.

In another surprise, New Super-Man launches at 8 with sales over 117.6k. Its always hard to get fans invested in a new character, even if its a play of an existing one but here it seems Rebirth is working its magic again. By all accounts, this seems to be the story that writer Gene Luen Yang came to DC to tell. Its impressive the title has gathered interested considering that Yang came at the end of a lukewarm selling/received Superman run coming from a long line of more of the same. This title seems to be offering something new and a little different to fans, for a change people have responded accordingly.

Ray: You won’t find a more shocking debut than New Super-Man. This title had some buzz coming into the relaunch, because a lot of people wanted to see what an indie talent like Yang could do on his own concept. But I was hoping for a debut in the 70-80K range, which would be huge for a new character spinning off from an existing franchise. A good comparison here is Ms. Marvel, although this title has a much bigger parent franchise. And it exploded out of the gate incredibly fast. If it can hold even a third of these sales long-term, the Super-franchise has a new mainstay.

Glenn: Skipping down to number 10 we have the launch of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth selling just south of 114k. It seems that people are just as interested in this than the ‘main’ Green Lantern title but I would say that’s to do with the name recognition Hal Jordan brings. Another great launch for Rebirth and a solid land for the titles ‘real’ launch at 11 with sales over 108.7k.

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Ray: I think people may have honestly been a bit confused about which Green Lantern title was the primary one, and these two books did debut in similar ranges – with Hal Jordan having a slight edge. I will say, though, that Green Lanterns had one of the harshest slides of the new titles, which we’ll talk about later, so keep an eye on this one. Either it’ll firmly establish itself as the primary GL title, or it’ll join its partner book in dropping.

There was not one but two Batgirl books debuting this month, both selling just out of the 100K range. We’ve got Batgirl and the Birds of Prey at #17 with 99K in sales, and Batgirl three spots below selling 96K. Very healthy sales given what this character was doing a few months back, and the fact that BOP lands higher comes back to what I was saying – concepts that have been gone for a while are being rewarded upon their return.

Glenn: Barbara has had a very strong last few years. First Gail launched the book with the new 52 and made it the best selling Batgirl book in years and then following that, the Burnside era got all sorta of acclaim and a steady sales success. It seems that the combination of good reviews and name recognition has followed the character to Rebirth. It seems that DC has a lot of faith in the characters drawing power given that she’s named as part of the Birds Of Pray title akin to the says of ‘Batman and the Outsiders.’ You’re luring people with a name they know.

Ray: The rest of the top 20 is entirely Rebirth titles finding very healthy levels. Titans finds its first proper issue selling 102K at #14, no doubt boosted by the fact that it’s now one of the main staging grounds for the fallout of Rebirth. Given that the whole “Reunion Titans” concept has struggled ever since Winick first put it together years ago, DC has to be happy to finally have a hit with this team.

Beyond that, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Detective Comics all follow similar patterns, with the first issue of the month selling a bit over 100K, and the latter issue dropping anywhere from 6K-10K. These books are all clearly very healthy and DC has to be thrilled here. So far there’s no noticeable pattern about Wonder Woman’s two different stories and their sales, but if one emerges we’ll see it in the coming months.

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Glenn: Titans is a massive debut especially when you compare it to its predecessor which only launched a few months ago. If the Teen Titans book can launch strong in a few months then that would be quite a turnaround on a franchise that has been struggling for close to a decade.
I’m really interested to sales on Wonder Woman differ in the coming months between the odd and even numbered issues. They’re essentially two different titles operating under one with the same writer. If one story line is more popular than the other we could see a very unusual trend of one issue being high and the other being low then the same again and again.

Ray: We finally get a Marvel book with Ol’ reliable Star Wars at #23, selling just over 90K. That’s a 6K drop from last month, so this book surprisingly still hasn’t found its level.

Glenn: At first glance, Star Wars at 23 may raise some alarms but its become an incredibly high performing sales success. It doesn’t seem to want to budge much at this point and that is a brilliant result. The fact that its achieved this success and is number 23 just underscores again how amazingly well Rebirth has landed.

Ray: Red Hood and the Outlaws gets yet another relaunch. This wasn’t a title anyone was clamoring to see included in the Rebirth lineup – and yet it still did 88K, an incredibly strong number for this book. And the issue was received better than expected as well. Could be a new lease on life for this title.

Glenn: Having a bat character will always help. I’m wondering if interest will hold in this book once Jason’s new team makes its debut. If it can even land anywhere between 40-50k I’m sure DC would be thrilled.

Ray: Amazing Spider-Man gets a nice boost to 87K this month, a rare spot of good news for Marvel. I believe this was the MJ Iron Spider issue, which probably helped things, and with Dead No More around the corner, numbers should remain strong.

Glenn: I predict that Amazing and Star Wars will be Marvel’s bread and butter until we finish 2016. They’ll be the titles that give them a fighting chance outside of major launches or whatnot. What Marvel needs quickly is high selling books that stay high selling. Dan Slott often jests he will never leave Amazing and considering how successful his run has been and how steady it sells, I don’t see why Marvel would want him to go. It’ll be interesting how the fact that Dead No More is a separate mini will effect the main book…if at all.

Ray: Han Solo and Darth Vader continue to deliver decent numbers for Marvel, with sales of 83K and 77K respectively. Of course, neither of these titles will be around in a few months, which has to worry them.

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Glenn: I’m sure Marvel has more Star Wars books in the pipeline. They just need to start delving into the obscure character database. Who wants to see a book starring the Rancor?! Seriously I’d be amazed if we don’t get another Star Wars book and the inevitable Darth Maul mini/ongoing will be a huge hit.

Ray: One title’s performance that interests me a lot is Action Comics. This was one of the lower-selling Rebirth books last month, but the two issues were ordered at essentially the same level. This issue, the first issue of the month goes UP 8K in sales from those issues! Then the second sinks to around the same level as last month. I don’t think retailers really knew how to order this book, but it seems like it’s going to wind up healthy just like Superman.

Glenn: Action is selling nearly double what it was and is now remaining there steady. Its an astonishing turnaround in a short space of time, I’m sure that DC is very pleased.

Ray: Green Lanterns and Green Arrow continue to find their levels, a bit lower than the other Rebirth titles. This month, GLs has two issues at 82K and 78K, while Green Arrow lands two with sales of 72K. While the overall trends here aren’t clear, these are still miles above where these books would have been before Rebirth.

Glenn: Green Arrow actually saw an increase in sales from issue 3 from 2. This is one title I’ve seen people have been praising a lot online so perhaps good word of mouth is causing a slight uptick? Might be just a blip but like you say, both titles are miles ahead of where they were and have plenty of rope to fall.

Ray: John Constantine’s last title, Constantine: The Hellblazer, struggled from minute one and limped to the finish line with terrible sales despite critical acclaim. So it’s a real testament to Rebirth lifting all boats that his Rebirth issue lands sales of 76K at #31, just above Image megahit Walking Dead. Will these sales last? I’m dubious when it comes to Constantine’s mainstream appeal, but DC just got more eyes on his comic than he’s ever had before.

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Glenn: Constantine is one of DC’s projects they’ve been trying to get working since they moved him from Vertigo. This is a fantastic launch and it’ll be interesting if it can hold. If it lands around 35k-40k that would be outselling a lot of higher profile Marvel characters.

Ray: Black Panther continues to hold incredibly well, selling 72K (down from 75K last month) as it remains one of Marvel’s few bright spots at the moment. The writer has recently committed to a longer stay on the title, so they have to be very happy there.

Glenn: Everything is working right for Black Panther and Marvel will want to keep it that way. They’ll want to keep the book stable as long as they can so when/if the writer leaves, the title has a strong enough audience to stick with it.

Ray: Archie has another strong debut with Adam Hughes’ Betty and Veronica landing 70K in sales at #37. However, this title had over 25 variant covers and didn’t get nearly the critical acclaim of the previous Archie launches, so I expect to see the sales sink fast here.

Glenn: I’m not sure if B and V will stay on schedule which will hurt its chances too. This is the first book that was a part of Archie’s controversial ‘Kickstarter line’ but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. The Archie line seems to still be benefiting hugely from the reboot from nearly a year ago.

Ray: The one Rebirth title showing signs of trouble so far is Aquaman, which is already under the 70K range with two issues at #38 and #39. Strong numbers for an Aquaman title right now, of course, but where will these numbers be in six month’s time? It doesn’t help that the run so far hasn’t been very acclaimed, rehashing a lot of classic Aquaman concepts and disregarding a lot of what Abnett was exploring in his arc prior to Rebirth.

Glenn: I think Aquaman is much like Fantastic Four at Marvel, no matter what DC throws its way, it struggles. Its doing very well at the moment but DC will have to be conservative about its expectations for the book, they can’t all be mega hits after all.

Ray: The Hydra Cap boost appears to have arrived, with Captain America: Steve Rogers holding on to 65K in sales at #40. That’s roughly even with last month, and it’s also a good 39 slots and double the sales above Captain America: Sam Wilson – which had the Civil War II branding this month! I don’t know what Marvel plans to do with all of this, but this franchise continues to be a giant train wreck for them.

Glenn: I’m still sure Marvel expected more out of Captain America’s apparent heel turn but 65k is a solid upper middle tier seller for them these days. Hopefully any ill feeling they garnered from the stunt will dissipate and people will stay with the book.

Ray: As we exit the top-tier books and head to business as usual, we have a new Deadpool #1! Deadpool and the Mercs for Money lands at #41 with sales of 65K. I’m kind of shocked its so low, given that the original mini sold six figures. Maybe because the comic just continued from the end of the mini into the ongoing, retailers ordered it like the next issue? Either way, Marvel marketing may have missed the boat here – Deadpool is usually good for absurd numbers.

Glenn: Could this be the first sign of the renumbering trick no longer paying off for Marvel? They’ve said many times that they don’t see a point in traditional numbering so perhaps Retailers are reacting that way too. If the company is saying ‘well in reality number 1 doesn’t really mean much’ then its hard to get people interested. It could also just be an over saturation of Deadpool…expensive Deadpool at that. Perhaps retailers are preferring to save their penny’s for all those 9.99 issues of the comic Marvel keep doing.

That being said, the new Deadpool launch proceeds both the main Deadpool book at 42 with sales of just over 62k and Spider-Man/Deadpool at 43 which sells a little less over 62k. Maybe this is just the Deadpool section of the charts? Chimichangas for all!

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Ray: Deadpool has really turned into his own franchise for Marvel, with three titles all selling at very impressive numbers and miniseries doing decently well when they show up. I’m sure there’ll be a few more titles starring the Merc with a Mouth soon enough. Can a Deadpool/Gwenpool team-up book be far behind?

Glenn: The second issue of Spider-Man: Civil War II performs admirably with sales just over 52k. Pretty standard for a Spider-Man tie in mini these days and much better than most of the other Civil War tie in minis…or ongoings for that matter.

Ray: Yeah, it’s not a big surprise that Amazing Spider-Man’s tie-in is doing the best of all the CWII tie-ins, given how popular the character is. Like you said, it’s standard numbers for a Spider-man mini, and the CWII tie-ins here are actually pretty tentative – it more deals with the character of Clash than the actual event. It’s also written by the frequent co-writer on the main ASM title, so that probably helps the sales too.

Glenn: Yeah, this is labeled as a Civil War Tie-in but its pretty much a follow up to Dan Slott’s Learning To Crawl mini from a few years back which was a strong seller. I’m actually surprised this subplot involving Clash isn’t being followed up by Slott himself but maybe his 12,567,768th subplot was one too many.

Deadpool pops up again with his fight with Gambit at 48 with sales just under 50k. Pretty below average for a Deadpool mini but it could be worse. I’d say that Marvel would be better releasing more Deadpool solo mini’s than tying him with characters who are well past their peak popularity.

At 52 is the Force Awakens tie in at just over 49.4k on its second issue. Well below the other Star Wars books but a fantastic number for a movie tie in that adapts something literally everyone and their dog saw. To put it into perspective the comic prelude to the upcoming Doctor Strange movie sold just over 21k at 108 and that has completely new story that no one has seen yet. For a movie tie in that’s still very good but Force Awakens continues to have that magic touch.

Ray: Coming soon – Star Wars: Rancor! But yeah, for a straight adaptation, this is amazingly good sales. And that Doctor Strange prequel, interestingly enough, had some well-known characters making their MCU debuts. Marvel maybe should have hyped that one up a bit more.

Glenn: I don’t think many more people would have been interested regardless. When something is a precursor or side story or epilogue to something that is prominently to tie in with something associated with another media. This is why TV/video game and movie tie ins always struggle. Apart from Star Wars, curse Star Wars for ruining my point.

A surprisingly high launch for Civil War II: Kingpin. Not quite a launch on par with the mini’s the first Civil War produced but very good for a book starring the Spider-Man/Daredevil villain. The last time Kingpin had a comic it was nearly 10 years ago and was around 15k or so in sales. We know that this book is essentially continuing in a few months with a proper number 1 so we’ll see if it can do better.

Ray: Marvel seems to have a surprising amount of faith in Kingpin, as an ongoing series has already been announced spinning out of this by the same writer. These numbers are good for a Kingpin series, but I don’t know what it’ll look like as it goes on. The CWII branding doesn’t seem to matter much overall, but probably helped to give this book a bigger launch platform.

Glenn: Maybe they’re expecting an increase in interest in the character following Netflix’s Daredevil? Time will tell if its a worthwhile gamble. Its hard to gage what ‘good’ sales would be considered for a Kingpin book long term. Maybe somewhere between 25-30k? Its not impossible…

Selling under 44k is DC’s newest Hanna Barbera overhaul in the Flintstones. Given how iconic the characters involved are, I might have expected more but as we said with Walking Doo and Mad Races, it all depends what DC is expecting here. If it can land around 20-25k they’ll probably be happy enough as it’ll be doing better than what is remaining of the Vertigo line (more on that later).

Ray: By comparison, Flintstones sold about 4K under the first issue of Future Quest, and 10K above the first issue of Wacky Raceland. So by that standard, Flintstones looks pretty healthy. Only the Jim Lee-affiliated Scooby Apocalypse debuted on a higher level. We’ll see how it holds, but it seems to have been received pretty well.

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Glenn: The newest Amazing Spider-Man ‘point’ mini ends with sales just under 40k. This was such a weird mini so this is a very solid end number, I’d say we’ll see more of these yet. Hopefully they’ll be a lot more like Learning To Crawl or Spiral than whatever this was.

Ray: It feels like anything with Spider-Man on the title has a pretty solid floor, and even though no one was talking about this weird Daredevil spin-off disguised as a Spider-man story, it still got the sales. I hope this doesn’t encourage Marvel to do more random minis.

Glenn: Second issue of Civil War II: Choosing Sides sells a shade over 38,5k at 67. That’s alright for an anthology starring side characters to the event but again, the sales power you would expect from Civil War just isn’t here. The sales benefit of what was hyped as a mega event seem to be middling at best. The third issue also is not far down at 71 with sales of 24.6k so at least its pretty stable.

Ray: These tie-in anthologies always do decently, but yeah, the returns are diminishing by the issue. There’s a third issue this month as well, losing another 4K in sales. As a whole, there seems to be very little interest in this event and its tie-ins.

Glenn: If only Ulysses had seen this one coming. There’s now reports of delays which could cause a delay across the line similar to last years Secret Wars and of course, Civil War classic. The delays on the original book didn’t hurt the power of that but I have a feeling it’ll be a different story this time around.

Paper Girls with no events or Reboots or whatnot manages to sell over 35k at 69,outselling a ton of Marvel books. Fear the power of Brian K. Vaugn.

The next Image book is Snotgirl which launches at over 34k at 72. I’m not sure what this book is about and hope its not as gross as it sounds. Its written by indie superstar Bryan Lee O’Mally so this is the level I would expect from a new Image book with a well known creator.

Ray: Snotgirl launched with mixed reviews, so I’m not sure how well it’ll hold, but this is definitely a good debut. It’s as gross – and weirder – than you imagine.

Glenn: IDW resurrects ROM: The Space Knight at 75 with sales over 33k. This is a great launch for a character who is something of a cult favorite and hasn’t been seen in a long time. I couldn’t imagine a relaunch at his formal home of Marvel doing much better so fans of the space knight can rejoice! I’m not sure if there is an arrangement in place with the family of ROM creator Bill Mantlo given his circumstances but I certainty hope so.

Ray: Spider-Gwen’s down to 35K, sadly, maybe the biggest example of a title suffering from Marvel’s dependence on relaunches and crossovers. This book was a genuine phenomenon. It doesn’t look like one now. And it’s only four issues above its ersatz spin-off, Gwenpool.

Glenn: Spider-Gwen is holding steady at least but yes, Marvel lost a lot of ground on this book following Secret Wars. Its still performing a lot of higher profile books and Civil War II tie-ins though. The book will likely remain around this level with the occasional bump depending on the story, I’m sure the upcoming Gwenom story will see a slight increase.

Ray: Moon Knight is out of the three month buffer zone, and it keeps a very impressive level of 40K. It seems the buzz for this book is genuine, and Marvel finally has a hit on their hands with this character. Jeff Lemire is riding a great hot streak on most of his books (more on him later).

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Glenn: They’ve tried a few things with Moon Knight and this seems to have worked. Hopefully now that its working Marvel will LEAVE IT ALONE. No relaunches, no switching creators, just let it run its course.

Ray: Scooby Apocalypse has roughly fallen to the level of Future Quest, which shipped two issues this month. That’s impressive for Future Quest, which seems to be getting the most good buzz of the three by a mile. They’re all in the mid-20K range, which is pretty impressive for this line as they settle down. Wacky Raceland, though, is down to only 18K with issue #2, and that book is likely DOA.

Glenn: Wacky Raceland was the one that they changed the most and was the most far removed from its source material (and Scooby Doo is a cyborg in his book). We know we’re getting a spin off starring Dastardly and Mutley but I’m sure thats more to the sales that Garth Ennis can bring to well…anything than how this book has performed. I would expect Future’s Quest to be brought back in some form once it ends but I don’t like Wacky Racelands chances quite as much.

Ray: Flash, Batman, Titans, and Wonder Woman all have fairly impressive reorders for their first or Rebirth issues, all adding roughly another 20K to their already massive numbers. More good news for Rebirth on an amazing month.

Glenn: Its crazy to see reorders this high. Usually high profile reorders make the top 200 at most but here they are around the 90’s. We talked a lot about Rebirth issues being outsold by number 1’s and this is likely the correction on that previous month trend.

Ray: For the third month in a row, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 charts again, this time with about 27K in reorders. The delay is odd, but it seems like Marvel might have gotten their buzz for this story after it was revealed things weren’t what they look like. Botched roll-out that lost them a lot of good will, but now it’s paying off a bit.

Glenn: Better late than never on Captain America, its still not exactly burning up the charts but is doing better than some of Marvel’s books. When we see see Daredevil join the hand then…oh wait…well when we see Iron Man turn evil…oh wait…well we’ll know one way or another what lessons Marvel takes away from what happened when Steve Rogers launched.

Ray: It’s a rough month for Marvel’s recent push for female-led books. Ms. Marvel, one of their most buzzed-about characters, is down to 28K despite a Civil War tie-in. Captain Marvel and A-Force both sell about 23K. More relaunches a-coming? Although it’s worth noting that apparently Ms. Marvel does very well in digital, so I’m sure the sales are healthier than they look.

Glenn: Ms Marvel seems to have a lot of love from outside traditional comic markets so I’m sure that book will be fine, the character has caught on like no one’s business. I’m sure that Marvel will keep publishing it out of fear of a giant internet build robotic Godzilla otherwise. I’d say that Ms. Marvel will likely get yet another relaunch before so long. Given how popular the character is, I expect Marvel to introduce her into other media in one form or another so they’ll likely relaunch then.

Ray: Speaking of buzz-worthy female-led titles, Valiant relaunches Faith as an ongoing, and it gets about 22K worth of sales at 103. I think this is roughly what the previous miniseries launched at, and that ended at 12K. Not bad sales for Valiant by a long shot, but this seems like it’ll remain a mid-level hit rather than the smash they were hoping for given the hype.

Glenn: Faith has been brought to you by the power of the internet. It’ll probably do around the same and/or slightly better than Valients other books. They may not be hitting sales records but Valient seems to be very satisfied with the slice of the pie they’ve managed to get. As long as Faith has a small but dedicated fan base both her and her title will be around for a while.

Ray: Maybe the most buzzed-about Dark Horse release in years, the much-anticipated Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormstrom lands with just under 20K sales at 117. This is amazing numbers for a Dark Horse book – the top-selling Dark Horse book of the month, ahead of a number major franchise #1s – but given the insane creative reception this book got, I can’t help but wonder what these numbers would have looked like at Image. Remember, Lemire got Descender to a top ten debut.

Glenn: A couple of ways to look at Black Hammer. Its a great number compared to how Dark Horse has been doing but yeah, at Image this likely would have sold anywhere between 20-60k more depending on various things. Its a book a lot of people are talking about so I think it’ll find its level super fast and become a very healthy addition to Dark Horse’s library when its collected.

Ray: In what must be the second oddest title of the month behind Snotgirl, Rick and Morty: Little Poopy Superstar has a strong debut at 130 with sales of 17K. ‘kay then.

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Glenn: Rick and Morty seems to have a serious cult following. That’s not a bad number for a tie in to an adult cartoon and will probably go down to around 9-11k next month which is enough to keep it around.

Ray: Dark Horse mashed up three different franchises with Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, and they still couldn’t beat Black Hammer! 17K sales isn’t too bad for a crossover of three past-their-prime franchises, though. This is Dark Horse’s second entry on the charts, at #131.

 

Ray: More reorders, for Superman, Green Arrow, Flash #1, Green Lanterns, and Aquaman all getting about 15K additional sales. Icing on the cake.

Glenn: Cake and late night pizzas served by Johns and Snyder no less.

Ray: It didn’t have any big names attached, so Image’s Horizon – a sci-fi tale about alien spies trying to prevent a human invasion – getting 15K sales at #153 isn’t bad at all. It should stay healthy with these debut numbers.

Glenn: Horizon sounded like a good concept so the interest here is based around how good it sounds which is something that is encouraging to see. It’ll probably join the likes of Nailbiter and Beauty around the 8k range which seems to be a healthy level for most Image books that don’t involve superstars upon launch.

Ray: I’m not bitter at all that I didn’t get in! But I have to say I’m a bit surprised that the Millarworld Annual was only able to get just under 15K sales at #156. This was a mash-up of all of Millar’s most popular properties, but he had no actual involvement in the writing, so that probably played a role.

Glenn: I actually thought the Millarworld annual did very well considering this was something that was done by all unknown creators. For fans of Miller’s various works it was worth checking up but if you were only a fan of one or two, you may have skipped it. I think it was a worthwhile experiment and hopefully it’ll lead to some of the new voices debuting in the title getting more work elsewhere. I will also note that I am not bitter. I have a collection of voodoo dolls that helps me cope.

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Ray: A new comic book based on Disney’s Frozen by Joe Books manages to get 13K sales at #162. This property is obviously a full-on sensation, so I’m not surprised it had a very strong debut for a company we don’t see on this chart often. We’ll talk more about this company later, but this is an unusual number for them.

Glenn: I’m surprised that Marvel didn’t want in on a Frozen tie in but they may not get to make that decision. Frozen fever is still in abounds everywhere and its likely this book will do very well outside the direct market. I’m sure that Joe’s books had felt like they’d won the lottery when they got the nod to publish what is something that is guaranteed to make them money.

Ray: I believe Joe Books still has the license for all Disney animated properties, and they don’t really fit with Marvel’s branding, so they probably don’t care about getting them back. I believe the company usually sells much more in collected editions, so these numbers are especially impressive.

Glenn: Did they get that licence from Boom then? I remember Boom published a lot of Pixar stuff a while back. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of who can publish what until we all just realize its mostly Titan.

Ray: From what I’ve observed, Frozen has a VERY active teen and adult fanbase, unlike Finding Dory. That crossover appeal likely helped it to make an impact in the direct market. It really is the biggest killer app Disney has ever had in terms of cross-generational appeal and marketing. Given that, I don’t think PotC will do as well, especially with the franchise’s PR problems now, but it might appeal a little more to direct market readers than Finding Dory.

Glenn: Just above that at 161 is Batman 66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel which sells just under 14k. Not a terrible number for two 60’s shows, one of which hasn’t had much prominence in decades. I’m sure DC would have loved to called this one Batman 66 meets The Avenger’s but those Disney lawyers can make a cowardly and suspicious lot of anyone.

Ray: Definitely diminishing returns for Batman ’66 from the main series and the recent Man From UNCLE crossover, but like you said, one half of this property really doesn’t have any presence in the US anymore. In addition, the regular Batman ’66 writer isn’t on this miniseries, so that may have caused a drop as well. Still, decent numbers for what it is.

Glenn: Another debut from Dark Horse in Conan The Slayer which sells just over 13.3k. Conan has been a Dark Horse main stray for a few years now. Its not a terrible launch and will likely perform around 6-8k when it settles which is where the Conan titles usually occupy. Dark Horse is still showing a lot of care and attention to the licenced properties they have managed to keep a hold of which is something they need to do as those books are their bread and butter these days.

Ray: Conan is another member of Dark Horse’s bread-and-butter franchises, and they give him regular relaunches. This isn’t a bad number for the character, and it was probably helped by having Cullen Bunn on board – that guy is pretty much everywhere, and he’s become one of Dark Horse’s stars in recent years.

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Glenn: Bunn really is everywhere, I keep expecting some sort of meme like ‘Cullen Bunn is currently writing a script for his 12th comic this month and has time to make dinner, what are YOU doing today?’ At least despite their position, Dark Horse is able to secure some prominent names for both licenced and creator owned comics.

Another Rebirth reorder for Action comics this time 176 with sales just over 12k. This tells me that like we speculated this month and last that Action’s initial sales where right on the money where retailers are catching up for books they didn’t expect the demand for…even though they still ordered plenty of those.

Ray: Action is definitely a title where retailers didn’t know what to do with it yet. I will say this, though – if this is the actual level of Action Comics, that is unbelievably good news for the line as a whole.

Glenn: The Hunt is another new launch from Image, specifically their Shadowline publishing arm which starts off with sales over 12k at 176. The Shadowline book tend to be at the lower end of Image’s publishing line, sales wise. Former books from the line like Peter Panzerfaust and Five Weapons have either vanished or been cancelled due to low sales. If you were a fan of the Hunt, try to share the word for it because it will need the support to survive.

Note: Since typing this, Panzerfaust has reappeared in the latest Image solicitations.

Below that is Throwaways which isn’t a Shadowline book but a full mainline Image book selling also around the 12k mark. The description of the book doesn’t grab me and didn’t seem to do so for retailers either. This one will need to find its audience fast or it may not be around long.

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Ray: The Hunt and Throwaways debuted with little fanfare, and neither had any big names attached. The Hunt is by a near-unknown, and Throwaways is by the writer of Vertigo book Coffin Hill. Given that, the fact that The Hunt won out is pretty impressive. It didn’t have to do with initial orders, but Throwaways has gotten some pretty rough reviews, so it might struggle as issue go on.

Glenn: Boom launches another all-ages book but this is another other media tie in with Adventure Time. This sells just over 11,9k at 179. I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure what Adventure Time is but I know its super popular so this title will make its money outside the direct market I’m sure. Probably going to end up to be a pretty standard selling media tie in book released by a smaller press company.

Ray: Adventure Time seems to do pretty well overall for Boom, since they have a lot of spin-offs for that. In general, they seem to have formed a little niche for themselves a home for Cartoon Network spin-offs.

Glenn: Another book in the same genre is a book starring the Powerpuff girls who I absolutely know about. They launch at sales over 11.8k at 181. See pretty much the comments above but replace Boom with IDW, I don’t think its coincidence these two books were practically identical in performance.

Ray: Powerpuff Girls just relaunched a new cartoon, but the show’s heyday is far behind it. This was probably mostly nostalgia buys, but that’s not terrible numbers for an IDW debut.

Glenn: There’s a Street Fighter tie in at 183 with sales sales over 11k. It is what it is, a tie in to a video game no matter how popular is always going to perform around this level or worse.

In what I think should be seen as a little bit of a let down is the first issue of Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen. This is the mini launched on ‘Doctor Who day’ which last year saw the publishing of the Four Doctor’s weekly which performed a lot better than this titles 11k at 184. They did lose writer Paul Cornell from last year but gained the use of the shows second most iconic villains in another multi-doctor adventure. I guess last year it was a novelty but people don’t see it as special if it happens every year.
Ray: Cornell is a pretty big name, so I would think losing him would cause a drop. Still, this is Titan’s highest book on the charts this month by a good 4K, so I imagine they’re still pretty happy with the numbers. The overall level for the company is still pretty low.

Glenn: I’m just thinking that with the Cybermen’s involvement, it might have gathered more interest. The comics don’t really use them or the Daleks very often, likely due to licencing issues so I thought this would have created a bigger number since they were the villains of the much better selling Who/Next Gen crossover a while back.

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Perhaps releasing almost a year too early is Boom’s Kong Of Skull Island which sells over 10.8k at 187. The latest movie starring the Empire State climbing gorilla is still a long way off so interest was probably minimal here. At least when the movie lands the trade will be there.

Ray: Yeah, definitely too early for Kong, and the actual series is weird, focusing on a race of Kongs sharing an island with an ancient tribe. Plus, it occurs to me that it’s a missed opportunity to have this title at Boom – Kong shares a cinematic universe with Godzilla now, and IDW would seem to be the natural home as a result. Well, inter-company crossovers are becoming more and more common!

Glenn: Aren’t they doing a Kong vs Godzilla movie if Skull Island does well? Maybe they don’t want to have the latest reboots of both long standing properties to go head to head in the comics world first but it may definitely be something that Boom and IDW get together to do down the road.

Ray: Welp, it’s the end of an era for Vertigo, as the last two titles dip under 10K. Lucifer and Astro City both sell about 9900 copies at 191/192. Grim to say the least. Even grimmer – only two other Vertigo titles, Clean Room and The Sheriff of Babylon, even chart this month, with both selling between 6K and 5.5K. What more can be said?

Glenn: I’m hoping Williamson’s upcoming book fares well for them, his Image stuff does around 8-9k and he has a much higher profile now. Given the weak state of Vertigo’s place in the market it’ll be the hit they desperately need. Things will improve when Fables will return but that will only be likely good for 12-10k long terms. When we see Sheriff and Clean Room go out of the charts we’ll be soon not talking about Vertigo at all instead of just delivering bad news.

Ray: At the bottom of the top 200, we have two new #1s. Mechanism from Top Cow/Image is a futuristic writer/artist book, while Bounty from Dark Horse is a space-faring bounty hunter comedy from the creator of Rat Queens. Both of these sell about 9.2 K and probably were hoping for more, although Mechanism debuted with little hype and Bounty was promoted much more heavily. The Dark Horse effect strikes again.

Glenn: Top Cow is another publishing line Image has that delivers at best, mixed results. Their best known franchise they have is well past its peak popularity so its hard for them to generate any new launch excitement.

Dark Horse books need a top level name to even deliver 20k. Their position is weak at the moment and there seems to be no sign of change on the Horizon. All they can do is keep publishing the books that get them the acclaim they deserve and hope something catches on.

Ray: Just a little lower, with sales of 8.9K at 206, is Black Mask’s latest debut, Kim and Kim. Definitely a bit more muted than their last debut, but this company is slowly but surely establishing a name for themselves as the home for edgy crime stories.

Glenn: Given how small Black Mask is, its amazing what they’ve been able to produce so far. There’s a lot of hype around the upcoming ‘Black’ mini which may be the thing that really gets them a seat at the big table and major attention that the rest of their books can ride off.

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Ray: Speaking of Josh Williamson’s creator-owned books, both Birthright and Nailbiter are hanging around the 8K level. Not great, and they definitely deserve more, but this is a safe level for a long-running Image book.

Glenn: Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if Williamson’s turn on Flash will probably get new eyes on these books. It wasn’t all the time that Walking Dead was a super sales hit after all, once upon a time it was down at this end of the charts.

Ray: A bunch of other DC books, including Green Arrow: Rebirth, Aquaman #1, and issues of Detective and Action all get about 10K-7K in reorders as well. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every issue from the first month of Rebirth charted again this month. When have we ever seen that?

Glenn: I don’t think we have. The excitement about Rebirth has been something else and shows that a relaunch can still have a very positive effect, as long as you build and market right and don’t do it every year or so.

Ray: Hey, remember Groo? Sergio Aragones’ cult barbarian hero is still around, and he’s good for 7K in sales for Dark Horse at #242. I imagine by now retailers know exactly who wants a Groo book, so these numbers should hold pretty well.

Glenn: I wonder how many retailers are tempted to put a T on the end of Groo’s name and see if it helps :). Its an obscure property so yeah sure, this number is fine and will likely hold steady.

Ray: Dynamite crosses over two of their old-school franchises with Lone Ranger/Green Hornet, to the tune of 6.4K sales. This is definitely not a Batman crossover with these numbers, but Dynamite seems to be determined to make these pulp heroes work.

Glenn: The Pulp Heroes have been around as long or longer than some of the industry’s top superheroes and the test of time is the longest of all. These seems to be a small but dedicated fan base out there but the numbers here are likely inflated by Dynamites usual number of multiple variants.

Ray: Aftershock is attracting some seriously big names to their books, including Mark Waid for the new title Captain Kid. They seem to have trouble getting traction in the market, though, as even one of the biggest names in comics was only able to pull 6.1K for this book at #257. I think this is probably just most people not even knowing the company yet, honestly.

Glenn: This is definitely a sign of how Aftershock is known over who they have because as you said, the names they are getting is really impressive. It may take time but they could be ones to watch. It wouldn’t take much for them to start out performing Dark Horse if they manage to hold the fort and gain an audience.

Ray: Making those Frozen numbers even more impressive, Joe Comics has another #1 this month, a spin-off from Finding Dory, which came out just a month earlier and broke the all-time record for an animated movie in the US. Despite that, it was only able to pull just under 6K in direct market sales, landing at #261. Would have expected more, given the recent hype for the movie. We’ll see how the Pirates of the Caribbean book does in August.

Glenn: That figure doesn’t make any sense. Maybe because this is seen of a ‘kids’ book which always tend to sell lower but what is more of a kids book than Frozen? Finding Dory was massive so you would have thought that retailers would have ordered a little more just on the off chance an adult picked it up on a whim for their kid who they are looking to brainwas…erm encourage to read comics. 10 years ago I would expect big things from a Pirates comic but not so much now but you never know.

Ray: Interestingly, Disney properties are still all over the map, as IDW has the rights to the classic Mickey Mouse and friends characters, with a new title called “Mickey Mouse Shorts Season 1” debuting right under Finding Dory with 5.9K. Very old-school book, so these numbers aren’t surprising.

Glenn: These are for really big Disney fans so its probably to be packaged for sale in the multitude of Disney stores so I doubt the company is concerned, this is just another thing that happens to have Mickey on it.

Ray: I just looked it up and it seems Joe Books was founded by a former Boom Executive, essentially for the purposes of publishing books based on Disney animated properties. Interesting. Some weird things went on there with Boom’s licenses.

Glenn: I just have this image in my mind of him heading out the Boom door with a briefcase stuffed with characters. ‘Hey Mike, do I hear ‘Let It Go’ playing from your briefcase?’

Ray: Newbie publisher Lion Forge gets an entry on the charts with the adaptation of the popular Netflix cartoon Voltron, which pulls 5.3K at #289. The property probably would have done more at another company, but with so many companies trying to get a piece of the pie lately, this has to be considered a win for Lion Forge.

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Glenn: Certainty a big deal for such a small company! I’m sure they weren’t the only interested parties so the fact that they got it and got it to chart is probably a big deal to them. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in the months to come.
The rest of the charts is the usual collection of reprints/media tie ins and whatnot with nothing really sticking out. Number 300 is the second issue of IDW’s adaption of little known movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which just sells over 5k. We won’t see it next month of course but the fact that its being ordered at a 4 digit number has to count for something, I doubt IDW expected much more.

Next month sees the Rebirth madness continue with the debuts of Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and more.

It also sees the launch of a new Batman title that is due to be one to smash everyone into paste and run home crying to their moms in despair. This is of course All Star Batman which at the moment is like DC taking its current advantage in a battle and deciding now is the time to unleash their weapon of mass destruction.

Marvel continues to slough through Civil War II with a few mini’s launching. I’ll be interested in particular in how ‘The Fallen‘ performs. A lot of retailers expressed a lot of outrage about Marvel keeping the creative team and content a secret well past ordering cut offs. This leaves retailers who live and die on how many copies they think they can sell to play a guessing game which is a risky move at the best of times.

Not much is springing to mind from the indie side of things but I somethings get mixed up debuting when and where there because I have the attention span of a goldfi…hey look a bear!!!!

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Ray: For DC next month, the real question is which debut comes in second. We know All-Star Batman will come in at #1, maybe with a 100K lead over the second highest book. From there, we’ve got Suicide Squad #1 featuring Jim Lee art on half the book, Supergirl making her return to solo comics with lots of hype and a TV series behind her, and Harley Quinn resuming business as usual, which is always good for strong numbers. Deathstroke and Blue Beetle won’t get the same numbers, but if they can land around the same level of Red Hood or Hellblazer from this month, that should be considered a win for these properties. We should see DC increase their lead overall, because…

Marvel in August is going to be a disaster. Civil War II is on a skip month, leaving them without their only top-selling book at the moment. Their headliners this month are probably The Fallen and The Accused, both of which were solicited without any information, even on creative team. Retailers had to order blind, and that’ll hurt these books. I expect the top-selling Marvel book of the month to be the Dead No More prequel issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which should increase slightly from this month, enough to pass Star Wars. But given that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel shut out of the top 20.

There’s a few notable indie launches of the month. The headliners, undoubtedly, are a pair of Image launches from their biggest names – Kill or Be Killed, from the iconic Brubaker/Philipps pairing, and The Black Monday Murders from Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker. I expect both will land in the top 50 or so. Other Image books, including horror mystery Demonic and fantasy epic Lake of Fire, should have lower-key debuts.

Dark Horse brings its latest Brian Wood comic with Briggs Land, a thriller set on a survivalist compound run by neo-Nazis, which should get them some decent buzz, but probably not enough to put it in the top 100. The most unpredictable debut of the month is from Boom, The Backstagers, a quirky comic focusing on a stage crew dealing with supernatural goings-on and written by Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV. I’m predicting this will break the record for Boom’s highest-debuting original property (IE, not Power Rangers) ever. There seems to be a ton of buzz for it.

Glenn: I did not know Civil War was on a skip month so yeah, having delivered a strong blow, its DC’s opportunity to go in for the kill. The remainder of 2016 may be all theirs.

We’ll just have to see in the months to come and we hope to see you all there with us!

See you soon

Enjoyed what you read? Let us know and follow us on Twitter @glenn_matchett& @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: May 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He is on the home stretch on an OGN he hopes people will find funny.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He has the uncanny ability to predict how a movie performs financially, some speculate he may be a wizard.

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!  The episode where we talk about this very sales charts in a little less detail is available here!

Full top 300 for May available here!

Glenn:  Okay, everyone strapped in?  Good stuff because its time for the big showdown we’ve been talking about for months.

May sales sees the epic face off between the launch of Marvel’s Civil War (kinda) and DC’s Rebirth.  Well the time is here, the betting has closed and the results are in.
DC wins May with Rebirth 1 hitting the number 1 spot with over 235k sales.  I actually don’t see that DC managed to pull out the win here at all.  This one shot had the hype, the creative and the price point designed to get retailers interested.  Rebirth came a bit late out of the gate but doesn’t seem to have effected in.  Given the things that happen in this issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if further printings draw a respectable number also.  Next month we’ll see if DC’s giant line wide relaunch has worked but Rebirth is a very promising start.
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Ray:  I’m wondering if the vagueness surrounding Rebirth managed to dull the sales a bit here. We knew it was going to be big, for sure, but DC’s last big relaunch fizzled, and no one knew just HOW big this was going to be. If they went the Marvel route, and leaked the Wally West or Watchmen stuff early, it could have easily doubled these numbers, I think. But regardless, a win is a win, and you’re right that DC is likely going to see this high up on the charts again next month.
Glenn:  There was a lot of unanswered questions going into Rebirth, this is true.  It’s always a gamble when companies keep things vague but with I think it paid off for DC, we’ll see how much it did when more orders for Rebirth come through next month.
Taking the silver medal in second place with sales of over 177 k with a ‘zero’ issue is Civil War II.  I expected a lot more given the level of hype and the branding/mega success of the first time Marvel did this 10 years ago.  Oh and plus the movie of course.  Now this is a very good number but I’m wondering if retailers are going to treat the first proper issue next month with more attention.  I’m not sure what the logic behind the odd numbering choice was but I think it cost Marvel a bit.  We’ll be able to better decide how strong Civil War is next month when it starts properly along with its many, many tie in mini’s.
Ray:  On a similar note to Rebirth, actually, I wonder if the strange pacing of Civil War II hurt it. For those who haven’t been following, this event started in a Free Comic Book Day issue where an extremely key scene happened. This issue then flashed back to well before that. Then Civil War II #1 still started before the FCBD issue, and caught up midway through with the big event happening off-panel there. What was this zero issue? How essential was it? I don’t know if anyone knew. I’m expecting a surge to over 200K for the first issue of the mini this month, but if it doesn’t get that – or even goes down from the zero issue, we’ll know the bloom is really off the rose with this comic.
Glenn:  My head got hurt reading your breakdown so I would expect that readers actually buying the comic are finding it a little tricky to follow what is going on in CW II also.  Last time, Civil War had a massive, unprecedented sales effect across every book it touched, bumping everything it had any link to up anywhere between 10-20k in sales or more.  It’ll be curious if the sequel has the same blanket effect.
A massive debut for the latest relaunch of the Punisher by Becky Cloonan and Steve Dillon with third place and sales of over 110.7k.  I think this is the biggest Punisher relaunch in recent memory and this is a character that Marvel has relaunched A LOT (even for them).  I think the popularity of Punisher on the Daredevil Netflix show and news of his own show brewing has a big hand here but the creative team shouldn’t be overlooked.  Many people demand female writers getting a chance of prominent male heroes and here we have it, plus Steve Dillon may be the definitive Punisher artist.  For whatever reason, its a great start and we’ll see where it lands.  If it can do around the same level as most of Marvel’s mid performers that would be a great result for the character historically speaking.
Ray:  On the other hand, I really do feel like this Punisher is an unqualified, massive success. All those factors you listed make sense as contributors to the success, but I’m still puzzled by just how well it did. One of only four books to break 100K this month! For a character whose last few titles got cancelled for low sales! I expect a massive fall next month, of course, but even that should get this title to a fairly safe level for a while. If it can bottom out at 25-30K, that’s historically a good level for a mainstream Punisher book. And I still can’t believe it beat that other Marvel #1!
Glenn:  Old reliable, Batman finishes its run on issue 52 with sales over 102k making its entire run of 52 issues in the six digits which is amazing.  This is a fill-in issue with last months issue seeing the departure of Snyder and Capullo but it was a very strong issue and bodes well for the upcoming bi-monthly Batman which will have Tom King at the helm.  I don’t know if the new Batman title will be able to replicate the astonishing success of this run though, I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it anytime soon.
Ray:  Amazing success for Batman. Helping it (besides the confusion over whether Snyder was actually writing this issue) was probably that this issue was written by incoming Detective writer and Snyder collaborator James Tynion IV, so it felt relevant. As for the new title, it’s coming out of the gate with rave reviews, a first issue co-written by Snyder, and a ton of hype, so who knows. I think it could surprise us.
Glenn:  Tynion has co-written or taken on some back ups in Batman during Snyder’s run, written a few annuals and had a big hand in Eternal.  He’s got enough bad pedigree by now that I don’t think we would have seen that much of a difference if the confusion around Snyder’s involvement hadn’t been in place.  It’ll be interesting to see how he manages to get Detective Comics to perform on next months chart.
Next is that comic, Captain America: Steve Rogers which sells over 99k at number 5.  There’s a lot to go over here.  Addressing the elephant in the room so to speak, this is the now infamous ‘Cap is Hydra‘ issue which, since there was no hint of this twist prior will ensure that this issue will see healthy reorders next month.  Looking on it as is, while its another decent launch, to me not being able to crack 100k for the return of Steve Rogers (again) in a year where he has a big movie out is a little telling.  Sales for Captain America have found it hard since the departure of Ed Brubaker a number of years ago.  The latest reveal seems to be ensuring sales success but once the novelty dies off will the gamble be worth it?  Time will tell.
Ray:  There’s obviously two ways to look at this Captain America book. Problem is, neither is very good for the title. Marvel, for a change, kept this twist under their hat, so this was ordered at the level that retailers ordered the long-awaited return of Steve Rogers to the Captain America suit. And that’s under 100K and less than a Punisher relaunch. For the record, Captain America: Reborn under Brubaker beat Blackest Night #1 in its launch month. Now, obviously this book is going to be high on the re-order charts next month because the twist caught everyone by surprise. But is it going to hold those numbers? I doubt it. When the audience’s primary reaction to a twist is “How dare you”, that doesn’t bode well for long-term success.
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Glenn:  Number 6 is Star Wars which continues its very, very, very slow drift down in sales, getting over 95k this month.  Not much to report here.
Ray:  Star Wars and Vader are both experiencing standard attrition which has brought them down to earth, but these are still impressive numbers. What I will note, though, is that Star Wars has fallen below the 100K mark in 20 issues coming off the biggest movie of all time – while Batman stayed above that mark for 52 issues straight. This just shows how amazing Batman’s feat is.
Glenn:  Number 7 is the final issue of Geoff Johns Justice League and also an issue 50 which probably combined was enough for them to get a sales boost to over 94k.  While it hasn’t been the trailblazer that Batman has, Johns run on Justice League has been a solid performer for its 50 issue run.  The price point of 5.99 again doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in demand here.  This issue was very much a lead in to Rebirth which wasn’t advertised so now that everyone knows that, expect this one to pull in a decent reorder next month too.
Ray:  Yeah, this JL number is a bit lower than I would have expected, but then this arc didn’t go over all that well as a whole. The Rebirth tie-ins caught everyone by surprise, so I think there’ll be a bit of a scramble for this issue. All the better for DC next month.
Glenn:  Number 8 is everyone’s favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader which pulls in sales of just over 86.6k.  This is actually 10k higher than last month for no apparent reason than I can think of.  Now that we know the book has an expiry date it seems it will finish off at a very healthy number indeed.
With an incredible hold of the sales success it had last month, Black Panther sells just over 77.5k which is enough to keep it in the top ten for now with the number 9 spot.  Of course a near 200k drop is a massive one but there are a lot of other Marvel books that fared a lot worse in their second issue.  Over 70k is still a brilliant number for a Black Panther comic and this one still has a lot of room left to fall.
Ray:  That’s a hefty drop for Black Panther, but still a strong number. For a comparison, Dr. Strange – another character who hadn’t had an ongoing title in years and now has one with an a-list creative team leading up to a movie – debuted at roughly 150K and sold 65K with its second issue, so Black Panther is improving on that path. If it holds at that level of slow attrition (although the delays are worrisome), it’s going to firmly ensconce itself as one of Marvel’s top tier for this run.
Glenn:  Finally, Marvel’s other dependable performer, Amazing Spider-Man manages to make the top ten at 10 with sales just under 75k.  If Black Panther follows the set pattern, Amazing will reclaim its spot as the highest selling superhero book Marvel has (not counting relaunches or such).  Some joke that Marvel will have the take the title out of writer Dan Slott’s cold dead hands but considering he is helming one of their top performers, I wouldn’t see they’re in a rush to make him leave,

Ray:  Not much to add on ASM, which is just as reliable as Batman (and will likely resume its place as Marvel’s top ongoing superhero book next month), but I’ll add that when Dead No More kicks off, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it surge and find a place in the top five regularly.

 

And at #11, in what is sure to be a sign of the Apocalypse…it’s Scooby Apocalypse! On the surface, this isn’t too shocking, given the hype, variant covers, and Jim Lee’s involvement. But given the overwhelming way this comic was mocked, I can’t see it holding these numbers. I’m thinking this is a first month bump situation that will completely evaporate.

Glenn:  Having Jim Lee involved in any capacity is going to get your book sold, no matter what.  The Hanna Barbara relaunces are a curious move for DC and its difficult to say what they want out of them.  Given how Scooby books traditionally do (Scooby team up is at 208 with sales of 8.4k and Where Are You is at 297 with sales just over 5k) this is a big win for DC.  Will be happy with sales at half of the near 70k they managed here or possibly less?  Time will tell.
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Star Wars: Poe Dameron had a very stiff drop to #12 this month with sales of just over 68K. That puts it well below the top two Star Wars titles after only two months, and has to be a serious disappointment to Marvel, who was hoping to capitalize on the character’s massive fanbase from the movie.

Glenn: Given that Poe is the least prominent (so far) of the new protagonists introduced in Force Awakens, that might attribute to the drop.  I don’t think the BB-8 back up was really included in solits and if it had been, how that might have effected sales.  Its selling at a decent level compared to the majority of Marvel’s ongoings but will need to find its level fast.

Ray:  Batman/TMNT finishes strong at #14 with sales of around 65K. This is the most successful inter-company crossover in years by a mile, and you know DC will be talking with other companies to find out how to replicate this goldmine. Superman/Transformers? Robins/Power Rangers? Let’s find out!

Glenn:  The collection will do good business no doubt also.  This is a big win for both DC and IDW so yeah, I’m fully expecting to see more crossovers.  It likely won’t do nearly as well but it’ll be interesting to see how the Gotham Academy/Lumberjanes crossover does next month since their audiences are a lot more specific than the large fanbases that both Batman and the Turtles have.

Ray:  Oh, hey, there’s Deadpool! Followed by Deadpool! Followed by Deadpool! And on his heels, Deadpool! Four Deadpool books in a row, starting with Spider-Man/Deadpool, followed by two issues of the main book (currently Marvel’s #2 ongoing with settled numbers), and then Deadpool: Last Days of Magic, which is incredible numbers for a random tie-in with Dr. Strange. The Merc with a Mouth is  a gold mine right now!

Glenn:  Having four books in the charts by all 3 different creative teams and stories shows just how solid Deadpool is right now.  I would say expect more Deadpool everything but we’re already getting that so…expect even more I guess!

Ray:  Superman #52, which featured the death of the New 52 Superman, got a rather significant boost to the top 20 with sales over 54K. I will say, though, that the other three chapters of this crossover are between 15K and 16K lower, which makes me think this was a speculator boost more than anything. They certainly didn’t expect people to be going all in on the crossover.

Glenn:  Its not quite the mass media event the last death of Superman (spoilers) was, is it?  DC is looking at this one setting the table for Rebirth and that’s it.  The sales boost will be nice but I’m sure that most of the numbers on the last issues of the New 52 books are being treated as inconsequential.
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Ray:  The core three X-books are all in a loose crossover event right now, Apocalypse War, and they are all clustered together with sales of around 50K. What’s interesting to me is that All-New X-Men, the satellite book focusing on the kid X-Men, is doing the highest, and flagship title Extraordinary X-Men is doing the least.

Glenn:  Given how big a push Extraordinary got, that is really surprising.  This is probably dictated more by books that people are enjoying rather than the ones Marvel is treating as most and least important.  They’re all grouped pretty close together, like you say so it seems there’s a pretty dedicated audience for this crossover.  10 years ago or so, an X-Men crossover would have pulled a six digit sales number without breaking a sweat but times very much have changed.  Nowadays, 50-60k or so is pretty much where X-Men crossovers usually live.

Ray:  With #4, Spider-Man seems to have found its level at around 49K. Its #28 finish puts the book in decent company for now, just below Iron Man and Dr. Strange. Will it hold these numbers in six months? We’ll see, but the upcoming Civil War tie-in will likely help with that.

Glenn:  Marvel are giving Miles a lot of high profile spots, they want him to work so they’ll probably be committed to the long term.  I still predict Miles to ultimately meet the fate as other young people with Spider powers like Mattie Franklin.

Ray:  Future Quest, by the exceptional creative team of Parker/Shaner and with consultation from the late Darwyn Cooke, debuts at #29 with sales of 48K. On one hand, that’s good numbers for a Johnny Quest book guest-starring a host of forgotten cartoon characters. On the other, this brilliant old-school adventure sold 20K less than Cyborg Scooby vs. Zombies and I want to cry.

Glenn:  *hugs Ray* Considering how obscure most of the characters in Future’s Quest are, that’s a great number.  This book is purely for the Hanna Barbera nostalgia crowd whereas the other launch books seem to be going for a new audience using very different takes.  We’ll see how Future’s Quest performs in future issues but looking at how this line performs usually, that’s a great number, especially for a mini series which is going to be done before we know it.

Ray:  Marvel has another debut this month in Thunderbolts, which teams Winter Soldier with the original Thunderbolts in a story spinning right out of Standoff. Reviews were not good, and retailers seem to have adjusted accordingly, as it only sells 45K at #32. That’s not impressive at all, and this title will likely struggle quickly. It’s still a good deal better than one of the other new Marvel #1s this month, though.

Glenn:  The last time Thunderbolts performed well was when Warren Ellis reshaped the book to star a cast of prominent villains.  Going back to a version of the original cast will be a hard task and even adding Bucky, who hasn’t been the biggest sales draw for a while either isn’t seemingly going to help things.  Its an okay launch but given how books are selling that launched at double or triple this number, it may not be a long road ahead for Thunderbolts.

Ray: A new Daredevil/Punisher miniseries sells 42K at #37, almost the exact level of Daredevil this month. This is interesting, because I think it was intended to be the direct tie-in to the Netflix series. However, retailers just treated it like a Daredevil miniseries, while the main Punisher series exploded.

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Glenn:  Maybe we’re not giving the creative team enough credit on Punisher then?  However, mini’s unless they’re a major event never do well as main books.  This will do nicely as a collection most likely for people yet to discover the Netflix show.

Ray:  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers seems to have found a healthy level at around 38K, far and away the top title for Boom. I wonder how the company’s crossover with Gotham Academy and Lumberjanes will do, given their new momentum in the market.

Glenn:  Great minds think alike!  A great performance for Boom, its nice for them to have a solid performer since they seem to be delivering some of the best books in the market right now.

Ray: Gwenpool tumbles hard from its top ten debut last month, landing at #45 with sales of about 38. I think this is an expression of discretion at work in the market. This is a novelty character and won’t last. On the other hand, Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight has a rather healthy fall to 35K and may have legs for the duration of Lemire’s run.

Glenn: Given that Spider-Gwen manages to pull in sales of just under 50k at 25, Gwenpool will need to stop shedding sales quickly to be considered worth publishing long term.  We know that WolverGwen is coming in the next few months but hopefully the drop on Gwenpool will tell Marvel not to press their luck too much.

Ray:  #49 this month goes to Deadpool: Masacre. For the record, this is the English translation of an all-Spanish Deadpool comic that was released a few months ago. Yep. The power of Deadpool.

Glenn:  Next up:  Deadpool colouring book!  Wait…that’s seriously a thing?
Ray:  The other Marvel debut of the month is Nighthawk, landing at #50 with sales of just over 34K. That’s about 3K above the sales of Hyperion when it debuted (and for the record, it sold just over 13K with issue #3 this month), and that’s the numbers of a series that isn’t likely to make it past #8. Trying to make Squadron Supreme into a franchise right out of the gate is probably the most misguided attempt at spin-offs since DC and the Red Circle books.
Glenn:  Yeah..Marvel maybe needs to stop making Squadron Supreme happen, its not going to happen.  I wonder if this book will end up with better or worse than fellow Batmanlike Midnighter which ended at 197 with sales just over 9.3k.  A couple of months ago, Nighthawk writer David Walker got a respectful launch out of Cyborg but his books at Marvel seem to have landed quite harshly.  Power Man and Iron Fist is now selling just over 26k at 71 (which is you know, okay I guess) so hopefully his recent stints on Marvel books hasn’t hurt the initial sales power he seemed to be able to manage to draw for Cyborg over at DC.
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Ray:  Those Power Man and Iron Fist numbers may not be great, but they’re probably sustainable for a decent-length run. I think Marvel’s probably going to invest in Walker and move him up to a higher-tier title (Black Panther after Coates leaves?), but this book was never going to sell no matter who wrote it.
Glenn:  Green Lantern and Flash finish their new 52 runs very close together at sales just under 33k.  Flash has been performing at this level throughout most of the new 52 run while Green Lantern has fallen quite a bit since the heyday of Geoff Johns.  Either way, DC again probably isn’t that concerned.  Rebirth will fix everything forever and ever (they hope).
Ray:  Both GL and Flash lost a lot of their momentum after the original creative teams left (with GL taking the harsher fall, of course), so these numbers are disappointing but not terrible. Buzz indicates that Flash will be getting a huge boost with Rebirth, while GL should jump up but seems more like business as usual. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out next month.
Glenn:  Black Widow seems to have found its level at around 30k, good enough for a Black Widow comic but given the creative team I would say Marvel would have wanted it to lank 5-10k higher at least.  Still, that’s a respectful enough number.
Continuing to be the scrappy underdogs, Valient pulls in a decent number with their latest major tie-in, 4001AD with sales just over 27k at 66.  Not quite the hit that their previous crossover ‘Book Of Death‘ was but then that tie in didn’t have to compete with Civil War II or Rebirth.  For a smaller publisher, Valiant continues to hang in there and out sells a lot of more prominent DC and Marvel titles.
Ray:  Valiant is slowly but surely carving out a little place for itself on the charts, despite only releasing 8-10 books a month. These are decent numbers, especially as Book of Death was a main-line crossover while this one is set in the future and spins out of the lower-selling Valiant book Rai. Valiant growing their line slowly is a good move that’s helping them.
Glenn:  Karnak returns to the sales charts with issue 4 landing at 76 with sales of just over 23.7k.  Its hard to judge how the delays may have hurt the book but its still a good number for a second string Inhuman character.  The book will survive as long as Warren Ellis shows interest in it.
Ray: Yeah, Ellis’ name is probably good for a decent 10K sales boost on any title. I think Karnak will probably keep going at acceptable numbers for a short time, but I can’t see Ellis staying on this book past 12 because he’s so busy, and the title will likely go with him.
Glenn:  True Believers: Star Wars classic was a promotional book priced at $1 that reprinted the first issue of Marvel’s previous Star Wars comic. It sold over 21k which isn’t bad for material that’s over 30 years old.  The power of Star Wars!
Ray: You slap Star Wars on the title right now, it’s going to sell. Coming soon – Star Wars Meets Squadron Supreme?
Glenn:  Tom King’s Vision manages to hang in there at 96 with sales of over 19k.  Its a small but dedicated audience for the book.  Watch the collection to keep the Marvel piggy bank going for years when his name blows up over at DC.
Ray:  Vision is a good example of what happens when a niche book really gets people talking. Any other title selling 19K would likely be reaching cancellation numbers in a few months, but Vision seems to have leveled out and will probably stay close to this level until its planned ending at issue #12, where it’ll go down as an all-time classic.
Glenn:  The 100th top selling book was All New Inhumans sold just over 18.8k.  Nearly 2k under 20k which is very troubling.  More on this at the end of the chart but keep that in mind.
Ray: Worth noting that the flagship Inhumans book, Uncanny Inhumans, only sold 7K higher at #73. It seems pretty clear that Marvel’s second attempt at turning Inhumans into a major franchise is a no-go as well. The new X-Men they’re not.
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Glenn:  Its hard to force something into the limelight after it having decades as at best, a fringe section of the Marvel universe.  It worked with Guardians because of the movie but with Inhumans the best it has at the moment is a lot of talk on the SHIELD TV show.
TV show tie-in, Adventures Of Supergirl launches at 16k at 121.  Media tie ins are always going to struggle but this seems a little low even for that.  Perhaps if the book had just been called Supergirl it would have done better?  Given the show is a decent hit and the prominence of the writer of Sterling Gates in the past you would have thought this might have managed to crack 20k.  This is just a reprint of digital first content so the economies are different here in any case.  Look for this one to be quickly forgotten sales wise when the proper Supergirl returns as part of Rebirth.
Ray:  Those are surprisingly low numbers, landing even below two issues of fellow digital-first comic Bombshells. While I do think there’s a real hunger for a Supergirl comic and the Rebirth title will be a hit, the rollout on this book was weird. DC first said there wouldn’t be a print compilation until the trade, but fan response made them back down. It was then retro-solicited close to the release date, which means some retailers may have missed the boat. I think it’s probably doing well in the digital format, which was the only way to read it at first.
Ray:  The swap and change with the orders may have had an impact definitely.  We’ll see how it does next month then.

Haunted Mansion is holding up well, selling about 17K at #115. This is the first Disney ride spin-off that’s shown any sort of sales traction, and I put most of that down to the writer. Of course, he’s headed off to DC and the next ride tie-in is…Enchanted Tiki Room. I don’t see that pattern continuing.

Glenn:  Haunted Mansion benefits both from having a writer with serious horror cred and being the best known ride they’ve turned into a comic so far.  I would say that with the choice of the next ride, I would speculate that Marvel has little choice in what they get to adapt.  Again, these things will make their money in the gift shop.  Next up: Its a small world by Ennis and Dillon!

Ray:  I won’t lie, I would read the hell out of that It’s a Small World comic. Get on it, Marvel!
Glenn:  It could be educational!  We could learn about small creepy puppets, all over the world.  Which is a small, small world (or so I hear)

Ray:  Black Panther adds another 15K in sales this month, charting at #133 with its reprint. Impressive, but it certainly wasn’t under-ordered.

The two Archie horror books returned this month, and both found a decent sales level, with Afterlife With Archie selling about 19K and making the top 100, and Sabrina selling about 15K. The main Archie reboot was sandwiched in between them at around 16K, so the line seems to have found its level – although Jughead is down at #202 with sales of around 9K, so that may be the line’s weak point.

Glenn:  The Archie books are now performing largely over 10k where they were prior to the relaunch, so that’s good news for the company of the same name.  With Betty & Veronica and Josie and the Pussycats launching in a few months, the publisher seems confident about their place in the market.  With the Sabrina creative team moving over to Jughead, I wonder if it’ll have any impact on its sales since there is a slightly larger audience for her book?

Ray:  I’m shocked to see Cyborg only selling 12K, clustered in the 150s with books like Martian Manhunter, Gotham Academy, and Secret Six – all good books, but certainly niche books. What is DC thinking relaunching this as a biweekly book in Rebirth? The JLA’s resident tech hero hasn’t proven he can carry a monthly yet, let alone two issues a month.

Glenn:  Cyborg had a fantastic, critically acclaimed launch and seemed to have crashed and burned shortly thereafter.  Perhaps DC is hoping with a writer who won’t leave for Marvel and the Rebirth Branding that the book can survive at a higher level?  Its a gamble for sure, one of the few they’re making in their initial Rebirth roll out.  Cyborg probably also has a spot due to his upcoming prominence in the DCCU and the fact that they’ve been trying to make him an a-lister since Flashpoint.  You can’t say that DC sure doesn’t try to make a thing work.
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Ray:  Hyperion, Moon Girl, Drax, and Patsy Walker: Hellcat are all down to the 13K-11K range, so I would say watch those books for the next wave of cancellations. They’re the lowest-selling Marvel books that are still continuing.

Note:  Hyperion was missing from the latest Marvel solicitations.  Salute it as it sails into the sunset.
Glenn:  The bloom may be off the rose with Guardian tie-ins with the highest selling being Rocket and Groot at 89 with sales just over 21k.  A long way away from the top 15 staple Rocket’s solo book was prior to Secret War.  It’ll be interesting to see if Marvel ever bothers with the Gamora mini with how the other solo books are doing.
Ray:  Those are depressing numbers for Rocket and Groot, but with Skottie Young leaving the series and being replaced by a less-known creator, it’s sort of inevitable. I expect the line to shrink a lot soon, much the way GL did from its heyday.
Glenn:  The rest of the books there isn’t much more to say about.  These books in this market are all going to have uphill climbs.  Civil War II and the subsequent relaunch will buy them some time but with the ever depleting diminishing returns Marvel is getting on their relaunches, those that are relaunched again probably won’t fare much better.

Ray:  Gene Ha’s fantasy comic from Dark Horse, Mae, has a decent debut this month of around 11K. Ha is still a pretty popular artist, but it’s worth noting that this is Dark Horse’s third-highest selling book of the month, only behind their two bread-and-butter franchises, Hellboy and Buffy.

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Glenn:  Its time for our monthly Dark Horse concern whose highest selling book was Hellboy In Hell at 132 with sales over 15.6k.  They’re probably calling Chuck Palahniuck about Fight Club III right now.

 Ray:  The second issue of Adventures of Supergirl sinks to 11K, a harsh fall for the same month, but like I said above, this was a weird rollout and the book is probably making most of its money in digital.

In one of the oddest books of the month, we had Brian Azzarello launching a fantasy-horror comic as a beer tie-in with 3 Floyds: Alpha Kings from Image. That did just over 10K at #191, not an impressive debut for a big name like Azzarello. But then…beer tie-in. I doubt direct market sales were the concern here.

Glenn:  A beer tie-in?  How strange, I guess even with the current market there is still room for some bizarre books to get a spot.

Ray:  As we exit the top 200, it’s worth noting that there’s exactly one Vertigo title still selling over 10K, and that’s Lucifer with 10.7K. It’ll likely fall just under that mark next month just like Astro City did this month.

Glenn:  Having a TV show which to be fair, is only a very, very, very (half an hour later), very loose adaption isn’t helping Lucifer much it seems.  Its association with Sandman is probably helping it be the most successful of the currently struggling Vertigo line.  Lets hoping some of those new books coming from some of their exclusive talent will far better but its hard to imagine they will.
Ray:  And with its second issue, Bloodlines drops to under 9K at #204. Shocking numbers for a main-line DC title. Very good chance this is out of the top 300 by the end of its run. Womp womp.

Glenn:  I’m not even sure what Bloodlines is, so there you go.

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 On the strength of the success of their Back To The Future comic from late last year, IDW launches the first issue of a new comic called Back To The Future: Citizen Brown which manages sales just over 15.4k at 136.  Decent enough for a media tie in that is now based on a property over 30 years old.  The success of the comic last year was to do a lot with the media at large’s reaction to Back To The Future day but it seems that there is still some interest in this old property even if I don’t expect it to last.
Ray:  Back to the Future is one of those classic movies that seems to maintain a presence in the market even though it hasn’t put out a new movie in decades. See also, Bill and Ted which does decent numbers for Boom.
Glenn:  Titan releases its 50 thousandth TV tie in book in the form of Penny Dreadful, the exceptional Showtime show featuring many characters of popular fiction.  It launches just over 11k.  I think the show is pretty popular but I don’t see most of the fans being interested in a comic tie in.  This one will be for the die hard fans only.
Ray:  TV tie-ins seem to be all over the place these days, and very few of them seem to be catching on. Things like Blacklist, which operate on a case-a-week format, might translate well to the format. I can’t see either Vikings or Penny Dreadful following. These are clearly only for completists – which isn’t the worst strategy, when your core audience is over one million people.
Glenn:  Omega Men finishes its run at over 8k.  It received a lot of critical attention and with Tom King’s rise to the (arguably) top book at DC, the trade sales will probably pay DC for ever publishing this in the first place.
 Boom releases a new book called ‘Weavers‘ which launches at 213 with sales just over 8k.  I’m not too familiar with the creative team so this is probably the best you can expect from a indie book with no big names attached.  For the record, the book seems to be about organized crime and sounds quite good.
Ray:  Weavers is a Simon Spurrier title dealing with gangsters with magic spiders inside them that give them superpowers. It’s mostly memorable to me because it was initially mistaken for a new Spider-man comic when the art first leaked. These numbers are about what I would expect, a big higher for a Boom #1 with no big names. Maybe a Spider-man boost?
Glenn:  You mentioned  Bloodshots earlier but Marvel mainline book Red Wolf isn’t doing much better.  The ‘how did this ever get greenlit?’ Marvel title sells over 7.7k at 217 and gets outsold by the likes of Xena, Scooby Doo and…Jem and The Holograms.
Ray:  Red Wolf is going to be a footnote for Marvel, for sure. Shockingly, even lower you find Starbrand and Nightmask at #289, selling just over 5K. That would have been out of the top 300 next month, but this is the final issue.
Glenn:  IDW releases a comic adaption of the near 20 year old little known movie which is based on the book ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas‘ which sells over 7.5k priced at 4.99.  It seems to be a bigger than average comic for the price but I just wondered who they thought would really want this.  Its at 223
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Ray:  ...The Hunter S. Thompson book as a comic? Okay. While the top of the chart is fun to discuss in terms of the big trends, the bottom has its appeal too, because that’s where you find these really bizarre comics that you’ve never heard of before.
Glenn:  Another TV show tie-in from
A) Matchett Magazines
B) Ray’s readings
C) Titan
The choice is yours when it comes to Vikings at 245 with sales over 6.7k.  Same deal with Penny Dreadful as I would say that many fans of the show aren’t looking for more stories elsewhere beyond what they see on screen.
The rest of the charts is filled with the usual cast of low selling media tie-ins, small press non big name new properties with IDW sneaking in at 300 with one last new book in Brutal Nature which sells just under 5k.  Once you reach 250 or below that, some of the numbers start to get a little depressing.

Ray:  Never heard of Brutal Nature. IDW has increased their number of creator-owned books in recent months, but with zero promotion or name recognition on most of them, they have even more trouble getting momentum in the field than Dark Horse or Boom.

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Looking ahead to June, the big event is finally here on more than one level! It’s Rebirth month for DC, as all the A-listers launch their new titles. Superman, Batman, Action Comics, Detective Comics, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lanterns, and Titans all land, most of them shipping two issues. We’ll get a quick look at how much Rebirth is moving the needle on DC’s top franchises. In addition, the third Hanna-Barberra book, Wacky Raceland, is debuting with far less in the way of hype than the first two, so I’m not expecting strong numbers there.

For Marvel, it’s all Civil War II, all the time. The main mini launches its first two issues (not counting this month’s #0 or the FCBD issue), and we’ll see if its numbers start looking up. In addition, there’s a lot of tie-ins, and new miniseries for X-Men, Spider-Man, Hercules, and an anthology book.

It’s a fairly small month for creator-owned books, but there’s a few notables. Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy returns with a second volume after a massive delay, and Howard Chaykin launches a new original property with Midnight of the Soul for Image. And over at IDW, Joe Hill launches a new anthology series with Tales from the Darkside, potentially bringing that Locke and Key fanbase with him.

Glenn:Lots of things to look to in June in terms of sales.  We’re going to see a lot of high profile launches hit the charts.

It may be just in time.  We talk a lot about book trends but the overall market as a whole is on an unsettling downward slope.  Books in the top 100 are now selling below 20k which is unsettling and overall sales are down across the board.  Companies like Dark Horse and lines like Vertigo are gradually fading away and its becoming harder for new blood to make an impact in the industry.
What’s caused it?  Well, there’s a global recession you may have heard about which effects every industry but especially something as finite as comics.  There’s also raising prices for less content.
In some ways, the world is more driven towards comic than ever.  This year alone will see no less than five major movies based on comics before 2016 ends and right now there are dozens, dozens of popular TV shows based on comics.
The actual print monthly market is slowly sliding though.  It also doesn’t help that Marvel has had a near monopoly for near 10 years.  They’ve been squeezing the fanbase they have hard and in many ways, have set up a market where only the dedicated remain.
Not to say this is Marvel’s fault, if any other company were in the same position they may be doing the same.
Now, next month DC will certainty regain some strength with Rebirth which coupled along with Civil War II might actually nead to a (dare we dream?) top 20 or so that has 70k sales over more.
Will it last?  Time will tell as DC are clearly trying to get back some people that have left the industry while getting new readers in.
If it doesn’t work long term expect prices to continue going up and numbers continuing to fall…

Ray:  I definitely think we’re going to see a boost at the top of the charts for a while now, with the combination of Rebirth and all-new #1s for DC, and Civil War II presumably lifting all boats for Marvel. Will it last? DC, it may just if fans take to this new direction. Marvel…I’m sure it’ll fade off just in time for the next relaunch and temporary boost.

The bigger problem, though, is the overall charts and the many companies that can’t seem to get any traction. I wonder if this is just a product of the companies putting out more than ever before. We’ve got companies like Boom, IDW, and Dark Horse putting out 30-40 books a month, Image putting out 50, DC putting out 70, and Marvel putting out 80-100 on any given month. With this much product, there’s a cannibalization effect.

It might just be that the market as a whole doesn’t work for this level of product. Imagine if we still only had the standard network TV setup that TV started with, and there was the level of content that existed today. Countless great shows would get ignored because there was no space for them, or they had to compete with another fan favorite. That’s what’s going on with people forced to choose between taking a chance on a new creator-owned book like Art Ops, House of Penance, or Joyride, or their latest fix of Spider-Man or Batman.

It’s a rough dynamic right now, and I’m not really sure how to fix it, but I’m hoping there’s an innovator out there who will hit on a genius idea like streaming TV.

Glenn:  We’ll see what the long term holds for sure but for now, we all wait for the Rebirth next month, come join us.  We’ll have cake.
Enjoyed what you read?  Have any thoughts to add or suggestions?  Let us know and find us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By the Numbers: April 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He just read DC Rebirth an hour ago and is still trying to form coherent words in his mind.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. When he told me that Rebirth’s implications were crazier than crazy, I laughed at him, laughed I say!  He’s currently visiting me every Thursday in Arkham Asylum cause Wednesdays are for 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!  The episode where we talk about this very sales charts in a little less detail is available here!

Full top 300 for April available here!

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Glenn: Greetings sales trackers!  Remember when Christmas was only like yesterday?  Well we’re already on April sales charts!  Marvel new releases have slowed down and Rebirth is still not here but is on the Horizon but it seems that April still had more than a few talking points and surprises.
Lets start off with the title that grabbed the top spot and this is one we were told was a big success by its publisher a few months ago.  Never one to hold back on a chance to tout their success, Marvel stated they received a massive number for Black Panther which is indeed the case as it lands at number one with sales over 253k.  This means that Black Panther was the second highest selling ANAD Marvel relaunch, just selling a shade less than Invincible Iron Man.
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This is a fantastic number for Black Panther who historically has never been a good seller.  The last regular Black Panther book would sell around 25k on a very, very good day but usually was in the 10-15k range and that was when the market was in a much healthier state than it is now.
The issue got a bunch of promotion, has Black Panther receive more exposure due to Secret War, a mainstream best selling author, answering a call for more diversity and oh yeah, a big part in that little known film, Civil War.  Really you couldn’t ask for better press and the results speak for themselves.  Will it stay around this level?  Likely not but myself and Ray estimate a fall to around 40-50k which is where most of the higher selling ANAD Marvel Now books (outside of Amazing and Deadpool) are.  This would be brilliant for a Black Panther title and would insure it a long and healthy print run.  Great to see!
Ray:  Black Panther is indeed an unprecedented sales success, although the projections came in quite a bit under original estimates. 300K would have been a world-breaker. This, though, still amazing that it beat Amazing Spider-Man’s relaunch and came within a hair of the first Bendis Iron Man issue. You mentioned a lot of the factors that led to its success, but this is what it looks like when you have a perfect storm of promotion and interest in a character, combined with a creative team with genuine mainstream appeal. I think it’ll fall hard, like every book has, of course, but I think it’ll end in the same range you do – which would put it in the top ten regular selling Marvel books. Amazing for a hero who hadn’t had a solo title for the last decade almost, but the same could be said for Dr. Strange. This is how you actually capitalize on movie attention – a fresh start with stories worth telling.
Glenn:  Next up is the first issue of another title from the most consistently powerful entity in the charts, Star Wars.  This month alone the Star Wars line has more titles in the top ten than anyone else.  After a year of their launch there is no stopping them and they land another best seller in the first issue of Poe Dameron at 2 with sales a shade over 175k.  This is the first comic being done in the new Force Awakens era so there was naturally going to be a lot of interest.  This was also the character that probably got the least screen time out of the new main cast introduced in Force Awakens so people will be interested in reading more about him.  I can see this book being another tip ten staple for Marvel as it essentially replaces Darth Vader on the schedule in a few months (more on that in a second).
Sticking with Star Wars for the time being, the next book the line has in the charts is the C-3PO one shot explaining the origins of his red arm in Force Awakens.  Selling just under 121k this is a great number for a book about a bunch of newly introduced droids.  As friend of the article Brandon James pointed out, I guess a lot of people wanted to find out how he got that red arm.
Ray:  Again, the sales on Poe Dameron were a bit down from the initial estimates. I wonder what went on there. This is still a massive success, though, and Star Wars seems to be able to do no wrong. Coming off the direct success of TFA, this was always going to be a smash hit.
The C3PO special may be even more impressive, though. This book was delayed for months and stars a popular but very much side character from the series. Still, it came close to Poe Dameron. I think this proves that anything directly associated with the movies is going to be gigantic for Marvel – but it’s more complicated, as we saw by the sudden cancellation of the Rogue One miniseries just a few days ago. As big as these comics are for Marvel, they’re peanuts for LucasFilm/Disney, and they’ll shut them down quickly if they’re worried. This makes me think the comics may stick more with the original trilogy timeline…
Glenn:  I remember seeing about the Rogue One comic and yes, I suppose you’re right.  If Disney doesn’t think that telling the stories in this form will warrant the attention they want, they’ll pull the plug.  I am curious though how long Marvel can churn out stories between New Hope and Jedi.
Speaking of which, the regular two Star Wars books, Star Wars and Darth Vader take the 7th and 8th spots selling just under 99k and 80k respectfully.  The first book, the main one in the line continues its slow descend with no real need for concern.  Even though Vader is a good shade under it now, its still a great stable seller and I don’t doubt Marvel saying it is merely ending due to story reasons and Kieran Gillans departure from Marvel come its 25th issue in a few months.  We can expect another ‘Dark Side’ book likely replacing it, maybe around the release of Rogue One, time will tell.
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All in all its just another month of Star Wars dominance.  When Rebirth hits, there will be some shuffling of their consistent top ten force choke hold but when all that hoopla settles down, I have a feeling the Star Wars line will be back in its currently immovably strong position.

Ray:  Yeah, the original books are still going strong. There hasn’t been a dud in the Star Wars line yet, sales-wise. The closest was Kanan, and that still did better than an animated tie-in would be expected to. So there will be no shortage of new SW books coming our way.

 Star Wars had more titles in the top ten this month than either DC or Marvel. That’s just surreal.
Glenn:  From Marvel’s most dependable line over to DC’s as we move back up the chart to the number 3 spot which has the fourth issue of Dark Knight III which sells just over 143k.  A great, solid performance for the premier format title which has suffered marginal delays.  Batman is where DC stands tall at the moment and this title in particular is one that people seem to be interested in due to its connection to Frank Millers original classic and is own potential future place in comics history.  With Rebirth around the corner, DC could potentially gain a strong position in the charts but books like this one are worth their weight in gold to the publisher currently.
Ray:  I mean, for all the controversy over these high-profile sequels to classic comics without the original creative team fully involved, they sell. They sell like crazy. So I expect we’ll see more sequels like this, but it’ll be hard to top a Batman one. And reception to TDKIII has been much warmer than I expected. It looks good compared to the second one, so that probably helps. It’s clear now that this will be dominant on the charts until it finishes it run.
Glenn:  Speaking of the Dark Knight’s strong outings, the final issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s modern classic Batman run ends this month with sales just under 102k at 5.  They did it!  Every issue over 100k!  Something that we may never see again in our lifetime with the market in its current state and something that DC will solely miss in its calendar.  With either the new Batman title or Scott Snyder’s All Star Batman title be able to match its consistently?  Time will tell.  With this being the end to such a popular run and a one shot to boot, I’m surprised sales weren’t higher.  Perhaps retailers think that the next issue being written by new Detective writer James Tynion was the final issue of this creative teams run?  It’ll be interesting to see how issue 52 performs next month.
Ray:  As I’ve said before, I don’t know if we’ll ever see a success on this level for the Big Two again. 51 issues, all by the same creative team (with a few guest issues), all over 100K. It’s amazing. I think the sales drop this month is because a lot of people thought last month’s epic #50 issue was the finale. As for its successors, I do think All-Star Batman will probably hold over 100K for its run, assuming people don’t think it’s about Batman making Robin eat rats. The King/Finch/Janin biweekly Batman won’t hold these numbers, but I do think it can wind up around the same numbers as ASM consistently, which would be a big win for DC.
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Glenn:  Prior to its ending/unending absence, All Star Batman was still quite a sales draw despite its…oddities.  Its a weird brand to bring back after all this time but with the creative teams they have, I have no doubt it’ll be another solid performer for DC.
At number 6 we have Gwenpool selling over 100.8k.  Gwenpool.  I think I’ll let Ray sort this out while I get back to you know…respectable comics.
Ray:  *sigh* Gwenpool. This comic is hard to analyze sales-wise. Partially because my eyes are rolling back in my head as I speak in tongues when I think about how much I hated that first issue, but also partially because this character was marketed as the next extension of the Gwen Stacy crazy when in fact she is nothing of the sort. She’s an original character who seems to be more DC’s Harley Quinn than anything. Needless to say, this novelty meme character will not hold these numbers. She started high, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her at Hellcat numbers in six months‘ time.
Glenn:  I’m hoping Marvel don’t overindulge too much and ruin what has people interested in Spider-Gwen.  Then again, we’ve just learned that Gwenverine is going to be a thing soon too so that ship might have sailed.
Another DC comic in the top ten is the Harley Quinn April Fools Special which hits 9 on the chart and sells just over 75k.  On the surface, that’s a decent number for a Harley Quinn one shot and within the usual range for her usual brand of one shots but this one was quite a bit different.
Although it wasn’t marketed as such, this issue was the first glimpse of the post Rebirth DCU, was the first issue by the new creative team and had Jim Lee on art.  Like many fans and retailers, I assumed this was another one shot by the regular Harley Quinn creative team in the spirit of their previous holiday themed one shots and didn’t know any different until a week previous.  This could be one that is heavily reordered when people realize its significance.  The other possibility is that retailers knew exactly what it was and ordered it in decent but unspectacular numbers which is…unsettling.
Ray:  Yeah, I’d say DC missed a big opportunity with this Harley Quinn special. I was taken aback as I read it, going “Hey, this is actually a really important book”. We’ve said this before, but this should have been the Free Comic Book Day issue. A current book, that serves to promote both the upcoming Suicide Squad movie and Rebirth? A slam dunk. Instead, it sort of slipped under the radar, but that was still good for about 75K sales, so no one’s crying.
Glenn:  Lastly in the top ten is Marvel’s biggest consistent selling superhero in Amazing Spider-Man which sells just over 73.6k.  It seems like that mysterious bump last month was just a fluke.  We’re now moving dangerously close to the possibility of all none number one of Star Wars Marvel books selling below 70k which would be troubling.  Fortunately for Amazing, Dead No More is coming and that’ll no doubt bump it up at least 10-15k or so during its duration.  The rest of the line has got Civil War to bump it up so right now, in the short term (where Marvel lives) there’s nothing to panic about.
Ray:  Yeah, ASM is holding  very well. This is where we see the top titles for both companies that seem to have stabilized in a very healthy position. Justice League is going to wrap up the only other run the same length as Snyder on Batman in May, and it’s stayed healthy throughout. The Darkseid War Special loses a good 10K in sales, but that’s still a very healthy number for an event tie-in. Walking Dead and Deadpool both seem to have stabilized in the mid-60K range as well, with the former being Image’s flagship book and Deadpool having firmly ensconced himself as Marvel’s #2 hero. I’m not sure why Deadpool #10 got a 7K bounce over #9, though. Deadpool and his weird math!
Glenn:  Considering how much lower the Darkseid War special sold under the main Justice League’s regular numbers (roughly 11k difference) the reasoning for having the special is puzzling.  It could possibly be just so Johns does end his run at 50 on the dot but its not as if ending on 51 hurt the sales on Batman much.  Its not a huge loss but 11k is 11k.
Ray:  Spider-Gwen got a very nice 10K bounce over her sales last month at #18. I would estimate that this is because of the Spider-Women crossover, except that Gwen did 10K over the event kickoff, Spider-Women Alpha, and roughly 20K over the Silk and Spider-Woman chapters. I’m always puzzled by how retailers order hard crossovers like this. You can’t just read the issues you want here, it’s a straight narrative. Either way, good to see Spider-Gwen rebound a bit. I wonder if she’ll be above Gwenpool by next month.
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Glenn:  Maybe retailers treated this as the ‘real’ first part of the crossover?  It is a puzzling one but yes, nice to see the book rebound either way.

Ray:  The latest incarnation of Moon Knight, by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood, landed at #17 with 60K sales. I was worried that the sheer number of attempts at Moon Knight revivals would blunt this one’s sales, but the critical reception was excellent and this book seems to have gained some buzz. I’m not sure how long this creative team will stay on board, because it seems to be a very specific and finite story they’re telling, but I think it can probably hold on to about half these sales, which is healthy for a Moon Knight title.

Glenn:  Moon Knight needs to settle itself quickly to justify its existence but it might just do that, especially if Lemire intends to stick around a little.  The character has had a lot of stop and starts in recent years and a consistent, well received creative team would do him the world of good.  I say this will end up being a middle of the ground respectful 40-45k seller.

Ray:  Two titles, Spider-Man and Old Man Logan, seem to be selling about the exact same amount this month, but there’s a rather big difference between the two. OML holds at around 58-59K with issues 4-5. That’s after the initial three-month blind order, which means the book’s probably found it’s level. Spider-Man is only at issue three, which mean’s next month’s sales are the ones to watch.

Glenn:  Those are solid numbers for a Wolverine title, if it can stay around that I’m sure everyone involved will be well pleased.  Spider-Man might be more of a crapshoot but given these books and roughly about 70 trillion others are tying into Civil War in a few months, the numbers are going to go haywire across the board none the less.
Ray:  Hey, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers holds at 59K with issue two, at #22! That’s pretty impressive for a licensed Boom comic. No wonder there’s a spin-off and an annual coming! Don’t pull a Dynamite Pulp Heroes, Boom, but this is a very strong start.

Glenn:  I’m sure Boom is thrilled with that, that’s by far the biggest seller they’ve ever had.  If it stays around this level, it’ll be outselling a lot of Marvel books which could be argued have more of a modern day audience.  Who knew that Power Rangers was still a thing?  Hopefully they don’t get overconfident and flood us with Power Rangers comics but if they play it right with the movie coming up, they could have their own franchise to keep the lights on.

Ray:  Mark Millar’s latest creator-owned book, this one with Stuart Immonen, Empress, has a healthy debut at #26 with 55K. The difference is, this one is at Icon instead of Image. This shows that creators can still get some buzz for this small imprint, although I wonder what it would have sold with Image behind it. Everyone involved has to be happy, though.
Glenn: I’m sure retailers treated Empress for all intents and purposes as an Image book because if it wasn’t for Immonen’s contract it would be.  The Icon imprint has mainly survived to publish POWERS but this is a nice bonus for Marvel to have something like this which will fare very well collection wise once the movie is out.
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Ray:  Harley Quinn and the latest spin-off, Harley Quinn and the Gang of Harleys, do essentially identical numbers at #27-28. At this point, I wonder if retailers are just treating most of the spin-offs with the regular creative team involved as extra issues of this title? Harley seems to be very consistent.

Glenn:  Harley can do no wrong since her solo series comeback a number of years ago.  I think this shows that she can handle a bi-monthly book with no problems.  The market and fans love her and DC is sensible enough (on this book anyway) not to mess with what works.

Ray:  Thor and Dr. Strange, as we’ve talked about, are consistently some of Marvel’s stronger sellers, but I’m surprised to see Daredevil holding in there at #37 with 48K sales with issue six. This is stronger than the Waid run had been selling for a while, but the title seems to be gaining some buzz. Netflix bump?

Glenn:  Daredevil is a big surprise and I’m sure a very pleasant one for Marvel.  This could be because of Netflix or people being genuinely excited for Soule or *gasps* a relaunch actually benefiting a title.  This is the best Daredevil’s sold in quite some time and could end up being a surprise solid performer for Marvel at over 10k where it used to be.
Ray:  The conclusion of Avengers: Standoff landed at #35 with sales under 50K. Definitely not the sort of event numbers Marvel was hoping for. This is going to be forgotten quickly as Marvel heads towards Civil War II.

Glenn:  The main point of this mini event seems to have been to get Steve Roger’s back in costume. With the Captain America movie, you thought there would be more interest but perhaps it got drowned out with the oncoming flood of Civil War on the horizon. We’ve discussed how Cap’s book has struggled sales wise since the departure of Ed Brubaker but Marvel is making a big push on the latest book so, we’ll see but yeah, this little story will be seen as nothing more than a footnote at best.

The Doctor Strange: Last Days Of Magic one shot which ties into the story going on in the main book sells 10k less than the main title at 48. It seems to have been treated as an optional tie in to the overall story but then again, since it was priced at 5.99 (!!!!!!!) I doubt anyone at Marvel cares that it sold that much less than the main Doctor Strange book. To be frank, a loose non essential tie in priced at 5.99 is quite an achievement. You can look for more at these type of things from Marvel if they can shift them at this volume.

Ray:  Last Days of Magic was an anthology, more than 40 pages of story (which makes $5.99 not unreasonable…for Marvel), but only a short segment was written by Jason Aaron. Given that, I think these numbers are a pretty big success. It goes to show how Marvel has really made Dr. Strange a powerhouse again, and given this current storyline the vibe of an event in and of itself. Wondering how Deadpool: Last Days of Magic will do next month. Probably even better, because Deadpool!

Glenn:  People love their Deadpool, he’s not getting a third ongoing (counting his book with that guy…whatshisname…Spider-Guy) for no reason!

Both Batgirl and Flash get good bumps on their 50th issues selling just over 35 and 34,6 k at spots 51 and 52 on the charts. While Batgirl has been a critical darling for the latter half of its run, sales have been ebbing away so I’m sure DC will be glad to see a resurgance just prior to Rebirth. Flash hasn’t been the superstar performer that the Batman titles have been but its been a solid middle tier performer throughout its whole New 52 run. In a world where books end and relaunch all the time and sales go up and down like a yo-yo, solid mid 30k sellers can be a publishers bread and butter. It’ll be interesting to see how well Flash comes out of Rebirth with exceptionally talented indie writer Josh Williamson coming on board.

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Ray:  That’s definitely one of the bigger sale bumps for #50 issues for Batgirl. I’m a bit surprised, given that it was just a regular oversized issue with no guest creators. Same for Flash, although the bump was smaller there. Except for Catwoman (which got virtually no boost) and Batman (which got a huge one) all of these titles seem to have gotten a standard bump that goes away very quickly – Batgirl #51 is back to the standard level the same month.

Glenn:  I’ll wonder if they’ll get another brief bump for the 52nd issue or at that point, all eyes will be on Rebirth.  These are some popular runs ending on various books so retailers might order a few more due to that more than the numbering.

After a respectful but unspectacular debut, Black Widow lands at 54 with sales of just over 34k. That’s really good for her book historically so as long as it stays here, this can be seen as another relaunch win for Marvel. The reception to the first issue seemed to be lukewarm at best so hopefully people will continue picking it up on the strength of the creative team. This is where Waid and Samnee usually had their Daredevil run at which previous to the latest relaunch was standard but Black Widow at this level would be seen as a respectful success.

Ray:  Yeah, I expect after about six months or so, Black Widow will be down to the 25K range at most. Enough to stay alive as long as Waid and Samnee want it, but not that much above the title’s previous level with Edmondson/Noto. Some heroes just struggle with solo titles.

Glenn:  Black Widow, Green Arrow, Punisher are just three characters that struggle in sales regularly despite all three having huge other media presences currently.  If Black Widow can keep its creative team and they can recapture the critical acclaim they got for their Daredevil run, it’ll keep the book around.  Marvel probably expected more I would say but at least its not selling less than the previous run…

X-Men 92 and Mockingbird’s second issue sold just under Widow at 55 and 56 with sales under 34 and 33k respectfully. These titles are both in the same boat as Widow, if they maintain this level then it can be seen as a big win. I have more confidence in X-Men 92’s long term performance over Mockingbird but you never know, I expected a much sharper decline for her. We’ll see what the next few months bring.

Ray:  A bit surprised Mockingbird held so well, given its low first-issue sales. Apparently Marvel increased orders for the second and third issue, which might explain it. X-Men ’92 probably has a loyal but small audience that will keep it healthy enough for a while.
Glenn:  I didn’t know Mockingbird got increased orders.  It’ll be interesting to see where 4 lands then.
However, given Power Man and Iron Fist received another sharp drop on their third issue doesn’t inspire confidence. It goes down to 71 with sales over 24k which is starting to push the difference between an acceptable Heroes For Hire number and troublesome waters. This is another one that is confusing me, the market is becoming increasingly hard to predict.
Ray:  The critical acclaim for Power Man and Iron Fist made me think it might have legs, but this is disappointing. From top ten to #71 in three issues is rough, but at the same time, it’s selling above quite a few other Marvel books like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, that one would expect to be selling much better. This might just be all books that aren’t the A-team finding their new level.
Glenn:  All New Hawkeye ends with issue 6 even though no one knew this was going to be the last issue. It sells at 98 with sales over 21k. If Marvel had made it known that this was the last issue of the series for now, it might have got a few k more but then Marvel would have had to admit that they essentially had Lemire on one Hawkeye book that relaunched into an ‘ongoing’ that only lasted 6 issues. My head hurts.
Ray:  There’s apparently a new Hawkeye title coming after Civil War II: Minority Report. Rumor is Kate Bishop in the lead. We’ll see how it does based on the creative team and status quo.
IDW has a pretty decent launch with Micronauts at #75, selling about 25K. It had Cullen Bunn on writing and a ton of variants, but critical reception wasn’t great, so I expect it to drop down to the level of most licensed books soon.

104 is the cutoff point for books selling over 20K this month, a little better than last month, but still fairly grim.

Glenn:  The chart will see an overall uplift come the Rebirth/Civil War II Summer whirlwind.  We’ll have to see how we fare towards the end of the year when all that has died down.  DC will probably be in a moderately better position, Marvel will just be on the build for next years event which following their current pattern might be anything between Atlantis Attacks…Again or Super Maximum Security

Ray:  The last volume of Divinity from Valiant was critically acclaimed, so it’s not a surprise to see the second volume launch with strong (for Valiant) sales of 19.6K at 105. Valiant’s new books seem to be getting a bit of buzz, and we’ll see how their latest event, 4001 AD, does next month.

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Glenn: Again, Valiant seem to be the dark horses (not the publisher) of the current market.  Marvel, DC and Image get more headlines but they’re keeping their pace at a more than respectful level.

Ray: In a fairly shocking debut (in a good way), upstart publisher Black Mask lands a book pretty high on the charts with the critically acclaimed kid-criminal noir “4 Kids Walk into a Bank“. 17K sales is about what most Image books with no A-list names attached get, so that’s really impressive.

 

Glenn:  Good for Black Mask who I’ve seen garner a lot of buzz recently.  I think it was also recently announced they’re going to be publishing the Kickstarter mega success ‘Black‘ which will probably get a lot of sales and critical attention.  New blood is what will keep the industry going and its great to see new publishers among the bigger dogs.

Ray:  To illustrate how well 4 Kids did, there’s Brian Wood’s new Viking noir Black Road, three spots below with 16.5K in sales. I would have expected more from a new Image book from Wood.

 

Glenn:  Sometimes a premise, no matter who is creatively involved doesn’t seem to catch on.  Like all the rest of Image’s line, it’ll likely last as long as Wood can keep it going.  If it settles around this figure, it could last a respectable length.  It sold more than Chew’s Chicken Poyo one shot (184 with sales just over 10.4k) and Chew is seen as a solid performer for Image that will see its 60 issue run through.  It’ll all depend on trade sales too of course.

Ray:  We’ve talked to no end about Dark Horse’s struggles on the sales charts as of late, and their top-selling book this month is Aliens: Defiance, with sales of just over 16K. This is a #1, though, and last month’s Predator #1 lots a third of its sales in its sophomore outing.

 

Glenn:  Just read their VP is leaving.  In ten years time, Dark Horse could be an unfortunate note in comic history as a company that was irrevocably damaged by the loss of their biggest property.  I would have thought with it being Aliens 30th anniversary, they might have managed to get a little interest because it worked for Back To The Future but seemingly not.
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Ray:  Surprising absolutely no one, Hyperion is down to cancellation numbers with #2, selling 16K in sales. You just can’t do spinoffs when the parent title is barely holding on to its sales.

Glenn:  Civil War will keep it tricking along (I think its tying in…everything else is) but I don’t see it lasting long after that.

Ray:  New Image comedy crime book The Fix sold just under 15K at #140. I would have expected more given that this is written by a Marvel writer who has recently been given the key to one of their top franchises, but then those books have been underperforming for him as well.

 

Glenn:  Nick Spencer of course is best known for Morning Glories which performs well in trades and is seen as a solid Image performer.  Outside of that, I can’t think of too many books he’s partook in that have exactly set the sales charts on fire.  He keeps getting verly high profile gigs and seems to be well thought of so he must be making someone happy.

Ray:  Oh, look, there’s Bloodlines, DC’s attempt to revive their 90s alien spinal-tap thriller as a modern teen horror drama. Just under 15K in sales is about what I’d expect here. 90s nostalgia is all well and good, as we see with Power Rangers, but there has to be some actual nostalgia for the property.

Glenn:  I don’t know what Bloodlines is…it seems not many other people do either

Ray:  Speaking of 90s nostalgia, the latest X-Files relaunch doesn’t seem to have gotten a big boost from the recent TV revival. 14.7K sales at #142.

 

Glenn:  X-Files has resurfaced as a TV juggernaut but while it has had a lot of merchandise, spin offs and whatnot, its not the type of thing that fans for to see more of elsewhere.  They want more episodes of the show but aren’t willing to settle for pseudo episodes in comic or novel form and that seems to be the way its always been for the property.  It’ll probably settle down to about 7 or 8k and maybe earn IDW some money through main book shops.

Ray:  Marvel’s doing a series of one-shot anthology stories, “A Year of Marvels“, focusing on different months of the year, with more volumes coming throughout the year. It seems to have completely slipped under the radar, with sales of 12.7K at 161. But hey, it outsold Hellcat, Moon Girl, and Weirdworld!

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Glenn:  I honestly thought you were joking until I double checked.  Not sure what they expected out of this, I’m not quite sure what a book like this will be able to achieve.  It doesn’t seem to be for kids and since I’ve never heard of it, can’t have been spouted too heavily.  Pure head scratcher this one.

Ray:  Former Catwoman writer Genvieve Valentine is writing a Xena relaunch comic from Dynamite, and I expected it to at least do the same numbers as Red Sonja given the fanbase of the series. Surprisingly, not even close, with sales of 11.3K at #176. That has to be seriously disappointing for Dynamite.

 

Glenn:  There’s been a lot of talk about some sort of reboot of Xena which has garnered a little interest.  Maybe Dynamite should have held their water?  Its another under performing TV tie in that has a market currently full of them in short.  Given how prominent Valentine was at DC last year, I hope she manages to rebound from this.
Ray:  Matt Kindt has a new #1 from Dark Horse, the deep-sea murder mystery Dept. H. This had months of hype, tons of promotions, and rapturous critical acclaim…only to sell 9.3K and barely make the top 200. I don’t know why Dark Horse can’t get momentum for their creator-owned books, because they have a bunch of great talent turning out a few incredible books, but it’s depressing. Makes me wonder what the fate of Jeff Lemire’s much-delayed Black Hammer will be when it arrives. And I hope Dept. H. does well in reorders and trades. For the record, this was Dark Horse’s fifth-highest selling comic of the month.

Glenn: I think its just Dark Horse’s position more than anything.  Given how high Lemire’s star has risen, Black Hammer could buck the trend but if they can only do these numbers with a well known creator, you have to wonder what they are planning to do to turn things around.  Even if Lemire’s book sells amazingly well, the whole company cannot float on one book.  Dark Horse has been around longer than Image, has held their own for the madness that was the 90’s.  Can they rise up like a phoenix?  It doesn’t seem likely.

Titan releases the first issue of another Doctor Who mini, this time focusing on the Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleson when the super popular sci-fi show made its return in 2005.  Given that most fans now are more familiar with Tennant, Smith and Capaldi, a lot of people have a fondness for Ecclesons tenure.  It lands with sales just over 10.5k at 183 which is decent enough for the Doctor that is often overlooked in favour of his successors.
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Ray:  Titan seems to have carved out a nice little niche for itself with tie-ins to media properties, with Doctor Who being the most successful of them. As our resident Doctor Who expert, you would know that these are pretty impressive numbers, and those Dark Souls numbers aren’t very bad either. I’m a bit surprised not to see their Independence Day series on the charts this month – probably bad timing, as it would have sold much more once the sequel is released.
Glenn:  They’re probably thinking it might be better to get the collection out in time for the movie.  I doubt many people are wanting more stories set in that world though (does I mean the movie, comic or both?  YOU DECIDE!)
Another debut from IDW in Strawberry Shortcake hits at just over 10k at 187.  Considering I’ve never heard of it and it seems to be by names I don’t recognize, that’s not too bad.  It’ll probably not last long in the top 300 though.
Ray:  Strawberry Shortcake? They’re really reviving every 80’s nostalgia property, aren’t they? These numbers are nothing special, but I assume they’re not going for the direct market here, instead marketing this in toy stores and the like.
I’m not sure if Star Wars resurgence has made everyone raid they catalog to see what else they might have that people might still be interested in but there are a lot of nostalgia books on the market currently.  Some companies like Boom are winning out on doing this while most just seem to be misfires.
Glenn:  We also have Grizzly Shark, the silly ott comic from Ryan Ottely, artist of Invincible.  It sells just over 10k at 188 as well which is what you would expect for a book that just seems to be a bit of fun for the creator.  This book sells roughly what Invincible would I think so its likely a lot of overflow here due to Ottely’s art.
Ray:  I remember when Grizzly Shark debuted, paired with Sea Bear. Those are fairly decent numbers for what is essentially a novelty comedy property, yeah. Definitely enough to keep going at Image.
Glenn:  Rough Riders from new (?) publisher Aftershock debuts at just 8k.  That’s pretty damn good for a new publisher I’ve never heard of.  I would say that most of the units can be accounted for the fact that longtime Marvel/DC workhorse, Pat Olliffe is on art.  Olliffe has never been a big draw but he’s always solid and might be enough to get people to check out this book.  The 1.99 price point probably helped it to land a spot at 203
Just below it at 204 is a new Star Trek mini bridging the gap between the previous movie and the one out in a few weeks that is definitely coming out, even if it doesn’t seem to be garnering that much buzz.  It sells just over 8.5k.  Star Trek has seemingly firmly lost in the great battle with Star Wars in terms of comics anyway.  We have the movie this year and a show coming next year but I doubt it’ll do much to draw up major interest in the franchise like the Force Awakens did for Star Wars.
Ray:  I thought Star Trek might get a boost in sales from the recent GL crossover, but it seems not, despite a new series teased in the finale of that series. It’s always been a bit more of a niche property than Star Wars.
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Glenn:  The first issue of the newest Dark Tower mini kicks off at 210 with sales just over 8k.  There was a time, many moons ago when this book was a best seller but those days are long past.  I would say the collections do decent enough business to continue the book.  I still wonder if Marvel intends on adapting all the books because, if they do then they might just run out readers before all is said and done.  The movie starring Idris Elba will help shift a few collections at least.
Ray:  I had honestly forgotten Marvel was even putting out these Dark Tower minis. They always do far, far better in collections than in singles, so I imagine the same will continue here.
Glenn:  Based off the mega difficult video game, Dark Souls 1 debuts just below that at 211 at just over 8k too.  This is a video game that it famous for not pandering to a general audience and unless it stars Batman, video game adaptions don’t tend to set the chart on fire.
Ray:  This is where we see the grimmest numbers for Marvel and DC books, with both Omega Men and Red Wolf hanging on outside the top 200 as they wrap up their runs. Of course, they sell about the same numbers, and Red Wolf is on issue #5 while Omega Men is on #11, so that’s especially grim for Marvel’s entry. And then well below it, you have Starbrand and Nightmask at #256 with 5.6K sales. The way some of these Marvel books are sinking at record speed is really shocking.
Glenn:  Those sales are crazy, have we ever seen sales that low for a Marvel book since we’ve been doing this? I’m not sure what else they could have expected though from books starring little known characters that were thrown out with a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully with rumblings of yet another relaunch (please no, please) after Civil War, Marvel will make better decisions with the characters that get assigned books.
Update:  Yes there’s another relaunch coming.  Huzzah.
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Ray:  Looks like it’s time to shake our heads at Dark Horse’s misfortune again! House of Penance, their much-hyped historical horror title by DC Comics creator Pete Tomasi was only able to muster 7.7K sales at #221. Grim. There’s not much more to say here, especially as both this and Dept. H were high-quality titles with a lot of promise.

Glenn:  Tomasi has had some high profile gigs in the recent past and is now at part of DC’s big Rebirth relaunch and its like watching a tumbleweed blow past.  Sad times.

Ray:  This is where we start to see a lot of creator-owned titles without big names attached that try to find their way in the market. At 223, we have Oni’s heart-transplant crime thriller Heartthrob, which sold 7.4K, a decent debut. Four spots lower is Boom’s much-hyped teen detective period piece Goldie Vance, which I expected a bit more out of given the previews and acclaim. This will make its money in bookstores, though. And at #235, selling just under 6.8K, we have post-apocalyptic teen adventure Joyride from Boom, which is written by part of the Batman and Robin Eternal creative team and drawn by Marcus To. Given that creative wattage, I really expected it to be higher. Boom puts out a ton of quality content, but they still have a bit of trouble getting retailers to buy in.

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Glenn:  Booms getting there slowly but surly but space in shops in precious and with so many things being thrown out from Marvel, DC and yes, even Image it does mean that some of the other publishers will suffer.  On paper, Joyride sounds like it should be doing a lot better but when retailers have a choice of selling this over a book that might be more creatively devoid but is an easy sell, they have to go with the title that has more odds of them letting them keep the lights on.  Its a sad affair and its like seeing a Michael Bay movie beat out something with a million times more quality just cause explosions.  Hopefully Boom keeps playing the long game and can hang in there, they seem to have a strong presence in the collection market which is how Image built up its current position over time.

Ray:  Dynamite’s latest attempt to make the Gold Key characters sell, Gold Key Alliance, lands with a thud at 244, with sales of 6.5K. Given that it turned out to be out of continuity with their last take on the characters a year or two back, I can’t say I’m surprised. If they want the benefits of a shared universe, they need to commit to it. Better yet, Valiant should make them an offer.

Glenn:  If you try, try again to get a property to work and it just isn’t, its not out of the question for a company to consider selling on and cutting its losses.

Ray:  Image just announced that their reboot of the Witchblade franchise, Switch, would be coming to an end in August. Given these sales of just over 6K with issue #3, I can’t say I’m surprised.

…Oh, hey, there’s a Three Stooges comic at #259. That’s interesting, and sales of just under 6K are about what I’d expect for a franchise that had its heyday seventy years ago.

 

Glenn:  They failed to move those copies, chowderhead.  I wonder if when this property was up for grabs how one could imagine making a company think they might get any sort of fanbase for it.  Next up, Laurel and Hardy!

Ray:  In the oddest crossover of the year, Dynamite has a crossover between Twilight zone and The Shadow, which sells 5.2K at #273. Dynamite’s “Something’s gotta work” strategy continues to have mixed results.

The two editions combined, the Criminal 10th anniversary magazine sells about 15K, with 10K from the regular edition and 5K from the standard edition. That’s not bad for a book that’s been gone for quite a while as the creative team worked on other properties.

 

Glenn:  Criminal’s creative team of Ed Brubacker and Sean Phillips have their own very dedicated audience.  This is a respectable number on one of their older properties in an unusual format.  I’d say that the new Image book they’re doing that was in the most recent solits will become another one of Image’s healthy performers.

Ray:  Long-time Image property Hawaiian Dick makes a comeback with a new mini, selling just over 5K at #277. These cult-favorite Image books often struggle on the charts, but I’m guessing that’s because retailers know exactly who’s buying it by now and don’t over-order.

 

Vertigo’s fast slide off the charts continues this month, with Red Thorn joining the rest in the sub-300 category, Survivor’s Club looking to join them next month, and miniseries The Dark and The Bloody getting close to the danger zone as well. Aside from Lucifer and Astro City, the line doesn’t have any properties selling over 7K anymore, as even Gail Simone and Tom King dip below that mark.
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Glenn:  You might think its the last days of Vertigo but as we discussed in our podcast, Rabbitt Stew (bong!), they’re still announcing books.  DC may have tainted Vertigo for a while with the dismissal of Shelly Bond who was one of the lines original editors.  If the Young Animal relaunch goes well, we might see what would have been Vertigo books under that banner instead.  The most basic marketing premise is if an item isn’t working, the first thing you do is change the name.  Vertigo books might find new life under a new banner.
As we reach the bottom the charts there’s one more launch from IDW in Hot Damn at 287 with sales just over 4.6k.  Looks like an oddball title from the same creative team that did another IDW creator owned booked called ‘D4ve‘ which I’ve only learned the existence of.  Not expecting to see this one next month in the top 300.
Its another pretty standard month with a few causes for celebration and much call for sadness.  Next month looks to be more of the same with nothing really major
*knock, knock*
Two seconds
*answers door*
AHHHHHHHHHHH *gets attacked by power of Rebirth and Civil War II combined*
Ray:  *quickly digs Glenn out from event comic attack*

Yeah, all in all, this coming month is not that filled with new releases – with two BIG exceptions. Clearly topping the charts will be DC Universe Rebirth #1, which is the launching point for the future of the DCU, is priced at $2.99 for 80 pages of story, and yet may be under-ordered given massive spoilers that will be widely known by the time this article goes live. Spoilers such as the return of [CENSORED], the true identity of [CENSORED], that big reveal about [CENSORED], and of course, the truth about [CENSORED CENSORED CENSORED]. I could easily see this going to 500K copies or higher. That’s really DC’s only debut of note this month, although I’d be interested to see how JL #50 and Superman #52 do, given that they lead directly into Rebirth. From the fringes of DC, we’ll also see how the first of the Hanna-Barberra titles, Future Quest and Scooby Apocalypse, fare in the direct market.

 

Nothing will compete with Rebirth, but I expect a healthy debut as well for Civil War #0, which will easily take the #2 slot. I am wondering, however, how big it will be given the very odd release style of this story. This issue takes place before the events of the Civil War FCBD issue, with Civil War II #1 officially launching the event next month, but all the issues are by the main creative team. Will retailers treat the #0 issue as the official start of the event, or will we see smaller-than expected numbers followed by a huge debut for #1?

Besides the big gun, Marvel does have a few interesting debuts this month, including a new Punisher series by Cloonan and Dillon, a Deadpool one-shot tying in to Doctor Strange, another likely doomed Squadron Supreme spin-off in Nighthawk, a new Daredevil/Punisher mini, the official return of Steve Rogers to the Captain America title, and a new Thunderbolts title that has gotten mixed reviews. We’ll see how they do, but I’m expecting mixed results. Except for Deadpool.

From indie books, there’s a few interesting launches. Brian Azzarello attempts to turn a Beer tie-in into an Image book with 3 Floyds: Alpha Kings, Simon Spurrier launches spider-themed crime comic Weavers from Boom (which is completely non-Spider-Man related), and Oni launches the only sci-fi cooking competition comic on the stands with Space Battle Lunchtime.

 

Besides DC and Marvel’s big debuts, the company that seems primed for a big month is Valiant, launching their next big event comic 4001 AD. Their last event, the Book of Death, was a huge hit, and that’s a high bar for this one to reach, but early reviews have been excellent.

That’s about it for May. The calm before the storm, when Rebirth officially hits in June and the Civil War II tie-ins start rolling out in earnest.

Glenn:  That’s a lot of censorship, here at By The Numbers we think about our readers delicate ears…I mean eyes.

Rebirth is essentially a promotion comic with a huge comic length with some of DC’s top talent all for 2.99, the numbers are going to be insane.  They may have phoned it in on FCBD but they look to be making it up in spades here.
Its going to be a crazy month but nothing compared to what we have coming up.  Lets just say, if we turned this article into a drinking game of new DC books and Civil War Tie Ins, our readers would be very drunk…more so than usual.
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See you next month!

By The Numbers: March 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He’s very excited because The Immortals are coming.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. His birthday was this month and he just wishes those damned kids would get off his lawn.

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!  The episode where we talk about this very sales charts in a little less detail is available here!

Full top 300 for March available here!

Sales
Glenn:  Its time for March madness and another sales chart!  This month may have been relatively quiet for big launches but this was the month where DC released the majority of the 50th issues of the titles that have managed to last the test of time since the launch of the new 52.  Regulars all know how the industry loves these type of things so might make things interesting.
Or will it?
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At first glance, yes as the top spot for March 2016 is the undisputed sales king, Batman 50 by Snyder and Capullo.  This marks 50 issues in a row where this title has manages sales of over 100k with this month pulling in over 163k.  It really can’t be said enough how amazing this is.  Given how fickle the market is currently, this is something we may not see ever again from any creative team and certainty not anytime soon.
This issue had a lot going for it along with its number like the return of Bruce Wayne to the title role and the end of the long running ‘Super Heavy’ story.  Still that should not take anything away from this team and what they have achieved.  The Bat line has been a big help to DC in their fight against Marvel and this book has been leading the charge the whole time.
Ray:  Yeah, this issue of Batman was essentially a perfect storm. A critically acclaimed run, a much-hyped issue that has both the significant number and a huge event in the story, and that adds up to a huge 50% sales increase. As we’ll see later, very few of the other anniversary issues had this kind of significant bump, but everything went right here. And with these numbers, I’m certain that we’ll see Snyder/Capullo stay above 100K for their final issue in April.
Glenn:  I have no doubt about that.  I’m sad to see them go (as no doubt are DC) but they deserve to go out on a high which they no doubt will.
In an astonishing turn of events, the first issue of Boom’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers takes the second spot with sales of over 119.5k  This is Boom’s highest launch ever in the market and its just floored me how well its done.  I had thought that the peak of the Power Rangers popularity was long gone and at best, this book would launch around 40-50k or so.  It seems that 90’s nostalgia is alive and well.  Could retailers have been overeager on their orders?  Perhaps but I don’t think this is the product of guess work.  Its a big cause for celebration at Boom and I’ll be interested to see how many of these sales they can hang onto.
Ray:  The massive success of Power Rangers is a bit of a puzzle, but we’ve seen 90’s nostalgia come back in big form lately. Power Rangers has been a concept that has been extremely durable – it’s still on the air in some form, although it bears virtually no resemblance to the original “Ordinary kids become superheroes” show and now tends to hop genre quite regularly. This back-to-basics series featuring the original cast may have been exactly what fans wanted, and bodes well for the movie next year. I do think a host of variant covers certainly helped here, but this is clearly Boom’s first major hit.
Glenn:  Number 3 on the other hand is no surprise with the 17th issue of Star Wars with sales of over 107k.  Its Star Wars, it sells and as usual is on a very slow downward trend.  The book probably has another 8-10 months of slow sliding to do before Marvel probably has to give it any attention to get interest beefed up again and by that point, Rogue One will be out so they’ll have their job done for them.  At this point, these comics is almost literally like printing money.
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Ray:  Star Wars…what more can be said? Three in the top ten, easily the most durable franchise currently across multiple books. With Poe Dameron coming out in April, it’s likely that from here on out, Marvel will have three or four Star Wars books in the top ten each month – which may be enough to make up a plurality of the top ten books! This is easily the biggest bright spot that’s going to keep them in the #1 slot despite all the other problems they’re having.
Glenn:  The 50th issue of Superman gets the number 4 spot with sales over 91k.  This is the highest we’ve Superman chart since the launch of the new 52 and its surprising, even with the big anniversary issue number on the surface.  The response to the direction of Superman following the launch of the new 52 has been lukewarm at best and as a result, the sales on Action and this title have been lacking.  However this issue sees the meet up between new 52 Superman and the version of the character from the previous universe starring in critical favorite, Lois and Clark.  It also is the first issue written by Peter Tomasi who has been cutting his teeth on the Bat line for a while and is due to be taking over this title following Rebirth.  All this equates to a top ten number it seems!
Ray: This Superman #50 was hyped as the first meeting between the pre-Flashpoint Superman and the current Superman, but that was actually pushed back a month, leaving this as the conclusion to the “Truth” storyline that saw Superman depowered and exposed. That storyline wasn’t received particularly well, so I have a feeling those additional orders may have left a lot of unsatisfied customers. This is a huge jump, and the fact that it’s mainly based on faulty solicits is iffy.
Glenn:  I wasn’t aware about the solits snaffu here.  I wonder if as a result, DC  made any gesture to retailers such as returnability but I would doubt it.
Amazing Spider-Man sees a sharp uptake in sales up over 88k which is enough to land it at number 5.  Its the start of a new storyline but apart from that, I don’t see any major reason why the sales have gone up by 10k or so since last month.  Perhaps the audience that seemed to drop out after the end of the last volume are coming back?  Next month should tell us if this is just a fluke or if the title is on an upward trend.  Either way, the title continues to be Marvel’s most solid performer in its super hero line and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
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Ray:  I was a bit surprised at how well ASM did this month. There’s always the question of variants to account for, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is ticking up again. ASM was incredibly steady in its last run, and it seems odd that it would just shed those 15K readers with no explanation. Time will tell.
Glenn:  I don’t recall any special variant for this issue because that was my first thought too.  Next month will provide a clearer picture either way.
Force choking his way to two spots in a row, Darth Vader issues 17 and 18 land at 6 and 7 respectfully giving sales of over 80k and 77.9k respectfully.  See the comments for Star Wars but give it 5-7 months instead at which time…you guessed it, Rogue One and a Death Star related story to boost sales!
Number 8 is Deadpool with sales of over 72k as he continues to solidly establish himself as Marvel’s go to guy behind Spider-Man.  With continued mini’s being released and a second ongoing now being announced, it seems that for the moment anyway, the market can’t get enough Deadpool.
Now we get to a Marvel launch at number 9 which is International Iron Man with sales over 70.8 k.  Its an alright debut for a second Iron Man book everyone seems to be puzzled is a thing but I would speculate that Marvel can’t be thrilled with the number.  The issue features the reteaming of writer Brian Bendis with his former Daredevil partner Alex Maleev which I would have thought would have gathered a few more buys.  Taking into account that Invincible’s ANAD issue 1 had sales of over 200k on its launch and this one has to sting a bit.  I don’t see this title lasting long and joining the likes of this duo’s Spider-Woman and Moon Knight as ‘planned’ brief runs.
Ray:  Yeah, I won’t mince words – 70K for the first issue of a Bendis-written Iron Man spinoff book is not good. At all. It feels very much like the market saying “Thanks but no thanks, one is enough, especially at $3.99 and often biweekly”. So yeah, I see this falling quickly and going the way of Mighty Avengers, another Bendis spin-off book to a franchise that was already covered really well.
Glenn:  Finally in the top ten is the start of the mini event, Avengers Standoff which has sales of 68k.  A top ten launch is a top ten launch but you would have thought that the latest, heavily promoted Avenger’s mini event would have gotten more eyes than this.  This kind of shows to me that the Avenger’s day as one of Marvel’s top franchises is done for the time being.  It probably doesn’t help that this book is launching only shortly before the launch of Civil War 2 which may be taking most of its spotlight but considering they couldn’t even crack 70k at issue 1, I don’t like the chances of this story when things wrap up.
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Ray:   Standoff ticked up a decent bit from its prelude issue, but not all that much. Just over 68K for a big Avengers crossover is pretty weak, and I think the fact that this is essentially a glorified prequel for CW2 really hurt it right out of the gate. In the end, though, it’s just a two-month crossover for a flagging line of books, so I imagine Marvel can’t be too disappointed with these sales.
Glenn:  On a side note, this is another month where the top ten is entirely full of books ranging in price from 3.99 to 5.99.  People say they want cheaper comics but still, they’re being ordered in vast quantities.  Its going to be very interesting how the top ten fares when DC launches their Rebirth books which will all be priced at 2.99 initially.

 

Ray:  I’ll be really interested to see how DC’s most popular books start doing when they’re $2.99. While Batman loses Snyder and Capullo, the book’s going down to $2.99 with King and Finch, so if it shows some real sales legs, we might see DC’s experiment being a success.

Heading out of the top ten, we see a couple of the month’s notable launches. Black Widow by Waid/Samnee launches at #15 with 62K sales, a pretty strong number. I might have expected a bit more given the creative team’s hype from Daredevil, but Daredevil never sold all that high either. Word of mouth will determine legs here.

Glenn:  Black Widow will be a curious one.  Marvel is giving it a good launch pad with this creative team but I would have thought it would have opened a bit higher.  It doesn’t have much room to fall but it could be a book that finds it level quickly which is becoming increasingly rare.  It all depends what Marvel expects out of it of course.

Ray:  I was surprised to see the out-of-continuity Secret Wars spin-off X-Men ’92 do so well, landing at #18 with 58K sales. The original miniseries had a lot of controversy and was not all that well-received, so I’m not thinking the legs here will be all that great, but a strong start.

Glenn:  This is 90’s nostalgia at work again.  May have gotten some orders depending on people who were even fans of just the cartoon.  On the Stew, I asked if when you opened the comic it played the cartoon’s theme.  I bet it would have been the top telling comic ever if it had.  In all seriousness though, this is another one that is going to have to find its level fast to justify it sticking around.

Ray:  Both Extraordinary X-Men (Apocalypse Wars) and Sam Wilson: Captain America (anniversary issue, Standoff tie-in, bonus stories by top creators) both got sizable bumps into the top 20 this month. Extraordinary has been hanging around the top tier of Marvel ongoings, so that’s not a surprise, but I’m expecting Cap to sink back down to its previous levels once the event is over.

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Glenn:  Well, Cap will then be going into Civil War so that will help it for a while.  In the past there have been some Marvel c-lister books that existed in near permanent crossover mode to survive, it would be odd to have Captain America become one of those.

Ray:  This is where we start seeing some books hanging on pretty well. With its third issue landing at #17, I think we can safely call All-New Logan a genuine hit book now, and the odds of original Logan coming back shrink as this title continues to find its footing. Meanwhile, it’s still too early to say for Spider-Man, which holds well at #16 this month, but that second issue drop was less steep than I expected.

Glenn:  This direction with Wolverine is definitely catching on.  I wouldn’t expect to see the classic character return until Lemire wants him to or his run is over.  Either way, the book is another solid performer from the new line that really needs them.

Ray:  Detective Comics got a fairly sizable bump for its #50 issue, landing at #24 with over 50K sales. There was a special art jam backup featuring a dozen of Batman’s most iconic artists, so that helped this issue stand out.

Harley seems to have gotten a decent bump this month for #26, even though it wasn’t a special issue of any kind. It’s back up over 50K, which probably explains why we’re getting a special and a new miniseries for her in April!

This is where we see all the top-tier Marvel books that have found their level for now. Thor, Doctor Strange, Avengers, Invincible Iron Man, Guardians, Uncanny X-Men and Uncanny Avengers, Spider-Gwen, Daredevil, and All-New Wolverine all seem very healthy, such as healthy is today.

Glenn:  The books you all mentioned are selling in the mid 40k range.  You’re right, in todays market that’s a steady seller (which is somewhat unsettling).  It’ll be interesting if Rebirth will redefine what a steady number is and how these books you mentioned will compare then.

I do see Power Man and Iron Fist’s second issue perform really well at 41 with sales of just over 41k.  Not too bad a drop from their top ten debut last month and a really good number historically for what is again, essentially a Heroes For Hire book.  If this book can stay at this level (probably has room to fall another 6k or so to still be considered a solid performer) then its a rare win for the ANAD relaunch!

Ray:  Yeah, I think Power Man and Iron Fist is turning into a low-key sleeper hit for Marvel, mainly thanks to good word of mouth and advanced hype for these guys’ Netflix series. The series is probably going to settle around the low 30K/high 20K range, which is enough to qualify it as a hit for Marvel at this point. Which is neither here nor there, but it means a good book is finding an audience!

And then in the realm of less healthy Marvel books, we see one of their lower debuts this month, Mockingbird #1 at 39, selling just over 42K. Sure, it could be a lot worse (more on THAT later), but these are the kind of debut numbers that lead to numbers under 20K by the end of the first arc, and those books rarely see 12. Marvel was surely hoping for more when it came to a book starring a popular character from Agents of SHIELD, but this is what you get when you launch 70 new series in a matter of months at $3.99.

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Glenn:  With Mockingbird being featured rather heavily in Amazing, they were likely looking for that to help too.  Its another puzzling launch that no one was really asking for and another one of Marvels now trademark ‘lets just throw it and see if it sticks’ strategies that they’ve been implementing since they had a surprise hit with Fraction’s Hawkeye.  A Civil War tie in might give the book a bit of borrowed time but otherwise, it won’t be long for this world.

Ray:  Action Comics, Wonder Woman, and Detective are all clustered around the same spot in the charts, just above #50, and all of them seem to have gotten bumps of approximately 5K or so from their usual numbers. DC had to have been expecting more, but it’s worth noting that all three of these issues were just mid-arc stories, with nothing to pull in casual readers.

Glenn:  DC probably were expecting more but yeah, the other books that did better had either major things going on (or at least said they did) or was the start of an end of a story.  Its kind of awkward timing in a way since most people will be ending their stories 2 issues later for Rebirth to come along.  It may mean that people treat the 52nd issue with more regard than the usual 50th, we’ll find that out for sure in a few months.

Ray:  Batman and Robin Eternal wraps up, with all five issues in a row from 47 to 52, all selling in the range of 35K. Not a bad performance from a book shipping 4-5 times a month, and I think a lot of these fans will be migrating to Detective Comics come Rebirth, which looks like a direct continuation. This was definitely a win for DC, even if it didn’t reach the numbers of the first volume.

Glenn:  Erosion is going to set in, no matter what but its fantastic sales for a weekly book to finish out on.  I think DC got out of it a solid performance and going to the well the third time would have been pushing their luck.  They’ll be able to get a lot of story elements out of Eternal and of course, the trades will be healthy sellers for DC’s back catalog for years to come.

A launch of a new Marvel miniseries ‘The Infinity Entity‘ (which I had to google, shame on me) starts off at 33k at 54.  Its an okay number for this type of thing which gears towards the old school type of cosmic stories they used to sell.  Of course, back in the day the Guardians monthly would sell around this number (maybe a bit less) and this is just the start so the rest of the mini’s sales will probably be minimal.  This seems to be aimed towards fans of old school Marvel cosmic and for getting trades on shelves in plenty of time for Infinity War.
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Ray:  The Infinity Entity is apparently part 20 or so of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock/Thanos epic that has been going back and forth between miniseries and OGNs on the fringes of Marvel for the last decade or so. It’s an odd project that really only appeals to hard-core old-school fans, so this number is pretty decent. Starlin still has a bit of pull, although I’m sure Thanos fever thanks to the Avengers movies helped a lot too!
Glenn:  You say part 20 and some might think you jest but considering he’s been telling stories starring these characters since the 80’s, you might not be far off!
The next new Marvel launch is Hyperion with sales over 31.8k at 61.  Not sure what Marvel was expecting given that the Squadron Supreme book hasn’t exactly been a huge hit (it has sales of over 22k at 87 this month) so its not the healthiest book to launch a spin off from.  Hyperion had a role in Hickman’s Avengers so that was likely the logic here for the green light but this is another one of the 12 issue club most likely come to the end.
Ray:  Honestly, a debut at #71 makes the 12-issue club almost feel generous for Hyperion. If it doesn’t stabilize and very fast, it could be a member of the 6-and-done club like Black Knight, Howling Commandos, or Hercules. And it makes me wonder if we’ll see any better numbers for Nighthawk. David Walker is developing a reputation as a strong writer, but the Squadron is just not a title that can handle spinoffs. It’s not a title that can really sustain a single title with strong numbers, as we see by the main series at #87 with just over 22K. The extended roll-out of Squadron almost reminds me of the Red Circle spin-offs from DC years back.
Glenn:  Nighthawk might have a little more legs since he’s essentially Batman but won’t be a permanent fixture considering another Batman-like character in Midnighter wasn’t able to grab the markets attention, despite some heavy praise.  The supreme verse has been twisting in the wind since the abrupt stop of Supreme Power, it might be time to give them a Thor/Fantastic Four style rest.
Showing that their fetish for number one’s is not deterred, Marvel also launches another Spider-Man mini, this time with Silk in tow with Amazing Spider-Man and Silk: Spiderfly Effect launching at over 30.8k at 63.  I had thought that the ‘point’ mini’s had been doing well based on the Amazing Spider-Man branding but that hasn’t really been the case here.  The Spider-Man line has been Marvel’s MVP (as well as Star Wars) for a while now and this launch isn’t that great compared to what else the line is managing to hold up.  Its just a mini of course but considering the branding, where the Spider-Man line is and that this spins out of a story from the main book that Marvel probably expected, at worst 10k or so more.
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Ray:  Yeah, I’m a bit surprised by the numbers on this Spider-Man/Silk mini. It’s by the regular writer of Silk, and it’s a fun story with a robot dinosaur and Todd Nauck art. The $4.99 price tag may have turned people off a bit, and maybe this would have been better off as an arc in the main title. Silk is struggling a bit in sales in general, so another spin-off may not have been the best decision right now.
Glenn: Agreed, they maybe again thought the Amazing Spider-Man tag might get interest but I guess a brand’s strength only goes so far.  Great to see Todd Nuack getting work though.
What’s next?  You guessed it, its another Marvel launch with another comic telling a tale based off a Disney ride in Haunted Mansion.  The comic featuring the classic ride launches at 66(6?) with sales over 28.7k.  That’s not too bad a performance for this type of thing which is no doubt going to have a long life of sales in collected form in the gift shop of the ride as Disney.  I think other similar books such as Figment and Thunder Mountain performed about the same in monthly form so this is pretty standard.
Ray:  This is actually a much better performance than things like Figment or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad did, probably because of a more recognizable property and Josh Williamson returning to his old “haunting” grounds of ghost stories. It was a great first issue, and I have a feeling this one’s going to be a bit of a sleeper hit in both singles and trades. This is the first Disney-themed book to really show any sales strength for Marvel.
Glenn:  Valiant still manages to able to launch books at a relatively healthy level with their latest A & A starting at 73 with sales over 27k.  Not too bad a launch as Valiant adds more and more books to its catalog.  They have some sleeper hits in their range and have just announced that their comic ‘Faith‘ will now be an ongoing.  Its a hard market for everyone at the moment but Valiant seem to be carving themselves a nice little corner.  A few books that perform steadily will all they need to be able to build a solid foundation on.  If they can ride the rough waters, who knows where they might be in a few years.
Ray:  Yeah, Valiant is slowly but surely creeping up on the charts. Their last few launches have been stronger, and Archer and Armstrong is a fan favorite that people have wanted back for a while. They do a lot of relaunches, almost as often as Marvel, so that gooses things a bit, but they’re getting a reputation for some quality books.
Glenn:  The Neil Adams Superman vehicle, Coming Of The Supermen second issue delivers over 27k also at 74.  This is kind of what I expected given the first issue sales.  Again, you would expect more on paper from a book starring one of DC’s most iconic heroes drawn by an industry legend but this is a comic that doesn’t really have much to do with the main DC direction and the Superman line, as discussed hasn’t been the healthiest the last few years.  Unlike Spider-Man, DC can’t get away with random Superman mini’s and expect them to deliver decently at the moment.  This one might do well in collected form or might just become a forgotten side note.
Ray:  Coming of the Superman is…a strange book, to say the least. Neal Adams still has some sales pull, but after the strangeness of Batman: Odyssey, I have a feeling that most people are buying this out of either loyalty or trainwreck fascination. It has its audience, but it’s a bit of a niche product at this point.
Glenn:  Yeah that’s true (re: Coming Of The Supermen) but it might serve well in the old collection archives for a bit.
It’s Image’s turn for a new launch now with Discipline landing at 97, just making it in the top 100 with sales of over 20k.  We’ll talk in a short bit how those sales now warrant a top 100 number but I would have thought this book could have done a little better.  Writer, Peter Milligan has a decent audience and the book received a lot of press.  I’m wondering if it was maybe a little under ordered, this seems unusually low for an Image launch with a verly well known writer attached.
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Ray:  Peter Milligan’s always been a bit of an acquired taste, telling challenging, often mature-readers stories that are not to everyone’s taste. This book is…definitely one of those, a strange sexual horror story. It was originally a Vertigo book that disappeared from their schedule and came back at Image. Given that, I think these numbers are about as good as could have been expected. Whether it continues that way, we’ll see, but these numbers aren’t unusually low for Image.
 
Glenn:  I just thought given this books publicity it could mav achieved more.  If this lands around this then it’ll be fine but then again, I suppose mature readers books are starting out with a handicap already.
Then we drop out of the top 100 with the 100th book being Image’s Huck selling just over 19.9k.  Ray do you want to prepare the panic room or should I?
Ray:  Oh, lord. Batten down the hatches. We’ve talked a lot about how Marvel’s sales are down, DC’s sales are down, but this is the first really scary indication we’ve seen of how the entire industry is struggling. For less than 100 books to sell over the all-important 20K line is disturbing. Of course, this is much more of an indication that DC and Marvel are struggling, because the number of non-big-two books that sell above 20K regularly is slim, but the industry is contracting, at least in the direct market. That affects everyone. It’s a huge irony that we’re seeing comics take over pop culture at the same time that the industry itself is cratering.
Glenn:  We’ll probably see a brief injection of life in the charts once Rebirth starts but how lasting that will be outside of the top books remains to be seen.  This is something you pointed out before we properly started and it unsettled me greatly.  If the comic market was someone in hospital and we were doctors, we probably wouldn’t be giving our patient the best odds at recovery.

Ray:  As DC marches towards Rebirth, they drop a major bomb out of the top 100 with Legends of Tomorrow #1. This book may have the branding of the TV show, but audiences weren’t fooled – this is actually an anthology repurposed from four cancelled miniseries starring Firestorm, Metamorpho, Metal Men, and Sugar and Spike. Audiences treated it with all the enthusiasm of Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, landing it at 105 with sales of around 18K.

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Glenn:  The logic behind the Legends comic is somewhat baffling.  Would it have been so much of a hassle to have a similar idea but with…you know the actual cast of the show?  I doubt it would have made TOO much of a difference but it couldn’t have been much worse.  When you see books like this being green lit, you have to wonder if there’s something else perhaps in DC office’s water cooler.

Ray:  We’re seeing a ton of Marvel books drop below the 20K range now, but it’s sad to see Vision wind up at #106, given how unique and acclaimed it is. Now that we know it’s a twelve-part series as King heads off to DC land, maybe more people are waiting for the trade.

 

Glenn:  Given the acclaim its receiving, it could be a steady collection seller for years to come, especially if King goes on to become a superstar at DC which seems to be very much on the cards.  At the moment, Marvel is keeping mum about continuing the series after King leaves but I don’t see that being a likelihood.

Ray:  Catwoman’s big anniversary issue, despite sales boosts for all the other anniversaries, lands way down at 134 with sales of just over 14K. Given that, I suppose it’s not a surprise that this book isn’t going to be continuing in Rebirth. Green Arrow and Aquaman got minor boosts, but they were still doing much better than this.

 

Glenn:  We’ve had a Catwoman ongoing pretty steadily now for 16 years so for it to survive this long and be one of the few New 52 books is saying something.  However, the direction that the character has been taken in on her book has been pretty lack luster the last few years.  The book has had some solid runs, even in its recent past but its also had more than its fair share of stinkers.  Selena will find a place somewhere after Rebirth, even if its a return to an occasional supporting character in one of the Bat books but after 16 years, it seems that the audience is ready for a break from her own tales (no pun intended).

Ray:  Mark Millar’s usually good for some pretty strong sales overall, so I’m suprised by just how hard Jupiter’s Circle has fallen from the main Jupiter’s Legacy mini. Only 13K in sales this month. The massive gaps between issues of the main mini – which seems to be relaunching in a few months with a new artist – probably didn’t help at all.

Glenn:  I might be remembering wrong but I think in solicits, I did see Quitely returning to the book so that will undoubtedly help.  Saying that, Millar’s comics seem to be more ‘crowd pleasers’ than this one.  As I understand it, this is more of an intellectual work that may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Given how many hits he has had with his creator owned works, everyone is allowed one that maybe doesn’t perform as well.  He’ll no doubt be recovering swiftly with Empress and his book with Capullo.
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Ray:  As we head past the 150 mark, it’s just a cavalcade of cancelled and soon-to-be cancelled Marvel and DC books. Drax, Hercules, Illuminati, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, JL3K, etc. Both DC You and All-New All-Different Marvel Now have basically been a graveyard for oddball books, regardless of quality. Even Gotham Academy – a critically acclaimed fan-favorite – is lurking around this range, although hopefully the Rebirth relaunch will turn things around for this book a bit. And trade sales might help it as well.

Vampirella is the third female pulp hero to relaunch from Dynamite, with sales of 12K at 154. Higher than Dejah Thoris last month, lower than Red Sonja. About what I expected, and a middle-of-the-road debut for Dynamite.

Glenn:  Same here.  Vampirella has a bit more of a name recognition factor than Dejah but not nearly as much as Sonja so what you said makes perfect sense.  I’m sure Dynamite wasn’t expecting much more out of the buxom vamp.

Ray:  Two new all-ages books debut in this range as well – Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems from Boom, spinning off from the popular cartoon, and a Disney Princess cartoon book from little-known Joe Comics. Neither of these are really targeting the direct market, but these still aren’t bad numbers for this type of book.

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Glenn:  Always nice to see some kid friendly books chart, there aren’t enough in todays Market.  It seems that Boom is thinking of building the next generation of fans which will pay off for them mostly outside the direct market.  I see a lot of demand on social media for books like these but little that fit the bill from Marvel, DC or even Image.  Even if we don’t see much benefit in these charts, Boom could be setting them a solid base elsewhere.  Given the state of the market, that may not be the worst idea.

Ray:  Hey, there’s Independence Day from Titan Comics, showing up at 174 with just under 10K sales. About what I’d expect from a spin-off to a 20-year-old movie trying to make a comeback, but I’m still happy to see this back! *pours one out for Randy Quaid, America’s greatest hero*
Glenn:  I would have thought it would be smarter to wait until the launch of the movie to debut this title but what do I know?  I guess nostalgia for this property isn’t as strong as Power Rangers or Back To The Future.  Titan are now the kings of media tie ins and some will perform solidly and some won’t.  This definitely seems to be in the latter category.
 Just below Independence day is Red Wolf at 175 with sales just over 9.9k.  This is one Marvel will be no doubt looking to forget rather swiftly.
Ray:  Yeah, Red Wolf is just a complete disaster and will be going away fairly quickly. A definite bad result for a character Marvel seemed to be hyping a lot coming into ANAD. The 10K mark is pretty much the mark of “no hope” when it comes to big two books. Of course, at least it can say it’s not Starbrand/Nightmask, which landed at 223 with sales of 6.6K this month. And this is only issue #4. It’s solicited through #7, I believe, and there’s a chance that it could actually fall out of the top 300 by the end of that. A main-line Marvel book.
Glenn:  When we did our sales predictions on this line a while back (man where we optimistic in terms of numbers but dead on in terms of landings), we both were like ‘but…why?’ with Red Wolf and Starbrand/Nightmask.  It seems we weren’t the only ones.
There are a few deviations one shots from IDW featuring some of their books including Transformers, Ghostbusters, X-Files, GI Joe and TNMT.  They range from 180 with Transformers at just over 9k to GI Joe at 202 with sales of over 7.8k.  A quick Google tells me this was a 5 week event that was essentially a series of What If’s from the company.  Universal branding has something that the market has leaned heavy on to sell books for over three decades now in order to get audiences to try books the companies want to give the impression that are all connected.  With the lackluster performance of ANAD and attempts like this, it no longer seems to be a guarantee of success.  Attempts like the upcoming Rebirth and Civil War will no doubt be a different story but after years and years and years of things like this, it seems that perhaps the audience is getting more selective of buying in to it, especially if its a smaller audience to start with.  That being said, that Ghostbusters issue looks awesome.
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Ray:  TMNT Deviations seems to be far ahead of the rest of the pack, landing at 136, with sales 4K ahead of the next on the list, Transformers. Probably speaks to the strength of the books on average for IDW, as the Turtles seem to be having a bit of a moment. I think they’re probably pretty happy overall with the sales of these one-shots, so we may see a second wave down the line.
Glenn:  The next new launch this month is Army Of Darkness: Furious Road which I’m going to assume is some sort of Evil Dead/Mad Max crossover because…80’s?  Both the franchises have received a resurgence in popularity due to the TV show and the success of Fury Road last year but it doesn’t seem to be pulling people into comic stores to try out this book.  It launches at 185 with sales of over 8.6k.
Just below that is another sub standard number for a Vertigo launch from DC in Suiciders: King Of Hell which charts at 186 with sales of 8.5k.  I think saying anything else about what Vertigo has been managing to put out in terms of sales would be just cruel at this point.  With the announcement of the Young Animal line which seems to be very reminiscent of the early (much more succesful) Vertigo days I wonder if this is perhaps the end of an imprint that has lasted more than 30 years at DC outside of a healthy back catalog.
Ray:  Suiciders lost Lee Bermejo on art on this second volume, although he remains on writing. His status as writer/artist and his gorgeous art was a big selling point for the first volume, and from reading the first issue this seems to have a very different cast and plot, making it feel more like a spin-off than a continuation of the first volume. That probably contributed a good deal to the drop in sales. Vertigo will likely stick around with a select few books, but this 12-book roll-out that they just delivered isn’t going to happen again. A full three of the new Vertigo titles (Slash and Burn, New Romancer, Last Gang in Town) are all out of the top 300 already, with Red Thorn likely to join them next month. Ouch.
Glenn:  Its sad to see Vertigo go this way, they are putting out some very good books but no one seems particularly bothered.
(Note:  This was written prior to the dismissal of Shelly Bond.  We’re currently starting a pool of how long Vertigo will now last.  Get your guesses in now.)
Angel and Faith ends its current run at 187 with sales of 8.5k.   The time of the Buffyverse performing top ten or twenty or 100 sales are long gone now as only the die hard fans remain.  The next relaunch will no doubt grab a boost in sales but short of the return of Joss Whedon on a regular basis the days this franchise is a steady performer from the fledgling Dark Horse seems to be done.
Ray:   The heyday of the Buffy franchise is certainly over, but at the same time – it’s the fifth-highest selling Dark Horse book this month! The top four are a limited series by an a-list novelist, a first issue of a Predator miniseries, the main Hellboy/BPRD series, and the other Buffy book. So I think these numbers are more a demonstration of just how grim things have gotten for Dark Horse. Buffy is still definitely one of their anchors and they’ll keep it going as long as the creators want it – they’ve got very little else.
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Glenn:  Yeah, Dark Horse needs to clutch close to them anything that still gives them somewhat of a presence.  This year marks their 30th anniversary but sadly, they don’t have much to celebrate.  What is the answer for them to last another 30 years…or even 10?  Its hard to say.
Next launch is a book you talked about on the comics countdown, Another Castle from Oni which sells just over 8.3k at 191.  That’s pretty much a standard launch for Oni for a book that has a really interesting sounding concept.  Given their place in the market and their current output, I’d say they were pleased with that.
Another new launch from Image this month is Circuit Breaker which charts at 192 with sales of over 8,3k.  This seems to be another kid friendly title that seems to be more orientated towards the female market.  Bit of a surprising number considering how well known the artist of the series, Kyle Baker is.
Ray:  Looking at Another Castle and Circuit Breaker together, I’m kind of startled by who won this battle. Another Castle is a fantasy book with no name creators attached, published by Oni, which rarely has strong placings on the chart. Circuit Breaker has Kyle Baker art and was heavily promoted by Image Comics. The fact that Another Castle debuted higher is really impressive, and an Image book with a name-creator attached barely making the top 200 is startling. A lot of reviews said Circuit Breaker was very derivative, so I’m wondering if bad buzz spread and dropped the numbers.

 

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Glenn:  When you look at it that way, you’re right.  Both are aimed at the same audience and Oni managed to out do Image on this one.  I think from premise alone, Another Castle has more legs in it too.  This could be the next franchise to really hit it off in other media.

Ray:  There were a couple of licensed minis like Mars Attacks: Occupation from IDW and Tarzan spin-off Lords of the Jungle from Dynamite that delivered predictably low numbers in the 6K range. No big surprise from these two companies, which struggle outside of a select few properties.

Glenn:  With the movie coming, I would have thought there might have been more interest in Tarzan but this is of course, a franchise that’s been done to death.  These are pretty standard numbers from these kind of tie ins from the smaller companies these days.  These numbers do however, really do underline how spectacular Power Rangers did for Boom this month though.

Ray:  I was puzzled by exactly what “Irwin Allen: Lost in Space” from American Gothic Press is, landing at #229, and it seems it’s the adaptation of the lost episodes of Lost in Space from the ’60s. Oldest-skewing comic of the month?

There’s a really low Image debut this month, Power Lines by Jimmie Robinson. at 242 with just under 6K. This was a challenging book about race issues and superpowers, and one of my favorite #1s last month. Robinson’s been working for Image for a while, with great books like Bomb Queen and Five Weapons, but he’s never quite gotten any sales traction. These numbers are sort of depressing, but I hope it finds an audience at some point.

Glenn:  We were both big fans of Five Weapons and Robinson is a talented writer/artist who for some reason doesn’t grab much of an audience.  Most of his books have been released through Image’s ‘Shadowline’ imprint so I’m not sure if expectations are lower there or how this might do in trade.  Given how successful similar sounding books like Black were on Kickstarter (raising over 90k!!!!) maybe Robinson would be better taking his projects that way?  Creators like Sean Murphy and Gail Simone have had very successful runs with their Kickstarter books so Robinson could find it more worth his time to go down that route.

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Ray:  As we reach the bottom of the charts, this is where we see some of those creator-owned series that arrived with no name creators, no built-in fanbase, and little promotion. Boom’s post-alien invasion cop drama Turncoat at #250 and Dark Horse’s fantasy Shadow Glass at #277. There’s always some comics like this that just slip through the cracks, and there might even be a few under the 300 mark that we don’t see.

Glenn:  Making into the top 300 with all the disadvantages you mention is probably a big deal for these creators.  If I saw any of my books at 300 I’d probably be running through the streets shouting at everyone who would listen until they dragged me away.  How long each of these books last will likely be down to the creators but if you were one of the few that picked them up and you want to keep having the book, share the word about it.  Even one more person reading who then spreads it on to more people could make all the difference.

Ray:  I’m amused that two issues of something called “Zombie Tramp” made the chart this month, somehow.

Glenn:  Guess zombies are still an easy sell.  Given the title there, I can only imagine what the book is about so whoever is behind this is probably thrilled.  It also seems to be that their book has now hit the 20’s, who knew?!

They both outsold a Marvel book with Ultimate Spider-Man: Contest Of Champions which starts off at 258 with sales of over 5.4k.  Its a media tie in, true but its a Spider-Man one so you knew…oh dear.  No doubt it’ll be something that kids will go bananas for outside the direct market…I can only assume?
Ray:  Yeah, the Marvel animated tie-ins never do any real sales in the direct market. This comic is actually an adaptation of a TV episode, so no surprise. Still, Spider-Man being outsold by Zombie Tramp is…surprising.
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Glenn:  Speaking of poor Dark Horse, there’s a new debut from them, Shadow Glass landing at 277 with sales of over 4.9k.  I don’t recognize the name but the Dark Horse branding used to mean so much more than this in the market.  I don’t mean to rag on Dark Horse every month, I’m more concerned than anything.  I love the industry and I love comics, seeing one of the oldest comic companies in the world struggle so significantly I just find unsettling.
I spot Wyonna Earp just below it at 278 with sales of 4.8k.  I’d never heard of this book until I heard of the TV show that is coming.  The TV show might help the book a little but the creators are probably jumping up and down that their book got an adaption so fast.  If the show is a hit then they just might end of up doing the comic on the side for fun.
I see a comic called Evil Dead 2: Revenge Of Hitler at 290 with sales of 4.5 and I wonder if maybe if I could afford to get into diamond some of my books might have a chance after all.  No offence to the creators of the book of course, all credit in the world to them for getting a book that has Hitler’s name in the title to chart in 2016.
I think Hitler is a good note to end this month on, I can’t wait to have to highlight that name because yes, technically he is a comic book character.  All in all there’s some cause for celebration in the top 50 and then it gets pretty grim, pretty quickly.  I’m expecting this is just the world we’ll be living in until Rebirth and later on, Civil War starts.  Whether those will cause a genuine long term resurgence or just be another plaster with a smiley face on it over a large wound that is gushing blood remains to be seen.

Ray:  April isn’t the busiest month, but there’s still quite a few notable debuts, especially from Marvel. The top two books of the month are likely to be Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther, which sold over 300K, and Star Wars: Poe Dameron, which broke 200K. Beyond that, there’s the launch of Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight, the launch of the Spider-Women event, and Millar and Immonen’s new creator-owned comic Empress. And then there’s Gwenpool #1. That’s a thing.

DC’s got a pretty quiet month, keeping time till Rebirth. There’s a Justice League special, a very significant Superman crossover, and two new Harley Quinn comics, a miniseries focusing on the Gang of Harleys and a one-shot by the Rebirth creative team. There’s also the revival of Bloodlines, the ’90s alien horror comic. That’s likely a strong contender for Doomed/Klarion numbers.

Image has a few new launches too, but it’s kind of a laid-back month for them too. Brian Wood is back to Vikings with Black Road, and Criminal is back with a one-shot magazine. I’m more excited about some of the launches from other companies, including haunted house horror comic House of Penance from Dark Horse, which is also giving us Matt Kindt’s new sci-fi adventure Dept. H. Then there’s teen sleuth adventure Goldie Vance from Boom, and futuristic sci-fi adventure comic Joyride. These are all books with a good amount of advance buzz, which could surprise us on the charts next month.

Until next month, then! The calm before the storm, when Rebirth and Civil War start coming down the pipe.

By The Numbers: January 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He likes to remind most people in America that the UK got Deadpool early so he got to see it before most of them, even though numbers indicate that since the majority of people also went to see it soon after, it isn’t that important.

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s still wondering what Rebirth is and if DC can figure it out themselves while we’re all still young(ish).

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!

Full top 300 for January available here!

Hey everyone and welcome to another edition of by the numbers by your favourite comic sales trackers on the internet.
This month we’re covering January 2016, the first sales charts of the years. Will they be an indication of the year to come? Time will tell!

Note: It seems that DC comics is planning something big which may or may not be a reboot/relaunch of their titles in the coming months. Whether a title is doing well or not well may be therefore unimportant. We’re going to treat the sales figures as face value because if nothing else it’ll be interesting to see a before and after picture following whatever DC is pulling out of the hat.

walking-dead-150-coverWithout further ado…

Sales

Glenn: So myself and Ray speculated what may be the top book this month. A safe bet would have been either the final issue of the major crossover mini, Secret Wars or the first issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool and maybe even Uncanny X-Men having an outside chance. While all those titles did chart in the top ten, they were all defeated in the first month by the dark horse title that we did think might have a chance in issue 150 of Walking Dead.

Selling over 156k its not quite the massive juggernaut the the 100th issue was but its still an impressive achievement for what is quite possibly the most successful indie title the industry has ever seen. Proving that people aren’t afraid of triple digit issue numbers, Walking Dead continues to be a title that always delivers. The impact that Robert Kirkman’s black and white powerhouse book has had in on the industry over the last decade or so cannot be overstated. Long after the event or marketing campaign of the moment from Marvel or DC or anyone else is gone, Walking Dead will still be shuffling along, selling not only very well usually (and extremely well here) but also dominating the collection market month after month. The title will likely go back to its steady 70-80k range but having a triple digit numbered comic priced at $2.99 (paying less for more for a change) be the first top telling comic of 2016 is a nice way to start the year.

Ray: This may be the first time I can remember that a hit TV show or movie actually helps drive comic sales as well. There’s no question that Walking Dead really took off when the TV show caught fire. Sure, the comic’s also got over ten years of consistent quality behind it, but the fact that a bleak black-and-white horror comic is regularly one of the top books, and outsells everything on anniversary issues, is fairly incredible.

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Glenn: The TV show is definitely a big driver. The numbers on that show are insane and its impacting the comics in a big way. I wonder what it is about this show that seems to not quite translate to other properties who for as long as comic book movies have been a big deal have been trying to capitalize on the massive audience the movies are getting to no avail. Perhaps people find Walking Dead to translate over to since its more ‘real’, you know apart from the killer Zombies…

Not far behind Walking Dead is the final issue of Secret Wars with sales of just over 149k. This is superstar writers Jonathan Hickman’s swansong and it has spawned a story line which will likely do well in collected format for years. The behind the scenes delays don’t seem to have hurt the book at all and its an impressive end for an event mini that held its number really well over its 9 issue run. It is curious that since this is the book that was the catalyst for so many Marvel books that some of the interest in this title hasn’t transferred over to some of those books but…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ray: Secret Wars, in many ways, was the capper to an entire era of Marvel. The story it’s been building towards has been building for almost ten years and several different extended runs by Hickman. So I’m not shocked that SW is Marvel’s biggest event fit in years. I do think that Marvel was a bit vague in terms of the fallout, and it feels very much like an end of an era. So I don’t think there’s been all that much in the way of momentum coming out of it for the new books – unlike things like Civil War, the end of Secret Wars doesn’t leave people wondering what’ll happen next (with a few exceptions like the just-debuted Spider-man and the yet-to-debut Black Panther, which spin directly out of Secret Wars #9), so the new comics aren’t really benefiting from its hit performance.

Glenn: Many readers could be even using Secret Wars as a drop off point with Marvel, it doesn’t seem that some of the changes (weren’t aren’t that many) have not really been accepted with open arms. This could be some long time fans last Marvel comic ever that isn’t set in a galaxy far, far away

Settling for bronze is the book that no one had any doubt wouldn’t be a hit in Spider-Man/Deadpool Marvel has put their two best selling (non Star Wars) characters together and the results speak for themselves in a launch over 133.8K. In a conversation before the numbers were released, Ray believed that the book might not hold these numbers. I could see it being a strong seller somewhere in-between Spider-Man and Deadpool, especially if the superstar creator team of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness do stick around.

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Ray: I sort of expected more out of Spider-Man/Deadpool, honestly. This is Marvel’s two most popular characters at the moment, paired with a fan favorite creative team. This is a very solid debut, though. I think it’ll land pretty high down the line if this creative team sticks around, but I think that’s a big if. The history of Marvel is littered with titles that started with an a-list creative team and then quickly turned into anthologies with lesser creative teams. Remember Guardians Team-Up? Avengers Assemble? This will likely have a longer life than them because of the characters, but these sales levels aren’t going to hold unless the creators do.

Glenn: Taking up numbers 4 and 5 are Star Wars issues 14 and 15 with sales of 118 and 104k respectfully. The title seems to be on its way out of the 100k club but that’s after more than a year. With the amount of Star Wars books that Marvel continues to green light and the fact that this franchise is blowing nearly everything else they have out of the water, I doubt they’re concerned.

Next up is one of the later All-New, All-Different Marvel launches in Old Man Logan which sells just over 104k which is enough to land it at number 6 this month. Both myself and Ray have talked a LOT that Wolverine is not the sales monster he used to be but spinning out from a Secret Wars mini, being a kinda follow up to a huge Wolverine arc back in the day and having the critically acclaimed former Green Arrow team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino gives this a good amount of buzz. Looking back at all those factors, Marvel could have probably hoped for more but Wolverine’s days as a solid top seller are seemingly long gone. I can see this book having a soft drop, especially considering some of the other Marvel books which…wait…getting ahead of myself again.

Ray: Lemire and Sorrentino are one of those creative pairings, by now, that anyone reading knows they can expect quality out of. I was thrilled when I saw they were doing Old Man Logan. I think this debut is really strong for what’s essentially an AU version of a character who’s been dead for the last two years. A little higher than the All-New Wolverine title debuted, and that one’s held decently, so I see this being another hit for Marvel. And I’m glad to see the creators getting a title that keeps their profile high. Their GA run was brilliant, but the sales on that book were already low and never recovered.

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Glenn: Next is number 7 which is another Star Wars book (see above) but this one is a little different. This one is Obi-Wan and Anakin which is set during the much devisive (to put it politely) prequel era. Considering that Marvel can pull over 102 K from an era that Disney seems to be largely distancing themselves from just shows how hot this franchise is at the moment. The comic market can’t get enough Star Wars content right now and I’m sure there’s a solid fanbase out there wanting to see these two characters together in perhaps a way they didn’t get from the prequel movies. I don’t see Marvel trying their luck in this time period of Star Wars canon too much but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more books from characters that audiences did like but didn’t see much of like Darth Maul or General Grievous (again, we do this for free Marvel. Name your next pool of money after us).

Ray: Look, if a comic starring Kid Anakin can debut over 100K, this franchise is beyond bulletproof. At this point, it’s pretty much Death Star-proof. Given the performance of this and the other three SW books in the top ten alone, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a lot more. This is right in line with the debuts of things like Chewbacca and Kanan, so I’m sure they’re lining up new miniseries as we speak. Boba Fett seems almost guaranteed, and I’m hoping they have Skottie Young working on a BB-8 comic ASAP!

Glenn: I don’t think the current market could survive a BB-8 comic.

Another monthly sales chart and another over 100k performance from Batman, DC’s only title in the top ten this month. I don’t think we can say much more about how astonishing this books success has been over its run. There are many, many, many rumors as to the books future following whatever Rebirth turns out to be but I don’t think we’ll see another creative team performance on a big two title like this for years to come.

Ray: I do notice that Batman is juuuuuuuuuust over 100K this month, though. Its 48-month streak could come to an end next month – although that’s a very key issue for Bruce Wayne with major developments, so it might be ordered a bit higher as a result. Then 50 will get enormous numbers, and the Snyder/Capullo era will end on a high note. I’m hoping it stays above 100K next month and remains undefeated!

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Glenn: I think people will tune in for the return of Bruce Wayne (2016 version) and then 50 will get a massive bump in sales for sure. The title does dip at times but always seems to bounce back. If it does drop out of the six figure club next month I don’t expect it to be by much and it’ll be back up in no time.

The final Star Wars book in the top ten is Darth Vader with sales over 98k. Solid as a rock and now a top ten staple, probably for years to come.

The final spot in the top ten is the new Uncanny X-Men book by Cullen Bunn and Greg Land which manages sales over 93k. Its a good enough launch, especially if you consider this a successor to Bunn’s Magneto book which never lit the sales charts on fire but got a lot of critical acclaim. Considering it as an X-Men launch its not that hot but constant reboots and the bizarre stop, start Marvel is having with their foot on the pedal on the X-line has caused the franchise to lose a lot of momentum. For over ten years, X-Men have played second banana to Avenger’s, Spider-Man and even Deadpool. That can all change of course and its a very good launch but if this was launching even five years ago, it would be considered a disappointment but its 2016, not 2011 and a lot of comic companies are going to have to readjust expectations if the lower end of the top 100 is any indication.

Ray: I expected more out of Uncanny X-Men just based on the name, but it is worth noting that despite the title, this is really more of a relaunch of Magneto crossed with X-Force. It’s in no way a standard X-men book. So given that, this is a pretty solid number. Right in the middle of the three primary X-books. I think it should settle down to a reasonable level and be a solid performer for Marvel.

Amazing Spider-Man remains the high mark for Marvel’s regular ongoings, with sales of roughly 76K. Decent numbers, but it’s lost a step since the last relaunch. When you look at the sales of this title vs. Batman for DC, their mutual flagship titles, it’s pretty clear that something’s gone sort of amiss for Marvel. Star Wars is picking up the slack for Marvel, but their sales troubles are going to be a running theme in this column.

Glenn: Sales for the previous volume of Amazing had settled into a solid 85-95k pattern so year, it seems the relaunch here has done more harm than good. Writer Dan Slott is spinning a lot of plates on the book currently and perhaps the much promoted ‘Dead No More‘ will bring fans back. Time will tell.

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Ray: Outside of the three in the top ten this month, Marvel’s debuts were sort of a mixed bag. Their attempt at creating a new female-led franchise, A-Force, debuted well below the level of the Secret Wars miniseries, with first issue sales of only 65K. Given the guaranteed big drops of second and third issues, that doesn’t bode well for the long run.

Glenn: A-Force was another attempt by Marvel to pull in female fans. This book serves as a direct follow up from some plot threads from Secret Wars. Its an okay launch but really, with the promotion Marvel put into the book I would have though it would have enjoyed much bigger numbers initially. I don’t see this one staying very healthy but it may be a solid enough performer in markets Marvel are trying to hit to keep it around, we’ll soon see.

Ray: Thor and Deadpool, two of Marvel’s biggest hits, continue to hold steady at around 60K. Clearly, these two are among Marvel’s elites right now – but if books on this level can only sell 60K, something is seriously, seriously wrong in Denmark. Or Marvel.

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The story is similar for Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1, launching at #15 with 59K. This isn’t a book that really needed a relaunch, although it’s taking advantage of the time jump with a bizarre new status quo. But without the LootCrate boost that turned Rocket into a massive hit last time, it’s not looking good for this title to maintain it’s stop in Marvel’s elite tier.

Glenn: I’m genuinely shocked at the sales of Rocket and Groot, especially compared to the performance of the secondary Guardians title last month. These two have rocketed (no pun intended) to big Marvel Icons rather swiftly. I would have thought a lot more people would be interested in this but apparently not. As we’re going to say time and time again, likely for months to come, there is something amiss with these ANAD Marvel launches and could lead to some (more) major changes sooner than later.

Ray: I’m a bit surprised that Silver Surfer debuted in essentially the same area as Rocket/Groot and A-Force, at #17 with 57K, since the first volume was a low-selling cult hit. I’m not expecting the sales to hold that well, but I am glad more eyes landed on this book. It’s a blast to read.

All-New All-Different Avengers held fairly well at 18 and 19, in the 57K range. Not sliding as fast as I thought it could, but this is still not impressive numbers for what is currently the flagship Avengers book.

Captain Marvel #1, a relaunch of a book with a very enthusiastic fanbase but low sales, debuted at #22 with 52K sales. Strong, but unspectacular. I assume this title will slowly drift down to its previous level, although the new volume has been received very well. The new creative team, featuring the writers of Agent Carter, is bringing some buzz to the book, but I’m not sure how long that will keep it from the danger zone.

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Glenn: Given that Carol has been given a starring role in Civil War 2: Cause we only have Star Wars, that might help get more eyes on her book. I may be remembering incorrectly but I don’t recall the original story having much impact on the Cap or Iron Man books at the time (apart from the Death Of Cap issue). It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a different story this time around. In general though, Captain Marvel is a title Marvel has continually tried to make work for a few years now and they’ll keep trying due to her getting a movie in a few years no matter how middling the numbers may inevitably become.

Ray: Batman/TMNT, after an amazing debut in the top ten, has settled to a standard level of 52K at #24, which is easily the highest we’ve seen an inter-company crossover in a long time. This is clearly a smash hit for both DC and IDW, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got more in the future. Superman/Transformers seems like it could be a smash hit.

Glenn: A great result for both DC/IDW who are no doubt scouring both their catalogs to see who they can throw together to generate similar results like you mentioned. This is also something that will inevitably be a huge seller in collected form for years to come also.

Ray: Now, this is where we find the titles that are all starting to successfully find their level for Marvel. All clustered around the 50K mark, we see Doctor Strange, Spider-Gwen, Extraordinary X-Men, Invincible Iron Man, Uncanny Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and All-New Wolverine. These are the books that seem to be resisting the tide dragging most of the line down, and they should have nice long runs. We also see All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, and Daredevil around here, but it’s much earlier in their runs, so they could still have harsher drops. And Totally Awesome Hulk is already under the 40K mark at #40, not exactly great news there.

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Glenn: Like I said last month, its weird to see so many books smooshed together around the same number. Most of these books were titles that Marvel had higher hopes for but it seems that retailers seem to be ordering them as pretty interchangeable. They’ve pretty much all landed in a middle tier zone which is great news for books like Spider-Gwen and Doctor Strange but I’m sure more was expected from the likes of Invincible Iron Man. Its fascinating to watch and speaks a lot to how retailers view Marvel as a whole right now I think.

Ray: A pretty strong debut for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers from BOOM!, selling over 41K at #39. 90’s nostalgia is in full swing, and this title has former Snyder co-writer Kyle Higgins writing, so I think it could be one of Boom’s highest-selling titles. And now I can’t get the theme song out of my head!

Glenn: he new of the movie is picking up momentum and there is certainty enough of an audience that are up for all things Ranger to make this worth Boom’s time. Both BOOM! and IDW seem to be starting a trend of putting some pretty impressive talent on licensed titles. I think this is a really smart move because there are fans of those creators who might be curious how they treat a book like Power Rangers. Given that BOOM! lost their Marvel books, they need solid performers like this to keep them afloat while they try to compete with Image in the creator owned market (along with IDW and Dark Horse among others)

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Ray: As we start to see some DC books on the charts again, I notice that for the first time in a while, Detective Comics outsold Harley Quinn. Harley’s sales magic may be wearing off a little bit, although she’s still obviously one of DC’s most dependable characters at the moment.

Batman and Robin Eternal has found its level at around 40K, with issues clustered at 41, 42, 44, and 48. To put it in perspective, these four issues are DC’s 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10th highest selling books this month for their entire line. For a weekly, that’s pretty impressive. The title’s been hit by the same sales slump that most big two books seem to be suffering, but in terms of its place in the line, DC has got to be very pleased with it.

Glenn: Both Eternals will be great money earners with collections too. Although some other weekly books sold more, I think both Eternal‘s have to be the weekly model perfected in many ways. Its odd that we had three weekly’s coming out not too long ago but once Eternal ends they’ll all be gone. I have a feeling that DC might miss a solid 40k performer in the months to come.

bmrbet_cv15_dsThe bizarre Amazing Spider-Man point mini continues to do solid numbers at just over 56k. I think this speaks more to Spider-Man’s brand at the moment rather than the mini itself which unlike the brilliant Learning to Crawl and Spiral point mini’s is a bit less to be desired. Look for more of these types of mini’s from Marvel though it manages to maintain these numbers, regardless of quality.

Ray: I have not heard a single person talking about this ASM .1 mini, which is a big difference from the previous one by Gerry Conway. I think this might be a case of it catching up with the next mini – look for this odd mini focusing on the Santerians to drag down the sales of the next installment, whenever it happens.

Glenn: It seems that Daredevil has landed a bit higher than it was before, huzzah a success out of ANAD Marvel! Its now outselling a few Batman titles among other things. Has the TV show helped gain interest in Daredevil? Perhaps but if it can manage to stay in this range, it will be a great number for a book that traditionally sells around 10k less. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of a sales influx around the time of the shows second season.

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Showing the power of Deadpool and cheap comics, True Believers Deadpool sells over 46.6 copies and lands at 34.This is a reprint of Deadpool’s very first appearance back in the day. There are going to be a lot more of these Deadpool books in the months to come and given they’re all sources of new income on stories that are long ago, its Marvel rightfully capitulating on the hype the film will gather for a character that is already more than capable of getting people to buy anything with his name on it as it is (note: written way before solicitations where Marvel has announced eleventy billion new Deadpool one shots).

Ray: The streak of bizarre Deadpool comics doing strong numbers continues! The only other time we saw a reprint do numbers like this was Spider-Gwen #0. There’s several other Deadpool reprints down in the 20K-16K range, slightly out of the top 100. Still strong for reprints, especially as they’re outselling some first-run big two books. Based on this, watch out for the first Gwenpool reprints.

Glenn: Both Saga and Paper Girls (numbers 26 and 45 with sales over 50k and 38k respectfully) continue to old status as Image’s strong performers behind the jewel in the crown that is Walking Dead. These two indies, among with a few others now deliver more solid and better numbers than the majority of Marvel and DC’s output. The more Image has books like this, the more they’re going to look like the former character in the story of the tortoise and the hare.

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Ray: BKV’s very quickly become Image’s top all-star, with multiple books doing strong numbers. Kirkman has the biggest hit, but most of his other properties do decent to terrible numbers. BKV seems to be able to launch any book to strong numbers that stick around in the top 100.

Glenn: That’s true in regards to BKV’s batting average versus Kirkmans. Although Outcast (at 100 this month with sales of just over 22k) has a tv show around the corner. Could it have a similar magic effect that Walking Dead has? Its always possible.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. relaunches at 50 with sales of over 35k. A decent enough debut for a comic starring characters that are only known through a TV show. Of course, this one will probably fall quite hard next month and again underlines how amazing it is that Walking Dead can get some of its audience to transfer over but books like this can’t.

Ray: That’s acceptable numbers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I don’t think it’ll hold them. There just isn’t that much hunger for a title starring the government agents from the TV show, even Coulson, and that show is a bit of a cult hit in the first place. I don’t think this title will get past 12 unless it gets pulled into some events.

Glenn: AOS seems like a perfect tie-in book which kept titles like Brian Reed’s Ms. Marvel afloat for the majority of its run to name one of a few. It’ll last a lot longer than some of the other Marvel books but I don’t see it becoming a staple in the slightest.

The third issue of Vision lands at 53 with sales over 34k. On the surface that’s a great number for a book starring the Vision but this was the issue that had Marvel including extra copies in retailers orders for no reason than ‘just cause’. The numbers will be slightly inflated here, can the title gain new paying readers from this strategy? This is also the month where the first issue of the book was reprinted in Spider-Man/Deadpool, will the effort pay off? We probably won’t find out for a few months but its interesting how much effort Marvel is putting in here.

Ray: Yeah, Vision held almost 100% of its audience from issue #2. If that’s due to the increased orders, we’ll see how the real numbers present themselves next month. If it’s due to increased demand, though, that’s great news. I think this is one of Marvel’s best books at the moment. On the other hand, Red Wolf dropped from 39K with issue #1 to 26K with issue #2. It also got the order lift Vision got, so next month’s drop could be particularly ugly. One of these books has buzz, the other doesn’t.

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Glenn: All I hear is how fantastic Vision is, despite its numbers it seems to be a book a lot of sites are talking about. If Red Wolf wasn’t on this list and one of us mentioned it now and then, I’d probably forget it existed.

The first issue of Poison Ivy: Life and Death blooms at 62 with sales of over 31k. A great debut from a villain (sort of) book by two creators that aren’t that well known to the market. DC promoted this one pretty hard and of course will get a Batman influenced bump but really good numbers for a title starring a b list (at best) Batman villain and I say that adoring the character!

Ray: That’s acceptable numbers for Poison Ivy, definitely better than a few other DC books got this month with their #1s. There was a lot of online demand for this book, but it doesn’t seem to translate to strong sales. This is only a six-issue miniseries, so the odds are it should end with decent numbers, but I don’t see this translating to an ongoing like some people were hoping.

Glenn: Perhaps she and her old pal Harley can get their own book to go on the months that black book isn’t out. I actually started this as a joke but after typing that sentence…

Ray: The bleeding finally seems to have stopped for Captain America, as it charts at 67 this month with sales of 29K, dropping only 500 copies from last month. That’s a good month-to-month drop, showing it’s found its level – somewhere in between Ultimates and Howard the Duck. If this counts as good news for Captain America, it’s no surprise that Steve Rogers’ return has already been announced for May.

Glenn: Yeah, Steve Rogers return to tie in to the movie where he is sharing his film with a bunch of other people will launch well. Afterwards, we’ll see. It’ll then become a question of whether two titles are needed or practical and Marvel will be seen as justified when Sam Wilson is quietly cancelled.

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Ray: Swamp Thing‘s new miniseries written by his creator launched at #68 with sales just over 29K. The days when this character was a powerhouse written by Scott Snyder are clearly long over, but this debut shows there’s still some interest in him, I think.

Glenn: The new 52 launch of Swamp Thing may be the best thing to happen to the character in years. Around 20k is what I would expect so if it can maintain that then great but if not, I don’t see it lasting. I wonder if DC is starting to consider moving titles like this back over to Vertigo after Rebirth, Under the general DC umbrella the sales are a bit eh but under a Vertigo banner, it could be a flagship book, who knows.

Ray: I do think Swamp Thing and Constantine are doing far better in sales than they ever were there. I don’t think they’ll be pulled out of the main universe, because by and large they’re critically acclaimed. I’m hoping the Dark line gets a big push with Rebirth – they might not be able to sustain solo ongoings without big names attached, but Justice League Dark had a long and healthy run.

Glenn: With Rebirth coming shortly, you thought it might have been better to put Swamp Thing on hold for a few months and launch it with the rest of whatever may be coming, could have met a few more orders!

Ray: This is where we now see a glut of holdovers, all clustered in roughly the same 35K to 25K range as they slide down the charts. Both Inhumans books are still here, showing that Marvel is still struggling to make this an A-list franchise. This is also where we see most of DC’s books below the A-list. They are really going to appreciate that relaunch in a few months time, I think.

Glenn: Well you say that but its not as if Marvel are popping open the champagne from their current relaunch numbers. Of course DC has now gone nearly 5 years since the new 52 so retailers might treat it a bit differently than Marvel’s unusual fear of numbers greater than 30

Ray: One thing I note is that Ms. Marvel is now selling 32K at #59. That’s roughly the same numbers it was doing before the previous run ended. Solid, but unspectacular in singles, although its digital sales are apparently strong. The main thing to take here is that the only book that looked like it was holding at a higher level compared to the previous run has dropped back to that level. Not good for Marvel.

Glenn: If it can maintain that then it’ll be fine. Ms. Marvel is a digital and collection fave that Marvel is currently pushing hard. They’d probably want the book higher but Kamala may be invaluable in her own right for the company. I really hope Marvel is considering a new YA book with her on it, I think although these sales are solid but not brilliant but I think Kamala has a dedicated enough audience that would support any title featuring her in a decent enough fashion. Mostly this is just me missing Young Avengers

Ray: Yeah, there’s no question that Ms. Marvel will be fine at its previous levels, especially with the digital sales. I’m more stunned that not a single one of Marvel’s relaunches, even the most well-received, are able to stay above their previous levels. Kind of a disaster. Your YA idea is intriguing – while I think this fusion team in ANAD Avengers is an odd fit, it strikes me that Marvel had a big opportunity to make the YA an elite franchise with bigger characters like Kamala and Miles.

Glenn: The latest Avengers team(s) are an odd bunch of groups. I would suspect we’ll be looking at a much more traditional team following FCBD, none of these teams feel like the ‘real’ Avenger’s to me. At least when Bendis started his run, that was kind of the point. I think thats whyall the Avengers books have landed at the same level. It used to be a solid performer for Marvel but these days its just another line of books shuffled in among a bunch of other books.

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Ray: Hey, remember how puzzled we were by Guardians of Infinity‘s impressive launch last month, at over 100K and in the top ten? We were pretty skeptical it would hold those numbers. Well, it CRASHED. All the way down to #73 and 27K, losing about 75% of its sales in one month. That’s grim. So whatever it was last month that gave it that odd debut, this book looks like it’s going to struggle and fast, especially with that $4.99 price tag.

Glenn: Wowwwww that might be the hardest crash we’ve seen from a big two title in quite some time. Marvel are really eager to share their number one numbers but no one can be happy about some of these issue two crashes. I would say that this is one that will be retconned into a maxi (or even mini) series before so long. I suppose it depends how Marvel perceives the book which caters to the audience that liked the Guardians before it was cool.

Ray: The news was not good for DC’s other new launches this month. Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion brought Ethan Van Sciver back to the franchise for the first time in years, but it was only able to sell just short of 27K at #77. Legend of Wonder Woman, the digital-first Wonder Woman by Renae De Liz, landed at #85 with 25K sales despite great reviews. And just out of the top 100, we find a Suicide Squad anthology starring Deadshot and Katana, launching with 21K. It seems pretty clear that DC is ready to clean house, as there’s a number of projects like this one that they’re combining from what would have been separate miniseries.

Glenn: I have to give props to Renae De Liz for really going out there and promoting her own book the way she has been. Its not often you see a big two creator go to this much effort to get people to buy their own book. I find the sales for Wonder Woman an odd one as this is a title with a tone that fans have been clamoring for but it has middling results at best. Another example of DC listening to the cries of change and such and being met with mediocre numbers or less.

Ray: As we head out of the top 100, we start to see a lot of the new Marvel numbers crash to Earth very quickly. Patsy Walker, Hellcat had a healthy debut last month, but lost 60% of those sales to fall to 20K, roughly the same level as its sister title Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, only two months earlier. Illuminati, Drax, Angela, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Hercules, and Weirdworld are even lower, making it look like they’ll join Black Knight and Howling Commandos sooner rather than later. And then there’s Starbrand and Nightmask, which only sold 11K at #166 – in its second month! That’s not quite Telos numbers yet, but it’s easily the biggest misfire out of Marvel’s new line.

Glenn: I doubt anyone at DC is really concentrating on numbers too hard right now. All eyes will be on Rebirth.

At this time we invite regulars readers to create their own bingo sheets of Marvels titles that will be cancelled over the coming months! These sales are just beyond a little disheartening but instead of learning why people are rejecting a lot of new books, Marvel will undoubtedly respond with even MORE new books which will also suffer a similar fate. Thus is the circle of life in the current market.

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Ray: There’s a few new non-big two books that did fairly well this month Valiant gave fan favorite heroine Faith her own miniseries, and were rewarded with sales of 22K at #102. A little above most of their recent debuts, although the hype made me expect a bit more. Red Sonja relaunched a few spots lower, with sales of 21K. Marguerite Bennett is having a bit of a moment right now, so I think she helped keep some of the buzz from the Gail Simone run going. And then there’s Cry Havoc #1 from Image, a mature readers werewolf military thriller. Despite having no big names attached, it managed a respectable debut of 20.6K at #109. Any Image book without an a-list creator is probably thrilled with this level of sales.

Glenn: A lot to be celebrated at this level for sure outside of the big two who should have higher hopes that this. Given how much publicity and advertising Valiant has put behind Faith, I could see it delivering stable numbers. It seems the company likes to crank out the marketing machine a lot and it seems to be benefiting them with 9 other titles in the top 100. Given that we’re in a market where the two biggest and oldest companies in the industry are having problems, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Speaking of companies benefiting from an ad campaign, Archie still lives in a completely different league compared to previous sales level of the title. It sells over 20k at 109 showing that when done correctly and not done to death that a reboot/relaunch can make all the difference.

Ray: Archie’s been taking it very slow with the relaunch. Only two books rolled out, aside from the long-disappeared horror titles, and they’re both delivering solid sales. I’m assuming they’ll expand soon with some of their more popular characters, and it’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain this success.

Glenn: Dark Knight III makes its monthly appearance in the form of the second issue premier edition reprint which lands at 117 with sales over 19k. Given that this is an edition specifically for people who REALLY want to splash out and is priced at 12.99 (?!?!?!?!??!?!) I’m sure DC is thrilled. Yay for Batman says them!

You mentioned Black Knight and no surprised its been cancelled. Not only is it performing just over 17k at 131 but its outsold by (among many other things) Deadpool reprints from yesteryear…ouch

Injustice enters its Fifth (and final) year with over 17k sales at 132. I can’t remember any other video game adaption that has managed to get such longevity in comics form. Its been a solid performer over five volumes now and is something DC will miss on a regular basis I’m sure. I’m not aware of any other DC property getting a major game adaption anytime soon so it may be years before we see something like Injustice again from either company.

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Dark Horse makes a rare appearance with a Hellboy holiday special which sells just over 16k. Its hard to be nothing that not concerned for Dark Horse who largely now deal in cult favorites and low selling creator owned titles. Nearly every other company represented in the sales chart has some buzz in some form or another while Dark Horse seems to have been quiet for over a year now. Either they’re planning something huge behind the scenes or they’re being behind in a comic market which will not wait for them by any means.

A new Dynamite debut in Devolution at 152 with sales over 14k which is a really good number for the company. I expect it to probably drop a good bit lower next month but its a decent number for a book I only heard of on day of release. It seems that Dynamite are managing to put out some books to a small but dedicated audience. It managed to outsell a lot of other titles that are probably wondering where this book came from.

Ray: It was a bit odd to see Devolution at Dynamite when Remender has had such success with Image in recent years. From the critical reception of this book, I’m thinking it might be a case of Image passing. Either way, the creative team clearly gave it a better debut than most Dynamite books, but I don’t see this title getting many people talking unlike Black Science and Deadly Class.

Glenn: Speaking of titles that are probably wondering what a Devolution is and why its selling more than them, We Are Robin has sales which not even Robin War can save apparently. Its at sales of just over 12 k at 165. On paper this seemed like it would be a strong performer at DC but something seems to have gone terribly wrong somewhere. It won’t matter in a few months of course but still a book that is firmly set in the all powerful Bat line is a little jarring to see.

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Ray: I’m not really sure what went wrong with We Are Robin. It’s tied into the Bat-line, features a character who made his debut in Snyder’s Batman, and just took part in a crossover. This seems like it should have been a mid-level hit, but it’s just been crashing since the start. Depressing. I’m expecting it to be the end of the road come May, unfortunately, when DC’s current era ends.

Glenn: It is a book where everything seemingly went right yet here we are…its probably a mystery DC may spend a long time trying to figure out themselves. I doubt they’ll take a roll on a continuation after Rebirth which is probably a shame

IDW continues to be the licensed property go-to company with the launch of Ghostbusters International this month. The newest Ghostbusters book from the company manages a debut over 9k at 179. It seems that the nostalgic audience that supports the Turtles book for IDW don’t seem to want much of Ghostbusters. I would have thought with the new movie coming out, there might have been a bit more interest but its not as if there has been a hell of a lot coming out in that regards anyway. Even if it was, I don’t think the fans of the films (or even the cartoon) are going to be searching for more content in comics form.

Ray: Vertigo just rolled out a whole wave of new titles, and the results are…not good, to say the least. There seems to be two solid hits, with Lucifer selling 12.5K at #163, no doubt boosted by the TV series. And the miniseries Twilight Children did just over 10K at #176, thanks to Darwyn Cooke in no small part. But from there, it gets grim. You’d think Gail Simone’s new horror comic Clean Room would be able to do better than 7.5K with her popularity, although this is a disturbing and challenging book. And the same goes for Tom King’s Iraq War mystery The Sheriff of Babylon, which sold just over 7K. These two are books that would likely be getting much more buzz and sales over at Image. And these are the top sellers! Unfollow – 6.5K. Red Thorn, Art Ops, Jacked, Survivor’s Club, New Romancer – all in the 5.7K range, and this includes an Allred book! And then you have Last Gang in Town and the already-cancelled Slash and Burn, selling under 5K very early in their runs. Vertigo is making a big play to get its momentum back, but it feels like they went too hard, too fast, and the result is that a lot of these books won’t be making is to 12.

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Glenn: Vertigo is trying to cater to an audience that Image has been solidly serving for many years. Their brand just isn’t as powerful as it used to be. I wonder if some of the creators involved regret not placing the book at Image or somewhere else instead but they may have had little choice of course. DC will probably be keeping an eye on how trade numbers do for most of these books before deciding their fate but there won’t be many left afterwards I’d wager. They need that money for more Hanna Barbera!

Ray: A fairly strong debut from little-known Aftershock Comics is American Monster, Brian Azzarello’s new book, just under 10K at 181. This is actually the first I’ve heard of this book, but Azzarello’s name is pretty strong and this landed higher than many books from other more well-known companies.

Glenn: You might have expected a little more from a creator like Azzarello whose currently writing Dark Knight III among many other high profile things past and present. Of course if this is a company you’ve never heard of, I would wager that hardly anyone does. With that in mind, these sales are fantastic and the company themselves are probably thrilled with seeing a title of theirs in the top 300 which is pretty hard to remember.

Ray: I feel it’s worth saying that no matter how bad things get for books like Black Knight, Starbrand and Nightmask, or Omega Men, at least they’re not Telos. 195 with 7.7K sales. It should stay in the top 300 for the duration of its very short run, but not by much.

Glenn: Every time you mention this much misjudged series from DC, I can’t help thinking of the brilliant Image title, Tellos by Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo. Sadly it doesn’t seem that this series will be as fondly remembered when DC finally puts it out of its misery which I’m sure they have marked up on the calendar.

Ray: Two cult Image books, Four Eyes and Prophet, return this month with new stories and land in the 6K range, out of the top 200. I would have expected more for Prophet, but I suppose at this point, retailers know what to expect out of these books and ordered accordingly.

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Glenn: I’ve not heard of these books. If you read them and like them, you might want to give them some support! It all depends if the creative teams can float it at these numbers of course. Another Image series in Nailbiter which delivers a quality that is deserves far better than its 187th spot and sales just over 8k seems to be in a healthy state according to the letter columns. Still, every creator owned book from Image, Vertigo, BOOM!, Dark Horse or whoever always needs new readers so get more people aware of them! Share the love!

Ray: Yeah, there’s a very different threshold for Image books. Kieron Gillen once said that if your Image title is selling over 10K, you have to buy the drinks at meet-ups! So Nailbiter is very much in the healthy range for Image, and will go as long as Williamson wants it to, especially given that we’re close to #20. However, a title debuting at that level or below…much less safe.

As always there’s a few new #1s from various companies right at the bottom of the top 300, including Ted McKeever’s latest oddball Image book Pencil Head, quirky IDW titles Amazing Forest and Luna the Vampire, and their new supernatural crime drama Gutter Magic, and BOOM!’s ultraviolent aging-hitman thriller The Last Contract. There’s more and more creator-owned books coming out every month, and it’s quickly becoming a bit of a feeding frenzy to see which can find their footing. Image usually delivers decent numbers, but IDW, BOOM!, and Dark Horse are still struggling.

Glenn: Image has really set themselves ahead of the pack as far as indie titles go. At the moment everyone else is trying to find a way to survive in a market that is pretty rough terrain. Again, creators will mostly at this level be depending on word of mouth hoping their book can survive for the story to be told. Even Walking Dead was down at this level once upon time but it may be a long time (if ever) we see a catapult success like that ever again. Much like in television, the comic market doesn’t have the breathing room anymore to support books that can’t carry their weight…and soon.
Speaking of the other companies and creator owned books, we have the sequel to the very successful

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Kickstarter comic by Gail Simone and Jim Califore in Leaving Megalopolis: Escape From Megalopolis. Given how big the Kickstarter was and how well known this creative team is, I would have expected much better here. I think that is probably a mix of where Dark Horse is in terms of market power and that people who supported the Kickstarter might be waiting on a collection to go with the book they have. Its nice to see a fan funded project continue in any case though even if it lands at 256 with sales just over 5k.

Ray: The Megalopolis series is not as well known as a lot of Gail’s other properties. It’s also very much an adults-only book, as extreme as Clean Room if not more so. And speaking of Clean Room, it seems like Gail is one of those creators like Rucka that has a big fanbase that doesn’t quite translate to sales on every property. I wonder if the Kickstarter-first model also affected the numbers here – many weekly comic shoppers may have missed the first volume entirely. I’m sure it’ll do better in collections.

Glenn: Even though you mentioned how Vertigo is struggling for a hit these days, a $1 reprint of Mike Carey’s Lucifer series at 263 with sales over 5k shows there is still some interest in the classics from the line. It seems that while people are more than willing to support Vertigo books that link to the hits of the past, people aren’t looking in that direction for new content. Its no surprise then that Vertigo has revived Lucifer and will be trying to get more Sandman spin-offs going with the supposed involvement of Neil Gaiman.

Ray: Lucifer certainly seems to be the runaway hit out of the new Vertigo wave, for a number of reasons. Even if none of the remaining books last past 12 or their initial planned run, this one seems like it’ll be around for a while.

Glenn: Apart from that, we see that 2016 starts much the same way 2015 ended. The big books that are selling well are not anywhere close to the titles selling piss poorly. That being said, it seems like Image is riding the rough waters well but if it wasn’t for franchises like Star Wars and Batman, heads would undoubtedly be rolling at Marvel and DC.

Ray: Looking ahead, this is a quieter month for the big two, although there’s still a number of notable launches. Marvel is bringing us a new Deadpool mini, Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, as well as an oversized Deadpool 25th anniversary issue. There’s also Miles Morales’ 616 debut in Spider-man #1, the launch of Power Man and Iron Fist #1, the first issue of Avengers mini-event Standoff, and oddball comedy X-book Worst X-Man Ever. DC is almost entirely taking the month off from new launches, with only Neal Adams Superman mini Coming of the Supermen and Vertigo horror miniseries The Dark and the Bloody. Creator-owned comics are a little busier, as we’ve got debuts like Emma Rios’ trippy futuristic adventure Mirror and Joe Harris thriller Snowfall. BOOM!, meanwhile, is debuting oddball animal prison musical Kennel Block Blues and Sam Humphries’ teen romance comic Jonesy. And IDW is bringing us a crossover in Street Fighter vs. GI Joe. February’s going to be the calm before the storm as both of the big two rest up in anticipation for what will likely be a huge spring and summer.

Glenn: Marvel will be taking a breather as we wait for Civil War II: Now With Glenn and Ray on sales tracking duties and DC patiently waiting around for Rebirth, next month will be quiet.

This may be the month we see a few smaller companies show how stable they can be vs. the ‘bigger’ titles in a month that is largely lacking in the usual hype and fireworks to get them by.

See you next month when we find out either way!

Enjoyed what you read? Let us know and follow us on Twitter @glenn_matchett& @raygoldfield

By the Numbers: December 2015

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! His New Years revolutions include releasing a sequel to his one shot from 2014, Sparks, getting settled in his new home and exacting bloody and painful revenge!

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 for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Ray’s New Years resolutions are to make DC listen to him for a change, find a way to be even earlier for his comics (time travel is on the cards) and to get away with it despite those meddling kids and their dog.

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!

dark-knight-3-2Full top 300 selling comics for December here!

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Glenn: Welcome sales trackers to the first ‘By The Numbers‘ of 2016! We’ve been doing this for one whole year now and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as myself and Ray enjoy working on them!

With 2016 well underway, we start this year by looking back how last year ended in the market. There was been a pretty heavy precedent for Marvel dominance. However it seems that December had some surprises in story and perhaps some flags of alarm for the new year.

The top ten had a few surprises in it, one of the more minor ones was the return of the very…very…very long running mega Marvel event Secret Wars to the top spot with sales over 169k. This is surprising a little because I felt that one of the new Marvel launches might have gotten this spot. I would have put a fair amount of money on Totally Awesome Hulk taking the top spot this month but it didn’t even make the top ten.

Secret Wars, despite its delays has held very well over the period of its tale. It is by far, the best selling Marvel event since Civil War and has a lot of success for Marvel when you consider all the spin offs it had. There might be a bit of confusion with the orders of issue 8 with some retailers perhaps thinking this is still the last issue as was originally planned. I doubt that is much of a factor here though for it taking the top spot. This is more to do with the main mini’s stable sales and some surprising numbers for new Marvel launches this month.

Ray: Yeah, looking back, Secret Wars did dip a little from the sales numbers for #7, like all comics do. Everything else just dipped a bit more, and it’s one of the most stable and consistent comics on the stands – the other being Batman, as we’ve talked about a lot. I don’t think there’s any true megawatt releases in January, so the odds are #9 will go out on top as well.

Glenn: I think Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 might top it next month. I think that is the one that you could probably put money in. Its true that Secret Wars has been remarkably consistent but unlike Batman its only for 9 issues. We’ll have to see if ‘Civil War II: Now with more Captain Marvel‘ will fare as prosperous as this also.

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Taking second spot this month is DC’s 500 pound gorilla, Dark Knight III which as is to be expected, takes a massive slide down to sales over 158k. This still is very good considering the price of the book ($5.99) and that is it destined for a long, healthy sales life in bookstores for decades to come. I’m sure DC are thrilled with numbers like this because this is one of the four titles they have in the top ten which I’m sure they’re very happy about.

Ray: I knew those first month sales for DKIII were an anomaly driven by hype and variant covers, but sales of 154K for the second issue of an out-of-continuity miniseries? Definitely nothing to sneeze at. DC had a big comeback at the top this month, and as usual it’s all down to Batman.

Glenn: Staying with DC and those aforementioned four books, we have a huge launch for the DC/IDW crossover that is Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We’ve just finished the Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover which did okayish but this has been a big launch for this mini with first issue sales of over 134k giving it the number 4 spot. There’s a number of factors like Batman being in the book, it being written by James Tynion IV and both companies hyping the crossover like there is no tomorrow. I’m sure both companies are thrilled and we could likely see more crossovers between both of them with high profile characters and creators if this is the result.

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Ray: I had a feeling Batman/TMNT would do really well, but this just blew me away. 134K? Not even most new Marvel #1s manage that! I wonder if a part of it was the super-enthusiastic way that Tynion promoted it on Twitter. I know I for one got much more excited based on his hype. Still, TMNT is a title that generally sells in the 30K range. A 100K jump for a crossover with Batman? Easily the most out-of-nowhere smash hit I can remember.

Glenn: Even though its DC credited with the publishing, I’m sure IDW is very pleased. It seems that Tynion is becoming a force to be reckoned with perhaps in his own right? DC is need of names that draw names and they’re building up a healthy bunch in house and unlike some of the ones that Marvel has drawn over, I’d say Tynion will stay put as long as Snyder does.

Speaking of Snyder, just below that is the most consistent book on the stands, sales wise which is Batman which continues its massive success after 47 issues still commanding 127k in sales and the number 5 spot. This will be a run on the title for ages I feel, just not because of the quality of the stories (which in my view are brilliant) but because of how well its done sales wise. Like I said last month, I don’t think the entire Snyder run has dipped below 100k which is very hard to do. Marvel is relaunching every 5 minutes to get these type of numbers but here is Snyder and Capullo just keep trucking along and making people care to pull in their numbers. Good storytelling as a method of selling comics, what a fascinating concept.

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Ray: Nothing to add about Batman besides the fact that every other title on the stands would kill for these sales. However, the thing that’s most impressive to me is that this Batman run is actually an unconventional arc featuring a replacement hero! At the point where the title might be most likely to run into sales trouble or at least a little attrition from traditionalists, it’s as strong as ever. That’s genuinely incredible.

Glenn: We kind of saw something similar back in the days of Bucky taking the Captain America title from Steve Rogers. However, there the sales soared during the replacement and dipped when the original came back. I bet Marvel wishes that were the case these days!

The final top ten DC book is Harley’s Little Black Book at number 8 with sales over 92k. The success of the crazy clown girl with a heart of gold has been a surprising one since the launch of her book several years ago. Now with the success of the Harley/Power Girl mini, DC has given her a bi-monthly team up book. The concept is an interesting one and although sales will probably depend on who she is teaming up with any given month but its a great launch and another sign that when it comes to current market trends, Harley Quinn is the one exception! It’ll be interesting to see if she can handle two books and command enough of an audience to buy both but I would be willing to bet she will.

Ray: Harley is very clearly DC’s Deadpool – she sells far more than you’d expect from a former franchise villain, and can even elevate spin-offs far above what you’d expect. And this is a $5 anthology title! DC’s got to be very happy here, and while these sales won’t last, it’ll find its level far above what most titles do.

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Glenn: DC is had to cut a lot of new books and Harley is offering them another stable selling book. People may complain about the (as of this typing and counting Eternal as one) 10 or so Batman titles but these books are where DC is making its money. They had four titles in the top ten for the first months and all of them were featuring Batman or Batman related characters. If only Marvel/DC could get along long enough for Deadpool/Harley Quinn which may just break everything ever. Wait…probably best they don’t do that then.

Now the other spots in the chart are things get interesting. Yes, Marvel won the top ten again with 6 of the 10 spots and as we discussed, Secret Wars was number one but number 3, 7, 9 and 10 were all Star Wars titles. These titles and their sales were in order, Star Wars (just under 140k), Darth Vader (over 97k), Star Wars Annual (over 89.6) and lastly, Darth Vader annual (over 86.4k) Again, like we’ve said for over a year now, the Star Wars books are a massive success. With the release of the Force Awakens (you may have heard of it) in December thay may have driven sales a bit more but this line does not need it. Star Wars is now Marvel’s best selling line of books by quite a fair margin. This can be viewed a few ways, yay it makes money and yes they sell but could the Marvel brand start to be overshadowed by Star Wars? With this line becoming so dominant over Marvel’s superhero line, its curious to think what thay may mean for the majority of the line. Of course, Marvel might not care if they become known as ‘the Star Wars comic company’ but its an odd thing to consider the possibility of.

4879918-guardians_of_infinity_1_coverRay: This month really made the difference in fortunes between Star Wars and Marvel proper really stark. Star Wars landed four books in the top ten and Marvel had one. None of the Marvel books save one sold more than 84K. So Star Wars continues to bring an insane amount of sales in for Marvel, but that’s masking some possible serious problems for them down the line.

Glenn: Indeed it does, there’s a lot of unsettling drops to talk about this month. I’d make it a drinking game but Graphics Policy has told me to stop giving people Liver problems (spoil sports).

The last spot in the top ten at number 6 was Marvel’s ONLY main continuity book in this list. To the surprise of myself and Ray, it was Guardians of Infinity with sales of over 121.4k. Consider me completely stumped on this one. This is very much the B list Guardians book and still sold better than the new Hulk title (which had Greg Pak coming back to the book AND Frank Cho) and the new launch of All-New X-Men. Last month’s article I speculated the popularity of the Guardians popularity as individuals (outside of Rocket and Groot) and suggested they may be more dominant as a team. I don’t expect this book to stay anywhere near these numbers of course but considering what it outsold that launched this month, perhaps I wasn’t too far off with my statement.

Ray: Guardians of Infinity is a puzzle. This is a book that’s essentially a relaunch of Guardians 3000, but bringing in the famous Guardians for a sales boost. I thought it would give it some help, but on this scale? Completely surprising. It actually outsold the relaunch of the proper Guardians of the Galaxy title two months ago by 3K! Sure, there was a Rocket Raccoon backup drawn by Jim Cheung in this issue, but that alone doesn’t account for the difference. Easily one of the oddest footnotes in this month’s sales. I really doubt these sales will last – if the regular Guardians book can’t stay above the mid-30s, this will definitely do less.

Glenn: We’ve been stumped Ray! At least there’s no other crazy stuff on this chart like a number one that was released last month selling another 81k, that would be just INSANITY.

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Ray: You know, it doesn’t get the hype of Batman, but Justice League – the only other DC title besides Batman to keep its writer for the entire New 52 – is a pretty great success story for them as well. In the middle of the big “Darkseid War” storyline, we’ve got the title doing 84K at #47, above any of Marvel’s ongoing superhero books.

Glenn: Justice League has been sliding but incredibly slowly and has a real solid dedicated audience that books at many other companies lack. From what we saw of the “Darkseid War” one offs, people aren’t interested in the spin offs of the story but are just interested in the title itself. I wonder if DC is starting to reconsider having the decision to having Geoff Johns write only this book on a monthly basis.

Ray: Now we start getting into the Marvel sales. Besides the oddball Guardians of Infinity, Daredevil has the top launch of the month at #12 with 84.5K. This is probably a combination of good buzz from the Waid run and a little Netflix series you may have heard of. The future will tell the tale on how this sells, but it’s a good start.

Glenn: Daredevil always launches very well despite it being on its fourth relaunch in as long but usually settles down to figures ranging in the 35-40k range. Can the popularity of the TV show bump it up a bit? Time will tell but fans of the title can doubtlessly expect some sort of Punisher crossover or appearance around March I’d say so we’ll see then if that happens and if it affects sales. Its second issue sold just over 49k this month which is still good for Daredevil historically but we’ll see if we can maintain around that.

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Ray: Marvel’s top-selling ongoings past the first issue, Amazing Spider-Man and Deadpool, seem to have found their levels at #13/#17 and #20/27 respectively. Strong numbers, but it’s got to be disturbing for Marvel that their heaviest hitters are both under 80K by their fifth and third issue.

Glenn: Amazing has dropped far below what it was selling at consistently prior to the mass relaunch. Its a curious affect and I wonder if some people just used the relaunch as a jumping off point. As long as it settles at high 70k it’ll be grand but it seems this particular relaunch cost the book maybe about 10-15k of its audience.
Deadpool settling about 70k is a little more expected and I’m sure Marvel is very pleased with that number. I mean its Deadpool, he’s popular they’ve made the mistake of putting Deadpool #1 on there again at 15 with sales of 81k! Wait? What? Its not a mistake. Well, shut my mouth and call me Wade. The Deadpool launch recharts and outsells itself (how meta) and a lot of the new launches from Marvel this month. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a reorder chart this high. I wonder if we’ll perhaps see future issues of Deadpool rechart (a lot lower) and then the book climb in sales until it reaches its proper number? This is just an insane thing in the charts to happen and it seems to be for no other reason than ’cause Deadpool’.

Ray: It’s okay numbers for the debut of All-New X-Men #1, at #14 with 81K. This is definitely the third-tier X-book and promotion was light, but there’s enough X-Men fans out there that this should find an acceptable level.

Glenn: Depends what it drops to, you’d think a new X-Men title no matter its status might have managed a bit better than this. I’ll be curious how Uncanny fares next month. Stop going out and buying every copy you can Ray, that’s cheating!

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Ray: I can and will buy every copy of Uncanny on the stands! Maybe that way Magneto will get his own book again!

Oh, hey, there’s the Gwenpool special at #16 with 80K! I’ll give Marvel credit – this is a one-shot holiday special that focused on She-Hulk and the Hawkeyes, and only had a Gwenpool appearance in one story. But because Gwen Stacy is the hottest thing at the moment, a book that would have been lucky to make the top 100 made the top 20. And it’s not even Gwen Stacy! Will the announced Gwenpool ongoing do as well? What is the next meme to become a character and get an ongoing? So many questions.

Glenn: Well if Marvel can’t have Harley Quinn, they now have the next best thing! The decision to actually not make her Gwen Stacy is an odd one, I’m wondering how many people will actually notice and/or care. We’ll find out when Marvel’s own crazy blonde female kinda/sorta hero gets her own book in a few months!

Ray: I’m surprised by Totally Awesome Hulk barely making it into the top 20 with sales of 74K. This seemed to have everything going for it – the return of a fan favorite creator, a new Hulk that plays into Marvel’s new push for diversity, and a top-selling artist in Frank Cho. But the sales on the last Hulk run were disastrous by the end, and maybe the character is going to struggle for a while. People seem to really like the start, so it might have a decent hold.

Glenn: I’m wondering if the lackluster result is for two reasons. Firstly, the involvement of Frank Cho is likely temporary and may lead to delays. Perhaps having him on initially isn’t enough to entice fans/retailers to order the book when they know he may be leaving and might hold the book back for them? Also, Cho has been making a controversial figure of himself the last year or so and that could be influencing people not to buy his books. Could be completely unrelated to him but I think its worth considering. Also, Marvel made no secret about the identity of the New Hulk so perhaps people weren’t driven to read the book to find out who it was. I wonder if numbers had been a bit higher had people been made to read the book to find out who it was. Marvel is well known for leaking their surprises in advance and perhaps this is some of the affect of that?

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Ray: The Mighty Thor held very well with sales of 70K, at #21. I think most people are just treating this like Aaron’s run continuing apace, and they’re continuing to order the most consistent Marvel book besides ASM. This book will continue to be a big hit for Marvel.

Glenn: Thor is now a solid seller for Marvel, what a world we live in! This is just another example of I think of people wanting the book more for the story being told than the fancy tricks around it. This is the highest and most consistent a Thor run has been since yesteryear and I’m sure Marvel are very happy to see that and probably wish a few of their other heroes could follow in its footsteps.

Ray Then we have the sales on All-New All-Different Avengers, which dip down to 67K after a top ten debut last month. I think this confirms that people still aren’t really seeing this odd fusion squad as the “real” Avengers, and the sales aren’t as strong as one would expect from the top-tier Avengers title. If the attrition continues, I expect we’ll see some sort of “classic Avengers” book down the line.

Glenn: We already know there’s some kind of Avenger’s book coming on FCBD so this book could only be a place holder. It seems that a lot of people have treated the book with indifference. Now that Hickman’s left the line, the Avenger’s line has to rethink its position in terms of everything else. I don’t think it has the power to hold three or four books like it did once upon a time. I think it might be time to go back to just one Avenger’s book, just for now.
Two launches from the Spider-Man office this month, selling very similar and very good numbers for what they are. The first is at number 24 with Amazing Spider-Man #1.1 which likely sold a little better with sales of over 66k because it shares the same name as the main title. This series was likely numbered as such due to the mass success of the Dan SlottLearning To Crawl‘ mini and the Gerry Conway mini that both were last year. Its a good number for a book that doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man title and seems to center around a very obscure Marvel superhero team that has only been seen in Daredevil: Father way back when. I’m not sure how well the rest of the run of the mini will sell but its an odd duck that’s for sure.

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Ray: With the ASM .1 comics, I think most people are simply ordering these at close to the level of ASM. The first one was a really good fit for the title, but the second isn’t quite as much. I could see some significant dips before it’s over.

Glenn: The other launch was Spidey at 25 with sales over 65.5k. This was advertised as a younger reader title set during Spider-Man’s early days as a crime fighter, again likely green lit due to the success of Learning To Crawl last year. The book however does seem to be set in its own universe as it features Peter going to High School with Gwen Stacy among others. All ages books tend to have much lower expectations so this is a great number but the Spider-Man office seems to be able to do little wrong in the market these days. This book would still be considered a hit at half these numbers so we’ll see if it settles around there.

Ray: The promotion of Spidey has been a bit weird. I bought it assuming that this was untold in-canon stories from Spider-man’s teen years, continuing from Learning to Crawl. However, the rather significant character changes and continuity twists make me wonder if it’s either out of continuity now – or if there have been some Crisis on Infinite Earths-like changes to Spider-Man’s past. Either way, this is impressive sales for a flashback mini, but it goes to show that Spider-man is absolutely Marvel’s prestige franchise now.

Glenn: I would find it strange if Marvel is using this book to showcase a new timeline without making a bigger deal of it. I would say its more akin to the Marvel Age books we used to have so by those standards, this book will be around for a long stretch.

This month has a few other Marvel launches too that landed a little lower, the first being Uncanny Inhumans at number 28 with sales over 58k. The thought of Marvel having not one but two Inhuman books is staggering but the secondary one selling 58k is something else. That’s very good for a property that has a lot of speculation about its long term future in regards to Marvel studios. Even with its slide down with issue 2 this month at over 34k at number 75 is fantastic for an Inhuman book historically, never mind the secondary Inhumans book. The book that is very much the ‘A’ Inhuman title sold over 43k at number 54 so they’re not a million miles apart. If they both stay were they’re at, Marvel could probably keep both around for a good period.

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Another big launch for Marvel this month is James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch which makes number 29k with sales of 58.7. Given Scarlet Witch’s introduction in Age Of Ultron and her prominence in major Marvel events over the last number of years, these numbers don’t surprise me too much. Its a very strong launch for a character that has never held her own ongoing title before (to my recollection). The title is somewhat of an odd one where there will be a different artist and story every issue. Its an interesting experiment and I’m wondering if an untested character like Scarlet Witch is the one to do it on. Time will tell, this one could be a lot seller but if it makes over 30-35k, Marvel will probably be happy enough.

Ray: Those are good numbers for All-New Inhumans and Scarlet Witch, better than I would have expected, in fact. We’ll have to see how they fold, but it seems like this relaunch may have finally succeeded in turning Inhumans into a franchise. As for Scarlet Witch, reception of the first issue was sort of mixed and with the constant art changes, I’m a bit skeptical about just how well it’ll hold up.

Glenn: There’s a random Deadpool/Cable mini that launches this month at number 31 with sales over 57k. I can’t remember the last time Cable was involved in anything major so its probably Deadpool driving people to buy it, as well as those that are nostalgic from the long running title starring the two from yesteryear. Over the past number of years, Marvel has been tossing out these random Deadpool mini’s and the results are usually very good. Its not enough to warrant giving him a secondary ongoing (by himself) but Marvel can throw out assorted Deadpool mini’s every so often and expect a certain audience to keep coming back which is more than most characters.

Ray: I think the big appeal of Deadpool/Cable: Split Second was the return of fan-favorite writer Fabian Nicieza to the characters. That in and of itself likely brought a lot of old-school Deadpool fans back to the title, and I suspect it’ll be a strong seller for its entire run.

Glenn: In among all the Marvel madness and Batman titles we see Image’s two rock solid performers Walking Dead at 26 with sales of over 65.4k and Saga at 41 with sales over 51.8. You can set your watch by these two books. Perhaps the 150th issue of Walking Dead is another one that could perhaps be the dark horse (no relation to the company) to stop the finale of Secret War’s finale reaching the top spot? Either way, with a big number and lots of variants I expect to see some zombie action in the top ten next month!

Very big slide for Batman Europa which is all the way down to 40 with sales over 52k. Its alright for a mini being priced at 4.99 that should have come out 10 years ago but I’d say under normal circumstances, DC would expect more from a mini starring Batman and the Joker. It still outsold the rest of DC’s line and the majority of Marvel’s too.

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Ray: Some of the earlier books to launch are finding their levels now, and they include Invincible Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Gwen all settling in comfortably in the 57K-53K range. That’s a little bit disappointing for the former two, which are established huge franchises – and pretty amazing for Doctor Strange and Spider-Gwen, which seem to be proving themselves as long-term new hits for Marvel. All-New Wolverine‘s third issue landed at 50K, which is pretty solid as well, but it’s clear that Wolverine’s day as a name that drives massive sales are over.

Glenn: I’m surprised that Iron Man and Guardians didn’t land a lot higher earlier. It would make me believe that no matter what Marvel throws at Iron Man to make it sell, much like Fantastic Four, it is always destined to end up at this level. It’ll be interesting to see how the secondary book does after what will probably be a very strong launch. I don’t think the fanbase is there for Iron Man, Thor is a much bigger success and it only has one book so Marvel might be going to a well that isn’t very filled to begin with.

As for Guardians, this one has dropped quite a lot after the relaunch which in this case has done more harm than good. If you don’t look at recent history, its obviously fantastic numbers for Guardians if we look at what it would have been doing only a number of years ago. I wonder if possibly that Rocket and Groot might become a higher performer consistently?

Ray: It seems to me like a lot of Marvel’s top-selling books are slipping a lot from before. Ms. Marvel is the exception, but it seems like both Amazing Spider-Man and Guardians are going to wind up settling down a bit lower than they did in the previous run. The only exception so far seems to be Ms. Marvel, which is likely going to land about 10K above its previous run. As for Guardians vs. Rocket and Groot, you might be right. The previous Rocket run was a big hit. Of course, I’m sure they’ll be outsold by Gwocket Raccoon and Gwoot, which will be announced any week now.

Glenn: I think its likely a combination of frequent reboots and lots of $3.99 (or more) from the company. You have to wonder how often than they can continue to gain boosts from new number ones when its unusual for a Marvel book to even reach the 20’s nowadays. Its definitely hurt Amazing (even though its still doing very well overall) and a few others (I still will say Spider-Gwen had her momentum hurt by the stop, start). If the numbers are concerning to Marvel on the majority of their line, they will likely just think another relaunch is the cure…

With Wolverine, considering that X-23 has never been setting the sales chart alight, 50k is really solid but yeah with the Wolverines weekly under performing, its clear that a Wolverine book without Logan is not going to just sell on its own merits. You have Spider-Man 2099 in contrast doing respectfully at 77 with sales over 32k and Peter Parker only makes occasional appearances there. Wolverine’s time as Marvel’s MVP when it comes to sales has long past, it’ll be curious how long Marvel keeps him dead with that in mind.

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Ray: It didn’t hold the same sales as Spider-Gwen, but Ms. Marvel #2 landing at #48 with 46K sales is pretty impressive. I think it’s safe to say this book has transitioned from “cult hit” to just plain “hit”.

Glenn: Ms. Marvel is unquestionably the biggest hit a new character has had in decades in the main Marvel universe. It has a really passionate audience and its another book that Marvel can really depend on, lets hope they don’t relaunch it on a regular basis, I have a feeling this book quite possibly more than any other in the line is reaching an audience beyond traditional comic buyers. If there’s multiple stops and starts, they may leave and Ms. Marvel deserves better.

Ray: This is where we start seeing the other new Marvel books debut with less than impressive sales. Squadron Supreme at 46 with 48K, and Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat at 49 with 46K aren’t terrible numbers, but that still doesn’t really give them a lot of room to breathe once the standard slides kick in – especially since neither of them got great reviews. Sure enough, Squadron Supreme slides right down to 98 the same month and loses close to half its sales.

Glenn: Squadron Supreme has a long and troubled history of Marvel trying to get people to buy it and having similar results. The book also has two spin off books coming which will probably launch at the same level but if the ‘main’ title slid so low, so fast then it may be troubling for those books. I don’t expect this book or its aforementioned spin offs lasting very long and possibly the characters going into indefinite hiatus until we get another Supreme Power-like reinvention.

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Hellcat is another character that has never held their own ongoing (again, to my recollection) but has debuted far lower than Scarlet Witch. She hasn’t benefited from Wanda’s exposure the last number of years outside of her being a supporting character on Jessica Jones (even though she’s largely called another name). All that considered, this is a good launch but I think we’re both expecting this one to fall hard. The book appears to be going for the same audience Squirrel Girl is aimed towards and that book is at 108 this month with sales just over 25k. The market isn’t crying out for another book like that one and this book will probably crash hard. That’s all speculative of course, if it can land in the 32-35k and prove me wrong then it could have a long life ahead of it. I’m just going on what we’ve seen in todays market and it doesn’t bode well for Hellcat.

Ray: That’s still better news than other titles got, though. Red Wolf could only manage 39K sales at #64, which is pretty bad for a much-hyped new character. No wonder Marvel is boosting orders to get more eyes on the book. Meanwhile, for Weirdworld at 85 with 30K, and Starbrand/Nightmask at 94 with 27K, I think the eight-issue cancellation notice is calling. Shame, because both those books are pretty entertaining.

Glenn: These are all books that seemed like odd choices when they were announced. Like you said, Red Hawk in particular got some heavy promotion but not many people seem to care too much. Another oddball title in Black Knight is down to 123 with sales just over 22k so I would expect Red Wolf and the others you mentioned to drop to around this number…if not lower. Its not going to be a pretty sight before we get to April-July for a lot of these books.

Ray: I see the launch of the Robin War crossover for DC hit at #52 with 45K sales. I’d have expected more from a Bat-event, but then I remembered that this event only included Grayson, We Are Robin, Detective, and Robin Son of Batman (plus tie-ins in a few other low-tier books) that don’t get near this level of sales save Detective, so it’s still a nice boost for them. Looking down the charts a bit, I can see that all those books increased nicely from November, so I think we can say this crossover is a modest success.

Glenn: Perhaps its because the main Batman title isn’t included? In the past the stories that have created spin offs such as Court Of Owls, Death Of The Family, Zero Year and such have done have hugely benefited the other already very solid bat books. Still, if it raises sales and can pull those numbers on its own, I’m sure DC is very pleased. It’ll probably take anything it can get this month.

Ray: Batman and Robin Eternal seems to have found its level around 40K, and stays incredibly steady this month, losing only 2K from issue 9 to 13. At the halfway mark, this book will clearly finish with very solid numbers.

ww_cv47_dsGlenn: Both Eternal‘s will have a long shelf life a collections I’d wager also. I don’t think we’ll get a third chapter but I can very much envision the mad scientists at DC wondering how they can make another weekly that has the same success this and its predecessor have experienced.

Ray: I’m sure DC will be rolling out the red carpet for the creative team to do a third Eternal – Batman and Batgirl Eternal, perhaps? – but I think Tynion and Co. may be ready to move on to other projects. If DC is smart, they’re going to look at who’s delivering the strongest work here – Tynion, Orlando, Valentine, to name some – and offer them spin-off books featuring the characters. I know we’re at Bat-overload, but this title has introduced some amazing concepts and there’s a lot of potential for DC to parlay this into some new hits.

Glenn: I don’t think they’ll be able to float a third Eternal so best to go out on a high. Like you say, they’ll be better having most of the writers take the lead on spin off books. We may have tons of Batman titles currently but its clear the market is always open to more.

Ray: Wonder Woman is a book that does decent if unspectacular numbers for DC 47 issues in, charting with about 40K sales. So I think it’s interesting to note which Marvel titles have already fallen below that threshold after only two or three issues. That includes Silk, Ultimates, New Avengers, Vision, Hawkeye, Carnage, Venom, All-New Inhumans, Howard the Duck, Spider-Man 2099, Web Warriors, Contest of Champions and Spider-Woman, just while staying in the top 100. We’ll get to the real bottom rung in a bit, but none of these books are looking that healthy for their second or third month.

Clearly the biggest disaster for Marvel, though, is Captain America: Sam Wilson, which takes another ugly slide this month to #89 and dips under 30K for the first time. To put this into perspective, Captain America only landed six spots ahead of Ant-Man and sold 2K more. When Captain America and Ant-Man are in the same sales sphere, you have Captain America problems. CC Marvel. We’ll see if like the last time, Civil War brings big changes to Cap’s world. Because next month may very well take Cap out of the top 100.

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Glenn: Despite the critical reaction to the book, Wonder Woman is arguably DC’s third most recognizable character and possibly the most recognized female superhero in comics. There’s always going to be people buying a Wonder Woman title but using it as a benchmark for the titles you mentioned seems fair. Wonder Woman’s book will get to issue 52 no question but some of the others you mentioned will not even make it to 12 perhaps.

If Spider-Man 2099, Hawkeye, Vision and Web Warriors can stay in their current range they’ll be fine. With its inclusion in Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 and reissuing past issues for the heck of it, Marvel is pushing Vision hard. I would have thought that for a Vision book to be doing 36k would be cause for celebration but then again perhaps their current action on the book bears some potentially troubling news for issue 3. If these books drop much below 28k its going to be REALLY ugly come April-July.

Captain America is a title that is as of this typing, probably the one that has been the biggest disappointment of the mass relaunch. Is it the direction, the lack of Steve Rogers or something else? We may already see what effect this is having by seeing that it will be in fact Captain Marvel opposing Iron Man in “Civil War II: Go See The Movie” even though Sam Wilson was featured in the initial teaser art. Could mean nothing but its an unusual change from what the initial teaser image indicated. I would say that the title is stuck in flux until the movie comes out but with these numbers, the current Captain America, Sam Wilson may not make it out of the event this year prompting Steve Rogers to take back the title. Marvel has announced a major character death after all…

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Ray: And now we start getting into the serious trouble zone for Marvel books, as we exist the top 100 and find a lot of Marvel books approaching or below the 20K range very fast. Nova and Star-Lord falling this fast is a bit of a surprise, since they were selling fine before. Might be the new flashback-heavy direction in Star-Lord. Lower-tier titles like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Illuminati, and Drax are a bit less of a surprise. Meanwhile, to no one’s shock, Black Knight, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Angela Queen of Hel, Hercules, and Howling Commandos are bringing up the rear. Marvel’s going to have a lot of trouble spots to figure out in the next few months.

Glenn: Apart from their main ringers, both Marvel and DC lines seem rather unhealthy at the moment. On the surface everything looks grand but get beyond you Batman books, Star Wars titles, Spider-Man books and the like and things are troubling for both companies. It just so happens that right now, Marvel has more ringers it can depend on. For those of you keeping score, the highest selling non Batman related book this month from DC was Superman at 47 with sales of over 47 k. Outside of books that were already selling well and some great launches, Marvel is managing at best around 60kish and that’s only with a few books. Are times changing or is these some problems both companies need to work out? Marvel will have Civil War riding in to boost sales on most of its books most likely (whether it will replicate the INSANE sales effect its predecessor had remains to be seen) but what of DC? We both speculate something big happening with some of their books coming up to issue 52 but the company is being very, very quiet about it. There’s a lot of question marks this year which probably makes both companies more uncomfortable than they’d ever admit.

Meanwhile over at Image they continue to have another success in the form of Brian K. Vaughn’s Paper Girls which continues to do spectacularly at 53 with sales over 43.7. BKV is also racking up another solid performer in We Stand On Guard which has sales over of 35k at 72. We all know that Walking Dead is Image’s big money spinner but BKV now has three books in the top ten with the company doing incredibly well and outselling a lot of DC/Marvel books. These are the kind of performances that most titles and creators can only dream of.

Ray: BKV has made a serious comeback lately, going from very little output to three titles, and now he seems to be Image’s most consistent hit maker. I’m sure they’ll be ready to green light any new idea he has for years to come. These are some seriously impressive numbers for any creator-owned title.

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Glenn: The final Image book in the top 100 is another hit in the form of Scottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland at number 96 with sales of over 27.8k. It may drop out of the top 100 next month but this is another book Image is very happy with I’m sure. Scottie Young also has a very wide appeal outside the direct market and Marvel will only continue to reinforce that the more they put him on various variant covers. Ultimately it all leads to people picking up this over the top comic that makes another big winner for DC.

Dark Horse finishes the 8 issue sequel to the cult hit movie, Fight Club 2 this month at 81 with sales over 31.5. This entire series has performed really well and will have a long life in collected form I’m sure. Since the loss of Star Wars, Dark Horse is in need of books that perform like this so it could be possible that we may see future similar projects soon.

The final company to make it in the top 100 this month is Oni with their Invader Zim ongoing which sells just over 30k giving it the 86th spot on the charts. This is a spectacular number for the title and something that seems quite bizarre when you look at it outselling a lot of bigger properties. Perhaps if the sales of this, Deadpool, Gwenpool and Harley are to be taken at face value is that people just love zany characters doing zany things…as long as it involves violence? Perhaps Patsy Walker should take up beating to people for kicks in her basement…

Ray: I’m not personally an Invader Zim fan, but I will say I’m glad to see Oni finally get a legitimate hit. Anything that keeps the company in strong shape so they can keep bringing us their great creator-owned comics.

Glenn: Another mini that finishes this month is the much delayed Captain America: White which has sales 29.6 and charts at 88. Again, this probably would have been a lot better performing had it been released about 10 years or so like it was supposed to. At least its done now to sink or swim in the trade market. I don’t think this one is going to be looked back on as fondly as Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow or Hulk: Gray. I do hope this isn’t the last hurrah for Loeb/Sale together it would be shame to see them kind of fizzle out like this.

Ray: Captain America: White does not seem to have gone over all that well as a whole. I think a big part of that is that this take on Cap and Bucky feels, frankly, irrelevant. Future generations aren’t going to know Bucky as the spunky kid sidekick who had a father-son relationship with Cap before dying a hero in the war. They’re going to know him as Cap’s war buddy who eventually becomes the Winter Soldier and then a hero in his own right. That makes this comic an odd f