Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?
All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.
Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. He has a story featured in this years IF anthology which is available courtesy of Alterna comics from all your favorite local comic shops and Amazon. Go buy!
Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He also thinks you should buy the IF anthology and things Glenn is the best writer in comics.
Ray: Well actually…
Ray: Yes master…
We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!
Top 300 in full available here!
Glenn: Its Legacy month everyone! I know I said that last month and that’s because it was then and it is now! Last month was the super successful Legacy one shot that launches the whole legacy renumbering for Marvel in what is, by our tally their 1,767th try at stabilizing themselves (figure may not be accurate). So how are things going this time? Did Marvel get the result they want? Let’s find out and explore the top 300 for comic sales in October 2017!
Back on top this month with no uberly hyped one shot to throw it off is DC’s monster event in Metal 3 which sells over 158.6k. These are actually better numbers than the last issue, not by much but when numbers go up in this market instead of down, something is going right. The team of Snyder and Capullo had an unprecedentedly successful run on Batman (that the title is still getting some juice from) and they haven’t missed a beat. Fans love Metal and so do retailers it seems. I would call this the event that DC will be able to coast on for a while but its about to have some stiff competition come November…still this is a great success and that rolls out across the tie ins just like last month.
Ray: Any time a book is consistently going up in sales, it’s a very good sign for the comic and the publisher. We saw it with Donny Cates’ Image work recently, and we see it with another DC book further down the charts. The reception Metal is getting can only be described as red-hot, and everything it touches is working. This is just another sign.
Glenn: Number two is the highest selling of the Marvel Legacy books in Mighty Thor 700 which sells over 115.6k. So this issue had a lot going for it, this is the latest issue in a multi-year epic by Jason Aaron who now after recent developments is unquestionably Marvel’s top writer. His run has been a bright spot for Marvel and has been one of three properties (outside of Star Wars which he also wrote) that Marvel has been able to count on through multiple reboots, renumberings and whatever. The other two we’ll talk about very shortly but Thor by Aaron has been performing very well in comparison to Marvel’s titles. There’s also a movie which will help, the fact that this is a big number and from what I understand, this is the issue that narrative wise, follows the closest from last months Legacy one shot. Also there’s a lot of legends involved in the crafting of this issue, a lot of care was put into it. All this packed together deems success, Next month its likely that Thor will be back to its usual 50-60 range though. This seems like a general increase for a key issue rather than anything to do with Legacy so its unlikely to have long standing effects but anything is possible.
Ray: Yeah, this is one of Marvel’s best-received books at the moment, it follows directly from last month’s #1 book, and it was an anniversary issue. There was no question this was going to be a huge hit. I do think there could be some spillover from this to the next issue, as this story is going to be one of the biggest of the entire run, and it’s feeling like Aaron might be building up to a mic drop on this book. This is one of Marvel’s few real hot spots right now.
Glenn: At number three is another long standing MVP at Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man which legacy numbers itself to sales of over 110.3k. Dan Slott’s run has been one that has held up strong sales wise and this issue sees a return to a more traditional Peter Parker that likely got a lot of interest. Again, if like Thor this was the only issue this month there might be room for optimism but the very next issue also charted at 33 with sales at over 52,8k which was lower than pre Legacy sales. Not a disastrous number as that would have likely been where it would be had the numbering continued as standard but it does not bode well for Legacy’s impact overall. Again, historically we’ve seen Amazing been the title Marvel can depend on so after that initial bump it ending up lower than before, it bodes ill for the rest of the line.
Ray: Yeah, we’ll talk more about Legacy down below, but this is a pretty typical performance for these books – a sizable but not huge boost for the start of Legacy, follows by a quick slide to standard numbers or below. Amazing Spider-Man will likely rebound quickly, as it always does, but this is the first sign that Legacy is not doing what Marvel hoped.
Glenn: At numbers 4 and 5 are the latest issues of Batman. Nothing special here, its just Batman and it sells just under 109k and over 97.8k resectively. Now issue 32 had a sales boost, likely because of the end of the War Of Jokes and Riddles but also because it was finally the answer to the Batposal. Beyond that, there’s no fancy bells and whistles needed because its Batman and his domination over the top ten is very much alive this month.
Ray: Batman will likely keep seesawing up and down around the 100K mark as things move forward (that wedding issue, if it happens, will be huge), but there’s no question it’s the class of the entire field right now in terms of ongoings.
Glenn: The final Marvel book in the top ten is the final of Marvel’s MVP superhero books, Deadpool or the Despicable Deadpool as his business card reads lately. It sells just under 94k mostly likely because people love Deadpool, people love Duggan writing Deadpool and the thought of Deadpool going evilllll is interesting. Again this ships another issue this month which is down at 68 with sales over 33.8k Its around 4 k higher than pre legacy then so…yay?
Ray: Those second-issue sales on Deadpool aren’t encouraging, as it barely keeps any boost from its new direction. The new direction doesn’t feel particularly popular either, so I wouldn’t be excited for a rebound here as long as Deadpool is still a bad guy.
Glenn: With Deadpool 2 hitting next year, I doubt the despicable story will be around for long but yeah, people aren’t digging ‘evil on purpose’ Deadpool.
Spots 7-9 is all Metal one shots featuring one shots starring the Dark Knights or more accurately, their back stories. I had thought these would be ordered based on who the character was but the pattern of sales here seems to be retailers treating it like a mini series. I can’t think of any other reason why the Drowned (Aquaman/Batman mash up) outsells the Merciless (Wonder Woman/Batman mash up). Still, these have all performed great with the Drowned selling over 89.8k, the Dawnbreaker selling over 89.4k and the Merciless selling over 87.9k. For one shots by creative teams beyond the main mini’s team starring the villains of the story, that is all very impressive. Of course, they’re all likely to be outdone by next months ‘Batman Who Laughs‘ but these issues have nothing to be ashamed of. DC struck gold with Metal (pun intended) and managed to outdo the majority of Marvel Legacy due to it (more on that in a moment).
Ray: I’m expecting The Batman Who Laughs to wind up being the #3 book next month, easily. But the rest of these seem to have been treated as essential Metal tie-ins, no matter what the inspiration for the character is. Cyborg and Aquaman selling in the same sales range as the higher-profile heroes is amazing.
Glenn: The final book in the top ten is Batman: White Knight, the Sean Murphy vehicle which sees a story where Batman goes bad and its up to the Joker to save Gotham. Its an interesting premise and Murphy is a real a-lister (who apparently can move the needle) so this getting a lot of interest doesn’t surprise me. It sells over 86.7k which for an out of continuity maxi-series is fantastic. I could see this easily selling 50-60k for the rest of its run before it goes off to collection heaven and Murphy reteams with Snyder for their Batman story to dominate the sales chart again in 2018.
Ray: As I recall, the initial reports were that White Knight had been ordered more heavily than this, so that surprises me, but this is still an alternate universe Bat-book that broke the top ten in one of the most competitive months on record. Very impressive, and will likely garner great reorders and do gangbusters in collections.
Glenn: So in the month of October, 2017 the result is that Batman smashes Marvel legacy and hard. Even if you say Metal is a JLA/DCU story more than a Batman one (which is debatable but okay), Batman starred in six top ten titles. Its just sheer dominance and now, Marvel’s latest mega push publicizing wise is playing second fiddle to Batman. Only their top three super hero titles could compete and two of those crashed to near their previous sales level or below the same month. Meantime Batman’s solo title is enjoying a six year run or so above 95k because…its Batman. There’s a lot more to break down this month but I think that’s the real headline to take away from this months charts.
Ray: Batman beat the entire Marvel Universe 7-3 in Legacy month. Is there nothing he can’t do?
Glenn: To be fair, he had the prep time.
Ray: As we head out of the top ten, we see the 11-30 range dominated by Marvel books like we almost never do, thanks to the bulk of the line getting its Legacy launch. Across the boards, we see some pretty healthy first-issue boosts, but it’s important to note that these are the Lenticular variant issues, which likely meant heavy ordering. Unless a comic shipped two issues this month, it’s hard to tell what’s just noise.
Glenn: We do see a noticible uptick across the board for Marvel in spaces that have been dominated largely by DC books since Rebirth. If this will have the same staying power will be hard to determine but current evidence would incline it isn’t likely.
Ray: The two X-men books, which launch a crossover “Mojo Worldwide” this month, get pretty sizable bumps of about 30K to land at #11 for Gold (81.9K) and #15 for Blue (71K). But they ship two issues this month, which means we can see them down at #47 for Gold and #61 for Blue, selling 41K and 37K respectively. That’s essentially flat for both books from last month, so status quo has resumed here. But then, these books didn’t get Legacy renumbering, just a crossover and rebranding.
Glenn: At least the new two X-Men books seems to be sticking to that high 30k range. Its not super brilliant but unless you have pointy ears and a cape, nothing is these days. It seems that this latest ‘color’ relaunch has done the X-Men books some good. Hopefully by adding in a new team (red) in the next few months won’t over saturate things.
Ray: Despite already having its Legacy renumbering a while back, Venom gets one of the biggest increases at #12. It only sold 24K last month, and sells a whopping 76K this month. The yo-yo performance of Venom continues to confound.
Also proving the power of Venom is Spider-Gwen, which leaps a full 100% to land at #13 with 72K in sales. This is a combination of Legacy and the proper start of the Gwenom storyline. But it’s great to see Gwen this high up here again.
Glenn: Its been a while for Gwen hasn’t it? She was one of the big victims of the post Secret Wars relaunch sales wise. Is this going to be righting the ship or just a blip? More rhymes next month will tell us for sure!
Ray: I was surprised to see Cable jump so high to #14 with sales of 71K. Last month it sold 32K. New creative team of Brisson and Bachalo, so the artist has some pull and the writer is rising fast. But I’m wondering if this had more to do with the buzz from Cable’s appearance in Deadpool 2. We’ll see if it can hold any of this increase.
Glenn: I’m also surprised by Cable but given than the renumbering has given it the all powerful anniversary number of 150 may have helped a good bit too. It really seems that Brisson is paying off spades for Marvel on the books they’ve given him so far.
Ray: Avengers had a healthy boost with its Legacy renumbering, which coincided with a crossover with Champions. It sold 33K last month, and 70K at #16 this month. However, what’s odd is that its partner in a hard crossover, Champions, only sold 47K at #43. That’s only an 18K boost from last month, and a huge delta between the two parts of the crossover. I’m not sure why Champions doggedly refuses to sell.
Glenn: I just think Champions launched at a bad time and never got a chance to find its feet. It’ll be interesting to see how Avenger’s can perform once it goes weekly in a few months. Even if it sells around 35-40k per issue it’ll end up doing a lot better as a title in of itself overall.
Ray: Now come the A-listers, as two icons who have been struggling for a while jump into the top ten with their relaunches. Invincible Iron Man, which combines the books featuring Riri and Doom into one where Tony Stark will return, sells 70K at #17, which is up from 34K for Riri’s book last month. Meanwhile, the well-timed Incredible Hulk sends Amadeus Cho to Planet Hulk and is rewarded with sales of 66K at #19. That’s a massive jump from Totally Awesome Hulk’s final issue – which sold 19K. I’m not sure how these two titles will hold their numbers, but they’ve got a lot going for them – rebranding, renumbering, and either the return of an icon or the return of a fan-favorite setting. These two could surprise – but then, as we now know about Iron Man, it’s getting a creative team shift soon enough.
Glenn: Incredible Hulk may have got a slight movie boost too. Also the initial Planet Hulk story was a big hit back in the day so retailers may order more than they would during this story. Everything will become clearer next month as we’ve said but these are encouraging signs.
Ray: The only DC book breaking up the Marvel presence in this area is The Flash, which was the first part of the Bats Out Of Hell crossover for Metal. This crossover didn’t seem to get all that much hype, but it’s good for 69K at #18, which is an 18K jump over the title’s other issue this month.
Glenn: Flash is still one of Rebirth’s big winners. Much like we see with Detective and its current high profile tie-in, the crossover will only benefit a title that is already doing well so much.
Ray: Top ten mainstays Star Wars and Walking Dead chart at #20 and #22, selling 65K and 64K respectively. That’s essentially flat for Star Wars, which was the finale of Aaron’s run, and down 20K from Walking Dead as its odd yo-yo sales continue. But these books are still rock solid and among the top-selling regular ongoings that aren’t Batman. It just shows how competitive this month was.
With the incredibly packed slate this month, the second halves of the major storylines in Action and Detective fall out of the top twenty, but take up 4 spots from 20-30. However, they’re both still rock solid, as Action sells 64K and 59K, only a small decrease from last month (and adds 23K and 21K for the two issues in the non-lenticular editions). Detective, meanwhile, actually gains about 3K for its two issues this month from last month, as buzz for this Tim Drake-centric storyline continues to build.
All-Star Batman ends its run at #29, selling 56K. I imagine DC will be very sorry to see this comic go – unless, of course, they happened to sign a new writer who had the same kind of megawatt sales pull and relaunched it…
Glenn: Given Snyder’s name, I thought this book would go out with higher numbers but I suppose you can only do so much with what is now the third tier Bat title. It seems Snyder will be back to Batman before so long in a special mini with Sean Murphy on art which will probably be a lot stronger in sales overall.
Ray: There were relatively few #1s this month from Marvel, but two titles did launch. One did surprise me in sales, and what was Spirits of Vengeance, which landed at #25 with sales of 58K. Marvel didn’t seem to have much faith in this title, cutting it back to a miniseries before launch. But it seems like there’s some hunger for these characters – Blade, Ghost Rider classic. It’s a concept we haven’t seen in a while, and the audience responded a bit.
Glenn: I’m glad to see Spirits of Vengeance do so well. Like you said, its been a while since Marvel did a book like this so it just shows that maybe doing something different can bring rewards. If the rest of the mini can do in the 30-35k range, I could see it easily become an ongoing.
Ray: In the middle of the Legacy madness, there’s a new Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan miniseries that sells 56K at #27. Pretty good numbers for a standard Deadpool fights stuff mini – these won’t go away any time soon.
Glenn: Given that this is essentially Deadpool vs Wolverine, I thought it would have done a little bitter but it probably got a little lost in the Legacy shuffle. Still will probably perform admirably for the rest of its run.
Ray: Black Panther’s Legacy launch hits at #31, selling 55K (a roughly 100% jump from last month). This issue brought back Panther’s arch-nemesis and came out around the same time as a very popular trailer for the movie, so it might keep some of its past momentum from the days when this was one of Marvel’s top-selling books.
Glenn: This really is a great time to be a Black Panther fan it seems. Hopefully Marvel have learned their lesson with the failed spin off books starring the character and instead on focusing on making the main book a success.
Ray: At #32, we’ve got Falcon #1, which sells 54K. Not terrible, but I was surprised it sold less than the less-hyped Spirits of Vengeance. Of course, Falcon is coming off a run as Captain America and a major event comic – and neither of those things are a positive. This book might have a very hard road ahead of it, and I wouldn’t be shocked by it being a stealth miniseries.
Glenn: Despite his double edged sword high profile over the last few years, this is better than I would expect a Falcon book to launch. Of course, its not a great place to start for an ongoing. It’ll need to probably settle at around 30-25k or so to justify its existence and fast.
Ray: At #34, proving there’s no limit to crossover madness, we’ve got a very strong debut for Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica. 52K is a pretty strong number for what’s essentially a comedy lark that puts the two pairs of iconic comic ladies in misadventures. Archie and DC have to be very happy here. Don’t doubt the power of Harley!
Glenn: Great numbers for another DC/insert another company here crossover! Even if we’re seeing the regular Harley team say their farewells soon, it doesn’t seem as if the character will be losing any momentum any time soon. It should also be noted that people really like seeing Harley and Ivy together and of course, it doesn’t hurt that Archie’s Betty and Veronica have a popular (with the kidz) tv show and a well regarded monthly book themselves.
Ray: There were a lot of Legacy books that had neither renumbering nor big status quo changes, and those include Uncanny Avengers and Defenders. Both sold about 28K this month, and this month they sell 49K at #36/37. A decent increase, but I suspect they’ll drop right back down – there’s nothing new driving sales here. And Defenders might be in real trouble when Bendis leaves.
Glenn: With the Netflix show the series is based off likely not getting another series until 2019 at the earliest it might be in Marvel’s interest to just end it when Bendis leaves. I can’t imagine too many of their current writers pool that are available being able to get the same interest to the book.
Ray: Venomverse and the conclusion of Gotham Resistance over in Green Arrow both sell roughly 49K this month at #39/40, and that’s two mini-crossovers that the companies are likely very happy with.
At #41, we start to see the impact of Legacy on lower-selling titles with Iron Fist, which brought in Sabretooth to the tune of 47K sales. That’s a nearly 200% increase from last month’s 17K sales, but will it matter in the long run? Even keeping 33% of the increased sales could make the difference for some of these titles.
The story’s basically the same for Jessica Jones at #46, which sells 43K, a more than 100K jump. Of course, this title’s future is now completely in flux. The character’s had one writer driving her story for the better part of twenty years.
Glenn: Hopefully Jessica won’t be sent to the obscurity cafe along with the likes of Gravity, Arana and Patriot after her creator leaves. Having a popular Netflix show will help her a lot stick around as a fixture. There are plenty of writers who could do interesting things with her both male and female.
Ray: Captain Marvel has one of the biggest jumps and smallest overall numbers, selling 41K at #48 for its sort-of-anniversary #125 issue, up from only 13K last month. But with no real status quo changes here, I expect those sales to crash down to earth and fast.
Glenn: This is another one benefiting a bit extra from an anniversary number so overall, that’s not an encouraging sign. Poor Carol’s had a rough time the last few years and the title is trying to combat that baggage while patiently awaiting her MCU debut which is still over a year away.
Ray: Astonishing X-Men is still trying to find its level, sliding a hefty 17K in its third month to land at #50 with 40K in sales. The numbers are hurt by the onset of Legacy, of course, but this is a book that may have a bit of trouble in this market.
Glenn: Its one X-book too many. Long gone are the days of the market being able to support 501 X-Men titles. This is why I think the upcoming ‘X-Men: Red‘ may struggle and hopefully will not damage the relatively still waters both Gold and Blue have found themselves in.
Ray: The opposite side of the equation is the little book that could, Mister Miracle, which charts at #51 with sales of 40K. That’s basically even with last month, so it seems to have found its level between Superman and Wonder Woman in sales. Unlike past King cult hits like Omega Men and Vision, the direct market is finally taking notice!
Glenn: Brilliant stuff for Mister Miracle which is already being touted as an all time classic. It seems that delivering solid stories eventually does equal sales success if you do it often enough.
Ray: Like his fellow Defenders, Luke Cage reaps some of the biggest increases, selling 39K up from 11K last month to land at #52. Same creative team, but a story that’s getting some buzz likely means this title may have bought itself a few more arcs.
Glenn: Luke also has the Netflix card in his arsenal so is doubtfully going anywhere do to that. I’m surprised he didn’t do better than Iron Fist since he’s had a much higher profile the last decade or so.
Ray: A similar story for Gwenpool, which sells 39K at #57, up from 14K last month. The title changed up basically…nothing, so I don’t expect it to really hold any of the new sales. This is a lenticular boost, nothing more.
At #58, we see the launch of The Shadow/Batman, Dynamite’s turn at the helm for the next part of this crossover. It sells 38K, which is in a whole other stratosphere for Dynamite’s titles. Below what the DC series did, but it seems retailers may have treated this as a direct sequel.
Glenn: It just seems that these crossovers are paying huge benefits for both companies. Dynamite are likely very excited to do the Red Sonja/Booster Gold crossover you all didn’t realize you wanted until just now.
Then its business as usual for the next few spots as DC books keep their levels and Marvel titles await their legacy renumbering.
Ray: There’s a few more Legacy titles that were selling very low before the relaunches that get a boost this month, but not nearly enough of one to make a difference. These include Gwenpool (14K in September, 39K this month), Jean Grey (24K in September, 38K this month), Royals (12.9K in September, 35K this month), Iceman (13.2K in September, 34K this month), US Avengers (13.4K in September, 30K this month), America (9.1K in September, 26K this month) and Monsters Unleashed (11K in September, 25K this month). All decent increases, of course, and every Legacy book this month made the top 100. But none of these increases are enough to make the difference for the titles once the natural decline sets in next month. The benefit from the first issue was across the board, but I see nothing to indicate the status quo has changed.
Glenn: The next title of note is Punisher Platoon which sells over 32.8k at 73. Decent for a Punisher mini which sees the return of probably his most iconic writer Garth Ennis. The next issue sells just over 25.5k at 100 so I doubt we’ll see much of a fall in sales as Ennis on Punisher brings with it a lot of stability, at least it did in the past. Perfect timing for this given Punisher debuts on Netflix…today (as of this typing).
Ray: Ennis on Punisher is one of those all-timer creative teams that will drive sales whenever it returns, and despite this being the first book published under the MAX banner in ages, that hasn’t changed. That’s a very strong second issue slide as well, which indicates relatively little inflation on the first issue and genuine interest. This will sell even better in collections.
Glenn: Next thing of note is Gotham City Garage which sells over 25.8k at 98. This is a title in the same vein as DC Bombshells but instead of a retro WW2 feel, this instead reimagines some of DC’s iconic female characters as biker chicks. This is another property that is likely going to earn its keep through the merchandise arm of DC like Bombshells does but it sells very will for this type of thing.
Ray: Gotham City Garage doesn’t seem to have received the same level of critical acclaim that Bombshells has, though, so we’ll see how it performs. The second issue has a relatively decent slide to 15K at #135 this same month, which indicates it has a bit of rope. Especially as it’s designed for digital and we don’t see most of its sales.
Glenn: Dropping about 10k from its debut issue is Wonder Woman/Conan’s second issue which sells over 22.1k at 112. I’d say that basically this book is likely being sold on Wonder Woman and Gail writing alone that this is very good. Another winning crossover.
Ray: Conan fans tend to be trade-waiters too, so I wonder if that’ll be a lucrative second market for the book when it’s done. It’s excellent so far.
Glenn: At 120 is the I Hate Fairyland Special edition which sells over 20k. I think this is a reprint of a previous FCBD comic with some special bells and whistles so that’s very good considering that people paid exactly nothing for it before.
Ray: This is essentially free sales for I Hate Fairyland to a degree, so these age great numbers.
Glenn: Falling by over half its sales in its second issue is Runaways issue 2 which sells over 20k also at 121. The writer said that if this series did well, the series might return as an ongoing . Despite a tv show adaption coming soon I don’t see that as a likelihood judging from these numbers. Its only a mini at the moment so losses are minimal and barring the return of series creator Brian K. Vaugn, its unlikely the Runaways will ever have a solid place in the market again.
Ray: Runaways has really always struggled in the direct market, even under Vaughan. I’m not sure why, but given trade sales it may be too early to write this book’s obituary. The writer is a huge name in the YA market, and if it does 90% of its sales in bookstores, it could make a return. But retailers can’t be happy with this performance.
Glenn: If Runaways does see more of a life in bookstores (as it has done previously) it might be better to change the format of the series much like we were speculating for Moon Girl a few months back
Image series Realm sees an uptick in its second issue which sells over 18.5k at 124. Its not a mega increase (barely 1k) but its definitely a positive sign for a book by creators that don’t ring any bells for me.
Ray: Yet another book that seems to be building momentum for Image. Any time a book stays flat or increases from its debut is a genuine sign of success, and it seems to be happening more and more for Image.
Glenn: One shot, Thor: Where Walk The Frost Giants sells just under 18k at 126. This is a very random one shot written by former Marvel editor, Ralph ‘not the karate kid’ Macchio that has no doubt been rescued from a drawer in a desk and released to get some juice from the movie. I’d say that the sales are very good, all things considered.
Ray: Marvel does this sort of random one-shot whenever there’s a movie out, and it always does similar numbers. This was a decent entry-level read for Thor fans brought in by the movie, and I imagine that Marvel can call that a success.
Glenn: New Steve Skroce vehicle, Maestros from Image debuts at just under 18k at 128. This seems to be some sort of blend of sci-fi/medieval saga that has a decent debut. Skroce certainty has his audience still despite not really being in the limelight for some time.
Ray: Skroce seems like he has a loyal fanbase that would turn out for anything he does. Even though he’s not a big mainstream name right now, this is still an very healthy debut for a new Image book. Especially in a month as competitive as this.
Glenn: In a case of ‘they can’t all be winners’, a new Ragman title from DC sells over 17.2 at 130. This might be a fair number if it were Young Animal or Vertigo but its main DC so under that microscope, its not up to much. Its not a disaster for sure, after all, even if he did have a blink and you miss it role in Arrow last year, how many people can DC get to care about Ragman?
Ray: This Ragman miniseries also completely rewrote Ragman’s origin in a way that many fans weren’t pleased with, so this seems to be one that is destined to be forgotten quickly in the vein of the recent Odyssey of the Amazons.
Glenn: Odyssey of the whoazons? Do you mean Legend Of Wonder Woman? Man that book was great…*takes break to flick through Legend of Wonder Woman*
Ray: At #132, selling just under 17K is the latest DC anthology “House of Horror“. Plotted by Keith Giffen and written by horror author Brian Keene and a group of indy writers, it took icons of the DCU and twisted them in a horror direction, reinventing Harley as a vengeful ghost, Superman as a vicious alien monster, etc. Without any top names attached and a $9.99 price tag, these are decent numbers for an anthology.
Glenn: You said that this anthology wasn’t to the amazing high standard DC has been producing in the likes of the Holiday special and such but of course, no one knows how good a book is going to be before it comes out. Horror seems to be more at home in selling indie books rather than any big two titles by and large.
Ray: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits its #75 issue anniversary with an oversized comic that sells 14.8K at #138. That’s an increase of about 2K from last month. Not huge, but then this is a title that’s been consistently under one creative team for its entire run. It’s always been incredibly stable and that continues.
At #139 is the new crime comic Slots from Image, by writer/artist Dan Panosian. It sells 14.7K, which is a decent number from a book with no name creators attached.
Glenn: That’s very good for Slots, despite DC and Marvel grabbing the majority of the headlines (for reasons good and bad) it seems Image is still managing to capture interest in the vast amount of interesting properties they launch every month.
Ray: Werewolf Jughead returns! His new ongoing lands at #143 with sales of 14.5K, proving there’s an audience for everything. Archie’s been trying a lot of unique things as of late. Let’s see how Biker Betty and Veronica do next month!
Glenn: I remember the one shot doing surprisingly well. I guess when it comes to stuff that can be silly and get away with it, such as the Archie characters then the fans are more than willing to buy in
Ray: At #144, we see the relaunch Hack/Slash Resurrection, which sells 14.5K for Tini Howard’s relaunch of Tim Seeley’s classic horror property. A creator-owned title switching creators is extremely rare, so it’s hard to judge the pattern here, but these numbers seem in line for a cult property.
Glenn: I don’t remember the last time the title came out so it shows that a good amount of fans have stuck around and the property can still perform decently after its creator has passed it on. We saw Kingsman do this last month, how many more Image creator owned books may lease themselves out to other creators in the future? It makes for some interesting possibilities.
Ray: Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run wraps up at #145 with sales of 14.1K. This has been a cult property for some time, but it leveled out towards the end of its run and will likely be off to some great sales in trades as a modern Marvel classic.
At #146, we’ve got Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1, which sells 14.1K. That’s about 5K below the 8th issue of the parent title. While Warren Ellis co-plotted this comic, it’s written by Top Cow writer Bryan Hill. This seems to indicate that Wild Storm’s success is heavily due to Elli’s name, which makes future spinoffs of this line feel a bit in doubt.
Glenn: Wildstorm is a property that had its heyday long, long ago. It serves as a sandpit for Ellis to do what he wants and not be bothered by anyone and no one bother him, which is fine and its working as that. The property though is long past being able to support spin off titles that aren’t featuring Midnighter and even that can be very heavily depending on his writer.
Ray: At #151 is the awesomely named Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, the first Black Hammer spin-off. It sells just under 13.5K, which is about 2K higher than the last issue of the parent title. Probably a bit of a variant cover boost for the first issue, but it seems like this is just being treated like the next arc of the series, as it should be. This is one of the few genuine hits Dark Horse has had in the last few years, and it’s still going strong.
Glenn: This property is really working well for Dark Horse and I’m sure they’re very grateful to have it. It may not set the singles chart alight but it performs well for what it is and the trade sales will make Dark Horse some serious coin over the next several decades once everyone starts to realize how great the book is.
Ray: There’s Dark Knights: Metal #2 again, selling an additional 13.3K at #154. The drop last issue was surprisingly steep, so it’s clear this is some correction. This book just keeps on racking up all the sales.
At #155, selling 13.2K is a new Boom series based on the 90s cartoon Rugrats. That’s a surprisingly strong debut for a comic geared towards small children (although it may have gotten some 90s nostalgia readers as well). I’m not reading, but any time Boom does well I’m happy.
Glenn: People who watched Rugrats as kids are now in the age range of the average comic fan so maybe there was some view that this would be a nostalgia buy? I don’t see the title drawing in young readers and will end up probably in the 8-10k range for die hard old school Nicelodeon people who still send Disney letters every week demanding they give Doug back.
Ray: Eternity #1 is at #158, selling just over 13K from Valiant. This is the latest part of the Divinity saga from Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, and this is in line with what the rest of the cycle debuted at in years past.
Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan’s new sci-fi crime saga “The Family Trade” lands at #162 with sales of 12.7K. Jordan’s never had huge sales pull in the direct market, so this seems like a healthy enough debut for a title that didn’t seem to get a lot of hype in advance.
Surprisingly, Benitez Productions seems to have locked down a decent spot on the charts for Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin. It charts at #163 with sales of 12.5K. This is above three DC Rebirth books, for the record. I’ve never heard of this book, but it’s selling to someone!
Glenn: Lady Mechanika will likely appeal to the vast steampunk culture out there that does overlap with comics culture quite a bit. Its never going to be a huge audience but enough to give this obscure publisher an in against some real heavyweights.
Ray: The Top Cow cyberpunk mystery God Complex lands at #175 with sales of 10.7K. Top Cow books usually sell in this range, but I saw no real buzz for this one. I read it, and I’m still not sure what it’s about…
Glenn: Don’t ask me, all I know is that David Bowie is a kettle (obscure Rabbitt Stew joke number 4576!)
Ray: Decent reorders for both of last month’s Dark Knights issues, with Murder Machine selling an additional 10.5K at #177 and the higher-ordered Red Death landing an additional 9.8K at #186. Clearly some genuine heat for this event and everything it touches.
Glenn: Nothing can stop the Dark Knights and I’m sure this months issues will have some pretty good reorders too. If DC didn’t have the sequel to the best regarded comic ever coming they would still making everyone jealous with how well this event is doing.
Ray: At #182 we have Kid Lobotomy #1, the surreal new Peter Milligan comic set at a haunted hotel/medical clinic, which sells 9.9K. This was designed as a cult comic for those very much into Milligan’s oddball style, so these numbers are probably right in line with what IDW was expecting.
Glenn: Milligan has always been a fringe creator and IDW are better at property output than creator owned so yeah all in all, this isn’t too bad for a mini taking everything into account.
Ray: 17 months into DC Rebirth, we finally see the first Rebirth title slip under the 10K mark. It’s Cyborg, naturally, down at #184 at 9.9K. The title’s ending hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s got to be coming.
Glenn: They’re likely keeping it alive just so he has a title on the shelves for when the movie hits. When the movie is out of the theaters (which it isn’t as of this typing but tomorrow, who knows?) I’d say that Cyborg will be only featured in the main League book for the foreseeable future.
Ray: At #187, it’s another oddball crossover – Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella from Dynamite. This is a niche book, so 9.8K is probably as high as it was going to get. Hack/Slash is all over the place again, suddenly!
Glenn: Well that’s random. It doesn’t seem to have quite the random appeal of the DC cross company crossovers but clearly some people would be interested. Likely only for the most die hard fans of both properties.
This month the second issue of Kingsman: The Red Diamond sells just over 9.3k at 193. Not terrible for an Image mini but it had a big budget film to help promote it. The decision to have this mini be its own thing is puzzling and it seems that Millar has moved on to bigger, Netflix sized fish.
Ray: What’s interesting is that Kingsman and Kick-Ass, Millar’s two most successful properties to this point, are now sort of wild cards because they’re the only ones not owned by Netflix. Millar is relaunching Kick-Ass soon, but he seems to have farmed out Kingsman with little fanfare. I’m not sure whether he’s more or less invested in these two now.
Glenn: Kick Ass is in some ways his biggest success, its the one that’s had the most material published in any case. That one could be the one he does for ‘fun’ while the others serve his contract and get him working with some of the best artists in the industry.
More an understandable performance from Elsewhere on its 3rd issue selling just over 9.3k at 194. This is more in line with what I would expect the book to do and it’ll likely settle around here and perform decently enough in trades to keep it around for as long as Faybaer wants it to.
Decent enough slide for Gasolina 2 which sells also, also over 9.3k at 195. If it settles fast, this will be another steady performer for Image by creators that aren’t that well known.
Atomahawk also from Image at 196 sells just under 9.3k for a zero issue which collects some early work by Donny Cates who if you’ve been paying attention the last few months has become a little bit of a dark horse in the market. This is perfectly fine numbers for material that’s a few years old and was likely an easy win for Image, especially when priced at 5.99.
Ray: This was an oversized one-shot which was a reprint of obscure material, yeah, so I’m guessing these sales are 100% due to Cates’ new sales clout. Impressive.
Glenn: Another bizarre Hanna Barbera reinterpretation in the form of Ruff & Reddy sells over 8.7k at 200. Its a mini and likely gets most of its attention due to the involvement of Howard Chaykin more than anything. I’ve honestly never heard of this particular duo so this may have been ordered under the assumption it was Chaykin doing a wacky mini series for DC and this is probably decent numbers with that mentality.
Ray: These characters, a cat and dog vaudeville comedy team, are so obscure that reportedly the team developing the Hanna-Barbera line didn’t even know they had them at first. Given that, and Chaykin’s reputation as a cult creator, four-digit sales for a DC book aren’t really a surprise, but still kind of shocking to see a new DC #1 launch there.
Glenn: Very good launch for the Tick which has a new series launch to coincide with the well regarded Amazon show. It sells over 8.6k at 201. This property has been around forever and seems to never really go away, I’d say the long time publisher is happy with this. This was probably also boosted by having Cullen Bunn attached and may have a decent life in the top 300 due to that.
Ray: New England Comics is a small published basically known for…well, The Tick. Feels like it’s been a while since they had a new comic out, so any time a small-press company gets on the top 300, it’s a good sign.
Glenn: At 203 is the Archies 1 which saw the Archie crew form a band, it sells over 8.5k. There was some great talent on board here but this is performing much like Archie titles would have done prior to the Waid led reboot so I’m sure the company is happy enough with that in mind.
Ray: So I guess we can say people would rather read Jughead shred flesh than shred chords, amirite? *does dance number off-stage*
Glenn: The wacky (pun intended) Gart Ennis vehicle, Dastardly and Muttley has its second issue at 204 selling over 8.5k. Not great but its only a mini and likely will just appeal to people who want to read what Ennis does to the iconic villainous cartoon duo. I’d say DC wouldn’t have expected much more.
Somehow Marvel got over 8.4k worth of people to buy a retelling of Captain America: Civil War by calling it a Black Panther movie prelude, good for them. It charts at 205, bring on the movie says I.
Ray: You fooled me once, Marvel! Not this time! NOT! THIS! TIME!!!!!
Glenn: Sexy jungle lady Sheena loses half her sales in her second issue charting 209 with sales over 8.2k. Not entirely surprising since you know…its Sheena but its decent enough for a Dynamite title and will likely have a decent life on the shelf as long as Marguerite Bennett is attached.
Ray: That’s Dynamite’s third-highest book of the month and their top one that isn’t a crossover, so yeah, good sales for them and probably a lot due to Bennett’s sales clout.
Glenn: Next creator owned second issue this month is another Image one in the form of Angelic which drops to 212 with sales over 8.1k. There are books with worse drops in the charts and the unknown creative team are probably thrilled to just be below Rick Remender’s Deadly Class, even though its well into its run by this point. I know I would be.
Cullen ‘who needs sleep?’ Bunn’s creator owned Dark Ark sells over 8k on its second issue at 215. This is an Aftershock title so I’d call that a pretty decent hold all things considered. Much like his other horror title, Harrow County its unlikely to set any sales records but will remain steady and do well in collections.
Final issue of Mother Panic sells over 7.8k at 218. Not brilliant but probably better than the book would have finished off at had it been released under Vertigo rather than Young Animal. DC is giving Young Animal a bit of a spotlight and tying it in to some of the main DCU characters and giving it its own mini event involving a Milkman (I don’t know) so someone was clearly happy with how these books did.
Ray: Sales on these Young Animal books really trickled off, except for the intermittently-released Doom Patrol, although Mother Panic’s bat-link helped it stay a bit higher. I think this creative team could be back for a vol. two if they want down the line.
Glenn: Short term, Young Animal will be taking part in their mini event crossover. How those books do sales wise will likely dictate the future of the line moving forward.
Aftershock spin off, Animosity Evolution sells over 7.1k at 221. I think this is roughly were the last version of this book left off so retailers are likely just ordering it as the next issue. this title has performed really well for Aftershock and they clearly have a lot of faith in it.
Ray: Yeah, this was essentially a direct continuation from the previous spin-off, Animosity: the Rise. I think retailers essentially ordered it like a standard issue with a slight boost. But this is clearly Aftershock’s first actual franchise.
At #223, we’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, selling just over 7K copies before it begins its Legacy run next month. I don’t know where those sales are hidden, but they’ve got to be somewhere, because woof.
Glenn: Clearly someone at Marvel really, REALLY loves this book. I doubt Legacy will change much for the character but at this point, I expect it to keep being published long after I’m dead.
Ray: Down at #236, we’ve got the launch of Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight from IDW, which sells 6.4K. This title is not really aimed at the direct market, as it’s going to be doing short three-issue arcs aimed at affordable trades for bookstores, much like the much higher-selling Star Wars Adventures. Given that, it’s likely to hit its sales target.
Glenn:I might have expected more out of Goosebumps because it’s one of the most enduring young reader franchises ever and had a big movie out not too long ago. This ultimately is just another part of author R.L Stein’s plan to feature his work in every format possible. It’ll sell well to book stores to go along with the other trillion and one Goosebumps books.
Ray: And just below Goosebumps at #237 is Danger Doll Squad #1! Witness the power of Zombie Tramp and her sexy lady sidekicks. Can’t wait for the blockbuster shared universe film series.
Glenn:Given that Zombie Tramp would have trouble cracking the top 300 when we started these articles, that certainty shows the publisher has gathered a little momentum. This time in five years, Zombie Tramp will be the Batman of its time.
Ray: IDW’s been consistently putting out minis from the “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse” series for a few years now, and this cult series has a new installment – where the titular corpse runs for President! – at #239, selling 6.4K. This is clearly a case where retailers know what to expect by now, much like with the BPRD.
Glenn: I’m not sure what Wormwood is but yeah, IDW will know what returns to expect from a long running cult franchise like this
Ray: Arguably the oddest book of the month, Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd, sells 6.3K at #241. That’s apparently the audience for supernatural rap comics set in the Valiant universe and dealing with demonic contract law!
At #242, we’ve got the launch of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1, the first solo adventure of the female Ghostbusters from the recent movie. And at sales of 6.2K, I think a comic sequel may be as likely as a movie sequel.
Glenn: Given the venomous response the movie got, I’m surprised it did this well. Of course, those that came to the movies defense in an extreme reaction to the negative extreme reaction may keep this version of the Ghostbusters on the fringes of pop culture but yeah, fans of the movie and these characters won’t be seeing many more of their adventures in comics form based on these sales.
Ray: One of the lowest-selling Image debuts in recent memory, Top Cow’s video game tie-in Warframe, lands at #246 with sales of 6.2K. I’m assuming retailers knew this was really only for completists.
Just below, selling 6.1K, is James Tynion IV’s acclaimed horror series Eugenic. This tale of genetic manipulation and the extinction of humanity isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither were its predecessors in the “Apocalypse Trilogy”. Given Boom’s struggles in the direct market and the fact that these will likely all be bundled together in a hardcover at some point, these sales are to be expected for a cult property.
#249 brings us the return of Fighting American, now published by Titan. I believe this is Titan’s highest-selling book of the month, so clearly the Kirby and Simon team still has some pull in the modern day.
At #250, selling 6.1K, is the second arc of Ray Fawkes’ Underwinter, with a new title and new #1. This is one of Image’s strangest and most cult-like books, so the fact that it’s selling this high (comparably) is probably a testament to the decent reception of the disturbing first arc.
Zombie Tramp at #252! Second Zombie Tramp sighting of the month! Woot woot!
At #261 it’s the first sighting of Lion Forge on the charts this month, for the second series of their Voltron: Legendary Defender tie-in. This is a wildly popular Netflix series, so it’s got enough clout to push a small company like LF into the top 300. Looking ahead, it’s their only book on the charts this month, so while 5.5K isn’t much to other companies, to Lion Forge this looks like reason to celebrate.
Glenn: Voltron is a very niche property with a very passionate fan base so good for Lion Forge for securing the property. I’m sure they’re thrilled to just be featured among some of the industries heavyweight companies. Every company has to start somewhere.
Latest Transformers number 1, Optimus Prime: First Strike sells over 5.3k at spot 265. Its Transformers, its IDW, for additional thoughts see nearly every ‘By The Numbers’ for the last two years or so, exclusively on Graphic Policy (ding)
Some reorders for Marvel Legacy at 268 with more sales 5.3k, getting more copies sold is always good but given the hype for the one shot, you would have expected maybe a tad more. It seems that the mega numbers retailers ordered last month seemed to satisfy most of the demand.
Ray: Yeah, generally the higher something goes, the less reorders will be needed. DC Rebirth being the exception, though, cuz’ Watchmen.
Glenn: A new X-Files mini, JFK Exposure launches from IDW at 4.8k. The new season is on its way next year but the audience don’t seem to be interested in reading the tales of Mulder and Scully in comic form. For die hard fans and people who have been reading X-Files comics since the 90’s only.
An odd one at 291 in the form of Black Crown Quarterly 1, fall edition by IDW which sells over 4.5k. Even after reading up about it, I’m still not entirely sure what this is. It just seems to be a selection of short stories by names I don’t really know. Its priced at 6.99 and is a odd ball comic if there ever was one so not sure how IDW could have expected better.
Ray: A dark, surreal anthology without many name creators attached? I’m sure IDW is thrilled just to be in the top 300. This seems to be a new boutique imprint they’re putting together, sort of their Vertigo.
Glenn: Odd concept Image book Retcon faces a hard fall to sales just over 4.5k at 293. The idea in principle to me sounded interesting but the mystery behind it may have turned a lot of people off. It may not make the charts next month and shows that not all Image turns out can lead to winners.
The second issue of a book called Galaktikon from Albatross Funnybooks sells over 4.4k. It didn’t chart last month so good for them for making the cut this time. It has the involvement of cult creator Eric Powell so I thought it would have had a bit more of an audience but I’m not sure when the Goon was last out and his Action Comics brief stint wasn’t yesterday and its a company called Albatross which can’t be a good omen. Still, good for them for making it in.
Ray: Rare to see a title increase from last month, although it may have also snuck in with the slightly decreasing sales. Still, that’s a definite win for Albatross and Eric Powell.
Glenn: A GFT Halloween special from Zenescope sells over 4.4k at 297. Maybe people get their sexy vampires, witches and werewolves elsewhere these days.
Former Marvel character ROM returns to comics at 298 from IDW with sales over 4.3k. For die hard ROM fans only it seems as the character has been awol for quite some time. I’d have liked to have seen it done better just because of the story of his creator, Bill Mantlo but I doubt he sees any benefit from this character these days (I could be wrong there however)
Ray: IDW and Titan do a lot of licensed books – it’s essentially their bread and butter. It makes them their money, but diminishing returns are going to creep in at some point.
Glenn: Last comic this month at 300 is Doctor Who: Lost Dimension Special 1 which sells over 4.1k. It seems that multiple Doctor stories don’t have the same impact when you do them every year. Either the rest of Titan’s Doctor Who line is all on vacation or they all missed the charts this month. The property might get a jolt when the 13th Doctor gets her own comic but otherwise, its not really in the limelight this weather.
If you’re keeping score at home, the lowest selling comic last month did slightly better than the lowest selling last month but only by 130 odd copies. Still not good times at the bottom of the chart.
Nothing interesting next month it seems, right Ray? Ray put that giant clock down…
Ray: Ah, yes. November. Nice, quiet month that – *gets run over by stampede to purchase Doomsday Clock*
So, yeah, needless to say, we’ve got Doomsday Clock sitting atop the charts next month, likely with sales far exceeding what Legacy or Metal did, and probably topping the charts for the next eleven months as well if it hits its schedule. This is one of the biggest events of all time, and all else will bow in its wake. We’ve also got Batman: Lost and The Batman Who Laughs, which should easily take the silver and bronze. Besides that, DC will have their new annuals, plus a few smaller projects including a new launch for The Demon and the return of Kurt Busiek to the world of Secret Identity – this time with Batman!
Marvel, as it heads into its second full month of Legacy, will find it hard to compete. Their sole A-list launch this month is Waid and Samnee’s Captain America, which should make it into the top ten, but I’m not sure what else will crack that list. Star Wars, as Gillen jumps on board? Certainly not any of this month’s launches. And those five one-shots reviving old titles? I’d be surprised if they were more than a ripple in the comic pool. Although it will be interesting to see how Donny Cates moves the needle on his new Marvel titles.
With the big two putting up their dukes, it’s a quite month for the indies. There’s a few Image launches, but no real a-listers. It’ll be interesting to see how titles like Coyotes or Port of Earth do, and we might see some sleeper hits. Also, do Archie fans want to see Betty and Veronica on motorcycles? We shall see!
Glenn: Come back next month to see Doctor Manhatten turn us into ducks! See you all then!
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