Category Archives: By the Numbers

By The Numbers: March 2018

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Due to Booster Gold messing with the time stream (its a gift!) Ray has no longer interest in cooking shows, in fact he hates all type of food.  He lives off corn and water.  He is an unhappy fellow.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  Hope so!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  So it is!  Sorry Vertigo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: February 2018

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. After weeks of therapy, Ray has come to terms with the cancellation of Supergirl. To help him, we’re telling him that Scott Snyder is now writing Amazing Spider-Man, please don’t tell him any different.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb3

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb 4

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

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

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

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

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

feb 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  Or Doomsday Clock or Metal or…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: January 2018

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  When contacted about his thoughts on Supergirl being cancelled (announced after the typing of what you will read below) it is said that Ray walked into the distance with the sad music from the Hulk TV show mysteriously playing in the air…

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By The Numbers: December 2017

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  After hearing that Boss Baby is nominated for an Oscar, Ray went on a rampage that made Godzilla, King Kong and Brock Lesnar say and I quote ‘jeez man, chill.’

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ray:  Unless Renew Your Vows manages to find the same bookstore/digital sales as some other young-skewing titles, its future probably holds two more arcs. Peter will probably be back in high school come the reboot anyway.

Glenn:  Anything that’s not Star Wars or Spider-Man is really struggling at Marvel.  We’ll see next month if Marvel’s new strategy with the various Avenger’s books works to their advantage as we await their next move to try to course correct the rest of the line.

This years DC Holiday special charts at 107 with over 19.2k of sales which if I didn’t lie last year is a little less than last years that sold about 23k.  Given how packed with talent this years was, how well received last years was and how well received THIS years was, I would have expected more.  Still it’s a 9.99 one shot so its a lot to ask of retailers and fans.  Its not too much of a drop from last year so I would bet on DC giving us another one this year.

Ray:  $10 specials are always going to be a hard sell. This significantly outperformed both the Halloween and New Talent Showcase books like this, so DC is probably pretty happy. These are essentially mini-trades, at this size.

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Glenn:  At 108 is a $1 True Believers one shot, Enter the Phoenix which is a reprint that is likely to give fans some background on the returning (adult) Jean Gray.  It sells over 19.1k which is perfectly fine for reprinted old material that has been reprinted multiple times.

Ray:  There are a LOT more of these Phoenix reprints on the charts. You’ll find them at 126, 133, 135-137, 141, 144, and 156, with the lowest selling about 11K. These are free sales for Marvel and they’re likely not going to be shy doing more themed months like this, but these numbers are more impressive than I would have expected. Jean Grey proper has been gone for over fifteen years now – could it be that there actually is some serious nostalgia? If so, that might bode well for X-Men: Red to be a rare hit for Marvel.

Glenn:  The Phoenix Saga is still considered one of Marvel’s best stories ever has been felt in x-books since then up until today (even before Jean was back).  People still have interest in these old X-Men stories even though they’ve been around forever and have been reprinted many, many times.

At 112 we have a new book from Dynamite in Barbarella which sells over 17.8k  I’m not sure what this is but reading the description tells me it seems to be a revival of an old property.  It has Mike Carey’s involvement which is likely why it generated most of these sales.  Not sure of the history on this at all so Carey is the mvp here most likely.

Ray:  Barbarella was a hard-R sex-filled sci-fi book that definitely wasn’t the most accessible comic Dynamite has put out, but it also had one of the most high-profile writers in Dynamite’s stable – Mike Carey of X-Men and Unwritten fame. It’ll be interesting to see if it keeps a majority of those sales due to the pull of the writer.

Glenn:  Given I’ve never heard of Barbarella its surprising her first issue outsells the 75th of Iron Fist (protector of Kun-Lun, sworn enemy of the hand) which sells over 17.8k at 113.  Again the 75th issue number has made no noticeable impact over last month so likely indicating we have seen lower numbers without it.

The second issue of the Neal Adams vehicle Deadman sells over 17.4k at 116.  Quite a hefty drop from the combined sales of the glow in the dark and regular editions last month but its Deadman so you can’t expect too much.  Still decent enough for a book that’s basically for the fans of the creator and has nothing to do with anything.

Ray:  It’s really odd that this book, compared to Demon or Mystic U, was the one that seemed to get some sales momentum. Might be that as strange as his comics have gotten, Adams still has a significant fanbase.

Glenn:  As mentioned earlier, the first issue of Doomsday Clock sees some really good reorders at 122 with over 15.5k.  This is better than some Marvel/DC books are doing in their latest issues.  Doomsday Clock was already a win, this is just icing on the cake…or syrup on the pancakes if you will.

Ray:  Just icing on the cake at this point for DC, but given how many reorders we saw of Metal-related issues, this book could easily keep showing up on the charts for months at a time the way Rebirth did. 

At #125, we’ve got a relaunch of Witchblade by Coffin Hill/Throwaways writer Caitlin Kittridge. This is, I believe, the third person to wield the Witchblade long-term, and the title is far from its glory days, but sales of 14.2K is pretty solid for a Top Cow debut, and I believe that’s the top Image debut of the month.

Glenn:  Witchblade has certainty put its time as a hot property long behind it but these sales are pretty good for a Top Cow book.  It’ll probably settle to about 7-8k which will probably be enough to justify its existence.

Ray:  Speaking of Metal and reorders, there’s the Batman Who Laughs, haunting all our dreams in December with reorders of 12.9K at #132. Congratulations, Batman Who Laughs, and please stay far away from us. Keep in mind, this reorder outsold four ongoing DC Rebirth titles this month.

Glenn:  I thought he was gone but he just keeps coming back.  It’s hard to imagine this character will go away forever after Metal concludes, there seems to be a ton of potential with him and fans love him.

Ray:  The Kamandi Challenge wraps up its run at #143 with sales of 11.7K. Not a great number in singles, but it outperformed quite a few DC Rebirth titles and will likely go on to a healthy life in trade, especially with the acclaimed King/Eastman issue considered one of the best single issues of the year included.

Glenn:  The Challenge was done as a Kirby tribute by and large so considering that and that the property is not one of the most high profile in the world, the 12 issue series performed well, especially considering its unique nature.

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Ray:  At #147 we’ve got the Wicked + Divine Christmas Annual, selling 11.5K. This book regularly works in one-shots and annuals into its narrative, and they generally sell close to the level of the main title. This is a long-running cult comic with a set audience, and retailers know how to order for it.

More reorders for DC, as a Dark Knights Metal Director’s Cut lands at #153 with sales of 11.2K. At this point, it’s just running up the score!

For 90s cartoon fans, at #158 we’ve got the debut of Rocko’s Modern Life, the second cartoon-based ongoing from Boom. This sold about 2K less than the debut of Rugrats two months ago, and this was a more obscure cartoon. Thus, for a comic aimed at kids and nostalgia fans, 11K is a decent start.

Glenn:  I never cared for Rocco’s Modern Life but I can’t remember why.  I would say that’s a very good number for one of the more obscure Nicolodeon 90’s properties.

Ray:  The second Klaus one-shot following up the acclaimed Morrison/Mora miniseries, Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville, sells 10.9K at #160. These specials aren’t picking up any casual new fans because of their complex mythology, but they’re likely bound for inclusion in a fancy oversized hardcover containing the mini and specials, and the singles sales are just a bonus. This one thematically felt like the end of the series as well.

Glenn:  Given its a Morrison book, I would have expected more for Klaus but its been a while since the main mini now and if fans weren’t specifically told by their LCS or knew beforehand, they likely thought the story was done.

Ray:  Surprisingly, it seems like last month’s oddball inclusion on the charts, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast from Heavy Metal, has some life in it past the first month. It holds decently to land at #162 with sales of 10.8K. Comeback for hard rock comics?

Glenn:  I can’t wait for Iron Maiden to crossover with the Archie’s

Ray:  The new Image title Paradiso, set in a post-apocalyptic future and featuring some promising new talent, manages to become the last comic to inch over the 10K threshold at #169. For a new Image book without household name talent, that’s pretty good, and a lot of Image books have held steady or even increased from their debuts.

We’ve got two revivals at the #170 mark. First up, selling 9.9K is Steve Niles’ own relaunch of his most famous property, 30 Days of Night – albeit sans the iconic Ben Templesmith art. Just below it at 171 and selling 9.8K is the relaunch of Image’s Rumble, with a new artist continuing the killer scarecrow fantasy. A decent debut for Rumble as it makes its comeback, but it feels like 30 Days of Night’s status as one of the hottest comics on the stands are long behind it.

Glenn:  A self reboot is an odd one to do.  Fans of the original will be like ‘well I read this already’ and years after its heyday, its not one that will be particularly sought out for new fans.  All these years later, the series probably still does well in collections so eventually having another one of those won’t hurt.

Ray:  Jetsons has a pretty hard fall from its first issue, landing at #180 with sales of 9.6K. If this brilliant comic is going to find its momentum, it’ll unfortunately likely have to be in collections.

Glenn:  Given that Jetsons is a very serious take on the concept, people looking for their childhood may have been turned off by the Black Mirror type direction.  I always felt also the Jetson’s seem to not be as well remembered as some other Hanna Barbera cartoons so DC might have had slightly lower expectations.  Will likely hold firm as it finishes out the rest of the mini.

Ray:  At #181 is another new Image debut, Sleepless. This is by the writer of Eternal Empire and the artist of Shutter, two cult Image books that never really dominated in single issue sales. So a debut here of 9.5K is probably about what could be expected, but it might very well maintain it’s momentum and lock down around that level.

In its penultimate month, Cyborg becomes the first DC Rebirth title to slide below the 9K mark at #187, while Blue Beetle is two spots above it with two months to go.

Note:  Since this writing, Cyborg’s title has received a reprieve of at least one issue

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Although it’s worth noting that it took these books well over a year to get here, while America from Marvel is down at #201, below 8K, in only 10 months – and that’s counting a Legacy relaunch only two months previously.

Glenn:  Cyborg held in there well but it doesn’t seem that many people really have much interest in him as a solo hero.  DC have really done their best to make it work over the last seven years since his big push in Flashpoint but time to give the guy a break and just be a member of the League for a while.

The second issue of Port Of Earth from Image loses nearly half its sales with over 8.4k at 195.  No big names here so this is pretty standard Image stuff.  If it can stay around this level, it’ll run for as long as the creators want.
The 25th issue of Teen Titans Go charts at 199 with sales over 8.1k. I don’t remember seeing this book the last few charts so I presume its missed the top 300 (I could go check beyond last month…but I’m sleepy) so I guess issues with a root base of 25 do mean something after all!  Maybe the title might get a boost from the movie but I wouldn’t bet on it.  I’m also not going to mention the movie again cause Ray has that look in his eyes again…

Ray:  *perches on top of a wardrobe holding an axe* BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! *gets cold water tossed on him* Anyway, I’m not a fan of Teen Titans Go. But yeah, this is definitely not the usual numbers for this comic, so DC must have put some promotion into the anniversary number.

Glenn:  Another company taking advantage of the festive season is IDW with the production of the My Little Pony Holiday special which sells over 7.9k at 202.  This is probably fine for a book that’s only for the most enthusiastic Pony fans (insert your own jokes here you sick people).

There’s a third printing of Batman: White Night’s first issue at 203 selling over 7.9k.  More tasty reorder goodness for DC who are really hitting it out with these specialty projects.  We also see the second issue rechart at 208 with sales over 7.2k.  Perhaps Sean Murphy moves the needle?

A new Image book, Bonehead debuts at 207 with sales over 7.3k.  This is an odd sounding book from a cult creative team so probably couldn’t have expected much more than this.

Ray:  Bonehead was another of Matt Hawkins’ recent cyberpunk books for Top Cow, this one about a futurist parkour gang. This was always going to be a niche book, but these books are pretty normal for Top Cow. Port of Earth is one of their few books recently that’s performing more like a standard Image book.

Glenn:  At 209 is the first issue of an IDW mini series, Asssassinistas which sell over 7.2k.  The premise sounds odd, the creative team don’t seem to ring a bell and IDW aren’t known for original properties…all that considered I would say this isn’t too bad a number at all.

Ray:  The main appeal for Assassinistas was probably the art of Gilbert Hernandez, the cult creator behind Love and Rockets (along with his brother). That’s a book that, while never being a sales force in the direct market, had a very loyal audience. I imagine that’s going to help this title stabilize a lot better than many creator-owned books.

Glenn:  Another holiday special from Curse Words sells over 7.2k at 210, never forget there is never a better time of year to try to get money from people than at Christmas.

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Ray:  I think this, like The Wicked + The Divine’s frequent specials, essentially just got treated like another issue of Curse Words. They’re titles that have established their level pretty well and these side projects keep most of the sales. 

Glenn:  Not too bad a drop for Kong on The Planet of the apes second issue which sells over 7.2k at 211.  This is a pretty fun sounding crossover so probably has Apes fans interested.  We all know of course if it doesn’t have Kong climbing the half buried statue of liberty, it’ll be for nothing.

At 214 is more reorders for DC and its Doomsday Clock this time.  The lenticular edition picks up another over 7k in sales.  Thankfully, DC held off on the dog dead in gutter edition…although that would have sold too.

The Allred vehicle, Bug Adventures Of Forager sells over 6.9k on its final issue.  This was another Kirby tribute book in essence and a bit of an oddball book from what I’ve read.  DC likely knew what they were getting when they green lit this.  It was published under the Young Animal banner, the success bar of which is still hard to say but will be subject for a relaunch shortly which Bug will miss out on but may benefit in its collection life.  Maybe those picking up the Komandi hardcover may want more Kirby in their life.

Ray:  Bug! was easily the lowest-selling and oddest book in the Young Animal stable, but it was also a spotlight for the work of the Allred family. I think it’s more likely to find a second life in collections as the creators’ fans find it. And it gets my highest recommendation.

Glenn:  BOOM continues to take advantage of their access to the Jim Henson licence with the release of Jim Henson Storyteller Fairies at 220 with sales over 6.8k.  Given that this isn’t connected to any of the major Henson properties this is probably for the hardcore fans.  At least BOOM is showing they can certainty use any aspect of a property that comes under their purview if nothing else.

How Monsters Unleashed at 222 is still going with sales over 6.7k is anyone’s guess.  It must sell somewhere but I’m not hearing where.  Some websites say that Marvel aren’t cancelling it out of stubbornness due to a lawsuit that’s popped up from the Monster energy drink but who really knows.

Ray:  That’s one of the possible explanations. The other is that it’s getting that sweet, sweet Scholastic Book Fair money. Moon Girl is only selling 400 copies more, but hey, it’s not the lowest-selling uncancelled Marvel book anymore! Clearly something odd is going on with these two that isn’t fully reflected on these charts.

Glenn:  Coyotes from Image at 223 has its second issue sell over 6.6k.  At the lower end of non major name selling Image books but given the writer isn’t that well known and the artist is seemingly completely new to comics, they’re probably both thrilled just to in the charts at all.

At 224 is a new mini from BOOM in Judas which retells a portion of the Bible from the title characters perspective.  It sells over 6.6k which I can understand, its an interesting idea for a comic but religious material comes with a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to succeed, no matter what medium its in.

Ray:  Judas was always going to be a hard sell, but I imagine the subject matter will get it some real buzz as the controversy over the twists in future issues starts to build. This is a four-issue miniseries, so that may not show up on these charts, but it could become a hotter item in collections. 

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Glenn:  The second issue of Image’s Evolution slides to 227 with sales over 6.4k.  Again this is another oddball book with a unique selling point in having multiple writers telling the same story.  Probably confusing for most potential readers and retailers.  I admire the books initiative but this isn’t the market to try to break the norm.

Gravediggers Union loses about half its sales on its second issue going to 230 with sales over 6.2k.  Artist Wes Craig is certainty an unknown quantity as a writer but everyone has to start somewhere, I’m sure that big name artists turned writers like Bendis and Remender didn’t come out with hits right away either as they transferred from art to scripting.  This one might earn its keep through trades.

Another month, another Aftershock comic, this time in the form of horror comic Backways which sells over 6.2k at 232.  This one sounds really interesting and boasts Justin Jordan as a writer so I would have thought it may have done a little better but its within Aftershock’s usual range so nothing major to report either way.

Ray:  Aftershock still seems to have a hard time getting decent launch sales, except for a select few books with bigger names. This is pretty much in line with their other recent launches, so Jordan will have time to build an audience for his horror-fantasy missing person tale. 

Glenn:  Back To The Future Time Train tells us what happened to Emmett and Clara Brown after they waved goodbye to Marty at the end of the final installment of the classic franchise.  The Back To The Future comics thus far have seemingly been for the die hard fans only and this one doesn’t seem to be any different with sales over 6.1k at 23. IDW must be happy enough with these various books cause they keep producing them but then again, they’re hardly just going to let the licence sit around gathering dust either.

Vertigo’s Imaginary Fiends loses nearly half it sales from a less than stellar launch as its second issue is at 237 with sales over 5.9k.   This is only a mini and that is maybe for the best because I’m not sure how long it was survive in the top 300 otherwise.  There have been murmurings of a Vertigo overhaul for a while and a title with an interesting premise with a well known writer like this demonstrates why.  Bookstores are Vertigo’s best friend so that’s where this book might thrive.

Ray:  Yeah, this is more a symbol of Vertigo’s issues than anything. This is a title that did everything right – top creator, timely subject matter, great reviews – but retailers don’t think Vertigo can sell anymore. There’s a big retooling coming in 2018, but right now, I’m guessing this miniseries will do most of its money in bookstores.

Glenn:  At 240 is the second issue of Betty and Veronica Vixens which sells over 5.8k.  Pretty standard for your typical wacky Archie book.

Only the hardcore fans remain if the sales of the second issue of Wonderful World Of Tank Girl is any indication, it sells just under 5.6k at 244. No big surprise for a property that really is the definition of having a cult fan base.

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By The Numbers official mascot (not official) Zombie Tramp has rock solid sales.  We tell you all this because we know that you all, like us care deeply about Zombie Tramp.  It sells over 5.4k at 246.

Ray:  Zoooooooooooombie Tramp!!! Truly America’s most comic. (I have never read an issue of Zombie Tramp)

Glenn: (Me either)

At 249 is the second issue of the Tick which seems to be a bit delayed selling just over 5.1k.  Much like Tank Girl, this is a cult fan base were only the pure loyal remain. In good news for Tick fans everywhere though, the Amazon show is getting a second season.

Ray:  It feels like it’s been several months since the first episode of Tick, which is a problem I see with a lot of indie books lately. I’m wondering if that might drive down sales a bit. 
At #245, we’ve got the final issue of the Andrew MacLean oversized fantasy comic Head Lopper, selling 5.5K. This has always been a cult series, packing eighty pages of head lopping into a $5.99 comic. This was recalled at the last minute and reissued the following month, so we might see it next month as well.

At #254, we’ve got the Faith Winter Wonderland Special from Valiant. This was a done-in-one comedy tale featuring one of Valiant’s fan-favorite characters, but it didn’t have regular series writer Jody Houser. I would have expected a bit more than just a tick under 5K, but one-shots can be a hard sell.

Glenn:  Much like Spider-Gwen, Faith is a bit of a merchandise machine and one of Valiant’s best known characters.  Obviously its on a smaller scale than Gwen but the same benifits likely apply for other forms of revenue so her comic sales don’t need to hit as much.

Ray:  The new Leonardo Da Vinci-starring Monstro Mechanica from Aftershock has one of the lower debuts from the company, selling 4.9K at #255. This got positive reviews, but with no name creators attached, it suffered the same sales struggles as much of Aftershock’s line.

IDW has a new Rom and the Micronauts series, followed by a Transformers annual, in the next two slots, both selling 4.8K or so. IDW puts out more comics than any other company besides the big two, so there’s a lot of these books that won’t distinguish themselves sales-wise. IDW makes its money by catering to devoted, old-school fans of these properties.

Glenn:  Now I’ve also completed my Transformers tracker card!  Now I can get a free Graphic Policy!

Ray:  At #258, we’ve got the debut of Giants from Dark Horse. This is the American debut of the Valderrama brothers, and they’re potentially bringing with them a big crossover audience. But it didn’t translate to first issue sales, selling 4.8K. Dark Horse debuts often struggle, but this is a miniseries and will likely have a better shot at that larger market in collections.

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Glenn:  I’ve not heard of these guys so its likely they aren’t going to carry much weight in the direct market.  Mini’s without much buzz are destined to get lost in the shuffle in today’s market though so I would say that Dark Horse definitely is betting on collections here.

Ray:  The regular Jem and the Holograms comic has ended, but there’s the new “Dimensions” miniseries for die-hard fans. Selling 4.5K at #270, it’s pretty clear why the original series faded out with the departure of series writer Kelly Thompson (now newly Marvel-exclusive).

At #272 is another new Mignolaverse series, Joe Golem: Flesh and Blood. Co-written with horror author Christopher Golden, this isn’t one of Mignola’s most well-known series, but it’s part of Dark Horse’s most successful in-house franchise. This is also a very stable franchise, so 4.4K in sales for the single issue wasn’t likely unexpected.

At #278 is this year’s Zenoscope Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Special. Glenn, take it away!

Glenn:  When it comes to Zenoscope, Rebecca Bunch always says it better than I ever could.

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Ray:  I don’t even know what a “Street Fighter Shadaloo Special” is. Googling indicates it’s an anthology, and it gets UDON Entertainment on the charts at #285 with sales of 3.9K.

Glenn:  UDON seems to pay its bills with Street Fighter nostalgia as its the only time we see them chart.  There’s a new game out but its likely kids from the 90’s who mashed their SNES controller to death playing Street Fighter II Turbo or whatever that are the primary audience.

Ray:  At #286 we have Zombie Tramp and Friends, aka “Danger Doll Squad“, selling 3.9K. Truly America’s most team book.

We have the second issue of Void Trip at #292, selling 3.8K. This is one of Image’s oddest books in a while, and it doesn’t seem to have caught on with retailers. Shame – it’s a hilarious and oddball space adventure with vibes of Star Wars by way of Hunter S. Thompson. Give it a cry before it says goodbye to the top 300!

Glenn:  This is written by a fellow former Bendis Boarder who up to now has only written game tie-ins and the like so he’s building a portfolio here.  If he continues to have a success story later down the line, Image will benefit long term from placing faith in him early.

Ray:  At #294, we’ve got the debut of Scarlett’s Strike Force from controversial IDW writer Aubrey Sitterson. This was cancelled prior to the first issue being released, and first-issue sales of 3.8K don’t make it hard to see why. How much of this was his widely debated comments, and how much was one too many GI Joe relaunches, we’ll never know.

Glenn:  Oh its this book.  The book has gotten press that has more likely reached more people that ever would have heard of it otherwise.  There are so many different sides to this particular story that its hard to know where to begin with looking at how it performed.  If you’re unaware of what the heck we’re talking about…don’t google it, just watch something like American Vandal instead.  You’ll thank us.

Ray:  Hey, it’s a second appearance by Los Bros Hernandez on these charts! The latest issue of Love & Rockets Magazine from Fantagraphics sells 3.8K at #297. These were never comics designed for Wednesday Warriors, so this is a surprise.

Adam Warren’s cult classic Empowered makes an appearance on the charts at #298, selling 3.8K with the mouthful-named “Sistah Spooky’s High School Hell“.

Glenn:  This franchise has been going for what seems like forever so it must do well in collections or something.  Good for Adam Warren being able to just do whatever he wants in a book that he owns, whenever he feels like it.  It may not be a book that sets the charts ablaze but a lot of creators would love the same freedom I’m sure.

Ray:  And rounding out the top 300 this month is Joe Books with their Disney Princess anthology. This series, composed of a series of short comic strips focusing on the popular Disney characters outside their main adventures, started pretty hot but trailed off with the departure of popular webcomic creator Amy Mebberson. Joe Books doesn’t really seem like it’s making much of a push in the single issue market anymore – these titles will do much better in collections.

Glenn:  I’m wondering if Disney remember if Joe Books still has this licence.  They lend their licences to a lot of people and are bound to lose track.

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Ray:  Looking forward to January, we’ve got some interesting debuts for DC. The first two comics from the “New Age of DC Heroes” line arrive, in the form of Venditti/Daniel’s rampaging monster comic Damage and Abnett/Romita Jr.’s assassin-mom thriller Silencer. These aren’t the two most buzz-worthy debuts for the line, so it’ll be interesting to how they do in advance of books like Immortal Men and Terrifics in the coming months. We’ve also got new issues of Metal and Doomsday Clock, which should dominate the top of the charts, along with a new wave of annuals, the Swamp Thing Winter Special with stories by Tom King and the late Len Wein, the start of the Young Animal/DC crossover, and the end of one Harley run and the beginning of another.

Marvel’s delivered almost all their Legacy debuts already to mixed results, but we’ve got a couple of new launches from them – including X-men books Rogue/Gambit and Legion, Rise of the Black Panther, Old Man Hawkeye, and a one-shot focusing on the mysterious DJ from The Last Jedi. Helping them in sales this month, they’ll have four issues of both the Jean Grey resurrection miniseries, and the new weekly Avengers book.

The biggest indie sales force of the month will probably be the weekly Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny event, which should probably get IDW five more books in the top 100. Image has a bunch of new books coming out, including their oddest book in a while – the surreal horror comic Ice Cream Man. And Dynamite will be relying on two generations of Battlestar Galactica fans to power the franchise’s first crossover ever.

What will rise? What will fall? We’ll see next time on…By the Numbers!

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By The Numbers: November 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He’s hoping his comics career does way better in 2018 than 2017.  He’s also hoping his 16 month year old son can learn to put these articles together…which is probably more likely.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  Although Ray enjoyed the recent Star Wars movie he is very much against how it taught us that Porg’s are delicious instead of simply adorable.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  The end is here fans of sales numbers as DC rolls in the final By The Numbers of the year (or the first, depending on when I can pull this together…) with the launch of Doomsday Clock which continues on the major ‘wtf’ moment from Rebirth and also is a sequel to the best selling and critically acclaimed comic of all time.
Just how well did it do and how other DC books did while Marvel entered its second Legacy month and more are all here in By The Numbers.

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So yes, in the least predictable plot twist than Tommy Elliot being Hush (12 year old spoiler warning here), Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank not only takes the top spot but the top TWO spots this month.  The best selling version is the regular one which featured two different covers by Frank and the second being a lenticular version of art by Dave Gibbons from Watchmen.  So yes, the two versions sold like bananas and unlike the lenticular versions of the Button issues earlier this year, they were ordered closely together with sales of over 119.4 k and 119.2k respectively.  A combined sales of over 238.6k is heads above everything else.  One thing I would say is I thought the sales would be a lot higher, easily passing 300k or maybe even 500k but the market is not in the best shape by a long shot.  Overall, figures were down historically and the days of even a Watchmen sequel breaking 300k are gone for the time being so considering where the market is now, this is probably as good as its going to get.  The question is, how will the rest of the 12 issues perform?  I could easily see each issue selling in excess of 150k and taking the top spot each month (the only book in the next year which may give it serious competition is Action Comics 1000) until it finishes.  Then it goes off to collection heaven where if it sells a quarter of Watchmen has in its 30 years in various forms, DC will be collecting major bank off this for years to come.  This is an event that competition Marvel would kill to have but the funny thing is that Doomsday Clock is not the only major successful event DC is running right now.

Ray:  Yeah, I have a feeling that the days of comic book events topping 300K are just over for now. Between a shrinking number of comic book stores, more and more fans migrating to digital, and some events becoming cost-prohibitive, the base just isn’t there to get the numbers of Civil War anymore. But if this is the top of what a company can do regularly these days, then it’s very much worth noting that DC has two events that are regularly getting to that peak now, while Marvel would kill for one. Doomsday Clock is designed to be an evergreen story, playing out on its own for a year before it’s even reflected in any DC books. Based on that, I imagine sales will be stable and eventual collection sales will be massive. Barring any surprise events in the next year, you’re right – it should hold the top of the sales charts with the possible exception of Action #1000.

Glenn:  This brings us to 3 on the charts, the Batman Who Laughs.  A major tie-in to DC’s OTHER successful crossover event, Metal.  There was a bit of a debate between myself and Ray about if this or Batman Lost would play second fiddle to Doomsday Clock and in truth, it was close but I still called it and I take wins over Ray where I can.  This event covers the origin of the leader of the Dark Knights, is written by bat scribe James Tynion and is one of the best mainstream horror comics for years.  It sells over 105.1k indicating to me that there is interest in this character that could go beyond Metal.

Ray:  I’m kind of surprised that Batman Who Laughs only did about a 10K jump over the other issues of the Dark Knights spotlights, but I’m thinking that’s more a testament to just how strong the event as a whole has been. There was virtually no attrition over the course of the event – and in fact, The Devastator jumped about 7K over last month’s lowest-selling issue, The Merciless. That feels like retailers adjusting for demand.

Glenn:  As indicated, Batman: Lost takes the number 4 spot.  Impressive since it was a bizarre tie-in that was created to give Greg Capullo time to catch up on Metal.  This was Scott Snyder doing his best Grant Morrison impression and basically served at Metal 3.5.  It didn’t get as much hype but the strength of Metal overall still got it to deliver an impressive number of over 101.2k.  This issue was of course solicited as being drawn by Olivier Coipel but it didn’t quite pan out like that but I doubt retailers who may have invested based on his name were disappointed.

Ray:  Batman: Lost doing about 2/3rds of the main Metal series isn’t spectacular, but it’s still a great number for a tie-in that may not have been seen as completely critical to the story. If The Wild Hunt does similar numbers between 5/6 in a few months, DC will be very happy.

Glenn:  Sick of Batman and DC?  Well tough because here’s our regular top ten Batman sales!  Issues 35 and 34 hit this month with the former curiously outselling the latter with 35 taking spot 5 and 34 taking spot 6.  Now issue 35 was also the 800th issue of Batman but DC didn’t make too big a deal about it so the slight difference could be to do with that or it could be that its Batman and it doesn’t play by the conventional sales rules.  This month the title sells over 97.4k and 96.6k respectively.  Insanely stable and insanely successful as always.

At 7 we have Batman: The Devastator where we see Batman becomes Doomsday.  Its another Metal tie-in and thus draws in big numbers of over 94.4k.  Most companies would kill for one event with numbers like these but DC has two at the same time.  It shows that Doomsday still has some sales juice potentially with this one shot doing better than the ones last month were indicating.  Its probably more about how these once sales generating tools are used more than anything.  Doomsday showing up to job out to Superman in a random issue of his title won’t get sales but involve the character in an already popular event and then people take notice.

At 8 we’re reminded that Marvel comics is a thing with the Legacy launch of Captain America by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, one of the companies best regarded creative pairings over the last few years.  The recent history of Captain America is well documented here and the return to a more traditional take where Captain America punches Nazi’s as opposed to well…you know gives it a sales boost to over 87.1k.  This is the best Captain America has sold in ages and would give me some optimism but the sales on the books that performed well last month on their Legacy launch this month are well…we’ll get to that.  Could Waid and Samnee delivering a more traditional Captain America run buck the trend?  Its possible but given the weight the character has been saddled with creatively and how Marvel’s positioned itself in the market, it won’t be easy.

Ray:  This was about what I expected to see from Captain America, and that makes it one of the healthiest Legacy launches with the exception of Thor’s anniversary issue last month. A back-to-basics approach combined with a fan favorite creative team will do that. But this month we saw how Legacy books did in their second month, and…it’s not good. It’s terribad. There’s going to be a lot of fallout from this as we head down the charts, but a lot of books are simply cratering, and as we speak it’s one day after the March solicits dropped – and took a good chunk of Marvel’s line with them. So based on that, I expect Captain America to fall hard next month. A lot of damage was done to this property that will take a while to undo, besides Marvel’s overall sales issues. The good news is, even a hard fall from this number will likely make it one of Marvel’s least problematic books for a while sales-wise. And it’s great, so there’s that.

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Glenn:  Back to By Batman The Numbers with the second Batman annual selling over 75.9k.  Impressive sales for an annual, not as good as last years if memory serves but still impressive. I think there might be some decent reorders for this, it was a beautiful issue.

Ray:  This book was underordered. Like crazy. It sold out pre-release, and my store – Midtown Comics, one of the biggest comic book stores in the USA – had to restrict fans to one copy on Wednesday. Retailers underestimated just how much fans wanted this Batman/Catwoman story, and there are likely to be major reorders in months to come.

Glenn:  At the final spot in the top ten is that money in the bank Star Wars comic which continues to be Marvel’s most stable seller by quite a fair margin.  It sells over 73.8k showing on first glance that making Kieran Gillon the writer has had no impact but then issue 39 which charts the same month is down to 24 and sells just over 56.1k. Still decent for Marvel this weather but good lord that’s a massive drop and the worst numbers for the title by far.  Is this a mistake or has the news that Jason Aaron is gone now effecting the title?  It could be a cause for concern as Star Wars has been the title Marvel has been depending on for a while and if it now is in a spot where its being outsold by DC’s upper tier of books…that bodes ill.

Ray:  That Star Wars number is up 8K from last month’s final issue for Aaron, but the big slide the same month is worrisome. I wonder if this title might get a boost from new fans now that there’s a movie out? You might have heard about it? I think it’s called “The Last Porg“.

Glenn:  I’d forgotten that the sales on Star Wars were reaching their 60’s and we’re seeing the customary ‘last issue of a big run’ bump before it resuming normal service.  Its still healthy enough and it’ll be doing bonkers business in collections both in and out of comic stores so there’s no concern but still, sad to see the title dip to such low numbers when its been one Marvel could previously really depend on.

Since I’m counting the two versions of Doomsday Clock as one (I HAVE THE POWER) we get Justice League at 11 (also at 12) for Metal tie ins that sell over 73.8k and 71.7k respectively.  It seems that limiting the tie-ins that Metal have has done the titles that are tying in a world of good.  Hopefully another major comic company can learn the lesson that less can indeed be more.

Ray:  That’s an almost 30K jump from the last regular issues of Justice League for the crossover! Massive. Next month brings a new creative team in Christopher Priest and Pete Woods, so we’ll see if it keeps any of these increased sales. 

Glenn:  It’ll probably go back to where it was and continue its glacial decline.  Justice League seems like one of those books where the property can remain verly high despite whoever is producing the book.  Big names can help move the needle in a more positive direction of course.  Given how stable the numbers have been on Priest’s Deathstroke, moving him to League is probably to create a similar stabling effect there, not a terrible move at all.

Ray:  Heading out of the top ten, White Knight holds extremely well with its second issue, keeping about 75% of its first-issue sales to land at #13 with sales of just under 70K. That’s pretty rare to see, and shows that the sales on this one must be genuine interest, not retailer speculation.

Glenn:Even more impressive when you consider its an out of continuity story which tend to be treated with general indifference.  Once again we see the power of Batman but don’t count out the impact of this being a Joker story (he’s been used very sparingly the last few years making his appearances seems more special as a result) and Sean Murphy’s name power.  This bodes really well for the series he’s doing with Snyder which will likely become a top ten staple when it sees production next year.

Ray:  There’s Walking Dead at #14, basically level with sales of 63K+. Good ol’ Walking Dead. Even when the TV show is pissing everyone off, the comic is still here going strong.

Glenn: Kirkman can taste your anger, he says it tastes like chicken.

Ray:  We’ve got four Legacy debuts here in the 15-18 range, and what surprises me the most is the order – Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Old Man Logan, and Daredevil. They all sell sell in the 62K-58K range, but it’s a much different story when you look at the previous issue sales. Old Man Logan sold 39K last month, while Daredevil sold 24K with its last issue, Renew Your Vows 22K, and Punisher 20K. So it seems like the dramatic and controversial status quo change for Punisher had the biggest effect, and similarly the time-skip and new creative team for Renew Your Vows was very successful. The other two titles kept their creative teams, and Old Man Logan basically changed nothing while Daredevil began a major new arc. Relaunches seem to do better when they feel like events, but as always, we’ll see what happens next month.

Glenn:  Good numbers for these four books, especially Renew Your Vows which outsells the regular Amazing Spider-Man by about 11k.  Of course, numbers on the second issues of Legacy books don’t bode well for these titles keeping their success but hey…you never know.  Something particularly noteworthy about Renew Your Vows is that this is the first time we’ve had a regular female writer on a Spider-Man title.  Sure we’ve had brief runs in the past, usually for only an issue or two here and there but Houser seems here to stay.  Its a big deal that isn’t being talked about much and I’ll be curious to know if that got any sales interest and may separate the title from the pack in upcoming months.

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Ray:  The final issue of the Oz Effect charts with its lenticular edition at #21, selling 56K, but adds another 21K from the standard edition at #104. Put together, that would actually make it the #9 book of the month overall. Clearly, anything the overarching mystery of Rebirth touches turns to absolute gold.

Glenn:  We’re over a year later and Rebirth is still getting DC a lot of interest and has done wonders for some of their properties.  We’re talking a lot about the success of Doomsday Clock and Metal but Rebirth had a far bigger impact and although everything hasn’t been a winner spinning out of it, its realy allowed DC a platform to compete at the perfect time when their main competition isn’t have the best string of fortune.

Ray:  The two satellite Spider-Man books, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man and Miles Morales’ title “Spider-Man” both sell around 56K at #22-23. The former sold 33K last month, while the latter sold 27K, making this a pretty similar jump for the titles. The increase for Miles might be explained by the return of a major villain and Miles’ media profile, but given the upcoming creative team change may shake things up again. (A second issue of PPSSM charts this month, the previous issue before the Legacy jump, and sells 40K at #41. Maybe retailers upping their orders a bit in advance of the relaunch?) 

Glenn:Don’t forget the second Peter Parker book this month featured the major change to the character.  It wasn’t advertised or promoted at all but someone may have got wind of it and this issue might get some reorders because of it.  Considering how major a development it was, I’m surprised its not being talked about more.

(Note:  Since writing this article, events in the Spider-Man title indicate the title may be ending and later relaunched.  Yay for Legacy.)

Ray:  Spider-Man/Deadpool kicks off a new regular creative team, with frequent Spider-Man side-writer Robbie Thompson and popular artist Chris Bachalo. It gets an almost 100% sales jump to land at #27 with 53K in sales. This is a title that SHOULD sell gangbusters for Marvel, but we’ll see in coming months.

Glenn:  Spidey/Deadpool may keep a good majority of those sales.  They’re two of their most popular and sales dependable characters and the title now has a consistent creative voice and an a-list artist (at least for this arc).  Its a recipe for success but when it comes to Marvel, the market hasn’t really cared about things like that recently.

Ray:  Marvel has a few oddball books that are resuming old numbering without actually continuing from a current book. The first of those is Moon Knight, which sells just under 51K at #29. Not a bad number for a side book, and the last run by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood had an incredibly strong hold over its run, but this one is unlikely to maintain that pattern. However, anecdotal evidence does indicate this new horror-influenced run has caught on a bit.

Amazing Spider-Man continues its slow slide, leveling out very quickly from its second Legacy issue. It sells 50K at #31, which indicates that the title is still Marvel’s healthiest. Worth noting that this is Marvel’s top-selling superhero ongoing that isn’t the start of a Legacy run this month. Of course, the rumor is Slott is leaving the title in a few months, so who knows where the book will be after that…

Glenn:The lead up to 800 will help Amazing, when we had the fall out of 700 the title saw a strong period during the Superior Spider-Man era so how the title performs now is moot due to the future being clouded in mystery.  Given how closely Slott is associated with the book and how consistently its sold under him, its unclear what Amazing Spider-Man looks like as a sales performer without him.  Of course, he’s not gone yet and Marvel can be the house of smoke and mirrors.  Retailers will want to know answers soon or may react negatively to being kept in the dark.

Ray:  Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange both begin their Legacy runs as well, landing right next to each other at #33-34 and selling about 48K. This is more than a 100% increase for both books, which were out of the top 100 last month – but before anyone gets excited, GOTG is one of the few books that shipped two issues this month, and the second is way down at #102, selling 22K and barely outselling the pre-Legacy run by 2K. Clearly, zero impact overall, even in the same month. The Doctor Strange run, the first Marvel work of Donny Cates, has been getting great reviews and may build momentum from here, but GOTG is already ending this run in advance of a spring event comic.

Glenn:  It’ll be the first time since the first movie that we’ve not had a regular Guardians title.  Only a year ago there was like 10 of them, how times change.

Ray:  It’s worth noting that while all this is going on, books like Detective Comics, Flash, and Superman continue to be insanely steady. The 34th issue of Superman sells about the same as GOTG’s Legacy relaunch, despite having no incentives or variants. That’s what a successful relaunch actually looks like.

Speaking of Donny Cates, his first issue of Thanos lands at #37 with sales of 44K. That’s a big increase over Lemire’s final issue, but Thanos was one of the few genuine success stories out of Marvel in the last year – a creator-driven book that told a planned story and maintained its small-but-devoted audience through its entire run. Can Cates’ run duplicate that effect? We’ll see, but the fact that it debuted alongside much bigger-name books is a very good sign.

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Glenn:  While we continue on the road to Infinity War, the stock with Thanos will only continue to rise so this book might become something of a dark horse in Marvel’s stable…or not.  Next month will tell us more.

Ray:  Mighty Thor, coming off the blockbuster anniversary issue which topped 100K, is back down to standard numbers, selling 43K at #38. Nothing is having much of an effect long-term here, but this remains one of Marvel’s brightest stars for now, as long as Aaron is on board. It’s built this audience over years and doesn’t need gimmicks and anniversaries to save its sales.

The little book that could, Mister Miracle, finally sees its streak of sales increases end – but only so it can decline by about 1000 copies to land at #43 with sales of 39K. To put this into perspective, that puts it between this month’s issues of the top-selling X-Men book, X-Men: Gold. It’ll be outselling the entire X-line next month!

Glenn:  Scott Free can even escape the X-Men, who knew?  I think its safe to attribute this to King and Gerards who are receiving high quality and highly critically acclaimed books and making it look easy.  This book is doing well just because its amazing, what a novel concept.

Ray:  She-Hulk (renamed from adjectiveless “Hulk“) has a fairly modest Legacy debut, selling 36K at #48. That’s up from 16K last month. A big percentage increase, for sure, but not likely enough to help the book in the long run or change its overall sales trajectory.

Glenn:  There’s talk of She-Hulk joining the slew of Marvel cancelled books next month so we’ll see.  It very much seems like just a one issue bump considering it hasn’t benefited too greatly from the renumbering.

(Since this writing, the rumours indicating that She-Hulk is getting cancelled are mounting up.  Yay Legacy.)

Ray:  At #52, we’ve got Batman: Creature of the Night, Kurt Busiek’s horror-influenced take on a “real world” version of Batman. This spiritual sequel to Superman: Secret Identity (considered an all-time DC classic) sells over 35K. A bit disappointing on the face for a new Batman book, but this is out of continuity, $5.99, and likely geared more towards collections. It’s going to sell for DC for a very long time.

Glenn:  This is an unusual book, very pricey with no continuity relevance that is a kinda sequel to a book that is nearly 14 years old by a writer who is well known but hasn’t had a major property run for about 15 years..  Given that its done this number is not too bad with all those things considered and yeah, this will be packaged as a very successful collection for years and decades to come.  I’m sure DC are happy with how its doing with all that it comes saddled with and the promise of great collection sales that are virtually guaranteed based on how many times Secret Identity has been reprinted.

Ray:  Speaking of little books that could, Supergirl gets another unexplained sales increase, selling 34K this month at #56. It’s now outselling Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Titans, and is on the cusp of passing Harley Quinn. I’ve never seen something like that – it was getting close to worrying numbers for a while, but then it did a complete 180 and it’s well deserved.

Glenn:  The mystery of Supergirl continues…maybe its the new artist or the addition to the writing team of Jody Houser, who knows?  It seems that Houser is having quite a lot of positive influence on her various books.  In actuality though, we know that Ray is just ordering more copies each month.

Avengers 673 and Despicable Deadpool 289 are two second month Legacy titles that slide back to their previous places after their initial bumps.  They sell over 32.k at 61 and 31.7k at 62 respectively and are now being outsold by Titans…yes Titans.  For
Avenger’s we have the weekly status quo with the other Avenger’s creative teams coming on which will have an undermined effect.  It’ll certainty lift the other two books higher but probably won’t have a major bump  on the title overall.  Another question mark for Marvel this month.  Deadpool sales have waned off quite a bit but I think that’s just the entire line rather than him.  The movie coming up will help things and Marvel will never stop throwing random Deadpool shaped things at us at this point.

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Ray:  Avengers will definitely get a bounce for the start of the weekly run, but then remember how the weekly DC comics did – if they weren’t extremely well-received like Batman: Eternal, it just magnified the slide by 4x each month. That could get ugly quickly. As for Deadpool, I don’t think this return to evil for Deadpool is going over very well, so that’s certainly not helping the sales much.

Glenn:  Also in its second post legacy month is Invincible Iron Man, same story as we’re seeing with everyone else where the title resumes business as normal with sales over 30.2k at 68.  The title at this stage is waiting around for a new writer and creative direction so you guessed it…another title shrouded in mystery.  The shrouds are starting to make me a little too warm…

Ray:  Iron Man should end on a high, as Bendis‘ final issue will be the big #600 anniversary issue, and will supposedly serve as a capper on his entire run for Marvel. But otherwise, Tony’s big return is doing roughly the same numbers as Riri’s solo title was doing before Legacy.

Glenn:  Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica has a decent enough little slide to 71 with sales just over 29.4k.  Pretty much probably the best you could hope for from a tongue in cheek crossover like this.  It’ll probably finish out its run here which isn’t too bad at all.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more inter company crossovers from DC next year, they’ve been performing from solidly to brilliant in each case.

Another Legacy month 2 title, another big drop, this time for Incredible Hulk which is at 75 with sales over 28.7k.  The rebranding of the title to a more iconic one and shipping Amadeus Cho Hulk off to Skaar hasn’t had much effect.  I would say the Planet hulk sorta sequel will find this title stabilize fast but as is the case with literally every other Legacy title, you’d have thought Marvel would have hoped for more than a one month interest.

Ray:  This is still a good 10K above where Totally Awesome Hulk was selling, so this has to be considered somewhat of a win for Marvel. The previous run was being treated like a Hulk spin-off, while this is actually performing like a Hulk title thanks to the renaming and the return to Planet Hulk. It’ll probably get another boost when we get to World War Hulk II.

Glenn:  Selling bizarrely well is the Deadman Glow In The Dark Edition which sells over 27.3k at 79 which shows that the spirit of silly 90’s gimmicks is indeed alive and well.  A standard edition of the same book also charts at 231 with sales over 7.7k giving it around 34-35kish overall which means Deadman sold better than Avengers and Deadpool overall.  If that’s not a win, I’m not sure what is.

Ray:  That’s…way more than anyone was expecting for Deadman, which blew the sales for similar books like Ragman and Demon out of the water. Was it the cover gimmick? Neal Adams still having a sizeable fanbase? The fact that it continues from Batman stories? No way of knowing, but we’ll see how many of these sales it keeps next month. I’m not optimistic.

Glenn:  A new Valiant book called Ninja-K sells over 25.5k at 84.  I don’t know much about what this is but that’s a great number for a Valiant book who usually life in a range that is at most 10k less than this.  Not sure what the interest is here specifically but good for them.

Ray:  Yeah, that’s one of the biggest debuts in a while for Valiant, especially as the long-running previous series had been pretty low on the charts. Valiant’s decision to keep its output limited and its line focused seems to be paying off with some decent brand loyalty.

Glenn:  Sick of bad news about month 2 of Legacy?  Too bad!  Here’s Venom this time who sells over 25.4k at 85 on the charts and another issue selling just over 24k at 90.  The titles tying in to Amazing Spider-Man shortly so that’ll help but it seems the Venom nostalgia wave of ’17 is wearing off and fast.

The Super Sons annual does about 5k less than the main title at 86 selling just over 25.3k.  Apart from Batman which is an anomaly, the rest of the DC annuals sell pretty decently compared to their main counterparts.  DC puts a lot of effort into their annuals and the benefits show in the sales.  The Justice League annual compares favorably too, selling about 4k less than the main title with sales over 24.4k at 89.  All good news here.

Ray:  DC’s done a good job of making all their annuals feel like integral parts of the book, and they’ve been rewarded with better sales. Most of them have the regular writer on board, although there are some exceptions like Aquaman.

Glenn:  Secret Warriors gets a massive bump, going against the Marvel trend with its last (?) issue selling just under 24k at 91.  I’m guessing this is a weird final issue bump, if its not the final issue I’m guessing its cause of Legacy.  If its neither of these things, I have no clue.

Ray:  This is the Secret Warriors Legacy debut, so it’s clearly a muted number. Not a great debut, but not a surprise, given the low sales to begin with. The book is still being solicited, but I doubt for much longer. Especially with the mass culling coming. (More on that lay-tor!)

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Glenn:  In their second Legacy month Black Panther (over 23.7k at 92), Uncanny Avenger’s (over 23.7k at 93), Moon Knight (Over 23.1k at 95) and Defenders (Over 23.1k at 96) all follow the pattern we’re all familiar with when it comes to November from Marvel (don’t worry there’s a lot more where these came from).  Uncanny is already gone to be repackaged with the main Avenger’s book and Defenders seems to have been quietly cancelled with the departure of Bendis to DC or due to his health concerns or both.  Black Panther has a movie coming out so will be okay for a few months, Moon Knight could hang on if it keeps those numbers but the title will miss Jeff Lemire quite a bit.

Ray:  This trio of books all lost well over half of their sales from their Legacy debut, which is a pretty consistent pattern. There’s been little to no long-term impact from the latest relaunch, and the suits at Marvel have got to be getting very worried. Defenders is already gone from solicits, although that’s likely more related to Bendis leaving. 

Another inter company crossover Shadow/Batman sells over 22.4k at 97.  Not as massive as its predessor but still very good, especially since its published by Dynamite this time (the next highest selling Dynamite book after the debuting John Wick is at 196!!!!) so still a big win overall I’d say.

Glenn:  At 99 we have a comic adaption of action movie John Wick, I haven’t seen the movie but I believe its about a retired assassin who goes out for revenge after the mob kills his dog.  The two movies have quite a cult status so sales of over 22.3k I’d say is really good, especially for Dynamite.  It’ll probably drop to 9-12k next month but that’s probably the best Dynamite could have hoped for with regards to a tie in comic like this.

Ray:  Decent month for Dynamite. This prequel to John Wick in particular seems to have gathered some buzz, as it has popular writer Greg Pak on board. The company seems to be gaining a bit of momentum as of late. 

Glenn:  More second month Marvel titles, this batch includes Spider-Gwen and…now I’m sad….Ray, cheer me up

Ray:  Ohhhh, boy. This is where the Marvel section of the charts gets depressing. You mentioned Spider-Gwen, which was one of the Marvel titles that had the biggest bumps in recent months – due to a combination of the relaunch and the popular Gwenom story. That was enough to put it in the top 20 last month with sales of over 73K. This month? Over a 2/3rds drop to 101, with sales of 22K. That’s down 14K from the issue BEFORE Legacy? Could Legacy actually be hurting titles? That’s probably the worst omen possible for Marvel.

Glenn:  If we’re seeing fans/retailers react negatively to Legacy long term then that’s not a good thing at all considering the event was to turn things around.  It seems that Marvel has the opposite of whatever the midas touch is recently, perhaps its the touch of Manos.

(Since writing this, retailers have been made aware Spider-Gwen will be cancelled.  While this is most likely due to some creative switches or changing her name to Ghost-Spider its still a case of…yay Legacy)

Ray:  Similar drops for Guardians of the Galaxy (already ending to make way for an event), and Champions (despite a crossover with Avengers). Both barely outsell the standard addition of Action Comics this month, which is essentially just free additional sales for DC on a popular comic!

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur can’t even crack the top 100 with its Legacy debut, charting at #107 and selling 21K. Still going nowhere, though – the sales are clearly coming from elsewhere.

Glenn:  Moon Girl is a mystery that will never be solved, like what space air tastes like and when Ray sleeps

Ray:  One Marvel book that the news isn’t all bad for is Spirits of Vengeance, which sinks down to 108 with 21K sales. Not great, but considering it’s selling in the general range of Guardians and Champions, that’s not bad for a b-list property that’s been absent for a while. The Marvel sales problems are across the board, so this individual book is probably a small win.

Glenn:  Its only a mini too so definitely a moral victory at least for Spirits.  If it sells well in collections then the series might be back as a more regular thing…or not.  Who can tell anymore?

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Ray:  Like was mentioned about Super-Sons before, we see both the Aquaman and Green Arrow annuals sell pretty consistently about 5K below the level of the parent title. The Aquaman annual was the DC debut of writer’s workshop graduate Phillip Kennedy Johnson, so that’s a good sign for his DC career.

Glenn:  DC are really starting to invest in these writers workshop folks, even giving books to the latest batch before they go through the program.  Using the workshop as a platform to make people familiar with new writers while teaching them the craft of how they like to do things is an interesting strategy.  We can see that DC is thinking about the writers of tomorrow even though their talent roster there is insane already.

Ray:  At #113, we see Jessica Jones, which loses well over 50% of its sales to sell 19K the month after its Legacy debut. This title will obviously be shifting creative teams in April, but with these sales for the original creator’s final act, that could be a big problem.

Glenn:  Apart from her brief appearances in other titles, no writer apart from Brian Bendis has spent a great deal of time with Jessica.  She’s got a critically acclaimed Netflix show which will help her profile but it’ll be interesting to see how she does once Bendis heads to DC without her.  Getting in a female writer already seems like a smart decision to keep fans happy but I’m not sure how prosperous the title might be long term but these days, I’m thinking that about the majority of Marvel titles.

Ray:  At #116, we’ve got the DC debut of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, which sells 18.7K. This is the return of original creator Tony Isabella to the character, but despite the upcoming CW TV series, it doesn’t seem to have gained much momentum. Maybe because the status quo in the comic doesn’t really match the one in the TV series?

Glenn:  The last time I remember Black Lightning having anything resembling a high profile was back during Meltzer’s Justice League days so this book is likely for the die hard fans.  DC are likely testing the waters to see how a BL book might perform once the TV show hits and this certainty isn’t the best indication.  If they want Black Lightning to have something of a profile along with his TV show, I’d wager he’ll simply shows up somewhere else.

Ray:  This is where the strange collection of one-shots that accompanied Legacy month landed on the charts. Given that all of these were books that Marvel didn’t think could actually sustain their own title, it’s not a surprise the debuts were unimpressive to a one. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack surprisingly has the biggest debut of the five, maybe due to her recent prominence in ASM, selling 18.5K at #118. Not much below at #124 is Darkhawk, selling 17K. This is a spin-off of the current Guardians arc, which helped. The other three have no such sales booster. Master of Kung Fu sells 16.8K at #128, roughly around the same level as Iron Fist’s current title. Power Pack is at #137, selling 15.3K, which is in line with the third issue of Runaways (probably not a title that’s going to do well in the direct market). Then there’s Not Brand Ecch, which sells just under 13K at #154. Needless to say, Marvel didn’t win any favor by letting the writer of their much-reviled recent event parody his own story.

Glenn:I’m not sure what the purpose of these one shots were apart to take up shelf space and maybe get a few bucks.  I doubt any of them were considered too much as serious contenders for new regular books apart from Silver Sable who has been part of a recent Amazing story line and has been absent for a few years.  If these were ground testers then I doubt Marvel will ever admit to as such.  Look for these in dollar store bins everywhere next year if you were curious about any of them.

Ray:  At #123, we’ve got the debut of Mystic U from DC. This oversized, three-part miniseries has been much delayed from the DC You era, and it sells just over 17K. Given that it’s an alternate universe and most of these characters don’t have their own titles, this is actually a fairly good debut.

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Glenn:  ‘What if the magic users of the DC universe had their own Hogwarts’ isn’t the worst elevator pitch in the world.  This will probably do well in collections to the non-direct market in the future but for what it is, I would say this is better than DC were expecting.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel of something similar like ‘what if the Suicide Squad were in the Hunger Games’ or some such (copyright Glenn Matchett)

Ray: It’s a total crash for the second issue of Falcon, which sold 54K with its first issue, and 16.8K with its second. This title is still being solicited, but probably not for long. The character’s clout has been seriously hurt by his disastrous run as Captain America and the event that he was thrown into.

Glenn:  Falcon’s had the worst time since being thrown into the spotlight as Captain America so this reaction to him returning to his original status quo isn’t surprising.  One that will no doubt be silently cancelled once Marvel hopes people forget about their last wave of cancellations.

Ray:  At #129, we’ve got the debut of Jetsons from DC’s Hanna-Barbera line, selling 16.6K. This book was massively critically acclaimed and has one of the writers of Harley Quinn on board, but it hasn’t translated into sales just yet. Still, given that it’s a six-issue miniseries, I imagine it might do very well in collections.

Glenn:  Jetsons will likely settle down and like you said, do well with collections.  People seem to dig this one and is once again showing that DC has managed to make something of these Hanna Barbara properties that in the past have lived in the 4 digit range when they’ve been just episodes of the classic cartoons but in comic form.  Doing something different with these various properties has done quite well for DC and has gotten them a few books that people seem to enjoy reading.

Ray:  There’s always a few oddballs on the charts, and at #132 we’ve got a book from Heavy Metal Magazine – Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, which sells 16.4K. I guess 80s hair metal still has a significant fanbase? Either way, this title from a company we very rarely see on the charts outsold several major DC and Marvel books.

Glenn:  I’m sure that company is thrilled just to be here.  Remember a few months ago that we had an eclectic bunch of rock band comics?  Maybe this one just missed the boat a bit…or waited until there was less competition.  Either way, this isn’t too bad at all considering who it is targeted to.

Ray:  One of them would be the debut of The Demon: Hell is Earth from DC, at #134. DC’s been doing a stealth relaunch of some of their magical concepts over the last few months, but aside from Deadman, none of them have really caught on in sales. This is also by a DC writer, Andrew Constant, making his big two debut, so 16.3K is probably in the range they were expecting.

Glenn:  Etrigan has never really had a solid sales base even when he’s had the likes of Gail Simone or John Byrne attached to him.  Just as you perfectly said, probably what DC was expecting.

Ray:  IDW’s Star Wars Adventures sells just under 16K at #135. It started much higher, but given that this is aggressively being marketed for collections – with small trades being released every three months – it’s likely that single issues are just a side perk for this book. A spinoff based on the Forces of Destiny cartoon has already been greenlit.

Glenn:  I’m sure IDW is just thrilled to have something with a Star Wars label on it which will be sold plenty of places outside comic shops.  These comics are going to be sold in normal book stores, theme parks and toy stores worldwide and that will mean a huge return for IDW.  These books being intended for a younger audience likely also have more sales potential outside the direct market than the Marvel Star Wars books which I’m sure still coins them a pretty penny each month, especially with a new film is out.

Ray:  The top-selling Image debut of the month is the Top Cow book Port of Earth, which sells 14.3K at #140. This is by the writer of the well-received Eclipse, and has a strong concept – Earth becoming a spaceport for visiting alien species, some of which don’t exactly have high regard for humans – so I imagine the strong sales here are a product of word of mouth and genuine interest.

Glenn:  As we’ve said for a few months now, it seems that most Image series that don’t have big names attached sell based off their concept.  Its like pilot season in the US but all year round.  Its always interesting to see what people gravitate towards when it seems to be the concept alone bringing them to the table.  Truely though the saying is true, there is a comic for everyone,

Ray:  And this is where we see some very ugly news for Marvel. Several books that have already made their Legacy are down here, including Gwenpool (#139, 14.5K), Captain Marvel (#138, 15K), Iceman (#158, 12.6K), Luke Cage (#168, 11.9K), and America (#225, 8.3K). And they’ve all been cancelled now, aside from Captain Marvel (whose fate is ambiguous so far, not appearing in the last solicits). And that’s not counting the books that are already ending, like US Avengers or Royals, or those like Generation X, which were cancelled prior to the sales of their Legacy debut even coming in. Needless to say, rough times at the House of Ideas.

Glenn:

Yeah, its rough times.  Its even harder when the Editor in chief, Akira Yoshida….

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 Wait, what?

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 But…

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

Right…anyway so its harder with editor in chief C.B Yoshida awol because of…reasons.  So PR cleanup on the fan backlash isn’t up to par.  Its not the best start to Marvel for 2018 for a number of reasons.  As a fan of the characters, let us hope that things get turned around…and fast.

Ray:  At #147 there’s a very unusual DC Book – Batman: The Dark Prince Charming #1. This is a small hardcover, part one of two, and it sells 13.2K. A hardcover in the single issues list is unusual, to say the least, but it was speculated on Rabbitt Stew (dong!) that it may be classified as a miniseries because it’s part one of two. Either way, it’s hard to gauge what sales DC expected in this format.

Glenn:  Weird to see an OGN on the singles chart so hard to judge it.  Its very good numbers by usual collection standards but a complete unknown by normal conventions.  I wonder if we’ll see that fancy pancy pricey Action 1000 HC end up here too?

Ray:  At #148 is another Image debut with some decent momentum behind it – Coyotes, by Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky. This Mexican-set werewolf horror story got very strong reviews and sells 13.2K in its debut. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it get decent reorders next month.

Glenn:  Image comics, catering for literally all your non super hero needs and even some of them too!

IDW does an internal crossover in one month in Ghostbusters and TNMT, two very popular franchises that have lasted the test of time for sure but not two properties that are automatically associated with each other.  The reason behind this team up is an odd one, did Vego pollute the sewers again?  Did Slimer eat the Turtles pizza?  Who knows!  Its an odd mix of two properties that don’t quite gel and the sales for each issue underline that further.  I think IDW was wise to get this one out the door and over with before sales had time to catch up to them.  The first issue sold over 12.7k at 155, second at 179 with sales over 11.2k, third at 183 with over 10.8k, fourth at 187 with over 10.7k and 189 with 10.6k.  One can’t help but wonder how much better sales would have been if the Ghostbusters had teamed with Mystery Inc.

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Ray:   IDW does quite a few of these weekly crossover events (the first TMNT/Ghostbusters was one of them as well), generally every five-week month. They usually sell a bit below the level of the parent title, but not too far below, and I believe this one did handily outsell any Ghostbusters comics. So they’ve got a strategy here that delivers some increased market share for the month.

Glenn:  Given that Wes Craig is the artist on popular Image book, Deadly Class I would have thought there would be more interest in his writers debut in Gravediggers Union which sells over 12.7k at 157.  This is still very good for IDW in terms of creator owned considering that’s not what they are mainly known for and perhaps people missed the fact that the writer on this is already an artist on another popular series.  Might stabilize quickly which will ensure it a healthy existence.

Ray:  I don’t think Wes Craig is quite a household name in the comic industry yet. Deadly Class is deservedly a big hit, but this book had an odd concept (albeit a very good first issue), and Craig is most known as an artist, not a writer. Feels like this one is one of those Image books that could easily catch on and stay solid or even grow from its first issue sales.

Glenn:  Its funny to think back to indie artist Brian Bendis and how people probably overlooked his first foray into writing.  It’ll be interesting to see if Craig can follow the success of other Image artist turned writer, Chip Czardarsky

Ragman doesn’t have too much to fall in its second issue with sales over 12.5k at 159.  A 5k drop for a third tier DC hero who is having his origin completely revamped in this version isn’t too bad at all, especially since its a mini.

Ray:  These DC magic titles all debuted with relatively little fanfare and few variant covers, so the first-issue sales were more reflective of actual interest. Given that, smaller slides are probably in the cards for all of them except maybe Deadman.

Glenn:  Rasputin: Voice of the Dragon is this months obligitory new Hellboy book about the series long standing antagonist, the mad Russian himself.  The title sells just under 12k at 167 which is pretty standard for Hellboy books, shows how dedicated the fan base is that they’ll even turn up in similar numbers for a book about the villain.

Another new Image book this month, Evolution sells over 11.8k at 170.  This is an unusual book featuring a range of writers (including Image writer turned DC superstar Joshua Williamson) exploring the same concept to do with the next stage of human evolution.  Considering there’s multiple writers attached, I’m sure retailers were confused and orders were effected rather than what they might have been if one writer had been at the helm.  Another odd book in a month of oddities.

Ray:  Evolution was easily the oddest Image release of the month, with most people I talked to not even being sure who was writing what. However, it got very good reviews out of the gate, and probably has a lot of room to grow from here.

Glenn:  At 177 is the first issue of the comic adaption of the sweariest, sexiest Trek series yet, Discovery.  This one hasn’t been around enough to build a large fan base like all the other Trek series so I don’t think IDW could have expected much more than the over 11.3k sales they got.  Might gain some traction as the show gets more episodes out.

Injustice 2 Annual edition sells over 11.2k at 178 which is only a stones throw away from the main title which is at 169 with just under 12k.  This series has been running for several years now and has become a small but dependable performer for DC.

At 182, DC smushes Metal preludes the Forge and the Casting into a directors cut one shot which sells just under 11k which is impressive for material that isn’t that old and is 7.99 to boot.  Metal is the event that keeps on giving for DC, these sales are just another easy win for them.

186 sees Locke and Key artist, Gabriel Rodriguez take on writing and art with Sword Of Ages, a lovely looking sword and sorcery epic which sells over 10.7k.  Much like Gravediggers Union above it, I would have expected more considering how big a following Locke and Key has.  This one could do well in collections, especially when Rodriquez hits the big time whenever Locke and Key finally gets that tv show we all want like yesterday.

Ray:  IDW creator-owned books have an extremely hard road, with some (including one of my favorite comics of 2017, Time and Vine) not even cracking the top 300. Given that, this is probably a decent hit for IDW. IDW’s bread and butter is licensed books, but it does seem like as of late they’ve managed to get some top-tier creators to commit to them for their own visions.

Glenn:  Another Planet Of the Apes comic, this time bringing in the biggest Ape King Kong debuts from BOOM at 190 with sales over 10.5k.  These two properties go together brilliantly and both had well received, lucrative movies this year so I’m not sure what happened here.  Perhaps these are movie franchises that don’t lend themselves to the fandom going to another medium featuring the same characters…or apes as the case may be.

Ray:  A crossover is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and this is about the same level of where both Kong and Planet of the Apes generally sold. I don’t think Boom was expecting too much more out of it – in general, they’ll probably do most of their business in trades.

Glenn:  At 192 we have the second issue of Wildstorm, Michael Cray selling over 10.3k.  I’d say that DC will keep these Wildstorm tie ins to a minimum, the main series written by Warren Ellis does very well but there’s not enough interest beyond what he wants to say with the universe to really get much more out of it.

No.1 with a Bullet from Image uses social media as a major element to its plot, its something that a lot of media is doing to try and capitalize on the current generations obsession with their phones.  The results can vary depending on the story but here it gets sales of over 10.2k at 193.  Not great but not dire for a property by two unknowns in a field of fiction that is fast becoming very crowded.

Ray:  Yeah, I don’t think this title really had anything to drive sales, unlike some of the other Image launches of the month. A lot of Image creators have said that if your comic debuts above 10K without A-list creators attached, that’s a win, so based on that I would say this is probably an okay debut. I think this one has sort of slipped under the radar, though.

Glenn:  The second issue of Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion Of Evil sells over 10.2k at 194.  Once again, everything related to Black Hammer remains solid for Dark Horse.  I would say that like its main counterpart, it’ll do well in collection format for years to come.

Ray:  A bit lower than the parent series, typically, but only by about 1K or so. Black Hammer is a bona-fide hit franchise for Dark Horse, for once.

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Glenn:  At 195 is Cyborg who I think at this point has been put out of his misery now that Justice League the movie has run his course.  The series finishes out with sales just over 10.1k so at least it managed to stay above five figures for its run.  I doubt with his solo film being apparently shelved we’ll see much more of Cyborg in a solo capacity anytime soon.

Ray:  Worth noting that Cyborg got a bit of a boost this month. It actually jumped up above Blue Beetle, which is the lowest-selling DC book this month. Maybe a slight bump for the conclusion of the main run on Cyborg? Or maybe the movie and retailers hoping it would give the title a new lease on life.

Glenn:  A few months ago, DC comic debuted a new comic where the female heroes and villains of that universe where reimagined through a Sons Of Anarky lens so naturally, Archie wants to do it too with Betty and VeronicaBetty and Veronica: Vixens sells over 9.7k at 200 which is pretty standard for wacky Archie stuff that isn’t anything to do with the new rebooted title.  It’ll have its audience and retailers will know who they are, no surprises here.

Ray:  Archie’s been putting out a lot of product lately, and most of the AUs haven’t really clicked sales-wise. When the debut of the new series sells around the same as the 25th issue of the main series, it’s not a great sign for the rookie. It’ll be interesting to see how the company does when they start rolling out concepts that don’t feature the classic characters, like “Cosmo“. 

The “Zine issue” of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl charts at #197, with sales of just over 10K. This was an all-star issue featuring stories by indie cartoonists – including Garfield creator Jim Davis – but it sells just about the level of the regular title. This is a title, like Moon Girl, that’s always had mediocre sales in singles at best, doing most of its business in trades. We’ll see how the Legacy debut does next month, but this title has its own market that these sales don’t really reflect. 

Glenn:  Given the other books that have been put on the cancellation fire, I can’t imagine Squirrel Girl lasting too much longer despite its fan base.  Then again, she is featuring in a TV show relatively soon so who knows?

Ray:  At #204 is the debut of Dark Fang, which sells 9.6K. This surreal, anime-inspired vampire thriller about a vampire queen who resurfaces from the deep after spending decades trapped under the water didn’t get much advance hype, and isn’t really a mainstream concept. I think this is one of Image’s more niche books lately.

Glenn:  It seems that sunlight has hit the vampire market because it wasn’t that long ago that they had so much momentum that even the X-Men featured them.  This is a title that probably would have done better a few years ago but could have done worse.

Ray:  Rough times for Vertigo continue, as Tim Seeley’s Imaginary Fiends – a horror concept inspired by the real-life Slenderman Murders – lands at #206 with sales of 9.6K. Seeley is DC exclusive, and that likely includes a deal with Vertigo, but this concept would have likely sold much more at Image. Vertigo has the quality product and creators, but somehow they don’t seem to be able to translate that to sales.

Glenn:Imaginary Fiends sounds like such an amazing concept, you can’t help but think it would have easily done double this at Image.  Vertigo is certainty a publishing line well past its prime but DC don’t seem to be wanting to give up on it yet, they have a few more announced books to come and big plans over the coming year.  You have to admire their persistence and maybe even hope that the Vertigo brand which is much more powerful in terms of a back catalog might get some attention on these books once they’re collected and put into book stores next to Sandman and Hellblazer.

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Ray:  Selling 9.4K at #207 is this year’s DC New Talent Showcase. Last year’s installment was generally regarded as somewhat of a disaster, more for the structure than anything, and that may have affected orders here. The fact that Scott Snyder had a Wonder Woman story in this issue (possibly a preview of a run to come?) didn’t seem to have an impact, and it’s worth noting that next year’s crop – including Philip Kennedy Johnson and Mags Visaggio – have already seen DC work solicited, meaning this experiment may not be repeated next year.

Glenn:  Don’t say that Ray!  I need my last hope!  Ah who am I kidding…*weeps* well anyway, the fact that Snyder was included here I don’t think was made that well known.  If it turns out this is some sort of preview for things to come in terms of his future at DC, we could see a few thousand issues pop up in reorders in a few months.  Otherwise, yeah this one shot was hurt by the eclectic nature of last year and the fact that the stories (apart from maybe Snyder’s) have little relevance.  Just a way for DC to shift some comics, I guess.

Ray:  At #208, selling 9.4K, we get the latest special from Boom based on the cult movie Labyrinth. They’ve put out quite a bit of content for this movie as part of their Jim Henson license, but they have a major new series debuting in February. They clearly see something worth pursuing here.

Glenn:  These Jim Henson movies have a very big cult fanbase so they have a small but solidly dependable audience that will likely show up for these things.  There are worst properties to have in your back pocket, especially when the new Dark Crystal series rolls out as you hinted at.

Ray:  The 25th issue of Mark Waid’s Archie relaunch sells 9.2K at #211. The title got a decent-sized bump based on the major new story that saw Betty critically injured, but the buzz seems to have dissipated since and it’s back down to its standard levels.

Glenn:  Waid Archie has lasted well though and seems to be doing well in trades.  It seems that this more ‘serious’ version has become quite popular and will stick around likely as long as Waid wants to write it or Archie is interested in continuing it.

Ray:  A pretty hefty second-issue drop for Maestros at #218, losing over 50% of its sales to land at 8.9K. I’m a bit surprised, as we don’t really see Image titles drop like this. Wonder what went on here, but Steve Skroce has a loyal cult audience and the title should stabilize from here.

Mighty Thor #700, easily the biggest hit for Marvel so far in the Legacy era, charts again with reorders of 8.7K at #219. Retailers might have been a bit hasty slashing the title’s sales back to pre-Legacy levels – this one feels like it might be rising.

Glenn:I could see Thor pick up momentum as we either go towards the end of Aaron’s run or certainty the end of Jane Foster as the title character.  Solid character work and Aaron doing some of his best work has made this book immune to the rest of the chaos happening at Marvel, I’d say the same can be said for Amazing.  If appearances and rumours are to be believed then both titles could miss their long term writers more than we could possibly imagine.

Ray:  At #222, we’ve got the Image debut of Void Trip, which sells 8.5K. This is a book about intergalactic con artists on a trip through space in a rocket-powered RV, and a lot of the book is about psychedelic fruit. So clearly, this is an oddball book, and the quality will determine if it can build its audience from here. (I love it so far.)

Glenn:  Void Trip sounds like an odd book but that didn’t do Chew any harm long term so we’ll see if it can grab an audience and stick around.

Ray:  Remember Tank Girl? I sort of do! But she seems to be having some sort of resurgence lately, because here she is again with a new debut from Titan, titled “The Wonderful World of Tank Girl“, which sells 7.6K at #233. It’s clearly a niche book…and yet, it’s the second-highest selling Titan book on the stands, only behind Robotech (their most hyped debut ever).

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Glenn:  I remember a movie starring Tank Girl and an artist I worked with having an odd obsession with her but that’s about it.  I’m sure the property has a few fans left and that’s probably who retailers expected to turn out for her apparent return.

Ray:  At #235, we have the debut of Young Adult sports comic Fence, centered around a pair of fencing rivals at an elite prep school. This Boom title sells 7.4K, which is above the debut of books like Backstagers, which had an A-list DC writer on board. But then, this title has a best-selling author on it as well. Either way, as is standard with Boom, this will do most of its sales in collections.

Glenn:  We’ve discussed BOOM’s struggles with creator owned in the past and this is a concept that seems a bit odd for a comic, it sounds more like a Disney channel original movie more than anything on paper so might not have caught much interest.  Still, BOOM do have a skill of reaching their collections out to a wide market so this title will probably serve more favorably in places that don’t know their Green Arrow’s from their Hawkeye’s.

Ray:  I’m not sure if Vault Comics has ever made it to the top 300 before, but they arrive in style this month, with the debut of Reactor at #237, selling 7.4K. This, of course, can be mainly attributed to the writer, a little-known guy by the name of Donny Cates, aka the Great Marvel Hope. How Vault got ahold of this book, we don’t know – maybe they bought the pitch before he broke in to Image, the way Avatar acquired a Jonathan Hickman book back in the day? – but it’s definitely a huge feather in their cap.

Glenn:  Great for Vault comics!  Always good to see new names in the charts!  If they saw something in Cates before he hit the big time and get to ride some success off that then more power to them.  Hopefully, this will get them more exposure for other new talent or maybe a few well known ones.

Ray:  Vault Comics outsold a first-run Legacy title this month, everyone. Just below it is Monsters Unleashed #8 at #239, selling 7.4K. And yet, this title is still being solicited. Maybe it’s getting that Moon Girl Scholastic audience after all? It must be, because these sales are getting to Solo/Slapstick levels.

I hope those 6,991 people who bought copies of Black Panther Prelude #2 enjoyed their reprint of Civil War. That’s good enough for #244, but it amazes me that Marvel continues to do these and doesn’t get more flack for disguising recaps as original comics.

Glenn:  Probably because it sells so little that not many people care?  Or it could be that they have bigger fires that get all the attention, a little overpriced retelling of a story that millions of people in the world saw is not the worst thing that Marvel could be doing.

Ray:  The first of the Dark Knights one-shots, The Red Death, charts once again at #248 with sales of 6.8K. At this point it’s just the cherry on top for DC, who’s riding the biggest hit event in comics in years right now. Metal can’t be stopped!

Glenn:  I tried to stop Metal once…it hurt my face

Ray:  At #250, it’s the first issue of Dark Horse’s Jenny Finn, which is a newly colored reprint of Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey’s acclaimed early work. Given that this is a reissue, Dark Horse is probably pretty happy to chart with it. Mignola’s one of their most dependable talents. At least until Disney buys him!

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Glenn:  I can’t wait to cue with my little boy once he’s older to get an autograph from a guy in Disney dressed as Mignola!  In all seriousness though if this is old material then this is a very good number.  If Disney buying FOX ends up taking away the few franchises Dark Horse can depend on to pay the bills then their relationship with Mignola is going to become incredibly important.
The second issue of Paul Jenkins title, God Complex sells over 6.3k at 256.  Jenkins might get a little buzz with the Sentry apparently being back but he never hit the big time that his peers at Marvel did so this is probably the best he could hope for.

At 257 is Harbinger Renegade 0 which sells over 6.3k.  A quick googling seems to hype this issue as a prelude to an event taking place in Valient comics in 2018 so I would have thought there would have been more interest.  Its still within the standard Valient range but perhaps the weird issue 0 confused people what exactly it was?

Ray:  Valiant has been doing these #0 issues as transitions between runs for a while now. I’m not sure it’s working, but they seem to be doubling down on it, so they’re pretty happy!

Glenn:  The return of Hack/Slash in the form of Resurrection is an interesting experiment.  Without its creator the series is back and the second issue sells over 6.2k at 259.  This tells me that the hardcore fans are likely still here despite the creator, Tim Seeley not being involved but the relaunch hasn’t got much attention from new potential fans.

Ray:  Hack/Slash has always been a cult property, and I believe it’s been gone for a while, so this was always going to be a hard sell. Still, Tini Howard is rising fast, with a major launch for IDW coming next month as well.

Glenn:  At 260 is the Simpsons comic, it sells over 6.1k which is standard but the purchase of FOX by Disney does make me curious what happens to Bongo comics.  They’re a company who have a far reach that could rival or even surpass anything any other company has so I doubt it’ll be shut down.  If anything, Marvel might be interested in taking a look at their business model because while Bongo have never been the strongest direct market sellers, their presence in book stores and retailers is rather insane and something Marvel might want to duplicate.

Ray:  It’s crazy to think about, but Bongo Comics has been going strong for well over twenty years, and Simpsons Comics may be one of the longest consecutive numbered comics right now without a relaunch, if not the longest. Given that, and given Disney’s…issues with Marvel and licensed properties right now, I’m guessing they’d be happy to continue the status quo with Bongo.

Glenn:  At 261 is Minky Woodcock Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini from Titan.  No, doing these articles hasn’t driven me mad, that’s really what the book is called.  It sells over 6.1k and is probably the weirdest titled comic ever.  This is published under Titan’s ‘hard crime’ banner which usually sells around this range if not lower.  I would say most of these orders were for the title alone.
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Ray:  Good ol’ Minky Woodcock. I hope she’s not a one-off on the charts. I could see her joining Zombie Tramp as our mascot!

Glenn:  Here’s Tim Seeley again publishing another creator owned with Aftershock this time in the form of Brilliant Trash which sells just over 6k at 262.  This is about standard for new Aftershock stuff.  It seems that Seeley has done the Image thing and had the opportunity to go back to it but has decided to publish his own work with other people, he must be happy with how its doing so who are we to argue?

Ray:  That’s a surprisingly low debut for a Tim Seeley book, but this title didn’t have a very clear concept from solicits. I’m two issues in and I’m still not 100% sure of what it’s about!

Glenn:  Giantkillers 0 reads like a prelude to an upcoming IDW series by Bart Sears who was popular in that wild wacky time known as ‘the 90’s’ it sells just under 5.8k at 269.  It’s not like Bart Sears was a huge name back in the day and he’s not done a title of any note to my recollection for years so given what we’ve established how IDW creator owned tends to far this is probably what could be expected.

Ray:  Giantkillers probably wasn’t helped by debuting the same month as the much more hyped Sword of Ages from the same company, as well.

Glenn:  Speaking of IDW, here’s this months new Transformers number 1 in Transformers: First Strike which sells over 5.7k at 270.  I wonder if all these Transformers comics can be assembled to form a much bigger Transformers comic.

Random James Bond one shot from Dynamite ‘Solicited‘ sells over 5.6k at 273.  Pretty decent for a one shot for probably the only die hard of die hard Bond fans.  It does seem that Dynamite is certainty getting the most out of this licence.

There’s more Metal reorders, this time for the Merciless which sells over 5.6k at 276.  This is the Wonder Woman/Batman mash up which I thought would have sold more so I guess this is retailers realizing they should have ordered more after all.  Either way, more Metal money for DC.

Second issues of Image book Family Trade and Hack/Slash Vs Vampirella fall at 277 and 278 respectively with sales of under 5.6k and over 5.4k a piece.  The first one is by Justin Jordan so could be healthier, maybe just a concept that didn’t grab people while the latter is what it is.  The small but dedicated fan base will turn out for the properties regardless.

Second issue of Archie title…the Archies which has the main characters function as a full time band sells over 5k at 287.  Again, pretty standard for wacky Archie title number 1005 but I would have expected more here given some of the talent involved.

Ray:  Yeah, Archies being the lowest-selling of the new Archie line is a bit odd. This is a title that has a best-selling novelist (Alex Segura), a popular Marvel writer (Matt Rosenberg), and an artist with a significant fanbase (Joe Eisma), plus it’s been setting up all sorts of guest appearances by real-life musicians. Maybe a music comic is a hard sell because you can’t actually hear the music?

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Ray:  Proof that 90’s nostalgia will never die, Street Fighter Reloaded sells over 5k at 288.  I’m currently trying to beat the game on my SNES mini so I can’t really poke fun here…I would so buy this if it gave me the magic combination to beat M. Bison too.

Second issue of Animosity International, the spin off series from Aftershock sells over 4.7k at 299 so will likely be gone from the charts next month.  Still, the property getting another title has to be a great sign for Aftershock’s faith in it.

Last title, the winner of the chicken dinner is Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose which is a comic I’ve never heard of but is apparently 107 issues into its run.  Its published by Broadsword Comics (?!?!?!?!?!?) and lets see what its ab…erm its about cute animals.  No need to google, just take my word on it…

Ray:  Ah, Tarot. There’s a blast from the past. Hope no one’s got any haunted body parts thanks to this comic!
Looking ahead to the last month of the year, the big two are a bit lighter for big debuts than they have been in recent months. DC should easily claim the top of the charts this month with Doomsday Clock, Metal, and a Hawkman one-shot by Jeff Lemire tying into the latter. There’s also a major crossover playing out in the pages of Superman, Super-Sons, and Teen Titans that features the return of the YJ core four – at least in the form of their evil future selves. And then, of course, there’s the sequel to the mega-popular Batman/TMNT crossover! Plus the latest DC Holiday Special. And this is a slower month for the company!

Meanwhile, over at Marvel, there’s two major returns – one much-anticipated and one…less. Marvel Two-In-One, the closest thing we’ve had to a Fantastic Four book in years, should be the biggest Marvel debut of the month, while the first issue of the weekly series “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of (Adult) Jean Grey” may benefit from a lot of covers. Minky Woodcock says “That’s a ridiculous title”. We’ll also see the launch of new series Tales of Suspense, which starts with #100 and features three popular Avengers, plus quite a few Legacy launches and a Star Wars one-shot that serves as a prequel to The Last Jedi. We’ll also see how Ed Piskor’s bold experiment X-Men: Grand Design does – I’m expecting numbers akin to Creature of the Night this month, with similar blockbuster sales in collections down the line.

And of course, there’ll be a host of indie comics including new launches from Archie (Mighty Crusaders), Valiant (Quantum and Woody), Image (Sleepless, Paradiso, Boneheads), and IDW (Assassinistas) among others. One last By the Numbers to go for 2017! And lots more crying over Marvel sales to come.

Glenn:  Get your tissues ready and have a happy New Year everyone!

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Liked what you read or have a suggestion?  Let us know!  Comment here or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: October 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He has a story featured in this years IF anthology which is available courtesy of Alterna comics from all your favorite local comic shops and Amazon.  Go buy!

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  He also thinks you should buy the IF anthology and things Glenn is the best writer in comics.

Ray:  Well actually…

Quiet you!

Ray:  Yes master…

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

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  Its Legacy month everyone!  I know I said that last month and that’s because it was then and it is now!  Last month was the super successful Legacy one shot that launches the whole legacy renumbering for Marvel in what is, by our tally their 1,767th try at stabilizing themselves (figure may not be accurate).  So how are things going this time?  Did Marvel get the result they want?  Let’s find out and explore the top 300 for comic sales in October 2017!

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Back on top this month with no uberly hyped one shot to throw it off is DC’s monster event in Metal 3 which sells over 158.6k.  These are actually better numbers than the last issue, not by much but when numbers go up in this market instead of down, something is going right.  The team of Snyder and Capullo had an unprecedentedly successful run on Batman (that the title is still getting some juice from) and they haven’t missed a beat.  Fans love Metal and so do retailers it seems.  I would call this the event that DC will be able to coast on for a while but its about to have some stiff competition come November…still this is a great success and that rolls out across the tie ins just like last month.

Ray:  Any time a book is consistently going up in sales, it’s a very good sign for the comic and the publisher. We saw it with Donny Cates’ Image work recently, and we see it with another DC book further down the charts. The reception Metal is getting can only be described as red-hot, and everything it touches is working. This is just another sign.

Glenn:  Number two is the highest selling of the Marvel Legacy books in Mighty Thor 700 which sells over 115.6k.  So this issue had a lot going for it, this is the latest issue in a multi-year epic by Jason Aaron who now after recent developments is unquestionably Marvel’s top writer.  His run has been a bright spot for Marvel and has been one of three properties (outside of Star Wars which he also wrote) that Marvel has been able to count on through multiple reboots, renumberings and whatever.  The other two we’ll talk about very shortly but Thor by Aaron has been performing very well in comparison to Marvel’s titles.  There’s also a movie which will help, the fact that this is a big number and from what I understand, this is the issue that narrative wise, follows the closest from last months Legacy one shot.  Also there’s a lot of legends involved in the crafting of this issue, a lot of care was put into it.  All this packed together deems success, Next month its likely that Thor will be back to its usual 50-60 range though.  This seems like a  general increase for a key issue rather than anything to do with Legacy so its unlikely to have long standing effects but anything is possible.

Ray:  Yeah, this is one of Marvel’s best-received books at the moment, it follows directly from last month’s #1 book, and it was an anniversary issue. There was no question this was going to be a huge hit. I do think there could be some spillover from this to the next issue, as this story is going to be one of the biggest of the entire run, and it’s feeling like Aaron might be building up to a mic drop on this book. This is one of Marvel’s few real hot spots right now.

Glenn:  At number three is another long standing MVP at Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man which legacy numbers itself to sales of over 110.3k.  Dan Slott’s run has been one that has held up strong sales wise and this issue sees a return to a more traditional Peter Parker that likely got a lot of interest.  Again, if like Thor this was the only issue this month there might be room for optimism but the very next issue also charted at 33 with sales at over 52,8k which was lower than pre Legacy sales.  Not a disastrous number as that would have likely been where it would be had the numbering continued as standard but it does not bode well for Legacy’s impact overall.  Again, historically we’ve seen Amazing been the title Marvel can depend on so after that initial bump it ending up lower than before, it bodes ill for the rest of the line.

Ray:  Yeah, we’ll talk more about Legacy down below, but this is a pretty typical performance for these books – a sizable but not huge boost for the start of Legacy, follows by a quick slide to standard numbers or below. Amazing Spider-Man will likely rebound quickly, as it always does, but this is the first sign that Legacy is not doing what Marvel hoped.

Glenn:  At numbers 4 and 5 are the latest issues of Batman.  Nothing special here, its just Batman and it sells just under 109k and over 97.8k resectively.  Now issue 32 had a sales boost, likely because of the end of the War Of Jokes and Riddles but also because it was finally the answer to the Batposal.  Beyond that, there’s no fancy bells and whistles needed because its Batman and his domination over the top ten is very much alive this month.

Ray:  Batman will likely keep seesawing up and down around the 100K mark as things move forward (that wedding issue, if it happens, will be huge), but there’s no question it’s the class of the entire field right now in terms of ongoings.

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Glenn:  The final Marvel book in the top ten is the final of Marvel’s MVP superhero books, Deadpool or the Despicable Deadpool as his business card reads lately.  It sells just under 94k mostly likely because people love Deadpool, people love Duggan writing Deadpool and the thought of Deadpool going evilllll is interesting.  Again this ships another issue this month which is down at 68 with sales over 33.8k  Its around 4 k higher than pre legacy then so…yay?

Ray:  Those second-issue sales on Deadpool aren’t encouraging, as it barely keeps any boost from its new direction. The new direction doesn’t feel particularly popular either, so I wouldn’t be excited for a rebound here as long as Deadpool is still a bad guy.

Glenn:  With Deadpool 2 hitting next year, I doubt the despicable story will be around for long but yeah, people aren’t digging ‘evil on purpose’ Deadpool.

Spots 7-9 is all Metal one shots featuring one shots starring the Dark Knights or more accurately, their back stories.  I had thought these would be ordered based on who the character was but the pattern of sales here seems to be retailers treating it like a mini series.  I can’t think of any other reason why the Drowned (Aquaman/Batman mash up) outsells the Merciless (Wonder Woman/Batman mash up).  Still, these have all performed great with the Drowned selling over 89.8k, the Dawnbreaker selling over 89.4k and the Merciless selling over 87.9k.  For one shots by creative teams beyond the main mini’s team starring the villains of the story, that is all very impressive.  Of course, they’re all likely to be outdone by next months ‘Batman Who Laughs‘ but these issues have nothing to be ashamed of. DC struck gold with Metal (pun intended) and managed to outdo the majority of Marvel Legacy due to it (more on that in a moment).

Ray:  I’m expecting The Batman Who Laughs to wind up being the #3 book next month, easily. But the rest of these seem to have been treated as essential Metal tie-ins, no matter what the inspiration for the character is. Cyborg and Aquaman selling in the same sales range as the higher-profile heroes is amazing.

Glenn:  The final book in the top ten is Batman: White Knight, the Sean Murphy vehicle which sees a story where Batman goes bad and its up to the Joker to save Gotham.  Its an interesting premise and Murphy is a real a-lister (who apparently can move the needle) so this getting a lot of interest doesn’t surprise me.  It sells over 86.7k which for an out of continuity maxi-series is fantastic.  I could see this easily selling 50-60k for the rest of its run before it goes off to collection heaven and Murphy reteams with Snyder for their Batman story to dominate the sales chart again in 2018.

Ray:  As I recall, the initial reports were that White Knight had been ordered more heavily than this, so that surprises me, but this is still an alternate universe Bat-book that broke the top ten in one of the most competitive months on record. Very impressive, and will likely garner great reorders and do gangbusters in collections.

Glenn:  So in the month of October, 2017 the result is that Batman smashes Marvel legacy and hard.  Even if you say Metal is a JLA/DCU story more than a Batman one (which is debatable but okay), Batman starred in six top ten titles.  Its just sheer dominance and now, Marvel’s latest mega push publicizing wise is playing second fiddle to Batman.  Only their top three super hero titles could compete and two of those crashed to near their previous sales level or below the same month.  Meantime Batman’s solo title is enjoying a six year run or so above 95k because…its Batman.  There’s a lot more to break down this month but I think that’s the real headline to take away from this months charts.

Ray:  Batman beat the entire Marvel Universe 7-3 in Legacy month. Is there nothing he can’t do?

Glenn:  To be fair, he had the prep time.

Ray:  As we head out of the top ten, we see the 11-30 range dominated by Marvel books like we almost never do, thanks to the bulk of the line getting its Legacy launch. Across the boards, we see some pretty healthy first-issue boosts, but it’s important to note that these are the Lenticular variant issues, which likely meant heavy ordering. Unless a comic shipped two issues this month, it’s hard to tell what’s just noise. 

Glenn:  We do see a noticible uptick across the board for Marvel in spaces that have been dominated largely by DC books since Rebirth.  If this will have the same staying power will be hard to determine but current evidence would incline it isn’t likely.

Ray:  The two X-men books, which launch a crossover “Mojo Worldwide” this month, get pretty sizable bumps of about 30K to land at #11 for Gold (81.9K) and #15 for Blue (71K). But they ship two issues this month, which means we can see them down at #47 for Gold and #61 for Blue, selling 41K and 37K respectively. That’s essentially flat for both books from last month, so status quo has resumed here. But then, these books didn’t get Legacy renumbering, just a crossover and rebranding.

Glenn:  At least the new two X-Men books seems to be sticking to that high 30k range.  Its not super brilliant but unless you have pointy ears and a cape, nothing is these days.  It seems that this latest ‘color’ relaunch has done the X-Men books some good.  Hopefully by adding in a new team (red) in the next few months won’t over saturate things.

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Ray:  Despite already having its Legacy renumbering a while back, Venom gets one of the biggest increases at #12. It only sold 24K last month, and sells a whopping 76K this month. The yo-yo performance of Venom continues to confound.

Also proving the power of Venom is Spider-Gwen, which leaps a full 100% to land at #13 with 72K in sales. This is a combination of Legacy and the proper start of the Gwenom storyline. But it’s great to see Gwen this high up here again.

Glenn:  Its been a while for Gwen hasn’t it?  She was one of the big victims of the post Secret Wars relaunch sales wise.  Is this going to be righting the ship or just a blip?  More rhymes next month will tell us for sure!

Ray:  I was surprised to see Cable jump so high to #14 with sales of 71K. Last month it sold 32K. New creative team of Brisson and Bachalo, so the artist has some pull and the writer is rising fast. But I’m wondering if this had more to do with the buzz from Cable’s appearance in Deadpool 2. We’ll see if it can hold any of this increase.

Glenn:  I’m also surprised by Cable but given than the renumbering has given it the all powerful anniversary number of 150 may have helped a good bit too.  It really seems that Brisson is paying off spades for Marvel on the books they’ve given him so far.

Ray:  Avengers had a healthy boost with its Legacy renumbering, which coincided with a crossover with Champions. It sold 33K last month, and 70K at #16 this month. However, what’s odd is that its partner in a hard crossover, Champions, only sold 47K at #43. That’s only an 18K boost from last month, and a huge delta between the two parts of the crossover. I’m not sure why Champions doggedly refuses to sell.

Glenn:  I just think Champions launched at a bad time and never got a chance to find its feet.  It’ll be interesting to see how Avenger’s can perform once it goes weekly in a few months.  Even if it sells around 35-40k per issue it’ll end up doing a lot better as a title in of itself overall.

Ray:  Now come the A-listers, as two icons who have been struggling for a while jump into the top ten with their relaunches. Invincible Iron Man, which combines the books featuring Riri and Doom into one where Tony Stark will return, sells 70K at #17, which is up from 34K for Riri’s book last month. Meanwhile, the well-timed Incredible Hulk sends Amadeus Cho to Planet Hulk and is rewarded with sales of 66K at #19. That’s a massive jump from Totally Awesome Hulk’s final issue – which sold 19K. I’m not sure how these two titles will hold their numbers, but they’ve got a lot going for them – rebranding, renumbering, and either the return of an icon or the return of a fan-favorite setting. These two could surprise – but then, as we now know about Iron Man, it’s getting a creative team shift soon enough.

Glenn:  Incredible Hulk may have got a slight movie boost too.  Also the initial Planet Hulk story was a big hit back in the day so retailers may order more than they would during this story.  Everything will become clearer next month as we’ve said but these are encouraging signs.

Ray:  The only DC book breaking up the Marvel presence in this area is The Flash, which was the first part of the Bats Out Of Hell crossover for Metal. This crossover didn’t seem to get all that much hype, but it’s good for 69K at #18, which is an 18K jump over the title’s other issue this month.

Glenn: Flash is still one of Rebirth’s big winners.  Much like we see with Detective and its current high profile tie-in, the crossover will only benefit a title that is already doing well so much.

Ray:  Top ten mainstays Star Wars and Walking Dead chart at #20 and #22, selling 65K and 64K respectively. That’s essentially flat for Star Wars, which was the finale of Aaron’s run, and down 20K from Walking Dead as its odd yo-yo sales continue. But these books are still rock solid and among the top-selling regular ongoings that aren’t Batman. It just shows how competitive this month was.

With the incredibly packed slate this month, the second halves of the major storylines in Action and Detective fall out of the top twenty, but take up 4 spots from 20-30. However, they’re both still rock solid, as Action sells 64K and 59K, only a small decrease from last month (and adds 23K and 21K for the two issues in the non-lenticular editions). Detective, meanwhile, actually gains about 3K for its two issues this month from last month, as buzz for this Tim Drake-centric storyline continues to build.

All-Star Batman ends its run at #29, selling 56K. I imagine DC will be very sorry to see this comic go – unless, of course, they happened to sign a new writer who had the same kind of megawatt sales pull and relaunched it…

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Glenn:  Given Snyder’s name, I thought this book would go out with higher numbers but I suppose you can only do so much with what is now the third tier Bat title.  It seems Snyder will be back to Batman before so long in a special mini with Sean Murphy on art which will probably be a lot stronger in sales overall.

Ray:  There were relatively few #1s this month from Marvel, but two titles did launch. One did surprise me in sales, and what was Spirits of Vengeance, which landed at #25 with sales of 58K. Marvel didn’t seem to have much faith in this title, cutting it back to a miniseries before launch. But it seems like there’s some hunger for these characters – Blade, Ghost Rider classic. It’s a concept we haven’t seen in a while, and the audience responded a bit.

Glenn:  I’m glad to see Spirits of Vengeance do so well. Like you said, its been a while since Marvel did a book like this so it just shows that maybe doing something different can bring rewards.  If the rest of the mini can do in the 30-35k range, I could see it easily become an ongoing.

Ray:  In the middle of the Legacy madness, there’s a new Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan miniseries that sells 56K at #27. Pretty good numbers for a standard Deadpool fights stuff mini – these won’t go away any time soon.

Glenn:  Given that this is essentially Deadpool vs Wolverine, I thought it would have done a little bitter but it probably got a little lost in the Legacy shuffle.  Still will probably perform admirably for the rest of its run.

Ray:  Black Panther’s Legacy launch hits at #31, selling 55K (a roughly 100% jump from last month). This issue brought back Panther’s arch-nemesis and came out around the same time as a very popular trailer for the movie, so it might keep some of its past momentum from the days when this was one of Marvel’s top-selling books.

Glenn:  This really is a great time to be a Black Panther fan it seems.  Hopefully Marvel have learned their lesson with the failed spin off books starring the character and instead on focusing on making the main book a success.  

Ray:  At #32, we’ve got Falcon #1, which sells 54K. Not terrible, but I was surprised it sold less than the less-hyped Spirits of Vengeance. Of course, Falcon is coming off a run as Captain America and a major event comic – and neither of those things are a positive. This book might have a very hard road ahead of it, and I wouldn’t be shocked by it being a stealth miniseries. 

Glenn:  Despite his double edged sword high profile over the last few years, this is better than I would expect a Falcon book to launch.  Of course, its not a great place to start for an ongoing.  It’ll need to probably settle at around 30-25k or so to justify its existence and fast.

Ray:  At #34, proving there’s no limit to crossover madness, we’ve got a very strong debut for Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica. 52K is a pretty strong number for what’s essentially a comedy lark that puts the two pairs of iconic comic ladies in misadventures. Archie and DC have to be very happy here. Don’t doubt the power of Harley!

Glenn: Great numbers for another DC/insert another company here crossover!  Even if we’re seeing the regular Harley team say their farewells soon, it doesn’t seem as if the character will be losing any momentum any time soon.  It should also be noted that people really like seeing Harley and Ivy together and of course, it doesn’t hurt that Archie’s Betty and Veronica have a popular (with the kidz) tv show and a well regarded monthly book themselves.

Ray:  There were a lot of Legacy books that had neither renumbering nor big status quo changes, and those include Uncanny Avengers and Defenders. Both sold about 28K this month, and this month they sell 49K at #36/37. A decent increase, but I suspect they’ll drop right back down – there’s nothing new driving sales here. And Defenders might be in real trouble when Bendis leaves.

Glenn:  With the Netflix show the series is based off likely not getting another series until 2019 at the earliest it might be in Marvel’s interest to just end it when Bendis leaves.  I can’t imagine too many of their current writers pool that are available being able to get the same interest to the book.

Ray:  Venomverse and the conclusion of Gotham Resistance over in Green Arrow both sell roughly 49K this month at #39/40, and that’s two mini-crossovers that the companies are likely very happy with.

At #41, we start to see the impact of Legacy on lower-selling titles with Iron Fist, which brought in Sabretooth to the tune of 47K sales. That’s a nearly 200% increase from last month’s 17K sales, but will it matter in the long run? Even keeping 33% of the increased sales could make the difference for some of these titles.

The story’s basically the same for Jessica Jones at #46, which sells 43K, a more than 100K jump. Of course, this title’s future is now completely in flux. The character’s had one writer driving her story for the better part of twenty years.

Glenn:  Hopefully Jessica won’t be sent to the obscurity cafe along with the likes of Gravity, Arana and Patriot after her creator leaves.  Having a popular Netflix show will help her a lot stick around as a fixture.  There are plenty of writers who could do interesting things with her both male and female.

Ray:  Captain Marvel has one of the biggest jumps and smallest overall numbers, selling 41K at #48 for its sort-of-anniversary #125 issue, up from only 13K last month. But with no real status quo changes here, I expect those sales to crash down to earth and fast.

Glenn:  This is another one benefiting a bit extra from an anniversary number so overall, that’s not an encouraging sign.  Poor Carol’s had a rough time the last few years and the title is trying to combat that baggage while patiently awaiting her MCU debut which is still over a year away.

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Ray:  Astonishing X-Men is still trying to find its level, sliding a hefty 17K in its third month to land at #50 with 40K in sales. The numbers are hurt by the onset of Legacy, of course, but this is a book that may have a bit of trouble in this market.

Glenn:  Its one X-book too many.  Long gone are the days of the market being able to support 501 X-Men titles.  This is why I think the upcoming ‘X-Men: Red‘ may struggle and hopefully will not damage the relatively still waters both Gold and Blue have found themselves in.

Ray:  The opposite side of the equation is the little book that could, Mister Miracle, which charts at #51 with sales of 40K. That’s basically even with last month, so it seems to have found its level between Superman and Wonder Woman in sales. Unlike past King cult hits like Omega Men and Vision, the direct market is finally taking notice!

Glenn:  Brilliant stuff for Mister Miracle which is already being touted as an all time classic.  It seems that delivering solid stories eventually does equal sales success if you do it often enough.

Ray:  Like his fellow Defenders, Luke Cage reaps some of the biggest increases, selling 39K up from 11K last month to land at #52. Same creative team, but a story that’s getting some buzz likely means this title may have bought itself a few more arcs.

Glenn:  Luke also has the Netflix card in his arsenal so is doubtfully going anywhere do to that.  I’m surprised he didn’t do better than Iron Fist since he’s had a much higher profile the last decade or so.

Ray:  A similar story for Gwenpool, which sells 39K at #57, up from 14K last month. The title changed up basically…nothing, so I don’t expect it to really hold any of the new sales. This is a lenticular boost, nothing more.

At #58, we see the launch of The Shadow/Batman, Dynamite’s turn at the helm for the next part of this crossover. It sells 38K, which is in a whole other stratosphere for Dynamite’s titles. Below what the DC series did, but it seems retailers may have treated this as a direct sequel.

Glenn:  It just seems that these crossovers are paying huge benefits for both companies.  Dynamite are likely very excited to do the Red Sonja/Booster Gold crossover you all didn’t realize you wanted until just now.

Then its business as usual for the next few spots as DC books keep their levels and Marvel titles await their legacy renumbering.

Ray:  There’s a few more Legacy titles that were selling very low before the relaunches that get a boost this month, but not nearly enough of one to make a difference. These include Gwenpool (14K in September, 39K this month), Jean Grey (24K in September, 38K this month), Royals (12.9K in September, 35K this month), Iceman (13.2K in September, 34K this month), US Avengers (13.4K in September, 30K this month), America (9.1K in September, 26K this month) and Monsters Unleashed (11K in September, 25K this month). All decent increases, of course, and every Legacy book this month made the top 100. But none of these increases are enough to make the difference for the titles once the natural decline sets in next month. The benefit from the first issue was across the board, but I see nothing to indicate the status quo has changed.

Glenn:  The next title of note is Punisher Platoon which sells over 32.8k at 73.  Decent for a Punisher mini which sees the return of probably his most iconic writer Garth Ennis.  The next issue sells just over 25.5k at 100 so I doubt we’ll see much of a fall in sales as Ennis on Punisher brings with it a lot of stability, at least it did in the past.  Perfect timing for this given Punisher debuts on Netflix…today (as of this typing).

Ray:  Ennis on Punisher is one of those all-timer creative teams that will drive sales whenever it returns, and despite this being the first book published under the MAX banner in ages, that hasn’t changed. That’s a very strong second issue slide as well, which indicates relatively little inflation on the first issue and genuine interest. This will sell even better in collections.

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Glenn:  Next thing of note is Gotham City Garage which sells over 25.8k at 98.  This is a title in the same vein as DC Bombshells but instead of a retro WW2 feel, this instead reimagines some of DC’s iconic female characters as biker chicks.  This is another property that is likely going to earn its keep through the merchandise arm of DC like Bombshells does but it sells very will for this type of thing.

Ray: Gotham City Garage doesn’t seem to have received the same level of critical acclaim that Bombshells has, though, so we’ll see how it performs. The second issue has a relatively decent slide to 15K at #135 this same month, which indicates it has a bit of rope. Especially as it’s designed for digital and we don’t see most of its sales.

Glenn:  Dropping about 10k from its debut issue is Wonder Woman/Conan’s second issue which sells over 22.1k at 112.  I’d say that basically this book is likely being sold on Wonder Woman and Gail writing alone that this is very good.  Another winning crossover.

Ray:  Conan fans tend to be trade-waiters too, so I wonder if that’ll be a lucrative second market for the book when it’s done. It’s excellent so far.

Glenn: At 120 is the I Hate Fairyland Special edition which sells over 20k.  I think this is a reprint of a previous FCBD comic with some special bells and whistles so that’s very good considering that people paid exactly nothing for it before.

Ray:  This is essentially free sales for I Hate Fairyland to a degree, so these age great numbers.

Glenn:  Falling by over half its sales in its second issue is Runaways issue 2 which sells over 20k also at 121.  The writer said that if this series did well, the series might return as an ongoing .  Despite a tv show adaption coming soon I don’t see that as a likelihood judging from these numbers.  Its only a mini at the moment so losses are minimal and barring the return of series creator Brian K. Vaugn, its unlikely the Runaways will ever have a solid place in the market again.

Ray:  Runaways has really always struggled in the direct market, even under Vaughan. I’m not sure why, but given trade sales it may be too early to write this book’s obituary. The writer is a huge name in the YA market, and if it does 90% of its sales in bookstores, it could make a return. But retailers can’t be happy with this performance.

Glenn:  If Runaways does see more of a life in bookstores (as it has done previously) it might be better to change the format of the series much like we were speculating for Moon Girl a few months back

Image series Realm sees an uptick in its second issue which sells over 18.5k at 124.  Its not a mega increase (barely 1k) but its definitely a positive sign for a book by creators that don’t ring any bells for me.

Ray:  Yet another book that seems to be building momentum for Image. Any time a book stays flat or increases from its debut is a genuine sign of success, and it seems to be happening more and more for Image.

Glenn:  One shot, Thor: Where Walk The Frost Giants sells just under 18k at 126.  This is a very random one shot written by former Marvel editor, Ralph ‘not the karate kid’ Macchio that has no doubt been rescued from a drawer in a desk and released to get some juice from the movie.  I’d say that the sales are very good, all things considered.

Ray:  Marvel does this sort of random one-shot whenever there’s a movie out, and it always does similar numbers. This was a decent entry-level read for Thor fans brought in by the movie, and I imagine that Marvel can call that a success.

Glenn:  New Steve Skroce vehicle, Maestros from Image debuts at just under 18k at 128.  This seems to be some sort of blend of sci-fi/medieval saga that has a decent debut.  Skroce certainty has his audience still despite not really being in the limelight for some time.

Ray:  Skroce seems like he has a loyal fanbase that would turn out for anything he does. Even though he’s not a big mainstream name right now, this is still an very healthy debut for a new Image book. Especially in a month as competitive as this.

Glenn:  In a case of ‘they can’t all be winners’, a new Ragman title from DC sells over 17.2 at 130.  This might be a fair number if it were Young Animal or Vertigo but its main DC so under that microscope, its not up to much.  Its not a disaster for sure, after all, even if he did have a blink and you miss it role in Arrow last year, how many people can DC get to care about Ragman?

Ray:  This Ragman miniseries also completely rewrote Ragman’s origin in a way that many fans weren’t pleased with, so this seems to be one that is destined to be forgotten quickly in the vein of the recent Odyssey of the Amazons

Glenn:  Odyssey of the whoazons?  Do you mean Legend Of Wonder Woman?  Man that book was great…*takes break to flick through Legend of Wonder Woman*

Ray:  At #132, selling just under 17K is the latest DC anthology “House of Horror“. Plotted by Keith Giffen and written by horror author Brian Keene and a group of indy writers, it took icons of the DCU and twisted them in a horror direction, reinventing Harley as a vengeful ghost, Superman as a vicious alien monster, etc. Without any top names attached and a $9.99 price tag, these are decent numbers for an anthology.

Glenn:  You said that this anthology wasn’t to the amazing high standard DC has been producing in the likes of the Holiday special and such but of course, no one knows how good a book is going to be before it comes out.  Horror seems to be more at home in selling indie books rather than any big two titles by and large.

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Ray:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits its #75 issue anniversary with an oversized comic that sells 14.8K at #138. That’s an increase of about 2K from last month. Not huge, but then this is a title that’s been consistently under one creative team for its entire run. It’s always been incredibly stable and that continues.

At #139 is the new crime comic Slots from Image, by writer/artist Dan Panosian. It sells 14.7K, which is a decent number from a book with no name creators attached.

Glenn:  That’s very good for Slots, despite DC and Marvel grabbing the majority of the headlines (for reasons good and bad) it seems Image is still managing to capture interest in the vast amount of interesting properties they launch every month.

Ray:  Werewolf Jughead returns! His new ongoing lands at #143 with sales of 14.5K, proving there’s an audience for everything. Archie’s been trying a lot of unique things as of late. Let’s see how Biker Betty and Veronica do next month!

Glenn:  I remember the one shot doing surprisingly well.  I guess when it comes to stuff that can be silly and get away with it, such as the Archie characters then the fans are more than willing to buy in

Ray:  At #144, we see the relaunch Hack/Slash Resurrection, which sells 14.5K for Tini Howard’s relaunch of Tim Seeley’s classic horror property. A creator-owned title switching creators is extremely rare, so it’s hard to judge the pattern here, but these numbers seem in line for a cult property.

Glenn:  I don’t remember the last time the title came out so it shows that a good amount of fans have stuck around and the property can still perform decently after its creator has passed it on.  We saw Kingsman do this last month, how many more Image creator owned books may lease themselves out to other creators in the future?  It makes for some interesting possibilities.

Ray:  Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer run wraps up at #145 with sales of 14.1K. This has been a cult property for some time, but it leveled out towards the end of its run and will likely be off to some great sales in trades as a modern Marvel classic.

At #146, we’ve got Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1, which sells 14.1K. That’s about 5K below the 8th issue of the parent title. While Warren Ellis co-plotted this comic, it’s written by Top Cow writer Bryan Hill. This seems to indicate that Wild Storm’s success is heavily due to Elli’s name, which makes future spinoffs of this line feel a bit in doubt.

Glenn:  Wildstorm is a property that had its heyday long, long ago.  It serves as a sandpit for Ellis to do what he wants and not be bothered by anyone and no one bother him, which is fine and its working as that.  The property though is long past being able to support spin off titles that aren’t featuring Midnighter and even that can be very heavily depending on his writer.

Ray:  At #151 is the awesomely named Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, the first Black Hammer spin-off. It sells just under 13.5K, which is about 2K higher than the last issue of the parent title. Probably a bit of a variant cover boost for the first issue, but it seems like this is just being treated like the next arc of the series, as it should be. This is one of the few genuine hits Dark Horse has had in the last few years, and it’s still going strong.

Glenn: This property is really working well for Dark Horse and I’m sure they’re very grateful to have it.  It may not set the singles chart alight but it performs well for what it is and the trade sales will make Dark Horse some serious coin over the next several decades once everyone starts to realize how great the book is.

Ray:  There’s Dark Knights: Metal #2 again, selling an additional 13.3K at #154. The drop last issue was surprisingly steep, so it’s clear this is some correction. This book just keeps on racking up all the sales.

At #155, selling 13.2K is a new Boom series based on the 90s cartoon Rugrats. That’s a surprisingly strong debut for a comic geared towards small children (although it may have gotten some 90s nostalgia readers as well). I’m not reading, but any time Boom does well I’m happy.

Glenn:  People who watched Rugrats as kids are now in the age range of the average comic fan so maybe there was some view that this would be a nostalgia buy?  I don’t see the title drawing in young readers and will end up probably in the 8-10k range for die hard old school Nicelodeon people who still send Disney letters every week demanding they give Doug back.

Ray:  Eternity #1 is at #158, selling just over 13K from Valiant. This is the latest part of the Divinity saga from Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, and this is in line with what the rest of the cycle debuted at in years past.

Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan’s new sci-fi crime saga “The Family Trade” lands at #162 with sales of 12.7K. Jordan’s never had huge sales pull in the direct market, so this seems like a healthy enough debut for a title that didn’t seem to get a lot of hype in advance.

Surprisingly, Benitez Productions seems to have locked down a decent spot on the charts for Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin. It charts at #163 with sales of 12.5K. This is above three DC Rebirth books, for the record. I’ve never heard of this book, but it’s selling to someone!

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Glenn:  Lady Mechanika will likely appeal to the vast steampunk culture out there that does overlap with comics culture quite a bit.  Its never going to be a huge audience but enough to give this obscure publisher an in against some real heavyweights.

Ray:  The Top Cow cyberpunk mystery God Complex lands at #175 with sales of 10.7K. Top Cow books usually sell in this range, but I saw no real buzz for this one. I read it, and I’m still not sure what it’s about…

Glenn:  Don’t ask me, all I know is that David Bowie is a kettle (obscure Rabbitt Stew joke number 4576!)

Ray:  Decent reorders for both of last month’s Dark Knights issues, with Murder Machine selling an additional 10.5K at #177 and the higher-ordered Red Death landing an additional 9.8K at #186. Clearly some genuine heat for this event and everything it touches.

Glenn:  Nothing can stop the Dark Knights and I’m sure this months issues will have some pretty good reorders too.  If DC didn’t have the sequel to the best regarded comic ever coming they would still making everyone jealous with how well this event is doing.

Ray:  At #182 we have Kid Lobotomy #1, the surreal new Peter Milligan comic set at a haunted hotel/medical clinic, which sells 9.9K. This was designed as a cult comic for those very much into Milligan’s oddball style, so these numbers are probably right in line with what IDW was expecting.

Glenn:  Milligan has always been a fringe creator and IDW are better at property output than creator owned so yeah all in all, this isn’t too bad for a mini taking everything into account.

Ray:  17 months into DC Rebirth, we finally see the first Rebirth title slip under the 10K mark. It’s Cyborg, naturally, down at #184 at 9.9K. The title’s ending hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s got to be coming.

Glenn:  They’re likely keeping it alive just so he has a title on the shelves for when the movie hits.  When the movie is out of the theaters (which it isn’t as of this typing but tomorrow, who knows?) I’d say that Cyborg will be only featured in the main League book for the foreseeable future.

Ray:  At #187, it’s another oddball crossover – Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella from Dynamite. This is a niche book, so 9.8K is probably as high as it was going to get. Hack/Slash is all over the place again, suddenly!

Glenn:  Well that’s random.  It doesn’t seem to have quite the random appeal of the DC cross company crossovers but clearly some people would be interested.  Likely only for the most die hard fans of both properties.

This month the second issue of Kingsman: The Red Diamond sells just over 9.3k at 193.  Not terrible for an Image mini but it had a big budget film to help promote it.  The decision to have this mini be its own thing is puzzling and it seems that Millar has moved on to bigger, Netflix sized fish.

Ray:  What’s interesting is that Kingsman and Kick-Ass, Millar’s two most successful properties to this point, are now sort of wild cards because they’re the only ones not owned by Netflix. Millar is relaunching Kick-Ass soon, but he seems to have farmed out Kingsman with little fanfare. I’m not sure whether he’s more or less invested in these two now.

Glenn:  Kick Ass is in some ways his biggest success, its the one that’s had the most material published in any case.  That one could be the one he does for ‘fun’ while the others serve his contract and get him working with some of the best artists in the industry.

More an understandable performance from Elsewhere on its 3rd issue selling just over 9.3k at 194.  This is more in line with what I would expect the book to do and it’ll likely settle around here and perform decently enough in trades to keep it around for as long as Faybaer wants it to.

Decent enough slide for Gasolina 2 which sells also, also over 9.3k at 195.  If it settles fast, this will be another steady performer for Image by creators that aren’t that well known.

Atomahawk also from Image at 196 sells just under 9.3k for a zero issue which collects some early work by Donny Cates who if you’ve been paying attention the last few months has become a little bit of a dark horse in the market.  This is perfectly fine numbers for material that’s a few years old and was likely an easy win for Image, especially when priced at 5.99.

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Ray:  This was an oversized one-shot which was a reprint of obscure material, yeah, so I’m guessing these sales are 100% due to Cates’ new sales clout. Impressive.

Glenn:  Another bizarre Hanna Barbera reinterpretation in the form of Ruff & Reddy sells over 8.7k at 200.  Its a mini and likely gets most of its attention due to the involvement of Howard Chaykin more than anything.  I’ve honestly never heard of this particular duo so this may have been ordered under the assumption it was Chaykin doing a wacky mini series for DC and this is probably decent numbers with that mentality.

Ray:  These characters, a cat and dog vaudeville comedy team, are so obscure that reportedly the team developing the Hanna-Barbera line didn’t even know they had them at first. Given that, and Chaykin’s reputation as a cult creator, four-digit sales for a DC book aren’t really a surprise, but still kind of shocking to see a new DC #1 launch there.

Glenn:  Very good launch for the Tick which has a new series launch to coincide with the well regarded Amazon show.  It sells over 8.6k at 201.  This property has been around forever and seems to never really go away, I’d say the long time publisher is happy with this.  This was probably also boosted by having Cullen Bunn attached and may have a decent life in the top 300 due to that.

Ray:  New England Comics is a small published basically known for…well, The Tick. Feels like it’s been a while since they had a new comic out, so any time a small-press company gets on the top 300, it’s a good sign.

Glenn:  At 203 is the Archies 1 which saw the Archie crew form a band, it sells over 8.5k.  There was some great talent on board here but this is performing much like Archie titles would have done prior to the Waid led reboot so I’m sure the company is happy enough with that in mind.

Ray:  So I guess we can say people would rather read Jughead shred flesh than shred chords, amirite? *does dance number off-stage*

Glenn:  The wacky (pun intended) Gart Ennis vehicle, Dastardly and Muttley has its second issue at 204 selling over 8.5k.  Not great but its only a mini and likely will just appeal to people who want to read what Ennis does to the iconic villainous cartoon duo.  I’d say DC wouldn’t have expected much more.

Somehow Marvel got over 8.4k worth of people to buy a retelling of Captain America: Civil War by calling it a Black Panther movie prelude, good for them.  It charts at 205, bring on the movie says I.

Ray:  You fooled me once, Marvel! Not this time! NOT! THIS! TIME!!!!!

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Glenn:  Sexy jungle lady Sheena loses half her sales in her second issue charting 209 with sales over 8.2k.  Not entirely surprising since you know…its Sheena but its decent enough for a Dynamite title and will likely have a decent life on the shelf as long as Marguerite Bennett  is attached.

Ray:  That’s Dynamite’s third-highest book of the month and their top one that isn’t a crossover, so yeah, good sales for them and probably a lot due to Bennett’s sales clout.

Glenn:  Next creator owned second issue this month is another Image one in the form of Angelic which drops to 212 with sales over 8.1k.  There are books with worse drops in the charts and the unknown creative team are probably thrilled to just be below Rick Remender’s Deadly Class, even though its well into its run by this point.  I know I would be.

Cullen ‘who needs sleep?’ Bunn’s creator owned Dark Ark sells over 8k on its second issue at 215.  This is an Aftershock title so I’d call that a pretty decent hold all things considered.  Much like his other horror title, Harrow County its unlikely to set any sales records but will remain steady and do well in collections.

Final issue of Mother Panic sells over 7.8k at 218.  Not brilliant but probably better than the book would have finished off at had it been released under Vertigo rather than Young Animal.  DC is giving Young Animal a bit of a spotlight and tying it in to some of the main DCU characters and giving it its own mini event involving a Milkman (I don’t know) so someone was clearly happy with how these books did.

Ray:  Sales on these Young Animal books really trickled off, except for the intermittently-released Doom Patrol, although Mother Panic’s bat-link helped it stay a bit higher. I think this creative team could be back for a vol. two if they want down the line.

Glenn:  Short term, Young Animal will be taking part in their mini event crossover.  How those books do sales wise will likely dictate the future of the line moving forward.

Aftershock spin off, Animosity Evolution sells over 7.1k at 221.  I think this is roughly were the last version of this book left off so retailers are likely just ordering it as the next issue.  this title has performed really well for Aftershock and they clearly have a lot of faith in it.

Ray:  Yeah, this was essentially a direct continuation from the previous spin-off, Animosity: the Rise. I think retailers essentially ordered it like a standard issue with a slight boost. But this is clearly Aftershock’s first actual franchise.

At #223, we’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, selling just over 7K copies before it begins its Legacy run next month. I don’t know where those sales are hidden, but they’ve got to be somewhere, because woof. 

Glenn:  Clearly someone at Marvel really, REALLY loves this book.  I doubt Legacy will change much for the character but at this point, I expect it to keep being published long after I’m dead.

Ray:  Down at #236, we’ve got the launch of Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight from IDW, which sells 6.4K. This title is not really aimed at the direct market, as it’s going to be doing short three-issue arcs aimed at affordable trades for bookstores, much like the much higher-selling Star Wars Adventures. Given that, it’s likely to hit its sales target.

Glenn:I might have expected more out of Goosebumps because it’s one of the most enduring young reader franchises ever and had a big movie out not too long ago.  This ultimately is just another part of author R.L Stein’s plan to feature his work in every format possible.  It’ll sell well to book stores to go along with the other trillion and one Goosebumps books.

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Ray:  And just below Goosebumps at #237 is Danger Doll Squad #1! Witness the power of Zombie Tramp and her sexy lady sidekicks. Can’t wait for the blockbuster shared universe film series.

Glenn:Given that Zombie Tramp would have trouble cracking the top 300 when we started these articles, that certainty shows the publisher has gathered a little momentum.  This time in five years, Zombie Tramp will be the Batman of its time.

Ray:  IDW’s been consistently putting out minis from the “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse” series for a few years now, and this cult series has a new installment – where the titular corpse runs for President! – at #239, selling 6.4K. This is clearly a case where retailers know what to expect by now, much like with the BPRD.

Glenn:  I’m not sure what Wormwood is but yeah, IDW will know what returns to expect from a long running cult franchise like this

Ray:  Arguably the oddest book of the month, Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd, sells 6.3K at #241. That’s apparently the audience for supernatural rap comics set in the Valiant universe and dealing with demonic contract law!

At #242, we’ve got the launch of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call #1, the first solo adventure of the female Ghostbusters from the recent movie. And at sales of 6.2K, I think a comic sequel may be as likely as a movie sequel.

Glenn:  Given the venomous response the movie got, I’m surprised it did this well.  Of course, those that came to the movies defense in an extreme reaction to the negative extreme reaction may keep this version of the Ghostbusters on the fringes of pop culture but yeah, fans of the movie and these characters won’t be seeing many more of their adventures in comics form based on these sales.

Ray:  One of the lowest-selling Image debuts in recent memory, Top Cow’s video game tie-in Warframe, lands at #246 with sales of 6.2K. I’m assuming retailers knew this was really only for completists.

Just below, selling 6.1K, is James Tynion IV’s acclaimed horror series Eugenic. This tale of genetic manipulation and the extinction of humanity isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither were its predecessors in the “Apocalypse Trilogy”. Given Boom’s struggles in the direct market and the fact that these will likely all be bundled together in a hardcover at some point, these sales are to be expected for a cult property.

#249 brings us the return of Fighting American, now published by Titan. I believe this is Titan’s highest-selling book of the month, so clearly the Kirby and Simon team still has some pull in the modern day.

At #250, selling 6.1K, is the second arc of Ray Fawkes’ Underwinter, with a new title and new #1. This is one of Image’s strangest and most cult-like books, so the fact that it’s selling this high (comparably) is probably a testament to the decent reception of the disturbing first arc.

Zombie Tramp at #252! Second Zombie Tramp sighting of the month! Woot woot!

At #261 it’s the first sighting of Lion Forge on the charts this month, for the second series of their Voltron: Legendary Defender tie-in. This is a wildly popular Netflix series, so it’s got enough clout to push a small company like LF into the top 300. Looking ahead, it’s their only book on the charts this month, so while 5.5K isn’t much to other companies, to Lion Forge this looks like reason to celebrate.

Glenn:  Voltron is a very niche property with a very passionate fan base so good for Lion Forge for securing the property.  I’m sure they’re thrilled to just be featured among some of the industries heavyweight companies.  Every company has to start somewhere.

Latest Transformers number 1, Optimus Prime: First Strike sells over 5.3k at spot 265.  Its Transformers, its IDW, for additional thoughts see nearly every ‘By The Numbers’ for the last two years or so, exclusively on Graphic Policy (ding)

Some reorders for Marvel Legacy at 268 with more sales 5.3k, getting more copies sold is always good but given the hype for the one shot, you would have expected maybe a tad more.  It seems that the mega numbers retailers ordered last month seemed to satisfy most of the demand.

Ray:  Yeah, generally the higher something goes, the less reorders will be needed. DC Rebirth being the exception, though, cuz’ Watchmen.

 
Glenn: A new X-Files mini, JFK Exposure launches from IDW at 4.8k.  The new season is on its way next year but the audience don’t seem to be interested in reading the tales of Mulder and Scully in comic form.  For die hard fans and people who have been reading X-Files comics since the 90’s only.

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An odd one at 291 in the form of Black Crown Quarterly 1, fall edition by IDW which sells over 4.5k.  Even after reading up about it, I’m still not entirely sure what this is.  It just seems to be a selection of short stories by names I don’t really know.  Its priced at 6.99 and is a odd ball comic if there ever was one so not sure how IDW could have expected better.

Ray:  A dark, surreal anthology without many name creators attached? I’m sure IDW is thrilled just to be in the top 300. This seems to be a new boutique imprint they’re putting together, sort of their Vertigo.

Glenn:  Odd concept Image book Retcon faces a hard fall to sales just over 4.5k at 293.  The idea in principle to me sounded interesting but the mystery behind it may have turned a lot of people off.  It may not make the charts next month and shows that not all Image turns out can lead to winners.

The second issue of a book called Galaktikon from Albatross Funnybooks sells over 4.4k.  It didn’t chart last month so good for them for making the cut this time.  It has the involvement of cult creator Eric Powell so I thought it would have had a bit more of an audience but I’m not sure when the Goon was last out and his Action Comics brief stint wasn’t yesterday and its a company called Albatross which can’t be a good omen.  Still, good for them for making it in.

Ray:  Rare to see a title increase from last month, although it may have also snuck in with the slightly decreasing sales. Still, that’s a definite win for Albatross and Eric Powell.

Glenn:  A GFT Halloween special from Zenescope sells over 4.4k at 297.  Maybe people get their sexy vampires, witches and werewolves elsewhere these days.

Former Marvel character ROM returns to comics at 298 from IDW with sales over 4.3k.  For die hard ROM fans only it seems as the character has been awol for quite some time.  I’d have liked to have seen it done better just because of the story of his creator, Bill Mantlo but I doubt he sees any benefit from this character these days (I could be wrong there however)

Ray:  IDW and Titan do a lot of licensed books – it’s essentially their bread and butter. It makes them their money, but diminishing returns are going to creep in at some point.

Glenn:  Last comic this month at 300 is Doctor Who: Lost Dimension Special 1 which sells over 4.1k.  It seems that multiple Doctor stories don’t have the same impact when you do them every year.  Either the rest of Titan’s Doctor Who line is all on vacation or they all missed the charts this month.  The property might get a jolt when the 13th Doctor gets her own comic but otherwise, its not really in the limelight this weather.

If you’re keeping score at home, the lowest selling comic last month did slightly better than the lowest selling last month but only by 130 odd copies.  Still not good times at the bottom of the chart.

Nothing interesting next month it seems, right Ray?  Ray put that giant clock down…

Ray:  Ah, yes. November. Nice, quiet month that – *gets run over by stampede to purchase Doomsday Clock*

So, yeah, needless to say, we’ve got Doomsday Clock sitting atop the charts next month, likely with sales far exceeding what Legacy or Metal did, and probably topping the charts for the next eleven months as well if it hits its schedule. This is one of the biggest events of all time, and all else will bow in its wake. We’ve also got Batman: Lost and The Batman Who Laughs, which should easily take the silver and bronze. Besides that, DC will have their new annuals, plus a few smaller projects including a new launch for The Demon and the return of Kurt Busiek to the world of Secret Identity – this time with Batman!

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Marvel, as it heads into its second full month of Legacy, will find it hard to compete. Their sole A-list launch this month is Waid and Samnee’s Captain America, which should make it into the top ten, but I’m not sure what else will crack that list. Star Wars, as Gillen jumps on board? Certainly not any of this month’s launches. And those five one-shots reviving old titles? I’d be surprised if they were more than a ripple in the comic pool. Although it will be interesting to see how Donny Cates moves the needle on his new Marvel titles.

With the big two putting up their dukes, it’s a quite month for the indies. There’s a few Image launches, but no real a-listers. It’ll be interesting to see how titles like Coyotes or Port of Earth do, and we might see some sleeper hits. Also, do Archie fans want to see Betty and Veronica on motorcycles? We shall see!

Glenn:  Come back next month to see Doctor Manhatten turn us into ducks!  See you all then!

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

 

By The Numbers: September 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  He’s totally team Fabian because everything he knows about the X-Men has been learned through cartoons and movies

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.  Steadily with team Gail, Ray supports any policy that follows the idiom that Cylcops sucks.

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:  Here we are folks, the big showdown!  Its Marvel vs Metal in an epic battle of the M’s!  There’s a lot to discuss this month and its going to get crazier from now until next year so we better get moving swiftly.

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Top book of the month was the much hyped Marvel Legacy one shot which despite being priced at 5.99 sold over 298k, completely overshooting any expectations myself or my co-columnist had.  So the success of this one shot is very interesting, if it hadn’t debuted at number one, it would have been a big blow to Marvel.  They needed a win and they got it with a mix of hype, promised returns, new status quo changes, their biggest named writer and some of their biggest named artists.  All this combined got Marvel the win they needed on this book and then some.  Given the price point and that the book is much thinner than the mammoth tome the 2.99 Rebirth one shot was around a year ago, Marvel are still getting a message, people are seemingly willing to pay for expensive comics if they’re marketed right.  So the one shot is a mega success, this cannot be disputed but the real success of Legacy will be determined how the rest of the line performs.  Rebirth gave the majority of DC titles a real shot in the arm, most of which are still befitting from today, can Marvel pull off the same?  We’ll see in some titles this month but the real story will be told next month.  Despite taking the top spot however, Marvel only managed one more book in the top ten so in that regards, DC won the day.  Legacy was a big hit but is it a sign of the tide turning in the companies favour?  We’ll see.

Ray:  There’s a lot to break down about the success of Legacy, and I concur – this is about 100K higher than I had it. These numbers are roughly comparable to the debut of Secret Wars a few years back, by Jonathan Hickman and the solicited artist of this issue Esad Ribic. Of course, he only wound up doing a few segments in this issue, but it seems he may move the needle! However, I’m guessing as much had to do with Jason Aaron, who’s been behind some of the most well-regarded Marvel runs of the last few years, and some of the only that escaped the Marvel sales collapse for the most part. When Marvel puts out a product that looks like it pays proper tribute to the history of the Marvel Universe and puts a lot of hype (and variant covers) behind it, they can get massive numbers. If this was the start of a Marvel event, I would say it bodes very well. But it’s not – it’s just a one-shot, and next month the Legacy titles will have to stand on their own. Although none of the biggest-name titles have debuted, the first week had retailers saying sales were very slow. So Marvel can crow this month with the #1 comic of 2017 (until November), but it’s no guarantee of lasting success.
Glenn:  Number 2 is Metal where the second issue delivers numbers over 149.4k selling about 120k less than the first installment.  I would say that this event won’t drop too much more and is still great numbers for a mini being put out by two of DC’s big guns.  Of course, unlike Legacy, Metal had some tie-ins in main DC books and various one shots.  Whereas Legacy was a success in of itself, Metal’s success seems to be branching out beyond its considerable sales pull.  More on that very shortly.

Ray:  These are great numbers for Metal in month two, dropping significantly but still staying well above the level of Civil War II even before the bad press really set in. This is rarefied air for a comic book event, the highest second-issue sales since Secret Wars, and close to double the sales of Secret Empire. DC has to be very happy with this, and it probably foretells consistent sales of over 200K for Doomsday Clock. And unlike past Marvel events, we’re seeing a major impact on the limited tie-ins.

Glenn:  Next at 3 is the only other Marvel comic in the top ten, the first issue and proper start of Venomverse which again we’ll remind you is a Venom crossover inspired by variants from a few months ago.  Considering that, a launch of over 105.3k is a great result. We’ve talked about it a number of times but Venom has really become a ‘thing’ again and Marvel has definitely taken note of that fact by having him popping up in Spider-Man and X-Men in the coming months.  The mini-events 2nd, 3rd and 4th issue also land this month selling over 57.2 at 20, over 55.1 at 22 and just under 54k at 23.  It’s a big drop right off the bat but then steady as a rock from there on.  This mini event out performs most of Marvel’s catalog quite handily and again sends a message that people want more Symbiote’s in their comics.  Marvel seems to be listening.

Ray:  Given how impressive the first-issue sales of Edge of Venomverse were, this is pretty much what I was expecting. While the three following issues didn’t blow the doors off, they’re very solid numbers for a spin-off event spinning out of a secondary title. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel here. 

Glenn:  At 4 and 5 is old reliable Batman which sells over 100k and 98.5k for issues 30 and 31 respectively.  We’ve said all we can about Batman and its astonishing consistency and it’ll no doubt pop back over 100k for the conclusion for the War Of Jokes and Riddles which also holds the answer to the Batposal.  Events come and go but Batman is here to stay for the long term.

At 6 is a bit of a surprise in the form of the 25th Anniversary Harley Quinn one shot which was an anthology to celebrate the character being around for two and a half decades.  Creators like Jimmy Pilmiotti, Amanda Conner, Paul Dini and Chip Zdarskey were invited to the party and it wielded great sales for DC at over 97.2k which is incredibly impressive for a one shot that isn’t anything to do with anything and was priced at 4.99.  The Rebirth issue of Harley Quinn was the top selling title in the month it was released so its clear that people still love the feisty but deadly lady clown.  DC has benefited greatly from Harley the last number of years with her main title and random one shot spin offs.  With sales like these on a title that was barely promoted I have no doubt we’ll continue to see more of everyone’s favorite Gotham Siren for a long time to come.

Ray:  I didn’t see all that much hype for this Harley one-shot, interestingly, which makes the almost 200% sales jump from this month’s regular Harley issues very impressive. Paul Dini probably pulled in a lot of sales, being Harley’s co-creator, and DC has to be very happy with this. Only six comics this month approached or passed 100K, and DC had four of them.

Glenn:  Just when you thought it was dead and gone, the Walking Dead revives back to life to take the 7th spot in the charts as sales shoot up again to over 84.2k.  Like I prophasised last month when the titles sales were simmering to the high 60’s (which in this market is still amazing) Walking Dead has a pattern.  High sales for a new story or new character, then slowly, slowly fall and then shoot up again for a continuation of the cycle.  We should never count out Walking Dead and its seemingly never ending skill to reinvent itself to sales success no matter what else is going on in the charts.

Ray:  This is a pretty big, out-of-nowhere jump for Walking Dead. New storyline, perhaps? I’ve given up trying to figure out just how it gets a 19K jump in one month, but it continues to display almost impossible sales momentum.

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Glenn:  I believe this particular issue of Walking Dead had a new story and a new antagonist.  Who knew such simple things could mean sales success?

At 8 is the first of the Metal tie-ins for this month, focusing on one of the antagonists of that series and their backstory.  The group known as the Dark Knight’s  feature Batmen gone wrong from the Dark Multiverse.  This first crossover, The Red Death covers an earth where Bruce gained access to the Speed Force to disastourous results.  Its written by Flash writer Joshua Williamson and drawn by the titles most frequent artist so there’s some stability here for Flash fans.  The tie-in delivers sales over 81.9k which is incredible for a one shot that’s not essential to the main narrative but is just great to read.

At 9 is the Murder Machine which is Cyborg corrupted by Batman and delivers sales of over 78.2k.  Again this is great numbers but the really interesting thing is here is that Cyborg is one of the least selling Rebirth titles so I think its probably safe to assume that this is going to be the absolute bottom line for these one shot spin offs.  If the upcoming tie-ins featuring corrupted versions of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Superman (kinda/sorta) can pull of sales bigger than this (which they all most likely will) then they can all have spots in the top ten most likely.  This is going to be a very promising few months for DC and then of course, the Batman Who Laughs one shot will likely be the best selling of the bunch and will likely be the number one or two selling book for that month.  Metal is delivering in spades and the good news doesn’t stop there for the event, there’s more to come.

Ray:  Yeah, these sales on the first two Dark Knights specials are amazing. And the fact that they’re so close together is even more impressive. Aquaman’s tie-in will probably do about the same as Murder Machine did, while all the others should beat it. DC’s made the decision to do limited tie-ins, but to make every one count, and it seems like a lot of retailers have decided to go all-in on this event. DC’s strategy is paying off big-time. More on Metal tie-ins in a bit.

Glenn:  The final book in the top ten is Action Comics which shoots up in sales to over 71.5k for a lenticular cover but more than likely due to the fact that this issue has the reveal of mystery villain Mr. Oz’s identity.  Rebirth has done wonders for the main two Superman books and its clear that there was some interest in this reveal of a storyline that’s been burning for quite some time.  There was a lot of speculation that Mr. Oz would be revealed to be Ozymandias which likely helped but still these is an impressive boost for the title.  There was also a non-lenticular edition which clocked in at allllll the way down at 99 with sales over 25.3k so retailers probably just ordered that just in case people didn’t want to pay the extra $1 but the numbers on this issue shows they had a lot of faith that wouldn’t be an issue.  The second part of the story also charts very well at 12 with sales over 66.3k and again we have a normal edition at 101 selling just under 25k.  A great result for this story line.

Ray:  So all told, these two issues of Action Comics sold about 90K each. That’s a 125% increase from last month’s issues of Action, which is a very similar sales pattern to what we saw with The Button. The gap between the lenticular and non-lenticular covers has increased a lot, but retailers treated this as a major piece of the Rebirth picture and ordered accordingly. I’m not sure if they’ll be a bit disappointed with the actual reveal, but it is a massive Superman storyline either way. 

Glenn:  Even though Mr. Oz didn’t turn out to be who was heavily speculated, the actual identity is still a very big deal.  I doubt many people will be disappointed in the direction and the possibilities it opens for Superman stories long term.

Ray:  Just outside of the top ten is the new Star Wars mini, a prequel to The Last Jedi starring Captain Phasma and written by Hawkeye author Kelly Thompson. It sells 71K, which is a good number for a title starring a supporting villain, and probably would have easily cracked the top ten in another month. The second issue sells 45K at #38, which is a standard level for side Star Wars books, well above things like Kanan or Mace Windu (38K), but well below the main title.

Glenn:  It probably helped with the ties to the modern trilogy.  Not only does it feature a character that is being likened to Boba Fett but gives readers the first hint as to what secrets the Last Jedi might hold.  Marvel doesn’t get a chance to tell stories with new Wars characters and there’s no doubt enough excitement about the inevitable smash Episode 8 will be to carry this mini to very good numbers through its run and have a trade on the shelf in time for the movie.  All good news here.

Ray:  The conclusion of Secret Empire, the Omega issue, lands at #14 with 60K. The Omega issues always have a significant drop from the main miniseries, and this was no exception, but this feels especially sharp. Marvel’s got to be pretty happy to have this event over and done with.

Glenn:  These Omega one shots don’t seem to be seen as important parts of the story.  If Marvel wanted retailers and readers to care more you would have thought they simply would have extended the main mini by another issue (which they had already done once!)  Its an odd strategy that has delivered underwhelming results for both this and the last time they did this which was with Clone Conspiracy.  In a few months time, Venom is popping up in Spider-Man with a lead in with an ‘Alpha’ issue which will probably far better since its the first chapter rather than the final one that most people got in the final issue of the mini-series (more or less).

Ray:  Unlike The Oz Effect, we didn’t see a massive jump for “A Lonely Place of Living”, the major Tim Drake story in Detective which has major reveals for Rebirth as well. The issue that begins the storyline gets a 4K jump over the previous issue, selling 57K at #21. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s significant reorders on this.

Glenn:  Detective doesn’t need the sales juice given its consistency so that’s probably why it hasn’t benefited as much as Action did.

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Ray:  There’s a trio of titles, Teen Titans (#19, 57K), Nightwing (#29, 51K), and Suicide Squad (#30, 50K), that all get major increases of close to 20K from their previous issues. That’s because these are the first three chapters of the Gotham Resistance story, tying in to Metal. This is a huge increase, almost 60%, for the tie-in. This is a complete 180 from what we saw with Secret Empire and Civil War II tie-ins. Everything that touches Metal benefits from it.

Glenn:  Throughout Secret Empire we talked about the true test of an event, no matter how big or small is how it not only performs itself but how it benefits any associated tie ins or spin offs.  The original Civil War had a Midas touch effect on everything that was even remotely associated with it and although the interest isn’t nearly as insane here (its 12 years and the market is very different) this shows a lot of interest in DC’s big bruiser of an event.  Its doubtful the titles will see much benefit long term but even a temporary bump is well worth being happy about.

Ray:  It was not a good month for Generations, with all five of the second wave missing the top ten and selling lower than expected. The two Bendis one-shots fared the best, with Spider-Man/Spider-Man landing at #16 with sales of 59K, and the offbeat future-set Iron Man/Ironheart one-shot selling 51K at #28. Both significant increases over the main title, but nothing as dramatic as last month’s Wolverine or Thor. Beyond that, Captain America’s one-shot is at #31 with 50K. To be expected given the massive slide we saw on the property under the departing writer. Ms. Marvel’s one-shot lands at #43 with sales of 41K, a big increase over the low-selling main title, while Captain Marvel lands at #59 with sales of 39K. The latter two are well below the 45K Hawkeye sold last month. This played out more like a side series of one-shots than an event.

Glenn:  Generations was a weird one.  Marvel seemed to be putting a lot behind it but quickly shifted focus to Legacy.  Most of these titles sold better than the titles they would be most associated with but none really lit the sales charts on fire.  It seems to have been a somewhat interesting idea that quickly got forgotten to have anyone put any real push on.  We’ll see some plot threads from the Thor one carry on but otherwise, Generations seems to have been something that will quickly forgotten and destined for bargain bins at your local comic shops before so long.

Ray:  Star Wars Adventures has one of IDW’s best debuts, selling 50K at #33, just above the level that this month’s Star Wars Annual sold. Given that this is a title that will likely be geared heavily towards the bookstore/young reader market, that’s great. It’s not a surprise that IDW has already announced a companion series, Forces of Destiny. This bodes ill for Marvel’s future handling any Disney properties, given that IDW seems to be handling their new license just fine.

Glenn:  I can just imagine the IDW exec that got the call’s face when whoever at Disney called them and said ‘how’d you like to do Star Wars but for all ages, yes even in the new era!’  It quite a coup for them especially when all ages properties at Marvel and DC don’t have the best history.  Even if the book can do half these numbers, it’ll be great for IDW and they are likely more than happy to accept whatever else Disney wants to throw their way.  They’re only going to benefit here.

Ray:  Down at #42, we’ve got Runaways #1, which sells just over 42K. Runaways was never much of a big seller in the direct market and stayed alive so long based on digest/trade sales, but I was still expecting a bit more. This is a title written by one of the most successful young adult writers in the industry, with a TV series coming soon. Maybe Marvel just can’t get retailers to order big on much anymore, given how many times they’ve been burned? Once again, though, this will probably do 90% of its business in bookstores.

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Glenn:  Its been a loooong time since we had Runaways in any form and like you said, the book never had much success in the direct market except when it was briefly written by Joss Whedon over a decade ago.  With the new show on the way, the original run will receive renewed interest and this will do well collections wise because of who is involved but there doesn’t seem to be a big cry out for this property to return without its original writer on board which I can probably say with 99% certainty will not be happening.

Ray:  Wonder Woman launches a new creative team this month, with James Robinson taking over as writer, and it gains about 700 copies from the conclusion of Shea Fontana’s arc to land at #46 with sales of 41.6K. There doesn’t seem to have been all that much buzz around this new run, so I expect slow, standard attrition to continue from here.

One of the most impressive stories of the month is Mister Miracle #2, which lands at #48 with sales of 41.5K. That’s an increase of 8K from last month’s debut, which is almost unheard of. The only other book I can remember performing like this recently is God Country. I knew the first issue was under-ordered, but I was hoping for a steady performance. A 25% increase is spectacular. And the first issue lands 14K in reorders at #146. DC took a chance on this book, and it’s paid off.

Glenn:  I told you!  You said I was crazy!  The critical reception for Mister Miracle has done wonders and given the character involved, this is due to be a very good selling 12 issue series which will do gangbusters in collections for generations.  Everything that Tom King produces seems to turn to go

Ray:  Two female-led titles get big increases this month. First up is Spider-Gwen, which jumps from #113 and 20K last month to #54 and 36K. That can be explained by the kick-off of the Gwenom storyline, and bodes well for the title’s Legacy debut next month. Less easily explained is Supergirl, which gains another 6K in sales from last month to land at #65 with sales of 33K. That’s the second month in a row Supergirl’s had a major increase. It was always selling much lower than I expected, and maybe retailers are finally seeing interest and upping their orders. Either way, this book feels officially in the safe zone now.

Glenn:  Supergirl’s sudden increase is an odd one…maybe the new artist is getting some attention?  Still an increase is an increase, may it continue!

Ray:  Supergirl’s now selling right between Miles Morales and Avengers, which really says more about the latter than anything, but is great news for Kara fans.

Star Wars Adventures charts again at #73 with sales of 32K, a decent second-issue slide. If it can hold at close to this level, it’ll blow anything else IDW has out of the water.

At #71, there’s a one-shot called Venomverse: War Stories, which showed the backstories of some of the original Venoms from the event. This is the only tie-in to this short event, so I think sales of 32K are pretty decent, holding about 60% of the sales from the second through fourth issues.

Right below at #72, we have a new crossover, Wonder Woman/Conan, which lands with 32K. I think these numbers are decent, but I might have expected more given Gail Simone’s name power and Wonder Woman’s great year. Conan really has no major sales profile in the market today, so it might be that retailers sort of split the difference? I imagine this might build buzz when the good reviews start making the rounds.

Glenn:  Conan is a hard one to try to pick up, even the all powerful Batman may have struggled to make this 50k so with him counteracting Gail back at DC (sorta) and Wonder Woman, I’d say these are good enough sales.  I’m sure everyone that DC has had partnerships with has been very happy they’ve done them and this will likely not lose too many readers before it finishes up.

Ray:  At #87, it’s a healthy debut for Bloodshot with 28K. This is act three of Jeff Lemire’s epic Bloodshot run, which has turned the character into one of Valiant’s biggest heroes. Lemire seems to be one of those writers who has genuine sales pull on anything he does. See also, Thanos four spots and 1K lower, which releases the penultimate issue of Lemire’s run and outsells books like Black Panther, Green Arrow, Champions, and Venom.

Glenn:  Much like King, Lemire has the Midas touch, especially when it comes to these more ‘out there’ c or d listers.  I’m sure Valiant consider themselves very fortunate to have him as should any company.

Ray:  Speaking of Venom, the main series lands at #98 with sales of 25K. No bump from Venomverse, which oddly decided not to tie in. Despite Venom seeming to sell like gangbusters for events, the main title doesn’t seem to have benefited.

The second issue of Inhumans: Once And Future King drops to #104 with sales of 23K, down from 50K last month. But that still puts it at 10K more than Inhumans flagship book Royals sells this month. Priest is the first writer to get Inhumans any halfway decent sales trajectory lately, even if it’s only for a miniseries.

Glenn:  The logical thing for Marvel would be to hand him the ongoing and run for the hills but it seems DC have seen that eventuality and are likely going to keep him busy.  Still, this is very good sales for an Inhuman mini-series and victories should be taken where they can.

Ray:  At #109 we’ve got Bombshells United #1, the relaunch of Marguerite Bennett’s WW2-set AU for DC heroines. The title got a 100% bounce from the finale of the previous series, but the second issue dips down to 14K at #139. It looks to me like it got a relaunch bounce, but this digital-first series is likely to resume its standard sales trajectory.

Glenn:  Bombshells is a fan fave that has a huge merchandise side to it and I believe is very successful outside the direct market. Another steady performer considering what type of book it is, all things taken into account.

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Ray:  At #121, there’s the debut of Kingsman: The Red Diamond, which is a spin-off of the hit movie property kicked off by Mark Millar. Now with new writer Rob Williams on board, this series seems to have debuted without much buzz at 18.8K, but that’s good enough to be the top Image debut of the month. I imagine Millarworld is hoping this will do big business among casual fans of the movie in trade, as opposed to single issue sales.

Glenn:  Debuting the same month as the movie helps.  Its hard to tell if Millar’s name on writing duties would have helped it, probably I’d wager and its odd to see a creator owned property ‘lent out’ in this fashion but considering all the Netflix money Millarworld earned, I doubt he’s bothered.  Like you said, will be one for the trade audience more than likely but impressive enough considering its not the series original creative team at the helm.

Ray:  #126 brings the debut of Realm, the post-apocalyptic fantasy comic from former X-Men writer Seth Peck and artist Jeremy Haun, which sells 17.4K. I think this is actually a pretty excellent number for a book without a-list creators attached, coming within 1K of Kingsman. Image may have a sleeper hit on their hands.

#127 has the debut of Sheena, which had a 25-cent issue the previous month that didn’t chart. Selling 16.8K, it probably benefited from the attachment of co-writer Marguerite Bennett, who has written for all of DC, Marvel, and Archie in recent years and has two popular books from DC. We’ll see if it can hold its numbers, but it is currently the top-selling Dynamite title.

Glenn:  Did Sheena come first or did Shanna?  I get them confused all the time.  This is a very good number for a property that never had that much interest like…ever.  Like you said, I would say a large amount of credit would fall at the feet of Bennett for bringing some name recognition to the character like Gail did with Red Sonja a few years ago.

Ray:  Good news for new horror series Redlands, which lands at #128 and actually gains about 100 copies from its first issue sales of 16K. We’ve seen this sales pattern  before with books like God Country and Redneck in recent months, so Image has to be feeling good about this one.

Glenn:  Astonishingly, the second issue of Elsewhere by longtime Image writer Jay Faeber only loses about 400 copies selling over 14.5k at 138.  Talk about stability.  This is a big win for Faeber on a concept that has clearly grabbed people’s attention.  If it can stay at this level long term, it could be a sleeper hit.

Ray:  Similar performance to Redlands, then. It’s probably a good sign that the audience is responding to these books that may not debut huge.

Glenn:  A new debut from Image in the form of Gasolina sells over 13.8k at 142.  This is better than average for a new debut by two creators I don’t know the names of.  Should settle to a 7-8k range which is the standard for non big name Image stuff so all is fine.

Ray:  Yeah, I was thinking Gasolina might debut below 10K given the hard-to-describe concept and very dark tone. This is a good number, and might indicate a good bit of momentum for Image as a whole right now.

Glenn:  Future’s Quest Presents also has a pretty steady fall of about 4-5k at sales over 13.7k at 143.  This one is a fan favorite and had a pretty set audience in its last incarnation so retailer likely ordered the first issue with a fair judgement of who they could sell too.  Its not a book that will keep Batman up at night but its still an admirable performer in terms of stability, especially given the majority of the characters had their peak popularity 20 something years ago.

Speaking of Hanna Barbara properties, at 148 we have the first issue of Dastardly and Muttley which is a very, very, very, very *10 years later* very different take on the stars of Wacky Races and Catch The Pigeon.  This one is from the demented (genius?) imagination of Garth Ennis and sells over 13.5k.  That’s pretty good given the title’s oddball nature but Ennis brings his own sales and people may have been wanting something a little different here while they get something much more traditional in Future’s Quest Presents.  Should be good for an 8-10k run which is fine.

Ray:  These numbers are significantly better than what we saw with the previous versions of these characters in Wacky Raceland. This is clearly an odd book, but Ennis’ rare foray into (mostly) all-ages storytelling seems to be going over well.

Glenn:  Next title that’s of note is way down at 171 which is this months customary Hellboy one-shot/new number one!  This is Hellboy: 1955 Occult Intelligence and sells over 11.5k.  See all previous By The Numbers articles, available on this very site you’re on for how this one has performed!

Ray:  Hellboy material, rock solid as always.

Glenn:  At 177 is a new Aftershock offering by Cullen Bunn, the man who needs no sleep as he produces another horror title called Dark Ark which sells just over 11k.  Pretty standard stuff for a new Aftershock book from a creator of note.  Will likely do well in trade for people who are fans of Bunn’s other horror books like Harrow County.

Ray:  I believe this is right in line with how Unholy Grail, Bunn’s other Aftershock horror book, performed. Aftershock is still finding its footing as a company, but it seems like name creators are finding some success here.

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Glenn:  Just below it at 178 is the official launch of a new Ducktales (a woo-woo) title from IDW to tie in to the revamped show.  It sells just under 11k.  Pretty standard for an all ages comic of this nature in the direct market.  Will do most of its business in bookstores, Disney Parks and collected forms.  There’s a reason Scrooge McDuck has all that money you know.

At 181 is Angelic, another new Image title with a concept that is a bit outside the norm.  It has no creators of note and the bizarre concept may have been a hard sell so I’d call its sales of just over 10.6k pretty normal considering those two things.  This will have a particular audience that will probably remain loyal to whomever the concept speaks to.

Just below it at 182 is another new launch, also from Image in the form of Scales and Scoundrels.  A fantasy tale from the writer of the cult hit, Shirtless Bear Fighter its another example of a book that won’t perhaps have a big appeal but will likely create a loyal following rather quickly.  It sells just over 10.5k

Ray:  Both Angelic and Scales & Scoundrels are two of Image’s more oddball comics, although the former has received some fantastic reviews in particular. We’ll have to watch the coming months to see if they pick up reorders and increases. 

Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye surprisingly picks up a hefty 12.7K in reorders at #158. This was the lowest-selling Generations one-shot last month, but the dynamic between the two heroes is a fan favorite. That’s a pleasant surprise, and well deserved for the creative team. The reorders actually outsell this month’s issue of the main Hawkeye title by about a hundred copies!

Glenn:  People seem to like Kate and Clint together, hopefully Marvel will figure that out too.

Ray:  The bottom two Rebirth titles remain Blue Beetle and Cyborg, with both sinking about 2K below New Super-Man and Superwoman. However, it’s worth noting that Cyborg this month sells 10.3K at #185. Next month might be the first time we see a Rebirth title dip below 10K.

Glenn:  Still no sign of an ending to Cyborg and Beetle but with the influx of books kinda/sorta spinning out of Metal, I’d say these are two books that will definitely go. Maybe DC are hoping Cyborg’s debut on the big screen next month will help his book but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

There’s a Rat Queens special at 188 selling over 9.9k.  This has never been one of Image’s biggest properties and is only a one shot so was likely only ordered for those retailers knew would be big fans of the property.
Shout out to the fourth issue of Bitch Planet TripleFeature 4 which features the Image and top 300 debut of our mutual friend Marc Deschamps!  The issue sells over 8.7k at 203 and carries on its typical routine slide but I totally look forward to cleaning Marc’s pool one day.

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Ray:  Good for Marc, and these sales are pretty stable for an anthology spin-off of a cult series. I believe the main series has a very irregular schedule, as well, so this is a success for Image.

Glenn:  A sequel to an 80’s cult hit, Big Trouble In Little China: Old Man Jack sells over 8.7k at 204.  This is co-written by the movie’s original director and legend John Carpenter so I’m surprised that didn’t push this a little more.  Still, the movie is very much a tongue in cheek cult favorite from over 30 years ago so probably only appealed to a certain audience.  Let it be known though that in terms of comic sales, Marc Deschamps>>>>John Carpenter

A new book based on the popular cartoon, Samurai Jack: Quantum Jack sells over 8.6k at 207.  I think this issue coincides with the cartoons return to television but I would doubt many Jack fans would be looking for stories outside the cartoon.  Another one for die hard fans.

Ray:  IDW seems to have a very solid relationship with Cartoon Network, so aside from a few select shows like Steven Universe, they’re the home for spinoffs. It seems like almost any show on the network will wind up getting a comic for the die-hard fans eventually. With this being an old property with a lot of nostalgia, they might be banking more on the first generation of fans.

Glenn:  The second issue of Mage: Hero Denied has your verly typical Image drop to just over 8.6k at 208.  As we said last month, this is the final chapter of a very, very long story so retailers and Image will likely know what to expect in terms of how it performs.

An interesting concept doesn’t help the first issue of Retcon from Image which debuts at over 8.5k at 207.  Not a sales disaster but it didn’t seem to catch the same interest like the other Image debuts we’ve highlighted this month?

Ray:  The marketing on Retcon was very vague, teasing an interesting concept but not giving many details. As such, I think retailers were cautious. Worth noting that our friend Matt Krotzer did the lettering on this comic, and those are some pretty letters.

Glenn:  I did not know that!  Go Matt!  Let us know what you think of our font choices!

At 213 we have Ninjak 0 which is another Valiant title that seems to serve as a catch up handbook in prep for a new title starting soon.  It sells over 8.1k.  Considering how steady Valiant’s core audience seem to be, a book like this is more geared towards potential new readers and therefore, ironically, doesn’t have the same appeal.

Ray:  These zero issues always serve as a bridge between the past run and the next one, so this is fairly close to the sales on the conclusion of Kindt’s run. Valiant’s sales are always pretty steady.

Glenn:  The second issue of the Shadow sells over 7.5k at 222.  Pretty standard for the Shadow who doesn’t have Batman to carry him tens of thousands of copies higher.

Ray:  It is worth noting that we’ll see how much Dynamite can push a book next month, when Batman/The Shadow continues into The Shadow/Batman and switches companies. We might see a significant drop in sales, or Batman might carry the day.

Glenn:  At 230 we have this years Millarworld annual selling over 6.9k. A good bit lower than last years, probably retailers know how many they will actually sell vs last year.  Whether this concept will continue after Millarworld being sold to Netflix is anyone’s guess.

Ray:  These are still pretty decent numbers for an anthology with no name creators by design, but I wouldn’t be optimistic about a third, given that it’s a corporate property now.

Glenn:  My dream of winning this thing, smashed against the rocks!  I was going to double my bribe next year too.

Ray:  Even among the lower-selling Image books, we see some impressive sales stability. Spy Seal only drops 128 copies in its second month at 6K, and actually jumps 38 places in placement up to 241. Looks like retailers are being a bit cautious with initial Image orders, but correcting soon after.

The quarterly fantasy comic Head Lopper charts at #242 with 6K. Given that this is a $5.99 comic with a cult audience, it seems to have locked down on a low but steady place on the charts.

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The cult Image series Glitterbomb returns with a new series, The Fame Game, and charts at#246 with sales of 5.8K. This was never a top seller, so these numbers are to be expected.

Right below is the one-shot World of Animosity, which was actually a sourcebook expanding on the backmatter of this world and selling 5.7K. Given that this wasn’t actually a comic, these are impressive numbers, but then the solicits didn’t make it all that clear about the format.

Hey, it’s Grumpy Cat/Garfield at #263, selling 5.2K. This is likely a book that will do gangbusters in trade, but the direct market may not be its strongest suit.

At #268, we’ve got a new one-shot from IDW, GI Joe: First Strike, by controversial writer Aubrey Sitterson. Just under 5.2K in sales here, which is pretty standard numbers for IDW licensed spinoffs.

At #272, there’s the new Oni Frankenstein crime thriller Made Men, which lands with 5K. This was by former Marvel writer Paul Tobin, which might have gotten a few additional sales on this book. However, overall it continues Oni’s streak of struggling on the charts.

Glenn:  Another new ongoing from Aftershock at 277 sells over 4.8k.  Unlike nearly all of Aftershock’s catalogue to date, neither half of the creative team seem to be anyone of note so this more muted debut is not a big surprise.  This is what Aftershock can perform as its own brand which is probably better than most companies of a similar size.

Ray:  Fu Jitsu didn’t have any big names attached and sort of an odd concept, so that’s probably on the low end of what Aftershock can expect. Still, for a small company, they seem to have basically locked down that all their titles will debut in the top 300, so that’s a win that many small companies would love to achieve.

Glenn:  The new Boom title from Greg Pak, Mech Cadet Yu loses around half its sales for the second issue selling over 4.7k at 280.  We’ve said a number of times before but Boom doesn’t seem like the right place for creator owned properties currently, no matter who is producing them.

Ray:  However, Mech Cadet Yu has already been upgraded into an ongoing, so Boom has to be happy with these numbers on some level. I expect a book like this is going to do the majority of its sales in trades, and even a title like Backstagers, which spent only one month in the top 300, was recently revealed to be coming back for a second volume. Boom may be patient zero for the coming transformation of the industry.

Glenn:  At 281, Zenescope releases a GFT 2017 Armed Forces Appreciation one shot which sells over 4.7k.  When I looked up to see what that was, I was hit with a number of busty woman in uniform. I guess this one shot is here to tell us that you can both
wolf whistle and respect those that risk their lives to protect their country.

Ray:  I’m sure our men and women in uniform are honored.

Glenn:  Right below it at 282 from the company that is the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song ‘Heavy Boobs’ taken sentience is Black Sable selling 4.7k bang on the money.   Its about space pirates apparently.  It is what it is and sells akin to that.

At 286 is another new book from Boom in the form of Lazaretto which sells over 4.4k.  Like we said previously, creator owned books at Boom struggle for the top names in the industry, a book like this from someone who doesn’t have the same built in draw can’t expect to fair much better than this.

Ray:  Lazaretto is also an incredibly dark book, basically Lord of the Flies meets Outbreak set in a college dorm. It’s a rough read, and retailers likely ordered accordingly. Definitely one of Boom’s more cult properties.

Glenn:  Killer Instinct is a new title from Dynamite that sells over 4.3k at 289.  I read what this title is and although I understood all the words describe them individually, all together they didn’t seem to process in my brain.  It seems to be something to do with vampires or witches or whatnot that’s apparently based on a video game.  I guess there’s some sort of audience for this, somewhere?

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Ray:  Killer Instinct is a 90’s video game through and through, so Dynamite is probably banking solely on nostalgia here. Given the hype and variants they put behind it, they were probably expecting a bit more.

Glenn:  A video game I actually heard of, Wolfenstein gets an adaption from Titan and sells over 4.2k at 291.  This is a concept based off the Nazi’s winning the second world war.  The video game counter part is pretty popular so I’m surprised it didn’t do slightly better.  Maybe retailers have been turned off comics featuring Nazi characters for a while for some reason…

Pretty standard drop for a mini from Image by unknown creators for the second issue of the Hard Place at over 4.2k at 294.  That’s all we’ll be seeing of this 5 issue mini in the charts I’d think.

At 300 is a title from Avatar Press called Uber Invasion which I’m going to pretend is about the online taxi company attempting world domination.  It sells just over 4k.  I’ve not heard of it before but this is a much lower entry point to the top 300 than usual so its likely just never managed to crack through.  This months top of the chart is a lot healthier than we’ve seen but this end of the chart tells a very different story with the lowest selling comic selling over 1.5k less than last months lowest selling charter.  Concerning.

Ray:  I did notice that certain titles that mainly stayed flat were much higher on the overall rankings this month, so it’s clear there were either less titles, or a lot of titles dropped in sales. I’m a bit worried that we’re reaching “peak comics”, in that think about how many new companies there are. There’s going to be a lot of competition.

Looking ahead to next month, DC should have another great October. Scott Snyder revealed that Metal #3 increased in sales, and we’ll be getting two more Dark Knights one-shots (Green Lantern and Aquaman-based), as well as the end of the Resistance crossover. There’s also the first Wild Storm spin-off, a new Ragman miniseries, the launch of new digital-first series Gotham City Garage, and two major new Bat-related minis – Batman: White Knight from Sean Murphy, and Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica. I wouldn’t be shocked to see seven of the top ten next month be Batman-adjacent in some way.

Then there’s Marvel, which is facing a huge test this month with the launch of Legacy. But that also means Marvel won’t have many #1s, aside from a few like Falcon and Spirits of Vengeance. Most Legacy titles will be getting some renumbering and a fancy cover while keeping their creative team and general direction. Will it be enough to shake things up? Prognosis…murky. We might see some movement on books like Iron Man, which brings back Tony Stark, and Incredible Hulk, which sends Amadeus off to Sakaar, not to mention the big Thor anniversary issue. But for most titles, it may be a non-event. Random mini Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan may be the top #1 of the month from Marvel. There’s also the return of Garth Ennis to Punisher for a new mini.

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There’s quite a few interesting indie books coming our way, including the first Black Hammer spinoff, the awesome-named Sherlock Frankenstein; the resurrection of Hack/Slash under a new writer; the first Goosebumps comic book; and the return of The Archies from Alex Segura and Matt Rosenberg in a rare non-Marvel work. What will rise to the top?

 Glenn:  I’m thinking Metal will win the day but its going to be interesting to see how Marvel Legacy lands, join us in a few weeks to find out!

Like what you read?  Any thoughts or questions to share?  Please comment below or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: August 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  It is Glenn’s firm belief that one can come out with an opinion that is understandable but still kind of come across like an ass.  He also thinks that calling out said ass on assery does not make you immune to being an ass yourself.

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.  Often when Ray sees people being an ass in response to another being an ass, he just silently shakes his head and reads some comics because that’s something we can all agree we love.

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!

Here we are sales guys and gals at the beginning of the crazy in 2017!  This month starts our big summer blockbuster showdown between Metal and Legacy with the former starting this month.  Does the early dark night get the…metal?  We’ll soon see!
Glenn:  It should be noted that this month had pretty low sales for the industry overall.  There was some massive launches this month but by and large, DC kept stable and Marvel continued to slide while waiting for the latest rebranding (it’ll work this time, Pet Cemetery style) to save the day.  Concerning times?  Maybe but still lots to celebrate all around this month.

Ray:  With Metal just winding up and not bringing in any tie-ins yet, no major launches out of DC, and Marvel continuing their downslide, there just wasn’t much to drive sales this month. Still there’s a few promising omens for the long haul.

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Glenn:  So to no one’s surprise, Dark Nights Metal’s first issue was number one, rocking into the slot with ease with sales just under 262k.  Spectacular launch of course and given that its Snyder, Capullo, people are super excited and Batman seems to be the central focus of the event, its no surprise.  Retailers around the world are reporting heavy demand so we’re likely going to see reorders next month on this issue, especially with that ending.  The entire event will undoubtedly perform comfortably in the six figure range, how high in that range we’ll see in the coming months but we have a great start here.

Ray:  Chief among previous eluded to reasons of course, is Metal. That’s a great first-issue number, in line with Civil War II but DC events tend to have much smoother drops than Marvel events in recent years. I think the creative team did a lot to deliver these numbers – they’re probably the most bankable team in the market. Reception has been great right out of the gate, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see very healthy drops and reorders. 

Glenn:  The only title in the charts that comes close to Metal’s rocking success (get it?  get it?  I’ll see myself out…) is Batman, DC’s super tank title.  Both issues 28 and 29 chart at 2 and 3 respectfully selling over 104.6k and 100.7k.  Slow drops issue by issue as the War and Jokes and Riddles continues.  No danger of this title losing its spot to anything regular I’d say.

Ray:  We’re seeing Batman resume its usual sales level after a boost for the anniversary and the Batposal, and it’s still far ahead of anything else regular on the stands. It’ll probably get another decent boost when we get Selina’s answer in a few months – nothing is knocking this title down.

Glenn:  Next at 4 is the final issue of Secret Empire!  Issue 10 charted above issues 8 and 9 which were 6 and 7 in the top ten.  The final issue got a bigger bump because of its finalness and the return of the proper (we think?) Captain America.  Issue 10 sold over 86.1k, issue 8 sold over 81.4k and 9 sold just over 77k.  So overall the event didn’t sell terribly but nowhere near the bigger Marvel events of the past and a far cry away from Metal.  The storyline seems to have performed decently enough in itself but done little to nothing for the line as a whole.  Considering the PR nightmare Marvel went through (and in some ways is still reeling from), it doesn’t seem like a fair trade.  We have the Omega issue next month which won’t likely sell as strongly as the main mini if past evidence is any indication.  Then Marvel moves swiftly onto Legacy and doubtfully will bring this up again in any major fashion.

Ray:  The conclusion of Secret Empire got a good amount of mainstream hype for Captain America returning – more accurately being conjured out of thin air – to take on his doppelganger, so retailers were probably tipped off to order higher. As for the overall numbers, they’re somewhere between Original Sin and Axis, Marvel’s poorly received 2014 quick events. Definitely not what Marvel was hoping for out of this event. Gee, if only they had been warned by the entire internet for a full year before launch.

Glenn:  At 5 is the highest selling of the Generation one shots which sees a current version of a hero travel back in time to meet the person that proceeded them or held the title originally.  Surprisingly the best selling was the one featuring Wolverine (Laura and Logan).  I’m surprised as this seemed like a throwaway one shot featuring a team up rather than something with lasting implications.  Of course, this is the first comic the original version of Wolverine has been featured in since his death a number of years ago so that seems to have been good for some of the over 85.6k this title managed to sell.  Impressive numbers on this particular team up.

Ray:  Definitely strong numbers for a spin-off of a title that’s well-received but doesn’t sell as well as the Old Man Logan title. This is only one of three Generations one-shots that features a character that’s gone away for any length of time, and the only one where that character has a large fanbase on their own. It seems like we’ll see some big variations in the sales of the Generations one-shots based on how much they increase over the parent title.

Glenn:  At 8 is another Generations one shot which is the one I thought would be the highest seller.  This teams up Jane Foster Thor with Odinson Thor and was written by the titles regular writer, superstar Jason Aaron and does seem to have implications for the saga he is undertaking in the latter part of his Thor run.  It still sold a good but more than a regular issue of Thor but I still thought it would have done higher than the over 76.4k it did manage.

Ray:  Thor’s one-shot did essentially what I was betting for this mini-event – roughly twice the sales of the parent book. This was the one where retailers knew exactly what they were getting, with Jason Aaron telling another chapter in his multi-year Thor epic. It’s also a pretty direct lead-in to Legacy, so look for decent reorders here.

Glenn:  Final two spots in the top ten is Marvel’s ol reliable Star Wars (here’s Jason Aaron again) which sell over 66.6k and 65.9k respectively.  Another title that’s on a ridiculously slow slide down.  I doubt Aaron leaving will have any major impact on the sales and the titles placement as Marvel’s most dependable selling ongoing.

Ray:  I think Star Wars is the brand in itself, so Gillen will definitely keep it healthy and afloat long-term. 

Aug 2

Walking Dead’s insane top ten streak is finally ended, as it lands at #11 with sales of 65K. And all it took was two books double-shipping, one book triple-shipping, and three event #1s!

Glenn:  The next big story, anniversary or major death will propel Walking Dead up again, this is what usually happens.  Its just having a very slow slide like the whole market but it always survives which is ironic given the title.

Ray:  At #12 we have the next Star Wars mini, a prequel-era series starring Mace Windu, which lands with sales of 62K. This was one of the lowest-profile Star Wars titles, both in creative team and character. With titles like this and the upcoming Captain Phasma miniseries, you’re going to get lower sales, but this is still very healthy considering. And far from the last we’ll see of Star Wars on these charts.

Glenn: I think Phasma might do better cause of the movie and the fact that she’s being touted as the new Boba Fett.  Considering Windu is from the *coughs* divisive prequel era, these are very good numbers.  Probably going to do about 40k until its end which is fine and pretty much in line with other Star Wars mini’s.

Ray:  At #13 is the next Generations one-shot, this one starring Hulk and Totally Awesome Hulk. It sells 61K, which is on average a 300% increase over the main title’s sales. Hulk hasn’t sold well – either version – in quite a few years, so this is a surprise. Bruce Banner’s eventual return may just move the needle. Writer Greg Pak is a popular name with Hulk, so his return to Planet Hulk in a few months may be what the title needs.

Glenn:  This particular Generations one shot also seemed to have implications for the title’s future so that may have helped.  It’ll be interesting how a sorta Planet Hulk sequel will perform, especially with the new Thor movie borrowing elements from that story.  The recipe is there for success unlike the Hulk’s had for years but we thought the same for the start of this title and the Waid title, Aaron’s run and…well you get the idea.

Ray:  I was even more surprised by the placement of the Jean Grey Generations one-shot, where she crosses over with…herself. It sold 55K at #16, which is also a 300% increase over the main title. Who knew there were so many people who wanted to see Jean cross over with her older self? Either way, while these Generations one-shots aren’t totally lighting up the charts, Marvel has to be happy with these four.

Glenn:Classic Jean Gray popping up still gets some buzz.  I mean, it’s not like finding the Comedian’s button in a wall or anything but bringing her back is a major weapon Marvel has been keeping for a rainy day.  This shows there’s some interest but the timing might be off considering all the competition is offering.

Ray:  The rest of the top 20 is the usual suspects. All-Star Batman, in its penultimate issue, along with Darth Vader, Detective Comics, Flash, and Amazing Spider-Man. These books are the bread and butter of the industry right now.

Astonishing X-Men has a standard slide with its second issue, selling 51K at #22. This is a monthly book, so the attrition will likely be less severe than it is with the biweekly Blue and Gold titles. We’ll see how the rotating art teams affect things as the first arc proceeds, but these numbers look healthy.

Glenn:  Decent enough for Astonishing X-Men, again its hard to say how the return to classic numbers will effect sales.  Its done wonders for Detective and Action but those were only two books, an entire line of books is an unknown quantity.  It might help or hinder Astonishing (along with everything else) or it might do nothing.  This seems like a title that would benefit from 2 out of 3 of those scenarios so that’s not too shabby.

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Ray:  I was surprised by the healthy debut for Inhumans: Once and Future Kings, the new flashback miniseries focusing on the royal family. 50K at #24 is strong given recent Inhumans sales, and I put that one one man – Chris Priest, who is having an incredible comeback at the big two right now. I think a lot of people who don’t care about the Inhumans will pick this up for him alone. Plus, Lockjaw backups!

Glenn:  Its astonishing to see Priest become a name that pushes comics once more when I had doubted he would ever return.  Marvel is befitting from the groundwork DC laid.  Maybe the ‘movie’ helped a little too but probably only marginally.  should be healthy enough for an Inhumans mini.

Ray:  The final Generations one-shot this month, Hawkeye, sells 45K at #28. The lowest sales, but then the Hawkeye title is the lowest-selling regular title. It’s also the only one of these where the two heroes can literally call each other on the phone the next day. There was no real urgency to this team-up, was there? I think, given that, these sales are fine.

Glenn:Yeah, the Hawkeye book used to have these two together all the time so this lacks anything special to offer readers.  The branding is causing the additional sales so yeah, its a bonus for Marvel in that regard.

Ray:  A new Star Wars one-shot focusing on Cassian Andor and K2-S0 lands at #30, showing how the Rogue One stars met. It sells 43K, a surprisingly low number for a Star Wars #1, but a one-shot doesn’t usually get the kind of promotional hype a regular series or mini does, and that includes variant covers. Healthy numbers for something that’ll likely be bundled in with a Star Wars collection and sell gangbusters there.

Glenn:  Rogue One was popular but given how things ended for those characters, they’ll not be getting much exposure out of that movie so maybe that’s why this one shot seemed less vital? Like you said, it’ll make its money back thanks to collections and is doubtfully an indication of Star Wars fatigue in regards to comics. Just a story the fans may not be overly invested in given the events of Rogue One.

Ray:  We’re seeing some major attrition settle in for the X-men books this month, as Gold charts two issues with sales of 44K and 43K at 29/31, and Blue is quite a bit lower with sales of 40K and 38K at 43/45. The Secret Empire tie-ins ended this month, so there may have actually been a small impact there, but either way, Marvel can’t seem to keep any franchise from slipping in sales significantly these days.

Glenn:  Gold and Blue like their cousin (?) book Astonishing are just waiting to see how Legacy effect them at this point.  In this market these days, these are average numbers for a Marvel ongoing.  Concerning news for the company and the industry as a whole they’re hoping Legacy will change but I wouldn’t bank on it personally.

Ray:  Two Spider-man books in the 30s. Spider-Men 2′s second issue lands at #33 with sales of 41.7K, a not-terrible slide from its first issue. It sold 11K more than Miles‘ main title, so that’s a win. And then there’s Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man, which lands its third issue at #35 and sells over 41K. Perfectly decent numbers for a secondary Spider-book, given the state of Marvel’s sales right now.

The latter two Edge of Venomverse issues rebound nicely, selling in the 41-40K range at #36 and #41. These were the Old Man Logan and Deadpool issues, with James Stokoe on the latter. Definitely more sales pull than Gwenpool and Ghost Rider.

Glenn:Again, the Edge Of Venomverse tie ins are just set up stuff for a mini event that spawned out of variants so this is all just a nice bonus.  It seems that the spirit of the 90’s is alive and well in terms of interest in anything Venom related.

Ray:  Captain America ends its current run in an odd way, fusing the two issues into one book just called “Captain America” for all of…one issue. That #25 oversized issue charts at #42 with sales of 42K. Retailers must have been so confused here.

Glenn:  Better than either title manages on average but still lower than the two combined so yeah, this is weird.  If someone had been supporting Sam but not Steve, they may have been puzzled too.  We’ll see how Waid and Samnee fair with the super odd situation Captain America has been left with.  I think they might have more luck raising the Titanic or preventing the Kennedy assassination and I don’t envy them.

Ray:  As always, this is where most of the steady books like Superman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Harley Quinn, Thor, etc. lock down on the charts. Slow attrition continues for these books, but they’re firmly ensconced in the top fifty.

Doctor Aphra’s title has stabilized as well, selling 36K this month at #50. But more impressive is the 34K in sales its annual does only 2 spots below. Another very strong performance for an annual with the same creative team on board.

Glenn:  Aphra has become a real fan fave.  As long as Gillen wants to write her, she’ll have a solid footing in the charts.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see her pop up in the main Star Wars title more too since he’s taking over there from Aaron shortly.

Ray:  More steady sales for titles including Nightwing, Suicide Squad, Super-Sons, Teen Titans, and Justice League of America, alongside a few Marvel books like Star Wars: Poe Dameron and Spider-Man/Deadpool (which is enduring despite becoming an anthology). These books are sinking towards the 30K mark, but given their overall place in the market, they’re all very safe.

A disappointing debut at #60 for Mister Miracle #1, one of the most critically acclaimed comics in years and a likely Eisner nominee. It only pulls in about 33.5K. Much like Tom King’s past offbeat takes on superheroes, Omega Men and Vision, it seems retailers weren’t willing to take a swing on it despite the gangbuster sales of King on Batman. But that likely means lots of reorders and an incredibly steady trajectory in months to come. A lot of retailers are lamenting ordering low on this book.

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Glenn:  Mister Miracle’s critical acclaim make it a surefire contender for high reorders, steady drops (if not *gasps* an increase) and an eventual collection that, if the series can keep the same quality will sell like a modern masterpiece.  Mister Miracle is a third tier character so I think those sales are very good and a testament to the interest King can bring.  Remember, King is not a creator like Snyder or Aaron or Johns that have had years and years to build themselves up. King has made himself a bankable name in a very short space of time.  This title will have the last laugh, if not in terms of monthly sales then certainty as a collection and its all thanks to the skill of the creative team.

Ray:  The controversial Nightwing miniseries “The New Order“, which finds Dick Grayson as the head of a Purifiers-like organization, lands at #65 with sales of 32K. This story received comparisons to Injustice and Hydra Cap, but for an Elseworlds story, these aren’t awful numbers.

Glenn:  Its okay numbers and at least DC had the sense of making it an elseworld story.  Don’t like it, well then its not real so its fine!  The Bat line can support spin offs like no other and that’s likely why we have a decent number here.  At the end of it, its success or failure ultimately won’t matter, they’re not going to wreck the line with one out of continuity mini.  If only other companies had the same foresight…
More mid level performers in this area that have sunk their teeth into certain positions in the charts like Deadpool, Defenders, Green Lanterns (both titles), Avengers and Trinity.  Some of these books have had better days but the range of around 31k-29k is where they live in the current market.  As lone as they don’t budge from these spots, I doubt either company is too concerned…okay maybe Avengers but it seems Jason Aaron is riding in on his fiery mammoth to save the day there soon.

A new Titan book based off a cult 80’s series named Robotech launches this week at 82 with sales over 26.8k.  I literally have no idea what this is but it seems to be an anime series so it’ll definitely have a small but passionate fanbase.  I’d say this is rather brilliant sales from something that likely has the same notoriety as Blake’s 7.

Ray:  Robotech had one of the biggest roll-outs Titan has ever done, with a ton of variant covers, lots of hype and advance reviews, and even launch events at prominent comic stores like Midtown Comics. It’s not a surprise it did well above the sales of a typical Titan comic, even if the property has mainly fallen into obscurity before this relaunch. #2 lands at #181 with sales of 11.6K, so while that’s a harsh slide, it’s still well above any other Titan book on the market.

Glenn:  I miss another number 2 the same month.  Please don’t replace me with Garth Ennis, Ray, I got a kid…

I would have expected the 25th issue of Daredevil to maybe get the standard anniversary boost but at 87 with sales over 25.3k it actually sells about 5k lower than last issue.  Constant relaunches have made anniversary issues a bit less special in terms of Marvel and with Legacy returning Daredevil to original numbering shortly, retailers likely weren’t bothered about the actual number of this particular issue.

Ray:  As I recall, this issue of Daredevil got nothing to commemorate the anniversary. It wasn’t oversized, it wasn’t the start of a new arc, so it was essentially just a standard issue and retailers treated it like one.

Glenn:  It used to be that issue anniversaries would get a bump anyway but again, Marvel has been muddying the waters with that for a while now.

It seemed on the surface that the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby went all but ignored at Marvel, the company he helped create and make a name for.  A few one shots reprinting some classic Kirby stories seem to have gotten some attention despite receiving little promotion.  The $1 price tag always helps draw retailers interest as at 106, 114 and 115 respectively we have Captain America Reborn, Thor vs Hulk and Black Panther which sell over 21.9k, 20.3k and 19.6k.  Captain America likely sold the best because he was the character Kirby co-created for Marvel first and the one he’s most identified with apart from the Fantastic Four (no surprise they are absent from this celebration).  Maybe Thor vs Hulk got some help due to their upcoming off world slug fest in the movie and Black Panther had some help from his upcoming movie which has people very excited. Other Kirby birthday one shots included Captain America at 121 with over 18.2k in sales, Iron Man at 123 with over 17.8k and Groot at 125 with 17.7k Its just a shame Marvel didn’t do more considering these are good numbers for old material that didn’t get a lot of press.

Ray:  Marvel didn’t promote these Kirby reprint one-shots at all, to the point where I didn’t even know they were out until I read these charts. Very different from the way DC handled it, and more on that in a bit. But these are essentially free sales for Marvel, with $1 reprints of old comics. These True Believers issues always seem to do decently for Marvel, so we should expect to see them for every major event or movie.

Glenn:  The second book to get the Legacy renumbering is Ultimates 2...for one issue anyway.  It manages to somehow assemble enough somewhat related comics to put a 100 on the cover causing it to sell over 21.6k at 107.  Last issue sold 16kish so this isn’t a resounding success but hopefully this is more because its the title’s last issue rather than an indication of how successful Legacy will be overall.

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Ray:  This was such a bizarre strategy. A Legacy relaunch for the final issue? It got a decent sales increase, but if that’s the kind of launch increase other books get for their Legacy debut, Marvel’s going to be crying quickly.

Glenn:  At 109 we have one of DC’s many Kirby tribute books in the form of Darkseid special which sells over 21.4k.  This isn’t too bad considering Darkseid rarely appears in titles where he is the main focus and this issue is produced to honour one of the true legends of comics.

Ray:  These are decent numbers for a Darkseid one-shot, especially as it was an oversized comic ($4.99 for about forty pages). These specials had either one oversized main story or two shorter stories, plus a few short backups of classic Kirby material. This was the top-selling one, with the New Gods special landing a good deal lower (#132, 16.5K), followed by Sandman (#152, 14K), Manhunter (#164, 12.9K), Black Racer and Shiloh Norman (#166, 12.7K), and finally Howard Chaykin’s Newsboy Legion/Boy Commando Special (#175, 12K). A lot of these issues were based around very obscure concepts that haven’t had a mainstream profile since Kirby’s day, so I doubt DC was expecting much higher for most of them. Still, in a month where DC pulled out all the stops to honor Kirby’s legacy, these specials were a fitting tribute for his fans.

Glenn:  A Red Hood and the Outlaws annual sells about 5k less than the main title at 111 with sales over 20.6k which is decent enough for one of the annual for one of the lower end selling Rebirth tie ins

Ray:  DC and to a lesser extent Marvel have done a good job recently of getting retailers to start treating annuals like issues of the regular series. We’ve seen some real stability lately, with them coming in only a small level below the main title. An exception is the Supergirl annual, which comes in about 10K lower than the main series’ issue this month, at #127 with sales of 17K. However, that’s also partially due to the main series getting a 6K bump over last month as it starts a new arc. Good news for the Girl of Steel!

Glenn:  I do feel sorry for the 10k of readers who missed out on the annual which essentially had two issues worth of story in this arc. I doubt it will have an effect on Supergirl’s long term sales anyway but its still a puzzling decision.  Also, the slight boost may have been for the new artist but probably not.  We’ll know next month!

An artist switch six issues in has little to no effect on Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider at 112 which sells 20.5k reteaming writer Peter David with his 2099 collaborator, Will Sliney.  The days of long creative runs on comics are not once they were and a new creator involved in a book isn’t a big deal anymore in itself.

Fan fave Future Quest returns at 120 with sales over 18.3k.  I think that’s very good numbers for the cult hit and hopefully will encourage DC to produce more material when they can to please the Hanna Barbara book that seemed to be the most critically well received.

Ray:  The Hanna-Barbera line had shrunk to one book recently, but with this return, plus the Dastardly and Muttley spin-off by Ennis, and the Jetsons coming soon, shows DC still has some faith in it. This book focuses more on the space heroes, and seems to have debuted to a good reception. 

This is the portion of the charts where we see what a lot of mid-level Marvel books have sunk to. Books like Ms. Marvel, Iron Fist, Jean Grey, Captain Marvel, and Hulk have all slipped below the 20K level and seem to be stuck there. They are showing some decent legs in not sinking lower, though, especially Black Bolt. That title seems to be displaying legs close to Vision, as it has some genuine buzz despite being a character who can’t really sustain an ongoing normally. So a little good news for Marvel here despite all the titles slipping out of the top 100.

The new Image witch horror Redlands from colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire is the top Image debut of the month, landing at #134 with sales of 16.2K. While it’s a decent number for a new Image book without an a-list creative team, it’s also sandwiched between the 15th issue of I Hate Fairyland and the 34th issue of East of West, so not exactly a breakout debut either. Image seems to be slowing down a tiny bit, with not all that many debuts landing strong immediately.

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Glenn:  Redlands will probably perform better than the average non big league creative team Image title so no real concerns I’d say.  I’d say the title probably sold both very well outside the American market too, especially here in Ireland.

Ray:  Not much below, we have another new Image launch, Jay Faerber’s Elsewhere, starring Amelia Earhart. It sells just under 15K at #142. Solid numbers for a book by a creator who’s been doing consistent work for Image for a long time.

Glenn:  I’m happy with that for Faerber who has always delivered great material but has had some bad luck on his creative owned books which is something I can empathize with.  Hopefully this one turns out to be more prosperous!

Ray:  To illustrate just how much Marvel is struggling lately, two of their titles that are only a few months old – Inhumans flagship Royals, and the new X-men spinoff Iceman – are already selling lower than DC’s low-rung title Superwoman, which is already slated for cancellation. They all sold in the 14K range, but one took well over a year to get there and the others took about four-five months. To put this into perspective – the Inhumans are getting beat by Lana Lang.

Glenn:  Lana eats Inhumans for breakfast!  Seriously there’s no surprises with either book but its still depressing.  Poor Al Ewing can’t seem to get a steady gig.

Ray:  Surprisingly, Benitez Productions seems to have landed a consistent performer in the top 200, as Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin lands its second issue at #169 with sales of 12.4K. I was expecting it to absolutely plummet after the first issue, but this company seems to be quietly building an audience.

New Super-Man, which has been one of the lowest-selling Rebirth titles despite strong critical reception, seems to be benefiting from the buzz. It’s basically locked down on its place in the charts, losing just over 500 copies since last month to land at #170 with sales of 12.3K. Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep it going past the first cull.

Another relaunch for The Shadow at Dynamite, with Si Spurrier’s take landing at #173 with sales of 12.1K. I’m wondering if the title might be getting some additional attention due to the successful Batman/Shadow crossover, which is getting another round at Dynamite in a few months. This relaunch, the first taking place in the current day in a long time, seems to be received well.

Glenn:  I would say there is definitely more interest in the Shadow now than there has been for a long time due to the crossover.  With a sequel shortly on the way, it seems that Dynamite are going to really benefit from teaming up with Marvel.  Next up, Green Arrow/Green Hornet!

Ray: Mage: The Hero Denied #1 lands at #179 with sales of 11.7K, which is down all of…25 copies from the #0 issue. I’m guessing retailers essentially treated them as the same thing, and we might see some crazy holds over the course of this title. With a generation between volumes, retailers probably know exactly who wants these and aren’t planning for casual buyers.

Once again, the bottom two Rebirth books are Blue Beetle and Cyborg, with the gap with them increasing a bit more (#186, 11.5K vs. 192, 10.9K this month). However, once again even these two books are rock solid for what they are, slipping less than 1K each. Neither book is likely long for this world, but even the bottom rung at Rebirth is holding its own.

There’s a new five-part TMNT miniseries this month, TMNT: Dimension X. The main series, starting the new arc that this mini spins out of, charts at #158 with 13.5K, the mini lands its first issue at #190 with sales of 11.2K. The successive issues chart at #203, 209, 210, and #214, with the final issue ending at 9.6K. IDW didn’t seem to promote this miniseries all that much despite being pretty important to the main story, and it shows.

A new IDW mini-event, First Strike, lands at #195 with sales of 10.6K. Standard for one of IDW’s many GI Joe/Transformers/Rom events, although this debuted before the writer became a bit more…famous over the last few days.

Glenn:  I would say that in this instance, controversy won’t benefit First Strike here and fans will likely respond with their wallets.

Ray:  At #202, there’s the new Valiant miniseries War Mother, which lands with sales of 10.1K. That’s actually surprisingly good for a future title spinning out of the year-old Valiant event 4001 AD. Valiant as a whole seems to be gaining in buzz, and all the main-line titles are benefiting.

Glenn:  Valiant be Valiant, always dependable and growing at a slow and steady pace.

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This month’s Hellboy offering from Dark Horse is a one shot based in 1955 (or so I just read) it sells just over 10k at 204 which as we say every month is pretty much normal for Hellboy.  The image from the upcoming movie reboot has some people excited so we’ll see if Dark Horse gets some benefit from that.

Just below that at 205 is the first issue of Zombies Assemble 2 selling around 10k as well.  The numbering of this thing just confuses me.  Its reprinted material so its a decent number, I just don’t know why this title seems to roll out a random number month after month.

Ray:  I feel like we’ve had roughly ten #0 and #1 issues of Zombies Assemble. Weird title.

Glenn:  Big slide for Bettie Page in the second issue losing a whopping 11k or so in sales as it delivers over 9.7k at 211.  I’d still say this is really good for a comic about a centerfold icon from the 50’s.

With over 9.6k reorders out of nowhere is the Batman/Elmer Fudd team up which was released two months ago.  To get reorders that chart at 212 two months later is a testament to how good the book was and its easy to see why DC reteamed King and Weeks on the upcoming Batman annual.

Ray:  I knew this would get heavy reorders. It’s being called one of the best single issues of the year, and the entire event was really under-ordered. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more months of reorders.

Glenn:  The writer of Plastic starts a new Image mini this month in the form of Hard Place at 223 with over 9k in sales.  Pretty standard for a Image mini.  It seems that Plastic had more interest but that seems to have been just for the ‘whaaaaaa’ factor.

Ray:  Hard Place didn’t seem to get much advanced hype, and it’s a pretty standard crime concept. With no big name attached, that’s a pretty standard number for an Image miniseries.

Glenn:  At 226 is a comic adaption of a board game, Dead Of Winter which sells over 8.8k.  The board game is very good (if somewhat over complicated and insanely difficult) but a comic about zombies isn’t exactly a rarity these days.  It gets lost in a pack of where Walking Dead is wayyyyyyyy at the front.  If it makes its ways into stores that specialize in these type of games once collected or maybe packaged with the game then publisher Oni will be laughing but right now, its just another zombie book.

Ray:  Oni doesn’t have many books that chart these days, and this has a preexisting fanbase, so this is a solid number. Worth noting this is also by the writer of fast-rising writer Kyle Starks, of Rock Candy Mountain.

Ray:  At 229 is Devinity 0 which is solicited as a jumping on point for people curious about Valient.  It sells just over 8.6k.  Retailers probably figure that its going to be unlikely to get many people jumping on to Valient at this point but its standard sales for them.

Glenn:  At 239 is Grumpy Cat vs Garfield and…*gets pushed aside by Ray* ow….

Ray:  My moment has come! *dons Garfield hat* Grumpy Cat was a pretty big seller for Dynamite, much more than their other attempts at the kid market, and Garfield is obviously one of the most well-known comic strip characters of all time. With that said, this is a great number for an all-ages miniseries that will likely do much more sales in collections. Can’t wait for the sequel, where they team up against Heathcliff. 

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At #236 we have the new Boom series, Mech Cadet Yu by Hulk writer Grek Pak and Runaways artist Takeshi Miyazawa. This got great critical reception and was upgraded to ongoing immediately, so Boom is clearly happy here. Still, sales of 8.4K are a bit low for a creative team of this level, but we’ve talked about Boom’s struggles in the direct market. This is a clear win for them.

Glenn:  Mech Cadet might do better in trades due to Pak’s name too.  Given that Planet Hulk will get a new lease of life due to the partial adaption in the upcoming Thor movie and the sequel, people who read that may want more Pak stuff and pick this up as a result.

Ray:  At 240, there’s the new series Galaktikon from Albatross Funnybooks. I don’t even know what this is, but from a cursory googling it looks like it’s a comic spinning out of the album by Metalpocalypse creator Brendon Small. A niche comic from a small company, so 8.3K is pretty impressive.

Glenn:  Another comic linked to music?  That’s been an odd trend the last few months and considering its an unusual mix, that’s definitely a great number.

Ray:  At 247 with sales of 7.9K, we find Danger Doll Squad #0 from Action Lab. And you guessed it, it’s the crossover teaming up Zombie Tramp, Vampblade, and Dollface. I don’t know what the other two are, but Zombie Tramp is getting her own Avengers!

Glenn:  Because we all demanded it!  How long until DC teams up with this company too and Zombie Tramp is leading the Justice League, not soon enough say we at By The Numbers.

Ray:  Just below, at 248 with 7.8K, we find Bill Willingham’s new creator-owned series Larks Killer from Devil’s Due. Willingham has been out of the public eye, save an issue of Kamandi Challenge, since the end of Fables, but this comic sort of came and went without much fanfare. It’s from a small publisher, so these numbers are decent.

Ghost Station Zero, the sequel to Codename: Baboushka, lands soft at #250 with sales of just under 7.6K. Much like with Copperhead a few months back, these multi-year hiatuses tend to really hurt the buzz of these low-level books. I don’t know if we’ll get a third arc, but the odds are retailers more ordered this for Antony Johnson completists than general audiences.

At #253, we see some reorders of 7.4K for Spider-Men II. This book doesn’t seem to have gotten much in the way of buzz, but Bendis is promising a game-changing reveal at the end of this series as well as in the Generations one-shot featuring the characters. That probably has retailers looking to make sure they have some in stock.

A crossover between the two wildly-popular Cartoon Network series, Adventure time and Regular Show, lands at #261 with sales of 6.9K. Boom’s cartoon-based titles don’t usually sell too well in the direct market, but a crossover likely got some additional attention. If it sells well, we might see more events like that in the future. Steven Universe/Over the Garden Wall, anyone?

Glenn:  I’m not too familiar with Regular Show or Adventure Time but I’m sure through osmosis that I’ll be an expert in 5 or 6 years.

Ray:  At #262, it’s Zombie Tramp: Origins! Two appearances this month for the unofficial mascot of By the Numbers.

Unstoppable Wasp limps to its conclusion with its eighth issue, charting at #265 with sales of 6.8K. While not quite as awful as some numbers we’ve seen on books like Slapstick or Solo, it’s still shocking that a Marvel title that got a lot of promotion – including two backdoor tie-in issues in Avengers – could sink this low, this fast.

Glenn:  I would say that regular Wasp, Janet Van Dyne couldn’t have hoped for much better so an original character had little chance.  I wonder how many Legacy books will suffer the same fate in the same time space?

Ray:  Speaking of books that it’s shocking got this low, we’ve got Gotham Academy: Second Semester wrapping up its run at #270 with sales of 6.5K. This title is actually about thirty issues in, including the relaunch, but it’s sad it never caught on like it deserved to. I hope DC will realize they have a goldmine here and adapt it for their new streaming service.

Glenn:Gotham Academy will probably do well in collection form outside the direct market for many years to come.  If that’s the case hopefully fans can see it return through an ogn format or some such.
Inspired by title’s like Tintin and such, Image’s offbeat Spy Seal sells just over at 6.1k at 279.  A lot of people I knew were excited by how odd this one sounded but retailers may have been more confused than enthused.  I would have expected a lot more for this one but it might have been under ordered.

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Ray:  Rich Tomasso is a cult creator and his previous book, She-Wolf, did similar numbers. Image knows what to expect with this type of book, and I imagine retailers do too. It seems to be taking a break after the first arc, though, so we’ll see what the future holds for Spy Seal.

Glenn:  At 280 we have a James Bond: Moneypenny one shot from Dynamite selling around 6.1k too.  This, I think is the lowest selling of the Dynamite bond offerings thus far but as we said earlier, one shots don’t have the best footing to start off with and most retailers probably thought this would be a comic about some secretary as opposed to the newer, post Craig version who is also kinda/sorta a spy.

Ray:  Dynamite’s certainly been getting their money out of Bond lately, and while this may be more of a niche project, they’re still probably happy with it overall.

Glenn:  The long running franchise Turok returns at 283 with sales just over 6k.  This property has been around forever and I doubt its going to be picking up any new fans at this point.  Retailers likely ordered for the small set of fans that would be interested which are going to be slim pickings as the sales suggest.

Ray:  Turok may have been one spin-off too many for this line. While the new take on Magnus received positive reviews, Turok’s odd Planet of the Apes pastiche didn’t get the same buzz and seems to have been mostly ignored. This is likely to be one arc and done.

Glenn:  Zombie Tramp makes it a triple threat at 288 with sales over 5.9k!  We now have more Zombie Tramp titles than ongoing, Peter Parker Spider-Man titles!

Its been a long time since I’ve noticed Sex Criminals in the charts, I’m not sure if its because its not been out or its been missing the top 300.  Either way, its back at 297 with sales over 5.6k.  Given its title and crazy concept, I’m not surprised its one of the lower selling Image offerings.

Ray:  There’s been a lot of Image titles coming back after lengthy breaks, and while this isn’t nearly as long a break as Baboushka had, it’s still likely to take its toll on the sales. Fraction’s output at Image has really shrunk recently.

Glenn:  At 298 is another new comic from Boom with an interesting looking comic by female creators featuring an all female cast called Hi-fi Fight Club.  None of the creators involved really ring a bell and as we’ve said, Boom really struggle with new original stuff without big names attached (and even with them) so sales over 5.6k is no surprise.  If you like this title, you may want to recommend it to a friend.

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Ray:  This book got fantastic reviews, including from yours truly, and a lot of advanced hype. But we’ve seen how even creators like Tynion and Orlando struggle with getting sales in singles from Boom. The good news is, Tynion’s series The Backstagers, which debuted to similar numbers, was just announced as getting a second arc! So maybe Boom really isn’t looking at singles sales here, which could mean this book will be fine.

Glenn: At 300 we have the second issue of Garth Ennis, Jimmy’s Bastards selling around 5.6k also.  Aftershock titles apart from a handful of their books don’t tend to stay in the top 300 for long, even for creators like Ennis it seems.  Will likely do most of its business in collections so I doubt the company is concerned, this is pretty normal for them.

RayLooking ahead to September, DC is likely to dominate the top of the charts, with Metal #2 taking the number one slot and the first of the Dark Knights one-shots, Red Death and Murder Machine. I’d be surprised if both didn’t crack the top ten. We’ve got the first two parts of the “Resistance” crossover for Metal as well, and Action Comics should get a large boost for the start of “The Oz Effect”. Detective Comics may get the same for the return of Tim Drake. Plus, Gail Simone’s return to Wonder Woman with the Wonder Woman/Conan crossover!

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For Marvel, the big event of the month is undoubtedly the start of Legacy, beginning with the oversized Aaron/Ribic Legacy one-shot. Will it be able to knock Metal off the top of the charts? I doubt it, but Marvel will be looking for a healthy number to give Legacy some positive buzz. There’ll also be the next five Generations one-shots, one last issue of Secret Empire (Omega), a Captain Phasma miniseries, and the relaunch of Runaways from a writer with a huge mainstream profile. Lots of new #1s, but we’ll see which if any of them land strongly.

Image has a good number of debuts this month, but none with any big names attached. Quirky titles like Realm, Retcon, Angelic, and Gasolina will be looking to get a foothold in this market, and we’ll also get a new installment of the Millarworld Annual, with stories featuring Millar characters by new talent. Outside the big three, we’ve got a new Cullen Bunn horror series, Dark Ark from Aftershock, and the launch of the new Bloodshot series from Jeff Lemire at Valiant. Of course, the biggest launch of the month from a smaller company is IDW’s Star Wars Adventures. Could this be IDW’s breakout into the top ten or even top five? I think so.

 

Glenn:  Next month’s top ten is due to be the healthiest we’ve seen sales wise.  We’ll see if it means better news for the rest of the industry.  Join us next month to find out.

Like what you read?  Got a question?  Ask here or find us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield!!!

By The Numbers: July 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  Is wondering where the first year of his sons life has gone and is wondering if Dr. Manhatten is responsible.

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 recently wrote a stellar article on Geekdad about disibility representation that you should go read after you finish this first.

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:  On the surface, July seems to have been a verly quiet month with most of the big stories carrying on and very huge big launches.  As always though, the numbers tell a more interesting story at more than just first glance and that’s why we’re here once again to look over sales in July!

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With nothing close to its prominence in its path, Dark Days: The Casting easily took the number one spot this month with sales of over 128.2k.  Only selling around 2k less than last month’s the Forge is incredible stability and more positive news for Metal (releasing in 2 days at the time of this writing) which should do gangbusters for DC.  There was an extra month of orders for anyone that missed the roll out but still a bit muted for something that was pushed as Metal 0.1 and 0.2.  With the Forge picking up over 8.4k in reorders at 216 this month, you can expect the Casting to be back in the charts next month again.  More good news for DC as Metal prepares to probably blow everything else out of the charts next month sales wise.

Ray:  This is basically exactly even with last month’s results for Dark Days, down only 2K or so. That’s an amazing hold and shows the numbers last month weren’t inflated – in fact, they were likely deflated by ordering issues. Very good numbers, especially since DC didn’t go over the top with incentives or variant covers for these issues. I think the best thing to take from this is that if these two issues, which were underordered and announced with relatively short notice, can dominate the charts, we’re probably looking at utterly dominant numbers for Metal in the coming months. I wouldn’t be shocked to see it stay over 200K for the entire run, the way Secret Wars did.

Glenn:  At 2 is another new X-Men title from Marvel in the form of Astonishing X-Men which sells over 122.2k.  This title had megastar artist on Jim Cheung on board which no doubt helped move the needle but it seems that the X franchise seems to be regaining some interest.  It isn’t the monster it was (nor probably ever will be again) but signs for X-Men: Blue and Gold show that there is some interest in the mutants (Gifted) part of the Marvel universe.  Of course, it probably doesn’t hurt that the previous Astonishing X-Men was the mega watt series by Joss Whedon and John Cassidy, sometimes branding is all you need.

Ray:  Nice debut numbers, in line with what we saw the first issues of the two main series do a few months back. Of course, with this title changing artists every issue, sales are going to be even more mutable than normal on a Marvel book. The last time a title tried an experiment like this, it was the low-profile Scarlet Witch, so this is obviously on a much bigger scale. We’ll see how it does next month, but if it can settle down to the same level as Gold or Blue, it should be a solid win for Marvel.
 
Glenn:  I forgot Astonishing is going to be switching artists quickly.  Its an interesting gamble but I don’t think it’ll pay off.  People like to know whose going to be drawing their books and any buzz from Cheung’s involvement will evaporate unless Marvel can get someone around his level every issue which is a hard task for any company.

Carrying on life back in the 6 figure club through the War Of Jokes and Riddles is Batman with issues 26 and 27 at 3 and 4 respectively selling over 107k and 102.3k.  Super solid as always.  DC only had three comics in the top ten this month and they all featured Batman heavily.  It is amusing to think however that issue 27 of Batman was the brilliant ‘Kite Man’ issue.  Even when featuring a D list villain more than its main star, Batman can beat any book in the charts on its best day on a regular basis.

Ray:  So Batman seems to have gotten a long-term boost for King’s first Joker arc. We’ll see if it holds when this book returns to the present, but the fallout from the Batposal should help there. Also, Kite-Man. Hell Yeah.

Glenn:  Another double whammy next in Secret Empire at 5 and 6 selling over 85.8k and over 81.3k respectively showing that the controversial event has stabilized and should stay above 70k at the very least.  Probably not what Marvel wanted out of the event as they took a huge gamble on the story.  In itself its going to perform better than some lower key events like Fear Itself but nowhere near the monsters like Civil War and House Of M.  I could say that its the market but Metal will probably show different.  Even though its performing probably below expectations but still respectfully enough (story aside) it seems that Secret Empire is doing little to nothing for the Marvel books tied to it which we’ll talk about later….a good bit later.

Ray:  Yeah, these are standard Marvel drops for Secret Empire. It’ll likely finish its run a bit above Inhumans vs. X-Men, but well below what we saw from the last line-wide crossover. It’s not an unmitigated disaster – it is beating the rest of the line handily right now – but this is probably the best they could expect from a big event spinning out of a poorly received status quo. Marvel’s bigger worry should be just how much this will blunt the sales for Legacy. 
 Glenn:  At 7 is top ten staple Star Wars with sales just under 75k and this is essentially the rock solid title Marvel has that is closest in comparison to Batman that they have among their roster in terms of sales reliability.  Top Marvel writer Jason Aaron will be leaving the galaxy far, far away soon for under projects but this title is probably going to see a minimal difference just due to what it is.

Ray:  That’s a nice 5K bump for Star Wars for what I believe was a stand-alone issue focusing on Luke and Leia. With that, there’s a chance that next month this could be back to being the #1 Marvel book if Secret Empire keeps declining.

Glenn:  At 8 is Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again, a sequel (?) mini by the same writer, Cullen Bunn debuting at just over 74k.  Although he’s maybe over the main peak of his popularity for the time being, Deadpool can still perform a really good number considering this an out of continuity mini by someone who isn’t the main writer of his book.  It’ll probably settle about 40k or so which would place it among Marvel’s upper tier which is great for a mini.

Ray:  Deadpool Kills… did ship its second issue this month, landing at #31 with sales of 42K! So that’s basically exactly what you said. Glenn the prophet! It’s definitely not the Deadpool mania numbers of the past, but it’s still a great number for a side miniseries in an alternate continuity.
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Glenn:  Another month I missed a second issue in the same month, curse Marvel and their double shipping!  At least I was right in one respect.  Most of these mini’s will be off to fill all the collection walls in the world when Deadpool 2 comes out anyway.

Its a relatively quiet month for debut and when things are quiet it means that Walking Dead gets a chance to move up in the chart rankings due to its ‘hail, rain or snow’ performance.  Its at 9 with over 67.9k.  A verly lower than average number for the title but it always drops down a little then bounces up again.  No concerns ever here.

Final place in the top ten is Spider-Men II, the sequel to Spider-Men which saw the first team up between regular Spider-Man, Peter Parker and his Ultimate counterpart, Miles Morales.  Back when the initial mini was published the crossover was a big deal but since the destruction of the Ultimate Universe, team ups between Peter and Miles aren’t so special.  It sells just under 68k probably due to the curiosity revolving around the cliffhanger about the ‘other’ Miles Morales at the end of the previous team and the strength of the creative team.  Based on the creative team alone however, this book should have done a lot better but its like them doing a Human Torch and Thing miniseries.  The creators can only drum up so much interest, if people are seeing Peter and Miles together all the time in their respective titles it makes a separate mini like this one feel less special.

Ray:  Yeah, these numbers aren’t terrible, but I don’t think a comic starring two Spider-man written by arguably Marvel’s top writer just barely squeaking into the top ten is anything to write home about. This seems like it’ll probably settle down to close to the level of Miles’ solo series, maybe a bit higher. Definitely not an event like it used to be in any way.

Glenn:  This is the lowest entry point for the top ten in quite some time but again…its a very quiet month, I’d say things will be relatively back to normal next month.

Ray:You’re right, a lot of titles climbed the rankings this month, just based on the lack of new competition. Favorite standbys like All-Star Batman, Star Wars side books (Vader, Maul), Amazing Spider-Man, Detective Comics, and Flash all take up residence between 10 and 20 as always, losing only modest numbers from their last issue.

At #17 this month we have the second issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man, which sells 54K. That’s an over 75% drop, as was made likely by the massive Collector’s Corps boost last month, but this still immediately takes its second issue below Amazing Spider-Man. That doesn’t sound good for long-term stability. If Zdarsky is on this title for the long haul, it’s likely to stabilize, but if it becomes an anthology like so many other secondary books, it could run into trouble. I think the main lesson here is that all new Marvel books are struggling a bit due to issues with the company as a whole.

Glenn:  That’s a better drop than I expected for Peter Parker: Spider-Man.  If it settles around 40-45k that would be better than most of their characters can manage on their main titles, never mind a ‘b’ title.  e.

Ray:  Some odd sales patterns for X-Men Gold, which jumps 5K to land at #20 with sales of 53K – and the loses 7K the same month to take it below last month’s sales. This is the second month this has happened, with a biweekly book leaping for the first issue of the month, and then crashing with the second. Blue follows a similar pattern, although both issues are down from last month. Both of these were Secret Empire tie-ins for the record, but I’m not sure how much impact that had.

Glenn:It does seem to have settles around a better number than the recent relaunches have managed and that could be due to Secret Empire or just general reinterest in the X-Men themselves.  Double shipping might be helping but its hard to tell.  I think these two books are going to be quite radically overhauled following Legacy so I’m not sure how that’ll effect things.  The strategy with Legacy makes it hard to gage a lot of numbers because they could all look very different for better or worse afterwards.

Ray:  Edge of Venomverse’s massive first-issue numbers featuring Venom-23 were apparently a fluke, as issues 2 (Gvenompool) and 3 (Venom Rider) didn’t show much momentum, with #2 losing almost 50% of its sales to land at #24 (50K) followed by a further tumble to #33 (42K). The main series should get a big boost when it debuts next month, though.

Glenn:  I’d still say those Edge Of Venomverse numbers are still very good for a lead in to an event that’s being done cause 90’s.  Its a nice bonus that Marvel probably weren’t expecting and that’s something they need in spades.

Ray:  This is the section of the chart where it’s basically the usual suspects every month. There’s a lot of DC (Justice League, Superman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Harley, Titans, Suicide Squad), with some Marvel sneaking in (X-Men books, Old Man Logan, Thor, Deadpool, Doctor Aphra), plus the little book that could, Saga. These are the healthy regulars of the charts, and most are long-time books that have already stabilized. Without any major launches this month, they’re all able to lock down in the top 50.

Glenn:  Should be noted that Old Man Logan has really stabelized after losing Lemire.  That’s a big win for new relatively untested Ed Brisson.  Is this due to the Logan movie or Mike Deodato or just genuine interest?  No matter what the reason, its starting to become one of Marvel’s most solid performers.

Ray:  Captain America: Steve Rogers continues to slide down the charts, losing 2K in sales even as it gains 4 actual spaces due to the lack of competition. Nothing related to Secret Empire seems to have any real momentum – nor does the main series, for that matter. The final issue of Metal will likely outsell the top-selling issue of SE.

Glenn:  Considering that its the same writer on both books and you’d therefore assume that Cap: Steve Roger’s was one of the key tie-ins it definitely shows a large disinterest in the story outside of the main mini.  When Legacy rolls around, Captain America will be in a very different place under the eye of Waid and Samnee so its sales right now are irrelevant long term cause in 4-6 months or so the table is entirely getting turned over.

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Ray:  Defenders #3 lands at #48 with sales of 35K, another harsh drop from the second issue. Much like with Peter Parker: Spider-Man, this is a title that should probably be doing better – Bendis writing four popular street-level heroes, three who he’s considered to be the iconic writer for – but Marvel as a whole is dragging even their winners down. More on that later (or laytor, for Rabbit Stew fans. Gong!)

Glenn:  Slides are better than what we’ve seen from Marvel in recent times but still not great.  It seems most of the bigger titles losing 20k+ from issue to issue are over…at least with the key books.  Some aren’t so lucky as Defenders.

Ray:  Justice League of America seems to be settling into the same sales range as books like Nightwing, Teen Titans, and Super-Sons. These are all definitely the b-list DC books, but they’re still stable above the majority of Marvel books right now. They’re all in roughly the 35K range from 50-60, which isn’t great, but again, nothing’s rising above them, is it?

A bit surprised to see Venom sinking so low to #55, at 34K. The book seemed to have some real momentum with Eddie Brock’s return, but it’s mostly disappeared. Venomverse should give the book a solid boost next month, though. It’s just above All-New Wolverine and Avengers (which really, is the saddest thing on these charts).

Glenn:  After seeming like a breakaway hit, Venom is settling back to numbers that make a little more sense.  This is still a good 15-20k better than the last Flash Thompson Venom run which is good news.  It doesn’t seem that the Legacy renumbering here has really made much impact but its hard to tell whether the slightly better sales are because of the number on the book or Eddie returning.  I know where my money would be if I was a betting man.

Again a Secret Empire in Avengers doesn’t seem to be making much difference.  All signs point towards Jason Aaron taking over the franchise sooner than later and that is really the best possible move Marvel could make with their current talent pool.  Things are not great for Avenger’s but Aaron taking over does imply a light at the end of the tunnel.

Another title that is a little depressing to look at is the new Guardians book at 75 with sales just under 28.5k.  The relaunch boost is all gone and over-saturation with the characters has killed all the momentum this book had.  From what I hear of the books quality, it deserves a lot better.  This was a top ten franchise not that long ago.  The news isn’t much better for Guardian side books but that’s pretty normal these days.  The next issue also charts this month at 95 with sales over 23.2k so this is likely the last we’ll see of it in the top 100 for the time being.  I’m not sure how Marvel will be able to right the ship on this one.

Ray:  The numbers for Guardians are easily the most disturbing subplot on the charts this month, because this is a title that’s doing everything right. It’s got a popular, established writer (a multi-year run on Deadpool), a hot artist recently poached from DC, and a popular franchise team represented faithfully to their movie versions. Yet, it’s crashing. It’s likely a combination of Guardians fatigue due to Marvel’s obsessive desire to make this a multi-book franchise, plus the general loss of audience faith Marvel is suffering due to, well…everything. If this book can’t even have halfway decent sales, what hope does any other new book?

 Glenn:  At 78 is a special $1 True Believers reprint of Amazing Fantasy 15 and the Vulture story from Amazing Spider-Man 2 selling just under 27.5k.  Perfectly fine numbers for what is essentially a promotion comic collecting two stories that have already been collected to death.

It manages to outsell the newest issue of Champions which is just one spot below it.  I don’t really want to say more about that…

Ray:  The long-term sales on Champions are a disaster. And another SE tie-in with no impact or actual decrease in sales, I should add.

Glenn:  The throwaway one shot Spider-Man: Master Plan sells over 26.8k at 82.  It also has a reprint of the first appearance of the Vulture from Amazing Spider-Man 2 (no, really).  I’d say this is good enough for a one off story that doesn’t have much to do with anything and is likely to be just as remembered as past Spidey one shots like ‘Black & Blue & Read all over‘ and ‘The Short Halloween‘.  Google them, they existed.

Ray:  As this was essentially a lost issue of the Robbie Thompson series “Spidey“, these are definitely decent sales, well above what the series was selling by its end.

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Glenn:  A new Power Rangers title from BOOM! at 86 ‘Go, Go, Power Rangers‘ which chronicles the stories of the season 1 cast of the TV show from the 90’s sells over 26.1k.  Again, I’d say that’s a good number for something that is going to aimed at the really hardcore/nostalgic Power Rangers crowd.  I’d say it’ll be considered a good performer if it can manage half these sales regularly.

Ray:  Power Rangers seems to be BOOM!’s one powerhouse franchise right now (no offense to the WWE, but they don’t seem to have a built-in comic fanbase), so this was clearly Boom’s attempt to test if they’re strong enough to support a spinoff. While the numbers won’t blow anyone away, by Boom’s standard it can definitely be considered a hit.

Glenn:  As I said last month, people watching WWE are not likely to be hard pressed to go out and buy a comic based on the product but even then, Boom is doing better numbers with a comic starring their wrestlers than any other company I remember (it sells over 6.5k at 254 this month, for the record) but yeah, Power Rangers is much more attuned to getting existing fans wanting more material starring their favorite multicolored Kaiju teen fighting team.

The Weapon Mass Destruction story in Totally Awesome Hulk seems to have slowed its drops but doesn’t cause an increase.  Its at 96 with sales just under 23k.  There’s less than 200 copies between last issue and this probably due to the crossover but if the hope was a massive increase instead of a small decrease then there isn’t much else to say here.

Ray:  This was a crossover between two moderately popular books that doesn’t seem to affect anything else. Sales were never going to be great here, but Totally Awesome Hulk stabilizing makes sense, as it normally sells much lower than Weapon X.

Glenn:  The book that seems to be breaking from the slight stability the other X books are experiencing Generation X is at 99 with sales over 22.4k.  It’ll be another out of the top 100 in all likelihood next month, don’t get attached folks.

Dynamite launches a comic about pin up icon Bettie Page which sells just under 21.3k  Its Bettie Page so I’d completely and honestly consider this a spectacular launch.  Expect it to be about 11 or 10k shortly but…yeah there ya go, proof that there can be interest in anything.

Ray:  “Bettie Page’s secret comic book adventures” is a phrase I never thought I’d hear. Dynamite put some massive promotion into this book, and had a ton of variant covers, and these are pretty strong numbers. Shall we await a Bettie Page/Three Stooges crossover anytime soon?

Right below Bettie Page at #106 is the debut of a new Image title, Sacred Creatures, by comic art veterans Klaus Janson and Pablo Raimondi. While neither one is a household name, the book was launched as a massively oversized first issue for only $4.99, and that was good enough for sales of over 21K. Definitely a healthy launch for a new Image book, but this was a quiet month for Image – this is only their fourth book on the charts and their top launch of the month.

Glenn:  There’s no disputing that Klaus Jansen is a legend in comics but his presence on a book doesn’t tend to do much for sales either way.  Despite his impressive resume he seems to have the same sales pull any other inker in the industry has.  Still its a decent launch like you said for an Image book.  Well above their level of ‘unknown/new talent books’ which will give it a decent shelf life

Ray:  Most of the Secret Empire tie-ins were in existing titles that saw little or no impact, but the spin-off minis have essentially been disasters. Both of this month’s issues of “Brave New World“, the regular anthology series sell well out of the top 100, landing at #116 and #123 in the 18-16K range. That’s roughly at the same level of the ending Captain America: Sam Wilson. Womp womp.

Glenn:  I would say that the era of mini’s/one shots linking to events selling well (like Civil War: Front Line and such) is over but I’m pretty sure those Metal one shots will say different

Ray:  There’s a new Rick and Morty miniseries, Pocket Like You Stole It, at #125 with sales of 16.5K. Rick and Morty is the closest thing to a hit franchise for Oni, and spin-offs are always good for reliable numbers. The fact that it’s this high up on the chart is mainly due to just how quiet this month was, though – there were a lot of books that were in the top 100 that normally don’t make it.

Glenn:  Rick and Morty have a big cult following too and that seems to follow things like this into comics.  Fans of the bizarre cartoon want to see more of them in any format and a monthly comic will keep them appeased between seasons.  Its not going to be have a massive following but it’ll deliver solidly from a group of loyal fans so good for Oni for landing the licence.

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Ray:  Batman #24, the famous Batposal issue, charts again with extremely strong reorders of 15.9K, at #128. This shows some massive interest in this story – and was enough to outsell both the long-delayed final issue of Jupiter’s Legacy and the third issue of Iceman in the next two slots.

Glenn:Those reorders on Batman are really impressive.  Not surprising since many retailers likely didn’t know what was going to happen in the issue and it got a LOT of interest.  Earlier, I credited Batman rejoining the six figure club to the War Of Jokes and Riddles but this story could have brought back the extra 5k or so of people to land it there as they wait to see how far the idea goes.

Ray:  Another Image debut at #131, the quirky monster romance comic Moonstruck. We talked about this one on the Rabbitt Stew  (Dong!) and we both agreed this sounded a lot more like a Boom comic than an Image one. I’m not sure the regular Image market turned out for this, and retailers were likely a bit cautious as a result, even with former Marvel writer Kate Leth on the creative team.

Glenn:  Still slightly higher than the average ‘untested writer’ waters that Image manages.  The oddness of the concept may have caught some attention.  It shows that Image is still willing to try out new genres and quirky ideas which is super cool.

Ray:  The Allreds deliver a Batman ’66 one-shot with Batman ’66 Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes, which lands at #134 with sales of 15.3K. Given that this was a spin-off of a digital-first title, these numbers are about what I’d expect. Great issue, though.

Glenn:  The Legion have yet to make an official full return in the DCU and Batman 66 is a niche book with a specific fan base so like you say, good enough for a combination of both.  I would say the Allred’s were the real driving factor in the sales more than who was involved.

Ray:  Another Image debut with moderate numbers is Generation Gone, Ales Kot’s latest complex conspiracy thriller. Kot is one of those creators with a small but devoted cult audience, so sales of 15.2K is probably not bad for this issue. Definitely no breakouts from Image this month, though.

After a long hiatus, Descender returns, not missing  a beat with sales just over 15K for issue #22 at #137. Jeff Lemire’s books tend to stabilize very quickly and have a loyal audience, so the time off for the artist to get ahead doesn’t seem to have hurt it a bit.

Glenn:  Descender is doing a self contained one book event which is an interesting idea for a creator owned book and something Walking Dead excels at.  It hasn’t let the excellent title pick up any new fans but its not at any risk at all of disappointing its publisher or creators either as its as stable as something that usually houses a horse.

Glenn:  It should be noted at 140 that Spider-Man 2099 ended its run with 25 with sales over 14.7k.  A good long run for this book and a decent number to end on.  Considering he was a cult favorite from the 90’s, Miguel outlasted a lot of series starring characters much better known than him.  This is likely due to a loyal audience his creator, Peter David brings more than anything and Scarlet Spider will probably be replacing it not only in terms of creative team but in sales equivalent also.  Will it last as long?  Time will tell.

Ray:  2099 is probably the type of book that wouldn’t last this long in the current market. Marvel’s blown their goodwill to the point that a spinoff title like this would struggle out of the gate. So in retrospect, this is a pretty impressive run.
A very healthy hold for Shirtless Bear Fighter at #143, selling over 14.4K. Despite this book not having any name creators and an…offbeat concept, it seems like a genuine word of mouth hit for Image.

The TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo one-shot, written and drawn by legendary creator Stan Sakai, charts at #145 with sales of just over 14K. That’s about 2K above the sales of the main TMNT ongoing this month, and given that this was priced at $7.99, that’s a really good number.

Glenn:  I would say Sakai returning to these characters drummed up a decent amount of interest.  Both franchises also have a very dedicated core fanbase and this book was obviously for them rather than casuals.  Anything at this level or above with that price is great as you say.

Ray:  Benitez Productions seems to land a book fairly high up on the charts once in a while, and this month it’s Lady Mechanika: Clockwork Assassin with sales of 14K at #147. To be honest, I don’t even know what this is, but the company knows how to get sales for their #1s.

Speaking of low sales for Guardians of the Galaxy, the Telltale Series spinoff debuts at #151 with sales of 13.4K. Given that this is both a digital-first series and a video game spinoff, I can’t imagine Marvel was expecting too much more here.

Glenn:  Considering its selling only about 10k less than the actual, real Guardians book I’d say that’s a very good number for the Telltale Guardians.  This is really only a comic for hardcore Guardian fans and those who play the game and maybe want to pick up a Guardians comic as a result without having to dive into the proper series.

Another True Believers one-shot, this one of the first issue of Miles Morales’ new series, lands at #153 with sales of 13.3K. Not bad for what’s essentially a promotional comic for Marvel.

Ray:  Cullen Bunn’s new Aftershock comic, the Medieval horror book Unholy Grail, charts at #156 with exactly three copies under 13K. This seems to be the level of Aftershock books without megawatt creative teams attached, and I’m expecting similar numbers for his Biblical horror story Dark Ark in a few months.

Vertigo books are few and far between on the charts these days, but there’s a new #1 in the form of The American Way: Those Above and Those Below. This is a sequel to the cult-hit civil rights-themed superhero story by Hollywood writer John Ridley. It sells 12.5K at #160, and given how long it’s been since the first volume, those numbers are pretty decent. But this is clearly a book that will sell MUCH better in collections for years to come, just like the original.

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Glenn:  Ridley won an Oscar so that likely gave the book a little advantage over the average Vertigo title.  I’ve actually not heard of this book before so if it can come back and sell a decent Vertigo offering after many, many years away it shows that there’s still a dedicated fan base there.

Ray:  Speaking of long-missing titles, at #169 we have the #0 issue of Mage: The Hero Denied, which sells 11.7K. We’re talking about essentially a generation since the last installment of this series, so it must have been very hard to order. Much like with Cerebus, this is naturally a cult book with a limited audience in singles.

Glenn:  Mage is another one that doesn’t ring a bell with me.  As you said on the Stew (dong!) this will be one retailers may have ordered cautiously on since they didn’t know if old fans will be back.  Like Cerebus, if it keeps coming out and makes it to trades it’ll probably perform better outside the direct market, internationally and other such places.

Ray:  Just like the last few months, Cyborg is the lowest-selling Rebirth title at #171, with sales of 11.5K. That’s only down about five hundred copies from last month, though, so it seems like the natural stability of Rebirth goes from top to bottom.

Glenn:  Justice League movie is only a few months away and Cyborg is in a different league (I’m here all week, try the shrimp) compared to his other teammates.  Will DC give him a relaunch come November?  I think it might be better to exclude him to League and other such team books, hopefully DC will learn from Marvel that movie exposure doesn’t always translate to sales.

Ray:  Archie #22, which featured a massive status quo change for one of the core four, takes another uptick in sales as it lands at #173 with sales of just over 11K. The title had sunk below 10K as the Over the Edge story begins, so Archie taking risks is paying off, it seems. And keep an eye on GeekDad next week as yours truly breaks down the next issue in a special column! (Dong!)

Glenn:  IDW debuts a new horror title in Diablo house at 176 with sales over 11.1k.  I think this is a good number for the company considering none of the names attached ring a bell.  It seems that a lot of indie creators and companies are betting on horror and are mostly being rewarded.Ray:  Diablo House was essentially a surfer dude take on Tales from the Crypt, so I think this is…pretty good? IDW’s making a bit of a break in the creator owned market, but some of their originals still struggle – like the fantastic Time & Vine, about a magical winery, which didn’t crack the top 300 this month.
 
Glenn:  Sad times for Time & Vine, I know that was one you really liked.  If you’re reading this and you enjoyed it, the fact that it missed the top 300 should prompt you to try and get more eyes on the book.

Greg Rucka’s Lazarus returns this month from Image at 178 with sales just under 11k in the form of a six part mini.  Its been a while since this book was last seen so its a decent performance for anyone sticking around.  Not sure where the series left off but this number gives me the impression that retailers ordered it as if the series never stopped.

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A new Valiant mini debuts below that at 179 with Secret Weapons which sells just a shade over 10.9k.  Standard stuff for the average Valiant book despite having an Oscar nominated writer at the helm.  As usual, the dedication of their fanbase is unwavering by and large, many companies would love that dependability in their readers.

Ray:  The second issue of Secret Weapons also ships this month, and sells just under 8K at #224. Like you said, standard numbers for one of the more popular Valiant books. They’re a brand, and that brand gives most of their core titles solid numbers.

Glenn:  Rising star Donny Cates and his Aftershock book Babyteeth has its second issue at 180 selling 10.7k.  Pretty harsh fall from last month but still better than most Aftershock second issues.  I would say that given his upcoming time at Marvel coming up, a lot of companies are going to be glad to be able to have some of his work in trade form in a few months and Aftershock will be right there with them.

Ray:  I believe that still puts Babyteeth as the highest selling Aftershock title by a fair margin, so even if the first issue numbers were unsustainable, Cates seems to have genuine pull as a writer right now.

Glenn:  Not sure why Zombies Assemble is listed as a zero issue in their third month but it sells over 10.7k too at 181 which means it was basically ordered like the third issue.  I have no clue what the story is here, Marvel and their confusing numbering also hits the world of zombies too it seems.

About a 50% fall for Gail Simone’s Crosswind from Image landing at 185 with sales over 10.2k.  Decent enough for your standard Image book, again I’d have expected more given Gail’s involvement but her time doing some smaller company work may have diminished her star power somewhat.  I doubt this title will move much from here however and that will let it run as long as she wants.

I think that’s the final issue of Occupy Avenger’s at 191 with sales just over 10k.  Who could have predicted it?!?!?!  Oh wait…we did.

Ray:  Between the terrible promotional campaign and the fact that it was essentially a stealth sequel to Red Wolf and Nighthawk, I don’t know what Marvel was expecting here, but off it goes to hang out with Black Knight.

Glenn:  Similar to the True Believers books, DC delivers a ‘Justice League Essentials‘ reprint of Batman Rebirth 1 which sells over 9.9k at 193, I’d say thats very good considering it was only released around a year ago

Ever wondered what the origins were behind Rabbit Stew and By The Numbers unofficial mascot, Zombie Tramp? Now you can with Zombie Tramp origins which sells over 9.8k at 193!  Given that this title is regular at the very bottom of the charts or even misses it entirely, I’d say this flashback book sales are the cause of celebration for their small publisher.  We like to think we helped but we probably didn’t.

Ray:  We’re totally the power behind the scenes of Zombie Tramp’s rise on the charts.

Glenn:  An MCU prelude book in Thor: Ragnorak which I believes retells the entirety of the Incredible Hulk movie sells over 9.7k at 195.  This is for the die hards only and for those wondering in from the cinema raiding the $1 bins in a few months.

Ray:  I fell for these “prelude” issues a few times, but not anymore. They used to be original stories, like the Dr. Strange prelude, but now they’re essentially just reprints. I think the majority of these sales are to completists and suckers.

Glenn:  Another BPRD book from Dark Horse sells over 9.6k at 197.  Standard stuff from this franchise and the fourth highest selling title from Dark Horse this month.  This is why they keep doing BPRD material, it pays the bills.

The uber controversial Divided States of Hysteria’s second issue lands at 201 with sales 9.3k which is pretty standard for an Image book by a creator with only a cult hardcore following.  I think next issue was the big controversial one so we’ll see if that gives it a bump in sales, I would say it will.

Ray:Given that the cover in question was pulled and retailers aren’t likely to boycott the series anymore, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s an effect. They say no publicity is bad publicity, but I don’t know if that’s true here. 

At #202, we have the debut of Ducktales (Woo hoo!) #0. While this is obviously a title designed to promote the new series, the first issue felt more like an adaptation of the original series. Still, 9.2K isn’t bad for a title that’s clearly going to do most of its sales outside of the direct market.

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Glenn:  It should be noted also that Ducktails was from IDW, the massive Disney machine continues to spread the love when it comes to companies and their properties

Ray:  BOOM! has another debut in the form of the noir crime comic Sisters of Sorrow, which is co-written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. That probably helped get it to the strong-for-Boom sales of 9K at #205, although given that it came and went with no real hype, those sales might not hold.

A great debut for Black Mask at #208 with Calexit, which sells 8.7K and immediately sold out. It’s probably their top-selling book that isn’t written by in-house star writer Matthew Rosenberg, who’s since broken into the mainstream. They have to be really happy with this.

Glenn:  Calexit got some buzz because its a concept that people can get behind given the political scene in America.  It might not hold but it managed to generate some interest out of the gate.

Ray:  Another of these DC Justice League Essentials issues at #210, reprinting the debut of Flash: Rebirth for a dollar. DC won’t be mad with 8.7K additional sales, that’s for sure.

Glenn:  Again, the issue is just a year old so no, they won’t be bothered.

Ray:  A Rom vs. Transformers miniseries at #214 with 8.6K. Pretty standard numbers for IDW’s toy tie-ins, which sell to a loyal core audience.

Hey, there’s Dark Days: The Forge again at #216! You mentioned this earlier in the column, and it sells roughly in the same area as first-run DC book Shade the Changing Girl. Some real heat for this event.

Glenn:  I suspect that Metal will see some serious reorders much like Rebirth did once it gets going properly.  We saw Rebirth show up in the charts 2-3 months after it ended with solid numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Metal can pull that off too.

Ray:  Ash vs. the Army of Darkness had a $1 #0 issue last month, and sold decently, but the #1 issue this month sheds the majority of those sales to sell 8.3K at #219. That’s a pretty standard pattern with Dynamite, as the promotional issues get eyes but they don’t necessarily stick around.

Faith and the Future Force returns with sales of 7.8K at #225. On the surface, this is a weak debut, but I think retailers were just treating this as Faith #13, which would give it a nice bump from the previous volume. This is a bit more of a cult hit than some of Valiant’s bigger names, but it has its audience.

A new James Bond mini from Dynamite at #230, with sales of 7.6K. This seems to be Dynamite’s most reliable franchise at the moment.

There’s the Street Fighter Swimsuit Special from Udon at #231! I know it’s probably mostly cheesecake shots of Chun-Li and Cammi, but I hope Blanka and Dhalsim had a great day at the beach and didn’t let anyone body shame them. Good for just under 7.6K sales. Okay.

Glenn:  Our time machine brings us back to the 90’s with this swimsuit whatsit.  I’d say these are damn good numbers for a cult game adaption that doesn’t feature any story.  Of course I now want the publisher to pay me for all the visions of red trunk Bison I now have in my mind.

Ray:  And it manages to outsell Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, one spot below! It’s clear that single issue sales mean nothing to this title at this point, but I do wonder when Marvel will decide they’re not worth it and shift it fully to affordable trades for the bookstore market.

The Bloodshot one-shot “Bloodshot’s Day Off” sells just under 7.5K at #234. Given that this wasn’t by the regular creative team, and wasn’t hyped extensively, that’s not bad. Another case of Valiant’s rock-solid floor on main-line books.

Boom’s prequel mini for War of the Planet of the Apes lands at #239 with sales of 7.2K. This was released around the same time as the movie, and probably benefited from that, but I don’t know if the Apes have all that much sales pull in the comic book world.

Glenn:The Planet Of The Apes franchise never really had the mass appeal other major movie franchises do and this will people wanting a bit more of the story.  I think the direction the relaunched movie franchise has given the property is one of the best revitalization we’ve seen in recent times but people still want their apes on the big screen or on the home viewing platform of their choosing.

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Ray:  Lot of reprints in this segment of the chart, including Justice League, Peter Parker Spider-Man (the old one), and a Brand New Day reprint, all selling around 7K or a bit under in the space between 239 and 250. We know Marvel does these every time there’s a movie, but I guess DC decided the time was right to get some new fans on board!

The 1966 version of Green Hornet meets the Spirit in an intra-company crossover for Dynamite. Neither franchise is a huge hit, so these sales of 6.7K at #248 are pretty standard.

Dark Horse drops a new Groo miniseries, “Play of the Gods“, to sales of 6.6K at #249, which is typical for Groo. This is a franchise that’s been plugging along for decades now intermittently, so retailers undoubtedly know exactly what they’re doing.

Glenn:  Groo has been going forever and has an established audience that at this point will never go up or down.  I wonder how many retailers ordered it misreading it as a new ‘Groot‘ title.
 
Ray:  At #252 with sales of 6.5K is one of the oddest comics of the month, Skin & Earth. This was an experimental comic tying into a concept album by an alternative musician. I’m still not sure what it’s about, but apparently 6.5K people do?

Glenn:  I used to be cool but they changed what cool was?  This is an odd sounding book that seems to not be for the average comic fan but I’m not sure the bands fans will be interested either by and large.  This almost seems like a Kickstarter book by the band or an official licencing by the band to launch a kickstarter that found its way into the charts without said Kickstarter.  Hard to judge the numbers because its not really the norm.

The Ennis title from Aftershock Jimmy’s Bastards (sorry Mum) has a decent hold at 255 with over 6.4k.  This is going to be for Ennis loyalists and will probably do well in collection form like his other smaller press projects like the Boys for years to come.

At 259 is the oddest comic on the chart possibly (that’s saying something this month) in the form of Centipede from Dynamite selling over 6.2k.  This is based of the classic computer game where you had a centipede go round the screen eating things without hitting the sides.  Not sure how it became a comic and likely retailers ordered cautiously while they tried to figure it out too.

Ray:  Centipede was just as weird as it sounds, an experimental book about a dude who may be the last living person fighting the Centipede monsters from the game. Given that…these numbers are fine? I can’t believe Dynamite put out a one-man show about loneliness driving someone insane, based on an old video game. 

Glenn:  Harsh drop for Gwar Orgasmageddon (sorry mum) as it clocks in at 261 with over 6.1k.  This is the comic that probably makes people wish they were seen reading Sex Criminals over this so yeah…not a surprise given its title.

A pretty solid hold (around 2k) for Briggs Land Lone Wolves this month as it charts at 262 with sales also around the 6.1k mark.  This is from Brian Wood so he’s got his own set fanbase and seems to be a continuation of a long running series so that’s probably why it seems to have stabilized very quickly.  Pretty good for Dark Horse these days.

One of Aftershock’s best performing books, Aminosity relaunched last month and continues with the second issue charting 265 with sales just under 6k.  Its starting to drop to the lower dreggs of the chart but the book seems to have developed a strong following among fans.  I’m sure Aftershock are happy enough to have a franchise that seems to have got a fanbase around it of some description.

Ray:  This is actually a spin-off for Animosity, set in the immediate aftermath of “the wake”, so that’s pretty decent. This is Aftershock’s first two-book franchise, I think.

At 267 is reorders for Batman 25 at over 5.9k for the start of the War Of Jokes and Riddles.  A new story line featuring two iconic Batman villains, an anniversary number and the possible continuation of the Batproposal from 24 seems to have gotten retailers interested in ordering more of what is already an incredible selling title.

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Priced at 9.99 the 25th anniversary 225th issue of Savage Dragon manages sales over 5.6k at 272.  Asking to pay 9.99 for any comic is a big ask but managing this number and on a title that is now 25 years old is a respectable feat.  It seems that creator Erik Larson has no intention of stopping now and still manages to do his own book the exact way he wants without having to worry about anyone or anything else.  A very rare position to have in the industry.

Right below it at 273 is the second issue of Clue selling over 5.5k.  Pretty standard stuff from IDW for a property with no notable creators and a quirky atmosphere.

Speaking of IDW they launch a new title in the form of Dread Gods which is the first part of a mini that in itself with will be the first in a trilogy (got that?  Great) by some recognizable people like Ron Marz and Bart Sears.  It manages to chart at 276 with sales over 5.4k.  None of the people involved have done anything of note for a long time and IDW are better suited for licenced stuff rather than creator owned.  If they are planning a trilogy here then it might be rough going before it concludes if this is where we’re starting.

Ray:  IDW’s long had trouble with creator-owned books, and this Kirby-inspired fantasy-superhero pastiche didn’t seem to have much in the way of promotion. Not a big surprise.

Glenn:  Another part of the ‘major’ Jem and the holograms ‘event’ comes in the form of Jem and the Misfits Infinite charting at 281 selling over 5.1k.  I’m sure Jem fans are genuinely excited about this but if IDW hoped a bit of extra hype would give the franchise some new interest outside its existing fan base, I think they’re not living in the same world you and I am.

At 284, Archie goes old school with ‘Your Pal Archie‘ selling over 5k.  This is new Archie stories in a more traditional style than the successful Waid led reboot.  This is about how Archie would have performed before said Reboot so its pretty standard stuff.

Ray:  My assumption is that Archie is still aiming this book for the newsstand market, so given that, the standard direct market numbers won’t bother them at all. Decent debut for the Archie where nothing horrible ever happens to anyone.  

Glenn:  I think 287 wins ‘best title of the month’ which comes from Dark Horse in the form of Zodiac Starforce Cries Of Fire Prince which might be the most 80/90’s cartoon sounding thing ever.  The title sells just under 5k and after a quick Google that seems to be what it is!  I’m not familiar with this property but much like Jem proves, it’ll have someone out there somewhere dying for this.

 

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Ray:  Zodiac Starforce is essentially an edgier, action-packed take on the “magical girl” genre. The first was critically acclaimed but never quite took off, so this is about what I’d expect here.

Glenn:  The awesomely named Space Goat publishing releases a book called the Howling which sells over 4.5k at 294.  Again given that they’re probably a very small company, they’re probably thrilled just to be on the charts.

A second Casper book from a different company launches at 299 with sales over 4.4k this month.  Since the market can barely sustain two titles for the majority of its most iconic heroes, I doubt anyone was asking for another Casper comic…even if its by someone else.

Ray:  The rights situation with the Harvey characters is apparently very odd. The previous relaunch, by Joe Books, had much better sales and quite a few name creators on board, while this one was very old school and featured quite a few reprints. I don’t think either comic has released a second issue so far, either.

Glenn:  Finally at 300 is issue 6 of Shadows On The Grave selling around 4.4k also.  Richard Corben has a very specific fanbase and it shows, this title will likely be gone from the charts from next month, never to return.  Oooooo spooky.

Ray:  Looking ahead, it’s a pretty big month for DC in particular. Of course, there’s a little book called Metal, which should absolutely dominate the top of the charts with sales in excess of 300K. Big Bang Comics has said this is selling like nothing they’ve seen in years, maybe decades. I doubt it’ll approach the orders of black swan events like Star Wars #1 or Obama Meets Spider-Man, but we could be looking at the biggest event since Civil War. 

It’s also Jack Kirby month at DC, with five one-shots featuring some of his famous creations, and the start of the twelve-issue Mister Miracle, the latest dark superhero reimagining from Tom King, which has gotten some of the best reviews in years. There’s also the dark alternate reality “Nightwing: The New Order“, where Dick Grayson declares war on superheroes.

For Marvel, the headliner is clearly the first five Generations one-shots. These are the ones focusing on Hulk, Jean Grey, Thor, Wolverine, and Hawkeye. It’ll be interesting to see if retailers treat these as an event or a side story. I’m guessing the latter. We’ll also be getting two more issues of Secret Empire, a Mace Windu miniseries, and a new Inhumans mini by Chris Priest.

There’s quite a few new Image launches this month as well, including witch horror Redlands, hard-boiled crime thriller The Hard Place, Amelia Earhart adventure Elsewhere, and Spy Seal. Featuring a seal who’s a spy. Or is it a spy who’s a seal?

And over in indieland, it’s time for the comic everyone’s waiting for…Garfield Meets Grumpy Cat! Move over, Metal. There’s also a five-part TMNT miniseries shipping this month, the launch of Turok from Dynamite, and plenty of other small-press books that will be fighting for a spot on the charts. What will make it? Wait and see!

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Liked what you read?  Got any questions or comments?  Let us know here or contact us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: June 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics.  He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios.  After finding out the 13th Doctor was going to be a woman, Glenn celebrated the exciting prospects it brings to one of his favorite shows, you know…like a sane person.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  After finding out the 13th Doctor was going to be a woman, Ray’s response was ‘David Tennant’s leaving?!?!?!?’ and then couldn’t stop his co columnist from sobbing.

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 just reached our 100th Episode so now is a perfect time to jump in!  You can listen to our longest episode ever here!

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn: Sorry about the slight delay folks!  Being a parent should allow you 28 hours or more in a day.

Its Summer and things are starting to really heat up in terms of the sales charts!  The big two are now either underway or starting their respective events in Secret Empire and Metal while the indies have a few interesting things cooking to keep their presence high.  How will it all fold out?  That’s what we’re here to find out!

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In a surprise the top book of the month turns out to be the launch of new Spider-Man ongoing, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man beating the nearest highest selling title by nearly 100k and clocking in sales of over 224k.  A whopping success for a Spider-Man b list title and their are a lot of contributing factors here.  The creative team of Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert have strong fanbases, there’s the movie, this issue was included in a collectors corps box (probably boosting it by 75k or so), variants, a more back to basic approach for the character and this being the first Spider-Man secondary title starring Peter Parker since the launch of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man way back in 2005. This book had a lot going for it and its paid off.  Of course, the celebration comes with pause as we saw a book like Champions debut higher and this month its only selling over 27k at 86 with only 9 issues in the bag.  Still this is a big win and I think this can be a stable seller, we’ll find out next month!

Ray:  As always when we have a #1 with a LootCrate or Collector’s Corps boost, I will say – we really need an a star by that #1 and the actual raw numbers without the bulk order. Would make it a lot easier to gauge. However, this is a Spider-man book with a top-tier creative team, so I would guess that this is actually the legit #1 book of the month, unlike the last two months with Secret Empire. This is a monthly book, so no #2 to judge this one, but I would estimate that it could settle down less than 10K below the level of Amazing Spider-man, which would still put it in ratified air for Marvel right now.
Glenn:  Given that Amazing has slid a bit the last few months, I think this one will be a bit closer but either way thats more than enough to call it a win.

The book I thought would be the number 1 book this month is actually the number 2 book in Dark Days: The Forge which is the first of two prelude books that are leading up to DC mega event, Metal.  The book sells over 130.6k which is a great number in of itself but a lot lower than I would have expected.  It seems that the two Dark Days books may have caught retailers by surprise and they were a little late to the ordering party.  There was some confusion here similar to the Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy sales puzzle but even with that, the book topped 100k easy.  I expect big reorders for this next month and a much more sensible number for Dark Days: The Casting which had a whole extra month after the initial announcement of these two prequels.  Things are looking very promising for the main event book by superstars Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo this summer.

Ray:  This feels like a misfire on the part of DC marketing more than anything else. These specials were dropped in the schedule with relatively little notice, and final order cutoff snuck up on a lot of retailers. The fact that with all of that, it still sold 130K is actually a big win for the creative team. We’ll see lots of reorders, no doubt. And more importantly, if this can do 130K with everything going against it, it feels very likely that Metal can easily debut over 200K – and maybe stay there, which would be a level not seen by any mainstream book since Secret Wars.

Glenn:  Star Wars once again proves its value to Marvel with the launch of the new Darth Vader ongoing at 3 with sales over 118.6k.  Its a long distance from the sales of the last Vader ongoing but the hype around Marvel doing Star Wars comics has died down a little.  Still, 3 years later and the value of the property is still considerable.  Its also possible that since this book is set during the much less popular ‘prequel era’ that that could have had some impact also.  Still, a strong launch and this book could easily settle in the 50-60k to make it one of Marvel’s strongest performers.

Ray:  Solid debut for Darth Vader, although I would have expected a bit more. Marvel’s rolling out more and more Star Wars books – they have nine coming out in September, I believe – and attrition may be settling in, as we see the second issue of this title land at #12 with sales of 66K. That doesn’t give it much breathing room. However, I think if it can land about 10K ahead of secondary Star Wars books like Doctor Aphra and Poe Dameron, it’ll be a solid performer long-term.

Glenn:  I missed the second issue comic out, glad you caught that.  So its selling lower than the usual level of the old Vader series already but that was a good bit ago and there’s a lot of factors to consider.  It’ll definitely be well above the normal Star Wars ongoings apart from the main title so that’ll be enough to keep the penny counters happy for sure.

Back in the 100k club, Batman 24 is at 4 with over 116k for the proposal issue.  Its odd this was ordered so high as DC didn’t let anything slip about the significance of the issue prior to ordering would have been completed.  Is it genuine momentum for the title after the button perhaps?  Given the events of the issue, this will be another one which will likely have strong reorders next month.  The 25th issue is at 6 with sales just under 103k.  Low bump considering this is an anniversary issue and the start of the new Jokes and Riddles story.  The price is higher too so that may have had an impact but I doubt it.  This is probably just showing that Batman is super stable in itself and issue numbers and starts of stories don’t effect it as much because it sells so well normally anyway.  Strongest ongoing in the market bar none.

Ray:  Definitely good bumps for both issues. With #24, I’m wondering if buzz got out very quickly, and retailers were able to get in additional orders for this month? It could be an additional 15K in reorders rolled into the main number. As for #25, one thing I noticed is that very few of the 25th issues this month got any significant boost, with one exception (more on that later). We talked about this with Detective #950 a while back – the double-edged sword of Rebirth’s insane stability is that there’s relatively little movement in either direction.

Glenn:  Sandwiched inbetween the two Batman issues this month at 5 is another Batman comic in the form of the final issue of Dark Knight III which finishes with sales over 103.3k.  This has sold over 6k every issue and that’s really impressive these days, especially since its been delayed and there has been some controversy with the series.  Despite this its been another big success for DC and now it goes off to collection heaven where it will continue to be a solid performer for decades to come, no doubt.

Ray:  This took forrrrrreeeeeeeevvvvveeeeeeerrrrrrrr to finish, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt it at all. DKR is an insanely strong brand for DC, and this will continue to deliver strong sales in collections for years to come. Seems to have gone over much better overall than DKSA as well.

Glenn:  I’m pretty sure my own Batman comic where he is turned into a stickman by the fiendish Mr. Sticks is better regarded than DKSA

Ray:  I’d read that Batman story.

Glenn:  Yet another surprise this month in the number 7 book being the first Edge Of Venomverse prelude selling over 98k.  This is just a set up for the Venomverse mini series starting in a few months starring a different version of Venom every issue.  We saw something similar to Spider-Verse a few years ago which of course led to the popularization of Spider-Gwen.  The last few sales charts have shown some excitement for Venom as a property and this is likely an extension of that.  This particular issue also stars X-23 who is pretty hot at the moment following Logan and retailers may not want to risk missing out on the next surprise hit like Spider-Gwen was.  Whatever the reason, this is an amazing number for a prelude to a mini-series that basically came around because some variants looked cool.

Ray:  Venom’s had an incredible resurgence over the last few months, and if the prequel mini can do this well, Marvel may just have a huge hit on their hands with Venomverse in the coming month. It’s essentially a weekly event once it launches, so that should keep numbers high throughout. Will Venomverse outsell Secret Empire that month? It’s entirely possible, given that it did this month.

Glenn:  Its even more impressive when you consider that it outsold the latest issue of the actual proper real big event Marvel wants you to care about in the form of Secret Empire.  Issues 4 and 5 sold 8 and 9 respectively with sales over 91.6k and 87.6k which is very stable.  This is a very busy and particularly successful top ten this month so the books rank lower than they likely would have done on a quieter month.  Sadly for the event, the quiet months are at an end for a while so it could be pushed out of the top ten sooner than you would realize.  These are very good numbers in many ways and shows a quick stabilization fast.  In terms of the scale of the book and what its supposed to be, its selling well below what you would expect.  Its now selling lower than Civil War II was at its conclusion and that was not anything to write home about.  This is probably going to end up selling like a middle of the road event rather than the juggernaut its supposed to be.  Also, like we said last month the strength of the event is also how it benefits its tie-ins and we’ll get to that later…a lot later…….a lot, lot later.

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Ray:  And speaking of…these numbers for Secret Empire aren’t terrible. That shows some stability, but it comes after crushing losses last month. It’s got three months to go, and it’s not likely to decline to IvX numbers based on this, but the most positive scenario is likely AXIS. The bigger problem is the fact that Marvel has turned over its entire line to this event, and we’ll talk much more about them later – but spoiler, they do basically nothing.

Glenn:  Finally its Walking Dead at 10 with sales just under 83k and a sales bump because…reasons?  Insert monthly joke of YOUR choice about how successful this book is here and the best won wins Ray for the weekend!

Ray:  Walking Dead keeps its grip on that top ten like a zombie grandma eating a bingo caller!

Speaking of reliable, just outside of the top ten is Star Wars, selling 70K. Still easily Marvel’s #1 ongoing and should keep this slot as long as Aaron is on board.

Glenn:  I would say the titles brand is bigger than Aaron, all due respect to him.  If he did leave (it seems like he won’t be since he’s sticking with Marvel) then they have a few talented folks ready to take over if the need arises.  This line has been a gift to Marvel in many ways and given that there is direct oversight on this one at least, they’ll not mess up.

Note:  Since writing this, it has been announced Jason Aaron is leaving Star Wars and Kieran Gillan is taking over

Ray:  A decent debut for Defenders by Bendis and Marquez at #13, with sales of 64K. Not bad for a book very clearly trying to capture that Netflix vibe. This ships two issues this month, though, and the second slides down to #35 with sales of 46K. That’s not a terrible drop at all, although this is just a retailer guessing game. If this can land at Jessica Jones numbers long-term, it’ll be a modest hit.

Glenn:  With regards to Defenders, I’m surprised they didn’t wait till the series landed next month, it seemed to work wonders for Iron Fist and this title has a much higher profile creative team but hey, you’re okay.  Your projection seems spot on, this will be one of Marvel’s upper tier which is around the 45k-55k range these days with a few exceptions.

Ray:  The rare example of a Secret Empire bump, Amazing Spider-man saw its 28th issue sell 50K at #26, down further from last month’s drop, but #29 leapfrogs 9K to land at #15, just under top twenty (but soon ending) All-Star Batman. I put this more on the subject matter of the issue, though – it’s the start of the rematch between Peter and former Spider-man Otto Octavius.

Glenn:  Yeah, I think this is more about the story being Ock’s return (again) over Secret Empire.  Once again, Dan Slott has turned Doc Ock’s presence into money.  This will continue to be stable throughout Secret Empire on its own merits.

Ray:  A #25 issue that did move the needle, surprisingly, is Old Man Logan. It loses Jeff Lemire, brings in the Hulk Gang and the Maestro – and leaps 13K in sales to land at #16 with 59K. That’s a really surprising number. Good job by Marvel hyping it up, but we’ll see the drop next month – as we’ll talk later, huge numbers for an anniversary doesn’t guarantee long-term success, especially at Marvel.

Glenn:  There was a lost of questions about Old Man Logan post Lemire but these numbers do give some reservation optimism.  The issue number no doubt helped as did the presence of Marvel mainstay Mike Deodato but don’t count out Ed Brisson either.  His Iron Fist launch was huge and he was a poach from DC who probably had him lined up for the same kind of push people like Steve Orlando is getting.  More will become clear about this title’s future next month but good stuff here for sure.

Ray:  Last month we saw Detective Comics leapfrog Justice League to become the #2 biweekly book from DC. This month, The Flash does it as well. Although they all decline slightly – Justice League more than the other – all the issues are clustered right next to each other, showing the slight attrition. Flash #25 outsells #24, but only by a few hundred copies.

On the other hand, there is no such stabilizing for the biweekly X-men books, which continue to have huge slides with each issue. X-Men Gold sells 54K and just cracks the top 20 with #5, but slides 6K with the next issue. Likewise, X-Men Blue sells 50K with #5, but loses 7K the same month.

Glenn:  Marvel made a big deal out of this latest X-Men relaunch but it doesn’t seem to have had much effect, especially when you compare it to the rebirth books that are outselling it at a year into their runs.  Marvel will be hoping the massive latest fresh coat of paint that is Legacy will help but I’m not so certain.

Ray:  At #25 we have a one-shot titled “Weapons of Mutant Destruction“, which leads into a crossover between Totally Awesome Hulk and Weapon X. It sells 52K, which is more than impressive enough given that neither of the parent titles sells all that well. (Weapon X – 35K at #60, Hulk all the way down at #115 with 23K).

Glenn:  This got a good amount of hype and seemed like a pretty cool concept.  Marvel shows they can pull out the tricks that seem to work when they want.

Ray:  Last month, we saw a spectacular number of over 140K for Venom #150. We speculated how much of that bounce it would keep – and the answer is virtually none, as the first book to assume Legacy numbering drops down to 49K at #32. Still a strong number for a Venom book, which has been surprising for a while now. However, it’s not a good sign for less healthy books trying the renumbering game like this in the coming months.

A Marvel book showing impressive stability right out of the gate, though, is All-New Guardians of the Galaxy. The title had a surprisingly weak debut last month, and then dropped down to only 51K the same month. Well, this month it charts two issues at #31 and #34, selling just under 50K and 47K. That’s a very good sign for a book that seems to have gotten the best reception of any new Marvel ongoing in a while. There’s still a Guardians fanbase out there, despite the spinoff sales.

An odd, inexplicable 15K bump this month for Avengers, which goes from 30K last month (a shockingly low number) to 45K this month at #36. What’s puzzling is that this was the second issue of a fill-in arc by Unstoppable Wasp writer Jeremy Whitley, so the bump can’t even be attributed to the Secret Empire tie-in that began the next month.

Glenn:  I’d say the mystery bump for Avenger’s may have been due to a mistake last month more than anything.  Its always good to see increased sales but the Avenger’s brand is miles away from where it was.  Another one hoping the Legacy band aid will cure all.

Ray:  Wonder Woman #25, the conclusion of Greg Rucka’s acclaimed run, gets a 1K jump over the 24th issue. The run ends with a healthy number of 44K at #37, one of many DC books that got a lasting bump from Rebirth. Now comes a fill-in arc by Shea Fontana followed by James Robinson’s controversial run.

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Glenn:  I guess the minimal bump shows that like Batman, retailers pretty much know where Wonder Woman is at a book and its a very good level considering the titles history in terms of sales.  Rucka will be a hard act to follow but its going to be very interesting to see how the industry reacts to a fill in and a new writer whose sales record lately has been spotty at best. I do have to question DC’s decisions regarding this book given the popularity of the movie.  Will they be wasting a lot of good faith in the coming months?

Ray:  Another surprising bump for a Marvel book. This time it’s the always popular Mighty Thor, jumping 7k to land at #41 with sales of 42K. This one has a potential reason, as it’s the debut of the War Thor, a major new player as Aaron’s run steams towards what’s promising to be a tragic conclusion.

Glenn:  Thor is also one of Marvel’s most critically acclaimed books.  It could just be increasing because its that damn good.  If Aaron is leaving as everything seems to suggest, I hope Marvel is making plans now for where to take this franchise next.  This could go down as one of the definitive Thor runs and the next creative team have big shoes to fill.

Ray:  Small but notable increases for SE tie-ins Deadpool (up 5K) and Captain America: Steve Rogers (up 4K) as they hit the main event. These tie-ins also have more variant covers than a standard issue, so that probably helps here. Still, not great for the book that most closely ties into the main event to not even crack 40K.

Justice League of America is just outside the top 50 with its second issue this month, but it’s also assuming the standard Rebirth routine of shedding less than 1K between issues in a month. Still, with sales of 37.5K for its second issue, the delta between it and the main JL book is increasing.

Also getting a slight boost this month is Doctor Strange, which goes up about 3K from its last issue to land at #58 with sales of 35K. The new creative team doesn’t seem to have hurt, but there’s going to be three creative teams on this book between now and November. Although newly announced regular writer Donny Cates is a massive talent (more on his wild ride in a bit), I wonder how much the rotating teams will impact this book before then.

Glenn:  As long as Cates sticks around for a fair bit, I can’t imagine anything but stability in the future for Doctor Strange, he seems to be this years Jeff Lemire in terms of ‘you can set your clock by him’ sales dependability.  Massive coo for Marvel to nab him and a property like Doctor Strange is a good place for him to cut his teeth in the MU.

Ray:  The power of Star Wars shines through again, with $4.99 one-shot Droids Unplugged selling just under 36K at #59. More impressive than it looks, because it’s all reprinted backups from #1 issues!

Glenn:  That’s an incredible number at that price for reprinted material.  This is also essentially a kids comic written and illustrated by the great Chris Eliopoulos.  This is just a tasty topping on top of the already very filling Star Wars cake that Marvel has been munching on for a while.  Mmmm, cake

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Ray:  Meanwhile, Marvel’s still putting out some unambiguous disasters, and one is Iceman #1, which crashes on arrival, with the first issue selling 34K at #62. That’s 5K below where Unstoppable Wasp launched a few months back, and we’ve seen how it’s fallen from there. In case anyone had hopes for this to stabilize, the second issue tumbles down to #123 and sells 22K. Not a total crash, but it’s not sustainable at these numbers.

Glenn:  Given the X-Men franchise is not at its strongest, giving books to less prominent members of the team seems like a questionable idea.  Iceman has been around since the teams initial inception but is hardly someone capable of holding their own ‘ongoing’.  This one will be gone faster than the ice that’s melting in the heat outside.
Once again, Star Wars pulls off a win with the Poe Dameron annual selling less than 2k less than the regular issue at 67 with sales over 32.8k  That’s a strong performance for an annual by any measure and Marvel will have some Poe collection ready to go in time for Episode VIII this Christmas, just more added bonus for them.

Ray:  Given that this was a different creative team for Poe Dameron at a higher price point, that’s a really solid number. There’s some similarities between Star Wars and Rebirth, I think – they have a much more solid floor and a much smoother trajectory than anything else Marvel puts out.

Glenn:  I’m sad that the DC/Loony Toons books didn’t perform better as they were all hella fun and excellent stuff all around.  Such a bizarre concept may have made retailers cautious despite some of the talent involved.  Now, compared to how Loony Toons stuff usually sells, this is amazing stuff, especially with a 4.99 all around.  It really depends what DC expected out of it which is something known only to them.  The best selling of the bunch is of course Batman/Elmer Fudd at 70 with sales just under 32k.  This one has received massive praise so might get some serious reorders next month.  If you haven’t read any of these crossovers, this is the one to pick.  Next at Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil at 107 with sales over 24.3k.  Probably earning the silver medal due to the movie.  Next is Lobo/Road Runner earning bronze at 116 with sales over 22.5k.  This is likely due to the involvement of Kelly Jones.  The rest sold pretty closely together with Martian Manhunter/Marvin The Martian at 121 with sales over 22.2k, Legion/Bugs Bunny at 127 with sales over 21.4k and finally Jonah Hex/Yosemite Sam at 131 with sales over 20k.  Again, it depends what DC expected but I’m hoping for more stuff like this from them in the future!

Ray:  This was just an oddball concept for a series of specials that took everyone by surprise with how good it was. Especially as the Hanna-Barbera one-shots definitely didn’t light the world on fire. I imagine there’s going to be a rush to reorder this Elmer Fudd special in particular, given just how good it turned out to be. But one I thing I notice about this was that four of the six specials were headlined by DC characters who don’t maintain their own series at the moment. Given that, books headlined by Lobo, Jonah Hex, Martian Manhunter and the  Legion, these didn’t do too badly. I hope they did well enough for us to get a second wave!

Glenn:  The second issue of Cable performs decently enough at over 31.5k.  Given the character has been absent from the spotlight for a few years, I’d say that is very good.  Of course, the writer is leaving but Ed Brisson is jumping on with the Legacy 150 renumbering of the book.  I don’t think we’ll be able to judge this one until after 151 or so.

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Ray:  That’s a pretty harsh second issue slide for Cable, but with a soft relaunch coming after only one arc, it should probably last a little while longer. Marvel will have bigger fish to fry.

Glenn:  First new Secret Empire tie in slots in at 77 with sales over 30.8 k in the form of Secret Empire: Brave New World.  Not terrible but this is only the launch issue and the second issue drops way down to 126 with sales over 21.8k.  This doesn’t bode well for this particular title or the event as a whole but we’re not done in that regard quite yet.

Ray:  All these tie-ins are being treated as irrelevant side minis with no real importance to the main event, which…they kind of are? I don’t think any of them provide any essential information, and the titles are sort of confusing and generic, giving no real indication to the subject matter. Some of the tie-in regular titles have been getting small boosts for their first tie-in issue, but the minis are essentially DOA.

Glenn:  Mark Millar and Greg Capullo finish their Image title Reborn with a respectable performance at 80 with sales over 29.5k.  Delays likely hurt the momentum of this series a bit but its going off to the golden land of collections where that won’t matter much.  It seems Millar was happy enough to indicate we’ll be seeing a lot more of this universe in the future.  Time will tell if that includes Capullo but this is a good strong ending number none the less.

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Next Secret Empire tie-in is Uncanny Avenger’s at 88 just over 27.2k sales.  Compared to last month that’s an increase of about 300 copies.  Yay?

Getting back to that Donny Cotes fellow, his new Aftershock title Babyteeth launches with an astonishingly good debut at 92 with sales over 26.5k  I believe if that’s not Aftershock’s highest launch it mush be close.  This guy has seemingly come out from nowhere and is taking the industry by storm, this is a brilliant debut by any standard in terms of a small indie company.  Hell this would be a strong debut by Image standards.

Ray:  I’m pretty sure that is the best numbers we’ve ever seen for Aftershock! And it’s by a guy who was barely on the scene six months ago. He’s now on two Marvel titles and has several indie books as well. His meteoric rise reminds me a lot of Scott Snyder’s at the moment.

Glenn:  Black Bolt’s second issue holds pretty stable at 94 with sales over 26.4k.  The writer has a large fan base outside of comics which might be helping but if the book can even manage 8k lower, I’d call that a win.

Ray:  Obviously, these aren’t great numbers for a Marvel second issue, but it’s a solid drop from the first issue of Black Bolt. If it levels out quickly, this could wind up being a Vision-like run, where it goes for a critically acclaimed twelve issues or until Saladin Ahmed is done with his story. Worth noting it’s also the top-selling book starring the Inhumans at the moments by a fair margin. 

Glenn:  Another Secret Empire tie-in with the title ‘United‘ manages sales over 26.3k at 95.  Not really much interest on this one at launch.  Why it sold around 4k less than Brave New World is hard to say.  If it drops the same as BNW did next month though…yeesh.

Solid hold for Bane Conquest which sells over 25k at 102.  This is a very good number for what is essentially a 90’s nostalgia maxi-series

Ray:  Yeah, Bane had a smooth landing with its second issue. The fact that Batman features prominently into this series probably helps it as well. As we saw way back with the New 52, a Bat-connection will almost always help a title survive longer than expected.

At #84 with 27K sakes, we see Aquaman #25, the debut of new artist Stepan Sejic, which lands nine spots and 1K in sales above #24. The book is going monthly now to meet Sejic’s schedule, so this feels like a title that will definitely benefit long term from its anniversary issue.

Deathstroke slips out of the top 100 this month, at #104, but there were a lot of new launches and tie-ins. It’s still rock-solid at just under 25K. To compare it, the 20th issue of Deathstroke outsold the 4th issue of Iron Fist.

Glenn:  Deathstroke is a critical darling and is selling better than the characters book usually does.  It isn’t going anywhere as long as Priest is on the book I’d expect.  Its interesting how this books performance has made him the writer to work with once more.

Ray:  Another new SE tie-in, Underground, at #106 with 24K. One might say these sales are underground! Oh ho ho ho ho ho.

I was a bit surprised to see Tim Seeley’s Steve Trevor special only chart at #109 with sales of 24K, the month of the WW movie. But I also didn’t see all that much promotion for it. Maybe a bit of a missed opportunity for DC.

Glenn:  Steve Trevor is hardly an iconic supporting character the likes of Alfred or Jimmy Olson and they’d struggle too in this market.  Pretty decent sales for what it is and that is probably just because of the movie more than anything else.

Ray:  In terms of annuals NOT matching the performance of the parent title, the All-New Guardians of the Galaxy Annual sells 23K at #111, less than half of the parent title. But then, it was a completely different creative team and a Secret Empire tie-in. All the Guardians satellite books (see I Am Groot right below it) are doing really poorly, and this was treated like one of them.

Glenn:  Like you said earlier, time to let the Guardians take a breather.  Their main book is still light years ahead of what a Guardians book would be capable of prior to their popularization in the MCU so Marvel should be putting their resources to better use with that in mind.

Ray:  There’s a whole lot of Marvel books crashing very quickly, especially in the X-men line. Both Jean Grey (#114, 23K) and Generation X (#120, 22K) are already out of the top 100 with their third issues, sandwiched in between DC books a year in. I mean, for Zod’s sake, it took Gwenpool seventeen issues to sink to this level, and she’s a meme posing as a character!

Glenn:  Those are some poor numbers for the latest batch of Marvel’s titles.  They’ve got their next attempt to right the ship coming up shortly but all the tricks they’ve tried so far have come up short thus far and I don’t sense Legacy will change their fortunes any. I’d advise fans of Jean Gray and Generation X not to get attached.

Ray:  Redneck, another book by Donny Cates, continues to lock down on the charts, with its third issue selling 22K at #124. This is the fourth highest selling Image book this month, with the others being written by Kirkman, Millar, and Vaughn.

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Strong debut for Valiant for their Harbinger sequel “Secret Weapons”, at #125 with sales just under 24K. This book had the benefit of having an Oscar-nominated writer on board, so I imagine it’s going to be one of their all-time best sellers in trade as well.

Glenn:  Wonderful sales for Valient who are making some headway in the market outside of their usual small but dependable audience.  Its not serious momentum yet but its definitely a start.

Ray:  I was a little surprised to see Gail Simone and Cat Staggs’ Crosswind only sell 21K at #128. This will undoubtedly do well in trade, but it feels like Gail’s star has dimmed a bit in the comic world. Maybe because it’s been years since she worked on a big two property with name recognition, instead preferring to stick to offbeat and creator-owned books. Still, she has a very loyal fanbase and this will probably be very steady.

Glenn:  I agree with both your points.  Its been a good bit since Gail wrapped up her last big DC work and she’s been working on smaller and creator owned properties since.  Still, few creators have the goodwill Gail has so this title will be fine for as long as she wants it to run I’m sure.  Compared to the usual Image launches by lesser known creators, this is still very good.

Ray:  A strong debut for one of my favorite Image launches in a while – Shirtless Bear-Fighter! This bizarre, vaguely obscene comic about a wilderness man who fights evil bear invasions manages to sell 18.7K at #134. A decent debut for any Image book without a big name attached, but one as weird as this? Let’s hope this starts a trend!

Glenn:  Shirtless Bear-fighter has really gotten a lot of buzz about it so I could see it either settling very fast or getting some increases in the months to come.  Its one of those concepts thats so silly it has to be awesome.  Good for Image for taking a risk on something a little more quirky, it could very well pay off for them.

Ray:  That book actually outsold Sam Wilson’s book in the middle of the big Captain America event. Womp womp.

Glenn:  Poor Sam, he is not in the best position at all for his new ongoing to take flight (get it, get it) and will likely be shoved in the supporting character cupboard before early next year.

Ray:  Another Marvel movie, another wave of these $1 “True Believer” reprints, this time for Spider-man. The top charting one is Amazing Spider-man at #136, giving Marvel 18K worth of easy sales.

Glenn:  I just wonder which Amazing Spider-Man 1 it is, there’s like four now.  I’m personally hoping for the one featuring the Scorpion attacking Peter’s work when a new Spider-Man shows up to save the day!  Don’t look at me like that, that’s what Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 had as its first issue!

Ray:  The absurdly delayed Adam Hughes Betty & Veronica series wraps up its three issue run at #140 with sales of 17K. Not a harsh drop, so I’m guessing Hughes’ art still has some solid fans. Rumor is a lot of things are up in the air with Archie, though, especially given this month’s big news (more on that a bit further down).

Glenn:  Not a disaster and yeah, Hughes doing interiors will definitely get some buzz, even if they take a while.  I’m sure Archie wanted more from this series though but that’s the dice you roll when you get someone like Hughes on board.  Latest announcements and solicitations show them making some…odd publishing decisions coming up so this title will likely left behind (not that its really expected to continue anyway).  The upcoming Harley and Ivy vs Betty and Veronica will make a lot more impact I’m sure.

Ray:  Lots more Marvel books crashing, with Luke Cage, Royals, and Rocket barely making the top 150 and all selling in the 17K range. Two of these are on their second issue and have major MCU presence, and the third is the flagship Inhumans book. Clearly, still a lot of work to be done at Marvel.

Glenn:  Not much more without sounding mean(er) at Marvel’s sales woes currently.  There’s so many fires that need put out its unbelievable.  It might be more sensible to watch the fire, have some marshmallows and then start over from the beginning at this point.

Ray:  Remember Divided States of Hysteria? How could you forget? This is probably a case of more people angry about a book than actually read it, because #1 lands at #147 with sales of 16K. Chaykin is a cult creator and always sells relative low in singles, so this isn’t a huge surprise, but we’ll have to see if the controversy gets it a bounce in coming months.

Glenn:  There’s been a lot of talk about this book for all the reasons.  Will that mean some sales buzz in a few months?  We’ll see but yeah this is pretty standard for now for a comic written and drawn by Chaykin.  He’s an acquired taste to say the least and Image will know that.

Ray:  Bitch Planet, a moderately successful Image book (essentially Orange is the New Black in space) gets an anthology spin-off this month, Bitch Planet Triple feature. It has a decent debut at #151 with sales of 15.5K. A friend of ours, Marc Deschamps, has a story in the September issue, so make sure to check it out!

Glenn:  Go Marc!  For a spin-off comic featuring different creators I would say that’s a very good performance.  Hopefully there’s some talented folks that get some exposure with their talent being featured on an Image title that seems to have a decent built in audience.

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Ray:  God Country wraps up its run with sales of 15.3K at #153. A bit of a harsh drop to end the run, but this book is considered a new Image master piece, and with its creator’s insane rise, it’ll go on to do gangbusters in collections for years to come.

Dynamite’s been putting out a lot of these #0 issues for low cover prices, and they have another one at #160 – this one a revival of Ash vs. the Army of Darkness. Most of these titles have lost a lot of sales when they resume normal pricing, so this issue’s sales of 14.5K don’t give it a lot of breathing room.

Glenn:  Dynamite has had the Evil Dead property for as long as I can remember.  Retailers will probably know where its level is and who is coming in to buy it.  This is better than those books tend to do likely because some retailers saw the price and thought ‘eh, why not?’  I doubt it’ll make much impact and its not going to take anyone by surprise but Dynamite will know what to expect.

Ray:  Hey, there’s Gwar: Orgasmageddon at #164! 14K sales. Orgasmageddon. I got nothing. Glenn?

Glenn:  I can’t believe I’ve had to put this into Google…I’ve read the description and I still don’t know what this is.  14k for anything that has orgasm in the title is cause for celebration I’d say.  Let us never speak of it again.
The Man-Thing mini by R.L. Stine finishes at 166 with sales over 13.6k.  I don’t think that’s too shabby for a different, very quirky take on what is a niche character to start with.  What Marvel likely has their eye on with this book is the bookstores and people picking this up because of Stine’s name and thinking its a new Goosebumps thingey so these sales are ultimately inconsequential.

Ray:  The fact that there’s a new Goosebumps series at IDW instead of Marvel makes me think both sides realized Marvel isn’t the place for Stine’s stuff right now, even if he still has good relations with Disney. Watch Disney and IDW getting closer and closer. That might stealth be the biggest story in comics right now.

Glenn:  With James Robinson seemingly hopping over to DC, I doubt much effort will be made to save Nick Fury which will be shuffled off shortly with its catastrophic sales.  It at 174 this month selling over 12.6k, barely outselling the oddest crossover ever.

Ray:   I believe Nick Fury was left off the Legacy lineup, along with a few other titles like Rocket and Wasp, so look for it to be quietly shuffled off into the night soon.

Glenn:  Speaking of which at 175 is KISS/Vampirella launching with sales over 12.6k.  This looks like the result of a challenge to draw two random properties out of a hat and make a crossover comic.  Sales are grand for the oddness this is.

Ray:  It seems to be the month for old rock bands to have moderately successful comics. At the very least, I salute Dynamite’s commitment to the weird right now.

Glenn:  I remember you giving Kill The Minotaur from Image a glowing review on Rabbitt Stew (dong), Ray.  It seems to have a pretty good debut at 182 with sales over 12.1k.  A little above the usual level of non-big name Image launches I think so this will probably have a solid hold and a hold for as long as the creators want.

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Ray:  Yeah, this was a fantastic book (and the second issue was just as good), but this is an Image title with no name creators attached. Unless the book explodes in buzz right away like God Country did, these are fine numbers for a debut like this.

Glenn:  Despite selling just a shade over 12k at 184 with its third issue, Marvel has faith in Monsters Unleashed to carry it into Legacy.  We know now that Marvel can be stubborn to give up on something they wanted to be a thing that wasn’t a thing.  Soon to be completely forgotten despite the upcoming Legacy medikit I’d say.

Ray:  Like Moon Girl, they may be hoping this finds its audience elsewhere. Unlike Moon Girl, I don’t think it’s happening.

Glenn:  Its only a mini but Zombies Assemble at 186 with sales over 11.8k from Marvel shows that no one was really eager to see the return of the fad that was Marvel Zombies from a decade or so ago. It shows up again at 202 for issue 3 with sales over 10.5k so I don’t see Marvel rolling out their undead again any time soon. Its priced at 4.99 which will help keep the balance sheets looking better but this could be really any zombie comic from any company at the moment.

Ray:  This is an oversized comic reprinting a black-and-white Japanese manga featuring the Marvel Zombies, so it’s definitely a niche property.

Glenn:  Ah, I didn’t remember it was a reprint and now I recall the controversy regarding how it was printed.  That’s fine numbers for something like that, for sure.

Just a few units below it is the second issue of Bug: The Adventures Of Forager at 187.  I thought maybe the Allreds might have got a bit more but very good none the less for a mini starring a very obscure character from the New Gods.  The Young Animal line seems to have settled into a steady ‘Much better than Vertigo‘ holding pattern on average.

Ray:  Yeah, Young Animal is still decent for what it is, but apparently it’s getting a shake-up soon – crossing over with the DCU and cutting back to two titles temporarily. I’m curious to see where it goes from here, but this means my dream of Loma Shade on the Teen Titans is alive.

Glenn:  I’m not sure who that is!  Exposing the Young Animal books to a larger audience is a double edged sword.  It could get it a lot more interest or lose some of the main titles their momentum.  Either way, it seems DC want to get more eyes on this line, even if they’re scaling it back.

Aftershock continues to roll out new content by familiar names, this time in the form of *coughs* Jimmy’s Bastards by fellow Northern Irishman, Garth Ennis.  It sells at 192 with sales over 11.6k.  Its been a while since Ennis did anything outside of creator owned and very niche properties for the big two so his drawing power will have diminished but this is still a good number for Aftershock and Ennis is one of those creators that will have a steady fanbase due to his past work.

Ray:  Ennis and Braun are a pretty well-known creative team, but like Simone, Ennis’ star has faded as he worked on more obscure books for a while. It’s still a pretty solid launch for Aftershock, although nowhere near the level of their other launch this month, Babyteeth. It’s classic Ennis and may stabilize quickly.

Glenn:  Right below it at 193 is a new comic from Steve Niles, a mini called Winnebago Graveyard selling 11.6k on the button.  Niles is another creator whose had big success in the past but its been a while.  Pretty much the same case as Ennis where fans of his work will always be there to support his work.  With this only being 4 issues long, I’m sure Image will be happy enough.

Ray:  Niles, like Ennis, is a cult creator with a well-known fanbase. Image didn’t seem to promote this miniseries much, though, which might explain the low numbers compared to things like Divided States and Minotaur.

Glenn:  Randomly, Dynamite launches a new Mighty Mouse comic at over 11.4k at 195.  This is a character I barely remember from my childhood so I’d call this a win.  It also manages to outsell this months issue of Kingpin from Marvel.  Mighty Mouse prevails over injustice once more!

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Ray:  Virtually all the old childhood cartoons are getting comics these days. Can Dino Riders be far behind? If so, I will be first in line. 
The bottom of the Rebirth listing looks the same this month, with New Super-Man, Blue Beetle, and Cyborg making up the bottom three and Blue Beetle pulling away from Cyborg a bit. Cyborg is still selling just over 12K copies, which is well above the floor of Marvel books lately. However, we’ve gotten word that Blue Beetle might be ending with #18 early next year, so I’d expect a few more including Cyborg to go with it.

Glenn:  I’d expect Cyborg to get a bit of a push with his spot in Justice League coming out (as of this typing) soon.  DC don’t tend to really stick with things that aren’t working though so its hard to say.  It could be argued that not every member of the team need their own ongoing (which currently they do)

Ray:  Worth noting that it looks like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is about to dip under 10K (#199, 10.9K). This has always been a cult book, but the numbers on some of Marvel’s mainstays are getting genuinely scary. I assume digital and trades will keep this one alive indefinitely, though. It just won an Eisner, too.

Glenn:  Squirrel Girl seems to have a small but passionate fanbase.  I would say it probably does well in other forms, I can’t imagine its going anywhere soon despite its low performance.

Ray:  Royal City finally seems to have stabilized a bit, losing less than 1K copies from last month at #203. This is clearly a book that will do most of its business in trades, but I’m glad to see a little more solid footing.

Archie seems to have kept its small boost from the start of the Over the Edge story, landing at #204 with sales of 10.5K as it gains a few hundred more copies. This week’s issue revealed that the status quo in Riverdale is not going back to normal any time soon, so we’ll see how it holds as the new storyline begins. Expect some reorders on #22 next month, as well.

Cullen Bunn’s latest horror comic, The Unsound from Boom, has an acceptable debut of 9.7K at #215. I’m sure this would have been a lot higher at Image or even Dark Horse, as he has a pretty solid fanbase by now, but given that we saw titles by rising writers like Tynion and Orlando barely limp into the top 300 from Boom, this are perfectly decent numbers for a five-issue miniseries. It sells roughly the same as the second issue of his new Image title, Regression, for the record.

The My Little Pony movie prequel from IDW sells just over 9K copies at #226. I’m clearly not the audience here, but I’m a bit surprised that I’ve seen nothing for the movie. I couldn’t avoid Boss Baby for months. I nearly went mad as a result. This, though? I never would have known there was a movie coming out in a few months, and I doubt many retailers did either.

Glenn:  There’s a My Little Pony movie?  I think this article might be the most exposure that’s gotten so yeah, no wonder this slipped under the radar.

Ray:  The first spin-off from Sovereigns, the surprisingly excellent Magnus, has a muted debut at #227 with 8.8K. I don’t think the Gold Key characters can sustain solo titles yet, and this likely bodes ill for Turok’s own spinoff in a few months.

Brian Wood’s creator-owned series Briggs Land returns with a new miniseries, Lone Wolves at #233 (8.3K), which is roughly the same level the title was selling in its first volume. I assume retailers just treated it like a continuation rather than a new series.

It’s not quite on the level of, say, Solo or Mosaic, but two of Marvel’s younger skewing books are hitting apocalyptic numbers in singles. Unstoppable Wasp (#237, 8K) is just going away shortly, while Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (#240, 7.7K) should really consider going to digests exclusively.

Glenn:  Marvel is really sticking with Moon Girl, she’s nearly as unkillable as Deadpool in regards to her books status.  Obviously Marvel knows something we don’t but even considering that, they are probably better moving the title to another format for its main release cause at this rate it may drop out of the charts entirely before next February or so.

Ray:  Dynamite’s clever video game based series Swordquest returns after it’s 25-cent zero issue with sales of 7.6K at #241. I believe the first issue was considered an incentive and didn’t chart, but these are certainly low numbers. Maybe the property is a bit too obscure to have a solid fanbase today?

Glenn:  The Swordquest story is something that is really only known to die hard gamers.  Its an interesting story but its not really one thats going to appeal to many that don’t know the story already or are particularly interested in video games (old ones at that).  We’ve seen in the past video game tie-ins are low performers and while this isn’t, its still pretty close.  Might just fade away with little impact this one despite its intriguing concept.

Ray:  The Rai one-shot “History of the Valiant Universe” lands at #243 with sales of 7.6K. I’m thinking that even though it was actually its own narrative, it sounded like a sourcebook issue and was ordered like one. Valiant needs to be a little clearer with its titles at times to get them to reach their full potential, but they’ve had some big wins this month already.

I was a little surprised to see Clue, which launched from IDW with a host of incentives and variants including a gimmick that made people buy multiple copies to get the full range of clues, land at #249 with sales of just under 7.2K. Maybe another property that skews a bit too old to really catch on, but that’s still really low. IDW’s bread and butter remains action figure tie-ins, it seems.

Glenn:  A comic based of a classic board game is probably a bit of an oddity.  It probably won’t appeal to people looking for something in the mystery genre and even the books light hearted tone is not clear in the title or the concept.  The two creators aren’t familiar to me so they’re probably happy enough but this is one that hasn’t made much impact in the charts.

Ray:  As we head out of the top 250, there’s an interesting entry at #251 with 7.1K, and that’s Archie’s Marvel Comics Digest: Amazing Spider-Man, a collection of old Spider-man stories collected in the form of an Archie Comics newsstand digest for $6.99 for well over 200 pages. Given that this isn’t directed towards the direct market at all, the fact that it made it on these charts is impressive. Further indication that Disney is looking away from the comic book company they actually own to promote their characters.

Glenn:  Its odd to see a collection in the monthly charts but here we are.  This is great stuff for reprinted material and stuff like this is going to provide Archie a solid footing outside the market.  Easy money for both companies.

Frank Tieri’s Pestilence is at 253 with sales just over 7k with its second issue.  Tieri was never a big a name as Ennis or Gail so the rule that applies to them about their brand diminishing applies for him more so.  Pretty standard performance for Aftershock with regards to how their books usually sell.

254 is a Loony Toons 100 page spectacular priced at 7.99 and also is just over 7k in sales.  Given that this was likely produced for outside the market sales, that’s a very good number at that price given its Loony Toons.  Perhaps some retailers thought customers would be in a Loony mood after the DC one shots this month.

Ray:  I believe this Looney Tunes special was a reprint of the first crossover mini from a decade ago, transporting the DC heroes into the Looney Tunes world. It never got much attention, unlike this month’s crossovers, so this is a pretty decent number for a reprint.

Glenn:  I don’t recall WWE’s many attempts to dip their toes into the comic world lasting as well as the current comic from boom is doing.  Six issues in and it sells over 6.8k at 255.  Its not going to have anyone rolling in green but given the history of wrestling comics, that’s very good that its even still charting.

Eternal Empires second issue lands at 262 with sales 6.5k.  This is probably the base fanbase for the Luna’s work I’d say.  Decent enough for a mini but nothing to write home about.

Ray:  Eternal Empire should be selling more, so consider this an official By The Numbers plug!

Glenn:  September Mourning Vol. 1 is an odd sounding book from Image which sounds more like a collection that a single issue comic.  It sells 267 with sales over 6.3k.  I don’t recognize any of the names attached and retailers may have just ordered it thinking it was some sort of really cheap collection.

Ray:  Yeah, September Mourning was essentially the first three issues of a mini that will never finished packaged into a mini-trade format. And apparently it was a music tie-in? Just another oddball Top Cow project that made no waves sales-wise.

Glenn:  At 268 is a 25th anniversary reprint of Spawn with a bunch of fancy cover gimmicks along to celebrate.  It sells over 6.3k too which is perfectly fine for the book that first put Image on the map but is now long past its prime.

Kull Eternal which seems like a sort of tie-in to an existing series of novels or comics or something is a new title from IDW at 269 with sales also around 6.3k.  I’m not familiar with this property so this is probably for the die hard fans only and retailers taking a chance on what they probably thought was a new property from a comic company whose strength’s aren’t in new properties.

Ray:  I remember seeing a Kull movie when I was a teenager. It wasn’t good. This is the first time I’ve thought about Kull since then, and it seems like I’m not alone, given these sales. Maybe just a bit too obscure a property for IDW to sell.

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Glenn:  Celebrate Zombie Tramp rentering the charts at 276 with sales just under 6k!  This book really either zigzags in sales a lot or doesn’t always hit an issue a month.  Always good to see Zombie Tramp either way.

Ray:  Zombie Tramp! Official mascot of By the Numbers.*

*We wish

Glenn:  A new comic from Black Mask called Beautiful Canvas at 278 with sales over 5.8k.  Pretty standard for a Black Mask launch now their new books seem to enter the charts frequently.  As usual, they’re probably thrilled when a book charts at all.

Ray:  Yeah, these are typical numbers for a Black Mask title without any big names attached. However, they have a comic coming up the next month, Calexit, that seems to be getting some serious buzz for its controversial subject matter. We’ll see how high it can get on the charts.

Glenn:  A curious one from Marvel in Vision: Directors Cut 1 at 279 with sales over 5.7k.  This is a reprint of the first two issues of the now Eisner winning super critically acclaimed Vision series by DC superstar, Tom King.  Marvel knows that people loved this book but it didn’t sell but before they send it off to collection heaven, they have decided to release six of these ‘Director Cut’ issues that also feature extra material from the creators.  Given that the collection of this book will do well for years and years, this seems like a ridiculously clever way for Marvel to sell the book in an extra format prior to that stage.  It seems that sometimes, critical acclaim does count for something.

Ray:  DC’s actually been doing similar things to the Vision Director’s Cut with a few comics, including DKIII. Seems like it’s a limited appeal for completists, but I can’t object to getting Vision in more hands. A brilliant comic.

Glenn:  Jem and the Holograms: Infinite is apparently a Jem crossover from IDW selling over 5.6k at 280.  This is hyped as a major crossover between Jem and Misfits and NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME.  The Marvel like hype doesn’t seem to have worked as this seems to have been ordered for the die hard Jem fan only.

The obligatory new Transformers comic from IDW this month is Transformers: Salvation, a 7.99 one shot at 289 selling over 5.1k.  This sells a good bit lower than the standard Transformers comic, possibly due to the price but it seems that retailers and fans didn’t seem to think this one was worth checking out.

Ray:  We’ve been seeing more and more $7.99 specials from IDW and Boom lately. I don’t know the exact size of some of them, but it’s a disturbing trend. Price creep shouldn’t be encouraged. We don’t want Marvel getting any ideas.

Glenn:  At 299 is the first issue of a Girl With The Dragon Tattoo adaption from Titan selling just under 5k.  That’s not too bad I’d say given the popularity of the novel, the fact that there’s been two film adaptions and DC did an ogn adapting this under Vertigo.  Not sure why Titan is adapting this again but its decent enough considering anyone buying it would be likely be a fan wanting it in a fifth format.

Ray:  Titan does a ton of these adaptations, many directly from TV or movies. They’re all for niche audiences, but they seem to be building market share through quantity as much as anything else.

Glenn:  Speaking of Vertigo, last book at 300 this month is Savage Things at over 4.7k.  Let us all wave goodbye to Savage Things as it leave the charts.

Ray:  Well…Vertigo said at SDCC they have some big things coming? And Justin Jordan is on good terms with DC, because he was just announced as doing the new book Brimstone. So everyone’s happy here, even as Vertigo continues to disappear.

Glenn:  We may have gotten over our Loony month but it seems like the months ahead are due to be just as crazy

Ray:  It’s another big month coming up, but in certain ways the calm before the storm, especially at DC. We’ve got the second part of Dark Days, The Casting, which had huge implications for several major character and should get a lot of reorders given the announcements at SDCC which spin out of it. Beyond that, we’ve got a new but short run on Wonder Woman, a Legion of Super-Heroes crossover with Batman ’66, and a new Vertigo miniseries from acclaimed screenwriter John Ridley. But for the most part, it should be business as usual at DC.

Over at Marvel, Secret Empire is still going…well, not strong, but it’s certainly going. Lots of tie-ins and two more issues of the main series. The headliner release of the month is undoubtedly the start of Charles Soule’s new Astonishing X-Men series, which will have A-list artist Jim Cheung on the first issue. There’s also the much-hyped new miniseries “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe“, plus the heavily hyped Spider-Men II from Bendis and Pichelli. Plus, Edge of Venomverse continues with…Gwevenompool. Help us.

Image is bringing us a new Lazarus spin-off co-written by Rucka, as well as the quirky supernatural romantic comedy Moonstruck, and the oversized debut issue of the horror comic Sacred Creatures. Plus, there’s the #0 issue of the return of Mage!

Indie’s got a few interesting debuts this month too. We’ll get some interesting #1s for IDW, including Ron Marz’s Dread Gods, the horror throwback Diablo House, and the time-travel winery dramedy Time and Vine. Valiant promises a game-changing death in Harbinger: Renegades, and Jeff Lemire’s Bloodshot get a spin-off in Bloodshot’s Day Off. Dynamite continues to bring us oddball adaptations, with debuts based on Centipede and Bettie Page. And both Archie and Boom are bringing us some throwback comics with “Your Pal Archie” and “Go Go Power Rangers” supplementing the recent reboots. Plus, we’ll see which smaller companies can break into the top three hundred with buzz-worthy debuts!

Until next month, loyal readers!

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