Category Archives: By the Numbers

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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By The Numbers: May 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 didn’t get into the DC writer workshop sadly but that won’t stop him from stalking Scott Snyder by hiding in the mans trunk.

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 asked for his thoughts on how Marvel Legacy changed the comic industry, Ray was only available for laugh track recordings.

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!

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Glenn:  Welcome friends to another exciting and slightly unusual sales glance where nothing is as it seeeeeeems.  Its been a hell of a busy month with a bunch of new launches from Marvel…to less than stellar results and more ‘we ain’t moving till we’re forced to move!’ action from DC!
The book at the number one spot this month is the first real proper issue of Secret Empire, the megawatt Marvel event that asks ‘Do you want more fascism in your comics?’  It launches at sales over 157k and with all the hype, promotion and build up I might have expected more.  It certainty seems like a muted debut with issues 2 and 3 of the event also charting in the top ten at spots 6 and 8 meaning the event is already selling below DC’s bulletproof Batman (more on that later) so even though 3 books in the top ten is commendable, these numbers don’t bode well for the event as a whole.  Events live and die with regards to crossovers and how successful they are too so there’s a lot of steps to follow before we make a final judgement on Secret Empire but its not the most inspiring of starts as its selling already less than Civil War II.  Issue 2 sold just over 100k and issue 3 sold over 91.6 k so they’re already out of the six figure club in the first month, eep.

In all actuality, Secret Empire wasn’t the top selling book of the month but more on that shortly.

Ray:  Oh boy. Ohhhhhhhh boy. There’s a lot to break down this month, starting with Secret Empire. First up is the sales on Secret Empire #1 – which actually DROPPED 5K from the sales of the #0 issue last month. With the last two events, the sales close to doubled from #0 to #1 before then dropping hard. Maybe past of this is increased savviness on the part of retailers, realizing that the #0 issue is essential reading and ordering accordingly. However, the more important bit of information here is that SE #1 sold less than Inhumans vs. X-Men #1. That was a limited crossover between two lines, one popular, one…less so (more on them in a bit). This is being styled as Marvel’s next big event on the level of Civil War II. They’re staking their whole line on it for close to half the year (and it keeps getting longer). So, for all that, one month into the event and their #3 issue is selling 20K less than the final issue of Civil War II. And they’ve got four months of attrition to go. This is going to be very ugly by the time all is said and done. 

And you know what? I’m going to break from professional sales guy here and say – good. For the last year, people have been rather aggressively telling Marvel that this direction was not acceptable. It’s been explained to them at length that this is an offensive direction that has a lot of people angry. Their response was “Well, we’re going to double down and give you all Nazi Cap, all the time”. And the result is exactly what you’d expect. This is what audience rejection, full stop, looks like. People aren’t buying what Marvel’s putting down, but they’ve gone all in on that direction. Expect a lot of them running back and forth going “It’s just a little fascist! It’s still good! It’s still good!” over the next few months.

7Glenn:  Civil War II did nothing for its tie-ins, unlike its predecessor and I would strongly suspect that Secret Empire will have the same (non) effect.  Titles that are already doing fine (like Amazing) will continue to do so but Secret Empire will not seemingly influence a sales increase on the titles its meant to, we’ll already seeing that this month.  As you mentioned, the confusing zero issue ploy has seemingly worn out its welcome also but now we have ‘Omega’ issues after the event which might as well be another part.  Very puzzling.
I’m a Marvel guy (well until Rebirth kicked me firmly in the wallet) but their strategies lately have been really odd.  They seem to be seeing a playing field that everyone outside the industry is missing.  They are currently the market leaders through sheer force of volume but in terms of consistent sales success, DC and even Image to some degree are murdering them.  They do seem to have an odd strategy of saying ‘Shut up!  We’ll show you!’  and people don’t have patience with that, especially when characters they adore are being treated in…odd ways.

At number two this month (in strait sales anyway) in a surprise is Venom 150 which sells over 141.7k for not only the return to *coughs* original numbering but Eddie Brock to the role he’s best known for after being absent in over a decade!  The fan response to the relaunched Venom series was muted and sales soon followed but Marvel seemed to listen to demand and its paid off in spades!  Is this just a one issue bump?  Probably but the title was seeing a noticeable improvement leading up to this so maybe this is a big win for Marvel.  Even if it can manage 60-70k that would put it well above the majority of their books and make this book a massive success.

Ray:  Of course, it’s not all bad news for Marvel this month, because these Venom sales are simply staggering. The numbers on this series have been all over the place, as we’ve talked about quite a bit, but this is on a totally different level. There seems to be genuine momentum here, and this title could easily settle around the same level as Marvel’s most consistent seller, Amazing Spider-Man. Who knew there was so much hunger to see Venom eat brains again? It’s one major bright spot in a sea of grim for them this month.

Glenn:  Now we get to calculator time again with number 3, the highest selling comic of the month, Batman 22!  The lenticular edition priced at 4.99 sold just over 114.1k which added on to the sales of the regular edition (over 72.7k at 11 on the charts) gives us a total of just under 187k, selling 30k more than Secret Empire 1!  This brief storyline has been a huge hit for DC and shows massive interested to the overall Watchmen narrative that has been playing out since Rebirth.  This bodes well for Doomsday Clock next year and shows that Rebirth still creates some serious momentum.

At 4 is the final part of the ‘Button’ crossover, Flash 22 the lenticular edition which sells just around 10k less than part 3 with sales over 104.2k but again adding on sales of the standard edition (spot 17 at just over 59.2k) you get 163k which is another victory over Secret Empire 1 for DC.  The Flash went back to roughly where it was with issue 23 with sales of over 54.6k at 23 but still DC will be very happy.  Even if its gone back to mid 50k, Flash is still one of the biggest winners from Rebirth as a whole and his connection to the overall mystery surrounding Doomsday Clock is a big reason why.

Ray:  Yeah, Batman and Flash, the final two parts of The Button, are the winners of the month, and these total sales are amazing. This is a four-part crossover between two popular books, but it sold like an elite event comic all the way through. Sales on Batman, DC’s #1 book, essentially doubled for the event, and sales on Flash – a strong mid-level seller – essentially more than tripled. A huge win for DC, but here’s the crazy thing – this is just a limited prequel. Extrapolate from this success, and imagine what the sales on Metal are going to look like. Followed by Doomsday Clock. We may be seeing numbers for these big events unseen since the days of the original Civil War and Infinite Crisis when we get there, assuming Rebirth keeps its current momentum.

Glenn:  In another massive suprise this month and a slight head scratcher is Guardians Of The Galaxy: Mass Breakout at 5 which sells over 104.2k.  Now there is a LOT of Guardians stuff to go over this month due to the movie and yes, that will help but this is a throwaway one shot that promotes the new Disney L.A ride…so what’s it doing here?  Did retailers want something one and done to sell to casuals?  Is the ride some sort of factor?  Was there some sort of loot crate type promotion?  Its a fantastic number for a throwaway one shot but sort of makes you wonder…why didn’t the MAIN Guardians book do this well?  More on that shortly.

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Ray:  This has to be some sort of promotion. Maybe Disney ordered some directly to distribute at the parks? Either way, a bright spot for Marvel, but a very odd one – this issue came and went without much notice, and the other Guardians books this month didn’t do remotely this well.

Glenn:  At 7 is Batman 23 with sales of over 96.5k.  The slight bump from the Button is gone but the title remains ridiculously dependable and miles ahead of any other ongoing.  Expect a bump for issue 24 because of THAT cliffhanger and issue 25.  This title is not leaving the top ten anytime soon…if ever.

Ray:  I’m a bit sad Batman didn’t maintain any of its 90K or so new sales from The Button, especially since this was the amazing done-in-one “The Brave and the Mold”, but it’s hard to quibble with sales like this. It’s locked down as DC’s top ongoing, and it’s got several more major events coming next month. Batman’s epic top-ten streak will continue forever.

Glenn:  Now we get to the new Guardians Of The Galaxy title with the new movie team and a new creative team also selling over 82.4k.  Again I think this has to be seen as a little bit of a let down.   I really thought this one could crack 100k without breaking a sweat but if doesn’t seem so.  There’s been a lot of saturation of the Guardians since the first movie’s success and this could be the result.  Its not a terrible number, don’t get me wrong but given Marvel’s patterns recently its concerning.  The second issue this month charts at 26 selling over 51.8k and is already getting outsold by some of DC’s stronger players.  If it can stabilize here, it’ll be fine but given that this had a movie backing it up and the success of the Mass Breakout one shot, its not great.  It doesn’t get better for the Guardians later in the charts sadly.  Let us all listen to ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ and remember some good times…

Ray:  Oh, Guardians. Why do the good ones suffer? Jokes aside, this is what market rejection looks like when it hits a whole company. This title had everything going for it. A mega-popular movie coming out the same week. An artist who is extremely well-regarded for his Deadpool run. A popular artist coming over from DC. Fan favorite characters. Baby Groot! And yet, it couldn’t even come close to 100K, a mark that Marvel books used to vault over with ease every time there was a new #1. Those second issue numbers aren’t bad, though – any time a Marvel comic loses less than 50% with #2 is a good sign. So I think these bad first issue sales are more due to retailers not trusting Marvel #1s enough to order big anymore. The title as a whole will probably be okay, because Marvel has much bigger problems. And more on them later.

Glenn:  Finally at 10 is Walking Dead.  Yup, here it is again.  The second most dependable ongoing on the charts today (although Venom could be a considerable challenger).  Not much else I can say that hasn’t been said already about it.

Ray:  Negan vs. Batman! The kings of stability! Whoever wins, the readers are the true victors. But jokes aside, this performance is incredible. No matter what enters the top ten, the zombies stay steady. 

Glenn:  Considering that Batman’s parents were playing by two Walking Dead actors in BvS, that’s a fight I’d want to see.  ‘Father?’ *opens arms for hug and gets baseball bat to face*

Ray:  Another new X-book, Jean Grey – which spins out of the recent All-New X-men title and features the return of the Phoenix – has a healthy-looking debut at #13 with 70K. However, first issue numbers are deceiving, and the title immediately sheds over 60% of its first issue sales and drops all the way down to #84 with sales of 29K. This title’s looking like it’s in immediate trouble. The x-line has a few new hits, but it doesn’t seem healthy enough to sustain spin-offs right now.

Glenn:  Same pattern for Jean Gray as most Marvel titles, a very respectable and even great launch number (its Jean Gray for crying out loud) but then dismal second issue drops.  In the most recent solicitations, we’ve seen quite a few verly new books whisked away into the night that did around the same or even slightly better so Jean Gray fans should not get attached.

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Ray:  At #14, we’ve got the launch of new Star Wars crossover “The Screaming Citadel“, which sells less than 2K below the main Star Wars title with sales of 69K. Essentially, it seems like retailers treated this crossover with Doctor Aphra as another Star Wars issue, which is a good sign. For the record, Doctor Aphra got a 3K bump from last issue this month, landing at #36 with sales of 43K. That’s still a 27K difference between the two titles crossing over, though.

Glenn:  It seems like Aprha is now gaining some popularity outside of comics, winning a competition to become a proper Star Wars action figure recently but she still doesn’t have the ‘name’ factor that appeals to casuals.  Its still a very succesful book all things considered and something Kieran Gillan should be very proud of.  We’re likely going to see the new Vader book become the new 2nd best selling Star Wars title when it launches though.

Ray:  The leveling off continues to be incredibly smooth for the top-selling DC Rebirth books. Both All-Star Batman (#15) and Detective Comics (#19-#20) slip less than 1K from issue to issue, remaining among DC’s healthiest books this month. And it’s worth noting that Detective has now surpassed Justice League (#21-22) in sales this month, making it DC’s #3 ongoing, #2 once Snyder concludes his run on All-Star Batman in September.

Glenn:  I’m sad All Star is ending but DC has a lot of interesting stuff coming up in the next few months.  I doubt any of them will perform as well as All Star has but Detective is very much holding its own regardless.

Ray:  We’ve got another new X-book debuting, Cable, which lands with sales of 60K at #16. Decent numbers for a Cable title, but it’s likely to have a fairly harsh slide next month, and like Jean Grey could find itself in the danger zone quickly.

Glenn:  Its interesting to note that the writer of Cable, James Robinson has recently been announced as taking over Wonder Woman.  I don’t believe he’s Marvel exclusive but its rare to see writers working for both companies these days.  Is this a sign that he’s jumping off the book or there might not be a book to jump from?  Time will tell but I wouldn’t be surprised if the book gets relaunched back to original numbering around the time of Deadpool 2 regardless (although that’s still more than a year away).

Ray:  The X-men books are in their second month now, and the slides are nowhere near as smooth there. Both X-Men Gold (#18, #24) and X-Men Blue (#29, #33) slip about 5K between issues this month, with the former selling in the low 50K range and the latter in the mid-40K range. Strong debut numbers last month, but it’s already wearing off. The question is really more what IS working for Marvel right now? And the answer is…not much. 

Glenn:  The X-Men numbers last month were very encouraging and if (our favorite word for Marvel) they can stabelize, they’d be doing the same as DC’s mid-tier.  Not great considering the push these new X-Men books got from Marvel but it could be worse (more on that later).  The hard reality it that just south of 60k and around 50k is actually considered very good for Marvel these days and that’s really worrying.

Ray:  A VERY harsh fall for ol’ dependable Amazing Spider-Man this month, as it loses 11K in sales from #26 to #27. Its only issue this month, and this was mid-storyline, so I’m not sure exactly what went on here – but it’s a very ill omen that Marvel’s most consistent book is suddenly sliding hard. The run continues to be well-regarded and there’s been a lot of odd hiccups over the last few months, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it rebounds next month – but 51K at ##27 is not what ASM should be selling by any stretch. 

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Glenn: That is really weird and out of nowhere.  I would like to think its a mistake.  This is one book that might benefit from its Secret Empire tie-in (more so because Slott and Doctor Octopus=$$$$$ more than anything Hydra related) so it should rebound in a few months.

Ray:  Another increase for Old Man Logan as Lemire gets ready to wrap up his run, with the title ticking up another 2K to #30 and 46K. Impressive, and may be genuine. Marvel’s going to miss Lemire – one of their most consistent sellers.

Glenn:  Old Man Logan has been a great success for Marvel and I think the entire line is going to miss the consistency that Lemire generally brings.  New writer Ed Brisson is still relatively untested but top Marvel artist Mike Deodato might be able to help with the transition even if according to Marvel he doesn’t move the needle (#neverforget)

Ray:  Generation X, a revival of the 90s young mutants property by Christina Strain, had a weak debut with #1 selling 45K at #32. The issue wasn’t received particularly well, and #2 crashed the same month, all the way down to #80 with sales of 30K. If you’re not a flagship book from the X-line right now, you’re in trouble. 

Glenn:I remember Generation X from the 90’s and this is an odd revival from a new writer that Marvel is taking a gamble on.  Despite Blue and Gold getting some buzz, this is not the market where Marvel could sell multiple X-Men books at huge numbers.  This is another one that likely won’t last.

Ray:  The non-Rebirth titles out of DC in recent months have been struggling, but a slight exception may be Bane Conquest, which reunites the brawny Bat-villain with his 1990s creators, Dixon and Nolan. It debuts at #42 with sales of 41.7K, a healthy number for a book with a distinctly retro vibe. This didn’t seem to have a lot of incentives or variants, so it might stand a decent chance of holding well over its 12-issue run.

Glenn:  Bane got a huge push from the recent Batman storylines and there are a lot of fans nostalgic for Knightfall out there.  Its nothing to throw a parade over but considering what it is, who its by and who its for this is a very good number.

Ray:  DC had a small-scale crossover this month between the Titans line and Deathstroke, called “The Lazarus Contract”. It got strong reviews, and seems to have paid off for all titles involved. The one-shot/annual that wrapped it up charts at #49 with sales of 38K, strong for an annual. Meanwhile, all titles involved got significant boosts. Titans (#31, 45K) increased 5K, Teen Titans (#38, 43K) got a boost of 7K, and Deathstroke (#62, 34K) increased a whopping 11K from its last issue! Clearly, DC is mastering the art of the small-scale event that lifts all comers.

Glenn:  Obviously not the success of the Button but still, as we mentioned the test of a crossover is to increase sales for every title involved and Lazarus experiment certainty did that.  We’ll see if the momentum continues next month but its another strong performance from DC.
Speaking of Crossovers and how they’re judged by the sales on tie-ins and spin off books, that brings us neatly to 53 on the charts, Secret Empire Uprising which sells over 37.2k.  This is a side book to the main event, an anthology that delves deeper into the mind set of some side characters.  Its not disastrous but it does give an indication that not many people are interested in anything related to this event and does not bode well for the tie-ins we have coming up from Marvel over the next few months.

Ray:  There’s a lot of Secret Empire tie-ins like this – anthologies or one-shots focusing on some element of the resistance. To me, they’re a bit hard to distinguish from each other. I imagine they’ll all be ordered somewhat similarly this one, which is a modest but not disastrous number. It’ll be more interesting to see the impact on the ongoing series tying in, for good or bad.

Glenn:  The Wonder Woman annual sells about 6k less than the issues of her main title this month at 56 with sales over 36.4k which is another commendable performance for a DC annual.  The hype from the movie hasn’t hit the charts yet it seems and it might not.  More than likely, Wonder Woman collections will see the benefit from the adoration the movie has received.  Still this is a strong performance from an annual that is likely attributed to Wonder Woman being one of DC’s stronger books and the creators of said book being involved.

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Ray:  This Wonder Woman annual featured a Rucka/Scott story and was released right before the movie. In the vein of the Batman annual and the DC Holiday Special, it’s another success of this new anthology format for DC.

Glenn:  Next new launch from Marvel at 57 is Black Bolt selling over 37.3k which is a very good number for the leader of the Inhumans, a property Marvel has been trying to bump up for years now.  Under the view of where Marvel would like the Inhumans to be, these sales are substandard but in the realistic real world view, they’re very good.  It doesn’t give it much room to fall though and given how other launches have performed this month with their second issue, it could be that we’re not talking about Black Bolt for much longer.

Ray:  That’s actually only 4k below the debut of flagship Inhumans book Royals last month, so in terms of the franchise that’s not bad at all. A lot of that is probably due to the presence of writer Saladin Ahmed, who has a mainstream profile. This feels like a limited book anyway, due to the specific concept (Black Bolt locked up in a secret alien prison), so while the second-issue drop will likely be significant, the best case scenario here is a run like Vision or Thanos, where it levels off quickly. Marvel will probably let Ahmed finish his story and shuffle this book off. 
Mired in the middle of the big crossover it spins out of, Captain America: Steve Rogers manages to…shed another 2K copies and sell 35K at #59. Womp womp.

Glenn:  A very good drop from Batman/The Shadow selling just under 35k at 61.  Given how obscure the Shadow is, I think this another DC company crossover win and its all down to the strength of the creative team.  Don’t expect DC to stop doing these crossovers anytime soon, the majority of them have turned up gangbusters for them.

Ray:  Batman in a crossover of any sort will always sell, but I also put some of this success on the top-tier creative team and the fact that it actually has ties to DC continuity – the villain was first teased in the Batman Annual. Another win for DC.

Glenn:  Glad to see this villain showing up again, interesting that its here of all places but with wedding plans and all, Batman won’t have time to deal with new villains so might as well have them show up here!

At 66 is the launch of Luke Cage by previous Power Man and Iron Fist writer, David Walker selling just over 34k.  Again, given how strongly Iron fist did on its first issue, you would have thought that Luke Cage could get some of that interest also but seemingly not.  Again, the sales are fine for a launch but this is another one where the second issue drop could be a concern.

Ray:  Assuming a standard 50% drop for Luke Cage, this takes the title into the danger zone very quickly. This is a spin-off of the just-ended Power Man and Iron Fist by the same writer, which had poor numbers by the end, so not a huge surprise. But this is once again an example of how characters who should be able to sustain titles for Marvel can’t, because they’ve burned the audience so many times with relaunches and poorly-received events.

Glenn:  Same again for I Am Groot at 71 with sales just over 32.2k.  Now…this is an interesting one for a few reasons.  It follows the same pattern of ‘good, not great’ with the potential of a second issue drop that leaves it on the cancellation floor before it gets going but this title stars Baby Groot.  The breakout star of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, the character that is selling merchandise by the truckload and everyone out there can’t help but look at and go ‘gawwwwww’.  This is not a book that launches this low, its genuinely puzzling to me why its down here.  I really pegged this as a top 10 or top 20 at least given the movie and the cuteness factor alone.  Maybe if it had been called ‘Baby Groot’?  Still, this has to be seen as a really disappointing launch all things considered.

Ray:  Poor Baby Groot. But then, did anyone really think Groot could sustain his own series? He only says three words! This feels like a character who works perfectly in a team book, but as a lead? Not so much. And yet, still not the worst news for a Guardians character this month. I think we can basically put the nail in the coffin of the Guardians as a multi-book franchise, after this, Gamora, Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket’s last series (more on that in a bit). Cause of death as a franchise? Overuse. Good jorb, Marvel. The difference between the MCU and the comics has never been more stark. 

Glenn:  Groot might be an odd pick for an ongoing but you would have thought with Baby Groot’s popularity, it would be money in the bank despite this but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Ray:  Doctor Strange kicks off a new creative team with #21 (although #20 didn’t come out til June) as Dennis Hopeless comes on for a Secret Empire tie-in. Sales had already dropped a lot under Aaron, and the drop this month of about 1K (it comes in at #73 with sales of 32K) isn’t really distinguishable from standard attrition. Maybe the tie-in made retailers keep their orders steady for a month. We’ll see if it holds next month or if this title starts dropping hard. But really, even successful books like Thor and ASM are dropping pretty consistently, so it seems like this is a line-wide problem.

Probably the most shockingly bad debut of the month is Secret Warriors, which launches at #75 with sales of only 31K. This is a post-IvX Inhumans launch, a Secret Empire tie-in, and stars one of Marvel’s few breakout characters in recent years, Ms. Marvel. The name also has connotations from Hickman’s era and Agents of Shield. And all that amounts to nothing, with #2 the same month dropping to 23K and #110. This book is likely done already. I don’t know if it makes it past one arc after the tie-in.

Glenn:  Terrible debut from Secret Warriors and it just seems to be down to lack of interest despite everything you mentioned it has going for it.  Gone and forgotten rather swiftly I’d wager.

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Ray:  Avengers at #7 is selling less than the 23rd issue of the secondary Green Lantern title. I just want everyone to roll that idea around in their heads for a while, and realize just how bad things have gotten for Marvel.

Glenn:  Avengers heyday is long gone.  Usually franchises all get their time in the sun and currently for Marvel it seems to be its…Star Wars of all things.  Without that franchise, the overall market picture would likely be very different.

Ray:  Batwoman is still leveling off, losing another 4K from last month to land at #81 with sales of 29K, but that still likely puts it about books like Batgirl and Supergirl in the long run. We’ll see how it does when Epting leaves after the first arc, but this looks like a lower-tier survivor for DC.

Glenn:  I might have expected better due to the connections of the amazingly successful Detective but Batwoman is a character that doesn’t have much presence outside of comics.  This is probably what the hardcore Batman fanbase looks like.  Still miles better than some of the lower selling Marvel books.

Ray:  Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider sheds almost 50% of its first issue sales from its debut, selling 29K at #83. We’re likely looking at a 2099-level performance out of this book in the long run, which may be enough to last for a while. Marvel has bigger problems than this book.

Glenn:  Clone Conspiracy seems to have done little to no good for the spider books.  Like you said, this will essentially take the place of 2099 on the charts but that book lasted a few years before recently being shuffled off.

Ray:  The Trinity annual lands at #87 with sales of 28K. That’s only 6K below the main series, despite the issue being by a different creative team setting things up in another book. The main title has sunk a lot in sales too, likely due to the frequent creative team changes, but DC seems to have made annuals relevant again based on these sales.

Speaking of bad Guardians news, at #90 we’ve got the debut of Rocket, selling in the 27K range. And this one hurts, because this was one of the best first issues I’ve read out of Marvel in a while. It was like a film noir filtered through a combination of Star Wars and The Dark Crystal...and no one cared, because Marvel’s burned through people’s tolerance for relaunches and spin-offs already. This launched just one month after the last Rocket series ended, and that one only lasted one arc. This will likely follow, sadly. Rocket deserves better.

Glenn:  This is the third Rocket ‘ongoing’ in recent memory and yeah, it just isn’t working.  The title will be at cancellation numbers very soon, this debut is not inspiring at all.  Its probably best for the Guardians just to stay in the team book before the performance of these spin off books ruins the little sales pull they still have.

Ray:  The incredible stability of Thanos continues, as it sheds less than 1.5K this month to land just outside of the top 100 with sales of 25.9K. Lemire’s confirmed that this book – his last Marvel work – will wrap up with 12, and like Vision and Moon Knight before it, it should end well above the levels of a lot of recent Marvel books.

Glenn:  Great performance to Thanos and Lemire continues to be a sales MVP all around.  As you mentioned, this is someone Marvel will miss.

Ray:  We’ve got two 90’s superhero revivals side by side at #103-104. The Wild Storm seems to be leveling off nicely, as Warren Ellis‘ reinvention sells 25.5K this month, down only 2K from last month. Right below it with sales of 24.6K is Image’s reinvention of Youngblood, which doesn’t seem to have the same critical buzz and will likely drop off fast, despite a popular writing team from the X-Men ’92 series.

Glenn:Youngblood will be for the 90’s fans in all of us and not really catch many (or any) new readers attention.  This is probably the best it could have hoped for and might be able to survive a decent run at around 15k or so for the books loyalists.

Ray:  DC’s put a lot of promotional push behind the launch of Injustice 2, and it pays off with a debut of 24.3K at #107. Given that this is a digital-first book that does a lot of its sales there, this is very good. #2 has a pretty hefty fall, though, selling 13.5K all the way down at #170, but again, the metrics are different for digital-first books.

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Glenn:  This is a video game tie-in also so expectations have to be adjusted there.  The initial Injustice got a lot of critical buzz before gradually dropping off after Tom Taylor left the book but now he’s back, there seems to be enough goodwill left.  This will be a decent performing book for what it is.

Ray:  Remember Spawn? He’s back in 25th anniversary director’s cut format! Apparently the hero who built Image still has some fans, as this reissue has decent sales of 23.6K at #111.

Glenn:  Spawn used to be the thing that kept the lights on at Image but the publishers identity has completely changed.  This will be for fans that have been there from the start and likely the same audience that picked up Youngblood.  Its also 4.99 for material that’s over 25 years old so that’s very good I’d say.

Ray:  It’s night and day between the smash hit Mission Breakout, and the other stand-alone Guardians project of the month. The weekly Alan Davis miniseries “Mother Entropy” has a poor debut with the first issue selling 22K at #119 – just below the third issue of Iron Fist – and the other issues charting at 132, 139, 142, and 150, shedding over 6K along the way. Davis’ work tends to appeal to an old-school audience, and retailers probably ordered cautiously.

Glenn:  As we discussed on Rabbit Stew (dong!) the age of the weeklies seems to be over.  DC launched a bunch of them at once recently and the only one that did remotely well was Batman Eternal and its subsequent sequel and that’s because that franchise is bullet proof.  Its a trying time for retailers and its asking a lot for them to invest in an entire series at once so yeah,caution abounds here.

Ray:  After a long delay, we’ve got the final issue of AD: After Death selling 20K at #122. That’s barely dropped at all from the last issue, which shows it kept some real momentum. Off it goes to the realm of collected editions and movie adaptations, where it’ll be very happy.

Glenn:  A.D was sensational and was never intended to be montly so this is just bonus.  It now heads off to collection heaven where it’ll do gangbusters and will be looked back on as a classic in years and decades to come.

Ray:  A very solid drop-off for Donny Cates’ Redneck, which drops just 2K from its debut and lands at #124 with sales just under 20K. That’s a few spots below the penultimate issue of Cates’ God Country. Image has a genuine sensation on their hands with this guy. It’ll be interesting to see how his Aftershock title, Babyteeth, does next month.

Glenn:   To my knowledge, Cates hasn’t done any big two work or very little at least so all this success he’s having is driven by quality which is a rarity in the market.  He could very well live a happy life in indie land without ever going to Marvel or DC for a high profile run but the race might be on to get this guy who is looking like the next Snyder, King, Williamson or Lemire.

Ray:  The latest Young Animal title, “Bug: The Adventures of Forager“, debuts with 182K in sales at #132. I expected a little more, given the involvement of the Allreds, but I wonder if it was hurt by the fact that…well, no one really knows this character. It’s an obscure property, but as it’s only a miniseries, it should be fine. And it’s amazing and you should all be reading.

Glenn:  The New Gods stuff despite their legacy always falters a bit, they’re very akin in profile to how the Inhumans are in Marvel.  My only knowledge of Bug is a cameo in the exceptional Justice League cartoon of yesteryear so this will be for hardcore fans or fans of the Allred’s specifically.  Still decent enough for a miniseries about a very obscure character as you mention.

Ray:  If you want evidence of how stable DC Rebirth is, it’s a year in and it only has five titles selling under 20K in sales – Hellblazer, Superwoman, New Superman, Blue Beetle, and Cyborg. Worth noting that this month, Cyborg finally slips below Blue Beetle to become the lowest rung on the Rebirth totem pole.

Glenn:Most of the books you mentioned are the ones that (generously) get the most polarizing reviews so this seems to be reflected sales wise.  Still, even these are doing better than a lot of Marvel books and have been all announced at launching new stories in the recent solicitations so DC don’t seem concerned.

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 Bizarrly, Monsters Unleahed (the original one)first issue reappears on the charts at 141 with sales of over 17k.  Its been a few months after this one ended so this is odd.  Really good numbers for a reorder but a bit of a head scratcher.  If I was the suspicious type, I would say Marvel just sent out a bunch at random…Ray:  Yeah, the numbers on Monsters Unleashed this month are strange. The #2 issue of the actual series had a not-terrible fall to #157 in between the two reprints, selling about 15K. That’s less than a 50% fall from its debut last month, which may explain why Marvel has announced it’ll be continuing into Legacy, unlike so many books. Still, these numbers are grim.

Glenn:  The new Nick Fury book drops to sales over 16.6k at 144 this month and I can’t say I’m surprised.  This isn’t the classic Nick Fury and even he hasn’t been able to support a comic on his own since the 80’s. Marvel continues to just throw stuff at the wall that slides down leaving a nasty stain.

There’s Monsters Unleashed again!  Issue 2 reorders at 157 with sales over 15.3k.  Again, this is not the new ongoing, this seems to be the ‘event’ issues from earlier this year.  Odd, odd, odd.

What’s not an odd reorder is the Flash 21, part 2 of The Button picking up reorders of over 14.3k.  We’ve talked how successful this storyline was and the reorders tell the tale.  People are excited for anything to do with this Watchmen plot.

Ray:  All the issues of The Button might very well wind up over 200K in sales when reorders are counted. That’s rarified air that few comics reach, and DC has to be thrilled here. And this is just the prelude!

Some rare good news for a Marvel book this month is that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has a pretty huge jump of of over 4K, landing at #163 with sales of 14.4K. Might be incentives or freebies from Marvel, or their faith in the property may be finally paying off a bit.

Glenn:  New event from Valient in the form of Rapture selling just under 14k at 167.  Pretty standard for Valient as their consistency remains month after month.  They’re not getting any bigger (apart from the amazingly successful X-O Manowar) but they’re not getting any smaller either.  Its a tough market so it could be a lot worse for sure.

Ray:  One thing that I notice with Valiant is that Matt Kindt has really become their go-to guy. Besides Jeff Lemire, he’s the writer doing most of their big storylines, and he’s had some success with this, Divinity, and of course X-O Manowar. His mainstream work for DC and Marvel didn’t really work out, but he’s having a great run here.

Glenn:  Kieran Gillon’s Wicked and The Devine delivers a one shot at 168 with sales over 13.7k.  Not sure if the series co-creator Jamie McKelvie was involved and I think if memory serves this sold around about where the series usually dos.  Seems to have a dedicated audience and its been going on a verly stable basis for a few years, good for them.

Ray:  The Wicked and the Divine seems to do these time-hopping one-shots in between arcs, and Gillen is always involved at least as co-writer. As such, retailers mainly seem to treat them as just another issue of the series.

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Glenn:  The second issue of Meredith Finch’s Rose from issue falls to 172 with sales over 13.4k.  This is higher than the usual non big name Image books do but still a fair bit away from the upper tier where Kirkman and BKV books live.  Given that Finch’s run on Wonder Woman was rather lukewarmly received I think this is a very good number.

 
Ray:  That’s about a 1/3rd drop from the first issue, which isn’t terrible at all. This book hasn’t gotten much hype, but it does seem to have a reader-friendly concept that works in its favor.

Glenn:  At 175 its Elektra selling over 13k at 175.  This one has already been cancelled along with Kingpin to no one’s surprise.

Ray:  I can’t say enough about what a misfire this odd attempt at three Daredevil spinoffs was. There was branding that made it look like an event, but there was no event. None of them got past #5. One was actually cancelled from an ongoing before it launched! Of all of Marvel’s oddball attempts at franchising, this is up there with solo titles for three of the Mercs for Money. And Elektra was actually the highest-selling of the three! (Kingpin is a few spots below, Bullseye even lower)

Glenn:  With the Daredevil spinoffs, it seems that Marvel is cancelling them before they get to the level of the Deadpool spin offs which were at a lot lower than these books in most cases.  Better to cancel the title while there is a dab of credibility left.

Two new (one brand new and one on its second issue) Image books at at 181 and 182 respectively.  At 181 with sales of over 12.7 is Plastic, the bizarre dark comedy about a murderer and his…sex doll.  This is only a mini so this is pretty great numbers, again this is above the level of the lower end Image books so it seems this one will have some good sales before going to collection land.  Eternal Empire at 182 is the new project from the Luna brothers who have had great success in the past with books like Girls.  Not a terrible start but I thought it might have done a little better.  Perhaps they’re seen as having only a specific audience?

Ray:  Plastic is holding really well, for such an odd concept. And it should, because it’s great! Eternal Empire is a surprisingly low debut, but the Luna brothers have always been seen as cult creators. I imagine retailers ordered semi-cautiously as a result, and we may see great holds or reorders next month. This book is getting some great early reviews. 
Licensed properties are still Dark Horse’s bread and butter, and they have a new Predator miniseries debuting at #188 with sales of 12K. That’s good enough for their third-highest selling book of the month, below American Gods and James Stokoe’s Aliens mini, and just above the rock-solid Black Hammer.

Glenn:  Despite their hated rivals the Xenamorph’s having a high(ish) profile movie, the Predators still show they have chops.  These franchises are still what is likely to keep the pain from peeling at Dark Horse apart from the few creator owned properties they have working for them.  I wouldn’t be surprised that with the success of Fight Club 2 and now American Gods that Dark Horse may invest more time into book adaptions or continuations.

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Ray:  Jim Mahfood’s cult Image series “Grrl Scouts” returns with a new miniseries titled, oddly, “Magic Socks“. It sells 11.9K at #191, perfectly good numbers for a property we haven’t seen in years.

Royal City continues to slide, losing another 2K in sales down to 11.7K at #192. I’m not sure what’s making this not sell – maybe Lemire’s art is still seen as non-mainstream – but this is a passion project for Lemire and he brings so much sales power to any company he works for that a cult project like this will be fine indefinitely.

Glenn:  I wager Royal City will do better in collections.  Lemire is doing enough successful books that he can keep this as a passion project for as long as he wants much as the way Kirkman probably keeps the lights on with Invincible (for now, sniff) due to Walking Dead’s mega watt performance.

Ray:  IDW put a lot of hype into its Next-Gen Star Trek alternate universe comic “Mirror Broken“, including an FCBD preview. It debuts this month with 11.3K at #197, maybe a bit lower than they were hoping. Expect it to possibly hold well as the core Star Trek audience turns out, through.

As we head outside of the top 200 (#203), we’ve got the start of the major new Archie storyline “Over the Edge”, centering around a tragic drag race accident that threatens the life of an Archie mainstay. The hype for this story is enough to give it a bump in sales of approximately 100 copies, stopping attrition in its tracks at above the 10K mark for the month. Look for more drama and tragedy in classic kids’ comics. Watch your back, Richie Rich.

Glenn:  Mark Waid has brought Archie up to a level never before dreamed of prior to its relaunch a number of years ago.  The title is selling much better than it would have done but it does seem to have hit the ceiling in terms of getting any new long term readers.  Its stable which is the best way to be in this market.

Ray:  Oni’s reissuing the original run of The Damned, by the 6th Gun creative team of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. The first issue was only a dollar, and sells 10.1K at #217. For a reprint, even a dollar one, this is extremely strong and is going to get one of the best comics of the last decade in more people’s hands.

Glenn:  *immediatly googles the damned*

Ray:  There were some decent reorders for both flagship X-men books, with X-Men blue (the lower-selling originally) selling an additional 10.7K at #204, while X-men Gold sells 9.8K at #220. Some genuine momentum for the X-line again?

Glenn:  Reorders are always nice and if (the Marvel magic word) they can remain at roughly the levels they are next month, Marvel should definitely take it as a win.  Probably not the win they hoped for but definitely on the right side of things.

Ray:  Definitely one of the oddest projects of the month was the Funko Universe specials from IDW, which recast their fan-favorite characters as Funko Pops. They did…decently for weird one-offs like this, with the highest-selling being TMNT at #221 with sales of 9.8K. Ghostbusters landed 34 spots below with 7.2K, and X-Files was 48 spots below with 6.5K in sales, roughly proportional to the sales of their regular books.

Glenn:  Pops are insanely popular, especially to the casual market because they have everything in them.  People could just pick this up for the lolz factor and couldn’t have expected much better.  A few months ago we were nearly mutually driven insane by Marvel Tsum Tsum and joked about a TT vs Funko mega crossover and now we edge ever closer to that reality.

Ray:  IDW is the only company Disney/Marvel is semi-friendly with, so it might be possible…

Note:  By The Numbers and Graphic Policy accepts no liability if this comes to pass.

There’s a Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers title from Udon at #222 (9.6K), and my inner childhood is alive and very happy.

Glenn:  I don’t know what Darkstalkers is but I’m glad you’re happy!

Ray:  After a massive, 1.5-year delay, Jonathan Hickman’s Greatest Generation thriller The Dying and the Dead returns with sales of 9.6K at #223. Clearly a lot lower than a lot of his other books, but after the huge delay, retailers were cautious. Lots of Image books have been hit by big delays recently, and almost all of them suffer in sales when they come back, from a-listers like Jupiter’s Legacy to smaller titles like Copperhead.

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Glenn:  I don’t even remember this book and some who were reading it may not have noticed its return.  Delays are common in the world of self publishing and people just don’t have the patience they used to because of all the content available.

Ray:  Shade the Changing Girl is the first Young Animal book to slip under the 10K line and that makes me sad. It charts at #227 this month with 9.3K in sales, just 38 copies above the ever-stable Astro City. Shame, because this is maybe the best of the line – but it’s also the only one without a well-known creator or a Gotham City setting.

Glenn:  Still better than it would have been if it had been a Vertigo book I expect.  We’ll see how trade sales are on Young Animal books but I would still call this solid enough to keep it ticking along for now.  Again, what DC was expecting out of this imprint is unknown in terms of sales.

Ray:  Two oddball books from Image debut with modest numbers. First up is Kaare Andrews’ ultraviolent Occupy fantasy “Renato Jones“, which comes back for volume two. 20 copies below it, with both selling 8.9K, is Dustin Weaver’s writer-artist anthology Paklis. Kind of low sales, but for a strange sci-fi anthology with a $5.99 price tag (for almost 50 pages of story) these numbers aren’t terrible. Image wasn’t likely expecting either of these to light up the sales charts.

Another 8.8K in sales for part one of The Button as well, at #235.

Glenn:  Its interesting that the Flash part of the crossover (which was the second part) picked up so many reorders.  Perhaps retailers underestimated how much demand there would be for the crossover outside of the fight part?

Ray:  Video game comics are having a bit of a resurgence this month, with a Tekken comic from Titan selling 8.6K at #237. There’s a new game coming out to tie in with. Me, I won’t be satisfied until I get my Primal Rage game.

Glenn:  Video game tie-ins are always a wash and Tekken is an odd franchise so this is about as good as it gets.

Ray:  Frank Tieri’s medieval zombie thriller Pestilence has a decent debut from Aftershock with sales of 8.5K at #238. This is roughly where the other Aftershock books without a-list creators tended to debut. It’ll be interesting to see how Cullen Bunn’s two debuts fare in coming months.

Glenn:  Its been a while since Tieri was working with either of the big two and even there, he never hit the upper tier so his name drawing power will have waned.  Zombie comics are all the rage due to the success of Walking Dead and this just seems to be another one for the slow, groaning, brain eating crowd of books in a similar vain.

Ray:  Another 8.4K sales for the first issue of Seven to Eternity, which is re-released in a $1 format called Image Firsts. Icing on the cake for one of Image’s best books.

Spinning out of the modestly-selling “Eden’s Fall” event from Top Cow is a new book called Samaritan: Veritas, focusing on the super-hacker from the Tithe. It sells 7.8K at #246, which is a…not terrible number for a line that hasn’t had a real hit in years?

Glenn:  We’ll call it a win for Top Cow because we’re not mean (all the time) go Top Cow!

Ray:  Archie’s been cutting back a lot in recent months, with only two books (Archie and Riverdale, plus some digests) solicited for September. Sales like the ones on the delayed Archies one-shot (which had Matthew Rosenberg on board) would explain that. 7.7K at #248. Archie’s resurgence when its relaunch started seems a while away now, but they’re still in better shape in the direct market than they were a few years ago.

A pretty big drop from Sovereigns #0, which was only $1. The full-priced #1 issue sells 7.4K at #251. Dynamite is doing a lot of these incentive-priced issues, but we’ll see if any of them bring real sales to the main title. (Buy Swordquest, people!)

Glenn:  Dynamite continues to launch a bunch of new books and are willing to seemingly take some losses so people read them.  Not a great number of course here but it could be worse.

sovereigns01covbdesjardinsAnother new book from Valient in the form of Eternal Warrior Awakening at 253 with sales at 7.3k.  This is a follow up from a Valient book that ended last year and is around what they would do normally so again, no surprises.

Ray:  This was also a one-shot, one of a couple starring the Anni-Padda brothers in some form. Valiant’s experimenting with a lot of different story formats, but their main series seem to remain the most popular.

Glenn: A lot of buzz around new Image book Redneck which picks up reorders of over 7.2k at 257.  That is pretty damn good for an Image book on a reorder and shows that Donny Cates is going to be their next MVP.

Ray:  Let’s hope Image is able to keep him around! Marvel seems to be making a play for him with him co-writing an issue of Hydra Cap last week.

 
Glenn:  Oh hey, there’s POWERS from Marvel’s ICON imprint at 272 with sales just over 6.4k.  I honestly thought this series was over.  Only the real dedicated readers are likely still around after all this time.Ray:  I’m surprised Bendis had time to write this with his five Marvel books monthly. Especially with the TV show cancelled.

Glenn:  New Mass Effect book from Dark Horse debuts at over 6.3k at 274.  This is a series with a pretty dedicated fanbase but given the lackluster reception to the last game, I’m not surprised the numbers are below par for even a video game comic.

Right below it is Dynamite’s James Bond Service Special which sells at over 6.1K and that’s not too shabby given its 7.99.  It seems that Dynamite is really investing a lot in this property.

There’s also some reorders of Secret Empire 0 at 280 with sales over 6k.  It seems to be the month of the reorder, we’ll see if Secret Empire number 1 makes it back next month too.

Ray:  Additional orders are never a bad thing, but this certainly doesn’t show any hidden momentum for Secret Empire, especially given the numbers we saw on the #1-3 issues this month. Yet another ill omen for this long-running event over the coming months.

Glenn:  A new BOOM title, Misfit City debuts at 282 with sales just under 6k.  A new mini which essentially seems to be the Goonies…but with girls.  No big names attached so pretty standard for an all-ages BOOM title with that in mind.

Ray:  Misfit City had the writers of Legally Blonde on board, and they may be very talented, but they’re definitely not household names in the comic industry. This is right in line with the disastrous numbers of Backstagers and Namesake, both of which had a-list writers on board, so Boom clearly still has some issues in the single-issue market. I’m guessing the play here is for collections.

Glenn:  Right below it is a new version of Underdog (Underdogggggg) selling also just under 6k at 283.  Given that its you know…Underdog…that’s not too shabby.

More reorders!  This time from Valient in their mega successful XO Manowar book picks up another 5.6k and change of sales at 290.  This is the title that is really bucking the Valient trend and getting reorders like this even after a few months is very impressive.

Hey, Mosiac survived the top 300 and ends with sales over 5.5k at 295!  Clap hands for Mosiac and then let us never speak of him again.

Ray:  Ah, Mosaic. Well, it didn’t fall out of the top 300 like Slapstick did, so…win?

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Glenn:   Seemingly tying in with their cartoon resurgence, IDW brings out a new Powerpuff Girls comic which debuts at 296 with sales over 5.4k.  The franchise is well past its peak and retailers are likely just ordering it for the odd customer who might buy it for their child on a whim.  Of course, todays children will want Plastic but they’ll get Powerpuff Girls!

At 300 we have a tie!  Both Copperhead and Josie and the Pussycats oddly enough sell just over 5.2k  Will either one remain in the charts next month?  Most likely not.  As Ray mentioned, outside of Archie the books from that publisher are floundering poorly and will likely all get cancelled apart from Jughead which will get a reprieve due to Waid taking over. (Note: Jughead has too been given the heave ho) With Copperhead, its a case of a book being delayed too long and the audience moving on.  Its a shame because I think its a great book but I wouldn’t be surprised if writer Jay Faerber rides it off into the sunset and hopes for better from his next Image book coming out shortly.

Ray:  5.2 is actually a pretty high bar for the #300 book, so that’s kind of a good sign for the market overall. Copperhead seems to be wrapping up again after this arc, with a new arc in question. Josie hasn’t been solicited this month. So you’re probably right that both will be going away. Their biggest sin, though? Pushing poor Zombie Tramp out of the top 300!

Glenn:  Next month, we all go Loony!

sbf003_cov_aRay:  Indeed! The biggest event of the month has got to be the DC vs. Looney Tunes event. They’ve got some a-list characters and creators on board. Could Tom King’s Batman vs. Elmer Fudd break into the top ten? I think it’s possible. Besides that, it’s a big month for Batman with the Bat-proposal in #24 followed by the start of the War of Jokes and Riddles at #25. And that’s just one of seven books to hit the #25 mark with oversized issues in June, so it should be a strong month for DC. 

For Marvel, it’s…Secret Empire! Secret Empire everywhere! There’ll be two more issues of the main event, along with a bunch of tie-ins with similar name. This is where we’ll really start to see just how ugly the numbers will get for the main event. There’s also going to be a few stand-alone series debuting this month, with the headliner being Chip Zdarsky’s Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, which should lock down a top ten spot. Bendis’ Defenders should also have a solid start. Iceman...less so. There’s also  a preview issue of Marvel’s next event, Edge of Venomverse. The likely #1 book of the month, though? Darth Vader’s new series. It’s the calm before the storm of Legacy, which will certainly fix everything!

Quite a few interesting Image debuts, including new titles from Howard Chaykin, Gail Simone, and Steve Niles, plus Greek thriller Kill the Minotaur, and the one, the only…Shirtless Bear Fighter! Aftershock is bringing us a new title from Boys creative team Garth Ennis and Russ Braun, and a supernatural thriller from Donny Cates. And Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer makes his Valiant debut with Secret Weapons.

Looking like an exciting month up ahead!

Liked what you read?  Got any questions or comments?  Let us know here or contact us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: April 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 currently puzzled why he’s credited as posing a Nightwing preview on this very site that he didn’t post…

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.  Once, Ray fought off an entire alien invasion so he could get his comics on time on New Comic Day.  His next challenge is beating Brock Lesnar for the last copy of Detective comics, pity poor Brock.

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: Welcome new readers and old to the most complex by the numbers in history!  Get your calculators ready as we delve into comics sales from April to see how things did with the launch of Secret Empire and DC mega crossover ‘The Button’.  We love our readers on By The Numbers, readers such as Cullen Bunn perhaps

‘According to my timeline, it’s the time of month when people without a clue post snarkily about comic book sales.’-Cullen Bunn via Twitter

Sounds like he heard about us!  Without further ado, lets talk as always about the top ten sales.

This top ten is weird because surprisingly at number one we have Marvel’s latest crossover, the controversial Secret Empire with its 0 issue over 162.7k.  So a few things here.  This event has been hyped by Marvel to death and they’ve been pushing in all their chips on it.  0 issue sales can be hit or miss as people often get puzzled as to what service they serve.  Is it a sneaky way of getting issue 1 numbers twice?  It doesn’t sometimes work as even the Rebirth one shots (which were number 1’s) didn’t sell as well as the REAL number one’s. Also Marvel’s events haven’t been a big smash recently.  Now this event has a great start, mostly likely due to the amount of hype as we mentioned.  Still, I would have thought that perhaps Marvel were hoping for better.  With the scale that this story is going to take on and the amount of hype and/or doubling down on the status quo it centers around, they were probably hoping for sales of 200-250k or so.  If the rest of the issues sell about the same, no problem but Marvel number 2’s don’t tend to have the softest of landings (more on that later).  Still, you can’t take away the fact that Secret Empire got the top sales spot.

Ray: To put it into perspective, the sales of Civil War II #0 were about 15K above the sales of Secret Empire, which is also being styled as Marvel’s yearly mega-event. Clearly, this one doesn’t have nearly the good buzz – quite the opposite –  but for this issue, at least, it doesn’t seem to have mattered. There’s a few factors to consider here, though, and the biggest might be the issue’s relationship to the main mini. The #0 issues of CWII and IvX were essentially skippable preludes, and they sold about half of the copies of #1. This is not the same – it’s an essential kick-off issue that sets up the rest of the event, and people who pick up #1 without it will be lost. Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see only a modest jump for #1 next month. The second factor is that as we all know, these are retailer orders, not actual sales. Lots of retailers are already reporting terrible sales for #0 and #1. Given that, we could see orders slashed and quickly. However, this event is going to have a hectic pace – we’ll get three issues in May and two each month after that – so it’ll be interesting to see how fast things sell. The best case scenario is probably limping over the line at 100K like CWII did, but I see it finishing much lower than that.

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Glenn: Or did Secret Empire sell the most this month?  See due to some pricing differences, the Batman and Flash issues which feature ‘The Button’ were listed as two separate titles per book. This is because there was a regular $2.99 edition and a $3.99 edition with a lentricular cover so here’s were things get puzzling and we get there right away with number 2 being the lenticular version of Batman #21.  On its own this sold over 130.2k which is only a stones throw away from Secret Empire. Then however at spot 7 on the top ten we have the regularly priced edition selling over 89.2 k so all in all Batman 21 sold roughly 219k which is a massive increase on previous issues. Retailers likely ordered heavily more on the fancy covers because they sold well in the Future’s End one shots from a few years back and they looked snazzy.  They still however ordered handsomely on the regular edition for people that didn’t want to pay $1 more for a cover that moves if you hold it a slightly different way. This altogether is a stellar number for the first part of the crossover that continues the Watchmen mystery first set up in Rebirth last year. People are REALLY into this story and retailers seem to be buying in too considering they’re ordering heavily on two different versions of the same comic.  So if you want to be technical, Batman 21 sold quite a bit more than Secret Empire 0…and its not the only comic, more on that later.

Ray: These numbers for Batman and Flash are just amazing when put all together. That’s essentially a 100% jump or more for both books. The lenticular cover helped, no doubt, but I don’t think it’s just that. Despite this only being a four-part crossover in two existing books, DC’s managed to make it feel like a genuine event. There’s real excitement and heat behind this Rebirth mystery, so retailers turned out in force. Retailer reports are that all issues of this crossover are selling like crazy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if next month’s two issues are the top two selling comics in real issues in that month as well. I don’t want to see DC wind up relying too much on gimmicks like this, but for a rare event like this, it seems to be a cool stunt that people like. I think the majority of these sales are event comic ordering, though, and that’s a huge win for DC. Makes you wonder how high Metal can go in August, given the huge creative team and potential implications.

Glenn:  I’m hoping we’ll not see the over saturation on cover gimmicks we saw in the 90’s return either but I think doing something now and again when it makes sense can have its benefits.  I know DC are doing special covers for the Metal preludes but thankfully didn’t do anything to the next inter title crossover ‘Titans: Lazarus Experiment’ so I hope they will be selective with stuff like this.

Speaking of controversial comics, its hard to talk about X-Men: Gold #1 without mentioning Adrian Syaf and what a horrible human being he is.  I don’t want to give him more press than he has so we’ll move on to the numbers which are over 114.3k which is a fantastic debut that suggests on the surface, the X franchise still might have some juice in it yet. Given the controversy surrounding this issue, copies flew off the shelves so its likely this issue will be seen again next month with some pre-orders.  Probably not the reason why Marvel wants pre-orders of course but looking past the negative message associated with this comic that is in no way shape or form the companies fault, this is a great start.  Of course, as mentioned above and especially in this case, all that glitters isn’t exactly gold. Issue 2 of this book launches this month too and sells over 62k at 16. This is one of the best drops in terms of sales Marvel has had for a while so there is still seemingly a lot of interest. Next month will be the real test for this book and hopefully it can move past the first issue nonsense rather swiftly.

Ray: Clearly X-Men: Gold was planning a much less dramatic rollout than it had, but these are fine numbers. It’s fairly similar to what Extraordinary X-Men did in the last relaunch – launching slightly weaker, but holding better with its second issue. I’m not sure about the long-term prospects, though – this is the main X-men book right now, but it doesn’t seem to have much in the way of buzz or major stories coming out, and there’s an X-Force-esque Astonishing X-Men book coming soon by a stronger creative team that could leapfrog it. Solid second-issue sales, but we’ll have to see where the actual retailer level is.

Glenn: Right below it is X-Men: Blue #1 which isn’t too far away at spot 4 with sales of over 108.8k.  These books were ordered close together which again, is a good sign.  There’s a 6k difference for some reason but that could be just because Wolverine (as in Old Man Logan) is on Gold and not Blue or something equally minor.  In the grand scheme of things, the difference in sales is minor up here.  It suffers a slightly sharper drop in its own issue two which charts at 24 with sales over 54k.  Right away, the book is now at the same level as the middle line DC books which is good but it needs to stay here or suffer the fate of so many other Marvel books.  Perhaps the X-Men books can finally break the trend and hang at a space in the charts that’s been dominated by DC the last 12 months?  Time will tell.

Ray: Yay, it’s time to talk about Cullen Bunn’s book! I may not know what I’m talking about…but these numbers are really good. This is very much the second-tier X-men book this wave, featuring the time-displaced X-kids being secretly led by Magneto. It might have the more interesting hook and better reviews out of the gate, but it doesn’t have as many characters with sales pull. Given that, both its launch numbers and its second-issue hold are really impressive, and I would even say there’s a chance it could wind up pulling even with Gold in the coming months. Given that this spins out of Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men from the last wave, which were secondary books, Marvel’s done a good job of building buzz for this title, and Bunn’s built a lot of good will on the franchise since his run on Magneto.

Its time to get out your calculator with number 5 being issue 21 of the Flash which sells over 107k for the lenticular version of the comic.  This is nearly double the previous issue which sells over 53.8k at 25 on the charts.  Flash has been one of the big winners from Rebirth and involving him in this major crossover is not going to harm matters.  The regular issue also sells very well just outside the top ten at 11 with sales over 67.7k.  This amounts to sales of roughly 174k which means that Flash 21 also beat Secret Empire when all is said and done.  If retailers react like this when ordering two versions of the same book, don’t be surprised if DC tries it more and more in the future, it doesn’t work out too bad for them.

At 6 is Batman #20 which is the issue before the Button begins and the final part of ‘I Am Bane‘.  This title continues to remain ridiculously healthy on its own with sales of over 97.5k.  Even without connections to smiley faces, no book on the charts is touching Batman in regards to monthlies.

Ray:  Batman continues to be amazing as always, but the main question for me this month is – does it keep any of its additional sales from The Button? Same for Flash, of course. With a big Joker vs. Riddler story coming around the corner, I think we could see it peek above 100K again for a while.

Glenn:  I think with the upcoming “War Of Jokes And Riddles,” you could be right.  I don’t think the Button will make Flash a top selling staple but it’ll probably reset it to around 60-65k for the upcoming Zoom issues.

Star Wars reclaims its place as Marvels best selling ongoing this month at 8 with sales over 70k.  Its another ridiculously stable book that has become a key feature in Marvel’s line.  There’s more Star Wars to talk about this month but no one is getting tired of seeing various books set in this universe, not by a long shot.

Ray:  I think there’s room for improvement with Star Wars, and we’ll likely see a relaunch moving the story forward around the time of The Last Jedi‘s release, but Marvel still has to be extremely happy with this.

Glenn:  Compared to the two X-Men books that launched this month, the numbers for Weapon X #1 are a bit underwhelming,  It sells over 68.8k at 9 and I would have expected better for what is essentially a Wolverine team up book featuring many popular characters.  The second issue which sells over 42.2k at 38 does nothing to quiet the sound akin to hearing air being let out of a balloon on this one.  Unless it settles at this point, this could be a book that is soon turned into another stealth mini series.

484914-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_Ray:  These numbers for Weapon X are…acceptable. It’s essentially a Wolverine spin-off in an era where Wolverine is no longer the dominant sales force he used to be. The second issue fall is actually not bad, assuming there’s no sales-fudging. While it’s probably less than Marvel hoped for, I think they’ve got a lot bigger problems right now, and this one should run as long as the creators want it to. And hey, all three X-books launched in the top ten this month. We’ll talk about the other relaunching franchise spinning out of the same event later, and the news is not nearly as good.

Glenn:  Final book on the top ten is the king of the Image/Indie mountain, The Walking Dead with sales over 68.2k.  No need for buttons, lenticular covers, secret Hydra Agents or colour codes here.  Walking Dead sells because it’s Walking Dead.

Ray:  Incredible performance, in a crazy month like this. Walking Dead continues to be just like Batman – so stable nothing can touch it.

Right out of the top 10 at #12, we have All-Star Batman, which loses 4K from last month to sell 67K. A bit of a steep fall this late in its run, but it’s worth noting that it still would have made the top ten if you remove the two  additional copies of Batman and Flash above it.

Glenn:  If you take All-Star as nothing more than a creator vehicle which doesn’t have much impact on the general universe unlike Detective and Batman, the sales are fantastic, especially as always given the pricing.  It’ll be interesting to see if the switch to $3.99 will impact the sales at all.

Ray:  Proving there’s no limit to the hunger for Star Wars, the Rogue One adaptation has an incredibly impressive debut at #13 with sales 64K. This is only limited new content – extra scenes and the like – so the fact that retailers think so many people will want to buy a story they saw in the theaters four months ago is a testament to this franchise’s strength.

Glenn:  The last movie adaption and this one really bucks a lot of market trends.  The entire franchise is just a licence to print money currently and that likely won’t slow down while the current episode slate plays itself out until 2019 (probably beyond too!)

Ray:  And the top-selling Marvel superhero ongoing of the month is…Venom! Selling 62K at #14. The previous increase two months ago apparently wasn’t a fluke, as the title doubles last month’s sales for the issue that saw Eddie Brock take back the symbiote. The performance of this book has been puzzling from the start, but it seems like there’s genuine enthusiasm for the return of the original Venom. Did that many people like Eddie Brock? Dunno. But this is a case of Marvel listening to criticism about an unnecessary replacement and being massively rewarded. They’ll probably take that hint on a bunch of other books soon.

Glenn:  Venom was big in the 90’s, at the point where any character could heave a healthy sales run mostly.  Its been well over ten years since Eddie has been in the role so old school Venom fans were likely very excited.  If this can hold even a little bit of the buzz then we’ll see everyone’s favorite psychotic symbiote feasting on brains for quite some time.

Ray:  Venom even manages to outsell Amazing Spider-Man this month, which resumes its previous numbers at #15 with 62K.

As always, DC Rebirth continues to be rock solid, wrapping up the top 20 with four issues of Justice League and Detective at #17-20, each selling in the 58K range. For the record, this month DC took 10 of the top 20 to Marvel’s 9 and Image’s one, although this was an odd top 20 with multiple copies of the same comics, lots of launches, etc.

More oddness from Marvel’s numbers, as All-New Wolverine has another nearly 10K jump, selling 57K at #21. The Logan movie can’t explain it this month, and this was the start of a new arc but one without any real hype behind it. Could it be that the book is great and getting the attention it deserves? I wish, but doubt it. Books don’t just double in sales spontaneously over two months. Many unanswered questions about Marvel’s sales process here.

all-new_wolverine_vol_1_19Glenn:  If the sales jumps were smaller, I would probably put it on the quality.  Back in the day, Snyder’s Detective run ramped up sales of 2-6k month in, month out just on how good it was.  Perhaps Logan has created a whole new bunch of X-23 fans?  It is also possible that Marvel is over shipping in the hopes that has happened.  Now that Marvel knowingly has played the over shipping card, its hard to give them praise on something like this as you don’t know if its genuine or not.

Ray:  DC’s latest in-house crossover, Batman/The Shadow has a very healthy debut at #22 with sales of just under 56K. There’s no big fanbase for The Shadow in comics right now, so I put this one on Batman being able to sell anything, and the mega-watt creative team of Snyder, Orlando, and Rossmo on board. DC keeps crossing over, and keeps getting wins out of it. Bring on Green Arrow/Green Hornet!

Glenn:  Great start for Batman/The Shadow which I’m not too surprised at given the creative team.  The Shadow might be a relatively obscure character and this version isn’t even like the main version but it just shows the power of Batman and the creators involved.

Ray:  A bit disappointed by the numbers on Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider, but then as Clone Conspiracy struggled in sales all along the way, it’s not a big surprise. The controversial new status quo manages to land at #27 with sales of over 53K. I think best case scenario here is probably a sales trajectory like Silk or 2099, both of which had decent-length runs over the last few years.

Glenn:  A new Spider-Man title launching here seems a bit concerning but its not Peter so the real test there will be the upcoming title by Chip Zdarskey.  The book starring Ben Reilly should on paper have likely done better but given the confusing rollout of Clone Conspiracy, this is a number that makes sense.  I am wondering where the people who picked up Venom are with this book, nothing says 90’s nostalgia quite like Scarlet Spider after all.  If this book can do better than 2099, it’ll be fine.

Ray:  Occasionally, I can be way off in a prediction, and I’ll cop to it – I had Deadpool vs. Punisher possibly cracking the 100K barrier and challenging the month’s top Marvel launches, given the absurd performances of past Deadpool minis. Instead, it only sells 45K at #29, which is an acceptable number for a throwaway Deadpool mini, but not much more. Maybe Deadpool-mania is wearing off a bit? Shame, because this is the best Deadpool miniseries in a while.

Glenn:  Probably less of a commentary on Deadpool mania passing and likely more of a stance on where the Punisher is as a viable seller in terms of spin offs.  The Punisher isn’t one that can carry much of a following outside his own title (which usually fluctuates like a yo-yo in of itself) so that’s likely the reason for this not performing what we may have assumed.  It’ll probably stabelize about 10k lower which will be fine for a throwaway mini that will pay for itself when Netflix Punisher and Deadpool 2 come out.

Ray:  Old Man Logan has an unexplained increase from last month as well, shipping two issues of its new story “Past Lives” that each sell about 44K at 31 and 33, up from the 38K the second issue last month sold. There’s a lot of strange fluctuations in Marvel sales lately.

Glenn:  I think given the scale of the increase, we can chalk this one up to quality and new fans coming into the book from the movie.  It’ll be interesting to see how the soon to be incoming creative team impacts things…if at all.

Ray:  This is the portion of the chart where we see the Rebirth books that have leveled out nicely. All of Flash (the non-Button issue), Superman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Harley Quinn, Titans, Super-Sons, Suicide Squad, Nightwing, and Justice League of America have modest sales drops and keep their slots in the top 50. The news is especially good for two books. Action Comics, which is slowly moving up the ranks with the smallest drops in the line save for Detective Comics, and Justice League of America, which leveled off decently this month to land its two issues in the 43-41K range. It may be the second-tier JL title right now, but it seems that’s going to be enough for a long run for this oddball team of Batman’s misfits. Stability should continue for all of them, with the possible exception of Wonder Woman – the first a-list DC book to lose its writer. Shea Fontana doesn’t have all that much sales pull in the direct market and we don’t know who the permanent replacement will be yet, so watch this book for steeper drops post #25.

030_000Glenn:  Not much to add here to what you said about DC’s upper tier, its pretty much the same we say each month.  The sales may be dropping on all DC books but they’re doing so at a standard rate without the major fluctuation that Marvel gets on most of its books.  A year later, Rebirth is still doing wonders for all the books mentioned.

Wonder Woman might take a hit once Rucka leaves but with the movie coming out, I have to bet that DC is going to put some serious juice into the book.  We discussed on Rabbitt Stew (Dong!) what we thought the creative future of the book may be and if any of our guesses are right, Wonder Woman could easily join the upper tier reserved only for the bat-line and Bryan Hitch’s Justice League.

Ray:  The news was fairly good for the X-Men this month, launching all their new #1s in the top ten with decent drops for the second issue. Not so much for the Inhumans, who see their new flagship book, Royals, land at #42 with sales of just over 40K. To make it worse, the second issue ships the same month and lands at #79 with sales of 28K. This despite up-and-coming writer Al Ewing doing a well-received cosmic adventure with the title. It might be time to admit that the Inhumans just aren’t happening. To say this bodes poorly for next month’s Secret Warriors and Black Bolt would be an understatement.

Glenn:  I keep thinking of the end of the movie, Pet Cemetery where after unsuccessfully (to say the least) trying to resurrect their pet and their son, the main protagonist carries the body of his dead wife for the same ritual proclaiming despite all evidence to the contrary ‘it’ll work this time’.  That’s kind of how I feel it is with Marvel and the Inhumans.  They keep trying with little success to make this thing work and I don’t think the upcoming TV show will make much difference.  I doubt they’ll stop trying though.

Ray:  Rounding out the top 50 is the always successful Mighty Thor, which sells 37.5K.

The latest Black Panther Spin-off, Black Panther and the Crew, debuted with universal critical acclaim…and fairly anemic sales of 35K at #57. This is a clear case of Marvel killing the golden goose with spin-offs. The original Black Panther title was a massive success, but it’s lost most of that buzz, and now spin-offs are landing with a thud. Not every great book needs to be a franchise immediately.

Glenn: Finding a well is one thing and draining it dry is another.  This is finding a well and draining it dry in record time.  Its a shame as without all the spin offs, the main Black Panther book may not have culled off so quickly.  Its not the worst start but given how books that launched at a similar level have dropped, it doesn’t bode well for the books longevity.

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Note:  This was typed prior to the cancellation of Black Panther And The Crew.  Welcome to Marvel roulette!

Ray:  At #58 is the latest issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers, which sells 34.8K. This was the main issue that set up the events of Secret Empire and apparently killed off a major character. Nothing says buzz like losing 5K sales from last month right before you’re going to jump into the big summer event, right?

Glenn:  I’ll be curious if this title will benefit from the crossover given its by the same writer.  Could we see the opposite of how Clone Conspiracy did over its run?  You’d expect the events main character (again written by the same writer) to double in sales if we hold the Button as a benchmark.  We’ll see if that’s indeed the case next month.

Ray:  A fairly harsh fall for Batwoman #2, as the title loses its double #1 boost quickly and settles down at #65 with sales of 33K. This is very close to the trajectory Supergirl saw once its initial bounce fades, so the likely outcome here is sales akin to Batgirl or Supergirl. Not great, especially with Epting on board, but it’ll be enough to survive for the run – especially as DC is in no hurry to cull its low-performers like Blue Beetle and Cyborg. They all just got confirmed for new storylines post-#12.

Glenn:  DC seem to be holding steady on their books which of course, will have trade sales and digital to also factor in.  Given Batwoman’s history of sales (not counting when she was the solo lead in Detective) this seems about normal and will either stabilize here or drop another 10k or so which won’t make it a hit but will keep it chugging along.

Ray:  Neil Gaiman’s American Gods adaptation continues to outpace the field at Dark Horse, selling 33K at #66 for its second month. Only a 25% drop, and great numbers for Dark Horse.

In the latest installment of “Really, what did you expect?”, Marvel’s new Nick Fury title has a frankly terrible debut at #68 with sales of 31K. Given the common falls to issue #2, these numbers are not remotely survivable. Fury is a popular supporting character, but he’s never indicated he can carry an ongoing, and he won’t start now.

Glenn:  Those sales for Nick Fury are pretty dire, I’m definitely expecting a stealth mini out of this one for sure.  The character isn’t even the same one that has been around for 70 years or so and even that character and his son (who is the lead here and looks like someone who appreciates a damn good burger) have been in odd creative places the last few years.  At best, Fury is a c list character and this is how characters at that level get treated by the market.

Ray:  Last month, we were incredibly puzzled by the massive debut of Iron Fist, wondering if it was some secret surge of interest, or simply a retailer push. Well, that’s been answered as the title loses well over 2/3rds of its sales, going from 89K to 28K at #77 this month. That’s frankly what I’d expect an Iron Fist title to be selling with its second issue at Marvel these days, so we may just never know what was up with those #1 numbers.

Glenn:  I can only put it on the Netflix show, I suppose?  These numbers make a lot more sense but its a terrible drop on paper but…it could be worse.  If it can hang around 20k it might be fine but its really hard to say with Marvel books what it might do.

The spin off ‘ongoing’ of the ‘event’ of the same name, Monsters Unleashed gets unleashed at 86 with sales over 27k.  The main event mini had a ton of hype and some of Marvel’s best artists and didn’t really have staying power so this is no surprise.  This one isn’t going to last long.

Ray:  I have to applaud Marvel for trying something different with Monsters Unleashed, but it’s very clear that the public just isn’t interested in superhero kaiju comics. At least not with Fin Fang Foom in the main cast. This feels like it’ll essentially be treated as a sequel to the miniseries, not an ongoing. Another five-six issues may do it for this one. This launched below the level of Unstoppable Wasp.

Glenn:  Last month had some impressive numbers for Dynamite books and that trend continues this month with Sovereigns #0.  Again, 0 issues can be hit or miss but this one sells a more than respectable over 26.4k at 88.  Given where Dynamite books generally are, that’s rather a brilliant number so I’m sure they’re thrilled.  Not sure how it’ll do when the real number 1 is here next month but very impressive.

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Ray:  Dynamite’s been experimenting with incentive pricing lately, and this $1 issue clearly got a lot of people to check it out. I doubt next month’s 25-cent Swordquest will show up on the charts given the pricing, but they’re doing a good job of getting eyes on their books.

Glenn:  We’ll be seeing a lot of Guardians content coming out next month so Guardians Of The Galaxy: Dream On gets a bit of a head start with sales over 26.3k at 90.  Not too bad for a throwaway Guardians one shot to give retailers something to put on shelves in anticipation of the movie.  The franchise sales wise has seen better days and has had a lot of over saturation now but I’m still expecting a few good numbers out of the multiple launches in next months sales due to the movie.

Ray:  I don’t think one-shots and random miniseries like this will ever make much of an impact (unless they feature Deadpool), but I’m expecting strong numbers for the main All-New Guardians title next month.

Glenn:  At 95 is America #2 which sells just under 24k which I don’t think is too bad for a relatively obscure character that doesn’t have much (or any) outside media presence.  If sales settled here, I think that would be one for the win column but its all if, if, if.

Ray:  That’s a fairly standard fall for America, just under 50% down from its first issue’s sales. It’s tracking about 6K ahead of Unstoppable Wasp right now, likely owing to the character having a fanbase from Young Avengers. But it’ll still need to stabilize quickly if it wants to get past #8. Marvel tried something unprecedented, offering the first issue for free on comiXology the month after it came out. We’ll see if it starts paying dividends down the line.

Glenn:  A fantastic launch for Redneck from Image at 102 with over 22.3k sales from the writer behind the surprise hit, God Country.  Donny Yates is quickly making a name for himself and manages to produce Image’s fourth highest selling book this month.  It seems the market is getting behind this guy and he could be the one to watch in the coming year if sales on his creator owned books are any indication.

Ray:  Donny Yates is indeed proving himself to be a big new gun in Image’s holster, rising in the ranks as fast as anyone we’ve seen in years. This book doesn’t seem to have quite as much immediate buzz as God Country did, but it got good reviews and should stabilize nicely. Definitely a win for Image.

Glenn:  Another respectable Image launch this month in the form of Rose at 108 with sales just under 20.5k.  This is from Meredith Finch who did a run on Wonder Woman and is the wife of superstar artist David Finch.  Her Wonder Woman run has seemingly bought her some notoriety as this is another good launch for a new Image title.  Unlike Redneck however, I don’t think reviews have been particularly kind to this one so we’ll see what impact (if any) it has on sales, next month.

Ray:  I think getting hyped as “by the writer of Wonder Woman” helped this one a lot. We’ll see how it holds, but it seems to have come and gone without any real hype from readers.

As we exit the top 100, a good example of the stability of Rebirth is Deathstroke, which has locked down at 98/99 this month, holding at around 23K copies. This book goes monthly after the upcoming crossover, and has stabilized quickly, so it should be good for as long as Priest wants to write it. Rebirth has been showing incredible stability up and down the charts, with even the lower-selling books showing some signs of life. More on them later.

Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, and Greg Hinkle also have a win from Image this month, with their surreal dimension-hopping thriller Black Cloud. 19.5K at #111 is a pretty strong debut for a title without any a-list names (Latour is rising, though). I imagine retailers liked what they saw and ordered for a sleeper hit.

X-O Manowar has a hefty fall from its shocking #12 debut last month, landing at #112 with sales of 19K this month. However, that still places it pretty firmly as Valiant’s top-selling book this month, almost doubling its nearest competition from the company. So this clearly has some lasting buzz and will likely be a solid hit for Valiant.

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Proving there’s an audience for everything, the sex-doll crime satire Plastic also has a strong debut, landing at #114 with sales of 18.9K. I’m surprised this was ordered so heavily, but I guess retailers know who wants it. There’s probably a watchlist. (I kid, I kid, it’s actually a pretty great book.)

Glenn:  I think books with an unusual quirky premise, like Plastic stand out.  They get people’s curiosity and that’s really key in a market brimming with choices.

Ray:  This is where we see a cavalcade of Marvel titles that just aren’t happening, all sinking below 20K. You’ve got Gwenpool, Totally Awesome Hulk, Hawkeye, Sam Wilson, Mighty Captain Marvel, and both of Al Ewing’s Avengers books, US Avengers and Ultimates 2. Some of these are niche books, but there’s clearly a whole lot of work to be done at Marvel. (As of today, reports are that they think everything is fine and are sipping their coffee calmly)

Glenn:  Most of these books will be tying into Secret Empire so it’ll be interesting to see if that has any benefit.  It seemed that the tie-ins to Civil War II did on average, more harm than good and given how retailers/fans are reacting to Secret Empire so far, I don’t think there will be a different tale to be told here.

Ray:  The Riverdale ongoing, which tells stories set in between the issues of the TV series, debuts with sales of 15.7K at #130. Not a great debut, but for a TV cash-in it’s pretty decent. Archie launches a lot of titles lately, but most of them have been having modest debuts.

Glenn:  TV tie ins are usually a lot lower, especially when the show is still going so I think this is pretty good.  I don’t think it’ll hold here though and will probably land about 8k or so where the majority of other TV tie-in comics seem to live these days.  I don’t think there’s any danger of this book ending up overshadowing the Mark Waid re imagining.

Ray:  Cult favorite creator James Stokoe takes on the Xenomorphs in Aliens: Dead Orbit, which manages to be the #2 Dark Horse book of the month at #141, selling just over 14K. This is standard numbers for a Dark Horse Alien book, but I think it might hold a bit better due to Stokoe’s passionate fanbase.

Glenn:  Retailers could also be looking to stock up on Alien titles due to Alien: Covenant coming out next month.  Its unlikely to bring in any new readers who don’t check out Alien comics already but may as well have it there just in case.

Ray:  Jeff Lemire’s Royal City has kind of a hefty fall, shedding 10K in sales to land at #150 with sales of 13.7K. On the surface, definitely disappointing for a passion project of his, but might it just be that Lemire as an artist appeals to a limited, indie-centric audience that is most likely to pick this up in collections? Either way, he has more than enough clout to keep it going for as long as he wants.

Glenn:  13kish is still better than a lot of lower tier Image and will probably do very well in collections. Lemire has some serious momentum which I don’t think will slow down anytime soon so this one could stabilize here and be fine for as long as he wishes.

Ray:  As usual, the lowest-selling DC books of the month are Cyborg and Blue Beetle, which both sell in the 13K range at #151 and #153 respectively. That’s down about 1K from last month each, and they’ve both just been renewed past #12 with new storylines. Clearly, stability extends all the way down to the lowest Rebirth books, as both of these and books like New Super-Man are refusing to fall off a cliff. For the record, both of these books outsold the fifth and final issue of Rocket Raccoon at #154. That’s relaunching, naturally. Again.

Dark Horse has been a pretty decent home for cult faves over the years, and Shaolin Cowboy returns this month with decent sales of 12.9K at #160. This is another case of retailers undoubtedly already knowing who wants this book, and I expect it’ll hold decently from here.

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Surprisingly, X-Men Prime charts again with another 12K in copies at #167. We might be seeing some actual hype for the line here, based on this and the first-issue sales. We’ll see if Marvel can keep this new momentum.

Black Hammer, as always, displays insane stability this month, landing at #170 with sales of 11.7K. For the record, that’s down only 117 copies from last month. This is what a genuine hit looks like.

IDW relaunches their My Little Pony series with a new subtitle “Legends of Magic”, and that’s good for 11.3K at #173. I imagine this comic sells most of its copies in toy stores and the like, though. That, and…other places that we won’t speak of.

Glenn:  The Pony comics have their audience and retailers will know what that audience is in terms of the direct market.  This franchise and this comic will be making its money through other means.  This is a fine number for a book that makes the majority of its money somewhere else.

Ray:  Not every Image book is going to be a breakout hit, and a comic about hobos on the search for a magical mountain is not likely to have a spectacular debut. But given the subject matter, Rock Candy Mountain (by cult cartoonist Kyle Starks) debuting with 10.7K at #179 is probably a win. It got into four digits, which is more than we can say for quite a few Image books, and hopefully it’ll be able to build an audience from here.

Glenn:  From someone who doesn’t have a lot of sales clout and a bit of an off beat premise, that isn’t too shabby at all.  I think retailers are showing a lot of faith in new Image books that they might have been hesitant to stock even a years ago because of the ones that have caught a little bit of a following.

Another new Valiant book launches at the level their books usually average at on a number 1 at 189 with sales over 10.3k.  Manowar really seems to be the exception to the rest of the line, this is more along where Valiant usually launches and will see a quick stabilization.  Loyal audience for their books still continue to show up and it manages to outsell an Avenger’s book with Occupy Avengers one spot lower, how about that?

Ray:  Yeah, the sequel of Britannia launched roughly in the same range as the first, which shows retailers know what to expect from Valiant cult properties. This book seemed like an odd fit for Valiant – being a mature-readers period piece with no real ties to the Valiant universe – but there seems to be a plan here.

Glenn:  A new Tank Girl book from Titan launches at 191 with sales over 10.2k and reminds me that once upon a time, Tank Girl was a thing.  Given this is a very, very, very cult property and is far past its heyday, I would say this is pretty good.  I doubt many people were really chomping at the bit for a new title starring this character.

Ray:  Tank Girl moved from Dark Horse to Titan at some point, so clearly the company thinks there’s an audience here. I’m just not sure how many people remember this character anymore.

Glenn:  Surprisingly, Inhumans Prime also recharts this month at 192 with sales over 10.2k too.  Retailers are maybe ordering more to try and build an audience for the trades because the monthly sales don’t really indicate any reason for more copies of this to be ordered.

The new BOOM! title Grass Kings manages to keep most of its readers on its second issue at 194 with sales over 9.8k meaning they lost about 3k in sales.  I don’t think that’s too bad at all given Boom’s place in the market and if this book can settle around here, it could end up being one of their highest selling books and their highest selling original property.

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Ray:  That’s a pretty strong hold for Grass Kings, actually better than what most of Kindt’s books did at Dark Horse. I’m glad to see both BOOM! and Kindt finding some level of a foothold in a hyper-competitive market.

Glenn:  While this level is good for an original property from BOOM!, its not good to see any Big Two book down here and days may be numbered for Unstoppable Wasp which sells over 9.7k at 196, wah wah.  Same can be said for DC who has Odyssey of the Amazons down here at over 9.5k at 199, double wah wah.  One would imagine that whatever follow up Renae De Liz had planned for Legend Of Wonder Woman would have done much better than this.

Ray:  Unstoppable Wasp‘s only hope now is that it’s getting that same Moon Girl audience that keeps that book alive somehow. They’re making a hard play for it, even giving the title a spotlight in Avengers in May with an issue co-written by Waid and Whitley, but it may be too late. The less said about Odyssey – a Wonder Woman tie-in book without any Wonder Woman characters – the better. This was one of DC’s few misfires recently.

Glenn:  At 200 is another BOOM! original property, Armory Wars: Good Apollo with sales over 9.4k.  Definitely not as impressive as Grass Kings last month or this month but still some interest here.  This is the first issue of a 12 issue series that seems to be a continuation of an ongoing story so retailers probably know whose coming in to buy it.

Ray:  Yeah, this is a long-running cult steampunk series, written by the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria, and it’s coming over from another publisher. With all that, it seems like retailers knew exactly who wanted this and it’s a decent number.

Glenn:  Second issue of Dynamite’s James Bond performs respectfully enough at 205 with sales over 8.8k.  The franchise isn’t going to make any of the bigger companies shake in their boots but this seems to have some stability to it which Dynamite will likely appreciate.

Managing to pull in some really well known creators, Aftershock debuts Eleanor and The Egret by John Layman and Sam Keith.  One is a very well regarded Image/DC writer who once wrote Detective Comics and the other is a legend in comics so sales of over 8.5k at 207 might seem a little muted but even though they are getting huge talent to work with them, Aftershock is still building a place for themselves in the market.  This likely would have launched a good bit higher anywhere else but I’m sure Aftershock and the creators involved are happy.

Ray:  Aftershock continues to struggle to get a foothold in the market, and these two are more cult creators with a loyal audience. We’ll likely see it stabilize quickly, as the fans of Chew and The Maxx find this book.

Simon Spurrier’s surreal tale of a world full of personal gods, Godshaper, has a decent debut for Boom as well, selling 8.2K at #213. Spurrier’s slowly built himself a brand of these strange sci-fi tales at Boom, and it seems to be paying off. I’m just a bit puzzled by how this managed to get close to twice the orders of the latest Boom books by James Tynion and Steve Orlando! Boom order patterns don’t always make sense, but this is a unique book that I’m glad to see getting a healthy debut. And it sold one spot above the debut of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, which has got to have some dark magic going to still be going. That or digital sales.

191912_1073637_8Glenn:  When it comes to BOOM!, it doesn’t seem as if attached creators always make a difference.  More and more we’re seeing books doing well seemingly on concept alone, which is interesting.  Outside of Image, it could be that the rest of the indie companies start to rely more on concept over creator, especially since on average, Aftershock has one of the most prestigious creator line ups right now and it doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact as of yet.

Ray:  Dark Horse has a Prometheus one-shot at #215, selling just over 7.8K. Licensed comics are their big business right now, but this indicates that “Aliens” is a much stronger brand than “Prometheus”. For good reason.

Glenn:  Even though it takes place in the Alien universe, Prometheus will not have the brand power of anything with the name of everyone’s favorite chest bursting race.

Ray:  Remember the Showtime horror TV show Penny Dreadful? It’s back, in Pog form! Or rather, comic form, as Titan’s new spinoff debuts at #220 with sales of 7.5K. About what I’d expect from a long-gone cult show.

Glenn:  I loved Penny Dreadful!  This is a continuation of the show and the time when these type of things were popular is long gone.  Given that the show wrapped up in a very definitive way and killed off the main character, I’m not sure how much interest there would be in a continuation in this form.  Its about standard for something like this these days, probably not going to have a long life I’d wager.

Ray:  Two spots below, Dynamite and Bill Willingham’s Robert E. Howard tribute “The Greatest Adventure” sells 7.4K. Willingham used to be a big name, but aside from Tarzan and John Carter, very few of these characters have a mainstream profile, so a crossover here may not have found much of an audience.

Glenn:  Bill Willingham never did seem to take his success with Fables and pass it on to mainstream runs or other creator owned so this might have more interest than usual due to the fact it features literary characters like his most successful work did.  Pretty standard for a Dynamite launch, will probably live or die on how well trades do.

Ray:  I like that Motor Crush and Motor Girl are right next to each other on the chart, at #224 and #225, selling literally two copies apart. Aesthetically pleasing! Both great books, too. They should be higher than 7K.

Patsy Walker: Hellcat ends its run at #226, with sales of just under 7K. Shocking numbers for a Marvel book, surely, but then – these are numbers that books like Solo are reaching in one arc, not 17 issues – so maybe this isn’t all that bad? The new order.

The latest Valiant one-shot, Immortal Brothers: Tale of the Green Knight, has surprisingly low numbers at #234 with sales of 6.7K. This features the Anni-Padda brothers from Eternal Warrior, Ivar Timewalker, and of course Archer and Armstrong, but I wonder if branding was the issue here – the title is a bit vague about who this book stars, just like the recent “Escape from Gulag 396” one-shot.

Glenn:  Valiant’s marketing is something we’ve discussed at length.  They seem to have done something right with XO but this one shot featuring characters that have something of a following could be a missed opportunity for sure if it wasn’t presented to potential buyers.  It could be just seen as a throwaway one shot to some retailers.

Ray:  The SyFy series Z Nation gets its comic book tie-in from Dynamite, with sales of 6.6K. It’s a cult property, so I doubt Dynamite was expecting much higher.

Titan has a cavalcade of licensed properties every month, and this month brings a new Doctor Who miniseries for the 12th Doctor (249, 5.8K) and a Dark Souls series (252, 5.7K). Business as usual. Much like IDW, Titan’s business seems to be consistency and quantity. There’s also a Doctor Who: Ghost Stories series down at #259 with sales of 5.5K

Glenn:  The Ghost Stories one is a really puzzling choice.  It features a new character introduced in the most recent Christmas special, a superhero named ‘The Ghost’ that is essentially a love letter to Silver Age/Chris Reeves Superman.  I think it worked well for the episode but a comic spin off of this character when there are much more popular Who side characters that might have garnered more interest is a head scratcher.

Ray:  At #253, we have NAMWOLF! Albatross brings us a Werewolf in the Vietnam war. 5.7K isn’t great numbers for most companies, but this is an up and coming company that has built itself a reputation for offbeat horror comics. They seem to be getting a bit more attention lately.

Glenn:  Again, this could be concept selling more than anything.  Its always nice to see newer companies joining the charts, even its only for a month.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Also NAMWOLF is an amazing title.

Ray:  I expected higher numbers for Little Archie by the all-ages all-stars of Baltazar and Franco, which was a great fusion of the properties of Archie, Sabrina, and Josie and the Pussycats (both of whom have their own one-shots coming from this team). 5.6K at #254 is a lot lower than Werewolf Jughead did. Given that, I’m not sure if any of these Archie “pilot season” one-one shots are going to become their own series.

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Glenn:  I’m surprised as well but maybe there wasn’t much need seen for a more ‘kid friendly lolz’ version of Archie.  Where this creative team is at their best is putting their own spin on big name characters and while the Archie characters are certainly iconic to a certain extent they’re no Justice League.

Ray:  Aftershock has another debut this month, the sci-fi cosmic murder mystery World Reader. The writer, Jeff Loveness, has written for Marvel before but is far from a household name. Given that, the debut of 5.5K at #260 isn’t great, but isn’t much below what would be expected. Aftershock knows the sales levels it’s been getting and this should remain in the healthy range. It’s also probably my favorite title they’ve put out yet.

Glenn:  This writer doesn’t ring a bell so he’ll be even lower on the totem pole on what Aftershock can achieve.  Might be one that sticks around long, it depends how much rope they want to give their books.

 Ray:  Another new Black Mask debut, There’s Nothing There, has muted numbers at #264, selling roughly 5.4K. Matt Rosenberg and to an extent Magdalene Visaggio have built some buzz for this company with their books, but it doesn’t seem to have transferred to the rest of the line yet.

Glenn:  Still interesting to see Black Mask becoming a regular fixture with new launches.  They’ve got a long road ahead of them and there will be mixed results but in ten years time the story might be very different.

Ray:  Speaking of Archie, the Big Moose one-shot has low numbers as well, selling 5.3K at #266. Unlike Little Archie, I don’t think anyone was expecting high numbers here. Moose is a supporting character who no one really thought could sustain his own title. This will remain a one-shot.

Glenn:  There’s a new Judge Dredd book from IDW at 277 with sales over 4,7k.  The market has never been particularly kind to Dredd but this character makes a ton of money outside the main direct market so there won’t be any need for this to do particularly well here.

Night Owl Society from IDW is another new book they’re launching this month.  It manages sales of over 4.6k at 281.  It seems to be a book about school kids fighting the mob which is certainty different.  No big name creators here and the concept, while unique isn’t particularly attention grabbing so no surprises here.

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Ray:  IDW keeps dipping their toe in the creator-owned market, but it hasn’t been very kind to them sales-wise. This was a property that got a few good reviews, so it might do decently in trades for them.

Glenn:  Right below it at 282 is the final issue of Clean Room which finishes in the top 300 selling just over 4.6k.  The hey day of Vertigo are truely gone but this is one that might do better in collections, still I’m glad to see writer Gail Simone land all issues in the top 300.  The book is apparently returning but I wouldn’t be surprised if its published either in another format or with someone else.

Ray:  Yeah, I’m expecting to see Clean Room Vol. 2 at Image in a few years. Although the first volume wrapped up very neatly and I’m not sure a sequel will happen, unlike with The Sheriff of Babylon.

Glenn:  With its odd title in tow, Underwinter‘s second issue sells over 4.5k at 283 which is lower than the average Image book.  There’s so much choice in the market and the small press comic scene is pretty rough so not everyone is going to come out a winner.

Ray:  That’s a really harsh fall for Underwinter (I have no clue what that title means). Ray Fawkes is a very odd creator when it comes to his creator-owned works, with abstract art styles that feel almost like a surreal painting rather than a comic. It’s an acquired taste, and retailers are likely ordering for a small but loyal audience.

Glenn:  Micronauts, the comic based on the toy line from back of the day gets a new mini from IDW at 295 with sales over 4,3k  This is a pure nostalgia grab for a really obscure property.  I doubt IDW could have expected any better given the main book is at 299 and will likely never be seen again after this month.

Apen MLT Inc is another company I’m not familiar with that manages to just sneak in the bottom end of the top 300 at 297 with No World selling over 4.3k too.  Upon research its written by Scott Lobdell who is a creator of prominance due to his time writing for Marvel in the 90’s and more recently, some new 52 books including the likes of Superman!  Given that his big two work tends to (generously) have middling reviews I’m not surprised he can’t get interest in an original property from a company no one has heard of.  The company is probably thrilled do be in the top 300, even if it is barely but its telling that they’re seemingly the only ones willing to print Lobdell work beyond Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Ray:  Aspen is a company that’s stuck around despite the tragic loss of their founder years back, but they don’t really seem to have kept much in the way of momentum. It’s an odd artifact of 90s/early 2000s comics and I’m surprised they managed to get Lobdell for a book.

Glenn:  Didn’t realize this was Aspen’s corporate name.  The more you know.

From Oni press, we have a favorite read from Ray is the form of Kim Reaper which sneaks into the top 300 at 298 with sales also around the 4.3k mark.  Oni don’t have much market pull and this shows.  Hopefully, for Ray’s sake at least that this title gets some support behind it.

Ray:  Inside joke, people! Listen to Rabbitt Stew Comics for context! (Dong!) Suffice it to say, Kim Reaper is a book that tried very hard to capture that quirky vibe that books like Lumberjanes or Jonesy have for Boom, but it doesn’t seem to have worked. Oni is a company that’s been struggling lately, with fewer and fewer books each month. This won’t help.

Glenn:  Lastly at 300 is Magdalena, the Top Cow book’s second issue sells over 4.2k and is headed out of the top 300 where we will all likely forget she ever existed in the first place, all over again.

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Ray:  Top Cow continues to completely lack in buzz, and bringing back their old Image properties isn’t helping. This book will disappear from the list next month, and probably from the shelves shortly thereafter. Matt Hawkins may not be to everyone’s tastes, but his books still seem to be keeping Top Cow afloat as an imprint.

Looking ahead to May, DC brings part three and four of THE BUTTON! All eyes on whether these two comics will combine to be the highest selling books of the month once again! Magic eight-ball says yes. We’re also getting a new Young Animal book, in the form of Bug: The Adventures of Forager, a few oddball launches like a new Bane series and the second volume of Injustice, plus the long-awaited (by me) DC vs. Looney Tunes specials with top creative teams including Tom King!

Marvel, meanwhile, launches Secret Empire proper with three issues, and we’ll see what the sales trajectory of this…to put it lightly, controversial event will be, as well as the performance of its first official tie-ins. We’re also going to be getting a few more X-launches, including Jean Grey, Cable, and Generation X, plus new series for Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon, Luke Cage, Black Bolt, and the new team book Secret Warriors. Plus, there’s a Baby Groot series! And as always, we’ll be playing the monthly game….”How low can they go?” on a lot of Marvel ongoings.

Image is bringing us Regression by Cullen Bunn, a relaunch of Youngblood, and Eternal Empire from the creators of Alex + Ada, among others. BOOM!’s got new all-ages adventure Misfit City, Frankenstein pastiche Destroyer, and a new Power Rangers annual. Valiant’s got the start of its new supernatural event comic Rapture, and there’ll be a bunch of other small launches to look at as well.

Really, though, this month all eyes will be on Marvel. Will Secret Empire turn their sales around, if only temporarily, or will it expose them fully?

Glenn:  I think Button and Guardians might overshadow Secret Empire a bit but time will tell.

Join us next month to find out, see you then!

Liked what you read?  Got any questions or comments?  Let us know here or contact us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: March 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 currently battling against a crippling fear of failure on some comic pitches he really should have sent by now.  He’s also hoping those cookies he sent as bribes to get into the DC writers workshop survive being in the post…

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 got approved for a pro pass at NYCC and will be on hand to ask when they’re bringing back the Young Justice comic back at every panel, especially the non DC ones.

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: Sales charts are here for March and even though we’re a good ways off the big events of Secret Empire and the recently announced, Batman Metal it seems the early part of the year still can hold a few surprises.  DC took the lead on unit share this month and starts to chip away at Marvel’s precious market share but falls short due to a number of factors which will soon present themselves from the top spot onwards.

asm2015025_immonen-varRay: It’s worth noting that DC won unit share this month, while Marvel handily won dollar share. Selling the most copies of a $9.99 comic is undoubtedly going to help with that, although it does go to show how strong DC’s overall performance has been over the last year. They’re moving more comics than Marvel despite a gap of about 20 comics a month released by Marvel.

Glenn: Marvel’s most consistent selling superhero title, Amazing Spider-Man tops the charts this month on its 25th issue with sales just under 114k. Big leap up for the title which has been selling in the 60-70k range for a while, especially when this is an anniversary issue priced at $9.99. This is yet another $9.99 oversized issue that Marvel’s seen a big return on so don’t expect them to slow down on those anytime soon. The explanation for Amazing’s bump could be numerous. This is the 25th issue and numerals of 25 do seem to attract attention in general when it comes to comics.  The issue also saw the return of major Spider-Man for, Norman Osborn and the addition of Stuart Immonen to the title. Given that Immonen has had a pretty high profile at Marvel at recent years, his name could very much have influenced the success here.  You could almost say Immonen…moved the needle. Great success for Marvel’s most dependable superhero title which will hope to keep some of this rise next month.

Ray: Strong numbers for ASM, although there’s a lot of x-factors that would help it. The return of one of Spider-man’s most iconic artists, the return of his most iconic villain, a big anniversary number (I guess 25 is what passes for an anniversary for Marvel, until they head back to legacy numbers this summer). All in all, strong, and the murderer’s row of creators on board – including the Marvel debut of an extremely popular Spider-man fan-artist with tens of thousands of online followers – certainly helped as well. That being said, this is one of the lowest #1 numbers since Rebirth hit.

Glenn: We also forgot the return of the Amazing Spider-Aunt, surely no one pulls in sales like the Spider-Aunt!

We get DC’s MVP following Marvel’s this month with Dark Knight III taking the number 2 spot with sales over 107.8k.  This prestige mini priced at 5.99 has had many delays and a mixed reception but been a major success for DC when it has come out.  This book has been a big win and could have easily gone the other way.  It’ll be headed off to a very long and lucrative life in collection land soon so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more projects like this in the future from DC.  There’s still one more issue to go so I would expect to see it finish well into six figures for the whole run, an impressive feat.

Ray: The schedule is still really unpredictable, but with one issue to go, DKIII seems likely to finish above the 100K mark on its way to endless collected edition sales. In fact, if it manages to get its final issue out before Dark Nights: Metal begins, it may land the #1 book of the month for its final issue.

Glenn: Losing out his usual spots to…himself (only Batman can beat himself) is Batman at 3 and 4 with sales over 98k and 97.5k respectively. Still spectacularly successful and dropping at a snails pace with nothing regular overtaking it at this point. Next month’s Button tie in will definitely give it a six figure order but this is the title that really is peerless in the charts today.

Ray: A book at this level dropping only 500 copies between issues is amazing. Batman continues to be the picture of stability, a performance generally shared by its line partners. They’re all locked down into their slots on the chart right now.

Glenn: In a huge surprise to both myself and Ray, Iron Fist‘s new book is at 5 with sales over 89.6k which is spectacular for not only an Iron Fist title but a Marvel launch in general outside of their major franchises. I don’t expect the book to hold anything close to this but this is still unusually high for a character like Iron Fist, the only explanation I can think of is the Netflix show. If it can even keep half the numbers that would be quite a commendable performance.

Ray: Honestly, I’m just as puzzled by Iron Fist’s performance as you are. Not only is this an abnormally high number for a Marvel debut not featuring an A-lister, but this book was launched with very little fanfare, being brought in to replace the seemingly cancelled Iron Fists book by Kaare Andrews. And it just sold more than the majority of Marvel debuts from the new wave, including the latest Avengers book. Puzzling, and we’ll see next month if it has any sort of hold. I’m expecting a 2/3rds fall within months, but that may be enough to keep it safe for the run, with the way these numbers are shaking out.

Glenn: To underline how well Iron Fist did, it outsold the much more high profile X-Men Prime at 6 which sells over 83.6k. The X-Men books have been in an odd place for years sales wise but this is very good.  Keeping the momentum will be key of course but this is the most decent start they’ve had in quite some time.

Ray: That’s an acceptable number for X-Men Prime. These one-shots are often tricky, because retailers are ordering them blind and are combining interest for three books into one. However, it shows some heat for the X-Men line, at least in terms of retailer curiosity. We’ll see how it bears out when the three new books launch next month – a certain controversy aside.

x-men_prime_1_cassaday_variantGlenn: Taking up its usual place in the top ten is Star Wars at 7 with sales over 72k.  Settling back into where it was prior to the bump at the start of the newest arc, the title is still a huge success of course. Given that its sister (father?) title Darth Vader is getting a new number one in a few months and there’s a new ‘Episode’ Star Wars movie this year, I wonder if this title could be heading for a relaunch also?

Ray: The Star Wars book keeps getting closer and closer to the events of Empire, so you may be on to something there. A relaunch shifting it to the post-Jedi era, now that we know how things turned out in Ep. VII, may easily push this back up to the top of the charts. Around the time of The Last Jedi, perhaps?

Glenn: I’m thinking its more likely that they move to post Empire but then, the only story there really is ‘Lets go get Han back!’ which might be good for a 12 issue set up but when you’re not really getting the conclusion in the book itself, that could be tricky. I still think the books will not be able to leap too close to the current post Force Awakens time but maybe some post Jedi stuff that doesn’t involve the main 3 characters could be done.

Another top ten regular, All-Star Batman is close on Star Wars heels with sales over 71.8k. Although not the success of Snyder‘s Batman run, this is a $4.99 title that DC can really count on so they won’t be concerned.  Snyder is still worth his writing weight in gold and the upcoming Metal event book with Capullo is destined to be huge.  In the meantime, All Star will probably continue its very, very slow slide down but like the parent title, there’s nothing regular overtaking it.

Ray: Snyder has recently confirmed that All-Star Batman will be continuing with him at the helm until at least #20, through and beyond Metal. So this shouldn’t be leaving the top ten any time soon.

Glenn: At 9 its Walking Dead with sales of over 70k.  Blah, blah, blah, consistent, blah, blah, blah, money, blah, blah, Kirkman bought a new mansion

Final spot in the top ten is Bryan Hitch’s Justice League book with sales over 62.5 k with the following issue at 11 with sales over 61k.  Its following the pattern of the majority of DC books where there is a slow slide down but there is nothing constant that is making its lose roughly where it is at the charts month in and month out.  I think Hitch’s League title has been at the bottom of the top ten for quite a few months more often than not.  Its on the low end for the ‘main’ Justice League book historically but still performing very well in regards to everything else.

Ray: Hitch’s name still has some significant pull, plus there’s the presence of the big five franchises in this book which has locked it down as one of DC’s top books. As we see this month, it’s already consistently pulled ahead of the new Justice League of America title.

Glenn: It is a very low entry point for the top ten this month, lowest in a few months.  There is plenty of room at the top for new contenders in the months ahead.

justice-league-17-dc-comics-losh-rebirth-spoilers-2Ray:  Speaking of huge upsets, Valiant’s massive roll-out for the new X-O Manowar relaunch pays dividends bigger than I could have predicted. #12 with sales of over 60K. That’s one of Valiant’s best numbers ever, if not the best. A lot of this is probably the sheer number of incentives, but this title is coming out of the gate with a lot of positive buzz. This could be Valiant’s moment for a massive breakout hit with space Conan.

Glenn: That’s a spectacular number for Valiant and I think this is definitely their best selling book by quite a fair margin.  I’m not sure what they did to get some hype going on this book but it really worked. This is a major accomplishment for them, even if Manowar can do half these sales when things settle down it would still be far and away the biggest hit the companies ever seen. Could this be a major turning point for the small but cult favorite publisher?

Ray: Darth Maul holds very well, losing less than half of its first issue sales and selling over 60K at #13. The force is strong with the Sith, and Star Wars continues to be bulletproof. But then, Maul has always had a strong fanbase, especially given his appearances in Rebels recently.

Glenn: It shows you that if you make a character seem awesome enough, he really can take on a life of his own despite having next to no dialogue and starring in probably the least popular Star Wars movie. If Vader wasn’t coming back, Maul would be a candidate for a ‘dark side’ ongoing with numbers like these but I still wouldn’t count out a follow up mini of some description.

Ray: DC then reels off 8 books in a row to close out the top 20 with 14, to four for Marvel and one each for Image and Valiant. Most of them are the regular hits of Detective Comics, Superman, and Flash, but notable is the debut of Batwoman #1. As expected, the second #1 for the title actually increases from the Rebirth issue, going up 2K to land at #19 with sales of 54K. We’ll have to see where it stabilizes from here – remember, Supergirl was in the top ten for two issues in a row before the #1 boost wore off – but this is undeniably a strong debut.

Glenn: A good start for Batwoman but like you said, the real test will come when that nice shiny 1 is gone from the cover. Given how strong the bat family books are overall and that it has an artist like Steve Epting (moving the needle), I think it’ll deliver healthy numbers. Sales of anywhere between 25-35 can give this book a healthy life and I think it could do better than that.

Ray: The news wasn’t quite as strong for the new Justice League of America, which charted its second and third issues this month out of the top 20. Landing at #21 (53K) and #25 (48K), it’s far from disastrous numbers, but it firmly establishes this title as the second tier JL title right out of the gate. This is essentially more of an Outsiders book with Batman and an odd gang of misfits, so from that perspective, DC may be happy enough with the numbers. It’s either a disappointing JL title or a successful rebranding.

Glenn: Decent sales for a team book starring a bunch of b or c listers lead by Batman but given the wait for the book and the promotion, DC were likely hoping for more. As long as it stays around the 40-45k range it’ll be fine though. The only line that can support second tier titles anywhere close to the main book continues to be Batman.

jla-2-1Ray: Like I said previously though, Hitch’s book will likely be kept in its own vacuum during any major universe developments where I feel this League book will be in the thick of stuff like Metal for example.  It could cause the title to be a dark horse (no pun intended) for success.

IvX limps to the finish line, wrapping up with sales of 52K at #22. Needless to say, these are not numbers a main line Marvel Universe should do. If the X-Men line rebounds from this with the new books, it’ll be in spite of this event, not because of it.

Glenn: Not sure where the misfire was with IvX, most of the recent evidence from the past number of years would land the blame at the fact the Inhumans were involved but there could be many, many other explanations. This was just something the large majority of fans weren’t interested in and are unlikely to change the position of either franchise long term sales wise. This is the comic that seemingly broke long time Marvel fan Pat Loika after all.

Ray: The other Prime book this month, Inhumans Prime, lands at #24 with sales just over 50K. The Inhumans continue to be a tougher sale, so we’ll see how the two new Inhumans books – both by up and coming writer Al Ewing – sell in the months to come, but Marvel doesn’t seem to have been able to make Inhumans a thing yet.

Glenn: Bless Marvel for being persistent, maybe they figure if they keep trying then the TV show will bring a new legion of Inhumans fans but I really don’t see that happening. Ewing is one of Marvel’s newest and most promising talents so giving someone like him both Inhumans titles is a smart move creatively so perhaps good worth of mouth will lead to some stable sales for the former occupants of the moon.

Ray: Amid the usual suspects like Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad, we see a couple of books get notable bumps this month. Both Deadpool and Spider-Man/Deadpool have healthy increases, going up about 10K for the debut of the “Till Death Do Us Part” crossover. That’s a bit more than I expected for a small family crossover. Likewise, Action Comics jumps about 6K for its part in the Superman Beyond crossover. These limited-scope crossovers do seem to have an impact in terms of pulling the smaller books up to the level of the main one, especially since the latter has a very significant impact on the Superman books going forward. Deadpool has a third book involved in the crossover, Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, which we’ll see further down.

Glenn: A Deadpool crossover that is seemingly going to wrap up one of the series longest stories will definitely gain interest.  Both the main Deadpool and Spidey/Deadpool titles were solid performers previously so the extra bump is just the marketing machine at work.  Neither title will probably retain the extra bump once the crossover is done but they will enjoy it while they can.

Ray: Two other books got significant bounces this month as well, Old Man Logan and All-New Wolverine. Old Man Logan increased 10K for its first issue this month, landing at #27 with sales of 47K (but it loses almost all that bounce with a second issue this month). All-New Wolverine, meanwhile, gains a whopping 19K to land at #33 with sales of 46K. We’ll see if it keeps any of that boost with a new arc next month, but this increase is clearly due to the Logan movie in March.

Super Sons loses about 50% of its sales to land at #30 with sales of 47K. A big fall, but not unexpected, and this is still very healthy for a book teaming Robin with a character who didn’t even exist a bit more than a year ago. Selling only 7K below Batwoman’s #1 issue shows this book is here to stay.

Glenn: Solid landing for Super Sons, the title based on two iconic characters sons can’t be expecting to be a long term top contender but given the fun spirit the concept implies and how books starring young heroes tend to perform, this is a very solid number for sure.

Ray: Unworthy Thor ends rock solid, losing only just over 1K from its last issue to end its run at #34 with 45K sales. This franchise could easily sustain two books right now, a huge win for Marvel.

the_unworthy_thor_5_yu_variantGlenn:  With the movie coming later this year, momentum seems to be in the corner of the Thor titles, even with it looking like top name writer Jason Aaron might be wrapping up soon. This is a stable part of their publishing line that will benefit from the relaunch around October time with a new writer. This is a ball Marvel has to try very hard to drop.

Ray: It’s rare that Dark Horse gets a book in the top fifty, but that’s the power of Neil Gaiman! He doesn’t actually write American Gods: Shadow #1, but it’s based on his property and there’s a TV show debuting very soon. Sales of 44K at #36 are extremely solid for this title, and easily the biggest debut for Dark Horse in a while.

Glenn: Adaptions can be a mixed bag but this one has definitely paid off for Dark Horse. This will likely be a solid performer for its whole run and will sell very handsomely in collected editions. The key to comics success are clearly TV shows and Neil Gaiman properties.

Ray: A middling debut for America, the other Marvel #1 of the month. 43K at #37 is acceptable, but it’s also only 6K higher than Unstoppable Wasp did two months ago – and for the record, that book sold just over 12K this month at #182. Marvel seems to be pushing this book hard, with an unprecedented promotion offering it for free on Comixology. Those reads won’t be reflected on this chart, but we’ll see in months to come if it has any effect on this book. The mixed reception makes me think it’s got a rough road ahead.

Glenn: I like America Chavez quite a bit but she’s a character not many people are familiar with.  Given that, this is a solid debut for a character that A) hasn’t been around that long and B) doesn’t have a cartoon/movie/show to help people learn about her. To me, America is a cult character which can either mean a hit or miss. Hard to call but I don’t think, judging from the pattern we’ve seen from Marvel books in recent times that anyone should get too attached.

Ray: RL Stine used to be one of the biggest names in all of fiction, but those days are long past. His arrival at Marvel on a new Man-Thing miniseries is surprisingly muted, selling 43K at #40. Given the strange concept and the fact that Man-Thing is a C-list character, Stine’s presence probably still doubled sales on this book. Still, we’ll see if sales get ugly by the end of if Stine will give this title a softer fall for the rest of the month.

Glenn: I’m wondering if this book was commissioned with eyes on book stores where it can be placed among the millions of Goosebumps books and live its life being picked up by people thinking its just another one of those!  Seriously, yes Stine’s name isn’t what it was but it still likely carried the book this far.  I don’t expect much out of it monthly but it probably will perform ridiculously well outside the direct market once collected, even if its not the Man-thing everyone knows and…is indifferent to?

471198-_sx360_ql80_ttd_Ray: Wrapping up this event, Clone Conspiracy: Omega lands at #45 with sales of 41K. For the record, that’s only 7K below the level of the final issue of the main miniseries. It seems like retailers for the most part treated this as an essential part of the event and the numbers here are healthy given the slightly disappointing levels of the overall event.

Glenn: Pretty standard like you said for Omega given how the main Clone Conspiracy book did. Now its over, sales on the main Amazing book are higher than they’ve been in quite some time (mostly due to a multitude of factors but still). This was such an odd mini event to see Marvel put out in terms of how it performed.  Hopefully there will be lessons learned.

Ray: Potentially some more mischief this month with Marvel sales, as Captain America: Steve Rogers gains 7K in sales up to 39K after a harsh slide last month. Invincible Iron Man also gets a 2K bump up to 38K, with them landing at #48 and #51 respectively. Doctor Strange also gets a small 2K bump up to 41K at #44. This isn’t the way books normally function sales-wise, so something unusual is going on here, and I’m more inclined to believe it’s Marvel sales fudging than any actual momentum like God Country saw last month.

Glenn: Captain America could be gaining some momentum as we near Secret Empire but with Marvel known to muddy the waters its hard to tell.  We’ll know more next month if we see the usual drop we would see and then some.  Its probably too much to hope that it is cause of buzz/stabilization but stranger things have happened.

Ray: Looking further down the charts, actually, Captain America shipped a second issue this month and it lost all of that boost, selling only 31K at #73. There’s some really weird fluctuations going on with Marvel sales, with books getting massive boosts and then losing them the same month for no apparent reason. Until we see some stability and logic, my assumption is these are failed attempts to goose sales that don’t hold past the initial issue.

Glenn: I stand corrected, after 2 years of doing this article and knowing Marvel likes its double shipping, I should check further down before making a judgement call. Due to the unexpected blip, it is probably a random additional ship. They’re probably trying to get shops excited about Secret Empire.

Ray:  The top fifty wraps up with mainstays like Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Titans, Trinity, and Avengers, all fairly stable. For the record, this month DC took 28 of the top 50.

ntw_cv16_dsGlenn: DC continues to benefit hugely from Rebirth overall but its not the new shiny penny it once was.  However, they have managed to lock themselves in at stable positions while Marvel experiences life with books on a roller coaster. Given that DC seems to be winning a game of long attrition, being stable isn’t something to be sneezed at.  As we get close to Summer, Marvel is hoping the one two punch of Secret Empire and Generations will change fortunes once more.  Shame they haven’t had the best luck with events and Snyder/Capullo have their own Summer party planned with the strongest selling character in the market.

Marvel’s other event comic Monsters Unleashed continues to plod along at 62 with issue 4 and sales of just under 35k. I think we should really look at this as a throwaway mini rather than the big deal Marvel wanted it to be. A throwaway mini starring monsters selling 35k? Not too bad. Major event meant to be a big deal? Terrible. Not sure how well the ‘ongoing’ will fair but this is not a good indication given Marvel has some of their best artists here (including one of only two that they say actually sells comics according to them) and not on the main book that’ll be launching shortly following this ones conclusion.

Ray: Monsters Unleashed actually stabilized a bit as it ends its run, with the two issues this month selling only 1K apart. As a novelty miniseries, these aren’t bad numbers, but I expect that the ongoing will be treated more as the next issue of this book and decline from there. It will be lucky to increase from these numbers, given the lack of any a-list characters there.

Glenn: The Titans Annual from DC sells about 8 less than the main book at 64 with sales over 34.8k. That’s not too bad for a book with a higher price tag on it. Apart from the Batman Annual which was a big hit, the DC annuals have performed rather admirably.

Ray: DC’s had some pretty decent success with annuals as of late. There’s another one a bit down the charts that we’ll talk about later, but their recent annuals have sold pretty close to the main book.

Glenn: Decent number for the second issue of Warren Ellis vehicle, The Wild Storm at 66 with sales over 34.3k. This is really good for a property well past its prime and missing its two most popular characters.  This is probably down to the drawing power of Ellis himself but still, its a solid win for DC. If it can live its life at this level then they’ll be thrilled beyond belief.

The last issue of the Harley Quinn team up book Harley Quinn’s Little Black Book finishes at 74 with sales over 31.3k which I’d say is very good for a spin off title that is priced at 4,99 and started off prior to Rebirth.  There will continue to be no shortage of content for fans of everyone’s favorite female clown lovable lunatic if this is any indication.

Aquaman finds itself in the middle of the Marvel portion of the sales charts with the two issues of the month selling at 79 and 80 performing over 30k and 29k respectively. Its definitely not one of the stars of Rebirth but when its selling the same as the majority of Marvel’s line, there probably much concern. For some reason, Aquaman is a hard sell not matter or hot the overall line is or who is on the book is at the time.

Ray: Aquaman seems to have stabilized a bit, as have Green Arrow and the Green Lantern books. None of them have great numbers, but it seems like all of them are going to firmly ensconce themselves in the top 100. Aside from Deathstroke, which is hanging right around the 100 mark right now and will be moving to monthly soon, all of DC’s biweekly books seem to be delivering strong numbers by the standard of the property.

dsk-cv14-ds-235677Glenn: Due to its nearly universal praise, I would say DC will keep Deathstroke around. His sales are usually around this level but people generally aren’t half as kind when talking about his book. Perhaps the upcoming Lazarus project will do him some good.

At 97 and 98 we get the first sign of the DC characters/Hanna Barbera crossover titles that were priced at 4.99 each.  The highest selling of all of them is Green Lantern/Space Ghost with over 25k and then Suicide Squad/Banana Splits over 24.8k. Some of these books making the top 100 is a good accomplishment and we’re definitely likely seeing the DC properties leading the interest here, especially on the book starring the Banana Splits which is one of Hanna Barbera’s really obscure properties. Not a bad performance for one shots that were just seemingly done for the fun of it and bodes well for the Looney Toons crossovers which feature higher profile characters and creative teams.

Ray: The numbers on these were definitely driven by the DC characters they starred, rather than the creative team or the Hanna-Barbera characters, because these two seemed to have the least advance buzz but sold the best, and they both feature franchise heroes. We’ll talk about the others a bit further down.

Glenn: At 99 we have the second issue of the Kingpin ongoing selling over 24,7k. Destined to drop out of the top 100 next month and outsold by two titles that were published for lolz, I’d say this title is not going to last that long.

Ray: Not great numbers for Kingpin, but it is worth noting it kept 2/3rds of its first issue sales. By comparison, Elektra, which debuted 8K above Kingpin last month, has slid all the way down to #116 with sales of 19K. Much like Gamora, a surprisingly high debut followed by a massive crash. And the less said about Bullseye at #140, the better. Kingpin will probably be a critically acclaimed miniseries in the end, but as numbers for a villain book, these are far from terrible.

Glenn: Doom Patrol returns at 101 with sales over 24,6k which is well above what a title starring these characters would likely do under any under banner and/or creative team. The delay in the title doesn’t seem to be effecting it that much and I’d say that DC is pleased with this number.

Ray: I was a bit surprised to see Jeff Lemire‘s Royal City debut out of the top 100, landing at #102 with sales of 24.5K. But then, Lemire as a writer/artist has always been very indie-accented, and this is a complex series without a concept that grabs casual readers like Descender or Black Hammer have. I expect this will be another one that levels up extremely quickly and perhaps even increases a bit in coming months.

Glenn: Lemire is on fire now as a writer but his art doesn’t usually gel with what we’ve been trained to associate with mainstream.  I’m sure that will gradually change over time and like you said, this title will likely stabilize.  It could land around the same levels of the rest of Image’s upper tier which is nothing to sneeze at.

Ray: More inexplicable increases this month, as Totally Awesome Hulk gains 5K to land at #104 with sales of 23K, and Gamora gains a full 6K to jump to 21K at #112. No event, no tie-in, no movie for these books, so the only conclusion I’m left with is sales goosing. It’ll catch up to them next month.

Glenn: Why does Marvel like to confuse us?  I think it has to be against us particularly, its the only explanation!

Ray: Deadpool and the Mercs for Money didn’t share in the bounty from the Deadpool crossover this month, landing at #108 with sales of 22K. This is a 2K increase from last month’s IvX tie-in, but this book is apparently ending soon.

Glenn: Again I’m confused where the rest of those fans that are picking up two thirds of the crossover are when it comes to Mercs For Money. Maybe the crossover hasn’t created that much buzz and this mini turned ongoing has now gotten to the point where it should have likely quit while its ahead, with much less spin offs no one read.

471990-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_Ray: Frequently-on-hiatus Image title Rat Queens gets a relaunch, landing at #109 with sales of 22K. Not bad numbers, but this book’s buzz seems to have faded a bit in the long absence.

Glenn: I forgot about Rat Queens myself and nearly mistook it for Mouse Guard (must be a rodent thing).  The goodwill this title has definitely faded a little but its still not doing too bad overall.

Ray: The numbers for Batgirl Annual #1 are pretty solid by comparison as well. This is one franchise that has struggled since Rebirth (the main book sells 25K at #95 this month), so the annual selling 22K at #110 is not bad at all. DC’s done a good job of getting the word out that these annuals matter, even if this one was more of a Supergirl tie-in.

Glenn: This wasn’t just a Supergirl tie-in but basically a precursor to the next Supergirl story. That wasn’t promoted a great deal but given this annual sold below the main Supergirl book, some people might lose out on that fact.

Ray: Man-Thing ships a second issue this month as well…and promptly loses 50% of its sales, falling down to 113 with sales of 21K. RL Stine boost…not happening.

If you want to see just how weird these random Marvel sales boosts are, Ghost Rider gains 5K to land at #114 with sales of 20K…for its final issue. Why would a book increase after being cancelled? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know.

Glenn: Sometimes there can be a last issue bump but that’s usually in the case of a long creative run coming to an end or the conclusion of a popular indie book. The 5 issue ‘ongoing’ that was Ghost Rider were neither of these so its likely more shenanigans. All Marvel books below this one in the main universe that haven’t been cancelled already likely aren’t long for this world.

Ray: Riverdale, the grim-and-gritty Archie TV show, makes its comic debut with an oversized special that sells 19K at #120. There’s an ongoing starting in April, and this is a solid if unspectacular debut. We’ll see if the main series can increase on that, but TV tie-ins are always a hard sell.

Glenn: Given that this doesn’t have the benefit of potentially grabbing Archie fans since Riverdale is a very loose adaption of any kind of Archie comic you’re right. This will be for hardcore fans of the show wanting a bit more time with each of their characters. This is one comic I won’t be recommending to my wife who had a rather colourful reaction to the Archie pilot…

Ray: The two Hanna-Barbera crossovers without franchise characters still did decently. The Adam Strange/Future Quest one-shot sold 18K at #124, around the range of Future Quest‘s regular numbers. Meanwhile, Booster Gold/The Flintstones managed to pull in 15K at #147, a bit of a disappointing showing for Booster Gold’s return to continuity, but then he’s always been a bit of a niche character.

bg_flintstones_annual-1_584f37b110bd96-06133066

Glenn: The numbers for Booster Gold really make me sad but he hasn’t been around that much since the cancellation of Justice League International a few years ago.  He pops up for a mini here and there but the days when Geoff Johns made him popular again seem to have passed.  Still was a fun comic though.

Ray: The bloody sci-fi drama Extremity, one of Image’s new launches, has a fairly strong debut of 17.9K at #130, a decent number for a book without a big name attached. Definitely a win for Daniel Warren Johnston.

Glenn: That’s a really good number for someone who isn’t a name in the industry.  It seems that people order on concept when there are no familiar names attached so good for him for coming up with something that clearly got people’s attention!

Ray: Black Widow wraps up its run with 17K at #133. This book had the fantastic Daredevil creative team of Waid/Samnee attached for the whole run, so while these numbers aren’t disastrous, we basically have to say that Black Widow will probably always have a rough go at carrying a solo title.

Glenn: There are characters like Natasha, Cyborg and the Guardians as individuals who are all great characters with major media exposure who can’t catch on with the market as it is. There are certainty exceptions like Skottie Young’s Rocket but sometimes you just have to assign the character somewhere else when they’re not able to carry their own book, same as what Slott is doing with Mockingbird in Amazing. Being a supporting character or even a joint lead in some cases is not a reflection on the character, its just how they are perceived.

Ray: No boost for Sam Wilson this month, which slips another 1K down to 17K at #134. Marvel essentially seems to have given up on this book.

Glenn: Its ending soon isn’t it?  I doubt many people out there really care anyway to be fair, Sam really got the worst treatment as Captain America.

471473-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_Ray: Another inexplicable increase, this time for Occupy Avengers. Last month it sold 11K. This month it jumps to 15K at #135. This book has already been slated to end soon, and there was no event or tie-in that might boost it this month.

There’s been a few Vampirella relaunches, and this month’s by Paul Cornell came with some controversy courtesy of a cover and the artist’s comments. A nasty talent breakup ensued, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt the sales. Just under 17K at #139 is decent numbers for a Dynamite franchise that had its heyday back in the 1990s.

Glenn: Controversy you say?  *messages Ray* this is a character that is an odd fit in today’s world but she’ll always have her fans.  It also probably helps that Paul Cornell seems to have a small but dedicated fan base. He’s no Ellis for example but I’m sure there’s some fans of his books or work on Doctor Who that checked out this book just because of him.

Ray: Worth noting that the last two .MU tie-ins came out this month, and neither made a big impact. Guardians of the Galaxy sold just over 19K at #118, and Totally Awesome Hulk did 16K at #145. Without a bulletproof franchise (Spider-man/Deadpool) or a big name creator(Zdarsky on Dr. Strange), these books mostly slipped under the radar.

Glenn: Most of the bigger selling tie-ins were actually released prior to the main book I think?  Could be coincidence but if that’s the case its pretty funny.

Ray: As we head to the bottom tier on the Rebirth line, I was glad to see New Super-Man has stabilized a little. It sells just under 16K this month at #150, which is down about 1K from the previous month. This book has developed a small but devoted audience, and its creators bigger profile in the YA/Bookstore market may help it survive. There’s only two books below it, Cyborg and Blue Beetle (158 & 160 respectively), and both sell a little under 15K. The floor for Rebirth books still seems pretty healthy, with none approaching the disastrous numbers that some Marvel books do.

Glenn: New Super-Man will likely be okay because its an original character and has some critical acclaim. Both Cyborg and Blue Beetle will likely be pushed aside, one likely will be replaced by Sean Murphy’s Batman title while the other…probably Batman again? Anything is possible!

Ray: A bit further down at #168, we see a very healthy debut for Matt Kindt’s new BOOM! title, Grass Kings. 13.5K is fairly rare air for a Boom title not based on an existing franchise, and Kindt’s always been a cult creator. I’m always happy to see Boom getting a bit more of a mainstream profile, too.

Glenn: Kindt is another one with a small but passionate audience. He seems to be able go where he wishes and bring some buzz with him so this is definitely a nice edition for BOOM! who are trying to play in the large sea of creator owned books and need more launches like this to make waves.

As hinted above, Guardians leader Star-Lord‘s title continues to drop towards four figures at a rapid rate.  It sells over 13k at 171.  I doubt even the movie will help it much so if it hasn’t been cancelled already, it is likely to be headed that way soon.

I also wouldn’t put money on Spider-Woman, Unstoppable Wasp, Thunderbolts or Hellcat lasting much longer. There are other books around the same or lower as these but they’re all gone now. The lowest of these, Hellcat is selling just over 7.2k at 235 and its a main line Marvel book. Astonishing

Ray: A couple of these books have already ended or been cancelled. Spider-Woman wrapped up with this issue, while Star-Lord and Hellcat are solicited to end with their next issue. Whether Unstoppable Wasp can last longer than its numbers indicate will depend on whether it can get this mysterious Moon Girl/Squirrel Girl audience, but the fast fall makes me doubt it.

Glenn: A new James Bond title from Dynamite launches at 183 with sales of 12.2k. These are probably titles that do better in collections but I would say that even though he started in novels, Bond is at his most successful on the big screen and even though he’s a pop culture icon, he doesn’t have the mass appeal some of his fellow famous film icons do in terms of material beyond the films.

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Ray: Bond seems to have become one of Dynamite’s money properties right now. The titles do better than the majority of their licensed properties. They’ve just got to be careful of not overstretching it and killing their golden goose like they did with Shadow and Green Hornet a few years back.

Glenn: Yet another Hellboy universe book launches at 184 with sales just over 12k.  There has been a lot of these recently I’ve noticed and they all do about the same numbers. If Hellboy fans are willing to keep picking up new material, Dark Horse will certainty supply it.

The first book in Archie’s ‘pilot’ season, Jughead The Hunger where Jughead turns into a werewolf (no, really!) is at 189 with sales over 11.5k.  This is the second highest selling Archie book this month and considering that (for now) its a one off with a price tag of 4.99 that’s very impressive. It seems that Archie are gradually reintroducing some of their wackier aspects that seemed to go the wayside post Archie relaunch but it seems that there is more interest now than there would have been previously. I’m not sure if this is strong enough to presume an ongoing would be viable but on its own, its a very good number.

Ray: Jughead: The Hunger was a strange attempt to fuse Archie with Supernatural, and it doesn’t seem to have gotten the buzz of other Archie horror books. These numbers aren’t terrible, but if this is a “pilot season” competition, this feels safe to be a one-and-done.

Glenn: Showing they can misfire and produce comics no one wants to buy as well, DC has Odyssey of the Amazons at 193 with over 11k. I’m not sure how long this is supposed to run but given we’re here on the third issue, things are going to get ugly fast.

Ray: All of DC’s non-Rebirth launches as of late have had middling-to-ugly numbers, but this one has a combination of no recognizable characters and a poor critical reception. It’s only a six-issue miniseries, but it feels like it’s on an Odyssey to the bottom of the charts. Ho ho.

Glenn: The movie preludes that Marvel have put out the last number of years always perform around the same level and the Spider-Man: Homecoming prelude is no different.  It sells just over 10.9k at 196.  Ray read this and said it was pretty much a rehash of Captain America: Civil War so this is likely for the die hard MCU fans only. No big surprises here for Marvel I’m sure.

Ray: These “prelude” miniseries seem to be for the casual market, which probably isn’t going to translate to direct sales anyway, since us fanboys are nothing resembling casual!

Glenn: New Vertigo book Savage Things launches at 200 from writer Justin Jordan with sales over 10.5k.  This is about the norm for a Vertigo launch by a creator who has some pull. Like Frostbite, this is a mini so it’s unlikely the sales here will get too bad before its done and heads off to the magical land of collections.  Perhaps this will be the Vertigo model now? Mini’s by creators with some pull rather than putting out ongoings they know can’t be supported by the market any longer.  Its not a bad plan.

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Ray:  Justin Jordan’s always been a bit of a cult creator, too, specializing in dark, violent properties in all genres. Given that, these are pretty decent numbers and probably about what Vertigo can expect from here on out. That being said, Jordan’s next projects are from Image.

Glenn: Right below that new title is another from Image at 201 in the form of Underwinter selling also over 10.5k. This is a new horror book by Ray Fawkes and is a pretty standard launch for an under the radar Image title.

Ray: Fawkes’ creator-owned works, especially those drawn by him as well, tend to be distinctly surreal and dense. This book is no exception, so modest numbers are to be expected here. Like Kindt, Fawkes is a bit of an acquired taste. These numbers are acceptable given that.

Glenn: A zero issue for Bloodshot Reborn hits at 203 with sales 9.6 which about normal for Valiant. This is the continuation of a long saga on the long running character by Jeff Lemire so this has likely just been ordered as a continuation rather than something brand new.

Ray: This was sort of a bridge issue for Bloodshot, ending the current run before a Lemire-penned relaunch in a few months. So I wouldn’t expect it to get launch numbers. Bloodshot has been one of Valiant’s bright spots ever since Lemire came on, though.

Glenn: I’m not sure what to make of Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys from Dynamite at 204 with sales over 9.4k.  I’m tempted to say this is a win because although both Drew and the Hardy Boys are pretty well known, they’ve never been as popular as other classic mystery characters like Holmes or Poirot. It seems that there are fans of both out there, I think this is a good number here.

Ray: I don’t read much Dynamite, actually, but I read this and it’s one of my favorite books out of them in a long time. The problem is, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are nostalgia properties, where the core audience that read them is significantly older than either of us. That makes this book a hard sell by its nature. Given that, I’d call this a win for Dynamite.

Glenn: Also dipping their toes into the often unpredictable waters of TV continuations in comics form, Dynamite also releases an official continuation of the cult show Charmed at 9.4k.  While Charmed never had the popularity of shows like Buffy, it had a very passionate fanbase. This is a book that won’t light the charts on fire but then again, TV continuations haven’t done that for nearly ten years now. Loyal Charmed fans will probably keep the book afloat.

Ray: I hadn’t even thought of Charmed in ages. I watched a bit of it when it first got on and then got bored. These are pretty good numbers for a revival like this. I’ve got to say, Dynamite is actually having a pretty strong month with quite a few successful launches.

Remember that new Ghostbusters movie that absolutely no one felt strongly about in either way, and certainly didn’t cause all sorts of firestorms around the internet? Well, their first comic book appearance happened this month from IDW, crossing them over with the OG Busters. It lands at #216 with sales of 8.5K. Clearly, not getting the buzz the company wanted here. I’m wondering if this was essentially killed by the bad blood between the two incarnations – a crossover is going to be mainly read by those with affection for both groups.

Glenn: Given the absolutely insane storm the new Ghostbusters created online I would say that most of these numbers are carried by them meeting the original team. There will be fans of the new film out there of course but they’re in the quiet minority so hard for comic shops to order for them. This is probably the last appearance by the new team and they will never be spoken of again for better or worse.

Ray: Two all-ages titles from DC and Marvel are right next to each other at #218 and #218, with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur selling 8.2K and Gotham Academy selling 8.1K. The latter has now been revealed to be ending at #12, which sadly isn’t a surprise. The former has no end in sight, which makes me wonder where it’s selling that Marvel isn’t telling us about. Could this be a prime candidate for a full shift to bookstore OGN format down the line?

Glenn: I wouldn’t be surprised if Gotham Academy doesn’t head down the eventual OGN route also. It seems like a book that could do very well outside the direct market in that format. I think there has to be bigger plans for Moon Girl that Marvel is clued on that we are not. How low can it go on the charts while we continue to puzzle on what separates it from all the other books being cancelled?

Ray: The new Oni title, Redline, focusing on military contractors in an occupation on an alien planet, sells 8K at #220. This didn’t have any name creators attached, so this number is acceptable for Oni but not much more.

In a name that has too many pun implications to count, “My Little Pony Deviations” sells 7.7K at #222. Given that this is IDW’s What If? line, maybe…they’re Alpacas in this universe? I dunno.

Glenn: I looked this up for Rabbitt Stew and its apparently the entire mythology focusing on a different lead character. I would tell you more about the description but it honestly made no sense to me. For die hard pony fans I’d say.

Ray: Top Cow’s attempt to revive one of their classic properties falls flat with the debut of Magdalena, their Christian-themed superheroine. Needless to say, 7.5K at #225 is not depths that any Image #1 should be hitting right out of the gate, especially one with an apparent built-in audience.

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Glenn: Top Cow is an on odd one since it both is and isn’t Image. They left and came back with their books being solicited in a separate section when Image release theirs.  They’re kind of hitched on behind Image so their books can’t really be held to the same standard. They don’t really have a place in the market currently with most of their existing properties probably not having a huge fan base to pull on anymore. They’re essentially the Image equivalent of Vertigo if you pardon me stealing your analogy.

Ray: Skydoll: Sudra, a translation of a popular Italian comic, lands at #230 from Titan, selling just over 7.4K. Titan seems to be getting into the reprint business recently, which is undoubtedly a good strategy for low-cost sales as they try to find an identity in the market.

Glenn: Books translated into English have usually made their money already in a foreign market so this one will be a low cost one for Titan to put out.  Its something low risk to bump up their library as you said and reprinting foreign material usually finds a decent market outside the market too so its not a bad game to play.

Ray: Another Deviations one-shot, this one a Star Trek Next Generation issue by comics up-and-comer Donny Cates, sells 7.3K at #231. I don’t know if Next Gen has the fanbase of the original series, but either way, Cates is going to be on to much bigger things very soon than what-if one-shots. This could be a collector’s item the way Iron Man Noir is now.

Glenn: I’m surprised the Trek fans didn’t bump up the numbers on this one just a little but perhaps most interest with Trek is in the new filmverse and the in-development TV series?  Seems to be just for the hardcore audience here while the franchise continues to rebuild itself back up.

Ray: Brian Wood’s American Revolution series, Rebels returns for a miniseries engagement, the same way The Massive did. It sells 6.9K at #242. Wood’s books are always cult properties, so these numbers are pretty much in line.

Mosaic seems to have leveled off a bit, only losing about 500 copies as it charts at #244 with 6.8K. Genuine leveling off? Sales goosing? The world may never know, but it seems like it’ll finish its run in the top 300.

Glenn: Maybe some sales goosing or maybe not. Either way its another Inhumans ‘ongoing’ that is a disaster and doesn’t help the overall brand of the line. Back to basics only now hopefully but I won’t hold my breath.

Ray: The cult fantasy adventure from Andrew MacLean, Head Lopper, returns with sales of 6.7K at #247. Given that this is a $5.99 oversized quarterly comic, those aren’t bad numbers. It’s a gleefully surreal, violent, hilarious comic, but it takes a bit to get into the world.

Surprisingly, no finale bump for Nailbiter as it says goodbye with #30. It loses exactly 14 copies from last month to chart at #249 with 6.5K sales. I think this is a case where retailers know already exactly who is reading it in singles. Off it goes to the realm of collections where it’ll sell countless copies for years to come.

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Glenn: I’m hoping at one point some studio like AMC or Spotlight or Starz choose to adapt it and people rediscover it later on. It was a fantastic series that I think will definitely live well beyond its monthly series.

Ray: The return of Jay Faerber’s deep-space murder mystery Copperhead after a lengthy hiatus charts at #253 with sales of just 6.3K. There was an artist change, yes – but this is the dark side of these lengthy hiatuses. I was shocked to see this book come back after so long, and I’m betting a lot of fans simply forgot about it.

Glenn: The market used to be forgiving for big delays on titles but I think with more choice out there and comics being more expensive in general, people are being more ruthless. They are abandoning series with lengthy delays or perhaps switching to collections. This is a great series that will likely have its big delay in production potentially kill it off sadly.

Ray: At #256 with just under 6.3K, we have Valiant’s Divinity III: Escape from Gulag 396. This sold a bit lower than most of Valiant’s tie-ins, and I put part of that on the title not letting readers know who it’s about. This is an Archer and Armstrong title, and I think it would have been ordered more heavily if people knew that.

Glenn: As per the most recent breaking news, Archer and Armstrong will be getting a new book soon so with the right promotion that might do as well as XO did this month.  This seems like another missed marketing opportunity but at least Valiant is learning from their mistakes.

Ray: The writer of the new A&A book is a satirist with a mainstream profile, Daniel Kibblesmith. So if they market it correctly, this could be a major hit for Valiant.

Glenn: Yet another Hellboy spinoff and another mini for Mignola character Lobster Johnson launches in the new mini Pirates Ghost at #258 with sales over 6.2k  Pretty in line with all the other mini’s this character has had recently so as I said with the other Hellboy book that launched this month, this is pretty much likely what Dark Horse expected.

Vertigo’s Lost Boys comic follow up finishes at 259 with sales also around the 6.2k mark. Pretty good for a mini that’s a sequel to a cult hit from 30 years ago. Again, mini’s with good trade potential might be the future for Vertigo but as per solicitations that hit 5 minutes ago (from me typing this not from you reading this) the output from that line is really grinding to a halt.

Ray: Vertigo has three books coming out in July. Three. One is an import, one is a spin-off, and the third is a miniseries getting close to its conclusion. This is really looking like an artifact line at this point.

Glenn: WWE Wrestlemania special from BOOM! charts at 279 with sales over 5.6k. This is a tie-in comic for the WWE’s biggest PPV of the year and although the event itself brings in a lot of casual viewers I doubt many comic fans that aren’t already WWE fans would be bothered. I’m way behind with wrestling anyway but I don’t think many fans were that hyped for this years Mania and plus it’ll depend on the content of course. The main series continues to do decently at 214 with sales over 8.8k at least.

Black Mask continues to manage to launch new books in the top 300 with the debut of Space Riders Galaxy Of Brutality at #281 with sales over 5.5k. They’re making waves on the lower end of the chart and while they won’t be giving the bigger companies any sleepless nights you have to wonder what they might be able to accomplish in the next 5-10 years.

At #282 and #284 you have the second and third issues of Back To The Future mini ‘Biff To The Future’ selling over 5.5k and 5.3k. Perfectly acceptable for this sort of thing. IDW will likely to make decent use of the Back To The Future property as it does have a small but dedicated audience.

First issue of a new mini from Dark Horse Once and Future Queen sells over 5.2k at 286. This seems to be a new take on the legend of Camelot and doesn’t have any huge names on it. Pretty much what you can expect from a niche property with no named creators from Dark Horse. Its only a mini so it doesn’t have to worry about long term drops but its unlikely to have its whole run in the top 300 but you never know.

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Ray: Once And Future Queen seems more on paper like a BOOM! title – a teen girl revamp of classic Camelot mythology – but it has more of a Dark Horse literary vibe to it. It was an odd fit for the market, but I could see it being a bit of a cult hit.

Glenn: At #287 we have Foolkiller from Marvel comics selling 5.2k. At least it sold more than Slapstick which is maybe the first Marvel comic ever not to even chart in the top 300.

Ray: Needless to say, this is embarrassing for Foolkiller (which was actually a bit of a hidden gem), but it’s even more embarrassing for Slapstick (which is not). It’s almost as if greenlighting three spinoffs for a title that can barely sustain itself was a poor choice!

Glenn: A rerelease disguised as a directors cut for the first issue of the new Suicide Squad book sells just over 5k at 290 priced at 5.99.  Not bad for something that’s not that old and priced $3 more than it was. Suicide Squad isn’t one of DC’s shining stars but its good for an easy win.

Last in the charts at 300 now is one of Titan’s many Doctor Who titles, this one starring the 11th Doctor selling just over 4,8k.  All the Who books have slid quite considerably in the last few months, perhaps the break in the show has had an effect so maybe its return this past Saturday will help.  Either way, Titan will have a new Doctor to star in a new book soon enough but the value of the property in comics seems to be light at the moment.

Ray: Sadly, Zombie Tramp does not make the top 300 this month. *bows head quietly*

Looking ahead, it’s a semi-quiet month for DC, with one big Button-shaped exception. Arguably the most buzz-worthy crossover for DC since Rebirth began, even more so than Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, should give both Batman and Flash very healthy boosts. I expect them to make up 4 of the top ten next month, especially since the entry point for that mark is getting lower and lower. Otherwise, we’ll see the impact on sales as some of DC’s monthly titles move to $3.99, and Superwoman gets a new creative team with much less creative wattage. That’s something to watch – although it’s worth noting that as of today, Blue Beetle and Cyborg have both been announced as starting new storylines in July. Nothing from Rebirth is getting cut yet.

Marvel’s got quite a few launches coming up this month, including a trio of X-men books (one of which ran into some controversy), the new flagship Inhumans title, a Black Panther spin-off with some seriously good buzz behind it, and the #0 issue of Secret Empire, leading into the event starting next month. My prediction? They’re all beaten by a little book named Deadpool vs. Punisher, the latest Deadpool event that feels like catnip to violence-loving fans.

saycheeseImage has a few buzz-worthy titles launching, from Latour/Brandon’s surreal urban fantasy Black Cloud, to Kyle Stark’s old-school rural adventure Rock Candy Mountain. Rising star Donny Cates has a new horror comic in Redneck, and former DC writer Meredith Finch dips her toe into the creator-owned world with her epic fantasy Rose. Plus, there’s the sex-doll crime comedy Plastic. Yep.

And after a surprisingly good month this time around, Dynamite will be trying to keep the buzz going with a pair of crossovers – Sovereigns, which launches with a dollar issue and reunites the Gold Key characters, and The Greatest Adventure, a pulp crossover written by Fables‘ Bill Willingham.

The calm before the storm continues. Summer is coming…

Glenn:  We’ll be there and all the months in-between too!  Hope you can join us too!

 

Liked what you read?  Any questions or comments please let us know here or get in touch with us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By The Numbers February 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 sending some comic stuff off for review soon and needs lots of good Karma!

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 Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. After publishing a book, he had to renegotiate his contract and got an extra McRib out of the deal. Mmmm McRib.

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: Well we hardly get a breather and then you get another month of sales numbers, huzzah!
Due to Febuary being the shortest month of the year, this means that numbers always come through quickly, aren’t you all lucky?

A few things to address before we get down to it. As myself and Ray speculated, the Kirkman Image books have been omitted due to their price by diamond. It seems though that Walking Dead hit over 750k in sales which just shows how much everyone loves a bargain. Good for Image and Robert Kirkman basically producing comics that will likely deliver them a loss but will hopefully work out as a win for them in the long run.

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Ray: I’m a bit disappointed that we don’t know the numbers on Outcast and Invincible, personally. Those are more niche books, with one ending soon, so I don’t know how hopeful retailers were about getting new readers on board.

Glenn: The copies were so cheap that retailers may have chanced it anyway, especially with Outcast given the show. A lot of people may have picked them up on a whim cause of their price.

The other thing to address is Marvel’s performance this month. Things continue to get worse for the company and although they win market share again, they only have two books in the top ten and their highest selling superhero book is at 13. The overview is as troubling as ever for them and they finally have seemed to have gotten the message the market has been beating them over the head with over the last few months with their decision to go back to original numbering. Can they duplicate the success of Detective and Action by doing this? Is this the decision that will turn things around finally?

Ray: Oh, man…this is going to be another month of us beating up on Marvel. They have a few bright spots, but the news overall is grim across the board. From events to most ongoings to launches to the low-runners. On the bottom rung, especially, there’s quite a few books doing numbers no mainstream big two book should do. Much more on that later, but they need to hope this upcoming back-to-basics approach will work.

Glenn: Its going to be a long summer I feel but that’s all in the future. Right now, lets talk about February.

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The top selling book of the month is to be fair a Marvel comic as they continue to benefit by being handed the Star Wars franchise in a nice box with a bow on top. The first issue of new Star Wars mini starring iconic Episode I villain Darth Maul sells over 105k. Things have slowed down for the Star Wars comics but they’re helping keeping Marvel’s numbers up as a whole. Maul is by far the most popular part of a Star Wars movie that fans tend to avoid remembering. The character has been brought back again and again in various comics, shows and novels so Marvel having a good performance with him is no surprise. This will likely perform the same level as Han Solo did which is pretty good for a mini.

Ray: That’s a very solid debut for Darth Maul, slightly above where Doctor Aphra launched a few months back. This seems to be the level new Star Wars #1s land at if they star smaller characters, and it’s definitely one of the few bright spots for Marvel right now. There’s quite a few titles I’m surprised we haven’t gotten minis for yet – Yoda (although he has an arc in Star Wars now), Mace Windu, Boba Fett, Droid Adventures. As long as they keep selling, Marvel will keep putting them out.

Glenn: Boba Fett will be inevitable I’m sure but as we’ve speculated, I’m not sure if Marvel gets to choose which characters get books or how many hoops they have to jump through to get a book approved. I’m sure we’ll see more before so long either way.

Spots 2 and 3 which will be now known as the Batman spots are for…yup Batman which has it sales at just over 102k and 99.6k for issues 16 and 17. The long streak of Batman in the six figure club may be over (the Button will help there) but the book continues to be the most consistent thing on the stands. Its drops are slow and nothing is overtaking it so there is absolutely no need for concern.

Ray: This basically sums up DC Rebirth for me – they keep dropping, but nothing passes them. It’s a bit disappointing to see Batman‘s 100K streak finally end, but that’s the market. It’s still absolutely dominating the market right now, and nothing else is all that close. We’ll see a lot more books in the top 30 that are basically locking down in place even as they drop a few thousand copies a month. And “The Button” will probably push it up to 125K or so, but we’ll see if that’s a lasting bounce.

Glenn: Next at 4 is the launch of the Steve Orlando Justice League of America series proper with sales over 93.4k. Lower than I expected, I’ll admit but apart from Batman (yup he’s here too) this is pretty great for a team full of B and C listers. I think this will stabilize around the level of the other League book but will likely be tied to events of the larger universe a lot more so might slowly become the ‘main’ League book over time. If it can manage sales over 70k that would be another solid performer for DC given that this is essentially Batman and the Outsiders cosplaying as the Justice League. The Rebirth precursor to the main launch also charts at 9 with sales of over 73.3k following the pattern we saw when Rebirth started of the Rebirth lead ins selling lower than the first issue of the main issue. This is probably a closer indication of where the main series will sell which like I said, is very good.

Ray: It seems like the hype for this book was a bit muted overall, with the low performance of the one-shots last month. That being said, for a secondary JLA book, two issues in the top ten is impressive. I’m always puzzled by the huge delta between the Rebirth issue and the #1, though – who exactly is going to only buy what amounts to the second issue? If it can hold above the 50K range, DC will be very happy, but I don’t think it’s DC’s biggest success story this month.

Glenn: Next up is another big DC launch in the much delayed Super Sons which charts at 5 with sales over 90k which is another strong start for a DC title. I’m not sure exactly where this might land but I don’t see it doing any worse than the rest of DC’s upper tier in the 60k range which would be another solid performer. Maybe it could over perform though, its not as if the baseline for a top ten is that high these days.

Ray: Super-Sons is a genuine success of word of mouth, as I think the hype for this book exploded when people saw just how much fun this team-up was in the brilliant Superman arc a few months ago – right before this book’s first issue was up for order, I believe. Damian‘s last solo title didn’t set the sales charts on fire and Jon is an unproven quantity, but it looks to me like this might very well wind up outselling Teen Titans and become DC’s preeminent younger-skewing title.

Glenn: Walking Dead charts at 6 with the regular priced issue that shipped alongside the 25-cent one. It sells just below 84k cause its Walking Dead and selling is what it does.

Another consistent performer is All-Star Batman which charts at 7 with sales over 77k. Still dropping but still great with the sales tag, again this is a book that may be dropping but nothing is overtaking it. Its firmly entrenched as DC’s number 2 title.

Ray: Business as usual for All-Star Batman, which has shown a lot of resilience. Even as it goes to an anthology-like format, it doesn’t seem to be losing much strength. DC has found a great way to have their Bat-cake and eat it too.

Glenn: Bat-cake to go with that new McRib you’ve already finished.

The main Star Wars book charts at 8 with sales over 74k as it continues its reign as Marvel’s most dependable book. Strong with the sales, this title is.

Ray: This Yoda arc seems to have stabilized the sales quite a bit, too. It’s the one real bright spot for Marvel right now – even their more popular superhero books are dropping fairly quickly, but not this.

Glenn: Last book in the top ten is the Bryan Hitch written Justice League which also charts at eleven with sales of over 65.4k and 64.2k. Again the word of the day is consistency and while sales are dropping for DC’s third top book, nothing is overtaking it. I could easily see Orlando’s League or Super Sons perhaps stealing its place in the top ten but time will tell.

Ray: It’ll be interesting to see just how this does in comparison to Orlando’s book in the long run. I think Hitch’s name and the a-list heroes will keep this on top, though. And it’s worth noting, this is the seventh book starring Batman in this month’s top ten! He stars in two issues of Batman and All-Star Batman, appears in three JL books in the top 10, and tells Damian to do his homework in Super Sons. It counts!

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Glenn: Could we see a Batman filled top ten at some point? It might not be as crazy a prospect as it sounds.

Ray: I was a bit surprised to see virtually no bounce for the oversized #950 issue of Detective Comics at #12. It gains about 500 copies from last month, and then drops 3K for its next issue at #14. I guess that’s the double-edged sword of the incredible stability this book has shown. Drops are minimal and it stays ensconced just out of the top ten, but few things are going to boost it above that point. Still, it’s one of DC’s healthiest books right now.

Glenn: Maybe for superhero books, anniversary books (with some exceptions) don’t hold interest anymore? With the amount of renumbering going on, the meaning of a quarterly number perhaps doesn’t hold as much water as it used to. I’d say it could be a little of this and a lot of Detective holding well as you say.

Ray: Marvel finally gets a superhero presence at #13 with Amazing Spider-Man. Not surprising it’s this book, as it’s Marvel’s most bulletproof title – but it’s still selling just under 62K. That’s not a level that Marvel’s #1 superhero book should be selling at.

Glenn: No definitely not. Next issue might see a bump for 25 but will it gain some genuine new readers? I’m not sure.

Ray: The news continues to be bad for Marvel’s latest mega-event IvX. It charts two issues this month at #16 and #20, with both selling in the 56K-53K range. This title wraps up next month, and should probably stay above the 50K level with its final issue. However, this comic seems to have had very little buzz or impact for good or bad, and will likely fade from memory quickly. Interest is down in the X-Men and has always been minimal for the Inhumans, which may be an ill omen for the coming relaunches. Still, it’s not the Marvel event that has the worst news this month…

Glenn: IvX never had a lot of steam behind it. Its not really had a fair chance to stand on its own and has two properties that have seen better days. Fan reaction has also been lukewarm from what I’ve seen. As we said in last month charts analysis, this bodes ill for Secret Empire.

Ray: Batwoman: Rebirth has a solid debut of around 52K, just outside of the top 20 this month. Of course, it’s important to remember that Rebirth issues tend to sell a bit lower than the main #1, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the #1 issue sell around the same level of Detective next month (where the series had its backdoor pilot last month). Either way, the worst-case scenario for this title in the long run is probably something in the range of Batgirl, which is definitely sustainable. DC has successfully added another title to the Bat-stable, I think.

Glenn: I’d agree but maybe hold slightly higher than Batgirl just on the involvement of Steve Epting? I never thought we’d see him on another big two book so it could be that he’s this titles MVP.

stl033424-600x911Ray: Two spots lower, we find The Wild Storm #1, which sells just under 50K. This is DC’s attempt to do for the Wildstorm line what Gerard Way did for the weirdos of the DCU with Young Animal. This number isn’t nearly as impressive as Doom Patrol got despite Warren Ellis’ name, but it’s above what the other YA books did. Ellis has designed this as a 24-issue megaseries, and I think DC will be patient with this book (wouldn’t be surprised to see several soft relaunches along the way), but these numbers might make me a bit hesitant about greenlighting three spinoffs like planned.

Glenn: I was most curious about The Wild Storm because its an unpredictable entity. When we had Flashpoint,” the universe was seemingly done away with and this book is here without the two most recognizable characters in Midnighter and Apollo. Still, Ellis is always going to get a lot of interest and he’ll have cart blanche here so it could be one that gets stable for DC fast.

Ray: Clone Conspiracy seems to be wrapping up as a bit of a cautionary tale, selling 48K at #24. That’s almost 15K below the level of the main book. It seems promotion really didn’t get out about just how significant this book was, retailers ordered low, and the book never recovered fully. That being said, this is still the #4 Marvel superhero book this month, so given the overall state of things Marvel is probably not that disappointed with these numbers. Spider-Man is still their brightest spot.

Glenn: I’d say that in the future, events like this will be contained in the main Spider-Man book. There seems to be little benefit to having a separate spin off mini that most missed the memo on.

Ray: This is the portion of the chart where Rebirth dominates, and it’s business as usual for Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Nightwing, Harley Quinn, Titans, Action Comics, and Trinity. They continue to slide slowly by slowly, but they all chart all their issues this month in the top 40, and pretty much lock the charts down for DC on the top. For the record, this month DC took 28 of the top 40.

Glenn: 28 of the top 40 is pretty crazy and very different from where we were this time last year. DC’s got a lot of consistency now and I doubt they’ll be rocking the boat while Marvel plays their madcap strategy and end up all over the show as a result.

Ray: This month Marvel decided to launch three new titles featuring Daredevil adversaries as part of a branding event called “Running With the Devil“. This doesn’t seem to be any sort of actual event in the Daredevil title, so I’m a bit puzzled by the intention. The one of these that does the best is Elektra, which lands at #30 with sales of 44K, well above Kingpin and Bullseye. It reminds me a bit of how Gamora overperformed the first month, compared to the other new Guardians titles. Maybe Elektra still has some goodwill from her past ongoings, or maybe Marvel promoted this one more heavily. Either way, these numbers are acceptable for a first issue, but unlikely to translate to a sustainable series the way Marvel books drop.

Glenn: I guess they just wanted to create a Daredevil ‘line’ much like Spider-Man has one and the X-Men do and etc, etc. I’m sure that most people who thought this was a interconnecting story will be let down and retailers may feel a little fooled. Once the fact this isn’t a crossover settles in, sales will drop hard I think. I don’t see Elektra doing any better than Black Widow did.

portrait_incredible2Ray: Monsters Unleashed #1 was ordered surprisingly low last month…but that doesn’t save it, as it still drops more than 50% to land at #34 with sales of 43K. That’s just a clear indication that retailers don’t think there’s any interest in this family of characters. #3 also ships this month, landing at #49 with sales of 38K. These sales look a lot more like a mid-level Marvel ongoing than any sort of event, which makes me wonder what the sales are going to look like on the spin-off ongoing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it slashed back to a mini itself before it launches.

Glenn: Could it be cancelled all together? I doubt Marvel would do that as its probably already started production on the ‘ongoing’ spin off but this doesn’t have a good indication. There was some top tier talent on this book but it seems that the market is maybe going back to story vs talent for their superhero books?

Ray: One of Marvel’s few remaining bright spots in terms of existing franchises is Thor, and they’ve successfully done with Captain America couldn’t – there’s two Thor books both holding their own and relatively close in sales. This month the Unworthy Thor miniseries sells 46K at #28 with its fourth issue, while the main Thor book featuring Jane Foster sells just over 40K at #41 with its sixteenth issue. This strikes me as a prime candidate for both heroes to stick around once Marvel goes “back to basics”. It can work, it’s just about execution and not alienating either side.

Glenn: That’s true, hopefully the Thor books don’t suffer once Jason Aaron takes his leave like Captain America did/has when Brubaker left for Imageville.

Ray: The lower-selling Star Wars books are still maintaining a healthy presence on the charts, with the fourth issue of Doctor Aphra selling 43K at #33 and the 11th issue of Poe Dameron‘s solo title selling just over 40K at #40. I think Star Wars books for Marvel have proven they’ve got a floor of sorts. Poe Dameron slipped a lot early on and then stabilized quickly. There have been no disappointing Star Wars books so far.

An oddball presence on the charts is True Believers: Hulk vs. Wolverine, a $1 reprinting of Wolverine’s first appearance in Hulk. With Logan coming soon, retailers ordered heavily and it sells 39K at #42. For a discount reprint, this is really surprising. Most of these books would be lucky to sell half that.

Glenn: With the main Wolverine out of commission, the movie and this issue being a genuine classic, I guess there was a lot of interest. Marvel’s made their money on this one comic 100 times over by now so its sales here are just extra icing on top of that, even when sold at a $1.

Ray: Teen Titans is a bit lower than a lot of the top-selling Rebirth titles, likely due to just how rough the franchise was for a long time. It’s at 38K this month, at #43. This title is clearly in the rebuilding phase right now, but just having a passable TT title has got to make DC happy, both in sales and quality.

Glenn: This is great compared to what Teen Titans has been doing and you’re right, they’re earning back fan trust again. Given its been like what, 10 years of damage to the franchise? The sales could be a lot worse. It’ll be interesting if the upcoming Lazarus contract has any impact.

Ray: Two issues of Old Man Logan are right next to each other at #44-45, in the 38K range. However, we now know that Jeff Lemire’s run is coming to a close soon and he’ll be replaced by the less-known Ed Brisson. Can this title maintain its current sales level, or will it slide further down the charts? We shall see.

Glenn: Brisson isn’t well known but new artist Mike Deodato Jr. is quite the addition so it might be okay. This version of Wolverine seems to be doing okay for Marvel in himself and maybe the movies critical success (although its only a very, very, very loose adaption) of the original story might help get a few sales. Its unlikely as movie success rarely equals comic success but you never know.

Ray: One of last month’s oddest side stories was the performance of Venom, which rose 17K from its previous months’ sales. This month…it loses all those 17K sales and lands right back at the 38K level it had with #2, at the #47 slot. So whatever went on there, the world may never know. However, these numbers are still acceptable for a Venom title, but we’re early in the book’s lifespan and we have yet to see how the coming Venom event and the return of Eddie Brock will affect it.

Glenn: Maybe there was sales shenanigans last month? Venom is just a giant question mark right now and we won’t get a clear picture until Eddie comes back and it goes back to *coughs* ‘original numbering’

doctor_strange_17_largeRay: Much like Old Man Logan, Doctor Strange is losing its A-list writer soon, and he’s being replaced by the less-known Dennis Hopeless. This title has already slid a lot from its early days, now selling 37K at #51. Those sales could start getting ugly in a while without Jason Aaron.

Glenn: Yeahhhhh, I’m not as confident in Doctor Strange being able to hold onto its readers as I am about Old Man Logan. It has a little room to fall and still performs decently for a Doctor Strange title but if that’s all it can do with one of Marvel’s main writers on it, the book could be facing some unsteady waters.

Ray: A lot of books at this level are showing a worrying lack of stability for Marvel this month. Avengers loses another 7K from last month, landing at #53 with sales of 37K. It’s essentially the exact same story for Invincible Iron Man, which loses 8K and lands at #56 with sales of 36K. These are supposed to be headliner books for Marvel, launching out of their most recent event!

Glenn: A lot of bad news for Marvel and maybe its these sales charts that inspired the ‘Make Mine Marvel’ strategy. Is original numbering enough? Time will tell but these numbers are sending a clear message that something is seriously wrong in the land of Marvel.

Ray: Even worse news for Captain America: Steve Rogers, which ships two issues this month. Not only does it lose 6K for its first issue (#55, 36K), but it promptly drops again the same month for its second (#66, 32K). In case people forgot, this book is the launch point for Marvel’s big summer event.

For the other two Daredevil spin-offs this month, the news is unambiguously bad. Kingpin, a spin-off from the Civil War II mini by the same writer, launches with sales of 36K at #58. This was critically acclaimed when released, so it feels like a decent miniseries. Bullseye, which was already cut back to a miniseries pre-release, does even worse – 33K at #62. These numbers will likely get pretty ugly before the end of the series. Villain books are always a hard sell under most circumstances.

I was a bit surprised by the really rough fall for Justice League/Power Rangers, which fell all the way from #4 to #65 this month. Selling 32K for an out-of-continuity crossover with a nostalgia property is still pretty decent, but this definitely isn’t the second coming of the megahit Batman/TMNT crossover from last year.

Glenn: I’m surprised by the fall too. Its still a good number for this type of thing and there will probably be a good amount of interest in the collection. Perhaps retailers didn’t have much faith in it beyond a one off novelty?

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is out of its 3 issue buffer period at 71 with sales over 31k. This is still very good for an out of continuity series and is selling more than some of Marvel’s top tier books. If it can stabilize here, it could live a long happy life.

Ray: This is a decent number for Renew Your Vows, indicating some genuine long-term interest in the world. Much like Superman: Lois and Clark, appealing to the old-school fans is going to get you a small but devoted audience. There’s definitely enough room in the market for these books – the Spider-franchise seems to be the only Marvel franchise right now that can really support side books.

Glenn: Next title of note from Marvel is another Monster’s Unleashed tie-in, this time starring Doctor Strange selling over 27k at 87. That’s alright given how the tie-ins not starring Spider-Man or Deadpool sold last month. These tie-in once shots aren’t really being treated as essential by retailers and from what I’ve heard from Ray, they’re not for readers either. It does perform a lot better than the X-Men and Champions tie-ins which sell over 24k (96) and just under 21k (103) respectively. I would say that’s because of the involvement of Chip Zdarskey but it really is something that Doctor Strange is seen as having better interest in selling a throwaway tie in than A) the friggen X-Men and B) a team that was supposed to be one of Marvel’s top books. We also have an Inhumans tie in at 119 with sales just over 18k and there…eh, its the Inhumans.

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Ray: That’s a decent number for the Doctor Strange tie-in, selling only 12K below the parent book. It’s the only one that had a writer with some level of name recognition on it (and it was also far and away the highest-quality book). Overall though, all of these – even Inhumans – are not particularly poor numbers, given the sales of the overall miniseries.

One interesting note at this level is the performances of Thanos (#69, 32K) and Champions (#73, 31K). Granted, Champions is one month ahead, but one of these titles is a limited-run villain-led title, and the other is a massively-hyped team book starring some of Marvel’s top new characters, which launched with over 300K. This is a testament to both Jeff Lemire’s legit pull as a writer, and the weakness of Marvel’s overall new lineup as a whole.

Certainly not great numbers for Infamous Iron Man (#79, 29K), but it’s worth noting that it’s leveled out a bit and is only 7K below Invincible Iron Man, which launched higher and has had a month less to fall. No Tony Stark, no good sales all around, it seems.

Glenn: To be fair, I don’t think Tony could manage much better in the current pattern of Marvel falls but no, replacing him hasn’t seemingly been the solution either

Ray: A rare decent bit of news for Marvel is the performance of Hulk, which only loses 5K with its third issue to chart at #83 with sales of 27K. That’s a quick level off, and a historically strong number for a She-Hulk title. A big hit? No, especially not compared to its launch numbers, but this looks like one that might have some life in it.

Glenn: As we predicted, Mighty Captain Marvel does the usual Marvel drop to sales around half of its first issue with sales just over 24k at 97 so look for it to probably be out of the top 100 next month in all likelihood. Captain Marvel can have all the relaunches in the world but the genuine interest just doesn’t seem to be there for the character. Given how she was treated in Civil War II, it could have been a lot worse though. Its going to feel like forever to Marvel until they can tie her comic into a successful film starring an Oscar winning actress.

Ray: This book had another month to build sales with two #1 issues, but the effect is essentially the same. 24K for a second issue is not healthy, and this looks like yet another case of a Captain Marvel book that will be getting relaunched after two arcs. Except this time maybe it’ll be relaunched with #150 or something.

Glenn: It does seem that Carol will be going back to ‘original numbering’ along with the rest of the Marvel U, whether it makes a difference or not remains to be seen but I don’t think much can be done to improve her numbers

Right below Captain Marvel at 98 is a new Image launch from Greg Rucka in the Old Guard which sells over 23.8k. Still very good for an Image book but I would have thought Rucka’s name would be worth 10k more or so. There’s been a few delays in other Rucka Image properties so maybe retailers are treating this one with some space.

Ray: The Old Guard had an odd lack of promotion, too. It was just dropped in solicits with no real pre-release hype, unlike books like Lazarus and Black Magick. That considered, that’s a decent number and the book should be steady if not especially strong from here. Any time an Image book without a megawatt team debuts above 20K, that’s a win.

Glenn: At 100 is another DC cross company crossover, this time with BOOM! in the form of Green Lantern/Planet Of The Apes which sells over 22.7k. Curiously the task of putting it out falls to BOOM! themselves which probably accounts for the relative low sales vs some of the other recent tie ins. This is BOOM!’s highest selling book by quite a bit so I’m sure they’re pleased at the very least. DC would probably have liked more but they’ll be happy with the trade sales once the new Apes movie hits I’m sure.

Ray: Between BOOM! publishing it and the fact that this is heavily based on the 1960s Planet of the Apes and not the modern remake, these are decent numbers for the latest crossover. Green Lantern doesn’t seem to have the sales power to propel crossovers to huge first-issue numbers the way Batman and GL do, though.

Glenn: Another True Believers $1 issue is a reprint of Wolverine #1 at 108 with sales under 20k. Again, grand numbers for old material, especially when its outselling the majority of Marvel’s line.

Last month, U.S.Avengers was the top selling book with a hard drop the same month. This month’s issue 3 is already out of the top 100 at 111 with sales of 19.4k. This another supposed top tier book that just isn’t performing.

Ray: That’s roughly the same level that New Avengers was performing at prior to the relaunch. Three issues (and 55 covers) were all it took for the relaunch boost to wear off. This isn’t one of Marvel’s worst performers, but it’s another indicator of how these relaunches and rebrandings have very little impact anymore.

A sad note as one of Marvel’s few bright spots in recent years, Ms. Marvel, dips under the all-important 20K line. This title has suffered a lot from crossovers, especially Civil War II, and it shows in sales. However, Marvel has said in the past that digital sales on this title are strong, so it has nothing to worry about. Marvel has many bigger sales worries.

Glenn: Speaking of not performing around this level we have books like Uncanny Inhumans, Nova, Black Widow, Totally Awesome Hulk, Sam Wilson: Captain America ranging from 114 with 19.3k to 121 at just over 18k. These are essentially Marvel ‘B’ books that are selling way lower than they should. We know Black Widow is ending soon but the others may not be far behind.

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Ray: Black Widow has never been a big seller, but it’s important to note that both Totally Awesome Hulk and Sam Wilson were expected to be THE Hulk and Cap books for a long time. Given that, these sales are pretty shocking and don’t look to have found the bottom yet. Some legacy heroes are likely going to continue into Make Mine Marvel. Others will not. Given these sales, Amadeus should probably carve out some more free time in his schedule and Sam may want to invest in red-and-white fabric again.

Glenn: I’d say you’re right about Sam and Amadeus who will probably be returning to supporting character status sooner than later. I think it might be a while before we see another Black Widow book also

The second issue of God Country holds really well at 125 with sales just over 17k. Very impressive performance by a team of creators I’ll admit, I do not recognize. Could be another hit from Image, not on the same scale as their top tier but this is nothing to sneeze at.

Ray: That’s actually a phenomenal second issue number for God Country, actually, UP over 3000 copies from the previous month’s numbers! I don’t know the last time that’s happened to a book, any book, that it actually increased from its first month numbers. Looks like it’s a genuine hit for Image, the kind of word of mouth sensation that is exceedingly rare. Watch Donny Cates‘ next book, Redneck, in a few months.

Glenn: Karnak finally crawls over the finish line with sales over 17k at 129. Given the delays and the performance of other Inhuman tie-ins (we’ll get there…eventually), this could have been a lot worse. Warren Ellis really does create a level of stabilization in himself.

Ray: Spider-Gwen (#81, 29K) has now opened up a 12K lead over Gwenpool (#124, 17K). This pleases me.
Kamandi Challenge has a decent second-issue hold at at #133, with sales of 16.6K. That’s less than a 1/3rd drop. Retailers were likely cautious with this book due to its unconventional format, but it seems like it’ll carve out a small but solid audience.

Glenn: Not too shabby for something niche like Komandi challenge which will likely make most of its money in collected form. The big name creators attached have again not really made much of an impact on the interest in an older silver age property. Still doing miles better than the Vertigo line though and at a higher price than average.

Ray: Unstoppable Wasp can likely be marked down as DOA, as its second issue loses well over 50% of its modest first issue sales and charts at #135 with sales of 16.2K. That’s quickly approaching cancellation numbers already, and its about the same as Cyborg (one of DC’s lowest-selling books) does with its ninth issue. Another character who had no business getting a solo book this early, no matter what Marvel’s current theme is.

Glenn: *Cringes at Unstoppable Wasp numbers* This book had a hard road to climb in an industry that’s difficult enough to find a spot in. An all new character with a fairly unknown writer in comics that didn’t have a big platform to launch? Its like some sort of bizarre challenge to make this book a success in spite of these factors and unsurprisingly we get this result.

Ray: Blue Beetle is just below Cyborg, the lowest-selling DC Rebirth book this month with sales of 15.9K at #139. With no mass media profile at the moment, this seems likely to be announced as the first casualty of Rebirth, maybe by the time this article sees print. However, it’s worth noting that the weakest Rebirth title in its sixth issue is selling more than some Marvel books do with their second or third.

Glenn: Can Blue Beetle hang in there until Young Justice airs? I really doubt it so yeah, I could see him heading for the cancellation pile and the character moving over to Teen Titans or a Young Justice series. Not everyone needs their own title and Blue Beetle outside of his first run has never managed to catch much sales momentum.

Ray: The new Guardians solo books are complete disasters, all selling in the 15K range with their third issue. While Rocket and Star-Lords numbers are not unexpected given their debuts, Gamora had an unusually strong first issue but has fallen twice as hard. The other two are already slated to end with #5, but Gamora keeps on going. For how long, who knows.

Glenn: Given the delay and the prominence of the writer, Gamora might just until the end of its first story so Marvel can maintain some good relations. If it lasts past 6 though, things might get ugly.

Ray: Not the inexplicable performance of God Country, but Curse Words has a very strong second issue as well, landing at #147 with sales of 15.2K. That keeps more than 80% of its first issue sales, which pretty clearly marks it as another winner for Image as long as Soule wants to keep it going.

We don’t really see Archaia books up this high too often, so this new Jim Henson’s Power of the Dark Crystal series actually has a fairly solid debut, landing at #158 with sales of 14.3K. For the record, this is the highest-selling BOOM! title that doesn’t feature Power Rangers or DC characters.

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Glenn: Dark Crystal is an insanely popular cult property so I thought there might be some interest in an official continuation so good for BOOM!. This is another one that will do well in collections given how the Dark Crystal art books perform and has real potential to get a solid readership outside the direct market once collected. This could be another one that is sold in a Disney park as well like the Marvel comics about the rides are doing. Lots of reasons to celebrate.

Ray: Two more Wolverine True Believers issues, featuring X-23 and Old Man Logan respectively, sell 13K and 12K respectively, at #160 and #166. For reprints, Marvel definitely got what they wanted out of this entire wave.

Glenn: I will be shocked if we don’t see a bunch of Guardians related True Believer one shots in a few months, would seem like a missed opportunity not to do so. I wonder if the success of these one shots will inspire Marvel to consider bringing the main Wolverine back? I don’t think so but its hard to tell what Marvel reads from the sales charts vs. what is actually being said.

Ray: Never underestimate the power of poor branding. Occupy Avengers sells 11.9K at #167. That’s about half of what the other Hawkeye’s book sold this month (albeit one issue earlier). As a Clint Barton book, this is an absolute disaster. As a Red Wolf book…less so, but I put most of the fault here on the bizarre branding and the fact that this seems to be a clearinghouse for cancelled characters like Red Wolf and Nighthawk.

Glenn: There was a clear misfire for how Occupy Avengers was marketed and I doubt Marvel will let this book float much longer. In terms of marketing, Marvel used to be untouchable but there’s been quite a few misfires that have come back to bite them in recent times, is someone asleep at the wheel or have they gotten overconfident?

Ray: Steve Universe, one of the most popular cartoons on the air right now, debuts a new ongoing series from Boom this month with sales of 11.6K at #171. These kinds of cartoon tie-ins rarely do great business in the direct market, so this is a solid number and another strong licensed property in BOOM!’s quiver.

Glenn: I don’t know much about Steve Universe (I used to be cool but then they changed what cool was) so I’ll take your word for it. BOOM! seem to really like their all ages books which isn’t a bad genre to invest in long term, especially in collected form.

Ray: The two lower-selling of the True Believer Wolverine books are Weapon X and Wolverine Origin, both of which sell in the 10K range at #182 and #184. Maybe they reminded people too much of X-Men: Origins to sell as much as the others?

Glenn: Weapon X was a sales disaster of a title that arguably, Wolverine never fully recovered from but I’m surprised Origins didn’t do better. It could be something to do with the link to the movie as crazy as it sounds.

Ray: Very few bright spots for Vertigo these days, but Astro City – always their top seller – returns with the series’ landmark 100th issue overall, which charts at #187 with sales of just over 10K. It’s worth noting that this is Vertigo’s only non-Mature Readers title, so maybe that helps keep the sales higher. Either way, this series has always had a small but passionate and loyal audience. It’s almost 3K above the next Vertigo book on the charts, Lucifer.

Glenn: For over 20 years, Astro City has delivered decent but unremarkable sales despite delays and sometimes long gaps between releases, people keep coming back to it. The title is the last refuge of the ‘good old days’ at Vertigo which likely gives it an advantage over the other books. This again shows that small but consistent numbers are better than big drops.

It does outsell Great Lake Avengers (among others further down) at 188 with sales over 9.8k. Anyone that expected much more out of this would probably like some snow to take with them to Lapland in case they run out there.

Ray: Great Lakes Avengers is like one of those quirky books a la Squirrel Girl or Hellcat, only without the BOOM! aesthetic that gives them some sort of a floor. This was never going to have much of a chance.

Glenn: Another True Believers one shot at 192 with sales of just over 9.3k in the form of All-New Wolverine. I thought there would be more interest since it stars Laura but the ‘All New’ era wasn’t that long ago and didn’t leave much of a lasting impression so maybe that’s the reason why.

Ray: They did a LOT of these True Believers one-shots, and you’re probably right – we’ll see the same thing for Guardians and maybe Spider-man soon enough. Even the lowest-selling of these are probably a win for Marvel given the content.

Glenn: The prestige mini Deadman Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love finishes with sales over 8.6k. It was a pricey book about a third tier character so it could have been worse but I think it might do decently in collected form. This is one that maybe could have done with a Young Animal headline or something to give it a bit of extra sales juice

Ray: Given the format and the loose ties to DC Continuity, this Deadman series really feels like a Young Animal miniseries a few months too early. I think it’ll do well in trades, though. It feels like a prestige series that will have a long life.

Glenn: Image has another solid performer by a non all star creative team in The Few which sells over 8.4k at 202 on the second issue. Pretty standard stuff for this type of Image book so I chalk that as a win.

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Ray: That’s barely a 20% drop for The Few, which is pretty strong. This title doesn’t seem to have had much pre-release hype, but it had strong word of mouth. With no names attached, this is probably a decent number.

Glenn: Two more True Believer one shots in Wolverine Enemy Of The State (203 selling just over 8.3k) and Wolverine Save Tiger (204 at over 8.1). I’ve never heard of the latter so no surprise there I suppose but given Enemy Of The State‘s megastar creators and how hot it was at the time, I’m surprised it didn’t do a little better. It has been collected and reprinted a lot however where most of the ones that did better were a good bit older.

At 205 is a one shot from Image by Gabriel Hardman who seems to have some cred both in and outside the market. Its unusual to see one off’s from Image and it sells just over 8k, fine for a one off but might be one that gets some reorders given how much credit Hardman’s been getting for his work on the storyboards of Logan.

Ray: Yeah, one-shots are very tricky for retailers to order. No way to gauge the audience, no need to test the audience for future issues. We saw the low sales for last month’s JLoA one-shots, and that pattern seems to continue here. It seems like it was more a showcase for one of Image’s reliable creators than anything.

Glenn: A new Dark Horse launch at just over 8k at 206 kicking off yet another Hellboy spin off. Again, like we said last month, these things have their own set audience so retailers will know the score. This is the third highest selling Dark Horse title for those keeping score at home.

Ray: Nothing unusual for Hellboy, but Dark Horse having only two books above 10K is not good. However, Black Hammer is on a brief break before its next arc begins, so that should lift their fortunes a bit next month. And make me happy when I get to read Black Hammer again.

Glenn: Maybe the last True Believer Wolverine book in a reprint of the recent smash hit series Wolverine and the X-Men charts at 212 with sales just over 7.5k. Again this book is relatively recent but also was a direct spin off from Jason Aaron’s previous Wolverine title which led into this so both those factors likely explain the sales here.

462571-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_John Carter The End from Dynamite launches at 218 with sales just over 7.3k. Does Disney still own this property after the disastrous results the movie delivered? If they do then they’ve got yet another company to publish something they own and given that I doubt there’s many people out there clamoring for more John Carter (again, see performance of aforementioned movie) this is actually pretty decent for Dynamite.

Ray: I think John Carter is public domain by now, and Disney has the movie rights but not the comic licensing rights at the moment. This is basically standard issue for Dynamite’s licensed properties. They’ve got a few more intriguing launches in coming months, including a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys reboot, so we’ll see if they manage to get a bigger foothold in the market.

Glenn: Its even more impressive that it outsells MAIN MARVEL UNIVERSE TITLE Mosiac which is at 219 with sales over 7.3. To say anything else would be cruel…over to you Ray!

Ray: Oh boy. Ohhhhhhh boy. My main reaction to Mosaic can be summed up with this.

Glenn: Michael Bloom sums it up perfectly for us in terms of Mosiac. This character had even less of a build than the new Wasp but Marvel thought it would work. The lack of foresight is fascinating in some ways. If it drops out of the top 300, that would really be something but I think it’ll be abruptly whisked away prior to that.

Ray: Marvel tried to launch a new title based on a character with one appearance in a mid-level title. It’s Red Wolf all over again with even less of a built-in audience. The main thing I think we’re learning from this new wave of Marvel launches is that Marvel books no longer have a floor. Rebirth titles do – even with Blue Beetle or Cyborg, we’re unlikely to see them ever drop below 10K. Marvel books without an audience like the Mercs books or this are finding that level only a few issues in. This book is confirmed to continue to at least eight, and I think there’s a chance it could become the first Marvel book to drop out of the top 300 by the end at this rate.

For those remaining Highlander fans, the 90s action series returns with a new IDW comic, selling 6.9K at #226. Not bad numbers for a cult property, which seems to be IDW’s bread and butter.

Glenn: Yeah given Highlander hasn’t been a thing for like 15 years, that’s not bad at all. There really is a comic for everyone.

Ray: The latest Divinity III one-shot, Shadowman, arrives with sales of 6.8K at #228. This is a property that has never really clicked for Valiant, getting cancelled and only making appearances in minis and events since. So the lower sales are to be expected.

Justice League/Power Rangers #1 charts again with sales of 6.8K at #230. For the record, this reprint sells more than three main-line Marvel books this month.

Glenn: Even though the DC/BOOM! crossover had a harsh crash in terms of second issue sales, reorders on an issue that already had healthy sales does show there is some interest in the crossover. Don’t expect these type of things from DC and others to stop anytime soon.

Ray: The Buffy line has been sliding as a whole, but the main book stays as Dark Horse’s #2 book with about 11K, while Angel slides over 1/3rd from its modest first issue sales, landing at #233 with sales of only 6.6K. That’s a big gulf between the two Buffyverse books, and may be an indicator that it’s time to combine them into one book again.

Glenn: That’s a really concerning level for Angel considering that although it always played second fiddle to Buffy in terms of sales, its never been this low. Perhaps the lack of Faith is to blame after all? Not too long ago, the Buffy line could support two ongoings and multiple mini’s but those days seem to be over. Going back to one title is probably the most sensible thing unless Angel performs spectacularly in trades.

Ray: There’s obviously no good news for the Mercs for Money spin-offs, but with all three deep in cancellation numbers, it’s Foolkiller that seems to have emerged as the “winner”, with sales of 6.5K at #237 for its fourth issue. That’s certainly better than Slapstick‘s third issue (6.2K, #245), while Solo wraps up this month with sales of 4.9K at #278. These are actually sales for a first-run Marvel “ongoing” that was launched as part of the latest main relaunch.

Glenn: I still wonder how much of a difference the precursor title ‘Deadpool presents’ would have made. Probably not enough to save the books from cancellation but it maybe would have saved Marvel a little embaressment by all of them getting outsold by a reprint of an Invader Zim one shot by Oni (229 with sales over 6.8k)

28464Ray: Mike Mignola’s cult series Baltimore launches a new spinoff, The Red Kingdom, with sales of 6.1K at #250. Like most of Mignola’s work, they’re properties that retailers know very well who is going to order by now.

Glenn: Hellboy is Mignola’s best known property and even that has a finite audience these days so yeah, anything else is going to have sales around these numbers for a set audience. When Dark Horse commissions these things, they probably know what they’re getting out of it.

Ray: Right below that is a new Spirit series by Dynamite, with sales of just over 6K. Spirit has had a lot of relaunches in recent years, hasn’t it? These sales are modest, but pretty common for Dynamite. Much like IDW, they don’t have any real megahits (besides the coming smash hit of Garfield Meets Grumpy Cat!), but they’re pretty consistent.

Glenn: The Spirit seems to float around (ba dum dum) between companies a fair bit. This is a cult favorite hero that sadly is known only to a wide audience by a terrible Sin City wannabe movie so this is the best that Dynamite likely could have asked for.

Ray: Image has a pair of low-selling debuts this month, starting with Sun Bakery #1, a reprint of a popular offbeat indie comic. 5.8K isn’t great sales for an Image #1 at all, but given that it’s a reprint, the #255 debut isn’t a shock.

Glenn: Reprinting existing material is always going to have a mixed result. In terms of DC or Marvel, its probably worth doing cause its likely the material has already paid for itself but with a smaller property, its just trying to get something to a potential wider audience and they always have middling sales.

Ray: I was disappointed to see Planetoid: Praxis only sell 5.7K at #259, as the original was one of my favorite Image books. However, it’s been almost five years since the original miniseries, and this is a direct sequel. This will likely be a bit of a cult hit that does well in collections, rather than singles.

Dynamite’s new Red Sonja series charts again with reorders, selling 5.5K at #261, a surprisingly strong showing for the latest relaunch for the property. I’m not sure why retailers felt the heat for this more current take on the property, but it seems it’s a hit for Dynamite.

Glenn: Impressive for Red Sonja to traction some genuine interest. This is one of those properties that has been around a long time, never is a particularly strong performer but is consistent in what it does deliver for whomever is publishing it.

Ray: There’s a couple of new creator-owned titles from smaller companies around here. Darkness Visible, Mike Carey’s demon thriller from IDW, sells 5.5K at #262. Three spots lower at #265, we’ve got Phil Hester and Tony Harris‘ new crime thriller Blood Blister, with sales of 5.3K. Both low-key debuts given the creators involved, but I don’t think either of these companies really knows how to promote creator-owned titles yet. IDW rarely has hits outside of their licensed properties, and Aftershock’s big-name properties still tend to have modest debuts because they’re so new.

The return of Dave Sim’s most iconic character in Cerebus in Hell has its official #1 with 5.1K sales at #270. Much like Hellboy, this is a cult property and it’s been gone a VERY long time, so there’s no real surprise that the sales are small. This was never a force in the direct markets, but it’ll likely have a long run in collections.

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Glenn: Cerebus is so cult, it makes other cult properties look mainstream. Its done very handsomely in collected format in its previous form so any fans that are still out there are probably waiting for a collection. Given that and the length of time since it was last out and that it is a very, very niche property by a creator with controversial views on the industry this is actually a good number but I doubt we’ll see the rest of it in the top 300.

Jem and the Holograms delivers a pretty decent number on an annual for a property that was at its peak in the 80’s. Being at 273 at 5k proves that you can keep a small but loyal audience despite having a film out there that does everything insulting to them short of spitting them in the face.

Ray: IDW seems to be wrapping up its Jem content shortly with the conclusion of the series and miniseries. The creative team left, so it might be related and I expect a relaunch will be coming. These sales are modest, sure, but I bet more people read the IDW series than watched the movie.

Glenn: Explaining its bump this month, retailers give some reorders to new Image property God Country as the first issue charts again at 275 with sales also around 5k. This is only a fraction lower on a reorder against some of Image’s long running smaller properties so God Country is probably the next Image sleeper hit. You heard it here first!

Ray: Yeah, an additional 5K in sales plus an increase from issue one show God Country is a true word-of-mouth hit already. I expect this could become one of Image’s mainstays in the coming months, especially when it gets its inevitable Hollywood deal.

Glenn: Rough Riders On The Storm from small press company Aftershock is a continuation of previous series Rough Riders and seems to be pretty much ordered as a straight continuation at 279 with sales over 4.8k. None of the Aftershock books make major waves but they’re doing well for a new company, mostly likely due to their ability to attract some well known talent.

Speaking of Jem, the comic starring their nemesis band the Misfits has its second issue at 280 with sales also around 4.8k. Again, given that the property doesn’t have the same timeless appeal that Turtles or Transformers seem to have, I’d say that’s very impressive for a spin off book starring their villains.

Seemingly now making most of their living off Doctor Who properties, Titan delivers another Who related comic in Torchwood 2 which launches at 281 with sales over 4.8k too. This title does have involvement from the actor John Barrowman who played Torchwood lead Captain Jack Harkness but it doesn’t seem to give it any extra interest. The last Torchwood series was met with a lot of criticism and it hasn’t been seen since so I’m not surprised that this series is being treated with relative indifference. Only the most dedicated Whovians will turn out for this one.

Ray: Aside from Doctor Who‘s main titles, this level seems to be where Titan Comics lives. Much like Angel, this is probably a case where the company’s top brand’s power doesn’t quite extend to the spin-off.

gb_annual2017_cvrsubGlenn: IDW releases a Ghostbusters annual at 286 with sales over 4.6k. Not brilliant for a property that still has a lot of love for it but its priced at $7.99 so that probably explains why. Given its pricing, the fact it charted at all is impressive.

Ray: IDW seems to be putting a lot into Ghostbusters right now. These numbers are nothing special, but it’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming Ghostbusters 101 does – it’s giving the audience the first crossover between Ghostbusters Classic and New Coke Ghostbusters.

Glenn: Forever War by Titan is a reprinting of a comic originally published in 1988 (which in turn was based on a novel published in 1974) so considering that and the fact that I personally have never heard of it, 288 with sales over 4.5k are not too bad. As we’ve said before, the economics behind reprinted material can usually work very favorable for a company so there’s not much risk for Titan here.

At 289 is a one shot from Zenescope that combines Alice In Wonderland with cult popular trend Steampunk. Combining the Lewis Carroll property with Steampunk sounds interesting on paper. This is priced at $5.99 so sales of 4.5k aren’t bad for A) A company that rarely charts and B) has this playing at all creator meetings

Ray: Ah, Rachel Bloom. Thanks for brightening up the bottom of the charts for us every month.

Glenn: Michael Turner property Fathom returns with All New Fathom at 290 with sales over 4.5k too. This property never really had much momentum and the main selling point being the later Michael Turner means it was always going to find it hard. It does seem to have some people remember it from back in the day however. Another one that’ll likely be missing next month.

The brilliantly titled Quantum Teens Are Go from Black Mask debuts with sales over 4.5 (yet again) at 291. I wouldn’t be surprised if this got some interest on the name alone but Black Mask are slowly getting a few things at the bottom end of the charts. They might be one to watch for sure as time goes on.

Ray: Black Mask titles can reach some impressive highs when there’s some real buzz behind them, but this book had virtually no advance hype, awesome title aside. It seems like this company is still building momentum, just like Aftershock and BOOM!.

Glenn: Empowered Soldier Of Love from Dark Horse is at 294 with sales over 4.4k. This is a part of the long running ‘Empowered‘ series by Adam Warren and has its audience so there’s likely few surprises here.

A new mini from BOOM! called Death Be Damned debuts near the bottom of the charts at 297 with sales over 4.3k. There’s no big names involved and as we’ve established, BOOM! is still trying to find its way as a creator owned publisher so no surprises here either.

12Ray: Death Be Damned had former Marvel writers Acker and Blacker (who sound like a sitcom comedy team with those names), but it didn’t matter. Again, Boom struggles when it comes to new creator-owned properties, even when there are name creators attached.

Glenn: Last book at 300 is the now infamous Zombie Tramp selling just over 4k. They’re probably just happy to be here and still managing to keep going 32 issues in, that’s much more than most Marvel ‘ongoings’ get these days.

Ray: Zombie Tramp! Official mascot of By the Numbers!

Looking ahead, it’s kind of a slow month for big two launches. DC’s bringing us the proper launch of Batwoman, which will likely increase from the Rebirth issue this month. We’ll also get a new wave of annuals, including the strange DC/Hanna-Barbera crossover specials. Their biggest event overall is probably the Superman crossover Superman: Reborn, which will shed light on the truth about the mysterious Clark Kent and the two Supermen. There’s also a new Vertigo miniseries, Savage Things, from Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa.

Not going to be any end to the bleeding for Marvel this month, as they only have a few #1s to goose sales. They’ll include America Chavez’ solo series, plus RL Stine’s Man-Thing miniseries, and a new Iron Fist series from Ed Brisson. The month also brings the end of Inhumans vs. X-Men, and the two Prime one-shots for the two sides leading into the relaunches. We’ll see if the tepid reception of the even blunts their impact. Other than that, there’s a Deadpool crossover and an oversized ASM anniversary issue, but it’s mostly business as usual as the line struggles to find its floor.

The real interesting material this month is in indies, especially Image. Jeff Lemire’s new series, Royal City, debuts, along with the return of Rat Queens and new series from Daniel Warren Johnson (Extremity) and Ray Fawkes (Underwriter). We’ll also see what impact the finale of Nailbiter has on the charts. Revival did see a modest bump this month with its wrap-up.

Archie will be bringing us a series of “pilot season” one-shots ranging from Li’l Archie to Werewolf Jughead. Valiant will be wrapping up Bloodshot Reborn (for now) and relaunching X-O Manowar. Dynamite will be giving us a noir-inspired new take on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, while BOOM! has a trio of new books cutting across genres, the highest-profile being Matt Kindt’s new rural thriller Grass Kings.

Sort of the calm before the storm as things ramp up for summer’s event season.

Glenn: Its Nazi Captain America vs Snyder/Capullo, place your bets in the comments!

Liked what you read? Any comments, questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comments and/or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By the Numbers: January 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 wondering how the baby he room home six months ago got so big.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Currently Ray is promoting a new novel he wrote available under his pen name Ray Carmel available here!  Check it out!

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:  Welcome back everyone to another look at the top 300 sales for the first month in 2017! This will give us a nice indication of where the companies sit at the start of the year but its hard to say if it sets the tone for the year. This time last year, DC comics were in a very different place than they are now so its unclear what the months ahead can bring. We can speculate though and some of these numbers don’t hold good indications for one company in particular.

Ray:  I’ll put it this way about the overall sales – this is the most embarrassing month any comic company could possibly have while winning market share by 10%. Marvel got the numbers based on sheer output, mainly, but the actual sales painted a very different picture. The books that were supposed to do great, didn’t. The books that were supposed to do okay, did worse than expected with a few exceptions. And with a lot of the lower-selling titles, the protection of overshipping wore off, and the results were uglier than anyone could have guessed. We’ll talk about those more a lot later in the article.
Glenn:  Its pretty grim for Marvel when you closely examine the numbers for say…two seconds. They’re bound to be placing a lot of chips on Secret Empire which…well…yeah

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Lets kick off with the number one book of the month which is USAvengers which sells over 110.7k which on the surface doesn’t seem too bad. Now, this book had a major advantage as it had 52 variants (one for each American state) to help with its sales so taking that big sales initiative into account, you would have thought this book would have managed a lot more. In 2012, a new Justice League title did the same gimmick and managed sales of close to 500k or so. The market is probably in a different place now but still, this does not indicate good things. Even if we were perhaps being pessimistic, the second issue of the same book is at the same month. Who knows? Maybe we’re just being overly cautious and…oh wait its at 94 with sales of just over 29.5k. That makes an 81k drop in the same month for what is supposed to be one of the main titles of Marvel’s latest relaunch. They may win market share and get the top spot but the overall picture when it comes down to numbers isn’t pretty.

Ray:  US Avengers was a title that looked intriguing, but didn’t have all that much hype or an a-list creative team. Given that, and the fact that it’s a spin-off of the low-selling New Avengers, I don’t think anyone was expecting all that much out of sales long-term. That being said, both of these numbers are much lower than expected. 110K is a healthy number, but not when you have 55 covers. And any time a book slides 80% in a single issue, that shows that virtually none of the first-issue interest was genuine, just a speculator boom. Given these trends, I expect the book will be hitting cancellation numbers less than a dozen issues in.

Glenn:  Meanwhile at 2 and 3, Batman continues to be the most dominantly consistent book on the market with issues 14 and 15 refusing to drop to five figures and selling over 106.8k and 102.8k respectively. Will next month finally break the 68 six figure streak? Either way, like his Lego counterpart would say, its easy for DC to bet on black with Batman.

Ray:  Batman continues to dominate. It’s dropping, but nothing is passing it – a pattern we’ll see a lot when it comes to the stronger Rebirth titles. For the Caped Crusader, once again…everything is awesome.

Glenn:  Over the last few months DC has had a number of co-publishing projects with other companies to varying degrees of success. It seems the choice to team with Boom and do a Justice League/Power Rangers title is very much on the upper end of the success part of those arrangements with this issue selling just over 85.6k. Whether its the power of the League, how much of a success Boom has made of this franchise so far or hype for either teams movies is uncertain but this is a big success for both publishers. I would say that even sales at half these numbers would be a continued result but this book could manage more in its limited run.

Ray:  This is frankly amazing numbers, close to the level of the massive success of the Batman/TMNT crossover last year. The Power Rangers have had a big resurgence in the last two years, with the Boom relaunch and the coming movie. We’ll see how it holds over the run, but DC is definitely going to keep finding new crossover opportunities with these numbers. I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have Batman vs. a pink dinosaur robot.

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Glenn:I forgot to say that I’m extra glad for the first issue performance of JL/PR due to the artist Stephen Byrne also hailing from Ireland. There’s a lot of Irish talent in the charts lately and it makes my leprechaun heart grow three times larger.

At 5 is the markets second most consistent sales monster, the Walking Dead selling just over 85.3k. Over the last few years, Image has been a new home for creators who have had their time at Marvel and DC and want to do their own thing. No one has come close to replicating Walking Dead’s success but this is the book that showed that doing your own thing is a viable option for any creator.

Batman’s back again at 6 with the Scott Snyder vehicle All Star Batman selling just selling over 84.2k. The sales drops are slowing here and at 4.99 this is a great level by all accounts. The book could still manage to shed another 20k and be considered very healthy with its price and I doubt that’ll happen. There will be a price drop with All Star in the next few months so I’m curious to see how that effects its sales…if at all.

Ray:  All-Star may not be doing the numbers of the main book anymore, but it’s still the #2 ongoing DC book, which is really about as good as could possibly be hoped for, especially with the price point. I’m not sure how long Snyder wants to stay on this book or if he has an end-point, but I’m sure DC will be backing up the truck to keep him on board as long as the numbers look like this.

Glenn:  Yeah, Snyder could be worth his weight in gold and its hard at this point to not imagine him writing a Batman title, something he’s been doing since 2011.

Spot 7 is reserved for the start of the second month of the weekly Justice League vs Suicide Squad mini event with issue 3 charting just over 74.2 sales. Great numbers for a mini series that DC seems to have managed to gain interest in and end before people lose interest. Issues 4,5 and 6 also chart at 12, 13 and 14 showing remarkable consistency and even a slight sales bump for the final issue. The lowest the mini sold was 70.4 in its final chapter. For future crossovers like the Button and the Lazarus project, DC is taking an interesting strategy by doing them in the book themselves rather than a separate mini. Will this be an ongoing trend? The sales here indicate that there is interest if the properties are right.

Ray:  The numbers on JLvsSS are certainly a far cry from what big event comics were doing in years past, but for a weekly, this is extremely strong. It had a huge opening due to variant covers, and then immediately settled down to a lower but still-strong level and just locked down there for the run. That’s a kind of consistency Marvel would kill for in their events.

Glenn:  At 8 is the second mega Marvel crossover going on right now with the start of Monsters Unleashed selling just over 74.1k  Given the amount of talent involved here and the hype train Marvel had for this book, the sales are a bit underwhelming. Getting beat by various DC ongoings and the third issue of a DC event mini is not a good start. Retailers are reporting that they ordered conservatively with this book and still found a lack of interest. Whether its the story itself that people aren’t interested or a problem with Marvel at large is something to consider but we have plenty of evidence to indicate one line of thinking over another.

Ray:  Marvel events tend to have massively inflated first issues, as we saw with Civil War II and IvX (more about that in a bit). So given that, these numbers are especially grim. This event doesn’t seem to be centered around many a-list characters, so it’s not a big surprise the numbers weren’t amazing – but a Marvel event with a lot of hype and variant covers coming in below multiple sub-100K non-event books is still surprising. It’ll be interesting to see just how low it sinks over the course of its run, and how the tie-ins do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the spin-off ongoing dialed back to a mini before release much like Bullseye.

Glenn:  I forgot about the spin off book. The sales of this mini don’t have a strong indication for its success. Perhaps the event wasn’t as hyped as IvX or Secret Empire is getting but Marvel threw some big names at it both on the writing and artist side. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference either way.

At 9 is Marvel’s MVP, Amazing Spider-Man selling over 73.7 which is another Clone Conspiracy tie in that sells well above the sales of the main mini (spot 25 at sales just under 55k for that book). Its great that Amazing can still manage these sales despite being a part of a story that apparently roughly 20k aren’t reading the other part of. This issue had a focus on the Gwen Stacy clone so maybe it picked up some residue Spider-Gwen character related goodwill.

Ray:  ASM has had some really odd fluctuations over the last few months, hasn’t it? We’ll see how the title settles down in coming months with the return of Norman Osborn and Stuart Immonen as the new artist, but what is clear is that like Batman, this is Marvel’s bulletproof line-leader.

Glenn:  Issue 25 will see a big sales spike and after it’ll likely return to business as usual for the title. Nothing to sneeze at as it usually ranges around 70-80k. It’ll be interesting when the new recently announced Spectacular launches as it’ll be the first ‘b-list’ ongoing Spider-Man title to star Peter Parker since Brand New Day started. We know Batman can help out his spin off books so can Marvel expect the same of Spidey? Time will tell.

Final book in the top 10 is Justice League which sells just over 70.4k. Its certainty not the hit it was under Johns but its another solid performer and that seems to have been the main benefit of Rebirth, DC has a lot more consistent ongoing books that sell at a level that is seen as good in the current market. For the record this is the 6th out of 10 books Batman features in that made the top ten.

Ray:  The power of Batman! JL has also been amazingly stable over its run so far, dropping slowly but surely. It’s not Batman, sure, but the franchise has a lot of power behind it. It’ll be interesting to see how Justice League of America fares next month, and indicators on that are a bit mixed so far (more on that later).

Glenn:  It’ll probably sell well (its got Batman and the name factor) but a team full of b-listers won’t help. I do think it’ll find itself a comfortable level among DC’s upper mid tier if not slightly higher. I am expecting it to out sell all of the Avenger’s books but we’ll see.

Ray:  Star Wars is still rock solid, selling 72K at #11. It’s sank a lot since its market-dominating days, clearly, but it’s still selling more than any Marvel ongoing save ASM some months, although its effect doesn’t seem to be reaching all of its spinoffs anymore. There’s no Darth Vader to go side-by-side with this book anymore, just some smaller franchises.

Glenn:  The hype around the franchise has gone down a bit for sure but still impressive sales for the main book. Again, Marvel is surely grateful this one landed in their lap.

Ray:  Detective Comics continues its hot streak, locking down at the #3 DC ongoing. There’s a fairly sizable 3K drop between issues this month, but it should rebound next month with the oversized #950 issue. Also worth noting – this month was the two Batwoman issues setting up next month’s Batwoman: Rebirth. This doesn’t seem to have affected the sales, because it was ordered like a standard issue.

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Glenn: The 950 number should get Detective a top ten spot next month I’d say. Consistency is key in today’s Market and Detective like many of DC’s books has it in spades.

Ray:  The most shocking news of the month, undoubtedly, is the placement of Marvel’s main event at the moment, Inhumans vs. X-Men. #1 narrowly missed the top of the charts with 167K last month – and then the next two issues slide over 100K to #17 and #18, both in the 61-62K range. Needless to say, this is not where a major Marvel event should be selling. This may not be a Civil War/Secret Invasion-scale event, but it’s certainly on the level of, say, Fear Itself or World War Hulk. By comparison, these sales are incredibly anemic. Maybe people are tired of hero vs. hero events after the poorly-received CWII. Maybe people are tired of events as a whole. But either way, this bodes terribly for the rest of the event, and for Secret Empire come summer.

Glenn:  The lack of interest in IvX could be a mix of things. The Inhumans aren’t hitting the market like Marvel wants and the X-Men’s premier sales power is for the moment, not where it has been. The market could be sending Marvel a message with their constant battle themed events. They seem to be increasing the amount of events also with three going at once (if you count Clone Conspiracy) but I’d say they’ll push sole focus on Secret Empire in the summer but they’ll have Snyder/Capullo to face off against it seems.

Ray:  After two issues apiece of Flash and Superman, still strong, one of the most puzzling stories of the month is the performance of Venom at #24, selling just over 55K. For those who recall, #1 sold close to 100K and was the month’s biggest surprise in November. Then #2 crashed all the way down to 38K last month – and now we have an inexplicable 17K jump, the weird kind of numbers usually reserved for Deadpool. It even beat the 4th issue of Clone Conspiracy, which sells 20K below its parent title ASM this month. The Spider-man line has some odd juju going on right now. It does not seem like there was any reorder for #2, so it’s unlikely this was genuine interest going up. Our first evidence this month of Marvel shipping games?

Glenn:  I noticed that about Venom too and thought it was odd. Maybe this is something to do with the news involving Eddie Brock returning to the role? I think that news hit after orders were cut off though so its unclear. It could be sales tampering, its hard to say because there are other books further down that could have used that too that clearly didn’t get it. The sales of this book are almost immaterial until they go back to ‘original numbering’ and Eddie returns to the role in a few months in any case.

Ray:  Star Wars: Doctor Aphra has a healthy slide to #31, selling just over 48K this month. That’s a relatively gentle slide from its first month’s issues which sold 99K and 61K. It seems there’s some genuine interest in this character, and the creative team will likely place it above the other Star Wars satellite books unless something unusual happens.

Glenn:  Couldn’t have expected much better from Aphra who is an original character and doesn’t have a huge flock of film fans to turn out to buy her book. Her success vs the other books are probably due to Gillan’s continued involvement and it being a spin off from the wildly successful Vader book. This one will stick around as long as Gillan wants to write it I’d say.

Ray:  Right below it at #32 is The Mighty Captain Marvel #1, which sells 48K, only 5K less than it did with its #0 issue last month. So it seems like Marvel’s gambit to essentially have 2 launch issues just like many DC books did with their Rebirth issue paid off, as retailers ordered both like debuts. I think this is likely to just make next month’s fall all the harsher, though, as retailers will have two months to gauge interest.

Glenn:  Not disastrous but not brilliant for Captain Marvel. Her last relaunches don’t give the greatest hope for the title’s long term success but who knows, perhaps relaunch number 6 (I think) will be the charm.

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Ray:  This is the section of the chart where it’s pretty much business as usual for the most part. We’ve got a lot of DC books (Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Trinity, Titans, Nightwing, Harley Quinn) that aren’t lighting the sales charts on fire but are holding their own in a crowded market, with slow but steady attrition. This is also where we see a lot of Marvel’s upper-mid level books, like the two Thor books – probably Marvel’s healthiest franchise besides Spider-man.

Monsters Unleashed has quite a few tie-ins coming, and the best-selling of them is Spider-Man/Deadpool1.MU, which sells only 1K under the parent title at #42. I don’t think this can be attributed to any real strength for the event as a whole, so much as retailers knowing there’s a certain number of fans who will buy any issue with Deadpool in it. He’s become one of Marvel’s few bulletproof franchise characters at the moment.

Glenn:  Spider-Man will help too, him being Deadpool’s true love or whatever and all.

Ray:  Reality does ensue for quite a few Marvel books this month – case in point, Invincible Iron Man. Marvel quite clearly fudged the second-issue sales to give Riri a boost, as she kept more than 80% of her first issue sales. This month, it’s a crash, as the title goes from 81K to 44K and lands at #46. Not a healthy number.

Glenn:  Not healthy but again compared to some other Marvel books, not terrible. Its middle of the pack but there was a lot of hype around the character and with one of Marvel’s biggest names at the helm it’ll definitely be seen as probably a disappointment. Still, this is around the level that Iron Man would usually sell at with Tony under the suit.

Ray:  The same could be said for Avengers, which sheds 20K this month and lands at #45 with sales of around 44K. This is not what the main Avengers book should be doing. This is certainly not what the chart’s top Avengers book should be doing.

Glenn:  The effect of constant reboots or a general lack of interest? Its difficult to tell what is the cause of the bleeding with some of Marvel’s books. This is supposed to be one of their top books and its getting beaten quite handily by the likes of Harley Quinn. I would almost think that there are just too many Avenger’s books but Batman can star in like 10 books and they’re all fine. Just a problem with the overall landscape it seems.

Ray:  Captain America: Steve Rogers ticks up a bit this month, going from 38K last month to 42K this month and charting at #49. It then ships another issue this month, which loses 2K and charts at #58. An improvement – and close to double what its brother title featuring Sam Wilson does – but does anyone think these sales are a good omen for centering a three-month line-wide event around this status quo? IvX is a canary in a coal mine here – if you spin a big event out of a story in a book people aren’t enthusiastic about, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Glenn:  The logic of spinning the next big event out of these books is quite something. If you look at Clone Conspiracy which is a spin off of the much better selling Amazing Spider-Man, that should  be a warning sign also. True, Marvel is Marketing Secret Empire as something akin to Civil War or some such but its much closer in similarity to Clone Conspiracy where its a mini spinning out of an ongoing plot in the main title. All signs point to grim projections for Secret Empire but who knows? A lot can change in the next few months.

Hitting a big anniversary number always helps sales, even if you’re priced at $2 more than normal and your title is Deadpool. Selling at 51 with sales of over 42.4k, the Marc With A Mouth is being used to help sell some high priced comics and its a strategy that so far, is working. In a few months we’ll be getting the fourth (to my memory) Deadpool issue priced 9.99, the previous ones of which have sold very well. Proof that if Marvel can get away with it, they’ll do it.

Ray:  I believe this Deadpool issue was the conclusion of the well-received Deadpool 2099 crossover, which ties into the main book. This is roughly a 10% bounce from the last month’s issues despite the price jump, so Marvel has to be encouraged to keep doing oversized Deadpool issues. Sadly for our pockets.

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Glenn:  New launch from the House Of Ideas with Unstoppable Wasp, spinning out of the aforementioned Avenger’s title of middling sales fame. This launch starring an original character taking up an old mantle sells just over 37.4k at 65. Decent sales for a Wasp book, especially not one starring Janet but somewhat underwhelming for another book that had the hype train behind it and spun out of Avengers. Given the usual sales patterns we’ve seen we might get a drop down to 20k if the book is lucky. Not the best start.

Ray:  Impossible Wasp is going to need some help and soon. Given the way Marvel books are ordered, this is not a sustainable number for a launch, as books immediately drop close to 50% the next issue, which takes this to near cancellation numbers already. It’s another case of Marvel trying to make a character a thing when there’s no organic support yet – this character has had less than ten comic appearances so far. Thus, these numbers aren’t a surprise.

Glenn: Right below it at 66 with sales just over 37k is Civil War II: The Oath which is essentially the epilogue to Marvel’s recent big event and somewhat of a prelude to the next one. After the first Civil War, a similar one shot was released called ‘The Confession’ which sold either six figures or close to it back in the day. Of course the sequel to one of the best selling comic events of all time was not the same sales success so the wrap up wasn’t bound to sell as well but considering this also serves as a prelude to Secret Empire, those are some pretty underwhelming numbers. None of the other Civil War II spin off one shots sold particularly well so it might just be the final underline that this was an event that could not get interest in its tie ins.

Ray:  This is a perfectly fitting capstone to the mediocrity of Civil War II, and an ill omen for Secret Empire at the same time. Marvel’s getting a lot of warning signs that their current direction isn’t working, but they don’t seem to be all that concerned at the moment.

Glenn:  They seem to have the current strategy of ‘keep going until it starts working’. Its a risky one for sure.

With the sales tampering seemingly at an end we see Champions sell just under 35k at 72. Follows the same pattern of not great but not terrible that is becoming the usual for Marvel’s top tier books. This is another Avenger’s spin off that had major hype behind it and while it can probably live decently at this level, you’d have to imagine the company wanted more.

Ray:  Consistently disappointing numbers for Champions after that amazing debut figure. This is a title with popular characters, an a-list creative team, and filling the niche of the popular Young Avengers franchise. It struggling like this is puzzling. Maybe Marvel just can’t launch new franchises right now? There have been a lot of books recently – this, Black Panther – that started out impressively and crashed down to Earth for no obvious reason.

Glenn:  At 73 is Deadpool the duck with sales over 34.8k. I’m honestly not sure what to say about this one. It performs a lot better than most of the Mercs For Money spin offs so there’s that.

Ray:...Look, I’ll just say that the fact that this book managed to sell roughly 35K despite being about Deadpool and Howard the Duck getting caught in the plot of The Fly is a testament to the insane strength of Deadpool. Groot help us.

Glenn:  After a surprising top ten debut last month the Jennifer Walter’s led Hulk sells over 32.5k at 83 which makes a lot more sense. This is actually really good when you take into consideration what Jennifer’s previous books have sold. Its not great sales for a Hulk book but for a She-Hulk title with the She part missing? That’s very good.

Ray:  This is roughly what I’d expect for second-issue sales for a She-Hulk book. To put this into perspective, this is about 6K in sales above where Charles Soule’s She-Hulk series sold for its second issue, but that one didn’t have an event platform to launch from. We’ll see how it drops in coming months, but this isn’t a secure platform yet.

Glenn:  No, that’s true. I’m maybe trying to be optimistic about at least one thing Marvel related but historical precedence doesn’t warrant that.

Next Monsters Universe tie in is the Avengers at 88 with sales just over 30.4k which is quite a distance between it and the Spidey/Deadpool one. These tie-ins were loose at best so Marvel is likely just getting what they can out of this oddball event.

Ray: Like I suspected, the Spidey/Deadpool one sold on the strength of that title, not the event. This is probably the best number Marvel can hope for when it comes to the rest of these $4.99 specials.

Glenn:  Surprisingly low sales for the Killer Frost one shot that leads into the launch of the new Justice League title. It sells under 30k at 89 which caught me by surprise. Given that the other ones sold pretty well and that Killer Frost/Caitlin Snow are featured on mega popular show the Flash, I would have thought there would be a lot of interest. Maybe the Flash show did help as the other League lead in one shots performed worse with Atom selling just over 29.6k at 93, Vixen selling 29.4k at 95 and the Ray selling over 27.7k at 100. Very surprised there wasn’t more interest here given they were all written or co-written by JLA writer, Steve Orlando. Hopefully this is just an indication that most customers/retailers saw these one shots as skipable and not a bad omen for Justice League next month.

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Ray:  Those numbers are surprisingly low, given that several of these characters were teased in major events or even in DC Rebirth. It seems like there’s a lot of hype building for this JLoA book, and I expect to see the Rebirth/#1 issues top the charts next month. However, none of these characters have any name pull on their own without Batman, and I don’t think retailers really knew how to order them. I would say these are prime candidates for some heavy reorders in months to come.

Glenn:  The collection might do well also, that’s what I was personally waiting on rather that paying out for extra 5 comics to read a new bi-weekly.

Ray:  A bit of good news is that Supergirl seems to have stabilized, losing only about 2K in sales from month to month. This is a decent if not extremely healthy place for the character on the charts, and it doesn’t seem like it will be falling into the danger zone any time soon – unlike other books in the Super-family.

Glenn:  Traditionally, this is a good number for Supergirl. In a few months it’ll be tying into the Superman Rebirth mini event which might give it a bit of a bump. As Orlando’s star rises at DC, this could be a title that either becomes incredibly consistent or even starts to gain small numbers (dare to dream).

Ray:  A rough fall for Hawkeye this month, which sold an impressive 70K last month and promptly craters to 27K and #102. This is a book that was well-received, so it’s just another example of how Marvel is not producing a single new hit out of this relaunch. All boats are sinking, good and bad. It needs to stabilize quickly from here if it wants to get past 12.

An equally harsh drop for Gamora, which loses close to 2/3rds of its sales from its 65K debut and only charts 24K at #108. Much like the other new Guardians books, this feels more like a miniseries now.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda has crashed pretty hard as well, selling 25K at #107. The original writer is leaving with #5, #6 has a guest artist, and there’s no sign of a solicit for #7, so it looks like the market can’t support three Black Panther books at the moment. We’ll see if The Crew, starring Black Panther himself (unlike this book) will be more sustainable.

DC’s digital-first miniseries “Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77”, a time-hopping adventure crossing over these two popular old TV shows, has a decent debut at 23K at #112. Digital-first books are always a little hard to gauge based on the hidden sales, but this is comparably healthy to similar books.

Glenn:  The retro TV tie in that is Wonder Woman/Batman is also a mini too. It’ll end before sales get too bad and since DC keep producing these books, they seem to think they do well in one form or another so considering the retro TV shows have cult followings anyway, you can’t expect much better. I wonder if we’ll get another mini with these two and either George or Christopher Reeves Superman?

Ray:  Two spots and about a hundred copies below is one of DC’s more unusual projects, the reboot of Kamandi Challenge by some of their top creative teams each continuing each other’s story. For an anthology of sorts, and with a higher price point, these aren’t bad numbers, but it continues to show how DC’s Rebirth titles and everything else are in a different galaxy.

Glenn:  The Kumandi challenge was something that was only ever going to have a niche appeal despite the creators involved. Its a property that had its heyday 50 years ago and isn’t in continuity and is 4.99. Considering all that, I don’t think these sales are too bad and it could stabilize quickly. Once DC releases a nice hardcover of it, it could perform handsomely in collections.

Ray:  Further emphasizing the galaxy point, the Wonder Woman prequel book Odyssey of the Amazons has a muted debut at #126, selling just over 21K. Given that this had no familiar characters (even Hippolyta isn’t a major character) and no a-list creators, I’m not sure what DC was really expecting. Should have greenlit Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 2!

Glenn:  Definitely seems like they took the choice to produce the book that had the lesser potential. Legend Of Wonder Woman had its own audience, starred the title character and did a healthy first run. This book has none of those things and will probably be one that gets to pretty low levels as it plays itself out and is then quietly forgotten. This is proof that DC can still misfire with the best of them.

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Ray:  The impressive first-issue numbers for Ghost Rider have completely worn off, with the title cratering at #122 with sales of only 22K. This title has already apparently been whisked away into the night with the most recent solicits, so it seems Marvel is getting quicker with the hook.

Glenn:  There is definitely no room for dust on some of the new launches that aren’t performing. I just hope they don’t just do another relaunch of some of these books (most likely following Secret Empire) but I’d say that’s the most likely scenario, Marvel won’t like that these cancellations mean their line is thinning.

Ray:  Similar numbers one spot below for Rocket Raccoon’s latest title, which sheds almost 60% of its sales from its decent debut. As we discuss the sales for #2 of this relaunch of Rocket Raccoon, the next relaunch has already been solicited. Oh Marvel, you so crazy.

Glenn:  At least the new launch is around the new movie, which makes a lot more sense. Given how quick the turnover on this title has been, you’d have thought that Marvel could have just waited a few months and given this book a better launch pad. I guess stuff like that makes too much sense.

Ray:  The launch of Boom’s new WWE series has a decent debut, selling just over 20K at #129. I might have expected a bit more given the sheer number of covers this book had, but given how Boom’s #1s usually chart, this is undoubtedly a healthy number and a potential new property for them. Countdown to the first DC/WWE crossover?

Glenn:  I would say there are probably a lot of comics fans who are also wrestling fans but I doubt the massive WWE audience that don’t read comics are not going to make the extra effort to read this. Wrestling comics always struggle so 20k isn’t too bad but given this is the third time (or so) that WWE has tried to launch a new comic in the last few years, it may have a hard road ahead.

Ray:  Dynamite relaunches Red Sonja with a new creative team once again, this time resulting in sales of 18.7K at #139. Dynamite seems to have hit on a strategy of relaunching most books with every new arc or creative team, so they keep renewing the sales on their current franchises. Not much different than what Marvel seems to be doing, but the effect hasn’t worn off nearly as much for this smaller publisher.

Glenn: Most Dynamite properties have a pretty dedicated fan base that will likely just treat this as a continuation of any previous series thather than using a relaunch as an excuse to potentially hop off. Retailers will know what interest they can get out of a new Red Sonja book where its much more of a guessing game with some new Marvel launches, especially on the newer characters that don’t have a film or TV presence.

Ray:  “Rebirth-Adjacent” miniseries The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom has the weakest debut of any of the new DC books this month, failing to break 20K and charting at #140 with sales of just over 18K. There just seems to be no real interest in the character, as he last played a major role in a short New 52 series and clearly has been overshadowed by the presence of his analogue Doctor Manhattan in the DCU right now.

Glenn:  Yeah, without the involvement in a larger title (like the JLOA members), Captain Atom isn’t a character that tend to gather much interest. This seems like something DC has had in the drawers for a while and they want to get it out before Dr. Manhatten makes a full appearance and reduces the value of Captain Atom completely.

Ray:  The top new Image book of the month is Curse Words, by Marvel mainstay Charles Soule. This offbeat evil-sorcerer comic has a healthy debut of 18.1K at #145, which is in the range I would expect for a title without a megawatt creator attached. Soule’s creator-owned books have always been cult properties, so I think this title will find its footing and be healthy at this level for a while.

The bottom rung of the Rebirth books right now is Blue Beetle, which has fallen to just over 18K at #146. Solicits have made it sound like that will be the first book whisked away into the night from Rebirth soon. It’s joined in the sub-20K club with Cyborg and New Super-Man. Out of all of those, only New Super-Man has some critical buzz behind it and may get a little more rope.

Glenn:  New Super-Man might have less expectations as its a new character where both Cyborg and Blue Beetle are far more established. These are characters that have always struggled on their own and are bound to careers as members of team books only (there’s nothing wrong with that, mind). The trouble with Cyborg is that DC probably feel obligated to give him more of a solo presence due to his upcoming (as of this typing) movie

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Ray:  A bit below Curse Words at #161 is another new Image title, God Country. This supernatural rural thriller about a God’s weapon being found by an old man with Alzheimer’s doesn’t have any big names attached. What it does have, though, is universal critical acclaim right out of the gate. Thus, while 14.3K may be a more modest debut number, I think it’s a good sign for this title and it’ll be able to level out quickly and hook its audience.

Glenn:  You talked up God Country a good bit on the Stew (dong!) so if it catches the attention of its readers then it could have a good life ahead. If it manages around the 10k mark and does well in trade then it’ll be performing the same as a lot of non-big name Image books do that seem to live long, healthy lives.

Around this level you have Marvel books like Scarlet Witch, Prowler and Great Lake Avengers with the highest selling (Scarlet Witch) selling over 14.3k at 160. That title has been surviving at this level for a while so could remain to do so but it doesn’t look as promising for the other two titles that are only a few issues into their runs.

Ray:  Scarlet Witch just ended with #15 this week, actually. It started at a much higher level and dropped more slowly than these newer books, so they’re probably unlikely to get to such a high number.

Glenn:  I didn’t realize it was ending and to be fair, when you’re getting ongoings canned two issues in, the number 15 could be the new 100.

Also around this level are a few of the Young Animal books like Cave Carson and Shade The Changing Girl at over 14k at 163 and 169 with over 13.5k. Not great but probably a lot better than they would be doing without the Young Animal branding and they’re still miles ahead of anything Vertigo puts out. These books have great critical buzz and will be doubtlessly handsome performers with trades. Given that another Young Animal book starring obscure Fourth World character Bug has been given the green light, it seems on the surface that DC is happy with how the line is doing.

Ray:  Doom Patrol seems like it’s going to wind up a good 10K above the rest of the Young Animal line (Mother Panic didn’t ship this month, it seems, and we have yet to see where it settles down to), but these numbers are healthy, if unimpressive. Certainly well above Vertigo, which has no books above 10K anymore, I believe.

Glenn:  I swear we talked about the Hellboy Winder Special last month so if these are reorders of over 12.6k at 171 then that’s very impressive. Otherwise this is pretty standard for a Hellboy related special.

Not sure what Dollface is but good for small publisher Action Labs cracking the top 200 with it at 177 with over 11.6k. This is outselling a lot of books by much bigger publishers and while it may not continue to do that, this is a cause for celebration for such a small company.

Right below it at 178 is the second issue of Motor Crush by the former Burnside Batgirl creative team selling 11.4k which is a pretty good level for a book by a creative team that seemed to set up a cult following at DC. This is one I could see performing at this level and well in trades for a good while.

Ray:  Any Image book without A-list talent that stays above 10K with its second issue is probably safe for a while. This isn’t a fantastic number, but it’s one that the team will certainly be happy with.

Glenn:  Without Marvel playing the sales game, Mosiac shows off how it can do on its own and its…not good. Selling just over 11k at 180 pretty much seals the fate of the book on the cancellation pile sooner than later. No one seems to care much about these new Inhuman characters….like at all.

Ray:  That drop is…even harsher than I expected for Mosaic. That’s not much above the level of the Mercs for Money titles. Marvel seemed to believe that this was a character who had promise, but in the end, the public just isn’t interested in random new Inhumans. With the title selling roughly the same number as the 15th issue of Moon Girl and lacking its kid-friendly appeal, this book’s time is likely drawing close.

Glenn:  Next up is another new Image launch called Loose Ends which sells at 182 with sales of over 10.8k. Given this is from the writer of Spider-Gwen (who also serves as artist on Image hit Southern Bastards) I would have thought there might have been more interest. Its only a four issue mini though so perhaps those who are fans of Latour are trade waiting.

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It does manage to outsell the second issue of Slapstick which is one spot lower at 183 with sales also around the 10.8k mark. If memory serves this is the only Mercs With A Mouth spin off that is still going but I don’t expect that to be the case much longer with numbers like these.

Ray:  Slapstick is digital-first, so that probably helps it a bit. It seems like Marvel is going to continue this book going until 8 or so, but with it sinking into the four-digit range next month, I can’t see them having all that much patience.

Glenn:  At 185 is KISS Demon selling over 10.6k. I guess one recent comic starring a seemingly immortal rock band wasn’t enough. This one will have its finite audience and that’s it. I can’t wait for my Metallica comic though.

Another Image launch in the form of Maxi series The Few at 187 with sales over 10.5k. I don’t know the names involved so this is just standard Image. Its presence here just makes me more puzzled that Latour’s book wasn’t that far above it

Ray:  Both Loose Ends and The Few are dark, complex Image books without a clear genre, so I’m not surprised they were ordered a little lower. Latour is one of those up-and-coming talents that doesn’t quite have a big profile on his own yet – Spider-Gwen was lightning in a bottle, but it hasn’t translated to his other projects yet. These are okay numbers all around, especially as both are limited series.

Glenn:  The new critical hit from Dark Horse, Black Hammer delivers an annual this month at 10.3k sales at number 188 which is pretty great for a creator owned property very early in its run and asking for 5.99. This book is making the sales chart explode but it has two things Dark Horse needs more of these days and that’s consistency and critical acclaim.

Ray:  Black Hammer is rock-solid. No regular issue this month, but this oversized, higher-priced issue still manages to land relatively close to the main series. That’s genuine strength, and this should remain healthy for Dark Horse for quite some time.

Glenn:  The already cancelled Foolkiller is nearly at 4 figures on its third issue at 190 with sales  just over 10.2k. This is pretty bad for a main Marvel book but the worse news is that there is a book lower down in that vein.

Ray:  Foolkiller…I got nothing. These books were doomed from the start, and yet I think this might be the best of the three sales-wise. Slapstick will clearly be below this level next month. And then there’s Solo…

Glenn:  Okay, I honestly made that Metalica comment without knowing Slayer: Relentless at 191 with sales also around 10.2k which is a comic based on the heavy metal band Slayer. I just…don’t know anymore…

Ray:  So comics starring old rock bands are the hottest thing right now. Can’t wait for Kiss vs. Ozzy Osbourne: Dawn of Hair in a few months. (I would read this, I really would)

 Gotham Academy: Second Semester (#197, 9.4K) slides into single issues, which makes me sad. It may also make me want to burn things just like the lead character.

Glenn:  Unlike my tiny Simpsons counter-part, I am going to encourage you not to burn things. It still baffles me that Gotham Academy didn’t get a Rebirth label, it could have kept it at the same level as say, Blue Beetle at least you would think.

Ray:  One of the most disappointing numbers of the month has to be the start of Angel Season 11, from Dark Horse, which lands at #199 with sales of 9.3K. This used to be one of Dark Horse’s top franchises, but maybe the absence of Faith from the title has hurt it. However, it’s only 2K below Buffy this month, so it may just be rough seas for the franchise as a whole.

Glenn:  Those Angel numbers do surprise me, the lack of Faith might put some fans of the former series off but maybe this book/line doesn’t feel special anymore. The official continuation was a big deal a few years ago but that’s pretty common place now. Given that Buffy ended nearly 14 years ago (!!!!!) and so many shows have picked up its baton to deliver shows of a similar ‘feel’ then the need for these comics will only be required by the most die hard of fans. Don’t expect Dark Horse to get rid of it of course, its one of their strongest overall franchises they have left. Better they get these sales than someone else.

Ray:  The new IDW event spinoff, Revolutionaries, has a decent debut of 8.8K at #201. Not bad for a comic starring a crossover of old 80s toy characters. We’ve talked a bit about how IDW seems to run on consistency and quantity, rather than any single hits. This is a good example of that.

A couple of mid-level books have spinoffs this month. Animosity, one of Aftershock’s more successful titles, has a one-shot, “The Rise” this month, that lands roughly around the level of the main title, selling 8.4K at #204. Meanwhile, Dynamite spins Bond ally Felix Leiter into his own miniseries to the tune of 8.2K at #208. Dynamite is never shy about spinning their franchises off – remember the days of six different Shadow books? – but these numbers are decent for an Ian Fleming side character.

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Glenn:  Felix is an incredibly obscure character and hasn’t appeared in the movies since the lukewarm received Quantum Of Solice so I’d say those numbers are close to amazing.
Ray:  Oh, Solo. Just barely over 8K at #212. We haven’t seen numbers like this for a mainstream Marvel ongoing since the days of Starbrand and Nightmask. It’ll end its short run still in the top 300. Will Mosaic or Slapstick find even lower lows?

Glenn:  I think I’ve run out of jokes for Solo (while Solo lives, jokes die). I’d hope that Marvel will learn but seeing some of the books they have coming, they clearly haven’t.

Ray:  A bit surprised by the crash in sales for Divinity III: Stalinverse, which loses over half its first issue sales to land at #215 with sales of 7.8K.Valient didn’t really promote this event like an event, and it’s showing. This month’s tie-in, Divinity III: Aric, sells 400 copies and four spots lower.

Glenn:  Promotion is still a big thing to retailers, its why Marvel’s number one game still kinda/sorta works and Rebirth was/is such a big success. I very much doubt Valient has the same marketing budget but they need to get the word out if they want to reach outside their small but dedicated fan base.

Ray:  The top-selling Vertigo book of the month, Lucifer #14, only manages 7.4K. Oof. This line…we’ve said enough about the rough state it’s in. But at least this book is consistent – it’s passed Lost Boys this month to reclaim the top spot until Astro City returns next month

Glenn:  A lot of the new Vertigo books are ending so the line will probably serve to exist to simply turn out the collections of its yesteryear hits and the occasional Sandman story when Neil Gaiman feels like it. You have to credit DC for trying to make it fresh again but the comic book world has moved beyond the need that Vertigo used to satisfy.

Ray:  Speaking of odd spin-offs, in case you wanted a Biff Tannen spin-off for Back to the Future, IDW has you covered! This does 6.7K at #227, which isn’t amazing numbers, but you really couldn’t expect much more for a niche book like this.

Glenn:  Maybe people are into the parallels between alternative 1985 Biff and current politics? I’d say Biff is a pretty iconic villain given the franchise he’s in so there will be a little interest for him, sure but I wouldn’t expect to see too many Back To The Future spin offs staring George McFly or whatnot.

Ray:  It’s been consistent, and there’s not much to say as it nears the end of its run (next week, crying forever), but I’m amused that Nailbiter #28 sells exactly 6,666 copies this month. How sinister. Also, this book deserves to sell ten times this much.

Glenn:  *shares tissues with Ray* I’m hoping it finds a new audience in years to come when the inevitable TV adaption comes to life. Maybe we can live in hope of some sort of spin off? One can dare to dream but this has been an amazing series.

Ray:  Titan’s got two new Doctor Who books, apparently one for the 10th Doctor and one for the 11th. They’re both subtitled “Year Three” and both debut 7 copies apart at 6.5K, taking over the 234 and 235 spots. I don’t really know what these series are about, so I’ll turn it over to Glenn!

Glenn:  Yearly relaunch starring two of the Doctor’s regeneration and…that’s it. All these books have their set audience and Titan keep making more of them so they must be happy enough. They’ll have another one soon when we get the next Doctor in 2018.

Ray:  Black Mask, a relatively new publisher, lands its newest title, “The Dregs” on the charts at #246 with sales of 5.9K. Not great numbers, but this seems to be roughly where Black Mask books without a big creative pedigree land. Matt Rosenberg, now at Marvel, was responsible for this company’s biggest hits, and without him at the helm books start a lot lower.

Glenn:  At least they’re here which is probably making them feel very proud. Hopefully they’ll continue to manage to build themselves up, all companies have to start somewhere after all.

Ray:  It’s not that the sales are so much interesting as that it’s cool to see Simpsons Comics on the chart at issue #236! How many books get to those numbers these days? Very few. Considering how long it’s been going, without many sales-boosting stunts to speak of, its sales of just under 5.8K at #251 are pretty impressive. This is likely due to a steady all-ages market and the fact that Simpsons is a genuinely universal property. To put this into perspective, this sold less than 100 copies less than the fifth issue of Fables spin-off Everafter (my comparison to AfterMASH stands).

Glenn:  This comic is sold a bunch of places that most comics aren’t and have a wider mass appeal than I would say even the higher DC/Marvel books do. Given what a money making machine the Simpsons is, even beyond the show this comic could easily run at a loss and it not matter too much. I am sad though that Futurama comics are becoming digital only, I always thought it was the superior show overall but never reached a quarter of the iconic status that the Simpsons have.

250px-simpsons_comics_236
Another Hellboy one shot at 252 in the form of Lobster Johnston Garden Of Bones with sales over 5.7k. I guess this is fine for a cult character spun off from another cult character. I’m sure retailers know by now who Hellboy fans are and are ordering very little extra copies.

I’d say the Komandi Challenge Special at 255 with sales also in the 5.7k range aren’t too shabby. This is a 7.99 one shot reprinting material from five decades ago. Its essentially supposed to go alongside the modern Kumandi challenge so interest will be minimal as most Kirby fans probably have this stuff as its been reprinted multiple times already.

Ray:  Really, any time the company prints a reprint like this one – especially one that is this expensive – charting at all is a victory. I wonder if the confusing similar name to the new volume drove numbers up, but either way, this is all gravy for DC. And I’d like to point out that this outsold a first-run DC comic further down the list.

Glenn:  Second issue of Archie’s Reggie and Me sells just over 5.6k at 257. The main book is still miles ahead of the rest of the line and this seems to be where the spin off books reside now. This is probably still better than they had done prior to the relaunch but Archie should probably be more careful about overstretching themselves.

Ray:  This is the lowest an Archie book has sold yet for this new wave, I believe. I don’t think there was really a market for a Reggie solo ongoing – the character is getting explored in the main two books – so this seems like a bit of a misfire. I’m sure they’ll learn and – *is buried under an avalanche of Archie one-shots*

Glenn:  The Archie pilot season does indicate a Ray killing amount of titles are still to come. Hopefully this isn’t a judgement in error by the company as they push their luck.

IDW releases a new Dungeons and Dragons comic subtitled Frost Giants Fury which sells at 262 with sales over 5.3k. Much like I said with WWE fans earlier, I doubt those not already reading comics will make an extra effort to pick up a D and D comic. The role play game has a massive fan base across the world but most of them are too busy experiencing their own adventures and don’t have much interest in stories set in the world that don’t involve themselves.

Ray:  IDW has had the Dungeons and Dragons license for a while, and it seems to be a good fit for them – it’s a pure cult comic with a loyal audience. IDW relies on nostalgia buys, to a large extent, and this may be one of the more limited-appeal books, but it’ll probably stay pretty steady.

Glenn:  Issue 2 of Dark Horse’s Shadows Of The Grave sells over 5.2k at 264. It looks like an odd book with a niche audience so these numbers are probably as much as you could expect.

Another Dark Horse title, the Call Of Duties Zombies comic charts its second issue at just under 5k. Call Of Duty is mega popular and so are zombies but in a genre where Walking Dead is king, everyone else exploring that is going to be fighting for scraps, even with a mega popular game as window dressing.

Its not often that Zenescope charts with a second issue but Grimm Fairy Tales manages at 272 also under 5k. The company doesn’t show up much in the charts so they’re probably happy here. It’ll be interesting how a company with this song playing in the lobby will continue to fare in upcoming issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZx5zfkG6oU

Ray:  Oh, Rachel Bloom. Will you ever stop making us laugh? Anyway, that’s all that needs to be said about that one…

Glenn:  Another thing Boom seems to want to be known for along with young readers material is female led titles which is where Ladycastle falls. The first of this four issue mini sells at 273 with sales just over 4.9k. Its just a four issue mini so it’ll probably finish up its run in top 300, I don’t recognize the names of the creators involved so that’s not too bad. Much like Valient, I’m sure Boom could have more of their titles higher up the charts because if Ray is to be believed (never!) they’re putting out some great stuff.

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Ray: Boom struggles across the board, except when it comes to their name franchises, sadly. Especially in the direct market. If books from A-list writers like James Tynion and Steve Orlando could only do similar numbers, this was never going to get outside the bottom fifty, sadly. This is only a four-issue miniseries, so Boom was probably expecting this.

Justice League/Suicide Squad #1 charts again with sales of 4.8K at #276. Small numbers in the big scheme of things, but it shows there’s some real heat behind this event. No reorders for Inhumans vs. X-Men. The second issue does similar numbers eight spots down.

Glenn:  Reorders are always an indication you had something that garnered interest. Given that DC’s next mini crossover the Button is likely to be a rather unstoppable force, they’ll probably get a repeat performance there at least.

Ray:  Hey, you know, we’ve beat up a lot on Solo and Mosaic this month, but at least they’re not Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroez. This misbegotten ersatz DC comic finishes out its run at #280, selling 4.7K. This is a mainstream DC book, so this is shocking – albeit not all that shocking for a comic that had John Constantine and a sentient pile of organs in a…relationship.

Glenn:  This may have just been green lit to keep good relations with Garth Ennis more than anything. I can’t honestly think of any other reason they would have given this a thumbs up.

Ray: With one issue to go, it looks like Revival will finish its run out in the top 300. #46 charts at #281 with sales of 4.6K. Not great, but it’s a long-running series and will likely do great business in trades.

Glenn:  Usually these cult series get a bit of a bump on the final issue so good for them. Its not been one of the series from Image that gets a lot of press but it’ll definitely be a healthy addition to their back catalog.

Ray:  Another Titan adaptation, this time of the BBC’s Sherlock. Adapting the Blind Banker story, it sells 4.6K at #283. Business as usual for Titan, really.

Glenn:  This is also a reprinting of Manga material that probably did very well in Japan so this is just for die hard fans of the show who want the episodes in another format.
Ray:  The new Titan book, Assignment, which appears to be a Hitman comic, sells 4.3K at #292. Titan puts out a lot of books, but few of them seem to be really performing at a high level except a few top franchises.

Glenn:  I’m surprised Assignment didn’t come with the Hitman branding. Its one of the oldest gaming franchises out there and has some recognizably outside of the gaming market. It probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference in sales but its a curious omission.

Ray:  Sadly, it looks like the great Dark Horse book Dept. H will likely be making its exit from the top 300 soon, as it lands at #295 with sales of 4.2K. It deserves so much more.

Glenn:  Matt Kindt’s brand of comics are not everyone’s cup of tea. They may be great but I imagine they’re a hard sell to people just coming in for their weekly superhero fix.

Ray:  This month, it’s Tomb Raider #12 that rounds out the top 300. However, I notice that the bottom three books this month sell under 4K. That’s a really low level, and it’s happened the last two months. Before that, it hadn’t happened since February 2016.

Glenn:  Now that Gail Simone has long gone, I doubt there’s much Tomb Raider demand. Maybe it’ll get a second life when the new movie comes out but that’s still a good way away.

11

The numbers at the bottom aren’t encouraging. It makes it easier for lower selling books to make the chart but it indicates everything is down overall. We’ll have to see if it is a continuing trend but its not a good way for the industry to start 2017.

Ray:  Looking ahead, it’s a pretty exciting month. DC has been business as usual for a few months, but that changes now as their Wave Two titles hit. We’ve got Justice League of America, Super-Sons, Batwoman, and the launch of Warren Ellis‘ new book, The Wild Storm. Detective Comics has a double-sized anniversary issue and should land in the top ten, as well. There’s also Savage Things, the new Vertigo series from Justin Jordan. And one more crossover – when Green Lanterns meet the Planet of the Apes, will sales follow?

Marvel, by contrast, is cooling off a little bit – as much as any company with two events running simultaneously can be. They’ve got three new Daredevil spin-offs, a bunch of new .MU tie-ins, and my pick for the top Marvel book of the month – Star Wars: Darth Maul #1. Still, the main sport with Marvel will be continuing to see how far and how fast these books can crash.

Image will be shaking up the top of the charts, as they land 25-cent issues of Robert Kirkman’s three books. These can essentially be treated as promotional issues and should sell anywhere from 150K to 1M copies, depending on the books. In the middle of all that, we’ve got some new launches, including Greg Rucka’s The Old Guard, horror one-shot The Belfry, the return of sci-fi adventure Planetoid, and the reprint of offbeat indie anthology Sun Bakery.

Glenn:  I expect big things from Justice League next month, the rest are more unpredictable though. Its going to be interesting how these all place and how much those Kirkman Image books are going to mess up things.
See you all then!

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