Category Archives: By the Numbers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Liked what you read or have a comment or question?  Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: December 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s fascinated by the fact that DC has got him interested in a mini event called ‘The Button‘.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s undergoing a transformation into a monster which was brought on by the finale of Civil War II.

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

Full top 300 for December available here!

Glenn: Welcome fellow survivors to 2017!  Times are changing and the future may look uncertain but you can set your watch (mostly) on ‘By The Numbers!’  We’re here to look at how companies fared at the end of 2017 and there’s a lot of interesting launches and news to get through.

This chart is slightly unusual to previous ones we’ve talked about.  In an attempt to maintain their Sith like grip on market share, Marvel has been sending comic shops extra copies they didn’t order.  This bumps up the numbers on Marvel books that may otherwise, be selling less.  How much less and how much this effects the truth behind Marvel’s numbers are open for debate.  The news from retailers on the sales of Marvel’s latest batch of relaunches following Civil War II haven’t been overwhelmingly positive so this could be some serious damage control.
Basically, for lack of a better term, Marvel are cheating.  How much by, is hard to say but it casts a shadow of doubt across their sales so keep that in mind.

Ray: Looking down the charts, I see a lot of suspicious numbers for Marvel. The impact seems to be heaviest when it comes to mid-low level Marvel books that are having their previous orders matched. To be blunt, Marvel is making it very hard to discuss their sales, because it’s impossible to say what’s legit interest, and what’s just astroturf sales. As such, take anything Marvel releases this month (except for #1s and already cancelled series) with a giant lick of salt.

Glenn:  Maybe Marvel is messing with us in particular?  The conspiracy starts here!

Last month not many books cracked 100k but we ended the year with quite a few achieving that.  Right at the top of the chart with the first six figure book (despite the Marvel stuff already mentioned) is DC with the first issue of Justice League vs Suicide Squad with sales of just under 180k.  This taking the top spot should be no surprise since its the first big Rebirth crossover, promises to have some follow up from the Rebirth one shot, leads into the new Justice League book by Steve Orlando and features a lot of big characters punching each other.  It also helps of course the series is drawn by a-lister Jason Fabok and written by one of DC’s hot new writers in Joshua Williamson.  This book has a lot going for it so its placing on issue one is no surprise. What might be seen as a bit of a surprise is the second issue losing 90k in sales and not making the top ten.  I think this is probably an effect of event mini’s seeing over saturation more than anything but if the series can remain there through the rest of its run over the next month or two its another big win for DC.

jl-v-ssRay:  The head-to-head event launches that kick things off are a good illustration of just how much the game has changed in DC’s favor, I think. IvX had close to a year of set-up and is being treated as a full-on event with lots of tie-ins, while JLvsSS is a weekly miniseries with only two titles tying into it. That taken into consideration, JLvsSS winning by 12K is a very strong showing for DC, and should indicate huge numbers for whatever the Snyder/Capullo event come next summer is. The fact that it loses over 50% of its sales with the next issue, though, is a pretty bad indicator for the market as a whole. Maybe event overkill is hitting DC as well as DC? There’s also the weekly pace – this is a pretty big investment DC is asking retailers and readers to make for December and January. Still, given the fast pace, it’s going to come out as an overall hit for DC.

Glenn:  Speaking of events and over saturation, the number 2 book is IVX issue 1 which sells just over 167.7k.  Assume we can take these numbers at face value, that is a lot better than expected and underlines the point we made last month about what point the 0 issues have in these events when they never sell as well but are seemingly the first part of the story.  Its a great launch for the event considering it features one franchise that has seen much better days and another that people barely care about in terms of sell-ability. It’ll be interesting if it can manage a healthy drop.

Ray: The numbers for IvX are pretty much what I was expecting for the first issue – it’s about double the issues of the #0 issue last month, which is roughly what Civil War II did as well. The problem is, Civil War II immediately dropped below the sales of the zero issue with #2, and never recovered. If IvX holds that pattern, the sales for #2 are going to be in the 70K range and it’ll be lucky to finish above 50K. Those are not line-wide event numbers, and launching another hero vs. hero event right after the last one may not have been the best idea. However, the lower initial ceiling may keep the floor a bit higher.

Glenn: Mid 70’s sounds about right for IvX. Marvel are already talking about the next big event coming in a few months so either this isn’t seen as a ‘main’ major tie-in or Marvel are going for multiple big events a year.

Its time for the Bat section of the top ten, to the Batcave!

At number 3 is the slow to come out but still superb selling Dark Knight III which manages over 119k on its 7th issue. Going back to their classics and bringing them back seems to be working well for DC and I expect to see that continue in 2017 and maybe 2018 as another series that is lauded as the original Dark Knight also gradually makes its return to the DC universe proper.

4 and 5 is old reliable Batman selling over 111 and 108k.  Still remarkably stable even if it might be headed out of the 100k club soon. Its place at the higher end of the chart is locked in though and the book seems to always get a bump with a new story which is just around the corner. We also have the recently announced ‘Button’ tie-in between this and Flash which will probably see both series benefit hugely in terms of sales so DC has nothing to worry about that sweet bat milk going dry.

Ray: Essentially, Batman seems to be bulletproof right now. We’ll talk more about another incredibly performing Bat-book in a bit, but DKIII seems to have a hardcore fanbase that barely declines at all, and that bodes very well for DC’s collections. The main Batman title is still by far the top-selling ongoing on the market. The sales are still declining, yeah, but they’re declining roughly in proportion with most other books on the market. It may lose its spot as the only ongoing above 100K in a few months, but it’s not likely to lose its spot near the top of the charts.

5602565-13Glenn: Leaving the cave, we’re back to Marvel and the end of Civil War II at long last at 6 with sales of over 105.6k.  The book managed to sell all in the six figure range which is impressive, even if it didn’t match the success of its predecessor. Taken as its own thing, despite the delays it can be counted as a win but as a line wide event, I think we’ll see the aftershocks of CW II for a long time and not in a good way.

Ray: Yeah, this can best be described as CWII crawling over the line. 105K ending is not good for a mega-event like this at all, and the bigger problem is the toxic reception of the event as a whole. It seems to have been the last straw for a lot of people when it comes to Marvel’s line-wide events, and its new direction has been met with mediocre reception overall.

Glenn: At 7 and having a huge bump is Star Wars back in the top ten with sales of over 104.5k. This book had settled into a decent level but it seems to have come back in force (get it?  get it). Is it Marvel Jedi tricks or is it maybe because of the new story line starring Yoda?  It’s hard to say but impressive at face value.

Ray: I’m not sure what caused this Star Wars bump, but it’s more like what I expected for the #25 issue, which got no bump at all – and then this one promptly jumps 30K. Puzzling. The power of Yoda? This doesn’t seem like the title Marvel would be boosting sales on – it’s one of their healthiest books and doesn’t need to worry about survival.

Glenn: Launching strong at 8 is the other Marvel ongoing, Doctor Aphra which sells over 99k.  Very impressive for an original character but this is no doubt helped by the fact that this is a direct follow on from the Darth Vader series. A lot of fans will flock over here to continue the story and its a decent launch. The book then sinks to 25 with its second issue sales of over 61,4k which is what myself and Ray imagined its level would be. Still very good for a Star Wars character that is very, very new and has never been in any of the films. If Aphra can settle around 55-60k that would be great.

Ray: That’s a bit lower than I would have expected to start for Doctor Aphra, but I suppose the lack of a movie connection caused retailers to be a bit more cautious. The sales for #2 are fairly healthy. I’m seeing this following the pattern pretty closely of a book like Poe Dameron, which this month is at #62 with about 38K. I don’t see Aphra doing better than that in the long run, as Star Wars sales as a whole are declining a bit.

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Glenn: Another surprise in the numbers for Hulk which sells over 89.9k at number 9. This title in fact stars Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk and since her books with a light hearted tone have never caught on to great effect, they’re seeing if a darker take on the character will work.  The book has a big lead in from Civil War II so I expect that’s the reason for the large issue one order (historically for She-Hulk this is a big number, any other Civil War II launch you might have expected more given how much Jennifer is linked to the fall out of that event).  It won’t stay here of course so we’ll probably have a more realistic picture of the demand of this book very quickly.

Ray: That’s a solid number for Hulk #1, the top-selling Marvel ongoing debut of the month. I’m wondering if it’s simply the “Hulk” effect. Something similar happened with Ironheart’s debut in Invincible Iron Man last month, where it debuted a good deal above the sibling book with Doctor Doom. Totally Awesome Hulk and Infamous Iron Man felt like second-tier books, but these didn’t based on the title. We’ll see if the effect holds – or we won’t, given that the sales books are being cooked.

Glenn: Unless we get more number fiddling next month (and really, we probably will) I’m expecting Hulk to have a hard drop next month. If it can do about 30k though, that would be great for a She-Hulk led title but Marvel might be wanting a little more.

Last book in the top ten is the final part of the first arc of Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman which sells over 87.4k. This is perhaps low for a Snyder Batman title but this is an ongoing that is priced at 4.99 so it was never going to achieve the sales of its parent title (even though two issues of that book cost more than one of All Star). Still selling incredibly well for a book of this price and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slight bump next issue for the reunion of Snyder and Jock.

Ray: That’s a pretty hefty slide of 12K for All-Star Batman this month. Also interesting to note that this is the final part of Snyder and Romita Jr’s storyline. After this issue the book becomes an anthology of sorts, featuring 1-2 part stories focusing on individual rogues with guest artists. I think that might drive the sales further down, unfortunately. There’s been hints that this is a one-year project, though, with Snyder saying he has roughly a year of stories to tell. If so, the sales should remain healthy for a $4.99 project till the end.

Walking Dead stays rock solid at #11 with sales of 85K – a 3K slide from last month. It’s perhaps a long shot, but if Batman keeps its slow decline going twice a month, there’s the possibility that Walking Dead could wind up the #1 ongoing on the stands eventually.

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Glenn: Batman will keep enough buzz through mini-events and new stories and such to probably keep it slightly ahead but being more stable than all of Marvel’s regular line and the rest of DC’s line is nothing to sneeze at. Lets not forget how dominant Walking Dead is in collections either.

Ray: Invincible Iron Man, which had a muted debut of under 100K for Riri’s hero debut last month, keeps a surprising amount of those sales, selling 81K in 13th place. On its face, that’s very impressive – or is it? This is the first book where there’s some odd stuff going on with a stronger-than-expected hold. We’ll see if it continues in the following months. If it does, it could be genuine momentum for the character. If not, the sales this month were likely “enhanced”.

Glenn: The double edged sword to the enhanced sales is that we can’t give credit where credit is due. Its impossible to tell if this book held incredibly well or Marvel is performing a big magic show. Given the performance over the past year and usual patterns, the drop seems almost too good to be true. Maybe we’ll get a clearer picture next month, maybe not. Given that their bills are paid by Disney, Marvel could play this game for quite some time.

Ray:  Another strong debut for Hawkeye #1, selling 70K at #16. This is about 2K above the sales of Jeff Lemire’s All-New Hawkeye, which had its sales blunted by being a quickie relaunch of a book that was only one arc in. Kate Bishop has a genuine fanbase that’s followed her through the Clint books and Young Avengers for years now, and the title has good buzz for its first two issues. I think this could be one of those mid-level hits for Marvel that stays healthy for a while.

Glenn: Better than I would have expected for a Hawkeye book not starring Clint but then again, given Fractions run had her very much as a co-lead on his run then this could be seen as a long term way of making a little known character hold their own.  Its probably good for around 30k sales and performing mid tier, just like you said.

Ray: Detective Comics continues to chug along, remaining the most steady book in DC’s stable and one of only three to chart both its issues in the top 20. (Justice League, steady as always, is a few spots up). That’s six Batman issues alone in the top 20 this month, ten if you consider Justice League and JL vs. SS. Clearly, he continues to be the most popular character in comics – and Detective is especially impressive given that it barely drops a thousand copies from issue to issue.

Glenn: Detective’s hold is incredibly impressive. The fact that this book features a lot of characters that don’t seem to be popping up in Batman or All-Star probably helps a lot.  Fans of the larger Bat cast need to buy Detective and considering how closely associated Tynion has been with the franchise the last few years, that’s bound to help also.

Ray: We’ve been waiting so long for a Gamora title that the question was, is anyone still excited? The answer seems to be…kinda? Gamora #1 has solid first-issue sales of 65K at #19. Not bad to start, and the best Guardians debut of the month by a fair margin – but as always, the question is how those sales will hold. A 50% drop for a #2 issue for Marvel is commonplace these days.

Glenn: Decent launch for Gamora and given that its been hyped so much and has a writer with connections to the movie, the launch number is both not surprising in a good way but a little underwhelming. This probably could have seen sales as much as 15k higher or so when the Guardians had their run of major run when the movie came out.   If it can manage to do around the same level as the ongoings, it’ll be good enough. Even though this is a mini, this was the largest debut among a few of Gamora‘s fellow team mate books which is interesting.

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Ray: Avengers #2 has a decent drop from #1, losing only 17K sales to land at #21. This seems to bear out my theory that the problem with the sales last issue was just that retailers were done buying into Marvel’s #1 hype and ordered it with only a small boost. Unless the sales are cooked, of course.

Glenn: We speculated that the sales on Avengers might see a soft drop. Retailers aren’t really playing Marvel’s game any more and we’ve seen more new Avenger number one’s in the last few years than I have honestly lost count. If it can stay here then that’s very good considering how most books at Marvel and DC are doing.

Ray: A nice-sized jump for Guardians of the Galaxy #15, which is the start of Bendis‘ final arc on the title. It more than doubles the sales of #14, landing at #23 with 63K. That’s a massive increase for the arc, which is either an indicator of lots of incentives and the company treating the arc like a new jumping-on point, or…something else. We’ll see next month if any of these new sales are kept, but a relaunch has already been announced for March.

It’s business as usual for the likes of Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Trinity, Nightwing, Harley Quinn, Action Comics, and Teen Titans. All of them stay in the top 50 with (in most cases) two issues apiece, and sell at least 50K in most cases. These books are all pretty healthy and form the core of DC’s non-Batman line (although several of them have Bat-ties). Superman in particular can be said to be a big winner here, with both titles selling well above their previous levels. Nothing much to report here – Rebirth is still a winner for DC.

Glenn: You mentioned on the Stew (dong!) that DC had 25 of the top 50 and half sure ain’t bad. The bi-monthly $2.99 strategy has really worked for titles like Flash, Wonder Woman and the main two Superman books. We might see some major changes to rankings in a few months as was announced today that all the single issue monthly DC comics are going to $3.99. Out of the books you mentioned that could have an impact on Trinity and Teen Titans. There are other books much lower that the price tag will be a death warrant for but I think it’ll hurt the books up here while the bi-weeklies seem to be settling in at their current levels. In theory DC will still come out ahead but they shouldn’t be rocking the boat at this juncture.

Ray: Four new space-related Marvel titles debuted below Gamora this month, and the news is mixed. The highest of them is the relaunch of Rocket Raccoon, which sells 59K at #29. Rocket’s probably got the biggest fanbase of any Guardian, so these are decent numbers – albeit well below the Skottie Young heyday – but this new, darker relaunch doesn’t seem like it’s what the fans are looking for.

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One spot and roughly 1K lower than Rocket is the launch of Nova #1, which continues the trend of pairing OG and replacement hero together in a title. We’ve got Sam Alexander and the newly returned Richard Rider sharing a title, and bringing Richard’s fanbase with it. Nova books tend to debut fairly decently, but then crater in sales. We’ll see if Rider’s presence can help break that pattern.

Glenn: Well below the six figure Young book sold but that was back when Guardian’s fever was at an all time high.  Its an okay issue one launch but if current patterns hold true, the issue two numbers might not be pretty.  I’m curious why Marvel just didn’t wait a few months and launch these books to tie in with the movie.  I suppose they want trades on shelves but there are already plenty of those.

Ray: With Clone Conspiracy and two issues of Wonder Woman between Nova and the next book, we get The Mighty Captain Marvel #0 up next, selling 53K at #34. This is interesting, because it’s a #0 issue for no apparent reason. This isn’t an event book, and this is roughly what I would have expected for the #1 issue. I’m guessing #1 next month does close to the same numbers and it falls off precipitously from there. This character has never caught on sales-wise despite Marvel’s best efforts. Although they’ve put a popular YA author on the title this time, I think the damage done to the character in CWII is going to hurt sales here a lot.

Glenn: So if there was over shipping here then that’s really bad. I’d like to think no as those sales aren’t the strongest anyway. Zero issues seem to have little indication on the demand for the book but the reviews were pretty middling and Captain Marvel is another character who has had a long history of relaunches that retailers will well be over. Might be time to give her a break until the movie, putting a character on a shelf especially after something like Civil War II isn’t a bad thing.

Ray: The lowest-selling Guardians-related title debuting this month is Star-Lord #1, one spot below Captain Marvel with sales of 52K. The past Star-Lord titles have struggled in sales too, since Guardians is Star-Lord’s title and a solo in addition maybe feels a bit superfluous. The good news is, it has Chip Zdarsky and Howard the Duck on board, so I could see this one getting that book’s devoted fanbase and keeping it from falling off a cliff in future months.

Glenn: With Zdarsky on board, I thought there would be more interest, especially since Star Lord is the leader of the team. Of course leaders of teams don’t always get the sales boosts. I still question whether we really need some of the Guardians to have individual titles, interest seems to be drying up.  If this book is to find a cult following as you suggest, it’ll have to do it fast.

Ray: Champions fell off a cliff last month, losing 80% of its first month’s sales. This month, though, it pretty much stays flat, landing at #43 and selling 47K – down only 2K from last month. Time for another round of “genuine momentum or cooked books”! In this case, I think it might be genuine – if Champions was selling much lower than this right away, Marvel would have massive, massive problems.

Glenn: Big drops and then steady waters seem to be the new normal for Marvel if these numbers are to be believed, at least on what books are supposed to be the higher profile ones. There are others we’ll get to where the bleeding just won’t stop. If the numbers are genuine, Marvel are probably sad that its not say…20k higher but extremely grateful they’re not 20k lower.

Ray: Black Panther: World of Wakanda has a fairly gentle slide as well, losing 12K to land at #46 with sales of 45K this month. Acceptable numbers for a Black Panther spin-off – and it’s worth noting, this is actually about 6K above where the main Black Panther title currently is. It won’t keep that, but it seems like Black Panther’s heyday as a megahit for Marvel is over as a whole. It’s settling down into the middle of the pack with their remaining hits.

Glenn: Middle of the pack for Black Panther is still extremely good in historical context but yeah, this spin off will probably be able to sustain itself for 12 issues.  Sometimes getting one character to have one solid hit should just be enough.

Ray: Unfortunately, a fairly harsh slide for the popular Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which goes from #6 with 96K sales to #50 with 43K sales. That’s…not great, but as an alternate universe side story, it shows there still is some interest in the married version of the character. Worth noting – Superman: Lois and Clark was not a sales hit either at all, and now that status quo has taken over the main Super-books!

portrait_incredibleGlenn:  I’d hoped for a similar story for this that we saw on Spider-Gwen had before some…questionable decisions but awesome Spider family has not caught on the same as awesome female Spider character. Still, its a very good book and I think old school and new school Spidey fans will help keep it here.  Not bad for an out of continuity book if that’s the case.

It’s worth mentioning again that Amazing Spider-Man (number 22 at over 63.3k) outsold Clone Conspiracy (number 31 at over 56k) for another month. Good news for Amazing as it continues to be one of Marvel’s most dependable books with regards to sales but you would have thought that the sales for CC would have been a lot better than what they are. This was also the issue that Slott tried again to tell retailers would have a high demand but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. A lesson will be learned here…hopefully.

Ray: Marvel really screwed up with the Clone Conspiracy promotion. This is one of the best Spider-events Slott has done, with huge implications, but it wasn’t promoted effectively. Maybe this is a product of too many events running at one time? The best of the lot got short shrift.

Glenn: We’ve discussed this in the past but I’d like to reiterate that the past Spidey events Slott has done were all contained in Amazing and saw the book get a huge sales boost that lingered on after the story was done. Hopefully for whatever his next story is, they’ll go back to the strategy that worked.

Second issue of Unworthy Thor performs decently at 36 at over 50.5k. Not bad for a spin off mini but the pairing of Coipel and Aaron would have brought in more eyes one would have thought.  It still outperforms the main Thor book by quite a bit so maybe this is just the ceiling for Thor in the current market?  Again it just tells me that people aren’t going to object too much when the male Thor returns later this year, at least in terms of sales.

Ray: This is pretty close to what I would expect a relaunch featuring Jane Foster to be doing as well. Thor as a whole is a much stronger franchise than it was in the past, thanks to Aaron.

Glenn: I’m sure IDW and DC are happy with the second issue numbers on Batman/Turtles the animated crossover. At 65 with sales over 38.5k that’s very good considering these are not the in continuity versions of these characters and we just had a crossover with them not too long ago. I’m looking forward to the Lego Batman/Lego Turtles team up by end of the year at this pace.

Ray: This is closer to what I expected for an animated crossover like this one, so these are still very strong numbers, I think. The first issue was just abnormally high. IDW has got to be very happy to be in the Batman business right now.

Glenn: Crashing hard after its very puzzling debut is Venom sinking all the way down from its top ten spot last month to 67 with sales over 38k. I still don’t think this is too bad considering it’s not Eddie Brock or Flash Thompson or even Aunt Petunia. If it can hold here, it could warrant survival I think.

Ray: Oof, that is just an awful drop for Venom. Close to 2/3rds of its sales gone right away. Makes me wonder what was up with the sales on the first issue, because there was nothing really driving them and it doesn’t seem like it was genuine interest. Either way, with Marvel not showing much interest in fudging the numbers here, I see this one being gone quicker than the last two Flash Thompson series.

Glenn: The oddly numbered Avenger’s point mini’s second issue sells just one spot below Venom at 68 with sales of over 37.7k.  Taking these numbers at face value, this is probably a little lower than Marvel would have liked but this is a mini set in the past that again doesn’t star one of the better known Avenger’s teams. This was likely green lit because Mark Waid wanted to tell a story with this particular team and for that, these sales are okay if it can maintain it for its run.

The second issue of Ghost Rider also has a better than expected hold on issue 2 with sales of over 37.2k at 72.  Rider has never set the sales chart on fire (ha!  Get it?) but this is decent enough considering his sales history. Again, the key thing is managing to hold onto these post issue one drop numbers. Marvel’s books haven’t been managing it over the last few months but historically, this isn’t too bad for Ghost Rider.

Ray: That’s a roughly 50% drop for Ghost Rider. Not the worst drop, but also not the healthiest. It feels to me like it’s going to drop to the level of the previous title soon enough, even if Marvel is trying to boost the sales with the presence of their new Wolverine and Hulk.

Glenn: Yet another big drop but still decent second issue performance from Thanos which is at 78 with sales of of over 35k. This is a title that will benefit from the critical buzz around what Jeff Lemire is doing, much like Moon Knight. Villain books are always going to have an uphill battle and no matter how many movie cameos he has, Thanos has not got a sales pedigree enough to expect much more.  I very much think the team of Lemire and Deodato are driving interest here and the book will survive as long as they have interest in being on it.

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Ray: This feels like another critically acclaimed 12-issue maxiseries that will slow its decline after the first few issues. Not great numbers, but a softer drop than most of the #1s and Lemire brings a fanbase of his own to books like Moon Knight. If it can settle down around the same level, it’ll be fine.

Glenn: Selling over 33.2k is the Gwenpool holiday special at 81. Very good for a $5.99 that sees the ghost of Hitler teaching the Red Skull the true meaning of Nazi Christmas. No seriously.

Another Merc For Money spin off debuting with less than stellar numbers is Slapstick at 82 with just over 33k.  I don’t think any number fudging is going to help this book last longer than the already silently cancelled Foolkiller and Solo. I’m just wondering to myself how much more life a ‘Deadpool presents‘ precursor would have bought these books…probably not much and I really need to stop giving out ideas like that for free…

Ray: This is actually the top-selling of the new Mercs for Money spinoffs by about 10K, and the only one to debut in the top 100. Slapstick actually does have a small fanbase from his New Warriors days, and that helped. That being said, not nearly enough to keep this healthy for more than five issues. This is a digital-first book, so that might help it as well.

Glenn: I wasn’t aware Slapstick was digital first. That will definitely buy it a little but of time but I don’t think it’ll make it a regular staple in the line.

At just under 33k is Occupy Avengers at 83. When Ghost Rider and Slapstick is outselling a new Avenger’s title (even if its not really one, it still has the name) then you know something went wrong.  I don’t think this one will be hanging around much longer either and will likely never be mentioned again.

Ray: We’ve talked a bit about how the promotion here was all over the place, and this book never really had a chance as a result.

Glenn: Ray mentioned some questionable numbers for Invincible Iron Man and we have the same again at 88 for the third issue of Mosiac which ships over 31.6k. I say shops instead of sells here because that’s just not a realistic number considering patterns on other books and the market as a whole. Will giving retailers extra copies make a difference? I really doubt it. It could end up hurting Marvel because retailers might cut their orders if they’re just going to have extra’s for free.  Will retailers take that gamble?  Hard to say but I still don’t expect Mosiac to last long, no matter what the numbers say, the book still needs to make money.

Ray: To put this into perspective, Marvel is claiming that Mosaic has dropped only about 10% from issues #1 to #3. To say that this is unrealistic is putting it lightly. No book has ever performed like this – even the rock-solid Vision had a few heavy drops right away and then settled into a groove in the 20K range. Far more likely is that Marvel put a lot of faith into this property, and they need to save face for a few months.

Glenn: The strategy is clearly that by giving extra copies it’ll mean it makes the book more visible and gets more genuine buys. I don’t think that strategy will hold for Mosiac and no matter what the numbers show, if the book isn’t making money on genuine numbers sold then it won’t be around for long.

Ray: The Doctor Strange/Punisher random team-up mini “Magic Bullets” debuts at #90 with sales of 31K. Given that this is essentially a burnoff mini without a name creative team at $4.99, that’s decent. Both characters are sort of riding a hot streak at the moment.

Glenn: Yeah, both had good years last year on movies and Netflix respectively and both are experiencing popular runs.  It’ll be here one minute gone the next so these are good sales for that type of thing, especially for $4.99.

Ray: Speaking of odd team-ups, the Dynamite crossover Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman debuts with sales of 29K, at 97. Dynamite very rarely charts in the top 100 at all, so this is a big win for them. Crossover fever continues for DC, but there may be some diminishing returns, as we’ll see in a bit.

Glenn:  It’ll probably depend on the crossover and the creators involved. I’m expecting Batman/Shadow by Snyder/Orlando to be pretty big despite the Shadow not exactly being as high profile as say, the turtles.  I think this mini’s sales are a lot more to do with Wonder Woman who could be having her biggest year ever in 2017.

Ray: DC recently announced that they’d be moving their monthly titles to $3.99. I don’t think that’s a good idea at all, because except for a few (Titans, Teen Titans, Trinity) all their monthly titles are their lowest selling. This month, the only books DC has out of the top 100 are Hellblazer, Superwoman, New Superman, Blue Beetle, and two issues of Cyborg (now DC’s lowest-selling title, and going monthly next month). Supergirl and the two Batgirl books aren’t far above them. The last thing any of these books need is a price hike, and I expect a lot of them to suffer in sales and be gone by 12.

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Glenn: Even the ones that are doing better may suffer. It’ll be interesting to see and what the strategy is for books like Supergirl who DC will want to keep a part of the line despite her numbers. Its still doing about 5k (just over 31k at 92) better than the previous run but the $3.99 price hike could eat into that as people possibly switch to trades.  On the Stew you mentioned maybe making the book bi-monthly which I think could work following a big enough push from a larger story line.  Maybe they should have Kara adopt Bubastis for a few issues?

Ray: At #102, we have Seven to Eternity selling 25.7K. This is mostly significant because this Rick Remender Image book has essentially locked down here, losing only a few hundred units from last month. Much like Black Hammer, we’ve got a book that’s clearly clicked with the audience and retailers are very secure in its month-to-month performance.

Glenn: Much like a lot of former big name Marvel people, Remender has built himself a solid fanbase. Retailers will know the demand for the monthlies and not have much risk factor. Remender seems to be on a hot streak with regards to critical acclaim for his indie work so he’s just got that reputation that will buy his books regardless.

Ray: The DC Rebirth Holiday Special sells 23K at #106. Disappointing compared to things like the recent Batman Annual (and in no world does it deserve to sell less than the Gwenpool Holiday Special), but given that this was a $9.99 book, these are decent numbers.

Glenn: Given this had more Paul Dini writing Harley and some really big names involved, I’m surprised it didn’t do more. I’m sad it lost out to Gwenpool too, I didn’t read that holiday annual but I have a hard time imagining it was better than this one.

Ray: AD: After Death loses less than 1/3rd of its sales for its second issue, clocking in at #109 with sales of close to 21.8K. We talked last month about how the unusual roll-out may have blunted initial sales a bit, and that pattern continues here. I still think this book will find a much bigger audience when it’s collected as an OGN like it was originally intended, so these sales can essentially be seen as a bonus.

Glenn: Incredibly solid which we speculated on and yeah…these singles are just icing on the cake.  The collection will be something that sells well for a long time, especially when the rumoured movie adaption comes out. I’ve been enjoying it a hell of a lot but its very different and that can put off a lot of people in terms of a single issue $5.99 comic (no matter how big it is) but book shops and comic retailers will lap up the collection.

Ray: The Batgirl team of Fletcher, Stewart, and Tarr has a strong Image debut with Motor Crush, landing at #110 with sales of 21.8K. This creative team is more of a cult favorite, so a debut of over 20K for an Image book with no A-list name on board is definitely a win for them.

Glenn: Their Batgirl run had a small but dedicated fan base that has probably followed them over to their own properties. Definitely great numbers for a group of creators that didn’t spend as long establishing themselves at a bigger company like most big name Image people did.

Ray:  It’s been a while since DC did Prestige Format comics, which were much more popular in the ’90s. The offbeat Supergirl origin story “Being Super” (by the same writer as Hulk, actually) manages to sell just under 21.5K at #111. Given that it’s $5.99, in an unconventional format, and is out-of-continuity, these are decent numbers, although it seems DC has yet to find the Supergirl book that will break out for them.

Glenn: This seems again to try to find the audience that watches the show but its an expensive book (although it offers a good sized read for the price) and I expect it to do better in collections. Still not too bad at this price considering it doesn’t matter to the overall current narrative of Supergirl.

Ray: Talking about crossovers and potential crossover fatigue, the sequel to Star Trek/Green Lantern for IDW has a disappointing debut, landing at #115 with sales of 20.8K. Not bad for IDW, but this is fairly close to where the last series ended. Retailers essentially treated it like a straight continuation with little boost. Makes me wonder how other crossovers will do in coming months, like GL/Planet of the Apes from BOOM!.

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Glenn: Going back to do more than one crossover across companies is risky.  The novelty is great at first but the more you do it, the less special it seems. IDW also doesn’t have the scope DC has and they’re taking their turn at publishing this one so a drop was to be expected. Still good numbers if you consider it against IDW’s usual offerings but I doubt they’ll go for a Vol. 3.

Ray: Standard numbers for Injustice: Ground Zero, which debuts this month with sales of 17.5K at #134. It loses 4K the same month for its second issue as it tumbled to #158. DC didn’t put much into promoting this bridge miniseries, so if there’s a bounce for this series, it’ll come with the official launch of Injustice 2 later this year.

Glenn: This is a mini focusing just on Harley, right?  DC are putting a lot of chips on Harley at the moment and considering this is a video game tie-in there’s going to be a different scale of what its sales potential is. Considering DC have been managing to crank out a video game adaption for five years and still have a 15k audience is not too shabby. Like you said, the sales will push up with the release of the games sequel tie-in but it’ll probably have a much faster fall than the first game tie-in did.

Ray: The Power Man and Iron Fist: Sweet Christmas Annual (amazing title) lands just about the level of the parent title, selling exactly 55 copies more. That would be great news for an annual…except that the parent series is selling about 17K right now. There’s a new Defenders series coming soon with the two main characters in it, and I expect to see this book end to make way, unfortunately.

The third Divinity miniseries, Stalinverse, debuts at #141 with sales of just under 15K for Valiant, their top-selling book this month. Decent numbers, but I don’t think Valiant promoted this event nearly as much as their past ones like Armor Hunters or Harbinger Wars. As such, it didn’t get the big first issue sales those did, despite the fact that it’ll be releasing tie-ins for a few months. One of those tie-ins is much further down the charts.

Doom Patrol doesn’t ship this month, but the other Young Animal books are still finding their level. Mother Panic‘s second issue lands at #126 with sales of 18K, a rather steep decline. Cave Carson‘s third issue charts at #145 with sales of 15K, and Shade the Changing Girl‘s 3rd issue is about 1K lower at #151. These are all critically acclaimed books, but these sales are looking rather Vertigo-esque quickly. If they level off quickly a la Vision, they’ll be fine, but if not…

Glenn: So yeah, the Young Animal books are needing the stablize soon for sure. They’re still doing better than I think they would have done otherwise and its interesting they’re kind of all grouped together. I still think that when it returns, Doom Patrol will have a sizable lead as its the ‘main’ book but DC will be happy with these numbers as long as they stop dropping right about now.

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Ray:  As we reach the halfway point of the charts, there’s a new Locke and Key one-shot from IDW, “Small World”, which lands at #146 with sales of just over 15K. At this point, retailers probably know who their Locke and Key fans are, so I imagine a surprise sequel like this would get low orders that would be very likely to sell well.

Glenn: Locke & Key seems to have a lot of mainstream appeal so people will buy the HC version to go along with their other Locke & Key collections. Its always interesting to see a property go back after the main story is told and try to tell a different story in the same universe. It usually only works if the main creators return and this is about what the audience was for the brilliant series of mini’s was when they were coming out.

Another new Transformers book from IDW in Optimus Prime at 153 with sales of over 14.3k. I would have expected a little more for a book starring the best known Transformers character there is but these books always have a finite but very loyal audience. I’ve joked in the past how often we see new Transformers books in the chart but clearly people are willing to buy all of them because otherwise, IDW wouldn’t bother.

Ray: Those numbers for Optimus Prime and below it, GI Joe are pretty standard for what IDW does these days. There was a time in the past when their Transformers titles were top sellers, but now they’ve just slipped into this comfortable groove. We’ve talked a bit on Rabbitt Stew (ding!) about how IDW is very steady and seems to work based on selling a lot of books to a loyal audience rather than having a single big hit.

Glenn: Spider-Woman and Thunderbolts are at 155 and 156 selling just over 14.2k and are outsold by Scooby-Doo Team Up which is not the crazy post apocalyptic adaption of the Scooby Gang but a comic with the tone of the cartoon that started over 45 years ago. I don’t think these books will be around much longer and there’s still Marvel books lower than this.

Ray: I’m expecting both of those books to just end at some point, along with Scarlet Witch and a few others. Squadron Supreme just ended this past week with zero fanfare, so that seems to be Marvel’s latest MO. Spider-Woman might get a relaunch at some point, but Thunderbolts has fallen much faster and likely won’t be so lucky.

Glenn: The Thunderbolts franchise really peaked with the Ellis run and has not seen the same amount of fanfare since. Back in the day, Thunderbolts was a very different and interesting premise but I think it might be time to let it rest.

Prowler is one of those aforementioned ‘unlucky’ books at 159 selling just over 13.3k. This is still a Clone Conspiracy tie in so the sales without that are hard to imagine. I’m expecting this to be silently turned into a Clone Conspiracy tie-in mini and never mentioned again.

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Ray: Man, Prowler…I guess it’s clear that Marvel isn’t goosing the sales on this one. A Prowler series was never going to sell well, but given how it spins directly out of the lead-in to Clone Conspiracy, Marvel had to be hoping for a bit more. I agree that this will likely end with Clone Conspiracy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it missing from the April solicits.

Glenn: A new GI Joe book launches from IDW at 162 with sales just under 13k, Go Joe!  I would say that retailers will know what fans they have coming in that will want the blast of nostalgia that this book offers. There’s a lot of books from IDW that are raiding old toy boxes for new books, they’re probably just expecting them to find a small but dedicated nostalgic audience, there won’t be any new generation fans wanting these.

Ray: Much like with IDW, this is pretty standard numbers for their Aliens and Predator books. Dark Horse still has a few decent licensed properties to keep them afloat, like these two plus their Whedonverse books, but their future is probably more in finding more buzz-worthy books like Black Hammer.

Glenn: On that there’s a new Alien vs Predator book from Dark Horse as they take advantage of two of the popular franchises they have left.  This sells over 12.8k at 164 which is probably what the company would expect since these two fighting each other is no longer a novelty. I’m sure Dark Horse will be hoping Alien: Covenant is a hit so they can earn some money from their massive Alien back catalog which this will soon be a part of.

A new book starring the regular villain of Riverdale Reggie and Me debuts at 172 with sales just over 11.7k.  A lot of the initial excitement from the major Archie relaunch a few years ago has died off. The main book still performs very handsomely in retrospect (its at 169 with 12.4 sales at 15 issues) but with debut numbers like these, it doesn’t inspire confidence. Perhaps Archie is banking on new people coming in to buy their various books featuring characters from the upcoming Riverdale TV show but I’m not sure if that will happen.

Ray: We’ve talked a bit about how Archie may be expanding too fast and hurting their long-range prospects. The fact that this spin-off’s first issue debuted below the 15th issue of the main title is a good example of this. Reggie isn’t a character who could consistently carry a series before, and that hasn’t changed. I don’t think the prospects are great for Archie’s “pilot season” books in March, based on this.

Glenn: The pilot season books are a little outside the norm also, very much going against the more ‘realistic’ image that the company was going for when they had the initial relaunch. I don’t think many people will be interested in what the pilot season has to offer and if they aren’t, it might be time for Archie to start to scale back.

Down at 174 is the second issue of the already cancelled Foolkiller with sales of over 11.4k. At least it can be proud its not as bad as some other books below it.

Very decent number for the Klaus & Witch Of Winter one shot at 179 with sales at exactly 10.8k.  Its from BOOM! and is priced at $7.99 so I would consider this a great number. The Klaus mini Morrison completed seemingly had a lot of fans that would like to see more from the characters.

Ray: Klaus was a definite hit for BOOM! when it came out, and I think this bonus story did well for the price tag. It’s going to be included in the eventual Klaus hardcover, which will do very well, so these sales are just a bonus on top of that.

Glenn: The prestige $5.99 mini with the awesome title Deadman: Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love sells just over 10.2k.  Not great but its Deadman and its $5.99. I wonder if it would have done much better if it had been included in the Young Animal line.

Ray: This was originally announced as a six-issue miniseries before it became a double-sized three-issue prestige format mini, so that’s probably driving the sales down a bit just like it did with AD. This book definitely has more of a Vertigo/Young Animal vibe, so I think DC might have misfired a little on how they promoted it.

Glenn: Second issue of Harbinger: Renigade has the typical small but solid Valient hold at 184 with sales just over 10.1k

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The all ages Super Powers from DC second issue drops a fair bit down to 185 with sales just over 10k. It’s primarily seen as a younger readers book so its going to always have a lower sales potential.  Back in the day these were known as ‘Johnny DC‘ but I don’t think that’s a thing anymore.  Given that Scooby Doo is targeted at the same audience and is doing a lot better might indicate this book won’t last long. It’s sometimes hard to judge with books like this.

Ray: Super Powers is a six-issue miniseries, actually, and these numbers are more like what I was expecting from a new Baltazar/Franco miniseries. The first issue numbers were abnormally high, and these books always do most of their business in collections.

Glenn: If Super Powers is only a mini then that makes the numbers a bit easier to swallow. It’ll definitely make a good bit of change in collection form when parents are looking to brainwa…erm, get their kids reading comics.

A new Image book, Rockstars debuts at 186 with sales at just over 10k too. About what you can expect from an Image book with no major creators of note attached.

Ray: Yeah, Joe Harris‘ past books have always struggled a bit in sales. This title debuting in the five-digit range can probably be considered a win here.

Glenn: At 188 is the Nerdblock Inhumans special edition which sells 10k flat. I know Nerdblock is similar to Lootcrate so I guess this comic was produced just for that? The sales don’t probably matter in the larger scheme of things as its part of a group of products paid for by Nerdblock so its likely a ‘demand only’ comic that the main company (in this case Marvel) loses much on. There is a price though so maybe this is a reprint of a Nerdblock thing? I have no clue. I could Google it but its the Inhumans so I don’t really care enough to.

Ray: This is the first I’ve heard of Nerdblock, which is interesting. When LootCrate did an original Harley Quinn one shot, it didn’t chart at all. So consider me puzzled as well on this one.

Glenn: Second Transformers launch this month from IDW in More Than Meets The Eye: Revolution which ties into that big 80’sfest event. It sells just under 10k. Probably more appealing to people who are following that event rather than the usual Transformer fanbase. I doubt the hardcore fans that are buying Optimus Prime and such will be interested in a larger event starring other toy based cartoon adaptions. Pretty standard for this square into a triangle type crossover.

Decent hold for Terry Moore’s Motor Girl selling 8.8k at 195. Much like a lot of small press creators, retailers will know who wants this comic and will likely have very few unsold copies as a result. Very decent number for something that is very, very small press and shows how much of a fanbase Moore has gotten over the years.

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Ray:  We should mention Black Hammer again, which once again seems locked down at the 12K range. It only sheds about 600 copies from last month as it settles in at 170. This is clearly the biggest hit Dark Horse has had in a while, and well deserved.

Glenn: Solid as a rock for Black Hammer which shows what genuine critical praise can do for a title.  I wonder if we’ll see the bleed stop all together or maybe after the first trade, we’ll start to see it creep up a bit?

Ray: Zenoscope’s got a new #1 for their ongoing Grimm Fairy Tales series, selling 8.7K at #197. Apparently there’s still a market for Zenoscope’s brand of edgy, sexy fairy tale retellings, but I think it’ll resume it’s standard place at the bottom of the charts once this #1 boost wears off.

Glenn: It’s rare Zenescope charts anymore but they seem to still manage to catch some interest with their new number one’s cause they’re basically doing this…but with comics

Ray: So, anyone wondering just how low Solo can go before it’s done? Well, this issue the answer is #213 with sales of just over 8.1K! Insert the Arrested Development “I don’t know what I was expecting” image here. Marvel’s attempts to make these characters happen was doomed from minute one, but even I wasn’t expecting this spectacular a failure.

Keeping up on what’s left of Vertigo, their top-selling book this month is Lucifer, selling 7.7K at #218. Several of Vertigo’s other books, like Unfollow and Clean Room (although that has been promised a season two) are ending in April, so the slow folding of the line continues.

Glenn: We were also promised more Prez so…but I do expect Clean Room and Sheriff Of Babylon to return but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t through Vertigo…

Ray: The first spin-off for Divinity III: Komander Bloodshot, charts at 223 with sales of 7.3K. This is right in line with the current arc of Lemire’s Bloodshot run, Bloodshot USA, so these are pretty solid numbers by Valiant standards. Divinity III is definitely not being treated like an event by retailers, though.

Glenn: It’s hard for small press to get people to buy into events when the bigger companies have more bells and whistles attached to theirs. People can only afford to buy in to so many events so there’s naturally going to be more demand for a Marvel or DC event than anything starring the Valiant universe. Still, like you said the small but solid fanbase they have does show a little support.

Ray: Dark Horse’s latest Richard Corben miniseries, Shadows on the Grave, does typical numbers for a niche book like this, charting at #224 with sales of 7.3K. Much like other cult creators, Corben has a loyal audience and retailers likely know exactly who they’re ordering for here.

IDW treats most of their licensed properties like franchises, doing spinoffs as soon as possible. That includes Jem and the Holograms, and this month their villains get the focus. The Misfits debut at #227 with sales of 7.2K, which is acceptable for a cartoon spin-off, and about 700 copies above where the parent book sold last month.

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Glenn: Considering what that book is…that’s not bad at all. I mean who would have thought there would be enough Jem fans to warrant another buy in on a separate book?  This has likely been pushed out by IDW knowing who is going to be wanting it so they’re probably getting what they expect from it

Ray: Both All-Star Batman and Batman/TMNT Adventures chart again this month, with a director’s cut and a reprint respectively selling in the 6K range. The power of Batman!

One of BOOM!/Archaia’s less known publishing ventures has been their stories set in the world of Jim Henson’s creations. They’ve just launched a new anthology focusing on giants, and it sells 6.3K at #235. These books have never done strong numbers in the direct market, but Boom seems to have faith in the line, so I’m guessing they’re geared towards the bookstore market.

Glenn: There seems to be a large bookstore market for comics starring the muppets and such, probably to market towards younger readers. The logic for those books might apply here for younger people and for the dedicated cult following Henson studio films like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal have.

Ray: John Arcudi’s new Dark Horse prison thriller Dead Inside lands at #245 with sales of 5.8K for its first issue. Not good, clearly, but this seems to be the standard level for new Dark Horse originals without any top creators or established fanbases attached.

Glenn: Yeah, Dark Horse don’t have the pull they did to encourage people to try out new books by people they don’t know. At least they’re taking chances with unknown properties, probably hoping that they catch lightning in a bottle somewhere.

Ray: At #246 is Vigilante: Southland, selling 5.8K, which is shockingly poor numbers for a main line DC book. So poor, in fact, that DC apparently canned the series midway through its run. This is its final issue and it’ll only be concluded in collections, apparently. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes issues with this book, including the fact that it was solicited as a regular DC book but is actually a mature readers title. Look, DC screws up too once in a while!

Glenn: Disastrous for Vigilante and shows that although DC has gone to a lot of effort to improve a lot of things, they can fall back on some bad habits. This was likely green lighted to take advantage of the character appearing on Arrow but I doubt fans of the TV show will be watching going ‘I need a comic of this guy in my life!’

Right below poor Vigilante is a new book from Avatar press (who I didn’t know were still going so there you go) in Uber Invasion with sales of 5.7k.  Given this is written by Kieron Gillen I thought there would be a lot more interest. The guy has been a top name at Marvel and has a steady Image following on his books there so you would have thought this would have been good for at least 10k more on his name alone.  Not sure what happened here.

Even the X-Files get a Christmas special with sales just under 5.3k at 256. Given that this is another mega priced special ($7.99 here) and the main X-Files audience are picking up the comic anyway, it was hard to imagine it doing much better.

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Speaking of comics priced at $7.99, the Stephen Universe special from BOOM! charts at 260 with sales just over 5.2k. This is for purely dedicated fans only and I’m sure retailers knew that.

Ray: BOOM!’s cartoon-based books are sort of niche titles, and they all seem to do roughly in the same range. This was another oversized special with a $7.99 price tag – seems to be a lot of those this month – so these low numbers aren’t a surprise.

Glenn: Remember that A Year Of Marvels comic a few months ago that sold dismally? Here’s another one, seemingly showcasing the X-Men based on the title selling also just over 5.2k at 261. A regular Marvel universe comic that features characters people know selling down here is just astonishing. I have to wonder what the point in doing any more of these is.

Ray: The characters here were Kate Bishop and Punisher, both fairly popular. That likely accounts for the slight – very slight – increase from the previous installment, but Marvel should probably not be counting on any further forays in the anthology genre.

Glenn: Lowish sales from a new Valiant title in Harbinger Renegade selling just over 5.1k at 266 seemingly not capturing the attention of Valiants usual fans. I’m not too familiar with their output but perhaps Ray you can tell us what might have put people off this one?

Ray: This is actually a reprint of the first issue of Harbinger: Renegade from last month, which did over 20K then. This has been one of Valiant’s stronger performers all around, as it’s rare to see a Valiant book re-chart the following month like Marvel and DC books do.

Glenn: Shows how much I pay attention.

A new Green Hornet title from Dynamite debuts at at 287 with sales over 4.3k.  Its the Green Hornet and its Dynamite so the sales are never going to really be up to much.

An unusual book from Titan at 291 in Hookjaw, a rare original property (I think) from the company that sells just over 4.2k. There are no names I recognize here and Titan is very much known as an existing property company, not something to publish an IP through. They just don’t have any access to that market that Image and others have well locked down.

Ray: Hookjaw appears to be an environmentalist comic starring a shark. No, really. The shark is the hero and eats polluters. This is now my favorite thing ever and that comic is going up in sales by one!

Glenn: Last at 300 is another holiday special celebrating the New Year in Zombie Tramp New Years Special selling just under 4k. This sells about 150 copies less than the regular Zombie Tramp title at 294 showing that the audience for this book is pretty loyal. I’m sure this company is just thrilled to see their book chart at all.

Ray: Good ol’ Zombie Tramp. Worth noting that this may be the first time in a while that the #300 comic sells under 4K copies. That’s kind of depressing – and also illustrates just how shockingly low books like Unfollow, Backstagers, and Namesake – all worthy titles – have sunk to be below this level.

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Glenn: Next month should be interesting with the continuation of IvX, the launch of Monsters Unleased and we’ll see if Marvel continues their sales games. I’m going to wager ‘most likely’ but we’ll see.Ray: January is going to be a chaotic month to start the year. Marvel’s got two events going at the same time, and it’ll be interesting to see if the hype for Monsters Unleashed pays off. I’m guessing high sales for the primary mini, while the tie-ins go mostly ignored. We’ve also got the likely #1 book of the month, U.S.Avengers, which shipped with 55 covers – and will then likely lose 90% of its sales in the same month. There’s also launches for The Unstoppable Wasp, plus a weird little mini called Deadpool the Duck. There’s also the final act of Civil War II, a one-shot called “The Oath“, which serves as a bridge between CWII and their next big event.

DC is far from taking the month off, though. In addition to four more issues of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, there’s the four Steve Orlando one-shots leading into Justice League of America the following month, all of which have been critically acclaimed. There’ll also be a new Captain Atom mini, a flashback tale featuring the Amazons, the first meeting between Batman ’66 and Wonder Woman ’77, and most significantly, a big-scale Justice League/Power Rangers crossover mini which may do similar numbers to the Batman/TMNT crossover last year.

Image has got a few major debuts coming this month as well. The two most-hyped are probably Donny Cates’ rural mythology epic God Country, which has debuted to some of the best critical reception for an Image book in some time, and Charles Soule’s Curse Words, an offbeat magic-based adventure. There’s also Jason Latour’s hard-boiled crime thriller Loose Ends and Sean Lewis’ The Few from Image, the launch of the new feminist fantasy adventure Ladycastle from BOOM!, a new launch for Red Sonja, and a giant-sized special from Black Hammer!

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

By The Numbers: November 2016

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s looking forward to the greatest holiday tradition of all, Chinese buffet!

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

Full top 300 for November available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers October 2016

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. A few weeks ago, Ray did an interview with Scott Snyder and soon will be starring in a buddy comedy TV show with the writer!  That’s what he told me anyway.

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

Full top 300 for October available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batman: Don’t bring me into this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*may not end up be an ongoing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: September 2016

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Chuck Norris wished he could read as many comics as Ray could.

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

Full top 300 for September available here!

Note: Sorry about the delay folks :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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