Category Archives: By the Numbers

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.

twd_163-cover

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.

marvel-darth-maul-10-675x1024

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!

4dea8139dacaae7de64401cab724afc3

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.

5523911-champions_1-mu_cover

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.

portrait_incredible3

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.

4-1

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.

thefew_02-1

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.

cerebus_in_hell_01

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

Advertisements

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

STL027312.jpg

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.

9vn8i667sbrxguuok-1-600x910

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.

nov160220

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.

portrait_incredible1

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.

deadpool-25-2017

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.

1

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.

odyssey-amazons-231

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

cyborg-8-2017

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.

looseends_01-1

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.

tnbondfelix01covaperkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IDW releases a new Dungeons and Dragons comic subtitled Frost Giants Fury which sells at 262 with sales over 5.3k. Much like I said with WWE fans earlier, I doubt those not already reading comics will make an extra effort to pick up a D and D comic. The role play game has a massive fan base across the world but most of them are too busy experiencing their own adventures and don’t have much interest in stories set in the world that don’t involve themselves.

Ray:  IDW has had the Dungeons and Dragons license for a while, and it seems to be a good fit for them – it’s a pure cult comic with a loyal audience. IDW relies on nostalgia buys, to a large extent, and this may be one of the more limited-appeal books, but it’ll probably stay pretty steady.

Glenn:  Issue 2 of Dark Horse’s Shadows Of The Grave sells over 5.2k at 264. It looks like an odd book with a niche audience so these numbers are probably as much as you could expect.

Another Dark Horse title, the Call Of Duties Zombies comic charts its second issue at just under 5k. Call Of Duty is mega popular and so are zombies but in a genre where Walking Dead is king, everyone else exploring that is going to be fighting for scraps, even with a mega popular game as window dressing.

Its not often that Zenescope charts with a second issue but Grimm Fairy Tales manages at 272 also under 5k. The company doesn’t show up much in the charts so they’re probably happy here. It’ll be interesting how a company with this song playing in the lobby will continue to fare in upcoming issues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZx5zfkG6oU

Ray:  Oh, Rachel Bloom. Will you ever stop making us laugh? Anyway, that’s all that needs to be said about that one…

Glenn:  Another thing Boom seems to want to be known for along with young readers material is female led titles which is where Ladycastle falls. The first of this four issue mini sells at 273 with sales just over 4.9k. Its just a four issue mini so it’ll probably finish up its run in top 300, I don’t recognize the names of the creators involved so that’s not too bad. Much like Valient, I’m sure Boom could have more of their titles higher up the charts because if Ray is to be believed (never!) they’re putting out some great stuff.

ladycastle-1-2-600x923

Ray: Boom struggles across the board, except when it comes to their name franchises, sadly. Especially in the direct market. If books from A-list writers like James Tynion and Steve Orlando could only do similar numbers, this was never going to get outside the bottom fifty, sadly. This is only a four-issue miniseries, so Boom was probably expecting this.

Justice League/Suicide Squad #1 charts again with sales of 4.8K at #276. Small numbers in the big scheme of things, but it shows there’s some real heat behind this event. No reorders for Inhumans vs. X-Men. The second issue does similar numbers eight spots down.

Glenn:  Reorders are always an indication you had something that garnered interest. Given that DC’s next mini crossover the Button is likely to be a rather unstoppable force, they’ll probably get a repeat performance there at least.

Ray:  Hey, you know, we’ve beat up a lot on Solo and Mosaic this month, but at least they’re not Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroez. This misbegotten ersatz DC comic finishes out its run at #280, selling 4.7K. This is a mainstream DC book, so this is shocking – albeit not all that shocking for a comic that had John Constantine and a sentient pile of organs in a…relationship.

Glenn:  This may have just been green lit to keep good relations with Garth Ennis more than anything. I can’t honestly think of any other reason they would have given this a thumbs up.

Ray: With one issue to go, it looks like Revival will finish its run out in the top 300. #46 charts at #281 with sales of 4.6K. Not great, but it’s a long-running series and will likely do great business in trades.

Glenn:  Usually these cult series get a bit of a bump on the final issue so good for them. Its not been one of the series from Image that gets a lot of press but it’ll definitely be a healthy addition to their back catalog.

Ray:  Another Titan adaptation, this time of the BBC’s Sherlock. Adapting the Blind Banker story, it sells 4.6K at #283. Business as usual for Titan, really.

Glenn:  This is also a reprinting of Manga material that probably did very well in Japan so this is just for die hard fans of the show who want the episodes in another format.
Ray:  The new Titan book, Assignment, which appears to be a Hitman comic, sells 4.3K at #292. Titan puts out a lot of books, but few of them seem to be really performing at a high level except a few top franchises.

Glenn:  I’m surprised Assignment didn’t come with the Hitman branding. Its one of the oldest gaming franchises out there and has some recognizably outside of the gaming market. It probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference in sales but its a curious omission.

Ray:  Sadly, it looks like the great Dark Horse book Dept. H will likely be making its exit from the top 300 soon, as it lands at #295 with sales of 4.2K. It deserves so much more.

Glenn:  Matt Kindt’s brand of comics are not everyone’s cup of tea. They may be great but I imagine they’re a hard sell to people just coming in for their weekly superhero fix.

Ray:  This month, it’s Tomb Raider #12 that rounds out the top 300. However, I notice that the bottom three books this month sell under 4K. That’s a really low level, and it’s happened the last two months. Before that, it hadn’t happened since February 2016.

Glenn:  Now that Gail Simone has long gone, I doubt there’s much Tomb Raider demand. Maybe it’ll get a second life when the new movie comes out but that’s still a good way away.

11

The numbers at the bottom aren’t encouraging. It makes it easier for lower selling books to make the chart but it indicates everything is down overall. We’ll have to see if it is a continuing trend but its not a good way for the industry to start 2017.

Ray:  Looking ahead, it’s a pretty exciting month. DC has been business as usual for a few months, but that changes now as their Wave Two titles hit. We’ve got Justice League of America, Super-Sons, Batwoman, and the launch of Warren Ellis‘ new book, The Wild Storm. Detective Comics has a double-sized anniversary issue and should land in the top ten, as well. There’s also Savage Things, the new Vertigo series from Justin Jordan. And one more crossover – when Green Lanterns meet the Planet of the Apes, will sales follow?

Marvel, by contrast, is cooling off a little bit – as much as any company with two events running simultaneously can be. They’ve got three new Daredevil spin-offs, a bunch of new .MU tie-ins, and my pick for the top Marvel book of the month – Star Wars: Darth Maul #1. Still, the main sport with Marvel will be continuing to see how far and how fast these books can crash.

Image will be shaking up the top of the charts, as they land 25-cent issues of Robert Kirkman’s three books. These can essentially be treated as promotional issues and should sell anywhere from 150K to 1M copies, depending on the books. In the middle of all that, we’ve got some new launches, including Greg Rucka’s The Old Guard, horror one-shot The Belfry, the return of sci-fi adventure Planetoid, and the reprint of offbeat indie anthology Sun Bakery.

Glenn:  I expect big things from Justice League next month, the rest are more unpredictable though. Its going to be interesting how these all place and how much those Kirkman Image books are going to mess up things.
See you all then!

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.

doctor-aphra-1-cover

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.

walking-dead-161-outthisweek

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.

5592520-gamora2016001_dc31_lr-0

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.

rocket_raccoon_1_cover

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.

portrait_incredible1

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.

hellblazer5var

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!.

stglv2-1re

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.

stcg_cv3_previews_57d8a413978326-88544721

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.

portrait_incredible2

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

hr_002_cover-a_robertson4

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.

oct161041

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.

misfits01_cvrsub

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.

xfiles_xmas2016_cvr

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.

zombie-tramp-new-years-eve-special-5-600x900

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.

640

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.

avengers-1-post-civil-war-ii-marvel-now-spoilers

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.

ghost_rider_1_cover_marco_checchetto

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.

amazing-spider-man-annual-1-3-600x910

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.

avengers_1-1_maleev_variant

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.

portrait_incredible1
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.
cyborg-4-2016

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.

portrait_incredible2

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.

newts_cv1_r1_57b38e63914d13-93485477

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.

29577

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.

mask01

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.
darksouls_ws_1_cover_a_alan-quah-600x910

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.

the-sheriff-of-babylon-12-cover

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.

donaldquest-01-cvr

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.

boom-big-trouble-in-little-china-escape-from-newyork-01-f-movie-poster

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.

5414289-0bdocstrangecover01variantcolor

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.

all-star-batman-3-3-600x922

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.

the-flash-8-2016

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.

jessica-jones-1-cover

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.

batgirl-4-2016

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.

cyborg-2-2016

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.

kiss01-cov-a-montesdemon-600x900

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.

the-death-of-hawkman-1-cover

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.

5482464-0spgwen2015b013_dc11_lr-0

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.

LOST_BOYS_Cv1

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.

deadman-1_cv

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.

jamesbond-hammerhead-001-c-salas-85b16

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.

sh-ii

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.

5614d34d1610864dc3b963ebe4281b1d_xl

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.

portrait_incredible

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.

codzombies

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.

peepland_1_cover_a

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.

revival_43-1

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 :)

bm-6-tsale-600x906

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.

stl016343-600x910

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.

sg_cv1

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.

ttreb-cv1-197211

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!

ntw_cv5_ds

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.

superwoman-2-c350

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.

raven-1-2016

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!!!!

revolution01_cvra

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.

boom-skybourne-001-a-main-d1ece-0a937

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.

britannia_001_cover-a_nord

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.

frost_cv1_previews_5763389e555d10-93367362

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.

mask-rev01_cvr_a

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.

29946

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.

eccc16-print-trzpota-d0d3e-665x1028

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.

demonic_02-1

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.

396330-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_

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.

edensfall_02-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: August 2016

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He’s still crying following the first US Presidential Collection but he hasn’t gotten any water on his comics.

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

Full top 300 for August available here!

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

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

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

……

…………

dc-rebirth-harley-quinn-1-full-cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

portrait_incredible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

newsupergirlcover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the-walking-dead-157-cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

green_lanterns_005_2016_webrip_the_last_kry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

new02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

375016-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

portrait_incredible1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

universe01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

scooby-apocalypse-4-2-600x923

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ssquadswc_cv11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26733

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30768

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

animosity_01_comicmint-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stl026259-600x923

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

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

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

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

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

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

33087a22aa76ea4af088a763a4f65cec

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

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

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

By The Numbers: July 2016

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

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

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

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Ray has pondered the true meaning of reality since finding V’s mask in his closet a few months ago.

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

Full top 300 for June available here!

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

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

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

jl01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11

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

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

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

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

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

12

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

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

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

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

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

ww3-600x911

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13

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

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

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

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

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

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

hlbreb_cv1_ds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

374986-_sx640_ql80_ttd_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flint_cv1_ds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rickmorty-lpss-1-cook-sdcc-600x922

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

5328345-01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

conan-the-slayer-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

throwaways_01-1

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn: There’s a Street Fighter tie in at 183 with sales sales over 11k. It is what it is, a tie in to a video game no matter how popular is always going to perform around this level or worse.

In what I think should be seen as a little bit of a let down is the first issue of Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen. This is the mini launched on ‘Doctor Who day’ which last year saw the publishing of the Four Doctor’s weekly which performed a lot better than this titles 11k at 184. They did lose writer Paul Cornell from last year but gained the use of the shows second most iconic villains in another multi-doctor adventure. I guess last year it was a novelty but people don’t see it as special if it happens every year.
Ray: Cornell is a pretty big name, so I would think losing him would cause a drop. Still, this is Titan’s highest book on the charts this month by a good 4K, so I imagine they’re still pretty happy with the numbers. The overall level for the company is still pretty low.

Glenn: I’m just thinking that with the Cybermen’s involvement, it might have gathered more interest. The comics don’t really use them or the Daleks very often, likely due to licencing issues so I thought this would have created a bigger number since they were the villains of the much better selling Who/Next Gen crossover a while back.

dw_event_2016_1_cover_a

Perhaps releasing almost a year too early is Boom’s Kong Of Skull Island which sells over 10.8k at 187. The latest movie starring the Empire State climbing gorilla is still a long way off so interest was probably minimal here. At least when the movie lands the trade will be there.

Ray: Yeah, definitely too early for Kong, and the actual series is weird, focusing on a race of Kongs sharing an island with an ancient tribe. Plus, it occurs to me that it’s a missed opportunity to have this title at Boom – Kong shares a cinematic universe with Godzilla now, and IDW would seem to be the natural home as a result. Well, inter-company crossovers are becoming more and more common!

Glenn: Aren’t they doing a Kong vs Godzilla movie if Skull Island does well? Maybe they don’t want to have the latest reboots of both long standing properties to go head to head in the comics world first but it may definitely be something that Boom and IDW get together to do down the road.

Ray: Welp, it’s the end of an era for Vertigo, as the last two titles dip under 10K. Lucifer and Astro City both sell about 9900 copies at 191/192. Grim to say the least. Even grimmer – only two other Vertigo titles, Clean Room and The Sheriff of Babylon, even chart this month, with both selling between 6K and 5.5K. What more can be said?

Glenn: I’m hoping Williamson’s upcoming book fares well for them, his Image stuff does around 8-9k and he has a much higher profile now. Given the weak state of Vertigo’s place in the market it’ll be the hit they desperately need. Things will improve when Fables will return but that will only be likely good for 12-10k long terms. When we see Sheriff and Clean Room go out of the charts we’ll be soon not talking about Vertigo at all instead of just delivering bad news.

Ray: At the bottom of the top 200, we have two new #1s. Mechanism from Top Cow/Image is a futuristic writer/artist book, while Bounty from Dark Horse is a space-faring bounty hunter comedy from the creator of Rat Queens. Both of these sell about 9.2 K and probably were hoping for more, although Mechanism debuted with little hype and Bounty was promoted much more heavily. The Dark Horse effect strikes again.

Glenn: Top Cow is another publishing line Image has that delivers at best, mixed results. Their best known franchise they have is well past its peak popularity so its hard for them to generate any new launch excitement.

Dark Horse books need a top level name to even deliver 20k. Their position is weak at the moment and there seems to be no sign of change on the Horizon. All they can do is keep publishing the books that get them the acclaim they deserve and hope something catches on.

Ray: Just a little lower, with sales of 8.9K at 206, is Black Mask’s latest debut, Kim and Kim. Definitely a bit more muted than their last debut, but this company is slowly but surely establishing a name for themselves as the home for edgy crime stories.

Glenn: Given how small Black Mask is, its amazing what they’ve been able to produce so far. There’s a lot of hype around the upcoming ‘Black’ mini which may be the thing that really gets them a seat at the big table and major attention that the rest of their books can ride off.

kimkim1-cvr3

Ray: Speaking of Josh Williamson’s creator-owned books, both Birthright and Nailbiter are hanging around the 8K level. Not great, and they definitely deserve more, but this is a safe level for a long-running Image book.

Glenn: Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if Williamson’s turn on Flash will probably get new eyes on these books. It wasn’t all the time that Walking Dead was a super sales hit after all, once upon a time it was down at this end of the charts.

Ray: A bunch of other DC books, including Green Arrow: Rebirth, Aquaman #1, and issues of Detective and Action all get about 10K-7K in reorders as well. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every issue from the first month of Rebirth charted again this month. When have we ever seen that?

Glenn: I don’t think we have. The excitement about Rebirth has been something else and shows that a relaunch can still have a very positive effect, as long as you build and market right and don’t do it every year or so.

Ray: Hey, remember Groo? Sergio Aragones’ cult barbarian hero is still around, and he’s good for 7K in sales for Dark Horse at #242. I imagine by now retailers know exactly who wants a Groo book, so these numbers should hold pretty well.

Glenn: I wonder how many retailers are tempted to put a T on the end of Groo’s name and see if it helps :). Its an obscure property so yeah sure, this number is fine and will likely hold steady.

Ray: Dynamite crosses over two of their old-school franchises with Lone Ranger/Green Hornet, to the tune of 6.4K sales. This is definitely not a Batman crossover with these numbers, but Dynamite seems to be determined to make these pulp heroes work.

Glenn: The Pulp Heroes have been around as long or longer than some of the industry’s top superheroes and the test of time is the longest of all. These seems to be a small but dedicated fan base out there but the numbers here are likely inflated by Dynamites usual number of multiple variants.

Ray: Aftershock is attracting some seriously big names to their books, including Mark Waid for the new title Captain Kid. They seem to have trouble getting traction in the market, though, as even one of the biggest names in comics was only able to pull 6.1K for this book at #257. I think this is probably just most people not even knowing the company yet, honestly.

Glenn: This is definitely a sign of how Aftershock is known over who they have because as you said, the names they are getting is really impressive. It may take time but they could be ones to watch. It wouldn’t take much for them to start out performing Dark Horse if they manage to hold the fort and gain an audience.

Ray: Making those Frozen numbers even more impressive, Joe Comics has another #1 this month, a spin-off from Finding Dory, which came out just a month earlier and broke the all-time record for an animated movie in the US. Despite that, it was only able to pull just under 6K in direct market sales, landing at #261. Would have expected more, given the recent hype for the movie. We’ll see how the Pirates of the Caribbean book does in August.

Glenn: That figure doesn’t make any sense. Maybe because this is seen of a ‘kids’ book which always tend to sell lower but what is more of a kids book than Frozen? Finding Dory was massive so you would have thought that retailers would have ordered a little more just on the off chance an adult picked it up on a whim for their kid who they are looking to brainwas…erm encourage to read comics. 10 years ago I would expect big things from a Pirates comic but not so much now but you never know.

Ray: Interestingly, Disney properties are still all over the map, as IDW has the rights to the classic Mickey Mouse and friends characters, with a new title called “Mickey Mouse Shorts Season 1” debuting right under Finding Dory with 5.9K. Very old-school book, so these numbers aren’t surprising.

Glenn: These are for really big Disney fans so its probably to be packaged for sale in the multitude of Disney stores so I doubt the company is concerned, this is just another thing that happens to have Mickey on it.

Ray: I just looked it up and it seems Joe Books was founded by a former Boom Executive, essentially for the purposes of publishing books based on Disney animated properties. Interesting. Some weird things went on there with Boom’s licenses.

Glenn: I just have this image in my mind of him heading out the Boom door with a briefcase stuffed with characters. ‘Hey Mike, do I hear ‘Let It Go’ playing from your briefcase?’

Ray: Newbie publisher Lion Forge gets an entry on the charts with the adaptation of the popular Netflix cartoon Voltron, which pulls 5.3K at #289. The property probably would have done more at another company, but with so many companies trying to get a piece of the pie lately, this has to be considered a win for Lion Forge.

voltron-1-cover

Glenn: Certainty a big deal for such a small company! I’m sure they weren’t the only interested parties so the fact that they got it and got it to chart is probably a big deal to them. Hopefully we’ll see more of them in the months to come.
The rest of the charts is the usual collection of reprints/media tie ins and whatnot with nothing really sticking out. Number 300 is the second issue of IDW’s adaption of little known movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which just sells over 5k. We won’t see it next month of course but the fact that its being ordered at a 4 digit number has to count for something, I doubt IDW expected much more.

Next month sees the Rebirth madness continue with the debuts of Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and more.

It also sees the launch of a new Batman title that is due to be one to smash everyone into paste and run home crying to their moms in despair. This is of course All Star Batman which at the moment is like DC taking its current advantage in a battle and deciding now is the time to unleash their weapon of mass destruction.

Marvel continues to slough through Civil War II with a few mini’s launching. I’ll be interested in particular in how ‘The Fallen‘ performs. A lot of retailers expressed a lot of outrage about Marvel keeping the creative team and content a secret well past ordering cut offs. This leaves retailers who live and die on how many copies they think they can sell to play a guessing game which is a risky move at the best of times.

Not much is springing to mind from the indie side of things but I somethings get mixed up debuting when and where there because I have the attention span of a goldfi…hey look a bear!!!!

all-star_batman_promo

Ray: For DC next month, the real question is which debut comes in second. We know All-Star Batman will come in at #1, maybe with a 100K lead over the second highest book. From there, we’ve got Suicide Squad #1 featuring Jim Lee art on half the book, Supergirl making her return to solo comics with lots of hype and a TV series behind her, and Harley Quinn resuming business as usual, which is always good for strong numbers. Deathstroke and Blue Beetle won’t get the same numbers, but if they can land around the same level of Red Hood or Hellblazer from this month, that should be considered a win for these properties. We should see DC increase their lead overall, because…

Marvel in August is going to be a disaster. Civil War II is on a skip month, leaving them without their only top-selling book at the moment. Their headliners this month are probably The Fallen and The Accused, both of which were solicited without any information, even on creative team. Retailers had to order blind, and that’ll hurt these books. I expect the top-selling Marvel book of the month to be the Dead No More prequel issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which should increase slightly from this month, enough to pass Star Wars. But given that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel shut out of the top 20.

There’s a few notable indie launches of the month. The headliners, undoubtedly, are a pair of Image launches from their biggest names – Kill or Be Killed, from the iconic Brubaker/Philipps pairing, and The Black Monday Murders from Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker. I expect both will land in the top 50 or so. Other Image books, including horror mystery Demonic and fantasy epic Lake of Fire, should have lower-key debuts.

Dark Horse brings its latest Brian Wood comic with Briggs Land, a thriller set on a survivalist compound run by neo-Nazis, which should get them some decent buzz, but probably not enough to put it in the top 100. The most unpredictable debut of the month is from Boom, The Backstagers, a quirky comic focusing on a stage crew dealing with supernatural goings-on and written by Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV. I’m predicting this will break the record for Boom’s highest-debuting original property (IE, not Power Rangers) ever. There seems to be a ton of buzz for it.

Glenn: I did not know Civil War was on a skip month so yeah, having delivered a strong blow, its DC’s opportunity to go in for the kill. The remainder of 2016 may be all theirs.

We’ll just have to see in the months to come and we hope to see you all there with us!

See you soon

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

By The Numbers: May 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He is on the home stretch on an OGN he hopes people will find funny.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. He has the uncanny ability to predict how a movie performs financially, some speculate he may be a wizard.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  The episode where we talk about this very sales charts in a little less detail is available here!

Full top 300 for May available here!

Glenn:  Okay, everyone strapped in?  Good stuff because its time for the big showdown we’ve been talking about for months.

May sales sees the epic face off between the launch of Marvel’s Civil War (kinda) and DC’s Rebirth.  Well the time is here, the betting has closed and the results are in.
DC wins May with Rebirth 1 hitting the number 1 spot with over 235k sales.  I actually don’t see that DC managed to pull out the win here at all.  This one shot had the hype, the creative and the price point designed to get retailers interested.  Rebirth came a bit late out of the gate but doesn’t seem to have effected in.  Given the things that happen in this issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if further printings draw a respectable number also.  Next month we’ll see if DC’s giant line wide relaunch has worked but Rebirth is a very promising start.
3065976-dcureb_cv1_ds
Ray:  I’m wondering if the vagueness surrounding Rebirth managed to dull the sales a bit here. We knew it was going to be big, for sure, but DC’s last big relaunch fizzled, and no one knew just HOW big this was going to be. If they went the Marvel route, and leaked the Wally West or Watchmen stuff early, it could have easily doubled these numbers, I think. But regardless, a win is a win, and you’re right that DC is likely going to see this high up on the charts again next month.
Glenn:  There was a lot of unanswered questions going into Rebirth, this is true.  It’s always a gamble when companies keep things vague but with I think it paid off for DC, we’ll see how much it did when more orders for Rebirth come through next month.
Taking the silver medal in second place with sales of over 177 k with a ‘zero’ issue is Civil War II.  I expected a lot more given the level of hype and the branding/mega success of the first time Marvel did this 10 years ago.  Oh and plus the movie of course.  Now this is a very good number but I’m wondering if retailers are going to treat the first proper issue next month with more attention.  I’m not sure what the logic behind the odd numbering choice was but I think it cost Marvel a bit.  We’ll be able to better decide how strong Civil War is next month when it starts properly along with its many, many tie in mini’s.
Ray:  On a similar note to Rebirth, actually, I wonder if the strange pacing of Civil War II hurt it. For those who haven’t been following, this event started in a Free Comic Book Day issue where an extremely key scene happened. This issue then flashed back to well before that. Then Civil War II #1 still started before the FCBD issue, and caught up midway through with the big event happening off-panel there. What was this zero issue? How essential was it? I don’t know if anyone knew. I’m expecting a surge to over 200K for the first issue of the mini this month, but if it doesn’t get that – or even goes down from the zero issue, we’ll know the bloom is really off the rose with this comic.
Glenn:  My head got hurt reading your breakdown so I would expect that readers actually buying the comic are finding it a little tricky to follow what is going on in CW II also.  Last time, Civil War had a massive, unprecedented sales effect across every book it touched, bumping everything it had any link to up anywhere between 10-20k in sales or more.  It’ll be curious if the sequel has the same blanket effect.
A massive debut for the latest relaunch of the Punisher by Becky Cloonan and Steve Dillon with third place and sales of over 110.7k.  I think this is the biggest Punisher relaunch in recent memory and this is a character that Marvel has relaunched A LOT (even for them).  I think the popularity of Punisher on the Daredevil Netflix show and news of his own show brewing has a big hand here but the creative team shouldn’t be overlooked.  Many people demand female writers getting a chance of prominent male heroes and here we have it, plus Steve Dillon may be the definitive Punisher artist.  For whatever reason, its a great start and we’ll see where it lands.  If it can do around the same level as most of Marvel’s mid performers that would be a great result for the character historically speaking.
Ray:  On the other hand, I really do feel like this Punisher is an unqualified, massive success. All those factors you listed make sense as contributors to the success, but I’m still puzzled by just how well it did. One of only four books to break 100K this month! For a character whose last few titles got cancelled for low sales! I expect a massive fall next month, of course, but even that should get this title to a fairly safe level for a while. If it can bottom out at 25-30K, that’s historically a good level for a mainstream Punisher book. And I still can’t believe it beat that other Marvel #1!
Glenn:  Old reliable, Batman finishes its run on issue 52 with sales over 102k making its entire run of 52 issues in the six digits which is amazing.  This is a fill-in issue with last months issue seeing the departure of Snyder and Capullo but it was a very strong issue and bodes well for the upcoming bi-monthly Batman which will have Tom King at the helm.  I don’t know if the new Batman title will be able to replicate the astonishing success of this run though, I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it anytime soon.
Ray:  Amazing success for Batman. Helping it (besides the confusion over whether Snyder was actually writing this issue) was probably that this issue was written by incoming Detective writer and Snyder collaborator James Tynion IV, so it felt relevant. As for the new title, it’s coming out of the gate with rave reviews, a first issue co-written by Snyder, and a ton of hype, so who knows. I think it could surprise us.
Glenn:  Tynion has co-written or taken on some back ups in Batman during Snyder’s run, written a few annuals and had a big hand in Eternal.  He’s got enough bad pedigree by now that I don’t think we would have seen that much of a difference if the confusion around Snyder’s involvement hadn’t been in place.  It’ll be interesting to see how he manages to get Detective Comics to perform on next months chart.
Next is that comic, Captain America: Steve Rogers which sells over 99k at number 5.  There’s a lot to go over here.  Addressing the elephant in the room so to speak, this is the now infamous ‘Cap is Hydra‘ issue which, since there was no hint of this twist prior will ensure that this issue will see healthy reorders next month.  Looking on it as is, while its another decent launch, to me not being able to crack 100k for the return of Steve Rogers (again) in a year where he has a big movie out is a little telling.  Sales for Captain America have found it hard since the departure of Ed Brubaker a number of years ago.  The latest reveal seems to be ensuring sales success but once the novelty dies off will the gamble be worth it?  Time will tell.
Ray:  There’s obviously two ways to look at this Captain America book. Problem is, neither is very good for the title. Marvel, for a change, kept this twist under their hat, so this was ordered at the level that retailers ordered the long-awaited return of Steve Rogers to the Captain America suit. And that’s under 100K and less than a Punisher relaunch. For the record, Captain America: Reborn under Brubaker beat Blackest Night #1 in its launch month. Now, obviously this book is going to be high on the re-order charts next month because the twist caught everyone by surprise. But is it going to hold those numbers? I doubt it. When the audience’s primary reaction to a twist is “How dare you”, that doesn’t bode well for long-term success.
569e646046152
Glenn:  Number 6 is Star Wars which continues its very, very, very slow drift down in sales, getting over 95k this month.  Not much to report here.
Ray:  Star Wars and Vader are both experiencing standard attrition which has brought them down to earth, but these are still impressive numbers. What I will note, though, is that Star Wars has fallen below the 100K mark in 20 issues coming off the biggest movie of all time – while Batman stayed above that mark for 52 issues straight. This just shows how amazing Batman’s feat is.
Glenn:  Number 7 is the final issue of Geoff Johns Justice League and also an issue 50 which probably combined was enough for them to get a sales boost to over 94k.  While it hasn’t been the trailblazer that Batman has, Johns run on Justice League has been a solid performer for its 50 issue run.  The price point of 5.99 again doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in demand here.  This issue was very much a lead in to Rebirth which wasn’t advertised so now that everyone knows that, expect this one to pull in a decent reorder next month too.
Ray:  Yeah, this JL number is a bit lower than I would have expected, but then this arc didn’t go over all that well as a whole. The Rebirth tie-ins caught everyone by surprise, so I think there’ll be a bit of a scramble for this issue. All the better for DC next month.
Glenn:  Number 8 is everyone’s favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader which pulls in sales of just over 86.6k.  This is actually 10k higher than last month for no apparent reason than I can think of.  Now that we know the book has an expiry date it seems it will finish off at a very healthy number indeed.
With an incredible hold of the sales success it had last month, Black Panther sells just over 77.5k which is enough to keep it in the top ten for now with the number 9 spot.  Of course a near 200k drop is a massive one but there are a lot of other Marvel books that fared a lot worse in their second issue.  Over 70k is still a brilliant number for a Black Panther comic and this one still has a lot of room left to fall.
Ray:  That’s a hefty drop for Black Panther, but still a strong number. For a comparison, Dr. Strange – another character who hadn’t had an ongoing title in years and now has one with an a-list creative team leading up to a movie – debuted at roughly 150K and sold 65K with its second issue, so Black Panther is improving on that path. If it holds at that level of slow attrition (although the delays are worrisome), it’s going to firmly ensconce itself as one of Marvel’s top tier for this run.
Glenn:  Finally, Marvel’s other dependable performer, Amazing Spider-Man manages to make the top ten at 10 with sales just under 75k.  If Black Panther follows the set pattern, Amazing will reclaim its spot as the highest selling superhero book Marvel has (not counting relaunches or such).  Some joke that Marvel will have the take the title out of writer Dan Slott’s cold dead hands but considering he is helming one of their top performers, I wouldn’t see they’re in a rush to make him leave,

Ray:  Not much to add on ASM, which is just as reliable as Batman (and will likely resume its place as Marvel’s top ongoing superhero book next month), but I’ll add that when Dead No More kicks off, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it surge and find a place in the top five regularly.

 

And at #11, in what is sure to be a sign of the Apocalypse…it’s Scooby Apocalypse! On the surface, this isn’t too shocking, given the hype, variant covers, and Jim Lee’s involvement. But given the overwhelming way this comic was mocked, I can’t see it holding these numbers. I’m thinking this is a first month bump situation that will completely evaporate.

Glenn:  Having Jim Lee involved in any capacity is going to get your book sold, no matter what.  The Hanna Barbara relaunces are a curious move for DC and its difficult to say what they want out of them.  Given how Scooby books traditionally do (Scooby team up is at 208 with sales of 8.4k and Where Are You is at 297 with sales just over 5k) this is a big win for DC.  Will be happy with sales at half of the near 70k they managed here or possibly less?  Time will tell.
scooby-doo-apocalypse-25231-1

Star Wars: Poe Dameron had a very stiff drop to #12 this month with sales of just over 68K. That puts it well below the top two Star Wars titles after only two months, and has to be a serious disappointment to Marvel, who was hoping to capitalize on the character’s massive fanbase from the movie.

Glenn: Given that Poe is the least prominent (so far) of the new protagonists introduced in Force Awakens, that might attribute to the drop.  I don’t think the BB-8 back up was really included in solits and if it had been, how that might have effected sales.  Its selling at a decent level compared to the majority of Marvel’s ongoings but will need to find its level fast.

Ray:  Batman/TMNT finishes strong at #14 with sales of around 65K. This is the most successful inter-company crossover in years by a mile, and you know DC will be talking with other companies to find out how to replicate this goldmine. Superman/Transformers? Robins/Power Rangers? Let’s find out!

Glenn:  The collection will do good business no doubt also.  This is a big win for both DC and IDW so yeah, I’m fully expecting to see more crossovers.  It likely won’t do nearly as well but it’ll be interesting to see how the Gotham Academy/Lumberjanes crossover does next month since their audiences are a lot more specific than the large fanbases that both Batman and the Turtles have.

Ray:  Oh, hey, there’s Deadpool! Followed by Deadpool! Followed by Deadpool! And on his heels, Deadpool! Four Deadpool books in a row, starting with Spider-Man/Deadpool, followed by two issues of the main book (currently Marvel’s #2 ongoing with settled numbers), and then Deadpool: Last Days of Magic, which is incredible numbers for a random tie-in with Dr. Strange. The Merc with a Mouth is  a gold mine right now!

Glenn:  Having four books in the charts by all 3 different creative teams and stories shows just how solid Deadpool is right now.  I would say expect more Deadpool everything but we’re already getting that so…expect even more I guess!

Ray:  Superman #52, which featured the death of the New 52 Superman, got a rather significant boost to the top 20 with sales over 54K. I will say, though, that the other three chapters of this crossover are between 15K and 16K lower, which makes me think this was a speculator boost more than anything. They certainly didn’t expect people to be going all in on the crossover.

Glenn:  Its not quite the mass media event the last death of Superman (spoilers) was, is it?  DC is looking at this one setting the table for Rebirth and that’s it.  The sales boost will be nice but I’m sure that most of the numbers on the last issues of the New 52 books are being treated as inconsequential.
0399aeec28952b55b030c79cb486f3fc_xl

Ray:  The core three X-books are all in a loose crossover event right now, Apocalypse War, and they are all clustered together with sales of around 50K. What’s interesting to me is that All-New X-Men, the satellite book focusing on the kid X-Men, is doing the highest, and flagship title Extraordinary X-Men is doing the least.

Glenn:  Given how big a push Extraordinary got, that is really surprising.  This is probably dictated more by books that people are enjoying rather than the ones Marvel is treating as most and least important.  They’re all grouped pretty close together, like you say so it seems there’s a pretty dedicated audience for this crossover.  10 years ago or so, an X-Men crossover would have pulled a six digit sales number without breaking a sweat but times very much have changed.  Nowadays, 50-60k or so is pretty much where X-Men crossovers usually live.

Ray:  With #4, Spider-Man seems to have found its level at around 49K. Its #28 finish puts the book in decent company for now, just below Iron Man and Dr. Strange. Will it hold these numbers in six months? We’ll see, but the upcoming Civil War tie-in will likely help with that.

Glenn:  Marvel are giving Miles a lot of high profile spots, they want him to work so they’ll probably be committed to the long term.  I still predict Miles to ultimately meet the fate as other young people with Spider powers like Mattie Franklin.

Ray:  Future Quest, by the exceptional creative team of Parker/Shaner and with consultation from the late Darwyn Cooke, debuts at #29 with sales of 48K. On one hand, that’s good numbers for a Johnny Quest book guest-starring a host of forgotten cartoon characters. On the other, this brilliant old-school adventure sold 20K less than Cyborg Scooby vs. Zombies and I want to cry.

Glenn:  *hugs Ray* Considering how obscure most of the characters in Future’s Quest are, that’s a great number.  This book is purely for the Hanna Barbera nostalgia crowd whereas the other launch books seem to be going for a new audience using very different takes.  We’ll see how Future’s Quest performs in future issues but looking at how this line performs usually, that’s a great number, especially for a mini series which is going to be done before we know it.

Ray:  Marvel has another debut this month in Thunderbolts, which teams Winter Soldier with the original Thunderbolts in a story spinning right out of Standoff. Reviews were not good, and retailers seem to have adjusted accordingly, as it only sells 45K at #32. That’s not impressive at all, and this title will likely struggle quickly. It’s still a good deal better than one of the other new Marvel #1s this month, though.

Glenn:  The last time Thunderbolts performed well was when Warren Ellis reshaped the book to star a cast of prominent villains.  Going back to a version of the original cast will be a hard task and even adding Bucky, who hasn’t been the biggest sales draw for a while either isn’t seemingly going to help things.  Its an okay launch but given how books are selling that launched at double or triple this number, it may not be a long road ahead for Thunderbolts.

Ray: A new Daredevil/Punisher miniseries sells 42K at #37, almost the exact level of Daredevil this month. This is interesting, because I think it was intended to be the direct tie-in to the Netflix series. However, retailers just treated it like a Daredevil miniseries, while the main Punisher series exploded.

572394663d4c9

Glenn:  Maybe we’re not giving the creative team enough credit on Punisher then?  However, mini’s unless they’re a major event never do well as main books.  This will do nicely as a collection most likely for people yet to discover the Netflix show.

Ray:  Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers seems to have found a healthy level at around 38K, far and away the top title for Boom. I wonder how the company’s crossover with Gotham Academy and Lumberjanes will do, given their new momentum in the market.

Glenn:  Great minds think alike!  A great performance for Boom, its nice for them to have a solid performer since they seem to be delivering some of the best books in the market right now.

Ray: Gwenpool tumbles hard from its top ten debut last month, landing at #45 with sales of about 38. I think this is an expression of discretion at work in the market. This is a novelty character and won’t last. On the other hand, Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight has a rather healthy fall to 35K and may have legs for the duration of Lemire’s run.

Glenn: Given that Spider-Gwen manages to pull in sales of just under 50k at 25, Gwenpool will need to stop shedding sales quickly to be considered worth publishing long term.  We know that WolverGwen is coming in the next few months but hopefully the drop on Gwenpool will tell Marvel not to press their luck too much.

Ray:  #49 this month goes to Deadpool: Masacre. For the record, this is the English translation of an all-Spanish Deadpool comic that was released a few months ago. Yep. The power of Deadpool.

Glenn:  Next up:  Deadpool colouring book!  Wait…that’s seriously a thing?
Ray:  The other Marvel debut of the month is Nighthawk, landing at #50 with sales of just over 34K. That’s about 3K above the sales of Hyperion when it debuted (and for the record, it sold just over 13K with issue #3 this month), and that’s the numbers of a series that isn’t likely to make it past #8. Trying to make Squadron Supreme into a franchise right out of the gate is probably the most misguided attempt at spin-offs since DC and the Red Circle books.
Glenn:  Yeah..Marvel maybe needs to stop making Squadron Supreme happen, its not going to happen.  I wonder if this book will end up with better or worse than fellow Batmanlike Midnighter which ended at 197 with sales just over 9.3k.  A couple of months ago, Nighthawk writer David Walker got a respectful launch out of Cyborg but his books at Marvel seem to have landed quite harshly.  Power Man and Iron Fist is now selling just over 26k at 71 (which is you know, okay I guess) so hopefully his recent stints on Marvel books hasn’t hurt the initial sales power he seemed to be able to manage to draw for Cyborg over at DC.
1
Ray:  Those Power Man and Iron Fist numbers may not be great, but they’re probably sustainable for a decent-length run. I think Marvel’s probably going to invest in Walker and move him up to a higher-tier title (Black Panther after Coates leaves?), but this book was never going to sell no matter who wrote it.
Glenn:  Green Lantern and Flash finish their new 52 runs very close together at sales just under 33k.  Flash has been performing at this level throughout most of the new 52 run while Green Lantern has fallen quite a bit since the heyday of Geoff Johns.  Either way, DC again probably isn’t that concerned.  Rebirth will fix everything forever and ever (they hope).
Ray:  Both GL and Flash lost a lot of their momentum after the original creative teams left (with GL taking the harsher fall, of course), so these numbers are disappointing but not terrible. Buzz indicates that Flash will be getting a huge boost with Rebirth, while GL should jump up but seems more like business as usual. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out next month.
Glenn:  Black Widow seems to have found its level at around 30k, good enough for a Black Widow comic but given the creative team I would say Marvel would have wanted it to lank 5-10k higher at least.  Still, that’s a respectful enough number.
Continuing to be the scrappy underdogs, Valient pulls in a decent number with their latest major tie-in, 4001AD with sales just over 27k at 66.  Not quite the hit that their previous crossover ‘Book Of Death‘ was but then that tie in didn’t have to compete with Civil War II or Rebirth.  For a smaller publisher, Valiant continues to hang in there and out sells a lot of more prominent DC and Marvel titles.
Ray:  Valiant is slowly but surely carving out a little place for itself on the charts, despite only releasing 8-10 books a month. These are decent numbers, especially as Book of Death was a main-line crossover while this one is set in the future and spins out of the lower-selling Valiant book Rai. Valiant growing their line slowly is a good move that’s helping them.
Glenn:  Karnak returns to the sales charts with issue 4 landing at 76 with sales of just over 23.7k.  Its hard to judge how the delays may have hurt the book but its still a good number for a second string Inhuman character.  The book will survive as long as Warren Ellis shows interest in it.
Ray: Yeah, Ellis’ name is probably good for a decent 10K sales boost on any title. I think Karnak will probably keep going at acceptable numbers for a short time, but I can’t see Ellis staying on this book past 12 because he’s so busy, and the title will likely go with him.
Glenn:  True Believers: Star Wars classic was a promotional book priced at $1 that reprinted the first issue of Marvel’s previous Star Wars comic. It sold over 21k which isn’t bad for material that’s over 30 years old.  The power of Star Wars!
Ray: You slap Star Wars on the title right now, it’s going to sell. Coming soon – Star Wars Meets Squadron Supreme?
Glenn:  Tom King’s Vision manages to hang in there at 96 with sales of over 19k.  Its a small but dedicated audience for the book.  Watch the collection to keep the Marvel piggy bank going for years when his name blows up over at DC.
Ray:  Vision is a good example of what happens when a niche book really gets people talking. Any other title selling 19K would likely be reaching cancellation numbers in a few months, but Vision seems to have leveled out and will probably stay close to this level until its planned ending at issue #12, where it’ll go down as an all-time classic.
Glenn:  The 100th top selling book was All New Inhumans sold just over 18.8k.  Nearly 2k under 20k which is very troubling.  More on this at the end of the chart but keep that in mind.
Ray: Worth noting that the flagship Inhumans book, Uncanny Inhumans, only sold 7K higher at #73. It seems pretty clear that Marvel’s second attempt at turning Inhumans into a major franchise is a no-go as well. The new X-Men they’re not.
stl004365
Glenn:  Its hard to force something into the limelight after it having decades as at best, a fringe section of the Marvel universe.  It worked with Guardians because of the movie but with Inhumans the best it has at the moment is a lot of talk on the SHIELD TV show.
TV show tie-in, Adventures Of Supergirl launches at 16k at 121.  Media tie ins are always going to struggle but this seems a little low even for that.  Perhaps if the book had just been called Supergirl it would have done better?  Given the show is a decent hit and the prominence of the writer of Sterling Gates in the past you would have thought this might have managed to crack 20k.  This is just a reprint of digital first content so the economies are different here in any case.  Look for this one to be quickly forgotten sales wise when the proper Supergirl returns as part of Rebirth.
Ray:  Those are surprisingly low numbers, landing even below two issues of fellow digital-first comic Bombshells. While I do think there’s a real hunger for a Supergirl comic and the Rebirth title will be a hit, the rollout on this book was weird. DC first said there wouldn’t be a print compilation until the trade, but fan response made them back down. It was then retro-solicited close to the release date, which means some retailers may have missed the boat. I think it’s probably doing well in the digital format, which was the only way to read it at first.
Ray:  The swap and change with the orders may have had an impact definitely.  We’ll see how it does next month then.

Haunted Mansion is holding up well, selling about 17K at #115. This is the first Disney ride spin-off that’s shown any sort of sales traction, and I put most of that down to the writer. Of course, he’s headed off to DC and the next ride tie-in is…Enchanted Tiki Room. I don’t see that pattern continuing.

Glenn:  Haunted Mansion benefits both from having a writer with serious horror cred and being the best known ride they’ve turned into a comic so far.  I would say that with the choice of the next ride, I would speculate that Marvel has little choice in what they get to adapt.  Again, these things will make their money in the gift shop.  Next up: Its a small world by Ennis and Dillon!

Ray:  I won’t lie, I would read the hell out of that It’s a Small World comic. Get on it, Marvel!
Glenn:  It could be educational!  We could learn about small creepy puppets, all over the world.  Which is a small, small world (or so I hear)

Ray:  Black Panther adds another 15K in sales this month, charting at #133 with its reprint. Impressive, but it certainly wasn’t under-ordered.

The two Archie horror books returned this month, and both found a decent sales level, with Afterlife With Archie selling about 19K and making the top 100, and Sabrina selling about 15K. The main Archie reboot was sandwiched in between them at around 16K, so the line seems to have found its level – although Jughead is down at #202 with sales of around 9K, so that may be the line’s weak point.

Glenn:  The Archie books are now performing largely over 10k where they were prior to the relaunch, so that’s good news for the company of the same name.  With Betty & Veronica and Josie and the Pussycats launching in a few months, the publisher seems confident about their place in the market.  With the Sabrina creative team moving over to Jughead, I wonder if it’ll have any impact on its sales since there is a slightly larger audience for her book?

Ray:  I’m shocked to see Cyborg only selling 12K, clustered in the 150s with books like Martian Manhunter, Gotham Academy, and Secret Six – all good books, but certainly niche books. What is DC thinking relaunching this as a biweekly book in Rebirth? The JLA’s resident tech hero hasn’t proven he can carry a monthly yet, let alone two issues a month.

Glenn:  Cyborg had a fantastic, critically acclaimed launch and seemed to have crashed and burned shortly thereafter.  Perhaps DC is hoping with a writer who won’t leave for Marvel and the Rebirth Branding that the book can survive at a higher level?  Its a gamble for sure, one of the few they’re making in their initial Rebirth roll out.  Cyborg probably also has a spot due to his upcoming prominence in the DCCU and the fact that they’ve been trying to make him an a-lister since Flashpoint.  You can’t say that DC sure doesn’t try to make a thing work.
cyb_cv11-copy_56b537b9bd8267-06112469

Ray:  Hyperion, Moon Girl, Drax, and Patsy Walker: Hellcat are all down to the 13K-11K range, so I would say watch those books for the next wave of cancellations. They’re the lowest-selling Marvel books that are still continuing.

Note:  Hyperion was missing from the latest Marvel solicitations.  Salute it as it sails into the sunset.
Glenn:  The bloom may be off the rose with Guardian tie-ins with the highest selling being Rocket and Groot at 89 with sales just over 21k.  A long way away from the top 15 staple Rocket’s solo book was prior to Secret War.  It’ll be interesting to see if Marvel ever bothers with the Gamora mini with how the other solo books are doing.
Ray:  Those are depressing numbers for Rocket and Groot, but with Skottie Young leaving the series and being replaced by a less-known creator, it’s sort of inevitable. I expect the line to shrink a lot soon, much the way GL did from its heyday.
Glenn:  The rest of the books there isn’t much more to say about.  These books in this market are all going to have uphill climbs.  Civil War II and the subsequent relaunch will buy them some time but with the ever depleting diminishing returns Marvel is getting on their relaunches, those that are relaunched again probably won’t fare much better.

Ray:  Gene Ha’s fantasy comic from Dark Horse, Mae, has a decent debut this month of around 11K. Ha is still a pretty popular artist, but it’s worth noting that this is Dark Horse’s third-highest selling book of the month, only behind their two bread-and-butter franchises, Hellboy and Buffy.

27658

Glenn:  Its time for our monthly Dark Horse concern whose highest selling book was Hellboy In Hell at 132 with sales over 15.6k.  They’re probably calling Chuck Palahniuck about Fight Club III right now.

 Ray:  The second issue of Adventures of Supergirl sinks to 11K, a harsh fall for the same month, but like I said above, this was a weird rollout and the book is probably making most of its money in digital.

In one of the oddest books of the month, we had Brian Azzarello launching a fantasy-horror comic as a beer tie-in with 3 Floyds: Alpha Kings from Image. That did just over 10K at #191, not an impressive debut for a big name like Azzarello. But then…beer tie-in. I doubt direct market sales were the concern here.

Glenn:  A beer tie-in?  How strange, I guess even with the current market there is still room for some bizarre books to get a spot.

Ray:  As we exit the top 200, it’s worth noting that there’s exactly one Vertigo title still selling over 10K, and that’s Lucifer with 10.7K. It’ll likely fall just under that mark next month just like Astro City did this month.

Glenn:  Having a TV show which to be fair, is only a very, very, very (half an hour later), very loose adaption isn’t helping Lucifer much it seems.  Its association with Sandman is probably helping it be the most successful of the currently struggling Vertigo line.  Lets hoping some of those new books coming from some of their exclusive talent will far better but its hard to imagine they will.
Ray:  And with its second issue, Bloodlines drops to under 9K at #204. Shocking numbers for a main-line DC title. Very good chance this is out of the top 300 by the end of its run. Womp womp.

Glenn:  I’m not even sure what Bloodlines is, so there you go.

screen-shot-2016-05-03-at-2-17-35-pm

 On the strength of the success of their Back To The Future comic from late last year, IDW launches the first issue of a new comic called Back To The Future: Citizen Brown which manages sales just over 15.4k at 136.  Decent enough for a media tie in that is now based on a property over 30 years old.  The success of the comic last year was to do a lot with the media at large’s reaction to Back To The Future day but it seems that there is still some interest in this old property even if I don’t expect it to last.
Ray:  Back to the Future is one of those classic movies that seems to maintain a presence in the market even though it hasn’t put out a new movie in decades. See also, Bill and Ted which does decent numbers for Boom.
Glenn:  Titan releases its 50 thousandth TV tie in book in the form of Penny Dreadful, the exceptional Showtime show featuring many characters of popular fiction.  It launches just over 11k.  I think the show is pretty popular but I don’t see most of the fans being interested in a comic tie in.  This one will be for the die hard fans only.
Ray:  TV tie-ins seem to be all over the place these days, and very few of them seem to be catching on. Things like Blacklist, which operate on a case-a-week format, might translate well to the format. I can’t see either Vikings or Penny Dreadful following. These are clearly only for completists – which isn’t the worst strategy, when your core audience is over one million people.
Glenn:  Omega Men finishes its run at over 8k.  It received a lot of critical attention and with Tom King’s rise to the (arguably) top book at DC, the trade sales will probably pay DC for ever publishing this in the first place.
 Boom releases a new book called ‘Weavers‘ which launches at 213 with sales just over 8k.  I’m not too familiar with the creative team so this is probably the best you can expect from a indie book with no big names attached.  For the record, the book seems to be about organized crime and sounds quite good.
Ray:  Weavers is a Simon Spurrier title dealing with gangsters with magic spiders inside them that give them superpowers. It’s mostly memorable to me because it was initially mistaken for a new Spider-man comic when the art first leaked. These numbers are about what I would expect, a big higher for a Boom #1 with no big names. Maybe a Spider-man boost?
Glenn:  You mentioned  Bloodshots earlier but Marvel mainline book Red Wolf isn’t doing much better.  The ‘how did this ever get greenlit?’ Marvel title sells over 7.7k at 217 and gets outsold by the likes of Xena, Scooby Doo and…Jem and The Holograms.
Ray:  Red Wolf is going to be a footnote for Marvel, for sure. Shockingly, even lower you find Starbrand and Nightmask at #289, selling just over 5K. That would have been out of the top 300 next month, but this is the final issue.
Glenn:  IDW releases a comic adaption of the near 20 year old little known movie which is based on the book ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas‘ which sells over 7.5k priced at 4.99.  It seems to be a bigger than average comic for the price but I just wondered who they thought would really want this.  Its at 223
 fear-and-loathing-l-v
Ray:  ...The Hunter S. Thompson book as a comic? Okay. While the top of the chart is fun to discuss in terms of the big trends, the bottom has its appeal too, because that’s where you find these really bizarre comics that you’ve never heard of before.
Glenn:  Another TV show tie-in from
A) Matchett Magazines
B) Ray’s readings
C) Titan
The choice is yours when it comes to Vikings at 245 with sales over 6.7k.  Same deal with Penny Dreadful as I would say that many fans of the show aren’t looking for more stories elsewhere beyond what they see on screen.
The rest of the charts is filled with the usual cast of low selling media tie-ins, small press non big name new properties with IDW sneaking in at 300 with one last new book in Brutal Nature which sells just under 5k.  Once you reach 250 or below that, some of the numbers start to get a little depressing.

Ray:  Never heard of Brutal Nature. IDW has increased their number of creator-owned books in recent months, but with zero promotion or name recognition on most of them, they have even more trouble getting momentum in the field than Dark Horse or Boom.

 brutal01

Looking ahead to June, the big event is finally here on more than one level! It’s Rebirth month for DC, as all the A-listers launch their new titles. Superman, Batman, Action Comics, Detective Comics, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lanterns, and Titans all land, most of them shipping two issues. We’ll get a quick look at how much Rebirth is moving the needle on DC’s top franchises. In addition, the third Hanna-Barberra book, Wacky Raceland, is debuting with far less in the way of hype than the first two, so I’m not expecting strong numbers there.

For Marvel, it’s all Civil War II, all the time. The main mini launches its first two issues (not counting this month’s #0 or the FCBD issue), and we’ll see if its numbers start looking up. In addition, there’s a lot of tie-ins, and new miniseries for X-Men, Spider-Man, Hercules, and an anthology book.

It’s a fairly small month for creator-owned books, but there’s a few notables. Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy returns with a second volume after a massive delay, and Howard Chaykin launches a new original property with Midnight of the Soul for Image. And over at IDW, Joe Hill launches a new anthology series with Tales from the Darkside, potentially bringing that Locke and Key fanbase with him.

Glenn:Lots of things to look to in June in terms of sales.  We’re going to see a lot of high profile launches hit the charts.

It may be just in time.  We talk a lot about book trends but the overall market as a whole is on an unsettling downward slope.  Books in the top 100 are now selling below 20k which is unsettling and overall sales are down across the board.  Companies like Dark Horse and lines like Vertigo are gradually fading away and its becoming harder for new blood to make an impact in the industry.
What’s caused it?  Well, there’s a global recession you may have heard about which effects every industry but especially something as finite as comics.  There’s also raising prices for less content.
In some ways, the world is more driven towards comic than ever.  This year alone will see no less than five major movies based on comics before 2016 ends and right now there are dozens, dozens of popular TV shows based on comics.
The actual print monthly market is slowly sliding though.  It also doesn’t help that Marvel has had a near monopoly for near 10 years.  They’ve been squeezing the fanbase they have hard and in many ways, have set up a market where only the dedicated remain.
Not to say this is Marvel’s fault, if any other company were in the same position they may be doing the same.
Now, next month DC will certainty regain some strength with Rebirth which coupled along with Civil War II might actually nead to a (dare we dream?) top 20 or so that has 70k sales over more.
Will it last?  Time will tell as DC are clearly trying to get back some people that have left the industry while getting new readers in.
If it doesn’t work long term expect prices to continue going up and numbers continuing to fall…

Ray:  I definitely think we’re going to see a boost at the top of the charts for a while now, with the combination of Rebirth and all-new #1s for DC, and Civil War II presumably lifting all boats for Marvel. Will it last? DC, it may just if fans take to this new direction. Marvel…I’m sure it’ll fade off just in time for the next relaunch and temporary boost.

The bigger problem, though, is the overall charts and the many companies that can’t seem to get any traction. I wonder if this is just a product of the companies putting out more than ever before. We’ve got companies like Boom, IDW, and Dark Horse putting out 30-40 books a month, Image putting out 50, DC putting out 70, and Marvel putting out 80-100 on any given month. With this much product, there’s a cannibalization effect.

It might just be that the market as a whole doesn’t work for this level of product. Imagine if we still only had the standard network TV setup that TV started with, and there was the level of content that existed today. Countless great shows would get ignored because there was no space for them, or they had to compete with another fan favorite. That’s what’s going on with people forced to choose between taking a chance on a new creator-owned book like Art Ops, House of Penance, or Joyride, or their latest fix of Spider-Man or Batman.

It’s a rough dynamic right now, and I’m not really sure how to fix it, but I’m hoping there’s an innovator out there who will hit on a genius idea like streaming TV.

Glenn:  We’ll see what the long term holds for sure but for now, we all wait for the Rebirth next month, come join us.  We’ll have cake.
Enjoyed what you read?  Have any thoughts to add or suggestions?  Let us know and find us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield

By the Numbers: April 2016

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He is currently published with Outre Press,Nemeses Studios and Alterna! He just read DC Rebirth an hour ago and is still trying to form coherent words in his mind.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for Grayhaven Comics and is working on his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. When he told me that Rebirth’s implications were crazier than crazy, I laughed at him, laughed I say!  He’s currently visiting me every Thursday in Arkham Asylum cause Wednesdays are for comics.

We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen!  The episode where we talk about this very sales charts in a little less detail is available here!

Full top 300 for April available here!

Sales
Glenn: Greetings sales trackers!  Remember when Christmas was only like yesterday?  Well we’re already on April sales charts!  Marvel new releases have slowed down and Rebirth is still not here but is on the Horizon but it seems that April still had more than a few talking points and surprises.
Lets start off with the title that grabbed the top spot and this is one we were told was a big success by its publisher a few months ago.  Never one to hold back on a chance to tout their success, Marvel stated they received a massive number for Black Panther which is indeed the case as it lands at number one with sales over 253k.  This means that Black Panther was the second highest selling ANAD Marvel relaunch, just selling a shade less than Invincible Iron Man.
black-panther-cover-0d822
This is a fantastic number for Black Panther who historically has never been a good seller.  The last regular Black Panther book would sell around 25k on a very, very good day but usually was in the 10-15k range and that was when the market was in a much healthier state than it is now.
The issue got a bunch of promotion, has Black Panther receive more exposure due to Secret War, a mainstream best selling author, answering a call for more diversity and oh yeah, a big part in that little known film, Civil War.  Really you couldn’t ask for better press and the results speak for themselves.  Will it stay around this level?  Likely not but myself and Ray estimate a fall to around 40-50k which is where most of the higher selling ANAD Marvel Now books (outside of Amazing and Deadpool) are.  This would be brilliant for a Black Panther title and would insure it a long and healthy print run.  Great to see!
Ray:  Black Panther is indeed an unprecedented sales success, although the projections came in quite a bit under original estimates. 300K would have been a world-breaker. This, though, still amazing that it beat Amazing Spider-Man’s relaunch and came within a hair of the first Bendis Iron Man issue. You mentioned a lot of the factors that led to its success, but this is what it looks like when you have a perfect storm of promotion and interest in a character, combined with a creative team with genuine mainstream appeal. I think it’ll fall hard, like every book has, of course, but I think it’ll end in the same range you do – which would put it in the top ten regular selling Marvel books. Amazing for a hero who hadn’t had a solo title for the last decade almost, but the same could be said for Dr. Strange. This is how you actually capitalize on movie attention – a fresh start with stories worth telling.
Glenn:  Next up is the first issue of another title from the most consistently powerful entity in the charts, Star Wars.  This month alone the Star Wars line has more titles in the top ten than anyone else.  After a year of their launch there is no stopping them and they land another best seller in the first issue of Poe Dameron at 2 with sales a shade over 175k.  This is the first comic being done in the new Force Awakens era so there was naturally going to be a lot of interest.  This was also the character that probably got the least screen time out of the new main cast introduced in Force Awakens so people will be interested in reading more about him.  I can see this book being another tip ten staple for Marvel as it essentially replaces Darth Vader on the schedule in a few months (more on that in a second).
Sticking with Star Wars for the time being, the next book the line has in the charts is the C-3PO one shot explaining the origins of his red arm in Force Awakens.  Selling just under 121k this is a great number for a book about a bunch of newly introduced droids.  As friend of the article Brandon James pointed out, I guess a lot of people wanted to find out how he got that red arm.
Ray:  Again, the sales on Poe Dameron were a bit down from the initial estimates. I wonder what went on there. This is still a massive success, though, and Star Wars seems to be able to do no wrong. Coming off the direct success of TFA, this was always going to be a smash hit.
The C3PO special may be even more impressive, though. This book was delayed for months and stars a popular but very much side character from the series. Still, it came close to Poe Dameron. I think this proves that anything directly associated with the movies is going to be gigantic for Marvel – but it’s more complicated, as we saw by the sudden cancellation of the Rogue One miniseries just a few days ago. As big as these comics are for Marvel, they’re peanuts for LucasFilm/Disney, and they’ll shut them down quickly if they’re worried. This makes me think the comics may stick more with the original trilogy timeline…
Glenn:  I remember seeing about the Rogue One comic and yes, I suppose you’re right.  If Disney doesn’t think that telling the stories in this form will warrant the attention they want, they’ll pull the plug.  I am curious though how long Marvel can churn out stories between New Hope and Jedi.
Speaking of which, the regular two Star Wars books, Star Wars and Darth Vader take the 7th and 8th spots selling just under 99k and 80k respectfully.  The first book, the main one in the line continues its slow descend with no real need for concern.  Even though Vader is a good shade under it now, its still a great stable seller and I don’t doubt Marvel saying it is merely ending due to story reasons and Kieran Gillans departure from Marvel come its 25th issue in a few months.  We can expect another ‘Dark Side’ book likely replacing it, maybe around the release of Rogue One, time will tell.
13
All in all its just another month of Star Wars dominance.  When Rebirth hits, there will be some shuffling of their consistent top ten force choke hold but when all that hoopla settles down, I have a feeling the Star Wars line will be back in its currently immovably strong position.

Ray:  Yeah, the original books are still going strong. There hasn’t been a dud in the Star Wars line yet, sales-wise. The closest was Kanan, and that still did better than an animated tie-in would be expected to. So there will be no shortage of new SW books coming our way.

 Star Wars had more titles in the top ten this month than either DC or Marvel. That’s just surreal.
Glenn:  From Marvel’s most dependable line over to DC’s as we move back up the chart to the number 3 spot which has the fourth issue of Dark Knight III which sells just over 143k.  A great, solid performance for the premier format title which has suffered marginal delays.  Batman is where DC stands tall at the moment and this title in particular is one that people seem to be interested in due to its connection to Frank Millers original classic and is own potential future place in comics history.  With Rebirth around the corner, DC could potentially gain a strong position in the charts but books like this one are worth their weight in gold to the publisher currently.
Ray:  I mean, for all the controversy over these high-profile sequels to classic comics without the original creative team fully involved, they sell. They sell like crazy. So I expect we’ll see more sequels like this, but it’ll be hard to top a Batman one. And reception to TDKIII has been much warmer than I expected. It looks good compared to the second one, so that probably helps. It’s clear now that this will be dominant on the charts until it finishes it run.
Glenn:  Speaking of the Dark Knight’s strong outings, the final issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s modern classic Batman run ends this month with sales just under 102k at 5.  They did it!  Every issue over 100k!  Something that we may never see again in our lifetime with the market in its current state and something that DC will solely miss in its calendar.  With either the new Batman title or Scott Snyder’s All Star Batman title be able to match its consistently?  Time will tell.  With this being the end to such a popular run and a one shot to boot, I’m surprised sales weren’t higher.  Perhaps retailers think that the next issue being written by new Detective writer James Tynion was the final issue of this creative teams run?  It’ll be interesting to see how issue 52 performs next month.
Ray:  As I’ve said before, I don’t know if we’ll ever see a success on this level for the Big Two again. 51 issues, all by the same creative team (with a few guest issues), all over 100K. It’s amazing. I think the sales drop this month is because a lot of people thought last month’s epic #50 issue was the finale. As for its successors, I do think All-Star Batman will probably hold over 100K for its run, assuming people don’t think it’s about Batman making Robin eat rats. The King/Finch/Janin biweekly Batman won’t hold these numbers, but I do think it can wind up around the same numbers as ASM consistently, which would be a big win for DC.
batman51-32b5d
Glenn:  Prior to its ending/unending absence, All Star Batman was still quite a sales draw despite its…oddities.  Its a weird brand to bring back after all this time but with the creative teams they have, I have no doubt it’ll be another solid performer for DC.
At number 6 we have Gwenpool selling over 100.8k.  Gwenpool.  I think I’ll let Ray sort this out while I get back to you know…respectable comics.
Ray:  *sigh* Gwenpool. This comic is hard to analyze sales-wise. Partially because my eyes are rolling back in my head as I speak in tongues when I think about how much I hated that first issue, but also partially because this character was marketed as the next extension of the Gwen Stacy crazy when in fact she is nothing of the sort. She’s an original character who seems to be more DC’s Harley Quinn than anything. Needless to say, this novelty meme character will not hold these numbers. She started high, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her at Hellcat numbers in six months‘ time.
Glenn:  I’m hoping Marvel don’t overindulge too much and ruin what has people interested in Spider-Gwen.  Then again, we’ve just learned that Gwenverine is going to be a thing soon too so that ship might have sailed.
Another DC comic in the top ten is the Harley Quinn April Fools Special which hits 9 on the chart and sells just over 75k.  On the surface, that’s a decent number for a Harley Quinn one shot and within the usual range for her usual brand of one shots but this one was quite a bit different.
Although it wasn’t marketed as such, this issue was the first glimpse of the post Rebirth DCU, was the first issue by the new creative team and had Jim Lee on art.  Like many fans and retailers, I assumed this was another one shot by the regular Harley Quinn creative team in the spirit of their previous holiday themed one shots and didn’t know any different until a week previous.  This could be one that is heavily reordered when people realize its significance.  The other possibility is that retailers knew exactly what it was and ordered it in decent but unspectacular numbers which is…unsettling.
Ray:  Yeah, I’d say DC missed a big opportunity with this Harley Quinn special. I was taken aback as I read it, going “Hey, this is actually a really important book”. We’ve said this before, but this should have been the Free Comic Book Day issue. A current book, that serves to promote both the upcoming Suicide Squad movie and Rebirth? A slam dunk. Instead, it sort of slipped under the radar, but that was still good for about 75K sales, so no one’s crying.
Glenn:  Lastly in the top ten is Marvel’s biggest consistent selling superhero in Amazing Spider-Man which sells just over 73.6k.  It seems like that mysterious bump last month was just a fluke.  We’re now moving dangerously close to the possibility of all none number one of Star Wars Marvel books selling below 70k which would be troubling.  Fortunately for Amazing, Dead No More is coming and that’ll no doubt bump it up at least 10-15k or so during its duration.  The rest of the line has got Civil War to bump it up so right now, in the short term (where Marvel lives) there’s nothing to panic about.
Ray:  Yeah, ASM is holding  very well. This is where we see the top titles for both companies that seem to have stabilized in a very healthy position. Justice League is going to wrap up the only other run the same length as Snyder on Batman in May, and it’s stayed healthy throughout. The Darkseid War Special loses a good 10K in sales, but that’s still a very healthy number for an event tie-in. Walking Dead and Deadpool both seem to have stabilized in the mid-60K range as well, with the former being Image’s flagship book and Deadpool having firmly ensconced himself as Marvel’s #2 hero. I’m not sure why Deadpool #10 got a 7K bounce over #9, though. Deadpool and his weird math!
Glenn:  Considering how much lower the Darkseid War special sold under the main Justice League’s regular numbers (roughly 11k difference) the reasoning for having the special is puzzling.  It could possibly be just so Johns does end his run at 50 on the dot but its not as if ending on 51 hurt the sales on Batman much.  Its not a huge loss but 11k is 11k.
Ray:  Spider-Gwen got a very nice 10K bounce over her sales last month at #18. I would estimate that this is because of the Spider-Women crossover, except that Gwen did 10K over the event kickoff, Spider-Women Alpha, and roughly 20K over the Silk and Spider-Woman chapters. I’m always puzzled by how retailers order hard crossovers like this. You can’t just read the issues you want here, it’s a straight narrative. Either way, good to see Spider-Gwen rebound a bit. I wonder if she’ll be above Gwenpool by next month.
spider-women_alpha_lee_variant
Glenn:  Maybe retailers treated this as the ‘real’ first part of the crossover?  It is a puzzling one but yes, nice to see the book rebound either way.

Ray:  The latest incarnation of Moon Knight, by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood, landed at #17 with 60K sales. I was worried that the sheer number of attempts at Moon Knight revivals would blunt this one’s sales, but the critical reception was excellent and this book seems to have gained some buzz. I’m not sure how long this creative team will stay on board, because it seems to be a very specific and finite story they’re telling, but I think it can probably hold on to about half these sales, which is healthy for a Moon Knight title.

Glenn:  Moon Knight needs to settle itself quickly to justify its existence but it might just do that, especially if Lemire intends to stick around a little.  The character has had a lot of stop and starts in recent years and a consistent, well received creative team would do him the world of good.  I say this will end up being a middle of the ground respectful 40-45k seller.

Ray:  Two titles, Spider-Man and Old Man Logan, seem to be selling about the exact same amount this month, but there’s a rather big difference between the two. OML holds at around 58-59K with issues 4-5. That’s after the initial three-month blind order, which means the book’s probably found it’s level. Spider-Man is only at issue three, which mean’s next month’s sales are the ones to watch.

Glenn:  Those are solid numbers for a Wolverine title, if it can stay around that I’m sure everyone involved will be well pleased.  Spider-Man might be more of a crapshoot but given these books and roughly about 70 trillion others are tying into Civil War in a few months, the numbers are going to go haywire across the board none the less.
Ray:  Hey, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers holds at 59K with issue two, at #22! That’s pretty impressive for a licensed Boom comic. No wonder there’s a spin-off and an annual coming! Don’t pull a Dynamite Pulp Heroes, Boom, but this is a very strong start.

Glenn:  I’m sure Boom is thrilled with that, that’s by far the biggest seller they’ve ever had.  If it stays around this level, it’ll be outselling a lot of Marvel books which could be argued have more of a modern day audience.  Who knew that Power Rangers was still a thing?  Hopefully they don’t get overconfident and flood us with Power Rangers comics but if they play it right with the movie coming up, they could have their own franchise to keep the lights on.

Ray:  Mark Millar’s latest creator-owned book, this one with Stuart Immonen, Empress, has a healthy debut at #26 with 55K. The difference is, this one is at Icon instead of Image. This shows that creators can still get some buzz for this small imprint, although I wonder what it would have sold with Image behind it. Everyone involved has to be happy, though.
Glenn: I’m sure retailers treated Empress for all intents and purposes as an Image book because if it wasn’t for Immonen’s contract it would be.  The Icon imprint has mainly survived to publish POWERS but this is a nice bonus for Marvel to have something like this which will fare very well collection wise once the movie is out.
empress_1_cover1

Ray:  Harley Quinn and the latest spin-off, Harley Quinn and the Gang of Harleys, do essentially identical numbers at #27-28. At this point, I wonder if retailers are just treating most of the spin-offs with the regular creative team involved as extra issues of this title? Harley seems to be very consistent.

Glenn:  Harley can do no wrong since her solo series comeback a number of years ago.  I think this shows that she can handle a bi-monthly book with no problems.  The market and fans love her and DC is sensible enough (on this book anyway) not to mess with what works.

Ray:  Thor and Dr. Strange, as we’ve talked about, are consistently some of Marvel’s stronger sellers, but I’m surprised to see Daredevil holding in there at #37 with 48K sales with issue six. This is stronger than the Waid run had been selling for a while, but the title seems to be gaining some buzz. Netflix bump?

Glenn:  Daredevil is a big surprise and I’m sure a very pleasant one for Marvel.  This could be because of Netflix or people being genuinely excited for Soule or *gasps* a relaunch actually benefiting a title.  This is the best Daredevil’s sold in quite some time and could end up being a surprise solid performer for Marvel at over 10k where it used to be.
Ray:  The conclusion of Avengers: Standoff landed at #35 with sales under 50K. Definitely not the sort of event numbers Marvel was hoping for. This is going to be forgotten quickly as Marvel heads towards Civil War II.

Glenn:  The main point of this mini event seems to have been to get Steve Roger’s back in costume. With the Captain America movie, you thought there would be more interest but perhaps it got drowned out with the oncoming flood of Civil War on the horizon. We’ve discussed how Cap’s book has struggled sales wise since the departure of Ed Brubaker but Marvel is making a big push on the latest book so, we’ll see but yeah, this little story will be seen as nothing more than a footnote at best.

The Doctor Strange: Last Days Of Magic one shot which ties into the story going on in the main book sells 10k less than the main title at 48. It seems to have been treated as an optional tie in to the overall story but then again, since it was priced at 5.99 (!!!!!!!) I doubt anyone at Marvel cares that it sold that much less than the main Doctor Strange book. To be frank, a loose non essential tie in priced at 5.99 is quite an achievement. You can look for more at these type of things from Marvel if they can shift them at this volume.

Ray:  Last Days of Magic was an anthology, more than 40 pages of story (which makes $5.99 not unreasonable…for Marvel), but only a short segment was written by Jason Aaron. Given that, I think these numbers are a pretty big success. It goes to show how Marvel has really made Dr. Strange a powerhouse again, and given this current storyline the vibe of an event in and of itself. Wondering how Deadpool: Last Days of Magic will do next month. Probably even better, because Deadpool!

Glenn:  People love their Deadpool, he’s not getting a third ongoing (counting his book with that guy…whatshisname…Spider-Guy) for no reason!

Both Batgirl and Flash get good bumps on their 50th issues selling just over 35 and 34,6 k at spots 51 and 52 on the charts. While Batgirl has been a critical darling for the latter half of its run, sales have been ebbing away so I’m sure DC will be glad to see a resurgance just prior to Rebirth. Flash hasn’t been the superstar performer that the Batman titles have been but its been a solid middle tier performer throughout its whole New 52 run. In a world where books end and relaunch all the time and sales go up and down like a yo-yo, solid mid 30k sellers can be a publishers bread and butter. It’ll be interesting to see how well Flash comes out of Rebirth with exceptionally talented indie writer Josh Williamson coming on board.

flash_50_solicit

Ray:  That’s definitely one of the bigger sale bumps for #50 issues for Batgirl. I’m a bit surprised, given that it was just a regular oversized issue with no guest creators. Same for Flash, although the bump was smaller there. Except for Catwoman (which got virtually no boost) and Batman (which got a huge one) all of these titles seem to have gotten a standard bump that goes away very quickly – Batgirl #51 is back to the standard level the same month.

Glenn:  I’ll wonder if they’ll get another brief bump for the 52nd issue or at that point, all eyes will be on Rebirth.  These are some popular runs ending on various books so retailers might order a few more due to that more than the numbering.

After a respectful but unspectacular debut, Black Widow lands at 54 with sales of just over 34k. That’s really good for her book historically so as long as it stays here, this can be seen as another relaunch win for Marvel. The reception to the first issue seemed to be lukewarm at best so hopefully people will continue picking it up on the strength of the creative team. This is where Waid and Samnee usually had their Daredevil run at which previous to the latest relaunch was standard but Black Widow at this level would be seen as a respectful success.

Ray:  Yeah, I expect after about six months or so, Black Widow will be down to the 25K range at most. Enough to stay alive as long as Waid and Samnee want it, but not that much above the title’s previous level with Edmondson/Noto. Some heroes just struggle with solo titles.

Glenn:  Black Widow, Green Arrow, Punisher are just three characters that struggle in sales regularly despite all three having huge other media presences currently.  If Black Widow can keep its creative team and they can recapture the critical acclaim they got for their Daredevil run, it’ll keep the book around.  Marvel probably expected more I would say but at least its not selling less than the previous run…

X-Men 92 and Mockingbird’s second issue sold just under Widow at 55 and 56 with sales under 34 and 33k respectfully. These titles are both in the same boat as Widow, if they maintain this level then it can be seen as a big win. I have more confidence in X-Men 92’s long term performance over Mockingbird but you never know, I expected a much sharper decline for her. We’ll see what the next few months bring.

Ray:  A bit surprised Mockingbird held so well, given its low first-issue sales. Apparently Marvel increased orders for the second and third issue, which might explain it. X-Men ’92 probably has a loyal but small audience that will keep it healthy enough for a while.
Glenn:  I didn’t know Mockingbird got increased orders.  It’ll be interesting to see where 4 lands then.
However, given Power Man and Iron Fist received another sharp drop on their third issue doesn’t inspire confidence. It goes down to 71 with sales over 24k which is starting to push the difference between an acceptable Heroes For Hire number and troublesome waters. This is another one that is confusing me, the market is becoming increasingly hard to predict.
Ray:  The critical acclaim for Power Man and Iron Fist made me think it might have legs, but this is disappointing. From top ten to #71 in three issues is rough, but at the same time, it’s selling above quite a few other Marvel books like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, that one would expect to be selling much better. This might just be all books that aren’t the A-team finding their new level.
Glenn:  All New Hawkeye ends with issue 6 even though no one knew this was going to be the last issue. It sells at 98 with sales over 21k. If Marvel had made it known that this was the last issue of the series for now, it might have got a few k more but then Marvel would have had to admit that they essentially had Lemire on one Hawkeye book that relaunched into an ‘ongoing’ that only lasted 6 issues. My head hurts.
Ray:  There’s apparently a new Hawkeye title coming after Civil War II: Minority Report. Rumor is Kate Bishop in the lead. We’ll see how it does based on the creative team and status quo.
IDW has a pretty decent launch with Micronauts at #75, selling about 25K. It had Cullen Bunn on writing and a ton of variants, but critical reception wasn’t great, so I expect it to drop down to the level of most licensed books soon.

104 is the cutoff point for books selling over 20K this month, a little better than last month, but still fairly grim.

Glenn:  The chart will see an overall uplift come the Rebirth/Civil War II Summer whirlwind.  We’ll have to see how we fare towards the end of the year when all that has died down.  DC will probably be in a moderately better position, Marvel will just be on the build for next years event which following their current pattern might be anything between Atlantis Attacks…Again or Super Maximum Security

Ray:  The last volume of Divinity from Valiant was critically acclaimed, so it’s not a surprise to see the second volume launch with strong (for Valiant) sales of 19.6K at 105. Valiant’s new books seem to be getting a bit of buzz, and we’ll see how their latest event, 4001 AD, does next month.

divinityii_001_cover-a_djurdjevic-310x476

Glenn: Again, Valiant seem to be the dark horses (not the publisher) of the current market.  Marvel, DC and Image get more headlines but they’re keeping their pace at a more than respectful level.

Ray: In a fairly shocking debut (in a good way), upstart publisher Black Mask lands a book pretty high on the charts with the critically acclaimed kid-criminal noir “4 Kids Walk into a Bank“. 17K sales is about what most Image books with no A-list names attached get, so that’s really impressive.

 

Glenn:  Good for Black Mask who I’ve seen garner a lot of buzz recently.  I think it was also recently announced they’re going to be publishing the Kickstarter mega success ‘Black‘ which will probably get a lot of sales and critical attention.  New blood is what will keep the industry going and its great to see new publishers among the bigger dogs.

Ray:  To illustrate how well 4 Kids did, there’s Brian Wood’s new Viking noir Black Road, three spots below with 16.5K in sales. I would have expected more from a new Image book from Wood.

 

Glenn:  Sometimes a premise, no matter who is creatively involved doesn’t seem to catch on.  Like all the rest of Image’s line, it’ll likely last as long as Wood can keep it going.  If it settles around this figure, it could last a respectable length.  It sold more than Chew’s Chicken Poyo one shot (184 with sales just over 10.4k) and Chew is seen as a solid performer for Image that will see its 60 issue run through.  It’ll all depend on trade sales too of course.

Ray:  We’ve talked to no end about Dark Horse’s struggles on the sales charts as of late, and their top-selling book this month is Aliens: Defiance, with sales of just over 16K. This is a #1, though, and last month’s Predator #1 lots a third of its sales in its sophomore outing.

 

Glenn:  Just read their VP is leaving.  In ten years time, Dark Horse could be an unfortunate note in comic history as a company that was irrevocably damaged by the loss of their biggest property.  I would have thought with it being Aliens 30th anniversary, they might have managed to get a little interest because it worked for Back To The Future but seemingly not.
aliensdefiance-1-946a1-5991d

Ray:  Surprising absolutely no one, Hyperion is down to cancellation numbers with #2, selling 16K in sales. You just can’t do spinoffs when the parent title is barely holding on to its sales.

Glenn:  Civil War will keep it tricking along (I think its tying in…everything else is) but I don’t see it lasting long after that.

Ray:  New Image comedy crime book The Fix sold just under 15K at #140. I would have expected more given that this is written by a Marvel writer who has recently been given the key to one of their top franchises, but then those books have been underperforming for him as well.

 

Glenn:  Nick Spencer of course is best known for Morning Glories which performs well in trades and is seen as a solid Image performer.  Outside of that, I can’t think of too many books he’s partook in that have exactly set the sales charts on fire.  He keeps getting verly high profile gigs and seems to be well thought of so he must be making someone happy.

Ray:  Oh, look, there’s Bloodlines, DC’s attempt to revive their 90s alien spinal-tap thriller as a modern teen horror drama. Just under 15K in sales is about what I’d expect here. 90s nostalgia is all well and good, as we see with Power Rangers, but there has to be some actual nostalgia for the property.

Glenn:  I don’t know what Bloodlines is…it seems not many other people do either

Ray:  Speaking of 90s nostalgia, the latest X-Files relaunch doesn’t seem to have gotten a big boost from the recent TV revival. 14.7K sales at #142.

 

Glenn:  X-Files has resurfaced as a TV juggernaut but while it has had a lot of merchandise, spin offs and whatnot, its not the type of thing that fans for to see more of elsewhere.  They want more episodes of the show but aren’t willing to settle for pseudo episodes in comic or novel form and that seems to be the way its always been for the property.  It’ll probably settle down to about 7 or 8k and maybe earn IDW some money through main book shops.

Ray:  Marvel’s doing a series of one-shot anthology stories, “A Year of Marvels“, focusing on different months of the year, with more volumes coming throughout the year. It seems to have completely slipped under the radar, with sales of 12.7K at 161. But hey, it outsold Hellcat, Moon Girl, and Weirdworld!

a_year_of_marvels_the_amazing_vol_1_1_textless

 

Glenn:  I honestly thought you were joking until I double checked.  Not sure what they expected out of this, I’m not quite sure what a book like this will be able to achieve.  It doesn’t seem to be for kids and since I’ve never heard of it, can’t have been spouted too heavily.  Pure head scratcher this one.

Ray:  Former Catwoman writer Genvieve Valentine is writing a Xena relaunch comic from Dynamite, and I expected it to at least do the same numbers as Red Sonja given the fanbase of the series. Surprisingly, not even close, with sales of 11.3K at #176. That has to be seriously disappointing for Dynamite.

 

Glenn:  There’s been a lot of talk about some sort of reboot of Xena which has garnered a little interest.  Maybe Dynamite should have held their water?  Its another under performing TV tie in that has a market currently full of them in short.  Given how prominent Valentine was at DC last year, I hope she manages to rebound from this.
Ray:  Matt Kindt has a new #1 from Dark Horse, the deep-sea murder mystery Dept. H. This had months of hype, tons of promotions, and rapturous critical acclaim…only to sell 9.3K and barely make the top 200. I don’t know why Dark Horse can’t get momentum for their creator-owned books, because they have a bunch of great talent turning out a few incredible books, but it’s depressing. Makes me wonder what the fate of Jeff Lemire’s much-delayed Black Hammer will be when it arrives. And I hope Dept. H. does well in reorders and trades. For the record, this was Dark Horse’s fifth-highest selling comic of the month.

Glenn: I think its just Dark Horse’s position more than anything.  Given how high Lemire’s star has risen, Black Hammer could buck the trend but if they can only do these numbers with a well known creator, you have to wonder what they are planning to do to turn things around.  Even if Lemire’s book sells amazingly well, the whole company cannot float on one book.  Dark Horse has been around longer than Image, has held their own for the madness that was the 90’s.  Can they rise up like a phoenix?  It doesn’t seem likely.

Titan releases the first issue of another Doctor Who mini, this time focusing on the Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleson when the super popular sci-fi show made its return in 2005.  Given that most fans now are more familiar with Tennant, Smith and Capaldi, a lot of people have a fondness for Ecclesons tenure.  It lands with sales just over 10.5k at 183 which is decent enough for the Doctor that is often overlooked in favour of his successors.
14
Ray:  Titan seems to have carved out a nice little niche for itself with tie-ins to media properties, with Doctor Who being the most successful of them. As our resident Doctor Who expert, you would know that these are pretty impressive numbers, and those Dark Souls numbers aren’t very bad either. I’m a bit surprised not to see their Independence Day series on the charts this month – probably bad timing, as it would have sold much more once the sequel is released.
Glenn:  They’re probably thinking it might be better to get the collection out in time for the movie.  I doubt many people are wanting more stories set in that world though (does I mean the movie, comic or both?  YOU DECIDE!)
Another debut from IDW in Strawberry Shortcake hits at just over 10k at 187.  Considering I’ve never heard of it and it seems to be by names I don’t recognize, that’s not too bad.  It’ll probably not last long in the top 300 though.
Ray:  Strawberry Shortcake? They’re really reviving every 80’s nostalgia property, aren’t they? These numbers are nothing special, but I assume they’re not going for