Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money! What does your money tell them? What does it tell us as fans? What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out? What are the trends? What looks good? What looks rough?
All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.
Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. He’s hoping his comics career does way better in 2018 than 2017. He’s also hoping his 16 month year old son can learn to put these articles together…which is probably more likely.
Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining. Although Ray enjoyed the recent Star Wars movie he is very much against how it taught us that Porg’s are delicious instead of simply adorable.
We also do a podcast together with longtime buddy, Brandon James on iTunes with Rabbitt Stew or at the link here! Don’t ask, I didn’t pick the name. If you’d like to hear what me and Ray sound like, give it a listen! We talk about these very sales numbers in the most recent episode here…but read this first so Bret doesn’t hurt us.
Top 300 in full available here!
Glenn: The end is here fans of sales numbers as DC rolls in the final By The Numbers of the year (or the first, depending on when I can pull this together…) with the launch of Doomsday Clock which continues on the major ‘wtf’ moment from Rebirth and also is a sequel to the best selling and critically acclaimed comic of all time.
Just how well did it do and how other DC books did while Marvel entered its second Legacy month and more are all here in By The Numbers.
So yes, in the least predictable plot twist than Tommy Elliot being Hush (12 year old spoiler warning here), Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank not only takes the top spot but the top TWO spots this month. The best selling version is the regular one which featured two different covers by Frank and the second being a lenticular version of art by Dave Gibbons from Watchmen. So yes, the two versions sold like bananas and unlike the lenticular versions of the Button issues earlier this year, they were ordered closely together with sales of over 119.4 k and 119.2k respectively. A combined sales of over 238.6k is heads above everything else. One thing I would say is I thought the sales would be a lot higher, easily passing 300k or maybe even 500k but the market is not in the best shape by a long shot. Overall, figures were down historically and the days of even a Watchmen sequel breaking 300k are gone for the time being so considering where the market is now, this is probably as good as its going to get. The question is, how will the rest of the 12 issues perform? I could easily see each issue selling in excess of 150k and taking the top spot each month (the only book in the next year which may give it serious competition is Action Comics 1000) until it finishes. Then it goes off to collection heaven where if it sells a quarter of Watchmen has in its 30 years in various forms, DC will be collecting major bank off this for years to come. This is an event that competition Marvel would kill to have but the funny thing is that Doomsday Clock is not the only major successful event DC is running right now.
Ray: Yeah, I have a feeling that the days of comic book events topping 300K are just over for now. Between a shrinking number of comic book stores, more and more fans migrating to digital, and some events becoming cost-prohibitive, the base just isn’t there to get the numbers of Civil War anymore. But if this is the top of what a company can do regularly these days, then it’s very much worth noting that DC has two events that are regularly getting to that peak now, while Marvel would kill for one. Doomsday Clock is designed to be an evergreen story, playing out on its own for a year before it’s even reflected in any DC books. Based on that, I imagine sales will be stable and eventual collection sales will be massive. Barring any surprise events in the next year, you’re right – it should hold the top of the sales charts with the possible exception of Action #1000.
Glenn: This brings us to 3 on the charts, the Batman Who Laughs. A major tie-in to DC’s OTHER successful crossover event, Metal. There was a bit of a debate between myself and Ray about if this or Batman Lost would play second fiddle to Doomsday Clock and in truth, it was close but I still called it and I take wins over Ray where I can. This event covers the origin of the leader of the Dark Knights, is written by bat scribe James Tynion and is one of the best mainstream horror comics for years. It sells over 105.1k indicating to me that there is interest in this character that could go beyond Metal.
Ray: I’m kind of surprised that Batman Who Laughs only did about a 10K jump over the other issues of the Dark Knights spotlights, but I’m thinking that’s more a testament to just how strong the event as a whole has been. There was virtually no attrition over the course of the event – and in fact, The Devastator jumped about 7K over last month’s lowest-selling issue, The Merciless. That feels like retailers adjusting for demand.
Glenn: As indicated, Batman: Lost takes the number 4 spot. Impressive since it was a bizarre tie-in that was created to give Greg Capullo time to catch up on Metal. This was Scott Snyder doing his best Grant Morrison impression and basically served at Metal 3.5. It didn’t get as much hype but the strength of Metal overall still got it to deliver an impressive number of over 101.2k. This issue was of course solicited as being drawn by Olivier Coipel but it didn’t quite pan out like that but I doubt retailers who may have invested based on his name were disappointed.
Ray: Batman: Lost doing about 2/3rds of the main Metal series isn’t spectacular, but it’s still a great number for a tie-in that may not have been seen as completely critical to the story. If The Wild Hunt does similar numbers between 5/6 in a few months, DC will be very happy.
Glenn: Sick of Batman and DC? Well tough because here’s our regular top ten Batman sales! Issues 35 and 34 hit this month with the former curiously outselling the latter with 35 taking spot 5 and 34 taking spot 6. Now issue 35 was also the 800th issue of Batman but DC didn’t make too big a deal about it so the slight difference could be to do with that or it could be that its Batman and it doesn’t play by the conventional sales rules. This month the title sells over 97.4k and 96.6k respectively. Insanely stable and insanely successful as always.
At 7 we have Batman: The Devastator where we see Batman becomes Doomsday. Its another Metal tie-in and thus draws in big numbers of over 94.4k. Most companies would kill for one event with numbers like these but DC has two at the same time. It shows that Doomsday still has some sales juice potentially with this one shot doing better than the ones last month were indicating. Its probably more about how these once sales generating tools are used more than anything. Doomsday showing up to job out to Superman in a random issue of his title won’t get sales but involve the character in an already popular event and then people take notice.
At 8 we’re reminded that Marvel comics is a thing with the Legacy launch of Captain America by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, one of the companies best regarded creative pairings over the last few years. The recent history of Captain America is well documented here and the return to a more traditional take where Captain America punches Nazi’s as opposed to well…you know gives it a sales boost to over 87.1k. This is the best Captain America has sold in ages and would give me some optimism but the sales on the books that performed well last month on their Legacy launch this month are well…we’ll get to that. Could Waid and Samnee delivering a more traditional Captain America run buck the trend? Its possible but given the weight the character has been saddled with creatively and how Marvel’s positioned itself in the market, it won’t be easy.
Ray: This was about what I expected to see from Captain America, and that makes it one of the healthiest Legacy launches with the exception of Thor’s anniversary issue last month. A back-to-basics approach combined with a fan favorite creative team will do that. But this month we saw how Legacy books did in their second month, and…it’s not good. It’s terribad. There’s going to be a lot of fallout from this as we head down the charts, but a lot of books are simply cratering, and as we speak it’s one day after the March solicits dropped – and took a good chunk of Marvel’s line with them. So based on that, I expect Captain America to fall hard next month. A lot of damage was done to this property that will take a while to undo, besides Marvel’s overall sales issues. The good news is, even a hard fall from this number will likely make it one of Marvel’s least problematic books for a while sales-wise. And it’s great, so there’s that.
Glenn: Back to By Batman The Numbers with the second Batman annual selling over 75.9k. Impressive sales for an annual, not as good as last years if memory serves but still impressive. I think there might be some decent reorders for this, it was a beautiful issue.
Ray: This book was underordered. Like crazy. It sold out pre-release, and my store – Midtown Comics, one of the biggest comic book stores in the USA – had to restrict fans to one copy on Wednesday. Retailers underestimated just how much fans wanted this Batman/Catwoman story, and there are likely to be major reorders in months to come.
Glenn: At the final spot in the top ten is that money in the bank Star Wars comic which continues to be Marvel’s most stable seller by quite a fair margin. It sells over 73.8k showing on first glance that making Kieran Gillon the writer has had no impact but then issue 39 which charts the same month is down to 24 and sells just over 56.1k. Still decent for Marvel this weather but good lord that’s a massive drop and the worst numbers for the title by far. Is this a mistake or has the news that Jason Aaron is gone now effecting the title? It could be a cause for concern as Star Wars has been the title Marvel has been depending on for a while and if it now is in a spot where its being outsold by DC’s upper tier of books…that bodes ill.
Ray: That Star Wars number is up 8K from last month’s final issue for Aaron, but the big slide the same month is worrisome. I wonder if this title might get a boost from new fans now that there’s a movie out? You might have heard about it? I think it’s called “The Last Porg“.
Glenn: I’d forgotten that the sales on Star Wars were reaching their 60’s and we’re seeing the customary ‘last issue of a big run’ bump before it resuming normal service. Its still healthy enough and it’ll be doing bonkers business in collections both in and out of comic stores so there’s no concern but still, sad to see the title dip to such low numbers when its been one Marvel could previously really depend on.
Since I’m counting the two versions of Doomsday Clock as one (I HAVE THE POWER) we get Justice League at 11 (also at 12) for Metal tie ins that sell over 73.8k and 71.7k respectively. It seems that limiting the tie-ins that Metal have has done the titles that are tying in a world of good. Hopefully another major comic company can learn the lesson that less can indeed be more.
Ray: That’s an almost 30K jump from the last regular issues of Justice League for the crossover! Massive. Next month brings a new creative team in Christopher Priest and Pete Woods, so we’ll see if it keeps any of these increased sales.
Glenn: It’ll probably go back to where it was and continue its glacial decline. Justice League seems like one of those books where the property can remain verly high despite whoever is producing the book. Big names can help move the needle in a more positive direction of course. Given how stable the numbers have been on Priest’s Deathstroke, moving him to League is probably to create a similar stabling effect there, not a terrible move at all.
Ray: Heading out of the top ten, White Knight holds extremely well with its second issue, keeping about 75% of its first-issue sales to land at #13 with sales of just under 70K. That’s pretty rare to see, and shows that the sales on this one must be genuine interest, not retailer speculation.
Glenn:Even more impressive when you consider its an out of continuity story which tend to be treated with general indifference. Once again we see the power of Batman but don’t count out the impact of this being a Joker story (he’s been used very sparingly the last few years making his appearances seems more special as a result) and Sean Murphy’s name power. This bodes really well for the series he’s doing with Snyder which will likely become a top ten staple when it sees production next year.
Ray: There’s Walking Dead at #14, basically level with sales of 63K+. Good ol’ Walking Dead. Even when the TV show is pissing everyone off, the comic is still here going strong.
Glenn: Kirkman can taste your anger, he says it tastes like chicken.
Ray: We’ve got four Legacy debuts here in the 15-18 range, and what surprises me the most is the order – Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Old Man Logan, and Daredevil. They all sell sell in the 62K-58K range, but it’s a much different story when you look at the previous issue sales. Old Man Logan sold 39K last month, while Daredevil sold 24K with its last issue, Renew Your Vows 22K, and Punisher 20K. So it seems like the dramatic and controversial status quo change for Punisher had the biggest effect, and similarly the time-skip and new creative team for Renew Your Vows was very successful. The other two titles kept their creative teams, and Old Man Logan basically changed nothing while Daredevil began a major new arc. Relaunches seem to do better when they feel like events, but as always, we’ll see what happens next month.
Glenn: Good numbers for these four books, especially Renew Your Vows which outsells the regular Amazing Spider-Man by about 11k. Of course, numbers on the second issues of Legacy books don’t bode well for these titles keeping their success but hey…you never know. Something particularly noteworthy about Renew Your Vows is that this is the first time we’ve had a regular female writer on a Spider-Man title. Sure we’ve had brief runs in the past, usually for only an issue or two here and there but Houser seems here to stay. Its a big deal that isn’t being talked about much and I’ll be curious to know if that got any sales interest and may separate the title from the pack in upcoming months.
Ray: The final issue of the Oz Effect charts with its lenticular edition at #21, selling 56K, but adds another 21K from the standard edition at #104. Put together, that would actually make it the #9 book of the month overall. Clearly, anything the overarching mystery of Rebirth touches turns to absolute gold.
Glenn: We’re over a year later and Rebirth is still getting DC a lot of interest and has done wonders for some of their properties. We’re talking a lot about the success of Doomsday Clock and Metal but Rebirth had a far bigger impact and although everything hasn’t been a winner spinning out of it, its realy allowed DC a platform to compete at the perfect time when their main competition isn’t have the best string of fortune.
Ray: The two satellite Spider-Man books, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man and Miles Morales’ title “Spider-Man” both sell around 56K at #22-23. The former sold 33K last month, while the latter sold 27K, making this a pretty similar jump for the titles. The increase for Miles might be explained by the return of a major villain and Miles’ media profile, but given the upcoming creative team change may shake things up again. (A second issue of PPSSM charts this month, the previous issue before the Legacy jump, and sells 40K at #41. Maybe retailers upping their orders a bit in advance of the relaunch?)
Glenn:Don’t forget the second Peter Parker book this month featured the major change to the character. It wasn’t advertised or promoted at all but someone may have got wind of it and this issue might get some reorders because of it. Considering how major a development it was, I’m surprised its not being talked about more.
(Note: Since writing this article, events in the Spider-Man title indicate the title may be ending and later relaunched. Yay for Legacy.)
Ray: Spider-Man/Deadpool kicks off a new regular creative team, with frequent Spider-Man side-writer Robbie Thompson and popular artist Chris Bachalo. It gets an almost 100% sales jump to land at #27 with 53K in sales. This is a title that SHOULD sell gangbusters for Marvel, but we’ll see in coming months.
Glenn: Spidey/Deadpool may keep a good majority of those sales. They’re two of their most popular and sales dependable characters and the title now has a consistent creative voice and an a-list artist (at least for this arc). Its a recipe for success but when it comes to Marvel, the market hasn’t really cared about things like that recently.
Ray: Marvel has a few oddball books that are resuming old numbering without actually continuing from a current book. The first of those is Moon Knight, which sells just under 51K at #29. Not a bad number for a side book, and the last run by Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood had an incredibly strong hold over its run, but this one is unlikely to maintain that pattern. However, anecdotal evidence does indicate this new horror-influenced run has caught on a bit.
Amazing Spider-Man continues its slow slide, leveling out very quickly from its second Legacy issue. It sells 50K at #31, which indicates that the title is still Marvel’s healthiest. Worth noting that this is Marvel’s top-selling superhero ongoing that isn’t the start of a Legacy run this month. Of course, the rumor is Slott is leaving the title in a few months, so who knows where the book will be after that…
Glenn:The lead up to 800 will help Amazing, when we had the fall out of 700 the title saw a strong period during the Superior Spider-Man era so how the title performs now is moot due to the future being clouded in mystery. Given how closely Slott is associated with the book and how consistently its sold under him, its unclear what Amazing Spider-Man looks like as a sales performer without him. Of course, he’s not gone yet and Marvel can be the house of smoke and mirrors. Retailers will want to know answers soon or may react negatively to being kept in the dark.
Ray: Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange both begin their Legacy runs as well, landing right next to each other at #33-34 and selling about 48K. This is more than a 100% increase for both books, which were out of the top 100 last month – but before anyone gets excited, GOTG is one of the few books that shipped two issues this month, and the second is way down at #102, selling 22K and barely outselling the pre-Legacy run by 2K. Clearly, zero impact overall, even in the same month. The Doctor Strange run, the first Marvel work of Donny Cates, has been getting great reviews and may build momentum from here, but GOTG is already ending this run in advance of a spring event comic.
Glenn: It’ll be the first time since the first movie that we’ve not had a regular Guardians title. Only a year ago there was like 10 of them, how times change.
Ray: It’s worth noting that while all this is going on, books like Detective Comics, Flash, and Superman continue to be insanely steady. The 34th issue of Superman sells about the same as GOTG’s Legacy relaunch, despite having no incentives or variants. That’s what a successful relaunch actually looks like.
Speaking of Donny Cates, his first issue of Thanos lands at #37 with sales of 44K. That’s a big increase over Lemire’s final issue, but Thanos was one of the few genuine success stories out of Marvel in the last year – a creator-driven book that told a planned story and maintained its small-but-devoted audience through its entire run. Can Cates’ run duplicate that effect? We’ll see, but the fact that it debuted alongside much bigger-name books is a very good sign.
Glenn: While we continue on the road to Infinity War, the stock with Thanos will only continue to rise so this book might become something of a dark horse in Marvel’s stable…or not. Next month will tell us more.
Ray: Mighty Thor, coming off the blockbuster anniversary issue which topped 100K, is back down to standard numbers, selling 43K at #38. Nothing is having much of an effect long-term here, but this remains one of Marvel’s brightest stars for now, as long as Aaron is on board. It’s built this audience over years and doesn’t need gimmicks and anniversaries to save its sales.
The little book that could, Mister Miracle, finally sees its streak of sales increases end – but only so it can decline by about 1000 copies to land at #43 with sales of 39K. To put this into perspective, that puts it between this month’s issues of the top-selling X-Men book, X-Men: Gold. It’ll be outselling the entire X-line next month!
Glenn: Scott Free can even escape the X-Men, who knew? I think its safe to attribute this to King and Gerards who are receiving high quality and highly critically acclaimed books and making it look easy. This book is doing well just because its amazing, what a novel concept.
Ray: She-Hulk (renamed from adjectiveless “Hulk“) has a fairly modest Legacy debut, selling 36K at #48. That’s up from 16K last month. A big percentage increase, for sure, but not likely enough to help the book in the long run or change its overall sales trajectory.
Glenn: There’s talk of She-Hulk joining the slew of Marvel cancelled books next month so we’ll see. It very much seems like just a one issue bump considering it hasn’t benefited too greatly from the renumbering.
(Since this writing, the rumours indicating that She-Hulk is getting cancelled are mounting up. Yay Legacy.)
Ray: At #52, we’ve got Batman: Creature of the Night, Kurt Busiek’s horror-influenced take on a “real world” version of Batman. This spiritual sequel to Superman: Secret Identity (considered an all-time DC classic) sells over 35K. A bit disappointing on the face for a new Batman book, but this is out of continuity, $5.99, and likely geared more towards collections. It’s going to sell for DC for a very long time.
Glenn: This is an unusual book, very pricey with no continuity relevance that is a kinda sequel to a book that is nearly 14 years old by a writer who is well known but hasn’t had a major property run for about 15 years.. Given that its done this number is not too bad with all those things considered and yeah, this will be packaged as a very successful collection for years and decades to come. I’m sure DC are happy with how its doing with all that it comes saddled with and the promise of great collection sales that are virtually guaranteed based on how many times Secret Identity has been reprinted.
Ray: Speaking of little books that could, Supergirl gets another unexplained sales increase, selling 34K this month at #56. It’s now outselling Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Titans, and is on the cusp of passing Harley Quinn. I’ve never seen something like that – it was getting close to worrying numbers for a while, but then it did a complete 180 and it’s well deserved.
Glenn: The mystery of Supergirl continues…maybe its the new artist or the addition to the writing team of Jody Houser, who knows? It seems that Houser is having quite a lot of positive influence on her various books. In actuality though, we know that Ray is just ordering more copies each month.
Avengers 673 and Despicable Deadpool 289 are two second month Legacy titles that slide back to their previous places after their initial bumps. They sell over 32.k at 61 and 31.7k at 62 respectively and are now being outsold by Titans…yes Titans. For
Avenger’s we have the weekly status quo with the other Avenger’s creative teams coming on which will have an undermined effect. It’ll certainty lift the other two books higher but probably won’t have a major bump on the title overall. Another question mark for Marvel this month. Deadpool sales have waned off quite a bit but I think that’s just the entire line rather than him. The movie coming up will help things and Marvel will never stop throwing random Deadpool shaped things at us at this point.
Ray: Avengers will definitely get a bounce for the start of the weekly run, but then remember how the weekly DC comics did – if they weren’t extremely well-received like Batman: Eternal, it just magnified the slide by 4x each month. That could get ugly quickly. As for Deadpool, I don’t think this return to evil for Deadpool is going over very well, so that’s certainly not helping the sales much.
Glenn: Also in its second post legacy month is Invincible Iron Man, same story as we’re seeing with everyone else where the title resumes business as normal with sales over 30.2k at 68. The title at this stage is waiting around for a new writer and creative direction so you guessed it…another title shrouded in mystery. The shrouds are starting to make me a little too warm…
Ray: Iron Man should end on a high, as Bendis‘ final issue will be the big #600 anniversary issue, and will supposedly serve as a capper on his entire run for Marvel. But otherwise, Tony’s big return is doing roughly the same numbers as Riri’s solo title was doing before Legacy.
Glenn: Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica has a decent enough little slide to 71 with sales just over 29.4k. Pretty much probably the best you could hope for from a tongue in cheek crossover like this. It’ll probably finish out its run here which isn’t too bad at all. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more inter company crossovers from DC next year, they’ve been performing from solidly to brilliant in each case.
Another Legacy month 2 title, another big drop, this time for Incredible Hulk which is at 75 with sales over 28.7k. The rebranding of the title to a more iconic one and shipping Amadeus Cho Hulk off to Skaar hasn’t had much effect. I would say the Planet hulk sorta sequel will find this title stabilize fast but as is the case with literally every other Legacy title, you’d have thought Marvel would have hoped for more than a one month interest.
Ray: This is still a good 10K above where Totally Awesome Hulk was selling, so this has to be considered somewhat of a win for Marvel. The previous run was being treated like a Hulk spin-off, while this is actually performing like a Hulk title thanks to the renaming and the return to Planet Hulk. It’ll probably get another boost when we get to World War Hulk II.
Glenn: Selling bizarrely well is the Deadman Glow In The Dark Edition which sells over 27.3k at 79 which shows that the spirit of silly 90’s gimmicks is indeed alive and well. A standard edition of the same book also charts at 231 with sales over 7.7k giving it around 34-35kish overall which means Deadman sold better than Avengers and Deadpool overall. If that’s not a win, I’m not sure what is.
Ray: That’s…way more than anyone was expecting for Deadman, which blew the sales for similar books like Ragman and Demon out of the water. Was it the cover gimmick? Neal Adams still having a sizeable fanbase? The fact that it continues from Batman stories? No way of knowing, but we’ll see how many of these sales it keeps next month. I’m not optimistic.
Glenn: A new Valiant book called Ninja-K sells over 25.5k at 84. I don’t know much about what this is but that’s a great number for a Valiant book who usually life in a range that is at most 10k less than this. Not sure what the interest is here specifically but good for them.
Ray: Yeah, that’s one of the biggest debuts in a while for Valiant, especially as the long-running previous series had been pretty low on the charts. Valiant’s decision to keep its output limited and its line focused seems to be paying off with some decent brand loyalty.
Glenn: Sick of bad news about month 2 of Legacy? Too bad! Here’s Venom this time who sells over 25.4k at 85 on the charts and another issue selling just over 24k at 90. The titles tying in to Amazing Spider-Man shortly so that’ll help but it seems the Venom nostalgia wave of ’17 is wearing off and fast.
The Super Sons annual does about 5k less than the main title at 86 selling just over 25.3k. Apart from Batman which is an anomaly, the rest of the DC annuals sell pretty decently compared to their main counterparts. DC puts a lot of effort into their annuals and the benefits show in the sales. The Justice League annual compares favorably too, selling about 4k less than the main title with sales over 24.4k at 89. All good news here.
Ray: DC’s done a good job of making all their annuals feel like integral parts of the book, and they’ve been rewarded with better sales. Most of them have the regular writer on board, although there are some exceptions like Aquaman.
Glenn: Secret Warriors gets a massive bump, going against the Marvel trend with its last (?) issue selling just under 24k at 91. I’m guessing this is a weird final issue bump, if its not the final issue I’m guessing its cause of Legacy. If its neither of these things, I have no clue.
Ray: This is the Secret Warriors Legacy debut, so it’s clearly a muted number. Not a great debut, but not a surprise, given the low sales to begin with. The book is still being solicited, but I doubt for much longer. Especially with the mass culling coming. (More on that lay-tor!)
Glenn: In their second Legacy month Black Panther (over 23.7k at 92), Uncanny Avenger’s (over 23.7k at 93), Moon Knight (Over 23.1k at 95) and Defenders (Over 23.1k at 96) all follow the pattern we’re all familiar with when it comes to November from Marvel (don’t worry there’s a lot more where these came from). Uncanny is already gone to be repackaged with the main Avenger’s book and Defenders seems to have been quietly cancelled with the departure of Bendis to DC or due to his health concerns or both. Black Panther has a movie coming out so will be okay for a few months, Moon Knight could hang on if it keeps those numbers but the title will miss Jeff Lemire quite a bit.
Ray: This trio of books all lost well over half of their sales from their Legacy debut, which is a pretty consistent pattern. There’s been little to no long-term impact from the latest relaunch, and the suits at Marvel have got to be getting very worried. Defenders is already gone from solicits, although that’s likely more related to Bendis leaving.
Another inter company crossover Shadow/Batman sells over 22.4k at 97. Not as massive as its predessor but still very good, especially since its published by Dynamite this time (the next highest selling Dynamite book after the debuting John Wick is at 196!!!!) so still a big win overall I’d say.
Glenn: At 99 we have a comic adaption of action movie John Wick, I haven’t seen the movie but I believe its about a retired assassin who goes out for revenge after the mob kills his dog. The two movies have quite a cult status so sales of over 22.3k I’d say is really good, especially for Dynamite. It’ll probably drop to 9-12k next month but that’s probably the best Dynamite could have hoped for with regards to a tie in comic like this.
Ray: Decent month for Dynamite. This prequel to John Wick in particular seems to have gathered some buzz, as it has popular writer Greg Pak on board. The company seems to be gaining a bit of momentum as of late.
Glenn: More second month Marvel titles, this batch includes Spider-Gwen and…now I’m sad….Ray, cheer me up
Ray: Ohhhh, boy. This is where the Marvel section of the charts gets depressing. You mentioned Spider-Gwen, which was one of the Marvel titles that had the biggest bumps in recent months – due to a combination of the relaunch and the popular Gwenom story. That was enough to put it in the top 20 last month with sales of over 73K. This month? Over a 2/3rds drop to 101, with sales of 22K. That’s down 14K from the issue BEFORE Legacy? Could Legacy actually be hurting titles? That’s probably the worst omen possible for Marvel.
Glenn: If we’re seeing fans/retailers react negatively to Legacy long term then that’s not a good thing at all considering the event was to turn things around. It seems that Marvel has the opposite of whatever the midas touch is recently, perhaps its the touch of Manos.
(Since writing this, retailers have been made aware Spider-Gwen will be cancelled. While this is most likely due to some creative switches or changing her name to Ghost-Spider its still a case of…yay Legacy)
Ray: Similar drops for Guardians of the Galaxy (already ending to make way for an event), and Champions (despite a crossover with Avengers). Both barely outsell the standard addition of Action Comics this month, which is essentially just free additional sales for DC on a popular comic!
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur can’t even crack the top 100 with its Legacy debut, charting at #107 and selling 21K. Still going nowhere, though – the sales are clearly coming from elsewhere.
Glenn: Moon Girl is a mystery that will never be solved, like what space air tastes like and when Ray sleeps
Ray: One Marvel book that the news isn’t all bad for is Spirits of Vengeance, which sinks down to 108 with 21K sales. Not great, but considering it’s selling in the general range of Guardians and Champions, that’s not bad for a b-list property that’s been absent for a while. The Marvel sales problems are across the board, so this individual book is probably a small win.
Glenn: Its only a mini too so definitely a moral victory at least for Spirits. If it sells well in collections then the series might be back as a more regular thing…or not. Who can tell anymore?
Ray: Like was mentioned about Super-Sons before, we see both the Aquaman and Green Arrow annuals sell pretty consistently about 5K below the level of the parent title. The Aquaman annual was the DC debut of writer’s workshop graduate Phillip Kennedy Johnson, so that’s a good sign for his DC career.
Glenn: DC are really starting to invest in these writers workshop folks, even giving books to the latest batch before they go through the program. Using the workshop as a platform to make people familiar with new writers while teaching them the craft of how they like to do things is an interesting strategy. We can see that DC is thinking about the writers of tomorrow even though their talent roster there is insane already.
Ray: At #113, we see Jessica Jones, which loses well over 50% of its sales to sell 19K the month after its Legacy debut. This title will obviously be shifting creative teams in April, but with these sales for the original creator’s final act, that could be a big problem.
Glenn: Apart from her brief appearances in other titles, no writer apart from Brian Bendis has spent a great deal of time with Jessica. She’s got a critically acclaimed Netflix show which will help her profile but it’ll be interesting to see how she does once Bendis heads to DC without her. Getting in a female writer already seems like a smart decision to keep fans happy but I’m not sure how prosperous the title might be long term but these days, I’m thinking that about the majority of Marvel titles.
Ray: At #116, we’ve got the DC debut of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, which sells 18.7K. This is the return of original creator Tony Isabella to the character, but despite the upcoming CW TV series, it doesn’t seem to have gained much momentum. Maybe because the status quo in the comic doesn’t really match the one in the TV series?
Glenn: The last time I remember Black Lightning having anything resembling a high profile was back during Meltzer’s Justice League days so this book is likely for the die hard fans. DC are likely testing the waters to see how a BL book might perform once the TV show hits and this certainty isn’t the best indication. If they want Black Lightning to have something of a profile along with his TV show, I’d wager he’ll simply shows up somewhere else.
Ray: This is where the strange collection of one-shots that accompanied Legacy month landed on the charts. Given that all of these were books that Marvel didn’t think could actually sustain their own title, it’s not a surprise the debuts were unimpressive to a one. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack surprisingly has the biggest debut of the five, maybe due to her recent prominence in ASM, selling 18.5K at #118. Not much below at #124 is Darkhawk, selling 17K. This is a spin-off of the current Guardians arc, which helped. The other three have no such sales booster. Master of Kung Fu sells 16.8K at #128, roughly around the same level as Iron Fist’s current title. Power Pack is at #137, selling 15.3K, which is in line with the third issue of Runaways (probably not a title that’s going to do well in the direct market). Then there’s Not Brand Ecch, which sells just under 13K at #154. Needless to say, Marvel didn’t win any favor by letting the writer of their much-reviled recent event parody his own story.
Glenn:I’m not sure what the purpose of these one shots were apart to take up shelf space and maybe get a few bucks. I doubt any of them were considered too much as serious contenders for new regular books apart from Silver Sable who has been part of a recent Amazing story line and has been absent for a few years. If these were ground testers then I doubt Marvel will ever admit to as such. Look for these in dollar store bins everywhere next year if you were curious about any of them.
Ray: At #123, we’ve got the debut of Mystic U from DC. This oversized, three-part miniseries has been much delayed from the DC You era, and it sells just over 17K. Given that it’s an alternate universe and most of these characters don’t have their own titles, this is actually a fairly good debut.
Glenn: ‘What if the magic users of the DC universe had their own Hogwarts’ isn’t the worst elevator pitch in the world. This will probably do well in collections to the non-direct market in the future but for what it is, I would say this is better than DC were expecting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sequel of something similar like ‘what if the Suicide Squad were in the Hunger Games’ or some such (copyright Glenn Matchett)
Ray: It’s a total crash for the second issue of Falcon, which sold 54K with its first issue, and 16.8K with its second. This title is still being solicited, but probably not for long. The character’s clout has been seriously hurt by his disastrous run as Captain America and the event that he was thrown into.
Glenn: Falcon’s had the worst time since being thrown into the spotlight as Captain America so this reaction to him returning to his original status quo isn’t surprising. One that will no doubt be silently cancelled once Marvel hopes people forget about their last wave of cancellations.
Ray: At #129, we’ve got the debut of Jetsons from DC’s Hanna-Barbera line, selling 16.6K. This book was massively critically acclaimed and has one of the writers of Harley Quinn on board, but it hasn’t translated into sales just yet. Still, given that it’s a six-issue miniseries, I imagine it might do very well in collections.
Glenn: Jetsons will likely settle down and like you said, do well with collections. People seem to dig this one and is once again showing that DC has managed to make something of these Hanna Barbara properties that in the past have lived in the 4 digit range when they’ve been just episodes of the classic cartoons but in comic form. Doing something different with these various properties has done quite well for DC and has gotten them a few books that people seem to enjoy reading.
Ray: There’s always a few oddballs on the charts, and at #132 we’ve got a book from Heavy Metal Magazine – Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, which sells 16.4K. I guess 80s hair metal still has a significant fanbase? Either way, this title from a company we very rarely see on the charts outsold several major DC and Marvel books.
Glenn: I’m sure that company is thrilled just to be here. Remember a few months ago that we had an eclectic bunch of rock band comics? Maybe this one just missed the boat a bit…or waited until there was less competition. Either way, this isn’t too bad at all considering who it is targeted to.
Ray: One of them would be the debut of The Demon: Hell is Earth from DC, at #134. DC’s been doing a stealth relaunch of some of their magical concepts over the last few months, but aside from Deadman, none of them have really caught on in sales. This is also by a DC writer, Andrew Constant, making his big two debut, so 16.3K is probably in the range they were expecting.
Glenn: Etrigan has never really had a solid sales base even when he’s had the likes of Gail Simone or John Byrne attached to him. Just as you perfectly said, probably what DC was expecting.
Ray: IDW’s Star Wars Adventures sells just under 16K at #135. It started much higher, but given that this is aggressively being marketed for collections – with small trades being released every three months – it’s likely that single issues are just a side perk for this book. A spinoff based on the Forces of Destiny cartoon has already been greenlit.
Glenn: I’m sure IDW is just thrilled to have something with a Star Wars label on it which will be sold plenty of places outside comic shops. These comics are going to be sold in normal book stores, theme parks and toy stores worldwide and that will mean a huge return for IDW. These books being intended for a younger audience likely also have more sales potential outside the direct market than the Marvel Star Wars books which I’m sure still coins them a pretty penny each month, especially with a new film is out.
Ray: The top-selling Image debut of the month is the Top Cow book Port of Earth, which sells 14.3K at #140. This is by the writer of the well-received Eclipse, and has a strong concept – Earth becoming a spaceport for visiting alien species, some of which don’t exactly have high regard for humans – so I imagine the strong sales here are a product of word of mouth and genuine interest.
Glenn: As we’ve said for a few months now, it seems that most Image series that don’t have big names attached sell based off their concept. Its like pilot season in the US but all year round. Its always interesting to see what people gravitate towards when it seems to be the concept alone bringing them to the table. Truely though the saying is true, there is a comic for everyone,
Ray: And this is where we see some very ugly news for Marvel. Several books that have already made their Legacy are down here, including Gwenpool (#139, 14.5K), Captain Marvel (#138, 15K), Iceman (#158, 12.6K), Luke Cage (#168, 11.9K), and America (#225, 8.3K). And they’ve all been cancelled now, aside from Captain Marvel (whose fate is ambiguous so far, not appearing in the last solicits). And that’s not counting the books that are already ending, like US Avengers or Royals, or those like Generation X, which were cancelled prior to the sales of their Legacy debut even coming in. Needless to say, rough times at the House of Ideas.
Yeah, its rough times. Its even harder when the Editor in chief, Akira Yoshida….
Ray: *whisper, whisper*
Ray: *whisper, whisper*
Ray: *whisper, whisper*
Right…anyway so its harder with editor in chief C.B Yoshida awol because of…reasons. So PR cleanup on the fan backlash isn’t up to par. Its not the best start to Marvel for 2018 for a number of reasons. As a fan of the characters, let us hope that things get turned around…and fast.
Ray: At #147 there’s a very unusual DC Book – Batman: The Dark Prince Charming #1. This is a small hardcover, part one of two, and it sells 13.2K. A hardcover in the single issues list is unusual, to say the least, but it was speculated on Rabbitt Stew (dong!) that it may be classified as a miniseries because it’s part one of two. Either way, it’s hard to gauge what sales DC expected in this format.
Glenn: Weird to see an OGN on the singles chart so hard to judge it. Its very good numbers by usual collection standards but a complete unknown by normal conventions. I wonder if we’ll see that fancy pancy pricey Action 1000 HC end up here too?
Ray: At #148 is another Image debut with some decent momentum behind it – Coyotes, by Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky. This Mexican-set werewolf horror story got very strong reviews and sells 13.2K in its debut. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it get decent reorders next month.
Glenn: Image comics, catering for literally all your non super hero needs and even some of them too!
IDW does an internal crossover in one month in Ghostbusters and TNMT, two very popular franchises that have lasted the test of time for sure but not two properties that are automatically associated with each other. The reason behind this team up is an odd one, did Vego pollute the sewers again? Did Slimer eat the Turtles pizza? Who knows! Its an odd mix of two properties that don’t quite gel and the sales for each issue underline that further. I think IDW was wise to get this one out the door and over with before sales had time to catch up to them. The first issue sold over 12.7k at 155, second at 179 with sales over 11.2k, third at 183 with over 10.8k, fourth at 187 with over 10.7k and 189 with 10.6k. One can’t help but wonder how much better sales would have been if the Ghostbusters had teamed with Mystery Inc.
Ray: IDW does quite a few of these weekly crossover events (the first TMNT/Ghostbusters was one of them as well), generally every five-week month. They usually sell a bit below the level of the parent title, but not too far below, and I believe this one did handily outsell any Ghostbusters comics. So they’ve got a strategy here that delivers some increased market share for the month.
Glenn: Given that Wes Craig is the artist on popular Image book, Deadly Class I would have thought there would be more interest in his writers debut in Gravediggers Union which sells over 12.7k at 157. This is still very good for IDW in terms of creator owned considering that’s not what they are mainly known for and perhaps people missed the fact that the writer on this is already an artist on another popular series. Might stabilize quickly which will ensure it a healthy existence.
Ray: I don’t think Wes Craig is quite a household name in the comic industry yet. Deadly Class is deservedly a big hit, but this book had an odd concept (albeit a very good first issue), and Craig is most known as an artist, not a writer. Feels like this one is one of those Image books that could easily catch on and stay solid or even grow from its first issue sales.
Glenn: Its funny to think back to indie artist Brian Bendis and how people probably overlooked his first foray into writing. It’ll be interesting to see if Craig can follow the success of other Image artist turned writer, Chip Czardarsky
Ragman doesn’t have too much to fall in its second issue with sales over 12.5k at 159. A 5k drop for a third tier DC hero who is having his origin completely revamped in this version isn’t too bad at all, especially since its a mini.
Ray: These DC magic titles all debuted with relatively little fanfare and few variant covers, so the first-issue sales were more reflective of actual interest. Given that, smaller slides are probably in the cards for all of them except maybe Deadman.
Glenn: Rasputin: Voice of the Dragon is this months obligitory new Hellboy book about the series long standing antagonist, the mad Russian himself. The title sells just under 12k at 167 which is pretty standard for Hellboy books, shows how dedicated the fan base is that they’ll even turn up in similar numbers for a book about the villain.
Another new Image book this month, Evolution sells over 11.8k at 170. This is an unusual book featuring a range of writers (including Image writer turned DC superstar Joshua Williamson) exploring the same concept to do with the next stage of human evolution. Considering there’s multiple writers attached, I’m sure retailers were confused and orders were effected rather than what they might have been if one writer had been at the helm. Another odd book in a month of oddities.
Ray: Evolution was easily the oddest Image release of the month, with most people I talked to not even being sure who was writing what. However, it got very good reviews out of the gate, and probably has a lot of room to grow from here.
Glenn: At 177 is the first issue of the comic adaption of the sweariest, sexiest Trek series yet, Discovery. This one hasn’t been around enough to build a large fan base like all the other Trek series so I don’t think IDW could have expected much more than the over 11.3k sales they got. Might gain some traction as the show gets more episodes out.
Injustice 2 Annual edition sells over 11.2k at 178 which is only a stones throw away from the main title which is at 169 with just under 12k. This series has been running for several years now and has become a small but dependable performer for DC.
At 182, DC smushes Metal preludes the Forge and the Casting into a directors cut one shot which sells just under 11k which is impressive for material that isn’t that old and is 7.99 to boot. Metal is the event that keeps on giving for DC, these sales are just another easy win for them.
186 sees Locke and Key artist, Gabriel Rodriguez take on writing and art with Sword Of Ages, a lovely looking sword and sorcery epic which sells over 10.7k. Much like Gravediggers Union above it, I would have expected more considering how big a following Locke and Key has. This one could do well in collections, especially when Rodriquez hits the big time whenever Locke and Key finally gets that tv show we all want like yesterday.
Ray: IDW creator-owned books have an extremely hard road, with some (including one of my favorite comics of 2017, Time and Vine) not even cracking the top 300. Given that, this is probably a decent hit for IDW. IDW’s bread and butter is licensed books, but it does seem like as of late they’ve managed to get some top-tier creators to commit to them for their own visions.
Glenn: Another Planet Of the Apes comic, this time bringing in the biggest Ape King Kong debuts from BOOM at 190 with sales over 10.5k. These two properties go together brilliantly and both had well received, lucrative movies this year so I’m not sure what happened here. Perhaps these are movie franchises that don’t lend themselves to the fandom going to another medium featuring the same characters…or apes as the case may be.
Ray: A crossover is only as strong as the sum of its parts, and this is about the same level of where both Kong and Planet of the Apes generally sold. I don’t think Boom was expecting too much more out of it – in general, they’ll probably do most of their business in trades.
Glenn: At 192 we have the second issue of Wildstorm, Michael Cray selling over 10.3k. I’d say that DC will keep these Wildstorm tie ins to a minimum, the main series written by Warren Ellis does very well but there’s not enough interest beyond what he wants to say with the universe to really get much more out of it.
No.1 with a Bullet from Image uses social media as a major element to its plot, its something that a lot of media is doing to try and capitalize on the current generations obsession with their phones. The results can vary depending on the story but here it gets sales of over 10.2k at 193. Not great but not dire for a property by two unknowns in a field of fiction that is fast becoming very crowded.
Ray: Yeah, I don’t think this title really had anything to drive sales, unlike some of the other Image launches of the month. A lot of Image creators have said that if your comic debuts above 10K without A-list creators attached, that’s a win, so based on that I would say this is probably an okay debut. I think this one has sort of slipped under the radar, though.
Glenn: The second issue of Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion Of Evil sells over 10.2k at 194. Once again, everything related to Black Hammer remains solid for Dark Horse. I would say that like its main counterpart, it’ll do well in collection format for years to come.
Ray: A bit lower than the parent series, typically, but only by about 1K or so. Black Hammer is a bona-fide hit franchise for Dark Horse, for once.
Glenn: At 195 is Cyborg who I think at this point has been put out of his misery now that Justice League the movie has run his course. The series finishes out with sales just over 10.1k so at least it managed to stay above five figures for its run. I doubt with his solo film being apparently shelved we’ll see much more of Cyborg in a solo capacity anytime soon.
Ray: Worth noting that Cyborg got a bit of a boost this month. It actually jumped up above Blue Beetle, which is the lowest-selling DC book this month. Maybe a slight bump for the conclusion of the main run on Cyborg? Or maybe the movie and retailers hoping it would give the title a new lease on life.
Glenn: A few months ago, DC comic debuted a new comic where the female heroes and villains of that universe where reimagined through a Sons Of Anarky lens so naturally, Archie wants to do it too with Betty and Veronica! Betty and Veronica: Vixens sells over 9.7k at 200 which is pretty standard for wacky Archie stuff that isn’t anything to do with the new rebooted title. It’ll have its audience and retailers will know who they are, no surprises here.
Ray: Archie’s been putting out a lot of product lately, and most of the AUs haven’t really clicked sales-wise. When the debut of the new series sells around the same as the 25th issue of the main series, it’s not a great sign for the rookie. It’ll be interesting to see how the company does when they start rolling out concepts that don’t feature the classic characters, like “Cosmo“.
The “Zine issue” of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl charts at #197, with sales of just over 10K. This was an all-star issue featuring stories by indie cartoonists – including Garfield creator Jim Davis – but it sells just about the level of the regular title. This is a title, like Moon Girl, that’s always had mediocre sales in singles at best, doing most of its business in trades. We’ll see how the Legacy debut does next month, but this title has its own market that these sales don’t really reflect.
Glenn: Given the other books that have been put on the cancellation fire, I can’t imagine Squirrel Girl lasting too much longer despite its fan base. Then again, she is featuring in a TV show relatively soon so who knows?
Ray: At #204 is the debut of Dark Fang, which sells 9.6K. This surreal, anime-inspired vampire thriller about a vampire queen who resurfaces from the deep after spending decades trapped under the water didn’t get much advance hype, and isn’t really a mainstream concept. I think this is one of Image’s more niche books lately.
Glenn: It seems that sunlight has hit the vampire market because it wasn’t that long ago that they had so much momentum that even the X-Men featured them. This is a title that probably would have done better a few years ago but could have done worse.
Ray: Rough times for Vertigo continue, as Tim Seeley’s Imaginary Fiends – a horror concept inspired by the real-life Slenderman Murders – lands at #206 with sales of 9.6K. Seeley is DC exclusive, and that likely includes a deal with Vertigo, but this concept would have likely sold much more at Image. Vertigo has the quality product and creators, but somehow they don’t seem to be able to translate that to sales.
Glenn:Imaginary Fiends sounds like such an amazing concept, you can’t help but think it would have easily done double this at Image. Vertigo is certainty a publishing line well past its prime but DC don’t seem to be wanting to give up on it yet, they have a few more announced books to come and big plans over the coming year. You have to admire their persistence and maybe even hope that the Vertigo brand which is much more powerful in terms of a back catalog might get some attention on these books once they’re collected and put into book stores next to Sandman and Hellblazer.
Ray: Selling 9.4K at #207 is this year’s DC New Talent Showcase. Last year’s installment was generally regarded as somewhat of a disaster, more for the structure than anything, and that may have affected orders here. The fact that Scott Snyder had a Wonder Woman story in this issue (possibly a preview of a run to come?) didn’t seem to have an impact, and it’s worth noting that next year’s crop – including Philip Kennedy Johnson and Mags Visaggio – have already seen DC work solicited, meaning this experiment may not be repeated next year.
Glenn: Don’t say that Ray! I need my last hope! Ah who am I kidding…*weeps* well anyway, the fact that Snyder was included here I don’t think was made that well known. If it turns out this is some sort of preview for things to come in terms of his future at DC, we could see a few thousand issues pop up in reorders in a few months. Otherwise, yeah this one shot was hurt by the eclectic nature of last year and the fact that the stories (apart from maybe Snyder’s) have little relevance. Just a way for DC to shift some comics, I guess.
Ray: At #208, selling 9.4K, we get the latest special from Boom based on the cult movie Labyrinth. They’ve put out quite a bit of content for this movie as part of their Jim Henson license, but they have a major new series debuting in February. They clearly see something worth pursuing here.
Glenn: These Jim Henson movies have a very big cult fanbase so they have a small but solidly dependable audience that will likely show up for these things. There are worst properties to have in your back pocket, especially when the new Dark Crystal series rolls out as you hinted at.
Ray: The 25th issue of Mark Waid’s Archie relaunch sells 9.2K at #211. The title got a decent-sized bump based on the major new story that saw Betty critically injured, but the buzz seems to have dissipated since and it’s back down to its standard levels.
Glenn: Waid Archie has lasted well though and seems to be doing well in trades. It seems that this more ‘serious’ version has become quite popular and will stick around likely as long as Waid wants to write it or Archie is interested in continuing it.
Ray: A pretty hefty second-issue drop for Maestros at #218, losing over 50% of its sales to land at 8.9K. I’m a bit surprised, as we don’t really see Image titles drop like this. Wonder what went on here, but Steve Skroce has a loyal cult audience and the title should stabilize from here.
Mighty Thor #700, easily the biggest hit for Marvel so far in the Legacy era, charts again with reorders of 8.7K at #219. Retailers might have been a bit hasty slashing the title’s sales back to pre-Legacy levels – this one feels like it might be rising.
Glenn:I could see Thor pick up momentum as we either go towards the end of Aaron’s run or certainty the end of Jane Foster as the title character. Solid character work and Aaron doing some of his best work has made this book immune to the rest of the chaos happening at Marvel, I’d say the same can be said for Amazing. If appearances and rumours are to be believed then both titles could miss their long term writers more than we could possibly imagine.
Ray: At #222, we’ve got the Image debut of Void Trip, which sells 8.5K. This is a book about intergalactic con artists on a trip through space in a rocket-powered RV, and a lot of the book is about psychedelic fruit. So clearly, this is an oddball book, and the quality will determine if it can build its audience from here. (I love it so far.)
Glenn: Void Trip sounds like an odd book but that didn’t do Chew any harm long term so we’ll see if it can grab an audience and stick around.
Ray: Remember Tank Girl? I sort of do! But she seems to be having some sort of resurgence lately, because here she is again with a new debut from Titan, titled “The Wonderful World of Tank Girl“, which sells 7.6K at #233. It’s clearly a niche book…and yet, it’s the second-highest selling Titan book on the stands, only behind Robotech (their most hyped debut ever).
Glenn: I remember a movie starring Tank Girl and an artist I worked with having an odd obsession with her but that’s about it. I’m sure the property has a few fans left and that’s probably who retailers expected to turn out for her apparent return.
Ray: At #235, we have the debut of Young Adult sports comic Fence, centered around a pair of fencing rivals at an elite prep school. This Boom title sells 7.4K, which is above the debut of books like Backstagers, which had an A-list DC writer on board. But then, this title has a best-selling author on it as well. Either way, as is standard with Boom, this will do most of its sales in collections.
Glenn: We’ve discussed BOOM’s struggles with creator owned in the past and this is a concept that seems a bit odd for a comic, it sounds more like a Disney channel original movie more than anything on paper so might not have caught much interest. Still, BOOM do have a skill of reaching their collections out to a wide market so this title will probably serve more favorably in places that don’t know their Green Arrow’s from their Hawkeye’s.
Ray: I’m not sure if Vault Comics has ever made it to the top 300 before, but they arrive in style this month, with the debut of Reactor at #237, selling 7.4K. This, of course, can be mainly attributed to the writer, a little-known guy by the name of Donny Cates, aka the Great Marvel Hope. How Vault got ahold of this book, we don’t know – maybe they bought the pitch before he broke in to Image, the way Avatar acquired a Jonathan Hickman book back in the day? – but it’s definitely a huge feather in their cap.
Glenn: Great for Vault comics! Always good to see new names in the charts! If they saw something in Cates before he hit the big time and get to ride some success off that then more power to them. Hopefully, this will get them more exposure for other new talent or maybe a few well known ones.
Ray: Vault Comics outsold a first-run Legacy title this month, everyone. Just below it is Monsters Unleashed #8 at #239, selling 7.4K. And yet, this title is still being solicited. Maybe it’s getting that Moon Girl Scholastic audience after all? It must be, because these sales are getting to Solo/Slapstick levels.
I hope those 6,991 people who bought copies of Black Panther Prelude #2 enjoyed their reprint of Civil War. That’s good enough for #244, but it amazes me that Marvel continues to do these and doesn’t get more flack for disguising recaps as original comics.
Glenn: Probably because it sells so little that not many people care? Or it could be that they have bigger fires that get all the attention, a little overpriced retelling of a story that millions of people in the world saw is not the worst thing that Marvel could be doing.
Ray: The first of the Dark Knights one-shots, The Red Death, charts once again at #248 with sales of 6.8K. At this point it’s just the cherry on top for DC, who’s riding the biggest hit event in comics in years right now. Metal can’t be stopped!
Glenn: I tried to stop Metal once…it hurt my face
Ray: At #250, it’s the first issue of Dark Horse’s Jenny Finn, which is a newly colored reprint of Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey’s acclaimed early work. Given that this is a reissue, Dark Horse is probably pretty happy to chart with it. Mignola’s one of their most dependable talents. At least until Disney buys him!
Glenn: I can’t wait to cue with my little boy once he’s older to get an autograph from a guy in Disney dressed as Mignola! In all seriousness though if this is old material then this is a very good number. If Disney buying FOX ends up taking away the few franchises Dark Horse can depend on to pay the bills then their relationship with Mignola is going to become incredibly important.
The second issue of Paul Jenkins title, God Complex sells over 6.3k at 256. Jenkins might get a little buzz with the Sentry apparently being back but he never hit the big time that his peers at Marvel did so this is probably the best he could hope for.
At 257 is Harbinger Renegade 0 which sells over 6.3k. A quick googling seems to hype this issue as a prelude to an event taking place in Valient comics in 2018 so I would have thought there would have been more interest. Its still within the standard Valient range but perhaps the weird issue 0 confused people what exactly it was?
Ray: Valiant has been doing these #0 issues as transitions between runs for a while now. I’m not sure it’s working, but they seem to be doubling down on it, so they’re pretty happy!
Glenn: The return of Hack/Slash in the form of Resurrection is an interesting experiment. Without its creator the series is back and the second issue sells over 6.2k at 259. This tells me that the hardcore fans are likely still here despite the creator, Tim Seeley not being involved but the relaunch hasn’t got much attention from new potential fans.
Ray: Hack/Slash has always been a cult property, and I believe it’s been gone for a while, so this was always going to be a hard sell. Still, Tini Howard is rising fast, with a major launch for IDW coming next month as well.
Glenn: At 260 is the Simpsons comic, it sells over 6.1k which is standard but the purchase of FOX by Disney does make me curious what happens to Bongo comics. They’re a company who have a far reach that could rival or even surpass anything any other company has so I doubt it’ll be shut down. If anything, Marvel might be interested in taking a look at their business model because while Bongo have never been the strongest direct market sellers, their presence in book stores and retailers is rather insane and something Marvel might want to duplicate.
Ray: It’s crazy to think about, but Bongo Comics has been going strong for well over twenty years, and Simpsons Comics may be one of the longest consecutive numbered comics right now without a relaunch, if not the longest. Given that, and given Disney’s…issues with Marvel and licensed properties right now, I’m guessing they’d be happy to continue the status quo with Bongo.
Glenn: At 261 is Minky Woodcock Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini from Titan. No, doing these articles hasn’t driven me mad, that’s really what the book is called. It sells over 6.1k and is probably the weirdest titled comic ever. This is published under Titan’s ‘hard crime’ banner which usually sells around this range if not lower. I would say most of these orders were for the title alone.
Ray: Good ol’ Minky Woodcock. I hope she’s not a one-off on the charts. I could see her joining Zombie Tramp as our mascot!
Glenn: Here’s Tim Seeley again publishing another creator owned with Aftershock this time in the form of Brilliant Trash which sells just over 6k at 262. This is about standard for new Aftershock stuff. It seems that Seeley has done the Image thing and had the opportunity to go back to it but has decided to publish his own work with other people, he must be happy with how its doing so who are we to argue?
Ray: That’s a surprisingly low debut for a Tim Seeley book, but this title didn’t have a very clear concept from solicits. I’m two issues in and I’m still not 100% sure of what it’s about!
Glenn: Giantkillers 0 reads like a prelude to an upcoming IDW series by Bart Sears who was popular in that wild wacky time known as ‘the 90’s’ it sells just under 5.8k at 269. It’s not like Bart Sears was a huge name back in the day and he’s not done a title of any note to my recollection for years so given what we’ve established how IDW creator owned tends to far this is probably what could be expected.
Ray: Giantkillers probably wasn’t helped by debuting the same month as the much more hyped Sword of Ages from the same company, as well.
Glenn: Speaking of IDW, here’s this months new Transformers number 1 in Transformers: First Strike which sells over 5.7k at 270. I wonder if all these Transformers comics can be assembled to form a much bigger Transformers comic.
Random James Bond one shot from Dynamite ‘Solicited‘ sells over 5.6k at 273. Pretty decent for a one shot for probably the only die hard of die hard Bond fans. It does seem that Dynamite is certainty getting the most out of this licence.
There’s more Metal reorders, this time for the Merciless which sells over 5.6k at 276. This is the Wonder Woman/Batman mash up which I thought would have sold more so I guess this is retailers realizing they should have ordered more after all. Either way, more Metal money for DC.
Second issues of Image book Family Trade and Hack/Slash Vs Vampirella fall at 277 and 278 respectively with sales of under 5.6k and over 5.4k a piece. The first one is by Justin Jordan so could be healthier, maybe just a concept that didn’t grab people while the latter is what it is. The small but dedicated fan base will turn out for the properties regardless.
Second issue of Archie title…the Archies which has the main characters function as a full time band sells over 5k at 287. Again, pretty standard for wacky Archie title number 1005 but I would have expected more here given some of the talent involved.
Ray: Yeah, Archies being the lowest-selling of the new Archie line is a bit odd. This is a title that has a best-selling novelist (Alex Segura), a popular Marvel writer (Matt Rosenberg), and an artist with a significant fanbase (Joe Eisma), plus it’s been setting up all sorts of guest appearances by real-life musicians. Maybe a music comic is a hard sell because you can’t actually hear the music?
Ray: Proof that 90’s nostalgia will never die, Street Fighter Reloaded sells over 5k at 288. I’m currently trying to beat the game on my SNES mini so I can’t really poke fun here…I would so buy this if it gave me the magic combination to beat M. Bison too.
Second issue of Animosity International, the spin off series from Aftershock sells over 4.7k at 299 so will likely be gone from the charts next month. Still, the property getting another title has to be a great sign for Aftershock’s faith in it.
Last title, the winner of the chicken dinner is Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose which is a comic I’ve never heard of but is apparently 107 issues into its run. Its published by Broadsword Comics (?!?!?!?!?!?) and lets see what its ab…erm its about cute animals. No need to google, just take my word on it…
Ray: Ah, Tarot. There’s a blast from the past. Hope no one’s got any haunted body parts thanks to this comic!
Looking ahead to the last month of the year, the big two are a bit lighter for big debuts than they have been in recent months. DC should easily claim the top of the charts this month with Doomsday Clock, Metal, and a Hawkman one-shot by Jeff Lemire tying into the latter. There’s also a major crossover playing out in the pages of Superman, Super-Sons, and Teen Titans that features the return of the YJ core four – at least in the form of their evil future selves. And then, of course, there’s the sequel to the mega-popular Batman/TMNT crossover! Plus the latest DC Holiday Special. And this is a slower month for the company!
Meanwhile, over at Marvel, there’s two major returns – one much-anticipated and one…less. Marvel Two-In-One, the closest thing we’ve had to a Fantastic Four book in years, should be the biggest Marvel debut of the month, while the first issue of the weekly series “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of (Adult) Jean Grey” may benefit from a lot of covers. Minky Woodcock says “That’s a ridiculous title”. We’ll also see the launch of new series Tales of Suspense, which starts with #100 and features three popular Avengers, plus quite a few Legacy launches and a Star Wars one-shot that serves as a prequel to The Last Jedi. We’ll also see how Ed Piskor’s bold experiment X-Men: Grand Design does – I’m expecting numbers akin to Creature of the Night this month, with similar blockbuster sales in collections down the line.
And of course, there’ll be a host of indie comics including new launches from Archie (Mighty Crusaders), Valiant (Quantum and Woody), Image (Sleepless, Paradiso, Boneheads), and IDW (Assassinistas) among others. One last By the Numbers to go for 2017! And lots more crying over Marvel sales to come.
Glenn: Get your tissues ready and have a happy New Year everyone!
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