Category Archives: By the Numbers

Entertainment Earth

By The Numbers: March 2019

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 various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! After watching Avengers: Endgame and The Battle Of Winterfell in the span of two days, he is not emotionally okay.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  After watching all of She-Ra: Princesses Of Power in one day and having to wait for more, he is not emotionally okay.

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: So this year so far has been verly quiet and for the most part, March 2019 is the same but this time there’s a good reason. In March of this year, DC published the 1000th issue of their second longest going comic, Detective Comics which everyone wanted to steer clear of. That means of another month of largely the stronger standard titles managing to pull a higher number than usual but there is clearly only one game in town this month.

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So yeah, Detective Comics 1000 was the highest selling comic and its not a shock. With the historical significance, a murderers row of talent and enough variants to drown someone in if it hadn’t been then then there would have been something seriously wrong. With all of that taken into account, DC pulls in sales of over 525k and that’s pretty much what I expected. This is about the same number that Action Comics managed last year and its a big thing for DC to manage that, on a comic that cost $10 to boot. A lot of champagne will be uncorked no doubt and it’ll be some years until another comic reaches this number (without cheating like Deadpool did once upon a time) so it puts Action and Detective in rarefied air which is worth more than any unit number could convey.
Ray: We finally see some excitement atop the charts this month! Yeah, there’s no surprise that Detective Comics #1000 utterly dominates. Even though this comic was essentially an oversized Batman anthology, there’s no question that these anniversaries get a ton of interest for DC. These are numbers you just don’t see anymore. Now they only have to wait *checks* forty years to hit #2000!
Glenn: Back in the land of normal comics that don’t have 80 years of build, the spin off to the mega successful Batman Who Laughs starring a new evil Batman in the Grim Knight also does brilliant numbers selling over 133.6k at 2 this month. This is a comic that actually outsells some of the main mini which is crazy to think about because spin offs from mini’s rarely do any business at all. Of course this has top creators involved but this concept first seen in Metal just seems to keep on giving. Its no shock that DC has not only extended the Batman Who Laughs mini by another issue but is heavily involving him in a new version of the Secret Six later this year.
Ray: Yeah, this number is actually in line with the second issue of the series, which is amazing. I’d be surprised if Batisher doesn’t escape this miniseries now, because he’s a fan-favorite villain too. And DC is hopefully going to get the most they can out of the Batman who Laughs without overusing him and losing the impact.
Glenn: It took me a moment to figure out Batisher, me brain no longer work good.
At third is the much delayed Doomsday Clock which is so great that we all seem to be willing to let it come out at its own pace if the sales of over 120k is any indication. We have only 3 issues to go now and its safe to say this one will end up in the six figure mark quite safely as it concludes, despite what some detractors might say about it, it seems Doomsday Clock has been a massive success. Sure we would like it a lot quicker but hey got to keep the spirit of the original alive right?
Ray: Doomsday Clock’s delays are getting worse and worse, but it doesn’t seem to matter. These are essentially staying flat from issue to issue, even with two to three months between issues. Very similar to what we saw with Dark Knight III.
Glenn: More Batman at 4 and 5 with the newest issues of Tom King’s best selling run selling over 84.4k for issue 67 and 83.1 for issue 66. Why 67 sold marginally more could mean that this is what Batman’s base level is (which is stellar and nothing is close to it on a regular basis) or extra people checking out the sequel to the ridiculously brilliant Batman/Elmer Fudd by King and Lee Weeks. Either way, Batman may have slowed down but there’s still no concerns.
Ray: This is probably the low end of what Batman’s going to sell in the coming months, as the Knightmares arc is about to end and the war with Bane will be ramping up. Expect big sales for Batman #75 in July, well over 100K as King takes Batman’s life to the woodshed again.
Glenn: He only hurts him because he loves him.
The remarkably steady Heroes In Crisis sells over 78.5k for its 7th issue at spot 6. Despite some serious fan backlash over the contents (some of which has gone so far to threaten death on writer to Tom King which is beyond stupid and disgusting) the series has performed steadily sales wise. Its perhaps not the mega blockbuster DC wanted but its been a strong steady performer. I would say the upcoming DCeased will deliver similar numbers.
Ray: Heroes in Crisis has set the internet on fire like nothing since Hydra Cap, but unlike that offensive disaster of a miniseries, Heroes in Crisis has leveled out pretty well. It’s not the sales hit they were hoping for, but it’s a modest success. The less we say about those ignorant chodes who threatened King, the better.
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Glenn: I have no clue what a chode is, sounds tasty.
While DC sweeps the top 6, Marvel finally nudges into the top ten with the ever reliable Amazing Spider-Man at spots 7 and 8 with issues 17 and 18 selling over 78.k and 74.4k respectively. Its the start of the much hyped mini Spidey event ‘Hunted’ and the sales as usual for the book are their modern day pattern if very good but unspectacular. Weighed against the sales of Dan Slott’s major Spidey stories, Hunted falls short but Amazing continues to be Marvel’s default ongoing in lieu of any new launches or events. Next month we have the start of War Of The Realms which is going to play havoc on the charts most likely so we’ll see how Amazing settles then.
Ray: It’s definitely the calm before the storm for Marvel, as War of the Realms descends next month to likely win the next three months of sales. These are decent sales for Hunted, but not much above what ASM was slowly sinking to. This isn’t an event, and the sales of the first .HU issue (#18, 52.9K) bear that out. Retailers aren’t treating the villains one-shots like the main series even with the branding.
Glenn: The 18.HU issue could be an indicator of how Black Cat launches in the coming months, that wouldn’t be a bad launch for her ‘ongoing’ but it would have to level out swiftly.
Big surprise at 9 with Spider-Man: City At War which is tying into the very wel received video game from last year selling over 72.2k. For years we’ve been talking about how video game tie-ins don’t sell but here we are. Even the super popular Arkham games didn’t ever deliver a performance like this. I’m not expecting it to hold next month but its something that goes against trends in the right way which is always a positive thing.
Ray: This is a highly impressive number for City at War, and I suspect there might have been some targeted ordering for video game stores. This is a great debut and sets it up to be a success over the course of a run. A huge win for Dennis Hallum – no wonder he found hope.
Glenn: Last in the top ten is DC’s second highest selling regular ongoing in Justice League which starts a new story in issue 20 which warrants sales of over 64.6k while the previous issue is at 12 with sales 57.7k. Its a lot lower than when Geoff Johns is on the book and much lower than what you would expect from a Snyder book but as the run gains momentum and seems to be becoming the main fixture of how the next big chapter in DC (Year Of The Villain) gets started it’ll do fine. It could be doing a lot better and on paper it should be but it’ll likely rebound to better numbers now and again much like Batman does.
Ray: The increase for the new storyline is for Snyder’s return for the big 6th Dimension story which sets up Year of the Villain, so it seems this book does fluctuate a bit with the stories. This is going to be the centerpiece title of the next year of stories, so expect numbers to slowly go up.
Glenn: Its interesting that in the top ten with not much else happening (again War Of The Realms is coming) that basically Marvel vs DC’s battle at the top is becoming Spider-Man vs Batman with the former pulling out the win. Of the top ten, four feature Batman (the other 3 books DC has in the top ten meanwhile still has him in a prominent and/or leading role) and the other 3 spots are Spider-Man titles. Again its no surprise the onslaught of Batman titles or books featuring the character prominently are slowing down and we’re getting so damn many Spider-Man books. Its not an easy market for anyone and the big two are hedging their bets on the two character that always deliver…for the moment anyway. Batman’s held his spot as a top performer for DC for over a decade where Spider-Man pops in an out. Will things change? Time will tell…

Ray:  Batman is bulletproof like no character we’ve ever seen, and Spider-man is close but no cigar. I think the most impressive thing this month is how DC won the month in overall market share, unheard of and largely due to the success of one comic – despite Marvel releasing about 25 more books. 

At #13 is a bizarre entry, as the Incredible Hulk #181 fascimile edition sells #56K to land just outside the top ten. This is essentially a $3.99 True Believers edition with a fancier cover, so that’s a lot of free money for Marvel. Question is, why did this do so well? There weren’t any Hulk or Wolverine movies out in March.
Glenn:  I think its a case of the comics significance driving up orders. A lot of people know the value on this one and its one of Marvels most frequently reprinted so retailers likely ordered it on its pedigree alone.
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Ray:  At #14 selling 54K is Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, the latest spin-off from Donny Cates’ hit new antihero. Focusing on Frank visiting his family in time and telling them weird stories that retcon him into Marvel history, it’s an odd comic – but the character’s buzz is enough to make it a big hit. I guess retailers are betting Donny Cates isn’t all CGR has going for him, but we’ll see in coming months.
Glenn: This is very fast for a character who’s caught on to be thrust out on his own (DC waited nearly a year on the Batman Who Laughs) so this is interesting. The character definitely has legs on first impression but when people realize Cates isn’t involved here I expect sales to drop swiftly. Hopefully Marvel don’t overplay it too rapidly.
Ray: A book that might have been under-ordered is Spider-Man: Life Story at #15. Selling 54K, this Zdarsky/Bagley alternate universe that ages Spider-Man in real time has gotten some of the best reviews for a Marvel Comic in years. That it was outsold by City at War surprises me, but I think this one will wind up doing a lot better as a collected edition. It feels like a Marvel classic in the making.
Glenn: I feel that this one is going to fly under the radar and like Vision is going to be one that is looked back on as a potential modern classic. I definitely think we’ll see reorders and some fast stabilization here.
Ray: Amid the regular suspects that make up the top-tier books in the 60K to 40K range – including Venom, Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, Avengers, Superman, The Green Lantern, Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy – there’s a few surprising sales jumps. Immortal Hulk ships two issues this month, with the first selling 45K at #27 and the second selling 53K at #17. This is a book that’s been building momentum for a while, but this is unexpected and doesn’t have an obvious explanation.
Glenn: A well received run picking up steam sales wise? Its a crazy idea but it happens.
Ray: A very good sign for Daredevil is its jump from #2 last month to #3 this month, increasing a full 16K in sales to sell 51K at #19. This might have been a case of retailers missing the boat on how much Zdarsky would lift this title.
Glenn:  Hope so, we’ll see how we go next month.
Ray: The latest Vader miniseries, the anthology Dark Visions, lands at #26 with sales of 46K. The mini after this has already been announced, so it seems like Marvel’s just going to keep Vader in miniseries as long as he sells. This is far from a great number, but not low enough to change that strategy.
Glenn: We are now a long way away from the height of sales that the original Marvel Vader series had. Since a rotating series of mini’s probably fits the character more, this is likely just the world Marvel will have to accept. I would wager anything Vader related does well in collections, he’s still the saga’s best known and most popular villain
Ray: A strange DC bump goes to Harley Quinn, which sold 36K last month and 43K this month at #28. Similar results for Catwoman, which gains 10K in sales to land at #29 with sales of 43K. No events in either of these books, so I’m wondering if it could be a bounce for Women’s History Month?
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Glenn:  Good spot, we’ll see next month.
Ray: Walking Dead continues to slide, selling 43K at #30, but the next big event apparently hit in #191 and went back for reorders, so look for some movement from this book in May.
Conan the Barbarian basically holds flat from last month, gaining a few hundred copies to land at #35 with sales of #39K. That puts it around the level of Flash, Shazam, and the main Star Wars book at the moment, so I think we can safely call that a hit for Marvel.
Gail Simone’s Domino relaunches with a miniseries branded “Hotshots” and gets a hefty first-issue bump in the process. It sells just under 35K at #43, more than a 100% jump from the last regular issue. Retailers ordered this like a first issue, which is unexpected. It’ll likely assume standard sales next month, but it’s given this quality book a second life.
Oddly, Wonder Woman loses all of the 10K bump it got last month, with its two issues this month selling 35K and 33K at #42 and #47. There’s a lot of odd math games this month. Again, and this time it’s not just Marvel playing!
Young Justice also stays pretty solid, losing only 2K with its third issue to sell 35K at #46. Not exactly what DC was hoping for, I’m sure, but it’s a lot more consistent than any Titans-branded books have been in years.
Another dramatic jump in sales, this time for Invaders which sold 19K last month and 33K this month at #49. A quality book that deserves more sales, but this is just weird.
Glenn: In a month with not much going on, perhaps retailers decided to mess with us. Yes I’m saying a group of hundreds of retailers across America are purposely trying to mess with me and Ray using their ordering power to do so.
Ray: #51 brings us the third Conan series, this one minus Conan! Belit, Queen of the Black Coast launches with 33K in sales, not bad for a supporting character who’s never appeared in Marvel Comics before. She was mentioned in Avengers: No Road Home, which might have helped these sales.
Glenn:  We’ll see how this one settles out but given Marvels went all in very quickly with 3 Conan/Conan related books, 33k is still very good. Dark Horse hasn’t seen Conan sales like this in years and it seems it was worth the properties time moving house.
Ray: Supergirl is the next beneficiary of this month’s strange yo-yo sales, as it goes from just under 20K sales last month to over 32K this month at #52. Again, this is mid-storyline with no real event, so it’s inexplicable – but I’m always happy to see Supergirl sell better.
Worth noting that three recently-launched side Spider-books have all settled down around the same number, with Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man all selling between 30K and 29K of their fourth issues at #56, #61, and #62 respectively. Respectable numbers, but none are really catching fire yet. Watch FNSM for coming events to get reorders, though.
The last two Age of Republic one-shots land this month, with General Grievous selling 30K at #60 and Padme Amidala selling 26K at #71. Evil droids > Natalie Portman. Noted, comic market, noted.
Glenn:  Cool lightsaber dude>Skywalker twins mom is probably more accurate.
Image result for age of republic general grievous
Ray: We also get the final two Age of X-Man launches, as Bishop-centric Prisoner X lands at #63 with sales of 29K and free-love Apocalypse and the X-Tracts pulls just under 28K at #66. Pretty standard for a mini-event that really hasn’t caught on.
#67 brings the one-shot Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End selling 27K. This is really a case of good branding, because this isn’t an Uncanny X-Men book at all – it’s an oversized epilogue to Sina Grace’s Iceman book, which typically sold under 10K. Clever, Marvel.
Glenn: Got to respect the ingenuity.
Ray: Some characters just don’t sell well in singles. Ms. Marvel isn’t quite Squirrel Girl or Moon Girl levels, but the debut sales of The Magnificent Marvel – 27.7K at #68 – are far from inspiring for Saladin Ahmed’s debut issue. This is just a fraction of the overall sales, but it’s still a surprise given that this is a major creative team shift.
Glenn: Maybe because G. Willow Wilson is so closely associated with the character some were wary? Kamala is a big hit outside the direct market as you indicate but now she’s going to be written by others exclusively, it’ll be interesting how she fares. Will it just be the initial Wilson stories that people keep going back to or is the character strong enough to endure?
Ray: Buffy the Vampire Slayer stays rock-solid once again, gaining another 1K in sales to land at #76 with 25K sales. This will likely keep going up with the arrival of Angel and next issue’s big twist.
Glenn: I’m thinking an upswing for issue 4 and certainty some reorders for those that couldn’t see the blunt hammer hints indicating what was coming.
Ray: Speaking of iconic girl-power heroes, a good debut for Archie with the launch of Kelly Thompson’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Archie books usually struggle in singles, so 25K at #78 is impressive and likely down to Thompson’s fast-rising star power. I’m just sad this is only a miniseries, and Archie probably will be too. Sabrina Meets Nancy Drew when?
Glenn: It could always get extended, its happened before.
Ray: Amid a lot of mid-level books for DC and Marvel, there’s a hit for Valiant mixed in. The Life and Death of Toyo Harada is a miniseries tying up the story of one of Valiant’s biggest characters and bringing back original Valiant relaunch creator Joshua Dysart. Sales of 23K at #84 indicates Valiant’s expecting more buzz here than the usual.
#88 brings the Marvel miniseries Meet the Skrulls, a pastiche of The Americans, Vision, and Secret Invasion designed to tie in with the release of Captain Marvel. With no real hype behind it, it only manages just under 22K in sales.
Glenn: The solicitation gave me a big King Vision vibe which I’m sure wasn’t an accident. It doesn’t seem that many took the bait, a mini featuring a villainous alien race with no connection to any main book was always going to be a hard sell.
Ray: Another disappointing debut for the last book in the first wave of Wonder Comics, as Dial H for Hero sells 21.8K at #89. This line has been of excellent quality, but with limited name recognition for the other books they’ve run into sales issues. We’ll see what Bendis and Co. has cooking for the second wave once the miniseries end.
Glenn: I didn’t expect Young Animal to get another go so anything is possible, clearly that line was selling enough somewhere for DC to give it another go and I think this line is delivering similar if not better results and has a better mass market appeal.
Ray: IDW relaunches the Transformers franchise with a new creative team at #90, selling 21.7K. Decent numbers for an IDW licensed property, but the days when this franchise was IDW’s dominant one are long gone.
A solid Image debut for the post-apocalyptic thriller Little Bird, which manages to sell 19.8K at #94. This book didn’t have any name creators attached, but Image put a lot of promotional hype on it – enough to make it the third-highest seller of the month for them.
Glenn: The creative team are probably thrilled, there’s been a lot of surprises from Image like this recently so good for them.
Ray: #100 brings us the one-shot Firefly: Bad Company, which sells 19K as it expands on the backstory of a major Firefly supporting character. Not bad for a $7.99 comic as the main series takes a month off in between arcs.
Glenn: Much like the swap for Conan seems to have done the franchise the world of good unit wise, Firefly and Buffy/Angel seem to have given the franchises a bit of a boost and delivered brilliant results from BOOM. 
Although its performing how a seemingly random mini performs and usually wouldn’t be worth of note the mere existence of the Black Order mini at 111 selling over 17.3k makes a ton more sense after Endgame. People looking for Thanos related stuff will pick this up in trade so even though its not one that will be noted in any way it may earn its keep that way.
Ray: This mini really seems to have come and gone without notice, especially considering how little a role the Black Order played in Endgame.
Glenn: The MARVELS annotated mini’s second issue delivers sales over 16.4k which is brilliant for something priced at 7.99 that has been in easy to get collections for years and years. Marvel are the masters of making money off stuff they have already made money on.
Light hearted murderfest Assassin Nation from Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson debuts from Image at 119 with sales over 15.7 which is a respectable launch that I’d expect from creators who certainty have their fanbases, This type of hyper violent comedy drama has its own niche which can pay off if done well and this one seems to have hit a cord.
Ray: Neither Kyle Starks nor Erica Henderson really has much sales pull in the direct market, so this is a pretty great debut. The second top Image debut of the month, impressive for a comic that didn’t seem to get much hype.
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Glenn: Mark Millar’s newest Image offering, Shakey Bounty Hunter has its second issue this month selling over 15.1k at 122 which is about half of the issue 1 sales. There seems to be a new odd trend with Millar’s latest Image books where on paper given the artists he can have they should sell more than they are. I’m not sure if its the market or people trade waiting for his stuff or waiting for the inevitable adaption or a mix of all 3. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good sales for an Image book but Bianchi’s name alone used to pull in like sales of 50-70k minimum. I may be overthinking it.
Ray: It’s been a while since Bianchi did interiors too, so they might not have the sales pull of many Millar creators anymore.
Glenn: Marvel Rising, the all ages comic based on the cartoon based on DC’s Super Hero Girls debuts a new comic at 125 with sales over 15k which is very good for this sort of thing. I do think comics like this should be cheaper for parents and/or younger readers but for direct market sales thats very good. This comic of course will do its main business elsewhere much like Ms. Marvels main series and other things.
Ray: Marvel Rising as a whole doesn’t seem to have quite captured the media attention of DC Super Hero Girls either. Of course, the latter just rebooted, so that fight is wide open again.
Glenn: The good news for controversial DC mini series Female Furies at 130 is that it only loses 13k in its 2nd issue but the bad news is that it didn’t have the initial numbers to take that hit and its now selling over 13.5k. DC was hoping to ride off the mega successful Mr. Miracle here but this one will likely be shuffled into the corner hoping people don’t talk about it much.
Only a slight drop for Hit-Girl season 2 2nd issue, only losing about 2k of sales at 134 with sales over 13.3k. The murderous little girl has seen better days sales wise but a fast stabilization is always a positive, maybe Smith’s involvement in Detective 1k helped?
Another one finding its level quickly is the new take on Red Sonja which lands at 135 selling over 13.2k. This is a good 5k or so better than most Red Sonja books so I think Dynamite can safely call this a win.
Greg Pak’s Ronin Island launches from BOOM this month selling over 13.1k at 138. This is another solid performance from a good book and its likely due to Pak’s name but I am getting some serious Avatar (not the one getting its ass kicked by Avenger’s Endgame) vibes so since that series has a verly decent fanbase, this one could be a sleeper hit in singles and collections.
Ray: Pak’s really been riding a hot streak recently between Firefly and his Marvel work. It seems to have translated to his creator-owned work – which it didn’t for his equally brilliant Mech Cadet Yu last year. A good sign for Boom.
Glenn: Its the return of the Goon from Albatross Press selling 147 at 12.k. This is a long running character with his own set audience so retailers likely know what to expect out of it, they know its not going to deliver them any big returns after all this time.
Ray: That’s well above the level I’ve seen Albatross Funnybooks get before, so The Goon clearly has some loyal fans left from its Dark Horse days. There’s a crossover with wizard-pug comedy Grumble coming soon.
Glenn: A new creator owned series by G. Willow Wilson at 149 selling over 12k from Dark Horse in the form of Invisible Kingdom is a bit of an under performer. Certainty Wilson could arguably be one of the most important creators of the 21st century due to her work on Ms. Marvel and she is now doing work for DC as well. However she hasn’t had a creator owned series since the long ago Vertigo series Air so like retailers may not know how to treat Ms. Marvel without Wilson they may not know how to treat Wilson without Ms. Marvel. Dark Horse these days are a mixed bad however with most of their top creators only managing to do around these numbers anyway.
Ray: This is a little above what we usually see Berger Books do, so the one-two creative punch of Wilson and Ward helped. Most of these titles seem aimed at the bookstore market, though.
Glenn: To emphasize my point, at 151 is the latest Black Hammer mini, Black Hammer 45 by mad scientist creator Jeff Lemire which sells over 11.5k which is perfectly in line with the rest of the line pretty much. Dark Horse must be thrilled with these so far due how many of these we’re getting. Watch for Justice League/Black Hammer to overperform in a few months and get a whole set of new eyes on this brilliant universe.
Ray: At this point, I think retailers are largely ordering Black Hammer books very consistently, almost never dropping their orders and giving spin-offs the same rope as the main series. Expect it to keep going up as the line gains buzz and the adaptation nears.
Glenn: At 154 is Rick and Morty Presents Jerry which sells over 11.4k. The franchise is definitely one that seems to be keeping the lights on at Oni due to its very passionate fan base. I do not for the record know who Jerry is.
Ray: It’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet.
Glenn: A multi year delay seems to have not been kind to Image creator owned series Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark who bring the series back with a 7.99 one shot this month at 154 selling over 11.3k. The fans likely have moved on and are willing now to wait for a collection I’d say.
Ray: I don’t know that the title was selling much higher before its long hiatus – Lazarus was always critically acclaimed, but its slow pace didn’t lend itself to single-issue sales.
Glenn: At 156 is the Spider-Man: Far From Home Prelude which sells over 11.1k to those that needed reminded what happened in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Ray: 11.1K suckers!!!!
Glenn: Reorders for Captain Marvel 1 keep happening and its nearly the same amount as last month with over 10.7k at 161 which is great for the character who’s had a rough few years comic wise.
More retro Marvel comics to celebrate an anniversary of some sort in the form of Ziggy Pig Silly Seal at 164 selling over 10.2k which I think makes this the lowest selling of the bunch but when its a comic called Ziggy Pig Silly Seal I think you can take what you can get, especially if you’re charging 4.99 for it.
Ray: Shockingly, no one wanted a continuation of a random weird subplot from an issue of the current Deadpool run about homicidal pigs.
Glenn: New Aftershock title Dark Red debuts at 177 selling over 8.6k which is pretty standard for their launches. Again this is despite the involvement in a top talent in Tim Seeley, the Aftershock mystery continues.
Ray: This is not the redneck vampire comic you are looking for. *waves hand* Bad time to debut this concept, and Aftershock’s struggles continue.
Glenn: Although it had a respectable launch last month, DC/Vertigo’s High Level has crashed in its second issue with sales over 8.1k at 183, don’t get attached to this one folks.

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Ray: A new Dungeons and Dragons miniseries, “A Darkened Wish“, launches from IDW at #191 with 7.6K. This is one of IDW’s most durable franchises, but never a top seller. 

Speaking of IDW, an odd entry at #192 as they debut their comic spin-off of the Netflix original GLOW from Tini Howard, selling 7.6K. This is a show where much of the appeal is the acting, chemistry, and fight choreography – none of which are things that will translate to the comic, so I’m not surprised it struggled.
Glenn: In terms of Netflix shows I’d consider GLOW to have a very niche cult fanbase that I don’t see extending to have interest in other media. I can see it for Stranger Things for sure (and we have) but not GLOW…you should all watch the show though, its great.
Ray: 7.4K in reorders for Guardians of the Galaxy #1 at #195. Given all the reorders this month, I can’t be sure which volume of GOTG this was.
Glenn: Lets go with the very first version for lolz.
Ray: 7.2K in sales for the latest Marvel Super Hero Adventures one-shot, “Spider-Sense of Adventure” at #199. This is essentially a monthly series of short kid-friendly storied (with brilliant newspaper comic parodies by Ty Templeton), but by renumbering it every month it never loses sales.
Glenn: Its genius!
Ray: Marvel continues selling us the same comics at higher prices with Marvel Tales: Thor, a $7.99 collection of classic Thor stories which sells 7.2K at #200.
After a lot of low-selling indie books at this level, we get a new debut with Dynamite’s The Six Million Dollar Man #1, which sells 5.9K at #216. This had Marvel creator Christopher Hastings (Gwenpool, Secret Agent Deadpool) on board, but the character isn’t particularly relevant to current readers. This is typical “Dynamite throws a license at no one in particular” numbers.
Glenn: The franchise is wellllll beyond its best years which weren’t that great to begin with. Besides people have mined this idea to death but with different names so there’s plenty of better tales with a similar premise out there.
Ray: #222 brings us the launch of Dark Horse’s second Frozen miniseries, Reunion Road. Unlike the previous Joe Books Frozen title, these are more plot-driven and are released in quick three-issue minis – making them easy to collect in small trades. #5.6K isn’t great sales for a franchise this big, but it’ll find its audience in bookstores where kids actually go.
Solicits indicate that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur may be ending soon, and we’ll find out in the coming weeks when solicits arrive. The question is, how low will single issues go before then? This month it’s at #225 selling 5.5K.
#232 brings us the official mascot of By the Numbers, Zombie Tramp! The latest issue sells 5.7K, but there’s three other covers in the top 500 lower down selling 1.7-1.6 at 333, 334, and 339. That actually puts Zombie Tramp over 10K for the month. I like saying Zombie Tramp.
Glenn: Zombie Tramp!
Ray: A new season of Riverdale means a new season of the tie-in comic, and Riverdale Season 3 #1 sells 4.8K at #240. These are digital-first short stories and aren’t too far off from the other books in Archie’s new line, so they’re probably pretty happy. Let’s hope so, or the Gargoyle King will get us.
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Mags Visaggio’s new 80’s-set teen thriller “Morning in America” debuts with 4.8K in sales from Oni at #241. We’ve talked about how Oni has trouble selling in singles, and as we wrote this column it was announced that they’re merging with fellow troubled publisher Lion Forge. Whether it works out, we’ll see – but they’ve already gotten a lot of blowback from the number of people let go immediately.
Glenn: It makes sense for two small publishers to partner up but it really sucks that people are losing their jobs over it. Let us hope they find elsewhere, its a rough industry and a rougher economy.
Ray: #243 brings us the debut of a comic called Astro Hustle, selling 4.7K. This comic won’t finish, due to scumbag reasons, and that’s all we’ll say about it.
Scout Comics has a strong debut from master Italian writer-artist Don Aguillo titled Rise, which lands at #251 with just under 4.4K. That’s higher than Scout’s average debut, so I put this down to Aguillo having a quiet but existing fanbase over here.
Another iffy debut from Mags Visaggio at #252, as her Dark Horse monster-hunter comic Calamity Kate only sells 4.3K. Visaggio gets a lot of critical buzz for her offbeat and experimental storytelling, but it hasn’t quite resulted in sales yet.
Glenn: Mags is one of those writers that just needs the right property or book to just explode to the top. Prior to God Country/Venom there were a lot of Donny Cates stories out there no one knew about that companies are now reprinting or rescuing from years in drawers. Give her a few years.
Ray: A spin-off from the currently running Star Trek Discovery series, focusing on Captain Saru, lands at #255 from IDW with sales of 4.1K. IDW’s retooling their Star Trek line soon with higher-profile series, so we’ll see if it pays off in sales.
Glenn: Poor Saru constantly plays second fiddle on Discovery and never quite gets to be the Captain of his own ship. Hopefully in this series he’ll get some much deserved attention.
Ray: Another low-selling Dark Horse debut at #257 in Bad Luck Chuck, and this noir comic about a young woman who farms out her bad luck didn’t have the name creators of other launches. 4K in sales is about what’s to be expected.
Glenn: I wish I could farm out my bad luck, my garden be plentiful.
Ray: A $7.99 Steven Universe one-shot, Fusion Frenzy, sells 3.8K from Boom at #260. These cartoon-based comics aren’t meant for the direct market, but they have a small but loyal audience.
You remember Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons? It apparently has a director’s cut that gets another 3.7K in sales at #263.
Glenn: Keeping the lights on at Oni but sadly not saving the jobs of many people who shouldn’t have lost them in the upcoming joint venture with Lion Forge.
Ray: Udon Entertainment makes an appearance on the charts with Street Fighter: Menat, a spin-off of the popular video game series selling 3.6K at #264. This is basically where this company lives, selling to a loyal audience of video game fans.
Much like Steven Universe but with much larger fans, Boom’s latest WWE Wrestlemania $7.99 special sells 3.5K at #269. Boom keeps putting these specials out, so they must be happy with the sales.
#270 brings us the latest sexy fairy tale from Zenoscope, Gretel, selling 3.5K. Glenn, strike up the Rachel Bloom!
#276 brings us a new comic I’ve never heard of, Neon Future #1, from a company I’ve never heard of, Impact Theory Comics. It sells 3.4K, and it seems like we get new companies on this list every time. Our source can’t keep up!
Glenn: Really they’ll just be thrilled to be here as they should.
Ray: IDW acquired the rights to the old-school Image book The Maxx to publish a crossover with Batman, and they release a lot of the surreal 90’s book’s old material in a 100-page giant this month. It sells 3.2K at #283, proving not only Marvel can sell us old comics.
The video game tie-in comic Obey Me #0 sells 3.1K at #285 from Dynamite. This isn’t a big-name game franchise like Gears of War or Starcraft, so the low numbers aren’t a surprise. I’ve never heard of it.
Glenn: Me either, the title makes it sound like its for a very specific audience who care for the works of E.L James.
Ray: Another original title from Scout Comics, Star Bastard, sells 2.9K at #290. No big creative team attached, and this title about the worst person in the galaxy and his misadventures is pretty clearly geared towards mature audiences. Adults-only books always sell a little lower.
Glenn: Deadpool meets Star Lord I guess? There’s certainty a market for these things but I think you have to present it or publicize it the right way.
Ray: Lots of reorders this month around this level, with close to 2.6-2.3K in reorders for Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion, Die (which is constantly getting reorders), Middlewest, Conan the Barbarian, and Daredevil’s new series. All of these books have been getting pretty decent buzz.
The #300 book this month is the latest issue of Gunning for Hits, selling 2.6K. Would be a decent book to end on…but alas, we soldier on into the depths.
Glenn: You go first, I’m scared.
Ray: 30 Days of Night, which was a huge sensation back in the early 2000s, gets a reprint of the acclaimed original miniseries in another IDW 100-page giant. It sells 2.2K at #312. Could vampires be making a comeback against those zombies?
Glenn: Having a movie adaption maybe helps? I think 30 Days is one of those quietly consistent performers based on in it having a fantastic premise that’s easy to explain. Its one of those things people will always come back to.
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Ray: The $4.99 anthology “Femme Magnifique: 10 Women Who Changed the World” lands at #320 from IDW, selling seven copies under 2K. A biographical comic anthology is never going to be a top seller, but at only $4.99 it’s another piece of evidence of how IDW’s non-licensed books sell.
One of Scout’s earliest titles, Once Our Land, returns for a second volume at #329, selling 1.83K. I didn’t read this one when it first came out, but this is likely a book with a loyal but small audience.
Amid reorders of things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Batman Who Laughs, we get this month’s winner for the most bizarre title of the month. It’s Fartnite, from often-bizarre publisher Keenspot. Flatulence-based parodies of popular video games apparently sell 1.8K at #331. I got nothing.
Glenn: Going for that Vince McMahon humour.
Ray: The latest Aspen Visions one-shot, Soulfire: Heart of Eternity, sells just under 1.8K at #332. Aspen keeps on trucking, even though I haven’t heard someone talk about it in years.
Glenn: They’ll have a loyal dedicated audience that will seemingly always come back and likely the company realizes that and is now set up to cater to that level without much drawback.
Ray: An oversized anthology from IDW, Synergy: Hasbro Creators Showcase, sells 1.5K at #343. These are characters like GI Joe and Transformers that sell much better in single issues, but the anthology seems to have slipped completely under the radar.
Glenn: Its probably because at this point, many of the main franchises are so far removed from being known as extensions of toy lines that the two don’t connect in peoples mind much.
Ray: Now here’s where we get into some strange territory, as a lot of companies – but mostly Marvel – make so many reorders that it starts to feel like inventory dumping again. Case in point – reorders of Inhumans Prime (#340, 1.6K) and X-Men Prime (#365, 1.3K). These are the follow-up one-shots from the long-forgotten event Inhumans vs. X-Men. Why would people want these comics now? This is like three relaunches ago!
Glenn: Its another slow month where normally these stock dumps escape notice but that’s why we’re here to suffer.
Ray: #345 brings us the latest oddly named Aardvark-themed comic from a guy who we don’t talk about anymore, selling 1.5K. It’s depressing how many redacted entries we have these days.
Glenn: It is. It makes me so grateful for the vast amount of lovely creators who manage to go days, weeks, years and a whole lifetime without being complete dicks.
Ray: Lots more reorders around this level, including issues of Spider-Gwen, Weapon X, Spider-Men II, Invincible Iron Man, and something called Rick and Morty presents Sleepy Gary. ‘Kay.
Glenn:  I choose to believe we know Sleepy Gary, he’s a charming Canadian fellow.
Ray: At #362 is a new creator-owned book from Cave Pictures Publishing, The Blessed Machine #1. This post-apocalyptic AI thriller from Mark Rodgers and Jesse Hamm is the first comic to get some creative buzz for this company, and its debut of 1.3K may be boosted by future reorders.
It’s hard to remember that there’s an irregularly-released Grant Morrison comic about Hindu mythology on the market, but a new issue is out! “18 Days – Karna: Legend of the 6th Son” sells 1.2K at #384.
Glenn: Clearly there’s just not much interest in this type of story because I would have certainty banked on Morrison’s name being enough to grab a 250 or above slot at least?
Ray: Selling 1.2K at #378 is Captain America #25. Is this the death of Captain America issue? Is this the setup for the end of Secret Empire? The world may never know.
Glenn: Its the original Cap run by Simon and Kirby where Steve and Bucky are trying to save us against vampire stereotypes. Curse those stereotypes!
Ray: Selling 1,195 at #379 is Rags #1 from Antarctic, which is a comic about a sexy lady zombie hunter who runs around in…you guessed it, rags! Very practical for a life-or-death situation where a bite turns you into a zombie. But at least she’ll be a sexy zombie?
Glenn: If she’s coming for Zombie Tramp’s place in our hearts then I hope she’s ready to be greatly disappointed.
Ray: Two of the odd mini-event Generations get some reorders this month, with both Iron Man and Captain America’s one-shots selling about 1.1K at #381 and #384 respectively. These might have some relevance to a certain movie that is out by now, so retailers probably wanted the stock for curious new fans.
Glenn: The Cap one I can definitely see for spoilery reasons, Iron Man I’m not too sure. Its hard to call whether the sales being this low makes it seem legit or more suspicious stock dumping.
Ray: Antarctic released a lot of new content this month, with two new mature-readers superhero comics. The Offbeats sells 1.1K at #386, and Tainted Love sells about 25 copies less at #390. I don’t quite know who this company’s output is for – oh, wait, I do, given some of their recent moves.
Source Point Press releases an oversized one-shot, Viking Queen, to sales of 1,084 at #389. This supernatural period piece didn’t really get much hype and there’s been a lot of books in this vein recently, so it sort of slipped under the radar.
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It’s four reorders of issues of Wonder Woman, Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man, and Batman that make up the last four comics selling just over 1K. These are all recent books, so not unusual as reorders go.
The Brian K. Vaughan/Marcos Martin series Barrier was re-released in an oversized slipcover form and the $9.99 package sells 978 copies at #400. This was released in limited quantities, so this isn’t quite representative of the demand.
Glenn: Given this was also ‘pay what you want’ online people likely can read it much cheaper that way. There was also a hardcover people might prefer to read.
Ray: Remember when Civil War II was the worst Marvel event? Those sweet halcyon days… For those who want the bad memories back, the #0 issue gets 937 reorders at #404.
Glenn: Those were they dayyyyyyyyyyyyys
Ray: It’s mostly reorders down here, but the Alterna post-apocalyptic series The Wicked Righteous returns for its second volume with sales of 867 copies at #415. Retailers definitely ordered this as a continuation rather than a launch.
Sexy lady comics still sell, as Cavewoman: Markham’s Mansion sells 864 copies at #416. I’m not sure if this is one cover or a total of the roughly 722 variant covers they have with every issue, because it doesn’t say a specific cover like the Zombie Tramp ones did.
Glenn: If one variant wasn’t a cave drawing they need to stop as a company and start over.
Ray: Quite a few Captain Marvel reorders down here, including several of the True Believers issues and the Braver and Mightier one-shot, all selling about 900-700 copies. This is definitely retailers stocking up after the movie.
Glenn: I would say there would be a lot of Captain Marvel collections seeing some love too, this will all ultimately help the current ongoing title.
Ray: I’m not sure if this is part of a new True Believers line for DC, but a reprint of Batman: Year One from a line called Batman Essentials sells 713 copies at #431. At a dollar price point, that’s a lot lower than Marvel usually gets for these – DC needs to get the word out a little better.
Glenn: I didn’t know this was a thing until now and yeah, no kidding. The first part of one of the best Batman stories (and comics in general) selling this low is ODD. This is the type of thing you have readily available for FCBD to give to a potential new buyer to give them a taste of what this crazy medium we all love can offer.
Ray: Amid a lot of low-selling creator-owned ongoings and some reprints, we get a comic from a company that almost never shows up on the charts at #436 – Magical Beatdown from Silver Sprocket. This oddly-priced $6.00 comic is a parody of magical-girl books about a girl who beats up catcallers, and it sells 668 copies. The low entry bar this month has opened some opportunities for real indie comics that usually slip under the radar.
Brian Shearer’s William The Last webcomic launches its second volume from Antarctic’s creator-owned imprint at #439, selling 662 copies. With only two months since the last issue, this is definitely just retailers renewing their orders for the continuation.
Showing how low the entry bar is this month, at #447, we’ve got a random Betty and Veronica Double Digest, selling 629 copies. We almost never see these oversized Archie collections chart in singles, because they’re geared towards newsstands.
Source Point Press released a series of interconnected one-shots titled Monstrous over the last few months, and now they’re crossing them over into Monstrous: European Getaway, a miniseries expanding on the Frankenstein mythology. It sells 612 copies at #449, not building much on the original series.
It’s almost entirely reorders down here, including 529 copies more for Royals #1 at #470. So for those people who watched Inhumans on ABC and couldn’t wait to learn more about Marvel’s superhuman royal family, here you go, I guess.
Glenn: There will be that one guy holding out hope the Inhumans can happen. Its never going to happen.
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Ray: As the creator-owned series Rat Queens prepares to shift creative teams, it gets reorders for a pair of its specials – Orc Dave at #492 selling 442 copies, and Neon Static at #499 selling 422 copies. Retailers are likely getting some stand-alone stories in stores for curious readers with the relaunch.
Wrapping up the list at #500 is Quincredible #5, the newest member of the Catalyst Prime line selling 419 copies. Despite a lot of hype, this line never caught on and it’s being relaunched in a Gail Simone crossover event – but then, the company itself might not exist soon due to the merger with Oni. Comics! Never a dull moment.
Glenn: My head hurts, I’m going to lie down.
Looking ahead, it’s largely a quiet month with one big exception – War of the Realms. Marvel’s latest mega-event drops a bomb on the market with a biweekly Aaron/Dauterman miniseries and new tie-ins every week. Expect Marvel to take back the lead in a big way, especially with other launches like Peter David’s Symbiote Spider-Man, Tini Howard’s Thanos (just in time for a certain movie), Eve Ewing’s Marvel Team-Up starring Ms. Marvel, another Carnage one-shot, and Rob Liefeld’s return to Marvel with Major X. There’s also several new Star Wars series launching and Greg Pak’s cycle on the franchise begins.
It’s like DC knows what’s coming because they have zero launches in April 2019. Taking the month off and keeping it status quo, in one of the strangest patterns I’ve seen in a while. They won this month, they can take a breather. They do have a crossover between Deathstroke and Teen Titans, and this is the month a lot of their lower-selling books wrap their runs.
Over at Image, the undisputed headliner for April is Ascender #1 as Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nyguen begin a new chapter in their sci-fi/fantasy epic. There’s also fantasy epic Fairlady and Karl Kesel’s Kickstarter success Section Zero.
What will rise? What will fall? Find out next month on…By the Numbers!
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Liked What You Read? Let Us Know Here Or On Twitter @glenn_matchett or @raygoldfield!

By The Numbers: February 2019

Hey By The Numbers fans! Sorry about the delay in getting this up, it was a slow month sales wise but busy for yours truly. In order to get this out sooner, I didn’t include the random covers I usually do. I hope that’s okay just for this month, I’m hoping next months sales will come out in a more timely manner and we’ll be back to business as usual. Enjoy!

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 various small press publishers and has is own comic now available on Comixology in Sparks: The Way I Was from Yellow Bear Comics! He was rooting for the ghost spirits to get Tom Taylor so he could take over Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, maybe next time.

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.  If given the chance to run a red panda sanctuary, Ray denies he would train them to be his army to do not only battle but amusing tricks on demand.

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: It seems that we’re in the lull before the storm folks because the most we can say about February sales wise is that it sure was a month that happened.  Most of the major companies are keeping things trucking along this month with a skip month (months?) on Doomsday Clock and War Of The Realms yet to drown us in comics, things were slow.  Sure, some books had special events happen here and there on a small scale but there was no juggernaut that came along and laid waste to everything else.  Still with it being a quiet month that gives us a better idea of how things stand without any artificial boosters and…oy.

Ray: This month reminds me a lot of those doldrum months in the pre-New 52 days, before this column kicked off. We would have months where the top comic would be a random issue of The Dark Knight and it would sell about 65K. Things obviously aren’t nearly that bad yet, but it’s still depressing.

Glenn: The biggest selling comic and the only one to pass the six figure mark this month was DC’s Batman Who Laughs which sells over 101.7k.  It’s likely to drop below six figures next month but I doubt we’ll get below 85k before all said and done which is pretty stellar.  Its hard to beat Batman when things are quiet and now you got him mixed with his most famous foe.

Ray: Yeah, The Batman Who Laughs is coming down to Earth a little bit, but when you spend three months on top the charts there is nothing to complain about. It’s a perfect storm of success, the best since Spider-Gwen
Glenn: Further in that vein, the main Batman title is king (get it?  get it? of ongoing as per usual.  Issues 64 and 65 which was part of the Price crossover with Flash which we geniuses here at By The Numbers correctly predicted upped numbers.  The title sold 93.4k and over 89.1k at 2 and 3 respectfully.  Hardly the smash hit the Button was but this is tying into Heroes In Crisis, not the next part of the Rebirth story that Johns started and doesn’t have those super fancy covers.  With it being a great selling title anyway, there is minimal benefit for Batman but hey an increase is an increase.  Watch for things to kick off as we get closer to King’s endgame.
Ray: No real bump for Batman, surprisingly, but The Flash got the lion’s share of the help. I continue to be puzzled by the dramatic difference between issues when it’s a four-part crossover – are many retailers assuming people are going to drop out mid-story?
Glenn: There will be more people checking out part 1 and then they can always reorder more but yeah, the differences in these type of things always puzzle me too.
At 4 is insanity in Venom which IS THE HIGHEST SELLING ONGOING NOT NAMED BATMAN, WHAT IS HAPPENING.  So this title shoots up a lot with it landing the number  spot with sales over 89.4k.  Why a near 4k increase in sales?  Who knows but the title continues to be a massive hit which nobody could have predicted.  Its clear to see why Marvel keep throwing things at Cates but there’s no way to discount the value that Stegman brings either.  Crazy times.
Ray: We just got an announcement today (as I write this) that Cates and Stegman will be showrunning a summer event titled Absolute Carnage. Considering the staggering sales here, there’s almost no way that doesn’t dominate the charts during its run, maybe more so than War of the Realms. This is another huge increase as the title hasn’t found its level yet.
Glenn: It certainty has a fair chance of being as strong as War, probably a far better pairing than what DC has managed with Doomsday Clock and Heroes In Crisis.
At 5 is Heroes In Crisis the bizarre event comic no one knows quite what to make of.  It continues the so-so performance its now known for which is good for sales over 79k.  This one may have some impact felt but likely will be quickly forgotten shortly after it concludes.
Ray: This feels a lot more like a place-setting event than anything, setting up bigger things to spin out of it. The lack of major tie-ins has led to it being largely overshadowed, but I expect it’ll have big post-game effects like Identity Crisis.
Glenn: Continuing its odd random spikes and slides is Amazing Spider-Man which sells over 71.4k at 6 for issue 15 and over 64.1k at 11 for issue 16.  The latter is interesting because its the prelude to ‘Hunted’ the new Amazing writer’s first in title event which Marvel are trying to make like its a big deal like Spider-Verse or Ends Of The Earth or Spider-Verse or…well you get the idea.  Well its clearly not.  Why one issue is always higher than others.  Amazing has fallen into a very standard sales level which has come after years of it being built up.  If there were adverse effects creatively on sales, it likely would take a lot longer to show up in sales.  It continues to be a puzzle.
Ray: Hunted is the kind of mini-event that doesn’t really drive sales, especially since we’ve seen a lot of similar stories in better-regarded runs, but it is going to stabilize sales for the time being. We’ll see how the nonsense-numbered .Hu issues do next month.
Glenn: At 7 and 9 is Uncanny X-Men which has a 7.99 issue at 9 to celebrate Matt Rosenburg taking solo reigns and again despite everyone online saying otherwise, an expensive comic pays dividends as it sells over 66.9k.  Again we keep saying we don’t want expensive comics but Marvel is hardly going to give us something at 3.99 for what it can sell roughly the same at 7.99 for.  Those FOX purchases don’t pay for themselves you know.  The following issue sells slightly more at 68.6k so retailers likely ordered these around the same level for the ‘new’ run but again, this issue is sold at 3.99 and sold not even 2k more than one that was nearly $4 more so whats the lesson here?
Ray: It does feel like these two X-men relaunches – first the weekly and now the regular run – have revitalized the franchise after a rough few years. A back-to-basics focus on Cyclops and Wolverine helps too. Of course, now the rumors are that Jonathan Hickman’s return to Marvel will be taking over the X-Men, so nothing is ever stable around here.
Glenn: At 8 is the bigger winner of the Price crossover, Flash which probably gets that juice because a) Batman’s there and b) Heroes In Crisis has likely more implications for his own title and the first part sells over 67.7k and the second is at 16 selling over 60k.  Again we’re not at Button level bumps but 20k more than its usual numbers is nothing to sneeze at, we’ll see next month if any of those numbers stick around for the start of Williamson’s next big Flash story.
Rounding out the top ten is the start of sequel weekly series Avengers: No Road Home which sells over 64.5k then at 41 with sales over 36.3k and 34.8k at 45 for the other two issues next month.  Apart from the standard first issue bump, retailers have seemingly ordered this along the lines of the series predecessor like its one long story…which it is.  Grand numbers for an Avenger’s spin off not related to the Aaron main title and of course its likely to get a huge spike whenever well known Avenger, Conan shows up.
Ray: This sells pretty close to the main Avengers title, just a little below. Attrition will continue settling in over the run, but at only ten issues it’ll be over before it gets too low. I expect to see a lot more short-run weeklies like this and the X-men run in the future, because they work. Crom!
Glenn: So our entry point to the top ten is 64k which is the lowest in a while.  Yay?

Ray: Detective Comics continues to increase as it approaches #1000, with #999 selling about 2K more than #998. They’re at #12 and #15, selling in the 62-60K range. Impressive, very similar to what Action Comics and ASM did as they approached their anniversary. Next month’s numbers will be ridiculous, natch. 

At #13 is Daredevil #1, selling 61K from creative team Chip Zdarsky and Marco Chechetto. This is well above most of the Soule run and last month’s pointless filler event, but the second issue is down at #43, selling 35K. That’s still an increase, but rapidly approaching the level of the last run. Zdarsky’s critical acclaim aside, few of his books have been blockbusters and it’s been a while since a Daredevil run really rocked the sales charts. He’s a mid-level character for Marvel and he’ll usually perform like one.
Glenn: I remember a similar performance when both Waid and Soule’s run started, Daredevil seems to have a very set audience and there isn’t much to be done to increase it.  For the best part of 20 years, Daredevil has delivered some of the best creative runs at Marvel and the only time the company tried to shake things up is where it went awry so they know just to leave it be.
Ray: Right below at #14 is Wolverine: Infinity Watch #1 selling 61K. That’s only 2K above the finale of the previous Wolverine mini, Return of Wolverine – and it’s a sequel to both that and Infinity Wars. As the latest in a never-ending sequence of Wolverine miniseries and Infinity Stones miniseries, I think confused retailers have just stopped trying to order them as anything but the next issue.
Glenn: The luster of the return of the ‘real’ Wolverine seems to be wearing thing.  I hope Marvel doesn’t shoot themselves in the foot before they’re ready to give him his own ongoing once more.
Ray: Most of the top thirty is dominated by successful returning series this month, as Justice League, Fantastic Four, Superman, The Green Lantern, Avengers, The Walking Dead, and Action Comics all stay within the 55K to 45K range. This is the new comics A-list, such as it is, and they’re all delivering top performances for their company. One book that isn’t usually here, though, is Wonder Woman. It takes a big jump to land at #26/27 this month selling around 46K. That’s a jump of over 12K from last month’s issues, with no story-based explanation. G. Willow Wilson’s run finally got the attention and sales it deserves, it seems. It’s good to see this title return to the A-list.
Glenn: 2 years overdue but we’re finally here, great news for Wilson, DC and Wonder Woman fans!
Ray: The second Conan ongoing, Savage Sword of Conan, launches at #25 with sales of 47K. That’s about half of what Conan the Barbarian launched with last month, and this series is an anthology with a new creative team after this arc. The second issue sells 30K at #59, a decent slide but one that indicates it could face harsh waters as the months go on.
Glenn: It’ll depend how Marvel gages it, anything over the 15k mark is better than what Dark Horse could manage with the licence but they’ve hit us with a lot of Conan in very short order.  In classic Marvel fashion, they’re giving us too much at once and it’ll be hard for the books to find their feet as a result.
Ray: Guardians of the Galaxy has a moderate slide this month to #30 for its second issue, selling 43K. That’s well above what the title was doing under its last few runs, but a little below what I expected from Cates’ next big project. Maybe a lot of Venom’s insane success is the character and Stegman.
Glenn: Maybe not having the majority of the movie team too?  Could be a result of the Guardians overkill Marvel put us through some years back (see above point about Conan) this could be the best a Guardians book can manage after all that.
Ray: The Age of X-Man mini-event kicked off in earnest this month, and the sales results show it’s destined to play second fiddle to Uncanny X-Men. The flagship miniseries, Marvelous X-Men, sells 42K at #31, but the other debuts are far lower, with Amazing Nightcrawler and Nextgen both selling 32K at 50/51 and X-tremists selling 30K at #56. These are all five-issue miniseries, so the sales could get pretty hairy by the end.
Glenn: I don’t know what any of this is.  If Marvel wanted it to be a big deal, then its a disappointment especially weighed against the major Spider-Man crossovers Slott put together but if its basically a second X-Book disguised as an event, then its fine.  The colour relaunch of yesteryear seemed to be more stable overall but what do we know?
Ray: More long-running successes like Thor, Star Wars, Immortal Hulk, and Captain America are hanging around between #30 and #40, all selling 40K or a little below. It seems Shazam is destined to join them, selling 37K this month at #38. It’s displayed impressive stability since its launch.
Three top titles from last month all slide to around the same point this month, with Conan the Barbarian landing its third issue at #37, selling 38K; Captain Marvel selling 37K at #39; and Young Justice selling 37K at #40. While the results are similar, the first two have fallen from 100K+ in sales and YJ’s second-issue drop is less than 50%. While Conan is a successful new franchise and Captain Marvel finally has a mid-level hit title, Young Justice looks to have finally revitalized DC’s young heroes after years of disarray.
Glenn: That’s great for Captain Marvel especially, usually post issue 1 the sales go sour fast.  I give big props to the creative team but yes I’m sure the movie helped too
Ray: The two newest Spider-spin-offs finally switch places this month, with Miles Morales landing at #44 with sales of 35K and Superior slipping to #55 with sales of 31K. I’m not sure if this is retailer adjustments based on results or just statistical noise, but both seem like they’re going to be healthy for a while.
Glenn: Them selling closely is great for Ock but not maybe so great for Miles.  They will both justify their existence at around this level though and Marvel must be happy since we’re getting more Spidey related books coming in the middle of the year.
Ray: The two Age of Republic one-shots this month sell 32K and 30K respectively at #49 and #57, but what surprises me is Count Dooku outselling Anakin Skywalker. Maybe people REALLY don’t like Kid Vader.
Glenn: Maybe people were more interested by Dooku who didn’t get much spotlight in the films?  Its hard to tell.
Ray: Old Man Quill, the latest sequel set in the Old Man Logan universe, sells 31K at #52. That’s about 7K above where Old Man Hawkeye ended, so this franchise should remain pretty stable. The second issue lands at #82 selling 21K. Bring on old man Rocket scooting around in a tank, please.
Glenn: This little universe seems to do okay for itself, depending on trade sales and such we could continually see various other characters in this settling for a while before the novelty fades entirely.
Ray: The latest Millarworld/Netflix Comics debut from Mark Millar lands at #52, as Sharkey the Bounty Hunter with Simone Bianchi sells 31K. That’s a lot lower than recent books like Prodigy or The Magic Order, and the concept seemed pretty generic and wasn’t matched with much hype in advance. I doubt this is a future movie or TV series.
Glenn: This one kind of snuck up on people, I’m not sure if maybe the deal with Netflix means that they can’t do much advanced hype.  This is Bianci’s first interior work in a long time at a US company I think and he used to be a big deal so I’m surprised orders weren’t higher.  Maybe retailers are finding that customers aren’t interested in these Netflix comics since they know an adaption is coming?  Still Millar does command a decent audience where he won’t need to go back to work for anyone else ever again.
Ray: The obligatory Captain Marvel one-shot to tie in with the movie, subtitled Braver & Mightier, lands at #61 with sales of 28K. That’s well higher than the usual performance of these tie-ins, and I put a lot of that on Jody Houser’s pull compared to Ralph Macchio. He’ll be back in action for future tie-ins, it seems.
The third issue of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man lands at #63, selling 27K. This really feels like a case of retailers massively missing the boat and I’m expecting major reorders and adjustments down the line.
Glenn: Hope so, the books great.  It seems to be falling a lot faster than the Zdarskey book did, maybe they should have given Taylor that book rather than force us into another pointless restart.
Ray: The third Wonder Comics title, Wonder Twins, makes its debut at #64 with sales of 27K. That’s better than expected and higher than Naomi did last month. This could be the characters having some leftover nostalgia from the 60s, but Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne might also be developing a fanbase. (More on Russell lay-tor)
#67 brings us the launch of the massively controversial Female Furies miniseries, selling 26K. I imagine a lot of these sales are due to the higher profile of Big Barda thanks to Mister Miracle, but this is a very different book and a rough read. If it even finishes its run, it’ll be pretty low by the end.
We saw Wonder Woman finally get the sales bump it deserved, but it hasn’t quite happened for Aquaman yet. It sells 26K at #68. That’s essentially flat from last month – impressive, but Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run has yet to pick up buzz in sales.
Glenn: DC has had Aquaman as somewhat of a pet project with them trying various things to gain interest and continually not getting what they would like. Its hard to think what more they could do.
Ray: We were shocked last month by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s low performance, but it has one of the more impressive retention feats I’ve ever seen. It sold 31K last month and 24K this month at #71, which puts it just above Firefly. It seems clear that the Whedonverse books are destined to be Boom’s biggest hits.
Glenn: I felt it would have a minimal drop, we might even see a boost for issue 4 which is hyping a major death and departure from the show.
Ray: After a lot of business as usual, the next comic of note is the $9.99 100-page special “Man and Superman“, a lost story from the archives by Marv Wolfman and Claudio Castellini. From three relaunches ago, it sells 19K at #85 – an impressive performance from an out-of-continuity retelling of Superman’s earliest days in Metropolis. I hope this encourages DC to release more stand-alone stories like this.
Glenn: Like I said on the Stew (Dong!) its great to see DC still using legendary creators like Wolfman and them being able to produce comics that people are interested in reading.
Ray: This month’s True Believers wave is Captain Marvel, tying in with the movie (shocking!). The top-seller is the debut of Ms. Marvel, which sells 19K at #91. Pretty impressive for selling old comics to people in a new format.
Glenn: This is the biggest exposure the characters ever had in the mainstream.  Given how cheap the comics are, retailers likely felt it was a safe bet to have some on hand for those that saw the movie and wanting more.
Ray:  Speaking of selling old comics in a new way, the $7.99 Marvels Annotated release sells just under 19K at #94. Given how many times this has been released and the high price tag, it just goes to show the enduring power of this book. One of comics’ all-time greats.
Glenn: Sales are good enough that we’re getting a new chapter to boot.  This is one of Marvel’s strongest library performers so this being able to sell this well despite it being in print through various different formats forever is impressive.
Ray: Speaking of Mark Russell, his second launch of the month is at #98 – Red Sonja #1 from Dynamite, selling just under 18K. This is a stronger than usual debut for new Dynamite properties, especially since Red Sonja has been running consistently without any real buzz ever since Gail Simone left. Russell’s unique sensibilities and eclectic choice of comics have come a long way since Prez was completely ignored by retailers.
Glenn: Absolutely, this is the strongest Sonja launch we’ve seen in years.  Like we’ve seen over the last year or so, Dynamite have been making a real effort to get some great creators on their properties and it seems to be paying off.

Losing just a little over half its sales for its second issue is Black Widow at 101 with sales over 17.5 and I actually expected worse.  If memory serves this isn’t that much lower than what Waid/Samnee delivered on the character so there could be some room for some stability here but since the book was missing from Marvel’s June solicitations it seems like its already been jettisoned.
Ray: Black Widow came in without fanfare, and left the same way, it seems.
Glenn:  Image’s Die has settled into one of the companies top performers with sales over 17.5 at 103, well deserved for a fantastic series.
Ray: Die is following basically the exact same sales trajectory as Gideon Falls starting moderately high and then finding its level ridiculously quickly. They’re also both excellent books designed to scare the living daylights out of us. I don’t want to play D&D in the barn, Glenn…
Glenn: It’ll be fine, Ray just let me check who that is in my driveway holding the scissors and wearing a red jumpsuit…
A very promising start sales wise from Vertigo’s new High Level title which sells over 16.8k at 104 which puts it at a really good Image launch which is surprising.  Not sure what’s drawn people here but I’m sure DC won’t ask too many questions.
Ray: This is pretty similar to other Vertigo launches like American Carnage and the book we shall not name, and I’m guessing part of the success here is artist Barnaby Bagenda. He drew a little book called Omega Men, which has become a modern classic thanks to its writer, obscure indie creator Tom King.
Glenn: That’ll be it then!
No big surprise for the second issue of the new Criminal to find its level super promptly at 109 with sales over 16.1, like we said last month, retailers know by now who the buyers for this series are.
At 113 is the second issue of Naomi which has now been converted to a first season mini.  With sales of over 15.8k I’m not too surprised.  I’m going to wager she’ll probably only continue to be featured in Young Justice, unless Bendis really, really wants to bring her back in her own book.
Ray: It seems all the Wonder Comics books save Young Justice are now miniseries, so we’ll likely see a lot of concepts go in and out and see what stick
Glenn: At around here is the rest of the Captain Marvel True Believers which all sell around the 15-11k mark.  That’s a better average than some of the bigger characters have managed but these stories probably haven’t been as heavily reprinted.
I remember when Kevin Smith writing comics was a big deal, he made best sellers out of Dardevil and Green Arrow but time has trucked on and things have changed.  Sales of over 15k at 118 aren’t dreadful but given his power in the past, it was likely all involved would have liked more.
Ray: That is shockingly low for a new #1 for Kevin Smith, even if it is just a relaunch of Hit-Girl one month after the previous series ends. A weird number that shows his heyday in comics is far behind him – and so is the character’s, likely.
Glenn: Another of the kooky throwback books from Marvel this month, Love Romances (how appropriate for February!) sells over 14.5k at 121.  Romance comics are not seen a lot in the market so this doing this well is probably as better than the company could hope for.  Gunhawks which is more of your old school western sells over 13.5k at 127, nothing to write home about but given they’re just throwaway one shots these aren’t the worst sales imaginable.
Ray: All of these except Al Ewing’s horror one-shot last month have disappointed. Can’t wait to see the numbers for Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal next month.
Glenn: At 135 is the second issue of Fight Club 3 which sells over 12.6k which is quite a fair margin of distance when you look at Fight Club 2‘s sales but this is pretty standard Dark Horse numbers so its not disastrous.  It seems that people who read Fight Club 2 weren’t interested in another round.
Decent numbers for last months Captain Marvel which sells another 11.7k at 143, this run definitely seems to be the winner Marvel’s wanted from the character for a few years.
Ray: That’s really impressive for Captain Marvel reorders, really showing some buzz for the property. And far from the last reorder we’ll see this month…
Glenn: Another set of reorders for a major launch from last month in Cates Guardians at 156 with sells 10.6k+ more copies.  It might not be the runaway freight train that Venom is but it certainty seems to have a solid amount of interest and is likely to be a fixture of Marvel’s upper tier of books for the run.
Even MORE reorders, this time for Marvel Comics Presents which sells another 9.8+k at 163 and I’m genuinely surprised by this one.  I’m not sure what but it seems to be working so there you go.
Ray: Yeah, this book got ZERO buzz at launch, so I’m really struggling to see what was driving the reorders here. Maybe because it’s Soule writing more Wolverine?
Glenn: Could be, we’ll see if future issues pick up steam as a result
DC has those sweet reorders too with Batman Who Laughs showing up again at 177 which is good for sales over 8.1k.  Usually reorders of this amount 2 months later is unheard of and the last things DC managed that with were Rebirth and Doomsday Clock so yeah, this guy isn’t going anywhere.
Ray: This is the biggest runaway character hit in years, hands down. It feels like he’s out of DC’s control now. It’s the Batman who Laughs’ world now, we just live in it.
Glenn: At 184 is a new Valient launch in Incursion with sales over 7.6k which is within the normal level of the companies launches for the most part.
Ray: Given that Incursion is a mini-event continuing the Geo-Mancer storyline, and Forgotten Queen is a period-piece side story focusing on one of the villains from Unity, I would have expected a bigger delta between the two.
Glenn: I understand what all these things are *nods*
Given that it cost 7.99 and is all reprinted material I would say Marvel Presents Black Widow is a bigger success than the characters new series at 186 with sales over 7.5k.  Marvel’s skill at us making us pay for the same thing over and over is something to behold.
Another Valient launch at 189 with sales over 7.4k for Forgotten Queen.  See comments for Incursion above.
An all ages book with too long a title, Marvel Super-Heroes Adventures Spider-Man Web Of Intrigue has sales over 7.2k at 192 which is fine for a throwaway all ages one shot that is going to be aimed at other markets.
Getting double the Bruce Campbell for your money Bubba Ho Tep vs Army Of Darkness sells over 7.1k at 193 and its comics like this that make me want to stand up and salute how crazy Dynamite can still be sometimes.
Ray: When they’re not giving us brilliant creator-owned runs, their bread and butter is bizarre crossovers and rock stars fighting demons. 

At #196 is the only Image debut of the month besides Hit-Girl: Season 2, Vindication. This crime-and-punishment serial from Top Cow only sells 6.7K, which is very low but not a surprise given the lack of any recognizable creators and the poor reviews.
Glenn: Top Cow also sells a lot less than mainline Image stuff too, the last big hit they had was Wanted and even that took years and a movie adaption to get buzz
Ray: Another bizarre example of Marvel selling us the same books over and over again is at #200, as Dazzler #1 Facsimile Edition sells 6.6K. I didn’t even know there was a Dazzler series originally.
Glenn: There was back in the day aye when every character could hold their own. Spider-Pig Facsimile when?!
Ray: #201 brings us the latest Berger Book, Girl in the Bay #1 by JM DeMatteis. It sells 6,5K, which seems in line with recent Berger Books, but it makes me sad that DeMatteis’ books don’t sell better. I think the G. Willow Wilson/Christian Ward book will be the big test for this line next month.
Glenn: I’m hoping it picks up some steam in trades. Given the single sales of the Berger books have been iffy at best but they still get put out, one would presume they are selling well in that format.
Ray: GI Joe: Sierra Muerte launches at #202 from IDW, selling 6.5K. This is in line with past GI Joe comics from the company, but this miniseries stands out due to art and story from Michel Fiffe. The creator of COPRA has a big cult audience, but I think it’s more likely to find it in trade.
Worth noting that the two James Bond books, 007 by Greg Pak and Origin by Jeff Parker, have leveled out to the exact same level. They’re at 210/211 selling 6.2K each. This is a good, restrained attempt at a franchise form Dynamite, so they might be learning – no more four alternate takes at the same time like they used to do with Shadow or Green Hornet.
Glenn: It also shows a pretty set fanbase for the property regardless of creators or direction so yeah, they’ll adjust accordingly.
Ray: At #214 selling 6.1K is Stronghold, the latest launch from Aftershock. This religious conspiracy thriller about an amnesiac God is by top creators Phil Hester and Ryan Kelly, but unless you’re an A-lister, good luck getting your Aftershock book to sell much. This company continues to puzzle me with their struggles, given the top names they get on board every month.
The two long-running all-ages books from Marvel continue to truck along despite rock-bottom sales, with Impossible Wasp #5 (in the middle of a critically acclaimed storyline about mental illness) selling 5.8K at #217 and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur selling 5.6K at #224. These are clearly selling elsewhere if they keep going, which makes me wonder – how long before Marvel outsources them whole to IDW?
Glenn: That seems to be the way it will go, IDW will likely be a more economical option who will be able to provide to the audience that are keeping these titles arou
Ray: It’s apparently 1995 again, as Lady Death: Apocalyptic Abyss sells 5.3K from Coffin Comics at #229. That’s two spots above Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special selling 5.1K from Dynamite. It’s not Zenoscope, but I think we should strike up the Rachel Bloom anyway.
Glenn: I think she’d be okay with it
Ray: Another Aftershock launch at #233, as Ryan Parrot’s fantasy comic Oberon sells 5.1K. This seems to be the range between established creators and less-known names at Aftershock. Shame, because both this month’s launches were strong.
We cover this every month and I have no intention of stopping. Avatar: Tsu-Tey’s Path, the spin-off from the most successful movie of all time, is now below 5K in sales, selling 4.9K at #236. *Nelson Muntz gif*
#239 randomly brings us 4.8K in reorders from Amazing Spider-Man #789. I’m not sure what this issue was, but maybe it’s just nostalgia for when this title was good?
Glenn: Its that or more excess stock shenanigans but that is rather high for that. Random.
Ray: The video game spin-off Anthem from Dark Horse sells 4.3K at #245. I believe this launched to tie in with the game’s launch, so maybe it doesn’t have the established audience yet to be a hit tie-in.
Glenn: I don’t think the game has been that well received either, these things are always a roll of the dice when companies like Dark Horse get into the licencing game.
Ray: Spider-Gwen #25 gets another 4.2K in reorders at #248. Another case of nostalgia for a bygone run, although Ghost Spider does seem to be getting a good reception.
I’m really puzzled by how low Hardcore is selling, landing at #249 selling 4.1K. That’s thrill spots below the final issue of the mediocre fantasy series Rose. Diggle’s a popular creator and it has Kirkman’s name on the cover, so I’m not sure what went wrong with this body-swapping action thriller.
Glenn: I think not having Kirkman’s direct involvement hurts it and Diggle has been struggling to recover since his Daredevil days which is a shame since he is a very good writer. These days he seems to be just getting gigs writing other people’s properties.
Ray: No real momentum for Peter Cannon Thunderbolt, as Kieron Gillen’s Watchmen pastiche sells 4.1K at #255 for its second issue. The writer alone should have been enough to get this to sell higher, but I guess the name didn’t ring enough bells for retailers to make the Watchmen connection. Watch for this one to be a sleeper in trade.
Glenn: Especially when you would think retailers could sub it in for those patiently waiting on Doomsday Clock. It clearly just didn’t get the press it needed and will def earn its way in trade.
Ray: A lot of regular low-selling books from Image, Dark Horse, and Dynamite here until we get to #266 where Naomi #1 sells an additional 3.6K copies. That shows some extra interest in Bendis and Walker’s original concept, but probably not enough to shift things dramatically for retailers. New concepts in the Big Two are a hard sell – ask Damage and Brimstone, if you can find them.
#268 brings us the launch of Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command from Dynamite, selling 3.6K. This is one of their niche properties, appealing to a limited audience of die-hard fans.
It’s a double-dose of boobie comics! Robyn Hood: Outlaw launches at #271 with 3.5K, followed three spots later by the Grimm Fairy Tales Annual with 3.4K. You know what to do, Glenn!
Glenn: Most other months, these Zenescope books would have maybe scraped through, just shows how slow a month it is
Ray:  Lot of reorders down here, starting with 3.4K in reorders for the first issue of Conan the Barbarian at #275. The second also has 2.8K in reorders at #294. After that, there’s quite a few random reorders for issues of Detective Comics, Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man, and Immortal Hulk.
Exciting Comics #1 from Antarctic Press launches with 3.3K in sales at #283. This seems to be a new shared universe starting with Sexy Lady Zorro in Red. ‘Kay.
Glenn: It didn’t seem to gather much excitement, how ironic
Ray: Speaking of sexy ladies, Zodiac #1 launches from Zenoscope at #285 with 3.2K in sales. This appears to be a high-fantasy set in the Arthurian age. Zenoscope always manages to surprise.
Glenn: How odd, retailers probably didn’t know what to make of it either
Ray: Barbie’s been a top toy franchise for over half a century, but I don’t know if she’s ever had a comic before. That changes this month as Barbie #1 launches from Papercutz by writer Sarah Kuhn. Kuhn is an acclaimed young adult author who is also writing the Cass Cain OGN for DC next year, but this only manages 2.9K at #293. This clearly isn’t one for the direct market.
Glenn: This one will definitely be making a boat load of money elsewhere cause its Barbie and there’s a reason she’s stuck around for this long and gets to have Margot Robbie play her.
Ray: 2.7K in reorders for Young Justice #1 at #299 as we exit the top 300. Lucky #300 book this month is Vampblade, from the world that brought us Zombie Tramp. Into the breach, Glenn…
Glenn: Vampblade sounds like a made up name for someone fan fiction character to feature in Buffy or somesuch. Given its in the same universe as Zombie Tramp, that could be on purpose.

Some reorders for the new Champions run which sells another 2.6+k at 302, doesn’t seem like retailers missed their estimate with first months orders but its better than nothing. I wouldn’t imagine this franchise to be surviving much longer and Young Avengers returning will probably be where it ends.
IDW’s Punks Not Dead: London Calling launches at 307 with sales over 2.3k despite a pretty decent premise. The names aren’t anything to write home about and its under IDW’s Black Crown label which always deliver subpar sales. I would assume since we continually get Black Crown books despite their single issue status, they’re performing well for the company elsewhere.
Ray: This is the second volume of Punk’s Not Dead, which essentially means the second arc. Retailers probably didn’t order this like a real premiere, so the super-low numbers make sense. IDW’s creator-owned market is rough as a whole, though.
Glenn: The first issue of BOOM’s new take on Buffy The Vampire Slayer gets reorders over 2.2k at 312. This again indicates retailers predicted this one pretty well but it seems to have stabelized a lot faster than Champions and will do good business once collection outside the direct market.
Likening itself to DC’s Elseworlds or Marvel What If’s, Aspen Visions Fathom: Spinning Our Fate are alternate takes on some of the companies better known characters. The sales over 2.1k at 315 indicate this is one for the most die hard of the already minimal audience the company has left.
Another video game tie-in at 317 in Crackdown which sells over 2k. The latest installment in this franchise has been much delayed and seems to have underwhelmed fans so this is no surprise.
Some reorders from Superior Spider-Man’s first issue at 322 with over 1.9k additional sales. Its not much but its nice to see still to have it get some attention even a few months after its debut.
The new BOOM series Avant-Guards seems to fall into Ray’s  ‘come on people’ category with the second issue delivering sales over 1.9k, it’ll do well once collected but it seems that all ages sports type stories don’t appeal.
RayAvant-Guards seems to be aimed as the same audience as their low-selling Giant Days, which sells a similar 1.8K this month but is past its fiftieth issue. It doesn’t even feel like Boom is playing in this market anymore aside from the Whedonverse – they make their money elsewhere. 
Glenn: Wrath Eternal Warrior from Valient seems to be something in the vein of Marvels True Believers where its an old comic charged for $1, it doesn’t entice people despite this only selling over 1.9k at 324. I would say more people will be willing to check out a new creative direction than a random throwback issue where Valient is concerned.
A fantasy comic from Scout, Wulfborne catches little interest at 326 with sales over 1.9k, pretty standard for the company really.
Ray: This was described by the solicitations as Adventure Time meets Hellboy with elements of Greek Myth, which is certainly a unique combo. Scout tends to struggle unless it has murderous bunnies.
Glenn:  A collection of old Archie Comics titled Archie & Friends Music Jam sells over 1.9k at 327, this type of stuff from Archie doesn’t depend on the direct market at all so its moot really.
Some reorders for White Widow from Red Giant which picks up over 1.8k additional sales at 332, whether its genuine interest or retailers thinking they missed out on the Black Widow/White Rabbit series the market desperately needs it is good news for such a small company to get any reorders.
WW2 era comics Devils from Antartic Press sells over 1.8k at 336, pretty much what you can expect from a small publisher with two unknown creators.
There’s a comic at 338 but given the creator involved and a recent soliciation they’ve made, I’m choosing to ignore it cause its our article and if I want to ignore someone, I can.
Ray: Yeah, that dude’s random gags are a lot less funny all of a sudden.
Glenn: Lots of reorders and small selling indie books until we get to 352 which is Trump Titans Vs. The End which sells over 1.6k. I have a comic I wrote called Sparks: The Way I Was, please go buy it so it sells more that this.
Ray: I will endorse the call to buy more Sparks.
Glenn: Sweetie which sells over 1.5k from Action Lab at 361 and Honor and Cave from Mad Lab (?!??!?!) at 365 selling over 1.4k are two more small press creator owned books struggling to find an audience in an overstuffed market.
Ray: I think Sweetie at least deserves more attention – it’s an oddball martial arts comedy about a kid obsessed with fighting who becomes a vigilante. Like Hit-Girl if it was fun.
Glenn: Theshold Allure from Avatar is a first issue ‘nude’ which means I’m not going to google it, it sells over 1.3k at 368. Its priced at 7.99 and I’m pretty sure there’s certain magazines out there that are a lot cheaper that have you know…real woman in them that would be better sellers.
Randomly at 369 is Generations Spider-Man with Marvel throwing out over 1.3k copies of the book to random retailers to get rid of leftovers. Anyone remember Generations? Nope, me either. There’s a lot of Marvel stock shifting around here that they think no one is crazy to look for down this low. WE’RE ONTO YOU MARVEL!
Ray: Generations: Spider-Man was the most important of the Generations one-shots, with a Peter/Miles team-up that has shades of Spider-Verse. So there might be a little real interest there unlike so many of the reorders.
Glenn: The Amazing World Of Gumball from Kaboom which is based on a cartoon that is apparently something that exists sells over 1.3 at 370. This has some notable creators involved but again, this one isn’t for your local LCS but since its 7.99 I don’t see many parents being eager to buy it for their kid that watches whatever this is instead of watching She-Ra or Gravity Falls or Avatar (the good one) or…
Weird sounding God Of Bad Men from Amigo Comics (?!?!?!??!?!) sells over 1.1k at 386, they’re probably just happy to be here.
The non nude version of Theshold Allure shows up at 391 selling over 1.1k. Its priced at 5.99 making it 2 dollars cheaper than the nudey one. By Grabthar’s hammer, what a savings.
The excess stock shifting gets weird at 401 with Cage from Marvel, I’m not sure if this is the MAX series from back in the day or the mini from Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky but either way…wha? It had over 1k Marvel leaded to unload to some poor confused comic retailers. Yes we’re at 1k at just over 400 on the chart, no YOU need help/
Ray: I believe this is the recent Tartakovsky miniseries, which was out of continuity. This is very clearly a dumping-grounds month.
Glenn: Silver Sprocket (?!?!?!?!!?) releases Magical Beatdown which seems to be Sailor Moon meets Sin City which sells 996. Reads very much like for a specialist audience who likely got it through other means.
Ray: I believe Silver Sprocket puts out oversized comics done in an indie/zine style. I’ve never read one of them, but they’re trying something new and I’m glad they’re building a bit of an audience. That’s the rare bright spot of digging down here – seeing some small companies crawl their way up.
Glenn: Cave Pictures (?!?!?!?) releases George MacDonalds Light Princess at 429 which sells 921 copies. This is apparently some old Scottish Fairy Tale written/adapted by Meredith Finch. With her name attached I thought it might have managed to crack four figures but there you go…
I swear I’m not making these up, Cavewoman, A Wizard, A Sorceress and Meriem from Amryl (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) sells 909 copies. The company also releases Cavewoman Razor’s Run at 447 selling 861 copies so I guess this is some sort of shared universe? I’m tired.
Ray: The SexyCaveLadyVerse. Not to be confused with the SexyFairyTaleLadyVerse.
Glenn:  So much stock dumping down here. SO MUCH!
Ray:  The stock dumping is REALLY bizarre this month. Random issues of Weapon X or Hydra Cap, crossovers from two years ago like Venomverse, low-selling comics like America. All getting about 800 to 900 additional orders out of nowhere. Some other books get reorders like Flash, but they’re current and make a bit of sense. Marvel is a puzzle. 

There’s even 752 reorders for Uncanny X-Men 3D at #472. That’s a reorder of a reprint from almost thirty years ago!
A rare new comic – of sorts – at #475, with American Mythology Archives: Three Stooges #1 selling 738 copies. I believe this is a reprint of their first Three Stooges comic, which apparently has an audience. Are they going to crossover with Bettie Page at Dynamite next?
We get a few indie reorders down here too, including Ogre #1 selling an additional 705 copies at #482.
It’s almost entirely Marvel reorders here with a few oddball comics like Belladonna: Fire and Fury, but the #500 comic amuses me – it’s a reorder of a True Believers reprint as Conan: Secret of Skull River clocks in at 629 extra copies. So ends the oddest month we’ve had on this column since we moved to a top 500.
Glenn: I think it nearly broke us but we made it!
Ray:  After an uneventful month, next month is likely to blow the doors off with a huge #1 comic – both in size and numbers. We saw the ridiculous performance of Action Comics #1000. Can Detective Comics #1000 beat it? We’ll see. DC also has the final new Wonder Comics launch in Dial H for Hero, the likely six-figure selling The Grim Knight one-shot, and a new issue of Doomsday Clock. Good chance DC takes the top three next month with ease.
Marvel is holding its powder for a month with War of the Realms slated to bow in April and dominate the field. They do have quite a few launches, including the return of their newest hit character in Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, the alien infiltration comic Meet the Skrulls, the return of Gail Simone with Domino: Hotshots, and a new Star Wars miniseries in Darth Vader: Dark Visions. Ms. Marvel also relaunches with a new #1 and writer, Conan’s partner Belit gets her own miniseries, and two promising new Spider-Man miniseries launch – including Chip Zdarsky’s Spider-Man: Life Story.
Over in indieland, Mags Visaggio and G. Willow Wilson both launch new comics from Dark Horse. New Image launches like Assassination Nation and Little Bird debut, and we get the return of Lazarus from Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.
What will rise? What will fall? Just how much will Detective Comics crush the competition? Find out next time on By the Numbers!
Liked what you read? Let us know and ask any questions here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: October 2018

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. Submitting a comic to Comixology is slowly breaking Glenn’s spirit.  Next month he will be replaced by Garth Ennis.  There will be a lot more swearing.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  When She-Ra dropped on Netflix, Ray outlasted several little girls in a sleepover to watch it first while completely forgetting how on demand worked.

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: We get closer to the end of the year and things are actually relatively quiet.  Both companies seemingly have events going on but the results of both are rather muted.  This means that books that sell well on their own merits rise to the top and this months sales of October 2018 exemplifies that perfectly.

Image result for batman 56

Without many big launches or high profile books in its path, the measuring stick of monthly sales Batman takes the top spot with issue 56 selling over 107.5k with issue 57 selling over 95.2k at 4.  Returning to its ever so gentle slide, everything is business as usual here but without anything really ‘big’ hitting this month that means the most consistent book on the chart wins the day.  It does mean the lowest number one selling book for a while though which might be a problem if this was the case long term but that isn’t likely, we’ve got plenty of big launches to come over the next few months.
Ray: It’s been a while since we had a sales chart with numbers this low. Only three books above 100K is pretty rare, but it’s not surprising given how few a-list titles launched. There’s a few books I would have expected to do higher, but how amazing is it that the 57th issue of a title can still command 100K in this day and age? Given the Mark Buckingham side story this issue, though, that might be 100K+ lawsuits for mental trauma…
Glenn:  Continuing to break every rule in comics, Walking Dead is the second best selling book of the month but not in the form of its regular issue, oh no that would be too easy.  A reprint of the first issue from 15 years ago gets an anniversary edition that sells a whopping 106k+.  When this issue came out way back when it sold just over 7,200 copies but now Walking Dead is a genuine phenomenon and people can’t get enough.  This issue has been reprinted more times than you can imagine but here it is, selling like hot cakes none the less.  Its insane how successful this property is and how it has literally changed the landscape of comics forever.
Ray: A reprint. A full-price reprint from fifteen years ago. This blows the performance of any True Believers one-shot out of the water – and those are a dollar! It’s insane what Walking Dead has become.
Glenn:  At 3 is a somewhat muted debut for the super hyped Spider-Geddon which is a sequel to the massively successful Spider-Verse from a few years ago.  Last time, the story was told in the pages of Amazing with numerous tie-ins but this time around gets its own mini.  It debuts with sales over 104.8k which is lower than I would have imagined.  The event is missing the architect of the previous chapter, Dan Slott true but I would have thought that the concept enough would have got people more excited.  I do think it’ll perform very well in itself and the various mini’s will do well but I doubt we’ll see a trilogy out of this concept.
Ray: This feels like an epilogue to the Slott era in some ways, and this result shows how much nostalgia there is for that run. But even with all the tie-ins, this event seems a little disconnected from the main Marvel Universe. The upcoming Spider-Verse movie will likely give it a slight boost, but this definitely isn’t a sequel topping the original.
Glenn:  With a new number 1, a new creative team, a new direction and a new event to ride the wave off of, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider launches at 5 in the charts with sales over 88.9k.  Miles ahead of where the book was before and a promising start. if the book can manage to do a bit better or around the same as the previous book it will live a long happy life.  This version of Gwen is about to hit the mainstream in a big way with Sony’s upcoming Spider-Verse movie so the stock in this character is only going to rise.
Ray: Gwen is definitely the most popular new character out of Marvel in recent years, even eclipsing Miles and Kamala who are huge in their own right. It’s great to see her sales getting a huge shot in the arm from the new creative team and event.
Glenn:  At 6 is the bizarre case of Heroes In Crisis and I’m not just talking about the murder mystery in the title.  The second issue sales are over 88.5k which is a lot lower than the hype machine at DC has been pushing it as.  The bizarre true nature of the event of course has got a lot of people scratching their heads and a lot of divided opinion.  If it was looked at as a offshoot character piece then yes, this is a great number but as an event as it seems to have been turned into then as Ray predicted this looks to be performing at the same trajectory as other secondary events that people couldn’t figure out long term did too such as Fear Itself.  Will this be a long run winner for DC or quickly smushed under the rug?  We’re too early to tell.
Ray: DC sort of took everyone by surprise with this miniseries, not really hyping it properly, and it shows. But the repercussions are seemingly going to be HUGE, so this is primed for reorders.
Glenn:  At 7 is the new issue of Venom, the insanely successful title from Marvel that without anyone paying attention has become their highest selling ongoing.  It sells over 87.1k which is just the result of a perfect storm for this book.  The right creative team at the right time telling the right story.  Everything just works and this is the direct result.
Ray:  I’m really, really reminded of the trajectory of Green Lantern here, with an a-list creative team turning a B-lister into a franchise. We’ll probably have multiple books by this time next year. 
Glenn:  The first issue to dive into big story, Drowned Earth is the 10th issue of Justice League which sells over 84.1k.  There seems to be genuine interest in this story and the run as a whole.  It even seems that though solicitations indicate that this is more of a Snyder/Tynion book than a Snyder book alone, it doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact.  Issue 9 also sells well at 13 getting sales over 72.6k.  Hype for a new story seems to be enough to give this some solid legs long term, another nice addition to DC’s top line of books.
Ray: This is the second mini-event like this from a Justice League title this month, and we’ll get to the other shortly. We saw great numbers from both, boosting the sales of the parent title. We’ll likely see more small-scale events like Drowned Earth, The Witching Hour, The Button, and Flash War as they seem to work well for DC.
Glenn:  Finishing out the top ten is the newest issues of Amazing Spider-Man which sell over 83k and 82.8 respectfully for issues 7 and 8 in the new direction.  Another book with a glacial slide, it seems that this one can be left pretty much unattented while there are more pressing matters elsewhere in the company line.

Ray:  It seems pretty clear that ASM is still stable, as the near-decade long halo Dan Slott gave it hasn’t worn off yet. The general response to this new run from readers seems to be “It’s okay”, so it’ll take more than that for retailers to start shedding copies of their long-time best-selling book. 

Return of Wolverine #2 sheds about 2/3rds of its sales to sell 80K at #11. Pretty predictable, given its absurd number of variants the first one, but this is a pretty healthy number overall. We’ve gotten some word today about the character’s new series going in a cosmic direction in Avengers recently, so we’re likely to have another new #1 after this to keep sales high.
Glenn: Return Of Wolverine was always a mini so I figured we’d be getting another number 1 with the character soon but I must admit, I didn’t imagine it going in that direction.  Maybe this is Wolverine’s future now, never ending mini’s instead of an Ongoing.
Ray:  #12 brings that dastardly Venom again, selling 75K for an annual at #12. This issue didn’t have Donny Cates except in a brief framing sequence, but brought back several iconic Venom creators including David Michelinie for short stories about Venom’s past. At only 12K below the main title, it’s more evidence that Venom Fever is in full swing.
Glenn: Eating brains is officially back in fashion
Ray:  The performance of Catwoman’s new solo series is quickly becoming one for the ages. It inexplicably jumps 17K this month to land at #14, selling 72K. That’s a huge boost and reflects the fact that retailers actually underordered during the initial preorder phase. Huge coup for Joelle Jones and for Tom King in raising the character’s profile.
Glenn: That’s great for any book but especially for a Catwoman one, this is a character whose title has always been middling sales at best.  Perhaps in some ways she is the DC equivalent of Venom where everything has clicked at the right time to make the book a runaway hit.
Ray:  The gap continues to narrow between Superman (#15, 67K) and Action Comics (#19, 60K), as Bendis’ Superman run builds momentum. The character definitely seems to have benefited from the new high-profile creative teams, and Action seems to be the better-received of the two.
The weirdest thing about those crazy sales for the Walking Dead reprint up above is that it outsold this month’s new issue by over 45K, as we find old reliable Walking Dead down here at #18, selling 60K.
Glenn: It’ll be back at the top in no time but Walking Dead outselling itself is the most Walking Dead thing to happen ever.
Ray:  The Batman anthology issue Batman Secret Files lands at #20 with sales of 58K. This had stories by Tom King, Tom Taylor, and several new creators. These are very impressive sales for an anthology, but this was a $4.99 one rather than the giant $10 ones that DC does.
Glenn: Very good performance but it had the Bat boost and King’s name attached at that.  I was a bit iffy on this one but it was mostly good, it doesn’t seem to have any real significance so for a throwaway one shot priced at 4.99, those are great numbers.
Ray:  This month brought us a lot of one-shots, including the five-part X-Men: Black villain-based series. Emma Frost’s issue did the best, selling 55K at #23, with Magneto not far behind at #31 and 49K. Mystique is down at #42, selling 43K, followed by Juggernaut three spots lower at 41K. It’s Mojo bringing up the rear down at #52, selling 37K for his bizarre incel cautionary tale.
Image result for x-men black emma frost
Glenn: I thought Clairemont back at Marvel and back writing X-Men might have caught a bit more interest but these are fine numbers for a mini based on some X-Men bad guys.  The best thing to to come out of this is all the Emma Frost meme’s, all of them are priceless.
Ray:  Event comic one-shots are always weird, as the launch issue for Drowned Earth is down at #25, selling 53K. That’s over 25K below where the Justice League issue tying in landed, which means there’s going to be a lot of very confused readers.
Glenn: It reminds me of the big sales gap between Clone Conspiracy and Amazing back in the day.  Its odd because Marvel and DC go to a lot of effort to put check lists of these types of things in their books but its ultimately inconsequential.  They probably would have been better just doing extra issues of Justice League.
Ray: Drowned Earth wasn’t the only event comic in the Justice League line this month. The five-week Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour crossover had all five issues this month, with the launch one-shot landing at #32 with sales of 48K. The first WW issue tying in sold 55K at #24, followed by 53K at #27 for the Justice League Dark issue and 42K at #43 for the second WW issue. Then the concluding issue is at #41 with 43K. All over the place in no particular order, but very solid sales as both titles get a boost and Wonder Woman continues to recover in advance of the G. Willow Wilson run starting next month.
Glenn: The Witching Hour sounds like it was a damn fine read and has done well for both titles.  Justice League Dark will continue chugging away most likely but it’ll be interesting to see where the new creative team takes Wonder Woman sales wise.
Ray:  A surprisingly big drop for Spider-Geddon #2 at #26, selling 53K. If that’s the actual level of the series sans variants, that’s not great for Marvel at all.
Glenn: That…is really surprising. I guess if they can get the trade out before the movie then it might all be worth it? Hopefully the tie ins bring in some respectful returns.
Ray:  This is the level where we see a lot of those long-standing and new top books that have leveled out, including Avengers, Detective Comics, Flash, Captain America, Immortal Hulk, Thor and both Star Wars books. These are the cream of the crop for the companies right now, selling 65-50K. I do notice some odd hiccups in the sales of Detective and Flash this month, with the first issue of the month getting a boost and then the second issue dropping over 10K. Strange. Might be due to special variant covers – DC had some novelty foil covers last month.
Glenn: I’d say its the foil covers for sure.  This time next year, scratch and sniff variants!
Ray:  Justice League Odyssey also seems to be leveling off nicely, selling 46K at #36 for its second issue. But we’ll see what it looks like when the preorders wear off, because unlike its sister titles its more isolated from the rest of the DCU.
The new direction for Supergirl definitely seems to be paying off, with the latest issue selling 44K at #37. That’s about double what it was consistently doing under the previous run, despite growing buzz.
Black Panther vs. Deadpool lands at #38 selling 44K. Pretty standard for a Deadpool miniseries, with Black Panther boosting numbers, but I bet it would have sold double if it was just Deadpool making bad Get Out jokes until T’Challa decked him because they don’t get American movies in Wakanda.
Glenn: I also think Deadpool referring to Wakanda as Zamunda would have had a superior sales effect also.  Dear readers, why Marvel has not called us remains a mystery
Ray:  The Old Man Logan series wraps with its fiftieth issue, selling 39K at #49. This is a small boost, but it’s relaunching next month for the year-long Dead Man Logan, which will probably result in a bigger increase.
Another title that’s benefiting from a new direction is Batgirl, which is down at #50 selling 37K. This book was hovering around 20K a few months back, so the new creative team of Mairghread Scott dealing with Barbara’s recovery from her shooting is definitely catching on.
#54 brings us the next Spider-Geddon tie-in, the one-shot Superior Octopus. It sells 36K, and the upcoming ongoing will need to do better than that for its first issue to have a chance at a long run. Otto’s profile obviously went up a lot thanks to Superior Spider-Man, but we’ll see if he’s solo series material yet.
Glenn:  I’m surprised Superior Octopus didn’t sell better given how high Otto’s profile is following Superior and such.  Rebranding the new ongoing title Superior Spider-Man seems to have been a good move.  I think there might be some reissues here as this is essentially the 0 issue for the ongoing.
Image result for superior octopus 1
Ray:  Arguably the most puzzling comic released in recent years, the poorly received one-off Frank Tieri AU that closed his Harley Quinn run is now its own miniseries, Old Lady Harley, which lands at #56 with sales of 36K. Pretty standard for a random Harley spin-off, so I don’t think we’ll be getting Harley Quinn vs. Black Lightning or Harley Tsum Tsum Adventures any time soon.
Glenn: Remember when Marvel Zombies was first done and it was on the back of a gag but was initially mega successful?  This seems to want to be like that but very much isn’t.
Ray:  The other Marvel one-shot wave of the month was a new round of What Ifs, and they didn’t do nearly as well as X-Men: Black. The top-selling one was What If: Punisher, which saw Peter Parker become a darker, more murderous Spider-hero. It’s at #58 selling 35K. Next is What If: Spider-Man featuring Flash Thompson under the webs, selling 29K at 85. What If: Thor sells 27K at #91, showing what would happen if Thor was raised by King Laufey. A complex cyber-AU they called What If: X-Men is at #95 selling 27K, and What If: Ghost Rider (which wasn’t a What If at all, but some weird meta parody about black metal and demons) rounds them out at #98 selling 25K. All in all, this wave feels like kind of a misfire.
Glenn: These one shots were all a bit odd.  Retailers probably just played a guessing game with them because not all fans would seek out material like this because ultimately, none of it matters.  We definitely won’t be seeing a return for the classic series anytime soon.
Ray:  The second issue of Stranger Things from Dark Horse is down at #63, selling 34K. Still the top-selling Dark Horse book on the charts by a wide margin, even as it loses almost 50% of its first issue sales.
Glenn: Stranger Things is a bit of a tank of a property so I’m not surprised that it seems destined to become Dark Horse’s best performer.  I have no doubt when its collected that fans of the show will seek it out too.

Ray:  Maybe the oddest crossover in recent memory, Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams launches at #64, selling 34K. The Maxx is an obscure Image character from the 1990s that hasn’t had new material in well over a decade, so this likely boils down to “Well, Batman’s in it”. Definitely a big number for IDW, their only book in the top 100. The second issue ships this month as well, selling 23K at #111.

Glenn: Yeah pretty much this is probably the lowest you can go when ordering Batman and still expect a return given that who he’s teaming up with here has no sales power at all.  You know for a loner, Batman isn’t fussy about who he teams up with is he?
Ray:  Not an impressive launch for Shuri’s solo series at #65, selling 34K. Despite the main series being in a very healthy place, the spinoffs have failed to launch high. The only question here is if this well-received first issue can find a place in the new comic market and render its direct market sales irrelevant.
Glenn:  I would have thought this would have done better for sure.  While Black Panther and the characters supporting cast has never had a higher profile than the one they got this year, it doesn’t seem to be able to translate over to comics, not in the singles market anyway.

Ray:  The other Spider-Geddon tie-ins are down around this level, with the Jody Houser-penned Spider-Girls (teaming Anya, Mayday, and Annie) selling 33K at #67. A little lower at #73 brings us the black-ops Spider-Force, written by Priest and selling 32K. If these short minis hold these numbers, they’ll be fine. But these are hidden gems that I wish more people were checking out.

Glenn:  Same, Spider-Girls especially is excellent.  Decent enough for tie-ins but it seems like these ones will have major implications on the main story so they might get some reorders that way.

A bit of an increase for the 200th Anniversary issue for Moon Knight at 68 which sells over 33.3k  The number on the front will help but this also had Jeff Lemire return to the character which probably didn’t do any harm either.  For the time being, Moon Knight is going on vacation.
At 72 is the newest Sandman universe title, Books Of Magic which sells over 32.2k is the first book of this line that is eventually also a relaunch. This seems like a good number to me and I think this one might have an advantage over its peers with old fans returning but new fans checking it out too.
Ray:  Tim Hunter hasn’t had a presence in the market for well over a decade. He last appeared in the New 52 Justice League Dark title as a supporting player, so given that it seems like a decent number. Overall, I don’t think any of these books will reach the numbers of The Dreaming
Glenn:  The wacky Infinity Warps combos continue this month at 74 with Arachknight which sells over 32k.  This likely sells the best this month cause of the connection to Spider-Man who unless you couldn’t tell, is the ‘Arach’ part of the title.  Next one is Weapon Hex at 31.1k which benefits due to Wolverine being connected to this particularly pairing.
Ray: These sold very similarly to each other, and neither sold nearly as well as Soldier Supreme or Iron Hammer. Spider-Man aside, neither the characters involved or the characters involved were as high-profile as last month’
Image result for infinity warps arachknight
Glenn:  At 78 and 79 are the first of many, many Walking Dead ‘blind bag’ reprintings of key Walking Dead issues.  Keeping in mind these reprints are full price and the material has reproduced multiple times over the years that issue 1 (yes again) sells over 31k (making it the highest selling comic of the month combining it with the sales of the OTHER Walking Dead 1 that came out) and issue 19 sells over 30.8k.  It literally is like printing money.
An odd mini focusing on Typhoid Mary begins at 82 selling over 30.6k which has her taking on Spider-Man.  Given that Spidey comics always do well, its no surprise that this particular part of the Typhoid mini sold these numbers.  Not mind blowing but not too bad, especially at 4.99.
Ray:   This Typhoid Mary series is very similar in structure to the Wakanda Forever series a few months back. Only, you know, without the Billion-dollar movie driving sales.
Glenn:  The ever slightest of boosts for Nightwings 50th issue and the new direction spinning out of Batman at 86 selling over 29.4k.  This new direction DC has taken Nightwing in is controversial to say the least and the months ahead will determine if it was the right thing to do.
Ray: (It won’t be the right decision.)
Glenn:  At 90 is the relaunch of Lucifer under the Sandman universe banner which sells over 28.2k.  This one probably didn’t do as well as the other title’s because it wasn’t that long that the title had been relaunched previous to this so this isn’t as much of a novelty.  Still the sales are a good bit ahead of the previous incarnation and all these Sandman Universe books will do well in trades.
Ray: Lucifer barely played a role in the Sandman Universe one-shot and isn’t as firmly associated with Sandman as the others, so that played a role too, I’m sure.
Glenn: No that’s definitely the ‘lead’ book as it were.
At 93 is Avengers Halloween Special which sells over 27.3k as Marvel tries to get in on the anthology game that DC has been doing so well the last few years.  This is a decent result, we’ll see if the company makes this type of thing a regular occurrence.
Ray: Much like Batman Secret Files, it seems like these $4.99 anthologies do better than the bigger ones.
Glenn: Being $5 cheaper likely helps
At 102 is Batman Blank Comic which was something DC sold to retailers to sell onto people for 24 hour comic day.  This means you pay to basically make your own comic.  Given that it sells over 25.4k and is priced at 2.99 this just shows how much you can sell bu just putting ‘Batman’ on a cover and literally nothing else.
Ray: Damnit, Glenn, we should have been putting Batman stickers on blank pages long ago!
Glenn:  Right below it at 103 is the first part of the Solo comic adaption which sells over 25.2k.  This film got an unfair lukewarm response I feel and these sales reflect that.  Still not bad for a comic based on a movie that was only out a few months ago.
Ray: Despite the movie disappointing, Marvel seems to have a bit of faith in the Solo franchise – there’s also a Solo mid-quel original comic coming next month about Han’s time in the Imperial service.
Glenn:  Asguardians of the Galaxy loses less than half its first issue sales at 106 selling over 24.7k which actually isn’t too bad for a comic with a team full of b listers and below.  This one could stick around.
At 107 is Marvel Zombie, the once mega successful franchise lives again!  It sells over 24.7k which tells me that while the property is well past its prime, it might be decent enough for Marvel to trot it out now and then to eat into some fans wallets.
Ray: This was a weird one-shot that came out of nowhere, but it shows that zombies continue to sell. I wonder if there’s another comic this month that proved that…
Glenn:  Big increase for Batman Beyond for its 25th issue which sells over 24.2k at 109.  This series has never been at the top of the charts but has been a solid lower tier performer for the company for years despite it never really getting any special marketing or big stories or the usual stuff.  There are title’s that are worse off.
Ray: This is also the return of the original Joker to the title, so that’s undoubtedly driving sales to this future-set title.
Glenn:  Umbrella Academy returns at 110 for a new mini, hotel oblivion selling over 24.1k.  I’m not sure how the original series sold but this is a good number for publisher Dark Horse and the first two stories of this series have probably made quite a bit in collections which this one ultimately will as well.
Image result for the umbrella academy hotel oblivion #1
Ray: Given that the franchise has been in…oblivion for a while, those are good numbers. Thank you! We’ll be here all week! Try the veal!
Glenn: I’m allergic to Veal, why you try kill me
At 117 is Shatterstar, a new mini from Marvel about a character that is ridiculously obscure.  It sells over 23.1k and that’s a lot better than I would expect from a book about a character I couldn’t point out in a line up between him and various versions of Micky Mouse.
Ray: Tim Seeley’s writing this, which is probably why it managed to top 20K. Otherwise, this is obviously a niche book.
Glenn:  DC rising star, Sam Humbries releases a new Image title at 118 in the form of Blackbird which is some fantasy based mystery from what I understand from the description.  It sells over 23k which is pretty on par with what I would expect from a book written by someone who is gaining momentum at the big two.

Ray:  That’s a really healthy Image debut, well above what we normally see unless you’re talking about a megawatt creative team like a Millar or Snyder joint. Both Humphries and Bartel are fast-rising talents. 

It’s time for another wave of Hanna-Barbera/DC crossover one-shots. These four were actually all ordered in very similar numbers, but once again it’s the weak link that tops the sales. That would be Superman/Top Cat special, where Superman and a talking cat fight a Kale monster. It sells 22.6K at #122. Not far behind that, selling 22.2K at #125 is Deathstroke/Yogi Bear, where there is both carnage and pic-a-nic baskets. Then at 130/131, both selling 21.2K, are Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound and Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla. Sales likely reflect the DC character involved more than anything, and it seems like retailers are just ordering them as a set now. With lots of Hanna-Barbera properties left to go, I could see this oddball mini-event continuing for some time.
Glenn: They seem to do decent for what they are and can be a lot of fun with the potential of landing another Batman/Fudd type scenario so why not?
Ray:  More Walking Dead at #133, as the one hundredth issue gets an anniversary reprint that takes in 20.9K.
The latest jumbo-sized DC anthology, Cursed Comics Cavalcade, has a healthy debut at #135, selling 20.2K. Any time a $9.99 comic breaks 20K, that’s impressive. DC continues to deliver with these anthologies.
Two more blank comics, with Wonder Woman at #136 (20.2K) and Superman at #141 (19.4K). That’s about 40K in comics with nothing inside. Talk about a money-maker. Let those sucker readers make their own comics for a change!
Glenn: I’d be surprised if more companies don’t do it next year.  Imagine what Walking Dead could do with a blank version if old issues can sell so well without any discount on their original pricing?
Ray:  Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker debuts at #139, selling 19.6K. Given that this is a Sleepwalker comic, a character who hasn’t been relevant since the 90s, well…insert the Arrested Development “I don’t know what I was expecting” meme here.
Another strong Image debut at #142, as Dead Rabbit from Gerry Duggan and John McCrae sells 19K. This noir-accented retired-criminal tale had some top creators and a good concept, but trouble may be ahead – a mandatory recall of both issues was issued today due to trademark issues, so we’ll see what this comic’s future is.
Glenn: Hopefully it can stick through it and at worst it will be a simple title change, I like both these creators and was glad so see this do well
Ray:  More Walking Dead! The second issue sells another 19K at #143.
IDW had another successful weekly Star Wars event, Tales from Vader’s Castle. This horror-accented story of a group of rebels telling scary stories as they tried to infiltrate Mustafar debuted at #144 with sales of 18.7K, and the other four issues landed at #155, #162, #165, and #167 bottoming out at 16.2K. These were the top five IDW comics this month that didn’t feature Batman.
Glenn: Having Vader in the title of your book will help.  Its like having a slightly more goth Batman with magic powers.
Ray:  The Terrifics Annual #1 is down at #146, selling 18.6K. That’s well below where the regular title sells – but then, this annual didn’t have Jeff Lemire. Lemire is leaving the title with #14 as he says goodbye to work-for-hire, and I doubt it’ll be continuing from there. This is his book.
Glenn: Then these odd new DC hero books will never be mentioned again.  Let us hope lessons were learned.
Ray:  Six more Walking Dead issues down here – #27, #7, #53, #108, #48, and #167. They’re scattered between #148 and #166, selling between 18K and 16K. These are basically True Believers one-shots at full price, so the way they’re selling is bizarre and impressive.
The relaunch of Unstoppable Wasp is waaaaaaaaay down at #151, selling 17.2K. To put this into perspective, this is between the latest issues of Damage and Sideways, two series almost a year old that are likely to be cancelled soon. I assume this series is getting its sales elsewhere, because it’s sure not getting them here.
Glenn: Got to love Marvel for try, try, trying again but this doesn’t indicate any strong presence for this character as a solo lead anytime soon.
Ray:  Another new Vertigo series, the supernatural Stepford Wives pastiche Hex-Wives, lands at #154 with sales of 17.1K. It’s another strong debut like Border Town last month, but as we’ll talk about down the list, that may be fleeting.
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Speaking of True Believers, this month’s wave of $1 Marvel reprints was classic What If issues. These are largely all clustered together, since none of them are really key issues and retailers ordered them more for the die-hards. The top-selling one is “What if Silver Surfer had wielded the Infinity Gauntlet?” at #157, selling 16.8K. From there, we see “What if the alien costume had possessed Spider-Man” at #170, “What if Spider-Man rescued Gwen Stacy” at #175, and “What if Jane Foster had found the Hammer of Thor” at #182. These are all issues featuring top characters or concepts, and they all sell between 16K and 14K.
Glenn: Given that these books are out of continuity and are from way back when, retailers probably found it hard to gage demand which is why they’re all lumped together at similar numbers.  Most retailers probably just ordered them to have inexpensive back stock for the back issue divers.
Ray:  Four more Walking Dead issues – #127, #92, #171, #132 – down here selling between 16K and 14K in the #169-#180 range. So. Much. Walking. Dead.
Glenn: Its like they’re coming through the walls man!
Ray:  Daniel Warren Johnson, the cult creator behind the brilliant Extremity, debuts his new comic at #179. It’s Murder Falcon, the story of a grieving musician who learns to live again through the power of…a giant talking bird superhero who needs heavy metal to fight? It’s a real book, I swear! It’s also brilliant and it sells 14.8K but should be selling 10x that.
Glenn: I’m calling the mental asylum, its time.  It sounds like a good book in all seriousness but very much has a niche hook so the number doesn’t surprise me.
Ray: Another offbeat Image book, the supernatural action-comedy Exorsisters, debuts at #183 selling 13.9K. This book seemed to get a good response all around and might be a sleeper hit for Image. Is “feminist supernatural satire” becoming the new “deep space murder mystery” for Image?
Glenn: Female Supernatural seems like a trend lately doesn’t it?  Lots of books with similar hooks/feels and its likely all coincidence.  This is within the Image safe zone for creators without a high profile and I think will pick up a bigger audience through trades, its also begging for a TV adaption.
Ray:  Wytches makes its long-awaited return – sort of – with the terrifying Bad Egg Halloween Special. This 80-page comic for $7.99 sold 13.7K at #188, but that’s kind of a deceptive number – this comic was serialized long ago in the Image + magazine both digitally and in print. So many people have already read this, making this a much healthier number. When Wytches does come back, it’ll be just fine.
Glenn: You nailed it, people who wanted this desperately likely read it through Image+ so this is just a few extra sales.  Given that the creative team is doing one last stop to do a mini about the Batman Who Laughs before coming back to Wytches, this could easily be Image’s number 2 book for as long as it comes out next volume.
Ray:  The rest of the What If True Believers issues are down here, with “What if Kraven the Hunter had killed Spider-Man” at #186, “What if Doctor Doom had become a hero” at #191, “What if the FF had not gained their powers” at #196, “What if the Avengers had fought evil during the 1950s” at #198, and “What if the FF had different super-powers” at #200. All of these sell 13K to 12K, a pretty decent range. The only outlier is “What if Legion had killed Magneto“, down at #212 selling 11K. This one was from a much later What If run, with VERY 90s art.
Glenn: The 90’s were dark and full of terrors.

Ray:  Tee Franklin, the creator of the very popular Bingo Love, made her monthly comic debut this month with the feminist horror comic Jook Joint, about an enchanted bar that helps victims of domestic abuse get their revenge. Her popularity doesn’t seem to have translated, as the title lands at #205 with sales of 11.8K. I think the massive tonal difference between the sweet Bingo Love and this incredibly dark title didn’t help.

Glenn:  It does seem like a very different direction to go in.  Likely most retailers didn’t make the connection with who Franklin was and ordered it like they would any other horror title.  I would say her next project will likely be closer in tone to her first.
At 214 is the second issue of Bully Wars selling over 11.2k.  I might have expected higher with something that has Scottie Young’s name on it but he’s only doing the writing.  Its at a level with a lot of newer Image books so it’ll likely stay fine if it stabelizes here.
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Another month, another KISS comic from Dynamite.  KISS Blood Stardust sells over 10.5k which seems to be the range for these odd band comics.  Stable numbers are stable numbers.
Ray: This one was by Bryan Hill, but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. I guess only so many people want to see Gene Simmons fight demons.
Glenn:  Infinite Dark, a new sci-fi mystery which is the latest genre that is suddenly everywhere debuts from Dark Horse at 220 selling over 10.2k.  Pretty standard debut for a new Image book with a decent premise and no huge names attached.
Ray: It’s also Lovecraft-inspired, which is one of the public domain genres that keep cropping up. Odd book without much of a built-in audience.
Glenn:  Pretty expected second issue sales for MST3k (over 10.2k at 221), Vampirella Dejah Thoris (over 10.1k at 222) and United States Vs Murder Inc (Over 9.7k at 224) in the case of the latter, it seems the new Bendis titles are faring much better than the ones he brought back.
At 225 is Mars Attacks which sells over 9.7k which is a lot better than I might have expected for a property that hasn’t been hot in like 20 years.  It likely helps they that they have Kyle Starks on board, his name will likely bring in some attention.
Ray: Mars Attacks seems to be falling into the Nancy Drew/Lone Ranger pool of taking characters that don’t have much of a market presence and giving them shiny new creative teams from up-and-coming writers. Dynamite makes some puzzling choices, but they seem to be able to attract some top-creators lately and it’s paying dividends.
Glenn: All I know is that they came in peace *releases bird*
In the end of an era, the final issue of the Simpsons Comic (issue 245) sells over 8.8k at 230.  Slightly better than what it usually would do but this comic never made its money in the direct market, instead of being sold in every type of place you could think of worldwide.  As Bongo comics goes away, we’ll likely see the franchise farmed out to BOOM or IDW or some such who will be able to buy a new pool with all that sweet Simpson royalty money.
As Ray indicated earlier, there’s quite a fall for Border Town’s second issue as it drops down to 232 with sales over 8.8k.  This is pretty much been normal level for Vertigo for anything non Sandman and/or Snyder related for years.  There’s a lot of books from this new line of Vertigo so we’ll see if they all do the same and how DC processes that in the months to come.
Rainbrow Brite is the newest property to get a comic version, Dynamite releases the first issue this month at 235 and it sells over 8,5k. I’m not sure how much appeal this character has to a wide audience but this seems probably about as good as you can get at launch.
Ray: Rainbow Brite is one of Dynamite’s only forays into the all-ages genre, and it has Unstoppable Wasp creator Jeremy Whitley writing. I’m not sure this will be one of the direct market, but Dynamite is really trying a lot of new things lately.
Glenn:  At 237 is Marvel Super Heroes Captain Marvel Spooktacular which sells over 8.3k.  All ages kids comic to tie in with a show aimed at young girls, this is not its place to make its money.
Right below it at 238 is definitely not a comic aimed at young girls, reorders for Batman: Damned get another 8.3k+ in sales.  Fans and retailers will have to live with a version that will feature less male genitalia but the titles been a hit regardless.
Ray: Nananananananaa Bat-wang!
Glenn:  At 243 is TMNT Macroseries Donatello which sells over 7.9k, these one shots focusing on each of the turtles will very depending on the popularity of each.  I doubt many people think of Donatello as their favorite turtle but this is a number in line with how turtle comics usually do.
A new mini from Image, Errand Boys is the latest in another odd trend of ‘delivery boys with a twist’ titles that all seem to be coming out at once.  It sells over 7,8k at 244 on its first issue.  Pretty standard stuff.
Ray: Errand Boys has a pair of new creators on board, so these numbers aren’t a surprise. The play here is usually to hope for good trade sales and some nice buzz, leading to a sequel. First two issues indicate it might deserve it.
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Glenn:  New BOOM ongoing, Sparrowhawk is a fantasy selling 7.1k which is pretty normal for a BOOM comic with no big names attached.  At least this books premise sounds unique.
At 265 is the latest attempt to make Lone Ranger a thing, it sells over 6.5k which shows that he is still not a thing.  A team up with Batman may be the only thing that can help him at this point, I demand a cook off between Alfred and Tonto stat.
Ray: This Lone Ranger reboot has Mark Russell on board and is getting some very good reviews, but it’s been relaunched so often already that it probably didn’t matter. Too many false starts for the property.
Glenn:  At 268 is reorders for the uber controversial Heroes In Crisis 1 as it racks up additional sales over 6.3k.  Nothing huge reorder wise, pretty standard for a high profile story but its still something.
Season 11 of popular kids show Adventure Time launches at 270 selling over 6.2k.  I have no idea what this show is about and I’m sure the comics sell great outside the direct market to legions of die hard fans of whatever the heck this is about.  In my day, cartoons had Batman in them and we liked it!  These new things confuse and scare me.
Ray: Adventure Time is coming off a popular series finale with a major twist, so I imagine that boosted sales. This is definitely one for the bookstore market, though.
Glenn:  Two halloween one shots starring two female comic characters from Dynamite sell at 273 and 274 respectively.  First we have Red Sonja which sells 6k and Vampirella which sells over 5.9k.  Seems retailers ordered these close together which to me suggests a similar fan base for specials starring these characters.
First issue of the adaption of Ray’s favorite cartoon ‘Rise Of The TMNT‘ sells over 5.9k.  I don’t think this version will be still talked about in 10 years time, or five, or two.
Ray: But when we think of TMNT, we definitely think of…evil invading aliens and magical sci-fi weapons?
Glenn: Technically Krang is an alien…I think.  I’m actually not sure.
A new book from Steve Orlando hits from Aftershock at 285 which sells over 5.4k.  Even though Orlando has been a heavy feature of DC the last few years, it seems that still can’t get sales out of an Aftershock launch for him but not many people can.                                                                                                                                                                                       Ray: Orlando overall has struggled to find an audience for his creator-owned books, be they at Image, Boom, or Aftershock. They get good reviews, but he hasn’t gotten to the point where his name sells books on their own.
Glenn:  Spookhouse 2, a reprint of an all ages kids anthology dealing with stories likely more Muppets Christmas Carol than Heriditory sells over 5.3k at 287.  Another book that likely isn’t depending on the direct market for most of its sales.
Lodger, an interesting sounding thriller that is put out through IDW’s Black Crown line sells over 5.3k at 288.  These Black Crown books actually usually seem interesting but seem to not be capturing the markets attention.  Black Crown seems to essentially be IDW’s Vertigo and even DC Vertigo isn’t what it used to be.
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Ray: Lodger is a David Lapham book, and he’s always been a niche creator. These numbers are pretty close to what can be expected.
Glenn:  Getting in on the halloween one shot craze this month is Bettie Page who has a spooky themed one shot at 290 selling over 5.2k.  Horror and Bettie PAge aren’t things my mind would usually link together and its not as if there’s a lot of demand for the character and the market (especially this month) is overloaded with horror so I guess this is fine?
More reorders for Venom 1 at 294 selling another 5.1k+ of copies.  Reorders are slowing down but they’re still there, even with the trade out soon.
At 295 is an Army Of Darkness Halloween special which sells over 5.1k.  See?  This makes sense but somehow gets outsold by Bettie Page, I don’t know what to tell you.
New Judge Dredd book with the subtitle Toxic sells a shade over 5k at 297 which like all other Dredd stuff is pretty standard for the direct market for the character.  For die hard Dreddheads only.
Thankfully nothing to do with annoying singing people, Lollipop Kids from Aftershock seems to almost be a more family friendly version of American Gods.  It sells over 4.8k at 206 which is pretty standard for the publisher when no big names are attached.
At 312 we have another new Aftershock title Last Space Race selling over 4.7k, see above
Ray: Aftershock puts out a surprising number of books, and very few of them get anywhere near healthy numbers. I’m not sure what the company’s long-term is, but they do seem to be able to get a surprising number of top creators.
Glenn:  At 313 is Barack Panther which sells over 4.7k.  No its not a type although I really wish it was.  I miss the good old days of the top 300, I had far less tearing in my soul then.

Ray: But is he facing Trumpmonger? The world may never know, because most of us aren’t reading this book. 

Ryan Ferrier’s Death Orb debuts at #316 from Dark Horse, selling 4.6K. This post-apocalyptic sci-fi comic got a lot of advance promotion, but like many creator-owned books without a clear hook it struggled.
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Man-Eaters continues to do two covers a month, and so they sort of have to be combined. They’re at #277 and #317, selling about 10K combined. Odd plan, but the numbers are overall decent but unspectacular.
Glenn: Cain’s usual audience might be trade waiting but yeah, seeing it show up twice on the charts like this is odd.  It seems her controversial end at Marvel didn’t get many people to follow her to indieland.
Ray:  #330 brings us an oversized Planet of the Apes one-shot, selling 4K. This is based on the classic continuity, which has a smaller audience than the recent hit movie series. This is overall a niche property that Boom continues to do some occasional content for, just like they do with Kong.
At #340 is an interesting entry, the From Hell Master Edition from IDW. This reprint of Frank Miller’s classic thriller sells 3.7K, an impressive number for a $7.99 reprint of an old comic most people probably read in collections.
Glenn: This is a graphic novel that I see a lot outside comic shops so these single issue sales don’t matter ultimately.  They’re likely just for those that consider the book their favorite.
Ray:  The newest Tangled: The Series miniseries lands at #342, selling 3.7K. This one is definitely part of IDW’s fast-growing all-ages line geared towards bookstores with small, affordable trades.
Zenoscope’s Black Knight debuts at #349 with sales of 3.6K, and is…apparently a comic about a sexy black knight lady in armor with a lot of conspicuous gaps in it? Glenn, strike up the Rachel Bloom!
Glenn: I am shocked to learn this.  Shocked.
Ray:  A new Dragon Age: Deception miniseries is at #350, selling 3.6K. This is mostly notable for me given that it’s written by two of my favorite comic book creators, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. Marvel’s loss is Dragon Age’s gain?
Glenn: Its still just a video game tie-in and those will only go so far.
Ray:  At #351 is Nancy Drew #5, wrapping up Kelly Thompson’s original miniseries. It sells 3.6K, but it needs to sell a lot more than that in collections. It ended on a cliffhanger! Me need sequel now!
Glenn: If we don;t get a sequel, I might cry.  Please don’t make me cry.
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Ray:  #362 has the Archie Halloween Spectacular, selling just under 3.4K. This is part of a series of a single-issue sized digests combining about five short stories into one volume. Definitely more of a newsstand market book.
At #366 is The Devil Within, a new Black Mask horror comic that sells 3.2K. It’s basically The Exorcist but more political. “Your mother sucks at bringing progressive policies into effect!”
Glenn: Something for everyone I guess?  Politically themed comics also can only go so far.  People read comics and other forms of fiction to forget about the political mess we’re all in.
Ray:  The adaptation of Shades of Magic, based on the classic fantasy series by V.E. Schwab, lands at #374 with sales of 3K. Titan gets a healthy amount of business based on adaptations and reprints of foreign comics.
For once, it’s another company doing the public domain comic thing! American Mythology revamps Zorro with a new series launching at #378 with sales of 3K. This is a supernatural take with Zorro fighting demons, but these are actually pretty healthy numbers for this company.
Glenn: In the immortal words of Homer Simpson ‘You go Zorro!’
Ray:  After a lot of reprints and all-ages ongoings like Lumberjanes that aren’t meant for this market anymore, we get a new #1 – Sex Death Revolution from Black Mask, selling 2.7K at #390. These numbers are both shocking and not – it’s a creator-owned comic from a company that struggles in sales and was a double-sized $6 issue, but it’s also by Mags Visaggio, the writer of arguably the company’s ongoing signature book, Kim & Kim. Although she’s rising fast, her star apparently doesn’t lift the company she got her start at yet.
Glenn:  Its also an odd book that I find hard to describe.  There’s no one sentence that describes what it is to potential readers so that will make it a hard sell.
Ray:  Ahoy Comics had a wildly successful debut with Wrong Earth last month, but it doesn’t seem to have translated to their other launches. Their horror anthology, Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror, lands this month at #393 selling exactly 2.7. Still not a bad launch for a completely new company.
It feels like I reviewed the zero issue of Artifact One from Aspen on our podcast ages ago, but the #1 issue is finally here and selling 2.6K at #396. The long wait couldn’t have helped, but in general Aspen’s numbers tend to be low.
After more reorders and some creator-owned gems that should be selling much better, we see our next launch with Source from Scout Comics. This story of an ordinary teacher who gets caught up in a cosmic war sells 2.3K at #410. It’s from the cowriter of The Mall, one of Scout’s more buzzworthy titles, but the company as a whole is still struggling to sell comics that aren’t Stabbity Bunny.
Glenn: Maybe all their comics should star homicidal rabbits?
Ray:  And the other Ahoy Comics launch of the month is at #414. Captain Ginger, the story of a bunch of talking cats traveling a post-apocalyptic cosmos and doing cat-like things, sells 2.3K. Sometimes, Glenn, it still is wonderful down here.

Glenn:  No its not, even if they’re clearly pandering.

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Some reorders for Stranger Things at 415 with additional sales 2.2k+  This is probably Dark Horse’s best launch in a while and they’re be eager for more asap.
At 426 is Albert Einstein, Time Mason which sells over 2k.  It doesn’t seem like many people want to read about Einstein’s adventures in time and space.
Magica De Spell Halloween Hex from IDW sells over 1.9k at 429.  I have no clue what this is and apparently not many people did.  In a month full of halloween one shots with big prices, this one got lost in the shuffle.
A new comic from Vault, These Savage Shores sells over 1.8k at 438.  The premise doesn’t seem to grab me and I’m not sure of the creators so yeah, this is what you get.
I’m surprised to see an Archie comic featuring Betty & Veronica at 440 selling over 1.8k.  Usually books starring these characters do a lot better.  Archie is an odd place as a company now and maybe this is an effect of that?
Ray: This Betty and Veronica book is a mini-digest of sorts, reprinting a small collection of themed stories. It’s not really new content and sold accordingly.
Glenn:  More people wanting that True Believers reprint of the Punisher’s first appearance at 441 selling more copies of over 1.8k.  Not too bad for a very old comic that’s earned its money countless times over.
Usual performance for Dave Sim and his increasingly punny titles at 442 as League Of Extraordinary Cerebi sells over 1.8k.
At 445 we have Midnight Mystery from Alterna which sells over 1.8k which is about normal for new Alterna books that don’t get major news coverage.
Ray: We’ll see how many new Alterna books are coming, given their recent bad PR.
Glenn:  At 446 is Backstagers Halloween Intermission selling over 1.8k.  This book has never found its place in the direct market despite its writer being a major fixture at DC.  Since it still carries on, I assume that it sells in some sort of format.
Ray: Backstagers has definitely found a big audience in bookstores, along with other Boom titles like Lumberjanes. You’ll see a series of YA novels featuring the characters soon, but the comic seems to live on in these occasional specials.
Glenn:  Garfield TV or not to TV at 446 selling over 1.8k is the typical level of sales for the grumpy cat with at least 1.6k of those copies being bought by Ray.
Ray: Garfield > Grumpy Cat. I support the OG Cat.
Glenn:  I’m a big sucker for Ripleys Believe it or not museum in Florida and New York but I can’t imagine the odd tales transferring well to comics and I wouldn’t imagine Zenescope being the best choice to deliver them.  Its an odd mesh up priced at 5.99 (!!!!!!) that results in sales over 1.7k at 452
Another Dredd comic from another publisher shows up at 455 selling over 1.7k.  I’m not sure who this publisher is but they are likely a lot smaller than IDW who usually bring Dredd comics to America in single issue format so that explains the massive gap.  Again, Dredd isn’t a monthly market guy and this small press company will benefit off various reprints and collections for quite some time.
If Zenescope is too classy for you, Boundless comics has you covered!  They release Hellina Ravening Nude which sells over 1.7k at 456.  She has her boobies out and everything, what’s not to love?
Pellucidar at 458 seems to be an adaption of at the earths core which is good for sales over 1.6k apparently.  Perhaps the odd choice of title made it easy to miss for those that might be interested in the novels comic adaption?
Source Point Press releases Ogre, the first part of a 3 issue mini which sells over 1.5k.  Under the radar.
William The Last which reprints a webcomic that also had a Kickstarter comes out in monthly form from Antartic Press selling over 1.3k at 478 indicating most of the people interested already likely checked it out.
The non booby version of Hellina Ravening sells over 1.3k at 480.  Sex sells kids.
Ray: And just think, this is two of the roughly 30 covers this issue released!
Glenn:  Hachet Vengeance (from Adam Green apparently) is some sort of horror book that sells over 1.3k at 481.  Its a thing that exists.
At 492 is the Three Stooges comics that somehow continue selling over 1.2k.  How do these keep happening?!?!?!?!?
At 500 we have more reorders for Doomsday Clock 6 which sells more copies, 1.2k+ more to be precise.  At the end of these articles, I too feel like Doctor Manhattan with a greater understanding of the universe beyond what any man should know.

Ray:  Good ol’ Doctor Manhattan, ending this article on a classy note. 

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Looking ahead to December, it’s kind of a quiet month for DC. We’ll see a few specials from the company, including their latest Apocalypse-themed seasonal anthology. The Drowned Earth event concludes, and we see the kind of sales boost G. Willow Wilson brings to Wonder Woman. Plus, another Vertigo launch from Bryan Hill. But the heavyweight release of the month is undoubtedly The Green Lantern from Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp, which has a decent shot at #1.
Marvel will be putting up a fight, though, with the weekly Uncanny X-Men kicking off this month and a Carnage one-shot from Donny Cates. In smaller releases, Ironheart launches her solo series, Han Solo gets a miniseries tying into the movie, and the Black Order go their own way from Thanos.
The biggest Marvel release of the month, though, might not be from Marvel. That would be Marvel Action: Spider-Man from IDW, the launch of their new all-ages Marvel line. If it’s a hit, this could be a game-changer. Also look for Dark Horse to make a splash on the charts with a Joss Whedon Doctor Horrible spin-off.
What will rise? What will fall? Will Ray cry when he sees the numbers on his favorite books? Find out next month on By the Numbers!
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Liked what you read?  Have a comment or question?  Hit us up here or on Twitter @glenn_matcett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: September 2018

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. After binge watching Haunting Of Hill House, Glenn spends the majority of his time rocking back and forward silently weeping to himself.  He’s much happier this way.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekdad and they’re brilliantly entertaining.  When told the news about how American Vandal was cancelled at Netflix, Ray decided to conduct his own acts of vandalism in order to justify the show coming back.

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:  There wasn’t much to talk about last month as there was only one big headline release.  That all changes this month of course because now there are TWO headline releases.

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One of which is the top selling comic of the month, Return Of Wolverine 1 which is the start of a new mini detailing how Wolverine comes back from the dead,  It sells over 260.4k which on the surface is incredibly impressive.  It helped of course that the issue came with 25 variants (!!!!!) and Marvel wheeled out Steve McNiven for this issue (he’ll be back for the finale) and he’s arguably still their biggest sales draw in terms of artists (Marvel certainty thinks so).  Still smoke and mirrors with variants is hardly anything new but its hard to know how this mini will perform long term.  I don’t fancy its chances to sell above 70-75k at best from here on out.  We can probably expect a lot more variant incentives like this from Marvel cause of this.

Ray:  Yeah, first-issues sales from Marvel are notoriously unreliable these days. With the incentives and number of variants, a ridiculous second-issue drop is almost guaranteed. There’s been very little buzz about this event, as well.
Glenn:  The other major release, DC’s Heroes In Crisis is an odd one.  When this was initially announced, writer Tom King indicated it was going to be a small scale book addressing mental health issues in the superhero community.  Now it seems to have turned into a murder mystery which has annoyed a lot of people.  It sells over 140.6k which is nothing to sneeze at for sure but its not really big event numbers.  I would wager that this will perform similarly to how Fear Itself did a few years ago as from what we’ve managed to gleam about the background of each story and what it was vs what it turned into are remarkably similar.
Ray:  There’s been a TON of buzz about Heroes in Crisis, but very little is good. The audience is not happy, but there’s a lot of story to be told. The rollout here is very odd, with the way it changed into a mega-event and the shocking moments in the first issue. It’s a nine-month series now, so it’ll have a lot of time to build an audience. DC can’t be too happy with how this debuted, but there’s a lot of story still to be told in this book’s sales.
Glenn:  Long term with collection sales and stuff, Heroes In Crisis will probably deliver but short term there may be some fallout from a modern day audience who want things to happen yesterday.
At 3 is the near unstoppable Doomsday Clock which sells over 130.9k.  This one featured the full return of Doctor Manhattan so we’ll likely see some decent reorders.  This is a book that’s basically out on its own, separate from everything else that is one of the most stable books in the charts, its astonishing.
Ray:  Doomsday Clock is performing like a combination of a major event comic and a Black Label book, with the sky-high sales of the former and the stability of the latter. That’s about as big a win as any company can hope for, and I imagine DC has to be thrilled to have Johns back writing full-time.
Glenn:  It’ll be interesting to see how Shazam does, I have no doubt in my mind that Three Joker’s will be a mega hit but with Johns at the helm, Mr. Batson could be in for a sales high.
At 4 is old releable Batman which seems to have escaped any great loss from the people that seemed to claim to want to abandon the title following the events of issue 50.  Issue 55 sells over 105.6k while the previous issue sells over 94.6k at 6.  Issue 55 likely sold more due to the events in it regarding Nightwing which seemed to have worked out well for Batman in terms of sales but I doubt will have the same effect on ol Ric Grayson in the months to come.
Ray:  Yeah, this sales boost was definitely the result of DC leaking the events of Batman #55 in advance, allowing retailers to up their orders. Sadly, this means we’re probably getting spoiled a lot more in the future.
Glenn:  At 5 is Batman Donged….errr Damned, the first official Black Label release which sells over 95.6k which for an adult orientated prestige line that’ priced at 6.99 is incredibly impressive.  Of course, this issue has drawn a lot of attention for one very specific thing but despite that, the reviews have been strong and this could be a line for DC that performs incredibly well for them long term in singles and collections.
Ray:  This is an extremely similar number to Batman: White Knight despite the fact that it has a much higher price tag and comes in a prestige format. That’s a testament to the power of Batman, of course, but it also bodes well for the line as a whole. There’s a Frank Miller Superman project and a few Wonder Woman projects down the line, so we’ll see if they can hold these numbers. Reorders might be coming, but they will be Batwangless.
Glenn:  I think all of the Black Label books we’ve had announced so far will perform really well with titles like Three Jokers, Last Knight, the White Knight sequel and Superman: Year One being at the top of the pack.  There are some potential dark horse contenders in there though.
At 7 is Thanos Legacy which sells over 92.1.  This is a special one shot that sees Marvel MVP, Donny Cates return to the character and the massive sales on this is a testament to how quickly Cates has shot up in terms of name power in comics.  This is a great number no matter what way you look at it and I’m sure Marvel is already looking into ways to clone Cates so he can write more books.
Ray:  This was both an epilogue to the Cates Thanos run and a tie-in to Duggan’s run on Guardians and Infinity Wars. This is an amazing number, well above what Infinity Wars is normally doing, and shows just how much pull Cates has right now. His Guardians run is going to be huge come January.
Glenn:  At 8 is the second issue of Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four which sells over 85.5k which is a brilliant hold from the first issue.  The title is still within the 3 month safety zone but most books already drop quite heavily despite that.  This looks to be a win for Marvel and it’ll be interesting to see if Fantastic Four can be Marvel’s highest selling ongoing.
Ray:  Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that Slott’s Fantastic Four is going to be one of Marvel’s top ongoings going forward. Another perfect match of creator and characters.
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Glenn:  Its main competition for that title, Amazing Spider-Man is at 9 and 10 selling over 84.3k and 82.9k respectfully.  Interestingly, issue 6 sells higher than issue 5 despite it being the first issue without Image grab Ryan Ottely on the title.  The writer of Amazing Spider-Man hasn’t exactly had a steady past few years but this seems to be working so far at least.
Ray:  The sales on Amazing Spider-Man are staying very solid through the three-month buffer zone, but that comes to an end next issue – the same month as Spider-Geddon debuts proper and this doesn’t tie in. Not a good combo. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sales bump this month is due to the tie-in with the writer’s past Superior Foes of Spider-man, one of his best-regarded works. 
Glenn:  I didn’t think of that!  I wonder if it had been a bit higher then if artist Steve Lieber’s involvement had been solicited.  Maybe he moves the needle?
Ray:  We’re starting to get a new picture of the top books on the market as we see what fills out the top twenty. Justice League, Venom, Avengers, and Brian Michael Bendis’ new run on Superman are all selling in the 75-70K range several months in, demonstrating a very solid floor. That’s expected for most of them – but it’s Venom that once again stuns with how it climbs every month. This month’s jump may be due to retailers ordering higher in advance of the movie.
Glenn:  We’ll see if the boost holds next month on Venom but the resurrection of this property has been quite a sight to behold.
Ray:  Speaking of Spider-Geddon, its #0 issue lands at #12 this month, selling 74K. A very strong debut for a comic that featured the debut of the new video game version of Spider-man but didn’t play a huge role in the event itself. If the #0 issue does this well, there’s a good chance that Spider-Geddon #1 tops the charts next month.
Glenn:  This is sort of a Spider-Geddon tie-in but is mostly something to link in to the incredibly popular video game (over 86% completion!).  By video game comic numbers, this is an excellent result.  The hype for this is event is really something, going back to revisit this concept is going to pay off in a big way for Marvel I think.
Ray:  Spider-Man, Spider-Man, sells almost as many comics as Batman… The wall-crawler shows up again at #14 with the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. This is a symbiote story by Saladin Ahmed, taking place during the Black Costume era, and sells within 10K of the main series. I credit this to a combination of Ahmed being a fast-rising writer and the ties to Venom. Ahmed is taking over Miles Morales’ title in December, so this performance bodes well.
Glenn:  Its a popular era in Spider-Man mythos too but yeah this is a great number.  I would say that we can’t expect to experience a slow down in Spidey related comics anytime soon but we’re about to experience an avalanche in Spider-Geddon crossovers so…
Ray:  Infinity Wars #3 is down to #18 at 63K. This is a really fun old-school event, but the buzz for it seems to have faded a lot given the extended buildup. The tie-ins start this month, so we’ll see how they do below.
Glenn:  Its not event level sales but its still in the upper tier so its not too bad but Marvel likely expected more and will probably get the performance from Spider-Geddon they wanted out of Infinity Wars.
Ray:  It was such a competitive month that Walking Dead barely scraped into the top 20 at #19, selling a standard 62K for this absurdly steady title.
#20 sees the highest appearance for Dark Horse in a long time with the debut of Stranger Things by Jody Houser. Focusing on Will’s time in the Upside Down, its sales of 60K show just how hot this series is right now. Season 3 when?
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Glenn:  This is a hot property and Dark Horse being able to bag it is what will keep them in the game.  Much like Walking Dead, Stranger Things has become a bigger entity than anyone could expect and people will take whatever they can of the property while we wait on the third season.
Ray:  The third issue of Bendis’ Action Comics is about 10K behind Superman, selling 57K at #22. That’s a similar separation to what we saw at the start of Rebirth, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it narrow again. Action is definitely the superior series.
Justice League Odyssey, the much delayed space series by Williamson and Sejic (for the first two issues), launches at #23 with sales of 57K. That’s a very strong debut for a series featuring no a-list characters, but the art shift might hurt it in the future. I’m not expecting it to have the rock-solid hold of Justice League Dark (still at around 75% of its first issue sales, at #35 selling 44K this month)
Glenn: Being a part of the very powerful Justice League brand will help Odyssey live a respectful existence.  It’ll be the lowest selling of the three but still earn its keep for as long as this current direction lasts most likely.
Ray:  More rock-solid sales in the 55K to 45K range here filling out the top forty, as we see newer titles (or relaunched titles) like Catwoman, Thor, Captain America, and Immortal Hulk settle down here for the third month in a row alongside long-runners like Flash, Detective Comics (which is holding well despite having a fill-in arc this month) and the two Star Wars titles.
I was a bit surprised Punisher held so well with its second issue, selling 42K at #38. Punisher isn’t really a top-selling  character and not much has shifted in the creative team, but this is a decent second-issue hold. It manages to outsell the third issue of X-“event” Extermination.
Glenn:  It seemed like no time at all since the last Punisher relaunch but it seems to have done no harm.  The sales on the True Believer one shot does show interest in the character.  Nothing against the current creative team but if Marvel can get a winning formula on the book like they’ve done with Venom the market might respond appropriately.
Ray:  Speaking of Punisher, he has one of the top-selling True Believers issues that didn’t star Venom. Punisher’s first appearance for $1 charts at #40, selling 40.6K. That’s a lot of free money for Marvel for a reprint.
Asgardians of the Galaxy debuts at #41, selling just under 40K. Not a great debut, but given that Guardians of the Galaxy got cancelled for low sales and spun off into an event, maybe the time wasn’t right for a punny spin-off? This is more of a Thor spin-off, but the title may have confused retailers. Shame, it’s very good.
Glenn:  There’s no mega hitters on the team either (apart from maybe the pilot of the Destroyer) so its no big surprise.  Will probably end up being a fondly remembered 12 issue or so series by the few that read it.
Ray:  Iceman got the first-issue sales bump for its return, selling just under 39K at #43, but I don’t expect it to last. It’s a miniseries and will likely be down to its previous sales before long. But it’s geared towards trade readers now anyway.
Mister Miracle’s had a lot of delays along the way to its conclusion, but its penultimate issue lands at #45 with 38K in sales. King and Gerads‘ masterpiece has outstripped anything a New Gods title could be expected to sell.
Venom continues to be solid gold, with the remaining four issues of the weekly Venom: First Host selling between 36-37K with virtually no attrition, landing four issues between #46 and #51.
The first Sandman Universe spin-off, The Dreaming, lands at #47 with sales of 37K. As Glenn said on Rabbit Stew (dong!) these are great numbers for a Vertigo title, not so great numbers for a Sandman title. Of course, it has neither “Sandman” nor Neil Gaiman on the cover, so both might play a role in the drop from last month’s Sandman Universe. The month’s other spin-off, House of Whispers, is much lower at #77 with 28K sales. That one’s a new concept with new characters, so the gulf isn’t a big surprise.
Glenn:  Yeah, I expected more here but I think DC will call this a win.  This could be seen as bonus for the trade sales which will pay this title’s bills for decades to come if the other Sandman collections and DC’s ability to release them in new ways repeatedly and still have them sell is any indication.
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Ray:  #49 brings us the Captain America annual, which was the Marvel debut of Tini Howard. This WW2-set issue had Captain America and Bucky working to protect refugees from the Nazis, and it sells 37K. A big gulf between this and the main series, but then it’s a flashback story with no ties to the main universe right now.
Glenn:  Captain America as a franchise is still recovering from a rough past couple of years, it’ll be a while before spin off tales featuring new talent not relevant to anything in particular can hold water.
Ray:  The first two Infinity Warps miniseries launch very close together, as the Captain America/Doctor Strange hybrid Soldier Supreme lands at #53 selling two copies under 35K, and the Tony Stark/Thor hybrid Iron Hammer sells about 300 copies less at #55. Pretty decent launches for tie-ins, and we’ve got quite a few more of these ridiculous concepts coming in the next few months. Marvel’s having fun here, and while these sales aren’t spectacular, they’re a bit better than recent event comics managed.
Glenn:  I’d say for a concept as silly as this, those sales are great.  Assuming these are inspiration for mash up toys and whatnot too then it’ll be the Mouse laughing his evil squeaky laugh
Ray:  #60 and #61 have the last two issues of Edge of Spider-Geddon, selling 32K each. These were the Spider-Ben and Petey and Spider-Norman stories. Given that, I’m surprised Latour’s name on the former didn’t open a gulf between them. Marvel didn’t quite push “From the creator of Spider-Gwen” enough for that, I guess.
Glenn:  Decent enough for a throwaway mini, not surprising given how much hype there is for the big event.  Retailers were probably unsure what to do with these, any of them could have been the next Spider-Gwen but they also didn’t want to end up with unsold copies on shelves.  I don’t think any of them particularly stood out so these sales seem to make sense.
Ray:  This is the section of the charts where we see a lot of regular books selling in the 30K range, including most of the X-books, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Deathstroke. Both Deathstroke and Aquaman are benefiting from a crossover this month as Deathstroke finishes up Deathstroke vs. Batman, and Aquaman crosses over with Suicide Squad for “Sink Atlantis”. Aquaman is doing crossovers for a few months and then starting a new run by Kelly Sue DeConnick, so I imagine it’ll be rising on the charts for a while.
Glenn:  Rising, like water?  Huh?  Huh?  Huh?  Like Green Lantern, the sales on Aquaman are moot for a little while as the character waits for the next big creative team to sail in.  Sail, like water?  Huh?  Huh?  Huh?
Ray:  #68 brings us the Old Man Logan annual, selling 30K. This actually sells five spots above the Old Man Logan series, probably because of the presence of Punisher.
Glenn:  People love old man Frank, he’s cuddly
Ray:  Batgirl seems to have gotten a permanent bump from its new creative team, charting at #74 with sales of 28.8K. This is a big new arc bringing back her evil brother and calling her future as an able-bodied crimefighter into doubt, so retailers are responding.
Another new Bendis creator-owned title launches under DC’s Jinxworld line. This time it’s David Mack’s Cover, a twisty tale of a comic book creator who meets a femme fatale with ties to international spies. It sells 27.3K at #79, which is about 5K below the sales of Pearl last month. It’s been a long time since Mack did internal art, so I think this is a healthy start.
Glenn:  Very much so, this pair haven’t worked together for decades and the concept could go either way so this is definitly a good performance.  If this was an Image book, I’d call it a good start so it just depends what DC expects from its Jinxworld line apart from keeping its writer happy.
Ray:  Image’s top debut of the month is Bully Wars, the new Skottie Young title with art by Aaron Conley. It lands at #84 with sales of 27K. Young is quickly building his own brand as a creator-owned powerhouse, and he’s got another new comic as writer in only a few months.
Glenn:  Young being able to now sell himself as a writer is an interesting transition.  Fans of his work will be here regardless of who is drawing the interiors it seems so that’s a good sign.
At 86 is Adventures Of The Super Sons selling over 26.5k which is probably what the main series would be selling had it continued.  Nothing lost, nothing gained.
The ever slightest (like nearly non existent) bump for Chip Zdearskey’s final issue of Spectacular Spider-Man sells over 24.8k at 89.  Given that I think this is one of the greatest Spider-Man one and dones ever, I think this one will be included in collections and stuff for years to come.  I hope more people check it out and the run as a whole in the future, it didn’t last long enough.  The previous issue also charts at 96 selling over 24.2k 
Ray:  Zdarsky’s run really sailed under the radar, which is surprising given how good it was. I think going up against the conclusion of Slott’s run probably blunted the attention this run got a little, but it’ll wind up being seen as a modern classic.
Glenn:  Second tier title runs can be like that. Comic readers have been trained to pay attention to one title at any specific time if there’s one they have to choose from.  Trades and collections will remember Zdarskey fondly one hopes.
Outselling the main issue by a fair bit, the Domino Annual sells over 24.4k at 92.  This was an anthology annual with some of Domino’s former writers returning which might explain the difference, or it could be because the Deadpool DVD/Blu-Ray was out around this time, who knows?  Either way, Domino has become a solid performer for Marvel under the general guidance of Gail Simone.
Ray:  The return of Fabian Nicieza to the character was a big deal for old-school X-Force fans, so this annual got a combo of those fans and Gail’s.
Image result for domino annual #1
Glenn:  About a 10k drop for West Coast Avenger’s second issue which isn’t too bad.  It sells over 24.4k at 93 which is pretty good if you look at it like a Hawkeye spin off and a wacky character team book than anything necessary ‘Avenger’s’ related.  I’d say fan support and digital sales will keep this one around.
Ray:  That’s a roughly 33% drop for WCA, which is really good for a Marvel book these days. I think it’ll level out quickly, as Kelly Thompson’s fanbase is building by the day as she steps onto bigger and bigger books.
Glenn:  Not too far below the sales of its main series, the second Doctor Aphra Annual sells over 24.3k which in the usual Marvel Star Wars spin off range these days.  I still think Aphra is a more impressive performer because she’s never appeared in any other media but Marvel comics so doesn’t have a wide outside audience to help keep her around.
At 103 is the Silver Surfer Annual selling over 22.6k which is…oh there is no main series.  Okie dokes…umm, this is decent for Silver Surfer?  Probably a lot of these sales should be credited to the fan base Slott and Allred built up around the character.
New Warren Ellis comic, Cemetery Beach from Image launches at 105 with sales over 22k which is very good.  Ellis is a creator who can pull in a respectful set audience every time and this book is no exception.  It’ll run for as long as he wants it to.
High sales on the True Believers reprint on Daredevil 1 by Lee and Everett selling over 21.8k at 107.  I’m guessing retailers wanted this cause of the new season starting soon but this is great for a reprint that is decades old and is very different to the version of the character the majority of us are familiar with.
Another Bendis series, United States Of Murder Inc launches at 120 selling over 18.5k  This is with long time Bendis partner, Mike Avon Oeming and a continuation of a Marvel Icon series that kinda just…vanished?  I’m not surprised this one is selling less than the others, it’ll be harder to pull people in on this than something completely fresh but people that have been waiting on it will be glad to see it finally finishing and it’ll probably have a respectful performance.
Ray:  That’s the lowest debut of the Jinxworld books by a fair margin, and it’s also the one that’s been gone the longest. Bendis has been having great luck with the new titles so far, but the returning ones less so.
Glenn:  At 122 is another True Believers reprint of Luke Cage’s first comic which sells over 18.2k which I would say again is ridiculously good.  They might be vanishing one by one but the various Netflix shows have seemingly given retailers confidence in these cheap reprints that is just free money for their publisher.
At 129 is a Dynamite crossover, Vampirella/Dejah Thoris which sells over 17k which I’d consider very good considering that its hardly Avenger’s Vs. X-Men is it.
Ray:  I have no idea how vampires and martian princesses are going to crossover, but Dynamite gonna Dynamite.
Glenn:  The second issue of Pearl sells just over 16.8k at 130 which is better than Vertigo but not as good as you think a Bendis creator owned book would do at Image.  Being somewhere in the middle is something that will be up to DC to find acceptable.
Ray:  That’s a roughly 50% drop. A lot steeper than I would have expected for a creator-owned book, but still well above what it would have done at Vertigo. It’ll need to level out quickly, though.
Glenn:  At 132 is Journey Into Mystery: Birth Of Krakova which sells over 16.5k which is pretty great considering it literally seems to have nothing to do with anything.  I’m guessing a large portion of these sales are nostalgia over the Gillan series of yesteryear?
Ray:  Yeah, this is just a completely random Nick Fury on Monster Island comic that Marvel put out. Random, but fun and with a decent creative team. Retailers probably ordered this for Marvel completists.
Glenn:  At 134 is another True Believers Reprint which is another Punisher book, this time its the first issue of the book by Grant & Zeck.  I actually would have thought this would be higher but there are other much more famous Punisher runs out there.  Still ridiculously good of course.  At 137 is an Iron Fist one which sells over 15.5k.  Did you know that Danny Rand was in fact the Immortal Iron Fist?  That he is the sworn protector of Kun-lun (Sp?)?  Well he’ll tell you…a lot if the show is anything to go by.

Ray:  The most oddly numbered title in Marvel history, the Marvel Rising miniseries concludes with Marvel Rising: Omega at #138, selling 15.8K. This all-ages oversized comic introducing the team from the animated franchise that is totes not inspired by DC Super Hero Girls only with two guys no one likes has released five issues, and each of them was a #1. That’s one way to stop issue-by-issue attrition, I guess.

At #141 is the debut of Border Town, the first of the new Vertigo relaunch books. This controversial title that aroused the attention of some nasty people for its commentary on American racial divisions lands 15.2K in sales. Given that the title doesn’t have any name creators attached, that’s a definitely increase over what Vertigo titles were doing a while back. This is actually close to what I would expect this title to do at Image.
Glenn:  That isn’t too bad at all for Border Town and I think a higher debut than the last past of new Vertigo launches did a while back.  Maybe the return of Sandman has given the line some much needed juice again?
Ray:  Right below at #142 is the debut of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the comic. Replacing the classic B-movies with odd c-list comics, this issue sells 14.6K. That’s actually great for a Dark Horse debut, especially for such a cult property. More meta comics in Dark Horse’s future?
Glenn:  This series is the very definition of cult following so these are great numbers.  As the new series on Netflix (where else) continues building a new generation of fans, this will be a nice one for Dark Horse to have in shelves/in their archives.
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Ray:  The next True Believers comic is down at #155, selling 12.4K. It’s the first issue of Power Man and Iron Fist, kicking off the fan-favorite team. Both of these characters just lost their Netflix series, so maybe this team-up will be revived as a series?
#160 brings us the top reorder of the month, as Fantastic Four #1 pulls in another 12.3K to add to last month’s ridiculously good sales. They’re back and people are excited.
Rick and Morty Presents Sleepy Gary is a comic. It sells 12K at #163. It’s Oni’s top comic of the month besides its parent title. I don’t know what a Rick and Morty is.
Glenn:  Its like if someone watched Back To The Future while taking a lot of drugs, I think?  I don’t know, I’m not cool.  I’d rather watch that new show on Netflix about this nice family renovating an old house.
Ray:  Right below at #164 is an odd entry, Jinxworld Sampler. This $1 mini-collection has snippets of all of Bendis’ creator-owned work and is more of a promotional comic for new readers. 12K puts this in a similar range to the True Believers line, which is pretty good for free comics for DC.
Glenn:  Not too bad at all since its basically like paying to go see a teaser trailer essentially.  This is something retailers might just slip in on orders where people are picking up Bendis new DC stuff.
Ray:  In Archie’s latest strange experiment, Archie 1941 debuts at #167 with sales of 11.9K. Archie goes to war! Mr. Lodge has shady dealings with the Nazis! But Riverdale’s greatest horrors lie ahead – next month they get taken over by the writer of Secret Empire.
Glenn:  At least it’ll look pretty, Marguerite Sauvage is amazing.
Ray:  Lot more True Believers one-shots down here, selling in the 11K range between #167 and #176. They include Hellcat’s first appearance, the debut of Jessica Jones, the first issue of Punisher War Journal, the first Ennis/Dillon Punisher, and the Smith/Quesada Daredevil launch. The launch of the Bendis/Maleev daredevil is a little further down, selling 10.3K at #182.
Glenn:  I’m surprised the Daredevil ones sold so low.  Maybe cause they’ve been reprinted so plentifully in recent years?  These are the beginnings of major points in the characters history though and seems like an easy win with the new season coming on Netflix.
Ray:  There’s an odd animated crossover at #173, as IDW crosses over the animated 80s versions of two of their popular franchises in Star Trek vs. Transformers. It sells 11.5K, but I imagine a lot of readers were confused. Why do the Enterprise crew suddenly have a catgirl on the crew?
Glenn:  She was a character from the cartoon for reasons that escape me.  This is for the die hard audience of both properties really.  Even most hardcore Trekkies don’t pay much attention to the animated series.
Ray:  Jeff Parker’s James Bond: Origin #1 lands at #179 with sales of 10.8K. This is a pretty acclaimed miniseries, taking Bond back to his teen years and showing us how he went from prep school boy to super-spy. It could be a sleeper hit for Dynamite. Almost feels like he should be having a team-up with Nancy Drew.
Glenn:  is gives me memories of the super awful/cheesy James Bond JR series from yesteryear.  The Bond property seems to be a steady performer for Dynamite, I’d be curious to see if it does well in book stores.  I’d imagine that at this stage, Bond is more known as a movie property than a novel series.
Ray:  Speaking of Catgirls – the less friendly version – the much-yelled-about Image book by Chelsea Cain, Man-Eaters, lands at #181 with sales of 10.3K. But that’s not entirely accurate – there’s another “Glitter Variant” of the same issue down at #214 selling 8.2K. So all in all that’s a debut of about 18K. Healthy but not spectacular given how much this series was hyped.
Glenn:  Maybe a bit too late to benefit from the controversy that was raised around her DC firing?  Reorders might be good but given she has a big audience outside of comics this will probably do well in trades, not that this is poor mind you.  Its not too bad at all for an Image debut by someone who hasn’t/didn’t spend too long at either of the big publishers.
Ray:  The Buffy comics as we know them come to a quiet end for Dark Horse at #185, with sales of just under 10.2K. A far cry from the series’ heyday, and soon we’ll be seeing a new version launch at Boom.
Glenn:  The all ages, back to basics version BOOM is going for will no doubt appeal to an all new much wider audience than this one did.  Its crazy to think how much of a hit this series was when it first launched but I think it lost a lot of people due to some of the decisions that were taken in that initial first comic season and it never won them back.
Ray:  The Wicked + The Divine 1373 lands at #190, with sales of 9.7K. That’s only 57 copies below this month’s issue of the parent title, so these periodic one-shots are definitely doing what the creators want.
Image result for The Wicked + The Divine 1373
Two more True Believers one-shots on the low-end at #194 and #196, selling in the 9.4-9.6K range. These are the Black Widow series by Grayson Jones, and the short-lived Daredevil and the Defenders series.
Dennis Culver and Geoffo’s odd stoner alien invader comedy thriller Burnouts has its debut at #197, selling 9.3K. Neither of these creators have any real mainstream profile, so this is a pretty solid debut for a comic that sold itself based on its concept.
Joe Casey’s always been a bit of a cult creator, so it’s not a surprise that his latest title debuts at #201 with sales of 8.9K. But then, it doesn’t help that the title, “MCMLXXV” is near impossible to say! Too bad, because this story of a 1970s cab driver fighting monsters and ninjas on her nightly route is a weird and clever comic.
#205 has one of IDW’s most intriguing revamps of a licensed property in some time, Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive. Written by the Allreds and drawn by indie cartoonist Rich Tommaso, it only sells 8.7K but feels like it’s going to have a long life as one of the defining Dick Tracy stories. Sadly, no spy seals in it.
Glenn:  Trying to know if this is a good level for a Dick Tracy comic is near impossible.  It seems like a good result given the property and the creative team seems so perfect that I can’t imagine anyone else doing much better.
Ray:  We’ve had a lot of indie comic startups lately, and the latest is Ahoy Comics. They’re bringing back the format of oversized comic magazines, with backups, prose pieces, and letter columns. Their signature title with a lead story by Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle is Wrong Earth, a story of two alternate versions of the same superhero who swap universes – one from a gritty 1980s universe and one from a sunny Batman ’66 inspired universe. It goes badly, but this launch didn’t. It sells 8.2K at #212, a very impressive debut given that this is the first comic this company has ever put out!

Glenn:  That’s a fantastic number for a new company, good for them!  Igle has had some work at DC which would have helped but the concept is so interesting that it may have gotten in here just because people were genuinely interested also!

Marvel Superheroes, Captain Marvel first day of school sells over 7.7k at 217.  Pretty standard for an all ages type affair that’s not really meant for the direct market.
Ray:  This one-shot was mainly notable for the one-page gags where Rocket Raccoon was Garfield and Bruce and Hulk were Calvin and Hobbes.
Glenn:  I now have to read this comic.
At 218 is GI Joe: A Real American Hero Silent Option selling over 7.6k.  This is the launch of a new Joe mini from IDW and given the issues with sales this property has had in recent years, I’d say this pretty decent.  Pretty much the most of what you might expect from a GI Joe comic these days.
At 226 is the newest Valient offering, Harbinger Wars 2 Aftermath selling over 6.9k which is slightly lower than Valients usual range but not dramatically so.  I know nothing about Valient comics but this ‘event’ book doesn’t seem to have performed how they might have liked it to.
Ray:  Yeah, this was an event Valiant had been building towards for almost two years. I’m wondering if that worked against it – Infinity Countdown syndrome?
Glenn:  Could have been…lets go with that.
Image’s Crowded loses half of its sales at 230 selling over 6.4k.  Still okay given that there’s no huge names attached.  This is where Image’s lower profile titles usually operate so it’ll just be if its manageable for the creative team to see how long it can go.
Another True Believers one shot at 238, Luke Cage Fantastic Four selling over 6k.  If this is retelling a time where Luke joined the FF, this is not a thing I knew happened so there you go.
Second issue of Frozen: Breaking Boundaries sells over 5.9k at 239 losing less than half its sales.  This is a comic that is destined for book shops, disney stores and everywhere else you can think of when its collected so these single issue sales don’t really matter.
At 248 is Doctor Who 13th Doctor 0, one of the always unpredictable 0 issues which this time is a prelude to the new ongoing starring the new female version of the Doctor.  Sales over 5.8k aren’t great but I think the actual proper first issue will do a lot better.  I think the new Doctor is doing a wonderful job for what its worth.
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Ray:  #0 issues are always so tricky, because retailers never know how to order them. You might get a mediocre clip show or recap, you might get an essential chapter.
Glenn:  At 250 is a new offering from fan favorite Faith in Dreamside which sells over 5.7k.  I think if memory serves, Faith’s book usually manage better than this so not sure what happened here but this is a tad lower than I would have expected.
Chief Wiggums Felonious Funnies is one of the last offerings from Bongo comics before it closes its doors forever.  It sells over 5.5k, at least they’re not going quietly into that good night.
Low Road Rest is a new mini from BOOM which sells over 5.3k at 261 which is pretty standard for a new BOOM creator owned series with no big names involved.  This has quite an interesting concept too but BOOM doesn’t have a strong enough place in the market for titles like this to do much better.
Ray:  Philip Kennedy Johnson has a pretty solid track record at Boom. He’s becoming a bit of a cult creator for them.
Glenn:  Right below it at 262 is Elric White Wolf selling over 5.2k from Titan Comics.  This is the first of two issues adapting a fantasy novel I’m unfamiliar with.  This will be for diehard fans of the novel or completeists.  Most times with novel adaptions,the audience got what they needed from it the first time round and don’t have much interest in it being laid out to them with pretty pictures and such.
More reorders for Infinity Wars Prime at 265 which picks up another 5.1+ additional orders which is nearly what in reorders last month.  Again, this event hasn’t broken any sales records but seems to be enjoyed enough to be a bit of a sleeper performer for Marvel.
At 268 is a genderbent update of a classic in Olivia Twist which sells over 5k.  Not much to say except that there seems not to have been much interest, the stories been adapted multiple times and this new version didn’t seem to have caught too many people’s imagination it seems.
Ray:  What’s especially odd is that another futuristic Oliver Twist reboot is coming in a few months, this time from Image with a male lead and less of a political bent.
Glenn:  At 270 is War Bears, a new Dark Horse offering from Margaret Atwood who is a hugely successful novelist who wrote a book called the Handmaid’s Tale that a bunch of people enjoy.  All these things seem like a winning formula but it only manages sales over 5k for reasons that elude me. I really thought the tv show would propel Atwood into a name that could float a comic much stronger than this but surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Ray:  I assume this will do gangbusters in the collected market, where Atwood’s main audience is. Plus, I imagine the oddball comic-within-a-comic concept didn’t hook casuals.
Glenn:  Joe Golem: The Drowning City is a sequel series to an old school pulp detective tale co-written by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola.  The sales of 4.5k indicate a set audience.  Presumingly the first story did well enough in collections to warrant this sequel.
A continuation of one of Ray’s favorite cartoons at 284, Over The Garden Wall: Hallow Town sells over 4.3k.  Ray will be able to give a more accurate assessment here but this will likely do better outside of comic shops and/or is only for die hard fans of the series.
Ray:  You’re definitely right that this is a tie-in for die-hards. It’s also more of a “lost tale”, since the series ended in such a way that really put a neat bow on the whole concept.
Glenn:  From Aftershock, Moth & Whisper sells over 4.2k which again is pretty much what I would expect from this publisher and two creators I’m unfamiliar with.
Ray:  This one got some great critical responses, more so than Aftershock’s usual. Didn’t seem to make a dent in the sales, though.
Glenn:  At 286, Grimm Tales Of Terror 2018 Halloween Edition reminds me that Crazy Ex Girlfriend is back.  This makes me happy.  It sells over 4.2k
It doesn’t have a regular issue this month but Gideon Falls releases a directors cut of the 1st issue which sells over 4.1k at 288 which is very good for what is essentially a higher than full price reprint of a book that didn’t come out that long ago.  Even when its not coming out, the barn won’t let us escape…
Ray:  Gideon Falls is a bit of a sensation for Image lately. It’s gonna show that Hill House what’s what when it comes to structures that haunt our dreams.
Glenn:  The Barn going to make that big fancy Hill House cry!  Cry like a stable!
Ray:  This section of the charts has an oddball mix of licensed properties. You’ve got Uncle Scrooge: My First Millions at #294 from IDW, followed immediately by Call of Duty: Zombies, and WWE NXT Takeover Blueprint at #296. All selling just over 4K, a pretty standard range for cult properties that get comics without much fanfare.
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Nancy Drew should be selling much, much more than 3.8K at #303. Oh, well. It’s going to do gangbusters in the bookstore market.
Glenn:  It better!  I want a sequel series!
Ray:  Another Aftershock debut at #307, the excellently-named Patience! Conviction! Revenge! It’s the story of a wild-west outlaw in deep space on an elaborate revenge mission. It sells 3.7K and seems to have largely slipped under the radar.
The Disney-inspired fantasy miniseries Welcome to Wanderland debuts at #313 with 3.5K in sales. This is definitely not a book aimed at the direct market, and it doesn’t have any major creators attached. Boom is one of the first companies to find the success other companies are looking for in the bookstore market, so I doubt they’re really bothered.
A Top Cow one-shot, Aphrodite IX: Ares, lands at #325 with sales of 3.3K. This is a revival of a previous incarnation of the series, not linked to the current Bryan Hill incarnation. I doubt there’s much interest in that material anymore.
Three more WWE Takeover one-shots around this level – Into The Fire, Proving Ground, and Redemption – between #326 and #334. They all sell about 3.3 to 3.1K. Boom’s got a lot of WWE material out there lately, but returns are definitely diminishing.
Glenn:  WWE has never been a particularly hot comic property.  I suppose if you treat it like any other drama on tv getting a comic adaption most of the audience are getting the story that matters from the show rather than side stories that likely have little consequence.  We’ll see if the WWE Network sending out a free sample of the upcoming Undertaker graphic novel will help it sell more though.
Ray:  A new low-selling Dark Horse miniseries, Gamma, lands at #329 with sales of just under 3.3k. This giant-monster themed comic pairs some cult creators and didn’t seem to get much pre-release hype.
Glenn:  First I’ve heard of it, so there you go.
Ray:  Mata Hari #5 ends the run at #339 with sales of just under 3K. This was the Berger Book that got the least pre-release attention and didn’t really catch on with readers. Historical fiction is not exactly a dominant genre in comics.
After a lot of reorders and ongoing series, we get to a new #1 at #352 – Fearscape from Vault. Selling 2.6K, it’s an intriguing series about a narcissistic writer who cons his way into a “chosen one” magical quest that was meant for someone else. Vault is a company that’s rising fast and a lot of its books are getting some real buzz. This was written by Ryan O’Sullivan, the writer of Image’s Void Trip.
Stabbity Bunny remains the biggest hit Scout Comics has ever produced, still hanging in there on the charts. This month’s issue lands at #3362, selling 2.4K. That’s apparently enough to greenlight a January spinoff, Shadowplay.
#364 brings us a new Moon Maid comic from American Mythology. This is not based on the Dick Tracy villain, but on an obscure Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy novel. That’s good enough for 2.4K.
In depressing “This book should be selling so much more” news, JM DeMatteis‘ new creator-owned all-ages adventure Impossible Inc. lands at #367, selling 2.3K. This comes down to IDW not being able to sell creator-owned books, I think. I imagine his name would have pulled double these numbers at Boom.
Glenn:  That’s a real shame, DeMatteis still has as much talent now as he ever did.  Hopefully this will find an audience in trades or digital.
Ray:  Starburns Industries Press, an up-and-coming publisher that’s been making a splash these past few months, debuts a Latin-themed horror anthology a month before Halloween. Fantasmagoria, featuring classic Mexican ghost stories with a modern framework, lands at #373 with sales of 2.1K. It’s also by the writer of Border Town, and this is a pretty decent debut for such a new publisher.
Glenn:  Maybe some layover from Coco?  Who knows?  That’s definitely worth taking note of though, good for them.
Ray:  At #374 is probably the oddest comic on the list, Junior High Horrors from Keenspot Entertainment. Featuring teen versions of Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers, Laurie Strode, Nancy from Elm Street, and Freddy Kreuger as an evil talking tiger, it sold 2,147 copies, which means 2,147 very confused people.
Glenn:  I’d love to know how this comic company got all the rights to use these characters (they might not have done).  The bronze age of horror villains despite their unwillingness to ever go away have never translated to much of an audience or demand in comics.
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Ray:  I’m pretty sure it qualified as a parody, so Keenspot didn’t need to get the licenses.
The cult supernatural romance Kim Reaper returns from Oni with a new miniseries – Vampire Island. It sells just over 2K, which means this is probably finding its audience more in Oni’s growing OGN market.
It’s Crisis on Infinite Cerebi at #383, selling just over 2K. Dave Sim is gonna do what Dave Sim wants.
#386 brings us High Heaven, the other debut from Ahoy Comics this month. What do you mean there were two debuts, you ask? Apparently retailers were just as confused! This sold less than 25% of the sales of Wrong Earth’s debut at just under 2K. Very odd, especially since both books had the same writer in Tom Peyer. Maybe it was the Jamal Igle factor? Maybe the concept of Wrong Earth just hooked more people? Either way, what a weird disparity.
Glenn:  Igle is probably the difference maker here.  He’s got a higher profile due to his DC work and his link with Black.
Ray:  Another Vault comic, Friendo, debuts at #387, selling 1.9K. This book about a malevolent AI companion had cult creator Alex Paknadel as writer, but it seems to have slipped under the radar compared to Fearscape.

Glenn:  Sounds like a character that should be on Disenchanment!  Evil AI is a sub genre of sci-fi that’s been done to death so it probably had to have a really good hook to stand out, same like if you want to do a zombie comic these days.

At 389 we have Casper’s Capers from American Mythology selling over 1.9k and Caspers Ghostland sellind over 1.9k too at 392.  Who knew the market could support two Casper books?  As the sales indicate, these titles always sell around the same, new number 1 or not.  Nothing to see here.
Ray:  American Mythology releases a lot of Casper #1s. Relatively few Casper #2s.
Glenn:  A few new Alterna releases make the top 500 with Blood Realm at 396 with sales over 1.8k and Exilium over 1.8k too.  Pretty much their standard level, their recent hot topic controversy from a little while ago doesn’t seem to have made any great effect on their unit sales either way.
Ray:  Neither of these Alterna books got all that much buzz pre-release, either, so these numbers aren’t a shock.
Glenn:  Proving my point about zombie comics at 403 is Rags selling over 1.8k.  This is from Anatric Press and only real difference seemingly about this particular zombie book is it features a sexy lady in a bikini top on the cover.  It doesn’t work.
At 406 is Newbury & Hobbes selling over 1.7k.  I got to review this for Break The Forth (don’t fire me Brent, I got a kid to feed) and loved it.  However its a new chapter of a series of novels I’d not heard of previously so probably going to rope in too many people.  Will probably do a better job in collections with fans of the novels.
Ray:  Given what an odd duck this is – a foreign comic spinning out of a novel series that no one in the states knows about – I’d say this is a pretty healthy debut for Titan.
Glenn:  At 413 is…is…is…a…comic….that sells over 1.5k.  It sure is a comic that one at 413.
Ray:  God bless’em, there’s a comic for everyone
Glenn:  From Rebellion (?!?!?!?!) is The Vigilante One Shot selling 1.4k at 417.  Even priced at 4.99, that’s not good.  This is a reinvention of some ‘classic’ British comic heroes.  I wonder if Dennis The Mennis is on the team (no, not that one).
At 430 is The Three Stooges Matinee Madness and 431 is Pink Panther Surfside Special which both sell over 1.2k.  The franchises are dead Jim.
Another new comic from Waxworks in Poser at 433 which is about a serial killer who poses his victims like shop window dummies and the like.  It sells over 1.1k.  This company don’t seem to have caught on with their horror concepts.
Ray:  Waxwork is one of many, many small startup comic publishers in recent years trying to carve out a small slice of the market. Some are clicking with audiences. Others are Waxwork.
Glenn:  Aspen comics relaunches Dellec (?!?!?!??!?!) at 436 with sales over 1.1k.  No one was missing Dellec.
Antartic Press has what appears to be an anthology at 438, Steam-Age Wasteland which sells over 1.1k.  There is a solid audience for steam punk but this one didn’t seem to tap into that for whatever reason.
Ray:  #453 brings us the toy tie-in Vamplets Beware: Bitemares One Shot. It sells 958 copies, which seems about right for a title about tiny fuzzy monster balls.
Down at #464 and also from Lion Forge is Guncats, the action-comedy about alien bounty hunters, selling 788 copies. Another creator-owned book that didn’t find its audience.
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From Source Point Press selling 709 copies, The Family Graves #1 lands at #478. This family adventure focuses on a clan of monsters trying to travel through time while dealing with the problems of their natural monstrous abilities. It’s a fun concept, but launched with very little fanfare from a small publisher.
Another action comic I believe based on a video game, Sniper Elite Resistance from Rebellion gets the dubious honor of being the last original #1 on the charts this month at #490, selling 607 copies.
Glenn:   I don’t think I know this game?  There’s one sniper game that gets a lot of talk for showing x-ray effects of your sniper shots and I don’t think its this one…
The rest of the charts are largely reorders with some more sales for the 20th issue of Darth Vader getting some of that at 500 with 549 more copies being ordered.  That Vader guy is hot stuff!  Hot like molten lava, amiright?  Too soon?

Ray:  Looking ahead to next month, DC is bringing us two major mini-events, The Witching Hour and Drowned Earth. Two Justice Leagues, two world-wrecking threats! It’s Tynion vs. Snyder and, um, Tynion. We also get a new wave of Hanna-Barbera crossovers. 

Marvel is bringing us two weekly one-shot events, the return of What If and the villain spotlight X-Men: Black. Spider-Geddon also begins in earnest with its tie-ins, including the return of Spider-Gwen.
Image has a few major launches as well, including new debuts from Sam Humphries, Gerry Duggan, and Tee Franklin. There’s also bound to be a few surprise launches that catch the market by surprise.
What will rise? What will fall? Tune in next time on By the Numbers!
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Like what you read?  Have a question or comment?  Let us know here or hit us up on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @Raygoldfield

By The Numbers: May 2018

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s had work published with Outre Press, Alterna Comics and Nemesis Studios. The gift that Glenn is getting for the Bat/Cat wedding is a lifetime of bat anti-shark repellent.

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.  The gift that Ray is getting for the Bat/Cat wedding is a list of other nine weddings that are the must attend functions of the year.

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

Top 300 in full available here!

Glenn:  Its time for May sales with another month where things went a bit crazy for several reasons!  It seems that top 500 sales are going to be a regular thing and I suppose our integrity (what’s left of it) dictates we cover it all.  Main points for 300 and highlights for the rest though…I need to sleep.

Let’s get going.

So to no surprise, with all the sales momentum in the world, a pack of great artists and a writer doing his last huge story before riding off into the sunset next month (or this Wednesday as of this typing), Amazing Spider-Man #800 slams into the sales charts with a bone crushing performance over 411.4K which in the modern market for a $9.99 book is INSANE.  This has surpassed even the high expectations we had for it and I’m sure Marvel is thrilled.  The only comic that MIGHT match this is Batman 50 with its significance, all star artist roster and insane amount of variants but this right now is the best selling issue of anything in years.  Just brilliant numbers and I bet Marvel are wondering if letting Slott go is a huge mistake.  Of course, I bet he’d rather go out on a high like this and take some momentum with him to FF and Iron Man.  I think Amazing 801 will see very well too since its Slott’s last issue for real and its the return of Marcos Martin to the big two but this is something that there should be champagne passed around about.

Ray:  That is a MASSIVE number for Amazing Spider-Man. In this month, with so many premieres, nothing even came close and that’s amazing. It’s the #2 comic of the year, behind only Action Comics #1000 about 30K higher (as of last month, more on that lay-tor). Given that the top two comics of recent memory are a $7.99 issue and a $9.99 issue, it feels like the companies aren’t going to be shy about going for these mega-issues in the future, which worries me. However, the quality and quantity on both of these justified the price. Given how easily this outpaced many of the big launches from both companies this month, Marvel is seriously going to miss Slott. I suspect #801 tops 200K as well and comes in #2 next month

Glenn:  Good point on the pricier comics selling.  If people are promised a good package, they’re willing to pay.  We’ve talked a lot about how DC has made some good sales on quality specials in recent times, the success of this will undoubtedly drive Marvel to perhaps produce more but they’re likely to see any similar success due to the ‘perfect storm’ of elements that encourage the sales.

To underscore the success of Amazing, the next best selling book sold 200k less but still pulled in fantastic numbers.  The latest relaunch of Venom by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman surpassed expectations also by selling over 225.7k outdoing regular heavyweights and some times you wouldn’t have expected it to leap over (more on that in a bit).  Venom is having a major renew of interest but the involvement of this creative team seems to have caught a lot of interest.  I think this is going to end up doing a lot better than the previous volume and will be one of Marvel’s strongest performers.

Ray:  That’s an astounding debut for Venom, easily enough to top the charts almost every month. We’ve seen Venom #1s debut very strong out of nowhere before, but they always crashed down to earth soon enough. This might not do that, between Donny Cates and the upcoming movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up being a top-twenty fixture, and we’ve already got some spinoffs announced.

Glenn:  I have a feeling if Venom is a success it’ll be in spite of the movie.

Despite the delays, Doomsday Clock remains rock solid at 3 with sales over 146.8k.  This seems to be performing similarly to Dark Knight III which had great sales despite various delays.  Again like that book this will also do very well in collections for decades too come.

Ray:  Yeah, this is barely a drop at all from previous issues and the fact that Doomsday Clock continues to outpace major launches every month is amazing, despite the delays. I think we’ll probably see a similar performance, if a bit lower, from DC’s upcoming stand-alone event Heroes in Crisis by Tom King and Clay Mann, especially as it spins out of events in Batman.

Glenn:  At 4 is the latest Avengers relaunch by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness which sells over 131.4k.  Another very solid performance but I would have expected maybe more from this creative team and the book that is being pushed as the flagship of Marvel’s line.  Being outsold by Venom is a big surprise and then we have Issue 2 selling this month also, landing at 13 with sales over 66.6k.  Not terrible sales, this would put it in Marvel’s upper tier of ‘regular’ books but given what this book is and who is producing it Marvel must have been hoping for more.

Ray:  The fact that Venom so handily trounced Avengers by this megawatt creative team is a testament to just how much these few years have damaged Marvel’s core brands in the comic world. If it can hold most of those second-issue sales, it’ll be fine, but this should be Marvel’s new flagship book, and it’s not selling like it at all.

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Glenn:  At 5 is another strong debut from Marvel in their latest onslaught of new books, this time its Black Panther which sells over 122.3k.  Considering this title was getting into danger territory previous, this is a great sign and either a good thing in terms of Marvel’s ‘fresh start’ or just as and/or more likely more Black Panther fans existing after the movie. This likely won’t stay a top seller but even sales around 40-50k once things settle would put it well above where the title was before and I see that being possible.

Ray:  Obviously a lot of this is the retailer bump for the first issue, but I expect there to be a lot more interest in this run of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther than the last run due to the multiple new-ish characters who popped up there. If they can get even a tiny fraction of the fans who loved the movie to give this a try, it’ll stay very healthy.

Glenn:  At 6 and 7 is Batman who still shows up in his usual top ten spot despite all other wackiness.  Issue 47 of the series slightly edges out issue 46 with them selling over 101.5k and 100.1k respectively.  Momentum gathering for the wedding or just damn good writing pulling people in?  I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a mix of both.

Ray:  Batman seems all but invincible. I expect a decent-sized bump for next month’s wedding prelude issues featuring Joker, followed by a massive landing for #50 in July.

Glenn:  At 8 is the first part of the Justice League weekly series No Justice which serves as a bridge between Metal and Snyder’s League run which starts proper next month.  Part 1 sells over 86.7k, issue 2 is at 12 with sales over 68.8k, issue 3 is at 14 with just under 66k and the final part is at 15 with over 64.3k.  The drop from 1 to 2 isn’t too bad and then it stabilizes fast. Given the success of Metal, I would have thought there would be more interest here.  I think this is where we’ll see Justice League Dark and Justice League Odyssey sell with Snyder’s book doing about 70-80kish.  Again as we all know, consistency in this market is key and if DC can pull off this Justice League line around these numbers or better on a regular basis then there will be much to celebrate.

Ray:  Apparently Justice League #1 has sold over 250K for June, so I think this is much more of a hiccup than any lack of interest in the post-Metal status quo. Remember how we were consistently puzzled by the event series Clone Conspiracy selling less than the main ASM title? I think this might be something similar – retailers underordered on this weekly event not knowing just how critical this would be to the core series. Still, DC got over 250K in sales for the franchise in one month, so that’s hardly a disaster.

Glenn:  I see what you mean in regards to the Clone Conspiracy comparison but I think DC did a very good job of marketing this as important.  There was a lot of hype and a lead in that was printed in the pages of the massively ordered DC Nation #0.  Who knows?  It doesn’t matter in the long of course and this isn’t a bad seller by any means and like you said, the combined sales are very good.

Another first issue of a weekly comic event from DC at 9 (although the other issues shipped next month in this case) and its the start of Brian Bendis at DC proper and his start on Superman proper.  The first part of Man Of Steel sells over 86.7k which is very good but given this is Bendis proper big full issue debut I would have expected three figures.  Still, if this mini follows a similar pattern to No Justice and Bendis can deliver two Superman titles over 60-70k then DC will be delighted.

Ray:  Yeah, if the Superman books follow this sales pattern, Bendis will have his first big win for DC on his hands. I don’t know if this will be the case, but it’s worth noting that DC did far fewer variant covers for this event than for almost any other. The rollout was almost a little muted, so that may have depressed sales but lead to a stronger hold for the weekly issues next month. We’ll see – reception has been a bit mixed so far.

Glenn:  Final part of the top ten is the Walking ‘we don’t care what the rest of you do, we sell by existing nyah nyah’ Dead which sells over 73.7k.  This book lives the dream.

Ray:Every month! Almost like it’s…unkillable.

At #11, Batman: White Knight wraps its run with sales of 73.6K. It’s kept growing and stabilizing through the run, so I think this is a massive hit for DC. They’ve just announced it’ll be collected under the new Black Label brand with some minor new content, so it’s likely going to keep selling well for years to come.

Glenn:  Yeah, White Knight is a worthy addition to the DC back catalog and Murphy seems content to just work away in this little corner he’s created for himself.  This is good news for DC if his other books sell around this level (and I don’t see why they wouldn’t)

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Ray:  Despicable Deadpool wraps its run with issue #300 at #16 on the charts, selling just under 60K. A major increase for the series, but a bit weak given that this is Deadpool’s longest run ever and this came out right around the time of the second movie. I think Deadpool’s brand in this run was hurt quite a bit by having to tie in with the reviled Secret Empire and upending its status quo. Skottie Young is up next with a run that’s essentially a hard reset.

Glenn: I would expected more for the end of Duggan’s run too.  Similar to the latter end of Brubaker’s Cap run, I think he missed an opportunity to end his run earlier.  He still did solid work but nothing like what came before.  I’m sure next month’s new Deadpool launch will be strong and it’ll return to the standard 50-65k range its been doing for years after.

Ray:  That’s right above the next issue of Infinity Countdown, the pre-event by Gerry Duggan, which sells 59K. Solid numbers for Marvel, but they’d better hope the second event increases when it launches, or it’s not the kind of numbers that really carry a summer’s worth of tie-ins.

Glenn:  Yeah, those numbers are rather muted aren’t they?  I guess people that were fans of Infinity War didn’t want to sign up for this one as opposed to people who liked Black Panther.  This event will stabilize quickly I think but won’t be anything to write home about.  Line wide events at Marvel could be a problem in the near and possibly distant future given how the last one was handled.

Ray:  Surprised both of these beat Invincible Iron Man #600, the much-hyped final Bendis comic for Marvel. This landed at #18 with sales of 58.5K. Bendis’ days as a Marvel sales powerhouse were behind him when he left – we’ll see if his DC career brings back the heat.

Glenn:  It seems that this last tenure of Bendis time at Marvel was rather muted.  He was getting strong praise for some of his work but this book, the one that was supposed to be his latest big project faltered.  Iron Man’s been a tough nut to crack since Fraction left sales wise so we’ll see if Slott can bring momentum with him.

Ray:  #19 has the X-Men Wedding Special, selling 56K. I imagine a lot of retailers were very annoyed with this when they realized there was no wedding in this issue – it’s an anthology of bachelor party related stories. And given spoilers about the actual wedding that have come out by the time this article sees print, this may take the cake for one of the most over-ordered issues of all time.

Glenn:  Given how fickle their sales are past launch, Marvel shouldn’t really be trying to mess with retailers.  Its cute that they’re trying to steal some of the Bat/Cat wedding heat though

Ray:  A decent-sized increase for Flash this month, as the two issues gain about 7K in sales for the launch of Flash War, selling 53K and 52K at #20 and #22. I wouldn’t be surprised to see major reorders, as well, as it seems this event is – like The Button – a key part in the unraveling of the post-Rebirth status quo.

Glenn:  Flash is the biggest benefactor in terms of sales and story post Rebirth even a couple of years in.  Its become one of DC’s hottest books and this upcoming ‘Flash War’ might give it a platform to reach a higher level as it carries on.

Ray:  The first of five Batman: Prelude to the Wedding one-shots lands at #21, selling 53K for an issue pitting Damian Wayne against Ra’s Al Ghul. Solid numbers for a series that everyone knew wasn’t really essential reading, and it shows the interest in this storyline overall.

Glenn:  Interest for the wedding is high so DC may as well capitalize on that.  I wonder if perhaps this would have been much higher had King been involved in some way given this while story is his idea.  Still if the rest of the mini can sell around this (the highest selling will probably be Harley vs Joker) then that’s icing on the cake (pun intended).

Ray:  Speaking of reorders! What an impressive second month of sales for Action Comics #1000, selling 52K more copies and putting the total sales just over the 500K mark. I would say this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it’s not – stay tuned for Detective Comics #1000 in early 2019.

Glenn:  Its always insane to me when reorders on a book do better than the majority of new books but then again, this is a special case.  Like we said, DC did this one right in every aspect and I have no doubt that the Detective one will be every bit the same accomplishment…if not more so.

Ray:  James Tynion wraps his run on Detective Comics at #24 and #25, with both issues closing out the run over 50K. It’s been incredibly steady in sales, but the next few months feature three writers between now and September (Michael Moreci, Bryan Hill, James Robinson) with no sign of a permanent creative team. That’s worrisome as the series heads towards its big anniversary.

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Glenn:  DC is trusting Detective to fend for itself while they hold off on the new long term creative direction.  Its a curious strategy but DC are no doubt just treading water for something big here to coincide with the anniversary issue coming up.

Ray:  The previous Superman creatives teams got to wrap up their runs with oversized one-shots this month, and there’s a pretty big delta between the two. Dan Jurgens’ Action Comics Special lands at #28 with sales of 47K, while Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman special is down at #34 with sales of 43K. Given how much higher Superman originally sold, it shows that Jurgens really won the crowd over with his old-school run. He’s headed off to Green Lanterns next.

Glenn:  Jurgans will go down as one of the greatest creators on Superman ever so I’m glad he gets to go out on a relative high.  He’s also been writing Batman Beyond for DC for a few years so I don’t see him going anywhere else at this stage.

Ray:  The four Hunt for Wolverine miniseries debuted this month, and to a one the numbers were sort of unimpressive. The highest selling was Jim Zub’s Mystery in Madripoor, focusing on an all-female team of mutants, which sold 47K at #29. Next was Charles Soule’s detective thriller Weapon Lost, selling 44K at #32; Tom Taylor’s spy adventure Adamantium Agenda, selling 42K at #36, and Mariko Tamaki’s horror-themed Claws of a Killer one spot below with 41K. All acceptable numbers, but certainly not the event Marvel seems to think it was and a huge drop from last month’s one-shot, which sold 138K in setting this up.

Glenn:  I think like we’ve joked that everyone realized that all these mini’s were just cash ins and no one was really going to find Wolverine during them.  Given the amount of mini’s there were, its been a success in terms of managing to get people to pay money for what is essentially an intermission.  The publishing schedule for Wolverine continues to be curious in the month ahead as writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven bring him back for realsies in another mini before a real ongoing starts.  Got to get in all the number 1’s we can I suppose.

Ray:  A solid debut for the latest Star Wars miniseries, Lando: Double or Nothing. It sells just under 43K at #35. Maybe a bit lower than expected, but this was expected to tie in with the Solo movie, and we all know how that went…

Glenn:  The Star Wars line has become less of a spectacle over the years also.  These mini’s used to sell insane numbers but things have steadily calmed down now that the initial ‘Star Wars is back!’ wave has passed.  Still the franchise always performs respectfully or better for Marvel and this is no exception.  I could see good reorders on this and will likely be a good seller in collections, especially if this version of Lando gets his own movie down the line.

Ray:  The Paul Dini/Bret Blevins miniseries Harley Loves Joker took the place of the main Harley series this month, bringing back the classic animated Harley Quinn. It’s a pretty healthy increase over the usual fare, with the first issue selling 41K at #38 and the finale clocking in at #46 with sales of 37K. That’s 11K and 7K above where the series was last month.

Glenn:  Dini writing Harley always draws interest.  A solid replacement for the main book which has Sam Humpries coming on board for a bit shortly.

Ray:  The one-shot Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla sells 39K at #40, and I’m a bit surprised it was this low. The conclusion of the main Thor storyline sold 56K last month, and the #1 next month will probably top 100K. It’s probably another case like No Justice, where retailers ordered a bit light on a bridge story that they thought was a side story. Expect strong reorders on this one.

Glenn:  Yeah, there was clearly some misunderstanding here.  This one should have sold a lot more and likely will pick up 10-15k additional sales next month.  We’ll try to remember to check!

Ray:  The X-Men Red annual lands at #43 with sales of 38K (just below a Star Wars annual by Cullen Bunn selling 39K). That’s 6K below the main X-Men Red issue this month, and shows how Tom Taylor’s acclaimed, socially relevant take on the X-Men and Jean Grey is easily outpacing the rest of the X-line at this point in terms of buzz and sales.

Glenn:  X-Men Red has become a strong performer for Marvel, Tom Taylor is a creator who doesn’t seem to grab the headlines like some but always seems to pull off these successes on the down low.

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Ray:  Spawn, surprisingly, keeps 75% of the sales it had last month for the return of the Violator and lands at #44 with sales just under 38K. Maybe the hype of the movie announcements is helping, but this is currently Image’s #2 book, just ahead of Saga. Is it 1994 again?

Glenn:  With the return of popularity to Venom, it just might be!

Ray:  A typically disappointing debut for the latest member of the New Age of DC Heroes lineup,New Challengers. It lands at #47 with sales of 36.5K, which is surprising given that Scott Snyder’s name is on the cover. This comic was announced cancelled, and resolicited with a co-writer as a miniseries, so I’m guessing retailers smelled a lot of behind-the-scenes meddling. Snyder seemed to have big plans for this, but that was before he was announced as the new architect of the Justice League books, so it seems to sort of have fallen by the wayside.

Glenn:  Yeah, this seemed to be his next big project but that could have been prior to him being given the keys to the Halls Of Justice, who knows?  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the challengers feature into Justice League proper and some of the ideas Snyder may have had re-purposed there.  If that does happen then this could be one that does well in collections.

Ray:  A title that seems to be keeping last month’s sales bump is Deathstroke, which lands at #49 with sales of 35K. The addition of Batman for a self-contained crossover event dealing with Damien’s parentage is getting this book a lot of new eyes, and hopefully they’ll stick around for the long haul on this excellent book.

The top-selling Image debut of this month easily goes to Death or Glory, the futuristic crime thriller from Rick Remender and Bengal. It charts at #57 with sales of 32.8K, very strong for an Image title. Remender’s sort of building his own brand at Image now, and he’s good for healthy numbers on virtually anything he does.

Glenn:  I liked the look of this new Remender book a lot.  Given how good his work at Image usually is, he seems to have built quite the following.  I can see his stock only going up following the adaption of Deadly Class to TV.

Ray:  The experimental miniseries You Are Deadpool, which combined an Al Ewing Deadpool comic with tabletop gaming, ran weekly in May and opened at #59 with sales of 31.5K. Future issues landed at #90, 100, 101, and 105, selling between 24K and 22K. An odd comic, for sure, but it’s done decent numbers for a comic with a limited audience.

Glenn:  I remember Marvel did weird game like comics before in the late 90’s.  I guess its good they did something different and Deadpool is the type of character that is tailor made for this type of book.

Ray:  Speaking of weeklies, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin release their multi-lingual alien abduction thriller Barrier in print for the first time, and it does very strong numbers for an Image weekly. The first issue (which was also released in a different edition on Free Comic Book Day) sells just under 29.4K at #65, with the next four issues charting at 80, 86, 93, and 98, selling 26-23K. Given how many people already read this in digital, that’s a great showing.

Glenn:  Some people (like me) prefer print I guess!  This is also Martin’s first comic work in a while so that may have gotten interest.  People who have read the webcomic (as it were) may have wanted a print copy too.  I can see this doing well in collections after its completed in singles form also.

Ray:  Infinity Countdown launches three tie-ins this month. Captain Marvel and Daredevil release one-shots which chart at #66 and #70, selling 29K and 28K respectively. Decent numbers, in line with their main series for the most part. The news isn’t quite as good for Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk, the miniseries spinning out of the Darkhawk one-shot from the start of Legacy. It launches at #91, selling only 24K.

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Glenn:  There’s never going to be anything with Darkhawk’s name on it does well, sorry fans of his.

Ray:  The Terrifics remains the only one of the New Age of DC Heroes titles to actually maintain some momentum, as its fourth issue lands at #67 selling just under 29K. That’s already ahead of the second issue of The Immortal Men, which lands at #71.

Glenn:  The power of Jeff Lemire strikes!

Ray:  The Star Wars: The Last Jedi adaptation arrives at #76, selling 27K. Decent numbers for a delayed adaptation of a story everyone knows, and the second issue is down at #107 selling 22K.

Glenn:  These adaptions of the movies are just done likely because Marvel is obliged to do them.  They’re fine for what they are and I’m sure Marvel considers them an acceptable aside to getting to still print the majority of Star Wars comics.

Ray:   At #82, we have Domino #2 selling 26K. Not a bad number for a Domino series, of course, but that’s a nearly 70% crash from the first issue’s massive sales. Combination of retailer over-ordering due to the movie and the usual Marvel #1 tricks? I knew it would crash back to Earth, but not this much.

Glenn:  That is quite a Domino fall (get it, get it?  I’ll see myself out) but still good numbers considering she’s a c list character with no ongoing to herself ever.  I think this could stableize and remain around here as long as Gail is the writer which will give Marvel a reason to keep it around.

Ray:  90s nostalgia continues in full swing, as Medieval Spawn/Witchblade launches at #85. This crossover between two properties well past their prime manages to sell 25K, which probably means we’ll be getting a lot more crossovers and revivals.

Glenn:  Wasn’t there a lot of wacky copyright stuff with Medieval Spawn?  Sometimes I feel like the charts are a time machine.  I can’t wait until Sam Keith brings back Ma…oh wait…

Ray:  DC gave us another wave of oddball DC/Hanna-Barbera crossovers this month, and there’s a pretty big gap in sales based almost entirely on the DC character involved. Despite being written by Scott Lobdell and getting the worst reviews of the four, Flash/Speed Buggy sells the best of the four, landing at #89 selling 24.6K. Not far below is Super-Sons/Dynomutt, which sells 23.8K at #92. Then it’s a big drop to Aquaman/Jabberjaw, selling 21K at #115, and finally is the most acclaimed of the four – Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey, selling 18.5K at #128. That one might get some reorders as writer Bryan Hill takes over Detective next month.

Glenn:  These sold based on the popularity of the main DC hero it seems.  I would say the ones that were better viewed might pick up some reorders.  These bizarre little teams ups seem to perform well enough for DC to keep doing them in any case.

Next book of note is the launch Harbinger Wars II from Valiant which is at 103 selling over 22.6k.  I didn’t even know there was a Harbinger Wars I!  This is a great number for a Valiant book, they’ve had higher numbers in the past but their launches usually perform much lower.  They keep on trucking.

Ray:  I sort of expected a bit more for Harbinger Wars II, given that this is their biggest event comic in a long time. It’s sort of their Civil War and much of their line is tying in. Still, Valiant does the majority of their sales in trades, and they’ve just announced a new line expansion to follow this up, so they’re clearly very happy.

Glenn:  Its anniversary issue time with Punisher #225 selling at 112 selling over 21.7k.  No special increase here as 224 is released the same month and sells more. I guess we only get big numbers for 50 and 100’s nowadays.  Punisher is getting his new coat of paint in a few months none the less.

Ray:  Punisher, much like Deadpool, got hit very hard with the aftermath of Secret Empire where he sided with HYDRA, so that may be hurting sales as well here.

Glenn:  At 113 is the Green Lantern annual which sells over 21.4k which is only around 3k below the main title.  That’s very good and DC annuals continue a pretty decent streak of solid performances.  There’s rumours that the whole direction of Green Lantern is about to undergo a big creative change, time will tell.

Following the pattern of its fellow books, the Curse Of Brimstone title drops in sales to just over 20.2k at 118.  This line has been a misfire apart from the Terrifics all in all.

At 119 is the launch of Quicksilver: No Surrender with sales over 20.2k too.  Not bad for a title starring Quicksilver who hasn’t been able to sustain any sales draw for decades but Marvel maybe expected better given its spinning out of Avengers: No Surrender which performed quite well for them.  The pattern of Marvel readers not really interested in any follow up stories from big events has been an issue for the company for years.

Ray:  Saladin Ahmed tends to be a creator who gets good reviews but doesn’t really sell, although many of his properties display very good holds once they hit a certain level (like Exiles this month, which only loses 2K from issue #2 to #3). Still, this is very low for a comic spinning right out of a major Avengers event. More evidence of the damage Marvel’s done to their own brand.

Glenn:  Another DC Annual!  Green Arrow this time which sells over 18.5k at 129.  Again  about 2k less than the main title so quite consistent there but this was a tie in to the big Justice League: No Justice mini I think?  I think retailers probably didn’t realize, I certainty didn’t until I saw the cover in my LCS.  Those that did know didn’t seem to care all too much.  This one might be another one for the reorder pile.

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Ray:  This one slipped under the radar, yeah, and it pulled double duty as the only No Justice tie-in during the month of release, and a lead-in to the Benson Sisters’ regular Green Arrow run. This is one to watch.

Glenn:  The True Believers One Shots are here again, this time focusing on Wolverine (he’s coming back ya know).  The highest selling of the batch is Wolverine: Sword Quest which is a reprint of the first issue of a mini by Chris Clairemont and John Buschema from back in the day.  I’m surprised this is the best selling, I’ve never heard of it but there ya go.  This sells over 18.2k at 131 which is great for a reprint like this.  At 140 is the new Wolverine True Believers one shot, this one putting him up against everyone’s favorite symbiote Venom!  This one sells over 16.7k.  Given how hot Venom is I’m surprised it didn’t do better but hey its all free money to Marvel.

Ray:  I’m pretty sure this is not the first Wolverine: True Believers wave, so almost all of the true A-list issues have been released in this format already. That’s probably why we didn’t see any of them sneak up on us and do huge numbers like the Venom ones did. All in all, like you said, free money for Marvel.

Glenn:  Second issue of Image title Isola is at 135 with sales over 17.5k which I’d say is very good.  This is from two creators that are well known and well thought of but neither have had major ‘sales pull’ as it were.  Maybe people just are interested in this book, fancy that!  Its well within the Image safe zone.

Ray:  That’s a really solid number for Isola, and means it should probably wind up in the top tier of Image books overall. This might actually wind up selling better in single issues than the creative team’s last collaboration, Gotham Academy, did. That’s a testament to how Image can sell a greater diversity of material in the direct market than the big two can.

Glenn:  The sequel to 300, Xerxes: The House Of Dariussells over 16.8k at 139 losing about 8k from its first issue.  Again, the single issue sales here are basically irrelevant but its a strong enough performer for Dark Horse in any case.

A crossover between Red Sonja and Tarzan debuts at Dynamite from megastar writer Gail Simone selling over 16.3k at 142.  This is another great number considering the characters involved.  Dynamite will be thrilled and Gail Simone I think again proves she can bring interest to any property (see also: Domino)

Ray:  Yeah, this is 100% the power of Gail’s sales, as Red Sonja rarely sells this well and Tarzan has zero sales power in the market. She can make anything sell better, although usually more on a cult hit level (see the second issue sales of Domino).

Glenn:  Another Wolverine True Believers at 143 with Wolverine vs Sabretooth it sells over 16.2k.  These are a lot more consistent sales wise than the usual true believers one shots.  I’m not sure which fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth this one collects, I choose to believe each page is from a different fight in a different comic and no one can tell me different.  The next one of these at 155 in the form of Wolverine: Fatal Attractions which sells over 14.1k.  I doubt Sharon Stone is in this comic but hey, ya never know.

Ray’s favorite comic of last month, TMNT: Urban Legends sells over 12.7k at 161.  This is a continuation of the long abandoned Turtle’s series from…Image I want to say?  Ray is the Turtle’s expert, he’ll fill you in.  Pretty decent for something you would have thought no one cared about anymore.

Ray:  Ohhhhhhhh jeez. This run is generally considered the worst Ninja Turtles run of all time, and it never actually finished its initial run. Despite this, it sells higher than the main series by about 1K. I don’t expect it to keep that once readers get ahold of it and tell the retailers “WTF?”

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Glenn:  There’s Wolverine again in Dying Game at 167 selling over 12.7k.  I googled this one and saw a cover where Wolverine has large teeth so we’ll say this one is the story of Red Riding Hood starring our stabby mutant friend.

New Image book, Last Seige launches at over 11.8k in sales at 173.  Good sales for a book from two creators I’m not familiar with, will likely land at about 7k which is pretty normal for none big name Image offerings.

Ray:  That is a pretty strong number for a title by Landry Walker, who is best known for his all-ages series Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures. This medieval thriller is definitely not all-ages, but it seems there’s some real interest.

Glenn:  At 174 is the next issue of Black Hammer: Age Of Doom which sells over 11.6k. Pretty stable as always from books in this universe.  If books sold on quality then this one would be in the millions.  Dark Horse must be happy with this universe of titles, we’re getting another Black Hammer spin off that’ll run in tandem with this one this month (June).

Ray:  That number for Black Hammer is down less than 2.5K from the launch, and still well above what it was selling before the relaunch. So this book continues to build buzz. Worth noting that Gideon Falls (#121, 19.4K) lost less than 1K in sales from the second issue to the third as well. Lemire has among the most stable books on the market in quality and sales.

Glenn:  I would say a lot of Lemire’s books do well in trades too.  Again, Dark Horse is letting him do more and more Black Hammer for a reason.

Ray:  At #169 we’ve got an unusual entry, SHIELD #5 by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver. This was a comic that was released to mass critical acclaim for its complex take on the history of Marvel Universe…until it just stopped coming out years ago. The creative team finally found the time to finish it and Marvel released the first few issues as a mini-collection at a reasonable price, but there was still a lot of sales attrition. It sells 12K, showing there’s only so long audiences will wait. It’s likely to do much better in collections. The mini-compilation of the first four issues charts at #198, selling 9.4K

Glenn:  I can’t remember how well this book did but yeah, it seems that interest passed on this one.  I’m sure people maybe wanted it but didn’t get the memo it was back or completely forgot.

Ray:  The new Star Trek: The Next Generation weekly spin-off mini “Through the Mirror” lands at #176, selling 11.5K. This got previewed on FCBD and features a major new villain, I believe. It’s getting a bit more hype than most IDW Star Trek comics. The second issue holds well at #184, selling 10.2K, and the remaining issues of the month sell in the 9K range with only minor attrition.

Glenn:  Pretty good sales for a Star Wars mini for sure.  It’ll be interesting to see if IDW benifits from the rumors of a show that continues from Next Gen.

Ray:  A strong debut for Garth Ennis’ new Aftershock series A Walk Through Hell, selling 10.8K at #179. Ennis has said this is the darkest book he’s ever written, so if it turns out more like his Punisher Max run than, say, Hitman, it could be one to watch.

We almost never see Tokyopop up this high, but they’ve got a hit in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey, a spinoff from the popular movie. Selling 10K at #187, it’s a nearly wordless book geared towards young readers. The power of nostalgia is strong!

Glenn:  Nightmare continues to be a popular property for Disney even after all this time, the film ages remarkably well and Disney pushes it hard in their parks every Halloween and Christmas.  The fandom for this property is still respectfully high.

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Ray:  Coda #1, Si Spurrier’s latest weird worldbuilding epic from Boom, has a strong debut for Boom at #193, selling 9.7K. This is a 12-issue miniseries, so I don’t know how it’ll turn out by the end, but it’s starting with more room to fall than many Boom offerings.

Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude #1 shows up on the charts at #201, selling 9.2K. This was a stand-alone issue that set up the conflict between Livewire and the government, by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer. Great issue, but remember all those #0 issues that did half the numbers for Marvel that the main event did the next month? Might be a similar pattern.

Glenn:  Valiant’s audience behaves very differently than Marvel’s though so you never know.  Stay tuned for next month!

Ray:  #207 has a fairly strong new Dark Horse debut, the haunted-college thriller Blackwood from Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish. It sells 8.6K, which makes it the fifth-highest selling Dark Horse book of the month behind Miller, Gaiman, and two from Lemire. Likely to do well in the bookstore market as well. It’s enough to beat the final issue of Falcon!

Glenn:  This book sounded really good, it seems that Dark Horse has a lot of these interesting looking horror books on the go.  They seem to be happy with another horror offering in Harrow County to let that book conclude so I don’t see why this would be any different.

Ray:  Cyborg selling badly isn’t news – the latest issue of the relaunched-but-not series sells 8.3K at #216 – but what is notable is that as we type, DC has just announced that the upcoming issues of the series have been cancelled. June’s #23 will be the last, which means that the story will go unfinished. Those upcoming sales numbers must have been absolutely horrible – that has only been done once by DC in recent years, for the Vigilante reboot that turned out to be a mature readers book in disguise.

Glenn:  The decision to bring the book back was an odd one to start with and now the re-cancellation makes it seem even weirder.  I suspect we’ll only see Cyborg in Snyder’s Justice League for the foreseeable future.

Ray:  #217 brings us My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries. It sells 8.3K. I hope they have to investigate the Black Barn next issue.

Glenn:  I would buy every copy if they did.

Ray:  Batman #44, the “wedding dress” issue, picks up another 8K in orders at #221. Just more evidence that the Bat-wedding in July is going to be massive.

Glenn:  Can Batman 50 outsell Amazing 800 I wonder?  I think that it might manage it, especially with the amount of variants (I’m decorating my entire house with them and still have some left over)

Ray:  And now it’s time for me to yell “Come on, people!” At #223, we’ve got the launch of Flavor by Joe Keatinge and Wook Jin Clark, selling just under 8K. This fantasy cooking gladiator adventure deserved so much better for its inventive concept and gorgeous art, and I would think the success of Shutter would boost it. Booooooooooooo.

Glenn:  I liked the sound of this but maybe too quirky for some people?  Then again, Chew (another food based comic) never did too hot in singles but delivers in collected format so maybe this will be the same?

Ray:  Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Bloodsuckers #1 lands at #227 with sales of 7.7K. I didn’t know there were this many Bubba Ho-Tep fans, but you never know!

Glenn:  The Bruce Campbell fan club are a small but passionate bunch.  I suspect that there would be similar interest in a comic based on ‘The Room’ (which I now want to read)

Ray:  Analog has a pretty harsh fall to #229, losing about half of its sales to land at 7.6K. Gerry Duggan’s name on the title helped the first issue, but this book doesn’t seem to be picking up as much buzz as expected.

Glenn:  This seems to have missed the mark, yeah.  Its healthy enough to carry on but is performing around the level of Image books from people that aren’t as well known which is odd.  I couldn’t get into the first issue myself so maybe I wasn’t the only one?

Ray:  The second Marvel Super-Heroes one-shot, The Spider-Doctor, sells 7.5K at #230. This all-ages book is likely going to repackaged into a small digest for bookstores, so these sales are almost irrelevant.

Glenn:  Spider-Doctor sounds supper terrifying though.

Ray:  Matt Kindt’s cult favorite Dark Horse book Ether returns with a new volume, subtitled “The Copper Golems” at #233 with sales of 7.4K. This is pretty typical for Kindt’s small-but-steady books, and I expect it won’t drop too much from here.

Also a pretty harsh fall for Skyward, selling 7.4K at #234. There’s been a few acclaimed Image books lately that haven’t debuted or held as well as expected. Maybe too many comics in the monthly release schedule making it a bit hard to find an audience?

Glenn:  Image are putting out more content than ever and people have limited budgets.  Books will find they have to sink or swim quickly to grab readers attention but that’s a problem for every book at the moment, especially when Marvel is releasing best selling books at $10 a pop.

Ray:  Selling just under 7.4K at #235 is a new Fraggle Rock series from Boom. Obviously, this title isn’t geared towards the direct market, but raise your hand if you already have the song running in your head!

Glenn:  *raises hand* given that Fraggle Rock never captured the level of success as the Muppets or Sesame Street, I think this is a very good number,  Either this is nostalgia at work again or people are buying this for their kids who then have no idea what a Fraggle Rock is.

Ray:  7.3K in reorders for Batman #45 as well, the launch of the Booster Gold arc at #237. I think this arc could become a very hot commodity now that it’s clear it’ll be a major prelude into Heroes in Crisis.

Glenn:  Good call, this will probably pick up more reorders which we will now see because the length of the sales chart is nearly double.

Ray:  As the four miniseries reach their halfway point, all four Young Animal books are incredibly close in sales this month, ranging from 6.9 to just under 6.4K. We’ve got Shade the Changing Woman at #242, followed by Mother Panic: Gotham AD at #244, Eternity Girl at #245, and Cave Carson at #249. This was a bold experiment, but it doesn’t seem like it was made for the direct market. Here’s hoping for a revival for some of these in a new format.

#250 brings us the new Dark Souls comic, Age of Fire, selling 6.3K from Titan. Obviously for a cult audience of gamers, but is it really Dark Souls if you’re not screaming in frustration?

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Glenn:  I was thinking that the comic can only give you a true Dark Souls experience if it tries to give you paper cuts while you read it.  I’m totally copyrighting that idea by the way.
Small drop for the Star Trek Discovery Succession mini not even losing 1k with sales over 6.2k at 251.  This is another one to do with the mirror universe so maybe people are interested in an evil version of the federation?

Another new Aftershock book at 263 selling over 5.5k in the form of Pestilence: Story Of Satan.  This is from writer Frank Tieri who has some big work under his belt but never hit the big time and hasn’t done anything of note for a while.  Pretty standard Aftershock sales on a first issue with that taken into account.

Ray:  This is the second volume of Pestilence, a medieval zombie thriller. Given that, it probably didn’t get all that much of a first-issue bump either.

Glenn:  Reorders for Deathstroke 30 which was the first part of the Deathstroke vs Batman story which sells over 5.4k at 264.  Not often you see reorders for Deathstroke, the magic of Batman is unending.

At 268 is a new Judge Dredd comic, Under Seige which sells over 5.3k.  Like we’ve said before on these charts, Dredd never really does too well in the direct market but has a massive scope outside it.  These sales are pretty secondary to the property as a whole.

Steve Orlando’s Image book, Crude loses about half its sales selling over 5.2k at 269.  Like Analog, this is a book that has a writer attached that you think would get a lot more attention.  This is one that might not last too long.

Ray:  I think Crude is a miniseries, but it’s odd that Orlando doesn’t seem to be able to parlay his DC success into creator-owned success just yet. His Boom work recently also struggled to make the top 300.

Glenn:  Another launch of a comic based on a video game, this time from Dark Horse and Garth Ennis in the form of World Of Tanks: Citadel which sells over 5.2k at 271.  This is one for hardcore fans of the game and Ennis only it seems.  I think this is an online and/or mobile app game only which likely explains why is has even less sales than video game tie-in comics usually do anyway.

A Simpsons comic, Mighty Moe Syslak sells over 5.1k at 274.  These Bongo one shots keep showing up more and more in the top 300.  The demand for Moe is more than I would have thought.

Ray:  It is odd how more and more niche characters are getting spinoffs from Bongo, but when we’re talking close to thirty years of a fanbase, it makes sense. I wonder what will happen when Disney takes ownership of the Simpsons – they’d be smart to keep this arrangement with Bongo going.

Glenn:  Given the move DC just made with Wal-Mart, they might appreciate a company like Bongo who has a lot of reach outside the direct market.

Obligatory Hellboy comic time in the form of Witchfinder: The Gates Of Heaven, the start of a new mini which sells over 4.9k at 278.  On the lower end of the usual Hellboy sales but nothing too dramatic.

An odd sounding Vampirella one shot, Savage Tales (she fights barbarians apparently) sells over 4.8k at 279.  This is pretty good sales I’d say for something that doesn’t sound like the type of thing that usually gets attention.  Do dead barbarians move the needle?

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A reprint from Titan in the form of Tank Girl: Full Color Classics 1988-1989 launches at over 4.8k in sales at 281.  If these comics are indeed around 30 years old than those are some good numbers that will cost Titan very little to produce.

Some reorders for last months True Believers: Infinity Gauntlet at 283 which sells additional sales over 4.8 too.  Its almost as if there was a massive blockbuster with the same name or something.

Some reorders for Donny Cates Thanos at 287 with issue 14 picking up additional sales over over 4.7k which is more than the reorders it picked last month.  It seems investing in Mr. Cates is going to pay off for Marvel.

The Robocop: Citizens Arrest book loses about half its sales at 290 selling over 4.6k.  Like we said last month, no one really cares about Robocop anymore.

A new Adventure Time comic debuts at 292 with over 4.6k sales.  This comic will be picking up most of its sales in collections and outside the direct market so these are inconsequential.

In the past, the fifth issue of Back To The Future: Time Train would have been the last comic we covered at 300.  It sells just over 4,4k in sales and this is where things start to get scary kids.

Ray:  I don’t want to go in the sub-300 barn, Glenn. Hold me.

Glenn:  This was your idea.  I wanted to be lazy but then you were all ‘but we have a duty to our readers!’  Stupid scary duty.

Ray:  Also worth noting that the 31st issue of Harrow County is at 299, selling 4.4K. It should likely get a small bump for its June finale, which will mean it stayed in the top 300 for its entire run. Well deserved!

Glenn:  Having read the first two trades, I agree.

Scout Comics releases the first issue of Cybre Spectre, a former Kickstarter project that sells over 4.3k at 303.  Not too bad for a book that presumingly the Kickstarter basically already paid for.

Ray:  Cyber Specter is drawn by Ale Garza, who’s done some major DC and Image work over the years. That probably explains why this sold a lot better than most Scout debuts that aren’t Stabbity Bunny.

Glenn:  At 308 is Delta 13, a new horror book from 30 Days Of Night creator, Steve Niles.  This one sounds quite interesting but only sells over 4.2k.  Another likely victim of IDW not having that strong a footing with creator owned.

Ray:  Steve Niles is one of those names that almost everyone knows due to his one iconic work (30 Days of Night) but few of his future works get anywhere near the same level of buzz. He’s taking over Kick-Ass in a few months, which is an interesting choice.

Glenn:  Doomsday Clock piles on the reorders with issue two (which is now 6 or 7 months old) picking up another 4.2k+ additional sales at 310.

Valient High from…Valient debuts at 316 with sales over 4k.  A lot lower than Valient debuts usually manage.  I really hope this is an alternative reality starring high school versions of their characters, those are usually fun type stories but may not have appealed to their usually dedicated audience.

Ray:  This is not only an alternative reality, it was a digital-first comic that got most of its sales online months earlier. Given the young-skewing audience and the fact that it was a reprint, I doubt Valiant was expecting much more out of this – it’s a novelty book.

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Glenn:  A new Sherlock Holmes mini, Vanishing Man debuts from Dynamite at 322 with sales over 3.8k.  I would assume Holmes stories do better in collections and there isn’t much demand for the single issues given that his type of stories don’t lean towards installments.

Some additional reorders for Domino at 324 with 3,8k additional sales.  It may have crashed hard in sales but clearly people were interested to see what the title had to say right off the bat, this really makes me thing a quick stabilization is more than likely.

Ray:  Yeah, I expect Domino might even increase from second-issue sales once the true reader interest level becomes clear.

Glenn:  Crossed Plus 100 Mimic, a revival of a series created by Alan Moore returns from Avatar press at 333 with sales over 3.6k.  I’ve never heard of this property and without Moore’s involvement there seems to only be minimal interest.  Probably not too bad in terms of how Avatar books usually sell though.

Ray:  I know this used to be a Garth Ennis property as well, but since then it’s really slipped below the radar. Essentially Walking Dead with more gore and religious iconography, I guess it has its audience.
A Kong of Skull Island special, which is becoming a yearly event for Boom, lands at #337 with sales of 3.5K. This one had Kong vs. Vikings, which is apparently a niche concept. But not in my heart!

Right below at #338 is a spinoff of Zenoscope’s Oz series, focusing on the Wizard. Rachel Bloom needs to put out more songs to make our job easier…

Glenn:  She just needs to do more things in general.  More Bloom, less Zenoscope a By The Numbers dream.

Ray:  The Highest House only sells 3.5K at #341 and I’m gonna throw a chair. This better sell six digits in trade and get a Netflix deal ASAP.

Glenn:  I bet its not that great…Ray put down the knife…

Ray:  3.3K in reorders for Sonic the Hedgehog #1 at #344, proving further that this is a new hit franchise for IDW.

Jasmine: Crown of Kings sells 3.1K at #350 from Zenoscope. Rachel Bloom, why have you forsaken us…

Glenn:  She has friends, lots and lots of friends.

Ray:  A new mini-collection of stories, Betty and Veronica Best Friends Forever, sells 3.1K at #353. This was hyped as a new series like Your Pal Archie, but it’s actually just a collection of themed stories from the digests – the first issue is themed around movies. Unlike the other major new Archie releases, this one isn’t really providing new content, just a new format, and it seems retailers realized that.

Titan Comics seems to have a lot of debuts here, with both a new Warhammer spinoff titled Deathwatch, and a series called 2021: Lost Children, both selling 3K at 354 and 356. Titan books seem to have higher price points, European creative teams (many are reprints and translations), and a small but loyal audience.

The spectacularly titled Alien Toilet Monsters lands at #368 from Omnimorphic Press, selling 2.8K. I’ve never heard of this company before, and their output seems to be…unique. I’m gonna campaign for making this book a companion for Zombie Tramp as the official mascot of By the Numbers.

Glenn:  The writer of this series, Carol Zara seems to work hard to promote this book so good for her.

Image result for alien toilet monsters #1

Ray:  It outsells the excellent Sleepless (#369, 2.7K) and Scales and Scoundrels (#371, 2.6K) from Image. Booooooooooo.

At #383 we have another new launch from Black Mask that sort of breaks the mold. We Are Danger, written and drawn by Fabian Lelay, is a teen-oriented comic about the underground music scene, and it eschews the company’s usual hard-edged political themes for a more accessible tone and diverse main characters. It only sells 2.5K, though, which makes me think Black Mask’s sales issues aren’t going anywhere.

2.4K in reorders for Isola #1 at #388 (it actually outsells the fourth issue of Justin Jordan and Donal DeLay’s Death of Love four spots below). This seems to be a genuine hit for Image, and much deserved for the creative team.

Apparently Executive Assistant Iris is a long-standing franchise for Aspen, because volume 5 arrives this month with sales of just under 2.4K at #391. Clearly this is a niche book at a niche company, and the sales show it.

The best-selling True Believers issue of all time shows up again, selling an additional 2.2K for Venom vs. Spider-Man at #396.

Glenn:  No wonder we’re only at issue 3 of the new Venom and Spidey is showing up.

Ray:  The return of Aardvark-Vanaheim to the comic book charts has been one of the oddest subplots of recent years, and Dave Sim’s indie creation shows up twice this month. Undateable Cerebus is right above Love & Aardvarks at #398 and #399, both selling 2.1K.

There’s quite a few Image reorders right about here, with the first issues of smash hit Gideon Falls (for its third month) at #415, followed by more modest hit Skyward at #416 in its second and Kirkman’s latest hit Oblivion Song in its third at #420, all picking up another 1.8K in sales. Always good to see quality books picking up steam. Gideon Falls #2 shows up again as well, with 1.5K in sales at #435.

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The latest seasonal Boom Garfield special, Vacation Time Blues, sells 1.6K at #430. Boom’s sort of transitioned this series to mini OGNs, so the comics aren’t usually big sellers in the direct market. There’s a more hyped Garfield miniseries titled Garfield: Homecoming next month. Let’s hope he’s eating his lasagna to get strong to battle his way up the charts!

Glenn:  We can but dream.

Ray:  Based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pellucidar: At Earth’s Core sells 1.5K at #434 for American Mythology. The cover makes it look like a vaguely more respectable Boundless Comics “sexy cave lady” book, so that still has its audience, I guess.

Speaking of American Mythology, Pink Panther 55th Anniversary Special sells just under 1.4K at #446. I think this is the cat, not Inspector Clouseau. I wonder, have they ever crossed over with each other?

Glenn:  I think the cat was in the movies in some aspect.  Now I have the Pink Panther theme in my head…

Ray:  Tis the time for really low-selling indie comics from small companies to show up. These include barbarian adventure Ruin of Thieves: Brigands (1.3K, #450) from Action Lab, and surreal musical-horror-crime book Jazz Legend (1.2K, #459) from Scout. There was just an article about what they called a glut of mid-level comics, with many startups competing for space in a shrinking market and many falling by the wayside. These two seem like they fell prey to that.

American Mythology is giving us a lot of odd books this month, including Three Stooges Slaptastic Special, selling 1.1K at #461. “Old properties that have not been relevant for decades” is an odd brand for a comic book company, but everyone’s got a theme, I guess!

There are apparently exactly 1,033 fans out there for Gingerdead Man Meets Evil Bong #2 at #474. And God bless ’em, everyone.

Glenn:  If this comic can make it, I can keep my dream of a successful comic career alive.

Ray:  Cavewoman: Lycan Run sells 964 copies for Amryl Entertainment at #481. I think that averages out to about 7 copies per cover? Another Cavewoman series, Return to Labyrinth, is 58 copies below at #489.

The mostly black and white haunted town thriller Long Lost has been getting among the most buzz of any release from Scout Comics, and creators Matthew Erman and Lisa Sterle have been raising its profile a lot on Twitter, so I’m a bit surprised to see it down here at #493 selling 841 copies. The upcoming trade will likely give it a big boost.

Rounding out the top five hundred is three reprints – the final issue of Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman run, the penultimate issue of Batman: White Knight, and at #500 is 769 more copies of one of the Thanos True Believers one-shots, Thanos the First (not related to Sofia the First). What’s most notable about the end of the charts this month for me is the complete absence of any of the seven Catalyst Prime series that make up the bulk of Lion Forge’s line right now. To have a full line of books and none of them cracking 800 copies nationwide is odd.

Glenn:  Now I want Marvel to convince Disney to let them do a comic where Sofia the First gets the Infinity Gauntlet.  YOU’D ALL READ IT, DON’T LIE!

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Ray:  Looking ahead to June, it’s another big month for DC. We’re getting the launch of Scott Snyder’s Justice League, which is a strong contender to win the month with over 250K in sales, per the latest reports. We’re also seeing the rest of the prelude issues for the Batman/Catwoman wedding plus the return of Joker in Batman, and debuts for Hawkman, Plastic Man, and Steve Orlando’s The Unexpected.

Dan Slott may be battling himself for the top Marvel book of the month, as he drops the final issue on Amazing Spider-Man the same day as the launch of his first new book, Tony Stark: Iron Man. There’ll also be big debuts for Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Immortal Hulk. Not to mention a little guy named Deadpool, and a certain Norse God. Plus, we’ll see if the power of Jeff Lemire carries on to one of Marvel’s most mocked characters, The Sentry.

The indie headliner of the month will undoubtedly be the debut of The Magic Order from Image/Netflix by Mark Millar and Oliver Coipel, which may jump into the top ten. There’s quite a few interesting indie debuts, including Michael Fiffe’s Bloodstrike, Kelly Thompson and Jenn St. Onge’s Nancy Drew, and Mags Visaggio’s Vagrant Queen from Vault.

What will rise? What will fall? Will Ray throw a chair when his favorite indies don’t make the top 300? Find out next month on By the Numbers!

Glenn:  Where Glenn will no doubt, get a chair to the face.  Or he might melt first.

Like what you read?  Have any questions, comments or suggestions?  Let us know here or on Twitter @glenn_matchett and @raygoldfield

By The Numbers: March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for true believers venom vs spider-man #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  Hope so!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  So it is!  Sorry Vertigo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for come into me issue 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for grass kings 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb3

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb 4

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

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

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

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

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

feb 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb13

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:  Or Doomsday Clock or Metal or…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feb14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Numbers: January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By The Numbers: December 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn: (Me either)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By The Numbers: November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glenn:

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

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 Wait, what?

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

 But…

 Ray:  *whisper, whisper*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At 257 is Harbinger Renegade 0 which sells over 6.3k.  A quick googling seems to hype this issue as a prelude to an event taking place in Valient comics in 2018 so I would have thought there would have been more interest.  Its still within the standard Valient range but perhaps the weird issue 0 confused people what exactly it was?

Ray:  Valiant has been doing these #0 issues as transitions between runs for a while now. I’m not sure it’s working, but they seem to be doubling down on it, so they’re pretty happy!

Glenn:  The return of Hack/Slash in the form of Resurrection is an interesting experiment.  Without its creator the series is back and the second issue sells over 6.2k at 259.  This tells me that the hardcore fans are likely still here despite the creator, Tim Seeley not being involved but the relaunch hasn’t got much attention from new potential fans.

Ray:  Hack/Slash has always been a cult property, and I believe it’s been gone for a while, so this was always going to be a hard sell. Still, Tini Howard is rising fast, with a major launch for IDW coming next month as well.

Glenn:  At 260 is the Simpsons comic, it sells over 6.1k which is standard but the purchase of FOX by Disney does make me curious what happens to Bongo comics.  They’re a company who have a far reach that could rival or even surpass anything any other company has so I doubt it’ll be shut down.  If anything, Marvel might be interested in taking a look at their business model because while Bongo have never been the strongest direct market sellers, their presence in book stores and retailers is rather insane and something Marvel might want to duplicate.

Ray:  It’s crazy to think about, but Bongo Comics has been going strong for well over twenty years, and Simpsons Comics may be one of the longest consecutive numbered comics right now without a relaunch, if not the longest. Given that, and given Disney’s…issues with Marvel and licensed properties right now, I’m guessing they’d be happy to continue the status quo with Bongo.

Glenn:  At 261 is Minky Woodcock Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini from Titan.  No, doing these articles hasn’t driven me mad, that’s really what the book is called.  It sells over 6.1k and is probably the weirdest titled comic ever.  This is published under Titan’s ‘hard crime’ banner which usually sells around this range if not lower.  I would say most of these orders were for the title alone.
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Ray:  Good ol’ Minky Woodcock. I hope she’s not a one-off on the charts. I could see her joining Zombie Tramp as our mascot!

Glenn:  Here’s Tim Seeley again publishing another creator owned with Aftershock this time in the form of Brilliant Trash which sells just over 6k at 262.  This is about standard for new Aftershock stuff.  It seems that Seeley has done the Image thing and had the opportunity to go back to it but has decided to publish his own work with other people, he must be happy with how its doing so who are we to argue?

Ray:  That’s a surprisingly low debut for a Tim Seeley book, but this title didn’t have a very clear concept from solicits. I’m two issues in and I’m still not 100% sure of what it’s about!

Glenn:  Giantkillers 0 reads like a prelude to an upcoming IDW series by Bart Sears who was popular in that wild wacky time known as ‘the 90’s’ it sells just under 5.8k at 269.  It’s not like Bart Sears was a huge name back in the day and he’s not done a title of any note to my recollection for years so given what we’ve established how IDW creator owned tends to far this is probably what could be expected.

Ray:  Giantkillers probably wasn’t helped by debuting the same month as the much more hyped Sword of Ages from the same company, as well.

Glenn:  Speaking of IDW, here’s this months new Transformers number 1 in Transformers: First Strike which sells over 5.7k at 270.  I wonder if all these Transformers comics can be assembled to form a much bigger Transformers comic.

Random James Bond one shot from Dynamite ‘Solicited‘ sells over 5.6k at 273.  Pretty decent for a one shot for probably the only die hard of die hard Bond fans.  It does seem that Dynamite is certainty getting the most out of this licence.

There’s more Metal reorders, this time for the Merciless which sells over 5.6k at 276.  This is the Wonder Woman/Batman mash up which I thought would have sold more so I guess this is retailers realizing they should have ordered more after all.  Either way, more Metal money for DC.

Second issues of Image book Family Trade and Hack/Slash Vs Vampirella fall at 277 and 278 respectively with sales of under 5.6k and over 5.4k a piece.  The first one is by Justin Jordan so could be healthier, maybe just a concept that didn’t grab people while the latter is what it is.  The small but dedicated fan base will turn out for the properties regardless.

Second issue of Archie title…the Archies which has the main characters function as a full time band sells over 5k at 287.  Again, pretty standard for wacky Archie title number 1005 but I would have expected more here given some of the talent involved.

Ray:  Yeah, Archies being the lowest-selling of the new Archie line is a bit odd. This is a title that has a best-selling novelist (Alex Segura), a popular Marvel writer (Matt Rosenberg), and an artist with a significant fanbase (Joe Eisma), plus it’s been setting up all sorts of guest appearances by real-life musicians. Maybe a music comic is a hard sell because you can’t actually hear the music?

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Ray:  Proof that 90’s nostalgia will never die, Street Fighter Reloaded sells over 5k at 288.  I’m currently trying to beat the game on my SNES mini so I can’t really poke fun here…I would so buy this if it gave me the magic combination to beat M. Bison too.

Second issue of Animosity International, the spin off series from Aftershock sells over 4.7k at 299 so will likely be gone from the charts next month.  Still, the property getting another title has to be a great sign for Aftershock’s faith in it.

Last title, the winner of the chicken dinner is Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose which is a comic I’ve never heard of but is apparently 107 issues into its run.  Its published by Broadsword Comics (?!?!?!?!?!?) and lets see what its ab…erm its about cute animals.  No need to google, just take my word on it…

Ray:  Ah, Tarot. There’s a blast from the past. Hope no one’s got any haunted body parts thanks to this comic!
Looking ahead to the last month of the year, the big two are a bit lighter for big debuts than they have been in recent months. DC should easily claim the top of the charts this month with Doomsday Clock, Metal, and a Hawkman one-shot by Jeff Lemire tying into the latter. There’s also a major crossover playing out in the pages of Superman, Super-Sons, and Teen Titans that features the return of the YJ core four – at least in the form of their evil future selves. And then, of course, there’s the sequel to the mega-popular Batman/TMNT crossover! Plus the latest DC Holiday Special. And this is a slower month for the company!

Meanwhile, over at Marvel, there’s two major returns – one much-anticipated and one…less. Marvel Two-In-One, the closest thing we’ve had to a Fantastic Four book in years, should be the biggest Marvel debut of the month, while the first issue of the weekly series “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of (Adult) Jean Grey” may benefit from a lot of covers. Minky Woodcock says “That’s a ridiculous title”. We’ll also see the launch of new series Tales of Suspense, which starts with #100 and features three popular Avengers, plus quite a few Legacy launches and a Star Wars one-shot that serves as a prequel to The Last Jedi. We’ll also see how Ed Piskor’s bold experiment X-Men: Grand Design does – I’m expecting numbers akin to Creature of the Night this month, with similar blockbuster sales in collections down the line.

And of course, there’ll be a host of indie comics including new launches from Archie (Mighty Crusaders), Valiant (Quantum and Woody), Image (Sleepless, Paradiso, Boneheads), and IDW (Assassinistas) among others. One last By the Numbers to go for 2017! And lots more crying over Marvel sales to come.

Glenn:  Get your tissues ready and have a happy New Year everyone!

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