Category Archives: Spotlight

While We Talk “Power Rangers” Breaking Down Barriers, How About Haim Saban’s Islamophobia?

With the new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film opening up this weekend, the full court press is on to show the film is updated and fresh with one Ranger being autistic and another figuring out their sexuality. While the changes have been met with glowing articles, the reality is they overlook the darker side of the Power Rangers. I’m not talking about the on-set homophobia experienced by actor David Yost (the original Blue Ranger) during the original Power Rangers show; my focus is a bit different.

If you look at the logo of the 2017 big budget film reboot of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers you’ll see the word “Saban’s” is subtly located in the advertising including television and posters. “Saban” is a reference to Haim Saban, the individual credited with bringing the popular kids show to the United States after coming across the concept during a trip to Japan. Saban was able to make billions off of it all and has parlayed that into political capital.

“I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Saban is the Israeli-American who is one of the largest donors to Democratic causes and campaigns. He not only runs an entertainment empire but also is a very politically influential individual who is able to shape policy. It was in a letter to Saban that Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. Her opposition wasn’t a surprise, the fact she did so in a letter to her biggest donor instead of a press release or speech was and suggests Saban’s influence within political circles and the parts of the Jewish community.

Saban vehemently describes himself as a one-issue person, and that issue is Israel, where he has shifted from a more left-leaning view a decade ago to more of a hardline right-wing hawkish view today. That view also includes disturbing statements about Muslims.

As reported by Haaretz, Saban is quoted as saying in November 2015:

“I’m not suggesting we put Muslims through some kind of torture room to get them to admit they are or they’re not terrorists,” he is quoted as telling The Wrap in a story posted Wednesday, “but I am saying we should have more scrutiny.” Suggesting that some civil liberties may need to be suspended in the face of security threats, he asked rhetorically: “You want to be free and dead? I’d rather be not free and alive.”

He later walked back some of those statements, but doubled down on the threats to civil liberties and opinions on policy that eerily echo President Trump’s logic for his Executive Order regarding immigration.

“I believe that all refugees coming from Syria – a war-torn country that ISIS calls home – regardless of religion require additional scrutiny before entering the United States. At this moment in time, with hundreds killed in Paris and thousands more around the world, freedom as we know it is under existential threat. And while in contradiction to our country’s principles in time of peace, I’m comfortable with the government taking additional measures, including increased surveillance of individuals they deem suspicious. Our first priority is to protect the lives of our citizens and no liberty is more valuable than our safety. I regret making a religious distinction as opposed to a geographical one: it’s about scrutinizing every single individual coming from a country with ISIS strongholds.”

Saban was also a leader in the organized effort to smear Congressman Keith Ellison during his recent bid to be the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison is a Muslim Congressman who has criticized the foreign assistance to Israel when some of their actions make peace difficult and run counter to requests made by the United States.

During the Brooking Institution’s Saban Forum, an annual gathering, Saban unprompted called Ellison an anti-Semite saying:

“If you go back to his positions, his papers, his speeches, the way he has voted, he is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” the Israeli-American said Friday about the Minnesota lawmaker. “Words matter and actions matter more. Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

What Saban, and other Democratic Jewish donors like Alan Dershowitz, were hinting at is donations. This was a veiled threat to pull vital dollars that’d otherwise be donated to candidates and the party if Ellison became chair.

When CNN researched claims against Ellison, they turned up nothing. As CNN acknowledged when digging up old Ellison quotes:

“None of the records reviewed found examples of Ellison making any anti-Semitic comments himself.”

The attacks on Ellison led to numerous Jewish organizations and individuals such as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, J Street, and Senator Chuck Schumer to defend Ellison. In a statement, J Street said:

“It is time to retire the playbook that aims to silence any American official seeking high office who has dared to criticize certain Israeli government policies.”

In reality, Ellison is a pretty average liberal Democrat supporting a two-state solution and advocating for peace. But, the damage was done, the toxicity thrown towards Ellison was a factor in his loss as DNC chair.

But this wielding of influence shouldn’t be a surprise. At a Saban Forum event, Saban laid out his three-pronged approach to influence American politics: fund political campaigns, bankroll think tanks (Saban is the founder of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank that’s part of the Brookings Institution and a supporter of the conservative pro-Israel organization AIPAC with their Saban National Political Leadership Training Seminar), and control the media (as part of a group of investor Saban Capital Group is a partial owner of Univision).

Interestingly, Saban was rebuked during the DNC chair race. When asked if Saban should apologize, those running generally agreed he should.

“There were some fireworks. When asked whether billionaire Democratic donor Haim Saban should apologize for smearing Ellison as an anti-Semite, everyone on stage but Ellison and Greene agreed ― a rare rebuke from political aspirants directed toward a deep-pocketed supporter.”

Greene felt the question was a “gotcha” moment attempting to divide the party from its donors, showing where Greene’s loyalty lies. Turning the other cheek, Ellison said the following:

“I just think everybody should know that Haim and I did have a phone call, I won’t disclose what we talked about, but it was amicable, and we’re going to get together and build on our relationship. So I don’t want everybody to think that that was the last word, it wasn’t. And I think we’re on the road to recovery in that regard. So I just wanted people to know that.”

Keep in mind, the DNC chair is a leadership and management role, it doesn’t decide on policy. But, the damage was done with Saban sending one of the loudest messages. Ellison’s bid was sunk… because he’s Muslim and due to Islamophobia.

So while all the article praise the Power Rangers update they overlook a disturbing few recent years where an ugliness has reared its head. As seen in the DNC chair race and the President Trump’s actions, Islamophobia is alive and well. The advocating for profiling, the support of curtailing civil liberties, and unfounded attacks on a Muslim Congressman who wants to serve his party and nation, all in the “support of Israel.” For someone whose show espouses teamwork and bringing together individuals of varying backgrounds as a team, Saban’s statements and actions are divisive and refutes the lessons the show teaches. Go go Power Rangers?


From the Comics to the Streets: Join #PopPoliticsChat Weds 8:30pm EDT

Fans and activists are alike in that we’re all advocates. We promote characters who’ve empowered us and recruit people to join our causes. Sometimes that effort is one and the same.

When a tyrant comes to power by dehumanizing Muslims and Latinx people, telling stories with Muslim and Latinx heroes is essential.

While Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, and Ms. America, America Chavez are punching Hitler and stretching the boundaries of whose superpowered stories are told, real life Muslim women, latinas, and other Queer People of Color are leading mass mobilizations in their communities.

What makes this imagery so powerful? How are these stories both real and imagined changing pop culture and politics?

On Wednesday, March 22, we’re inviting twitter users to dive in and discuss, 8:30 EDT to  9:30pm by visiting #PopPoliticsChat on Twitter.

#PopPoliticsChat, is a hosted online conversation series between pop culture fans/influencers and social movement leaders discussing a topical theme in pop culture and politics.

Our first topic is Marvel ComicsMs. Marvel series, and the newly released America comic, starring former Young Avenger and leader of The Ultimates, America Chavez. Kamala Khan and America Chavez’s powers make them immune to border walls and bathroom laws. Both characters are explicitly American and heroic in their stories, and useful vehicles for considering what patriotism and heroism means when Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people are being targeted by the government (and when Captain America Steve Rogers is revealed to be a Nazi Hydra Agent).

We’ll also discuss how to engage in Marvel fandom while remaining critical of problematic issues, including Marvel/Disney’s participation in Trump’s Economic Advisory board, and a lack of support for creators of color and women.

Our goals are to bring together pop culture fans, social movement community members, creatives, and more in a fun and inspiring conversation, and to connect them to new ideas and opportunities to take action. We hope you’ll spread the word about the event and participate with us!

Go to Twitter, visit #PopPoliticsChat and join our featured tweeters for the conversation:

  • Desiree Rodriguez (@boricuadesiree) is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics.
  • Nelini Stamp (@NelStamp) National Membership Director @WorkingFamilies. Lover of sci-fi & wizards. Troublemaker with @ResistHere, #ResistTrumpTuesdays.
  • Ardo Omer (@ArdoOmer)  is a senior editor at Women Write About Comics and a contributing writer at Book Riot. She has bylines at Comics Bulletin, Hyperallergic and Slate. Batman goes to her for advice.

And I, @elana_brooklyn will be moderating the conversation, coming to this from the perspective of someone who is a comics fan and critic, but also works for an immigrant-lead community organization whose members and leaders are leading the resistance against immigration raids, over-policing, and other forms of systemic oppression (and have been since long before Trump).

See you then! And if you are Tumblr share it there!

Cultural Pulse (an initiative of the Culture Lab) connects social justice movements to pop culture stories, trends and fan organizing efforts to help them more deeply engage with the stories and people that are changing hearts and minds.

By The Numbers February 2017

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

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

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor. He’s worked in the industry for 6 years but grew up reading comics. He’s sending some comic stuff off for review soon and needs lots of good Karma!

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the death of Superman. He is a writer and editor and has released his first novel. Ray also does a weekly roundup of DC comic reviews for website Geekmom and they’re brilliantly entertaining. After publishing a book, he had to renegotiate his contract and got an extra McRib out of the deal. Mmmm McRib.

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

Top 300 in full available here!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 44,000,000 in Europe

After a two month decrease of 17 million individuals, this month continues that decline with 3 million fewer individuals than the month before. But, that’s still 13 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 273,236,110 individuals interested in comics. That’s a decrease of 13 million compared to last month.

Gender and Age

In December women accounted for 44.68% while men accounted for 53.19%. This month men saw some gains but things generally remained steady. Men account for 54.55% while women account for 45.45%.

Even with the continued drop in population the graph below is similar to last month. Women become a majority sooner than last month and there’s a greater gap between men and women under the age of 17.

Relationship Status

The relationship status statistic is interesting in that everything dropped compared to last month except those that are “single” which remained steady. In fact, compared to last month both men and women gained in their individual count while the overall number remained the same (Facebook rounds).


As can be expected with the smaller population the numbers reflect that and with women decreasing more than men this month, that too is reflected in these steps.

Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

The Comics Are All Right: Marvel, Geo-location, and Contextual Marketing

Last week Marvel announced they were making some changes in their email program and would start advertising comics in movie theaters and on television. The news was covered with some praise, which it deserves, but beyond the announcement itself there wasn’t much as to what they were actually doing. So, this felt like the perfect opportunity to go into more depth as “The Comics Are All Right” column’s point is to point out the negative, positive, and present things with actual facts and data.

But, to better understand the Marvel announcement about geo-location and marketing, you need to first understand email. I’m not talking about the email you send to one person, I’m talking bulk email where special programs are used to send thousands or even millions of messages. When these messages are sent there’s a few extra steps compared to a one off message you send to a friend, and one of those is adding more information to the email. That info might help track people who open or click the message or it might change parts of the email like adding your first name to the message or changing an image. Usually, that is based on static information in a database, like a first name or a product being sold based on past purchases or your behavior on a website.

What Marvel is doing is doing that, but it’s on steroids.

By teaming up with the company Moveable Ink, a leader in what’s known as contextual marketing, Marvel is able to leverage more information than what’s in a database and also able to power their email program in a different way. Moveable Ink is a technology leader in what’s known as contextual marketing. This type of marketing delivers content based on behavior and data. You probably experience it every day without noticing. Moveable Ink makes that marketing easier in email through their toolset.

In the announcement, Marvel said they’d be including information for local comic book shops in the emails they send promoting their spring comic launches like X-Men Gold and Secret Empire. In the past, that information would be static. Marvel would use information like a zip code to match your location with a local shop and that information would be merged into the email. Where this program differs is that the information can constantly change. If Marvel leverages Moveable Ink in the way it’s supposed to be used an email you’re sent can show different shops based on your actual physical location. In one location on Monday you’ll be shown one shop and in another location on Tuesday you’ll be shown a different shop. The email evolves based on your physical location.

The above the scenario is what Marvel touched upon in their announcement without that much detail and also left out is the cost of it all. Moveable Ink is not cheap. For 600,000 opened emails a company would pay around $15,000. Marvel has an email list of about 1.5 million and averages about 14% opens per email. So, they’re spending about $5,000 per email sent using this system. But, it’s a successful tool and can boost sales, though I haven’t ever discussed real world purchasing with Moveable Ink only online sales when it comes to their success stories.

And that’s a big question to me. How success will be measured? A digital sale is easy to measure, but driving someone to a store to buy a physical product is a bit more difficult. The publisher can look at opens and then cross reference sales to a store, maybe, but it’s not an easy task laid out. Add in the fact this will need to boost comic sales by the 10s of thousands to be profitable and you have to respect the task at hand.

But, what Marvel didn’t lay out in their announcement email is the other uses of the tool. Sales can be updated when they end. New release information can be swapped out. Events can be better tailored to the individual and promoted. The same email may look different in the morning than it does in the evening. There’s a long list of possibilities and to see what they do with this new found tool will be interesting.

This is a big leap for the comic industry, one that is woefully outdated in the marketing and promotion. This technology has existed since 2010 and I’ve been aware and working with it in my political email career for 4 or 5 years at this point, and was checking it out for years before. Hopefully, other publishers take note of this move and truly understand how powerful this technology is and how much it can benefit them. Someone needs to be first and Marvel has stepped up.

Marvel Embraces Contextual Marketing like Moveable Ink

Marvel announced today it’s giving a shot to its online advertising and email program through geotargeting technology that will allow the company to connect comic fans with local comic shops. The technology is nothing new. Known as “contextual marketing,” it has been in use for years now but this is its first use in the comic industry. The technology, usually based on location information like cellular location or IP addresses, allows tailored messaging to be delivered to individuals.

I first wrote about this sort of targeting in 2010 and two months ago called for Marvel to begin this exact program. In the job that actually pays the bills, I’ve been using this technology for about 5 years now.

One leading provider in this area is Moveable Ink. Started in 2010, the company is the leader of “contextual marketing” in the email industry. The technology provides personalization at point of click, not point of send. Generally, email is tailored at the time of sending creating a static message that might vary. A single email may have 5 different versions that can’t be changed once sent. This technology allows for even greater targeting at a considerable price. Using geolocation data, it allows Moveable Ink to deliver data such as the closest comic shops based on your actual location. If you receive such information then fly across the country the email will update based on your new location. This is real time data delivery instead of the more common aspect of using pre-populated information. In the scenario I previously described you may get a message with a local shop based on your zip code and that content won’t change if you physically move around in the real world.

This technology is even more powerful than Marvel has hinted at, and here’s just a few examples of how they might use the technology:

  1. Instead of sending emails about current sales, app updates, or new releases, Marvel will be able to update emails based on the date. While you might get this week’s new releases, the same email could deliver you next week’s new releases when it’s release time.
  2. The email you receive in the morning could be updated. That same email could display something different in the evening. For example an image could have the sun in during the day and moon at night, all based on what time it is locally for you.
  3. As online sales ramp down, Marvel can update the emails they send with the latest information.
  4. One email sent can update individuals on the local signings or conventions based on your location.
  5. The comics advertised could be tailored to the individual’s preference.
  6. Ads can be tailored not just to inform on local shops but with images and text tailored to the individual.

All of this comes at a pretty penny. Marvel with this announcement has indicated they are willing to invest in marketing. These types of programs can cost in the 10s of thousands of dollars and in the case of email depends on list size. 600,000 opens would cost about $13,000. And that’s a low quote. I’d estimate Marvel has about 1.5 million email subscribers.

Below is Marvel’s full announcement:

The fun and excitement is happening each and every week at your local comic shop! Today, Marvel is excited to announce a new marketing initiative specially designed to increase comic store foot traffic and bring new readers into stores through the use of GeoTargeting technologies.

“Marvel is always looking for ways to get more people through the doors of their local comic stores,“ says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “With these new tools at our disposal, we’re looking to tap into fans of Marvel television, films, animation, games and even our licensed product and turn them into comic book readers. Not only will these prospective readers learn exactly where their nearest shop is, but all the great Marvel comics waiting for them when they get there!”

Once again leading the way in how comics reach larger audiences, these new technologies will provide both new, casual, and hardcore fans with information about comic shops in their area (location, store hours, phone #) and the exciting Marvel Comics waiting for them inside! Embedded within Marvel e-mails, shared across over Marvel social media networks, fed through advertising partners, and more – this ambitious program is estimated to reach millions of prospective readers – both new and existing!

“Comic book shops have been and always will be the lifeblood of our industry,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. “It’s Marvel’s mission to not only keep those retailers stocked with exciting comics, but to keep fans coming through their doors week after week to engage with those communities. We have a lot of exciting ideas for how to reach new and lapsed fans in 2017, and this is just the start.”

Rolling out first with spring Marvel comic launches, including X-MEN GOLD and SECRET EMPIRE, Marvel is set to reach entirely new audiences in 2017! The biggest characters and creators are waiting for you at your nearest comic book retailer!

Listen to Shelly Bond Discuss Femme Magnifique on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ Listed on

Comic-book stories celebrate women who crack ceilings, take names, and change the game. That’s Femme Magnifique, the comic anthology that salutes 30 female trailblazers of yesterday and today currently being Kickstarted featuring a who’s who of comic creators. That’s at least 30 stories from over 50 creators.

From astronauts and abolitionists to computer coders and crack journalists, these fearless women have paved the way for equal rights in science, politics and the arts. What better way to celebrate their achievements than in Femme Magnifique, a book that can live on in teenage bedrooms, corporate boardrooms and libraries around the world?

Joining Graphic Policy Radio to discuss this comic project is the legendary Shelly Bond who will be editing the stories featured.

Shelly Bond has been driven to edit, crush deadlines and innovate since 1988. To date she has edited 950+ comic books and graphic novels by international superstars and novices. One of the most respected and admired editors among her peers, Bond previously served as VP-Executive Editor of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. She wields red pens and tap shoes with equal aplomb.

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – US Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented.

Facebook Population: Over 31,000,000 in the United States

That’s an increase of 1 million compared to last month. Worldwide, the estimate is 283,888,014 which is a decrease of about 300,000 compared to last month.

The Spanish-speaking population last month was 15.00%, and this month the population has decreased to 14.32%. The population decreased by about 100,000 and the overall population increased by 1 million.

Gender and Age

Last month men accounted for 52.78% and women were 47.22%. Women made some gains while men dipped this past month. Women account for 48.65% while men account for 51.35%.

Men remained the same population wise while women gained 1 million individuals.


Women continue to be the majority of fans under the age of 18 and eventually become the majority of fans as age increases.


Relationship Status

Compared to last month, relationship status has remained steady. Women make some gains reflecting their increase in overall population, but there is actually little change otherwise.



When it comes to high degrees, there’s been some gains since last month, especially when it comes to women. Those listing their educational level in the high school range remains steady.


Gender Interest

Women increased a bit as part of the population, but generally, these stats too remained the same compared to last month.



Again, like make of the above stats, ethnicity also remained fairly steady. Asian Americans increased by 40,000 and Hispanics increased by 100,000. Above we reported that Spanish speakers decreased by 100,000 and we see that here with that amount decreased in Spanish-dominant Hispanic individuals.



Again, populations remained pretty steady. Millenials saw an increase of 1 million individuals compared to last month.


And come back next month for a new look at the data! And on February 15th we’ll have the next report of Europe’s data!

Win a copy of Res Publica: 2030AD + New Horizons expansion from Mage Company Games

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 47,000,000 in Europe

Due to my spacing out, I missed January’s report, but since December, that’s a decrease of 17 million individuals. But, that’s still 11 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 286,826,575 individuals interested in comics.

Gender and Age

In December women accounted for 45.31% while men accounted for 53.13%. This month men saw some gains but things generally remained steady. Men account for 53.19% while women account for 44.68%.


The drop in population is primarily of those over the age of 18. Those under 18 remained steady compared to last month. There’s also much more parity between men and women across the board on for all ages.


Relationship Status

For most things, there was a drop across the board for relationship statuses. Some remained steady, like those widowed, but generally the overall populations dropped reflecting the smaller overall population.



Things haven’t changed a ton since last month. The gaps have expanded for some, but generally, the populations remain steady.


Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

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