Glenn: Every month I feel like I’m reporting a new Transformers launch from IDW. This month its Revolution which sells just under 12k at 183. Its Transformers, the audience is what it is.
Ray: Black Hammer continues to be the most stable book on the charts, losing only roughly 300 copies from #3 as #4 charts at #171 with sales of 13.3K. The buzz and quality of this book is quickly turning it into Dark Horse’s first lasting hit in a long time.
A strong debut from Albatross Press for #1, their new horror anthology, which sells just over 10K at 190. This is probably explained by the fact that the creator is Eric Powell, who built a small but devoted fanbase during his long tenure at Dark Horse. They followed him here, so this is a pretty big get for the up-and-coming publisher.
Glenn: Powell also drew a very brief stint on Action Comics many moons ago but of course is best known for his work on The Goon, so yeah a big grab for a company I’ve only recently started to hear about. A lot of small press companies like to release anthology works and sometimes, they don’t work but glad to see this one have a half decent launch.
Ray: Also just over 10K at #191 is the return of a long-time creator-owned institution – Love and Rockets Magazine #1, published by Fantagraphics. This is new stories by the original creative team, and while Love and Rockets has never been a mainstream hit, it’s one of those books that will have an audience that follows it wherever it goes. We don’t see Fantagraphics on the charts often, because they do most of their business in trades, so this is definitely a win for them.
Glenn: It seems there is still a fan base for these characters on a montly basis. If Fantographic’s business is based solely on trades then this title charting here could come as a pleasant surprise.
Ray: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur stays in the four-digit range, selling 9.5K at #196. I said it before, but Marvel is definitely seeing something here that we’re not, because big two comics don’t survive at this level. The book is starting its new arc in November, but with no re-numbering, I doubt it will move the needle.
Glenn: This could be a book supported by digital sales or trades or any number of things but its a Marvel book getting outsold by a lot of other stuff by publishers the vast majority of comic fans are unaware of. Either Marvel is taking a hit on this one for other reasons or like you say, its performing elsewhere. If it is a book that performs digitally better, it may be better to release it first there and then repackage for print later, surely it would make them a bit more money?
Ray: There were quite a few Image books launching this month, and the bottom rung is Romulus #1, the latest Top Cow title by Bryan Hill, which only manages to muster 9.5K at #197. Top Cow hasn’t had a new hit in a long time, and this book didn’t really attract any critical attention when it launched, so the weak numbers aren’t a surprise.
Glenn: We talked about Top Cow last month and how they’re a brand that fails to create any excitement any more. I doubt their books are held to the same standard that regular Image ones are so they might be happy enough with this? I don’t really recall them charting anything in a long time so anything might be a win.
Ray: Frostbite sheds 4K copies from its first issue, going down to about 9.3K, just out of the top 200. Needless to say, there is no real good news for Vertigo here, if a well-reviewed genre title by a top DC creator can’t muster higher numbers.
Glenn: Still slightly higher than Williamson’s creator owned books at Image but yeah…I don’t think much more needs to be said about Vertigo. I’d say that this time in a year or two, projects like this are more likely to be released under the Young Animal banner and Vertigo to be basically used to produce library stock and the odd mini here and there involving Sandman or whatever.
Ray: Nighthawk wraps up with just under 9K copies at #204. Womp womp. It’s almost as if trying to spin individual titles out of a team with middling sales to begin with is a terrible idea. (Looks pointedly at the Mercs for Money)
Glenn: The books fan base was small but seemed to be enjoying the book so it sucks for them seeing the book go away so quickly. For fans of these types of books, it must create some frustration towards Marvel who have to suspect that the titles aren’t going to garner the sales to keep them going when the green light is given.
Ray: The slide for the new Fables spin-off continues, with the second issue of Everafter only mustering about 8,4K at #213. It’s already selling below Lucifer, which is almost a year older. This franchise is officially well past its prime, and bringing it back was probably a poor move.
Glenn: On paper, one of the premier Vertigo properties coming back probably seemed like a good idea and its worked somewhat for Lucifer (the TV show might help there) but not with Fables. There doesn’t seem to be much interest as fans know the ‘proper’ story is done. This isn’t Harry Potter and the Cursed Child people, no one wants to see Fables continue on at this point.
Ray: Crossovers seem to be very much in vogue right now, and one of the oddest is the Dynamite miniseries Army of Darkness/Xena: Forever and a Day, combining two of creator Sam Raimi’s cult properties, which kicks off at #217 with just under 8.1K. It was written by controversial DC writer Scott Lobdell, which may have brought in a few DC fans – but I’m not sure it was the best move to bring in Xena fans.
Glenn: What an odd team up. Sometimes these team ups make little sense to me and just get drawn out of a fishbowl of whatever properties the company seems to have and/or can agree to with someone else. Beyond having a creator in common, I’m not sure how Evil Dead meets Xena can gel. Both franchises have a solid following to this day but not many of them seem to be interested in the bizarre crossover.
Ray: The latest Dark Tower miniseries kicks off from Marvel, selling just over 7.9K, which is pretty standard numbers. It feels like this line of books has been going for about ten years now, and they’ve carved out a small niche in the market that I imagine is mostly geared towards collected editions. They might get a bounce with the upcoming movie, though.
Glenn: The Dark Tower books have been coming out for a very long time and likely do well not only in comic shops but in regular book stores also. Having Stephen King on the cover will always help sell this book to people who have never ventured into a comic shop in their lives and it may benefit Marvel to have such an extensive library of these things already in time for the movie. I believe this current mini is set during the second book so Marvel is clearly in for the long haul here regardless.
Ray: American Vampire has been gone for a while and the schedule was spotty before that, so that can’t have been good for the sales of the second American Vampire Anthology, which lands at #232 with sales of 7.3K. It was the same price as the Wonder Woman anniversary anthology, but there’s a pretty big gulf in how the two issues performed. I’m interested in seeing how American Vampire vol. 3 does when it returns.
Glenn: Maybe fans of the series have grown tired of waiting or are just wanting the regular series to start up again? Given how Vertigo is as a whole, the sales may not be the best whenever the series finally returns. Much like most of the stronger quality Vertigo series that are coming out, it will still be a strong seller in collection form for years to come, no doubt.
Ray: Another month, another Dark Horse book with a lot of promotion and a promising creative team underperforming. This month it’s Spell on Wheels, by Kate Leth. Leth has had successful comics at multiple companies, and Dark Horse put a lot into selling this one, so they had to be hoping for more than 6.6K at #241. This is the state of affairs at Dark Horse right now, with very few titles able to break away from the pack.
Speaking of Dark Horse, the bizarre Eric Powell/Stephanie Buscema freakshow comedy Chimichanga: Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face manages to debut at #245 with sales of 6.4K. This is very clearly a niche book, so no surprises there. This is probably one of those books that the retailers already know exactly how to order.
Glenn: It’s strange that one book seems to be for a specific audience where another it appears Dark Horse was maybe expecting both out of but they sold at nearly the same level. I guess this is the standard launch for a new Dark Horse property without a-list creators regardless of the material? Not good if that’s the case but that’s what we say every month about Dark Horse. I wonder how many people ordered/bought Chimichanga cause of Deadpool’s love of the food though?
We see the second issue of new Dark Horse launch, Rise Of The Black Flame sell just under 6.4k at 246 as it gets outsold by the latest issue of the Simpsons comic. If it were Harrow County which is 17 issues in and has the 248 spot then I probably would be feeling a lot less sorry for it.
Ray: It’s good you mentioned Harrow County, because that’s another book, like Black Hammer, that found its level and just locked down there. A good deal lower than Black Hammer, of course, but it’s one of Dark Horse’s few success stories over the last few years.
Glenn: Another Dark Horse launch and a video game tie in is Call Of Duties: Zombies sells literally just over 6k at 255. Call Of Duty is an insanely popular gaming franchise but as we’ve seen in the charts before, that doesn’t necessarily mean a high selling comic make. This one tries to lure more potential patrons in by including Zombies but with Walking Dead as the clear high standard for that type of comic, anyone else doing something similar probably won’t be paid much attention.
Ray: Video game comics tend to be hard sells overall. Maybe it’s because people would rather play the game than read about it? We see the same thing with video game movies. Interactivity is the biggest draw when it comes to video games, so any expanded material without that might struggle.
Glenn: I just want to mention the second issue of Tarzan and the Planet Of The Apes (selling just over 5.9k) at 257 because clearly someone who makes decisions reads these articles. We asked for Green Lanterns and the Planet Of The Apes and you readers are getting it, you’re welcome.
One of the new Vertigo launches to last the test of time is Clean Room which sells just over 5.8k at 261. I would say this is largely due to Gail Simone’s loyal fanbase and the fact that she seems to be one of the nicest people in comics more than anything else. A lot of the Vertigo books it launched alongside are long gone so credit to this one for managing to stick around.
Ray: Clean Room and Sheriff of Babylon (about 700 copies lower at #286) seem to have found their levels, at numbers well below what a Gail Simone or Tom King book should be selling. Such is the state of Vertigo, but these two seem to have stopped the bleeding. We’ll see if Sheriff can rebound and start higher when volume two lands.
Glenn: Volume 2 of Sheriff might see an initial bump but I don’t think it’ll be anything significant and will probably fall to previous levels. If it were repackaged at Image it might be a different story…
At first I thought A Year Of Marvel’s Unbeatable was a reprint but a quick google tells me…no? It seems to be a fully bonified new Marvel one shot so what its doing down here at the ‘depressing section’ of the charts when it comes to the likes of Vertigo and Dark Horse is baffling. It only sells 5.6k at 268 and I can’t help but feel I missed something here.
Ray: That is insanely low for a Marvel book with original material. Anthologies without an impact on continuity are always a hard sell, but even by those standards, wow. Marvel puts out such a glut of content that retailers are probably having to make some hard calls. This is just further evidence that Marvel’s current strategy is backfiring. Could the future issues of this anthology miss the top 300 entirely?
Glenn: This isn’t just a one shot?! Oh wow, that’s grim. Even if Marvel cancelled this it doesn’t seem many people would notice.
Just below that at 269 is a new launch from Titan in the form of Hard Case Crime Peepland which sells around 5.6k also. This is a new mini series based in a super pulpy looking crime world that seems along the lines of the stories Ed Brubaker tells. Without the former Captain America writer attached though, interest seems to be slim.
Next we’re looking at Duck Avenger from IDW which sells just over 5.4k at 274. This appears to be a new book starring Donald Duck as a superheo so this is pretty standard level for a new Disney launch from someone who isn’t Marvel. I used to love Darkwing Duck so I demand his return also!
Ray: Apparently Duck Avenger precedes Darkwing Duck, too. This is an odd little chapter of Disney history I was not aware of. Standard numbers for IDW’s Disney books, but it continues to be sort of surprising the way Disney rights are still split between three different companies.
Glenn: Next at 276 is Warlords of Appalachia from BOOM! which sells just over 5.3k. This title is another attempt from BOOM! to do more adult orientated creator owned work and seems to struggle like similar books they put out do. In the past few years, BOOM! has managed to carve itself a nice little niche with all ages books so going against that when the demand is being met by literally everyone else is puzzling.
Ray: Similar numbers to the last book from this creative team, Last Sons of America. BOOM! has a wide variety of genres in their line, and their darker books seem to consistently struggle.
Glenn: Also from IDW is Action Man: Revolution, the spin off from the toy version of the Expendables we saw launch last month. It sells just over 5.3k. Given that Action Man was only a thing for roughly a month in the early 90’s, I’d say this is only for people wanting to be completionists with the overall story.
Ray: Black Mask has a new title debuting at #281 with 5.2K, The Skeptics. This one didn’t have any big names attached, so these numbers aren’t a big surprise. Still, Black Mask has slowly but surely carved out a place in the market, even if this is one of their less impressive debuts.
Glenn: Given how new Black Mask is, the fact they can get books to chart at all is impressive. There are a lot of older companies still around that hardly ever chart any more. I think Black will be the book that brings them a lot of attention which they can expand their audience through.
Ray: There’s a few other debuts, like a new Pathfinder comic from Dynamite and another of those Hard Case Crime titles from Titan, the second this month. As usual, the bottom of the chart mostly consists of tie-ins, low-selling creator-owned books, and the occasional oddball comic like X-Files: Origins, the teen adventures of Mulder and Scully. I hope they have to rule out Red Herring as the culprit in every issue.
One bit of depressing news, though, is that Revival is circling the bottom of the top 300 at 291 with sales of 5.1K. The series is one of Image’s longest-running, and it’s ending in a few month, so I’m hoping it manages to stay in the top 300 till the end.
Glenn: If Revival does drop out, it’ll likely pop back in for the end but the audience might see it over the finish line.
Ray: Looking ahead to next month, it’s a very quiet month for DC as they continue to settle into their new post-Rebirth normal. There’s only two new series launches – Mother Panic, the fourth of the Young Animal books and the only one of the four set in Gotham City. Given that, I think it’ll debut a bit higher than Shade and Cave did. There’s also a new all-ages miniseries, Super Powers, from Baltazar and Franco, as well as a pair of unique one-shots. The first, Catwoman: Election Night, seems like a bit of a trainwreck in reviews, but the second, the DC New Talent Showcase, is an anthology giving spotlights to the graduates of DC’s first talent workshops. We’ll also get to see how the first two annuals of the Rebirth era, Batman and Superman, perform. There’s also the latest Batman/TMNT crossover, this one based on the animated series, published by IDW.
For Marvel, it’s yet another big month of relaunches, as we’ll likely see Avengers and Invincible Iron Man compete for the top spot with six-figure debuts (my money is on Avengers). Two of Marvel’s most popular series get spinoffs as well, with the Unworthy Thor miniseries, which should be a solid hit, and Black Panther: World of Wakanda (although the creative team from outside comics and the $4.99 price tag makes me wonder if this one struggles). Then there’s the alternate universe Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which has a lot of anticipation behind it, and Mark Waid’s flashback mini Avengers .1. There’s also some smaller books, like Ultimates 2, Occupy Avengers, Venom, and Jeff Lemire’s Thanos. Some of these might find their footing, others are going to struggle. And of course, there’s Ghost Rider and Foolkiller, this month’s contenders to debut outside of the top 100. We’ll also start to see how some of these books settle down. What will Champions or Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme look like in month two? Or more ominously, how low can Solo and Prowler fall?
After a huge month of debuts for Image, it’s a bit of a quieter month for creator-owned books this time, with one big exception – A.D. After Death, Image’s prestige format miniseries from Snyder and Lemire, two of the biggest creators in the industry. I don’t think it’ll quite equal the numbers of Reborn, partially due to the $5.99 price tag (for 69 pages of story), but I expect a very healthy debut here. Other books like Alex De Campi’s cold war thriller Mayday and Frank Barbiere’s rural noir Violent Love will have more modest debuts. Outside of Image, we’ve got Steve Orlando’s new creator owned book, Namesake, from BOOM!. We’ll see if his sudden rise at DC boosts the numbers on this one. Matt Kindt brings another one of his strange, dense fantasy worlds to life in Ether for Dark Horse. And Valiant has another one of their more offbeat projects in the mysterious Savage.
Glenn: A lot of interesting launches next month but as you indicate, the more interesting story might be how these new Marvel books perform in their second month. Magic 8 ball says ‘We’re doomed, Jim’.
A delay in these charts means less time to wait to see what happens! Good news for all! See you then!