Comic Fodder

a look at DC Comics December Sales

Taking a look at December 2006 single-issue sales figures from ICV2.com provides a change for DC for the first time in memory: DC had more books in the Top 10 than Marvel.

Just for fun, I'll repost the top 15.

1. JLA #4 - 136,709
2. JLA #5 - 132,460
3. New Avengers #26 - 122,670
4. Astonishing X-Men #19 - 121,300
5. New Avengers Illuminati #1 - 103,952
6. JSA #1 - 102,990
7. Iron Man/ Captain America Casualties of War - 100,657
8. 52 Week 31 - 100,596
9. 52 Week 32 - 99,634
10. 52 Week 33 - 99,441
11. Justice #9 - 98,887
12. 52 Week 34 - 98,379
13. Civil War Front Line #9 - 97,948
14. Uncanny X-Men #481 - 85,995
15. Fantastic Four #541 - 84,895

Readers should note that December did not see the release of an issue of Civil War, and one of Marvel's major tie-in issues (ie: Amazing Spider-Man) didn't see print in December due to Civil War delays.

As far as regular running titles, New Avengers is doing comparably well with DC's own all-star team, JLA. Team books must be what's hot with the kids, if you want to add JSA to that list of big sellers. Apparently teams incorporating characters people might feel like reading about, name writers plus popular artists are the ticket.

Could the formula really be that simple?

It's worth noting that most of the top 15 titles (9 of the top 10) are comprised of new titles, limited series and cross-over books which, with the exception of Justice, didn't exist a year ago.

The new JLA and JSA titles most likely would not have existed without the Infinite Crisis/OYL push, and weren't hitting above the century mark on a regular basis. There certainly seems to still be a post-Infinite Crisis afterglow that DC has harnassed to good effect. Readers who beat their chest and wail over cross-over events , mini-series, etc... (a population which may consist entirely of Newsarama trolls) may wish to consider that as long as the books continue to put Paul Levitz neck deep in cigarette boats and tea-cup poodles, don't expect to see mini-series and cross-overs disappear any time soon.

The conclusion of 52 in less than twenty weeks could mean the sale of a half-million fewer comics in December 2007. At this point, if plans aren't in place for a weekly series with top flight talent, something is very wrong at DC editorial.

While the numbers are still high, 52 is experiencing a steady decline in numbers. Keep your eyes peeled to see if this trend reverses itself as news of the World War III storyline begins to leak and readers decide to catch up for the grand finale.

DC has to know that JLA and JSA most likely will not maintain the strong foothold with JLA and JSA beyond the first story-arc. Or not, if New Avenegers is any indication. The key may be keeping those creative talents on board beyond the length of their intitial agreement.

Some quick thoughts:

Superman/Batman #31 arrived in 18th place with 81,716 issues listed as sold. Slot number 18 is not a great place for DC to find it's first ongoing title in the list. Especially with DC's One Year Later push in full swing.

Batman #660 and 661 seem to be riding Morrison's coattails ins pots 21 and 23, respectively. Did DC cram this 4-issue series into two months so that readers wouldn't begin to drop Batman from their pull lists and more or less buy the title out of habit? Sure, it sounds like a paranoid conspiracy, but why wouldn't they just give the marquee creative team additional time to get their work done if they had that much faith in their 4-issue story? Unlike the Superman titles, Batman isn't technically running behind.

Supergirl seems to be losing readers, even with the "twice in one month" rushed release schedule. Issue #12 sold 59,819 copies, while Issue #13 dropped to 56,648 a few weeks later. This book was DC's hottest property not so long ago.

DC's launch of The Spirit #1 sold only 34,558, coming in at #58. The first issue was terrific and had high profile talent Darwyn Cooke attached. DC may have undersold a perfectly good property. Shame.

One number which makes me wonder: DC's Infinite Holiday Special sold 24,368 copies according to the charts, coming in at #93. Did retailers under order? I know that I arrived only a few hours after opening at my local comic shop and they had sold out. During a visit to another retailer, they had similarly sold out and were anticipating the question at the cash register. There's a lesson in there, somewhere, for retailers.

Checkmate #9 came in at #100, with 23,436 copies sold. Those are low numbers for what may be one of the smartest comics in DC's mainstream stable at the moment (this is a fact and in no way an opinion!), and it is certainly better written and plotted than several of the titles which are moving twice as many copies (also a fact).

Similarly, it's depressing to see Harvey Pekar's American Splendor #4 moving only 7,104 copies (That's at #203 behind Transformers and Night of the Living Dead comics, and just ahead of Sonic the Hedgehog #170, at 204). American Splendor isn't just the comic which inspired an award winning film in recent years, it's also a pretty good read, albeit not in the capes and tights format. It would be nice to see comics roylaty like Harvey Pekar find a home at Vertigo. Maybe some readers were waiting for the collection. I hope.



Some passing thoughts on the big picture:

It's only stating the obvious to say that DC has a good grasp on how to generate buzz around event comics and comics they decide are PR worthy. Some launches are obviously getting more traction than others, but it's good to see the JLA and JSA franchises relaunched and succeeding with their OYL storylines.

It's possible the OYL for every single title at once may have overwhelmed some readers' pocket books (as Dr. K mentioned at Comic Fodder's comments not too long ago). Or, keeping up with dozens of comics re-launching may not have been all that attractive. Could the success of JLA and JSA also be tied to their delayed OYL launch? Perhaps. Even the very, very poorly received Flash title sold 53,600 copies. Could it be that the title was helped partially because the Flash launch was treated as a mini-event by DC PR, and occured a short while after every other re-launch?

DC may need to take a look at their sagging numbers on their titles in reference to Marvel's sprinkling of franchise and long-running titles throughout the top 50. In comparison, DC isn't doing so well with comics numbered higher than #5. Of course quality counts, but DC will need to find a way to remedy their situation at some point with marketing muscle if they expect to be anywhere near this market position in 1, 3 or 10 years. 52's do not come along every day.

Further, I confess to being a little irritated at the low numbers for The Spirit #1 and Checkmate. Going back to marketing, DC didn't do much to push the comic on their website, with in-house ads, or even much at the usual outlets like Newsarama (note Marvel's current "getting to know your Avengers" bit, pounding it into your head that you should check out the new-new Avengers).

Both of these comics could and should be viable titles.

Perhaps some of this is due for a change.



What did you see that you found interesting?

Questions? Comments? I can take it.

and creates the greatest employment to the people of the country, anime myspace layouts professional the establishment of the buss-bounty, 16s. the barrel, I have jevbuaumpp

-- Posted by: Heather at March 29, 2008 7:38 AM

and creates the greatest employment to the people of the country, anime myspace layouts professional the establishment of the buss-bounty, 16s. the barrel, I have jevbuaumpp

-- Posted by: Heather at March 29, 2008 7:38 AM

to foreign supplies, at prices considerably lower than before. my space layouts with butterflies nearly the same quantity of the labour of other people. They will do this, I pkkqjxvgcf

-- Posted by: Faith at March 29, 2008 4:26 PM

to foreign supplies, at prices considerably lower than before. my space layouts with butterflies nearly the same quantity of the labour of other people. They will do this, I pkkqjxvgcf

-- Posted by: Faith at March 29, 2008 4:26 PM

She told me one evening, when more disposed to be communicative than where can i find free lesbian movies energy, decision, will, were not beautiful, according to rule but kuyftjupzqk

-- Posted by: Jessie at April 22, 2008 3:57 AM