DC Month-to-Month Sales May 2008

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by Marc-Oliver Frisch

In May, DC Comics finally awoke from their year-long beauty sleep. Unfortunately, they seem to be getting up on the wrong side of the bed. The good news, now, is that the first two chapters of the much-hyped “Batman RIP” storyline made the Top 10. The bad news, as you may have heard, is that Final Crisis, the big blockbuster title they’d been building towards for the past two years, didn’t quite debut in the top slot. See below for an explanation. Apart from the two major projects, DC also launched another bunch of miniseries in May, none of which registered very high on the charts. May was also th first month in two years in which there was no weekly title from the company, so, perhaps not surprisingly, sales of the average DC periodical were slightly down from April, Final Crisis and “Batman RIP” notwithstanding.

With its remake of the old House of Mystery title, Vertigo saw its highest-selling ongoing series launch in almost four years. Due to a long tail of books selling below the 10,000 mark, though, this didn’t have much of an effect on the imprint’s average periodical sales. Over at the WildStorm sublabel, meanwhile, May was a disastrous month for periodicals. Because the WildStorm Universe line of superhero series kept tanking badly and only one of three new limited series based on licensed or creator-owned properties debuted with sales above 10,000 units, average WildStorm periodical numbers declined by almost twenty percent in May, dropping to a terrifying 9,812 copies – a new all-time low for the imprint.

See below for the details, and please mind the disclaimers at the end of the column. Thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for the permission to use their figures. An overview of ICv2.com‘s estimates can be found here.

—–

2 - FINAL CRISIS
05/2008: Final Crisis #1 of 7 -- 144,826

Final Crisis, by writer Grant Morrison and artist J.G. Jones, is, of course, DC’s big monster-whopper blockbuster juggernaut of the year. They’ve been building towards the book for quite some time, and it’s been widely expected to be the final litmus test for the current direction of the DC Universe line. Would Final Crisis validate DC’s year-long commitment and turn around the recent negative sales trends, or be final proof that DC were wrong to put all their eggs in one basket and have dropped the ball like a Dutch forward in the penalty box? That was the question. Looking at the May chart, and presuming that half the book’s print run didn’t fall off a truck somewhere, it seems we’re a little closer to the answer now. And for DC, it’s not a pleasant answer.


But first, some context: The second issue of Final Crisis‘ Marvel counterpart, Secret Invasion, took the top spot of the Diamond chart in May, with an estimated 182,443 units. Secret Invasion #1, on sale in April, shifted an estimated 250,263 copies in first-month sales. Checking the numbers from the previous blockbuster season doesn’t turn out to be much of a consolation, either. Back in October 2005, estimated first-month sales of DC’s Infinite Crisis started out at 249,265 units and never dropped below 180,000 for the rest of the seven-issue series. And Marvel’s seven-issue Civil War launched with estimated first-month sales of 260,804 in May 2006, peaked at 290,709 with issue #3 and never dropped below 253,856. Even World War Hulk, which was downplayed by Marvel as a way of cleansing the palate after Civil War at the time, debuted in June 2007 with an estimated 178,408 units and kept selling above 145,000 during its five-issue run.

Consequently, it’s no exaggeration to say that Final Crisis, with debut sales of barely 145,000, seems to be massively underperforming. What we’re seeing here, plainly, is a supposed tent-pole book shifting 100,000 units below what it should have sold to justify the lead-up, the hype and the expectations that went into it. That’s not peanuts.

Now, there are a couple of things to consider, of course. First up, Final Crisis #1 came out on the last Wednesday in May, which means that the bulk of reorders slipped into June and aren’t included in the number we see. Secret Invasion #1 and #2, by contrast, came out in the first or second week of the month, which means they had three or four more weeks to accumulate reorders. Second, Final Crisis #1 came in two different, equally distributed cover editions, while Secret Invasion has had four per issue. Let’s be charitable and assume that those factors are worth 20,000 units. At least as far as reorders are concerned, we’re going to see those on next month’s chart, if they indeed occur in significant quantities. Bearing all this in mind, however, it’s still quite safe to say that the book’s disappointing performance is not owed to release dates or variant cover editions.

But as you know, what we’re seeing here are sales to retailers, with no indication yet whether demand for the book was gauged accurately. After all, retailers had to place their initial orders about three months before the book came out. Those orders are based to a significant degree on customer orders, granted. But they also include a fair bit of guessing, because not every potential reader puts in an order three months in advance, and there’s always the possibility of people rushing to buy copies after the fact thanks to positive word of mouth. So, in theory, it’s entirely possible that we’re simply seeing a massive misjudgment on the retailers’ part that will be corrected in the months to come.

Be that as it may, though, what the low initial sales do show – always presuming there’s no shipping or calculating error involved in the figure, which I guess is always a possibility, particularly for a book shipping in the final week of a given month; although I’d rather think we’d heard about by now if there had been any shipping problems – is that retailers didn’t have a much faith in Final Crisis at all. In how far they were right, we’re going to find out in a couple of months. But this fact alone should give the people in charge of DC’s superhero line pause. If it became apparent that DC were heading for the cliff when Countdown was launched to lukewarm reactions a year ago, Final Crisis #1 would seem to be the moment where they realize they’ve passed the edge and are hovering in mid-air, in terms of retailer perception.

One reason that may have led to this loss of faith in DC’s product is the publisher’s recent string of high-level failures. In the aftermath of Infinite Crisis, the line-wide “One Year Later” reboot, the subsequent wave of new titles and relaunches were all greeted by retailers with much enthusiasm early on, but mostly proceeded to enter a terrible sales free-fall that resulted in the cancellation of quite a few titles, and that still hasn’t ended for others, despite multiple attempts at fixing things. And once supposed event titles like Countdown, Amazons Attack or Salvation Run came around last year, there wasn’t much enthusiasm to begin with. Retailers had learned their lessons, and I suppose there was no reason to presume that they were going to forget them when it came to ordering Final Crisis. DC would have to put out all the stops to convince them that this was going to be different.

Which they emphatically did not do. Crucially, DC never bothered to tell anyone what Final Crisis was going to be about. Marvel, by contrast, did a much better job of building excitement with Secret Invasion in that respect. It’s not very hard to get the book’s premise, and at the same time, it leaves enough room for the potential audience’s imagination to engage the subject. It’s about an unprecedented, large-scale secret invasion of alien shape-shifters, and the appeal is to see the Marvel heroes and their world react to it. It’s all right there in the title: Secret Invasion – a simple, straightforward high concept for a blockbuster book.

In the case of Final Crisis, it’s not quite that simple. For starters, what does the title mean? Why, it’s a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths, of course, a book that came out twenty years ago. What was that one about? Well, I haven’t read it, but I’ve been following superhero comics for a while, and my understanding is that it was a deck-clearing exercise to straighten out the continuity of the publisher’s fictional universe. Imagine my suspense. The slogan with which DC chose to advertise the content of Final Crisis when pressed for it, “The Day Evil Won,” doesn’t really address the problem. I mean, congratulations, so you’ve got a second act in there somewhere, at the end of which the bad guys temporarily win, which they always do. Good structure. But that still doesn’t tell me what the story is about, or why I should care.

In short, there is no hook. Final Crisis has been promoted as a self-referential monster of a story, reliant on the vague promise that Grant Morrison will be doing something or other with the DC Universe. That’s probably enough for the hardcore Morrison fans and the DC Universe completists, but for everybody else, there’s nothing to engage. It’s a marketing disaster, and retailers have become much less forgiving about that than they were a couple of years ago.

Now, if it’s indeed just the retailers who misjudged the situation here, then that shouldn’t pose much of a problem for DC: Orders will be adjusted, sales will go up, there will be reprints and positive buzz, and the recent negative sales trends for DC’s mainstream line may even be reversed. If retailers’s vote of no confidence is an accurate reflection of the market, however, and if there’s as massive a disconnect between DC and the market as the May numbers suggest, however, it’s going to be quite an uphill struggle for the DC Universe line, which will require some fundamental changes in direction.

—–

7/9 - BATMAN

05/2001: Batman #591 --  40,508*

05/2002: Batman #603 --  51,898*

05/2003: Batman #615 -- 144,090 [158,350]

05/2004: Batman #627 --  76,885

05/2004: Batman #628 --  74,348 [ 75,832]

05/2005: Batman #640 --  66,640 [ 71,120]

05/2006: Batman #653 --  77,257 [ 78,435]

-------------------------------

05/2007: Batman #665 --  80,122 (- 0.5%)

06/2007: --

07/2007: Batman #666 --  83,781 (+ 4.6%)

08/2007: Batman #667 --  78,578 (- 6.2%) [82,418]

08/2007: Batman #668 --  76,962 (- 2.1%)

09/2007: Batman #669 --  73,471 (- 4.5%)

10/2007: Batman #670 --  76,890 (+ 4.7%) [86,049] 

11/2007: Batman #671 --  76,764 (- 0.2%) [80,440]

12/2007: Batman #672 --  71,189 (- 7.3%)

01/2008: Batman #673 --  69,234 (- 2.8%)

02/2008: Batman #674 --  68,208 (- 1.5%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Batman #675 --  71,138 (+ 4.3%)

05/2008: Batman #676 -- 105,039 (+47.9%)

05/2008: Batman #677 --  96,116 (- 8.5%)

----------------

6 months: +31.0%

1 year  : +25.5%

2 years : +30.2%

5 years : -30.2%

The two May issues launched the widely publicized “Batman RIP” storyline, which will branch out into the secondary Batman titles in the shape of spin-off storylines later on.

Both issues were promoted with Alex Ross covers and rarer-than-usual 1-for-25 variant-cover editions, which means that retailers had to buy 25 units of the regular edition to be able to buy one variant-cover edition. Nonetheless, this is a decent increase. Retailers seem to have some faith in the story, encouraged, perhaps, by the success of the recent “Sinestro Corps War” and “Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul” crossovers.

—–

11 - JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

05/2001: JLA #54            --  69,390*

05/2002: JLA #66            --  60,581* 

05/2003: JLA #81            --  60,316

05/2004: JLA #96            --  70,377 [ 71,546]

05/2004: JLA #97            --  68,170 [ 70,446]

05/2005: JLA #114           --  63,934

--------------------------------------

05/2007: Justice League #9  -- 129,285 (- 0.8%)

06/2007: Justice League #10 -- 129,265 (- 0.0%)

07/2007: Justice League #11 -- 122,823 (- 5.0%)

08/2007: Justice League #12 -- 131,420 (+ 7.0%) [137,181]

09/2007: Justice League #13 -- 119,471 (- 9.1%) [124,006]

10/2007: Justice League #14 -- 101,763 (-14.8%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: Justice League #15 -- 100,234 (- 1.5%)

12/2007: Justice League #16 --  95,557 (- 4.7%)

01/2008: Justice League #17 --  94,712 (- 0.9%)

02/2008: Justice League #18 --  89,803 (- 5.2%)

03/2008: Justice League #19 --  87,482 (- 2.6%)

04/2008: Justice League #20 --  85,807 (- 1.9%)

05/2008: Justice League #21 --  90,035 (+ 4.9%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  : -30.4%

2 years :  n.a.

5 years : +49.3%

Justice League of America #21 was touted as a major Final Crisis tie-in in the advertising copy, so a five-percent increase seems rather modest. Then again, New Avengers didn’t see much of an increase from tying in with Secret Invasion either, over at Marvel. Maybe there’s just too much of an existing overlap between the books’ audiences to generate significant increases on top of their already high sales.

—–

19 - JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA

05/2001: JSA #24             --  38,669*

05/2002: JSA #36             --  41,928*

05/2003: JSA #48             --  44,019

05/2004: JSA #60             --  42,824

05/2005: JSA #73             --  51,326

05/2006: JSA #85             --  52,620

---------------------------------------

05/2007: Justice Society #6  --  96,900 (-  1.2%) [ 99,784]

06/2007: --

07/2007: Justice Society #7  --  88,883 (-  8.3%)

08/2007: Justice Society #8  --  87,606 (-  1.4%)

09/2007: Justice Society #9  --  84,117 (-  4.0%)

10/2007: Justice Society #10 --  99,424 (+ 18.2%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: Justice Society #11 --  89,613 (-  9.9%)

01/2008: --

02/2008: Justice Society #12 --  84,162 (-  6.1%)

02/2008: Justice Society #13 --  82,702 (-  1.7%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Justice Society #14 --  80,507 (-  2.7%)

05/2008: Justice Society #15 --  78,311 (-  2.7%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  : -19.2%

2 years : +48.8%

5 years : +77.9%

Sales remain in a not-so-gentle downslide, while still being boosted through 1-for-10 variant-cover editions. Justice Society can probably afford it for the time being, because it’s still selling a a much higher level than prior to the revamp. If it continues to shed 2,000 units for another couple of months, though, that’s a sign that something’s going wrong here – not to mention that the decline is bound to get much uglier once there are no more gimmick-cover promotions.

—–

24 - ALL STAR SUPERMAN

05/2006: --

-----------------------------------------

05/2007: --

06/2007: --

07/2007: All Star Superman #8  --  83,329 (- 9.7%)

08/2007: --

09/2007: --

10/2007: --

11/2007: All Star Superman #9  --  78,706 (- 5.6%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: --

02/2008: --

03/2008: All Star Superman #10 --  73,574 (- 6.5%)

04/2008: --

05/2008: All Star Superman #11 --  70,355 (- 4.4%)

----------------

6 months: -10.6%

1 year  :  n.a. 

2 years :  n.a.

All Star Superman still hasn’t found its level. That’s moot now, though – there’s one issue to go for writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, and the book seems destined for a long life on the graphic-novel shelf once it’s completed.

—–

25 - GREEN LANTERN

05/2001: Green Lantern #138 --  33,488*

05/2002: Green Lantern #150 --  42,141*

05/2003: Green Lantern #164 --  44,351

05/2003: Green Lantern #165 --  37,997

05/2004: Green Lantern #177 --  33,391

05/2005: GL: Rebirth #6     -- 114,354

05/2005: Green Lantern #1   -- 168,353 [180,483]

05/2006: Green Lantern #11  --  78,926

--------------------------------------

05/2007: Green Lantern #19  --  62,439 (+ 1.3%)

05/2007: Green Lantern #20  --  60,556 (- 3.0%)

06/2007: --

07/2007: Green Lantern #21  --  81,929 (+35.3%) [93,052]

08/2007: Green Lantern #22  --  77,916 (- 4.9%) [82,980]

09/2007: Green Lantern #23  --  79,084 (+ 1.5%) [82,168]

10/2007: Green Lantern #24  --  78,650 (- 0.6%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: Green Lantern #25  --  90,545 (+15.1%)

12/2007: Green Lantern #26  --  69,986 (-22.7%)

01/2008: Green Lantern #27  --  67,600 (- 3.4%)

02/2008: --

03/2008: Green Lantern #28  --  68,073 (+ 0.7%)

03/2008: Green Lantern #29  --  66,536 (- 2.3%)

04/2008: Green Lantern #30  --  65,347 (- 1.9%)

05/2008: Green Lantern #31  --  65,874 (+ 0.8%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  : + 7.1%

2 years : -16.5%

5 years : +60.0%

Green Lantern sales are bottoming out around 66K in the middle of a storyline. The audience seems to like the book’s direction in the aftermath of the “Sinestro Corps War” crossover.

—–

30 - TITANS

05/2001: Titans #29     -- 28,501*

05/2002: Titans #41     -- 23,152*

---------------------------------

11/2007: TTE Special #1 -- 49,735

12/2007: --

01/2008: --

02/2008: --

03/2008: --

04/2008: Titans #1      -- 75,584 (+52.0%)

05/2008: Titans #2      -- 57,358 (-24.1%)

----------------

6 months: +15.3%

That’s an average second-issue drop, despite the fact that – unlike for issue #1 – there was no 1-for-10 variant-cover edition this time around. That’s an encouraging sign, for now, although audience feedback will only begin to play a role in the sales for issue #3.

The surprisingly good numbers notwithstanding, DC seem to have decided that the book needs a change of direction; or that’s what I infer from their delay and resolicitation of issue #5, whose description, creative team and cover image have been changed. Issue #4 has also been pushed back a month, meanwhile.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that they’re changing their minds in this fashion recently. Since last month alone, a new round of impending creative changes on Titans, The Flash, Batman and the Outsiders, Robin, Supergirl and Green Arrow/Black Canary have been confirmed, and there are rumors that Legion of Super-Heroes is in for a new writer as well – all titles which had been manned with new creative personnel only recently.

Now, for all I know, there may be a good reason for this type of management. But surely, they’re aware that things look beyond ridiculous at this stage, right? For that matter, this doesn’t seem like a particularly comfortable environment for creators to work in, either.

Whatever’s going on at DC right now, it doesn’t inspire much confidence that they know what they’re doing.

—–

37 - ACTION COMICS ANNUAL

10/2006: Action Comics #844 -- 78,869          [88,290]

11/2006: Action Comics #845 -- 66,742 (-15.4%) [71,135]

02/2007: Action Comics #846 -- 64,554 (- 3.3%) [66,349]

07/2007: Action Comics #851 -- 76,500 (+18.5%)

05/2008: Annual #11         -- 54,322 (-29.0%)

The conclusion to the “Last Son” arc by writers Geoff Johns and Richard Donner and artist Adam Kubert finally stumbled into stores in May, more than a year after its original due date and three months late according to even the most recent solicitation. As the previous chapters in the storyline, it was promoted with a 1-for-10 variant cover edition.

The sales comparison is with those earlier chapters, so the book is proof positive that yes, delays can hurt the numbers. To be fair, though, it’s grown into a 64-page book, and it still outsells the mother title.

Quite what sent this book so spectacularly off the rails, we’re left to guess.

—–

40 - SUPERMAN/BATMAN

05/2004: Superman/Batman #10 -- 178,865 [197,704]

05/2005: --

05/2006: Superman/Batman #25 -- 103,702 [110,845]

05/2006: Superman/Batman #26 -- 118,821 [130,077]

---------------------------------------

05/2007: Superman/Batman #35 --  68,160 (- 4.4%)

06/2007: Superman/Batman #36 --  65,866 (- 3.4%)

06/2007: Superman/Batman #37 --  72,635 (+10.3%)

07/2007: Superman/Batman #38 --  67,695 (- 6.8%)

08/2007: Superman/Batman #39 --  59,622 (-11.9%)

09/2007: Superman/Batman #40 --  57,410 (- 3.7%)

10/2007: Superman/Batman #41 --  54,928 (- 4.3%)

11/2007: Superman/Batman #42 --  54,341 (- 1.1%)

11/2007: Superman/Batman #43 --  53,489 (- 1.6%)

12/2007: Superman/Batman #44 --  53,057 (- 0.8%)

01/2008: Superman/Batman #45 --  52,119 (- 1.8%)

02/2008: Superman/Batman #46 --  52,009 (- 0.2%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Superman/Batman #47 --  52,557 (+ 1.1%)

05/2008: Superman/Batman #48 --  52,845 (+ 0.6%)

----------------

6 months: - 2.0%

1 year  : -22.5%

2 years : -52.5%

Things are starting to look better for Superman/Batman after its two-year free-fall: Over the last six months, sales have stabilized in the 52/53K area, and the latest storyline by writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson and artist Shane Davis is even seeing a paper-thin sales increase. They must be doing something right.

—–

44 - DETECTIVE COMICS

05/2001: Detective Comics #758 -- 38,373*

05/2002: Detective Comics #770 -- 49,339*

05/2003: Detective Comics #782 -- 38,443

05/2004: Detective Comics #794 -- 34,875

05/2005: Detective Comics #806 -- 38,838

05/2006: Detective Comics #819 -- 65,800

----------------------------------------

05/2007: Detective Comics #832 -- 51,727 (- 8.1%)

06/2007: Detective Comics #833 -- 54,104 (+ 4.6%)

07/2007: Detective Comics #834 -- 53,461 (- 1.2%)

08/2007: Detective Comics #835 -- 50,479 (- 5.6%)

09/2007: Detective Comics #836 -- 49,475 (- 2.0%)

10/2007: Detective Comics #837 -- 51,363 (+ 3.8%)

11/2007: Detective Comics #838 -- 60,267 (+17.3%) [65,293]

12/2007: Detective Comics #839 -- 62,297 (+ 3.4%) [65,773]

01/2008: Detective Comics #840 -- 51,579 (-17.2%)

02/2008: Detective Comics #841 -- 50,535 (- 2.0%)

03/2008: Detective Comics #842 -- 49,425 (- 2.2%)

04/2008: Detective Comics #843 -- 48,431 (- 2.0%)

05/2008: Detective Comics #844 -- 48,394 (- 0.1%)

----------------

6 months: -19.7%

1 year  : - 6.4%

2 years : -26.5%

5 years : +25.9%

The numbers appear to be levelling out again at 48,000. A “Batman RIP” spin-off arc is around the corner.

—–

46 - GREEN LANTERN CORPS

05/2007: Green Lantern Corps #12 -- 33,267 (- 0.7%)

06/2007: Green Lantern Corps #13 -- 32,792 (- 1.4%)

07/2007: Green Lantern Corps #14 -- 45,393 (+38.4%) [61,493]

08/2007: Green Lantern Corps #15 -- 51,572 (+13.2%) [57,751]

09/2007: --

10/2007: Green Lantern Corps #16 -- 60,862 (+18.0%)

10/2007: Green Lantern Corps #17 -- 59,223 (- 2.7%)

11/2007: Green Lantern Corps #18 -- 55,838 (- 5.7%) [59,049]

12/2007: Green Lantern Corps #19 -- 50,516 (- 9.5%)

01/2008: Green Lantern Corps #20 -- 44,607 (-11.7%) [48,577]

02/2008: Green Lantern Corps #21 -- 47,582 (+ 6.7%)

03/2008: Green Lantern Corps #22 -- 46,736 (- 1.8%)

04/2008: Green Lantern Corps #23 -- 46,780 (+ 0.1%)

05/2008: Green Lantern Corps #24 -- 46,948 (+ 0.4%)

----------------

6 months: -15.9%

1 year  : +41.1%

Sales remain rock-solid at 47K, and the next crossover with the mother title is appearing on the horizon, so there should be good vibrations all around this title.

The extent to which both Green Lantern books are still profiting from last year’s “Sinestro Corps War” story, once again, is remarkable. Usually, sales tend to drop right back to their previous level once a crossover is done, but in the case of Green Lantern Corps, they remain a whopping 14,000 units ahead of it.

—–

47 - ACTION COMICS

05/2001: Action Comics #779 -- 35,380* 

05/2002: Action Comics #791 -- 32,836*

05/2003: Action Comics #803 -- 32,118

05/2004: Action Comics #815 -- 49,483

05/2005: Action Comics #827 -- 44,009

05/2006: Action Comics #838 -- 62,702

05/2006: Action Comics #839 -- 61,898 [64,278]

-------------------------------------

05/2007: Action Comics #849 -- 53,610 (-13.8%)

05/2007: Action Comics #850 -- 56,166 (+ 4.8%)

06/2007: --

07/2007: Action Comics #851 -- 76,500 (+36.2%)

07/2007: Action Comics #852 -- 50,294 (-34.3%)

08/2007: Action Comics #853 -- 49,694 (- 1.2%)

08/2007: Action Comics #854 -- 48,455 (- 2.5%)

08/2007: Action Comics #855 -- 55,536 (+14.6%)

09/2007: --

10/2007: Action Comics #856 -- 53,815 (- 3.1%)

10/2007: Action Comics #857 -- 51,401 (- 4.5%)

10/2007: Action Comics #858 -- 54,596 (+ 6.2%) [59,031]

11/2007: Action Comics #859 -- 54,572 (- 0.0%)

12/2007: Action Comics #860 -- 56,254 (+ 3.1%)

01/2008: Action Comics #861 -- 56,093 (- 0.3%)

02/2008: Action Comics #862 -- 55,658 (- 0.8%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Action Comics #863 -- 56,882 (+ 2.2%)

04/2008: Action Comics #864 -- 48,438 (-14.9%)

05/2008: Action Comics #865 -- 46,764 (- 3.5%)

----------------

6 months: -14.3%

1 year  : -14.8%

2 years : -24.9%

5 years : +45.6%

Now that there are no more variant-cover editions, the book is still looking for a new sales level.

—–

48 - TEEN TITANS

05/2001: Young Justice #33 -- 24,580*

05/2002: Young Justice #45 -- 25,176*

05/2004: Teen Titans #11   -- 67,813

05/2005: Teen Titans #24   -- 69,046

05/2006: Teen Titans #35   -- 72,954

05/2006: Teen Titans #36   -- 71,486

------------------------------------

05/2007: Teen Titans #46   -- 61,478 (+ 0.7%)

05/2007: Teen Titans #47   -- 63,673 (+ 3.6%)

06/2007: Teen Titans #48   -- 60,786 (- 4.5%)

07/2007: Teen Titans #49   -- 59,258 (- 2.5%)

08/2007: Teen Titans #50   -- 69,620 (+17.5%)

09/2007: Teen Titans #51   -- 57,851 (-16.9%)

10/2007: Teen Titans #52   -- 55,176 (- 4.6%)

11/2007: Teen Titans #53   -- 54,387 (- 1.4%)

12/2007: Teen Titans #54   -- 53,790 (- 1.1%)

01/2008: Teen Titans #55   -- 52,376 (- 2.6%)

02/2008: Teen Titans #56   -- 50,283 (- 4.0%)

03/2008: Teen Titans #57   -- 49,109 (- 2.3%)

04/2008: Teen Titans #58   -- 47,357 (- 3.6%)

05/2008: Teen Titans #59   -- 46,306 (- 2.2%)

----------------

6 months: -14.9%

1 year  : -26.0%

2 years : -35.9%

The numbers continue their downward slide. The Terror Titans spin-off that was announced for September is absent from the publisher’s preview adverts for that month, meanwhile.

—–

49 - SUPERMAN

05/2001: Superman #170 --  41,302*

05/2002: Superman #182 --  38,327*

05/2003: Superman #193 --  34,927 [ 36,599]

05/2004: Superman #205 -- 208,105 [213,514]

05/2005: Superman #216 --  70,205

05/2005: Superman #217 --  65,321

05/2006: Superman #652 --  70,458

---------------------------------

05/2007: Superman #662 --  55,236 (- 0.9%)

06/2007: Superman #663 --  53,384 (- 3.4%)

07/2007: Superman #664 --  52,313 (- 2.0%)

07/2007: Superman #665 --  51,936 (- 0.7%)

08/2007: Superman #666 --  53,566 (+ 3.1%)

09/2007: Superman #667 --  48,608 (- 9.3%)

10/2007: Superman #668 --  47,948 (- 1.4%)

10/2007: Superman #669 --  47,271 (- 1.4%)

11/2007: Superman #670 --  48,407 (+ 2.4%)

12/2007: Superman #671 --  45,290 (- 6.4%)

01/2008: Superman #672 --  44,656 (- 1.4%)

02/2008: Superman #673 --  41,580 (- 6.9%)

03/2008: Superman #674 --  41,715 (+ 0.3%)

04/2008: Superman #675 --  54,855 (+31.5%)

05/2008: Superman #676 --  45,644 (-16.8%)

----------------

6 months: - 5.7%

1 year  : -17.4%

2 years : -35.2%

5 years : +30.7%

Superman sales remain puzzlingly erratic after writer Kurt Busiek’s departure. The May issue was by a fill-in creative team (a different one than initially solicited, by the way), so it’s not surprising that sales went down from April’s “anniversary” number. What’s odd is that it still outsells the last bunch of Busiek issues leading up to #675 quite noticeably.

—–

55 - WONDER WOMAN

05/2001: Wonder Woman #170 --  28,032*

05/2002: Wonder Woman #181 --  26,048*

05/2003: Wonder Woman #192 --  25,994

05/2004: Wonder Woman #204 --  30,377

05/2005: Wonder Woman #216 --  31,601

-------------------------------------

05/2007: Wonder Woman #9   --  58,561 (- 0.4%)

06/2007: Wonder Woman #10  --  54,472 (- 7.0%)

07/2007: Wonder Woman #11  --  52,983 (- 2.7%)

08/2007: Wonder Woman #12  --  50,880 (- 4.0%)

09/2007: --

10/2007: Wonder Woman #13  --  48,385 (- 4.9%)

11/2007: Wonder Woman #14  --  53,090 (+ 9.7%)

12/2007: Wonder Woman #15  --  44,628 (-15.9%)

01/2008: Wonder Woman #16  --  42,897 (- 3.9%)

02/2008: Wonder Woman #17  --  41,948 (- 2.2%)

03/2008: Wonder Woman #18  --  40,771 (- 2.8%)

04/2008: Wonder Woman #19  --  39,489 (- 3.1%)

05/2008: Wonder Woman #20  --  38,116 (- 3.5%)

----------------

6 months: -28.2%

1 year  : -34.9%

2 years :  n.a.

5 years : +46.6%

Apparently there’s a major storyline coming up in the book that’s meant to raise its profile again, but it’s still several months off. In the meantime, Wonder Woman keeps shedding more than 1,000 units per month. Obviously, this isn’t an ideal situation.

—–

57 - RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR

05/2008: Holy War #1 of 8 -- 37,179

This is the latest superheroes-in-space vehicle for writer Jim Starlin and artist Ron Lim. The first issue is promoted with a 1-for-10 variant-cover edition, and sales are about as good as you could expect for this sort of thing.

—–

63 - THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

05/2007: --

06/2007: The Brave and the Bold #4  -- 55,597 (- 6.1%)

07/2007: The Brave and the Bold #5  -- 54,047 (- 2.8%)

08/2007: The Brave and the Bold #6  -- 52,011 (- 3.8%)

09/2007: --

10/2007: The Brave and the Bold #7  -- 48,693 (- 6.4%)

11/2007: The Brave and the Bold #8  -- 45,629 (- 6.3%)

12/2007: The Brave and the Bold #9  -- 43,475 (- 4.7%)

01/2008: --

02/2008: The Brave and the Bold #10 -- 39,124 (-10.0%)

03/2008: The Brave and the Bold #11 -- 37,751 (- 3.5%)

04/2008: The Brave and the Bold #12 -- 37,739 (- 0.0%)

05/2008: The Brave and the Bold #13 -- 35,814 (- 5.1%)

----------------

6 months: -21.5%

1 year  :  n.a.

Back in decline.

—–

65 - BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS

05/2004: Outsiders #12     -- 43,432

05/2005: Outsiders #23     -- 40,617

05/2005: Outsiders #24     -- 51,313 [54,734]

05/2006: Outsiders #36     -- 45,705

------------------------------------

05/2007: Outsiders #47     -- 33,267 (+ 2.1%)

06/2007: Outsiders #48     -- 32,966 (- 0.9%)

07/2007: Outsiders #49     -- 33,110 (+ 0.4%)

08/2007: FoaK #1 of 5      -- 36,565 (+10.4%)

08/2007: FoaK #2 of 5      -- 35,087 (- 4.0%)

08/2007: FoaK #3 of 5      -- 34,702 (- 1.1%)

08/2007: FoaK #4 of 5      -- 34,125 (- 1.7%)

08/2007: FoaK #5 of 5      -- 33,694 (- 1.3%)

09/2007: Outsiders #50     -- 38,212 (+13.4%)

10/2007: --

11/2007: Bat Outsiders #1  -- 60,690 (+58.8%)

11/2007: Bat Outsiders #2  -- 42,827 (-29.4%)

12/2007: Bat Outsiders #3  -- 40,371 (- 5.7%)

01/2008: --

02/2008: Bat Outsiders #4  -- 37,903 (- 6.1%)

03/2008: Bat Outsiders #5  -- 36,797 (- 2.9%)

04/2008: Bat Outsiders #6  -- 36,551 (- 0.7%)

05/2008: Bat Outsiders #7  -- 35,071 (- 4.1%)

----------------

6 months: -32.2%

1 year  : + 5.4%

2 years : -23.3%

This drop is a little harsher than it should be, at this stage.

But it’s all moot, of course, because DC just sacked the book’s creative team again. It’s the very same team, we recall, that started over from scratch when the first two issues of the book had already been solicited and were meant to be produced by yet another creative team, which had ended up being sacked at the last minute.

What on Earth are they thinking?

—–

66 - BOOSTER GOLD

08/2007: Booster Gold #1  -- 53,689          [57,811]

09/2007: Booster Gold #2  -- 47,102 (-12.3%)

10/2007: Booster Gold #3  -- 39,374 (-16.4%)

11/2007: Booster Gold #4  -- 37,683 (- 4.3%)

12/2007: Booster Gold #5  -- 38,228 (+ 1.5%)

01/2008: Booster Gold #6  -- 36,292 (- 5.1%)

02/2008: Booster Gold #0  -- 37,808 (+ 4.2%)

03/2008: Booster Gold #7  -- 36,140 (- 4.4%)

04/2008: Booster Gold #8  -- 35,982 (- 0.4%)

05/2008: Booster Gold #9  -- 35,030 (- 2.7%)

----------------

6 months: - 7.0% 

That’s an uncharacteristically large drop, but as the six-month comparison shows, Booster Gold is still holding up nicely, overall.

—–

69 - THE FLASH

05/2001: Flash #174     --  26,841*

05/2002: Flash #186     --  27,952*

05/2003: Flash #198     --  31,210 [ 33,152]

05/2004: Flash #210     --  45,354 [ 47,723]

05/2005: Flash #222     --  47,528

----------------------------------

05/2007: Flash: FMA #12 --  47,809 (+  1.8%)

06/2007: Flash: FMA #13 --  76,860 (+ 60.8%) [82,767]

07/2007: All Flash #1   --  78,955 (+  2.7%)

08/2007: Flash #231     --  72,898 (-  7.7%)

09/2007: Flash #232     --  56,969 (- 21.9%)

10/2007: Flash #233     --  51,152 (- 10.2%)

11/2007: Flash #234     --  46,435 (-  9.2%)

12/2007: Flash #235     --  43,788 (-  5.7%)

01/2008: Flash #236     --  41,464 (-  5.3%)

02/2008: Flash #237     --  37,719 (-  9.0%)

03/2008: Flash #238     --  35,606 (-  5.6%)

04/2008: Flash #239     --  33,741 (-  5.2%)

05/2008: Flash #240     --  31,944 (-  5.3%)

----------------

6 months: -31.2%

1 year  : -33.2%

2 years :  n.a.

5 years : + 2.4%

Down it goes, as usual. The current creative team’s final issue will be #243, so apparently DC have given up on the notion of a regular writer and artist on The Flash. If the book’s sales decline continues at this rate, it will be in cancellation territory six months from now.

—–

70 - GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY

05/2001: Green Arrow #4   -- 79,756*

05/2002: Green Arrow #15  -- 69,356*

05/2003: Green Arrow #25  -- 52,535

05/2003: Green Arrow #26  -- 50,475

05/2004: Green Arrow #38  -- 34,037

05/2005: Green Arrow #50  -- 34,886

05/2006: Green Arrow #62  -- 39,185

-----------------------------------

05/2007: Green Arrow #74  -- 30,751 (+ 0.3%)

06/2007: Green Arrow #75  -- 35,022 (+13.9%)

07/2007: Year One #1 of 6 -- 37,090 (+ 5.9%)

07/2007: Year One #2 of 6 -- 32,222 (-13.1%) [34,962]

08/2007: Year One #3 of 6 -- 32,971 (+ 2.3%)

08/2007: Year One #4 of 6 -- 31,885 (- 3.3%)

09/2007: Year One #5 of 6 -- 31,504 (- 1.2%)

10/2007: Year One #6 of 6 -- 30,943 (- 1.8%)

10/2007: Arrow/Canary #1  -- 52,183 (+68.6%)

11/2007: Arrow/Canary #2  -- 42,827 (-17.9%)

12/2007: Arrow/Canary #3  -- 40,321 (- 5.9%)

01/2008: Arrow/Canary #4  -- 35,039 (-13.1%)

02/2008: Arrow/Canary #5  -- 36,662 (+ 4.6%)

03/2008: Arrow/Canary #6  -- 32,621 (-11.0%)

04/2008: Arrow/Canary #7  -- 32,033 (- 1.8%) 

05/2008: Arrow/Canary #8  -- 30,864 (- 3.7%)

----------------

6 months: -27.9%

1 year  : + 0.4%

2 years : -21.2%

5 years : -38.9%

The numbers are right back where they were a year ago, so the relaunch can’t be rated as much of a success. Apparently, Green Arrow/Black Canary is another book headed for a creative change.

—–

74 - SUPERGIRL

05/2001: Supergirl #58 --  20,376*

05/2002: Supergirl #70 --  19,156*

05/2006: Supergirl #6  -- 102,860

---------------------------------

05/2007: Supergirl #17 --  50,429 (- 2.4%)

06/2007: Supergirl #18 --  50,279 (- 0.3%)

07/2007: Supergirl #19 --  48,576 (- 3.4%)

08/2007: Supergirl #20 --  46,862 (- 3.5%)

09/2007: Supergirl #21 --  44,656 (- 4.7%)

10/2007: Supergirl #22 --  41,758 (- 6.5%)

11/2007: Supergirl #23 --  45,460 (+ 8.9%)

12/2007: Supergirl #24 --  37,922 (-16.6%)

01/2008: Supergirl #25 --  36,459 (- 3.9%)

02/2008: Supergirl #26 --  34,186 (- 6.2%)

03/2008: Supergirl #27 --  32,596 (- 4.7%)

04/2008: Supergirl #28 --  31,379 (- 3.7%)

05/2008: Supergirl #29 --  30,192 (- 3.8%)

----------------

6 months: -33.6%

1 year  : -40.1%

2 years : -70.7%

Supergirl sales keep dropping at an alarming rate. Yet another “regular” new creative team (the sixth one to date, if you’re keeping count) has been announced, meanwhile.

—–

78 - BATMAN: GOTHAM AFTER MIDNIGHT

05/2008: Gotham After Midnight #1  of 12 -- 29,570

The new maxiseries by writer Steve Niles and artist Kelley Jones debuts with the usual level for this type of book. Which means retailers expect this to be one for the completists.

—–

79 - NIGHTWING

05/2001: Nightwing #57  -- 35,400*

05/2002: Nightwing #69  -- 43,916*

05/2003: Nightwing #81  -- 29,942

05/2004: Nightwing #93  -- 30,816

05/2005: Nightwing #108 -- 37,019

05/2006: Nightwing #120 -- 46,076

---------------------------------

05/2007: Nightwing #132 -- 30,807 (- 2.3%)

06/2007: Nightwing #133 -- 30,623 (- 0.6%)

07/2007: Nightwing #134 -- 30,228 (- 1.3%)

08/2007: Nightwing #135 -- 29,923 (- 1.0%)

09/2007: Nightwing #136 -- 29,256 (- 2.2%)

10/2007: Nightwing #137 -- 28,363 (- 3.1%)

11/2007: Nightwing #138 -- 46,757 (+64.9%) [52,282]

12/2007: Nightwing #139 -- 49,291 (+ 5.4%) [52,607]

01/2008: Nightwing #140 -- 32,305 (-34.5%)

02/2008: Nightwing #141 -- 30,980 (- 4.1%)

03/2008: Nightwing #142 -- 30,253 (- 2.4%)

04/2008: Nightwing #143 -- 29,914 (- 1.1%)

05/2008: Nightwing #144 -- 29,367 (- 1.8%)

----------------

6 months: -37.2%

1 year  : - 4.7%

2 years : -36.3%

5 years : - 1.9%

The book is back in an average decline and keeps selling within its usual range.

—–

84 - THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES

05/2001: Legion Worlds #2     -- 20,570*

05/2002: Legion #8            -- 24,771*

05/2003: Legion #20           -- 23,184

05/2004: Legion #33           -- 24,865

05/2005: Legion of SH #6      -- 40,970

05/2006: Supergirl & LoSH #18 -- 45,520

---------------------------------------

05/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #30 -- 30,767 (- 0.5%)  

06/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #31 -- 30,385 (- 1.2%)

07/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #32 -- 29,826 (- 1.8%)

08/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #33 -- 29,315 (- 1.7%)

09/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #34 -- 28,294 (- 3.5%)

10/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #35 -- 27,370 (- 3.3%)

11/2007: Supergirl & LoSH #36 -- 26,814 (- 2.0%)

12/2007: Legion of SH #37     -- 45,803 (+70.8%)

01/2008: Legion of SH #38     -- 33,045 (-27.9%)

02/2008: Legion of SH #39     -- 31,123 (- 5.8%)

03/2008: Legion of SH #40     -- 30,377 (- 2.4%)

04/2008: Legion of SH #41     -- 28,939 (- 4.7%)

05/2008: Legion of SH #42     -- 27,940 (- 3.5%)

----------------

6 months: + 4.2%

1 year  : - 9.2%

2 years : -38.6%

5 years : +20.5%

Sales keep declining briskly. Wherever the initial vote for confidence in the book’s new creative team came from back in December, it didn’t last long. On the other hand, Legion of Super-Heroes numbers are still well within their historically established spectrum, of course.

—–

87 - HOUSE OF MYSTERY (Vertigo)

05/2008: House of Mystery #1  -- 27,492

Look! It’s a Vertigo book debuting with sales above 20K!

As expected, a more traditional title and subject matter, coupled with cowriter Bill Willingham’s name and a 1-for-10 variant-cover edition, result in Vertigo’s bestselling launch of an ongoing series in quite some time – since July 2004, in fact, when Books of Magick: Life During Wartime debuted with estimated first-month sales of 27,748.

Of course, that’s no guarantee of long-term success, as the aforementioned Books of Magick serves to instruct. Like House of Mystery, it was a new take on an existing concept. And like House of Mystery, it had a co-writer with an established name for the first few issues (Neil Gaiman, in this case). However, it still didn’t last past issue #15.

The trick, therefore, is not to decline too steeply when Willingham’s name and variant-cover editions (which Books of Magick didn’t have) are no longer a factor.

—–

90 - ROBIN

05/2001: Robin #90  -- 26,889*

05/2002: Robin #102 -- 27,620*

05/2003: Robin #114 -- 22,593

05/2004: Robin #126 -- 49,083 [53,750]

05/2005: Robin #138 -- 29,935

05/2006: Robin #150 -- 41,417

-----------------------------

05/2007: Robin #162 -- 26,801 (-  1.4%)

06/2007: Robin #163 -- 26,284 (-  1.9%)

07/2007: Robin #164 -- 25,955 (-  1.3%)

08/2007: Robin #165 -- 25,397 (-  2.2%)

09/2007: Robin #166 -- 24,877 (-  2.1%)

10/2007: Robin #167 -- 24,625 (-  1.0%)

11/2007: Robin #168 -- 50,672 (+105.8%) [57,442]

12/2007: Robin #169 -- 48,665 (-  4.0%) [51,441]

01/2008: Robin #170 -- 30,048 (- 38.3%)

02/2008: Robin #171 -- 27,781 (-  7.6%)

03/2008: Robin #172 -- 26,912 (-  3.1%)

04/2008: Robin #173 -- 26,357 (-  2.1%)

05/2008: Robin #174 -- 26,209 (-  0.6%)

----------------

6 months: -48.3%

1 year  : - 2.2%

2 years : -36.7%

5 years : +16.0%

Sales are bottoming out. New writer Chuck Dixon, who took over four months ago, is off the book again, meanwhile.

—–

93 - BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL

05/2007: --

06/2007: Batman Confidential #6  -- 33,480 (- 7.6%)

07/2007: Batman Confidential #7  -- 32,272 (- 3.6%)

08/2007: Batman Confidential #8  -- 30,077 (- 6.8%)

09/2007: Batman Confidential #9  -- 28,845 (- 4.1%)

10/2007: Batman Confidential #10 -- 28,724 (- 0.5%)

11/2007: Batman Confidential #11 -- 27,397 (- 4.6%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: --

02/2008: Batman Confidential #12 -- 27,208 (- 0.7%)

02/2008: Batman Confidential #13 -- 25,735 (- 5.4%)

03/2008: Batman Confidential #14 -- 25,330 (- 1.6%)

03/2008: Batman Confidential #15 -- 24,283 (- 4.1%)

04/2008: Batman Confidential #16 -- 24,038 (- 1.0%)

05/2008: Batman Confidential #17 -- 25,017 (+ 4.1%)

----------------

6 months: - 8.7%

1 year  :   n.a.

A new Batgirl/Catwoman five-parter by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire brings a slight increase.

—–

94 - DC/WILDSTORM: DREAMWAR

04/2008: Dreamwar #1 of 6 -- 34,794

05/2008: Dreamwar #2 of 6 -- 24,732 (-28.9%)

There was no 1-for-10 variant-cover edition for issue #2, hence the sharp drop.

—–

95 - WORLD OF WARCRAFT (WildStorm)

11/2007: World of WarCraft #1  -- 44,508          [49,271]

12/2007: World of WarCraft #2  -- 32,740 (-34.9%) [36,340]

01/2008: World of WarCraft #3  -- 31,183 (- 4.8%)

02/2008: World of WarCraft #4  -- 28,982 (- 7.1%)

03/2008: World of WarCraft #5  -- 27,159 (- 9.4%)

04/2008: World of WarCraft #6  -- 26,271 (- 3.3%)

05/2008: World of WarCraft #7  -- 24,589 (- 6.4%)

----------------

6 months: -44.8%

Despite the stiff decline, a spin-off title is set to debut in September. As usual, there was a 50/50 variant-cover edition to boost the numbers.

Of course, World of WarCraft is still WildStorm’s bestselling title by 12,000 units, which may explain why there are more licensed books on the way.

—–

97 - FINAL CRISIS SKETCHBOOK

05/2008: Final Crisis Sketchbook -- 23,805

Given that this seems to be the type of material audiences have been trained to expect for free recently, that’s an astonishingly good number.

—–

98 - FABLES (Vertigo)

05/2002: Fables #1  -- 22,026*

05/2003: Fables #13 -- 25,158

05/2004: Fables #25 -- 25,526

05/2005: Fables #37 -- 24,477

05/2006: Fables #49 -- 24,444

-----------------------------

05/2007: Fables #61 -- 26,056 (+0.0%)

06/2007: Fables #62 -- 25,726 (-1.3%)

07/2007: Fables #63 -- 25,603 (-0.5%)

08/2007: Fables #64 -- 25,498 (-0.4%)

09/2007: Fables #65 -- 25,311 (-0.7%)

10/2007: Fables #66 -- 25,016 (-1.2%)

11/2007: Fables #67 -- 24,841 (-0.7%)

12/2007: Fables #68 -- 24,574 (-1.1%)

01/2008: --

02/2008: Fables #69 -- 24,337 (-1.0%)

02/2008: Fables #70 -- 23,975 (-1.5%)

03/2008: Fables #71 -- 24,006 (+0.1%)

04/2008: Fables #72 -- 23,853 (-0.6%)

05/2008: Fables #73 -- 23,785 (-0.3%)

----------------

6 months: - 4.3%

1 year  : - 8.7%

2 years : - 2.7%

5 years : - 5.5%

Holding level at 24K.

—–

102 - GOTHAM UNDERGROUND

10/2007: Gotham Underground #1 of 9 -- 31,003

11/2007: Gotham Underground #2 of 9 -- 26,537 (-14.4%)

12/2007: Gotham Underground #3 of 9 -- 25,386 (- 4.3%)

01/2008: Gotham Underground #4 of 9 -- 24,737 (- 2.6%)

02/2008: Gotham Underground #5 of 9 -- 24,098 (- 2.6%)

03/2008: Gotham Underground #6 of 9 -- 23,773 (- 1.4%)

04/2008: Gotham Underground #7 of 9 -- 23,525 (- 1.0%)

05/2008: Gotham Underground #8 of 9 -- 22,959 (- 2.4%)

----------------

6 months: -13.5%

This one keeps doing alright, considering that being a Countdown spin-off doesn’t seem to have helped it.

—–

103 - TANGENT: SUPERMAN'S REIGN

03/2008: Tangent #1 of 12 -- 32,378

04/2008: Tangent #2 of 12 -- 25,652 (-20.8%)

05/2008: Tangent #3 of 12 -- 22,858 (-14.2%)

That’s a large drop for a third issue. I suppose people aren’t easy to win over for projects with no effect on the status quo.

—–

108 - BIRDS OF PREY

05/2001: Birds of Prey #31  -- 23,977*

05/2002: Birds of Prey #43  -- 38,882*

05/2003: Birds of Prey #55  -- 23,227

05/2004: Birds of Prey #67  -- 31,846

05/2005: Birds of Prey #82  -- 29,855

05/2006: Birds of Prey #94  -- 34,905

-------------------------------------

05/2007: Birds of Prey #106 -- 28,363 (+ 0.1%)

06/2007: Birds of Prey #107 -- 28,632 (+ 1.0%)

07/2007: Birds of Prey #108 -- 28,025 (- 2.1%)

08/2007: Birds of Prey #109 -- 28,268 (+ 0.9%)

09/2007: Birds of Prey #110 -- 27,148 (- 4.0%)

10/2007: Birds of Prey #111 -- 26,400 (- 2.8%)

11/2007: Birds of Prey #112 -- 25,117 (- 4.9%)

12/2007: Birds of Prey #113 -- 24,717 (- 1.6%)

01/2008: Birds of Prey #114 -- 24,211 (- 2.1%)

02/2008: Birds of Prey #115 -- 23,157 (- 4.4%)

03/2008: Birds of Prey #116 -- 22,627 (- 2.3%)

04/2008: Birds of Prey #117 -- 22,181 (- 2.0%)

05/2008: Birds of Prey #118 -- 21,941 (- 1.1%)

----------------

6 months: -12.7%

1 year  : -22.6%

2 years : -37.1%

5 years : - 5.5%

Former fill-in writer Tony Bedard took over as the regular writer in May, when supposedly regular writer Sean McKeever left after five issues. Predictably, the effects of the latest creative change are minimal.

—–

110/117 - HUNTRESS: YEAR ONE

05/2008: Huntress: Year One #1 of 6 -- 21,279

05/2008: Huntress: Year One #2 of 6 -- 19,089 (-10.3%)

These numbers are about as expected for a limited series starring a third-stringer character thrown out there without promotion. Usually, shipping the first two issues in the same month just postpones the typical second-issue drop until #3, so the book’s future prospects aren’t great, either.

—–

113/115 - COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY

09/2007: Countdown to Mystery #1 of 8 -- 37,235

10/2007: Countdown to Mystery #2 of 8 -- 29,664 (-20.3%)

11/2007: Countdown to Mystery #3 of 8 -- 27,428 (- 7.5%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: Countdown to Mystery #4 of 8 -- 25,782 (- 6.0%)

01/2008: Countdown to Mystery #5 of 8 -- 22,979 (-10.9%)

02/2008: --

03/2008: Countdown to Mystery #6 of 8 -- 21,648 (- 5.8%)

04/2008: --

05/2008: Countdown to Mystery #7 of 8 -- 20,637 (- 4.7%)

05/2008: Countdown to Mystery #8 of 8 -- 20,199 (- 2.1%)

----------------

6 months: -25.6%

Well, at least it finishes above 20,000.

—–

118 - DC SPECIAL: CYBORG

05/2008: Cyborg #1 of 5 -- 18,783

DC Special: Cyborg #1 is about 6,000 units down from DC Special: Raven #1. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the popularity of Teen Titans spin-off limited series doesn’t seem to be increasing along with their number.

—–

120 - THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT

05/2008: The War That Time Forgot #1 of 8 -- 18,243

Another limited series demanded by nobody in particular, judging from the numbers. According to the description, it seems to be a fantasy/science fiction book, so it’s an odd fit for the DC Universe line.

—–

121 - CATWOMAN

05/2001: Catwoman #94 -- 24,094*

05/2002: Catwoman #7  -- 31,357*

05/2003: Catwoman #19 -- 23,732

05/2004: Catwoman #31 -- 24,250

05/2005: Catwoman #43 -- 20,818

05/2006: Catwoman #55 -- 30,184

-------------------------------

05/2007: Catwoman #67 -- 19,926 (+ 0.2%)

06/2007: Catwoman #68 -- 20,132 (+ 1.0%)

07/2007: Catwoman #69 -- 19,387 (- 3.7%)

08/2007: Catwoman #70 -- 20,518 (+ 5.8%)

09/2007: Catwoman #71 -- 19,492 (- 5.0%)

10/2007: Catwoman #72 -- 19,473 (- 0.1%)

11/2007: Catwoman #73 -- 18,815 (- 3.4%)

12/2007: Catwoman #74 -- 18,623 (- 1.0%)

01/2008: Catwoman #75 -- 21,580 (+15.9%)

02/2008: Catwoman #76 -- 18,798 (-12.9%)

03/2008: Catwoman #77 -- 18,609 (- 1.0%)

04/2008: Catwoman #78 -- 18,553 (- 0.3%)

05/2008: Catwoman #79 -- 17,999 (- 3.0%)

----------------

6 months: - 4.3%

1 year  : - 9.7%

2 years : -40.4%

5 years : -24.2%

Cancelled with issue #82.

—–

127 - BATMAN: DEATH MASK

04/2008: Batman: Death Mask #1 of 4 -- 20,217

05/2008: Batman: Death Mask #2 of 4 -- 15,901 (-21.4%)

That’s a terrible drop for a four-issue series, but there’s probably more mileage to be had in the book market with this sort of thing.

—–

130 - JSA: CLASSIFIED

05/2006: JSA: Classified #12 -- 37,446

--------------------------------------

05/2007: JSA: Classified #26 -- 21,569 (- 2.2%)

06/2007: JSA: Classified #27 -- 21,295 (- 1.3%)

07/2007: JSA: Classified #28 -- 20,736 (- 2.6%)

08/2007: JSA: Classified #29 -- 20,195 (- 2.6%)

09/2007: JSA: Classified #30 -- 19,382 (- 4.0%)

10/2007: JSA: Classified #31 -- 18,585 (- 4.1%)

11/2007: JSA: Classified #32 -- 17,756 (- 4.5%)

12/2007: JSA: Classified #33 -- 17,413 (- 1.9%)

01/2008: JSA: Classified #34 -- 16,852 (- 3.2%)

02/2008: JSA: Classified #35 -- 16,561 (- 1.7%)

03/2008: JSA: Classified #36 -- 16,132 (- 2.6%)

04/2008: JSA: Classified #37 -- 15,736 (- 2.5%)

05/2008: JSA: Classified #38 -- 15,340 (- 2.5%)

----------------

6 months: -13.6%

1 year  : -28.9%

2 years : -59.0%

Cancelled with issue #39.

—–

132 - CHECKMATE

05/2006: Checkmate #2  -- 41,773

--------------------------------

05/2007: Checkmate #13 -- 22,554 (+12.1%)

05/2007: Checkmate #14 -- 22,074 (- 2.1%)

06/2007: Checkmate #15 -- 22,015 (- 0.3%)

07/2007: Checkmate #16 -- 20,225 (- 8.1%)

08/2007: Checkmate #17 -- 19,841 (- 1.9%)

09/2007: Checkmate #18 -- 18,742 (- 5.5%)

10/2007: Checkmate #19 -- 18,096 (- 3.5%)

11/2007: Checkmate #20 -- 17,663 (- 2.4%)

12/2007: Checkmate #21 -- 17,363 (- 1.7%)

01/2008: Checkmate #22 -- 17,087 (- 1.6%)

02/2008: Checkmate #23 -- 16,595 (- 2.9%)

03/2008: Checkmate #24 -- 16,147 (- 2.7%)

04/2008: Checkmate #25 -- 15,857 (- 1.8%)

05/2008: Checkmate #26 -- 15,167 (- 4.4%)

----------------

6 months: -14.1%

1 year  : -32.8%

2 years : -63.7%

The new creative team is welcomed with a bigger-than-usual drop.

—–

133 - TOR

05/2008: Tor #1 of 6 -- 15,147

Joe Kubert revisits one of his signature properties. This one’s aimed at the bookstores, so the low periodical numbers are tolerable for a limited series.

—–

136 - DC SPECIAL: RAVEN

03/2008: Raven #1 of 5 -- 24,535

04/2008: Raven #2 of 5 -- 17,962 (-26.8%)

05/2008: Raven #3 of 5 -- 14,403 (-19.8%)

Completely off the radar.

—–

139 - SHADOWPACT

05/2006: Shadowpact #1  -- 50,279

---------------------------------

05/2007: Shadowpact #13 -- 20,335 (- 2.0%)

06/2007: Shadowpact #14 -- 19,899 (- 2.1%)

07/2007: Shadowpact #15 -- 19,689 (- 1.2%)

08/2007: Shadowpact #16 -- 19,410 (- 1.4%)

09/2007: Shadowpact #17 -- 18,382 (- 5.3%)

10/2007: Shadowpact #18 -- 17,818 (- 3.1%)

11/2007: Shadowpact #19 -- 17,103 (- 4.0%)

12/2007: Shadowpact #20 -- 16,459 (- 3.8%)

01/2008: Shadowpact #21 -- 16,014 (- 2.7%)

02/2008: Shadowpact #22 -- 15,292 (- 4.5%)

03/2008: Shadowpact #23 -- 14,971 (- 2.1%)

04/2008: Shadowpact #24 -- 14,512 (- 3.1%)

05/2008: Shadowpact #25 -- 14,118 (- 2.7%)

----------------

6 months: -17.5%

1 year  : -30.6%

2 years : -71.9%

Axed.

—–

140 - THE SPIRIT

05/2007: The Spirit #6     -- 23,708 (- 0.8%)

06/2007: The Spirit #7     -- 22,621 (- 4.6%)

07/2007: The Spirit #8     -- 21,984 (- 2.8%)

08/2007: The Spirit #9     -- 20,841 (- 5.2%)

09/2007: The Spirit #10    -- 19,962 (- 4.2%)

10/2007: --

11/2007: The Spirit #11    -- 18,892 (- 5.4%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: The Spirit #12    -- 18,894 (+ 0.0%)

01/2008: The Spirit #13    -- 17,475 (- 7.5%)

02/2008: The Spirit #14    -- 17,277 (- 1.1%)

03/2008: The Spirit #15    -- 16,038 (- 7.2%)

04/2008: The Spirit #16    -- 14,697 (- 8.4%)

05/2008: The Spirit #17    -- 14,057 (- 4.4%)

----------------

6 months: -25.6%

1 year  : -40.7%

Usual DC Universe standards don’t apply to The Spirit‘s performance, since it’s an unofficial WildStorm title. Obviously, though, the numbers aren’t very encouraging at all.

—–

142 - METAL MEN

08/2007: Metal Men #1 of 8 -- 30,454

09/2007: Metal Men #2 of 8 -- 23,658 (-22.3%)

10/2007: Metal Men #3 of 8 -- 20,571 (-13.1%)

11/2007: Metal Men #4 of 8 -- 18,707 (- 9.1%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: Metal Men #5 of 8 -- 16,152 (-13.7%)

02/2008: Metal Men #6 of 8 -- 15,374 (- 4.8%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Metal Men #7 of 8 -- 14,370 (- 6.5%)

05/2008: Metal Men #8 of 8 -- 13,863 (- 3.5%)

----------------

6 months: -25.9%

These numbers speak for themselves. On the other hand, Metal Men has gained some attention by virtue of being one of the quirkier projects to come out of DC of late, which has apparently awarded it one of those quick hardcover collections that are usually reserved for projects that are much more popular.

—–

143 - BLUE BEETLE

05/2006: Blue Beetle #3  -- 41,711

----------------------------------

05/2007: Blue Beetle #15 -- 16,906 (- 1.5%)

06/2007: Blue Beetle #16 -- 17,016 (+ 0.7%)

07/2007: Blue Beetle #17 -- 16,128 (- 5.2%)

08/2007: Blue Beetle #18 -- 19,140 (+18.7%)

09/2007: Blue Beetle #19 -- 15,737 (-17.8%)

10/2007: Blue Beetle #20 -- 27,611 (+75.5%)

11/2007: Blue Beetle #21 -- 15,645 (-43.3%)

12/2007: Blue Beetle #22 -- 15,256 (- 2.5%)

01/2008: Blue Beetle #23 -- 14,961 (- 1.9%)

02/2008: Blue Beetle #24 -- 14,378 (- 3.9%)

03/2008: Blue Beetle #25 -- 14,304 (- 0.5%)

04/2008: Blue Beetle #26 -- 14,285 (- 0.1%)

05/2008: Blue Beetle #27 -- 13,802 (- 3.4%)

----------------

6 months: -11.8%

1 year  : -18.4%

2 years : -66.9%

After April’s Spanish-language issue was evidently enough of a curiosity to keep sales steady, they’re now back in decline. A new regular writer is set to take over with issue #29, but the numbers certainly give reason to wonder how much time he’s going to have.

—–

146 - SIMON DARK

10/2007: Simon Dark #1  -- 24,256

11/2007: Simon Dark #2  -- 18,492 (-23.8%)

12/2007: Simon Dark #3  -- 17,391 (- 6.0%)

01/2008: Simon Dark #4  -- 16,242 (- 6.6%)

02/2008: Simon Dark #5  -- 15,360 (- 5.4%)

03/2008: Simon Dark #6  -- 14,684 (- 4.4%)

04/2008: Simon Dark #7  -- 13,936 (- 5.1%)

05/2008: Simon Dark #8  -- 13,222 (- 5.1%)

----------------

6 months: -28.5%

In fairness, Simon Dark seems to be one of those books that have a chance at doing reasonably well in the book market. But the first paperback collection won’t be out until August, and by then it might be too late.

—–

148 - JONAH HEX

05/2006: Jonah Hex #7  -- 21,910

--------------------------------

05/2007: Jonah Hex #19 -- 16,473 (- 2.4%)

06/2007: Jonah Hex #20 -- 16,150 (- 2.0%)

07/2007: Jonah Hex #21 -- 15,734 (- 2.6%)

08/2007: Jonah Hex #22 -- 15,362 (- 2.4%)

09/2007: Jonah Hex #23 -- 15,157 (- 1.4%)

10/2007: Jonah Hex #24 -- 14,749 (- 2.7%)

11/2007: Jonah Hex #25 -- 14,577 (- 1.2%)

12/2007: Jonah Hex #26 -- 14,088 (- 3.5%)

01/2008: Jonah Hex #27 -- 13,881 (- 1.5%)

02/2008: Jonah Hex #28 -- 13,614 (- 1.9%)

03/2008: Jonah Hex #29 -- 13,439 (- 1.3%)

04/2008: Jonah Hex #30 -- 13,253 (- 1.4%)

05/2008: Jonah Hex #31 -- 13,140 (- 0.9%)

----------------

6 months: - 9.9%

1 year  : -20.2%

2 years : -40.0%

Sales continue a very slow, very steady decline. In the case of Jonah Hex, a few collections are out, and first-month paperback numbers in the direct market are comparatively okay.

—–

154 - THE ALL-NEW ATOM

05/2007: The All-New Atom #11 -- 16,193 (- 3.3%)

06/2007: The All-New Atom #12 -- 16,848 (+ 4.1%)

07/2007: The All-New Atom #13 -- 16,982 (+ 0.8%)

08/2007: The All-New Atom #14 -- 17,894 (+ 5.4%)

09/2007: The All-New Atom #15 -- 17,266 (- 3.5%)

10/2007: The All-New Atom #16 -- 16,013 (- 7.3%)

11/2007: The All-New Atom #17 -- 15,529 (- 3.0%)

12/2007: The All-New Atom #18 -- 14,701 (- 5.3%)

01/2008: The All-New Atom #19 -- 13,861 (- 5.7%)

02/2008: The All-New Atom #20 -- 13,560 (- 2.2%)

03/2008: The All-New Atom #21 -- 13,048 (- 3.8%)

04/2008: The All-New Atom #22 -- 12,577 (- 3.6%)

05/2008: The All-New Atom #23 -- 12,071 (- 4.0%)

----------------

6 months: -22.3%

1 year  : -25.5%

Cancelled with issue #25.

—–

155 - NORTHLANDERS (Vertigo)

12/2007: Northlanders #1  -- 19,805

01/2008: Northlanders #2  -- 15,945 (-19.5%)

02/2008: Northlanders #3  -- 14,699 (- 7.8%)

03/2008: Northlanders #4  -- 12,851 (-12.6%)

04/2008: Northlanders #5  -- 12,278 (- 4.5%)

05/2008: Northlanders #6  -- 12,009 (- 2.2%)

The numbers keep levelling out.

—–

156 - LOST BOYS: REIGN OF FROGS (WildStorm)

05/2008: Reign of Frogs #1 of 4 -- 11,999

Another adaptation of a cult horror film from WildStorm. Sales are better than I’d have expected, admittedly, but still very modest. The $ 3.50 cover price probably didn’t help.

—–

157 - SUPERNATURAL: RISING SON (WildStorm)

05/2007: Origins #1         -- 21,128

06/2007: Origins #2         -- 15,955 (-24.5%)

07/2007: Origins #3         -- 14,812 (- 7.2%)

08/2007: Origins #4         -- 13,915 (- 6.1%)

09/2007: Origins #5         -- 13,034 (- 6.3%)

10/2007: Origins #6         -- 12,350 (- 5.5%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: --

01/2008: --

02/2008: --

03/2008: --

04/2008: Rising Son #1 of 6 -- 16,013 (+29.7%)

05/2008: Rising Son #2 of 6 -- 11,846 (-26.0%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  : -43.9%

There was no variant-cover edition for the second issue, so the harsh drop isn’t unexpected. The book seems to continue where it left off last year, as far as sales are concerned.

—–

158 - HELLBLAZER (Vertigo)

05/2001: Hellblazer #162 -- 17,961*

05/2002: Hellblazer #174 -- 18,611*

05/2003: Hellblazer #184 -- 16,931

05/2004: Hellblazer #196 -- 14,954

05/2005: Hellblazer #208 -- 15,420

05/2006: Hellblazer #220 -- 14,161

----------------------------------

05/2007: Hellblazer #232 -- 13,164 (+0.2%)

06/2007: Hellblazer #233 -- 13,201 (+0.3%)

07/2007: Hellblazer #234 -- 13,112 (-0.7%)

08/2007: Hellblazer #234 -- 13,214 (+0.8%)

08/2007: Hellblazer #235 -- 13,153 (-0.5%)

09/2007: Hellblazer #236 -- 12,938 (-1.6%)

10/2007: Hellblazer #237 -- 12,703 (-1.8%)

11/2007: Hellblazer #238 -- 12,536 (-1.3%)

12/2007: Hellblazer #239 -- 12,344 (-1.5%)

01/2008: Hellblazer #240 -- 12,213 (-1.1%)

02/2008: Hellblazer #241 -- 11,998 (-1.8%)

03/2008: Hellblazer #242 -- 11,916 (-0.7%)

04/2008: Hellblazer #243 -- 11,958 (+0.4%)

05/2008: Hellblazer #244 -- 11,826 (-1.1%)

----------------

6 months: - 5.7%

1 year  : -10.2%

2 years : -16.5%

5 years : -30.2%

Standard attrition.

—–

159 - GEN13 (WildStorm)

05/2001: Gen13 #65 -- 19,861*

05/2002: Gen13 #77 -- 16,244*

05/2003: Gen13 #9  -- 16,714

----------------------------

05/2007: Gen13 #8  -- 19,638 (- 4.5%)

06/2007: Gen13 #9  -- 18,644 (- 5.1%)

07/2007: Gen13 #10 -- 17,720 (- 5.0%)

08/2007: Gen13 #11 -- 16,955 (- 4.3%)

09/2007: Gen13 #12 -- 16,112 (- 5.0%)

10/2007: Gen13 #13 -- 15,539 (- 3.6%)

11/2007: Gen13 #14 -- 14,831 (- 4.6%)

12/2007: Gen13 #15 -- 14,330 (- 3.4%)

01/2008: Gen13 #16 -- 13,618 (- 5.0%)

02/2008: Gen13 #17 -- 12,844 (- 5.7%)

03/2008: Gen13 #18 -- 12,396 (- 3.5%)

04/2008: Gen13 #19 -- 11,887 (- 4.1%)

05/2008: Gen13 #20 -- 11,429 (- 3.9%)

----------------

6 months: -22.9%

1 year  : -41.8%

5 years : -31.6%

Gen13 is now on hiatus for a couple of months, waiting for the WildStorm Universe to be relaunched again. It’s back in August with a new creative team.

—–

161 - DC UNIVERSE SPECIAL

10/2007: The Flash        -- 16,381

11/2007: Jimmy Olsen      -- 12,106 (-26.1%)

12/2007: The Atom #1 of 2 --  9,404 (-22.3%)

12/2007: The Atom #2 of 2 --  9,005 (- 4.2%)

01/2008: The New Gods     -- 10,157 (+12.8%)

02/2008: OMAC             --  9,447 (- 7.0%)

03/2008: Eclipso          --  6,831 (-27.7%)

04/2008: Kamandi          --  7,156 (+ 4.8%)

05/2008: Justice League   -- 11,215 (+56.7%)

----------------

6 months: - 7.4%

The reprint series formerly known as Countdown Special continues with a new title. Breaking news: Justice League more popular than Kamandi.

—–

163 - 100 BULLETS (Vertigo)

05/2001: 100 Bullets #24 -- 15,539*

05/2002: 100 Bullets #36 -- 16,950*

05/2003: 100 Bullets #44 -- 17,493

05/2004: --

05/2005: 100 Bullets #61 -- 14,927

05/2006: 100 Bullets #72 -- 13,489

----------------------------------

05/2007: 100 Bullets #83 -- 12,475 (+ 1.8%)

06/2007: 100 Bullets #84 -- 12,148 (- 2.6%)

07/2007: --

08/2007: --

09/2007: 100 Bullets #85 -- 11,888 (- 2.1%)

10/2007: --

11/2007: 100 Bullets #86 -- 11,599 (- 2.4%)

12/2007: --

01/2008: 100 Bullets #87 -- 11,244 (- 3.1%)

02/2008: 100 Bullets #88 -- 11,077 (- 1.5%)

03/2008: 100 Bullets #89 -- 10,878 (- 1.8%)

04/2008: 100 Bullets #90 -- 10,856 (- 0.2%)

05/2008: 100 Bullets #91 -- 10,736 (- 1.1%)

----------------

6 months: - 7.4%

1 year  : -13.9%

2 years : -20.4%

5 years : -38.6%

Maintaining a slow decline as it enters the home stretch.

—–

166 - TINY TITANS (Johnny DC)

02/2008: Tiny Titans #1  -- 15,238

03/2008: Tiny Titans #2  -- 11,432 (-25.0%)

04/2008: Tiny Titans #3  -- 11,197 (- 2.1%)

05/2008: Tiny Titans #4  -- 10,369 (- 7.4%)

A Johnny DC book. See disclaimers.

—–

168 - THE MIDNIGHTER (WildStorm)

05/2007: The Midnighter #7  -- 19,910 (- 3.2%)

06/2007: The Midnighter #8  -- 18,076 (- 9.2%)

07/2007: The Midnighter #9  -- 16,656 (- 7.9%)

08/2007: The Midnighter #10 -- 15,654 (- 6.0%)

09/2007: The Midnighter #11 -- 14,349 (- 8.3%)

10/2007: The Midnighter #12 -- 13,741 (- 4.2%)

11/2007: The Midnighter #13 -- 12,996 (- 5.4%)

12/2007: The Midnighter #14 -- 12,358 (- 4.9%)

01/2008: The Midnighter #15 -- 11,929 (- 3.5%)

02/2008: The Midnighter #16 -- 11,309 (- 5.2%)

03/2008: The Midnighter #17 -- 10,854 (- 4.0%)

04/2008: The Midnighter #18 -- 10,457 (- 3.7%)

05/2008: The Midnighter #19 -- 10,125 (- 3.2%)

----------------

6 months: -22.1%

1 year  : -49.2%

Cancelled with issue #20.

—–

 - INFINITY INC.

09/2007: Infinity Inc. #1  -- 33,400

10/2007: Infinity Inc. #2  -- 24,158 (-27.7%)

11/2007: Infinity Inc. #3  -- 18,776 (-22.3%)

12/2007: Infinity Inc. #4  -- 15,861 (-15.5%)

01/2008: Infinity Inc. #5  -- 13,951 (-12.0%)

02/2008: Infinity Inc. #6  -- 12,523 (-10.2%)

03/2008: Infinity Inc. #7  -- 11,328 (- 9.5%)

04/2008: Infinity Inc. #8  -- 10,649 (- 6.0%)

05/2008: Infinity Inc. #9  --  9,993 (- 6.2%)

----------------

6 months: -46.8%

Cancelled at issue #12.

—–

173 - DMZ (Vertigo)

05/2006: DMZ #7  -- 15,026

--------------------------

05/2007: DMZ #19 -- 13,116 (-0.0%)

06/2007: DMZ #20 -- 12,704 (-3.1%)

07/2007: DMZ #21 -- 12,433 (-2.1%)

08/2007: DMZ #22 -- 12,175 (-2.1%)

09/2007: DMZ #23 -- 11,858 (-2.6%)

10/2007: DMZ #24 -- 11,583 (-2.3%)

11/2007: DMZ #25 -- 11,277 (-2.6%)

12/2007: DMZ #26 -- 11,027 (-2.2%)

01/2008: DMZ #27 -- 10,662 (-3.3%)

02/2008: DMZ #28 -- 10,463 (-1.9%)

03/2008: DMZ #29 -- 10,266 (-1.9%)

04/2008: DMZ #30 -- 10,038 (-2.2%)

05/2008: DMZ #31 --  9,911 (-1.3%)

----------------

6 months: -12.1%

1 year  : -24.4%

2 years : -34.0%

The book drops below the 10K mark for the first time. First-month collection sales in the direct market seem to have peaked with Vol. 3 back in September 2007, meanwhile, but remain comparatively high – among Vertigo’s ongoing titles, only Fables, 100 Bullets and Jack of Fables are doing better in that respect.

—–

183 - YOUNG LIARS (Vertigo)

03/2008: Young Liars #1  -- 13,177

04/2008: Young Liars #2  --  9,917 (-24.7%)

05/2008: Young Liars #3  --  8,954 (- 9.7%)

Another average drop.

—–

194 - BAT LASH

12/2007: Bat Lash #1 of 6 -- 18,324

01/2008: Bat Lash #2 of 6 -- 12,428 (-32.2%)

02/2008: Bat Lash #3 of 6 -- 10,102 (-18.7%)

03/2008: Bat Lash #4 of 6 --  9,065 (-10.3%)

04/2008: Bat Lash #5 of 6 --  8,586 (- 5.3%)

05/2008: Bat Lash #6 of 6 --  8,200 (- 4.5%)

The direct market isn’t much interested in western series.

—–

195 - JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (Johnny DC)

05/2002: JL Adventures #7  -- 17,453*

05/2003: JL Adventures #19 -- 14,265 

05/2004: JL Adventures #31 -- 12,348 

05/2005: JL Unlimited #9   -- 11,869 

05/2006: JL Unlimited #21  -- 10,430

------------------------------------

05/2007: JL Unlimited #33  --  9,230 (- 1.0%)

06/2007: JL Unlimited #34  --  9,328 (+ 1.1%)

07/2007: JL Unlimited #35  --  8,998 (- 3.5%)

08/2007: JL Unlimited #36  --  9,043 (+ 0.5%)

09/2007: JL Unlimited #37  --  8,706 (- 3.7%)

10/2007: JL Unlimited #38  --  8,461 (- 2.8%)

11/2007: JL Unlimited #39  --  8,367 (- 1.1%)

12/2007: JL Unlimited #40  --  8,272 (- 1.1%)

01/2008: JL Unlimited #41  --  8,308 (+ 0.4%)

02/2008: JL Unlimited #42  --  8,144 (- 2.0%)

03/2008: JL Unlimited #43  --  8,659 (+ 6.3%)

04/2008: JL Unlimited #44  --  8,515 (- 1.7%)

05/2008: JL Unlimited #45  --  8,139 (- 4.4%)

----------------

6 months: - 2.7%

1 year  : -11.8%

2 years : -22.0%

5 years : -42.9%

A Johnny DC book.

—–

196 - SUPER FRIENDS (Johnny DC)

03/2008: Super Friends #1  -- 12,554

04/2008: Super Friends #2  --  8,935 (-28.8%)

05/2008: Super Friends #3  --  8,037 (-10.1%)

Another Johnny DC title. See disclaimers.

—–

197 - THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE AUTHORITY: JACK HAWKSMOOR (WildStorm)

03/2008: Jack Hawksmoor #1 of 6 -- 10,967

04/2008: Jack Hawksmoor #2 of 6 --  8,771 (-20.0%)

05/2008: Jack Hawksmoor #3 of 6 --  7,996 (- 8.8%)
198/203 - THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST (WildStorm)

04/2008: The Number of the Beast #1 of 6 -- 12,734

04/2008: The Number of the Beast #2 of 6 -- 11,275 (-11.5%)

05/2008: The Number of the Beast #3 of 6 --  7,955 (-29.5%)

05/2008: The Number of the Beast #4 of 6 --  7,558 (- 5.0%)

The Number of the Beast (which is now an eight-issue series) sees its delayed second-issue drop, as expected. And since there were no more 1-for-10 variants for the May issues, it was bound to be ugly. Amazingly, retailers have more faith in a Jack Hawksmoor series now than in the latest big WildStorm Universe revamp.

Things don’t look very good at all for the upcoming relaunch.

—–

205 - TEEN TITANS GO (Johnny DC)

05/2004: Teen Titans Go #7  -- 14,731

05/2005: Teen Titans Go #19 -- 14,348

05/2006: Teen Titans Go #31 -- 11,140

-------------------------------------

05/2007: Teen Titans Go #43 --  8,918 (- 1.5%)

06/2007: Teen Titans Go #44 --  8,738 (- 2.0%)

07/2007: Teen Titans Go #45 --  8,554 (- 2.1%)

08/2007: Teen Titans Go #46 --  8,427 (- 1.5%)

09/2007: Teen Titans Go #47 --  8,229 (- 2.4%)

10/2007: Teen Titans Go #48 --  7,927 (- 3.7%)

11/2007: Teen Titans Go #49 --  7,699 (- 2.9%)

12/2007: Teen Titans Go #50 --  7,966 (+ 3.5%)

01/2008: Teen Titans Go #51 --  7,602 (- 4.6%)

02/2008: Teen Titans Go #52 --  7,496 (- 1.4%)

03/2008: Teen Titans Go #53 --  7,325 (- 2.3%)

04/2008: Teen Titans Go #54 --  7,469 (+ 2.0%)

05/2008: Teen Titans Go #55 --  7,385 (- 1.1%)

----------------

6 months: - 4.1%

1 year  : -17.2% 

2 years : -33.7%

Another Johnny DC book.

—–

207 - TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: RAISING CAIN (WildStorm)

05/2007: --

06/2007: TCM: Cut!                  --  6,920 (- 3.5%)

07/2007: TCM: About a Boy           --  7,205 (+ 4.1%)

08/2007: TCM: By Himself #1 of 2    --  6,380 (-11.5%)

09/2007: --

10/2007: --

11/2007: --

12/2007: --

01/2008: --

02/2008: --

03/2008: --

04/2008: --

05/2008: TCM: Raising Cain #1 of 3  --  7,242 (+13.5%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  :  n.a.

If you’re wondering what happened to Texas Chainsaw Massacre: By Himself #2, well, it apparently doesn’t exist. The latest miniseries – another $ 3.50 book – sells right where you’d have expected, at any rate.

—–

210 - SCALPED (Vertigo)

05/2007: Scalped #5  --  9,022 (- 1.5%)

06/2007: Scalped #6  --  8,689 (- 3.7%)

07/2007: Scalped #7  --  8,303 (- 4.4%)

08/2007: Scalped #8  --  7,942 (- 4.4%)

09/2007: Scalped #9  --  7,678 (- 3.3%)

10/2007: Scalped #10 --  7,536 (- 1.9%)

11/2007: Scalped #11 --  7,323 (- 2.8%)

12/2007: Scalped #12 --  7,048 (- 3.8%)

01/2008: Scalped #13 --  6,993 (- 0.8%)

02/2008: Scalped #14 --  6,903 (- 1.3%)

03/2008: Scalped #15 --  7,004 (+ 1.5%)

04/2008: Scalped #16 --  7,071 (+ 1.0%)

05/2008: Scalped #17 --  6,927 (- 2.0%)

----------------

6 months: - 5.4%

1 year  : -23.2%

The numbers are back in decline, and Scalped is now the lowest-selling Vertigo title that hasn’t been cancelled yet. Its first-month collection sales in the direct market haven’t increased with Vol. 2 and are in the same league as those of the cancelled Loveless and The Exterminators, meanwhile.

But as I say, those are first-month sales, of course, and only for the direct market. It’s still entirely possible that, despite the low direct-market numbers, Scalped is selling well enough to be healthy in ways that don’t register in the charts. If it does, though, it would seem to be an anomaly among Vertigo’s current batch of periodicals.

—–

211 - LOVELESS (Vertigo)

05/2006: Loveless #7  -- 15,961

-------------------------------

05/2007: --

06/2007: Loveless #18 --  9,906 (- 4.1%)

07/2007: --

08/2007: Loveless #19 --  8,851 (-10.7%)

09/2007: --

10/2007: Loveless #20 --  8,243 (- 6.9%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: Loveless #21 --  7,809 (- 5.3%)

01/2008: --

02/2008: Loveless #22 --  7,210 (- 7.7%)

03/2008: Loveless #23 --  7,038 (- 2.4%)

04/2008: --

02/2008: Loveless #24 --  6,845 (- 2.7%)

----------------

6 months:  n.a.

1 year  :  n.a.

2 years : -57.1%

Cancelled. Loveless is a western, granted – that makes it a hard sell. But it’s also by Brian Azzarello, who’s arguably one of the most established and recognizable names at Vertigo. The fact that they can’t sell another book by the guy responsible for what’s supposedly one of their biggest hits of the last ten years doesn’t make them look very good.

—–

215 - BATMAN STRIKES! (Johnny DC)

05/2001: Gotham Adventures #38 -- 12,655*

05/2002: Gotham Adventures #50 -- 13,893*

05/2003: Batman Adventures #2  -- 19,856

05/2004: Batman Adventures #14 -- 12,194

05/2005: Batman Strikes! #9    -- 10,376

05/2006: Batman Strikes! #21   --  8,467

----------------------------------------

05/2007: Batman Strikes! #33   --  7,235 (- 0.8%)

06/2007: Batman Strikes! #34   --  7,115 (- 1.7%)

07/2007: Batman Strikes! #35   --  7,222 (+ 1.5%)

08/2007: Batman Strikes! #36   --  7,511 (+ 4.0%)

09/2007: Batman Strikes! #37   --  6,833 (- 9.0%)

10/2007: Batman Strikes! #38   --  6,664 (- 2.5%)

11/2007: Batman Strikes! #39   --  6,464 (- 3.0%)

12/2007: Batman Strikes! #40   --  6,492 (+ 0.4%)

01/2008: Batman Strikes! #41   --  6,723 (+ 3.6%)

02/2008: Batman Strikes! #42   --  6,623 (- 1.5%)

03/2008: Batman Strikes! #43   --  6,544 (- 1.2%)

04/2008: Batman Strikes! #44   --  7,541 (+15.2%)

05/2008: Batman Strikes! #45   --  6,611 (-12.3%)

----------------

6 months: + 2.3%

1 year  : - 8.6%

2 years : -21.9%

5 years : -66.7%

A Johnny DC title.

—–

220 - THE EXTERMINATORS (Vertigo)

05/2006: The Exterminators #5  -- 10,978

----------------------------------------

05/2007: The Exterminators #17 --  8,813 (+ 0.6%)

06/2007: The Exterminators #18 --  8,651 (- 1.8%)

07/2007: The Exterminators #19 --  8,454 (- 2.3%)

08/2007: The Exterminators #20 --  8,289 (- 2.0%)

09/2007: The Exterminators #21 --  7,950 (- 4.1%)

10/2007: The Exterminators #22 --  7,792 (- 2.0%)

11/2007: The Exterminators #23 --  7,461 (- 4.3%)

12/2007: The Exterminators #24 --  7,211 (- 3.4%)

01/2008: The Exterminators #25 --  7,096 (- 1.6%)

02/2008: The Exterminators #26 --  6,834 (- 3.7%)

03/2008: The Exterminators #27 --  6,717 (- 1.7%)

04/2008: The Exterminators #28 --  6,587 (- 1.9%)

05/2008: The Exterminators #29 --  6,397 (- 2.9%)

----------------

6 months: -14.3%

1 year  : -27.4%

2 years : -41.7%

Cancelled with issue #30.

—–

221 - CASEY BLUE: BEYOND TOMORROW (WildStorm)

05/2008: Beyond Tomorrow #1 of 6 -- 6,264

WildStorm’s latest creator-owned book comes in several leagues below the radar. Which, to be honest, is pretty much as expected. In order to do better with this sort of thing, you need a strong, focused brand and a minimum of promotion. WildStorm has had neither in years.

—–

222 - THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES IN THE 31ST CENTURY (Johnny DC)

05/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #2  -- 11,121 (-17.7%)

06/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #3  --  9,252 (-16.8%)

07/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #4  --  8,236 (-11.0%)

08/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #5  --  7,681 (- 6.7%)

09/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #6  --  7,362 (- 4.2%)

10/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #7  --  7,010 (- 4.8%)

11/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #8  --  6,886 (- 1.8%)

12/2007: The LoSH in the 31st Century #9  --  6,777 (- 1.6%)

01/2008: The LoSH in the 31st Century #10 --  6,674 (- 1.5%)

02/2008: The LoSH in the 31st Century #11 --  6,568 (- 1.6%)

03/2008: The LoSH in the 31st Century #12 --  6,331 (- 3.6%)

04/2008: The LoSH in the 31st Century #13 --  6,331 (  0.0%)

05/2008: The LoSH in the 31st Century #14 --  6,203 (- 2.0%)

----------------

6 months: - 9.9%

1 year  : -44.2%

A Johnny DC title.

—–

223 - AMERICAN SPLENDOR: SEASON TWO (Vertigo)

09/2006: American Splendor #1 of 4 -- 11,529

10/2006: American Splendor #2 of 4 --  9,202 (-20.2%)

11/2006: American Splendor #3 of 4 --  7,737 (-15.9%)

12/2006: American Splendor #4 of 4 --  7,104 (- 8.2%)

--------------------------------------------

04/2008: Season Two #1 of 4        --  7,469 (+ 5.1%)

05/2008: Season Two #2 of 4        --  6,142 (-17.8%)

Sinking without a trace, but with the assurance that it’s going to earn its keep in the book market.

—–

234 - THE PROGRAMME (WildStorm)

07/2007: The Programme #1  of 12 -- 14,293

08/2007: The Programme #2  of 12 --  9,412 (-34.2%)

09/2007: The Programme #3  of 12 --  8,545 (- 9.2%)

10/2007: The Programme #4  of 12 --  7,717 (- 9.7%)

11/2007: The Programme #5  of 12 --  7,262 (- 5.9%)

12/2007: The Programme #6  of 12 --  6,856 (- 5.6%)

01/2008: The Programme #7  of 12 --  6,640 (- 3.2%)

02/2008: The Programme #8  of 12 --  6,221 (- 6.3%)

03/2008: The Programme #9  of 12 --  6,020 (- 3.2%)

04/2008: The Programme #10 of 12 --  5,748 (- 4.5%)

05/2008: The Programme #11 of 12 --  5,582 (- 2.9%)

----------------

6 months: -23.1%
235 - THE VINYL UNDERGROUND (Vertigo)

10/2007: The Vinyl Underground #1  -- 10,823

11/2007: The Vinyl Underground #2  --  8,237 (-23.9%)

12/2007: The Vinyl Underground #3  --  7,432 (- 9.8%)

01/2008: The Vinyl Underground #4  --  6,854 (- 7.8%)

02/2008: The Vinyl Underground #5  --  6,384 (- 6.9%)

03/2008: The Vinyl Underground #6  --  6,035 (- 5.5%)

04/2008: The Vinyl Underground #7  --  5,862 (- 2.9%)

05/2008: The Vinyl Underground #8  --  5,572 (- 5.0%)

----------------

6 months: -32.4%
246 - THE NEW DYNAMIX (WildStorm)

03/2008: The New Dynamix #1 of 5 -- 11,081

04/2008: The New Dynamix #2 of 5 --  7,114 (-35.8%)

05/2008: The New Dynamix #3 of 5 --  5,164 (-27.4%)
251 - CROSSING MIDNIGHT (Vertigo)

05/2007: Crossing Midnight #7  --  6,866 (- 2.4%)

06/2007: Crossing Midnight #8  --  6,612 (- 3.7%)

07/2007: Crossing Midnight #9  --  6,351 (- 4.0%)

08/2007: Crossing Midnight #10 --  6,142 (- 3.3%)

09/2007: Crossing Midnight #11 --  5,870 (- 4.4%)

10/2007: Crossing Midnight #12 --  5,754 (- 2.0%)

11/2007: Crossing Midnight #13 --  5,519 (- 4.1%)

12/2007: Crossing Midnight #14 --  5,467 (- 0.9%)

01/2008: Crossing Midnight #15 --  5,255 (- 3.9%)

02/2008: Crossing Midnight #16 --  5,348 (+ 1.8%)

03/2008: Crossing Midnight #17 --  5,051 (- 5.6%)

04/2008: --

05/2008: Crossing Midnight #18 --  5,032 (- 0.4%)

----------------

6 months: - 8.8%

1 year  : -26.7%

Four more Vertigo and WildStorm books with terrible sales. Crossing Midnight and The Vinyl Underground are cancelled with issues #19 and #12, respectively. The New Dynamix #3 was the first without a variant-cover edition, hence the big drop.

—–

265 - SCOOBY DOO (Johnny DC)

05/2001: Scooby Doo #48  -- 5,068*

05/2002: Scooby Doo #60  -- 6,238*

05/2003: Scooby Doo #72  -- 5,980

05/2004: Scooby Doo #84  -- 5,490

05/2005: Scooby Doo #96  -- 4,718

05/2006: Scooby Doo #108 -- 4,496

---------------------------------

05/2007: Scooby Doo #120 -- 4,343 (- 0.7%)

06/2007: Scooby Doo #121 -- 4,415 (+ 1.7%)

07/2007: Scooby Doo #122 -- 4,424 (+ 0.2%)

08/2007: Scooby Doo #123 -- 4,641 (+ 4.9%)

09/2007: Scooby Doo #124 -- 4,401 (- 5.2%)

10/2007: Scooby Doo #125 -- 4,407 (+ 0.1%)

11/2007: Scooby Doo #126 -- 4,237 (- 3.9%)

12/2007: Scooby Doo #127 -- 4,293 (+ 1.3%)

01/2008: Scooby Doo #128 -- 4,147 (- 3.4%)

02/2008: Scooby Doo #129 -- 4,161 (+ 0.4%)

03/2008: Scooby Doo #130 -- 4,463 (+ 7.3%)

04/2008: Scooby Doo #131 -- 4,403 (- 1.3%)

05/2008: Scooby Doo #132 -- 4,309 (- 2.1%)

----------------

6 months: + 1.7%

1 year  : - 0.8%

2 years : - 4.2%

5 years : -27.9%

And another Johnny DC book.

—–

268 - THE UN-MEN (Vertigo)

08/2007: The Un-Men #1  -- 11,868

09/2007: The Un-Men #2  --  8,758 (-26.2%)

10/2007: The Un-Men #3  --  7,566 (-13.6%)

11/2007: The Un-Men #4  --  6,678 (-11.7%)

12/2007: The Un-Men #5  --  6,094 (- 8.8%)

01/2008: The Un-Men #6  --  5,525 (- 9.3%)

02/2008: The Un-Men #7  --  4,925 (-10.9%)

03/2008: The Un-Men #8  --  4,760 (- 3.4%)

04/2008: The Un-Men #9  --  4,411 (- 7.3%)

05/2008: The Un-Men #10 --  4,227 (- 4.2%)

----------------

6 months: -36.7%

Cancelled with issue #13.

—–

REORDERS:

182: 8,984 -- DC Universe #0 (2nd)

—–

6-MONTH COMPARISONS

+ 31.0%: Batman

+ 15.3%: Titans

+  4.2%: Legion

+  2.3%: Batman Strikes

+  1.7%: Scooby-Doo

-  2.0%: Superman/Batman

-  2.7%: JL Unlimited

-  4.1%: TT Go

-  4.3%: Catwoman

-  4.3%: Fables

-  5.4%: Scalped

-  5.7%: Hellblazer

-  5.7%: Superman

-  7.0%: Booster Gold

-  7.4%: DCU Special

-  7.4%: 100 Bullets

-  8.7%: Batman Confidential

-  8.8%: Crossing Midnight

-  9.9%: Jonah Hex

-  9.9%: LoSH 31

- 10.6%: All Star Superman

- 11.8%: Blue Beetle

- 12.1%: DMZ

- 12.7%: Birds of Prey

- 13.5%: Gotham Underground

- 13.6%: JSA: Classified

- 14.1%: Checkmate

- 14.3%: Action Comics

- 14.3%: Exterminators

- 14.9%: Teen Titans

- 15.9%: GL Corps

- 17.5%: Shadowpact

- 19.7%: Detective Comics

- 21.5%: Brave & Bold

- 22.1%: Midnighter

- 22.3%: Atom

- 22.9%: Gen13

- 23.1%: Programme

- 25.6%: Countdown to Mystery

- 25.6%: Spirit

- 25.9%: Metal Men

- 27.9%: Green Arrow

- 28.2%: Wonder Woman

- 28.5%: Simon Dark

- 31.2%: Flash

- 32.2%: Outsiders

- 32.4%: Vinyl Underground

- 33.6%: Supergirl

- 36.7%: Un-Men

- 37.2%: Nightwing

- 44.8%: World of WarCraft

- 46.8%: Infinity Inc.

- 48.3%: Robin

—–

1-YEAR COMPARISONS

+ 41.1%: GL Corps

+ 25.5%: Batman

+  7.1%: Green Lantern

+  5.4%: Outsiders

+  0.4%: Green Arrow

-  0.8%: Scooby-Doo

-  2.2%: Robin

-  4.7%: Nightwing

-  6.4%: Detective Comics

-  8.6%: Batman Strikes

-  8.7%: Fables

-  9.2%: Legion

-  9.7%: Catwoman

- 10.2%: Hellblazer

- 11.8%: JL Unlimited

- 13.9%: 100 Bullets

- 14.8%: Action Comics

- 17.2%: TT Go

- 17.4%: Superman

- 18.4%: Blue Beetle

- 19.2%: JSA

- 20.2%: Jonah Hex

- 22.1%: Midnighter

- 22.5%: Superman/Batman

- 22.6%: Birds of Prey

- 23.2%: Scalped

- 24.4%: DMZ

- 25.5%: Blue Beetle

- 26.0%: Teen Titans

- 26.7%: Crossing Midnight

- 27.4%: Exterminators

- 28.9%: JSA: Classified

- 30.4%: JLA

- 30.6%: Shadowpact

- 32.8%: Checkmate

- 33.2%: Flash

- 34.9%: Wonder Woman

- 40.1%: Supergirl

- 40.7%: Spirit

- 41.8%: Gen13

- 43.9%: Supernatural

- 44.2%: LoSH 31

—–

2-YEAR COMPARISONS

+ 48.8%: JSA

+ 30.2%: Batman

-  2.7%: Fables

-  4.2%: Scooby-Doo

- 16.5%: Green Lantern

- 16.5%: Hellblazer

- 20.4%: 100 Bullets

- 21.2%: Green Arrow

- 21.9%: Batman Strikes

- 22.0%: JL Unlimited

- 23.3%: Outsiders

- 24.9%: Action Comics

- 26.5%: Detective Comics

- 33.7%: TT Go

- 34.0%: DMZ

- 35.9%: Superman

- 35.9%: Teen Titans

- 36.3%: Nightwing

- 36.7%: Robin

- 37.1%: Birds of Prey

- 38.6%: Legion

- 40.0%: Jonah Hex

- 40.4%: Catwoman

- 41.7%: Exterminators

- 52.5%: Superman/Batman

- 57.1%: Loveless

- 59.0%: JSA: Classified

- 63.7%: Checkmate

- 66.9%: Blue Beetle

- 70.7%: Supergirl

- 71.9%: Shadowpact

—–

5-YEAR COMPARISONS

+ 77.9%: JSA

+ 60.0%: Green Lantern

+ 49.3%: JLA

+ 46.6%: Wonder Woman

+ 45.6%: Action Comics

+ 30.7%: Superman

+ 25.9%: Detective Comics

+ 20.5%: Legion

+ 16.0%: Robin

+  2.4%: Flash

-  1.9%: Nightwing

-  5.5%: Birds of Prey

-  5.5%: Fables

- 24.2%: Catwoman

- 27.9%: Scooby-Doo

- 30.2%: Batman

- 30.2%: Hellblazer

- 31.6%: Gen13

- 38.6%: 100 Bullets

- 38.9%: Green Arrow

- 42.9%: JL Unlimited

- 66.7%: Batman Strikes

—–

Average Sales per Title

(not counting reprints, reorders shipping after the initial month of release, Johnny DC titles and magazines)

DC COMICS

05/2003: 26,961

05/2004: 32,096

05/2005: 34,801

05/2006: 42,860

---------------

05/2007: 34,489 (-11.9%)

06/2007: 32,437 (- 6.0%)

07/2007: 34,330 (+ 5.8%)

08/2007: 34,885 (+ 1.6%)

09/2007: 32,332 (- 7.3%)

10/2007: 31,489 (- 2.6%)

11/2007: 29,427 (- 6.6%)

12/2007: 33,138 (+12.6%)

01/2008: 27,033 (-18.4%)

02/2008: 27,652 (+ 2.3%)

03/2008: 26,423 (- 4.5%)

04/2008: 28,051 (+ 6.1%)

05/2008: 27,075 (- 3.5%)

----------------

6 months: - 8.0%

1 year  : -21.5%

2 years : -36.8%

3 years : -22.2%

4 years : -15.6%

5 years : + 0.4%
DC UNIVERSE

05/2003: 32,055

05/2004: 38,502

05/2005: 43,505

05/2006: 56,982

---------------

05/2007: 47,294 (-10.4%)

06/2007: 45,380 (- 4.1%)

07/2007: 47,134 (+ 3.9%)

08/2007: 46,717 (- 0.9%)

09/2007: 42,894 (- 8.2%)

10/2007: 39,409 (- 8.1%)

11/2007: 37,257 (- 5.5%)

12/2007: 40,074 (+ 7.6%)

01/2008: 33,654 (-16.0%)

02/2008: 35,994 (+ 7.0%)

03/2008: 33,151 (- 7.9%)

04/2008: 35,452 (+ 6.9%)

05/2008: 35,230 (- 0.6%)

----------------

6 months: - 5.4%

1 year  : -25.5%

2 years : -38.2%

3 years : -19.0%

4 years : - 8.5%

5 years : + 9.9%
VERTIGO

05/2003: 14,798

05/2004: 17,376

05/2005: 14,520

05/2006: 15,266

---------------

05/2007: 12,256 (+ 1.3%)

06/2007: 12,732 (+ 3.9%)

07/2007: 12,193 (- 4.2%)

08/2007: 10,817 (-11.3%)

09/2007: 11,806 (+ 9.1%)

10/2007: 10,678 (- 9.6%)

11/2007: 10,946 (+ 2.5%)

12/2007: 11,035 (+ 0.8%)

01/2008: 10,115 (- 8.3%)

02/2008: 10,885 (+ 7.6%)

03/2008: 10,484 (- 3.7%)

04/2008: 10,550 (+ 0.6%)

05/2008: 10,418 (- 1.3%)

----------------

6 months: - 4.8%

1 year  : -15.0%

2 years : -31.8%

3 years : -28.3%

4 years : -40.0%

5 years : -29.6%
WILDSTORM

05/2003: 22,470

05/2004: 15,505

05/2005: 13,593

05/2006: 12,737

---------------

05/2007: 14,260 (+ 4.8%)

06/2007: 12,272 (-13.9%)

07/2007: 11,234 (- 8.5%)

08/2007: 10,744 (- 4.4%)

09/2007: 11,379 (+ 5.9%)

10/2007: 11,960 (+ 5.1%)

11/2007: 15,109 (+26.3%)

12/2007: 15,601 (+ 3.3%)

01/2008: 14,033 (-10.1%)

02/2008: 13,155 (- 6.3%)

03/2008: 12,842 (- 2.4%)

04/2008: 12,156 (- 5.3%)

05/2008:  9,812 (-19.3%)

----------------

6 months: -35.1%

1 year  : -31.2%

2 years : -23.0%

3 years : -27.8%

4 years : -36.7%

5 years : -56.3%

—–

OTHER PUBLISHERS

15 - BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Dark Horse Comics)

05/2001: Buffy #33 --  16,823*

05/2002: Buffy #45 --  15,979*

05/2003: Buffy #57 --  14,928

-----------------------------

05/2007: Buffy #3  -- 106,634 (+10.6%) [125,078]

06/2007: Buffy #4  -- 102,430 (- 3.9%) [117,866]

07/2007: Buffy #5  -- 100,830 (- 2.0%) [109,322]

08/2007: --

09/2007: Buffy #6  --  96,556 (- 4.2%) [107,551]

10/2007: Buffy #7  --  94,144 (- 2.4%) [101,979]

11/2007: Buffy #8  --  91,595 (- 2.7%) [ 96,975]

12/2007: Buffy #9  --  89,556 (- 2.2%)

01/2008: Buffy #10 --  88,474 (- 1.2%)

02/2008: Buffy #11 --  88,070 (- 0.5%)

03/2008: Buffy #12 --  88,930 (+ 1.0%)

04/2008: Buffy #13 --  83,580 (- 6.0%)

05/2008: Buffy #14 --  82,069 (- 1.8%)

-----------------

6 months: - 10.4%

1 year  : - 23.0%

5 years : +450.0%

The numbers seem to be bottoming out again. As usual, there was a variant-cover edition.

As we’re still in the middle of a storyline written by Drew Goddard that started back in March, it seems that the drop in April was, in part, a compensation for the increased attention issue #12 received.

—–

41 - SERENITY: BETTER DAYS (Dark Horse Comics)

07/2005: Serenity #1 of 3    -- 38,502 [91,594]

08/2005: Serenity #2 of 3    -- 47,095 [57,290]

09/2005: Serenity #3 of 3    -- 52,312 [57,189]

--------------------------------------

03/2008: Better Days #1 of 3 -- 62,300          [66,611]

04/2008: Better Days #2 of 3 -- 56,128 (- 9.9%)

05/2008: Better Days #3 of 3 -- 52,428

Sales end up at the same level as they did for the previous series, despite the lack of variant-cover editions this time around, and there haven’t been any reorders on the chart for issue #2.

This can mean a number of things. Maybe retailers overestimated demand this time around; or we didn’t see the reorders because their numbers were below the cut-off point of the Top 300; or no reorder copies were available from the publisher, although that would be unusual for Dark Horse; or maybe retailers simply guessed correctly this time. Be that as it may, these are great numbers.

—–

50 - ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL (IDW)

11/2007: After the Fall #1      -- 47,563 (+648.9%) [74,342]

12/2007: After the Fall #2      -- 44,792 (-  5.8%) [56,396]

01/2008: After the Fall #3      -- 46,013 (+  2.7%) [50,175]

02/2008: After the Fall #4      -- 48,407 (+  5.2%) [57,555]

03/2008: After the Fall #5      -- 49,558 (+  2.4%) 

04/2008: After the Fall #6      -- 46,645 (-  5.9%) [51,044]

05/2008: After the Fall #7      -- 45,430 (-  2.6%)

-----------------

6 months: -  4.5%

Levelling out, and doing perfectly well overall. As usual, there were multiple variant-cover editions.

There also was “Director’s Cut” reprint of issue #1 in May, which sold an estimated 6,040 units.

—–

59 - PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS (Dynamite Entertainment)

02/2008: Project: Superpowers #1 of 6 -- 53,755

03/2008: --

04/2008: Project: Superpowers #2 of 7 -- 41,623 (-22.6%)

05/2008: Project: Superpowers #3 of 7 -- 36,884 (-11.4%)

The book’s sales continue to drop stiffly for a limited series. As always, multiple variant-cover editions exist.

—–

72/77 - STAR WARS: LEGACY (Dark Horse Comics)

05/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #11 -- 33,138 (+2.5%)

05/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #12 -- 32,161 (-3.0%)

06/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #13 -- 32,149 (-0.0%)

07/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #14 -- 31,652 (-1.6%)

08/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #15 -- 31,539 (-0.4%)

09/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #16 -- 31,240 (-1.0%)

10/2007: -- 

11/2007: Star Wars: Legacy #17 -- 31,197 (-0.1%)

12/2007: -- 

01/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #18 -- 31,038 (-0.5%)

02/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #19 -- 30,953 (-0.3%)

02/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #20 -- 29,896 (-3.4%)

03/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #21 -- 30,228 (+1.1%)

04/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #22 -- 30,205 (-0.1%)

05/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #23 -- 30,355 (+0.5%)

05/2008: Star Wars: Legacy #24 -- 29,601 (-2.5%)

----------------

6 months: - 3.9%

1 year  : - 8.2%

Rock-solid numbers.

—–

83 - THE BOYS (Dynamite Entertainment)

05/2007: The Boys #7  -- 31,616 (+16.9%) [37,255]

06/2007: The Boys #8  -- 30,639 (- 3.1%) [32,868]

07/2007: --

08/2007: The Boys #9  -- 32,570 (+ 6.3%)

09/2007: The Boys #10 -- 32,077 (- 1.5%)

10/2007: The Boys #11 -- 30,852 (- 3.8%)

11/2007: The Boys #12 -- 29,754 (- 3.6%)

12/2007: The Boys #13 -- 29,195 (- 1.9%)

01/2008: The Boys #14 -- 28,559 (- 2.2%)

02/2008: The Boys #15 -- 28,347 (- 0.7%)

03/2008: The Boys #16 -- 27,886 (- 1.6%)

04/2008: The Boys #17 -- 28,057 (+ 0.6%)

05/2008: The Boys #18 -- 27,951 (- 0.4%)

----------------

6 months: - 6.1%

1 year  : -11.6%

The books keeps clinging to 28K.

—–

91/107 - STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC (Dark Horse Comics)

05/2006: Star Wars: KotOR #5  -- 23,223

---------------------------------------

05/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #16 -- 23,572 (+ 0.1%)

05/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #17 -- 22,907 (- 2.8%)

06/2007: --

07/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #18 -- 22,713 (- 0.9%)

08/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #19 -- 22,396 (- 1.4%)

09/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #20 -- 21,836 (- 2.5%)

10/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #21 -- 21,879 (+ 0.2%)

11/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #22 -- 21,694 (- 0.9%)

11/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #23 -- 20,519 (- 5.4%)

12/2007: Star Wars: KotOR #24 -- 20,396 (- 0.6%)

01/2008: Star Wars: KotOR #25 -- 25,035 (+22.8%) [27,054]

02/2008: --

03/2008: Star Wars: KotOR #26 -- 23,467 (- 6.3%)

04/2008: Star Wars: KotOR #27 -- 24,287 (+ 3.5%)

05/2008: Star Wars: KotOR #28 -- 25,109 (+ 3.4%)

05/2008: Star Wars: KotOR #29 -- 22,043 (-12.2%)

----------------

6 months: +11.7%

1 year  : + 1.5%

2 years : + 1.5%

Issue #28 was the title’s final part in the “Vector” crossover, which moved on to Star Wars: Dark Times in May. The numbers remain slightly ahead of their previous level. Another very solid performer, overall.

—–

96 - STAR WARS: DARK TIMES (Dark Horse Comics)

05/2007: Star Wars: Dark Times #3 of 5 -- 29,501 (- 3.3%)

06/2007: --

07/2007: Star Wars: Dark Times #4 of 5 -- 27,514 (- 6.7%)

08/2007: --

09/2007: --

10/2007: Star Wars: Dark Times #5 of 5 -- 26,573 (- 3.4%)

10/2007: Star Wars: Dark Times #6      -- 25,121 (- 5.5%)

11/2007: --

12/2007: Star Wars: Dark Times #7      -- ?

01/2008: Star Wars: Dark Times #8      -- 23,353

02/2008: Star Wars: Dark Times #9      -- 23,047 (- 1.3%)

03/2008: --

04/2008: Star Wars: Dark Times #10     -- 21,989 (- 4.6%)

05/2008: Star Wars: Dark Times #11     -- 24,487 (+11.4%)

----------------

6 months:   n.a.

1 year  : -17.0%

“Vector” brings a modest increase.

—–

Disclaimers, et cetera

The numbers above are estimates for comic book sales in the North American direct market, as calculated by ICv2.com according to the chart and index information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors. ICv2.com’s estimates are traditionally known to be somewhat lower than the actual numbers, but they are consistent from month to month, so the trends they show are fairly accurate. Since it’s a “month-to-month” column, the comments, unless otherwise noted, are on the most recent month. The estimates from March 2001 to February 2003 (marked with an asterisk) were for initial orders rather than actual sales, so they’re only roughly compatible with the subsequent figures.

Bear in mind that the figures measure sales to retailers, not customers. Also, these numbers do not include sales to bookstores, newsstands, other mass market retail chains or the United Kingdom. Reorders are included, so long as they either reached stores in a book’s initial month of release or were strong enough to make the chart again in a subsequent month.

If additional copies of an issue did appear on the chart after the book’s initial month of release, you can see the total number of copies sold in parenthesis behind those issues (e.g. “[36,599]“). Should more than one issue have shipped in a month which is relevant for one of the long-term comparisons, the average will be used.

Titles released under the Johnny DC imprint and magazines, such as Mad, mostly sell through channels other than the direct market, so direct market sales don’t tell us much about their performance. For most Vertigo and some WildStorm titles, collection sales tend to be a significant factor, so the numbers for those books should be taken with a grain of salt as well. To learn (a little) more about Vertigo’s collection sales, go right here.

—–

Germany-based Marc-Oliver Frisch has a weblog and regularly contributes to German online magazine Comicgate.

Comments

  1. Alan Coil says:

    Let me be FIRST to say that DC is dying, and that DiDio must be fired.

    I don’t believe that, but I wanted to be the FIRST to say it—today.

  2. This is from a comment that I wrote on Savage Critics back on May 2nd:

    “[T]his is why Secret Invasion will outsell Final Crisis: we know what Secret Invasion is about, and we have no clue what Final Crisis is about (even though there was a year-long “Countdown” to it).

    There is a reason that movies are promoted by trailers: they tell the potential audience what the movie will be about, so that the audience can get excited and look forward to it. For the same reason, the way that movies (and comics) are pitched to producers is by summing up the movie in one or two sentences – the “log line.” It’s a simple and easy way to get the plot across, so that people become interested.

    Here, Marvel has given us the log line for Secret Invasion: Earth has been invaded by evil shapeshifting aliens that pretend to be our greatest superheroes!

    DC has given us the following about Final Crisis: It’s a Final Crisis! (And probably not even really the final one.)

    Which one sounds more appealing? Sure, Final Crisis has great creators working on it, which will help sales, but even there look at how the movies do it – they don’t just say “a Steven Spielberg movie.” They say, “a Steven Spielberg movie where dinosaurs are reborn in the modern world and go on a rampage!”

    Anyway, sorry about the long comment, I just think it was a big mistake on DC’s part to be so secretive and not make public the log line for Final Crisis.”

    (See: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/lazybastid/3747628921015121523/#240404)

    I stand by this earlier comment.

  3. Eric Haar says:

    “Final Crisis” isn’t just a reference to “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” There have been some 20 DC “Crisis” events with the first two-parter – Crisis on Earth One and Crisis on Earth Two – being 45 years ago:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_(DC_Comics)

    So, while you can say that the “Final Crisis” title doesn’t speak to you, “Crisis” in general has a long and storied history at DC that goes back far beyond beyond COIE and runs up until the current day.

    While I don’t disagree with everything you say, I believe there are instances in the last few columns where you’re going out of your way to find negatives about DC…

  4. John Smith says:

    So, to recap: DC’s big huge event title is massively underperforming, sales across DC’s main line of titles are abysmal for any book not called “Green Lantern,” and WildStorm has become a joke no one cares about.

    Gee, it’s almost like those unwashed proles who complain about DC Editorial (and get some folks worked up into such a lather for daring to do so) are right.

  5. But Eric–

    What does the history of the word “crisis” connote to readers who are not already DC fans?

    I have nothing against invoking aspects of DC history; I find the continuity-game fascinating when it’s done well. But new readers do need to hear a little more than, “And DC Comics will never be the same again!”

  6. Eric Haar says:

    Gene,

    I understand what you’re saying, but I think that it’s more a case of DC not having been very forthright with what the comic is about in solicitations rather than the title. I do think Mr. Frisch is correct there. I also think having the disappointing “Countdown” as a lead-in was a detriment.

    However, I don’t think if you just read the title “Secret Invasion” that it automatically invokes an alien invasion. And it probably doesn’t resonate ore “mean anything” as an homage to “Secret Wars” to shorter-term or new Marvel fans. But Secret Invasion has had good interest because Marvel have done a good job promoting it – not because of it’s title per se.

    On the other hand, I don’t buy the

    “DC has too much continuity and I don’t know what’s going on”

    reasoning that I see frequently. To me, that’s part of what (if done well) makes comics fun. When I started reading DC comics (and I’m an admitted DC fanboy, so no, that doesn’t make my opinions entirely unbiased, either) in 1976, I was amazed at the amount of history these characters had. I used to pore over the pages of the comics I got at 7-11 trying to figure out who all these characters I had never heard of that showed up in house ads were.

    Back then, you couldn’t be guaranteed that you’d get the next issue of a title, or could find a title you saw advertised, so sometimes it would take a long time to figure out what was going on and who was who, but it was like an adventure of discovery. If DC can’t foster that kind of excitement in new readers, it’s either a failure in storytelling (and there have been some weak ones lately, but certainly not all of them), but there’s also some reader laziness. Today’s instant info world leads far too much, in my opinion, to:

    “I’ve read one issue and I want to know what is happening right now. If I don’t understand by page 22, I’m dropping it!”

  7. John Warren says:

    I agree with Gene… if this is really a traditional “Crisis” in the old sense of the word, shouldn’t we see the JLA and JSA team up, or something like that?

  8. Eric:

    I understand your history with DC (sweet lord, I don’t even want to guess the year that I started reading “World’s Finest”!), but if the instant info world demands some understanding in one issue ( and I really don’t think that’s unreasonable), then the company needs to change or whither on the vine.

  9. Eric Haar says:

    While I don’t know if I entirely agree that understanding in one issue is always reasonable (do you always know what’s going on by page 50 of a novel?) I have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on in Final Crisis from the two issues published so far. Do I know what it’s building up to? Nope. But I’m enjoying the story enough to keep reading.

  10. The problem with Final Crisis is not that readers were unsatisfied by page 22 – it’s that they were not interested in page 1.

  11. DC have given up on the notion of a regular writer and artist on The Flash. If the book’s sales decline continues at this rate, it will be in cancellation territory six months from now.

    The sad thing is that the last two issues (#240 and #241) have been quite good, and I think Tom Peyer and Freddie Williams II, given enough time, could have halted the slide and turned things around. Instead DC is telling us not to get too attached to any direction, and it’s starting to look like another relaunch is on its way after Final Crisis — which, if correct, would be the third in as many years.

  12. geek goggles says:

    Eric:

    I get what you are trying to say, but the problem with comparing comics to a novel is that sales of a novel arent based on individual chapters.

    A comic should hold an interest at the end so that someone will want to pick up the next and the next. A book you already paid for the whole thing regardless if you finish it.

  13. Eric:

    I know that there have been other “Crisis” stories at DC, but CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS is the most well-known of them and – in terms of scope and function – the one they’re referencing with INFINITE CRISIS and FINAL CRISIS. I seem to recall they’ve gone out of their way to describe the three books as a “trilogy” in their promotion, for that matter.

    Michael:

    “The problem with Final Crisis is not that readers were unsatisfied by page 22 – it’s that they were not interested in page 1.”

    Exactly. My points only refer to the company’s promotional efforts regarding FINAL CRISIS, as the actual comic is not yet a factor in the sales we’ve seen to date.

  14. Eric,
    I know whereof you speak: outside of a couple of minor exposures to the Torch feature in MARVEL TALES reprints, my first FANTASTIC FOUR book was FF ANNUAL #5, which gave me not just the FF and their latest villains but the Inhumans and the Black Panther as well. And yet, the narrative force was such that I had no trouble figuring out who was what.

    However, as many others have pointed out, it’s a lot harder to keep a narrative forceful when the storyline’s obliged to hopscotch across ten or twelve different titles.

    Unfortunately, it seems that DC’s marketing people are pretty much wedded to the Hopscoth Theory of Comics. My experience indicates that the weaker-selling books never benefit much in the long run from tie-ins, but even a modest boost may be enough to satisfy DC these days.

  15. Eric Haar says:

    I think that there’s plenty in Final Crisis #1 to bring someone back for a second if they’re interested in finding out what’s going on. If they aren’t interested, as Michael says, I have nothing there.

  16. I think Michael Hoskin has got it. More than understandable, the story should be compelling.

  17. morganagrom says:

    Looks like DMZ has fallen into the below 10K nether-regions. How low can the numbers go before DC decides the periodicals aren’t even worth it as loss leaders anymore? Maybe when it gets to a point where the initial paperback orders are higher than the periodical initial orders?

    Two things to watch out for with Northlanders:

    First, 9 and 11 will both be jumping on points to all-new storylines. (both of which will presumably be available as Northlanders vol. 2, containing 9-18) Will retailers treat them as brand new number 1’s, resulting in sales spikes, or will retailers treat them as just another couple of higher numbered issues, resulting in lower orders via standard attrition? If it’s lower orders, than perhaps the “ongoing” Northlanders route might not have been the best idea after all. Time will tell.

    Second, Vertigo is publishing the first Northlanders graphic novel later this year for $10. This is a really great deal for the tradewaiters, as it would have cost to $24 to buy the exact same story as a serial. Will a significant number of people who bought the periodicals feel burned by the fact that they’re paying a lot more to “support” the book so that everyone else can get a better package for a lot less money? If they jump off and become tradewaiters themselves, then perhaps we’ll see much lower orders on the periodicals once the first paperback is released.

  18. morganagrom says:

    Scalped is just a fascinating case. Some of the lowest “ongoing” periodical numbers see from Vertigo, but no sign of cancellation. What would happen if DC simply decided to cancel the periodical and release a twice-yearly series of Scalped paperbacks? Would the periodical buyers who presumably love the story refuse to buy them?

  19. “… Final Crisis, the big blockbuster title they’d been building towards for the past two years …”

    Maybe THIS is the problem.

  20. To me, that’s part of what (if done well) makes comics fun.

    Grant Morrison has stated outright that anyone who wants to enjoy Final Crisis needs to ignore everything that happened in Countdown. I don’t know or even care whose fault that is, but how on Earth does that represent “continuity done well”?

    “I’ve read one issue and I want to know what is happening right now. If I don’t understand by page 22, I’m dropping it!”

    How much did comics cost when you were engaged in that “adventure of discovery”? If they’d cost $3 and $4 per issue, would you have been as content to receive less information per issue?

    And for that matter, how dare younger readers want stories that cater to their own reading styles! Every story should be told the way it was when *I* was a child! The only people that comics should cater to should be middle-aged men, who want to preserve all the genre conventions that they enjoyed most! Secret identities and marriage-retcons for everyone!

  21. The Beat says:

    VERY IMPORTANT.

    I WOULD LIKE ALL POSTERS TO REFRAIN FROM SUCH STATEMENTS AS “SUCHANSUCH HAS FALLEN BELOW 20K.”

    THESE NUMBERS ARE NOT EXACT. THEY ARE LOWER THAN ACTUAL FIGURES. TRENDS ARE ACCURATE BUT NUMBERS ARE NOT.

    PROCEED ACCORDINGLY.

  22. Michael says:

    “it’s starting to look like another [Flash] relaunch is on its way after Final Crisis — which, if correct, would be the third in as many years.”

    The grueling irony there being that the first one wasn’t necessary in the first place. Was there any rationale beyond “It’s a Crisis, so let’s fuck with The Flash for the hell of it?”

  23. Eric Haar says:

    “Grant Morrison has stated outright that anyone who wants to enjoy Final Crisis needs to ignore everything that happened in Countdown. I don’t know or even care whose fault that is, but how on Earth does that represent “continuity done well”?

    –It does not and I did not state that it did. Countdown was a huge snafu.

    “How much did comics cost when you were engaged in that “adventure of discovery”? If they’d cost $3 and $4 per issue, would you have been as content to receive less information per issue?”

    —Every penny that I had! Seriously though, most were .35 – about $1.25 in today’s dollars. Cheap. However, I doubt I would have received any less information than I was at the time, really. Like I said, a lot of times (and I’m sure some of you remember) you got an issue that was part 2 of 3 without ever having seen 1 or getting to see 3. But that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy those comics. Nonetheless, you’re right that comics are expensive and it’s harder to take risks.

    “And for that matter, how dare younger readers want stories that cater to their own reading styles! Every story should be told the way it was when *I* was a child! The only people that comics should cater to should be middle-aged men, who want to preserve all the genre conventions that they enjoyed most! Secret identities and marriage-retcons for everyone!”

    —Younger readers have lots of comics that cater to their reading styles. And most of them are hanging out in the Manga section of Barnes and Noble rather than their LCBS. If they’re in the LCBS they’re likely at the Indie rack. There is nothing on the Indie rack that I really enjoy, but I don’t buy those comics and say “OK, someone needs to make this indie book I don’t like more appealing to me” I did not, in any way shape or form, say that every story should be aimed at me, or my generation, but I think a lot of young people wouldn’t read superhero comics if you gave them to them free.

    I have as of yet to see an attempt to “bring in younger readers” to superhero comics that has permanent positive effects. If they could really, seriously turn around sales and shake something up in superhero comics in a way that would double sales, even if it weren’t for me, I’d applaud the effort and be happy for those readers. Ultimate Marvel was probably the closest to success in recent years, but even a lot of those readers are moving on. It’s not the powerhouse it was. DC tried IMPACT! and those comics were quite good, but that didn’t work out so well for them.

    “Secret identities and marriage-retcons for everyone!”

    Sounds like you’re more mad at Marvel than DC ; )

  24. Of course, this isn’t the first time that they’re changing their minds in this fashion recently. Since last month alone, a new round of impending creative changes on Titans, The Flash, Batman and the Outsiders, Robin, Supergirl and Green Arrow/Black Canary have been confirmed, and there are rumors that Legion of Super-Heroes is in for a new writer as well – all titles which had been manned with new creative personnel only recently.

    This seems to be going away from the focus of this feature just a tad. Seemed a little odd, even if I agree with the points you’re trying to make when you stray away from the mission statement of the column.

    I WOULD LIKE ALL POSTERS TO REFRAIN FROM SUCH STATEMENTS AS “SUCHANSUCH HAS FALLEN BELOW 20K.”

    Starts with the column we’re responding to, then, doesn’t it? Seems to be odd to make a special comment about what would appear to be a minor item, though.

  25. Eric,

    My sincere apologies. Thanks for clarifying.

    Sounds like you’re more mad at Marvel than DC ; )

    I try to be an equal-opportunity sniper. :)

  26. I WOULD LIKE ALL POSTERS TO REFRAIN FROM SUCH STATEMENTS AS “SUCHANSUCH HAS FALLEN BELOW 20K.”

    THESE NUMBERS ARE NOT EXACT. THEY ARE LOWER THAN ACTUAL FIGURES. TRENDS ARE ACCURATE BUT NUMBERS ARE NOT.

    I apologize for discussing sales figures in response to an article devoted to discussing sales figures.

    I will rectify this by devoting my next few posts to how much I love toasted-cheese sandwiches, so that I don’t make the mistake of discussing the subject of an article in response to the article itself.

  27. The Beat says:

    K-Box, here’s a little logic:

    “OHMYGOD! FLASHING LANTERN HAS FALLEN TO 19,459 copies a month! Falling below 20K is a disaster for DC and they must fire their receptionist immediately! In addition, Dan DiSlotto promised to jump off the Holland Tunnel the minute it fell below 20K, so get the nets!”

    Except that in reality, on the company sales chart, FLASHING LANTERN has NOT fallen below 20K. It’s probably sold at 10-12% greater than the numbers listed.

    I don’t mind discussing the sales chart, but making any definitive statements on degree based on these estimates are a waste of time.

    And you wouldn’t want to waste time on the internets, would you?

  28. Kenny says:

    Yeah, how dare anybody discuss the sales numbers in response to the column on sales numbers! Quoting the article so you can reference what you’re talking about? Who the Hell wants to do that? This is the Internet Age! I want to make up my own sales numbers and comment on those!

    I’m glad this article tells me Madman and Jack Staff both sell over 100,000 copies apiece! I was worried that almost no one was reading them!

  29. The grueling irony there being that the first one wasn’t necessary in the first place. Was there any rationale beyond “It’s a Crisis, so let’s fuck with The Flash for the hell of it?”

    If there was any other rationale, I certainly haven’t heard it.

  30. Kenny says:

    Anyway, outside of the fun clowning on sales numbers, I have an actual question:

    Where are the new readers?

    05/2003: 26,961

    05/2008: 27,075

    The average sale is up by 100 copies; there are no new readers here.

  31. Micah says:

    Morganogrom – I’m one of those monthly Northlander readers, and I just saw the $10 price tag for the first trade. That sucked. I’ll still pick up this next issue, but I’m considering dropping the title. The story isn’t worth the money. After this and DMZ, I’ve had enough of Brian Wood. I think I’ll switch to eBay… maybe.

    Regarding Scalped, why not put out the monthlies, knowing that people are going to buy singles and other people are going to buy the trades? You might as well move some additional units. I’m on board until it gets canceled. Not too much longer now, with Jason Aaron getting more Marvel work.

    The continuity issue of Final Crisis is interesting, where everyone is saying you need a degree in DC comics history to understand it. All the while comparisons are being made to Secret Invasion of how the concept is easy to grasp. The concept of Secret Invasion is simple, yes, but the story is built on 3 years worth of Bendis comics. I stopped reading his Avengers material after the delays on Secret War and the really bad stories told in New Avengers (“I. AM. XORN!!!”), so the reveals don’t come continuity-free. If you were a new reader the Avengers, I’m sure you’d be thinking, “What the hell?” for the first three issues. Just like House of M.

    Then again, the same could be said for Final Crisis and Seven Soldiers, JLA, 52 and Batman. We’ll see.

  32. brett says:

    BTW, for those who claim DC didn’t state what FC was about, well… they did. The book is about, The Day Evil Won.

    What makes that so special, I don’t know but DC keeps claiming that things will begin happening in Issue 2, then even more in issue 3.

    Problem is, like many said, if you haven’t engaged your reader by the first couple of pages, chances are, they ain’t coming back for issue 2 or 3.

    But this is from a company who has been expecting consumers to be patient, waiting for things to happen in the climax of this grand 5 year plan storyline, for oh, about 5 years now!

  33. I don’t mind discussing the sales chart, but making any definitive statements on degree based on these estimates are a waste of time.

    As opposed to predicting the supposedly imminent firing of Dan DiDio based on Internet rumor-mongering, which you yourself have admitted that you have been guilty of doing?

    Clean up your own behavior, please, before you start criticizing anyone else’s on this score.

  34. I guess these big events are as much about what *could* happened opposed to what is happening. The *could* of Secret Invasion is awesome. The *could* of Final Crisis is kept secret and ambigous, and with a 4$ price tag, you’re going to choose the one that you think will blow your mind.

    I’m going to recommend Final Crisis btw. Despite all the hate, its a sweet book. If DC has a problem its poor titles get too much marketing, so there comes a wave of mistrust.

    This didn’t sell badly by the by. Secret Invasion just sold insanely well.

  35. To paraphrase morganagrom:

    ” What would happen if DC simply decided to cancel the periodical & release a twice yearly series of Scalped paperbacks? ”

    That statement reminds me of a deal HBO tried to make with David Milch concerning the conclusion of Deadwood – just take ther series off the air and finish it in series of tv movies.

    But you know what happened instead?

    We got ” John From Cincinnatti “. And that wasn’t very good for either party.

    Just allow nature take its’ coarse, shall we?

    ~

    Coat

  36. Allen says:

    I saw $ecret Inva$ion #1 and Final Cri$iS #1 on the stands last evening while visiting a local chain — I purchased neither. There is no need for myself to purchase either because they will both end up as trades at my local library.

    In my nutter opinion, DC and Marvel should focus on convincing every single public library (and their branches) in the nation to staff its circulation shelves with at least ten copies of every trade they published. Imagine the pre-sell numbers?!

  37. Somebody says:

    Uh… how many libraries, outside of the largest, carry ten copies of ANY single volume at any time?

  38. Ben LF says:

    I like the library idea… perhaps then people who wouldn’t normally buy comics might see them and think “hey I’ll try that – it’s free”… then they might enjoy it and start buying more comics. People are always bitching that there are no new readers… but of course comic shops *tend* to be *mostly* filled with middle age men (which I almost am) looking at super-hero stuff featuring charicatures of fantasy women and men hitting each other. Or zapping each other. Or waving big swords at each other…

    The point is that comic shops don’t appeal to the general populace in the same way that book shops do. I’m all for comics. I love comics. I hope to get my kids to read comics. But at the moment I can only see them going the way of vinyl records (which I also love, collect, cherish etc etc).

    In other news… I find it funny that everyone always goes on and on about DC continuity and how hard it is to figure everything out… I managed to get into it as an 11 year-old in the 80s but I know if I picked up a random Marvel comic now I wouldn’t have a clue who half the characters were. The problem *isn’t* having a continuity… the problem is messing with it every 10/5/3/2/0.5 years and NO-ONE knowing what the hell is going on. Retcons and reboots are making chracters such as Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and The Spectre impossible to follow. Thank Dog for Wikipedia and people with more time on their hands than me.

    What I’d like to see is a series of 12 trades at $15. One a month for a year. Big and fat like the “showcase presents” series. They would tell the story of the past universe, the current universe and set the stage for the coming universe. They would have a bit of encyclopeadia content for major characters and a simplified timeline. They could stay in print and on the shelves so that anyone getting into DC say could just think at some point “I’ll read those and I’ll know what’s going on”. They should be in colour but cheap and after a year they should do a “buy one get one free” so that half-interested fans are drawn in and decide they ought to buy them. They can then do $50 editions for the “real” or “obsessive” or “completist” fans which will all have a single new page of realistic Alex Ross artwork featuring e.g. Batman flossing, Superman buying toilet paper, Green Arrow removing a splinter (in his ultra-real, more real than real no really, it’s really “real”! style).

    Then, when all this is said and done, next time someone bitches to me about DC’s continuity problems I’ll get them over to my place and bury them under the whole bloody set.

    This turned into a rant. Sorry.

  39. Kirk:

    It’s a fair point that a book selling at, say, 9,900 units in this chart may still be selling above 10,000 to anyone who’s got the real numbers. As close and consistent as the estimates may be, they’re still just an approximation of the real numbers.

    While I agree with Heidi that it’s an important distinction, though, I’ll be the first to say that I’ve probably been as guilty as anyone of casually referring to sales when I mean sales estimates, if only because I don’t like sounding like a broken record. The disclaimers in the column notwithstanding, you probably can’t make the distinction often enough.

  40. Ben LF says:

    Me again. I like my idea so much I’ve even thought up 12 volumes in the time it took me to finish biting my nails:

    1) Superman, 2) Batman, 3) Wonder Woman, 4) Flash, 5) Green Lantern universe, 6) JLA, 7) Teens & sidekicks, 8) Magic, 9) Space (featuring Hawkman, Rann etc), 10) The Future (LSH, Kamandi), 11) The Past (JSA, Jonah Hex, um…), and of course 12) ABSOLUTE ULTIMATE SECRET CRISIS WARS INVASION which would lead into a big crossover of every comic.

  41. timothycat says:

    Some thoughts on Vertigo:

    1. They still aren’t getting it regarding the size of trades and hardcovers. For instance the deluxe version of Y The Last Man is still going to require bookstore readers to wait several years to get the whole series and they will still need to seek out five books. Those of us who have the patience for serial fiction are now few and far between. These are stories an adult can enjoy but most of us just don’t have the memory or patience to keep up. Though I keep buying the trades for 100 Bullets I haven’t read one in 4 years. It’s an intricate storyline and there are just too many distractions in life to expect me to drop in once a year and actually remember what came before. I do plan to read it when it’s done though.

    2. Sandman, Preacher, Fables etc. are anomolies in their ability to retain readers for many years. It’s time for Vertigo to stop aiming all their long form stories at 60 issues. Life has become faster and faster and people want some form of completion in their fiction without the “padding” that many Vertigo series have. On the other hand I find the 100 or so page graphic novels Vertigo (etc.) puts out to be too short to be satisfying. Let’s see more series that are designed to last two years (for example) and are then available in one or two trades or hardcovers at most. There needs to be a happy medium between graphic novels and long form stories. Look at how television has evolved. Most of the best series now have short seasons. Exterminators, Scalped, DMZ etc. all suffer from the franchise syndrome. Start with the assumption that the book will only last for a couple of years and only extend it under extraordinary circumstances.

    I really hate to say these things as I love the long form story that Vertigo does so well. But, obviously there aren’t enough folks like me out there anymore to support this model. Vertigo needs to change with the times. Remember, when Vertogo started there were only a few thousand of us following comics on USENET. Like newspapers Vertigo needs to either change or it will die.

    Best,
    Tim

  42. Sean W says:

    SUPERMAN – I seem to recall it was first announced that James Robinson was taking over with #676, so maybe that explains the fact that an all-of-a-sudden fill-in issue outsold Busiek’s next-to-last ish? Then again, this would technically mean that Robinson’s first issue was a drop from #675, which would be…..rather bad, given that DC’s probably expecting it to sell better than Busiek’s last issue.

    SUPERGIRL – The new team, and the book, is technically going to be more attuned to what Johns and Robinson on the other Superbooks. So in theory that implies the sales will go way up to match ACTION and SUPERMAN. But things don’t work that way, especially lately at DC. Also, ACTION and SUPERMAN aren’t selling so super anyway (40k); but still, an improvement over SUPERGIRL’s recent (disastrous) sales is expected. Whether it happens…who knows.

    LOVELESS – I read the first trade, and I found it to be incomprehensible. Maybe many other people had that opinion of the series too, hence the greatly low sales and cancellation.

  43. Alan Coil says:

    Wow, the peons are biting the ankles of the Queen Bee. Hope they don’t get squashed.

  44. John Smith says:

    It would be helpful if each and every post included guidelines how how the unwashed masses can and cannot comment appropriately.

  45. Dennis says:

    RE: “Second, Final Crisis #1 came in two different, equally distributed cover editions, while Secret Invasion has had four per issue.”

    The Secret Invasion’s covers were as follows: one regular cover; and then for the variant incentive levels: 1:20; 1:50; and a 1:75.

  46. @timothycat, on the subject of the hardcovers taking years to release and requiring multiple books — that’s hardly any different from the typical fantasy or sci-fi epic novel sequence. A 4-volume cycle can easily take anywhere from 4-8 years depending on how fast the author writes, and paperbacks often lag a year behind the hardcovers.

  47. I think the point Heidi is getting at is that you need to remember that these figures represent ICV2’s estimates of only those sales which go through the chart. The total sales will always, inevitably, be higher. For example, everything sells in Britain to some extent. So when a book drops from 21,200 to 19,800, it hasn’t really “dropped below 20K” at all.

  48. Colin says:

    Hi,

    With all these wild, speculative arguments about the woes and evils of DC editorial and marketing going around I think it’s about time we all gained a little perspective and looked at the real course of DCs sales issues at the moment. ME! Plain and simple it’s me, all me me me!

    I started getting into DC big time a couple of years ago after a couple of years collecting all the Wally West Flash material I could get my greedy little purrs on. Since then I’ve been moving steadily away from Marvel and increasingly towards DC. In May (and this is all true I promise) my DC pull list was as follows (most of which I love and I think are great books).

    Final Crisis: I’ve been looking forward to this for a year now and opps, not the launch it seems people were expecting.

    Rann/Thanagar: Holy War: Not a disaster but not great (though must admit I’m not enjoying this as much as most of the other books I’m getting).

    Brave and the Bold: Ouch that’s slipping away badly for a great book.

    Batman and the Outsiders: Not looking healthy.

    Flash: Much talked about already and now it would seem that even Wally West himself, my first DC love, is maybe going to be sidelined.

    Legion of Superheroes: Numbers slipping away too.

    The War that Time Forgot: This is a great little book and it’s a shame its sales are so poor!

    Tor: Oh come on it the good Kubert, the one with real talent so why isn’t this selling by the shed load?

    Shadowpact: The first (but alas not the last) that’s actually been cancelled from my list.

    Spirit: While the new creative team isn’t as good as Cooke its still a mighty fine fun book.

    Metal Men: Ok I didn’t understand it all but I’m looking forward to reading it in one sitting without the long breaks and assume it will make more sense like that.

    Infinity Inc: I loved 52, love Milligan what could possibly go wrong with this title…. Oh.

    So you see all DC need to do to turn itself around is stop me buying their books and the jobs a good ‘un!

    (I don’t read any Wildstorm books – their problems are of their own making!)

  49. Colin (Part 2) says:

    Hi again,

    Ok there was a point from my last post, aside from making it seem like I have a massive ego and the world (or at least DC sales) rotate around me.

    What can we gleam from my pull list (which again I have to reiterate is genuine) aside from the fact that I’m clearly completely out of step with popular thinking when it comes to what makes a good comic book (I mean I’m turning towards DC from being a Marvel fan at this time and I haven’t even got around to checking out any of Geoff Johns much hailed current books.).

    The answer of course is nothing, not a damned sausage. Now if you looked at my list in isolation without anything other than the raw sales data, and believed that I somehow had the mystical power to change the way the world works you might well be able to see a pretty decent correlation between books I like and bad or falling sales. Not an exclusive and exhaustive link, but still a link. Now of course being rational, sane people we know there is no such link.

    Why then do people make seemingly definitive statements about the course and scale of DCs current APPARENT problems? Now I’m not going to say that there isn’t a problem, I’m not here to defend DC and all the evidence available to us Internet readers seems to point to the fact that there is a problem and what some of the courses are. That said there is no way we have all the information. These sales breakdowns, even to the writers need to be a bit of fun, some rough estimates that give some indication about the relative state of play between the competing big two. It’s not the whole picture, they’re by no means definitive and a whole host of other factors we’re by no means privilege to will come into play.

    I love reading these run downs but treat them for what they are, a bit of fun, a vague glimpse into the world behind the comics I love. Nothing more, nothing less.

    A great example of this is all the speculation about the relative success or otherwise the Amazing Spiderman launch as an almost weekly comic. Depending on people’s perspective this is either starting to prove to be a massive failure, or still a raging success depending on how people have determined, with no real information, what Marvel decided it wanted from the sales of these books. A host of factors are banded around, none of which have any real meaning as its all fun speculation.

    In these figures we’re looking at estimates, from one market place (though I’m sure North America is the main one but international markets I’m sure play a part) through one (though again the main) channel of sales with no knowledge of what sales required for each title are for it to break even.

    So for example I’d guess (that I’d GUESS) that Green Lantern costs more to produce than say Green Lantern Corps at the moment. I guess this because I figure Geoff John’s and the rest of the creative team cost more to hire than the team on the ‘Corps’. Likewise while Flash’s sales are certainly going down and this is worrying (I’m not pretending I’m not worried but the truth is I don’t really know and it’s probably pretty safe) if the drop in sales since say Mark Waid left is to some extent compensated for by having a book that now costs less to produce ‘cos Tom Peyer costs less to hire to write a book?

    That’s my guess at just one factor that might influence how DC judges the actually success of a book in its output. There’ll be loads more and enough already.

    All I’m saying is until we can get the comic companies to release actual sales figures we’re only playing with speculation. Even when they do that we won’t have the complete picture. So let’s have a bit of fun with all this and stop assuming we can make definitive statements about stuff we really don’t know about.

    Did we learn nothing from the rumours of Didio’s impending departure from DC?

    Now then more importantly why is my taste so bad in comics…

  50. Marc & Paul,

    I get what you’re saying, but the problem is, regardless of however many disclaimers you issue, the only reason your posts exist is to make projections based upon the available sales numbers (after all, if we just wanted the sales estimates without your respective analyses, we’d simply go straight to ICv2 or similar sites), so for Heidi or whomever to take the replying posters to task for what basically amounts to the same thing – ie. making projections based upon the available sales numbers – smacks of a tremendously petty, pissy hypocrisy.

    I mean, what, should I take the time to add a disclaimer of my own, to the end of every single one of my reply posts in these threads? PLEASE.

  51. Jim Sheridan says:

    In regard to the idea of Vertigo running shorter title runs, it seems to be happening already, though I don’t know if that is just because of low sales. I assume it is. I think I just read that “Vinyl Underground” will stop at 12 issues.
    Side note: “The Boys” has certainly been busting the Big Two’s chops, hasn’t it?

  52. I don’t agree that the only purpose of these posts is to make projections. Their main purpose is to present the data in a way that makes the existing trends visible. Obviously you could do that yourself if you wanted, but it’d take you several hours, and we’re saving you the hassle.

  53. AndyD says:

    Even if retailers got, what? 35%? and Diamond gets its share, at 4 USD a piece FC must still be in the success zone for DC. If it would have sold as bad as the rest of the line, maybe then DC would have a problem, who knows.

    Of course this says nothing about the inability of those supposedly iconic characters like Superman or Wonder Woman to sell more than 50K a month. Even if actual ales are higher and you would count the monthly online-theft numbers in – which translated in actual sales surely would boost these number a lot -, it still doesn´t paint a rosy picture for the future. The profit margin for monthly superhero comics must get smaller all the time. Which is sad.

  54. The Beat says:

    k-Box:

    No I’m saying not to take a BORDERLINE FIGURE and make a federal case out of it.

    Reread my last post.

  55. brett says:

    On a positive note about Joe Kubert’s TOR — which has absolutely nothing to do with DC continuity and doesn’t even take place in the DCU — its an outrageously excellent book by one of the veteran masters of the industry.

    A funny side note, Joe Kubert must be pushing 70 by now, his work is still quality from page one to the last and like his last mini-series, each issue ships on time.

    Take that you young whipper-snappers!

  56. geek goggles says:

    brett: “A funny side note, Joe Kubert must be pushing 70 by now”

    he’s actually 81!!

  57. Joe S. Walker says:

    “Joe Kubert must be pushing 70 by now…”

    He’s past 80! And yeah, he’s still got it.

  58. Shawn says:

    Since I chimed in last time to complain about the analysis, I thought I’d say that the analysis this time is quite good: nice trend analysis and some useful insight. Thanks.

  59. Fanboy Menace says:

    Part of the problem is that I’ve been a DC reader on and off for thirty plus years and I’M starting to find their continuity and business model impenetrable. And comics are too expensive to be buying a title for one issue longer than necessary if they aren’t entertaining you.

    DC chasing “whatever sells” is, as strange as it sounds, bad practice. Whatever sells in this market environment is whatever is catering to and catching the attention of the shrinking niche fanbase. Whenever they try something new and it doesn’t catch on immediately the Big Two bury it as not marketable and go back to feeding the neverending crossover with more graphic violence and shocking character deaths. Nevermind that there are other venues out there for selling comics in the 21st century as well as whole new market demographics they could reach if they had the guts to actually to try something different or take a chance. So they will continue to run every tried and true formula into the ground while the industry dies around them.

    Oh wait, I’m just some internet loudmouth babyman so why pay any attention to me right? (yes, treating your customers like an annoyance is also very bad business)

  60. I don’t agree that the only purpose of these posts is to make projections. Their main purpose is to present the data in a way that makes the existing trends visible.

    I would argue that you’ve basically said the same thing twice. Please note; this is not a criticism, because I enjoy your analyses and find them to be both insightful and valid. However, as soon as you attempt to determine trends, you are engaging in interpretation, which is not exactly editorializing, but it’s still a bit removed from “straight” reporting, in my own opinion as a newspaper reporter IRL. Once you get to that level, the main difference is how accurate your interpretations are, and while I’d acknowledge that you have a very good track record on that score (easily better than a lot of us who are replying to your posts), I still feel we should be free to offer our own interpretations in response.

    Obviously you could do that yourself if you wanted, but it’d take you several hours, and we’re saving you the hassle.

    And as someone who often can only post in the middle of doing other things, I do appreciate this. :)

  61. Heidi wrote: “Except that in reality, on the company sales chart, FLASHING LANTERN has NOT fallen below 20K. It’s probably sold at 10-12% greater than the numbers listed.”

    For reference, here’s what’s in the Comichron and ICV2 estimates of Diamond’s reports and what’s not:

    1) Diamond’s sales to the U.K. These tend to be in the 10% range when it comes to units. Diamond sold approximately $36.8 million in comics, trades, and magazines in May 2008 in North America; my best guess on UK sales is another $3.8 million.

    2) Newsstand sales, if the publisher has them, as well as any sales through other distributors, direct sales, or subscriptions — again, if the publisher has them.

    3) Any reorder activity outside the calendar period being reported.

    Before 2003, we could safely say that the charts ALSO underestimated sales on all comics because they only reported preorders. Since 2003 and Diamond’s move to final order reporting, we also get reorders that ship within the same calendar month. This benefits Week 1 books more than any on the list, as a consequence. (And this is one of the places where month-to-month comparisons get tricky, if a book ships at different times in the months being compared. It’s this, not just the issue number, that causes the decline you usually see when multiple issues of a weekly ship in the same month. It’s not necessarily that sales are trailing off — just that the earlier issues have had more weeks in which to gather reorders.)

    Given the standard errors most people have been able to achieve since the 2003 change, I’m reasonably sure the Comichron and ICV2 tables, as well as some others I could name, reflect what we each say they’re estimating; Diamond’s North American orders in the calendar month, and only Diamond’s North American orders in the calendar month. The important thing is always to spell that out, which isn’t always easy in a discussion. There’s always a lot of boilerplate small print that Marc-Oliver and Milton and I and the rest of us writing about this stuff, but it’s there for a reason.

  62. That last line should be — “There’s always a lot of boilerplate small print that Marc-Oliver and Milton and I and the rest of us writing about this stuff have to put in, but it’s there for a reason.” (Forget boilerplate — Must. Remember. Predicates!)

  63. And I meant to say up there that Items 1, 2, and 3 are the groups of copies NOT found in the monthly rankings. Oy.

  64. Kirk:

    “However, as soon as you attempt to determine trends, you are engaging in interpretation, which is not exactly editorializing, but it’s still a bit removed from “straight” reporting”

    Personally, I can live with that description. I regard the column as a piece of critical, independent analysis and commentary – all opinions expressed are, of course, those of the author, et cetera, yadda yadda. That said, I agree with Paul that the primary objective is to make trends visible.

  65. Samy Merchi says:

    To be honest, I find the nitpicking about whether a title is selling 19k or 21k rather petty. We’re obviously discussing the numbers in the original post, who cares if they’re not SuperAccurateOMGWTFBBQ100%AbsolutelyReal. So there’s some magic “absolutely accurate” number floating somewhere out there that’s 10% higher, so what, who cares? It’s not like we’re doing anything that requires the absolutely accurate numbers. This isn’t a hospital where the milligrams of dosage has to be exact. We’re engaging in estimating and predicting, and for something as nebulous as that, numbers in the 10-20% ballpark are *perfectly fine*. It is unimportant to the big picture that the actual real superhyperaccurate sales number encompassing absolutely everything possible is slightly higher. It doesn’t matter. Let’s just go with these numbers we have. The difference is trivial. Enough harping on it.

  66. Zinoviev Letter says:

    About Scalped, according to a post on Jason Aaron’s message boards both the first and second trade sold out their initial print runs in three months.

    Now we don’t know what the initial print runs were, but I think we can take it for granted that if the print runs are so low that even selling out can’t bring a profit to Vertigo then they wouldn’t produce it at all. So we have to assume that those sales are reasonably substantial. But we also know that the trades are only selling alright as far as first month direct market US sales are concerned. Which leads me to suspect that the book is selling at a relatively much better rate somewhere else.

    That wouldn’t be entirely surprising when we consider the subject matter. A crime story set on an Indian reservation isn’t exactly the kind of thing calibrated to sell in the direct market outlets. But it might well be the kind of thing that sells in the bookstores.

    The other circumstantial evidence is the very fact that the book hasn’t been cancelled. It’s 18 issues in now, which is a lot of issues for a book with first month periodical sales that low.

  67. For me, a fundamental question regarding DC’s decision making was answered when Sinestro Corps War became a “sleeper hit.” It got far less advertisement than Countdown, the GA/BC wedding special, and even Amazon Attacks. That’s not just a marketing snafu, it’s branding out the wrong things… backing the wrong horses.

    When it comes to classic comic themes, Sinestro delivered. The books didn’t rely on anything particularly “catchy,” nor were they saturated with gimicky hero death. The same thing happened with the Resurrection of Ras a Ghul.

    A similar type of mini-epic within the pages of Flash or Green Arrow would have seen modest boosts I believe rather than the mess they seem to be in now.

    Sinestro Corps War proves that fans are still right there ready to gobble up floppies. And the lingering effect demonstrates that if its done right, we’ll stick around. Many of these other titles that are failing demonstrate that if you jerk our chains too hard, we’ll spend our money on something else.

  68. William says:

    Eric Wrote:

    “While I don’t know if I entirely agree that understanding in one issue is always reasonable (do you always know what’s going on by page 50 of a novel?)”

    Not quite the same thing, really, as you are given an entire novel all at once to be read at your own pace, as opposed to divided up into 6 or more parts published once a month. Ditto with movies. You don’t get the first 25 minutes of the movie, then a “To be continued in 30 days” banner.

    I think it might have to do more with the rise of the trade paperback. Back even 20 years ago, comics were rarely if ever traded. For that matter, a lot of storylines were shorter too. Now everything is traded, and often stories are stretched out to better fit a trade volume.

    Anyway, you have a lot of new or current readers, myself included, who read trade paperbacks as much or perhaps even more than they do issues. When they do, it’s mostly in one sitting, or at least much quicker than they would were they to wait a month for each installement.

    Even serialised comics with volumes do this, particularly Manga. There’s still a ‘to be continued’, but there’s simply more story per installment.

    I think that’s where the mentality comes from more than anything.

  69. Well, it’s a question of degree. Plainly the first chapter doesn’t need to explain everything. But it certainly needs to be meaningful enough to be entertaining in its own right. There’s no point publishing something in serial form unless the individual instalments can stand alone to some degree. If the story only works when read as a whole, it shouldn’t be serialised in the first place.

  70. “Which leads me to suspect that the book is selling at a relatively much better rate somewhere else.”

    I’ve heard the same speculations about LOVELESS, CROSSING MIDNIGHT and THE EXTERMINATORS, so I’m skeptical. It’s possible, but it’s just as possible that SCALPED is being allowed to continue for reasons which have nothing to do with sales.

    It does seem to be getting more good press and professional support than any other current Vertigo book in recent memory, after all. Depending on how much rope they’ve got for this sort of thing, it wouldn’t seem unreasonable to give the book some time to find an audience, even if the numbers weren’t there yet.

  71. One reason Scalped might be getting a longer chance to find an audience is that Jason Aaron is just now starting to get the attention of audiences thanks to his runs on Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Black Panther, etc. over at Marvel. Heck, I loved his Wolverine run so much that I took a chance on the first Scalped trade (haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait to).

  72. Cookylamoo says:

    One thing that may be hurting Vertigo may be what seems to be a “house style” of art. Open just about any Vertigo book and you you find muddy grey muted artwork with sketchy drawings of skinny ugly women and fat gross men. Nothing is very dynamic, everything is rather bland and presentational. It’s like reading a novel where the visuals don’t really add that much. I’m not speaking of all Vertigo books, but in the main, one of their titles looks pretty much like another.

  73. Why do they still bother with the Wildstorm Universe?

    If they wanna use WS as their licensed properties brand, fine. But why keep doing relaunch after relaunch of WSU? Are they afraid of ticking off Jim Lee if they completely axed their superheroes line?

  74. Shawn Hill says:

    Re: Wildstorm: Yes, they don’t want to sever all ties with Jim Lee. They’re still waiting for him to get it together, I think.

    Re: Final Crisis: I agree with Paul’s column, where he discusses the numbers as not that bad at all (compared to exceeding all expectations Secret Invasion). I think this one is a sleeper, too. The story is building to include more major players, the art is rock-solid, and word of mouth is going to work in its favor. All we’ve got to judge by in May is anticipation based on Final Countdown. IE, there wasn’t any, the series made no sense. But Grant Morrison isn’t Paul Dini.

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    As you seem to know what your doing blogging wise, do you know what the best time of the week is to blog and have them read?…

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