Marvel Month-to-Month sales February 2007

By Paul O’Brien

After months of hype and a midnight launch, DARK TOWER is finally in the stores, and on the charts.

But it’s far from being a one-book month. February saw the final issue of CIVIL WAR, complete with a few more crossover issues – though even by the end of the month, there were a couple of stragglers still to come. And as one event finishes, two more begin. The Spider-Man books entered “Back in Black”, and the wider Marvel Universe began shipping “Initiative” titles. The Initiative isn’t a crossover so much as a branding exercise for books with lasting effects from the Superhuman Registration Act. But it’s helping to keep up the interest as the Marvel Universe moves past CIVIL WAR.

All this contributes to Marvel giving DC a complete thumping in market share – 42% to 33% in dollars, 47% to 35% in units. Not even remotely close.

It can’t hurt to repeat the caveats that attach to these figures. These are estimated sales based on Diamond’s published chart for North American direct market stores. They don’t include sales to retailers outside the direct market, and they don’t include sales to the UK (which can be substantial, for some books). Equally, we don’t know how many copies were sold on to customers and how many just piled up on the shelves – although obviously, if you’ve got a clear upwards or downwards trend, that gives you a pretty good clue.

Thanks as always to Milton Griepp and ICV2 for permission to use their figures for these calculations.

1.  CIVIL WAR
05/06  #1 of 7 - 360,172
06/06  #2 of 7 - 339,527  ( -5.7%)
07/06  #3 of 7 - 335,655  ( -1.1%)
08/06  ---
09/06  #4 of 7 - 288,609  (-13.2%)
10/06  ---
11/06  #5 of 7 - 281,323  ( -2.5%)
12/06  ---
01/07  #6 of 7 - 259,264  ( -7.8%)
02/07  #7 of 7 - 265,935  ( +2.6%)
                  6 mnth  ( -7.9%)

The juggernaut miniseries finally concludes, although if the previous issues are anything to go by, re-orders will continue to crop up for a couple of months yet. In February, issue #4 sold another 1,530 copies, and issue #5 managed 1,805. As usual, those are added into the totals above. There’s a variant cover on this issue, too.

By any reasonable standard, this series has been an enormous hit. Most books would kill to launch with 266K in sales. CIVIL WAR ends with it. It’s in a different league.

This is as good a place as any to mention CIVIL WAR: CASUALTIES OF WAR, a reprint of the three “Casualties of War” one-shots that were added to the schedule at the last minute. It appears on the chart at number 155 with orders of 9,988 – impressive for a high-priced reprint book. There’s also CIVIL WAR: BLACK PANTHER – WAR CRIMES, reprinting BLACK PANTHER #21-23, which charts at number 157 on the strength of 9,614 orders.

2.  DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN
02/07  #1 of 7 - 175,214

That’s 172,147 copies from February, plus the 3,067 midnight copies that somehow slipped onto the January chart. As you’d expect, there are two variant covers on this.

175,000 is a excellent launch for any book in the direct market. Of course, it’s not up there with CIVIL WAR. But CIVIL WAR was the lynchpin of a crossover event aimed at the superhero fans. DARK TOWER is clearly intended to have a long and successful afterlife in trade paperback format, where I expect it’ll do a lot better than CIVIL WAR. It’s a Stephen King adaptation, after all.

Marvel have tried to promote this book as a direct market event, as well as an outreach project to new readers. Well, so far, so good.

3.  AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
02/02  #40  -  90,551
02/03  #50  - 100,439
02/04  #504 -  84,064
02/05  #517 -  78,584
=====
02/06  #529 - 132,329  (+35.3%)
03/06  #530 - 101,226  (-23.5%)
04/06  #531 -  96,213  ( -5.0%)
05/06  #532 - 119,083  (+23.8%)
06/06  #533 - 137,926  (+15.8%)
07/06  #534 - 125,553  ( -9.0%)
08/06  ----
09/06  #535 - 122,968  ( -2.1%)
10/06  ----
11/06  #536 - 121,003  ( -1.6%)
12/06  ---
01/07  #537 - 123,160  ( +1.8%)
02/07  #538 - 142,956  (+16.1%)
               6 mnth  (+16.3%)
               1 year  ( +8.0%)
               2 year  (+81.9%)
               3 year  (+70.1%)

“Back in Black” was due to start in February, but this is actually the late-running final part of the CIVIL WAR crossover arc. There’s a 1:50 variant cover by Clayton Crain, which probably accounts for a good chunk of that boost. Issue #537 also picks up re-orders of 8,358 thanks to a second printing with a Ron Garney variant cover.

However, the other two Spider-Man titles do start on “Back in Black” this month, and as we’ll see, it’s working out rather nicely for them.

4.  NEW AVENGERS
02/02  #51 -  54,381
02/03  #64 -  52,753
02/04  #78 -  58,798
02/05  #3  - 148,973
=====
02/06  #16 - 124,256  (  +0.1%)
03/06  #17 - 122,847  (  -1.1%)
04/06  #18 - 121,550  (  -1.1%)
05/06  #19 - 125,223  (  +3.0%)
06/06  #20 - 125,600  (  +0.3%)
06/06  #21 - 154,911  ( +23.4%)
07/06  #22 - 143,391  (  -7.4%)
08/06  #23 - 155,550  (  +8.5%)
09/06  ---
10/06  #24 - 136,811  ( -12.0%)
11/06  #25 - 136,504  (  -0.2%)
12/06  #26 - 122,670  ( -10.1%)
01/06  ---
02/07  #27 - 130,531  (  +6.4%)
              6 mnth  ( -16.1%)
              1 year  (  +5.1%)
              2 year  ( -12.4%)
              3 year  (+122.0%)

Back on schedule now that CIVIL WAR is out of the way, this is our first Initiative book. As you’d expect, there’s a variant cover on this, so in real terms the jump isn’t that enormous. But the book is holding onto its momentum coming out of the crossover, and that’s the key point here.

5.  ASTONISHING X-MEN
02/05  #8  - 134,134
=====
02/06  #13 - 148,244  (+10.1%)
03/06  ---
04/06  #14 - 124,129  (-16.3%)
05/06  ---
06/06  #15 - 119,991  ( -3.3%)
07/06  ---
08/06  #16 - 121,897  ( +1.6%)
09/06  #17 - 124,026  ( +1.7%)
10/06  ---
11/06  #18 - 118,285  ( -4.6%)
12/06  #19 - 124,033  ( +4.9%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #20 - 119,736  ( -3.5%)
              6 mnth  ( -1.8%)
              1 year  (-19.2%)
              2 year  (-10.7%)

Detached from all the crossovers and events – though it still gets a variant cover – ASTONISHING X-MEN continues to pull in the sales, comfortably beating the other monthly X-Men titles.

6.  WOLVERINE
02/02  #173 -  69,684
02/03  #186 -  63,911
02/04  #11  -  69,686
02/05  #25  -  83,180
=====
02/06  #39  -  75,285  ( +2.0%)
03/06  #40  -  77,627  ( +3.1%)
04/06  #41  -  70,965  ( -8.6%)
05/06  #42  - 112,209  (+58.1%)
06/06  #43  - 116,540  ( +3.9%)
07/06  #44  - 111,478  ( -4.3%)
08/06  #45  - 110,662  ( -0.7%)
09/06  #46  - 107,865  ( -2.5%)
10/06  #47  - 106,201  ( -1.5%)
11/06  #48  -  99,991  ( -5.8%)
12/06  #49  -  78,807  (-21.2%)
01/07  #50  - 117,160  (+48.7%)
02/07  #51  -  97,181  (-17.1%)
               6 mnth  (-12.2%)
               1 year  (+29.1%)
               2 year  (+18.3%)
               3 year  (+39.5%)

Once again, there’s a variant cover here. As Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi’s run reaches its second issue, it seems we’re heading for a range below the recent CIVIL WAR crossover arc, but comfortably ahead of the book’s previous level. Marvel should be perfectly happy with that. Issue #50 picks up re-orders of 1,539.

12. NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI
12/06  #1 of 5 - 106,381
01/07  ---
02/07  #2 of 5 -  92,881  (-12.7%)

A perfectly comfortable drop. Oh, and there’s no variant on this one, in case you were wondering.

14. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE
06/06  #1  of 11 - 145,271
06/06  #2  of 11 - 132,858  ( -8.5%)
07/06  #3  of 11 - 128,164  ( -3.5%)
07/06  #4  of 11 - 111,868  (-12.7%)
08/06  #5  of 11 - 111,435  ( -0.4%)
09/06  #6  of 11 - 108,436  ( -2.7%)
10/06  #7  of 11 - 106,588  ( -1.7%)
11/06  #8  of 11 - 100,869  ( -5.4%)
12/06  #9  of 11 -  97,948  ( -2.9%)
01/07  #10 of 11 -  99,795  ( +1.9%)
02/07  #11 of 11 -  89,163  (-10.7%)
                    6 mnth  (-20.0%)

That’s a surprisingly big drop for the final issue of a miniseries. Still, viewed as a whole, this has been selling extremely well, considering that it’s the secondary CIVIL WAR title.

17. UNCANNY X-MEN
02/02  #403 -  97,079
02/03  #419 -  83,714
02/04  #439 -  86,259
02/05  #455 -  88,920
=====
02/06  #469 -  79,039  ( -1.0%)
03/06  #470 -  79,389  ( +0.4%)
03/06  #471 -  78,286  ( -1.4%)
04/06  #472 -  79,157  ( +1.1%)
05/06  #473 -  79,335  ( +0.2%)
06/06  #474 -  78,140  ( -1.5%)
07/06  #475 - 106,037  (+35.7%)
07/06  #476 -  92,154  (-13.1%)
08/06  #477 -  89,225  ( -3.2%)
09/06  #478 -  89,850  ( +0.7%)
10/06  #479 -  89,052  ( -0.9%)
11/06  #480 -  88,584  ( -0.5%)
12/06  #481 -  85,995  ( -2.9%)
01/07  #482 -  83,860  ( -2.5%)
02/07  #483 -  83,009  ( -1.0%)
               6 mnth  ( -7.0%)
               1 year  ( +5.0%)
               2 year  ( -6.6%)
               3 year  ( -3.8%)

We’re getting back into more conventional territory here. UNCANNY X-MEN is holding up nicely under Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan, and they’re still ahead of the book’s previous sales.

18. WOLVERINE: ORIGINS
04/06  #1  - 182,672
05/06  #2  - 131,522  (-28.0%)
06/06  #3  - 116,058  (-11.8%)
07/06  #4  - 110,830  ( -4.5%)
08/06  #5  - 120,448  ( +8.7%)
09/06  #6  - 101,013  (-16.1%)
10/06  #7  - 103,273  ( +2.2%)
11/06  #8  -  91,585  (-11.3%)
12/06  #9  -  84,733  ( -7.5%)
01/07  #10 -  97,881  (+15.5%)
02/07  #11 -  78,901  (-19.4%)
              6 mnth  (-34.5%)

This would be the first issue without a variant cover, so you’d expect a drop. Considering last month’s spike, it’s possible the book will turn out to be stable at this level.

19. X-MEN
02/02  #123 - 105,642
02/03  #137 -  92,470
02/04  #153 - 113,879
02/05  #167 -  84,155
=====
02/06  #182 -  78,653  ( +6.2%)
02/06  #183 -  79,477  ( +1.0%)
03/06  #184 -  79,480  ( +0.0%)
04/06  #185 -  78,815  ( -0.8%)
05/06  #186 -  79,536  ( +0.9%)
06/06  #187 -  77,918  ( -2.0%)
07/06  #188 -  95,487  (+22.5%)
07/06  #189 -  85,157  (-10.8%)
08/06  #190 -  83,436  ( -2.0%)
09/06  #191 -  82,048  ( -1.7%)
10/06  #192 -  81,816  ( -0.3%)
11/06  #193 -  80,102  ( -2.1%)
12/06  #194 -  78,114  ( -2.5%)
01/07  #195 -  76,900  ( -1.6%)
02/07  #196 -  75,707  ( -1.6%)
               6 mnth  ( -9.3%)
               1 year  ( -3.7%)
               2 year  (-10.0%)
               3 year  (-33.5%)

In gentle decline. Of course, the X-Men titles have a crossover event in the pipeline.

20. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN
02/02  #19  -  77,513
02/03  #36  -  98,475
02/04  #53  -  92,540
02/05  #72  -  86,685
=====
02/06  #90  -  71,470  ( -0.6%)
03/06  #91  -  74,028  ( +3.6%)
03/06  #92  -  72,269  ( -2.4%)
04/06  #93  -  72,831  ( +0.8%)
05/06  #94  -  74,051  ( +1.7%)
05/06  #95  -  73,564  ( -0.7%)
06/06  #96  -  73,472  ( -0.1%)
07/06  #97  -  76,612  ( +4.3%)
08/06  #98  -  77,304  ( +0.9%)
08/06  #99  -  76,075  ( -1.6%)
09/06  #100 - 119,194  (+56.7%)
10/06  #101 -  78,963  (-33.8%)
11/06  #102 -  77,121  ( -2.3%)
12/06  #103 -  76,251  ( -1.1%)
01/07  #104 - 108,082  (+41.7%)
02/07  #105 -  74,376  (-31.2%)
               6 mnth  ( -3.8%)
               1 year  ( +4.1%)
               2 year  (-14.2%)
               3 year  (-19.6%)

Back to normal after last month’s spike.

22. X-MEN ANNUAL
02/07  #1 - 65,569

This is by regular writer Mike Carey, and it’s actually important to the plot. The parent title only does around 10K more than this, so I’d say this was a pretty good number.

24. ULTIMATE X-MEN
02/02  #15 - 94,713
02/03  #29 - 84,789
02/04  #42 - 97,299
02/05  #56 - 83,720
=====
02/06  #67 - 72,700  ( -1.4%)
03/06  #68 - 72,765  ( +0.1%)
04/06  #69 - 73,188  ( +0.6%)
05/06  #70 - 72,235  ( -1.3%)
06/06  #71 - 71,314  ( -1.3%)
07/06  #72 - 70,593  ( -1.0%)
08/06  #73 - 70,153  ( -0.6%)
09/06  #74 - 68,874  ( -1.8%)
10/06  #75 - 73,837  ( +7.2%)
11/06  #76 - 69,054  ( -6.5%)
12/06  #77 - 67,338  ( -2.5%)
01/07  #78 - 66,409  ( -1.4%)
02/07  #79 - 64,363  ( -3.1%)
             6 mnth  ( -8.3%)
             1 year  (-11.5%)
             2 year  (-23.1%)
             3 year  (-33.9%)

There’s a clear decline here, and it’s starting to look a little bit unhealthy.

25. THUNDERBOLTS
02/02  #61  - 29,197
02/03  #76  - 25,432
02/05  #5   - 29,377
=====
02/06  #18  - 23,735  (  +1.4%)
03/06  #100 - 26,798  ( +12.9%)
04/06  #101 - 24,170  (  -9.8%)
05/06  #102 - 23,741  (  -1.8%)
06/06  #103 - 60,823  (+156.2%)
07/06  #104 - 63,850  (  +5.0%)
08/06  #105 - 61,467  (  -3.7%)
09/06  #106 - 31,527  ( -48.7%)
10/06  #107 - 29,624  (  -6.0%)
11/06  #108 - 27,890  (  -5.9%)
12/06  #109 - 27,300  (  -2.1%)
01/07  #110 - 73,557  (+169.4%)
02/07  #111 - 62,791  ( -14.6%)
              6 mnth  (  +2.2%)
              1 year  (+165.0%)
              2 year  (+113.7%)

The second issue of the Ellis/Deodato relaunch, and naturally there’s a variant cover. Meanwhile, issue #110 picks up re-orders of 8,591. We’re in a whole different league from the book’s previous incarnation, and Marvel should be very pleased with these sales.

28. IRON MAN
02/02  #51 - 37,526
02/03  #65 - 32,600
02/04  #77 - 29,748
02/05  ---
=====
02/06  ---
03/06  #6  - 40,264  ( -11.0%)
04/06  #7  - 49,404  ( +22.7%)
05/06  #8  - 38,860  ( -21.3%)
06/06  #9  - 37,650  (  -3.1%)
07/06  #10 - 38,102  (  +1.2%)
08/06  #11 - 37,279  (  -2.2%)
09/06  #12 - 36,278  (  -2.7%)
10/06  ---
11/06  #13 - 76,800  (+111.7%)
12/06  #14 - 73,388  (  -4.4%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #15 - 60,662  ( -17.3%)
             6 mnth  ( +62.7%)
             1 year  ( +50.1%)
             2 year  (   --- )
             3 year  (+103.9%)

Another Initiative book, and of course there’s another variant. One of the big issues about the long term effects of CIVIL WAR has been the treatment of Iron Man, who was almost universally regarded as the villain. But at least people are paying attention to him, and it seems to be reflected in increased sales for his new direction as the director of SHIELD.

29. SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN
02/05  #11 - 60,460
=====
02/06  #23 - 59,051  (-21.2%)
03/06  #24 - 53,910  ( -8.7%)
04/06  #25 - 51,992  ( -3.6%)
05/06  #26 - 52,496  ( +1.0%)
06/06  #27 - 50,721  ( -3.4%)
07/06  #28 - 58,532  (+15.4%)
08/06  #29 - 55,420  ( -5.3%)
09/06  #30 - 54,467  ( -1.7%)
10/06  #31 - 51,587  ( -5.3%)
11/06  #32 - 50,222  ( -2.6%)
12/06  #33 - 48,443  ( -3.5%)
01/07  #34 - 47,008  ( -3.0%)
02/07  #35 - 59,423  (+26.4%)
             6 mnth  ( +7.2%)
             1 year  ( +0.6%)
             2 year  ( -1.7%)

“Back in Black” delivers a boost to both of the second-tier Spider-Man titles. This is off to a good start.

30. ETERNALS
06/06  #1 of 7 - 110,269
07/06  #2 of 7 -  79,086  (-28.3%)
08/06  #3 of 7 -  73,997  ( -6.4%)
09/06  #4 of 7 -  66,556  (-10.1%)
10/06  --
11/06  #5 of 7 -  66,356  ( -0.3%)
12/06  --
01/07  #6 of 7 -  62,342  ( -6.0%)
02/07  #7 of 7 -  58,699  ( -5.8%)
                  6 mnth  (-20.7%)

Another variant cover. (Would I be quicker pointing out the books that don’t have them?) Considering that Gaiman’s last project for Marvel was MARVEL 1602, these sales are arguably a bit disappointing. But on the other hand, it’s the Eternals, and they’ve always been a bit of a cult draw.

32. BLACK PANTHER
02/02  #41 - 19,523
02/03  #54 - 17,401
02/05  #1  - 50,490
=====
02/06  #13 - 26,054  (  -6.7%)
03/06  #14 - 28,809  ( +10.6%)
04/06  #15 - 28,361  (  -1.6%)
05/06  #16 - 28,091  (  -1.0%)
06/06  #17 - 27,993  (  -0.3%)
07/06  #18 - 69,912  (+149.7%)
08/06  #19 - 28,372  ( -59.4%)
09/06  #20 - 26,585  (  -6.3%)
10/06  #21 - 34,257  ( +28.9%)
11/06  #22 - 47,556  ( +38.8%)
12/06  #23 - 54,762  ( +15.2%)
01/07  #24 - 59,971  (  +9.5%)
02/07  #25 - 56,479  (  -5.8%)
             6 mnth  ( +99.1%)
             1 year  (+116.8%)
             2 year  ( +11.9%)

This is the concluding part of a CIVIL WAR crossover arc, and as you’d expect, the sales have been boosted accordingly. Issue #24 picks up reorders of 2,262. After this, the Black Panther and Storm join the cast of FANTASTIC FOUR for a while, which should keep up the audience attention. BLACK PANTHER is clearly a high priority for Marvel, but the lingering question is whether the constant string of events is helping it to develop a bigger core following.

35. PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL
11/06  #1 - 102,727
12/06  --
01/07  #2 -  96,112  ( -6.4%)
01/07  #3 -  70,143  (-27.0%)
02/07  #4 -  52,961  (-24.5%)

Mind the step. This is the first non-crossover issue, and while it’s not quite as big a drop as HEROES FOR HIRE experienced, it’s still pretty big. Mind you, it’s also selling higher than the PUNISHER Max title, so a lot depends on what happens next month. Meanwhile, issue #2 sells another 8,142, thanks to a second printing with a variant cover.

36. FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN
02/06  ---
03/06  #5  - 59,900  (-23.9%)
03/06  #6  - 58,853  ( -1.7%)
04/06  #7  - 55,381  ( -5.9%)
05/06  #8  - 53,910  ( -2.7%)
06/06  #9  - 50,177  ( -6.9%)
07/06  #10 - 48,902  ( -2.5%)
08/06  #11 - 50,995  ( +4.3%)
09/06  #12 - 48,063  ( -5.7%)
10/06  #13 - 46,293  ( -3.7%)
11/06  #14 - 43,476  ( -6.1%)
12/06  #15 - 42,147  ( -3.1%)
01/07  #16 - 41,832  ( -0.7%)
02/07  #17 - 52,794  (+26.2%)
             6 mnth  ( +3.5%)
             1 year  (-11.9%)

Another “Back in Black” book with another big sales increase.

37. ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR
02/04  #3  - 109,801
02/05  ---
=====
02/06  #27 -  67,922  ( -2.5%)
03/06  #28 -  67,480  ( -0.7%)
04/06  #29 -  67,554  ( +0.1%)
05/06  #30 - 103,837  (+53.7%)
06/06  ---
07/06  #31 -  84,460  (-18.7%)
08/06  #32 -  80,730  ( -4.4%)
08/06  #33 -  65,191  (-19.2%)
09/06  #34 -  63,447  ( -2.7%)
10/06  #35 -  61,270  ( -3.4%)
11/06  #36 -  57,779  ( -5.7%)
12/06  #37 -  55,047  ( -4.7%)
01/07  #38 -  52,859  ( -4.0%)
02/07  #39 -  52,104  ( -1.4%)
              6 mnth  (-35.5%)
              1 year  (-23.3%)
              2 year  (  --- )
              3 year  (-52.5%)

Well, it’s levelling out, but ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR has definitely been shedding readers lately. That six month drop is ugly.

38. GHOST RIDER: TRAIL OF TEARS
02/07  #1 of 6 - 49,260

Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain with a miniseries about Ghost Rider in the Civil War. Debuts slightly higher than the regular series, which is always impressive with spin-offs on the margins of continuity.

39. GHOST RIDER
02/06  #6 of 6 - 55,802  ( -2.0%)
03/06  ---
04/06  ---
05/06  ---
06/06  ---
07/06       #1 - 98,826  (+77.1%)
08/06       #2 - 61,793  (-37.5%)
09/06       #3 - 54,029  (-12.6%)
10/06       #4 - 50,925  ( -5.7%)
11/06       #5 - 47,929  ( -5.9%)
12/06       #6 - 46,673  ( -2.6%)
01/07       #7 - 43,557  ( -6.7%)
02/07       #8 - 48,736  (+11.9%)
                 6 mnth  (-21.1%)
                 1 year  (-12.7%)

Billed as a CIVIL WAR crossover issue, this stretches the definition to breaking point – the link is that Lucifer is possessing the body of the late Jack O’Lantern, who died in CIVIL WAR. You’ve got to admire the closing line of the solicitation: “And what does this all have to do with CIVIL WAR?” Still, the sales boost is duly delivered.

41. DAREDEVIL
02/02  #30 - 47,333
02/03  #43 - 58,782
02/04  #57 - 54,644
02/05  #70 - 48,702
=====
02/06  #82 - 53,058  (+19.9%)
03/06  #83 - 46,804  (-11.8%)
04/06  #84 - 47,123  ( +0.7%)
05/06  #85 - 47,899  ( +1.6%)
06/06  #86 - 48,280  ( +0.8%)
07/06  #87 - 51,989  ( +7.7%)
08/06  #88 - 50,554  ( -2.8%)
09/06  #89 - 55,481  ( +9.7%)
10/06  #90 - 50,500  ( -9.0%)
11/06  #91 - 49,335  ( -2.3%)
12/06  #92 - 48,035  ( -2.6%)
01/07  #93 - 47,124  ( -1.9%)
02/07  #94 - 46,773  ( -0.7%)
             6 mnth  ( -7.5%)
             1 year  (-11.8%)
             2 year  ( -4.0%)
             3 year  (-14.4%)

In a slight decline.

42. INCREDIBLE HULK
02/02  #37  - 38,844
02/03  #50  - 58,682
02/04  #67  - 47,632
02/05  #78  - 44,721
=====
02/06  #92  - 53,661  (+49.1%)
03/06  #93  - 47,437  (-11.6%)
04/06  #94  - 47,966  ( +1.1%)
05/06  #95  - 49,089  ( +2.3%)
06/06  ---
07/06  #96  - 49,209  ( +0.2%)
08/06  #97  - 48,893  ( -0.6%)
09/06  #98  - 52,987  ( +8.4%)
10/06  #99  - 47,878  ( -9.6%)
11/06  #100 - 84,169  (+75.8%)
12/06  #101 - 47,927  (-43.1%)
01/07  #102 - 46,965  ( -2.0%)
02/07  #103 - 46,690  ( -0.6%)
              6 mnth  ( -4.5%)
              1 year  (-13.0%)
              2 year  ( +4.4%)
              3 year  (-19.8%)

Holding up just fine as Planet Hulk nears its conclusion. The WORLD WAR HULK crossover is just around the corner.

43. SPIDER-MAN: REIGN
12/06  #1 of 4 - 46,827
01/07  #2 of 4 - 56,788  (+21.3%)
02/07  #3 of 4 - 46,050  (-18.9%)

Selling very respectably for an out-of-continuity miniseries.

44. X-MEN: PHOENIX - WARSONG
02/05  #2 of 5 - 98,339
=====
09/06  #1 of 5 - 73,503
10/06  #2 of 5 - 54,727  (-25.5%)
11/06  #3 of 5 - 50,222  ( -8.2%)
12/06  #4 of 5 - 46,942  ( -6.5%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #5 of 5 - 44,578  ( -5.0%)
                 2 year  (-54.7%)

Fairly standard miniseries numbers, but not in the league of the previous series back in 2005.

45. X-23: TARGET X
02/05  #3 of 6 - 54,239
=====
12/06  #1 of 6 - 58,125
01/07  #2 of 6 - 44,000  (-24.3%)
02/07  #3 of 6 - 42,132  ( -4.2%)
                 2 year  (-22.3%)

Levelling out nicely, and ahead of the parent title NEW X-MEN. X-23 still seems to be a sales draw, even if things have settled down a bit from her initial surge of popularity.

47. X-FACTOR
02/06  #3  - 48,307  ( -8.3%)
03/06  #4  - 48,183  ( -0.3%)
03/06  #5  - 46,490  ( -3.5%)
04/06  #6  - 45,220  ( -2.7%)
05/06  #7  - 44,315  ( -2.0%)
06/06  #8  - 76,150  (+71.8%)
07/06  #9  - 68,799  ( -9.7%)
08/06  #10 - 44,603  (-35.2%)
09/06  #11 - 43,431  ( -2.6%)
10/06  #12 - 42,909  ( -1.2%)
11/06  #13 - 42,844  ( -0.2%)
12/06  #14 - 40,208  ( -6.2%)
01/07  #15 - 38,693  ( -3.8%)
02/07  #16 - 38,240  ( -1.2%)
             6 mnth  (-14.3%)
             1 year  (-20.8%)

Another standard slow decline.

48. SILENT WAR
01/07  #1 of 6 - 44,079
02/07  #2 of 6 - 37,899  (-14.0%)

Standard miniseries numbers. Promotionally, this book seems to have slipped through the cracks. (And when the heck is it meant to be happening, anyway?)

49. NEW X-MEN
02/04  #8  - 37,609
02/05  #10 - 36,910
=====
02/06  #23 - 41,463  ( -3.4%)
03/06  #24 - 42,044  ( +1.4%)
04/06  #25 - 40,176  ( -4.4%)
05/06  #26 - 40,073  ( -0.3%)
06/06  #27 - 39,785  ( -0.7%)
07/06  #28 - 39,771  ( -0.0%)
08/06  #29 - 40,303  ( +1.3%)
09/06  #30 - 39,658  ( -1.6%)
10/06  #31 - 39,175  ( -1.2%)
11/06  #32 - 37,919  ( -3.2%)
12/06  #33 - 38,076  ( +0.4%)
01/07  #34 - 37,272  ( -2.1%)
02/07  #35 - 37,142  ( -0.3%)
             6 mnth  ( -7.8%)
             1 year  (-10.4%)
             2 year  ( +0.6%)
             3 year  ( -1.2%)

Fairly steady, and Marvel are pushing the upcoming “Return of Magik” arc heavily with house ads.

50. NEWUNIVERSAL
12/06  #1 - 43,163
01/07  #2 - 49,565  (+14.8%)
02/07  #3 - 36,535  (-26.3%)

Issue #2 picks up 4,782 extra sales thanks to a second printing variant. Surprisingly good numbers so far for this offbeat relaunch of the New Universe characters, who don’t exactly have a huge fanbase of their own to call on.

53. IMMORTAL IRON FIST
11/06  #1 - 60,079
12/06  #2 - 39,265  (-34.6%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #3 - 35,654  ( -9.2%)

It’s slipping off schedule – issue #4 won’t be out until April – but the numbers are pretty good for an Iron Fist book. Issue #1 picks up another 10,263 sales thanks to the release of the Director’s Cut edition, while issue #2 sells another 6,046. There’s definite interest in this one, and hopefully the delays won’t prevent the book capitalising.

56. ANNIHILATION: HERALDS OF GALACTUS
02/07  One-shot - 35,548

Keeping the ANNIHILATION brand name out there, and selling remarkably well considering that the lead characters are Terrax and Stardust, of all people. ANNIHILATION seems to have served its function of rekindling interest in Marvel’s cosmic characters generally, if it can sell 35,500 copies of a Stardust comic.

58. FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END
11/06  #1 of 6 - 54,213
11/06  #2 of 6 - 38,928  (-28.2%)
12/06  #3 of 6 - 36,744  ( -5.6%)
01/07  #4 of 6 - 34,169  ( -7.0%)
02/07  #5 of 6 - 33,325  ( -2.5%)

Standard miniseries numbers.

61. PUNISHER  [Max]
02/02  #9  - 51,330
02/03  #22 - 41,356
02/04  #3  - 46,396
02/05  #17 - 38,714
=====
02/06  #30 - 34,293  ( -1.2%)
03/06  #31 - 34,505  ( +0.6%)
04/06  #32 - 34,076  ( -1.2%)
05/06  #33 - 34,480  ( +1.2%)
06/06  #34 - 34,161  ( -0.9%)
07/06  #35 - 34,116  ( -0.1%)
08/06  #36 - 34,227  ( +0.3%)
09/06  #37 - 34,250  ( +0.1%)
09/06  #38 - 33,839  ( -1.2%)
10/06  #39 - 33,962  ( +0.4%)
11/06  #40 - 33,579  ( -1.1%)
11/06  #41 - 33,164  ( -1.2%)
12/06  #42 - 33,003  ( -0.5%)
01/07  #43 - 33,023  ( +0.0%)
02/07  #44 - 32,951  ( -0.2%)
             6 mnth  ( -3.7%)
             1 year  ( -3.9%)
             2 year  (-14.9%)
             3 year  (-29.0%)

Extremely slow and steady decline.

63. EXILES
02/02  #9  - 37,563
02/03  #22 - 35,239
02/04  #42 - 37,147
02/05  #59 - 32,337
=====
02/06  #77 - 32,998  ( +0.5%)
03/06  #78 - 33,506  ( +1.5%)
04/06  #79 - 34,119  ( +1.8%)
05/06  #80 - 34,039  ( -0.2%)
05/06  #81 - 33,908  ( -0.4%)
06/06  #82 - 33,342  ( -1.7%)
06/06  #83 - 33,143  ( -0.6%)
07/06  #84 - 32,866  ( -0.8%)
08/06  #85 - 33,978  ( +3.4%)
09/06  #86 - 33,080  ( -2.6%)
10/06  #87 - 31,946  ( -3.4%)
11/06  #88 - 30,928  ( -3.2%)
12/06  #89 - 36,880  (+19.2%)
01/07  #90 - 31,595  (-14.3%)
02/07  #91 - 31,712  ( +0.4%)
             6 mnth  ( -6.7%)
             1 year  ( -3.9%)
             2 year  ( -1.9%)
             3 year  (-14.6%)

Still sticking stubbornly to its normal range, as Chris Claremont settles in.

66. MS MARVEL
03/06  #1  - 73,407
04/06  #2  - 46,204  (-37.1%)
05/06  #3  - 43,048  ( -6.8%)
06/06  #4  - 40,627  ( -5.6%)
07/06  #5  - 38,874  ( -4.3%)
08/06  #6  - 68,330  (+75.8%)
09/06  #7  - 64,973  ( -4.9%)
10/06  #8  - 62,893  ( -3.2%)
11/06  #9  - 37,881  (-39.8%)
12/06  #10 - 34,350  ( -9.3%)
01/07  #11 - 32,298  ( -6.0%)
02/07  #12 - 30,763  ( -4.8%)
             6 mnth  (-55.0%)

Dropping rather too quickly for comfort. This book needs to hope that the Initiative promotion and the character’s involvement in MIGHTY AVENGERS can bring back some attention.

67,68. NEW EXCALIBUR
02/06  #4  - 45,071  ( -4.5%)
03/06  #5  - 43,523  ( -3.4%)
04/06  #6  - 40,687  ( -6.5%)
05/06  #7  - 38,744  ( -4.8%)
06/06  #8  - 37,428  ( -3.4%)
07/06  #9  - 36,466  ( -2.6%)
08/06  #10 - 36,108  ( -1.0%)
09/06  #11 - 34,104  ( -5.6%)
10/06  #12 - 33,082  ( -3.0%)
11/06  #13 - 32,173  ( -2.7%)
12/06  #14 - 31,318  ( -2.7%)
01/07  #15 - 30,827  ( -1.6%)
02/07  #16 - 30,356  ( -1.5%)
02/07  #17 - 30,073  ( -0.9%)
             6 mnth  (-16.7%)
             1 year  (-33.3%)

Chris Claremont returns to the book with two issues in a month, and sales are apparently unaffected.

69. SQUADRON SUPREME: HYPERION VS NIGHTHAWK
01/07  #1 of 4 - 33,922
02/07  #2 of 4 - 29,366  (-13.4%)

A modest second issue drop.

72. SHE-HULK
02/05  #12 - 23,202
=====
02/06  #5  - 27,183  (  -3.7%)
03/06  #6  - 26,631  (  -2.0%)
04/06  ---
05/06  #7  - 26,561  (  -0.3%)
05/06  #8  - 58,053  (+118.6%)
06/06  ---
07/06  #9  - 29,902  ( -48.5%)
08/06  #10 - 28,555  (  -4.5%)
08/06  #11 - 27,393  (  -4.1%)
09/06  #12 - 26,448  (  -3.4%)
10/06  ---
11/06  #13 - 26,267  (  -0.7%)
12/06  #14 - 24,552  (  -6.5%)
01/07  #15 - 27,600  ( +12.4%)
02/07  #16 - 27,961  (  +1.3%)
             6 mnth  (  -2.1%)
             1 year  (  +2.9%)
             2 year  ( +20.5%)

Slowly gaining sales with the “Planet Without A Hulk” storyline, which is a pleasant surprise.

73. CABLE & DEADPOOL
02/05  #12 - 25,349
=====
02/06  #25 - 22,918  (  -2.7%)
03/06  #26 - 25,584  ( +11.6%)
04/06  #27 - 26,153  (  +2.2%)
05/06  #28 - 25,665  (  -1.9%)
06/06  #29 - 25,368  (  -1.2%)
07/06  #30 - 59,333  (+133.9%)
08/06  #31 - 59,804  (  +0.8%)
09/06  #32 - 60,177  (  +0.6%)
10/06  #33 - 30,741  ( -48.9%)
11/06  #34 - 29,144  (  -5.2%)
12/06  #35 - 27,785  (  -4.7%)
01/07  #36 - 26,803  (  -3.5%)
02/07  #37 - 26,588  (  -0.8%)
             6 mnth  ( -55.5%)
             1 year  ( +16.0%)
             2 year  (  +4.9%)

Pretty level, when it’s not participating in crossovers.

74. DOCTOR STRANGE: OATH
02/05  #4 of 6 - 37,449
=====
10/06  #1 of 5 - 40,280
11/06  #2 of 5 - 29,824  (-26.0%)
12/06  #3 of 5 - 27,046  ( -9.3%)
01/07  #4 of 5 - 26,179  ( -3.2%)
02/07  #5 of 5 - 25,665  ( -2.0%)
                 2 year  (-31.5%)

Not a huge-selling series, but modestly successful and well received.

78. SPIDER-MAN FAMILY
02/07  #1 - 25,225

A new bimonthly series with a mixture of original material and reprints. I question the idea that the market will support yet another Spider-Man title – it hasn’t exactly seemed that bothered about SENSATIONAL or FRIENDLY in the last few months. But considering the five dollar price tag, this is a respectable start.

79. RUNAWAYS
02/04  #11 - 19,978
02/05  #1  - 30,410
=====
02/06  #13 - 24,313  ( -2.7%)
03/06  #14 - 24,536  ( +0.9%)
04/06  #15 - 24,046  ( -2.0%)
05/06  #16 - 23,842  ( -0.8%)
06/06  #17 - 23,654  ( -0.8%)
07/06  #18 - 24,678  ( +4.3%)
08/06  #19 - 25,042  ( +1.5%)
09/06  #20 - 23,561  ( -5.9%)
10/06  #21 - 25,553  ( +8.5%)
11/06  #22 - 25,908  ( +1.4%)
12/06  ---
01/07  #23 - 25,346  ( -2.2%)
02/07  #24 - 25,216  ( -0.5%)
             6 mnth  ( -0.7%)
             1 year  ( +3.7%)
             2 year  (-17.1%)
             3 year  (+26.2%)

Rock solid, and Joss Whedon’s upcoming run is bound to boost sales.

80. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
09/06  #1 of 8 - 39,859
10/06  #2 of 8 - 33,688  (-15.5%)
11/06  #3 of 8 - 30,805  ( -8.6%)
12/06  #4 of 8 - 28,455  ( -7.6%)
01/07  #5 of 8 - 26,607  ( -6.5%)
02/07  #6 of 8 - 25,125  ( -5.6%)

Marvel have announced an ongoing series starting in June, so they must be happy enough with these sales. Seems a bit optimistic to me, but we’ll see what comes of it.

82. HEROES FOR HIRE
08/06  #1 - 84,006
09/06  #2 - 66,949  (-20.3%)
10/06  #3 - 60,770  ( -9.2%)
11/06  #4 - 38,070  (-37.4%)
12/06  #5 - 31,318  (-17.7%)
01/07  #6 - 27,513  (-12.1%)
02/07  #7 - 24,476  (-11.0%)
            6 mnth  (-70.9%)

Terminal decline.

83. PUNISHER PRESENTS BARRACUDA MAX [Max]
02/07  #1 of 5 - 23,886

This isn’t a Punisher story at all; it’s a Barracuda miniseries with an overelaborate name. Not an especially great start, to be honest. HELLSTORM started more strongly than this.

88. THUNDERBOLTS PRESENTS ZEMO: BORN BETTER
02/07  #1 of 4 - 22,680

Another book with an outrageously multi-tiered title. It’s a Baron Zemo miniseries, and it serves as an epilogue to Fabian Nicieza’s run on THUNDERBOLTS, for those readers who might have wanted to know where the plot was going. The numbers aren’t very good, but then it’s unlikely that anyone had particularly high expectations for the book.

89. IRON MAN: HYPERVELOCITY
01/07  #1 of 6 - 28,630
02/07  #2 of 6 - 22,522  (-21.3%)

Dropping off the radar. Iron Man’s higher profile hasn’t helped this title at all.

96. POWERS  [Icon]
02/02  ---
02/03  #29 - 25,982
02/04  ---
02/05  #9  - 28,512
=====
02/06  #16 - 24,924  ( -2.8%)
03/06  #17 - 24,139  ( -3.1%)
04/06  ---
05/06  #18 - 23,617  ( -2.2%)
06/06  ---
07/06  #19 - 23,156  ( -1.9%)
08/06  ---
09/06  ---
10/06  #20 - 22,943  ( -0.9%)
11/06  #21 - 22,134  ( -3.5%)
12/06  ---
01/07  #22 - 22,018  ( -0.5%)
02/07  #23 - 21,939  ( -0.4%)
             6 mnth  ( -5.3%)
             1 year  (-12.0%)
             2 year  (-23.1%)

Still in gentle decline.

97. AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES II
02/05  #7 of 8 - 31,025
=====
11/06  #1 of 8 - 35,032
11/06  #2 of 8 - 31,871  ( -9.0%)
12/06  #3 of 8 - 27,015  (-15.2%)
12/06  #4 of 8 - 25,622  ( -5.2%)
01/07  #5 of 8 - 22,409  (-12.5%)
02/07  #6 of 8 - 21,873  ( -2.4%)

Not bad numbers for a miniseries set in past continuity, but not that great either, and significantly down on the previous series. Nonetheless, Marvel clearly think there’s a market for stories about Avengers history, since they’re launching AVENGERS CLASSIC, a series combining reprinted 1960s stories with original back-up strips. This format worked (for the first forty issues or so) with CLASSIC X-MEN, but that was back in the days when reprinted stories weren’t so easily available. It’s an unusual project, and I’ll be interested to see whether they can make it pay off in 2007.

99. LEGION OF MONSTERS
02/07  Werewolf by Night - 21,773

The first in a series of one-shots featuring Marvel’s old monster characters. Sales are about what you’d expect for a low-profile project like this.

100. NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E.
02/06  ---
03/06   #2 - 29,911  (-27.1%)
03/06   #3 - 27,126  ( -9.3%)
04/06   #4 - 26,728  ( -1.5%)
05/06   #5 - 30,818  (+15.3%)
06/06   #6 - 24,626  (-20.1%)
07/06  ---
08/06   #7 - 24,245  ( -1.5%)
09/06   #8 - 23,059  ( -4.9%)
10/06   #9 - 22,357  ( -3.0%)
11/06  #10 - 21,644  ( -3.2%)
12/06  #11 - 22,259  ( +2.8%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #12 - 21,574  ( -3.1%)
             6 mnth  (-11.0%)
             1 year  (-27.9%)

Cancelled. Perhaps this was just a bit too much of an inside joke.

102. AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL
02/02  #44  - 23,478
02/03  #57  - 23,330
02/04  #70  - 20,541
02/05  #83  - 20,382
=====
02/06  #95  - 16,778  (  -2.2%)
03/06  #96  - 16,739  (  -0.2%)
04/06  #97  - 17,508  (  +4.6%)
05/06  #98  - 17,738  (  +1.3%)
06/06  #99  - 17,915  (  +1.0%)
07/06  #100 - 22,691  ( +26.7%)
08/06  ----
09/06  ----
10/06  #1   - 47,304  (+108.5%)
11/06  #2   - 28,135  ( -40.5%)
12/06  #3   - 25,645  (  -8.9%)
01/07  #4   - 23,113  (  -9.9%)
02/07  #5   - 21,391  (  -7.5%)
              6 mnth  (   --- )
              1 year  ( +27.5%)
              2 year  (  +5.0%)
              3 year  (  -8.3%)

Still finding its level again after the relaunch. At this rate, it’ll only be a couple of months before SPIDER-GIRL is back where it started – although surely it’ll settle down then, given its famously loyal hardcore audience.

108. BULLET POINTS
11/06  #1 of 5 - 33,503
12/06  #2 of 5 - 25,184  (-24.8%)
01/07  #3 of 5 - 21,721  (-13.8%)
02/07  #4 of 5 - 20,559  ( -5.3%)

A fairly standard miniseries decline.

109. MARVEL 1602: FANTASTICK FOUR
09/06  #1 of 5 - 31,784
10/06  #2 of 5 - 26,702  (-16.0%)
11/06  #3 of 5 - 23,295  (-12.8%)
12/06  #4 of 5 - 21,389  ( -8.2%)
01/07  ---
02/07  #5 of 5 - 20,476  ( -4.3%)

Not bad for an out-of-continuity Fantastic Four miniseries, but I imagine this will put paid to the idea of MARVEL 1602 as some kind of franchise.

112. BLADE
09/06  #1 - 37,394
10/06  #2 - 27,170  ( -27.3%)
11/06  #3 - 23,144  ( -14.8%)
12/06  #4 - 21,043  (  -9.1%)
01/07  #5 - 42,513  (+102.0%)
02/07  #6 - 19,087  ( -55.1%)

Returning to normal sales levels after last month’s CIVIL WAR crossover. Obviously, these are not healthy numbers at all.

121. IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN
10/06  #1 - 29,499
11/06  #2 - 23,191  (-21.4%)
12/06  #3 - 19,580  (-15.6%)
01/07  #4 - 17,864  ( -8.8%)
02/07  #5 - 16,900  ( -5.4%)

The lowest-selling ongoing title in the Marvel Universe. What’s more, it holds that dubious distinction by a significant margin, even compared with BLADE (2,000 copies is a lot at this level). And it’s dropping rather quickly. Realistically, the chances of ANT-MAN managing to turn things around at this stage are negligible. Shame, actually. I’ve rather enjoyed it.

130. WHITE TIGER
11/06  #1 of 6 - 24,663
12/06  #2 of 6 - 19,042  (-22.3%)
01/07  #3 of 6 - 15,986  (-16.0%)
02/07  #4 of 6 - 14,554  ( -9.0%)

Disappearing out of view.

139. MARVEL LEGACY HANDBOOKS
02/06  1960s - 12,957
03/06  ---
04/06  ---
05/06  1970s - 14,161  (+9.3%)
06/06  ---
07/06  ---
08/06  ---
09/06  ---
10/06  ---
11/06  1980s - 12,096  (-14.6%)
12/06  ---
01/07  ---
02/07  1990s - 12,683  ( +4.9%)
               6 mnth  (  --- )
               1 year  ( -2.1%)

The fourth and final entry in the HANDBOOK’s nostalgia spin-offs. In fact, the 1990s HANDBOOK was the only HANDBOOK issue solicited for February. But the previous three issues were treated as a separate series, and counting this as a regular HANDBOOK issue would put a nasty dent in its nice, stable sales. So I’ll be fair and treat it as a separate title, with the HANDBOOK itself on a skip month.

141. WISDOM [Max]
11/06  #1 of 6 - 20,021
12/06  --
01/07  #2 of 6 - 14,855  (-25.8%)
02/07  #3 of 6 - 12,400  (-16.5%)

143. HELLSTORM, SON OF SATAN  [Max]
10/06  #1 of 5 - 27,045
11/06  #2 of 5 - 17,398  (-35.7%)
12/06  #3 of 5 - 14,593  (-16.1%)
01/07  #4 of 5 - 13,289  ( -8.9%)
02/07  #5 of 5 - 12,292  ( -7.5%)

145. WONDER MAN
12/06  #1 of 5 - 22,282
01/07  #2 of 5 - 15,645  (-29.8%)
02/07  #3 of 5 - 12,009  (-23.2%)

Alarmingly low-selling miniseries, two of which certainly deserved better. (I haven’t read HELLSTORM, so I’m not going to venture an opinion on that one.) These are poor numbers by any standard, so let’s just commiserate and move on.

180. MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS  [All ages]
05/06  #1  - 13,891
06/06  #2  -  9,359  (-32.7%)
07/06  #3  -  9,006  ( -3.8%)
08/06  #4  -  8,610  ( -4.4%)
09/06  #5  -  7,994  ( -7.2%)
10/06  #6  -  7,879  ( -1.4%)
11/06  #7  -  7,642  ( -3.0%)
12/06  #8  -  7,512  ( -1.7%)
01/07  #9  -  7,315  ( -2.6%)
02/07  #10 -  7,053  ( -3.6%)
             6 mnth  (-18.1%)

189. MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN  [All ages]
02/06  #12 - 6,087  ( -0.3%)
03/06  #13 - 5,899  ( -3.1%)
04/06  #14 - 5,970  ( +1.2%)
05/06  #15 - 6,165  ( +3.3%)
06/06  #16 - 6,114  ( -0.8%)
07/06  #17 - 6,133  ( +0.3%)
08/06  #18 - 6,220  ( +1.4%)
09/06  #19 - 6,057  ( -2.6%)
10/06  #20 - 6,131  ( +1.2%)
11/06  #21 - 6,529  ( +6.5%)
12/06  #22 - 6,396  ( -2.0%)
01/07  #23 - 6,271  ( -2.0%)
02/07  #24 - 6,678  ( +6.5%)
            6 mnth  ( +7.4%)
            1 year  ( +9.7%)

Two MARVEL ADVENTURES titles, and the usual comments apply: these books sell most copies outside the direct market, so their low sales on this chart are academic.

197. ORSON SCOTT CARD'S WYRMS  [DBPro]
02/07  #1 of 6 - 6,246

Much the same applies to the DBPro books (aside from the crossover hit ANITA BLAKE). This is the second printing of WYRMS #1, but it shows the same increase in direct market sales that’s been apparent across DBPRo’s line since hooking up with Marvel. Curiously, this is also the only DBPro book to ship in February – ANITA BLAKE #5, MAGICIAN #6, PTOLUS #5 and RED PROPHET #6 were all solicited for February, and failed to ship.

198. SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE  [All ages]
02/06  #3  -  7,648  (-11.0%)
03/06  #4  -  7,672  ( +0.3%)
04/06  #5  -  7,165  ( -6.6%)
05/06  #6  -  7,069  ( -1.3%)
06/06  #7  -  6,834  ( -3.3%)
07/06  #8  -  6,769  ( -1.0%)
08/06  #9  -  6,719  ( -0.7%)
09/06  #10 -  6,623  ( -1.4%)
10/06  #11 -  6,586  ( -0.6%)
11/06  #12 -  6,520  ( -1.0%)
12/06  #13 -  6,311  ( -3.2%)
01/07  #14 -  6,329  ( +0.3%)
02/07  #15 -  6,121  ( -3.3%)
             6 mnth  ( -8.9%)
             1 year  (-20.0%)

207. SPIDER-MAN & POWER PACK  [All ages]
11/06  #1 of 4 - 7,897
12/06  #2 of 4 - 6,350  (-19.6%)
01/07  #3 of 4 - 5,880  ( -7.4%)
02/07  #4 of 4 - 5,605  ( -4.7%)

223. MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR  [All ages]
02/06  #9  - 4,711  ( -2.5%)
03/06  #10 - 4,663  ( -1.0%)
04/06  #11 - 4,526  ( -2.9%)
05/06  #12 - 4,836  ( +6.8%)
06/06  #13 - 4,752  ( -1.7%)
07/06  #14 - 4,668  ( -1.8%)
08/06  #15 - 4,569  ( -2.1%)
09/06  #16 - 4,687  ( +2.6%)
10/06  #17 - 4,557  ( -2.8%)
11/06  #18 - 4,614  ( +1.3%)
12/06  #19 - 4,533  ( -1.8%)
01/07  #20 - 4,459  ( -1.6%)
02/07  #21 - 4,508  ( +1.1%)
            6 mnth  ( -1.3%)
            1 year  ( -4.3%)

And a few more all-ages books to round things off.

Skip months
===========


ULTIMATES
02/02  #2  - 107,342
02/03  #9  - 101,490
02/04  ---
02/05  #3  - 108,378
=====
02/06  ---
03/06  #10 -  94,900  ( +0.4%)
04/06  ---
05/06  ---
06/06  #11 -  96,751  ( +2.0%)
07/06  ---
08/06  ---
09/06  #12 -  99,538  ( +2.9%)
10/06  ---
11/06  ---
12/06  ---
01/07  ---
02/07  ---

Late, of course.

FANTASTIC FOUR
02/02  #52  - 46,355
02/03  #66  - 48,512
02/04  #510 - 49,129
02/05  #523 - 46,276
=====
02/06  #534 - 44,573  ( -4.7%)
02/06  #535 - 43,124  ( -3.3%)
03/06  #536 - 79,680  (+84.8%)
04/06  #537 - 79,576  ( -0.1%)
05/06  ---
06/06  #538 - 92,624  (+16.4%)
07/06  ---
08/06  #539 - 89,676  ( -3.2%)
09/06  ----
10/06  #540 - 88,933  ( -0.8%)
11/06  ----
12/06  #541 - 84,895  ( -4.5%)
01/07  #542 - 84,338  ( -0.7%)
02/07  ---

Skip month.

CAPTAIN AMERICA
02/02  ---
02/03  #9  - 52,627
02/04  #23 - 39,695
02/05  #3  - 48,104
=====
02/06  #14 - 44,041  ( -0.2%)
02/06  #15 - 43,350  ( -1.6%)
03/06  #16 - 44,717  ( +3.2%)
04/06  #17 - 45,541  ( +1.8%)
05/06  #18 - 46,740  ( +2.6%)
06/06  #19 - 47,315  ( +1.2%)
07/06  #20 - 47,357  ( +0.1%)
08/06  ---
09/06  #21 - 49,050  ( +3.6%)
09/06  #22 - 86,875  (+77.1%)
10/06  #23 - 81,323  ( -6.4%)
11/06  #24 - 82,348  ( +1.3%)
12/06  ---
01/07  ---
02/07  ---

Waiting for CIVIL WAR to finish.

MOON KNIGHT
04/06  #1 - 114,533
05/06  #2 -  77,552  (-32.3%)
06/06  #3 -  72,206  ( -6.9%)
07/06  --
08/06  #4 -  67,802  ( -6.1%)
09/06  #5 -  64,736  ( -4.5%)
10/06  --
11/06  #6 -  74,017  (+14.3%)
12/06  --
01/07  #7 -  76,921  ( +3.9%)
02/07  --

ULTIMATE POWER
10/06  #1 of 9 - 113,823
11/06  #2 of 9 -  76,654  (-32.7%)
12/06  #3 of 9 -  70,148  ( -8.5%)
01/07  ---
02/07  ---

ONSLAUGHT REBORN
11/06  #1 of 5 - 82,642
12/06  #2 of 5 - 55,111  (-33.3%)
01/07  ---
02/07  ---

ULTIMATE VISION
11/06  #0 of 5 - 40,004
12/06  #1 of 5 - 53,069  (+32.7%)
01/07  #2 of 5 - 40,288  (-24.1%)
02/07  ---

All late.

ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER  [DBPro]
10/06  #1 of 12 - 53,277
11/06  #2 of 12 - 39,450  (-26.0%)
12/06  #3 of 12 - 36,091  ( -8.5%)
01/07  #4 of 12 - 32,363  (-10.3%)
02/07  ---

Late, but continuing to mount up the re-orders. Issue #1 shipped a further 6,753 with a third printing, issue #3 managed 5,481 (thanks in part to a variant), and issue #4 shifted 1,971. These are impressive numbers for a crossover hit, especially when you consider DBPro’s usual level of presence in the direct market.

MARVEL SPOTLIGHT
02/06       Whedon/Lark -  5,947  ( -13.1%)
03/06      Finch/Sacasa -  4,146  ( -30.3%)
04/06        Way/Coipel -  3,309  ( -20.2%)
05/06  ---
06/06    Millar/McNiven -  7,668  (+131.7%)
06/06    Gaiman/Larroca -  5,449  ( -28.9%)
07/06      Kirkman/Land -  3,963  ( -27.3%)
08/06      Brubaker/Tan -  3,580  (  -9.7%)
09/06         Lee/Kirby -  6,313  ( +76.3%)
10/06  Onslaught Reborn -  4,557  ( -27.8%)
11/06     Bendis/Bagley -  5,869  ( +28.8%)
12/06  ---
01/07       Ghost Rider -  7,902  ( +34.6%)
01/07        Dark Tower - 18,922  (+139.5%)
02/07  ---

Delayed by CIVIL WAR. The February issue was meant to be the “aftermath” book, and it came out in March.

OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
02/05  Marvel Knights - 18,182
=====
02/06       #2  of 12 - 21,828  ( -6.8%)
03/06       #3  of 12 - 21,681  ( -0.7%)
04/06       #4  of 12 - 21,531  ( -0.7%)
05/06       #5  of 12 - 21,331  ( -0.9%)
06/06       #6  of 12 - 20,731  ( -2.8%)
07/06       #7  of 12 - 20,124  ( -2.9%)
08/06       #8  of 12 - 19,926  ( -1.0%)
09/06       #9  of 12 - 18,966  ( -4.8%)
10/06       #10 of 12 - 18,767  ( -1.0%)
11/06       #11 of 12 - 18,285  ( -2.6%)
12/06       #12 of 12 - 21,183  (+15.8%)
01/07       Update #1 - 17,182  (-18.9%)
02/07   ---

Skip month, unless you count the 1990s HANDBOOK.

CRIMINAL  [Icon]
10/06  #1 - 25,978
11/06  #2 - 21,115  (-18.7%)
12/06  #3 - 17,702  (-16.2%)
01/07  #4 - 16,827  ( -4.9%)
02/07  ---

Late, but only because it slipped from the last week of February to the first week of March.

KABUKI  [Icon]
02/06  #6 - 11,349  ( -0.6%)
03/06  ---
04/06  ---
05/06  ---
06/06  ---
07/06  ---
08/06  #7 - 10,798  ( -4.9%)
09/06  ---
10/06  ---
11/06  ---
12/06  ---
01/07  #8 -  9,961  ( -7.8%)
02/07  ---

Late. Issue #9 is currently scheduled for May.

MAGICIAN: APPRENTICE  [DBPro]
10/06  #1-2 of 12 - 1,892
11/06  #3   of 12 - 4,595  (+142.9%)
12/06  #4   of 12 - 7,266  ( +58.1%)
01/07  #5   of 12 - 7,206  (  -0.8%)
02/07  ---

JACK KIRBY'S GALACTIC BOUNTY HUNTERS  [Icon]
07/06  #1 - 13,514
08/06  #2 -  9,301  (-31.2%)
09/06  ---
10/06  #3 -  7,716  (-17.0%)
11/06  ---
12/06  ---
01/07  #4 -  6,010  (-22.1%)
02/07  ---

RED PROPHET: TALES OF ALVIN MAKER  [DBPro]
10/06  #1-2 of 12 -   1,617
11/06  #3   of 12 - < 3,170  (  ?.?%)
12/06  #4   of 12 -   5,034  ( +?.?%)
01/07  #5   of 12 -   4,480  (-11.0%)
02/07  ---

PTOLUS: CITY BY THE SPIRE  [DBPro]
10/06  #1 of 6 -   1,873
11/05  #2 of 6 - < 3,170  (  ?.?%)
12/06  #3 of 6 -   5,796  ( +?.?%)
01/07  #4 of 6 -   4,379  (-24.4%)
02/07  ---

All late, and slipping to March.

6 month comparisons
===================

+99.1% - Black Panther
+62.7% - Iron Man
+16.3% - Amazing Spider-Man
+ 7.4% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
+ 7.2% - Sensational Spider-Man
+ 3.5% - Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
+ 2.2% - Thunderbolts
- 0.7% - Runaways
- 1.3% - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four
- 1.8% - Astonishing X-Men
- 2.1% - She-Hulk
- 3.7% - Punisher
- 3.8% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 4.5% - Incredible Hulk
- 5.3% - Powers
- 6.7% - Exiles
- 7.0% - Uncanny X-Men
- 7.5% - Daredevil
- 7.8% - New X-Men
- 7.9% - Civil War
- 8.3% - Ultimate X-Men
- 8.9% - Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane
- 9.3% - X-Men
-11.0% - Nextwave
-12.2% - Wolverine
-14.3% - X-Factor
-16.1% - New Avengers
-16.7% - New Excalibur
-18.1% - Marvel Adventures Avengers
-20.0% - Civil War: Front Line
-20.7% - Eternals
-21.1% - Ghost Rider
-34.5% - Wolverine: Origins
-35.5% - Ultimate Fantastic Four
-55.0% - Ms Marvel
-55.5% - Cable & Deadpool
-70.9% - Heroes for Hire



1 year comparison
=================

+165.0% - Thunderbolts
+116.8% - Black Panther
+ 50.1% - Iron Man
+ 29.1% - Wolverine
+ 27.5% - Amazing Spider-Girl
+ 16.0% - Cable & Deadpool
+  9.7% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
+  8.0% - Amazing Spider-Man
+  5.1% - New Avengers
+  5.0% - Uncanny X-Men
+  4.1% - Ultimate Spider-Man
+  3.7% - Runaways
+  2.9% - She-Hulk
+  0.6% - Sensational Spider-Man
-  2.1% - Marvel Legacy Handbooks
-  3.7% - X-Men
-  3.9% - Punisher
-  3.9% - Exiles
-  4.3% - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four
- 10.4% - New X-Men
- 11.5% - Ultimate X-Men
- 11.8% - Daredevil
- 11.9% - Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
- 12.0% - Powers
- 12.7% - Ghost Rider
- 13.0% - Incredible Hulk
- 19.2% - Astonishing X-Men
- 20.0% - Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane
- 20.8% - X-Factor
- 23.3% - Ultimate Fantastic Four
- 27.9% - Nextwave
- 33.3% - New Excalibur


2 year comparisons
==================

+113.7% - Thunderbolts
+ 81.9% - Amazing Spider-Man
+ 20.5% - She-Hulk
+ 18.3% - Wolverine
+ 11.9% - Black Panther
+  5.0% - Spider-Girl
+  4.9% - Cable & Deadpool
+  4.4% - Incredible Hulk
+  0.6% - New X-Men
-  1.7% - Sensational Spider-Man
-  1.9% - Exiles
-  4.0% - Daredevil
-  6.6% - Uncanny X-Men
- 10.0% - X-Men
- 10.7% - Astonishing X-Men
- 12.4% - New Avengers
- 14.2% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 14.9% - Punisher
- 17.1% - Runaways
- 22.3% - X-23
- 23.1% - Ultimate X-Men
- 23.1% - Powers
- 31.5% - Doctor Strange
- 54.7% - X-Men: Phoenix


3 year comparisons
==================

+122.0% - New Avengers
+103.9% - Iron Man
+ 70.1% - Amazing Spider-Man
+ 39.5% - Wolverine
+ 26.2% - Runaways
-  1.2% - New X-Men
-  3.8% - Uncanny X-Men
-  8.3% - Spider-Girl
- 14.4% - Daredevil
- 14.6% - Exiles
- 19.6% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 19.8% - Incredible Hulk
- 29.0% - Punisher
- 33.5% - X-Men
- 33.9% - Ultimate X-Men
- 52.5% - Ultimate Fantastic Four

Comments

  1. Glenn Simpson says:

    Is it reasonable to assume that a lot of the increases on Sensational Spider-Man and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man were because people expected to find out why Spider-Man is wearing the black costume in those issues?

  2. Steve says:

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think at the time that retailers were placing orders for those books, they would have still been under the impression that the first “Back in Black” issue of Amazing Spider-Man was coming out before the other two. So they’d expect that people would already know what’s up with the black costume before Sensational and Friendly came out.

  3. The decline in Eternals sales might be explained by the fact that it was boring as hell. ..Just a guess. But I cant believe more people are not buying Criminal.Sales like that on a book that good are why I hate comic fans. I’m sure most people are saving their money for that ‘roid rage captainpunisher comic.

  4. Joseph says:

    You hate comic fans because they’re not all buying what you’re buying? I agree Criminal is great, but relax. I think those numbers are good enough to keep it around for a while, considering it’s an Icon book. Based on it’s last issue it’s in the top 130. And hopefully the trade will sell respectably and bring in more readers.

  5. I’m with Joseph on that one. Comics fans are your friends. Without them there wouldn’t be comic books. Also, you hate yourself.

  6. I know it took you a year and a half to realize that the Marvel Adventures stuff wasn’t really designed for the direct market, but you still don’t seem to understand that stuff like 1602 and X-men: First Class are the same sort of thing.

    First class is basically X-men: Adventures, and if you’ve seen how well 1602 STILL sells in the book store market, you’d understand why they are making (made) sequels.

  7. DID Wonder Man really deserve better? Granted, I don’t buy too many Marvel comics so I’m not the best person as to what Marvel readers look for but I thought the art was not that great (and certainly not what most Marvel fans are likely to be attracted to- looks more like something you’d see on an Image superhero title), plus it’s not Wonder Man has a great record of strong sales in the past. Don’t expect A list sales on a C list character (and I say this even though Wonder Man was always one of my favorite Avengers when I was still reading a lot of Marvel books).

  8. Those Ant-Man numbers bring tears to my eyes. I hope to HELL the Mighty Avengers tie-in brings in some readers, because dammit this book is FAR too good to end this soon. It’s like New Invaders all over again…. :(

  9. I thought Wonder-Man deserved better, but I mean, everybody who works on a book like Wonder-Man a romantic at heart…

  10. Ant-Man and Wisdom are the two BEST Marvel comics these days. Seriously. Everyone should read them!

  11. WONDER MAN certainly deserved a better artist. I was initially interested in picking it up, but once I saw the preview art, I quickly passed like many people.

  12. Comic fans can only buy what’s on the shelves. If a comic book
    retailer doesn’t order a book or only orders enough copies to fulfill the needs of customers with a pull list, you cannot expect the book to sell a lot of copies. The reason many customers even start a pull list at their local shop is to ensure that the comics they want will be there. Something that wouldn’t be necessary if retailers order enough copies.

    These sales lists don’t ever really reflect what’s actually being sold in comic book shops. They only show what comic book retailers ordered a couple of months ago.

  13. I thought Moon Knight was the bomb these days with the current readers?

    ~

    Coat

  14. Rick Rottman Says:
    These sales lists don’t ever really reflect what’s actually being sold in comic book shops. They only show what comic book retailers ordered a couple of months ago.

    – I agree. I think it was either Heidi or another commentator over at The Pulse who once showed that merely by moving to Marvel, POWERS picked up an additional 10k readers, which suggest there is a HUGE amount of comic shops ordering their stock on auto pilot and simply checking the Marvel column w/o really thinking about what they are doing.

  15. Alan Coil says:

    Rick Rottman said—
    “Comic fans can only buy what’s on the shelves.”
    “…if retailers order enough copies.”
    ———-
    Too true, Rick, but retailers can only order what they THINK the customer will buy. Between Marvel and DC, there are over 150 new comics every month in addition to trades, posters, and hardcovers. If dealers merely ordered 5 extra copies of each of those 150 comics, they’ve be bankrupt in a few months, because they would have around $1000 tied up in useless back stock every month.

    Useless because the trade would be out in a few months. If the book is not being put in trade, it probably isn’t very good and the back issues will nevr sell.

  16. @CapVsBats – It’s not that POWERS picked up another 10K “readers” when it was moved from Image to Marvel. It just means that 10K more issues made their way into the retail marketplace. Not to say that anyone is actually reading all these extra copies. I’m sure many of them are being bought and read. I’m just not convinced that each and every copy of any comic actually gets read by a reader.

    That’s the thing I hate about all these comic book SALES lists. Some people tend to put too much stock into them. They are somewhat interesting to read because they do contain information. Specifically, what comic book retailers will order each month. At this point, it’s really not that much of a mystery. I can tell you with some certainty what comic retailers will and will not order on any given month.

  17. @Alan Coil – True, comic book shops tend to only order what they think their costumers will buy. What about the people that are not customers yet? How is a retailer ever hope to attract new customers if the only books they stock are the books that their existing customers buy?

    Too many times comic retailers are catering to the same small group of people each and every month. I think this is why some of them were caught off guard with the interest in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON EIGHT. They actually had new customers come in and buy the book. Many retailers never foresee something like this ever happening. New customers buying something different.

  18. “I know it took you a year and a half to realize that the Marvel Adventures stuff wasn’t really designed for the direct market…”

    Ian, you’ve made this comment before, and it simply isn’t true. I’ve stressed the importance of the digest format right from the launch of the all-ages imprint in March 2004 with MARVEL AGE SPIDER-MAN #1, and that book sold 36,700 in the direct market – the same as many recent Marvel Universe launches of the time.

    By the THIRD MONTH OF THE IMPRINT, my comment was “As I say every month, the Marvel Age books don’t work by the same rules as other Marvel books, because they aren’t aimed at the direct market.” My comment for the first Marvel Adventures book – MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #1 – was that “these books don’t exist to target the direct market audience. If they’re doing their job, it’ll be happening elsewhere.”

    I really don’t know where you’ve got this idea that it took me eighteen months to notice that the all-ages books aren’t aimed at direct market readers, but it’s patently untrue, as anyone can tell just by reading the old columns.

    For heaven’s sake, I make enough actual mistakes without you having to invent them.

  19. @Rottman – right, we’re on the same page with the POWERS thing – I just didn’t make my point clear enough. Thank you! :)

  20. Wraith says:

    It should be noted that in addition to the variant covers, the only other reason why a number of post CW books like THUNDERBOLTS are doing much better then they were before CW, is because they are seen by many fans and retailers as still being CW tie ins. They see the word “INITIATIVE” stamped across the top of a comic in big bold letters and they think a book is still tieing in to CW or is a continuation of CW. It’s a safe bet that once Marvel stop with the variant covers and stop putting the “INITIATIVE” label on the books, sales will drop right back down to pre-CW sales levels.

  21. Paul,

    I know I say this a bit often, but these really are one of the highlights of my month. Reading this once a month is one the best activities online there is.

    So just in case you ever feel unappreciated, know that I think you’re totally awesome.

  22. Grobbel says:

    @Wraith: I seriously doubt Thunderbolts will drop back to the mid-twenties when the Initiative tie-in is over though, for the simple reason that it now contains a much higher profile character line-up instead of the relative “nobodies” that used to be on this title. So without even taking the creative team and the quality and userfriendliness of the stories into consideration, I’m pretty sure Thunderbolts will stay comfortably ahead of its pre-CW numbers based on that fact alone. Will sales figures drop? Very likely. I still think it’ll stay on a different level, however.

  23. I agree. THUNDERBOLTS has effectively been relaunched with a completely new direction, new creators, and a largely new cast. That would have boosted sales anyway. CIVIL WAR has given the relaunch even further momentum, but you still can’t compare the current version of the book to the Nicieza incarnation. Obviously sales will almost certainly drop back after the initial surge of interest – they always do – but if this book drops back to the mid-20K range any time soon then I’ll be astounded.

  24. Gil Jaysmith says:

    I’d like to agree with Michael Climek. More of the silent majority (hopefully) should chime in to register their admiration for your hard work. It’s a solid read, presented with dry wit but also a genuine affection for and marvelling at the world of comics. I was gutted when this column vanished from its previous home, thinking that you’d pulled it out of despair at the regular “why do you bother if you hate Marvel so much!” comments, and that maybe a few more kind words from people like me who took it for granted might have kept you going. I’m so pleased that it was a relocation rather than a cancellation.

    I know, I know, it sounds like a love letter… but really, man, this is impressive work.

  25. Wraith says:

    Grobble and Paul, recent history has shown that tieing a low selling book into a major crossover event and adding a variant cover will most definitely boost sales for the entire time those gimicks are being used. Remember, the CW tie in issues of Fabian’s run also had a hug sales increase and stayed high durring the duration of those crossover issues. And those issues did’nt even have variant covers or a fraction of the hype that the current Ellis run has been given by Marvel. Trust me, once Marvel stop’s with the variant covers after the current creative team’s 6th issue and they stop putting the huge “INITIATIVE” stamp/title on the cover, sales on the T-bolts will be droppig right back down to the mid 20,000 range.

    OMT, Paul I have to echo what Michael and Gil have already said, and say that I look forward to this column every month. Keep up the great work, and don’t let the haters get you down.

  26. Peter Adriaenssens says:

    @Wraith: I don’t think Thunderbolts will fall that far back, for the reasons stated above: high-profile characters like Venom (there’s a movie coming up, don’t you know?), Green Goblin (ditto) and Bullseye will keep this book strong without much trouble. Moreover, I think Ellis is succeeding in making this book something that can be read by new people, as well as the old fans. That alone is enough to keep it well above Nicieza’s core audience.

    I’ll thank Paul too for his monthly efforts. These are always highly interesting to read, although it’d be very neat if retailers banded together and made a sell-through list. Then we’d really be cooking.

    I find it interesting that most of the CW jumps consist of around 30k. So does that imply there were about 30,000 customers who basically wanted everything CW-related? What with most of them dropping right back to the previous levels (all except Nicieza’s books, though, interestingly), it seems clear that retailers only ordered them based on the tie-in nature. But did they do that prompted by specific demand, or guesswork?

    I didn’t buy Criminal. I’m buying the trade though. I’m sure hundreds if not thousands of others will do so too. Single issue sales really aren’t that important compared to longevity of sales through collections.

    As for Alan’s comment about retailers only being able to buy what they think customers will buy: if both Marvel and DC would wise up and not throw dozens of titles at the market, retailers could take more chances. Unfortunately, since Marvel and DC probably mainly look at the overall total of copies sold, I don’t think they care about boosting sales on specific characters and series, if they can inflate them artificially with very little effort. The variant cover is an excellent way to do it, because it costs them very little indeed, but always makes for fairly high bumps in sales. They’d be fools not to do it, really.

  27. “…it seems clear that retailers only ordered them based on the tie-in nature. But did they do that prompted by specific demand, or guesswork?”

    Well, CIVIL WAR lasted the better part of a year. If the retailers failed to adjust for poor sell-through after that long, more fool them. Also, when you consider the demand for second printings of the tie-in books, that does tend to suggest that sell-through was pretty good.

    On the other hand, the immediate drops afterwards suggest that retailers had little confidence in CIVIL WAR to attract and *keep* readers in the majority of cases – but that’s the way it tends to work with most crossovers, so I wouldn’t see that as reflecting badly on CW.

  28. Jerry Ray says:

    Paul, one note – Wolverine #50 (the first Loeb issue) didn’t just have a variant cover, it had a variant (black and white) interior. I haven’t looked closely, but I think that trend continued for the next two parts of the storyline. I’m not sure how much more difference that makes than a variant cover, though.

  29. Wraith says:

    Peter, trust me, putting big name characters in a comic does not always equal huge sales. Recent history has shown us that solo books or mini series starring or co-starring big name villains like Green Goblin,Venom, and Bullseye did not sell all that well. Spealing ONLY for the comic book store I work at, I can tell you that those books just don’t sell.

    And yes, there are customers who will pick up every single comic that ties into a big crossover like CW. Regardless if they don’t read that book or flat out hate that book. Many of our customers see the whole INITIATIVE thing as either a tie into or continuation of CW.

  30. Peter Adriaenssens says:

    Wraith, I’ll take your word for it, about big names not selling. I don’t really remember either GG or Venom being in anything recently though? I take it the Bullseye/Punisher mini didn’t move well in your store? I think it’s also the novelty of cramming them all together that’s attracting some people. Out of all the CW/Initiative stuff, Thunderbolts seems to be the book that’s trying to combine the way it was, and the way it is now with the new “landscape”. I think that allows for a potentially larger readership. We’ll see in half a year or so when the variants are gone (I do agree they inflate numbers, but hey, can’t blame the publisher for doing what the audience will put up with) and when the Initiative banners have disappeared. To be honest, to me the banners are a sign of what books to stay away from, for the most part…

    I remember there being a time when I bought every single Marvel comic (and most of DC’s). Those were the days, heh. I’m kind of glad they’re behind me though!

    Paul, I don’t think the 30k bumps and drops reflect badly at CW, I was more wondering why the retailers have so little confidence in the books’ inherent selling power. Although, if most of those 30k were people who did buy all the tie-ins, and are interested in that aspect alone, then it makes sense they wouldn’t want to hang around on another book, since that’d eat up more money for other tie-ins. Ah, comics :)

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  1. […] Over at The Beat, Paul O’Brien provides his month-to-month analysis of Marvel’s sales to retailers in the Direct Market, now updated for February 2007. […]

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