Marvel Month-to-Month Sales: March 2014 — the two types of All-New Marvel Now #1s

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By Jason Enright

Another month of All-New Marvel Now releases is upon us. Some books end, some books relaunch, some new heroes arrive on the scene. Let’s see what the numbers are telling us. First up a bit of a breakdown:

10 new #1s (not counting #1s from miniseries like Revolutionary War)
8 Avengers titles
7 X-Men titles (9 if you count X-Force and X-Factor)
10 titles that double-shipped.

Now before we get deep into the numbers, I want to point out a trend that I’ve been noticing, and would love to hear your thoughts on in the comments below.

So there are two types of All-New Marvel Now #1s. The first is something like Black Widow or She-Hulk, where the new #1 is a new series featuring a new or returning character and a new creative team, so basically a new book. The other is what I call the soft relaunch. They take an ongoing series with falling sales and they give it a new #1, but not much else changes, same creative team or if maybe the artists changes, the writer stays, and maybe a slight tweak on the storyline or premise. Examples of this are Secret Avengers or X-Factor.

Now the trend I have been noticing is that these soft relaunches might see the issue #1 get a big sales boost but then sales fall down very close to where it was before the reboot in the next few months. So I ask all of you fans, retailers, etc. who read this, what do you think is going on? Is the relaunch just not a big enough deal to catch reader interest? Is there not enough of a shakeup or new direction? Is this just relaunch fatigue? There have been a lot of Marvel Now relaunches. Is there just more focus and excitement on the new titles like Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight? 

So keep those thoughts and question in mind, and let’s dive in to the numbers.

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

5,7. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
03/04  Am Spi #505   –  83,612
03/09  Am Spi #588   -	 61,325
03/11  Am Spi #656   -	 59,626
03/12  Am Spi #681   -  52,143
---
03/13  Superior #5  -  94,224  (  -1.7%)
03/13  Superior #6  -  86,614  (  -8.1%)
03/13  S. S-M #6AU  -  85,807  (  -0.9%)
04/13  Superior #7  -  87,945  (  +2.5%)
04/13  Superior #8  -  85,671  (  -2.6%)
05/13  Superior #9  -  93,656  (  +9.3%)
05/13  Superior #10 -  85,346  (  -8.9%)
06/13  Superior #11 -  84,219  (  -1.3%)
06/13  Superior #12 -  82,338  (  -2.2%)
07/13  Superior #13 -  81,678  (  -0.8%)
07/13  Superior #14 -  80,839  (  -1.0%)
08/13  Superior #15 -  78,636  (  -2.7%)
08/13  Superior #16 -  78,087  (  -0.7%)
09/13  Superior #17 -  89,118  ( +14.1%)
09/13  Superior #18 -  80,178  ( -10.0%)
10/13  Superior #19 -  83,671  (  +4.4%)
10/13  Superior #20 -  85,309  (  +2.0%)
11/13  Superior #21 -  74,940  ( -12.2%)
11/13  Superior #22 -  81,250  (  +8.4%)
12/13  Superior #23 -  77,105  (  -5.1%)
12/13  Superior #24 -  76,131  (  -1.3%)
01/14  Superior #25 -  77,311  (   1.5%)
01/14  Superior #26 -  72,591  (  -6.1%)
02/14  Supr #27.Now -  86,405  (  19.0%)
02/14  Superior #28 -  75,477  ( -12.6%)
03/14  Superior #29 -  76,568  (   1.4%)
03/14  Superior #30 -  75,431  (  -1.5%)
---
6 mnth  ( -14.1%)
1 year  ( -18.7%)
2 year  (  47.0%)
3 year  (  28.4%)
5 year  (  24.9%)
10 year (  -8.4%)

Superior Spider-Man stays really strong as it heads towards its conclusion and the return of Peter Parker. The final issue should actually see a sales increase, and then rumor has it that the orders on Amazing #1 are going to be huge, like in the 500,000 range. It will be really interesting to see how much of that is hype and how much second and consecutive drop off after that. Stay tuned as we’ll be watching this series very closely.
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DC Confirms Earth 2 Weekly comic to launch in October

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At the ComicsPRO meeting DC announced they would be launching three weekly comics this year. Batman Eternal just debuted last week, and The New 52 Future’s End is coming on Free Comic Book Day. And now Nerdist has revealed that as expected, the third weekly will be set on Earth 2. Creators include writers Daniel H. Wilson, Tom Taylor, Paul Levitz, Marguerite Bennet, and Mike Johnson; among the artists: Eddy Barrows, Jorge Jimenez, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqeira, and Tyler Kirkham. DC released a promo (above) by Ben Oliver which indicated this will be another feel good, upbeat story.

Apparently Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising and other robot bestsellers, will be the “Showrunnrer” for this particular weekly, stating “This has been a charmed opportunity to jump straight into the deep end of a gritty, complex DC Comics series. I feel incredibly lucky to work with Mike Cotton and the rest of the legendary DC team, figuring out the ultimate fates (and sometimes origins) of so many compelling Earth 2 characters in crisis. I’m having the time of my life.”

Earth-2 is a long running alternate Earth featured prominently in DC comics and as you can see from the above, it has a black Superman who is on good terms with Power Girl and a Batman with a funny looking logo that has not impeded his ability to mourn. Although many attempts have been made over the years to simplify DC continuity by nuking variant earths, the truth is, you can’t keep a good alternate world down.

The book comes out in October.

Review: Some Picks from the Spring Oily Bundle

Print by Antoine Cosse

Print by Antoine Cosse

It’s hard to convince me to not contribute to the growing number of small press comic subscriptions–every season there seems to be even more great material I want to get my hands onto, and it’s a rather addicting cycle of excitement whenever there’s a new package at my door. Oily has proven to be an exceptionally versatile publisher with their subscriptions—the form of their pocket-size, digestible mini-comics has parlayed a habit-forming nature in their readership that stays true to the internal logic of comics. Series like Melissa Mendes’s Lou and Charles Forsman’s TEOTFW have hooked many a fan in, including myself, allowing a sense of gratification and appreciation that hasn’t always been as accessible in indie comics. There is something quite rewarding about receiving an Oily bundle; the mini-comics are neighborly crafted and packaged to make you feel welcome from the outset.

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Eventbrite uses social media to examine PAXEast

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PAX East, the hugely successful Boston version of the gaming show created by Penny Arcade, wrapped up last weekend. PAX Prime is held in Seattle, and they just announced PAX South, to be held Jan. 23-25 in San Antonio, Texas. There’s also a PAX Australia—all the shows are run by ReedPOP, which also throws a bunch of comic-cons worldwide, as you may be aware.

Eventbrite is a ticketing agency that helps sell tickets for gaming events and they teamed with social media analysts Mashworks to analyze all posts from Twitter, Facebook, forums, and blogs about PAX East during the three-day convention. Eventbrite sent us the above infographic after using social media analysis to see what people were socialing about the show. Eventbrite provided the following bullet points:   

• PAX East created a bit of a social media frenzy: the event drove a whopping 193,000+ social media posts, driving 500+ more posts than PAX Prime 2013 and 25% more social volume than PAX East 2013!

• There were more women in the mix than ever: 28% of people talking about PAX East were women, up from 25% at PAX East 2013 and 26% at PAX Prime 2013, indicating that female attendance and social sharing at gaming events is steadily growing.

• Move over, Nintendo! Indie games drove big buzz: Over a third of all discussion around game announcements and demos centered on indie games — great to see new names breaking through. Conversations studied ran the gamut, and general excitement about PAX East dominated social discussion (48%), followed by chatter about gaming tournaments, like the Towerfall tournament and the 25K Infinite Crisis Event (15%). Other discussion topics included cosplay (12%), game announcements and demos (10%), Panels (9%), and parties and concerts (6%). The biggest social spike of the convention was the announcement of PAX South, driving over 5,500 posts from excited gamers.


Now why are we highlighting this press release? It seemed to have several interesting aspects, not least of which the integration of more women into the PAX culture. In the past, there were some ugly incidents, but hopefully more mixed participation will help change that.

It also seems that Eventbrite is getting more involved in the pop culture event arena — well, heck everyone is. This kind of data mining could turn out to be quite revealing.

And also, it’s a little scary how much people can figure out from social media, eh?

It grows.

Webcomic alert: Boulet goes shopping

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A new comic by French cartoonist Boulet is always worth noting, and this one about the horror of buying new clothes is no exception, from the dread of buying underwear from snotty sales girls to the doomed perfection of new shows.

The Asbury Park Comicon was a hit

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Whew so many events going on it is hard to keep track. Last weekend’s Asbury Park Comicon seems to have been a cracking good time, based on all the blog and FB posts we’ve seen about it. We’ve been hoping to go to the show every year, but this time two cons in a row left The Beat conned out. I believe Torsten is working on his own report, but co-show runner Cliff Galbraith was kind enough to send along some photos and talk about the show’s move to a new venue AND two days. Would it hold up? What do you think? Take it away, Cliff.

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It was a really incredible weekend. We had the the first nice weekend at the beach — the comic gods were smiling on us once again.  In fact, it kind of blew my mind and it’s got us really pumped up about our show 6/14 (the New York Comic Fest in Westchester). At times we had ticket lines around the block and had to add people to help keep things moving. The fans were really great and it was cool how they were able to talk to a lot of the creators we had, like J.H. Williams and Steranko. Chris Claremont was holding court and being really terrific with the people there to see him. Were we nervous about going to two days? Of course — there’s a lot more moving parts. But we’re glad we did it because it really worked out all the way around and it really sets us up for June when we have the show with Steranko, Sienkiewiecz, Denny O’Neil, Scott Snyder and Mark Waid.

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One thing that caught me off guard, in a good way, was that Claremont originally was just supposed to be there on Saturday. But that night we had a dinner that was secretly in honor of Denis Kitchen, who we wanted to thank for everything he’s done for the creative community and comics in general. We had a whole bunch of people there and I guess Chris had a good time because he decided to stay a second day! So there he was Sunday, with more fans out the door. Also, J.H. Williams III blogged last week that Asbury Park might be his only show of the year.

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And that dinner was a hit. Jon B. Cooke presented Denis with the award and he was completely taken by surprise. It was really lively with Steranko, Mark Schultz, Annie Nocenti, Don McGregor, Peter Bagge, my partners Robert Bruce and Dan Greenfield, Ming Chen, Michael Zapcic. All there. I don’t want to leave anyone out but Dean Haspiel, Gregory Benton and Christa Cassano were there from Hang Dai Studio in Brooklyn. Bob Camp, David Spurlock, Robert Sikoryak. John Holmstrom showed up. Jim Salicrup, Ellen Abramowitz, Tim Truman, Todd Klein, John Workman, Carl and Nancy Gropper, too. 

At the same time, we had Kathleen Hannah’s The Julie Ruin and Screaming Females show over at the Asbury Lanes, so guys like JH Williams and Box Brown were over there at our after-party. We had a lot going on and I think we’re moving towards being a much larger festival with bands and other activities — maybe like a mini SXSW of comics. We leased the park across from the hotel and filled it with food trucks and cars like the Batmobile and Ghost Busters Ecto 1, but next year I see the addition of a ferris wheel and a stage for bands. I want to involve the whole City of Asbury Park. 

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And the best part was the mood was fantastic over the two days — everyone was stoked. We had packed panels with Claremont and Steranko, Williams was a hit, plus Robert Sikoryak’s Carousel got a lot of people talking. The Comic Book Men panel was standing room only. The dealers said they did really well and the artists and writers were getting a lot of shmoozing and commissions in. The cosplay contest was way bigger than last year. And we were pleasantly surprised when Dan DiDio showed up quietly on Sunday afternoon!

Even though we’re called a comicon, I really see this as Rob and I are throwing a party. We choose to invite the people we want to spend the weekend with. That’s how this started a few years ago and it’s how we’re going to keep it. It’s for people we enjoy being around and those we’d like to get to know. I remember when cons were a lot more fun and a lot less crowded — Asbury Park is a reset to a more sane time in con history. I was really starting to feel bad for kids who never got to experience the cons we got to go to. I’m not trying to change the con business, I’m just offering an alternative. The big cons are like Hollywood blockbusters, we’re more like the quirky little indie film that’ll touch your heart. 

Next up for the Crucial folks is the New York Comic Fest June 14th in White Plains, and in 2015, the East Coast Comicon at the Meadowlands(!).

Next year for sure.

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Warren Ellis to revamp Dynamite’s Superpowers Universe

Well well, Dynamite is putting together quite a collection of creators, aren’t they? Here’s a big one: Warren Ellis will take over the Project Superpowers universe later this year. Just what that means isn’t entirely clear, but according to senior editor Joe Rybandt, Ellis will be given “carte blanche to reimagine these characters and this world.” A reboot revamp then.

Project Superpower, you may recall, is a relaunch of a bunch of public domain Golden Age superheroes originally revamped (in 2008) by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger. Among the heroes, the Black Terror, The Owl, the original Daredevil The F-Troops and so on. Dynamite has been publishing various mini-series since then, but this would seem to be a clean break from the last version.

Just imagine Warren Ellis writing something called The Black Terror—the possibilities are endless.

In a statement, Ellis wrote, “I’ve long been fascinated by the period in comics that produced these characters, and I’m very much looking forward to working out the strange, atmospheric take on the weird thriller that they inspired.  Also, it’s going to be a pleasure to finally do a job through the good offices of my old friend Nick Barrucci.”  

”I’ve wanted to work with Warren for many years, and have approached him more than a few times,” Dynamite CEO / Publisher Nick Barrucci added. “I can honestly say that when his schedule allowed for us to work together, I was speechless.  We’ve been waiting for the right creative vision to bring back Dynamite’s Superpowers Universe, and I can’t think of anyone better than Warren to do so.  I was elated that both came together.  He will make this series his own and will bring a larger audience to Dynamite’s Super Powers universe.  This is truly an honor to be working with him, as Warren elevates Dynamite to a new level.”

If you’ve been following Ellis’s mailing list, he’s been gallivanting all over the world on a bunch of secret projects, some of hem seemingly showbiz related. His novel Gun Machine is being developed for television, and his Wildstorm mini RED formed the basis of two films. Plus he has a new image series, Trees, coming out later this year, drawn by Jason Howard.

Dynamite sent along some art by Ross, Jae Lee and Steve Sadowski from previous versions of Project Superpowers.

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Salt Lake CIty Con expects 100,000 this weekend

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Last fall’s very first Salt Lake City Con drew what is claimed to be 80,000 people, although when I first reported on it it was 50,000 tickets sold,—and the fire marshals came outin force. With that kind of smash, they are holding another one already, nicknamed FanX. And this time they are expecting an even huger crowd. :

Organizer Dan Farr is confident that Utah can support two comic book conventions a year. He predicts this week’s convention will draw 100,000 visitors, at least 20,000 more than last fall’s event, easily breaking the record for the biggest convention in Utah.

“I’m not worried about what happens this year. But as we move into next year, that is a question we need to ask and talk to a lot of fans about,” Farr said about whether his grand experiment of two comic cons in Salt Lake City per year will work. “One thing that fights against that is we do bring in a new cast of guests, and we do change it up. If you go to one event, the next one will be new again. We’ll keep it fresh.”


I share Farr’s lack of fear where two shows are concerned — it sounds like a big market. This edition includes tons and tons of nerdlebrities including various people you would know from the bridge of the Enterprise, being eaten by zombies or patrolling Mega City. Also, comic book people.

When I see attendance numbers going up, up, up I always get a little suspicious, so if there are any Beatniks on the ground, please send in reports. They have already sold 40,000 tickets however, so expect a BIG time.

The show runs three days, but opens today. No Sunday for this con because…well it is Utah.

In case you are wondering, there is a harassment policy on the website.

[Above photo via Josh Wartena.]