Marvel Month to Month Sales: April 2014 — Everything’s Coming up Spidey

Amazing Spider-Man #1

by Jason Enright

Welcome to the month of Spider-Man, the best-selling comic in over a decade. But with this one book breaking 500k, how is this the rest of the Marvel line doing? The last few months we’ve seen a lot of soft relaunches and some genuine new #1s, but while the new books like Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight are doing well, a lot of the new relaunches are floundering. Let’s break down a few overall statistics.

80 books shipped this month
5 X-books (7 including X-Factor and X-Force)
7 Avengers books
9 new #1s for ongoing series
10 double shipped books

2 books over 100k (both Spider-man)
0 books between 75k and 100k
12 books between 50k and 75k
35 books between 25k and 50k
31 books between 1k and 25k

So as you can see although Marvel has a few breakout hits, most of its books sell under 50k, and it has almost as many under 25k books as it does over 25k. The average Marvel book sells 38k if you include Amazing Spider-man #1, but if you treat that as an anomaly and remove it, then the Average book sells 32k.

As you can see Marvel has quite a few books below 25k that they probably need to think about cancelling. To this end, I’ve added in the analysis below my thoughts on which books Marvel, might be considering cancelling, and per a reader request, I’m calling this the deathwatch list.

So read on below to get the in-depth analysis of what is going with Marvel’s sales, and what I think they might be able to do about it. As always leave your comments and thoughts below. Am I way off? Do you agree with my thoughts and predictions? Sound off in the comments below.

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

1,2. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
04/04  Am Spi #506   –  83,156
04/09  Am Spi #590   -	 66,410
04/11  Am Spi #658   -	 61,687
04/12  Am Spi #683   -  59,153
---
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%)
04/14  Superior #31 – 135,484  (  79.6%)[10,168]
04/14  Amazing v3 #1- 532,586  ( 293.1%)
---
6 mnth  ( 536.5%)
1 year  ( 505.6%)
2 year  ( 800.0%)
3 year  ( 763.4%)
5 year  ( 702.0%)
10 year ( 540.5%)

So wow! 532,586 copies shipped to stores. This makes Amazing Spider-Man #1 the best-selling comic since around 1999. Now there have been some reports that Marvel pumped these numbers up a bit by sending stores extra copies and obviously they did a lot of incentive variants and some incentive price lowering, but still this is a great achievement even if it a little inflated. Plus Superior #31 which also came out this month saw a nice sales increase. Now, we’ll want to watch for two things next month: One, how high are reorders on Amazing, basically did stores sell out of what they ordered or are all those copies sitting on their shelves still? Two, how high are orders on Amazing 2 going to be? Do stores think that people coming back in for Amazing #1 will come back for #2? I expect the order to be between 100 and 150k, but we’ll have to wait and see. All told though, this is a very nice return for Peter Parker, welcome back Pete!

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To do: The Comic Book Theater Festival!

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I admit there are lot of things to do in New York City if you like comics, and here’s et another one. Please don’t hate us too much. The Comic Book Theater Festival will run from 6/3-29 @ The Brick and it’s just wha tit sounds like; a whole FESTIVAL of theater works inspired by comics. The line-up includes “King Kirby” by Fred van Lente and Crystal SKillman currently being Kickstarted. MUST SEE. There are also works by R. Sikoryak, Matthew Thurber and other comics/performance space regulars. Again so much to see and do!

The Astonishing Adventures of All American Girl & The Scarlet Skunk 
Written and directed by Charles Battersby 
Turn up the radio and get your decoder rings ready! Astonishing Adventures is a pulse-pounding tale of romance, comedy and action inspired by Golden Age comic books and radio shows. Thrill to the adventures of All American Girl and her plucky sidekick The Scarlet Skunk as they wage a two–fisted battle against injustice! Can they stand against the nefarious Doctor Mindshrinker and his deadly atomic ray gun? Will they find love on the rooftops of New York City? Find out in a tale unlike anything you have witnessed before! Brought to you by Chocolate Fluffo, the “Super delicious” dessert topping! 
Press Performances: Fri 6/6 @ 9pm, Tue 6/10 @ 8:45pm & Fri 6/13 @ 10pm 

El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom 
Written by Matthew Barbot 
Alex, a comic book artist recently out of work because his ideas might be “too Puerto Rican” has taken on the trappings of one of his creations: El Coquí Espectacular, a hero that gets his powers from an enchanted carnival mask. When his brother Joe is fired from a project for not being Puerto Rican enough, the two, with the help of a young photographer, hatch a plan to debut El Coquí at the Puerto Rican Day parade and redeem themselves. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/5 @ 9pm, Sat 6/7 @ 4:45pm & Sun 6/15 @ 7pm 

Hero How To 
Presented by Dusky Projects/Konoa Joe Island, Written by Wi-Moto Nyoka, Directed by Charles Curtis, Music by Wi-Moto Nyoka and Tommy Turnstyles 
Hero How To is the origins story of the would-be hero Dusky Diana and the prologue to the web series The Last Days of Kartika. Hero How To uses Funk, Soul, and Hip Hop music to tell the story of the citizens of Kartika during their most troublesome times. 
Press Performances: Wed 6/4 @ 9pm, Fri 6/6 @ 7pm & Sun 6/8 @ 3pm 

King Kirby 
Written by Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente, Directed by John Hurley
Jack “King of the Comics” Kirby is the most famous artist you’ve never heard of. Husband-and-wife playwriting team Fred Van Lente (award-winning, New York Times best selling comics writer of Cowboys & Aliens and Action Philosophers) and Crystal Skillman (NYIT Award-winning playwright of Geek, Cut, and The Vigil) combine their talents with director John Hurley (Action Philosophers!, Lickspittles, Buttonholers and Damned Pernicious Go Betweens, and The Vigil) to produce this hysterical and heartbreaking tale of how he poured his quintestially Twentieth Century life into his comics, and the fateful, tragic mistake that led him to obscurity, while his creation became known to every person on Earth. 
Press Performances: Fri 6/20 @ 7pm, Sat 6/21 @ 3pm & Wed 6/25 @ 7pm

Lifetime Supply 
Written by Sarah Todes, Directed by John Kern and Andrew J. Scoville 
Lifetime Supply is a live graphic novel in which Hannah collects a lifetime supply of Acai-Berry Supplements in her basement to win back the heart of the man she loves. When faced with a brutal rejection, Hannah attempts to commit suicide by swallowing all of the pills – but instead gains powers beyond her wildest imagination as her body, and the basement itself, transforms. Plunging into an ocean of Acai Supplements, Hannah will discover a world beyond the dark secrets of her past. 
Press Performances: Wed 6/4 @ 7pm, Sat 6/7 @ 3pm & Sat 6/14 @ 4:45pm 

Mahogany Brown and the Case of The Disappearing Kid
Written by Gina Femia, Directed by Megan Kosmoski 
It was a day like any other, except different. It was different. The air was a little bit too still and the trees were a bit too tall. That day. The day Jimmy Jones’ little boy disappeared. Follow Private Eye Mahogany Brown as she searches for the child supposedly taken by “The Nameless”. As the case progresses, clues appear to reveal more about Mahogany Brown than she is ready to handle. 
Press Performances: Wed 6/11 @ 7pm, Sat 6/14 @ 3pm & Wed 6/18 @ 7pm 

Masterpiece Comics Theater 
Created by R. Sikoryak 
Masterpiece Comics Theater – Where Classics and Cartoons Collide! This hour long multimedia show adapts R. Sikoryak’s graphic novel “Masterpiece Comics” and its sequel and features re-tellings of classic literature in the styles of popular American comics. Inspired by epic poetry, Gothic romance, and Elizabethan tragedy, as well as superhero stories, cat cartoons, and gum wrappers, Masterpiece Comics Theater uses projections, a rotating cast of voice actors, and live sound effects in the manner of Sikoryak’s long-running Carousel comics performance series. 
Press Performances: Sat 6/14 @ 8:15pm & Tue 6/17 @ 7pm 

Mining the Moon 
Written and Directed by Matthew Thurber 
A werewolf who happens to be the president of the United States has remained in power by arresting the movement of the Moon. A cabal of businessmen have their sights on harvesting the lunar coal deposits, and attempt to depose him with the help of the last remaining Native Americans who hope to build a giant casino on their reservation that will reach into space – unless they can be stopped by President Furzedowne and his accomplice, a talking horse named Mr. Colostomy. Inspired by the deadpan theatrical works of Raymond Roussel and the puppetry–influenced plays of Alfred Jarry, as well as 19th century Bowery melodrama, Matthew Thurber’s musical adaptation of his own comic is enhanced by elaborate costumes, painted backdrops, scrolls, and lo–fi special effects. 
Press Performances: Sun 6/8 @ 5pm, Tue 6/10 @ 7pm & Sat 6/21 @ 8pm 

The Myth of Power with Caveman Robot & Drummond Pierce-Nez
Presented by Starsailor, Written by Adam McGovern and Jason Robert Bell 
Long thought taped over by an Arizona PBS station for a less significant Bill Moyers segment, The Myth of Power is not just in your imagination! Archetype hunter and mail-order tribal initiate Drummond Pierce-Nez gets to meet and interview his favorite pop deity, comic book paragon Caveman Robot, live and incarnate for one sleepless night only. Get a courtside seat to the conceptual cage-match of the last 150 million years as the mechanical man-child and the hero of a thousand of his own stories dish about what the elder gods and fire-breathing Yeti were really like when the scribes weren’t carving. Featuring artist and tent-show conceptualist Jason Robert Bell with comicbook writer and pop lecturer Adam McGovern, it’s a panopticon of staged conversation, video, cosplay and hallucination you can take all your ancestors to!
Press Performance: Thu 6/5 @ 7pm 

Out of Frame: Dance+Comics 
Curated by Patrice Miller 
Can Catwoman do the twist? What happens when Fire and Ice tango? [Out of Frame] brings choreographers and comic book artists together to answer these and other important questions. This bill of short dance and movement pieces explores the intersection of sequential art and movement, showcasing new and exciting collaborations from emerging and established choreographers, directors, and visual artists. 
Press Performances: Tue 6/24 @ 9pm & Sat 6/28 @ 9pm 

The Retardedly Boring Misadventures of Apathy Boy 
Presented by Foxy Henriques and The Circuit Theatre Company 
Written by Skylar Fox and Simon Henriques, Animation by Alex Lee 
“What part of ‘I don’t care’ don’t you understand?” he says in a measured tone, as he gives that signature “Whatever” shrug. It’s Apathy Boy. Yay. In a world that cares too much, Apathy Boy is really good at saving himself. In an alternate world, a high school boy tells Apathy Boy’s story as he draws it into life. As these worlds collide, a hero meets his maker, and nothing will ever be the same. This new play from Foxy Henriques combines live action with animation to tell a story about … whatever. If you want to know, come to the show. Or don’t. Nothing matters anyway. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/19 @ 7pm & Fri 6/20 @ 10:30pm 

RETCONtroversy 
Written by Natalie Zutter Directed by Shannon Lippert 
Stinger (a.k.a. Nora Echolls) was everyone’s favorite girl wonder, rooftop-jumping sidekick, until a tragic attack left her partially paralyzed. Slowly and painfully, Eleanor recreated herself as Echo, a brainy superhero support system. But twenty years later, she’s being retconned: Stinger is back, shiny and new, and was never paralyzed to begin with! Now, Echo has to use that big brain of hers to keep the canon from changing. Unfortunately, her smartest idea was to kidnap her younger self. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/19 @ 9pm, Sun 6/22 @ 5pm & Tue 6/24@ 7pm 
(on a double bill with White Space) 

Swell 
Adapted from the graphic novel by Juliacks, Directed by Kathleen Amshoff
Emmeline Grouse lives in a small town in Vermont, in a house overlooking an abandoned cemetery where she and her sister Lucy would often play. Adapted from the comic art novel by Juliacks, SWELL is an ongoing project that explores the memory-shifting and kaleidoscopic journey of grief, as Emmeline confronts her fears, dreams, and imagination. Following its March 2012 premiere at Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival in Manhattan, and its reimagining at the Atomic Centre by a new team of New York-, Lyon- and Winnipeg-based artists, SWELL is reincarnated for the Comic Book Theater Festival in a new version that draws from SWELL’s past to reenact moments in Emmeline’s stream of recollections. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/12 @ 7pm, Fri 6/13 @ 8:30pm & Sat 6/14 @ 10pm 

Switch to Kill 
Presented by Gemini CollisionWorks, Written by Dean Haspiel, Directed by Ian W. Hill 
In a world where no one knows anyone’s true identity, professional hit men Dallas Twilite and Buck Dangerzone engage in a psychological duel that triggers cold–blooded acts of murder. Haunted by his younger brother’s death years ago, Dallas, in a twist of events, realizes that he has never witnessed his partner, Buck, kill a man, while that partner insists that he’s been responsible for every kill and won’t admit how. Their disagreement breaks a trust that has bonded them since day one. All hell breaks loose when Frank the Shank sparks a distribution war, geriatric assassins Jimmy the Face and Massacre Mel deliver the wrong head to gang lord rival Bohannon, and gun salesman Stan the Man sells the right bullets to the wrong men. Through a series of harried gun play and emotional tests, a trust is reinstated and ghosts are lifted from the psyche of grief-stricken killers. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/12 @ 9pm, Sun 6/15 @ 5pm & Thu 6/26 @ 9pm 

White Space 
Written by Brett Ackerman Co-directed by Brett Ackerman & Nicola McEldowney 
Set within three panels of an old space adventure comic book, White Space follows two background characters, Alex and Samantha, as they attempt to understand their purpose in the grand scheme of the comic’s narrative. After part of Alex’s panel falls off, he finds Samantha was living in the panel next to him for years. Together, they conspire to bust out of their square prisons and discover where their destiny lies. What Alex doesn’t know is that his death is only a panel away. 
Press Performances: Thu 6/19 @ 9pm & Sun 6/22 @ 3pm & 5pm 
(on a double bill with RETCONtroversy) 

Interview: Sean E. Williams on ‘Fairest: Return of the Maharaja’, Hinduism, and Giant Crocodiles

Next week sees the release of the third trade of Fairest, the spinoff series of Fables which has seen a number of writers and artists tell standalone stories spotlighting the different female characters of Bill Willingham’s world. Return of the Maharaja, however, tries something a little different still – writer Sean E. Williams and artist Steve Sadowski introduce a new hero from myth to readers, in the form of Nalayani.

Coming straight from the epic mythology of Indian folkore, Nalayani is a dynamic, contrary, unpredictable sort of lead character; and her story dominates the third arc of the series. But Williams’ story not only brings in new characters like Nalayani – it also features some the return of some unexpected, familiar faces, to the shock of long-term Fables fans. I was lucky to have the chance to talk to Williams about his story, and he explained how it came together, the surprising twist appearance of a fan-favourite character… and giant monsters.

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March Book One is first graphic novel to win the RFK Book Award

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MARCH Book One, the comics version of the life story of Civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis. has been breaking boundaries since it was published last year and it just smashed another one; it’s the first ever graphic novel to win a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

The awards recognize books which reflect Kennedy’s ideals of justice, human rights, and equality of opportunity, and was a champion of civil rights prior to his assassination in 1968. March will received a “Special Recognition” award at the ceremony tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

Lewis previously won a RFK Award in 1999 for his prose autobiography Walking with the Wind in 1999. And The only other time a Special Recognition Award was given was to cartoonist Herblock in 1994.

March, written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, has been getting massive exposure unprecedented for a graphic novel since it was published last year, including appearances on Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert.

Incredible X-Men infographic helps you keep the teams straight

X-Men Infographic
Infographic Created by Shirts.com

If such a thing can really be done—and let’s face it, around about NÜ Marvel it got a lot harder. Anyway Beat Contributor and Mistress of the Infographic Arts Kate Willaert has DONE IT AGAIN with a chart showing the evolution of various X-teams, and just how many times Professor X has been killed, setting off a team shuffle. Also, Cannonball.

It’s especially handy prior to Friday’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTRUE PAST premiere so you can see just who went back in time to bring people forward to save a possible timeline.

The infographic was created for Shirts.com.