For the Week of 7/4/18, the non-wedding issue of Batman did something very rare. It beat The Walking Dead on the Comixology bestseller list.
|Comixology Rank||Issue||Previous Issue Print Sales Est.||Previous Issue Diamond Rank|
|1||Batman (2016-) Issue #50||121,836||5|
|2||The Walking Dead Issue #181||71,196||13|
|3||Justice League (2018-) Issue #3||86,001||10|
|4||Man of Steel (2018-) Issue #6||62,468||18|
|5||Captain America (2018-) Issue #1||34,434||43|
|6||Avengers (2018-) Issue #4||59,572||20|
|7||Catwoman (2018-) Issue #1||N/A||N/A|
|8||Star Wars (2015-) Issue #50||49,655||31|
|9||Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #65||Digital First|
|10||Immortal Hulk (2018-) Issue #2||84,153||11|
|11||Paper Girls Issue #22||21,981||99|
|12||Astonishing X-Men (2017-) Issue #13||28,513||65|
|13||X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #31||88,238||9|
|14||Cosmic Ghost Rider (2018) Issue #1 (of 5)||N/A||N/A|
|15||Nightwing (2016-) Issue #46||26,242||79|
|16||Deathstroke (2016-) Issue #33||38,535||35|
|17||Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #50||24,157||88|
|18||Doctor Strange (2018-) Issue #3||33,184||46|
|19||Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost (2018) Issue #3 (of 4)||33,118||48|
|20||Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Issue #6||Digital First|
Batman #50 may have been spoiled in the New York Times and it surely didn’t deliver the event that DC was hyping, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sell and sell stronger than usual. The Walking Dead not being #1 when it comes out is an uncommon occurrence.
Because of how Batman made the jump, it’s a little hard to judge if Justice League #3 continued to hold readers. If you recall, Justice League beat out Batman with its first two issues on the Comixology list. As you can see from the chart, #2 was ordered into the Direct Market at ~86K, so its very unlikely to have outsold Batman in print… but its been an interesting trend to keep an eye on. Let’s see where both titles are in two weeks.
Man of Steel is reported at 10% low on the estimates, so actual orders would be closer to ~69K. This is roughly where it ought to be on the chart, but the titles around it aren’t really in a tight enough cluster of known sales to get a good idea how well its holding onto readers. If there’s been attrition, there at least doesn’t seem to have been an overwhelming amount, let’s put it that way.
Captain America’s new series debuts next, followed by Avengers. The previous issue of Avengers we have a number for was a #3 at ~59.5K. It wouldn’t be unusual for Avengers to still be settling out a little and finding it’s level, ergo Captain America was probably selling the digital equivalent of somewhere between 55K-69K print. That’s not a horrible number for the title in the post-Brubaker years, so we’ll see if the readers stick around. Avengers looks like it might be settling into the mid-to-high 50Ks print equivalent here, which is about where Marvel has peaked lately and definitely on the high end for Comixology.
Catwoman‘s debut issue is next, roughly where Detective Comics normally sits. Looks like somewhere between 50K-59K for a print equivalent. DC would happily take that if the audience sticks around.
Star Wars is up a bit for its 50th issue and it’s been a few issues since it was selling above Injustice.
Immortal Hulk follows Injustice on the chart. This is a real glass half empty/half full position for Hulk. It’s definitely dropped off a bit with the second issue, but sitting somewhere in the general equivalency of mid-to-high 40Ks print is a significant improvement for the character.
The next several slots on the charts are books that are over-performing drastically, coming off a special issue or new. Here are our guideposts:
In the #16 slot, Deathstroke‘s previous issue sold 38K in print (the benefits of a Bat-crossover). In the #13 slot, the previous issue of X-Men Gold was the wedding issue and this issue did NOT sell like the wedding issue did in print… but it does look like it might be riding out a sales bump left over from that wedding issue. So, with that in mind:
Paper Girls is over-performing in digital. In other news, water is still wet. No surprise here.
In the #12 slot, Astonishing X-Men was hyped as a sort of soft relaunch with a new creative team and sales sure do seem to be up. It’s outselling X-Men Gold, which also appeared to be up a little, so I’m guessing that the pair are selling somewhere around the print equivalent of 40K… which is a hit by current Marvel standards. The debut of Cosmic Ghost Rider is the #14 book and high 30Ks to 40K seems like a good debut for such a title. This is around where the Cates Thanos run peaked in digital.
Nightwing always seems to do better in digital and then we have Deathstroke to round out the ambiguous section.
Green Lanterns is next and likely has a slight bump for its 50th issue.
#18 and #19 are the third issues of Doctor Strange and Hunt for Wolverine:Weapon Lost. There’s probably a standard attrition between #2 and #3 for these titles, which were ordered very close together in print for the second issues.
And finally, in the #20 slot is a surprise: the final issue of the Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins digital first series from Dark Horse, specifically from April. It’s still popular.
Methodology and standard disclaimers:
The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 7/8) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron June chart.
The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that he digital audience has more of less the same reading habits as the Direct Market Print audience. I’ve had multiple publishers tell me that digital sales of new issues are roughly 10-15% of print sales and the titles more or less have the same proportional popularity in digital as in print. Maybe a couple titles switch places on the sales ranking list, but largely the same. The bestsellers on the newsstand were not always the same bestsellers as in the Direct Market, so it doesn’t seem like that should necessarily be the case with digital. There will be a little bit of mismatch because these are more weekly than monthly ranks and it isn’t clear exactly how Comixology defines the reporting periods, but if you look at comics sales, you learn to live with the data available.
Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work? Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.