1. Is it just me, or do the numbers on Vertigo look particularly grim? It seems that special event comics (just like “event TV”, in the words of Studio 60’s Jack Rudolph) seems to be the only things that move anything in the Direct Market these days. Or do the Vertigo products not work with readers? I’m actually genuinely interested there, since these drops:

    6 months: – 7.6%

    1 year : -15.2%

    2 years : – 5.6%

    3 years : -11.7%

    on that already low level should cause a bit of a concern. I know I would be concerned. And no, I am not being snarky at all, for further loss at Vertigo means even less product that isn’t fueled by crappy crossovers…

  2. Pretty depressing all around. 52 is eating the sales of the regular books.

    It’s fairly obvious though, that the current comic format is both a bad value and a bad way to tell stories in the 4-8 issue format that has become standard.

    If I was Paul Levitz, DC would ship one single comic each and every week. It would be an anthology, with a minimum of 6×22 pages of original content, plus reprints, letter columns, etc… Heck, you could call one of the 4 monthly books Action and another Detective and keep the numbering to placate the fanboys. These books would be printed on cheaper paper, more like a glossy mag, and the price point would be under $10.

    On the Vertigo side, I’d dump monthlies altogether, make the first chapter of each new series available free online (they already do this, they just need to start doing it BEFORE they release the first issue), and ship trades exclusively.

    Also, Marc – you are confusing the Sandmen.

  3. Marc-Oliver wrote:
    Surprisingly, there’s virtually no drop-off from November’s introductory crossover special, which, after all, had the sales draw of Batman and writer Jeph Loeb in its favor. These are good, solid numbers for a book that doesn’t do superheroes, especially in the absence of any variant cover gimmickry and the like. Batman/The Spirit picked up a respectable 4,125 units in re-orders, meanwhile.

    Also worthy of note is the fact that Batman/Spirit was priced at $4.99 US, while The Spirit #1 was $2.99 US.

  4. 209 – THE NEXT
    07/2006: The Next #1 of 6 — 22,713
    08/2006: The Next #2 of 6 — 15,875 (-30.1%)
    09/2006: The Next #3 of 6 — 10,570 (-33.4%)
    10/2006: The Next #4 of 6 — 8,054 (-23.8%)
    11/2006: The Next #5 of 6 — 6,991 (-13.2%)
    12/2006: The Next #6 of 6 — 6,519 (- 6.8%)

    Meet the new writer of Aquaman.
    Wow, that’s an unkind cut. The Next was not a standard, superhero comic book. It was science fiction. And strange.

    Let’s at least give the guy an issue or two.

  5. Bah, Busiek’s Aquaman is pearls before swine, like Baker’s Plastic Man before it. I’m glad there’s renewed interest in Fables. The book deserves it. Willingham’s DCU work with Shadowpact does not, however. It’s not nealry as bad, of course, as the newly-craptastic “X-Treme!! To the Maxx!! Ultimate!!” Martian Manhunter. Give me the Gerard Jones/Eduardo Barreto J’onn J’onzz any day.

  6. I’ve said it elsewhere, but I think DC is completely and absolutely missing the boat with Tad Williams, who is pretty much a best selling author with much more crossover appeal than let’s say Brad Meltzer, even if I’ve only read one or two of his works. They need to market him to his core audience, thousands and thousands of people who will likely buy anything with his name on it, so long as they know that it’s out there.

    From what I’ve seen, they absolutely don’t know that he did a DC book recently and that he’s going to be doing Aquaman.

    This is DC’s shot to bring a number of new readers into the market, though I haven’t the slightest how to reach them. Maybe that’d be a job for Williams himself, much like how JMS brought over a number of his preexisting fans to ASM and Rising Stars through letting them know on usenet.

  7. alan brown: “Also, Marc – you are confusing the Sandmen.”

    I think Vertigo may be hoping other people will, too.

    Andres: “I`d like to see numbers on Image and other publishers, too….”

    You are. This list (and the Marvel version) are both generated from the Diamond Top 300 sales estimates. The stuff down at the bottom of the post includes Spawn and Cyberforce/X-Men, which were the only comics from Image to break into the top 300 in December.

    Considering that the list provides us with DC’s CN Block Party #28 at #298 with 1,778 in sales to the direct market, I think you can figure out what that means for the other publishers.

  8. Actually, Edward, there are plenty more Image, Dark Horse and other publishers’ titles on the Top 300 list each month; Frisch limits his analysis of DC’s sales figures to a select few others each month. Click through to ICv2 to see how those other publishers’ titles fared.

  9. Interestingly, Marvel recently back-pedaled on a couple of projects originally announced as ongoing titles spinning out of their Civil War event series, which are now going to see the light of day as limited series instead. Perhaps the awareness that the market can only support so much is finally setting in, at least at one of the two major direct market caterers.
    huh? Isn’t it obvious that limited series are a better way to capitalize on the initial interest? You get people to buy out of a desire for completion right when they’ve finally seen enough issues to decide the quality is poor.
    In other words, yes, Marvel seems to be more in tune to the way the market works in this case but then again, DC was taking a couple of gambles post-IC (most notably 52) and unsurprisingly not all of them paid off.
    Still, as far as I could tell few of their experiments turned out worse than before (especially factoring in CivilWar-drain) which IMHO is a decent outcome for a shot at a new perennial seller or even a hit.

  10. What Month-by-Month Title-by-Title analyses like this miss is that an extra 100,000 copies of Batman Confidential #1 + Spirit #1 makes up for losses of 1,000 to 2,000 for each of a dozen or two dozen other titles. If you look at it overall

    You can have a perfectly satisfactory marketing scheme that involves every title losing a thousand readers a month, if a couple of new title pick up the extras. Your sales figures will look grim every month, but sales will keep going up.

    Is it just me, or do the numbers on Vertigo look particularly grim?

    Not unless you know how many titles they are publishing annually. The titles I read (Fables and Y) have been keeping their readers. If they are publishing more total titles, it would make more sense that the average would decline.

  11. As for sales by line.

    DC= Nothing to suprising here Dec. Sells alway’s decline at my shop and cotinue to sell at what ever levels they found in Dec. thru about Feb. then in March the sales go back up. Every DC fan at my shop picked up Justice League and Society in December. 52 is declining but not alarmingly.

    Wildstorm = Nothing to suprising here either the new horror line sales stunk at my shop and Wildstorm U titles have always been either average or below average except for Authority and Wildcats.

    Vertigo = This is a little suprising to me seeing as to how Deadman sells as well as some of the other titles as Fables or 100 Bullets(Both above average sellers) Other then that Crossing Midnight sells stunk Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep of Reason didn’t bring in strong sells either. Vertigo most generally does well at my shop but those two just didn’t go over well.

    Overall though I hope sells do better this year across the line.

  12. “huh? Isn’t it obvious that limited series are a better way to capitalize on the initial interest?”

    Arguably, yes. I think you can make a strong case that a low-selling but well-received miniseries like MADROX makes it easier to launch an ongoing title on the back of it, since it helps to build a buzz. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to have done HEROES FOR HIRE any good – now that the crossover is behind it, the book is plunging down the charts. But then again, DOTD wasn’t an especially well-received miniseries, so maybe it doesn’t undermine the argument.

    But it remains the case that Marvel have back-pedalled at the last moment, so if they DID reason it this way, it’s a point that’s dawned on them very late in the day.

  13. Well, according to Marvel editor Tom Brevoort over at the Comic Book Resources message board, “OMEGA FLIGHT is a limited series because of the number of PROJECTS spinning out of CIVIL WAR, including most of what you’ve listed above and a few others. There’s only so much money in the marketplace, and only so many books the average reader’s wallet can absorb at any given time. And it’s far better to build a project as a limited from the get-go than to launch it as an ongoig and have it get cancelled 8 issues in because the reader interest and support simply isn’t there. This way, if the thing does sell well, we can do more.”

    So it seems to be both, really.

  14. “Actually, Edward, there are plenty more Image, Dark Horse and other publishers’ titles on the Top 300 list each month; Frisch limits his analysis of DC’s sales figures to a select few others each month.”

    Right. I’m only looking at the non-Marvel, non-DC books which made it into the Top 100 this month. The Top 300 has lots more of them, of course.

  15. umm…darned if i can quite work out what ‘in the absence of enticing alternatives’ means, in the context of vertigo in general. i’m not being defensive.

    ‘milk,’ i get. i think.