Rebirth is even bigger than New 52 – DC shipped 12 million comics this summer

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I’ll have more commentary on this later but it seems Rebirth is an even bigger and more sustained hit than New 52. I think New 52 had a bigger gap to overcome so it seems like a bigger hit at this point, but the numbers are there.

With nearly 12 million comic books shipped this past summer, DC’s Rebirth is showing no signs of slowing down.

Comic book fans have enthusiastically embraced the superhero relaunch in staggering numbers. Since the debut of the initial book, DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH SPECIAL by Geoff Johns, combined sales have pushed 12 million physical periodicals through comic book retailers worldwide in record time. A total of 11 issues exceeded 200,000 units shipped, an additional 60-plus issues shipped more than 100,000 copies each and 21 issues have gone back to print multiple times.

Last June, DC launched Rebirth, one of the most ambitious publishing initiatives in the company’s 80-plus-year history. This new lineup of stories includes a combination of DC favorites, as well as new titles, and restarted most titles at issue #1. Top comic talent was recruited for the publisher’s iconic line of books, such as SUPERMAN, BATMAN and WONDER WOMAN, which became available twice monthly. In addition, DC’s two flagship legacy titles resumed their original issue numbering, also shipping twice monthly: DETECTIVE COMICS picked up with issue #934, while ACTION COMICS continued with issue #957.

“This is the biggest story in comics publishing right now—fan and retailer demand for these books is at an all-time high,” said John Cunningham, DC’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Marketing. “This summer we’ve sold more issues over 100,000 units than we did in all of 2015.”

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The flagship book, Geoff Johns’ DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH SPECIAL, recently went back to press a fifth time and has sold nearly 350,000 copies. Best-selling writer Johns, who is also the company’s President and Chief Creative Officer, oversaw the creative direction of the entire Rebirth line of books. Working in tandem with DC Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, this line-wide launch focused on themes of hope and optimism and returned the DC Universe to a more closely knit superhero continuity.

“The overall response—from retailers, the creative community and, most importantly, the fans—has been nothing short of incredible,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “We listened to what the retail and fan communities thought was missing from our books and took the necessary steps to produce stories that have re-energized comics. I’m so immensely proud of my amazing team of executives, including Dan, Jim and Geoff, for once again setting the bar for excellence in comics. “

“Hope, optimism and legacy are integral to the epic, universe-spanning stories that define what a ‘DC’ superhero is to me. As is building on the foundation of all the amazing writers and artists, as well as, characters that have been part of DC’s history and celebrating it,” said Geoff Johns, President and Chief Creative Officer, DC Entertainment. “I’m incredibly proud of the creative teams across the line and beyond grateful that readers and retailers have given Rebirth a shot. And, stay tuned for more stories and secrets about the mysterious machinations at play behind Rebirth to come!”

Rebirth titles are enjoying a 29 percent higher lift than the company’s previous relaunch in 2011, DC COMICS – THE NEW 52, with the top 10 titles being a combination of core classics, new titles and some surprises—including the top-selling book HARLEY QUINN #1, with more than 400,000 copies shipped.

“This was a huge publishing initiative that we completely believed in, but it can be a little daunting keeping the world’s greatest superhero stories fresh while at the same time classic and familiar for the fans,” said DC Entertainment Publisher Dan DiDio. “The combination of a return to classic superhero storytelling with new storylines, new creative teams and a new lower price helped add readers to the marketplace, and we’re dedicated to continuing to bring them the quality of stories that will keep them coming back for more.”

DC Entertainment Publisher and SUICIDE SQUAD artist Jim Lee said, “Our amazing writers and artists—such as Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti on HARLEY QUINN, and Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp on WONDER WOMAN—are hitting home runs with their books, and that’s bringing fans into comic book stores in droves. In addition, we are thrilled to see what Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr. are doing on ALL-STAR BATMAN, which is getting outstanding reviews from the press and fans across the board.”

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Fans who missed out on these titles in periodical form will have an opportunity to catch up on story arcs such as “I Am Gotham” (BATMAN), “The Lies” (WONDER WOMAN), “Son of Superman” (SUPERMAN), “Lightning Strikes Twice” (THE FLASH) and “The Extinction Machine” (JUSTICE LEAGUE) when they’re released as collected editions, available through comic book retailers, bookstores and digital platforms beginning in January.

Comments

  1. says

    Regardless, there is a tone of sadness to all this to me. It reads like, “Junkie prostitute gets sober, lands job at fast food restaurant.”

    I hate DC after decades of garbage and mismanagement. I find it hard to like the characters more than the corporate pimps who think squeezing blood from stones as a strategy. Congrats to the corporates that will get fat salaries over this, and the artists who will get rent through this, I guess.

  2. allen says

    SO whats Delay in month to month sales Fro DC Marvel and Image all multiple weeks late

  3. Vernon W says

    I don’t think waiting till January to release trades on books shipping twice monthly is a good odea. . If retailers are going to keep up the momentum on this, having the backstory handy is a must for new readers. Especially for the holidays, where sales could be much higher than in January.

  4. allen says

    @Vernon W Its Either to long for trades or people saying DC will get tons of returns on unsold product and #’s dont take account returns

  5. says

    It’s a very self-congratulatory press release, which at the moment is too early to tell if it is a long-term success. I think the purpose of it is to do the following:

    1. Create some buzz for those who are late to the party
    2. Reassure retailers that Rebirth is working
    3. DC Comics’ brand has taken a big hit over the last couple of years and this is another step to try and build reader and retailer confidence

    DC does well in the TPB department so it will be interesting to see how Rebirth performs in that format.

    i would like to see another report in 6 months time to see if DC have kept the momentum up. my feeling is that they will even out much higher than what they were last year, with the brand in better shape.

    As long as they can keep making good comics then they will continue to do well.

  6. Torsten Adair says

    Just a reminder about the elephant in the corner:
    DC hasn’t generated many new backlist titles since the New 52.

    The Earth One books sell well, but take FOREVER to publish.
    Superhero GNs have a short shelf life… they’re the equivalent of Soap Opera DVDs in a video store.
    Snyder’s Batman volumes sell well, but what else? Morrison’s Superman stories seem forgotten, Azarello’s Wonder Woman got sideswiped with Zeus and the “fertility rites” of the Amazons. The yearly Justice League events are forgotten as soon as the first issue hits the stands (same for Green Lantern Corps).
    Where’s the Elseworlds-type books like “Red Son”, “Watchmen”, and “The Killing Joke”?

    What titles from the first 15 year of this century (I’m setting the bar low) will remain in print in 2020?

  7. Joseph says

    Torsten:

    Although the New 52 did not produce many hits outside of Snyder’s Batman, I think the Tomasi/Gleason Batman and Robin will remain popular.

    Otherwise, taking the first 15 years, I’d say:

    Hush
    Gotham Central
    52
    Infinite Crisis
    Identity Crisis
    Flashpoint
    American Vampire
    All of the Fables and associated titles
    Astro City
    I think Grayson has a good shot. It was a pretty solid title and Nightwing’s a popular character.
    I actually think Darkseid War, as well as most of the JL run will still be in demand. We’re still getting reprints of JLA, for chrissake.

    But it would be great to see some standalone volumes like Watchmen, the Dark Knight stuff, KJ, etc. again. Although I have to say that DC is just getting into reprinting a lot of 90s books, so in 2020 we might see a slew of nostalgia for early 21st Century DC books.

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