Ah, the power of controversy.  For the week of  9/19/18 Batman was dethroned by Batman.  Batman: Damned, that is.  All the hype about whether or not Batman’s genitals will be appearing in a given format generated a lot of interest, it seems.

Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Batman: Damned (2018-) Issue #1 N/A
2 Batman (2016-) Issue #55 99,191 4
3 Justice League (2018-) Issue #8 75,156 10
4 Return Of Wolverine (2018-) Issue #1 (of 5) N/A
5 Mister Miracle (2017-) Issue #11 41,267 37
6 Avengers (2018-) Issue #8 58,925 19
7 Thor (2018-) Issue #5 52,436 23
8 Star Wars (2015-) Issue #54 48,439 27
9 Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) Annual Issue #1 81,630* 7*
10 Immortal Hulk (2018-) Issue #6 48,003 30
11 The Wild Storm (2017-) Issue #17 13,712 151
12 West Coast Avengers (2018-) Issue #2 34,512 48
13 Venom (2018-) Issue #6 64,264 16
14 X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #36 32,167 62
15 Nightwing (2016-) Issue #49 26,467 92
16 Teen Titans (2016-) Issue #22 32,095 63
17 Captain America (2018-) Annual Issue #1 61,197* 18*
18 Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme (2018) Issue #1 (of 2) N/A
19 Doctor Strange (2018-) Issue #5 32,603 60
20 Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #55 23,923 100

Batman: Damned being in the top spot probably  means the sudden heat surrounding the title has the digital outperforming the print version, in terms of proportional popularity, but we should double check that when the  September Diamond numbers come out.

Batman was the #2 seller.  Understandable under the circumstances.  Justice League comes in at #3 and we’re used to Justice League following Batman at this point.  And then things start to get interesting.

The #4 seller for the week is the debut issue of Return of Wolverine.  That’s interesting because of how low so many of the Hunt For Wolverine issues charted at Comixology.  Will it stay this high and how high is it?  Well, Avengers is the #6 seller and that’s a mid-to-high 50Ks seller in print (~58.9K orders in August), so it’s likely behaving like a book that sells somewhere between 58K-75K.  Which is a high end range for Marvel when you consider there aren’t any variant covers in digital.  We’ll have to see if these sales stick around or fall off, but a decent-sized audience showed up to sample it.

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In between Return of Wolverine and Avengers, the #5 seller of the week was Mister Miracle, which has been a bit more popular as a digital title dating back to when a large portion of shops drastically under-ordered the first issue.  (And yes, that means there’s a possibility people stick with digital for Batman: Damned if that’s how they bought the first issue.)

#7-10 are Thor, Star Wars, Amazing Spider-Man Annual and Immortal Hulk.  Except for the Annual, the other three are grouped fairly closely together on the Diamond chart in the same order, so no surprises there.  For the Amazi ng Spider-Man Annual, it’s performing at about the print equivalent of 48K.  The regular issues have looked like they’ve been performing closer to the equivalent of 55K in print and the actual Diamond orders in August for those regular issues were more like ~81.8K, so that it’s likely under-performing relative to print, though perhaps not so drastically compared to the Comixology sales of the regular series.  Read into that what you will.

#11 for the week is The Wild Storm, which normally over-performs in digital by a wide margin.

#12 is West Coast Avengers and this one could be over-performing a bit.  The print order level we have for this book is 34.5K and that could be about what the digital title’s equivalent is and it’s showing up in the right place on the chart if that were the case.  Except that’s the order for the first issue and there’s likely a sales drop in print and we don’t have reliable measurements to tighten down it’s sale range here.  Let’s just say it’s interesting to see the second issue this high relative to the first issue’s print orders, and it could be acting like a 40-45K book just as easily, in absence of a closer boundary title this week.

#13 is Venom, one of the titles famously under-performing in digital.  The previous issue had ~64.3K print orders and there were aggressive re-order activity on previous issues.  This one kind of looks like a 32K-33K title.  Without having a better handle on West Coast Avengers, it’s possible Venom is behaving like a 40K or 45K title in digital… but not 64K.  Not even close to 64K, so the mysterious trend continues.

#14-19 on the chart are a set of titles that are closely grouped on the Diamond charts on the edges and some surprises in the middle.  The book ends of X-Men Gold and Doctor Strange both sell a bit over 32K.  Doctor Strange is actually the highest seller in print, but we’re talking roughly a 500 copy spread here.  Teen Titans sells a bit over 32K, too.  This means Nightwing is behaving more like a… call it ~32.1K in digital than a ~26.5K book in print.  (Not unusual for Nightwing.)  The Captain America Annual (#17 for the week) is behaving more like a ~32K seller, whereas the August print issue was ordered at ~61.2K and that has it behaving somewhat similarly to the Amazing Spider-Man Annual.  Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme (#18) is behaving like a ~32K seller… and for an Event spin-off, that might not actually be a bad number.

The #20 seller for the week is Green Lanterns.  That’s a ~23.9K seller in print.  This is roughly where you’d expect to find it, though there’s always a possibility it’s over-performing a bit.

This week followed the Diamond charts a bit closer than others and the Annuals, while we don’t have hard numbers for their print orders at this point, did have some minor similarities to their behavior.  Venom’s really the only thing that requires much pondering, though it does have an established pattern at this point.

Methodology and standard disclaimers:

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 9/23) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron August 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

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