Justice League #2 was the bestselling issue on the Comixology sales chart for the week of 6/20/18 and isn’t it interesting that its outselling Batman.
|Comixology Rank||Issue||Previous Issue Print Sales Est.||Previous Issue Diamond Rank|
|1||Justice League (2018-) Issue #2||N/A (64K?)|
|2||Batman (2016-) Issue #49||101,566||6|
|3||Man of Steel (2018-) Issue #4||78,942||9|
|4||Avengers (2018-) Issue #3||66,646||13|
|5||Amazing Spider-Man (2015-) Issue #801||411,480||1|
|6||Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #63||Digital First|
|7||Tony Stark: Iron Man (2018-) Issue #1||N/A (58K?)|
|8||X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #30||35,221||50|
|9||Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Red Hood vs. Anarky (2018-) Issue #1||N/A (53K)|
|10||The Wild Storm (2017-) Issue #14||14,661||151|
|11||Runaways (2017-) Issue #10||12,303||167|
|12||Doctor Strange (2018-) Issue #2||N/A (29K)|
|13||Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #49||23,789||94|
|14||Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2016-) Issue #28||23,364||96|
|15||Captain America (2017-) Issue #704||40,366||39|
|16||Aquaman (2016-) Issue #37||23,057||99|
|17||Hunt For Wolverine: Claws Of A Killer (2018) Issue #2 (of 4)||41,381||37|
|18||Champions (2016-) Issue #21||17,325||136|
|19||The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman (2018-) Issue #5||26,910||77|
|20||Daredevil (2015-) Issue #604||24,878||88|
Batman is pretty much the gold standard for ongoing titles and has been for several years, yet this is the second time in a row that Justice League has finished ahead of it on the sales chart. The No Justice miniseries leading up to it did not overtake Batman on the Comixology charts and it wasn’t even close with the print sales estimates. So what’s going on here?
For starters, it’s looking like Justice League is more popular than No Justice. It definitely seems to be the case in digital, but I’m hearing mixed reports from retailers. Some have it neck and neck with Batman, some say it’s not selling anywhere near Batman levels. It sounds like the people who bought #1 digitally came back for #2 and we should see where both titles settle down to in a couple of months, post-Bat-wedding. Regardless, that’s looking like a win for DC.
Man of Steel follows Batman on the chart. It debuted at ~79K in print and you’d like to think it was probably selling the digital equivalent of between that and 60K. After it comes Avengers #3, where the previous issue was ordered into the Direct Market at ~66K… but it’s not clear how much trust should be placed in the initial orders for a the second issue on a month the title double ships. Following Avengers is Amazing Spider-Man – a title that’s been much hotter in print than in digital and we need to disregard the print orders for issue #800. They have no bearing on its digital popularity.
Injustice is in the #6 slot. It usually seems to be selling the equivalent of 45-50K in print, so we can be fairly confident that Avengers and Spidey are over the equivalent of 50K in print, just not by how much.
The first issue of Tony Stark: Iron Man is #7. If it’s following Injustice, that means its a step down from the digital sales of Iron Man #600 (Marvel may miss the bump Bendis gave his digital editions on the way out the door). While its probably an improvement on Iron Man, in general, Marvel was probably hoping this one would chart higher. And really, it’s very hard to place an estimate on the next few slots. This could be the equivalent to 50K on the high side down to 35K on the low side.
X-Men: Gold #30 is _probably_ charting a little higher, but we can’t be sure. Based on the rest of the week’s chart, this is about where it would show up if it wasn’t a special event and selling the equivalent of the usual 35K.
The Red Hood Vs. Anarchy Bat-Wedding Prelude special follows this. The Robin Bat-Wedding Prelude ordered into the DM at ~53K. It seems HIGHLY unlikely this is performing digitally at a similar level, but it’s probably selling pretty well if you view it as a Red Hood comic, so whether the glass is half-empty or half-full is a matter of perspective.
The Wild Storm and Runaways occupy the next two sales slots. They’re likely performing proportionately at roughly double their print sales rate.
Doctor Strange #2 is next on the list and its hard to say where it stand with so few concrete markers above it. Probably not at the print equivalent of 30K. Probably over the print equivalent of 24K.
Of the next 4 titles, 3 of them are clustered together almost exactly like they are in print and give us a reference point of titles that sell 23-24K in the brick & mortar world. And then Captain America is in the middle of that, under-performing by a lot.
After that cluster, we find Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer. The first issue was ordered into the DM at ~41K in print. The second issue in digital looks to be the equivalent of less then 23K in print. How quickly Marvel managed to over-extend Middle Aged Man Logan…
Champions is, as usual, over-performing in digital. The Brave & The Bold is about where you’d expect with some standard attrition, as is Daredevil to close out the top 20.
The big winner this week is DC with Justice League looking like a breakout digital hit and Man of Steel looking like its holding onto some audience.
For Marvel, other than Avengers, the relaunch doesn’t really look like it’s going to according to plan this week. The real question being just how high the Avengers sales are going to stabilize at.
Methodology and standard disclaimers:
The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 6/24) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron May 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