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Comixology Sales Charts: Marvel’s Not Launching Very Well (For the Week of 6/27/18)

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For the week of 6/27, Saga was the bestselling comic on Comixology, but it was the bottom of the chart and what missed the top 20 for Marvel that may be more interesting in the long run.

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Saga Issue #53 37,509 45
2 Man of Steel (2018-) Issue #5 78,942 9
3 The Flash (2016-) Issue #49 53,222 20
4 Thor (2018-) Issue #2 N/A
5 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #983 50,757 25
6 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #64 Digital First
7 The Wicked + The Divine Issue #37 10,481 183
8 Sex Criminals Issue #25 13,478* 157*
9 Teen Titans Special (2018) Issue #1 N/A (26K?) N/A
10 Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Harley Quinn vs. Joker (2018-) Issue #1 53K 21
11 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #5 28,849 67
12 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #49 33,848 54
13 Marvel Two-In-One (2017-) Issue #7 33,844 55
14 Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps (2016-) Issue #47 27,682 74
15 Sentry (2018-) Issue #1 N/A
16 X-Men Blue (2017-) Issue #30 30,138 62
17 Ms. Marvel (2015-) Issue #31 13,401 157
18 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #21 27,837 73
19 Multiple Man (2018) Issue #1 (of 5) N/A N/A
20 Venom (2018-) Issue #3 225,782 2

In recent months, the only comic that beats Saga on its debut week is Doomsday Clock, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it ruling the roost this week.  It beat Man of Steel #1, now it’s beating Man of Steel #5.  That’s effectively status quo.

How’s Man of Steel holding up?  That’s a little hard to say.  It’s #2 and Flash is #3 on this week’s chart.  Flash was selling ~53.2K in print in May, so Man of Steel likely doing the digital equivalent of somewhere between 53K-80K, perhaps?

The second issue of Thor is #4, followed by Detective at #5 and Justice at #6.  Detective has been sliding a bit, but was at ~50.7K in May and Injustice usually looks like it’s somewhere in the 45K-50K print equivalency, so it’s likely that Thor is doing the equivalent of ~50K-53K print, which would make it one of the higher charting Marvel books in digital.

Injustice is followed by two Image titles that, like Saga, perform drastically better in digital, relative to print: The Wicked & the Divine and Sex Criminals.  [Note: Sex Criminals has two print formats, so the number on the chart is combined sales and the Diamond rank is where that combined number would fit.]

Following the Image books are two specials: Teen Titans Special and the Harley Quinn/Joker Bat-Wedding Prelude… or is that Bat-Non-Wedding Prelude?  How are these doing?  It’s a little hard to say at this point in the chart.  Possibly somewhere between 33K-45K?  The Teen Titans Special is doing pretty well for a Teen Titans comic and benefits from being a No Justice tie-in.  For the Bat-Wedding Prelude, usually you’d like these to perform a little more like Detective, but they sell better than the regular Nightwing/Batgirl/etc. series.  In this case, it isn’t clear this special is selling drastically better than recent Harley Quinn comics.

Next on the list, we find The Terrifics, which may be over-performing a bit in digital.  It’s followed by Wonder Woman and Marvel-Two-In-One, both almost exactly where you’d expect to see them.  Hal Jordan is likely over-performing a bit in digital on the way out, but its done that before.  The Sentry debuts at the equivalent of probably a bit over 30K print, which is as much as you could reasonably hope to expect with that character. It’s followed by X-Men:Blue.

Ms. Marvel is probably doing a bit over double it’s print popularity, proportionally speaking — again, this is normal for the title.  Doctor Aphra is about where you’d expect it, then the Multiple Man debuts at the equivalent of something like 22K-27K — again, you couldn’t expect much more than that.  And then the #20 title is Venom.

Wait, Venom barely made the top 20 when it had nearly 226K print orders for issue #1 and plenty of hype?  Either it is drastically more popular with the print audience or there must be pretty heavy speculator activity around this title.  This is the inverse of Image books like Saga and The Wicked & the Divine.  We haven’t seen a lot of titles drastically less popular in digital like this before.  Not making the top 20 for Marvel: Black Panther #2 was #21 and Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #2 was in the 22nd slot.  Black Panther usually performs well in digital, so that’s a real surprise.  One of the overexposed Wolverine titles failing to make the top 20 is probably more disappointing than surprising, given previous placements, but it’s not really a positive sign for Marvel.  (Old Man Logan could only manage 24th place.)

Fresh Start doesn’t seem to be a runaway hit in digital.

Methodology and standard disclaimers:

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 7/1) 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

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