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the-walking-dead-144-preview-feat-142614

by Dave Carter

Greetings, sales charts fans! It’s time once again to look at Image Comics’s sales figures.

Yes, that’s right: Image. I know I usually do the DC Comics sales summaries here at The Beat, but while Heidi looks for someone to step in and handle the Indy comics chart I volunteered to do a column focusing on Image. With around seventy titles each month they’re about as large (titles-wise) as Marvel or DC, so I figure they should have their own column, yes? Warning: The commentary may be even more mis-informed than usual…

The important thing to remember when looking at Image’s sales numbers is that they’re not really playing the same game as other comics companies. My understanding (and I’m sure you’ll all correct me if I’m wrong in the comments below…) is that Image charges a flat fee for producing, listing and distributing comics, so that after that fee and the printing costs, whatever is left over goes directly to whoever supplied the comic. (This may be different for the official Image partners…)

The end result then is that a comic need not have the same sales level as a Big Two comic to achieve an identical level of financial success. I’ve read anecdotal comments from creators that indicate that an Image comic selling 12K can provide the same level of income as getting a page rate from DC or Marvel. Milage obviously varies here, but in very broad strokes we can theorize that an Image comic selling 10K is probably breaking even, 15K is doing quite well for the creators, and 20K or more is a financial success. Compare that to DC, where a comic selling in the 15K – 20K range would be considered to be in trouble.

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There are other considerations as well, such as trade collection sales and media rights, which may make it worth it for creators to continue on with a comic selling less than that. Or perhaps the comic is a passion project of the creators, and they are willing to take a small loss on each issue in order to see their comics vision realized without corporate input. There are a variety of factors at play, and they may not (heck, probably are not) the same from title to title. Just realize that while Image titles may be playing on the same field as other publishers, they are probably not keeping score the same way, and likely have different metrics for success.

Warning: The commentary below may contain reasoned analysis, speculation (unfounded and otherwise), opinion, and/or snark. Those looking for a more straightforward analysis are directed to John Jackson Miller’s excellent Comichron analysis, posted earlier this month over at Comichron!

Please consider the fine print at the end of the column. Thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for the permission to use their figures. An overview of ICv2.com’s estimates can be found here.

(Note that the percentage comparisons are done with total orders including reorder activity, as opposed to initial orders.)

13 - THE WALKING DEAD ($2.99)
07/2005: The Walking Dead #20  --  16,915
07/2010: The Walking Dead #74  --  25,468 
07/2010: The Walking Dead #75  --  28,667 
07/2011: The Walking Dead #87  --  32,126
07/2012: The Walking Dead #100 -- 366,051 [388,038] 
07/2013: The Walking Dead #112 --  72,975
-------------------------------
07/2014: The Walking Dead #129 --  72,908 (-  1.9%) 
08/2014: The Walking Dead #130 --  71,885 (-  1.4%) 
09/2014: The Walking Dead #131 --  69,810 (-  2.9%) 
10/2014: The Walking Dead #132 -- 326,334 (+367.5%) 
10/2014: The Walking Dead #133 --  69,561 (- 78.7%) 
11/2014: The Walking Dead #134 --  68,093 (-  2.1%) 
12/2014: The Walking Dead #135 --  67,361 (-  1.1%) 
01/2015: The Walking Dead #136 --  66,097 (-  1.9%) 
02/2015: The Walking Dead #137 --  65,620 (-  0.7%) 
03/2015: The Walking Dead #138 --  66,778 (+  1.8%)
03/2015: The Walking Dead #139 --  67,349 (+  0.9%)
04/2015: The Walking Dead #140 --  66,553 (-  1.2%)
05/2015: The Walking Dead #141 --  68,931 (+  3.6%)
06/2015: The Walking Dead #142 --  68,221 (-  1.0%) 
06/2015: The Walking Dead #143 --  67,989 (-  0.3%) 
07/2015: The Walking Dead #144 --  79,496 (+ 16.9%) 
-----------------
6 months: + 20.3%
1 year  : +  9.0%
2 years : +  8.9%
5 years : +193.7%
10 years: +370.0%

Image’s top selling series for July is also one of their longest running, proof that you don’t have to constantly start your series over at #1 to have strong sales (Though having a hit television series certainly doesn’t hurt!). It is also the top-selling $3 book on the chart from any publisher.

I’m not sure why there was such a strong bump up for this issue, which is the last of a story arc.

14 - WE STAND ON GUARD ($2.99)
07/2015: We Stand On Guard #1 -- 78,690

Brian K. Vaughan strikes again, this time teaming up with artist Steve Skroce to bring us a story of a war between Canada and the U.S.with giant robots! It’s the comic you didn’t even know you wanted until you heard the high concept.

Near as I can tell there weren’t any variants; this was an over-sized issue at just $3, and with Vaughan at the helm retailers were willing to go big. (Though I suspect some copies may be sitting in back rooms of comic shops, waiting for the inevitable movie or television project to jack up pricesah, speculation!)

23 - SAGA ($2.99)
07/2012: Saga #5  -- 40,556 
07/2013: --
-------------------------------
07/2014: Saga #21 -- 55,893 (-  1.1%) 
08/2014: Saga #22 -- 55,803 (-  0.2%) 
09/2014: Saga #23 -- 56,162 (+  0.6%) 
10/2014: Saga #24 -- 55,893 (-  1.1%) 
11/2014: --
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Saga #25 -- 55,972 (+  0.8%) 
03/2015: Saga #26 -- 54,892 (-  1.9%)
04/2015: Saga #27 -- 54,897 (+  0.0%)
05/2015: Saga #28 -- 55,239 (+  0.6%)
06/2015: Saga #29 -- 55,131 (-  0.2%) 
07/2015: Saga #30 -- 60,937 (+ 10.5%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : +  9.0%
2 years :    n.a.

As with TWD above, sales for Saga take a sizable jump up for the final issue of a story arc. Another BKV $3 comic with strong sales, and excepting this month’s bump usually steady. It’s also a very strong seller in trade collections.

119, 167 - SEX CRIMINALS ($3.50/$4.69)
07/2014: -- 
08/2014: Sex Criminals #7  -- 24,385 (-  7.3%)
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: Sex Criminals #8  -- 23,938 (-  1.8%) 
11/2014: --
12/2014: Sex Criminals #9  -- 22,597 (-  5.6%) 
01/2015: Sex Criminals #10 -- 22,067 (-  2.3%) 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: --
04/2015: --
05/2015: --
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Sex Criminals #11 -- 35,234 (+ 59.7%) 
-----------------
6 months: + 59.7%
1 year  :    n.a.

Sex Criminals kicks off its new arc with a bang. Diamond has the two editions listed separately since they’re at different price points, so I’ve combined them here.

88 - OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA ($2.99)
07/2014: Outcast #2  -- 55,126 (- 23.2%) 
08/2014: Outcast #3  -- 46,717 (- 15.3%)
09/2014: Outcast #4  -- 45,401 (-  2.8%) 
10/2014: -- 
11/2014: Outcast #5  -- 39,967 (- 12.0%)
12/2014: Outcast #6  -- 36,354 (-  9.0%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Outcast #7  -- 38,077 (+  4.7%)
04/2015: Outcast #8  -- 36,188 (-  5.0%)
05/2015: Outcast #9  -- 28,961 (- 20.0%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Outcast #10 -- 28,012 (-  3.3%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 49.2%

There’s a huge gap between the upper echelon of Image titles and their mid list titles. Not that 28K is anything to sneeze at; it’s making quite a tidy little profit for Kirkman & Azaceta, plus there’s the already-sold television rights, the money for which goes to the creators and not the company. But still, unlike Walking Dead and Saga, the sales on Outcast have behaved more like a big-two book, debuting high and then drifting down.

96 - DESCENDER ($2.99)
03/2015: Descender #1  -- 61,910           [69,011]
04/2015: Descender #2  -- 43,946 (- 36.3%)
05/2015: Descender #3  -- 29,717 (- 32.4%)
06/2015: Descender #4  -- 27,163 (-  8.6%) 
07/2015: Descender #5  -- 26,039 (-  4.1%)

Lemire & Nguyen’s sci-fi comic is starting to stabilize. If it stays in the mid-20K range they’ll be doing just fine.

98 - SOUTHERN BASTARDS ($3.50)
07/2014: Southern Bastards #3  -- 21,313 (- 17.4%) 
08/2014: --
09/2014: Southern Bastards #4  -- 22,317 (+  4.7%) 
10/2014: Southern Bastards #5  -- 21,932 (-  1.7%) 
11/2014: --
12/2014: Southern Bastards #6  -- 18,637 (- 15.0%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Southern Bastards #7  -- 17,523 (-  6.0%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Southern Bastards #8  -- 17,473 (-  0.3%)
05/2015: --
06/2015: Southern Bastards #9  -- 18,327 (+  4.9%) 
07/2015: Southern Bastards #10 -- 25,741 (+ 40.5%)

Aaron & Latour’s SB takes a welcome jump in sales. Perhaps it’s the variant cover?

126 - THE WICKED + THE DIVINE ($3.50)
07/2014: Wicked + Divine #2  -- 27,962 (- 34.9%) 
08/2014: Wicked + Divine #3  -- 27,208 (-  2.7%)
09/2014: Wicked + Divine #4  -- 25,668 (-  5.7%) 
10/2014: Wicked + Divine #5  -- 25,424 (-  1.0%) 
11/2014: --
12/2014: Wicked + Divine #6  -- 22,159 (- 12.8%) 
01/2015: Wicked + Divine #7  -- 20,893 (-  5.7%) 
02/2015: Wicked + Divine #8  -- 20,515 (-  1.8%) 
03/2015: Wicked + Divine #9  -- 20,360 (-  0.8%)
04/2015: --
05/2015: Wicked + Divine #10 -- 20,562 (+  1.0%)
06/2015: Wicked + Divine #11 -- 20,579 (+  0.1%) 
07/2015: Wicked + Divine #12 -- 20,335 (-  1.2%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  2.7%
1 year  : - 27.3%

Has been remarkably consistent over the past several months.

131 - INJECTION ($2.99)
05/2015: Injection #1  -- 41,648 
06/2015: Injection #2  -- 23,484 (- 43.6%) 
07/2015: Injection #3  -- 19,754 (- 15.9%)

This new book from the acclaimed Moon Knight team of Ellis and Shalvey is still looking for its level.

132 - JUPITER'S CIRCLE ($3.50)
07/2013: --
-------------------------------
07/2014: -- 
08/2014: -- 
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: -- 
11/2014: --
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: Jupiter's Legacy #5 -- 29,055 (- 21.3%) 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Jupiter's Circle #1 -- 32,542 (+ 12.0%)
05/2015: Jupiter's Circle #2 -- 24,499 (- 24.7%)
06/2015: Jupiter's Circle #3 -- 21,287 (- 13.1%) 
07/2015: Jupiter's Circle #4 -- 19,522 (-  8.3%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 32.8%
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years :    n.a.

The Jupiter’s Legacy spin-off/fill-in/prequel series continues to drop.

146 - WOLF ($4.99)
07/2015: Wolf #1  -- 18,864

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

The new book by Ales Kot & Matthew Taylor has a respectable debut.

141 - BLACK SCIENCE ($3.99)
07/2014: Black Science #7  -- 28,147 (+ 13.1%) 
08/2014: --
09/2014: Black Science #8  -- 22,429 (- 20.3%) 
10/2014: Black Science #9  -- 21,639 (-  3.5%)  
10/2014: Black Science #10 -- 21,125 (-  2.4%)  
11/2014: --
12/2014: Black Science #11 -- 19,688 (-  6.8%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Black Science #12 -- 26,112 (+ 32.6%)
04/2015: Black Science #13 -- 17,876 (- 31.5%) 
05/2015: Black Science #14 -- 17,090 (-  4.4%)
06/2015: Black Science #15 -- 17,932 (+  4.9%) 
07/2015: Black Science #16 -- 18,298 (+  2.0%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 35.0%

Has been on a bit of a rebound the past couple of months.

152 - LOW ($3.99)
07/2014: Low #1  -- 47,674  
08/2014: Low #2  -- 31,269 (- 34.4%)
09/2014: Low #3  -- 26,739 (- 14.5%) 
10/2014: Low #4  -- 23,530 (- 12.0%)  
11/2014: --
12/2014: Low #5  -- 21,584 (-  8.3%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Low #6  -- 19,832 (-  8.1%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: -- 
05/2015: --
06/2015: Low #7  -- 24,317 (+ 22.6%) 
07/2015: Low #8  -- 16,169 (- 33.5%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 66.1%

Last month’s issue had a variant cover, thus the drop back to normal this month.

155 - SPAWN ($2.99)
07/2005: --
07/2010: Spawn #198      -- 17,985 
07/2011: Spawn #209      -- 13,964 
07/2012: Spawn #221      -- 15,801  
07/2013: Spawn #233      -- 15,701 
----------------------------------
07/2014: Spawn #245      -- 12,090  
08/2014: Spawn #246      -- 13,343 (+ 10.4%) 
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: Spawn #247      -- 12,023 (-  9.9%) 
11/2014: Spawn #248      -- 11,934 (-  0.7%) 
12/2014: Spawn #249      -- 12,121 (+  1.6%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Spawn #250      -- 60,357 (+398.0%)
03/2015: Resurrection #1 -- 29,787 (- 50.6%)
04/2015: Spawn #251      -- 17,443 (- 71.1%)
05/2015: Spawn #252      -- 15,904 (-  8.8%)
06/2015: Spawn #253      -- 15,993 (+  0.6%) 
07/2015: Spawn #254      -- 15,421 (-  3.6%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : + 27.6%
2 years : -  1.8%
5 years : - 14.3%
10 years:    n.a.

Image’s longest-running title seems to have stabilized for now around 15K.

156 - ISLAND ($7.99)
07/2015: Island #1  -- 16,677

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

An oversized anthology book from Emma Rios & Brandon Graham and friends. Good sales for an $8 book, and if they hold up maybe we’ll see more format experimentation in the future.

146 - 8HOUSE: ARCLIGHT ($2.99)
07/2015: Arclight #1  -- 16,335

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

Another new book by Brandon Graham, this time teaming with Marian Churchland. 16K seems to be the level at which new Brandon Graham comics tend to debut (at least for this month).

162 - LAZARUS ($3.50)
07/2013: Lazarus #2  -- 27,143
-------------------------------
07/2014: Lazarus #9  -- 19,066 (-  3.8%) 
08/2014: Lazarus #10 -- 18,051 (-  5.3%)
09/2014: Lazarus #11 -- 16,531 (-  8.4%) 
10/2014: Lazarus #12 -- 16,838 (+  1.9%) 
11/2014: Lazarus #13 -- 16,094 (-  4.4%)
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: Lazarus #14 -- 15,896 (-  1.2%) 
02/2015: Lazarus #15 -- 15,237 (-  4.1%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Lazarus #16 -- 15,138 (-  0.6%)
05/2015: --
06/2015: Lazarus #17 -- 14,980 (-  1.0%) 
07/2015: Lazarus #18 -- 14,563 (-  2.8%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  8.4%
1 year  : - 23.6%
2 years : - 46.3%

The Rucka/Lark sci-fi action/political thriller is on a downward trajectory, but still doing fine.

164 - TREES ($2.99)
07/2014: Trees #3  -- 26,204 (-  6.6%) 
08/2014: Trees #4  -- 23,639 (-  9.8%)
09/2014: Trees #5  -- 22,244 (-  5.9%) 
10/2014: Trees #6  -- 20,720 (-  6.9%) 
11/2014: Trees #7  -- 19,287 (-  6.9%)
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: Trees #8  -- 18,012 (-  6.6%) 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: --
04/2015: --
05/2015: Trees #9  -- 15,821 (- 12.2%)
06/2015: Trees #10 -- 14,913 (-  5.7%) 
07/2015: Trees #11 -- 14,273 (-  4.3%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 20.8%
1 year  : - 45.5%

The Warren Ellis & Jason Howard sci-fi comic isn’t in the danger zone yet, but really needs to stabilize soon.

172 - INVINCIBLE ($2.99)
07/2005: Invincible #24  -- 11,819
07/2010: -- 
07/2011: Invincible #81  -- 15,207
07/2012: Invincible #93  -- 14,545 
07/2013: Invincible #104 -- 14,733
-------------------------------
07/2014: -- 
08/2014: Invincible #113 -- 13,642 (-  5.3%) 
09/2014: Invincible #114 -- 13,921 (+  2.0%) 
10/2014: -- 
11/2014: Invincible #115 -- 13,277 (-  4.6%) 
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: Invincible #116 -- 13,125 (-  1.1%) 
02/2015: Invincible #117 -- 12,627 (-  3.8%) 
03/2015: Invincible #118 -- ??????
04/2015: Invincible #119 -- 13,492
05/2015: Invincible #120 -- 13,191 (-  2.2%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Invincible #121 -- 13,075 (-  0.9%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  0.4%
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years : - 14.0%
5 years :    n.a.
10 years: + 10.6%

Overall, Robert Kirkman’s other long-running title has been darn consistent over the years.

Oddly there don’t seem to have been any published sales figures for issue #118. Either that issue sold only half of its usual number (unlikely), Diamond just forgot about it that month (possible, I suppose), or for whatever reason (and as occasionally happens) the sales were split across two months, both halves of which fell below their respective months’ Top 300 threshold.

191 - AIRBOY ($2.99)
06/2015: Airboy #1  -- 21,405  
07/2015: Airboy #2  -- 11,883 (- 44.5%)

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

Presumably retailers didn’t know that the second issue of Robinson & Hinkle’s meta take on an Airboy comic would be as controversial as it was when they placed their orders.

177 - THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS: THE SUN BEYOND THE STARS ($3.50)
07/2012: Manhattan Projects #5  -- 18,398 
07/2013: --
-------------------------------
07/2014: Manhattan Projects #22 -- 13,319 (- 11.9%)
08/2014: Manhattan Projects #23 -- 13,157 (-  5.3%) 
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: Manhattan Projects #24 -- 12,693 (-  5.3%) 
11/2014: Manhattan Projects #25 -- 12,236 (-  4.6%) 
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Sun Beyond Stars #1    -- 14,221 (+ 16.2%)
04/2015: --
05/2015: --
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Sun Beyond Stars #2    -- 11,844 (- 16.7%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 11.1%
2 years :    n.a.

Gratuitous renumberings appear to have the same effect here in Image-land as they do over at DC & Marvel. That is: a short boost followed by a quick return to where things were before.

178 - DEADLY CLASS ($3.50)
07/2014: -- 
08/2014: --
09/2014: Deadly Class #7  -- 14,834 (-  9.0%) 
10/2014: Deadly Class #8  -- 15,003 (+  1.1%) 
11/2014: Deadly Class #9  -- 14,148 (-  5.7%)
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: Deadly Class #10 -- 13,552 (-  4.2%) 
02/2015: Deadly Class #11 -- 12,805 (-  5.5%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Deadly Class #12 -- 13,780 (+  7.6%)
05/2015: Deadly Class #13 -- 12,299 (- 10.7%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Deadly Class #14 -- 11,798 (-  4.1%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 12.9%
1 year  :    n.a.

This Remender & Craig book seems to maybe be settling in to the area of 12K. It’s hard to tell at this point.

182 - BIRTHRIGHT ($2.99)
10/2014: Birthright #1  -- 27,234  
11/2014: Birthright #2  -- 18,484 (- 32.1%)
12/2014: Birthright #3  -- 14,247 (- 22.9%) 
01/2015: Birthright #4  -- 13,506 (-  5.2%) 
02/2015: Birthright #5  -- 13,218 (-  2.1%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Birthright #6  -- 14,081 (+  6.5%)
05/2015: Birthright #7  -- 12,561 (- 10.8%)
06/2015: Birthright #8  -- 12,058 (-  4.0%) 
07/2015: Birthright #9  -- 11,496 (-  4.7%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 14.9%
1 year  :    n.a.

Ditto here for this Skybound comic from Williamson & Bressan.

194 - CHEW ($3.50)
07/2010: Chew #12          -- 13,011 
07/2011: Chew #19          -- 12,510
07/2012: Secret Agent Poyo -- 15,982 
07/2013: Chew #35          -- 12,818
-------------------------------
07/2014: Warrior Chkn Poyo -- 12,075 (+ 10.0%)
08/2014: -- 
09/2014: Chew #43          -- 10,777 (- 10.7%) 
10/2014: -- 
11/2014: Chew #44          -- 10,526 (-  2.3%) 
12/2014: Chew #45          -- 10,407 (-  1.1%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Chew #46          -- 15,073 (+ 44.8%) 
03/2015: Chew #47          --  9,785 (- 35.1%)
04/2015: Chew #48          --  9,707 (-  0.8%)
05/2015: Chew #49          --  9,583 (-  1.3%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Chew #50          -- 10,679 (+ 11.4%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 11.6%
2 years : - 16.7%
5 years : - 17.9%

Sees a rise of about 1000 copies for it’s fiftieth issue.

195 - STARVE ($3.50)
06/2015: Starve #1  -- 24,847  
07/2015: Starve #2  -- 10,646 (- 57.2%)

That’s a hefty (and not very healthy) second issue drop.

197 - BLOODSTRIKE ($3.99)
07/2015: Bloodstrike #1  -- 10,554

Rob Liefeld brings back one of his old characters. The last time Bloodstrike was revived (back in 2012) only two of the eight issues made the Top 300.

221 - MYTHIC ($2.99)
05/2015: Mythic #1  -- 32,297 
06/2015: Mythic #2  -- 13,838 (- 57.2%) 
07/2015: Mythic #3  -- 10,197 (- 26.3%)

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

Debuted strong, but dropping precipitously.

200 - NAILBITER ($2.99)
07/2014: Nailbiter #3  -- 16,581 (+  9.1%) 
08/2014: Nailbiter #4  -- 14,706 (- 11.3%)
09/2014: Nailbiter #5  -- 14,947 (+  1.6%) 
10/2014: Nailbiter #6  -- 13,340 (- 10.8%) 
11/2014: Nailbiter #7  -- 12,361 (-  7.3%)
12/2014: Nailbiter #8  -- 12,096 (-  2.1%) 
01/2015: Nailbiter #9  -- 11,222 (-  7.2%) 
02/2015: Nailbiter #10 -- 10,889 (-  30.%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Nailbiter #11 -- 12,868 (+ 18.2%)
05/2015: Nailbiter #12 -- 10,688 (- 16.9%)
06/2015: Nailbiter #13 -- 10,456 (-  2.2%) 
07/2015: Nailbiter #14 -- 10,130 (-  3.1%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  9.7%
1 year  : - 38.9%

10K seems to be where things are leveling out at.

230 - SONS OF THE DEVIL ($2.99)
05/2015: Sons of the Devil #1  -- 21,331 
06/2015: Sons of the Devil #2  -- 11,959 (- 43.9%) 
07/2015: Sons of the Devil #3  --  9,805 (- 18.0%)

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

Debuted well, but dropping.

212 - SAVIOR ($2.99)
04/2015: Savior #1  -- 26,870 
05/2015: Savior #2  -- 13,625 (- 49.3%)
06/2015: Savior #3  -- 11,312 (- 17.0%) 
07/2015: Savior #4  --  9,559 (- 15.5%)

Debuted strong, but dropping precipitously.

226 - COPPERHEAD ($3.50)
09/2014: Copperhead #1  -- 24,272 
10/2014: Copperhead #2  -- 17,250 (- 28.9%) 
11/2014: Copperhead #3  -- 12,079 (- 30.0%)
12/2014: Copperhead #4  -- 11,241 (-  6.9%) 
01/2015: Copperhead #5  -- 10,752 (-  4.4%) 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: --
04/2015: Copperhead #6  -- 10,148 (-  5.6%)
05/2015: Copperhead #7  --  9,679 (-  4.6%)
06/2015: Copperhead #8  --  9,504 (-  1.8%) 
07/2015: Copperhead #9  --  9,050 (-  4.8%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 15.8%

Dropping a few hundred copies each month.

229 - BIG MAN PLANS ($3.50)
03/2015: Big Man Plans #1 of 4 -- 16,371 
04/2015: Big Man Plans #2 of 4 -- 10,938 (- 33.2%)
05/2015: --
06/2015: Big Man Plans #3 of 4 --  8,961 (- 18.1%) 
07/2015: Big Man Plans #4 of 4 --  8,933 (-  0.3%)

Barely a drop for the final issue. I guess retailers figure that if you made it through to #3, you’d probably get #4 as well.

257 - CASANOVA: ACEDIA ($3.99)
01/2015: Casanova: Acedia #1 of 4 -- 16,780 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Casanova: Acedia #2 of 4 -- 10,310 (- 38.6%) 
04/2015: -- 
05/2015: -- 
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Casanova: Acedia #3 of 4 --  7,865 (- 23.7%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 53.1%

Returnable, so the figures have been adjusted up 10% from what was reported by Diamond/ICv2. (For an explanation why this is done for returnable items, please see the fine print at the end of this post.)

I suspect that a lot of people are like me and are trade-waiting on this one.

245 - WAYWARD ($3.50)
08/2014: Wayward #1  -- 29,240 
09/2014: Wayward #2  -- 15,053 (- 48.5%) 
10/2014: Wayward #3  -- 10,795 (- 28.3%) 
11/2014: Wayward #4  -- 10,318 (-  4.4%)
12/2014: Wayward #5  -- 10,009 (-  3.0%) 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Wayward #6  -- 12,247 (+ 22.4%)
04/2015: Wayward #7  --  8,389 (- 31.5%)
05/2015: Wayward #8  --  8,073 (-  3.8%)
06/2015: Wayward #9  --  7,913 (-  2.0%) 
07/2015: Wayward #10 --  7,859 (-  0.7%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.

A third story arc has been solicited to start in November.

251 - EMPTY ZONE ($3.50)
06/2015: Empty Zone #1  -- 12,877  
07/2015: Empty Zone #2  --  7,385 (- 42.6%)

That’s a hefty (and not very healthy) second issue drop.

253 - REVIVAL ($3.99)
07/2012: Revival #1  -- 18,398 
07/2013: Revival #12 -- 13,948 
-------------------------------
07/2014: Revival #22 --  9,931 (+  1.3%)
08/2014: Revival #23 --  9,424 (-  5.1%) 
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: Revival #24 --  9,019 (-  4.3%) 
11/2014: Revival #25 --  9,535 (+  5.7%) 
12/2014: Revival #26 --  8,696 (-  8.8%)
01/2015: Revival #27 --  8,057 (-  7.3%) 
02/2015: -- 
03/2015: Revival #28 --  7,913 (-  1.8%)
04/2015: Revival #29 --  7,786 (-  1.6%)
05/2015: --
06/2015: Revival #30 --  7,545 (-  3.1%) 
07/2015: Revival #31 --  7,337 (-  2.8%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  8.9%
1 year  : - 26.1%
2 years : - 47.4%

Standard attrition.

255 - INVISIBLE REPUBLIC ($2.99)
03/2015: Invisible Republic #1  -- 22,974 
04/2015: Invisible Republic #2  -- 15,586 (- 32.2%)
05/2015: Invisible Republic #3  --  8,359 (- 46.4%)
06/2015: Invisible Republic #4  --  7,836 (-  6.3%) 
07/2015: Invisible Republic #5  --  7,187 (-  8.3%)

Starting a new story arc with issue #6 in September.

256 - RUNLOVEKILL ($2.99)
04/2015: RunLoveKill #1  -- 21,039 
05/2015: RunLoveKill #2  -- 15,669 (- 25.5%)
06/2015: RunLoveKill #3  --  8,289 (- 47.1%) 
07/2015: RunLoveKill #4  --  7,184 (- 13.3%)

A ‘Volume One’ trade came out in August, but so far no further issues have been solicited.

261 - RASPUTIN ($3.50)
10/2014: Rasputin #1  -- 21,373  
11/2014: Rasputin #2  -- 11,693 (- 45.3%)
12/2014: Rasputin #3  --  9,775 (- 16.4%) 
01/2015: Rasputin #4  --  9,264 (-  5.2%) 
02/2015: Rasputin #5  --  8,723 (-  5.8%) 
03/2015: --
04/2015: --
05/2015: --
06/2015: Rasputin #6  --  8,017 (-  8.1%) 
07/2015: Rasputin #7  --  6,996 (- 12.7%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 24.5%

Continues to drop.

266 - DRIFTER ($3.50)
11/2014: Drifter #1  -- 20,887  
12/2014: Drifter #2  -- 10,443 (- 50.0%)
01/2015: Drifter #3  --  8,924 (- 14.5%) 
02/2015: Drifter #4  --  8,111 (-  9.1%) 
03/2015: Drifter #5  --  7,712 (-  4.9%) 
04/2015: --
05/2015: --
06/2015: --
07/2015: Drifter #6  --  6,741 (- 12.6%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 24.5%

Continues to drift down.

268 - SATELLITE SAM ($3.50)
07/2013: Satellite Sam #1  -- 27,143
------------------------------------
07/2014: Satellite Sam #9  --  9,721 (-  2.1%) 
08/2014: --
09/2014: Satellite Sam #10 --  8,655 (-  6.6%) 
10/2014: -- 
11/2014: --
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Satellite Sam #11 --  7,211 (- 16.7%) 
03/2015: Satellite Sam #12 --  7,036 (-  2.4%)
04/2015: Satellite Sam #13 --  6,741 (-  4.2%)
05/2015: Satellite Sam #14 --  6,559 (-  2.7%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Satellite Sam #15 --  6,589 (+  0.5%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 32.2%
2 years : - 75.7%

Adds thirty copies for its final (for now) issue.

279 - PISCES ($3.99)
04/2015: Pisces #1  -- 17,110 
05/2015: Pisces #2  --  8,443 (- 50.7%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Pisces #3  --  6,081 (- 28.0%)
289 - POSTAL ($3.99)
02/2015: Postal #1  -- 13,967 
03/2015: Postal #2  --  8,464 (- 39.4%)
04/2015: Postal #3  --  7,031 (- 16.9%)
05/2015: Postal #4  --  6,296 (- 10.5%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Postal #5  --  5,835 (-  7.3%)

A couple more books making their way towards the Top 300 cut-off point.

292 - WITCHBLADE ($3.99)
07/2005: Witchblade #87  -- 16,616
07/2010: -- 
07/2011: Witchblade #146 --  8,765 
07/2012: Witchblade #158 --  8,556  
07/2013: Witchblade #168 --  7,176 
----------------------------------
07/2014: Witchblade #176 --  ?????  
07/2014: Witchblade #177 --  ?????  
08/2014: -- 
09/2014: -- 
10/2014: Witchblade #178 --  ????? 
11/2014: Witchblade #179 --  6,041 
12/2014: -- 
01/2015: -- 
02/2015: Witchblade #180 --  5,985 (-  0.9%)
03/2015: Witchblade #181 --  5,964 (-  0.4%)
04/2015: Witchblade #182 --  ?????
05/2015: --
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Witchblade #183 --  5,974 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  :   ????
2 years : - 16.8%
5 years :    n.a.
10 years: - 64.0%

Witchblade, one of the longest-running Image titles, has missed the Top 300 four times in the past year, but makes it on the chart this time out.

Image titles shipping but not making the Top 300 in July include: Astronauts in Trouble, Covenant, C.O.W.L., EGOs, Elephantmen, The Empty, Five Ghosts, God Hates Astronauts, Humans, Mantle, Material, Minimum Wage, No Mercy, Oddly Normal, Punks CBLDF Special, Reyn, Roche Limit, Secret Identities, Shutter, Sidekick, Skullkickers, Stray Bullets, Thrilling Adventure Hour Presents, Tithe, Valhalla Mad, Zero.

Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are in danger of being cancelled. As was discussed in the opening, there are many reasons that the creators of these books may desire to keep them going.

The Fine Print (Disclaimers, et cetera)

The numbers above are estimates for comic-book sales in the North American direct market, as calculated by ICv2.com according to the chart and index information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors.

ICv2.com’s estimates are somewhat lower than the actual numbers, but they are consistent from month to month, so the trends they show are fairly accurate. Since it’s a “month-to-month” column, the comments, unless otherwise noted, are on the most recent month.

Bear in mind that the figures measure sales of physical comics to retailers, not customers. Also, these numbers do not include sales to bookstores, newsstands, other mass-market retail chains or the United Kingdom. Re-orders are included, so long as they either reached stores in a book’s initial calendar month of release or were strong enough to make the chart again in a subsequent month. Keep in mind that sales for some titles may include incentives to acquire variants and not every unit sold is necessarily even intended to be sold to a customer.

If additional copies of an issue did appear on the chart after a book’s initial calendar month of release, you can see the total number of copies sold in brackets behind those issues (e.g. “[36,599]”). Should more than one issue have shipped in a month which is relevant for one of the long-term comparisons, the average between them will be used.

Titles which are returnable have their numbers artificially adjusted down by Diamond. To make up for that this column increases the reported numbers for those titles by 10%. Which is likely also wrong, but it’s a different and likely less wrong kind of wrong, and experience has shown that this leads to sales figures which are more consistent.

Image is not a normal comics publisher, and the typical metrics for sales success may not apply. For many titles, collection sales tend to be a significant factor, so the numbers for those books should be taken with a grain of salt as well.

Please keep in mind that raw sales numbers do not tell us about how profitable a book is for a publisher or for the creators.

Above all, do not allow sales numbers to dictate your purchasing and enjoyment of a particular comic. If you enjoy reading a comic series then go right on buying and reading that comic, no matter what the sales figures say.

** Two asterisks after a given month in the average charts mean that one or more periodical release did not make the Top 300 chart in that month. In those cases, it’s assumed that said releases sold as many units as the No. 300 comic on the chart for that month for the purposes of the chart, although its actual sales are likely to be less than that.

Opinions expressed in this column are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Heidi MacDonald or anyone at The Comics Beat, the American Frozen Food Institute, or my former neighbor’s dog Miles.

The author of this column does weekly snapshots of Amazon comic sales charts at http://yetanothercomicsblog.blogspot.com/ and tweets about comics and related subjects on Twitter at @davereadscomics (PM me there is you need to contact me).

As always, we welcome your comments and corrections below. Please try to keep things civilized.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I’d like to see the trades inserted into the monthly listing, to see the related sales, as well as any increase in circulation of the monthlies afterwards.

    For example:
    88 – OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA ($2.99)
    07/2014: Outcast #2 — 55,126 (- 23.2%)
    08/2014: Outcast #3 — 46,717 (- 15.3%)
    09/2014: Outcast #4 — 45,401 (- 2.8%)
    10/2014: —
    11/2014: Outcast #5 — 39,967 (- 12.0%)
    12/2014: Outcast #6 — 36,354 (- 9.0%)
    01/2015: TP, Vol. 1 (1-6) $9.99 — 8,436 [12,707]
    02/2015: —
    03/2015: Outcast #7 — 38,077 (+ 4.7%)
    04/2015: Outcast #8 — 36,188 (- 5.0%)
    05/2015: Outcast #9 — 28,961 (- 20.0%)
    06/2015: —
    07/2015: Outcast #10 — 28,012 (- 3.3%)

    Does the trade give the next issue a “#1” effect?
    It would be interesting to chart the monthly sales of The Walking Dead, with inserts for trades and television episodes.

  2. I very much agree with Torsten, I’d love to see the charts reflect the trades. Many of these comics are almost unreadable month-to-month and are much better read arc by arc in trade form, including Walking Dead, Trees, Descender, and Copperhead. There might be a lot of people who are doing that and going uncounted, and it can get complicated. I for one have gone both ways, collecting initial issues of Fatale and then switching to trades, and getting the first Manhattan Projects trade along with issues 7 and 8 and then continuing on. It really has a lot to do with both story structure and how much enjoyment you can get out of the single issues.

  3. In some cases it would seems the “TPB halo effect” is real. Saga sales grow with any new arc first issue (and usually mantain the new level). Walking Dead seemed to do the same until some time ago (maybe now it has just reached peak levels, after all it’s selling as much or more than the flagship JL, Avengers and X-Men titles). Sex Criminals had a big increase at the starting of the second arc after the big success of the first TPB, this new bump though may be due to the special variant cover. It’s a trend that’s probably easier to notice when the TPB has massive sales, WD or Saga sell ten of thousands of copies in TPB and that can translates to a noticeable +5% for a new arc first issue.

  4. Remender is absolutely killing it on Deadly Class, Low and Black Science. I really wish more people would give Image comics a try and not just buy books from the big two. Southern Bastards and Lazarus are also selling far lower then they should be. Hopefully the announced movie/TV adaptations of these books will help increase their sales as Walking Dead has done.

  5. Separate sales charts for Image and the other indies is a smart idea. To do both must be a lot for just one person.

    And including the TPB numbers like Xavier does would be very welcome!

  6. STARVE is one of my new favorites. Just an absolute gorgeous and thought provoking book, I hope it sticks around awhile.

  7. The problem I see with Image, and they’re like Marvel in a way, it’s all about the #1’s. Eric Stephenson’s great about touting these new books – but come #2, #10 or a long ongoing series, and you get no marketing, no support, nothing.

    When was the last time we saw marketing/interviews for established books like Revival, Nailbiter or Manifest Destiny? None.

    I get it: Image creators have to do all the promoton themselves, without help, along with making the books. So what does the Image the publisher do? Not everyone at Image’s going to have the clout of BKV or Robert Kirkman.

Comments are closed.