By Paul O’Brien

The new year begins with a relatively quiet month on the charts. The big news, of course, is Barack Obama’s unexpectedly popular appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Ironically, the other significant new releases for January are part of the “Dark Reign” event, with the launch of DARK AVENGERS and the relaunch of PUNISHER. The two don’t entirely fit together – if he’s putting Norman Osborn in charge of vital government departments, then Obama-616 evidently takes bipartisanship to new extremes – but Marvel have managed to get away with having their cake and eating it.

Otherwise… not much going on, to be honest. A lot of titles failed to ship in January – HULK, MIGHTY AVENGERS, ULTIMATUM, WOLVERINE, UNCANNY X-MEN, THOR, ULTIMATE X-MEN, ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR and even IMMORTAL IRON FIST are all missing. You can tell it’s quiet when all the Marvel Adventures books reappear on the top 300. In December, MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS missed the chart altogether; this time, it’s at number 227 with roughly the same sales.

Marvel beat DC by 46% to 33% in unit share, and 43% to 31% in dollar share.

Thanks as always to Milton Griepp and ICV2.com for permission to use these figures.

1,12,15.  AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
01/04  Amazing Spider-Man #503 -  87,341
01/05  Amazing Spider-Man #516 -  79,842
01/06  Amazing Spider-Man #528 -  95,415
01/07  Amazing Spider-Man #537 - 114,802
=====
01/08  Amazing Spider-Man #546 - 127,958  ( -0.9%)
01/08  Amazing Spider-Man #547 - 101,213  (-20.9%)
01/08  Amazing Spider-Man #548 -  97,959  ( -3.2%)
02/08  Amazing Spider-Man #549 - 101,112  ( +3.2%)
02/08  Amazing Spider-Man #550 -  90,874  (-10.1%)
02/08  Amazing Spider-Man #551 -  88,084  ( -3.1%)
03/08  Amazing Spider-Man #552 -  89,835  ( +2.0%)
03/08  Amazing Spider-Man #553 -  82,648  ( -8.0%)
03/08  Amazing Spider-Man #554 -  81,072  ( -1.9%)
04/08  Amazing Spider-Man #555 -  86,902  ( +7.2%)
04/08  Amazing Spider-Man #556 -  78,458  ( -9.7%)
04/08  Amazing Spider-Man #557 -  77,057  ( -1.8%)
05/08  Amazing Spider-Man #558 -  76,966  ( -0.1%)
05/08  Amazing Spider-Man #559 -  74,206  ( -3.6%)
05/08  Amazing Spider-Man #560 -  74,012  ( -0.3%)
06/08  Amazing Spider-Man #561 -  72,372  ( -2.2%)
06/08  Amazing Spider-Man #562 -  71,409  ( -1.3%)
06/08  Amazing Spider-Man #563 -  70,792  ( -0.9%)
07/08  Amazing Spider-Man #564 -  68,882  ( -2.7%)
07/08  Amazing Spider-Man #565 -  69,182  ( +0.4%)
07/08  Amazing Spider-Man #566 -  68,912  ( -0.4%)
08/08  Amazing Spider-Man #567 -  68,130  ( -1.1%)
08/08  Amazing Spider-Man #568 - 105,324  (+54.6%)
08/08  Amazing Spider-Man #569 -  86,432  (-17.9%)
09/08  Amazing Spider-Man #570 -  89,516  ( +3.6%)
09/08  Amazing Spider-Man #571 -  80,178  (-10.4%)
09/08  Amazing Spider-Man #572 -  80,220  ( +0.1%)
10/08  Amazing Spider-Man #573 -  82,550  ( +2.9%)
10/08  Amazing Spider-Man #574 -  69,069  (-16.3%)
10/08  Amazing Spider-Man #575 -  68,913  ( -0.2%)
11/08  Amazing Spider-Man #576 -  68,956  ( +0.1%)
11/08  Amazing Spider-Man #577 -  76,625  (+11.1%)
11/08  Amazing Spider-Man #578 -  66,564  (-13.1%)
12/08  Amazing Spider-Man #579 -  69,784  ( +4.8%)
12/08  Amazing Spider-Man #580 -  62,979  ( -9.8%)
12/08  Amazing Spider-Man #581 -  68,905  ( +9.4%)
01/09  Amazing Spider-Man #582 -  63,754  ( -7.5%)
01/09  Amazing Spider-Man #583 - 352,953 (+453.6%)
01/09  Amazing Spider-Man #584 -  59,932  (-83.0%)
                                  6 mnth  (-13.0%)
                                  1 year  (-53.2%)
                                  2 year  (-47.8%)
                                  3 year  (-37.2%)
                                  4 year  (-24.9%)
                                  5 year  (-31.4%)

Can you spot the Obama issue? That’s right, it’s issue #583, which shifted over 350K in the direct market in a single month. And there’s still another two printings to come on the February chart. Not counting giveaway issues, this is the biggest number since DARKNESS #11 back in 1998 – and that had eleven variant covers.

Of course, this is all very impressive, but issue #583 is more a piece of Obama merchandise than a Spider-Man comic, and it has no bearing on the wider trends for the title – as the sales for issue #584 demonstrate.

Overall, AMAZING is still going down. Issue #582 is actually up slightly compared to the previous issue without a variant cover, but issue #584 is dropping again as normal. And that’s cause for concern, because #584 is the first part of “Character Assassination”, a storyline which they’ve been building up for months, with art by John Romita Jr. The last time they hyped up a story in this way, there was a noticeable sales bump. This time, not so much.

2.  DARK AVENGERS
01/09  Dark Avengers #1 - 118,579

The fourth ongoing Avengers title, to join NEW AVENGERS, MIGHTY AVENGERS and AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE. Say what you like about Brian Bendis’ tenure as Avengers writer, but he’s certainly turned the book into a franchise for Marvel.

This version is the “official” Avengers team working for the Dark Reign. It’s actually got more in common with the previous version of THUNDERBOLTS (which, in turn, has just been revamped as a book about a Dark Reign black ops team). Marvel have pulled off quite a neat trick here by successfully repositioning these characters as A-listers.

Where this book goes in the long run is anybody’s guess – Dark Reign won’t last forever. But it’s off to a strong start.

5.  NEW AVENGERS
01/04  ---
01/05  New Avengers #2  - 153,751
01/06  New Avengers #15 - 121,758
01/07  ---
=====
01/08  ---
02/08  New Avengers #38 - 104,140  ( -1.3%)
03/08  New Avengers #39 - 103,046  ( -1.1%)
04/08  New Avengers #40 - 117,201  (+13.7%)
05/08  New Avengers #41 - 109,185  ( -6.8%)
06/08  New Avengers #42 - 108,495  ( -0.6%)
07/08  New Avengers #43 - 108,751  ( +0.2%)
08/08  New Avengers #44 - 106,385  ( -2.2%)
09/08  New Avengers #45 - 103,326  ( -2.9%)
10/08  New Avengers #46 -  99,513  ( -3.7%)
11/08  ---
12/08  New Avengers #47 -  95,703  ( -3.8%)
12/08  New Avengers #48 -  95,688  ( -0.0%)
01/09  New Avengers #49 -  90,040  ( -5.9%)
                           6 mnth  (-17.2%)
                           1 year  (  --- )
                           2 year  (  --- )
                           3 year  (-26.1%)
                           4 year  (-41.4%)
                           5 year  (  --- )

This is the second “Dark Reign” tie-in issue, and sales are still dropping. However, issue #48 does pick up 1,780 re-orders, and since it’s a quiet month, that scrapes onto the chart at number 295. As usual, those numbers are included above.

And this is as good a place as any to mention two books which didn’t come out in January, but which did pick up enough re-orders to show up at the bottom end of the chart. ULTIMATUM #2 adds 2,485 sales, and WOLVERINE #70 gets 2,100. That means they now look like this…

ULTIMATUM
11/08  Ultimatum #1 of 5 - 114,230
12/08  Ultimatum #2 of 5 -  88,112  (-22.9%)
01/09  ---

WOLVERINE
01/04  Wolverine #10 -  71,374
01/05  Wolverine #24 -  79,831
01/06  Wolverine #38 -  70,944
01/07  Wolverine #50 - 115,621
=====
01/08  Wolverine #61 -  60,857  ( -3.7%)
02/08  Wolverine #62 -  69,698  (+14.5%)
03/08  Wolverine #63 -  64,475  ( -7.5%)
04/08  Wolverine #64 -  64,871  ( +0.0%)
05/08  Wolverine #65 -  62,451  ( -3.7%)
06/08  Wolverine #66 - 112,469  (+80.1%)
07/08  Wolverine #67 -  96,651  (-14.1%)
08/08  Wolverine #68 -  92,182  ( -4.6%)
09/08  ---
10/08  ---
11/08  Wolverine #69 -  88,910  ( -3.5%)
12/08  Wolverine #70 -  85,456  ( -3.9%)
01/09  ---

But back to books which shipped.

6.  CAPTAIN AMERICA
01/04  Captain America #22 -  41,266
01/05  Captain America #2  -  53,306
01/06  ---
01/07  ---
=====
01/08  Captain America #34 - 152,739  (+95.1%)
02/08  Captain America #35 -  86,038  (-43.7%)
03/08  Captain America #36 -  81,378  ( -5.4%)
04/08  Captain America #37 -  80,635  ( -0.9%)
05/08  Captain America #38 -  79,350  ( -1.6%)
06/08  Captain America #39 -  79,387  ( +0.0%)
07/08  Captain America #40 -  79,317  ( -0.0%)
08/08  Captain America #41 -  85,035  ( +7.2%)
09/08  Captain America #42 -  75,574  (-11.1%)
10/08  Captain America #43 -  72,405  ( -4.2%)
11/08  Captain America #44 -  75,493  ( +4.3%)
12/08  Captain America #45 -  71,186  ( -5.7%)
01/09  Captain America #46 -  73,184  ( +2.8%)
                              6 mnth  ( -7.7%)
                              1 year  (-52.1%)
                              2 year  (  --- )
                              3 year  (  --- )
                              4 year  (+37.3%)
                              5 year  (+77.3%)

Holding more or less steady. This is one of those books that seems to have a themed variant cover almost every month now, which inevitably results in a certain amount of statistical noise. At this point, the variant cover has to be seen as the rule rather than the exception.

8. ASTONISHING X-MEN
01/06  ---
01/07  ---
=====
01/08  Astonishing X-Men #24 - 107,631  ( -4.7%)
02/08  ---
03/08  ---
04/08  ---
05/08  Giant-Size Ast. #1    - 105,508  ( -2.0%)
06/08  ---
07/08  Astonishing X-Men #25 - 121,974  (+15.6%)
08/08  Astonishing X-Men #26 -  94,244  (-22.7%)
09/08  ---
10/08  Astonishing X-Men #27 -  86,770  ( -7.9%)
11/08  ---
12/08  ---
01/09  Astonishing X-Men #28 -  72,610  (-16.3%)
                                6 mnth  (-40.5%)
                                1 year  (-32.5%)
                                2 year  (  --- )
                                3 year  (  --- )

Uh-oh. ASTONISHING X-MEN has been dropping ever since Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi took over, but that was hardly surprising when they were following Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Four issues in, though, a 16% drop is worrying stuff. UNCANNY X-MEN didn’t ship in January, but if it had, it would almost certainly have beaten this number by at least a couple of thousand.

13. UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL
01/09  Annual #2 - 62,504

A Dark Reign tie-in issue. I can’t help thinking they’d have shifted more copies if they’d just sold it as an issue of the regular title.

16. X-MEN: LEGACY
01/04  New X-Men #152     - 118,099
01/05  X-Men #166         -  85,934
01/06  X-Men #181         -  74,094
01/07  X-Men #195         -  76,900
=====
01/08  X-Men #207         - 104,793  ( -0.0%)
02/08  X-Men: Legacy #208 -  88,132  (-16.0%)
03/08  X-Men: Legacy #209 -  82,243  ( -6.7%)
04/08  X-Men: Legacy #210 -  77,441  ( -5.8%)
05/08  X-Men: Legacy #211 -  79,818  ( +3.1%)
05/08  X-Men: Legacy #212 -  74,033  ( -7.2%)
06/08  X-Men: Legacy #213 -  71,893  ( -2.9%)
07/08  X-Men: Legacy #214 -  69,863  ( -2.8%)
08/08  X-Men: Legacy #215 -  68,047  ( -2.6%)
09/08  X-Men: Legacy #216 -  66,434  ( -2.4%)
10/08  X-Men: Legacy #217 -  65,888  ( -0.8%)
11/08  X-Men: Legacy #218 -  63,512  ( -3.6%)
12/08  X-Men: Legacy #219 -  60,587  ( -4.6%)
01/09  X-Men: Legacy #220 -  59,286  ( -2.1%)
                             6 mnth  (-15.1%)
                             1 year  (-43.4%)
                             2 year  (-22.9%)
                             3 year  (-20.0%)
                             4 year  (-31.0%)
                             5 year  (-49.8%)

Still drifting down. This is the start of an arc reuniting Rogue and Gambit, but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on sales.

18. FANTASTIC FOUR
01/04  Fantastic Four #509 - 50,260
01/05  Fantastic Four #522 - 46,335
01/06  ---
01/07  Fantastic Four #542 - 84,338
=====
01/08  Fantastic Four #553 - 48,332  (  -5.8%)
02/08  Fantastic Four #554 - 98,111  (+103.0%)
03/08  Fantastic Four #555 - 67,416  ( -31.3%)
04/08  Fantastic Four #556 - 65,013  (  -3.6%)
05/08  Fantastic Four #557 - 62,736  (  -3.5%)
06/08  Fantastic Four #558 - 61,003  (  -2.8%)
07/08  ---
08/08  Fantastic Four #559 - 59,791  (  -2.0%)
09/08  Fantastic Four #560 - 58,258  (  -2.6%)
10/08  ---
11/08  Fantastic Four #561 - 61,331  (  +5.3%)
12/08  Fantastic Four #562 - 54,062  ( -11.9%)
01/09  Fantastic Four #563 - 52,747  (  -2.4%)
                             6 mnth  (   --- )
                             1 year  (  +9.1%)
                             2 year  ( -37.5%)
                             3 year  (   --- )
                             4 year  ( +13.8%)
                             5 year  (  +4.9%)

We’re firmly back at pre-Millar/Hitch levels now. It’ll be interesting to see how that FANTASTIC FORCE spin-off books gets on.

KICK-ASS  [Icon]


02/08  Kick-Ass #1 - 79,158
03/08  ---
04/08  Kick-Ass #2 - 60,947  (-23.0%)
05/08  ---
06/08  Kick-Ass #3 - 61,561  ( +1.0%)
07/08  ---
08/08  Kick-Ass #4 - 56,816  ( -7.7%)
09/08  ---
10/08  ---
11/08  ---
12/08  Kick-Ass #5 - 52,142  ( -8.2%)
01/09  ---

On the other hand, Mark Millar also shifted a few more copies of December’s KICK-ASS #5 – 1,613 of them, enough to make number 299 on this exceptionally quiet chart.

21. X-FORCE
02/08  X-Force #1  - 116,467
03/08  X-Force #2  -  88,650  (-23.9%)
04/08  X-Force #3  -  85,750  ( -3.3%)
05/08  X-Force #4  -  84,792  ( -1.1%)
06/08  ---
07/08  X-Force #5  -  76,978  ( -9.2%)
08/08  X-Force #6  -  69,010  (-10.4%)
09/08  X-Force #7  -  64,911  ( -5.9%)
10/08  X-Force #8  -  59,745  ( -8.0%)
11/08  X-Force #9  -  57,241  ( -4.2%)
12/08  X-Force #10 -  58,801  ( +2.7%)
01/09  X-Force #11 -  51,817  (-11.9%)
                      6 mnth  (-32.7%)

Last month was a variant cover, so the month-to-month drop is exaggerated. But issue #9 was a regular issue, so the book is still shedding about 5% a month.

22. DARK TOWER
01/08  ---
02/08  ---
03/08  Long Road Home #1 of 5 - 126,783  ( +1.7%)
04/08  Long Road Home #2 of 5 - 106,023  (-16.4%)
05/08  Long Road Home #3 of 5 -  87,631  (-17.3%)
06/08  Long Road Home #4 of 5 -  79,270  ( -9.5%)
07/08  Long Road Home #5 of 5 -  74,981  ( -5.4%)
08/08  ---
09/08  Treachery #1 of 6      -  82,541  (+10.1%)
10/08  Treachery #2 of 6      -  65,732  (-20.4%)
11/08  Treachery #3 of 6      -  58,279  (-11.3%)
12/08  Treachery #4 of 6      -  53,735  ( -7.8%)
01/09  Treachery #5 of 6      -  50,683  ( -5.7%)
                                 6 mnth  (-32.4%)
                                 1 year  (  --- )

Also shedding readers, and with no sign of levelling out at all. The novelty of a Stephen King adaptation may have worn off; clearly the book was never going to retain that “event” aura indefinitely, but I’m surprised it’s dropping at quite this rate.

23. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN
01/04  Ult. Spider-Man #52  -  95,854
01/05  Ult. Spider-Man #71  -  83,987
01/06  Ult. Spider-Man #89  -  71,935
01/07  Ult. Spider-Man #104 - 108,082
=====
01/08  Ult. Spider-Man #118 -  58,800  ( -2.6%)
02/08  Ult. Spider-Man #119 -  58,045  ( -1.3%)
03/08  Ult. Spider-Man #120 -  57,728  ( -0.5%)
04/08  Ult. Spider-Man #121 -  56,633  ( -1.9%)
05/08  Ult. Spider-Man #122 -  55,759  ( -1.5%)
06/08  Ult. Spider-Man #123 -  57,187  ( +2.6%)
07/08  Ult. Spider-Man #124 -  55,262  ( -3.4%)
08/08  Ult. Spider-Man #125 -  54,746  ( -0.9%)
09/08  Ult. Spider-Man #126 -  54,604  ( -0.3%)
10/08  Ult. Spider-Man #127 -  52,584  ( -3.7%)
11/08  Ult. Spider-Man #128 -  52,187  ( -0.8%)
12/08  Ult. Spider-Man #129 -  51,071  ( -2.1%)
01/09  Ult. Spider-Man #130 -  49,637  ( -2.8%)
                               6 mnth  (-10.2%)
                               1 year  (-15.6%)
                               2 year  (-54.1%)
                               3 year  (-31.0%)
                               4 year  (-40.9%)
                               5 year  (-48.2%)

Due for an imminent relaunch as ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN. This device has a patchy track record in cases where there’s no obvious change in the content – see NEW EXILES and AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL for examples which dropped back to previous levels relatively quickly. But this is part of a wider relaunch of the Ultimate imprint, so the question is whether it benefits from a wider reinvigoration of the line.

24. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN
01/04  Iron Man #76           -  30,197
01/05  ---
01/06  Iron Man #5            -  45,243
01/07  ---
01/08  Iron Man #25           -  38,072
=====
05/08  Invincible Iron Man #1 - 120,657
06/08  Invincible Iron Man #2 -  76,001  (-37.0%)
07/08  Invincible Iron Man #3 -  66,430  (-12.6%)
08/08  Invincible Iron Man #4 -  58,154  (-12.5%)
09/08  Invincible Iron Man #5 -  60,444  ( +3.9%)
10/08  Invincible Iron Man #6 -  53,332  (-11.8%)
11/08  Invincible Iron Man #7 -  49,356  ( -7.5%)
12/08  Invincible Iron Man #8 -  56,708  (+14.9%)
01/09  Invincible Iron Man #9 -  49,223  (-13.2%)
                                 6 mnth  (-26.9%)
                                 1 year  (+29.3%)
                                 2 year  (  --- )
                                 3 year  ( +8.8%)
                                 4 year  (  --- )
                                 5 year  (+63.0%)

The December issue is a variant cover, but the November one isn’t, so sales seem to be holding pretty steady here. They might also be boosted by reorders; the second printing didn’t ship until February.

26. AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE
01/08  Initiative #9 -  55,270  ( -4.9%)
02/08  ---
03/08  Initiative #10 - 54,422  ( -1.5%)
04/08  Initiative #11 - 52,877  ( -2.8%)
04/08  Initiative #12 - 52,343  ( -1.0%)
05/08  Initiative #13 - 56,818  ( +8.5%)
06/08  Initiative #14 - 62,236  ( +9.5%)
07/08  Initiative #15 - 63,634  ( +2.2%)
08/08  Initiative #16 - 60,381  ( -5.1%)
09/08  Initiative #17 - 59,037  ( -2.2%)
10/08  Initiative #18 - 61,159  ( +3.6%)
11/08  ---
12/08  Initiative #19 - 52,558  (-14.1%)
12/08  Initiative #20 - 51,230  ( -2.5%)
01/09  Initiative #21 - 47,734  ( -6.8%)
                        6 mnth  (-25.0%)
                        1 year  (-13.6%)

Sinking into the mid-table, from the look of it. With the Initiative dismantled at the end of “Secret Invasion”, this book may now be facing the problems that DARK AVENGERS will have in a year’s time.

27. SECRET INVASION: WAR OF KINGS
01/09  SI/WoK - 47,479

Arguably more WAR OF KINGS than SECRET INVASION, but there you go. This is a lead-in for the upcoming crossover among the cosmic books, and does pretty well by their standard.

28. THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS
09/08  Captain Trips #1 of 5 - 82,671
10/08  Captain Trips #2 of 5 - 64,443  (-22.0%)
11/08  Captain Trips #3 of 5 - 55,076  (-14.5%)
12/08  Captain Trips #4 of 5 - 49,211  (-10.6%)
01/09  Captain Trips #5 of 5 - 46,702  ( -5.1%)

If DARK TOWER is anything to do by, we can expect to see future volumes pick up at this level and keep dropping. Then again, THE STAND wasn’t billed as quite such an “event” in the first place, so it might not have so far to fall before levelling out.

30. DEADPOOL
09/08  Deadpool #1 - 75,058
09/08  Deadpool #2 - 65,400  (-12.9%)
10/08  Deadpool #3 - 61,833  ( -5.5%)
11/08  Deadpool #4 - 49,577  (-19.8%)
12/08  Deadpool #5 - 46,856  ( -5.5%)
01/09  Deadpool #6 - 46,549  ( -0.7%)

A Dark Reign tie-in, which is apparently enough to keep the sales flat. The first three issues were a SECRET INVASION tie, so the relatively steady sales since then are a positive sign.

31. WOLVERINE: ORIGINS
01/07  Origins #10 - 97,881
=====
01/08  Origins #21 - 51,919  ( -3.0%)
02/08  Origins #22 - 50,324  ( -3.1%)
03/08  Origins #23 - 49,633  ( -1.4%)
04/08  Origins #24 - 49,299  ( -0.7%)
05/08  Origins #25 - 52,907  ( +5.9%)
06/08  Origins #26 - 48,059  ( -9.2%)
07/08  Origins #27 - 47,540  ( -1.1%)
08/08  ---
09/08  Origins #28 - 49,950  ( +5.1%)
10/08  Origins #29 - 58,841  (+17.8%)
11/08  Origins #30 - 50,359  (-14.4%)
12/08  Origins #31 - 45,043  (-10.6%)
01/09  Origins #32 - 44,697  ( -0.8%)
                     6 mnth  ( -6.0%)
                     1 year  (-13.9%)
                     2 year  (-54.3%)

Holding level. Marvel are giving supporting character Daken something of a push by using him in DARK AVENGERS, but it remains to be seen whether that’ll have any impact on sales of this book. (To be honest, it usually doesn’t – just ask Ms Marvel.)

33. PUNISHER
01/07  War Journal #3  - 70,143
=====
01/08  War Journal #15 - 35,815  ( -6.9%)
02/08  War Journal #16 - 32,508  ( -9.2%)
03/08  War Journal #17 - 31,227  ( -3.9%)
04/08  War Journal #18 - 29,565  ( -5.3%)
05/08  War Journal #19 - 29,906  ( +1.2%)
06/08  War Journal #20 - 27,288  ( -8.8%)
07/08  War Journal #21 - 26,299  ( -3.6%)
08/08  War Journal #22 - 25,555  ( -2.8%)
09/08  War Journal #23 - 27,384  ( +7.2%)
10/08  War Journal #24 - 31,785  (+16.1%)
11/08  War Journal #25 - 29,982  ( -5.7%)
12/08  War Journal #26 - 22,423  (-25.2%)
01/09  Punisher #1     - 43,876  (+95.7%)
                         6 mnth  (+66.8%)
                         1 year  (+22.5%)
                         2 year  (-37.4%)

Pay attention, because this is needlessly confusing. PUNISHER is the relaunched PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL – the Marvel Universe version of the character, where he fights supervillains and so forth. Now, Marvel already have a book which is just called PUNISHER, over in the Max imprint. But they’ve renamed that one PUNISHER: FRANK CASTLE. Still with me? Okay.

WAR JOURNAL wasn’t doing so well towards the end there, so Marvel should be very happy to see sales almost double for the first issue of this Dark Reign tie-in.

34. DAREDEVIL
01/04  Daredevil #56  - 56,351
01/05  Daredevil #69  - 48,727
01/06  Daredevil #81  - 44,252
01/07  Daredevil #93  - 47,124
=====
01/08  Daredevil #104 - 42,773  ( -2.5%)
02/08  Daredevil #105 - 42,098  ( -1.6%)
03/08  Daredevil #106 - 41,537  ( -1.3%)
04/08  ---
05/08  Daredevil #107 - 40,418  ( -2.7%)
06/08  Daredevil #108 - 39,557  ( -2.1%)
07/08  Daredevil #109 - 39,258  ( -0.8%)
08/08  Daredevil #110 - 43,362  (+10.5%)
09/08  Daredevil #111 - 46,305  ( +6.8%)
10/08  Daredevil #112 - 46,202  ( -0.2%)
11/08  Daredevil #113 - 41,200  (-10.8%)
12/08  Daredevil #114 - 44,351  ( +7.6%)
01/09  Daredevil #115 - 40,214  ( -9.3%)
                        6 mnth  ( +2.4%)
                        1 year  ( -6.0%)
                        2 year  (-14.7%)
                        3 year  ( -9.1%)
                        4 year  (-17.5%)
                        5 year  (-28.6%)

Last issue had a variant cover, but if you compare with issue #113, sales seem pretty steady here.

In a curious oddity, DAREDEVIL has the best two-year comparison on this month’s chart, despite having dropped 15% over that time. That’s due to a lot of books failing to ship in January 2009, and a few more failing to come out in January 2007.

35. THUNDERBOLTS
01/04  ---
01/05  New Thunderbolts #4  - 31,725
01/06  New Thunderbolts #17 - 23,417
01/07  Thunderbolts #110    - 64,996
=====
01/08  Thunderbolts #118    - 43,645  ( -7.4%)
02/08  ---
03/08  Thunderbolts #119    - 40,173  ( -8.0%)
04/08  ---
05/08  Thunderbolts #120    - 38,330  ( -4.6%)
06/08  Thunderbolts #121    - 37,693  ( -1.7%)
07/08  Thunderbolts #122    - 47,170  (+25.1%)
08/08  Thunderbolts #123    - 45,403  ( -3.7%)
09/08  Thunderbolts #124    - 43,429  ( -4.3%)
10/08  Thunderbolts #125    - 41,358  ( -4.8%)
11/08  Thunderbolts #126    - 34,640  (-16.2%)
12/08  Thunderbolts #127    - 36,378  ( +5.0%)
01/09  Thunderbolts #128    - 39,219  ( +7.8%)
                              6 mnth  (-16.9%)
                              1 year  (-10.1%)
                              2 year  (-39.7%)
                              3 year  (+67.5%)
                              4 year  (+23.6%)
                              5 year  (  --- )

Gaining nicely from Dark Reign – despite many of the cast having been resettled to DARK AVENGERS.

36. MARVEL ZOMBIES 3
10/08  Marvel Zombies 3 #1 of 4 - 67,999
11/08  Marvel Zombies 3 #2 of 4 - 47,253  (-30.5%)
12/08  Marvel Zombies 3 #3 of 4 - 41,837  (-11.5%)
01/09  Marvel Zombies 3 #4 of 4 - 38,805  ( -7.2%)

Not quite the sales we’ve seen with previous volumes, but these are still rather good numbers for a Marvel Universe miniseries with no connection to any wider event.

42. X-INFERNUS
12/08  X-Infernus #1 of 4 - 51,556
01/09  X-Infernus #2 of 4 - 37,693  (-26.9%)

On the steep side, but okay for a miniseries. Issue #1 picks up reorders of 3,139.

44. WAR MACHINE
12/08  War Machine #1 - 51,389
01/09  War Machine #2 - 37,097  (-27.8%)

Equally steep, but of rather more concern, as this is an ongoing title. The first issue picks up 1,635 reorders, a number that would have gone unnoticed most months.

49. CABLE
03/08  Cable #1  - 68,073
04/08  Cable #2  - 59,877  (-12.0%)
05/08  Cable #3  - 54,760  ( -8.5%)
06/08  Cable #4  - 49,996  ( -8.7%)
07/08  Cable #5  - 46,429  ( -7.1%)
08/08  Cable #6  - 45,050  ( -3.0%)
09/08  ---
10/08  Cable #7  - 43,358  ( -3.8%)
11/08  Cable #8  - 37,315  (-13.9%)
12/08  Cable #9  - 34,527  ( -7.5%)
01/09  Cable #10 - 33,319  ( -3.5%)
                   6 mnth  (-28.2%)

And it’s still dropping. There’s a crossover with X-FORCE lined up, but neither book exactly seems to have momentum right now.

51. X-FACTOR
01/06  ---
01/07  X-Factor #15 - 38,693
=====
01/08  X-Factor #27 - 81,350  ( -3.4%)
02/08  X-Factor #28 - 61,173  (-24.8%)
03/08  X-Factor #29 - 54,832  (-10.4%)
04/08  X-Factor #30 - 51,447  ( -6.2%)
05/08  X-Factor #31 - 48,231  ( -6.3%)
06/08  X-Factor #32 - 45,104  ( -6.5%)
07/08  X-Factor #33 - 53,088  (+17.7%)
08/08  X-Factor #34 - 50,416  ( -5.0%)
09/08  X-Factor #35 - 44,481  (-11.8%)
10/08  X-Factor #36 - 38,552  (-13.3%)
11/08  X-Factor #37 - 35,754  ( -7.3%)
12/08  X-Factor #38 - 34,425  ( -3.7%)
01/09  X-Factor #39 - 32,796  ( -4.7%)
                      6 mnth  (-38.2%)
                      1 year  (-59.7%)
                      2 year  (-15.2%)
                      3 year  (  --- )

Still dropping back after a lengthy period of benefitting from crossovers.

53. X-MEN: KINGBREAKER
12/08  Kingbreaker #1 of 4 - 36,387
01/09  Kingbreaker #2 of 4 - 32,186  (-11.5%)

That’s a fairly modest drop for the Starjammers miniseries. They should be happy with that.

54. INCREDIBLE HERCULES
01/08  Hercules #113 - 73,533  ( -4.6%)
02/08  Hercules #114 - 52,200  (-29.0%)
03/08  Hercules #115 - 49,336  ( -5.5%)
04/08  Hercules #116 - 44,575  ( -9.7%)
05/08  Hercules #117 - 57,264  (+28.5%)
06/08  Hercules #118 - 52,975  ( -7.5%)
07/08  Hercules #119 - 52,598  ( -0.7%)
08/08  Hercules #120 - 51,100  ( -2.8%)
09/08  Hercules #121 - 47,363  ( -7.3%)
10/08  Hercules #122 - 42,876  ( -9.5%)
11/08  Hercules #123 - 35,780  (-16.6%)
12/08  Hercules #124 - 36,855  ( +3.0%)
01/09  Hercules #125 - 31,888  (-13.5%)
                       6 mnth  (-39.4%)
                       1 year  (-56.6%)

This, on the other hand, seems to be bleeding readers with no end in sight. A shame, as the reviews have generally been very positive. Mind you, by taking over the numbering of INCREDIBLE HULK, it did inherit an audience who weren’t necessarily that attached to the premise.

55. SKAAR, SON OF HULK
06/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #1 - 91,279
07/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #2 - 56,984  (-37.6%)
08/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #3 - 50,841  (-10.8%)
09/08  ---
10/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #4 - 44,310  (-12.8%)
11/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #5 - 34,779  (-21.5%)
12/08  Skaar, Son of Hulk #6 - 34,593  ( -0.5%)
01/09  Skaar, Son of Hulk #7 - 31,096  (-10.1%)
                               6 mnth  (-45.4%)

This, in contrast, has no such excuses. There was a variant cover last month, so it’s actually probably shedding more like 5% a month these days, but that’s still not brilliant.

56. X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY
09/08  Manifest Destiny #1 of 5 - 49,262
10/08  Manifest Destiny #2 of 5 - 39,633  (-19.5%)
11/08  Manifest Destiny #3 of 5 - 35,885  ( -9.5%)
12/08  Manifest Destiny #4 of 5 - 32,565  ( -9.3%)
01/09  Manifest Destiny #5 of 5 - 29,948  ( -8.0%)

The anthology book wraps up to apparent indifference, having shed readers consistently through its run.

58. X-MEN NOIR
12/08  X-Men Noir #1 of 4 - 36,474
01/09  X-Men Noir #2 of 4 - 28,604  (-21.6%)

Issue #1 picks up reorders of 3,349. For a quirky four-issue miniseries, this isn’t doing badly at all, but I have my doubts about Marvel’s attempts to build an entire imprint around the concept.

59. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
05/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #1 - 36,293
06/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #2 - 32,967 ( -9.2%)
07/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #3 - 33,986 ( +3.1%)
08/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #4 - 40,285 (+18.5%)
09/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #5 - 42,104 ( +4.5%)
10/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #6 - 36,546 (-13.2%)
11/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #7 - 30,516 (-16.5%)
12/08  Guardians o/the Galaxy #8 - 31,564 ( +3.4%)
01/09  Guardians o/the Galaxy #9 - 28,502 ( -9.7%)
                                   6 mnth (-16.1%)

Not nearly as bad as it looks, because again, there was a variant last month. The book will be hoping to gain from the upcoming WAR OF KINGS crossover.

60. DR DOOM & THE MASTERS OF EVIL
01/09  Dr Doom & The Masters of Evil #1 - 28,299

This is a strange one – a villain book which seems to be hovering somewhere in the middle ground between a regular Marvel Universe title and an all-ages book. Retailers seem similarly confused as to what they should make of it.

61. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EXTRA
07/08  Spider-Man Extra #1 - 44,456
01/09  Spider-Man Extra #2 - 27,470  (-38.2%)

Not pretty. There doesn’t seem to be much appetite for Spider-Man spin-off books.

64. YOUNG X-MEN
04/08  Young X-Men #1  - 71,593
05/08  Young X-Men #2  - 51,267  (-28.4%)
06/08  Young X-Men #3  - 45,227  (-11.8%)
07/08  Young X-Men #4  - 41,341  ( -8.6%)
08/08  Young X-Men #5  - 38,379  ( -7.2%)
09/08  Young X-Men #6  - 38,176  ( -0.5%)
10/08  Young X-Men #7  - 36,483  ( -4.4%)
11/08  Young X-Men #8  - 30,237  (-17.1%)
12/08  Young X-Men #9  - 30,508  ( +0.9%)
01/09  Young X-Men #10 - 26,933  (-11.7%)
                         6 mnth  (-34.9%)

Axed with issue #12.

65. MS MARVEL
01/07  Ms Marvel #11 - 32,298
=====
01/08  Ms Marvel #23 - 24,260  ( -4.7%)
02/08  Ms Marvel #24 - 24,139  ( -0.5%)
03/08  Ms Marvel #25 - 40,993  (+69.8%)
04/08  Ms Marvel #26 - 42,277  ( +3.1%)
05/08  Ms Marvel #27 - 41,131  ( -2.7%)
06/08  Ms Marvel #28 - 42,194  ( +2.6%)
07/08  Ms Marvel #29 - 41,231  ( -2.3%)
08/08  ---
09/08  Ms Marvel #30 - 40,041  ( -2.9%)
09/08  Ms Marvel #31 - 32,145  (-19.7%)
10/08  Ms Marvel #32 - 25,892  (-19.5%)
11/08  Ms Marvel #33 - 23,980  ( -7.4%)
12/08  Ms Marvel #34 - 29,770  (+24.1%)
01/09  Ms Marvel #35 - 26,824  (-10.0%)
                       6 mnth  (-34.9%)
                       1 year  (+10.6%)
                       2 year  (-16.9%)

Last month was a variant, so this is actually a slight increase in terms of regular sales. That’s probably because of the Dark Reign tie-in.

68. SPIDER-MAN NOIR
12/08  Spider-Man Noir #1 of 4 - 31,985
01/09  Spider-Man Noir #2 of 4 - 26,228  (-18.0%)

Tailing some way behind the X-Men book, but the second issue drop isn’t too bad.

69,73. PUNISHER WAR ZONE
12/08  Punisher War Zone #1 of 6 - 36,425
12/08  Punisher War Zone #2 of 6 - 29,742 (-18.3%)
12/08  Punisher War Zone #3 of 6 - 28,424 ( -4.4%)
12/08  Punisher War Zone #4 of 6 - 27,349 ( -3.8%)
01/09  Punisher War Zone #5 of 6 - 26,061 ( -4.7%)
01/09  Punisher War Zone #6 of 6 - 25,385 ( -2.6%)

This is the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon miniseries released to tie in with the movie. As you’d expect for a (more or less) weekly, sales hold up fairly well.

71. NOVA
01/08  Nova #10 - 29,397  ( -3.5%)
02/08  ---
03/08  Nova #11 - 28,162  ( -4.2%)
04/08  Nova #12 - 28,185  ( +0.1%)
05/08  Nova #13 - 28,144  ( -0.1%)
06/08  Nova #14 - 28,892  ( +2.7%)
07/08  Nova #15 - 28,592  ( -1.0%)
08/08  Nova #16 - 38,338  (+34.1%)
09/08  Nova #17 - 37,015  ( -3.5%)
10/08  Nova #18 - 38,417  ( +3.8%)
11/08  Nova #19 - 28,306  (-26.3%)
12/08  Nova #20 - 29,405  ( +3.9%)
01/09  Nova #21 - 25,647  (-12.8%)
                  6 mnth  (-10.3%)
                  1 year  (-12.8%)

Filter out the variant covers, and this still seems to be dropping. Of course, there’s always WAR OF KINGS.

74. MARVELS: EYE OF THE CAMERA
12/08  Marvels #1 of 6 - 37,976
12/08  Marvels #2 of 6 - 27,256  (-28.2%)
01/09  Marvels #3 of 6 - 25,087  ( -8.0%)

79. X-MEN & SPIDER-MAN
11/08  X-Men/Spider-Man #1 of 4 - 30,774
12/08  X-Men/Spider-Man #2 of 4 - 25,573  (-17.0%)
01/09  X-Men/Spider-Man #3 of 4 - 23,075  ( -9.8%)

A couple of minis that are at least levelling out.

81. PUNISHER: FRANK CASTLE  [Max]
01/04  Punisher #1      - 56,334
01/05  Punisher #16     - 39,341
01/06  Punisher #29     - 34,709
01/07  Punisher #43     - 33,023
=====
01/08  Punisher #54     - 31,654  ( -0.4%)
02/08  ---
03/08  Punisher #55     - 31,276  ( -1.2%)
04/08  Punisher #56     - 30,796  ( -1.5%)
05/08  Punisher #57     - 30,528  ( -0.9%)
06/08  Punisher #58     - 29,802  ( -2.4%)
07/08  Punisher #59     - 30,064  ( +0.9%)
08/08  Punisher #60     - 30,683  ( +2.1%)
08/08  Punisher #61     - 28,373  ( -7.5%)
09/08  Punisher #62     - 26,906  ( -5.2%)
10/08  Punisher #63     - 25,933  ( -3.6%)
11/08  Punisher #64     - 24,660  ( -4.9%)
12/08  Punisher #65     - 23,881  ( -3.2%)
01/09  Frank Castle #66 - 22,806  ( -4.5%)
                          6 mnth  (-24.1%)
                          1 year  (-28.0%)
                          2 year  (-30.9%)
                          3 year  (-34.3%)
                          4 year  (-42.0%)
                          5 year  (-59.5%)

The other Punisher book, now with new name. It makes no difference to the decline, which set in after the end of Garth Ennis’ run.

INCOGNITO [Icon]
12/08  Incognito #1 - 22,669
01/09  ---

Issue #1 picks up another 3,386 orders, which is a pretty impressive chunk for a book with sales at this level.

85. GHOST RIDER
01/07  Ghost Rider #7  - 43,557
=====
01/08  Ghost Rider #19 - 28,566  ( -6.5%)
02/08  Ghost Rider #20 - 27,958  ( -2.1%)
03/08  Ghost Rider #21 - 26,526  ( -5.1%)
04/08  Ghost Rider #22 - 25,866  ( -2.5%)
05/08  Ghost Rider #23 - 25,099  ( -3.0%)
06/08  Ghost Rider #24 - 24,494  ( -2.4%)
07/08  Ghost Rider #25 - 24,546  ( +0.2%)
08/08  Ghost Rider #26 - 27,026  (+10.1%)
09/08  Ghost Rider #27 - 23,402  (-13.4%)
10/08  Ghost Rider #28 - 26,993  (+15.3%)
11/08  Ghost Rider #29 - 24,205  (-10.3%)
12/08  Ghost Rider #30 - 25,508  ( +5.4%)
01/09  Ghost Rider #31 - 22,421  (-12.1%)
                         6 mnth  ( -8.7%)
                         1 year  (-21.5%)
                         2 year  (-48.5%)

Look past the noise from the variant cover spikes, and the book seems to be on a slow but steady decline.

87. X-MEN: WORLDS APART
10/08  Worlds Apart #1 of 4 - 31,234
11/08  Worlds Apart #2 of 4 - 26,978  (-13.6%)
12/08  Worlds Apart #3 of 4 - 23,928  (-11.3%)
01/09  Worlds Apart #4 of 4 - 22,152  ( -7.4%)

A Storm miniseries bridging the gap between volumes of BLACK PANTHER, and not attracting much notice.

89. MOON KNIGHT
01/07  Moon Knight #7  - 76,921
=====
01/08  Moon Knight #14 - 34,569  (-21.6%)
02/08  Moon Knight #15 - 31,553  ( -8.7%)
03/08  Moon Knight #16 - 29,546  ( -6.4%)
04/08  Moon Knight #17 - 27,808  ( -5.9%)
05/08  Moon Knight #18 - 26,626  ( -4.3%)
06/08  Moon Knight #19 - 25,820  ( -3.0%)
07/08  Moon Knight #20 - 28,773  (+11.4%)
08/08  Moon Knight #21 - 30,900  ( +7.4%)
09/08  Moon Knight #22 - 26,380  (-14.6%)
10/08  Moon Knight #23 - 25,216  ( -4.4%)
11/08  Moon Knight #24 - 23,947  ( -5.0%)
12/08  Moon Knight #25 - 23,283  ( -2.8%)
01/09  Moon Knight #26 - 21,796  ( -6.4%)
                         6 mnth  (-24.2%)
                         1 year  (-36.9%)
                         2 year  (-71.7%)

The drops are speeding up again. This isn’t looking healthy.

92. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THEATER OF WAR
10/08  Operation: Zero Point - 31,702
11/08  ---
12/08  America First         - 21,984  (-30.7%)
01/09  America the Beautiful - 21,295  ( -3.1%)

Reassuringly steady, especially after last month’s alarming downward lurch.

93. CIVIL WAR: HOUSE OF M
09/08  House of M #1 of 5 - 35,082
10/08  House of M #2 of 5 - 29,498  (-15.9%)
11/08  House of M #3 of 5 - 24,207  (-17.9%)
12/08  House of M #4 of 5 - 22,573  ( -6.8%)
01/09  House of M #5 of 5 - 21,164  ( -6.2%)

Dropping to the very end.

95. WOLVERINE: SWITCHBACK
01/09  Switchback - 20,982

Yet another random Wolverine one-shot, with nothing much to distinguish it from all the others.

98. RUNAWAYS
01/04  Runaways #10 - 20,108
01/05  ---
01/06  Runaways #12 - 24,989
01/07  Runaways #23 - 25,346
=====
01/08  ---
02/08  Runaways #29 - 33,210  (-30.5%)
03/08  ---
04/08  ---
05/08  ---
06/08  Runaways #30 - 31,353  ( -5.6%)
07/08  ---
08/08  Runaways #1  - 33,252  ( +6.1%)
09/08  Runaways #2  - 27,958  (-15.9%)
10/08  Runaways #3  - 25,757  ( -7.9%)
11/08  Runaways #4  - 23,496  ( -8.8%)
12/08  Runaways #5  - 21,918  ( -6.7%)
01/09  Runaways #6  - 20,459  ( -6.7%)
                      6 mnth  (  --- )
                      1 year  (  --- )
                      2 year  (-19.3%)
                      3 year  (-18.1%)
                      4 year  (  --- )
                      5 year  ( +1.7%)

Ooh, this isn’t looking healthy. There’s a new creative team with issue #10, but it’s hard to see why that would help.

99. SPIDER-MAN: FEAR ITSELF
01/09  Fear Itself - 19,631

A Spider-Man/Man-Thing one-shot, selling as well as you’d expect.

101. CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI-13
05/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #1 - 43,281
06/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #2 - 37,986  (-12.2%)
07/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #3 - 39,100  ( +2.9%)
08/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #4 - 36,826  ( -5.8%)
09/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #5 - 32,999  (-10.4%)
10/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #6 - 28,033  (-15.0%)
11/08  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #7 - 22,189  (-20.8%)
12/08  
Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #8 - 21,236  ( -4.3%)
01/09  Cpt. Britain & MI-13 #9 - 18,483  (-13.0%)
                                 6 mnth  (-52.7%)

All rather depressing, to be honest. Things surely can’t continue like this for long.

102. NEW EXILES
01/04  Exiles #40     - 37,277
01/05  Exiles #58     - 32,129
01/06  Exiles #76     - 32,843
01/07  Exiles #90     - 31,595
=====
01/08  New Exiles #1  - 47,618  (+42.5%)
02/08  New Exiles #2  - 34,454  (-27.6%)
03/08  New Exiles #3  - 30,480  (-11.5%)
04/08  New Exiles #4  - 29,231  ( -4.1%)
04/08  New Exiles #5  - 28,505  ( -2.5%)
05/08  New Exiles #6  - 27,533  ( -3.4%)
06/08  New Exiles #7  - 25,742  ( -6.5%)
07/08  New Exiles #8  - 24,436  ( -5.1%)
08/08  New Exiles #9  - 22,986  ( -5.9%)
08/08  New Exiles #10 - 23,048  ( +0.3%)
09/08  New Exiles #11 - 22,630  ( -1.8%)
10/08  New Exiles #12 - 21,682  ( -4.2%)
10/08  New Exiles #13 - 21,058  ( -2.9%)
11/08  New Exiles #14 - 20,493  ( -2.7%)
12/08  New Exiles #15 - 19,498  ( -4.9%)
12/08  New Exiles #16 - 19,227  ( -1.4%)
01/09  New Exiles #17 - 18,381  ( -4.4%)
                        6 mnth  (-24.8%)
                        1 year  (-61.4%)
                        2 year  (-41.8%)
                        3 year  (-44.0%)
                        4 year  (-42.8%)
                        5 year  (-50.7%)

Cancelled with issue #18, to be relaunched as EXILES. Again.

103. SHE-HULK
01/05  She-Hulk #11 - 23,235
01/06  She-Hulk #4  - 28,214
01/07  She-Hulk #15 - 27,600
=====
01/08  She-Hulk #25 - 23,283  ( -1.3%)
02/08  She-Hulk #26 - 22,181  ( -4.7%)
03/08  She-Hulk #27 - 21,421  ( -3.4%)
04/08  She-Hulk #28 - 20,843  ( -2.7%)
05/08  She-Hulk #29 - 20,678  ( -0.8%)
06/08  She-Hulk #30 - 21,016  ( +1.6%)
07/08  She-Hulk #31 - 39,079  (+85.9%)
08/08  She-Hulk #32 - 38,069  ( -2.6%)
09/08  She-Hulk #33 - 32,862  (-13.7%)
10/08  She-Hulk #34 - 22,763  (-30.7%)
11/08  She-Hulk #35 - 20,940  ( -8.0%)
12/08  She-Hulk #36 - 19,815  ( -5.4%)
01/09  She-Hulk #37 - 18,243  ( -7.9%)
                      6 mnth  (-53.3%)
                      1 year  (-21.6%)
                      2 year  (-33.9%)
                      3 year  (-35.3%)
                      4 year  (-21.5%)

Cancelled with issue #38.

104. SQUADRON SUPREME
07/08  Squadron Supreme #1 - 35,583
08/08  Squadron Supreme #2 - 28,052  (-21.2%)
09/08  Squadron Supreme #3 - 27,131  ( -3.3%)
10/08  Squadron Supreme #4 - 22,430  (-17.3%)
11/08  Squadron Supreme #5 - 19,822  (-11.6%)
12/08  Squadron Supreme #6 - 18,948  ( -4.5%)
01/09  Squadron Supreme #7 - 17,691  ( -6.6%)
                             6 mnth  (-50.3%)

105. ETERNALS
06/08  Eternals #1 - 41,680
07/08  Eternals #2 - 30,395  (-27.1%)
08/08  Eternals #3 - 25,555  (-15.9%)
09/08  Eternals #4 - 23,176  ( -9.3%)
10/08  Eternals #5 - 23,418  ( -1.0%)
11/08  ---
12/08  Eternals #6 - 18,133  (-22.6%)
01/09  Eternals #7 - 17,495  ( -3.5%)
                     6 mnth  (-42.4%)

Two books which haven’t been cancelled yet, but are clearly heading that way fast.

106. RUINS
01/09  Ruins - 16,689

This is a reprint of a Warren Ellis story from 1995, originally published as a two-issue mini. Basically it’s a parody of MARVELS set in a world where everyone’s origin story went wrong. Sales are remarkably high.

111. GHOST RIDER: DANNY KETCH
10/08  Danny Ketch #1 of 5 - 22,119
11/08  Danny Ketch #2 of 5 - 18,259  (-17.5%)
12/08  Danny Ketch #3 of 5 - 17,142  ( -6.1%)
01/09  Danny Ketch #4 of 5 - 15,955  ( -6.9%)

Considering that GHOST RIDER itself only sells 22K, this is actually quite a respectable number.

112. WEAPON X: FIRST CLASS
11/08  Weapon X #1 of 3 - 24,577
12/08  Weapon X #2 of 3 - 16,862  (-31.4%)
01/09  Weapon X #3 of 3 - 15,432  ( -8.5%)

Mystifying all-ages retelling of the most violent and disturbing bit of Wolverine’s origin story. It does outsell the rest of the First Class books.

115. WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
12/08  Wizard of Oz #1 of 8 - 20,535
01/09  Wizard of Oz #2 of 8 - 15,003  (-26.9%)

Bit of a steep drop, but the book is still doing far better than the average novel adaptation.

118. ANITA BLAKE, VAMPIRE HUNTER
01/07  Guilty Pls. #4 of 12    - 32,363
=====
01/08  Guilty Pls. #7 of 12    - 27,874  (-22.6%)
02/08  Guilty Pls. #8 of 12    - 27,358  ( -1.9%)
03/08  Guilty Pls. #9 of 12    - 26,324  ( -3.8%)
04/08  Guilty Pls. #10 of 12   - 21,462  (-18.5%)
05/08  Guilty Pls. #11 of 12   - 20,627  ( -3.9%)
06/08  Guilty Pls. #12 of 12   - 19,866  ( -3.7%)
07/08  ---
08/08  ---
09/08  ---
10/08  Laughing Corpse #1 of 5 - 22,493  (+13.2%)
11/08  Laughing Corpse #2 of 5 - 17,187  (-23.6%)
12/08  Laughing Corpse #3 of 5 - 15,665  ( -8.9%)
01/09  Laughing Corpse #4 of 5 - 14,422  ( -7.9%)
                                 6 mnth  (  --- )
                                 1 year  (-48.3%)
                                 2 year  (-55.4%)

Shedding readers at a worrying rate, considering that there are presumably meant to be more series to come.

119. SUB-MARINER: THE DEPTHS
09/08  Depths #1 of 5 - 27,275
10/08  Depths #2 of 5 - 20,653  (-24.3%)
11/08  Depths #3 of 5 - 16,906  (-18.1%)
12/08  ---
01/09  Depths #4 of 5 - 14,269  (-15.6%)

Another underpromoted and largely unnoticed miniseries.

124. AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL
01/04  Spider-Girl #69         - 20,384
01/05  Spider-Girl #82         - 20,005
01/06  Spider-Girl #94         - 17,148
01/07  Amazing Spider-Girl #4  - 23,113
=====
01/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #16 - 16,422  ( -4.3%)
02/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #17 - 16,193  ( -1.4%)
03/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #18 - 15,910  ( -1.7%)
04/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #19 - 15,970  ( +0.4%)
05/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #20 - 15,646  ( -2.0%)
06/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #21 - 15,659  ( +0.0%)
07/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #22 - 15,373  ( -1.8%)
08/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #23 - 15,155  ( -1.4%)
09/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #24 - 14,966  ( -1.2%)10/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #25 - 18,782  (+25.5%)
11/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #26 - 14,389  (-23.4%)
12/08  Amazing Spider-Girl #27 - 15,376  ( +6.9%)
01/09  Amazing Spider-Girl #28 - 13,790  (-10.3%)
                                 6 mnth  (-10.3%)
                                 1 year  (-16.0%)
                                 2 year  (-40.3%)
                                 3 year  (-19.6%)
                                 4 year  (-31.1%)
                                 5 year  (-32.3%)

Axed with issue #30.

127. WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS
03/08  First Class #1  - 35,695
04/08  First Class #2  - 25,610  (-28.3%)
05/08  First Class #3  - 22,430  (-12.4%)
06/08  First Class #4  - 20,199  ( -9.9%)
07/08  First Class #5  - 18,788  ( -7.0%)
08/08  First Class #6  - 19,443  ( +3.5%)
09/08  First Class #7  - 16,168  (-16.8%)
10/08  First Class #8  - 14,936  ( -7.6%)
11/08  First Class #9  - 13,857  ( -7.2%)
12/08  First Class #10 - 13,441  ( -3.0%)
01/09  First Class #11 - 12,845  ( -4.4%)
                         6 mnth  (-31.6%)

Dropping, but still comfortably ahead of its siblings in the Marvel Adventures line.

128. ENDERS SHADOW: BATTLE SCHOOL
12/08  Shadow #1 of 5 - 15,151
01/09  Shadow #2 of 5 - 12,736  (-15.9%)

Another novel adaptation, doing better than most of its type.

131. NYX: NO WAY HOME
08/08  No Way Home #1 of 6 - 29,927
09/08  No Way Home #2 of 6 - 20,471  (-31.6%)
10/08  No Way Home #3 of 6 - 16,495  (-19.4%)
11/08  ---
12/08  No Way Home #4 of 6 - 13,310  (-19.3%)
01/09  No Way Home #5 of 6 - 12,366  ( -7.1%)

This has been losing readers hand over fist. Surely the last we’ll see of these characters?

142. ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL
11/08  Adam #1 of 4 - 17,308
12/08  Adam #2 of 4 - 12,160  (-29.7%)
01/09  Adam #3 of 4 - 10,796  (-11.2%)

One of those books where you have to wonder what they thought the selling point was, I’m afraid. It’s a new character by a writer best known for the recent NEW WARRIORS relaunch; what did they think was going to happen?

153. OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
01/09  Index #1 - 9,852

This is the latest attempt to revive George Olshevsky’s Index project. It’s meant to be an ongoing series, but the numbers aren’t terribly inspiring. Shame.

160. DEAD OF NIGHT  [Max]
01/09  Werewolf by Night #1 of 4 - 8,966

Another low-selling Max miniseries. Presumably they sell in passable numbers somewhere, but for the most part, the imprint isn’t doing great business in the direct market.

163. SCOURGE OF GODS  [Soleil]
01/09  Scourge of Gods #1 of 3 - 8,748

Another European reprint.

173. NOVA: ORIGIN OF RICHARD RIDER
01/09  Origin - 8,333

A couple of old Nova stories with a new framing sequence. Pretty good number for that sort of thing.

177. MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD
01/09  Hero Up - 7,701

A comic book version of the toys and animated series that were based on the comics.

179. MARVEL SPOTLIGHT
01/06  W Ellis/J Cheung     -  6,843
01/07  Dark Tower           - 18,922
=====
01/08  Ultimates 3          -  9,354  (-30.5%)
02/08  ---
03/08  L Hamilton/G Martin
  -  4,656  (-50.2%)
04/08  Iron Man Movie       -  8,124  (+74.5%)
05/08  Hulk Movie           -  7,680  ( -5.5%)
06/08  Secret Invasion      - 14,206  (+85.0%)
07/08  Uncanny X-Men #500   -  8,763  (-38.3%)
08/08  Brand New Day        -  6,257  (-28.6%)
09/08  Marvel Knights       -  5,936  ( -5.1%)
10/08  Ultimatum            -  6,819  (+14.9%)
11/08  Punisher Movie       -  4,342  (-36.3%)
12/08  S.I. Aftermath       -  8,085  (+86.2%)
01/09  Dark Reign           -  7,527  ( -6.9%)
                              6 mnth  (-14.1%)
                              1 year  (-19.5%)
                              2 year  (-60.2%)
                              3 year  (+10.0%)

As usual, an issue about a major Marvel Universe event gets higher sales.

216. POWER PACK  [All ages]
01/06  X-Men #4 of 4      - 8,590
01/07  Spider-Man #3 of 4 - 5,880
=====
01/08  Iron Man #3 of 4   - 4,445  ( -8.4%)
02/08  Iron Man #4 of 4   - 4,256  ( -4.3%)
03/08  Day One #1 of 4    - 8,298  (+95.0%)
04/08  Day One #2 of 4    - 4,830  (-41.8%)
05/08  Day One #3 of 4    - 4,696  ( -2.8%)
06/08  Day One #4 of 4    - 4,491  ( -4.4%)
07/08  Skrulls #1 of 4    - 7,141  (+59.0%)
08/08  Skrulls #2 of 4    - 6,246  (-12.5%)
09/08  
Skrulls #3 of 4    - 5,663  ( -9.3%)
10/08  Skrulls #4 of 4    - 5,291  ( -6.6%)
11/08  Wolverine #1 of 4  - 5,984  (+13.1%)
12/08  Wolverine #2 of 4  - 5,150  (-13.9%)
01/09  Wolverine #3 of 4  - 4,817  ( -6.5%)
                           6 mnth  (-32.5%)
                           1 year  ( +8.4%)
                           2 year  (-18.1%)
                           3 year  (-43.9%)

Steady as ever.

217. BIG HERO 6
09/08  Big Hero 6 #1 of 5 - 13,026
10/08  Big Hero 6 #2 of 5 -  8,409  (-35.4%)
11/08  Big Hero 6 #3 of 5 -  6,291  (-25.2%)
12/08  Big Hero 6 #4 of 5 -  5,328  (-15.3%)
01/09  Big Hero 6 #5 of 5 -  4,795  (-10.0%)

Oh dear. A terribly low number for a Marvel Universe miniseries.

220. YTHAQ: FORSAKEN WORLD
12/08  Forsaken World #1 of 3 - 7,795
01/09  Forsaken World #2 of 3 - 4,635  (-40.5%)

Another European reprint… and from here, we’re into the Marvel Adventures books and the assorted adaptations, many of which return to the charts after failing to make the top 300 in December.

223. MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN  [All ages]
01/06  M.A. Spider-Man #11 - 6,107
01/07  M.A. Spider-Man #23 - 6,271
=====
01/08  M.A. Spider-Man #35 - 6,065  ( -0.8%)
02/08  M.A. Spider-Man #36 - 5,893  ( -2.8%)
03/08  M.A. Spider-Man #37 - 5,877  ( -0.3%)
04/08  M.A. Spider-Man #38 - 5,833  ( -0.7%)
05/08  M.A. Spider-Man #39 - 5,816  ( -0.3%)
06/08  M.A. Spider-Man #40 - 5,954  ( +2.4%)
07/08  M.A. Spider-Man #41 - 5,859  ( -1.6%)
08/08  M.A. Spider-Man #42 - 5,718  ( -2.4%)
09/08  M.A. Spider-Man #43 - 5,505  ( -3.7%)
10/08  M.A. Spider-Man #44 - 5,155  ( -6.4%)
11/08  M.A. Spider-Man #45 - 5,003  ( -2.9%)
12/08  M.A. Spider-Man #46 - 4,851  ( -3.0%)
01/09  M.A. Spider-Man #47 - 4,592  ( -5.3%)
                            6 mnth  (-21.6%)
                            1 year  (-24.3%)
                            2 year  (-26.8%)
                            3 year  (-24.8%)


227. MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS  [All ages]
01/07  M.A. Avengers #9  -  7,315
=====
01/08  M.A. Avengers #20 -  5,670  ( -7.3%)
02/08  M.A. Avengers #21 -  5,607  ( -1.1%)
03/08  M.A. Avengers #22 -  5,575  ( -0.6%)
04/08  M.A. Avengers #23 -  5,556  ( -0.3%)
05/08  M.A. Avengers #24 -  5,358  ( -3.6%)
06/08  M.A. Avengers #25 -  5,327  ( -0.6%)
07/08  M.A. Avengers #26 -  5,418  ( +1.7%)
08/08  M.A. Avengers #27 -  5,200  ( -4.0%)
09/08  M.A. Avengers #28 -  4,966  ( -4.5%)
10/08  M.A. Avengers #29 -  4,844  ( -2.5%)
11/08  M.A. Avengers #30 -  4,679  ( -3.4%)
12/08  M.A. Avengers #31 -  ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  M.A. Avengers #32 -  4,323  (  ??? )
                           6 mnth  (-20.2%)
                           1 year  (-23.8%)
                           2 year  (-40.9%)



232. MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES
07/08  M.A. Super Heroes #1 - 11,968
08/08  M.A. Super Heroes #2 -  5,956  (-50.2%)
09/08  M.A. Super Heroes #3 -  4,857  (-18.5%)
10/08  M.A. Super Heroes #4 -  4,542  ( -6.5%)
11/08  M.A. Super Heroes #5 -  4,233  ( -6.8%)
12/08  M.A. Super Heroes #6 -  ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  M.A. Super Heroes #7 -  4,141  (  ??? )
                              6 mnth  (-65.4%)


236. LORDS OF AVALON: KNIGHTS OF DARKNESS
12/08  Knights #1 of 6 - 4,879
12/08  Knights #2 of 6 - ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  Knights #3 of 6 - 3,640  (  ??? )


243. MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR  [All ages]
01/06  M.A. Fantastic Four #8  -  4,834
01/07  M.A. Fantastic Four #20 -  4,459
====
01/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #32 -  4,293  ( -2.3%)
02/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #33 -  4,222  ( -1.7%)
03/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #34 -  4,176  ( -1.1%)
04/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #35 -  4,154  ( -0.5%)
05/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #36 -  4,054  ( -2.4%)
06/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #37 -  3,972  ( -2.0%)
07/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #38 -  ?,???  (  ??? )
08/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #39 -  3,833  (  ??? )
09/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #40 -  3,716  ( -3.1%)
10/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #41 -  ?,???  (  ??? )
11/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #42 -  3,523  (  ??? )
12/08  M.A. Fantastic Four #43 -  ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  M.A. Fantastic Four #44 -  3,219  (  ??? )
                                 6 mnth  (  --- )
                                 1 year  (-25.0%)
                                 2 year  (-27.8%)
                                 3 year  (-33.4%)


246. ODYSSEY [Marvel Illustrated]
09/08  Odyssey #1 of 8 - 4,536
10/08  Odyssey #2 of 8 - ?,???  (  ??? )
11/08  Odyssey #3 of 8 - 3,631  (  ??? )
12/08  Odyssey #4 of 8 - ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  Odyssey #5 of 8 - 3,175  (  ??? )


280. KIDNAPPED [Marvel Illustrated]
11/08  Kidnapped #1 of 5 - 2,994
12/08  Kidnapped #2 of 5 - ?,???  (  ??? )
01/09  Kidnapped #3 of 5 - 2,143  (  ??? )


6 month comparisons
===================

+ 66.8% - Punisher
+  2.4% - Daredevil
-  6.0% - Wolverine: Origins
-  7.7% - Captain America
-  8.7% - Ghost Rider
- 10.2% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 10.3% - Nova
- 10.3% - Spider-Girl
- 13.0% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 14.1% - Marvel Spotlight
- 15.1% - X-Men: Legacy
- 16.1% - Guardians of the Galaxy
- 16.9% - Thunderbolts
- 17.2% - New Avengers
- 20.2% - Marvel Adventures Avengers
- 21.6% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
- 24.1% - Punisher: Frank Castle
- 24.2% - Moon Knight
- 24.8% - New Exiles
- 25.0% - Avengers: The Initiative
- 26.9% - Iron Man
- 28.2% - Cable
- 31.6% - Wolverine: First Class
- 32.4% - Dark Tower
- 32.5% - Power Pack
- 32.7% - X-Force
- 34.9% - Young X-Men
- 34.9% - Ms Marvel
- 38.2% - X-Factor
- 39.4% - Hercules
- 40.5% - Astonishing X-Men
- 42.4% - Eternals
- 45.4% - Skaar, Son of Hulk
- 50.3% - Squadron Supreme
- 52.7% - Captain Britain & MI-13
- 53.3% - She-Hulk
- 65.4% - Marvel Adventures Super Heroes


1 year comparisons
==================

+ 29.3% - Iron Man
+ 22.5% - Punisher
+ 10.6% - Ms Marvel
+  9.1% - Fantastic Four
+  8.4% - Power Pack
-  6.0% - Daredevil
- 10.1% - Thunderbolts
- 12.8% - Nova
- 13.6% - Avengers: The Initiative
- 13.9% - Wolverine: Origins
- 15.6% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 16.0% - Spider-Girl
- 19.5% - Marvel Spotlight
- 21.5% - Ghost Rider
- 21.6% - She-Hulk
- 23.8% - Marvel Adventures Avengers
- 24.3% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
- 25.0% - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four
- 28.0% - Punisher: Frank Castle
- 32.5% - Astonishing X-Men
- 36.9% - Moon Knight
- 43.4% - X-Men: Legacy
- 48.3% - Anita Blake
- 52.1% - Captain America
- 53.2% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 56.6% - Hercules
- 59.7% - X-Factor
- 61.4% - New Exiles


2 year comparisons
==================

- 14.7% - Daredevil
- 15.2% - X-Factor
- 16.9% - Ms Marvel
- 18.1% - Power Pack
- 19.3% - Runaways
- 22.9% - X-Men: Legacy
- 26.8% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
- 27.8% - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four
- 30.9% - Punisher: Frank Castle
- 33.9% - She-Hulk
- 37.4% - Punisher
- 37.5% - Fantastic Four
- 39.7% - Thunderbolts
- 40.3% - Amazing Spider-Girl
- 40.9% - Marvel Adventures Avengers
- 41.8% - New Exiles
- 47.8% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 48.5% - Ghost Rider
- 54.1% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 54.3% - Wolverine: Origins
- 55.4% - Anita Blake
- 60.2% - Marvel Spotlight
- 71.7% - Moon Knight


3 year comparisons
==================

+ 67.5% - Thunderbolts
+ 10.0% - Marvel Spotlight
+  8.8% - Iron Man
-  9.1% - Daredevil
- 18.1% - Runaways
- 19.6% - Amazing Spider-Girl
- 20.0% - X-Men: Legacy
- 24.8% - Marvel Adventures Spider-Man
- 26.1% - New Avengers
- 31.0% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 33.4% - Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four
- 34.3% - Punisher: Frank Castle
- 35.3% - She-Hulk
- 37.2% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 43.9% - Power Pack
- 44.0% - New Exiles


4 year comparisons
==================

+ 37.3% - Captain America
+ 23.6% - Thunderbolts
+ 13.8% - Fantastic Four
- 17.5% - Daredevil
- 21.5% - She-Hulk
- 24.9% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 31.0% - X-Men: Legacy
- 31.1% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 40.9% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 41.4% - New Avengers
- 42.0% - Punisher: Frank Castle
- 42.8% - New Exiles


5 year comparisons
==================

+ 77.3% - Captain America
+ 63.0% - Iron Man
+  4.9% - Fantastic Four
+  1.7% - Runaways
- 28.6% - Daredevil
- 31.4% - Amazing Spider-Man
- 32.3% - Amazing Spider-Girl
- 48.2% - Ultimate Spider-Man
- 49.8% - X-Men: Legacy
- 50.7% - New Exiles
- 59.5% - Punisher: Frank Castle

1 COMMENT

  1. Amazing Spider-Man drops below 60k? Ouch. It’s interesting to see all the Spider-related titles dropping like stones, too. I wonder if the poor-selling Amazing Spider-Man Family anthology will benefit from having the better-selling Spider-Girl in its pages?

    Re: the Punisher relaunch, can Marvel really be happy with those numbers? I mean, sure, it’s up from where it was last month, but it’s at what, less than half of what it was when the title was launched? Given both were tie-ins to big crossovers (one Civil War, the other Dark Reign), you’d think they were hoping for at least a bit more than that.

    Re: Skaar, I just recently came across the Hulk/Iron Man freebie that Marvel gave out when the two respective movies came out, and in it, it said Skaar was a 12-issue maxi-series. However, it was never solicited as such and, with new artist Ron Lim onboard, they’re already talking about 12 and beyond. Given these numbers, I’m really starting to wonder why…

    Re: Eternals, are we sure that book hasn’t been cancelled? Nothing’s been solicited past March’s #9, and the text on the last page of #8 sure made it sound like the next issue would be the last.

  2. Also, it is a shame that “Character Assassination” didn’t give Spidey the requisite “big story bump”…it’s actually a pretty damn good story, probably the best Guggenheim’s done since coming on board last year.

  3. Sorry pal, but you confused Amazing SM 582 with issue 584!

    584 has sold 63,754 copies and 582 just 59,932!
    The loser issue is 582 (stinky “Harry reborn” story!) not 584 (heavily reordered JRjr job!).

  4. However first printing of Amazing 568 (NWTD part 1!), last JRomita run, sold over 73,000 copies. The first chapter of “Character Assassination” sold barely 64,000 units (always first printing data!): not good at all!

  5. “Given both were tie-ins to big crossovers (one Civil War, the other Dark Reign), you’d think they were hoping for at least a bit more than that.”

    Maybe that’s why some fans avoided them, or just don’t buy them. There ARE comic fans out there who release a collective *SIGH* where these “epic” crossovers leave muddy footprints on our favorite books.

  6. Alan Coil wrote:
    “The economy is really hitting hard right now. ”

    The cover prices of some Marvel comics are really hurting things too. Even in better economic times I think many $3.99 Marvel titles are a hard sell. I know for me, Hulk at $3.99 isn’t worth it since it’s such a quick read. And the vast majority of $3.99 Marvel one-shots and miniseries are not worth the cover price either (heck, I’d say they’re not even worth a $2.99 cover price!).

    I got pertty choosy when cover prices went to $2.99, but now with Marvel’s greedy 33% price increase, I’m also pretty pissed off too. I’ll direct my money to more derserving companies that don’t seem to “get off” in pissing off their customers.

  7. The most telling statistic is how the Obama issue of ASM had absolutely NO carry-over impact on the sales of ASM #584.

    What good is getting people into the store to buy an “event” comic if there is absolutely no follow-on effect. I mean, is the ASM product so lousy that out of 300,000 non-regulars who bought your comic, exactly NONE of them thought it was worth coming back the next issue for more?

    Then again, maybe those extra 300,000 copies were all bought by speculators, who basically don’t do a comics company much good at all over the long term.

  8. New Avengers #49 was also the first one with the price increase to $3.99. I wonder how much that had to do with the sales drop? It will be interesting to see if Dark Avengers starts dropping quickly due to the $3.99 price tag.

  9. Todd wrote:
    “New Avengers #49 was also the first one with the price increase to $3.99. I wonder how much that had to do with the sales drop? It will be interesting to see if Dark Avengers starts dropping quickly due to the $3.99 price tag.”

    I thought Dark Avengers #1 and #2 were pretty good, but I’m debating if I’ll stick with it at $3.99 a pop though… for now I’m sticking with New Avengers at $3.99 (grumble grumble…). I’m dropping Hulk and Punisher at $3.99. So, Marvel got me with two titles at the inflated $3.99 price, but lost me with two others (maybe three w/ Dark Avengers).

  10. “The most telling statistic is how the Obama issue of ASM had absolutely NO carry-over impact on the sales of ASM #584.”

    Yeah indeed, and the following issue was the start of “Character Assassination” too. Internally Marvel have got to be disappointed with that rather lacklustre number.

    I’d guess that New Avengers will drop off more after #50 as it is a nice round number for people to drop the book at. I know I did.

    Happy to see great numbers for Incognito. But Ultimatum has gone so far off the rails it is an absolute disgrace.

  11. Most of the people who bought the Obama Spider-Man issue were people who had never before seen the inside of a comic book store, and most of them won’t be back. It is possible, however, that a young person might read that comic as their first ever, and decide to try comics again at a later date, perhaps this summer or when they get a little older.

  12. RE: MARVEL ZOMBIES 3: “Not quite the sales we’ve seen with previous volumes, but these are still rather good numbers for a Marvel Universe miniseries with no connection to any wider event.”

    And, frankly, rather amazing numbers for, let’s be honest, a Machine Man/Jocasta book (the headliners of previous MZ outings nowhere to be found).

    Whether it can repeat these numbers as a Man-Thing/Jennifer Kale/Son of Satan mini under the MZ banner, though….

  13. Charles Skaggs wrote:
    “Yeah, it’s not surprising that NEW AVENGERS dropped with that 33% price increase. That was the main reason I cut the title for a cheaper $2.99 series.”

    I dropped this title, too, due to the price increase, along with THOR and HULK. I was hoping enough of us would drop the newly priced $3.99 titles to send a message to Marvel, but I am very discouraged by the following numbers.

    New Avengers #48 – 95,688 x $2.99 = $286,107
    New Avengers #49 – 90,040 x $3.99 = $359,259

    Unless people are dropping other titles in order to keep the $3.99 ones, this will give Marvel cause to spread the $3.99 price to other popular titles.

  14. “That’s funny that Mighty Avengers is missing. I could have sworn I bought Slott’s first issue in January.”

    Aussiefan, if it was delivered to the comics shop on January 2, I think it was on the December charts. But your possibly being an Aussie, your delivery date might have been different. But what do I know?

  15. Hopefully TPTB at Marvel will look at the plummeting sales of both AXM and FF and finally realize that putting a critically acclaimed and fan favorite writer on a book is not enough to get fans to buy a comic. Of course, judging by Marvel’s price hike on the Bendis written AVENGERS books, I don’t see them learning from their mistakes anytime soon.

  16. But the bigger problem with both FF and AXM is frequency. Comic buyers are creatures of habit. You go a couple of months between issues and people move on. AXM had the Ghost Boxes debacle that caused people to bail and you have to love that the FF X-Mas themed issue came out the last week of February. But when TPTB make statements like “Nobody ever said they had to be monthly”, you know they will never change.

  17. Denniv V. Says: “The cover prices of some Marvel comics are really hurting things too.”

    R. maheras Says: “The most telling statistic is how the Obama issue of ASM had absolutely NO carry-over impact on the sales of ASM #584.”

    Marvel made money selling lots of issues of ASM 584. I’m sure they’d love to keep those readers but they made extra money off what was essentially a normal issue with no more money spent. Publicly-traded companies care about profit above all else. And in regards to the moaning about the price increases, unless HUGE numbers quit buying the books they will end up making more money. So, unless you want to organize a formal boycott no amount of griping in a blog comment section will accomplish anything. A 1/3rd price increase means you can lose loads of readers and still end up making more money than before.

    It’s fine to complain about stuff as a fan but when people ask “why” Marvel or DC is doing something the first and only answer ever should be “money.” Like, I don’t get how many people still refuse to understand that comparing the new ASM sales to old sales is USELESS- ASM swallowed over two lower selling titles. Until the new ASM falls below the average # of units for the 3 old titles they are still ahead and once again making more money (barring a price increase which would make it even more profitable).

  18. Looks like it happened in November or so, actually. In September 2007 the average of the 3 Spidey titles was 67,775. In November 2009 the combined ASM sold 66,564. I guess I haven’t been watching the numbers that close lately. Still, given that for a while the numbers were better that means they already banked their money (and may have saved a fraction by consolidating their ad budget). Now, they can use this an excuse to spin off a new book with a new #1 and sell boatloads of them to all the fans who hate the combined ASM and make even more money.

  19. Marvel should only increase their prices if there are new people coming on board.

    What’s a better scenario: Marvel selling 80,000 copies a month of ASM at $2.99, or 60,000 at $3.99? What happens when they raise the price to $4.99? It’ll probably sell 40,000 copies a month by then.

    It’s a vicious cycle. Less people read the books, which causes a huge price increase, then less people buy the book after the huge price increase, which causes another huge price increase…

  20. Look at the sales charts above, Jason. Amazing Spider-Man is already selling under 60,000 per issue without the potential price increase.

  21. Colin: History doesn’t really bear this out. Books like ULTIMATES have been shockingly late over a period of years with little noticeable effect on their sales figures. That tends to suggest that when a late-running book does shed readers in large numbers, it’s probably for some other reason.

    Jason: This is basic supply and demand, but fails to take account of two factors. Firstly, elasticity of demand. If you raise prices, then you lose sales – but not necessarily so many sales as to cancel out the price rise. Addicted audiences tend to be particularly inelastic, hence the notorious resilience of tobacco sales in the face of penal taxes. Comics fans tend to exhibit similar behaviour. Marvel are raising prices on some titles by a third, but sales clearly aren’t dropping by anything like that amount.

    By the same token, I don’t believe that cutting prices would draw in additional readers in numbers that would make up the losses. We’ve seen low-priced books before, such as UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN, and they don’t sell brilliantly. In fact, part of the problem is that retailers don’t want them, because they take up the same amount of shelf space but generate a lower profit. There’s also a consumer perception that cheap prices mean low quality.

    Second, Marvel’s other main source of income from periodicals was the advertising sales, and print advertising has more or less collapsed across the board in the last few months. They have to make up that lost income from somewhere.

    For the typical business, cutting prices to boost demand and maintain cashflow makes sense in a recession. For a comics publisher with a niche audience that can’t be easily expanded but which is resilient to price raises (however much it may complain), the position may well be different. Obviously in the long run this is not a desirable state of affairs, but for the moment the top priority is to defend against economic uncertainty.

    In theory, Marvel would rather be selling 80,000 copies of Amazing at three dollars than 60,000 at four dollars – but the reality is that they cannot boost sales to 80,000 by price cutting, so the first option isn’t on the table.

  22. The real loss on the Spidey/Obama book is that the main story in that issue was a cute-ish one-off story about Betty Bryant that really didn’t invite a new reader to keep checking out the goings on. If the issue had been part one of Character Assassination, or any multi-part story, it would have at least had a nice cliff-hanger to bring a new reader to the next issue. Or at least try.

  23. Yes, I’d agree with that. I don’t know how much difference it would have made, but on the offchance that it might have held on to a few readers, it would have been preferable to use the Obama cover on the first part of a new story.

    Of course, in fairness, Marvel had no particular reason to think the Obama cover was going to be such a big deal.

  24. Paul,

    I’m with you on your analysis, but as you said at the end, it’s not a desirable position to be in. I’m not one to say that comic books will be a thing of the past soon, but what’s the cutoff number where flagship books become unprofitable? What if Spider-Man sells 30,000 copies an issue someday because they keep inflating prices?

  25. well… IIRC, when Marvel tried those 99-cent titles, everything other than Untold Tales of Spider-Man was definitely considered low quality by most people who tried reading them.

    The most recent examples of a lower-priced series would probably be Fell (very successful or somewhat successful depending on who you talk to) and Casanova (somewhat average for a non-founder Image book, IIRC, but well-reviewed).

    With Spidey, we really don’t know what their discounted subscription drive yielded. If they gained 10-20K in subscriptions, that changes the equation a bit, and that’s possible.

  26. Joe Willams Says:

    “Looks like it happened in November or so, actually. In September 2007 the average of the 3 Spidey titles was 67,775. In November 2009 the combined ASM sold 66,564.”

    No, that’s not true. In November 2008, combined ASM sold over 210 000 copies for an average of 70715. The average monthly figures for ASM for 2008 were:

    Jan 109043.3
    Feb 93356.67
    Mar 84517.67
    Apr 80805.67
    May 75061.33
    Jun 71524.33
    Jul 68992
    Aug 86628.67
    Sep 83304.67
    Oct 73510.67
    Nov 70715
    Dec 67222.67

    It’s actually only December 2009 where the figures were lower than those in September 2007. January’s are too – if you exclude the OBAMA phenomenon. These figures mean that assuming 3 issues had been printed every month and they kept the Sept figures ASM 3*weekly sold 454 000 more copies in 2008 than the combined spidey comics would have done. More than enough to be included as a success. And assuming a 1% drop that goes up to 585 000, and, for more fun math, a 2% drop would have produced a difference of over 700 000.

    So yes in 2008, BND has sold vastly more issues of Spider-Man than would have been the case if the pre-OMD staus quo had continued. Does that mean it’s a good idea. I don’t think so, 3*weekly is a big commitment and I think is likely to lead, eventually to bigger drops – just compare the mean for Jan 2008 with that for 2009 (excluding Obama), the latter is only 56% of the 2008 figure, an average monthly drop of 14%. That’s appalling, way beyond anything that would be seen in a normal monthly let alone the flagship title. So I would say that while the BND strategy has been successful and is probably still at a better level than if the pre-OMD status quo had been preserved, long-term I think the effect of converting 120 000 Spidey readers to 60 000 will prove to have been a mistake

  27. John Harper–

    The average sales for—all 3 Spider-man titles in 2007—is the benchmark, not just the sales of Amazing Spider-Man. The average sales of all 3 Spider-Man titles in 2007 was well over 70,000 per month because Spectacular and Friendly Neighborhood sold significantly fewer copies than did Amazing Spider-Man. (Somebody with Search skills better than mine can look up the exact figures.)

  28. “With Spidey, we really don’t know what their discounted subscription drive yielded. If they gained 10-20K in subscriptions, that changes the equation a bit, and that’s possible. ”

    It didn’t yield a huge amount. I posted some figures over at CBR, and they gained around 2,000 subscriptions. ASM had about 10,000 subscribers in 2005, then it peaked at 12,000, and now it’s down to about 8,500.

  29. Alan Coil

    “The average sales for—all 3 Spider-man titles in 2007—is the benchmark, not just the sales of Amazing Spider-Man”

    I used the combined figures for all three main Spider-man comics in September 2007 of 67 775 (as stated by Joe Williams) as the benchmark. Comparing against 2007’s average is not the correct comparison, to evaluate the success of BND you have to compare the figures against where they would have been in 2008 not where they were in 2007. That requires an estimate; the September figures are a good starting point, producing a generous estimate, particularly if we assume no change during the year.

    However even if you use your figure of over 70 000, it’s still been a success as the average figure per issue of ASM in 2008 was 80390. Assuming a 75000 average for 2007, that’s nearly 200 000 more comics over the course of 2009. And that is assuming that 2008 wouldn’t have been 12% less than 2007 unlike almost every other Marvel title without a revamp or relaunch. – which would have given you a 500 000 issue difference

    THat’s not to say I think it’s a good thing. It’s worked for 2008 but we now have far fewer people reading Spider-Man which is not a good thing

  30. Guys, regarding Amazing Spider-Man sales, you aren’t comparing apples to apples in your examples.

    You have to remember that there were TWO changes to the Spider-Man comics: first the continuity was changed, and second the frequency of publication was changed.

    The central premise of the anti-BND people was that the new continuity caused sales losses and that that was the ONLY reason for the sales losses on ASM. Therefore, saying that ASMx3 sells better than ASM-Sensational-Friendly is not the issue and is irrelevant to determining if BND is a success or not.

    That’s because when you use both changes in your analysis (the frequency change and the continuity change), you are not, as I said earlier, comparing apples to apples. In order to gauge the sales effect, you have to say “well, what if the continuity stayed the same, but the frequency still went to 3x a month?”

    Then you could take ASM sales prior to BND and multiply THOSE by 3 and compare them to the sales of today’s ASM. If you did that, you would get:

    ASM-old = 100,000 x 3 = 300,000 a month.

    ASM-BND = 65,000 x 3 = 195,000 a month.

    Now, we can say that even if the continuity weren’t changed, ASM wouldn’t still be selling 100k per issue at the current time. That’s fine, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that people have dropped ASM because of the new continuity, so sales surely would have been higher than the 60-65k that they are now.

    A third factor beyond continuity and frequency changes was the low subscription rate Marvel offered with ASMx3. Again, you can’t factor in those sales and say that it makes up for the loss at the LCS because you are again doing apples to apples. You’d have to assign those same subscription sales to ASM whether BND happened or not, so it would be a wash.

    In any event, I have to reiterate that you can’t factor in the B-level Spidey titles when comparing average sales then and now. I think it’s pretty obvious that if the old-continuity ASM were maintained and Marvel made the old ASM 3x a month and offered the same subscription deal, they would have seen a greater overall profit, apples-to-apples.

  31. correction: in my 2nd to last paragraph that begins “A third factor…”, I meant to write:

    “Again, you can’t factor in those sales and say that it makes up for the loss at the LCS because you are again NOT doing apples to apples.”

  32. Okay, I had a bit of spare time so I’ve looked up the figures and claims

    Paul O’Brien’s quote was: “Over the year from September 2006 to August 2007 (the year before “One More Day”), the three existing Spider-Man titles sold a total of 2,284,676 in the direct market. And that’s with “Civil War” and “Back in Black” tie-ins, remember. Now, in order to match that total over 36 issues a year, the new AMAZING only has to achieve the modest average of 63,463 per issue. It’s way over that. So far, so good.”

    January’s figure (excluding Obama) is the first month below that.

    Joe Williams used the figure of 67775 as the ‘benchmark’, the total sales in the last month before OMD. Dec 2008 was the first month below that figure.

    However Alan Coil argues that the true benchmark is ‘over 70 000’ based on sales of the three main comics in 2007. I decided to look more closely at this.

    The total number of issues sold to the retailer was 2 284 676. 32 separate issues were sold. Paul’s figure comes from dividing this figure by 36, which allows a gain to be made for better scheduling. However if we accept that is not really a BND gain, we get a figure of 71396, Alan’s benchmark. Using this figure ASM sold 323 792 more issues in 2008 than 2007.

    Delving deeper however. The issues missing were mainly ASM which was selling much higher than the other two (123188 average vs. 47834 for FNSM and 54724 for SSM). So we really need a weighted average. That gives us a figure of just over 75 000, which still means ASM in 2008 outsold the last year of three titles by 200 000.

    But what about the assumption that sales would be the same. Regression analysis shows that ASM was losing around 3% per issue after Civil War and Back-in-Black, whereas the other two lost around 2%. If we assume those figures would have continued the differences between 2007 and 2008 get even larger.

  33. Comic-reader Lad commented that the true comparison is 3*ASM before BND, and that the reductions in ASM are due to the changes in continuity rather than frequency. That’s not supportable, Marvel cancelled FNSM and SSM to clear the schedule for 3*ASM, so from their point of view clearly the comparison is with all three not just ASM. That’s the correct economic argument.

    CRL’s argument that tripling the frequency would have no effect on the number of issues sold is just fantasy. Yes for a short period of time increasing frequency is not going to affect sales (see the twice monthly in the summer) but to say you now have to buy the comic three times a month over the long term is bound to decrease sales as not everyone will want to do that – if they did they’d already be buying FNSM and SSM and Spidey’s non-ASM series have always done poorer, even when they were better than the main title. Marvel’s BND policy of 3*ASM has never been tried before so we have no specific comparative evidence, so to argue that the loss in sales is down to the storyline not the increased frequency flies in the face of simple economic theory.

  34. Comic-reader Lad commented that the true comparison is 3*ASM before BND, and that the reductions in ASM are due to the changes in continuity rather than frequency. That’s not supportable, Marvel cancelled FNSM and SSM to clear the schedule for 3*ASM, so from their point of view clearly the comparison is with all three not just ASM. That’s the correct economic argument. Obviously Marvel have never stated what their aim was but as they cancelled two series they are clearly looking at Spider-Man sales overall not just ASM. There is no way that they would have expected anywhere near 3*ASM sales.

    CRL’s argument that tripling the frequency would have no effect on the number of issues sold is just fantasy. Yes for a short period of time increasing frequency is not going to affect sales (see the twice monthly in the summer) but to say you now have to buy the comic three times a month over the long term is bound to decrease sales as not everyone will want to do that – if they did they’d already be buying FNSM and SSM and Spidey’s non-ASM series have always done poorer, even when they were better than the main title. Marvel’s BND policy of 3*ASM has never been tried before so we have no specific comparative evidence, so to argue that the loss in sales is mostly down to the storyline not the increased frequency flies in the face of simple economic theory.

    CRL mentions subscriptions – as the subscription levels have nothing to do with these figures which are Diamond only, getting more subscriptions actually makes the improvement in 2008 even larger

    CRLs belief that it’s storyline that’s important is based on anecdotal evidence that people have dropped ASM because of BND but then anecdotal evidence shows that people have started ASM because of BND too. So it boils down to I didn’t like BND so the fall is due to people like me. But Marvel have sold more Spider-man titles in 2008 than in 2007, so enough people like it to sell those extra copies. I’m not arguing that this is a good thing, a reduction from at least 100 000 reading Spidey every month to 60 000 is not a good thing but in the short term Marvel have sold more comics

  35. > The most recent examples of a lower-priced series would probably […] Casanova (somewhat average for a non-founder Image book, IIRC, but well-reviewed).

    Matt Fraction’s said that he doesn’t think it got higher sales than it would have as a full-colour & full-price book, and that when it comes back, it won’t be “lower-priced” any more…

  36. Sorry, John Harper, but my comparison is the correct way to analyze the situation economically because, as I said, if you include both frequency and continuity in the analysis, you aren’t doing an apples to apples comparison.

    ASMx3 would sell better than ASM-Sensational-Friendly no matter what, and that’s because ASM was always seen as the “main” title. Also, the 3 titles had their own storylines except for the couple of times they crossed over. That made Sensational and Friendly disposable whereas ASMx3 compels people to buy all 3 each month.

    Also, the evidence from all the many comments throughout the Internet does show that more people dropped ASM than picked it up due to BND. I don’t believe there is any evidence to show that ASM sales would be at this same low level if the old continuity were kept.

    The only way to do a true economic evaluation of ASM sales is to equalize as many factors as possible so that the ONLY difference that remains is the continuity. Similarly, I think if Marvel kept the 3 different titles and changed to BND continuity, sales would be even lower than they are now even if storylines always crossed over.

  37. Comic Reader Lad, this is territory that’s been covered every month ad nauseam for the last year, and you can look at any of the old Marvel sales charts to see what the defining sales number is. One thing to note, which Paul O’Brien regularly does, is that ASM *never* shipped monthly during JMS’s run, and usually shipped about 9 times a year, and some of the other Spidey titles missed monthly deadlines, too, so it’s really the average sales per issue released that’s the number in question. I don’t know what that number is off hand, but you can certainly find it in the old posts, and it’s certainly above 60k.

    But I really don’t see any logic in your argument at all to use three times ASM’s sales. From the perspective of Marvel’s wallet, they sold X many copies of three different Spider titles each month, and now they’re selling Y many copies of one Spider title three times a month. The only question that can gauge whether this is a success is whether X is higher or Y is. Anything else doesn’t make sense.

  38. Leaving aside the success or failure of BND and the 3x a month schedule on ASM, I’m kind of curious (and would like to hear discussion) on the impact of the new publishing schedule on the “standard attrition” that just about every book suffers from.

    Most books drop some percentage of their readers from month to month on a monthly (or longer) schedule. I wonder if that’s really an “issue to issue” drop, with some readers deciding after every issue to stop buying the book. But that may be offset by the fact that (at least sometimes) each month’s worth of ASM comics represents a story arc, with new creators coming on and bumping sales a little at the start of each month. Basically, I wonder what ASM sales would be if the 36 books that were published in 2008 had actually come out on a monthly schedule.

  39. When evaluating the ASM situation you have to look at the trend and opportunity costs.

    The trend has been down, down, down and down. Some people (who shall remain nameless) only looked at the overall total sales, without noticing the trend that showed NO signs of those sales levels being sustained.

    The opportunity costs are…

    1. No crossover potential. With three separate Spider-titles, you could always try and get the bigger audience reading ASM to try out or occasionally buy the secondary titles. Long term sales increase were unlikely, but short boosts were almost automatic.

    2. Limited ability to respond to dropping sales. When readers flee a monthly comic, creative or editorial changes can be made fairly quickly and decisively (not that Marvel seems to do that anymore). The thrice-monthly schedule and rotating creative teams make that a much tougher thing.

    3. Despite a suggestion, how the heck can Marvel possibly launch another Spider-title while ASM continues the thrice-monthly thing? True, logistics would mean the new title would have to be almost completely disconnected for ASM but unless the continuity issue is addressed, I doubt the folks who’ve bailed on ASM will come back for a not-ASM title. And if you put ASM back monthly and try to re-launch to secondary Spider-titles, well, in addition to every other difficulty, you’ll be starting out with a core audience one-half to one-third the size you used to have.

    Mike

  40. It actually does make sense if you have an understanding of how to analyze business trends and how to find the cause of increases or decreases in sales. The ONLY way to do this accurately is to compare apples to apples.

    With BND, 3 things happened:
    1. Continuity was changed
    2. Frequency of ASM was changed to 3x a month and the other 2 Spider-Man titles were dropped.
    3. A new subscription policy with a low teaser rate was introduced.

    You can’t lump all 3 things together when doing your analysis or else you can never pinpoint exactly which factor is making sales go lower.

    The logic behind using 3x ASM’s pre-BND sales is because that’s the only Spider-Man title we have now, so you will be comparing apples to apples: ASM before vs. ASM now. To include the other 2 Spider-Man titles in the equation skews the result because they were the weaker sellers.

    The whole reason that people give a damn about ASM sales now and are looking at is so closely is because of the new BND continuity and whether that has raised or lowered sales.

    Therefore, you have to remove the other factors that may have affected ASM sales and look at the effect of the BND storylines in isolation and ask yourself “what if Marvel had kept the old continuity and made ASM 3x a month and offered a low subscription rate? Would sales be higher than they are now?” If the answer is yes, then that means that it was BND that lowered sales. If the answer is no, then you can say that BND had absolutely no effect on sales and the lower sales must be because of one of the other 2 factors (3x/month frequency or subscription rate).

    My contention is that based on everything that most readers have been saying about BND is that THAT is the reason why people are dropping the book. Not because of the increased frequency and NOT because of the cheaper subscriptions. Those 2 factors would have the same effect on sales whether or not BND ever took place. Therefore, BND is the determining factor for the lower ASM sales.

    Now, you can say that the average sales on ASM x3 is higher than ASM-Friendly-Sensational, so it was worth it. That may be true, but that wasn’t my point. My point was that if they did ASM x3 with the old continuity intact, they wouldn’t have pissed off so many readers so sales would be higher than ASM x3 with the new continuity.

    Jason Green, you say, “they sold X many copies of three different Spider titles each month, and now they’re selling Y many copies of one Spider title three times a month. The only question that can gauge whether this is a success is whether X is higher or Y is. Anything else doesn’t make sense.” That is exactly true, but you have to equate things so that you are determining the correct cause for the lower sales.

    The X & Y in question should be (for the millionth time): “would ASMx3 sales be higher under the old continuity (“X”) or would ASMx3 sales be higher under the BND continuity (“Y”)?”

    If they would be higher under the old continuity than they are now, then it was obviously a bad idea to institute the new continuity. The fact that ASMx3 sales are higher than ASMx1 plus 2 minor Spidey titles is irrelevant because Friendly and Sensational could have been canceled and ASM made thrice-monthly under EITHER continuity, so in order to determine the effect of BND, you have to negate those extraneous factors, so that you are comparing (again for the millionth time) apples to apples.

    I can understand that some of you might not get this at first, but to say that I’m “not making sense” is completely incorrect. My way of looking at things is the ONLY way that it DOES make sense if you are trying to isolate the effect of the BND stories on sales.

  41. Jesus, it’s like I’ve become Grant Morrison all of a sudden and no one understands me.

    Anyway, let me preempt any new objections and confusion with a more concise example and see if you guys can come around to my way of thinking. All numbers below are made up, but make will make sense in relation to each other to illustrate my point.

    Let’s say ASM-old + Friendly + Sensational monthly sales equalled 200,000 copies.

    Let’s say that ASMx3 with BND continuity sales equals 235,000 copies up until just a few months ago.

    Therefore, you can correctly say (as you all have been saying) that, until recently, BND was a winner because it sells more copies per month than what they had before.

    HOWEVER, what I’m saying is that ASMx3 sales could have been even HIGHER than 235,000 per month if they didn’t throw out the old continuity and piss off readers. It might have been 250,000 per month if the old continuity were kept intact and Marvel would have also kept its goodwill and customer relations intact.

    My whole point was that I was NEVER COMPARING BND-ASMx3 to ASM-Friendly-Sensational. I get that it was higher until recently.

    I was comparing ASMx3 WITH BND stories vs. ASMx3 WITHOUT BND stories so that I was comparing apples to apples and looking at the BND changes in isolation from all the other changes made to ASM in order to show that BND really wasn’t worth it because they did lose sales because of it even if these lower sales are still higher than the 3 different Spider-Man titles.

    That’s because sales would for ASMx3 would have been even BETTER if they had left the old continuity alone.

    To quote Grant Morrison, NOW do you get it?

  42. “My contention is that based on everything that most readers have been saying about BND is that THAT is the reason why people are dropping the book. Not because of the increased frequency and NOT because of the cheaper subscriptions.”

    While you can clearly blame BND for the huge initial drop in sales, I don’t think the folks who’ve been bailing out on the book for the last 6 months or so are mostly due to that. BND may have a little something to do with it, but it seems more likely that folks are just burning out on the thrice-monthly thing or are displeased with the content of ASM independent of BND.

    Mike

  43. Mike, that’s fine. I get that in the real world the reason for the lower sales can be a combination of factors, but 2 of those factors (frequency of publication and subscription price) could be made the same under either the BND continuity or the old continuity.

    Therefore, the sales drops because 3x a month is too expensive or difficult to keep up with isn’t important because the negative effect on sales would probably be exactly the same no matter which continuity they used (and that’s being charitable to BND because I do think that over time more and more people just decided that BND wasn’t worth it even if they were willing to give it a shot in the beginning).

    Therefore, to have ADDITIONAL sales drops that were due EXCLUSIVELY to throwing out the old continuity means that it was a bad thing to throw out the old continuity, comprende?

  44. If you’re looking for numbers to support the assertion that sales are down on ASM because of BND (the change to continuity), then perhaps focusing the analysis on ASM sales only makes some sense. (However, as MBunge points out, it’s not exactly clear where to draw the line between “BND drops” and “non-BND drops.” It seems unlikely that pissed off fans would still be leaving the title 36 or even 18 issues into the BND run.)

    However, if you’re looking for numbers to determine whether or not Marvel is coming out ahead in terms of “number of Spider-Man comics sold,” then looking at cumulative sales for all three titles is the way to go.

    In other words, the “apples to apples” comparison is different depending on what question you’re tryign to answer.

  45. We don’t have a baseline of “go to thrice-monthly without changing the content” to compare to, unfortunately, so you really can’t definitively say that all the drops above the “standard attrition” are due to the change in content. And even with the “change in content,” you can break that down into components like “getting rid of the marriage” (which a vocal group of fans are really pissed off about), “new creative teams,” “rotating creative teams,” “change in overall tone,” and so forth. There’s also the departure of JMS, the return to “normal operations” after a bunch of crossovers, and the recent economic situation to factor into the analysis, as well.

    My gut tells me that the people that were pissed off about the marriage to actually stop reading probably did so fairly quickly. The JMS fans probably jumped ship pretty quickly, too. But the sales drops have continued apace. So I think it’s hard to really judge the impact of all the intertwined factors to a fine enough degree to portion out the blame for the sales drops.

  46. Right, but my only point was that ASMx3 with the old continuity would have HAD to sell better than ASMx3 with BND continuity.

    After all, if they kept the old continuity and just went to 3x a month with
    THAT, then why would it ever sell worse than BNDx3 since people were ok with things as they were?

    That was my only point. That it was dumb to do BND because it did lower sales. Whether it lowered sales exclusively or whether it lowered sales in addition to other factors that also lowered sales is irrelevant because 2 factors lowering sales at the LCS (3x a month & cheap subscriptions) is better than THREE factors that lower sales (BND plus the other 2), simple as that.

  47. Jerry Ray said:

    “Basically, I wonder what ASM sales would be if the 36 books that were published in 2008 had actually come out on a monthly schedule. ”

    But, Jerry, that would take until the end of 2010, and we want to argue NOW! ;)

  48. Does anyone in this thread have anything resembling a life????

    Is this just a cunning plan by Brian Bendis to get me to stop running these charts?

  49. CRL

    “Right, but my only point was that ASMx3 with the old continuity would have HAD to sell better than ASMx3 with BND continuity.”

    But you have no evidence for this, except for your belief that more people dislike BND than like it, which is just that a belief. You can’t base it on ‘internet opinion’ as people who dislike a change are always going to be more vocal than those who like it.

    Increasing the frequency was always going to lead to a significant drop in sales, simple economic theory tells us that. However without previous experiments of this kind we don’t have data to say exactly how much. This lack of previous data means that no matter how much CRL wants to you cannot separate out the continuity change from the frequency change so these figures cannot show us whether ASM & old continuity would have sold more.

    The drop data clearly supports MBunge’s suggestion that it’s an issue to issue drop rather than a monthly drop, which as I statedaboce is part of why I think long term the 3*monthly ASM is not a good idea, irrespective of more sales in 2008

  50. >>Right, but my only point was that ASMx3 with the old continuity would have HAD to sell better than ASMx3 with BND continuity.

  51. Arrgh, my use of quote brackets seems to have eaten most of my last post.

    The gist was that it seems like CRL has a valid point that boils down to “BND caused some people to stop reading ASM.” You don’t really need to analyze sales data to see that, and I don’t think anybody’s really disputing the point. It doesn’t necessarily follow that doing BND was “dumb,” though. It looks that way now, but there’s some possibility that it’ll end up better, either as intended (by making the character more accessible in the long run), or otherwise (by causing lots of “we told you so” sales when the change is undone).

  52. Heidi, at least the discussion, though tedious, is pretty civil. :-) Having people interested in coming to the site to discuss the sales numbers really can’t be a bad thing, as long as the discussion is friendly and doesn’t require a lot of moderation work.

  53. Jerry: very true, I appreciate the civility of the posters here even if I fell asleep several times just trying to write this post.

  54. If I might change the topic, I wanted to respond to Pauls’ comments on Hercules. It is dropping pretty quickly. However, if someone had proposed to Marvel that they would do a Hercules series that would run two years and keep sales in the 30K – 70K range they would have grabbed it. If they had just launched such a series I’m pretty sure it would have sold less and been done within the year (more like Captain Britain). The sneaky switch off the Incredible Hulk numbering gave them a successful Hercules series and a big hit re-launch Hulk series.

    Now I’m a bit torn about this. I don’t like feeling tricked, but I’ve enjoyed the Hercules series a lot. I don’t know if I would have bought it without the trickery.

    They’ve obviously tried the same thing with Iron Man and boosted his sales significantly. Even if War Machine isn’t doing so well, Marvel still come out ahead. And even X-Men Legacy is selling great for a Professor X maxi-series. Will we see more of this and how should an “inelastic market” consumer respond?

    (Oh, and if we have to battle about Spider-Man some more, would this gimmick have worked better with the Spider titles or might it be where they go next?)

  55. Somebody please compare the sales of Amazing Spider-Man for calendar year 2008 (the first year of Brand New Day) with the sales of Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man for calendar year 2007. Calendar year 2008 versus calendar year 2007.

  56. Alan Coil requested:

    “Somebody please compare the sales of Amazing Spider-Man for calendar year 2008 (the first year of Brand New Day) with the sales of Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man for calendar year 2007. Calendar year 2008 versus calendar year 2007.”

    The problem with that is that there isn’t a calendar year 2007 for the three titles as they were cancelled in September 2007, then OMD started, with BND following on in 2008. The year-on-year comparisons favour BND even more as for the duration of OMD there was only one Spider-Man comic.

    I agree completely with Rich’s point about the Hercules launch – I think Capt Britain would have done better called Excalibur – not that I can prove it! :-)

  57. John,

    I disagree with the notion that increasing ASM to 3x monthly would have necessarily decreased sales. There are two opposing factors. Of course, there are people who were buying ASM 1x per month who aren’t going to be up for buying it 3x per month (e.g., those who literally can’t afford to). On the other hand, you might gain sales from readers who weren’t buying the two satellite titles, but who are now willing to buy the unified title–for example, me. It’s clear that in the earlier part of 2007, the latter effect dominated–ASM sold fewer issues that before, but it clearly enticed readers to purchase additional issues per month, thereby selling more issues in total.

    And I disagree with the notion that the relevant benchmark is 2008 sales versus 2007 sales. To a large degree, BND was always going to increase sales in the short term, simply because it was a large, hyped event, with lots of variants to boost. So the fact that it improved sales in the short term is not surprising to me–it’s the long-term effect that matters (and after all, didn’t Quesada say this was all done to preserve long term readership?) And the current trends don’t look great. I should note in passing that JMS’ run was truly spectacular, commercially speaking–his readership actually grew during his first year. That’s the sign of a commercial move that had good, long-term effects on ASM readership.

  58. Eric,

    The argument from Alan and others was that sales had been lower for BND than pre-BND for a long time. The statistics were to demonstrate that this was not the case. The comparison of 2007 and 2008 was to demonstrate that contrary to their suggestions BND had sold more than the three titles combined. All the analyses were to counter arguments not to demonstrate BND was a success. Nowhere did I state that this was proof BND was a success. Indeed I have repeatedly said that over the medium to long term it was likely to harm sales – and recent figures suggest that this is starting to happen. However over the last year they have made more money than they would have done maintaining the status quo.

    Re decreasing sales – the remark was about ASM only in response to CRL suggesting 3*ASM sales should have been the benchmark,and that reduction in sales was due to the BND storyline not increased frequency. In terms of sales per issue, increasing frequency is bound to decrease sales. Changing from buying only one ASM to three will not increase sales per issue. Actual sales per issue will only go up if new buyers outweigh those dropping from one to zero. Since the increase in frequency is equivalent to a price rise we can see that this is unlikely.

    The decrease in sales of ASM compared to pre-BND is completely unrelated to the comparison between 3*ASM and 3 separate titles. It is completely unsurprising that sales of 3*ASM are better as it required a catastrophic 35% drop in sales to get there. however that is where we are now so medium term success is far more certain

  59. To be pedantic I should have said sold more issues rather than made more money as it’s possible costs have gone up

  60. Beyond all the number crunching, isn’t the question how Marvel view it? In private, are they saying that this worked great and we got exactly what we wanted? Or are they disappointed with what they got? My guess is the latter and they expected a bigger and more sustained boost. The only way we’ll know is if they tried it again. If X-Men suddenly goes to 3x a month then they obviously think they’ve got a sound strategy. But I think they’ve decided the Hulk/Hercules strategy has the best chance at success.

    (And while I hadn’t thought of it before, I think you’re right John that making Captain Britain a new/old Excalibur series would have worked better.)

  61. “Say what you like about Brian Bendis’ tenure as Avengers writer, but he’s certainly turned the book into a franchise for Marvel.”

    My grandmother could have turned the Avengers book into a franchise if she was allowed to use Wolverine and Spiderman and have Marvel hype it through the roof.

  62. Runaways – “Ooh, this isn’t looking healthy. There’s a new creative team with issue #10, but it’s hard to see why that would help.”

    Can’t be worse, the current team are writing/drawing it it like some kind of spiky haired manga crap.

  63. In my head, I am just trying to justify Marvel’s latest business solutions. One would think they would have learned from their trouble in the not so distant past. Contracting economy not showing too many sign of inflation and they pop titles up 33%. More money initially, but will the profit gain shrink quicker as people abandon ship.

    Its funny. About two years ago, Marvel said they could not sustain more than one Avengers title (it was in Wizard somewhere). Now they have four.

    Marvel needs to go back to its core. Eliminate all the extra sluff that people are dropping left and right. Consolidate titles and stop putting Wolverine on every frickin’ team. Re-establish a universe with continuity.

    And if they want to continue charging the higher rate, at least add some more pages. Because I have realized if I took my weekly comic charges to a bookstore, I could get reading material to last me half a year instead of half a day.