by Duke Harrington

[originally posted at Shangalla.com]

I’m a big fan of the monthly sales chart found over on The Beat. But while I seem to remember them covering smaller companies at one time, for a long time now they’ve only tracked to top three American comic book companies: Marvel, DC, and Image. Those three companies rule about 79 percent of the market, in terms of individual copies sold to specialty shops though the industries lone (for all intents and purposes) distributor. They also command more than 73 percent of the dollar share. So, wise choice to focus on them.

Still, I’m interested in all publishers. So, I thought I’d start tracking the smaller ones myself. My plan (and you know what plans are like) is to compile each month a separate sales charts tracking regular comic books from the next largest companies. In order, that’s IDW Publishing (4.6 percent of the unit share in November 2016), Dark Horse Comics (2.9 percent), BOOM! Studios (1.7 percent), Titan Comics (1.3 percent), Dynamite Entertainment (1.2 percent), Valiant Entertainment (1.2 percent), and Archie Comics (1.1 percent). I may also provide a sales chart for all other companies to place a title on Diamond Distributors’ monthly Top 300 list.

So, lets start with IDW, the publishing arm of San Diego-based Ideas and Design Works, LLC, which, by the way, will soon establish a satellite office in Portland, Oregon.

According to Comichron.com, IDW is the fourth largest American comic book company, capturing 5.23 percent of the $38 million comics market in November. That counts all comics, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels. Just counting the Top 300 comics, which is our main concern here, IDW pulled 4.06 percent of the $29.32 million market represented by the Top 300 regular comic books sold by Diamond to comics book stores in November.

IDW solicited 46 comics for release in November, placing 26 of them (or 56.5 percent) in the Top 300. So, IDW appears to have raked in $1.19 in revenue on those 26 Top 300 comics. That’s an okay day at the office. But, of course, the publisher only gets about 40 percent of the cover price of a comic book (all regular IDW titles sell for $3.99), while the retail keeps about 50 percent, depending on purchase volumes, and Diamond keeps the rest. That means IDW’s actual take home on its 26 Top 300 titles appears to be about $476,156. Still, more than I make.

Now, before we get started looking at individual IDW titles, I should remind you, when I speak of “sales,” I really talking sales by Diamond to North American comic shops, not those shops to their customers.. So, if IDW is moving issues through other means, or has any meaningful sales overseas (such as, say, to the U.K., which also is served by Diamond), it could be adding anywhere from 10 to 20 percent to the numbers seen below.

And, of course, there are the sales of trade paperbacks, graphic novels, and other collected editions, which is, frankly, were most of the money is at these days.

Still, it seems to me that IDW is due for a restructuring. It doesn’t see possible for it to continue placing almost half of its monthly line outside of the Top 300, which in November means sales to retailers of fewer than 4,800 copies.

Thanks again to ICv2 for their permission to use their sales charts.

Anyway, here are the reported sales for November 2016.

Oh, and a which note. The number in parentheses after the month/year of release is the issues rank that month among the Top 300 (and sometimes out of it). When a number appears in brackets after the initial sales number, those are re-orders after the first month of release.

bm_tmnt_cv1_55f36004a4a3b7-2493022714. BATMAN/TMNT ADVENTURES ($3.99)

11/2016: ( 14)  #1 (of 6) — 75,974

The top-selling “indy” comic of November — in this case defined as not published by Marvel, DC, or Image — and it’s not much of a surprise, although it is a bit of a cheat. Yeah, it’s listed as an IDW book, but it’s “co-published” by DC. And consider this as well: If you look at a list of best selling indy comics over the last 12 months, all but one (Betty & Veronica #1) is a licensed property. And yes, although the turtles started life in comics — and as a true independent book at that — they are both licensed by IDW and better known from other media. Note that the turtles also scored the top indy comic medal for IDW back in August. So, there’s that. Plus, the title features Batman, albeit the “animated” version.

How big is Batman to comics? Well, Diamond does not release actual sales figures. What it does provide, to help folks gauge what’s going on in the industry from month-to-month, is a “Diamond Index.” That gives the sales of all comics as a percentage of Diamond’s usual best-ordered title, which is, you guessed it, Batman. What this page uses are estimates calculated by ICv2.com and Comichron.com, using actual sales on certain titles provided to them by sources within the industry, extrapolated out using the Diamond Index numbers.

So, anyway, the question is, how far down will Batman/TMNT drop by its last issue? I’m thinking not a lot, especially given that every issue will have at least one alternate “subscription” cover. I think it’s a safe bet this will close out its six-issue run above 40,000 sold to retailers, and maybe even 50,000, assuming this is a title retailers will want to keep in stock until advent of the perpetually-published trade collection to come.

159. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ($3.99)

11/1996: (193) TMNT #5 (Image) — 14,728

11/2001: —

11/2006: —

11/2011: (120) TMNT #4  — 22,898

11/2015: (132) TMNT #16 — 17,140 (-25.1%)

11/2013: (124) TMNT #28 — 17,045 (-0.6%)

11/2014: (146) TMNT #40 — 14,734 (-13.5%)

11/2015: (120) TMNT #52 — 20,384 (+38.3%)

———————————

12/2015: (134) TMNT #53 — 17,190 (-15.7%)

01/2016: (134) TMNT #54 — 16,769 (-2.4%)

02/2016: (109) TMNT #55 — 19,631 (+17.1%)

03/2016: (123) TMNT #56 — 16,332 (-16.8%)

04/2016: (236) TMNT #57 — 6,706 (“+2.3%”)

05/2016: (120) TMNT #58 — 16,792 (+0.5%)

06/2016: (130) TMNT #59 — 16,962 (+1.0%)

07/2016: (136) TMNT #60 — 16,915 (-0.3%)

08/2016: (146) TMNT #61 — 16,747 (-1.0%)

09/2016: (135) TMNT #62 — 15,670 (-6.4%)

10/2016: (145) TMNT #63 — 17,133 (+9.3%)

11/2016: (159) TMNT #64 — 14,875 (-13.2%)

six  months: -11.4%

one year:    -27.0%

two years:   +1.0%

five years:  -35.0%

I don’t follow the turtles, so I’ll need someone to jump in and explain the bump for #63. Also, I’m working on the assumption that the number given on Comichron for #57 was an error no one ever noticed and/or corrected. More likely it was supposed to be 16,706, not 6,706. I’ve run the percentage changes on the larger number. Nos. 52, 55, and 63 must have been gimmick and/or multi-variant covers. But for those, the turtles seem about as stable as any title can expect. I imagine IDW is content, although each jump is followed by a large fall that takes the book below where it was before. It might be a better strategy for IDW to just accept a slow 1 percent downward drift each month rather than to try and goose sales, as it appears to me that retailers order fewer of the subsequent issue in order to hedge their losses on unsold variants.

163. TMNT UNIVERSE ($4.99)

08/2016: ( 85) TMNT Universe #1 — 34,471*

09/2016: —

10/2106: (130) TMNT Universe #2 — 19,994 (-42.0%)

10/2016: (158) TMNT Universe #3 — 15,619 (-21.2%)

11/2016: (163) TMNT Universe #4 — 13,769 (-11.8%)

Exploring the greater TMNT universe appears to be working as well as any title that explores the greater part of any fictional universe  — that is to say, what’s meant to be a complimentary title usually ends up really being an ancillary one. I expect this to be under 10k next month, and will be surprised to see it last to #20, although the smaller publishers seem generally tolerant of any monthly sales greater than 5,000.

Still if I was head of IDW, what I would do instead of this “Universe” title is launch a sort of LEGENDS OF THE DARK TMNT. Like LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, or, maybe more accurately, BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE, it would give a different name creator a chance to do a take on the turtles every issue, or every few issues if an “arc” is called for. I mean, the turtles have been around long enough that everyone knows them, and most creators have probably thought about how he or she would handle them. And what would you rather read, a book about TMNT supporting players, or the TMNT themselves as depicted by John Byrne, or Skottie Young, or Sergio Aragones? Or your favorite creator?

To my way of thinking, such a title would That’s truly expand the turtle brand without diluting the pool of core readers. And, best of all, it should be a title for which circulation would hold steady, as each issue would have a creator who is somebody’s favorite.

172./180. REVOLUTION ($3.99)

09/2016: ( 85) Revolution #1 — 28,985*

10/2016: (146) Revolution #2 — 16,966* (-41.5%)

10/2016: (170) Revolution #3 — 13,486* (-20.5%)

11/2016: (172) Revolution #4 — 12,853* (-4.7%)

11/2016: (180) Revolution #5 — 11,681* (-9.1%)

The asterisks indicate a set percentage of orders were returnable to Diamond. Comichron handles this by taking 10 percent off the sales it calculates from Diamond’s Index number. I believe the sales charts on The Beat add that 10 percent back in, to reflect the initial orders. I’m not. That’s because we know publishers are moving some number of books, however small, outside of Diamond and/or outside the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, the better way to think of these sales charts is not, “How much did each issue of a given title sell,” but, “what is the minimum number of books circulating in the marketplace.” For that, I want the number after returns.

Anyway, this series is IDW’s five-issue mash-up of ALL of its licensed toy lines, all of which, it has apparently been decided, exist in a single shared universe. So, there’s that. I’m not a fan of giant intra-company crossover events even when it does make sense for a group of characters to all share one continuity. So, this was not for me, I guess. Of course, it’s also true that, apart from ROM and the Micronauts, most of these toy lines hit store shelves the same decade in which I discovered girls. So, there’s not much of a nostalgia factor here for me.

Others may feel the same, given how retailer orders dropped off. Note especially the large last issue drop, based on orders almost certainly placed after retailers saw actual sales of the first issue.

Still, despite my snark, this was IDW’s fourth best-ordered title for the month, and its top seller sans turtles.

And, although I also have them listed amongst their individual titles, it might be worth looking here at the REVOLUTION one-shots all in one place.

09/2016: (159) ROM Revolution #1 — 12,692*

09/2016: (171) Micronauts Revolution #1  — 10,880

11/2016: (194) Transformers TAAO Revolution #1 — 10,233*

11/2016: (199) GI Joe Revolution #1 — 9,683*

I would have expected the G.I Joe and Transformers tie-ins to outsell ROM and Micronauts. That they didn’t, and given the month lag that probably allowed retailers to order based on customer reaction, tells me this giant crossover event failed to catch fire.

178. MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC ($3.99)

11/2012: ( 15) MLP: Friendship is Magic #1  — 80,128

11/2013: ( 56) MLP: Friendship is Magic #13 — 35,653 (-55.5%)

11/2014: ( 90) MLP: Friendship is Magic #25 — 26,619 (-25.3%)

11/2015: (137) MLP: Friendship is Magic #36 — 16,303 (-38.8%)

—————————————–

12/2015: (158) MLP: Friendship is Magic #37 — 15,759 (-3.3%)

01/2016: (143) MLP: Friendship is Magic #38 — 16,173 (+2.6%)

02/2016: (116) MLP: Friendship is Magic #39 — 18,743 (+15.9%)

03/2016: (132) MLP: Friendship is Magic #40 — 14,530 (-22.5%)

04/2016: (143) MLP: Friendship is Magic #41 — 14,544 (+0.1%)

05/2016: (138) MLP: Friendship is Magic #42 — 15,375 (+5.7%)

06/2016: (154) MLP: Friendship is Magic #43 — 13,844 (-10.0%)

07/2016: (155) MLP: Friendship is Magic #44 — 14,974 (+8.2%)

08/2016: (172) MLP: Friendship is Magic #45 — 13,263 (-11.4%)

09/2016: (157) MLP: Friendship is Magic #46 — 12,750 (-3.9%)

10/2016: (175) MLP: Friendship is Magic #47 — 12,474 (-2.2%)

11/2016: (178) MLP: Friendship is Magic #48 — 11,865 (-4.9%)

six month: -22.8%

one year:  -27.2%

two year:  -55.4%

three year:-66.7%

four year: -85.2%

So, I have to admit, I really don’t understand the whole brony thing. I mean, it is middle-aged men this title sells to, right, not little girls? Anyway, it looks like the bloom is off the rainbow tail. After bouncing around with what looks to have been variant cover gimmicks (I don’t know, just assuming by the numbers) the title has recently settled into a steady decline. Barring more attempts to spoof sales, it’ll likely be sub-10k by Issue #50. I would have called that a good time to try a new #1, but the February 2017 solicitations do have a listing for #51 of this title (and with only the usual “subscription” variant cover).

189./203. ROM ($3.99)

07/2016: ( 75) ROM #1 — 33,107*

08/2016: (161) ROM #2 — 14,816* (-55.2%)

09/2016: (159) ROM Revolution #1 — 12,692*

09/2016: (163) ROM #3 — 11,906* (-19.6%)

10/2016: —

11/2016: (189) ROM #4 — 11,051* (-7.2%)

11/2016: (203) ROM #5 —  9,318  (-15.7%)

Well, I have to imagine this is not at all what IDW was hoping for. Issue #5 is the first one that’s not returnable, and it picks up the pace to a double-digit drop, landing under 10k. Unless this series really goes gangbusters in its collected form, I honestly can’t see this lasting much past #10. Certainly, I’ll be surprised to see it hit a first anniversary.

195. MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDS FOREVER ($3.99)

01/2014: ( 98) MLP: Friends Forever #1  — 23,370*

11/2014: (139) MLP: Friends Forever #11 — 15,630

11/2015: (152) MLP: Friends Forever #22 — 13,836 (-11.5%)

—————————————–

12/2015: (175) MLP: Friends Forever #23 — 13,468 (-2.7%)

01/2016: (162) MLP: Friends Forever #24 — 12,623 (-6.3%)

02/2016: (160) MLP: Friends Forever #25 — 12,606 (-0.1%)

03/2016: (160) MLP: Friends Forever #26 — 12,059 (-4.3%)

04/2016: (170) MLP: Friends Forever #27 — 12,075 (+0.1%)

05/2016: (165) MLP: Friends Forever #28 — 12,709 (+5.3%)

06/2016: (180) MLP: Friends Forever #29 — 11,931 (-6.1%)

06/2016: (182) MLP: Friends Forever #30 — 11,747 (-1.5%)

07/2016: —

08/2016: (190) MLP: Friends Forever #31 — 11,350 (-3.4%)

09/2016: (174) MLP: Friends Forever #34 — 10,614 (-6.5%)

10/2016: (189) MLP: Friends Forever #33 — 10,532 (-0.8%)

11/2016: (195) MLP: Friends Forever #34 — 10,163 (-3.5%)

six month: -14.8%

one year:  -26.5%

two year:  -35.0%

from No. 1:-56.5%

Tracks the main title somewhat, although with significantly less volatility. Will probably come in under 10k next month.

200. MASK: MOBILE ARMORED STRIKE KOMMAND ($3.99)

11/2016: (200) MASK #1 — 9,677*

That seems like it must be a real disappointment for a first issue. No. 2 will probably land outside the Top 300, or very near to it, at least.

209. STAR TREK: BOLDLY GO ($3.99)

10/2016: (160) Star Trek Boldly Go #1 — 14,690*

11/2016: (209) Star Trek Boldly Go #2 —  9,012* (-38.7%)

Well, nothing bold about that, is there? Apparently, when it comes to comic book adaptations, make ‘em look like the original crew, or you might as well stay in spaceport. On the other hand, this might do well in bookstores in collected form, so it’ll probably last a bit. Otherwise, I’d lay even money on it not lasting 10 issues.

212. BACK TO THE FUTURE ($3.99)

10/2015: (212) Back to the Future #1 —  67,015* [8,014] = 75,029

11/2015: ( 99) Back to the Future #2 —  25,751* (-65.7%)

————————————

12/2015: (106) Back to the Future #3 —  25,951* (+0.8%)

01/2016: ( 99) Back to the Future #4 —  22,365* (-13.8%)

02/2016: (102) Back to the Future #5 —  21,196* (-5.2%)

03/2016: (109) Back to the Future #6 —  18,502* (-12.7%)

04/2016: (135) Back to the Future #7 —  16,123* (-12.9%)

05/2016: (150) Back to the Future #8 —  13,443* (-16.6%)

06/2016: (170) Back to the Future #9 —  12,646* (-5.9%)

07/2016: (171) Back to the Future #10 — 12,850* (+1.6%)

08/2016: (185) Back to the Future #11 — 11,805* (-8.1%)

09/2016: (180) Back to the Future #12 —  9,979* (-15.5%)

10/2016: (199) Back to the Future #13 —  9,742* (-2.4%)

11/2016: (212) Back to the Future #14 —  8,861* (-9.0%)

six months: -34.1%

one year:   -65.6%

from No. 1: -88.2%

This one just never found its level. By this point, it should be experiencing “standard attrition” of about 2 percent per issue, but its still chugging downward by nearly 10 percent each month, and sometimes more. It probably sells, in that it sells at all, on name recognition alone. I bailed after #3, and I have to wonder how many buyers are reading this at all. One thing I find interesting is that while #1 drew 8.014 in reorders, re-charting the same month #3 was out, the second issue only sold 25,751 to retailers, with a slight uptick for #3, but no reorders I could find for Nos. 2 or 3. This tells me the first issue sold on the strength of multiple covers as a Back to the Future collectible, with little support for the property as a comic book series.

Of course, that said, I seem to recall that this was originally solicited as a mini series, but that it suddenly became an ongoing at some point. Maybe that’s a Mandela Effect artifact, but that’s how I remember it. Anyway, I can’t see this lasting much longer, not unless IDW pulls some stunt like actually getting Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd to pen a few issues.

216./223. GODZILLA: RAGE ACROSS TIME ($3.99)

08/2016: (257) Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1 — 6,758

09/2016: —

10/2016: (205) Godzilla: Rage Across Time #2 — 8,859*(+31.1%)

10/2016: (206) Godzilla: Rage Across Time #3 — 8,872 (+0.1%)

11/2016: (216) Godzilla: Rage Across Time #4 — 8,500 (-4.2%)

11/2016: (223) Godzilla: Rage Across Time #5 — 7,950 (-6.5%)

I don’t know anything about this book. It’s not solicited for February. Was it a limited series? It seems odd that the second issue apparently was ordered by retailers in greater numbers than the first, but maybe that’s because it was returnable? And maybe #3 sold in approximate numbers to #2 because it was solicited for the same month? Although a skip month after #1 leads me to believe the second issue was actually just late. But even #5 outsold the debut issue! And yet, I saw one online retailer selling second prints of #1. So, it must have sold better than what was reported by ICv2/Comichron. Perhaps there were reorders that didn’t crack the Top 300, and so went unreported? It’s all very strange.

238. STAR TREK WAYPOINT ($3.99)

09/2016: (230) Star Trek Waypoint #1 — 6,554

10/2016: —

11/2016: (238) Star Trek Waypoint #2 — 7,117* (+8.6%)

A bi-monthly featuring short stories from across the various Trek incarnations. Seems like a sure bet. And yet, am I wrong for calling these just abysmally horrid numbers for a Star Trek title? But it’s been a long while without a regular Trek show on the air. Maybe things will pick up when (if?) the new Star Trek Discovery show drops?

More notable, we have here, as with Godzilla: Rage Across Time, an instance of a returnable second issue appearing to outsell a non-returnable first issue, even after the returnable book has 10 percent lopped off its numbers for assumed returns. For both of these titles, we could have a #1 that will be truly hard to find on the aftermarket, for those looking to complete a set. Of course, the other thing that could be at play here is the DC Rebirth effect. That non-reboot was something of a reported sales monster, and so might have depressed orders for books from small publishers in August and September, before retailers began again dispersing their available dollars over a wider swath of publishers in October. Seems possible?

240. TRANSFORMERS: ‘TILL ALL ARE ONE ($3.99)

06/2016: (219) Transformers: Till All Are One #1 — 8,916

07/2016: (234) Transformers: Till All Are One #2 — 7,602 (-14.7%)

08/2016: (248) Transformers: Till All Are One #3 — 7,190 (-6.5%)

09/2016: (222) Transformers: Till All Are One #4 — 7,000 (-1.5%)

10/2016: —

11/2016: (194) Transformers TAAO Revolution #1 — 10,233*

11/2016: (240) Transformers: Till All Are One #5 — 6,935 (-0.9%)

This series still being solicited through No. 8 in February, but one has to wonder, “What’s the point.” It doesn’t seem there’s a great demand for Transformers comics, especially with the crossover special outselling the regular book to such a degree. Where is the profitability cutoff line for a full-color comic book? It has to be somewhere around the line for #5, at least. After all, 40 percent of $3.99 x 6,935 is $11,068. Take off for printing, mailing, creator pay, editorial costs, licensing and legal fees, general overhead, and advertising, and there ain’t much left on the table. But maybe this is a loss leader for collected editions?

249. JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS ($3.99)

03/2015: ( 77) Jem & Holograms #1 —  29,015*

11/2015: (169) Jem & Holograms #9 —  11,022*

—————————————

12/2015: (184) Jem & Holograms #10 — 11,845* (+7.5%)

01/2016: (172) Jem & Holograms #11 — 10,547 (-11.0%)

02/2016: (186) Jem & Holograms #12 —  9,401 (-10.9%)

03/2016: (181) Jem & Holograms #13 —  9,032 (-3.9%)

04/2016: (201) Jem & Holograms #14 —  8,907 (-1.4%)

05/2016: (205) Jem & Holograms #15 —  8,686 (-2.5%)

06/2016: (222) Jem & Holograms #16 —  8,512 (-2.0%)

07/2016: (201) Jem & Holograms #17 —  9,113 (+7.1%)

08/2016: (227) Jem & Holograms #18 —  7,072 (-22.4%)

09/2016: (214) Jem & Holograms #19 —  7,455 (+5.4%)

10/2016: (231) Jem & Holograms #20 —  7,454 (0.00%)

11/2016: (249) Jem & Holograms #21 —  6,851 (-8.1%)

six months: -21.1%

one year:   -37.8%

from No. 1: -76.4%

This title was in a gentle(ish) downward glide until July, when it appears IDW must have done something to try and goose sales. And, as inevitably happens, ended up afterwards at a level likely below where the title likely would have been if TPTB had left well enough alone. Jem is now getting pretty close to a curtain call, I suspect. I don’t see anything happening to dig it out of this hole, and it can’t sink much further.

253. G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO ($3.99)

11/2001: ( 11) GI Joe #2 (Image) — 84,474

11/2006: (152) GI Joe: America’s Elite (Devil’s Due) #17 — 17,246

11/2011: (189) GI Joe #172 — 9,316

11/2012: (209) GI Joe #184 — 7,962 (-14.5%)

11/2013: (226) GI Joe #196 — 8,102 (+1.8%)

11/2014: (223) GI Joe #208 — 7,810 (-3.6%)

11/2015: (197) GI Joe #219 — 8,771 (+12.3%)

11/2015: (203) GI Joe #220 — 8,237 (-6.1%)

——————————

12/2015: (198) GI Joe #221 — 10,450 (+26.9%)

12/2015: (244) GI Joe #222 —  7,760 (-25.7%)

01/2016: (194) GI Joe #223 —  7,834 (+0.9%)

01/2016: (200) GI Joe #224 —  7,468 (-4.7%)

02/2016: (195) GI Joe #225 —  8,584 (+14.9%)

03/2016: (203) GI Joe #226 —  7,688 (-10.4%)

04/2016: (231) GI Joe #227 —  7,032 (-8.5%)

05/2016: (240) GI Joe #228 —  6,975 (-0.8%)

06/2016: (256) GI Joe #229 —  6,829 (-2.1%)

07/2016: (232) GI Joe #230 —  7,704* (+12.8%)

08/2016: (260) GI Joe #231 —  6,582 (-14.6%)

09/2016: (233) GI Joe #232 —  6,506 (-1.2%)

10/2016: (243) GI Joe #233 —  6,475 (-0.5%)

11/2016: (199) GI Joe Revolution #1 — 9,683*

11/2016: (253) GI Joe #234 —  6,375 (-1.5%)

six months: -8.6%

one year:   -22.6%

two years:  -18.4%

five years: -31.6%

But for bumps every fifth issue or so, this has ben a fairly consistent title, even if sales are starting to get uncomfortably low. Time for something other than the Revolution crossover to boost sales. If it were me, I’d pull a Sam Glanzman and get actual soldiers to write and/or draw this. I mean, imagine a G.I. Joe story about the team taking down the head of Cobra, written by one of the members of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden, especially if it was announced a set percentage of the proceeds from this title would go to aid wounded vets and their families? GO JOE!!

262. X-FILES ($3.99)

04/2016: (142) X-Files #1 — 14,732*

05/2016: (203) X-Files #2 —  9,077* (-38.4%)

06/2016: (228) X-Files #3 —  8,299* (-8.6%)

07/2016: (226) X-Files #4 —  7,963* (-4.0%)

08/2016: (238) X-Files #5 —  7,539* (-5.3%)

09/2016: (217) X-Files #6 —  7,244* (-3.9%)

10/2016: (249) X-Files #7 —  6,362* (-12.2%)

11/2016: (262) X-Files #8 —  5,921* (-6.9%)

six months: -34.8%

from No. 1:  -59.8%

The slide does not appear to be slowing. In fact, it’s recently picked up speed. Was the world clamoring for a new X-Files comic anyway? This has probably got another issue or two at most before it falls out of the Top 300. The truth may be out there, but not the sales.

264. MICRONAUTS ($3.99)

04/2016: ( 75) Micronauts #1 — 25,673

05/2016: (154) Micronauts #2 — 12,803* (-50.1%)

06/2016: (202) Micronauts #3 —  9,715* (-24.1%)

07/2016: (202) Micronauts #4 —  9,060*   (-6.7%)

08/2016: (235) Micronauts #5 —  7,667*  (-15.4%)

09/2016: (171) Micronauts Revolution #1  — 10,880

09/2016: (219) Micronauts #6 —  7,226*   (-5.8%)

10/2016: —

11/2016: (264) Micronauts #7 —  5,918*  (-18.1%)

six months: -53.8%

from No. 1: -76.9%

Still returnable. Still posting huge monthly drops. Still committing the unforgivable sin of not being the 1970’s Bill Mantlo series. FWIW, I’m partly to blame for the sharp decline in orders between Issues 4 and 5, as that’s where I bailed. I’ll be surprised to see this series make it to #15.

274. COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS ($3.99)

11/2016: (274) CBHOC #1 (of 6) — 5,573*

Hardly an auspicious start. If we assume a charitable 30 percent drop for No. 2, and 15 percent for No. 3, followed my monthly 3 percent drops thereafter, the final issue of this series may dip below 3,000 copies. I’d have to wonder if that’s even worth the shipping costs?

290. GHOSTBUSTERS INTERNATIONAL ($3.99)

01/2016: (179) Ghostbusters Int’l #1 —  9,675

02/2016: (207) Ghostbusters Int’l #2 —  7,972 (-17.6%)

03/2016: (213) Ghostbusters Int’l #3 —  7,122 (-10.7%)

04/2016: (???) Ghostbusters Int’l #4 —  ????

05/2016: (242) Ghostbusters Int’l #5 —  6,882

06/2016: (248) Ghostbusters Int’l #6 —  7,317 (+6.3%)

07/2016: —

08/2016: (276) Ghostbusters Int’l #7 —  6,169 (-15.7%)

08/2016: (290) Ghostbusters Int’l #8 —  5,937 (-3.8%)

09/2016: —

10/2016: (267) Ghostbusters Int’l #9 —  5,652 (-4.8%)

10/2016: (279) Ghostbusters Int’l #10 — 5,313 (-6.0%)

11/2016: (290) Ghostbusters Int’l #11 — 4,967 (-6.5%)

six months: -27.8%

from No. 1: -48.7%

I was not able to find Issue #4 on any of the sales charts, but the level the title was at does not make it seem as though it should have dropped out of the Top 300. So, I don’t know what’s up with that. Regardless, as we can see, the pace of attrition is picking up. I suspect there must be a critical level where the floor just falls out, when retailers decide it’s just not worth carrying a book at all after sales fall below a certain level.

298. DONALD QUEST ($3.99)

09/2016: (289) Donald Duck #17 — 4,560

10/2016: —

11/2016: (298) Donald Quest #1 — 4,886

As sales have slid on its Disney books, IDW has taken to occasionally placing one or more of the four main titles, DONALD DUCK, MICKEY MOUSE, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES on hiatus in favor of other title. It seems basically an attempt to package the same set of overseas reprints under a #1, in hopes of drawing more orders. But as you can see by the comparison above of DONALD QUEST #1, to DONALD DUCK #17, the ploy is not exactly a chartbuster. Sure, the Quest book picked up a few more orders than Donald #18 (or #19, as I’m not certain whether Donald skipped October, or finished outside the Top 300 that month) would have. But not a ton more. It seems retailers are basically treating the limited series as what they are, essentially a continuation of the main title with lower numbering, albeit with targeted reprints to justify the different new title.

300. UNCLE SCROOGE ($3.99)

11/2015: (150) Uncle Scrooge #1 — 19,922*

11/2015: (215) Uncle Scrooge #8 —  7,667*

————————————-

12/2015: (254) Uncle Scrooge #9 —  7,376 (-3/8%)

01/2016: (226) Uncle Scrooge #10 — 6,226 (-15.6%)

02/2016: (236) Uncle Scrooge #11 — 5,863 (-5.8%)

03/2016: (249) Uncle Scrooge #12 — 5,712 (-2.6%)

04/2016: (270) Uncle Scrooge #13 — 5,425 (-5.0%)

05/2016: (280) Uncle Scrooge #14 — 5,469 (+0.8%)

06/2016: (???) Uncle Scrooge #15 — <5,596

07/2016: (???) Uncle Scrooge #16 — <5,069

08/2016: (???) Uncle Scrooge #17 — <5,497

09/2016: (276) Uncle Scrooge #18 — 5,131

10/2016: (300) Uncle Scrooge #19 — 4,931 (-3.9%)

11/2016: (300) Uncle Scrooge #20 — 4,799 (-2.7%)

six months: -12.2%

one year:   -37.4%

from No. 1: -75.9%

And here we come to both the 300th best-selling comic of November 2016, and the only one from IDW in that bunch that I happened to buy (I did also by the WALT DIENY’S COMIC AND STORIES issues listed below) I’m not really sure how much longer I’m going to have this opportunity. Ol’ Scrooge is continuing to suffer what I’d say are bigger monthly drops than it should at this point. The title even spent the entire summer outside of the Top 300, although when it did reappear in September, it was with greater retailer orders than the No. 300 comic of July, so there was at least a little bit of an uptick for some reason. It’s hard to say why IDW’s Disney books are not performing better. I feel like I preferred the Disney books put out by Gemstone and, before that, Gladstone, but I can’t put my finger on why. Still, cancellation may not be imminent, as I suspect IDW is moving these books to channels outside of North American comic book stores.

———————————-

Now, what did IDW solicit for November that placed outside the Top 300, thus selling fewer than 4,800 copies per title? Here’s my best crack at a list. Keep in mind, there are 22 comics listed below, two more than the 20 we seem to be missing from the Top 300. Most likely, the first two, at least, failed to chart simply because they missed their intended November release date. In fact, I think the Optimus Prime book finally came out this week.

OPTIMUS PRIME #1

TRANSFORMERS: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: REVOLUTION #1

THE ADVENTURES OF AUGUSTA WIND, Vol 2: THE LAST STORY #4

ANGRY BIRDS COMICS #11

ATOMIC ROBO AND THE TEMPLE OF OD #4 (of 5)

DIRK GENTLY: THE SALMON OF DOUBT #2

THE ELECTRIC SUBLIME #2 (of 4)

INSUFFERABLE: HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE #2

JACKBOOT & IRONHEEL #4 (of 4)

JILL THOMPSON’S THE KILLER INSIDE ME #4 (of 5)

JUDGE DREDD #12

MICKEY MOUSE #14

THE OCTOBER FACTION: DEADLY SEASON #2

POPEYE CLASSICS #52

POWERPUFF GIRLS #5

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE #8

SUPERF*CKERS FOREVER #4 (of 5)

WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES #735

WEIRD LOVE #15

WYNONNA EARP LEGENDS: DOC HOLLIDAY #1 (of 4)

THE X-FILES: ORIGINS #4 (of 4)

YAKUZA DEMON KILLERS #1 (of 6)

And finally, for long-running IDE titles, a look at attrition per book at certain mile posts:

Six months:

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: -8.6%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: -11.4%

Uncle Scrooge: -12.2%

My Little Pony: Friends Forever: -14.8%

Jem and the Holograms: -21.1%

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: -22.8%

Ghostbusters International: -27.8%

Back to the Future: -34.1%

X-Files: -34.8%

Micronauts: -53.8%

One year:     

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: -22.6%

My Little Pony: Friends Forever: -26.5%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: -27.0%

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: -27.2%

Uncle Scrooge: -37.4%

Jem and the Holograms: -37.8%

Back to the Future: -65.6%

Two years:  

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: +1.0%

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: -18.4%

My Little Pony: Friends Forever: -35.0%

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: -55.4%

Five years:  

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: -31.6%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:-35.0%

Got comments, questions, alternate theories, awful things to say about my parentage? Don’t be shy, buddy! Hit the comments button, below!

Duke Harrington is a life-long comic book fan, primarily of DC Comics, which means he can still recall in vivid detail the pain and horror of the DC Implosion. He lives in Maine where, for the past 13 years he has been a newspaper reporter. Currently, he writes for the Kennebunk Post and the South Portland Sentry, online at mainelymediallc.com. He lives in an 800-square-foot house with one wife, one dog, one cat, and 18,706 comic books. Feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, or on Twitter, at either @Shanghalla, or @DirigoDuke. His email is duke.[email protected].

10 COMMENTS

  1. If I’m not mistaken, GI Joe: A Real American Hero is IDW’s continuation of the Marvel Joe series, written by Larry Hama. As it’s something of an “alternate timeline”, it wasn’t included in the Revolution event. There was actually no present-day GI Joe ongoing series during Revolution, however a series did launch in the aftermath of that event. GI Joe: ARAH is sort of a niche book, as it’s not exactly aimed at new readers.

  2. Great idea, yeah, IDW charts!
    ROM and Micronauts deserve the hole they are seeking into: both were horrible relaunchs. And putting those titles almost directly into a giant crossover was the dumbest idea they could have find. We aree not buying an iDW book to have the same crap than what DC or Marvel are doing!

    I am not a brownie, never saw a Little Pony cartton and had the same reticence toward the Little Pony comics. Then I read it and realise those are some of the best written comics right now on the market. And the art is really good, You have to go over the fact that those are ponayd and licorns. For any comics reader who followed the adventures of a spider-man, a wolverine or a bat man, that seems like a very small step to take.

    Comic Book history of comics had already been published in B&W (but perhaps not in its entirety- by Evil Twin. That probably doesn’t help sales of this color version.

    Keep the good work!

  3. Some notes about your coverage of GI Joe. IDW currently publishes two separate and distinct continuities: “GI Joe: A Real American Hero” and “GI Joe.”

    “GI Joe: A Real American Hero” is a continuation of the original 1982-1994 comic series and its spinoffs written nearly exclusively by Larry Hama and published at Marvel. In 2010, IDW brought Larry back to continue telling stories with the characters he initially brought to life. Since you think it is a selling point, please note that Larry Hama is a veteran having served in the US Army from 1969 to 1971.

    IDW’s first GI Joe comics were set in a brand new continuity in 2009 which ended in May 2015. This is the continuity that is interacting with Revolution and the other Hasbro properties. So for your next write up, you will want to report GI Joe Revolution #1’s sales with the “GI Joe #1” that came out 12/28/16.

    After Marvel and before IDW possessed the GI Joe license, Devil’s Due (originally an imprint of Image) published comics between 2001 and 2005 in two separate continuities themselves, one was a n attempt to continue where Larry Hama left off in 1994 and later a brand new one. So the comics you’re reporting from 2001 and 2006 aren’t accurate comparisons to this title.

  4. For Jem and the Holograms, the shake-up was that issue #16 was Sophie Capbell’s last issue. Then Jen Bartel (#10, 17, 18 and 24) and Meredith McClaren,(#20-24) were the artists. I guess the big shift in art cause some people to stop reading. Fans had praised Campbell’s expressive faces, colorful clothes that communicated character, and wide range of body shapes. Bartel’s work is more like illustration work, some fans have described it was flat. McClaren was more clearly love it or hate it among fans.

    Since this list is for issues already out, which goes up to issue #21 and I looked at the site to see who is the artist for the next few issues up to #24, which has three artists listed. The slide in sales might continue for the next few issues.

  5. It’s strange that as well as the TMNT comics sell, I see very little discussion of them online. Even as huge a TMNT fan I am, I see more talk about GI Joe or My Little Pony than the turtles. Even in the comments here! I wonder why that is?

  6. I expected some of these titles to be selling more than they do, but maybe it’s just the websites and podcasts I listen to where I feel I’m always reading/hearing about Transformers, GI JOE and Jem. Perhaps there’s a roaring bookstore or online market?
    That said, Haven’t dived in myself, tried a trade of a friends for Transformers, but despite being an 80’s kid and loving the toys, the nostalgia didn’t really kick in. I may have cried when Optus Prime died in the movie when I was 3 or 4, but now I’m 34 robot cars and toy soldiersdid nothing for me.
    (Unless they are being smashed together by Tom Scioli. That series was awesome).
    Glad to see people already jumped in to point out Larry Hama was a vet. He developed the original concept and wrote the series so very hard to make the call to replace him, might just lose the few readers it has.

    Not sure if it’s just brownies who follow ponies comics, I’ve bought some for my niece, and at one point IDW was selling them with activity packs for kids.

    Duke, thanks for doing the compiling. Not sure I understood your plan though. Are you doing Dark Horse and the others this month, or will you be doing a different publisher each month?

  7. IDW’s CEO addresses some of the direct market concern here: http://www.cbr.com/interview-idw-ceo-ted-adams-on-the-best-year-in-company-history/

    “Q: …given that IDW does so many different things, is the direct market not as much of a priority to you as it may seem to comics fans? What’s your philosophy on that position?

    A: My philosophy is this: The direct market is without any question important to us. Those charts everybody obsesses on are just purely direct market numbers. It’s very much just a portion of where we sell product. I think this year, and this is just purely an estimate, our total revenue from direct market for IDW Media Holdings is probably going to be in the 15 to 20 percent range. Super-important, no question, but it’s only 15 to 20 percent of our revenue.

    My thinking has always been, I want to be an extremely diverse publisher, and I want to sell my products in as many marketplaces as I possibly can. We’ve very much accomplished that.”

    That doesn’t seem like he’s referring strictly to comic sales, though.

  8. You forgot to track:
    – the previous Star Trek ongoing which ended with issue #60 under Boldly Go
    – the previous Godzilla mini (In Hell) under Rage Across Time
    – X-Files Season 10 under the 2016 ongoing
    – the previous Ghostbusters ongoing under International

  9. Adam and Will:

    Thanks for the notes on G.I. Joe. I’m sure I read in the fan press when Marvel first launched the series way back when that Hama was a vet. But I certainly failed to remember it. Still, re: stories written and maybe drawn by actual vets, I was thinking military men and woman of a more recent vintage, say of the Iraq/Afghanistan eras. Thanks also for the note on differing Joe continuities. I don’t follow the title and had no idea IDW has two different versions in play. I wonder how that affects casual readers? G.I. Joe is certainly a property that might appeal to the uninitiated, but I can see how a kid or mom could get easily confused.

    Michelle and Suzene

    Great info! Thanks for sharing!

    Ben:

    Sorry I didn’t drop in right away to answer questions. As you’ve probably seen by now, I submitted several charts to The Beat, three of which Heidi has been kind enough to share. In addition to charts for IDW, Dark Horse, and Boom, I also prepared charts for Archie, Valiant, and Dynamite, along with an additional catch-all for every other publisher to land at least on title in the Top 300. How things progress from here will depend on who useful these charts are to readers of The Beat, along with how much of a PIA it becomes for Heidi to post that many charts. It could be that, if traffic and interest is low, I might prepare a single chart of highlights only from smaller publishers, instead of a separate post for each and every one. We’ll see how it goes.

    danana:

    Thanks. I’ll try to catch those in the future where appropriate.

Comments are closed.