It’s time to look at the sales distribution charts for August. (See bottom for standard disclaimers and explanation of method). As is our custom, we’ll start with DC.
Ah, that too rare sight of all the sales bands being filled – even the top ones, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The second Batman issue to ship in August, (#53) dropped below 100K. To be certain, ~99.2K isn’t a bad number in this market, but that’s not a great thing to see Batman slipping. That said, if you go back to Batman #43 in March, the series bottomed out at ~91.6K before the hype for the non-wedding brought it back up past the 100K mark we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the last several years. It shouldn’t be a surprise that things are sliding a bit after the Event, especially since it wasn’t really a wedding.
Likewise, the sole entrant in the 80Ks sales band was Sandman Universe #1 with ~83.5K orders. While that’s a staggering number for Vertigo in this day and age, it’s a one off we’re not likely to see that number again any time soon.
On the other hand, Justice League does appear to be settling down around 75K and that’s big win for DC.
Let’s take a look at just the DCU chart.
No events in the DCU this month, so only one chart there. The mystery of where the Bendis Superman titles are going to end up is still just that. The second issues of those runs have Superman at ~77.5K and Action at ~61.9K. If they fall much further, Action won’t be much of an improvement over the previous run on a per issue basis and there’s one less issue per month. (And from what I’ve seen, Action is the better read between the two.)
Catwoman #2 was ordered at ~64.7K, which seems awfully high for a Catwoman series, plus the digital version of Comixology is behaving more like a ~25K title, so let’s keep an eye on this one for a couple months and see if it sticks around in rarified air.
Detective is hanging on like a trooper in the low 50Ks, but Flash’s second issue of the month falls out of the 50Ks to just under 49K.
But on the other hand, Justice League Dark #2 is at ~46.5K and hanging around significantly higher than the last incarnation.
On the whole we’re looking at a bit of mixed bag. There’s some notable slippage (Batman and Flash), there’s some stabilization at higher levels from relaunches (the Justice League family) and the jury’s still out on the Superman titles. If only the entire line wasn’t so bottom-heavy.
One thing of note, that 10K-19K sales band would be fairly small if not for the New Age of DC Heroes line. The Terrifics is still above 20K, but the rest of that sub-line has tanked pretty hard.
Outside the DCU, the Bendis Jinxworld line debuts with Pearl at ~32.7K and Scarlet at ~24.5K. If those numbers remotely hold, it blows the Jinxworld Marvel/Icon sales clear out of the water.
This iteration of the Hannah Barbera / DCU crossovers hit between ~36K and ~25.7K. No breakout hit, per se, but decent numbers for a fifth week event.
Wildstorm is Wildstorm and Young Animal is bleeding out on the way to the finish line.
And plenty of 3K-ish orders on old issue of Doomsday Clock, which seems to be a gift that’s at least giving a little while it’s delayed.
All in all, while Batman slipping raises an eyebrow, there appear to be more wins than losses to attrition for August, as we wait to see how the Green Lantern relaunch compares to Justice League and Superman.
Standard disclaimers: The numbers are based on the Diamond sales charts as estimated by the very reliable John Jackson Miller. These charts are pretty accurate for U.S. Direct Market sales with the following caveats: 1) you can add ~10% for UK sales, which are not reflected in these charts; 2) everyone’s best guess is you can add ~10% for digital sales – while some titles do sell significantly better in digital (*cough* Saga *cough*), that’s the average rule of thumb; 3) it’s not going to include reorders from subsequent months, although reorders will show up in subsequent months if they’re high enough. So if you’re a monster seller in Southampton and it took the US audience 3 weeks to reorder, it’s probably not going to be reflected here.
What’s a sales band? It’s another way to have a higher level view of the market. The general idea is to divide the market into bands of 10K copies sold and see how many issues are in each band. How many issues sold between 90-99K copies, 80-89K copies, etc. etc. In very broad terms, the market is healthier when there are several titles selling in the 70K-100K+ range because titles that move a lot of copies give the retailers some margin of error on their ordering. When you see titles selling in the 20-29K band and especially below, there’s a pretty good chance a lot of retailers aren’t ordering those titles for the shelf (pull box/pre-order only) or minimal shelf copies at best.
Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work? Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.