It’s time to look at the sales distribution charts for June. (See bottom for standard disclaimers and explanation of method). As is our custom, we’ll start with DC.
DC had some big sellers at the top of the chart in June. Justice League #1 ordered in the Direct Market at ~200.2K and #2 at 86K. That’s a hotter launch than the No Justice lead-in mini-series. Batman had issues at ~121.8K and ~112.1K and the (promoted as) wedding issue approached.
There’s a gap in 90Ks bracket and 70Ks bracket, but maybe not really in the 70Ks. The Bendis Man of Steel mini-series leading into his Superman and Action runs is returnable and when you bump the estimates of ~62.5K – ~69.2K by 10% to account for that, there should at least a couple issues in that 70Ks sales band.
Let’s take a look at this with and without Events:
I’m actually not counting Man of Steel as an Event here because of how Justice League performed vs. No Justice. There may be extra issues shipping, but it probably isn’t going to be indicative of drastically higher orders for the lead-in. Something that’s a bit unusual for the current market.
While DC scored some cheap sales with the wedding prelude specials ordering in at higher numbers than Detective (something that did not appear to happen with digital sales), the real story here is Flash holding on to its mid-50Ks sales figures. Also of note, Hawkman debuts at ~42.1K, which is traditionally a pretty strong number for the character.
As you can see by the chart, the vast majority of DC issues sell under 30K. 31K is arguably a hit book. That’s kind of sad, but we can see DC’s plans making progress.
Justice League relaunched strong. Superman’s franchise appears to be up in single issues and we’ll see how Action and Superman fare when they relaunch. The Super-franchise is in an odd position where the monthly sales are measured against the combined bi-weekly sales, which could be ambitious, but it looks like on a single issue basis, they’ll likely be up.
Next up, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp on Green Lantern should have a drastic uptick in sales on title that been selling around 28K of late. While G. Willow Wilson sounds like an inspired choice to write Wonder Woman (especially if you’ve read Cairo and Air), we’ll have to see if that translates to a significant uptick in single issue sales, with Wilson’s sales muscles being flexed more in the collected editions at Marvel.
If Justice League, Action, Superman and Green Lantern can populate out those 60K-90K sales bands and Batman can hold on to 100K+ sales, then DC starts to look a bit healthier. That’s an if, but you can see the pieces being moved into place and there’s at least some initial indicators of success. Of course, in this market, you do have to see if success is sustained and they still been to move a few more titles out of that 20Ks sales band.
Outside of the DCU, there isn’t really much change in the air.
Young Animal is limping along and doesn’t seem to have kept any of the momentum from the Milk Wars relaunch. Vertigo is a non-factor, outside of Astro City. The Hannah Barbera line is quiet as a cycle of titles winds down.
Vertigo will have its big relaunch soon, but for the moment the changes are starting with the DCU.
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* Ms. Marvel *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