By Todd Allen

All praise Great Kirkman.  Yes, once again, Kirkman has done the highly improbable.  Oh, sure… we’d been hearing about Walking Dead #100 selling 383,612 copies.  This is an excellent opportunity to compare the estimates with the number that’s being floated.  The July estimates have come out at The Comics Chronicles and here’s what they say:

Walking Dead#100 (regular) = 335,082
Walking Dead #100 (chromium) = 30,969

That gives us a total of 366,051 estimated copies.  If the actual number is 383,612, that means the estimates are under-reporting by a little over 5%.  If the 383,612 number being floated was NOT supposed to include the chromium edition, then it would be under-reporting by about 12.6%.  I’ve always said the estimates ought to fluctuate between 10-15% low in most cases.  This can be thrown off by heavy re-orders (which isn’t always possible), and #100 was announced as a sellout, so there is that tying it down, but there’s our spot check on accuracy.  If you figure the chromium was a separate figure, then it’s right where it normally ought to be.  If not, it was only 5% off  — which is very accurate for an estimate.

That said, what are we seeing?  Walking Dead paid for Kirkman’s and Adlard’s early retirement this month.  (Just kidding… probably…)  AVX looks to have peaked last month and is *slightly* down in July, but still the best selling thing Marvel has publishing in a few years.  Before Watchmen has a good drop in month #2.  The Ozymandius #1 is tops at 88K.   At the bottom of that spectrum is the second Silk Spectre issue at 61,563.  That’s a bit more of a drop than you’d like to see.

Marvel’s top non-mini-series is Uncanny X-Men with 66,114 — yes, back down under 70K.  The top non-cross-over book is Amazing Spider-Man at 59,859.

DC seems to be having a little slippage below the Batman/Justice League line, too.  Tell you what.  Let’s do a little title count by sales level for DC and Marvel, broken down by 10K bands (i.e. 60K = estimated sales from 60K to 69,999)

DC Marvel
100k+ 2 2
90K 0 0
80K 1 1
70K 3 0
60K 6 7
50K 3 3
40K 7 7
30K 8 19
20K 14 18
10K 23 7

Now, figure that 60K band for Marvel is Event crossovers and could easily down into the 50K band with the Event and that’s something to keep an eye on.  With DC, you’ve got Before Watchmen sprinkled in the 80s-60s range, but gravity seems to be setting in and pulling the line average down.  Marvel has a lot of books selling in the 30ks and 20Ks.  DC has clusters in the 20Ks and the 10Ks (teens, if you prefer).  With the 10Ks, you see a mingling of Vertigo with the lower regions of The New 52.

I’m looking at this and thinking that maybe 40K isn’t a mid-tier book anymore.  That might be the end of the top list.

What’s the best selling non-Kirkman indie?  Saga at an estimated 40,556.  Next highest selling non-Kirkman book?  Bloodshot #1 at 29,224.

Other notable debuts:

  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: 27,665
  • Adventure Time Marceline Scream Queens: 21,182
  • Crow: 18,689
  • Revival: 18,039
  • Space Punisher: 17,446
  • Infernal Man-Thing: 17,132
  • Wonderland: 16,909
  • Danger Girl G.I. Joe: 16,649
  • Chew Secret Agent Poyo: 15,982
  • Punk Rock Jesus: 14,571

I’m increasingly uncomfortable with all the clustering of sales between 10K and 30K.  On the other hand, you can always count on Kirkman to give the market a big bump.  Figure the 30K of his $9.99 chromium edition of Walking Dead #100 is really like dropping 100K copies of a $2.99 comic on the market.  Hard to over-emphasize how a big a book that was.


  1. You’re right that it makes for a lower than expected overseas count… but the other thing with all of this is that Image made its announcement in the middle of July. Was there information it didn’t have yet?

    There are some other ways to introduce variance, even after a print run has been set and without a new printing. Direct market publishers have pulled copies into the DM from what they’ve sent newsstand dealers before, for example. It might not be that the final number is the final number.

  2. Looking at the breakdown, it seems that Marvel has a much stronger mid-list than DC do (that’s using 40k as lower top tier). While DC are making a killing at the top (this includes Before Watchmen) their lower range is falling down hard. Heck, even titles like Flash, Superman and Action comics haven’t exactly stabilized. That being said, the new 52 can only be viewed as a success at this point. Justice League and Batman are still making a killing at the top and their line is overall much healthier than before. However, it must be noted that apart from the success of Animal Man and Swamp Thing, all the talk of diversity doesn’t seem to be something that fans are backing up with their hard earned dollars.

    Looking at Marvel’s sales, it seems Marvel have a problem with getting titles about 70k copies. Outside of AXV, it’s pretty clear that their top titles aren’t exactly something that retailers are getting into. Why that is, i don’t know (i would like to suggest its price but considering that the top titles for the month are $3.99, it makes the point moot). That being said, a closer look will also reveal that Marvel seem to have a very strong mid-list that’s experiencing very steady sales. That’s actually a big plus for them. I think we can only speculate how successful Marvel NOW, however, i can bet a good amount of money that it will probably sell gangbusters, how long it will be successful can only be speculated.

  3. This may be my Direct Market ignorance showing, but isn’t this exactly what you’d expect to see from any publishing company?

    Every house has a couple gigantic runaway bestsellers that basically keep the line afloat, then a strong bulging middle of mid-list sellers (usually classics and not-bestselling-but-still popular authors) and then an embarrassingly long long tail of books that sell a handful of copies before going out of print.

    I would never be surprised to find that 75% of both publishers’ lines sell less than 20,000 copies each month

  4. What really stood out to me was the newest marvel launches.

    Usually they’ve been starting around 50K to 100K, with some (Avengers Assembled, avenging spiderman) in the higher end and some (Venom, Scarlet spider, Age of Apocalypse) in the lower end of that.

    This month, the launches were:

    Captain Marvel: 41.582
    X-treme X-men: 36.802

    How the heck are they going to be looking in 5-6 months time *cripes*. Even the 2nd-issue-drop will bring them near or under 30K.

  5. Don’t you love how some people are already calling BW a flop based on the 2nd issue sales – yet the lowest sales so far are only 5k under Marvels best ongoing series figure?!? – not to mention the Marvel ongoing sales are boosted because of the tie in to AVX!! – I’d say Marvel would kill for those sales figures at the moment!! haha…

  6. What’s even more interesting is that it seems Marvel actually sold more periodicals but DC won the month because of their graphic novel performance. Interesting times indeed.