There have been some questions about what sales circumstances call for a book’s cancellation. Now, there are factors beyond simple sales — are they paying premium rates for the creative budget, is a title selling especially well in collected editions (well… some of these titles are axed before you can get a good sense of that), are they selling exceptionally well in digital (indications from DC’s interviews on the topic are that most comics are roughly proportional to their print sales, so this likely isn’t a particularly large consideration), do they have big picture plans for the title, how fast are the sales dropping?
That said, with the advent of the “New 52,” DC has been cancelling titles in groups and replacing them with “Second Wave,” “Third Wave,” and if that trend continues we’ll have a “Fourth Wave” in January.
For the first round of cancellations (announced in January), I’ve pulled the December estimates (i.e. the most current sales estimates prior to the cancellation announcements) and the April estimates (the last issues). For the second round (announced in June), I’ve pulled the May estimates (last estimates before announcements) and the August estimates — that’s the next to last issue for everything but Justice League International, but it’s the most current estimates we have. Finally, I have the August estimate for the just-announced cancellation of G.I. Combat.
Cancellations Announced June 2012 and sales estimates from May 2012 / August 2012 (September not available yet)
Captain Atom 12,264 10,445
Voodoo 13,762 11,328
Resurrection Man 18,018 13,741
Justice League International 32,558 28,261
Cancellation Announced September 2012 (so far) and sales estimate from August 2012
G.I. Combat 11,797
Justice League International looks like a special case where it likely wasn’t cancelled for over-all sales, so much as it was under-performing vs. the mainJustice League title by nearly 100K copies/month. If you throw that out, you see a clear range of roughly 18K – 12K sales for the issue released just prior to the cancellation announcement. You see a range of a little under 14K – 9K with the final issues, or as close to a final issue range as current data allows for. The decision to stop a title will probably have been finalized somewhere between those to issues having been ordered.
For the most part, DC is culling off the bottom or near the bottom of the sales chart. There are a few other factors at play, but the possibility of cancellation would appear to start around the 18K line and the tolerance for low sales would seem to end somewhere around 12K-14K.
I’m not rooting for anything to get cancelled, but there appear to be parameters to most of the cancellations. This would also be the first time DC only cancelled a single title, if that is really the case. Then again, the lowest pre-announcement estimate to-date, so their hand may have been forced.