The GeeksverseLooking At The Market #3: September

Looking At The Market #3: September
Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by

Diamond’s estimated sales are out and it’s time to take another look. Like always, this is just Diamond’s direct market sales and doesn’t include newstands, digital or other sales methods.

Before we get into DC, and of course they dominated the sales charts, I have some good news for fans of IDW’s Cobra series. It had dropped off the charts last month and that was because the 4th issue technically fell into September’s listing so it has a double dose of books in the Top 300 this month. But the biggest news is that it took a pretty big jump up in sales from 7,740 (#3) to 9,391 (#4). And it took only a tiny hit from #4 to #5 (9,068) earning it the 186th and 193rd spots.

So on to DC. Did anyone really suspect they wouldn’t dominate September? 52 #1s will get alot of sales. Alot of the books were returnable so the published estimates are lower as Diamond took into account that some of the originally sold books would come back. So it is pretty impressive that even with returnable books the numbers came in high.

But it’s really not that unexpected. Curiousity was very high for this and alot of people (like myself) picked up multiple titles to try them out. That doesn’t mean that those same titles will be bought when #2 comes out. And as we know, and have seen alot of proof about, a title’s second issue usually takes a pretty substantial drop in sales.

And I think that the DC books might take more of a drop than usual just because of the increased sales due to curiousity.

Batman fans are still Batman fans so those books already had established sales figures and any increases would be due to:

1- The #1 factor
2- Curiousity factor

So those books, I think, could suffer the biggest drop as they return towards the previously established sales figures with (and this is DC’s hope) an increase in new readers. They most likely won’t be as high as the first issue though. Next month’s figures will be interesting.

8 of the top 10 were DC and it’s really not a surprise which ones: Batman (#1, 188,420), Action Comics (#2, 182,748), Green Lantern (#3, 141, 682), Flash (#4, 129,620), Superman (#5, 118,376), Detective Comics (#6, 103,392), Batman: The Dark Knight (#7, 98,389), Batman And Robin (#10, 85,242).

Yeah, DC’s big guns. Those titles already had high sales. Let’s look back to August to see how those titles did: Batman (#20, 51,760), Action Comics (#38, 39,323), Green Lantern (#5, 74,519 – note: had to go back to July since no GL was out in August), Superman (#46, 35,919), Batman: The Dark Knight (#17, 52,908), Batman And Robin (#18, 52,704).

Batman took a 136,660 increase in sales. Does anyone really think those titles will maintain that high of sales? Prior to the New 52, Green Lantern was DC’s consistently highest seller and that only did about 70,000 copies.

What matters for the success of The New 52 is how the non-big gun books did, how the new books did.

Batgirl comes in at #12 with 81,489. That’s a pretty impressive ranking. But how much of that is curiousity about the return of Barbara Gordon to being Batgirl? Stormwatch sold a solid 46,397 copies. DC brought back the old title Resurrection Man and it sold 37,566 copies. The lowest selling New 52 title was OMAC with 33,581 copies.

I’m not going to compare August’s sales for DC’s 2nd tier books like Birds of Prey, Teen Titans and Green Arrow because alot of those books had already wrapped up storylines and had fill-in creative teams to finish out the runs. So of course those took a drop prior to the new 52.

Anyone needing more proof that #2s take a substantial drop in sales need look no further then Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. #1 came in at 87,237 earning it Marvel’s 2nd highest top selling book for September. Marvel’s only other book in the top ten was Fear Itself #6. UC Spider-Man #2 came out in the same month as #1 and 52,269. It took a drop of 34,688 copies.

Marvel did pretty well for the month of September. I think even they knew they wouldn’t dominate and to be honest, no one should care how the month of #1s did. We already know that #1s have huge increases in sales. It’ll matter how well the #2s do and more importantly the fourth issues. That will really show how the New 52 did. But in the end if the titles experience a small growth in sales, you’ll have to call the New 52 a success.

A couple Marvel titles actually got an increase in sales. Fear Itself saw a 2,000 increase in sales. Amazing Spider-Man #669 got a 14,408 increase but #670 dropped down to 57,599 losing that increase. Avengers got a minor increase of 1,000 with New Avengers getting a 2,000 increase. Uncanny X-Men got a 3400 increase but is that due more to Schism? Uncanny X-Force got a jump of 3,000. Wonder why interest in that book increased so much.

Why the increases? I think curiousity once more comes into play. New Avengers had the hyped addition of Daredevil to the cast. Avengers had the Hawkeye/Spider-Woman cover and hinted at hook-up by them, which didn’t occur, but that could have led to an increase in sales. Uncanny X-Force got a good jump and it came near the end of a storyline. My guess is that the reaser featuring the Age of Apoocalypse Nightcrawler as part of X-Force got people curious and they picked up this issue to see how he joined the cast. He still hasn’t appeared in the 616 Earth yet.

Let’s be honest, the above is the tried-and-true method of getting new readers in comics. Back in the days before comics kept getting relaunched as a new #1 (to get the corresponding bump in sales), the only way a new reader would get into an ongoing book that was in hundreds of issues (and this is the way that alot of us got into the X-Men, Batman, Avengers, etc..) was when a new jumping-on point occured. These points were when a new character joined the team (a fan favorite that would hopefully bring readers from the solo title), a character died, a new character debuted (curiousity would again be a factor here), a major storyline started (curiousity again) or a new creative team came on board.

These methods worked. Why were they abandoned in favor of the relaunch?

The first non-Marvel/Non-DC in the Top 300 was Dark Horse’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1 which debuted at #52 with 42,945 copies sold. The next non-Marvel/non-DC is another Dark Horse book (Angel And Faith, #109, 20,473). IDW’s TMNT #2 is next at 113 and that took a big drop in sales from the first issue losing almost 1/2 it’s sales and came in at 19,333.

To give an idea of how much the new 52 titles sold, the 300th book was Stan Lee’s Starborn #10 from Boom! Studios. That title sold 3,341 copies. The lowest New 52 was 33,581 copies.

Dynamite saw an increased presence in September with alot of books doing well. They almost doubled their total sales from the previous month. Marvel stayed about even. IDW took a drop from August to September but really not that much. They did move from 3rd to 5th but that was because Dynamite and Dark Horse had a very good month. Dynamite went from 6th ranked publisher to 4th in September and Dark Horse went from 5th to 3rd. Image kept it’s ranking right below IDW, moving the same number of spots down the list. Boom! Studios and Zenescope stayed at 7th and 8th. Aspen and Bongo moved into the top 10 publishers for September, pushing out Avatar and Archie.

DC and Marvel switched spots obviously with DC getting around 1 million additional units sold. Marvel stayed basically the same.

It’ll be interesting to see next month’s figures and how much of a drop DC’s titles take.

My guesses on the biggest drops: Mister Terrific, Justice League International, Red Hood, Catwoman.

2 Responses
    • […] Often the #2s tend to see a slump in sales. It is a long standing trend that heads all the way back to the buyers market of the 90s where #1s flew off of the shelf for potential collect-ability. It is important to note that Pigs #2 should sell as well as #1, or better, since the intriguing story is still being unfolded. Pigs is still making the cold war cool. […]

    • […] at the market numbers over the past few months the sales of Cobra Civil War books is not as strong as it should be because the IDW team is weaving […]

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