Wow, has another month come and gone in the exciting world of superhero comics already? I guess it must have, since Paul O’Brien and Marc-Oliver Frisch posted their monthly analysis of Marvel Comics and DC Comics sales figures, based on ICv2.com’s numbers, at Publisher Weekly’s blog The Beat.
I read them with great interest, as I religiously do (and I think you oughta click on those links and do so to, if you haven’t already).
Here’s what occurred to me while doing so this time…
—Comic books sure don’t sell very many copies anymore, do they? I mean, ones about dead superheroes coming back to life as zombies wearing jewelry do sort of well, but when you remove them from the equation? Hardly anything cracked 70K an issue in October.
—Marvel seemed to have a pretty bad month, with their two best-selling books being Brian Michael Bendis-written Avengers titles, and only doing about 77K and 76K.
—I’m still in awe of Deadpool’s marketability. This is the month in which his third ongoing kinda sorta debuted with Deadpool #900 (which would have its name changed to Deadpool Team-Up with the next issue, #899), and it did 51,337. Plain old regular Deadpool and Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth both did over 40K, too.
Presumably, many of the same people are buying those books, since when there was only one Deadpool book it wasn’t selling 130,000 copies a month. There is therefore apparently some wisdom in the whole squeeze-the-same-audience-for-more-money publishing strategy.
—Frisch made a very interesting point when noting that Blackest Night is operating pretty much unopposed by a Marvel event of similar scope at the moment (Dark Reign is more of a general universe-wide status quo and branding exercise than a singular event/storyline). Said Frisch, “For now, Blackest Night appears to be as much of a success as the direct market is able to produce at this time.”
While I’m sure DC’s happy with how well the event’s doing, that fact, if true, is a sad, sobering one, isn’t it?
—Has a certain radioactivity set in with the Titans franchise? There are currently two Titans books—Teen Titans and Titans—and they both sell pretty poorly, at a little over 29K and a little over 28K, respectively. But what’s perhaps more telling about the state of the franchise is that the Blackest Night: Titans series sold so much more poorly than the other tie-in miniseries so far.
The latest issues of Blackest Night proper and Green Lantern both sold over 100K, while Blackest Night: Batman, Blackest Night: Superman and Green Lantern Corps all sold between 78K and almost 87K, but poor Blackest Night: Titans was lagging like 15K behind at in the neighborhood of 63K.
Poor Titans…maybe it’s time for a rest? Or at least fewer Titans comics…?
—Is Superman: Secret Origin tanking? It doesn’t seem to be selling very well…the second issue had dropped down to 46,840, according to these numbers, and, according to Frisch, “Given the name recognition of the creative team, the numbers have to be rather sobering for DC.”
I don’t really think it matters all that much how well the individual issue of Secret Origin do. Once it’s collected, it will make a fine evergreen trade for libraries and bookstores. And a trade paperback featuring the origin of Superman is something that’s pretty much always going to be in demand; whether or not DC needed to do another one is beside the point, since this will likely be the one that remains in print for a while.
—I thought it was weird that all of Superman’s books—even Superman/Batman—were outsold in October by the first issue of World’s Finest, a new team-up miniseries featuring various members of the Superman and Batman casts. I’m not all that surprised that the Superman books aren’t doing so hot at the moment (Is anyone?), but I thought it was odd that World’s Finest is doing better than all of ‘em, based on the fact that the miniseries reflects the same Superman-less status quo of the Superman books. I guess people are just really in to the various Bat-characters…
—Apparently Magog lost ten thousand orders between its first and second issues, and since it only started out doing around 26K, well…it seems to be selling about exactly as poorly as one would expect a Magog ongoing to sell.
—If the free market chose the Justice League based on the sales of solo books in October of 2009, the line-up would be:
1) Batman Dick Grayson
2) Green Lantern Hal Jordan
4) Red Robin
How is it possible that a book featuring Azrael—and not even the original Azrael, but a new legacy version!—is outselling things like Wonder Woman? The mind just boggles.
Note: The above image of Hal Jordan, The Most Popular Superhero in the North American Direct Market, was swiped from interdimensional lizard person and comics blogger Sleestak’s “Hal Jordan Head Injury Project” flickr page, one of the most valuable resources on the Internet.