While Heidi MacDonald’s blog The Beat has split-off from Publishers Weekly and gone through a redesign, it’s still home to Paul O’Brien and Marc-Oliver Frisch’s always welcome analysis of Marvel Comics and DC Comics sales…thank goodness.
Late last week the pair did their monthly thing, posting the available numbers for the publishers’ output and ruminating on what it means.
Here are a few random thoughts about particular Big Two super-comics that occurred to me while reading their pieces…
—Wow, a lot fewer people seem to be reading the Siege tie-ins than are reading Siege itself…even the essential-seeming Siege tie-ins. According to this chart, Siege #2 sold almost exactly as many copies as Siege #1—dropping less than 100 units—but it seemed noteworthy to me that a lot of the 108,000 and change people reading Siege aren’t also following the story into all the other titles it’s marching through.
For example Dark Avengers and New Avengers, both written by Siege mastermind Brian Michael Bendis and starring the major players of Siege, are way down in the neighborhood of 76K, and Siege: Embedded, the sister title of the crossover, is way down in the 46K range.
—Hmm, the tiny tempest in a tinier teapot brought on by objections to Tea Party analogues and Marvel’s weird reaction and the accompanying press it got didn’t seem to do a damn thing for sales of Captain America.
—I didn’t notice this until O’Brien pointed it out in his analysis, but Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth, the second of the three Deadpool ongoing series, has apparently been downgraded to a 13-issue limited series. This could be the first sign that Deadpool’s sudden, mysterious popularity is beginning to wane. Not that Marvel seems too worried about over-exploiting the character too quickly—almost all of their February books featured Deadpool variants.
It seems like those variants helped slow the decline or pump up the sales of almost every series that bore one in the month of February, but is the cost of slightly improved sales for one month the degradation of Deadpool’s overall value?
—Guardians of the Galaxy is cancelled? If anyone at Marvel cares, I was pretty excited about the book when it launched and was reading it monthly, but had to drop it a few issues in when it began tying into all the other Marvel cosmic titles that I wasn’t reading at the time. So, that accounts for the loss of a single sale of the book.
—I know it shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Green Lantern Corps is the second Green Lantern title and Blackest Night is selling gangbusters, but man, I can’t get over the fact that a series starring Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and a bunch of goofy alien characters outsells almost everything else DC publishes, including things like every Super-book, almost all of the Bat-books, everything with “Justice” in the title and even the Geoff Johns-written return of Barry Allen.
—Less than a year in, Power Girl is now selling much less than half as many copies as it did with its first issue, and is now moving less than 21K units. With only three issues left to go before the book’s strongest selling point, its creative team, is removed from the equation, only to be replaced by a like ‘em-or-hate ‘em writer and a still up-and-coming artist. Something tells me this title isn’t long for this world…
—I was pretty eager to see this month’s DC chart, because it would reflect how much impact having Geoff Johns co-write an issue of the usually low-selling Tiny Titans would have on the book’s sales. It turns out that few if any of those 100K or so folks eating up Johns’ Blackest Night followed him onto DC’s kid-friendly gag comic. The anniversary issue Johns contributed to did shoot up a bit, but by less than 1,000 units.
—I could have told you six months ago that there was going to be hardly any interest in a Great Ten miniseries by a non-Morrison writer in 2009, and that if DC insisted on doing a ten issue series, then it was going to be doing awfully poorly on these charts by the time #10 rolled around.
But I couldn’t have predicted it would do this bad this fast.
The first issue charted at 13,159, and February’s #4 was at 6,812. That’s not the worst DCU comic—the finally cancelled Red Circle titles are below it—but it’s remarkably terrible, especially considering that the title hasn’t hit the halfway point yet.
And unlike a lot of the Vertigo and Johnny DC titles that sell similar numbers, a 220-page Great Ten collection by a couple of unpopular creators probably isn’t going to do all that great in the trade paperback market to make up for its failings in the direct market.
Can miniseries be cancelled?