How big was the New 52 relaunch by DC? Industry website ICv2 looks at some numbers for September:
Sales in comic stores over the last three months before August (May through July) had averaged over a 10% decline. And the seasonal impact is negative in September. By our calculations, that makes a roughly 10% average increase over the previous year during August and September explainable only with a 20% bump from the previous run rate of 10% decline, without any seasonal effect. If you throw in a normal drop-off in September from the previous months, the effect of the New 52, not only on DC’s sales but on overall sales, may have been on the order of a 25-30% increase over what would have otherwise occurred.
A 25-30% increase on overall sales? That’s amazing – and arguably a sign that, despite conventional wisdom, things like mainstream advertising might possibly drive new traffic to comic stores. Your mileage may vary, but I really think that seeing a rise of that size across overall sales and not just DC’s suggests that new or lapsed customers really were going to stores for the launch, as opposed to DC just gaining readers from the existing fanbase.