News and Notes from October 2012’s Comic Sales Numbers

Around the Multiversity offices, many jokes are made about my interest in Microsoft Excel and comic book sales charts. But it’s true – that is definitely an interest of mine, and something I’ll be looking at here on out. Every month, I’ll provide a breakdown of the previous months sales numbers and key facts I pick up from them. For a great look at both this month’s numbers and historical ones, make sure to regularly visit Comichron. John Jackson Miller is the man when it comes to that, and I couldn’t recommend his site enough.

Today, I’ve got a look at things of interest from October, listed below in a convenient bulleted list. Hooray numbers!

1. Big debuts across the board

October found many, many big debuts all across the industry, with none bigger than Uncanny Avengers #1. This is just the second book of the year to cross 300,000 in sales in one month, with many of those sales coming tied to a litany of variants Marvel released for it.

DC’s four debuts also factored in, but with a huge range of success. Predictably, the book with Scott Snyder and Batman ties did the best, with Talon came in at #35 with over 50,000 issues ordered, and Sword and Sorcery (which just seems destined for cancelation) came in way behind at #117. Given that it was $3.99, it actually made more money than Team 7 #1 did, but still – opening so low does not bode well for its long term prognosis.

Two other numbers ones are of note to me. A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1 opened in the top 100 with over 32,000 copies ordered, which to me indicates that there is some interest out there in all-ages books. But that’s me.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you have Bedlam #1 from Image, Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo. This book opened far higher than the most recent issue of Spencer’s Morning Glories (#110 vs. #213), even with a $3.50 cover price. It was actually a really, really strong opening for an Image book, especially one without any superstars creatively. My take on why? Image appears to have made this book returnable, allowing retailers to take a chance on bigger orders. It appears to have paid off big time.

2. The Walking Dead lumbers upward

Issue #103 sold the most copies of any issue of The Walking Dead yet save #100. In fact, it was the first time the book broke into the top ten outside of that issue, as it saw a stellar 21K increase in orders month-to-month. You can say there could be a range of reasons why: this was the first month that factored massive #100 shockwaves into it; it was the last issue Image embargoed, so many retailers likely expected something huge; the TV show came back in October. Whatever the reason, it’s a huge and heartening thing to see.

3. End of Days > Daredevil?

On one hand, it makes sense that Daredevil: End of Days #1 would outsell Daredevil #19. The former pairs together a lot of huge names like Bendis, Mack, Janson and more, and it’s a #1 versus a series that is well into its run. But still, the former is a mini-series, and an oft-delayed one at that, with a $3.99 price tag instead of DD’s $2.99 one, and the latter has been riding a wave of positive press and critical acclaim. To me, you’d think the flagship would be the leader, but I could easily see why End of Days would have higher orders than Daredevil.

4. The New 52: One Year Later

Calendar wise, this is an incorrect statement, but October brought the first issues of the second year of DC’s New 52 (with the Zero Month factored in). I took a smattering of the numbers and found out how year-to-year holds are looking, with some looking great and some looking…particularly bad, but understandable given cancellation. In order of smallest to biggest percentage drop:

Animal Man: 17.23%
Batman: 21.29%
Justice League: 31.28%
Green Lantern: New Guardians: 42.28%
Blue Beetle: 67.15%

It shows two books at the top who are regressing very slowly in sales thanks to highly critically acclaimed runs that have earned a lot of buzz. Justice League has undoubtedly seen a bigger drop than DC was hoping for – they were likely hoping for a Batman like hold – while New Guardians looks like this time next year it might be joining Blue Beetle on the chopping block at this rate. It’s interesting to see how these books have done, and pleasing to see that the best are sticking better than the rest.

5. What to watch for in November

Look for Marvel to extend its lead at the top with a bevy of high profile number ones, thanks to Marvel Now! That is especially if the much delayed Uncanny Avengers #2 drops.

Look for DC’s share to drop a decent amount – 3 to 5% – because of Marvel’s upswing and the lack of #1’s as well as no heat for Superman: Earth One. That said, most of their books are holding well, so don’t expect them to drop too badly.

My big prediction: I think this is the month Image makes it over 10% on either unit or dollar shares. With a few #1’s coming, the heat continuing on for The Walking Dead, and Saga returning, this could be a huge, huge month for Image. Let’s see if I’m right. Look for more analysis on the numbers come December.

About The AuthorDavid HarperDavid Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).

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