Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sales Review: July 2011

July sales for comics were in general down in comparison to both the prior month as well as to the year before. As always, ICv2 does a great job covering all aspects of the comic market and I highly recommend going to their site to look things over. Here is the link to the list of the top 300 selling comics for July 2011:

There are so many reasons for comic sales to continue to erode. Yes, there is the instability of the print market. And comics represent a niche of that world, sequestered in their private stores, away from casual readers.

But on top of that, there was/is the uncertainty of the American economy. Comics are basically luxury items. Sure people will always pick food over comics. But what about the luxuries in life - internet or comics? Cable television or comics? These are what comics are battling in tight times. And comics will probably lose that battle every time.

And, of course, I think comics sometimes are their own worst enemy. If you flood the market with big 'event' comics and crossovers (like Flashpoint mini-series) which will be essentially meaningless in a couple months, I don't know if people will pay out more money to purchase them. Now I buy comics for entertainment first so stories will always win out. But in tight times, I am probably less likely to purchase new comics especially mini-series for a self-contained story.

Or the reverse might happen. Readers might step away from a monthly to get an event mini-series and then never return to the monthly book.

So let's see that how that all would effect the sales of Supergirl #66. Now this has been a fun story by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by ChrisCross. There is a real 'fun' feeling to this arc, one that I have enjoyed.

Supergirl has been selling around 22-23K for a while.So this drop to 20K has been the most precipitous drop on the title in a while. Why?

Well, every Flashpoint mini-series outsold it.Every one. Could some people who would normally have bought Supergirl instead bought a Flashpoint book? Probably.

And this Supergirl is going away in 2 months. Was the relaunch the time that some people decided to jump off rather than jump on? Maybe.

And could people have a few less dollars in their pocket and Supergirl was a fringe title in their collection. Sure.

Will more people come on board for the relaunch? I guess we have to wait and see. 


Heath Edwards said...

listening to an interview with deconnick on a wordballoon podcast a few weeks ago, she was very excited about issue 67, so i hope the final issue of the series does well.

valerie21601 said...

So strange that EVERY ONE of the Flashpoint series have sold out, at my local comics shop hardly anyone bought any. Plus most people who have pull lists have dropped almost every DC title.

mathematicscore said...

I've definitely been trimming my pull list, and since this arc was a new writer on the last few issues of a series I almost didn't buy this second issue of the arc; but then I read it, cover to cover, in the store and was very glad I did. Just great comics!

Gene said...

Odd. My usual comic book shop was sold out of Supergirl #66, so I had to pick it up at another shop.


Dave Mullen said...

So strange that EVERY ONE of the Flashpoint series have sold out, at my local comics shop hardly anyone bought any. Plus most people who have pull lists have dropped almost every DC title.

Agree. This is why I'm a little skeptical of these sales charts, Flashpoint may be 'selling' well purely because shops are ordering extra and hedging their bets on it being a seller and in-demand, the reality is something else. I have to say since DC made their announcement my buying habits have been seriously dented where DC are concerned, I don't think they're going to get me back to where I was for their September launch either. It's partly the whole idea of the reboot yes but also the question of trust - their attitude to their readers stinks frankly and I don't really trust them anymore, my faith is almost gone.

Anonymous said...

Great,I love listening to this one:" Whoa is me, I'm so persecuted" by Larry Gardner. Broken record, please move on.

Anj said...

Well, I am sure the reboot has something to do with sales.

I think it is going to be impossible to sort out sales in the DCnU for some time. All these books will need to find their markets. I hope DC gives them all some time to grow.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anj. Great analysis, as always. "Sequestered in their private stores, away from casual readers." That sums up the problem. When I was a kid, comic books were everywhere: convenience stores, drug stores, book stores, record stores, supermarkets, etc. There were eight places to buy comics just in a three-block suburban radius.

Today, the vast majority of kids and adults do not have a place to buy print comics that is within walking distance. Any casual fan who needs to get into their car and drive to a specialty store to buy what was once available everywhere might not take the commute, especially with gas prices being what they are. Whoever made the decision to make comics a niche market, whether the decision was made by a person or a corporation, this was the wrong decision. The market is clearly struggling right now, as it has been for a while. I sometimes wonder what would happen if comics came back to where they should be, instead of being sequestered in a specialty shop . There would be more sales, I imagine. Though it would be difficult for any child to follow mainstream superhero comics. Gone are the days of regular single-issue stories and plot recaps. Now we have endless crossovers that say the same thing: "This will e the greatest event ever!! Nothing will be the same!! We mean it this time! Really!" Then comes the giant reset button, every time. Why would new readers invest in a hobby and read the stories when the continuity is ever-changing and characters blink out of existence only to be replaced with "new costune, new origin, new personality, etc." What's the incentive for new readers to pick up comic books when five years from now none of the characters or continuity will matter?

Anonymous said...

I think DC has reached a point where there is a diminished rate of return for these company wide crossover events. They are trying to hype a niche aud that is aging and shrinking. Which is my main suspicion with the revamp, that is assumes that the problems at DC are related to storytelling. They think "All we have to do is tell DIFFERENT EDGIER stories and sales will treble overnight".
My main fear is that comics themselves have become a quaint retrograde interest like vinyl record albums or pre transistor radios. Something that is inherently un-economic is not rigged for advantage in a recession.
If indeed all DC's problems were really related to storytelling then I might be able to accept a "Different edgier Supergirl" etc etc. But I suspect these books will go great guns for ten months or so then the collectors and ephemeral readers will drift back to the X-Men and Wolverine's latest slaughter leaving DC to languish again. Thus DC WIll have royally screwed up their whole stable of heroes for a very chimerical payoff indeed.
Lets hope I'm wrong but then again the enemy of the perfect is the good....

John Feer

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I used to walk down the block to the convenience store to get my comics off the spinner rack. My kids only know about comics because I read them. There friends don't know about them. So the next generation is going to be important. I suppose that in these times, digital download is the way to go. Not many people go to the 'record store' or 'the movie store' anymore either.

Anj said...

And I think sales are going to be impossible to interpret for the lower selling titles.

When you flood the market with new titles, you are going to spread out the readers you have. So while Batman and GL and JLA will probably sell better (at the beginning), I wonder what DC plans to do with the many titles I anticipate will sell 10K. How long will those titles have to find their audiences? Or will the plug be pulled quickly?

valerie21601 said...

I'll try to find it. I recently read a Dan Didio interview where he says, they plan to have 13 issues out EVERY single week and they plan to increase the number of series to come out on a regular basis. When asked as to how many per week Didio wouldn't say.

Sounds like Didio is planning to be a shelf hog to push and squeeze their competition out of the market by the sheer number of series coming out.

Not a good move at all. People only have so much money in their pockets. Too many coming out at once and people will simply drop comics and leave them all in disgust.

Anonymous said...

Some titles will sell well for sure (Action, JL, Batman, GL, etc.), while some will be on the fringe for sure. The question is where will all the titles in the middle finish up once the early buys are done.

I know that there are only 8-10 titles I won't be getting at all. The remaining ones I'll be getting by a mix of hard copy and digital.

And some of the announced minis, like the Huntress mini, look great.

It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out over a six-month period.