It's that time again when sales figures for last month's comics come out and I try to analyze just what the heck it all means. I sometimes wonder if I was better off when I didn't know these numbers existed, when I didn't try to survey the comics landscape and try to anticipate just where a comic fits into the pecking order of the almighty dollar.
As always, I thank the folks at ICv2 for doing a great job of not only giving a big picture analysis but also showing some of the details. Here is a link to December 2011's top 300 selling comics: http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/21881.html
Now last month's sales showed that maybe things are settling a bit after the explosion of the New 52. Marvel was able to reclaim the top spot in 'market share' while DC dominated the top ten selling books, claiming 8 of the top 10 and boasting 4 books that sold over 100K each. That's incredible.
While there is no doubt that there is a top tier for DC sales, there now seems to be a middle tier and lower tier as well. Not everything is selling as wildly as it did the first month.
Supergirl seems to have settled nicely into that middle tier, performing solidly last month. While sales for Supergirl #4 were down 13% from the prior month, her rank remained stable (rising one spot to #42). As each issue of this title seems to be building momentum, I am glad that readers are sticking around.
So Supergirl selling nearly 40K is wonderful and hopefully sales will remain this brisk. But shedding over 10% of readers a month for the second month in a row is somewhat concerning. And yet, the rank holding steady seems to imply that people are simply shifting their comic spending money around or shedding titles everywhere.
This isn't a big surprise to me. I said myself that I would try a bunch of the new 52, settle on some, try some for an arc, and reassess. (That should be a month to month process really.) Within the next couple of months, I will drop DC Comics Presents (once the Jenkins/Chang arc ends) and I anticipate dropping Hawk and Dove.
And remember, there is that lower tier of the new 52's. I arbitrarily chose 21K as a cut-off mark for sustainable sales. There are 12 of the new 52 below that line. This includes Hawk and Dove (which I currently collect).
How will DC respond to this lower level is the most interesting question. We have already heard about creative team changes and 'new directions' a mere 4 months in. How long will DC keep these lower selling titles afloat to see if they can find an audience before pulling the plug?
And when will the 'new new' batch of title be announced?