Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sales Review: April 2013

It's that time again, when I take a look at sales from the prior month and wonder and worry out loud about what is happening to my favorite characters. Certainly the last year has been rough on DC with a parade of bad publicity, creators being thrown off titles before they started, creators leaving titles before they started because of editorial tyranny, some bad characterization, some bad stories, and some poorly received new titles. The whole run of books seems built on gimmicks and 'events' and 'stunts' without the foundation of solid stories. When Andy Diggle walked off of Action, I actually felt embarrassed to be a DC fan. That is not exactly a way to elicit brand loyalty.

DC sales have been slumping recently and I can only connect the dots.

Perhaps the most blistering image that shows this is this unit share chart from Diamond which I took from Bleeding Cools coverage here:

DC has withered to about 25% of the market. And I don't think excuses of Ultron or Jupiter's Legacy or anything else can explain it away. Something isn't working here. And it feels like it hasn't worked for a while now, predating the New 52 which, in and of itself, felt like a gimmick and a stunt.

For an in-depth look at sales from April 2013, I would advise (as always) going to ICv2. Here is a link:   I  love that sites coverage and tables as it really seems to get right down to the nitty-gritty.

Now last month was an interesting one for Supergirl. Supergirl #19 was part of the company-wide gatefold cover (nee WTF month) stunt. The book also had a Mad Magazine variant cover, one of the better ones of that stunt.

But it also was Mike Johnson's last issue on the book. It re-introduced the classic Power Girl costume into the DCnU. And it began to introduce Luthor and his cronies as rogues for Supergirl. As an issue, it was very solid with good characterization and great art.

Sales for Supergirl #19 held serve, coming in as the 72nd best selling title (up modestly from #73 last month) and selling 29,558 units, up 5% from Supergirl #18. Now there is part of me that realizes that the increase in sales most likely represents the variant cover and the higher orders that come with that.

Or maybe Power Girl being in the book brought her fans over to the book. (Although I wish that Karen and Kara fans were always supporters of each others' books.)

But what I really hope is that the quality of the issue with the prospect of an oncoming new writer will keep people coming.

Now I have to admit that DC isn't doing everything wrong in my book.

I think Demon Knights has been an absolute delight since its inception. The transition from writer Paul Cornell to Robert Venditti has been seamless. And the art on the recent arc by Bernard Chang was stunning. And, despite low sales, DC must recognize the quality of the book and the niche it fills. Because, at least so far, I haven't seen a Final Issue solicit (although I cringe each month reading the solicits, fearing it will be there).

Demon Knights reminds me of R.E.B.E.L.S.. That was another title which had high quality, which I talked about incessantly, and which solidly sold around 12K every month. Do the right thing DC! Let Demon Knights stick around!


valerie21601 said...

There is only 30 titles (I did not count the non-52 series like Lil Gotham) in the Top 100 of the Diamond/icv2 charts. One-Third of the 52 series are rapidly sinking.

I noticed what DC gained in the early months they quickly lost and then some. The indie titles got a bigger slice of the pie and put a dent into DC's slice.

IMO the new 52 and the Before Watchmen series lured in the new and lapsed readers, found the 52 lacking but the indies caught their eyes. They read the indies and found what they really wanted in comics and now buy them instead of DC.

The 52 and Before Watchmen was the best thing to happen the indies, not DC in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Cheap heat never lasts, and DC has handcuffed itself to a stunt driven short money strategy...these sales figures seem to indicate they are now reaping the bounty of that decision. Glad to see SG is still holding her own (albeit thats to yet another stunt)...too bad I have so little good to say about the book.


Phillyradiogeek said...

I'd be curious to know how digital sales figures affect the continuance or cancellation of a book. The major reason for the launch of the New 52 was to attract new readers via the digital market.

Anonymous said...

You know, they just launched the preview of supergirl #20 in comic vine. You should see it, it's just hillarious.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

It has felt odd to be watching this from the outside as a fan, sort of like watching a loved one self-destruct despite your pleadings.

I wish digital sales were listed or had their own rank list as well!

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that once Venditti starts on Green Lantern, he'll bring in fans of his work to Demon Knights.