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: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/05/04/dc-marketshare-drops-to-26-in-april-2013-as-jupiters-legacy-takes-third-spot-in-sales/
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:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/25659.html 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!