Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sales Review: July 2013

The sales numbers for July 2013 were released this week and, as usual, my go to site is ICV2. Here is a link to their Top 300 comics in sales:

To be honest, as a fan of a number of mid-tier DC comic titles, I don't like months like July sales-wise. DC claimed the top spot in sales in July, narrowly beating Marvel. They took 6 of the top 10 slots. (Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel's top seller??) As a DC fan I should be happy about this.

But the best sellers were Batman books, Justice League "Trinity War" crossovers, and two new high profile books - Superman Unchained and Batman/Superman. And this seems to perpetuate something I might consider a problem. And that is that as a business DC will see that only big events and Batman books sell well. So why shouldn't they make more of them.

I understand that DC and Warner Brothers need to make a profit. I just wish that there was an understanding that you need to support your other titles to create a universe that is broad and varied.

Supergirl #22 came out in July and was the second chapter of the Cyborg Superman story by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves. Despite the announced loss of Mahmud Asrar (and that was a big loss to the book), I was pleased with the story. Maybe I am being hopeful but this story is a perfect set-up for a rethinking of the book with Kara accepting Earth and becoming a hero.

Sales remained relatively steady with 25,514 units sold (down just 1.5% from last month). Due to an influx of new books, despite the somewhat stable sales, Supergirl ranked at #99.

I find it sad that a book based on a video game where Superman killed Lois and the Joker outsells Supergirl. I also find it interesting that three DC books with female protagonists (Supergirl, Worlds' Finest, and Catwoman) are all bunched up in sales.

But remember, my concerns are about the variety in DC's market. Every book can't be dark and gritty and grim. I want to see other themes and styles.

I have been singing the praises of Vibe, a throwback of sorts, a book with a hero who wants to do good because it is the right thing to do, someone who inspires.

I suppose that it being Vibe made this a tougher sell. There might be those who think he'll be break dancing in the book. But I am shocked to see the book way down at #185, selling only 12,241 units. It's only a matter of time before the 'Final Issue' solicit happens. And that's a shame. DC should be promoting the hell out of this book.

I also think it is interesting that three of my favorite books - Brian Woods Conan, Vibe, and the recent Rocketeer mini-series - are all bunched down here together. Sad.

I suppose I could stop reporting these things, just read the books and enjoy them.


AndNowInStereo said...

Here's hoping Supergirl stays around. I'm going to start subscribing to it as of next issue. I have got a question, how exactly DO DC promote their comics? Where do the ads end up? Here in Britain the only place I see comics promoted are online on nerd-themed websites (most of which are about comics anyway thus probably not reaching new audiences) or very rarely in book shops. And every DC ad I've seen this year has had Superman on it, no one else. Is this very different in the US?

I'd hazard an uneducated guess that at this point, the best advertising Supergirl gets is the many cosplayers who love the character, given how popular she is with them. Without them her visibility even in nerd culture would be pretty poor. How did they manage to get huge numbers to read the Loeb/Churchill Supergirl book back in 2005, and where did they all go?

Dave Mullen said...

Part of the problem with Supergirl and Worlds Finest is that DC don't look after them. Worlds Finest has gone from having Kevin McGuire and George Perez to some new artist who is merely passable and has had no fanfare whatsoever to promote her, while Supergirl has lost Asrar and again gained an artist who isn't well known or regarded and hasn't had any fanfare.... so two books with unstable artistic teams.

The other problem with Supergirl is the wandering direction, from cuddling up to H'el to now wandering outer space feeling sorry for herself as usual. Something has got to change with this attitude, it's not fun to read about month after month and I can well understand why sales, and interest, are wandering away from this book. It's not terribe, but it feels Aimless.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

Thomas - I think of publicity as not only ads in the books, but interviews with creators on websites, putting big name creators on the books, adding variant covers, just nurturing.

And I agree Dave, it is like each is waiting to turn the corner from the initial impetus (Supergirl feeling alone, WF working on getting home) but can never quite get there.

And with the loss of the big name artists on both books, we are looking at word of mouth and brand loyalty to keep people coming.

AndNowInStereo said...

I see what you mean Anj. I think I got into reading comics after a comment conversation under an article on The Mary Sue, of all places. Can't remember what the article was about, but there was discussion of the Grey/Palmiotti/Conner run on Powergirl under it, getting such glowing praise from the (mostly female) commenters there, that I thought I'd give it a shot. I loved it, I wish there were more books like that.

I'm also in agreement with both of you about the Supergirl series' direction, even though I am liking it and think she's a sympathetic character for the most part. There was a point there after the opening arc and the Black Banshee storyline where there was just a hint of levity entering the book, and then it disappeared and hasn't come back yet. I hope they bring her back to Earth after the next arc (Another crossover, why did no one warn me about these when I started reading comics) for some relief. And yet people are telling me that Supergirl is actually one of the least dark books in the New 52! I'm not going to stick with it if it never lightens up - I'll just dig into DC's back catalogue instead. Batgirl (2009-2011) is one I'm enjoying at the moment.

Anj said...

Exactly Thomas.

I felt like Mike Johnson was close to having her embrace Earth as a home and become a hero when H'El on Earth derailed that plan.

Now Michael Alan Nelson also has her literally fighting her old feelings and presumably ready to head back to Earth and call it home when H'El on Earth part 2 takes the book over.

The book needs to finally reach that point of Kara accepting Earth, wanting to do good, and becoming a hero albeit one who is learning the ropes.

Can't we get there!