Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sales review: September 2013

September was Villains' Month at DC Comics, another gimmick-y kind of month with 3D covers and one shots for the bad guys. And over on ICv2, the sales numbers have been released. Here is a link to the top 300 comics for the month: As always, there is great breakdown of the month's sales there so please visit the site.

I have mixed feelings about the month for any number of reasons.

I am pretty sick of gimmicks that try to bring in dollars by enticing completists or speculators. This month with the allocated lenticular covers seemed to scream 'money grab'. I couldn't care less about 3D covers if the story is lousy. And several of the lenticular covers were subpar with the background characters blurry.

And, unfortunately, the quality of the books (which I suppose is true of any month) was variable. Many of these stories were simple one-offs, something that didn't necessarily need to be told at this point or in this depth. Because of the covers (and I wonder deadline pressures), the creators names weren't on the cover making it difficult to follow writers or artists who I like.

Lastly, as this was something of a dash for cash, DC flooded the market with characters/titles that were known commodities, forsaking their minor titles completely. In a month designed to have completists collect every title, wouldn't this have been a nice time to bolster those titles with a gimmick cover. There is no denying that Action Comics #23.1 Cyborg Superman was the Supergirl book of the month. It is clear Earth 2 #15.1 Desaad was clearly the Worlds' Finest book of the month. Why not throw those middle titles a bone?

So while there were some very good issues in the group (Bizarro, Doomsday, Killer Frost, Parasite, Ra's Al Ghul), overall I was pretty tepid on the month. Of course, I am lukewarm about Forever Evil, Evil is Relative, and lots of other stuff too.

Unfortunately, I don't think that my concerns of sketchy quality, silly gimmicks, and poor publicity for lower selling books will matter to DC.

Because the gimmick worked.

DC took in 40.4% of the comic dollars last month, compared to Marvel’s 28.5%.

Comics are a business and Villains' Month was a successful venture for DC.

There isn't a Supergirl issue to track sales-wise so I thought I would take a look at the top selling Superman related villains' books.

Not surprising given the popularity of Batman these days, Batman Superman #3.1 Doomsday was the highest selling Superman book in the month. I do wonder if readers looking for Batman or Superman or even a mention of them were happy with the book. This was a World Of Krypton story, a Supergirl story more than anything. I really loved that issue (despite more psychological warfare on Kara).

And Action Comics #23.1 Cyborg Superman was the biggest selling pure Superman book. Of course, this was also a Supergirl story.

Should I be happy that Kara-related stories were the top sellers? Or should I think of it as a lost opportunity for a Supergirl book to sell higher?

The lowest selling Superman books were H'El and Metallo.

I am not surprised about H'El, a character whose initial splash in the DCU was a terrible and incomprehensible story. And now we have an even more inscrutable origin issue!

Metallo was a fine story if somewhat pedestrian.

Still, 34K in sales is more than Supergirl or Superboy.

Let's hope that this 'month off' doesn't make sales on the dropped titles sink even more.

1 comment:

AndNowInStereo said...

Maybe Krypton Returns will kill H'el off. Well, I can dream can't I?

Thanks for the tip about the Doomsday issue, which I read yesterday and I really liked it. I've never seen so much panel time for Lara and find it interesting that she was a warrior. I also liked the characterisation of Alura and Lara as tougher and more grounded than this issues' young Zor-El and Jor-El, who come across as more naive and optimistic (as idealised comic book scientists should be). It makes me wonder even more about Alura's background - we've had a lot of hints dropped about her but nothing concrete yet.

And everything with Kara was great, both the scenes with her and Zor-El and those with Zod. Booth does a good job drawing her. Did you notice how her blanket turns into a cape when she stands up to Zod? I don't know if this makes complete sense, but I love the symbolism. I assume Supergirl is going to meet Zod and Doomsday at some point, and I hope whoever writes that remembers this backstory.