Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sales Review: December 2015

After a sort of dismal November for DC, the company rallied a bit in December, mostly in market share. The usual coverage is over on ICv2, my favorite site to review this sort of information. Here is the link:

Despite that bump, it feels like there is the same sort of erosion at the company. Remove things like the Dark Knight miniseries and opaque bagged variants and you are stuck with a company that doesn't seem to have any lasting bright spots, especially with the Super-family.

In fact, maybe in this new year, DC should resolve to shore up this part of their lineup. They need to fix Superman.

We do know that the fiftieth issues of many of the New 52 books will be a turnover point, a place for bold new directions. And solicits show a flying Superman in those issues meaning the powerless Truth must be sprinting to an end.

Superman #47 brought a semi-closure to the Hordr_Root threat as Superman defeated the information terrorist, capturing him in a portable hard drive.

This was something of a climax to the plot running in the Superman book. So how did it sell?

Well, Superman #47 was the best selling of the super-books, coming in at 47K, just above Ms. Marvel and Hellcat #1.

I think part of the problem with The Truth has been the sort of meandering villain plots when I don't quite see the big picture of any of the villains. If this story was more character driven, I might be more invested.

Superman Annual #3 was also released last month. This was a key issue for The Truth as it looked closely at Vandal Savage, the big bad of the whole storyline.

We see that Savage wants to get back in touch with the comet that gave him power.

How that translates into any of the plots before this annual I have no idea. Why the energy drain? Why the nazi gun ship? Why stealing uranium? If he had control of the Stormwatch ship, why attack Earth? Why not just go to the comet?

The annual sold nearly 29000, just under what Action Comics #47 sold.

I have to say, it really pains me to see the Pak/Kuder book down in the weeds here.

It might sound crazy given my general rant about the super-books, but I hope Pak/Kuder get to stay on the book once a sort of status quo is brought back. I think they flourish when not involved in a mega-crossover. That haunted Smallville storyline was phenomenal.

Meanwhile, Lois and Clark, the best Superman book out there in my opinion, slipped to 21K, probably why it was truncated to a mini-series. I have to assume that won't be picked up as an ongoing.

And the best Supergirl book on the market ... indeed one of my favorite books overall ... is Justice League 3001 and that book also continues to slip.

Justice League 3001 #7 sold just under 14K. That is pretty dangerous waters to be in.

And it is a shame because there is solid characterization in this book and a brilliant take on a Silver Age Supergirl thrust into a leadership role in a dark future. All Kara fans should be reading this.

Thankfully, the Truth is limping to an end. But it pains me that the higher quality super-books are languishing a bit in sales.


Anonymous said...

It always ironic to me that a current Supergirl team book sells at 14k (agreed "dangerous waters indeed") and back in the Bronze Age selling four times as many books thru an unreliable delivery service to the olde spinner racks was grounds for cancellation.....
Times have changed to be sure...
Have we figured out how to assess digital sales since Our Girl's next solo book is an internet affair?


Dave Mullen said...

I cannot understand why Action Comics sells 29'000 as an average while Superman averages 47'000, that gulf in sales makes no sense to me. Does it, and the other Super-Books sales, perhaps suggest that 'Superman' is the anomaly while Action and the rest represent the true average as to Superman's current popularity...?

Anonymous said...

It is weird. In the past, all the Superman books seemed to be clustered fairly close together in sales. My guess is that while Truth has been going on, a lot of people gave up on buying weekly issues and just bought one issue a month to kind of keep tabs on things, just in case things got better.

Dave Mullen said...

I would speculate that with Superman being a franchise character retailers order chiefly on just the one Superman book, leaving the rest to be ordered on more rational numbers so they can be sure they will not have overstock left.
I noticed the same effect on the Green Lantern titles when there were several, with the main solo Green Lantern title ordered well above the rest like New Guardians. In effect then 'Superman' at 47'000 copies is not to be taken as an accurate gauge of the characters popularity - not when the rest of his books are averaging 30'0000.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I do wonder if the 'star power' of JRJR brought people to Superman more. Or some residual bump from that being Johns book with Ulysses.

I think Action, when Pak and Kuder are left alone, is a superior book.

But in general, you would think Superman should be selling better.

Uncle Screensaver said...

These are just the sales by orders from a LCS? We don't know how many are even actually sold in the stores then outside san estimate of people's pull lists? Do they even count digital sales?
With books like JL3001 is it a lack of interest on younger reader's parts or is it just a lack of knowledge about the book itself? How many websites review the book? Where is the marketing? Did anyone cover the death of these versions of Superman and Batman? That the new Batman is a girl? That Supergirl is leader? There was mention of the all-female league but anything else?

I read someone's post that there are characters DC Editorial do not care for and try not to use, including Supergirl, which would explain why Giffen has to fight to use her. It seems they only relented in giving Supergirl a series of some form because of demand due to the TV series, and we don't even get a physical number one. Even Kara/ Power Girl has limited exposure, no pun intended, these days.

As for Superman I think DC constantly feels they need to fix Superman when he doesn't need fixing to begin with, but unfortunately heroes that inspire and whom one might aspire to are unpopular these days for the average reader. Plus, with 100 Batman and Harley Quinn comics, Star Wars and Marvel relaunches, Superman is sketchy at best, especially with these types of stories. But, maybe I'm just too cynical and jaded these days.