Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sales Review: December 2016

The sales for December 2016 were posted over on ICv2 and I highly recommend heading over there for great insight. Here is a link:

But I was very interested in seeing the hard numbers because this was the first month in a long time that two dedicated Supergirl comics were on the rack at the same time. Has Supergirl reached a level of popularity that she can support two series? Or, from a print viewpoint, is she still a steady 'middle of the pack' seller.

Suffice it to say, as an eternal pessimist, my glass is half empty.

Supergirl #4 continued the Cyborg Superman/Argo City storyline. In this issue, Supergirl breaks out of her prison and breaks through to her mother that Earth must live and Krypton has already died.

This issue also had one of my favorite covers in recent memory, Bengal's variant of Kara saving Streaky from a truck accident.

So how did it sell?

Supergirl #4 ranked as the 92nd best selling title, with orders numbering just over 31K.

When you consider that the first issue sold over 100K, I still worry about this plummet in sales. I have heard grumblings in some of my posts here as well as elsewhere in social media that people have been underwhelmed or put off by the Cyborg Superman arc. Others have worried that Ching's art might have driven some people away.

As for me, all prior Supergirl titles have tended to hover around 25K in sales so I anticipate more attrition until we get there. That said, all bets are off when the Superman/Legion crossover happens. Maybe more people will come by and stick around.

And Supergirl Being Super was released in the last week of December.

This book was touted for any number of reasons. Writer Mariko Tamaki is a big deal in young adult literature. Joelle Jones is growing in prominence in comics. It is a prestige format book, rare these days! And it is a book aimed at young women.

I thought this would be a bigger deal but it only 21.5 K were ordered. Maybe comic stores were worried about the price point? Maybe they also were gauging what other Supergirl books have sold and trying to make the best guess.

I also remember that these books were going to be sold at brick and mortar book stores like Barnes and Noble. So maybe sales were better overall? Does B&N need to order through Diamond as well?

Anyways, I am hoping sales stabilize and remain solid enough for DC not to pull the plug!


Anonymous said...

I'm not really upset. After seeing the sales of issue #2 I kind of expected a drop.

Yes, I've heard people telling they don't like the art, or the Cyborg Superman story, or the setting is too similar to the show...

Some complainers haven't even found out Brian Ching is leaving the book after this arc, and they still complain about the art!

I hope the incoming Legion arc increases or at the very least stabilizes sales.

However I'm worried about the cover prizes rising.

I wonder if the Superman books would sell best if they came out in differen weeks...

Anonymous said...

I think its Ching and the Downer Storyline, and I hate saying that believe me. If you are gonna retcon Kara back to HS (which is of itself a good idea IMO) then you've got to commit to that setting, work up a good supporting cast and focus on establishing an intimate tone. Rocketing Kara across the galaxy to duke it out with Daddykins undercuts this completely. As for Brian Ching, I suspect his artwork is too boho for this kind of a aud, I like it just fine but I have a contrarian streak.


Anonymous said...

For me I dont like the show part inserted into the comics. The catco (suddenly cat is super rich and a worldwide icon) and the deo. Kara is going to hs, working for deo and working for catco. Thats too much for a 16 yr old. They shouldve just stick with her being in hs living with the danvers while saving the world inbetween classes. I was hopinv for a smallvilleish.

Carey said...

I have to admit that I abandoned the new Supergirl after a couple of issues primarily because it fell into the trap of far too many Supergirl comics over the past few years, of being obsessed with her Kryptonian heritage. Her realtionships on Earth strike me as far more interesting than those with her mother and father, yet this is the third major story arc in the last seven or eight years that's decided to investigate it (the New Krypton arc and, iirc, her New 52 run).

That said, I keep reading good previews and reviews, so am intending to check out the collection of the first arc. I'll also be checking out the forthcoming Legion arc.

Personally I find that art pleasant and an interesting change from the usual superhero style, and hope Chang continues.

However, for me Supergirl: Being Human is far more what I am looking for in a Supergirl comic: Superpowers as a metaphor for adolescence and an investigation in what it's like being a stranger in a strange land. And I don't worry overmuch with the sales figures on this as it strikes me as something that will garner more attention as a collected edition (rather like the similarly excellent Deadman series currently being published).

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I think the book is 'sort of' like the show and 'sort of' like the main DCU old title. Hoping once this story is done we rev things up.

As for Being Super, it is a fine Elseworlds. But I like Kara as a player in the main universe. Both takes are fascinating to me.

Anonymous said...

Art turned me off more than anything -- it seemed to be aimed directly at a young female audience -- and I fit in neither category. That said -- Supergirl was already a Superwoman when I started reading her 'Adventures' -- having graduated college and moved to San Francisco. So seeing her as high school age -- especially when she's an adult in the TV show -- lessens my desire to read her stories. I think the inclusion of Catco and the DEO is a bit heavy-handed. They could have included elements of the TV show without copying them directly. Will probably give the Emerald Empress issues a chance - being an old school Legion fan.

Avi Green said...

Whatever you think of sales charts, I think it's crucial to point out that 30,000 copies distributed to stores - but not necessarily sold to audiences - is nothing to celebrate when movies and music albums are selling in millions all the time. Anybody who's a realist should consider that such low numbers only underscore how the audience for comic books now is very abysmally low, and has been for decades now. I once did a little research and noticed that already in the mid-1970s, sales were beginning to drop to less than a million for some series. As a result, no matter the artistic quality, it's hard to say comic books have been a success story in the long run.

I won't argue whether you should be lauding any of these series, but I think it's regrettable whenever I see people talking about sales as though they actually have meaning, yet never arguing why it's better to switch to a format like Original Graphic Novels. Many specialty stores already sell busloads of OGNs, and there's some European comics which may have gone exclusively in such a format, so I don't see why nobody complains that the mainstream publishers won't adapt to formats that are easier to market in mainstream bookstores as well. It's unhelpful to turn a blind eye to marketing failures, and anybody who really wants comicdom to someday regain sizable audiences would do well to start contemplating what I'm stressing.