Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sales Review: April 2017


The sales results for April 2017 were posted a while back on ICv2 and as usual, I think there is a story to tell in the numbers. Here is a link for the coverage:https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/37459/top-300-comics-actual-april-2017

For me, one of the things that truly vexes me is that DC puts out 4 super-titles in the same week. We get Action Comics, Supergirl, Superwoman, and New Super-Man all released on the same week. If you want to buy all of them, it would run you about $15. And that isn't even counting all the other titles you might be interested in! It seems like a big block to swallow all at once to keep up with the Superman family.

And let's face it, comic readers don't want to pick up an issue that came out the prior week. Our minds don't work that way. So I don't think many people would put an issue aside for a week.

So something's got to give.

In the best of all worlds, DC's release schedule would look like this

Wk1: Action, Supergirl
Wk 2: Superman, New Super-Man
Wk 3. Action, Superwoman
Wk 4: Superman, Super-Sons

They have the bandwidth to do this.

And isn't that better than:

Wk 1: Action, Supergirl, New Super-Man, Superwoman
Wk 2: Superman
Wk 3: Action
Wk 4: Superman, Super-Sons 

I just think that Superman fans might be more apt to plunk down their money if titles and therefore costs were spread out!

Instead, the average consumer needs to choose. Let's see if there is a pattern.


Supergirl #8 was a brilliant issue, reuniting Supergirl and Superman and establishing them as a loving family. The covers were perfect, especially this Bengal one which drips joy.

I called this issue the one Supergirl fans had been waiting 6 years for.

Supergirl and Superman fans should have been lining up to get this one.


It sold just under 24K, another drop in sales.

We are right where we were when K. Perkins and Mike Johnson got unplugged for the New 52. And there doesn't seem to be a bottom. I am perplexed. This book is a very good Supergirl book. I love the characterization. Maybe the art isn't great but that is changing.

I don't know why this isn't selling better? Or being marketed better?


Superwoman #9, a book with an entirely new creative team and a new outlook on their characters also came out.


After the complete disarray of the end of the Phil Jimenez, I am not surprised to see Superwoman coming in at 17K. But K.Perkins, Steven Segovia, and Art Thibert deserve a chance.

But more importantly, I wonder what sales would be if Superwoman wasn't sold on the same week as Supergirl. Would some folks buying Supergirl buy Superwoman if it was available on a different week and $4 more were in their pockets?

Who knows. And now it seems too late.

You see, Lana Lang and Steel have some street cred with Superman fans.


New Super-Man #10 came out and brought in the Flash from China. Superman was in the issue and enlisted Kenan to help fight whatever the upcoming threat is.

I love this book. It is a perfect mix of action, humor, and world-building. It is a joy ... an unexpected joy!


The last issue sold just under 15K.

Now maybe some people would try this book, or continue to have read it, if they weren't already plunking down $8 or $12 bucks on super-books already.

Maybe I am grasping at straws. Maybe I am trying to understand why all these books aren't selling more.

But still ...

It seems like a poor marketing strategy to make Superman fans choose between Family books they might be interested in.

So do the right thing DC! Split these books up over the course of the month!!!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't get why the book isn't selling better, even though the character has her own show. It's the art? Or maybe people didn't like the opening storyline? Admittedly "Reign of Cyborg Supermen" was a rough story arc.

Or maybe people hasn't got the meme yet that Supergirl has grown up after the damage done during the Lobdell's run? It's been three years since "Red Daughter" and DC correcting course but I still find people spouting "The book is about an annoying, whiney teenager? Still not on my pull list". I won't mention how ironical is to listening to Batman fans dissing Supergirl because she allegedly complains too much)

The book should definitely be marketed better.

The prize increase may be a factor, too. And three Superman books coming out on the same week. That's crazy!

I think Supergirl barely showing up in other books is also harming sales. Let's look over the two core Super-books since Rebirth: Superman has been focused on his family, but his blood cousin has barely been mentioned twice... in one whole year! She was barely mentioned while Superman reviewed his history. It makes Kara seem irrelevant.

It's a pity. Steve Orlando "gets" Supergirl. His stories are decent and respect the character's past.

But if you lurk in Bleeding Cool, Newsrama and other sites, no one seems to pay attention to Supergirl's book, and fans seem have decided beforehand it must be crap so they won't bother with it.

Ugh.

And Superwoman and New Superman... well, unless a miracle happens, I'm afraid that they'll be cancelled soon. Again, a pity. There was a time when kids lined up to buy Superman books, even those ones featuring his supporting cast.

Anonymous said...

Personally I tried everything when rebirth came out and started dropping titles that didn't live up to my personal expectations. So the release date wasn't a factor for me.

Maybe it just is that Supergirl is a niche character compared to the real heavy hitters. (In the grand scheme of things she doesn't place extremely low on DCs best sellers though, most DC albums above her are just permutations of the main JL characters.)
A lot of people are buying WW, and that run was imo one of the worst pieces of garbage I have read. Maybe everyone else sees something in them that I don't, just as we see something that makes us happy in Supergirl that many others are blind to.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe it just is that Supergirl is a niche character compared to the real heavy hitters. (In the grand scheme of things she doesn't place extremely low on DCs best sellers though, most DC albums above her are just permutations of the main JL characters.)"

True.

A complicating factor is the current market: the readership is a fraction of what it used to be, most of fans are older fans because few kids are interested in comics nowadays, and the current fans are people which will drop books like Supergirl or Batgirl if they aren't excellent in all aspects and keep buying books as Batman or Spider-Man even if they complain that it's garbage.

And they're stuck in the past, too. They still think Joe Kelly and Scott Lobdell's obnoxious brat is her default characterization and never heard of Sterling Gates, Tony Bedard or Kate Perkins.

"A lot of people are buying WW, and that run was imo one of the worst pieces of garbage I have read. Maybe everyone else sees something in them that I don't, just as we see something that makes us happy in Supergirl that many others are blind to."

Yes, something like that.

Still, it's frustrating. DC has mishandled Supergirl so badly since 1959 it seems Kara's books can't enjoy both good sales and critical success.

Sometimes I feel hopeless... but I try to remember Batman's books used to be poor sellers and were almost cancelled twice in the past. X-Men was cancelled in the 70's and it barely sold above cancellation during the Claremont/Byrne's run. So maybe some day...

Regardless... Anj, maybe this bit of news will cheer you up:

https://supergirl.tv/companion-novel-announced

It'll be Supergirl's fourth novel after the official novelization, "Supergirl at Super Hero High" and "Daughter of Krypton"!

Thayse L Couto said...

I see many people saying that Supergirl is childish and angry all time, maybe it's because of the new 52 where she had some problems of angry (which is normal when her planet explodes),the art also did not help the situation at all.

Also we have to take into account that the whole super family since the new 52 are not so well, superman is not in the top 10 of the best sellers and it's been some time since I saw him there, anyway .. seems to be a general problem between titles of super family,even before rebirth.

'' Superman has been focused on his family, but his blood cousin has barely been mentioned twice... in one whole year! She was barely mentioned while Superman reviewed his history. It makes Kara seem irrelevant.''

when he reviewed his memories his blood relative only appears as a hologram(she may have appeared holding the flowers at the wedding but I'm not sure),In Action Comics issue # 980 when it appears that the people that Super loves will die, even Lana appears but Kara not.

I mean, why..why this?is it some new rule within DC that the Super Cousins can´t interact or be mentioned much in each other's comics?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that putting out 2 Superman titles a week is much better than releasing half of them in one single week. Spreading it out might encourage fans to buy more Super titles. For a character who is at the peak of her media exposure and has a pretty good writer at the helm, 24,000 for an issue guest starring Superman is actually pretty disappointing. It'd be like if the episodes of the Supergirl show where Superman appear in got below a million views. Definitely seems like Superwoman and New Super-Man are on the chopping board when DC make their next cancellations. I won't be sorry to see Superwoman go but New Super-Man has grown on me.

Louis

Anonymous said...

"I see many people saying that Supergirl is childish and angry all time, maybe it's because of the new 52 where she had some problems of angry (which is normal when her planet explodes),the art also did not help the situation at all."

Supergirl behaved as a bratty, annoying teenager during the first issues of the Post-Crisis and New 52 books. Somehow, fans think that's her default personality.

It makes no sense. Superman was an angry, irrational, mean jerkass during "The Truth", but fans don't think he's always a jerkass. They think he was being awfully written in that particular story.

Still, when someone writes Kara, Lois, Lana... awfully, they don't think they're being awfully written in a particular run. They think they're awful.

It's a double standard.

"when he reviewed his memories his blood relative only appears as a hologram(she may have appeared holding the flowers at the wedding but I'm not sure),In Action Comics issue # 980 when it appears that the people that Super loves will die, even Lana appears but Kara not.

I mean, why..why this?is it some new rule within DC that the Super Cousins can´t interact or be mentioned much in each other's comics?"

As reviewing his past, Superman saw a holopic of Kara and her family in Jor and Lara's home.

I don't know, but I've repeatedly and loudly complained about it.

I have several theories. Maybe DC wanted to wait until Superman Reborn was over before both cousins met. Or maybe DC hasn't figured out yet what Kara's past is post-Superman Reborn. After all, if Clark and Lois were married... why didn't they take her in? New Krypton and Gates' run happened? "Red Daughter" and "Crucible" happened? Kara crash-landed in Gotham City or Siberia?

At the very least, Kara's existence hasn't been denied or erased. Poor Matrix and Kon-El, on ther other hand... I think they've been unofficially retconned out.

"I have to agree that putting out 2 Superman titles a week is much better than releasing half of them in one single week. Spreading it out might encourage fans to buy more Super titles."

Moreover, if you buy the two bimonthly Superman books, you're already ponying up 3 or 4 dollars weekly. I'm not sure two bimonthly books is a good idea. Superman, Batman, the Justice League... can support it, but you're milking your fans dry, and dooming niche books.

KET said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KET said...

It seems that DC Comics still hasn't found an angle to sell more of a Superman 'family' of books, which isn't such a new thing. Frankly, this malaise has been going on for decades. Unless they have star name creators on board, there just isn't enough demand anymore, after lots of their audience jumped ship with the Nu52 debacle, and they simply haven't returned. Fool them once...won't get fooled again.

As far as lumping most of the 'family' into one publishing week, perhaps the publisher was thinking along the lines that potential customers don't come in every week, like they used to. Of course, I don't know how marketing came up with that weird idea.

Certainly, DC Comics still seems adrift as far as their comics publishing arm goes. Seems like now more than ever, the comics are merely loss leaders for other IP licensing deals.


KET

Thayse L Couto said...

''It makes no sense. Superman was an angry, irrational, mean jerkass during "The Truth", but fans don't think he's always a jerkass. They think he was being awfully written in that particular story.''

I think it's complicated, some Superman fans have drifted away during the new 52, DC literally killed the Superman of the new 52 and showed Superman that almost everyone missed,while Kara remains the same character, the same thing applies to Lois she was not well seen in the new 52 but most now loves her and they also had to exterminate her version new 52.

Also, look at his comics despite selling well,it has been quite a while since he has entered the top 10.

The first edition of Supergirl rebirth sold very well I think a part of this was due to the curiosity of the fans of the series who didn´t know the comics but apparently many did n´t like it, I don´t know exactly how much supergirl sold before but she is still constantly in the top 100 so I'm actually happy about this.

''As reviewing his past, Superman saw a holopic of Kara and her family in Jor and Lara's home.''

I know but so many people have stood out in this memory while her cousin only appears as a hologram or I can be wrong and she is the blonde girl who was holding the flowers in the wedding, the same thing in In Action Comics issue # 980 most people that Super loves appears less Kara,that honestly doesn´t make any sense to me.

''I have several theories. Maybe DC wanted to wait until Superman Reborn was over before both cousins met. Or maybe DC hasn't figured out yet what Kara's past is post-Superman Reborn. After all, if Clark and Lois were married... why didn't they take her in? New Krypton and Gates' run happened? "Red Daughter" and "Crucible" happened? Kara crash-landed in Gotham City or Siberia?''

New Krypton probably does not exist in this new reality or would have appeared in Superman's memories,Kal told Kara that ''the Kal-El that you met was a part of me',the Super's own memories were altered when he merged with the Superman new 52,so he moved away to take care of Jon but left someone wandering around using his face or the previous remembrance of being from another land is false and was used that to keep him away?and where does that leave the convergence?? where the supergirl pre-new 52 fits in? Is she a part of the current Kara too?So many questions and I don´t know if they will give us the answers so soon.

''At the very least, Kara's existence hasn't been denied or erased. Poor Matrix and Kon-El, on ther other hand... I think they've been unofficially retconned out.''

I'm sure that Kon-El will return, the animation of young justice will come back soon and Kon-El one hour or another should also return to this universe


Anonymous said...

"It seems that DC Comics still hasn't found an angle to sell more of a Superman 'family' of books, which isn't such a new thing. Frankly, this malaise has been going on for decades."

Agreed. In the 80's, Marvel and DC focused on the Direct Market at the expense of the casual reader, seduced by the short-term big profit. This was detrimental to the Superman Family. Superman books used to be a gateway for new fans: all-ages comics starring well-known characters, for kids who wanted to read fun adventures and escapist fantasy. However, the Direct Market was mainly comprised of teenagers who demanded "realism", "maturity" and so-called "depth" and "complexity", and contemptuously sneered at and dismissed the adventures of an alien that flew, fired eye-beams and was a good person.

Sales tanked, and "creatives" like Wolfman blamed the Super-Family (much like Marvel would eventually blame Spider-Man's diminishing sales on MJ Watson). So DC killed Supergirl off and hired Marvel's biggest star to reboot Superman, removing huge chunks of the mythos and renouncing Superman's long and rich history, making his world a darker, duller, grittier, more realistic place. At the same time, DC allowed Frank Miller turn Superman into Batman's brainless punching bag, solidifying Batman's badass status at the cost of making Superman a joke.

This strategy worked... in the short term. In the long term? "Man of Steel" and the Byrne's reboot was a marketing/publicity stunt which threw the franchise in utter chaos, damaging characters and continuity, harming the books and almost destroying Superman.

"Seems like now more than ever, the comics are merely loss leaders for other IP licensing deals."

Agreed again. Right now, Marvel and DC make money off movies, shows and licensing while their comics bleed cash out; but they keep publishing them in order to keep the names trademarked.

Ironically, Kara has kind of benefited from it. DC needs to have the "Supergirl" name in use, and after nearly two decades they understood "Superman's cousin" is more marketable than "Sentient protoplasmic being merged with dying girl and transformed into an Earth Angel".