Sunday, July 6, 2008

Publishers Weekly DC Sales Report

There is a very in-depth look at DC's current economic woes at Publisher's Weekly. Here is the link:

The writer does an incredible job at breaking down the numbers, not only of DC as a whole but each individual title, looking back at not only the last several issues sales but also prior incarnations of the title going back years.

Here is the breakdown of Supergirl. The numbers are sobering ... staggering ... depressing. I had no ideas the title had hemorrhaged readers so badly.

05/2001: Supergirl #58 — 20,376*
05/2002: Supergirl #70 — 19,156*
05/2006: Supergirl #6 — 102,860
05/2007: Supergirl #17 — 50,429 (- 2.4%)
06/2007: Supergirl #18 — 50,279 (- 0.3%)
07/2007: Supergirl #19 — 48,576 (- 3.4%)
08/2007: Supergirl #20 — 46,862 (- 3.5%)
09/2007: Supergirl #21 — 44,656 (- 4.7%)
10/2007: Supergirl #22 — 41,758 (- 6.5%)
11/2007: Supergirl #23 — 45,460 (+ 8.9%)
12/2007: Supergirl #24 — 37,922 (-16.6%)
01/2008: Supergirl #25 — 36,459 (- 3.9%)
02/2008: Supergirl #26 — 34,186 (- 6.2%)
03/2008: Supergirl #27 — 32,596 (- 4.7%)
04/2008: Supergirl #28 — 31,379 (- 3.7%)
05/2008: Supergirl #29 — 30,192 (- 3.8%)
6 months: -33.6%
1 year : -40.1%
2 years : -70.7%
Supergirl sales keep dropping at an alarming rate. Yet another “regular” new creative team (the sixth one to date, if you’re keeping count) has been announced, meanwhile.

70.7% loss of readers over 2 years. 33.6% over the last 6 months recorded.
70.7 % !!!! 33.6%
So ... how do we interpret these numbers? Let's look at some of the key issues.

Issue 6: 102,000 issues. I expected sales to be brisk at this point in the title. The title was just coming off the Loeb opening arc. Churchill's art was being relatively well received. This was also a jumping on point for new readers with a new storyline that was in essence One Year Later. There was a variant Churchill cover. It also marked the return of Ed Benes to a Supergirl title and guest starred Power Girl. Greg Rucka had just been named new writer. I thought issues 1-5 were okay, although I thought the ending of the story was not satisfying. But I had optimism for this new team and story.

Issue 19: 48,500 issues. Well, after a number of creative teams and what I felt was an absolutely abysmal run by writer Joe Kelly, I was not surprised to see that the title had lost about 50% of its readers. The buzz had faded. The story and art was uneven. And the boards unfortunately showed a fractionated Supergirl fandom. To be honest I am surprised the title sold that many at this point. This was the really awful 'mad Zor-El, kill Kal-El' storyline. The Garza art was uneven at best, muddy at worst. Kelly continued to write (for me) an unlikeable Kara. I almost dropped the title myself.

Issue 23: 45,500 issues. This represented a slight bump in sales from the prior dreadful Countdown crossovers. The new team of Kelly Puckett, who wrote Batgirl so well, and Drew Johnson were coming on board. There was a variant cover by Adam Kubert. Maybe some new readers were brought in. Maybe some old readers came back with the end of the Joe Kelly run.

Issue 24: 38,000 issues. Uhhh ... were did all the new readers go? Well, when it is a new team and you expect new readers, you need to hook them. But issue 23, Puckett's first issue, which was nearly wordless, was probably not a great way to reel people in. So 7ooo readers left. For me, these issues were a breath of fresh air. It immediately redefined the Superman/Supergirl relationship. Kal called on her for help. Sheacted heroic, going to her absolute limits to try to accomplish the mission. Even better, in issue 24 we see a loving Zor-El!

Still, I think about Birds of Prey 56, the first Simone/Benes issue. That had a hook ... great dialogue, great cliff-hanger, eye-catching cover.

Heck, it even said 'Bold New Direction' on the cover. Comics readers are suckers for that line! That's what this title needed in issue 23, a hook to keep new readers.

Issue 29: 30,000 issues. Right in the middle of the 'Saving Thomas' storyline and we are at 25% of sales from issue 6. 30,000 is probably on the cusp of cancellation. But just like Kelly's run was loved by some and hated by others (like me), it seems Puckett has the same effect. I think if you hated Kelly, you like Puckett. And if you liked Kelly, you hate Puckett.

Issue 34: ??? issues. My guess is that DC will do some ads about the title, emphasizing the link to the Superman title. Let's hope Sterling Gates is a unifying force for the polarized Kara fans, bringing together the divided Supergirl house. I think this pic from the Igle website will be a variant cover, maybe drumming up orders.

And I am hoping for about 38,000 in sales for that issue. I don't think this title can afford to lose more support.


Heath Edwards said...

i'm not one to take interest in sales charts, but this is tremendously disappointing, eh... here's hoping that the new team will bring in those also interested in johns, and robinson.
its true, though. there hasn't been a defining story for the new supergirl title. even the opening arc was a series of meetings around the dc supergroups.

Anj said...

Thanks for the post.

It feels like we are limping to issue 34.

But on one of the boards Igle said Gates had plotted 24 issues of Supergirl already, so hopefully we have a stable team on the book.

Let's hope sales improve!!

Heath Edwards said...

24 issues is great! i think a stable team will help sales, definitely...

Anj said...

24 issues is great! i think a stable team will help sales, definitely...

I was impressed to hear he has thought that far ahead, even if it is broad plot thoughts.

That would take us to issue 58! If we make it that far, I would be thrilled.