Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sales Review: December 2010

Sales for December were recently posted over on ICv2 and it was an interesting month. Comic sales were down from last year while trades were up a significant 26.7% from the year before. As always, the gloom and doom of floppies continues to haunt the industry.

It was an overall great month for DC with the company taking the top 7 titles and 8 of the top 10. But it is somewhat hard for me to analyze what it all means when the top title (David Finch's Dark Knight) only sold just shy of 90K.

As always, the articles and sales numbers are worth perusing. Here is the link to the top 300 titles:  Other links there will take you to all of ICv2's sales coverage. I applaud them for their work.

While the DC numbers where encouraging in total, the Supergirl numbers continue to slowly erode. Supergirl #59 sold 22,606. This is down significantly from the 25K+ that Supergirl #58 sold. I wonder if that issue's numbers were elevated by the 1:10 variant cover by Amanda Conner.

A better comparison might be made to Supergirl #57 which sold 23,842. Basically we are down about 5%. That can't be good. How sad that Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's run is not only over ... but that sales didn't match how great it was.

Looking at the titles surrounding Supergirl, I am surprised to see Legacies languishing even lower.

But with the creative team shake-up and the complete lack of publicity support by DC, who knows where sales for number 60 will be. Would anyone be surprised if Supergirl sold dramatically lower next month?

As usual, I'll comment on titles I collect which are lower sellers as well. I have to say that I have been sort of underwhelmed by R.E.B.E.L.S. lately. It seems to be straying from what it was doing earlier in the title.

Sales are slowly creeping lower here as well. R.E.B.E.L.S. has always sold greater than 11K. This month it slipped below that mark. I worry that some of the core readers are leaving this title as it morphs into a GL adjunct book and moves away from the original  team concept.

Even more disheartening is the sales on Doom Patrol. Doom Patrol #17 sold 9,564. That is pretty dismal for a book which I think fills a nice niche of 'offbeat' super-heroics and has been of a pretty high quality.

I am going to try to remain positive about the Supergirl title ...


valerie21601 said...

I often wonder why DC Comics can't seem to learn that publicity and word of mouth and following through on it counts for something when it comes to sales?

Dave Mullen said...

That's certainly worrying for Supergirl, I wouldn't read too much into it though as obsessing over sales is no barometer for a companies actual attitude towards a book.
Let's be blunt here and admit that all those sales figures are lamentably poor, 90'000 for the Dark Knight is not all that impressive in the broder scheme of things. I was reading an old interview with Mark Bagley where he talks about the New Warriors in the ealy 90s and how 'poor' the sales were initially - about 200'000 alltogether!

I'm not worried about sales here, it's the direction and publicity the book needs that's the real worry.

TalOs said...

Ok having turned Supergirl into "Dark Supergirl" in the pages of "JLA", as well as being given a new writer/artist team for her own main title might help boost sales for a possible short while what i truly think Supergirl needs is for 1) DC to really start promoting her title more (e.g. devoting a page in each comic to advertising the very existence of her title), as well as 2) allowing the new creative team to come up with a really well thought out and well written change in story direction that will catch everyone by complete surprise and have it all climax into a monumental major tale where Supergirl really gets to shine which inturn is remembered by comic fandom for years upon years yet to come, just like how Death/Return of Superman had achieved for her cousin in mid '90's. (Except no 2nd attempt at killing her off please!)

Gear said...

In general DC has done a pretty bad job of marketing their products. But it can be fixed! DC just needs to pay attention.

Supergirl is always on-topic here so I'll use the title as an example. Go to the online Warner Brothers store at and put the word "supergirl" into the search box. You'll find children's Halloween costumes, two adult Halloween costumes (one that's described as a "sexy twist" and the "bad guys will be begging for action!", which certainly will get mom & pop thinking about Supergirl comics for their daughters.) You'll also find the Supergirl movie from the '80's, episodes of Smallville, and DC Comics Heroines bracelets featuring Wonder Woman, a Barbara Gordon era Batgirl, and what looks like a Matrix or Silver Age Supergirl.

What won't come back in the search response is the comic line or "Superman / Batman - Apocalypse", her origin story and one where she gets major screen time, in spite of the fact that it shows up on the main page of the site. In fact if I'm looking for Supergirl items for sale I can't find anything recent for her at the main sales web site of the parent company, or even a link to a place to buy. So, if I'm looking for a Supergirl product and aren't already familiar with what's already out there by reading the fan sites I'm not going to find anything current. Thus an entire market segment is being ignored, the ones that don't already know and buy product, the segment that new customers would be coming from.

Spinners and racks in your local drug store or grocery store are pretty much a thing of the past, which means there are a lot of areas of the country outside of high population markets that simply can't buy product because they don't have dedicated comic book stores. And comic shops as specialty stores mostly sell to an existing customer base (i.e. people like us) rather than new customers (that's another discussion.) DC & Marvel are doing little to nothing to push hard into new sales channels such as online, and don't do much cross-marketing. And DC is afraid that mentioning Supergirl in the title of her own origin DVD will depress sales in the teenage male demographic without any proof other than mediocre sales on the Wonder Woman DVD.

Sorry to go on so long, but DC and Marvel don't seem to be dealing with the issue, and as a long-time comic book fan it concerns me. Unless DC gets their act together and finds new ways to market and sell their product they're going to continue to see a slide.

The sales channels are there, the marketing opportunities are in their hands, they just need a little vision.

TalOs said...

Well said, Gear! The above just doesn't go for Supergirl but should apply to Superman and Wonder Woman too! Yes WW's title is being promoted within DC comics numerous titles but now that JMS has jumped off it's lost all sense of his original direction and sales are showing how displeased the fans are about it all. Heck, even Superman's "Grounded" (another title and arc JMS has jumped off) is barely selling and that doesn't even have any promotion behind it at all. No, thesedays DC's main priority it seems is to heavily promote mainly Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash instead.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, comic books were everywhere: drug stores, convenience stores, gas stations, etc. Somewhere along the line, someone made the decision to eliminate that lucrative market and instead focus on the comic book shop. As long as comic books remain a niche market for fanboys and fangirls insted of a mainstream form of entertainment for people of all ages, comic book sales will continue to fall.

DC needs to focus on gaining new readers and not just adults, but children, too. This is not a priority for them. Their goal has been and will continue to be: create more and more inferior product to keep the fanboys buying the crossovers and epic "events" that go nowhere. By this time next year, we can expect 20 Green Lantern titles a month to go along with the 20 Batman titles a month. Children and young adults are the key to getting the sales up again. I wonder: if a 10-year-old girl who likes Supergirl walks into a comic book shop, what product exists for them? Nothing, that's what. There are millions of young people who admire Supergirl, DC just needs to find a way to market an age-appropriate product to them. But why should DC care? After all, the Green Lantern movie is coming out this year! (sarcasm)


Anj said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone.

The total number sold doesn't bother me as much as trending of decreasing sales. A book like Jonah Hex, which sells a steady 11K each month probably is safer than a book bleeding off 5% with each issue. So I'd love for things to stabilize a bit.

And I agree that comics in general need to become more accessible both in terms of how they are sold and to who they are sold.

Trust me, as a dad of young daughters ... all of whom are interested in comics ... it isn't easy to find something for them to read. Tiny Titans is fine for the younger 2, but the oldest is looking for something more.

Gear said...

Trust me, as a dad of young daughters ... all of whom are interested in comics ... it isn't easy to find something for them to read. Tiny Titans is fine for the younger 2, but the oldest is looking for something more.

I wish they would give us more issue of "Supergirl's Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade". That was perfect for the slightly older young ones. Of course I absolutely loved it too, and I'm in the significantly older set (to be polite about it.)

I'd like to see DC print a stand-alone collection of the Amanda Conner's Supergirl strips from Wednesday Comics, or even ask her to do a regular strip like that again. It would be perfectly age appropriate.

"Casper and the Spectrals" was a pretty good title for that age group too.

Anonymous said...

There is some effort to spread out comics once again, but as far as I know Diamond isn't responsible for it so the sales wouldn't chart. Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us stores have started getting comics. Both have Sonic the Hedgehog and Star Wars, and while BnN has Adventure Comics, TRU has Batgirl, Superman, Flash, and Justice League alongside some Marvel and BOOM! books. Supergirl isn't in either, but if they do well enough I'd assume they would expand what they sell.

I'm not sure how well they sell, I work at TRU and we tend to get 6 issues of each a month. We have never sold out yet, but we usually sell one or two of each. I'd assume as time goes on we'll sell more, due to more people being aware of it... but no one is really promoting it, DC, Marvel, TRU, BnN or Diamond.

Batgirl seems like the perfect book to get youngins into comics... the problem would be getting them to read it.

Gene said...

I have seen the Supergirl title on the comic book spinners at the Borders book store chain.

Anonymous said...

Waaay Off topic here but I've got a good preview of Superman #707 (left to right) We have a short-haired Matrix-like chick with red gloves, A Conner Kent kid-I think or Superwoman and Superman from the future's son, A "Good" Superwoman-I'm guessing Kristen Wells here. and A Superman from the future- probably a descendant of Superman or something.- ealperin P.s. Here's the pic link via

Anonymous said...


Waaay Off topic here but I've got a good preview of Superman #707.

(left to right)

-We have a short-haired Matrix-like chick with red gloves (bad outfit I think).

-A Conner Kent kid-I think or Superwoman and Superman from the future's son.

-A "Good" Superwoman-I'm guessing Kristen Wells here. and

-A Superman from the future- probably a descendant of Superman or something.- ealperin

P.s. Here's the pic link via :

Anonymous said...

If I was of a "paranoid" disposition, I'd be wondering what steps the editors were contemplating with respect to improving the book's sales...And what instructions the have conveyed to Mr. Peavy (If any).

John Feer

valerie21601 said...

Still trying to live up to your rep of being the MOST paranoid Supergirl fan ever, John Feer? ;)

I dearly hope Matt Camp is right about James Peavy being a really nice guy and hopefully he is the type of writer who will listen to the fans desires where it concerns Supergirl.