Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sales Review: November 2016

I freely admit that I am a 'Wednesday Warrior', one of those people who is in the comic store every week, picking up my monthlies which have been pulled from the rack for me. I'm on a first name basis with the staff at the store who knows what comics I like and recommend things to me.

I also know I am a dinosaur.

I know that the death knell of comics has been ringing for decades. And I am not a doomsayer. But this months sales discussion over on ICv2 was a bit interesting for me. Actual comic sales were down significantly in comparison to last November - 12.7%!.

That said, trade sales were up 25% from the year prior. When folks like me complain about 'writing for the trade' and bemoan comics being canceled because monthly sales were low while people 'waited for the trade', this number should be shoved in our faces. Trades is where the money is clearly at.

Anyways, ICv2 does its usual job breaking things down for me. Here is the link to the list of the top 300 books from last month:

And now onto individual title sales review.

Supergirl #3 continued to Cyborg Superman storyline, bringing Kara and Eliza to Argo City. It is a very good issue, filled with action and bringing in some strong character moments.

The 'reanimated' Alura and the twisted, Monkey's Paw wish fulfillment Zor-El wants to give Kara are both chilling.

So how did it sell?

Supergirl #3 was the 75th best ordered title for the month, with just over 37K in sales.

I will remind people that the Supergirl Rebirth Special sold over 100K.
Supergirl #2 was ranked 58th and sold over 45K

My guess is the book will find a stable spot around 28-30K in sales.

But I can't help be a little alarmed with the sort of freefall the book is in.

Meanwhile, the Superman books continue to do quite well.

In my mind, Action Comics is the sort of workhorse of the two books, more enmeshed in the big DCU picture and playing out like a classic.

Meanwhile, Superman has been more of the free-wheeling, freeform, family-based romp. That doesn't mean it is outside the DCU. But it seems more insulated. And it has been a blast.

The Superman 10 and 11 sold strong, topping 65K and remaining in the top 25 books.
Action Comics also did well last month, selling just below 50K

If anyone came out of Rebirth as a dramatically improved product, it was Superman. And sales reflect that.

But I mentioned trades at the top of the post and Supergirl made an appearance there.

The DC Superhero Girls line has been a shining star in 2016 and Supergirl has been a big part of that line.

Last month their second trade, Hits and Myths came out and it was a ton of fun.

It ranked third in trade sales! Amazing!

And all ages book, aimed at girls sold better than Darth Vader. Amazing!

I'm still thankful for Rebirth. Love the DC books I am reading these days.


Anonymous said...

I agree. It's worrying, especially when you consider the main Superman books are selling well.

Maybe the art is a turnoff. Or maybe Supergirl being completely cut off from the rest of the DCverse is being detrimental to her book. Seriously, she doesn't appear anywhere but her book. Kara didn't turn up in the last Christmas Special. Superman, his family and his dog starred in several stories, New freaking Superman starred in a story... and Supergirl was not featured. And Superman told that he and his son were the last Kryptonians.

Action Comics and Superman's current runs are getting love, attention and sales... and Supergirl is a non-factor. Superman's current run is focused on his beloved family... and Supergirl is apparently not a member of it. He doesn't even think about his cousin.

I'm getting seriously annoyed about it.

You'd think that Supergirl would be everywhere since she stars in a moderately successful tv show.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the whole "Zor El is the Cyborg Superman"plot however well handled is too much of a downer storyline for a character generally noted for her inspirational qualities and optimism.
Or it could be the artwork which again I like but its also a little unconventional.....just sayin'
Hopefully sales will stabilize, I wonder if they'll resort to putting Melissa Benoist's adorable punim on the covers as a photo...that might bump sales.

KET said...

Well, it seems like these days, DC Comics is too busy trying to sell future event comics, rather than a Supergirl regular DCU series....which sort of begs the question of why they are bothering, and didn't just keep the TV tie-in book Sterling Gates was writing last year. Or perhaps a monthly S-book seems like an afterthought of a forgotten era, when they are busy being preoccupied by bi-weeklies now. Marketing just seems to be dropping the ball on the monthly format in general.

As for the comic itself, Brian Ching's artwork on Supergirl works fine by me, but I keep waiting for Steve Orlando's initial story arc to get out of 'second gear', so to speak. I'll wait for this week's issue review to say more on that.


Anonymous said...

"I wonder if the whole "Zor El is the Cyborg Superman"plot however well handled is too much of a downer storyline for a character generally noted for her inspirational qualities and optimism."

That may be another factor. Not everyone will like a story in which Supergirl's father is turned into a mad cyborg who tries to kill a lot of people for his daughter's "good".

By the way, after reading this week's issue's ending I have a suggestion for a back issue review: some Pre-Crisis issue showing Supergirl's birth and foster parents trying to get along for their daughter's sake. Maybe Action Comics #310, #314 or Superman Family #188?

Anonymous said...

Part of what may be affecting Supergirl's sales is that it doesn't seem to be aimed at any particular existing audience. The television viewers dropping in aren't getting Alex, J'onn, Wynn, Jimmy, and the character relationships that appeal to that audience. Instead they get CatCo without the CatCo people, the DEO without the DEO cast, Kara's adoptive parents but completely different people with the same names, and so forth. They're looking for the Kara/Alex sister team, and grumpy but loving Dad J'onn and getting something entirely different.

And the long time Supergirl comic readers are getting what amounts to a reboot, with none of the characters or storylines they had been following. Kara is now relearning lessons we thought she'd already learned, and we have a set of locales and characters attached to her the reader has no reason to care about because they weren't introduced as part of a story. They're just here.

I don't think the book is bad, it's just badly missing the audience. It's trying to hit the target of the original readers of Supergirl and the target of the TV viewership, but instead it's not really hitting either. Gates "Adventures of Supergirl" decided to be entirely about the TV universe, and it was a success. This book is trying for both universes and instead winds up being about neither.

For me this is a textbook example of how to blow a relaunch.

KET said...

"I don't think the book is bad, it's just badly missing the audience. It's trying to hit the target of the original readers of Supergirl and the target of the TV viewership, but instead it's not really hitting either."

I think you've just hit on a possible reason why the series may be in freefall. It's got warmed-over and reconfigured elements, but there seems to be little emotional justification for their existence at all....and the central character almost seems like she'll eventually become scapegoated by all the unnecessary semantic trappings surrounding this particular relaunch.


Anj said...

Great discussion and thoughts about the title everyone.

The idea of the title trying to be everything but as a result being nothing is interesting. I do think the undercurrent of this first arc, Kara accepting Earth as home, has been beaten to death. So for me I don't mind the quasi-show elements. I just want her being a hero.

I do wonder why DC hasn't announced a second season of the show book. Weird.