16 November 2005

COMMENT: October Sales Snark

Now that I've kind of gotten used to the Pulse not running their two sales tracking columns (they seem to have gotten back on track recently), I scan ICv2's numbers a bit more closely myself. Spurgeon and CBG do some great analysis, though, and their links are included here...


Well, duh!

ICv2.com reports: "Infinite Crisis #1, with a total of 249,265, is second [in 2005 sales] only to Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder #1, which sold 261,046 in July." Shipping with a variant cover by George Perez and a hefty $3.99 cover price, ICv2 notes that "Infinite Crisis #1 was largely responsible for the 6% overall gain in sales of periodical comics in October (vs. October 2004). Most of the other top comics treaded water during October--only four titles sold over 100,000 units and only six of the top 25 comics gained in circulation, while 17 titles declined."

In other words, crossovers and variant covers won't be disappearing anytime soon. Go 90s!

Other notable sales figures include Diamond's benchmark title, BATMAN, with #646 - an Infinite Crisis tie-in guest-starring Wolver...I mean, Deathstroke - cracking the Top 20, as it picked up approx. 4,000 additional orders over last month, for a still relatively disappointing 69,975 copies. While these numbers aren't that great for such a high-profile character and storyline (maybe Batman Begins fans are waiting for the trade?), the undeniable increase over the past six months reinforces the short-term "crossovers are good for profits" mentality, and most likely means no character will ever again be immune from returning from the dead. My money's on Papa Wayne, who's been in hiding on the extradimensional Earth R.I.P., which fell through the same crack in reality as Power Girl, and is so fed up with the asshole his son has become that he's coming back to set things straight! I see Brad Meltzer and Jim Lee knocking this one out of the park!

What? That's not believable? A copout? Whatever! You know you'll buy it.

Moving on, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 breaks into the Top 5 on the combined strength of being yet another relaunched Spider-Man title and the, say it with me, big "The Other" Crossover event that boosted orders for both AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #525 (+8,455 copies) and, in remarkable fashion, MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #19 (+18,486). Wow! Spider-fans really hate Reggie Hudlin, don't they? MK Spidey's increase alone would have just missed making the Diamond Top 100! That's harsh.

The Black Panther vs. Spawn, battle of the black leading men saw a boost for both titles as a relaunched (repositioned, recapped...what the hell was that exactly?) Spawn almost overtook the X-Men-boosted King of Wakanda, missing by a scant 21 copies: 40,173 vs. 40,152, to finish back-to-back as the 44th and 45th best-sellers of the month. Meanwhile, YOUNG AVENGERS #8 beat them both as The Patriot's after school special storyline landed in 24th place with 63,873 copies, nipping at the Teen Titans' heels, coming up less than 3,000 copies short of their Distinguished Cousins.

On the indie side of town, the aforementioned SPAWN #150 was the best-selling non-Marvel/DC title, while CONAN #21 and its latest spinoff, DEMONS O/KHITAI #1, took the next two spots, coming in at #s 52 and 65, respectively.

Warren Ellis' intriguing experiment, FELL, took a hit on its second issue, dropping out of the Top 100 and losing approx. 5,000 orders from the first issue. A standard drop, technically, but rather disappointing that retailers weren't willing to take more of a chance on it. Established creator, low price point, done-in-one issues. Seems like a no-brainer for a long-term investment to me. Meanwhile, the highly touted FEAR AGENT #1 managed to move only 7,648 copies, beating out BART SIMPSON COMICS #26 and MARVEL MILESTONES BLADE MAN-THING & SATANA, but not ARANA HEART O/T SPIDER #10 or SONIC X #2. Discuss.

Former Marvel bad-boy Bill Jemas can't be too pleased with the performance of the first title from his new company, 360ep, as the Majestic videogame prequel ADVENT RISING ROCK PLANET #1 sold a mere 3,352 copies, tied with Alias' best-selling title for the month, LEGEND O/ISIS #4. If I'm a comics publisher and I'm starting off with Alias numbers, I'm worried. Even if, as Jemas claims, 360ep isn't really a comics publisher, but "an entertainment property management company."

More analysis at The Comics Reporter and CBGXtra.

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