New 52 - Dec-12 Rankings

Top 10

1 (=), 151,568 (-8,161) : Batman - Ah, Death of the Family. Batman isn't being knocked out of first any time soon.

2 (=), 115,074 (+1,980) : Justice League - With Throne of Atlantis starting, the Justice League are getting a boost of their own. Note: The second book in the Top 10 to feature Batman or one of his Bat-mates dealing with his Joker problem. Let's see how long this trend continues, shall we?

3 (+3), 106,395 (+31,835) : Detective Comics - Last month, I implied that this title wasn't likely to see much of the DotF sales money. I was hilariously wrong. Note: The third book in the top 10 to feature Batman.

4 (+1), 89,878 (+14,335) : Batman and Robin - DotF title no. 3 featured Robin vs. The Clown Prince of Crime (who isn't really a clown.) Death of the Family = licence to print money. Note: Fourth book in the top 10 to feature Batman.

5 (+8), 75,947 (+22,283) : Aquaman - And we're back with Throne of Atlantis. I have to say, I didn't realise it would be that popular. Note: Fifth book in the Top 10 to feature Batman.

6 (-2), 75,341 (-2,127) : Batgirl - Good news: Gail Simone is staying, all that fracas was just DC waiting for the next plot to come in. (Translation: Holy damn, those nerds really do love them some Gail Simone. So we're just going to quietly rehire her and forget this ever happened.) Bad news: I think this title may have hit its DotF sales ceiling. No no. 3 for Batgirl unfortunately. But Gail's staying! Note: This may not feature Batman in person, but it's the Batman/Joker event featuring a member of the Bat-family. So, 6th book with Batman or Batman-related event.

7 (+8), 74,407 (+23,687) : Nightwing - Yay, my favourite DC character made it into the top 10. Another normally middling 10th-20th title getting the Joker-bump into the top 10. Note: 7th book in top 10 with Batman or Batman-related event.

8 (-5), 74,363 (-4,136) : Green Lantern - Finally! A book that, to my knowledge, has absolutely nothing to do with Batman, his Bat-Family, or his deranged not-clown stalker. If it turns out Batman is joining the Lanterns on their wacky space adventures, then I guess he's in every title in the top 10 this month. Maybe Wolverine Publicity isn't the right name for it...

9 (+13), 68,707 (+28,962) - Teen Titans - One day, Scott Snyder (writer of Batman) called Scott Lobdell (writer of Teen Titans) and asked if he would like them to be involved in a storyline that doesn't involve mysterious teen-kidnapping corporations, Hunger Games, Superdouche or Wonder-Girl's ex-boyfriend. I don't know what Lobdell said, but the readers sure seem to like the idea.

10 (+13), 64,103 (+26,393) - Red Hood and the Outlaws - And to round out the top 10, another middling bat-title skyrocketed to the moon by Death of the Family. Oh, to think of those poor other books who don't have any connection to Batman.

Bottom 10

52 (=), 8,941 (-772) - G.I. Combat - Farewell G. I. Combat, we hardly knew ye. But your sales figures were just mind-bogglingly awful. If they had re-tooled this book as Bat-Squad, a squadron of elite soldiers personally trained by the Bat, they probably could have looked forward to a 20-30 issue run. Maybe next time...

51 (=), 10,923 (-708) - Grifter - For the sake of everyone involved, let us join together to wish that Grifter doesn't end up joining the proud legion of New 52 titles with below 10,000 sales in the next month finale. You had a good run Grifter; 16 issues is a respectable innings. And Team 7 hasn't been cancelled yet...

50 (=), 11,744) (-764) - Blue Beetle - Well, on the plus side, I heard that Blue Beetle's going to have some kind of role on Threshold, so Jaime Reyes' fans don't need to be too upset. Unless I'm wrong. Which I very well might be.

49 (=), 11,997 (-865) - The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men - Technically hasn't been canceled yet. Which is surprising, I wouldn't be expecting good news when the May solicits come out. Speaking of titles that didn't get good news...

48 (=), 12,561 (-976) - DC Universe Presents - A book which I technically liked the idea of, but just not enough to actually purchase the thing. That kind of book I suppose. A book which I did end up buying, but apparently nobody else did...

47 (=), 12,846 (-820) - I, Vampire - Noooooooo, not I, Vampire! I curse your sudden yet inevitable cancellation! And inevitable it was, have you seen the sales figures lately? Ouch.

46 (=), 13,528 (-924) - Deathstroke - You know what? I'm just going to blame the sales on this one on Rob Liefield. I also blame Rob Liefield for my lack of success in life, and lack of a boyfriend. Damn you Rob Liefield! Deathstroke is not cancelled yet, and considering the plummeting fortunes of Team 7 and Sword of Sorcery, will probably make it past 20 issues. However, I wouldn't put money down on Slade making it much further.

45 (=), 13,564 (-1,162) - The Savage Hawkman - If they're lucky, this book is going to survive long enough to bolster their sales by snaring readers looking for 'that new Wolverine book, Savage something'. I don't know who would actually make that mistake, but a currently uncancelled-title has to have some kind of hope, right?

44 (-3), 13,752 (-2,520) - Sword of Sorcery - I amend my earlier statement; an uncancelled title may have some hope, unless they're Sword of Sorcery. Seriously, even the people that like this book are now just waiting for the inevitable cancellation, upon which they can pick up the trade paperback or whatever you call it. Smooth move switching Christy Marx (writer) over to a DC title with a future at the expense of some other writer, nobody even noticed the whole 'firing writers by solicitation' thing.

43 (+1), 14,005 (-761) - Legion Lost - Good job making it to issue 16 guys, whoever you are. I'm sorry you had to be involved in the Young Justice family, which unless you're called the Teen Titans, means almost certain sales death.

Titles of Note

11 (-4), 61,298 (-3,043) - Action Comics - Superman has a major crossover event going on and is, you know, Superman, but he still can't crack the top 10 this month outside of Justice League. Poor Supes.

42 (+1), 14,674 (-1,293) - Batwing - While still staying afloat... ok, not afloat, but an acceptable level below sea water, Batwing could still be cancelled via the 'tarnishing the otherwise profitable name clause', aka the 'Justice League International clause'. It's not easy when you're a bat-title who is too far away geographically to play in the reindeer games (otherwise known as lucrative crossovers).

22 (-13), 35,020 (-28,633) - Catwoman - DotF tie-in only lasted one issue... oh well, easy come, easy go.

38 (+2), 15,705 (-739) - Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. - Dear DC. I will find a way to fly to America and leave a flaming bag of feces at your front door for cancelling this title. There will be vengeance!

32 (=), 21,040 (-1,441) - The Phantom Stranger - Numbers aren't looking great, but with the Trinity War coming up and with the Phantom Stranger somehow involved (maybe), this new title should be able to hold on for a little while longer.

13 (-5), 57,132 (-6,559) - Suicide Squad - It may be almost over, and they may be being leapfrogged by other bat-titles more central to DotF, but damn if Suicide Squad wasn't going to try and milk this last moment in the sun. And nobody will ever be able to take away the months they sold more than Superman, Flash and Wonder Woman.

40 (-3), 15,381 (-2,178) - Team 7 - Unlike Phantom Stranger, Team 7 does not look like they'll be able to hang on for a little while longer. While a cool book, this title is just about as screwed as Sword of Sorcery. And Sword of Sorcery is pretty damn screwed right now.

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New 52 - 'Superman' Sales Report

(Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!)

Introduction

This New 52 title follows the hero popularly known as 'Superman'. Superman is a relatively powerful superhero (see: the most ridiculously overpowered hero going around the New 52) who is popular in certain circles (see: possibly the most well-known superhero ever). A major supporting title in the Superman family, 'Superman' follows Superman as he defends Metropolis from alien and superhuman threats as Superman, and does significantly less violent and destructive things as mild-mannered journalist Clarke Kent.

Superman started with a six-issue arc written by George Perez and drawn by Jesus Merino, and was followed by three two-issue arcs with Dan Jurgens taking over from George Perez. As of the 0-month special, the title has been taken over by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort. Superman is currently the leading title in the crossover event 'H'el on Earth', along with the Supergirl and Superboy titles.

Sales Figures

Month

#

Place

Change

Sales

Change

%

Creative Team

Main Adversary

Other

Sep-11

1*

5th

=

118,376

=

N/A

George Perez, Jesus Merino

Random Fire Alien

Oct-11

2*

7th

-2

94,233

-24,143

-20.40%

George Perez, Jesus Merino

Random Semi-Invisible Alien

Nov-11

3*

8th

-1

77,747

-16,486

-17.49%

George Perez, Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott

Random Ice Alien

Dec-11

4*

8th

=

68,879

-8,868

-11.41%

George Perez, Jesus Merino

Team Random Alien

Jan-12

5

7th

1

73,719

4,840

7.03%

George Perez, Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott

Team Random Alien

Feb-12

6

7th

=

69,633

-4,086

-5.54%

George Perez, Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott

Team Random Alien

Feature: Supergirl

Mar-12

7

7th

=

66,588

-3,045

-4.37%

Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, Jesus Merino

Helspont

Apr-12

8

7th

=

64,486

-2,102

-3.16%

Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, Jesus Merino

Helspont

May-12

9

12th

-5

62,232

-2,254

-3.50%

Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, Jesus Merino

Anguish

Jun-12

10

11th

1

59,081

-3,151

-5.06%

Dan Jurgens, Jesus Merino

Anguish

Jul-12

11

10th

1

56,066

-3,015

-5.10%

Dan Jurgens, Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes, Rob Hunter

Unnamed Alien

Aug-12

12

11th

-1

53,326

-2,740

-4.89%

Dan Jurgens, Jesus Merino

Unnamed Alien

Annual

N/A

N/A

44,438

N/A

N/A

Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Pascal Alixe, Tom Raney

Helspont

Feature: Martian Manhunter, Grifter, Starfire, Hawkman

Sep-12

0

11th

=

60,493

7,167

13.44%

Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort

Unnamed Kryptonians

Event: New 52: Zero Month

Oct-12

13

11th

=

52,155

-8,338

-13.78%

Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort

A Tripedal Curosiananium

Feature: Supergirl, Event Tie-In: H'el on Earth

Nov-12

14

14th

-3

52,572

417

0.80%

Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort

H'el

Feature: Supergirl, Superboy, Event: H'el on Earth

"Please note that comics marked with an asterisk have had their reported quantities reduced due to retailer returnability, and thus may rank lower on the charts than their actual sales would reflect." http://www.diamondcomics.com/Home/1/1/3/597?articleID=128620

Family Sales

Place

Change

Title

Issue

Sales

Change

% Change

7th

-2

Action Comics

14

64,341

-2,900

-4.31%

14th

-3

Superman

14

52,572

417

0.80%

28th

1

Supergirl

14

31,270

1,820

6.18%

30th

2

Superboy

14

28,017

2,291

8.91%

(Note to self: Next time, just print-screen images of your tables from the not-horribly-glitchy Microsoft Excel)

Analysis

General Overview

Cashing in on his status as 'one of the two most famous superheroes ever created, ever', Superman started the New 52 as a top 5 comic. Since then, the title has slid out of the top 10, playing second fiddle in the Superman family to Action Comics and falling behind fellow Justice League members such as Green Lantern, Aquaman and Flash. However, the title recently found a price ceiling at just over 50k, and has a new creative team writing the volume's first crossover event H'el on Earth, which has already led to a monthly gain in comic sales. (Said gain was 0.80%, but a positive result is still a positive result.)

If Great Villains Make Great Heroes, Then…

Due to the generally adversarial nature of comic books, a lot of focus is placed on the villain who must be stopped by the intrepid hero before they can continue on their dog-kicking, moustache-twirling rampage. So when comic book readers don't respond to whatever dastardly do-badder is tying the distressed damsel to the train tracks, comic sales can suffer as a result. Looking at how the villains have sold thus far, you can see the difference between an 'Anguish' and a 'Helspont'. Under Helspont, the standard drop in sales from month-to-month slows considerably and seemingly heads to a sales floor. Under Anguish, the monthly drop says 'sales floor? Ha!', and accelerates again like the Helspont double-issue never happened. From the Anguish school of unpopular villainy, we have Unnamed Alien, a Tripedal Curosiananium, and Team Random Alien. From the Helspont school of villains who bolster sales, we have… H'el.

Looking at things the successful villains have in common, it seems readers really dig characters whose name starts with 'Hel'. Investigating on a slightly deeper level, Helspont and H'el are powerful characters who have extensive dialogue, and the resultant characterisation that tends to occur. Furthermore, both villains have circumstances which give a general vibe of 'Pay attention to this guy, he's going to do stuff'; Helspont is a pre-existing Wildstorm villain with backstory, and H'el is the focus of a major crossover between two other titles. This is compared to the other villains, who are either mysterious nameless alien threats who rampage mindlessly before being stopped by a combination of horrifying violence and calamitous damage to public property reminiscent of Hurricane Sandy, or Anguish. Anguish is stupid.

So, in conclusion, comic fans seem to prefer villains with characterisation, plot relevance and not being Anguish, and that is reflected in sales. Go figure.

Helspont Rising

As previously mentioned, Helspont is one of the two villains who slowed the sales rot, and he did it without a crossover. And while H'el is set to peak in plot relevance in the next few issues, Helspont is receiving a slow build, starting with a two-issue arc to demonstrate that he's a big deal, followed by a major appearance in the Superman Annual where he basically told Supes that 'I'm coming back eventually, bad shit is going to happen, and you can't stop me.' Seeing how well Helspont is selling already, the writers at Superman now have a plot hook for a major comic event, and can look forward to a nice sales return on their investment when they eventually do pull the 'Helspont' trigger.

H'el on Earth

Last month saw the beginning of the new crossover event H'el on Earth. Sales have been positive thus far for the comics involved; Superboy and Supergirl both experienced considerable jumps in sales, while Superman posted a significantly reduced but still positive result. As Superman is the biggest title in the crossover, it probably won't see the same jumps as the other Superman family titles involved. That being said, the increased attention has hardly been doing sales any harm, and there's no reason to think sales numbers won't at least remain steady during the crossover.

Thir- Fourth Time's The Charm

DC has tried a few different creative teams with this title; Perez/Merino, Jurgens/Giffen/Merino, Jurgens/Merino, and now they've settled with the all-new Lobdell/Rocafort team. The new creative team of Lobdell (Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Superboy) and Rocafort (Red Hood and the Outlaws) have sold well thus far, keeping almost all of their original sales after the uniform 0-month jump and fall and even turning profit a profit in the first month of H'el on Earth. However, time will tell if they can maintain readership after the end of H'el on Earth.

Predictions

  • 1 Month: 13th, 3 Month: 10th, 6 Month: 9th
  • Despite recently sliding out of the Top 10, Superman is still a ridiculously famous character with a well-regarded new creative team, major crossover in progress, and what seems like a firm price floor. I'm tipping them to tread water while Death of the Family is selling, and sneak back into the Top 10 once titles like the supporting bat-family titles fall back to their usual places.
  • Safety: 5/5
  • It's Superman. He's the face of DC Comics. This title is going to survive until the next time DC decides to reboot their universe, at which point he will be replaced with Volume 4 Superman. The only titles safer than Superman are Justice League, Action/Detective Comics, and Batman. They'll cancel just about anything else before getting rid of this guy.
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New 52 - Nov-12 Rankings

Top 10

1 (=), 159,729 (+11,424) : Batman - Batman was a steady first before Death of the Family started; now it's blowing Justice League out of the water. Heads and shoulders above any other DC comic going around, in both sales and quality.

2 (=), 113,094 (-4,658) : Justice League - Batman was fighting the Joker, the Justice League were fighting Cheetah. Gee, I wonder why Batman is surging ahead from the title that used to be neck and neck with him.

3 (=), 78,499 (-13,315) : Green Lantern - Steady waaaaay back at No. 3, although the bat-titles are hot on his tail. Although I hear there's some kind of Green Lantern crossover going on as well, but you wouldn't know it from his sales. Strong chance of losing his spot at No. 3 in the coming months.

4 (+10), 77,499 (+27,394) : Batgirl - Death of the Family is selling like hotcakes, and Batgirl was one of the primary beneficiaries. Potentially hitting a perfect storm in the next couple of months, being one of the main Death of the Family tie-ins as well as Gail Simone's Batgirl swansong. (By the way, firing Gail Simone? Terrible, terrible decision. Just... ugh. Almost as bad as hiring Liefield.)

5 (+2), 75,543 (+12,446) : Batman and Robin - And all we saw this month was a crappy zombie movie tie-in to Death of the Family. Imagine what's going to happen next week when the crossover begins in earnest.

6 (-2), 74,560 (-1,832) : Detective Comics - It doesn't seem like Detective Comics is tying in that closely with Death of the Family thus far, but it's still a top seller as always. Expect to see it take it's usual place in the Top 4 shortly.

7 (-2), 64,341 (-2,900) : Action Comics - As someone who doesn't follow Superman at all, it's never made sense to me that Action Comics seems to be the lead title in the Super-Family instead of the Superman title. Still, Action Comics has been a steady Top 5 earner for the past year, and should take that spot once more after the Death of the Family dies down.

8 (+22), 63,691 (+36,047) : Suicide Squad - I wonder what could have possibly caused this title to leap from middle of the pack to Top 10 comic. Deadshot? That weird fire guy with all the tattoos? A delayed appreciation for Amanda Waller's inexplicable and disappointing weight loss? Whatever it is, it'll be over in a couple of months. But if the comic can retain just a quarter of the new readers who jumped on for the DotF crossover, it will have been a jaw-dropping success.

9 (+12), 63,653 (+23,506) : Catwoman - Yet another Bat-family title receiving the Joker's version of the Colbert Bump. This is making the The Night of the Owls sales bump look like a dead cat bounce. (Disclaimer: this is a figure of speech; I do not support, endorse or approve of any literal interpretations of that saying).

10 (-4), 62,792 (-2,479) : Batman: The Dark Knight - Even the titles not involved with the crossover are selling ridiculously. I'm not saying I approve of the hypothetical situation proposed where DC would replace most of their titles with Bat-Family comics, but I can understand why they would do it.

Bottom 10

52 (=), 9,173 (-813) : G.I. Combat - Fun fact; G.I. Combat has now joined the prestigious ranks of New 52 titles who have dropped under 10,000 sales. The other lucky few are Mister Terrific, Men of War and Blackhawks. And unless there's a jump for the series finale, G.I. Combat will join Men of War and Blackhawks in being the only titles to do it twice.

51 (=), 11,631 (-511) : Grifter - Another dead title walking; Grifter actually did pretty well to survive this long. Despite finishing 45th in the first month of New 52, Grifter rebounded to outlast quite a few titles that finished ahead of it.

50 (=), 12,508 (-633) : Blue Beetle - Has been in the bottom 10 selling titles for the last 13 months, so no surprise that's it's ending soon.

49 (=), 12,862 (-598) : The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men - Lowest ranking title that hasn't been cancelled yet. It actually started out back at the start of New 52 at 29th, but it's all been downhill from there. Probably cancelled in one of the upcoming waves.

48 (-1), 13,537 (-868) : DC Universe Presents - I actually think this title might survive a bit longer, since it serves a specific purpose in highlighting certain characters (as opposed to revolving around one central character who clearly isn't selling). Still, it's been a low seller for a really long time.

47 (+1), 13,666 (-594) : I, Vampire - Another still active title that has shown surprising durability. However, critical reception, a cult fanbase and strong reader retention can only keep a book alive for so long when it's been under 20,000 buys since December 2011. Up on the chopping block with the Firestorm book I've never read before.

46 (-1), 14.452 (-626) : Deathstroke - Consistently low seller who hasn't shown any sign of reviving their sales. High risk of cancellation.

45 (+1), 14,726 (-37) : The Savage Hawkman - I suppose the fact they only lost 37 buys is notable. Started off as a middling title, but failed to retain enough readers and fell to the bottom of the heap.

44 (=), 14,766 (-611) : Legion Lost - Dead title walking. Full disclosure; I have absolutely no idea who is in Legion Lost, who Legion Lost is, or anything about them at all. They are outselling a few titles who haven't been cancelled yet, which isn't a good sign for those titles.

43 (-2), 15,967 (-1,199) : Batwing - While all the other bat-titles are skyrocketing in sales, Batwing hits the bottom 10 for the first time. Not a good look for the bat-family. If the Justice League International book was cancelled for making the Justice League line look bad, Batwing can't be lasting much longer.

Titles of Note

40 (+3), 16,444 (-57) : Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. - It sucks that this book got cancelled, when it's not even selling that poorly and I personally like it. Luckily it seems like Frankenstein will be finding a new home at Justice League Dark, but it still sucks.

41 (-6), 16,272 (-5,280) : Sword of Sorcery - Speaking of characters that will soon be finding a new home at Justice League Dark, it's not a good look when a title's below 20,000 sales at Issue 2.

37 (-4), 17,559 (-7,336) : Team 7 - See: Sword of Sorcery. Another cool book that is not long for this world.

32 (-5), 22,481 (-7,534) : The Phantom Stranger - Not in as much trouble as the above two titles, but they have to be hoping that they hit the price floor soon. May hit double figures (unlike some other Third Wave comics) , but won't last much longer from the look of things.

15 (+2), 50,720 (+3,549) : Nightwing - About to have a rocket strapped to his back courtesy of Death of the Family.

22 (-2), 39,745 (-1,314) : Teen Titans - See: Nightwing

23 (+2), 37,710 (+2,290) : Red Hood and the Outlaws - See: Nightwing

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