You probably haven't seen me around the boards for a bit, because I've been pulling back more and more from commenting on message boards... and reading message boards. Most comic vine readers are used to seeing me here arguing with other posters about sales. And usually only about sales of the book. And there's a reason for that:
They're facts. They're not opinions. They're indicators with how well the book is doing with the readers, retailers, distributors, and the company. And while they are open to some interpretation (for those who understand the basics of what's going on), they were very much in the "win column" for the current team. The book's (purposefully) a very divisive one-- a direction that goes outside of the comfort zone of what a Spider-Man book should normally be. Was it going to have its detractors? You bet.
The frustrating thing for me was that even though (to people who understand how these numbers work) the book was doing great, some of those detractors started using the numbers in either knowing-or-unknowingly deceptive ways.
The biggest offender of that was the claim "You've lost half your readers!"
Here's how some people latched on to that one: There was a 43.7% drop from the orders of Superior Spider-Man #1 and Superior Spider-Man #2.
Well, here's the thing... That's how it's worked for years. First issues spike high (collectors who just want #1's, variants, old readers giving the new status quo a shot, and a zillion other reasons). Then second issues take a hit of anywhere from 60% to 40%. That's par for the course. No, seriously. That's how it works. Then there's another drop from the second to third issue. Then the from the third to the fourth. And usually by the fourth to fifth issue (or month), the book usually finds its "level." From that point on, pretty much all books are where they are and experience gradual attrition of sales until the next big storyline or hyped event, where they spike up a little, and then gradually slide down again. This is the nature of all mainstream American comic books. Outside of some rare outliers, that's the pattern.
Not kidding. That's the way it is.
Here, these are the 1st issue to 2nd issue sales of all the recent Marvel titles that launched north of 80,000 copies:
10/12 Uncanny Avengers #1 - 303,722
11/12 Uncanny Avengers #2 - 114,257 (-62.4%)
05/13 X-Men v4 #1 - 183,297
06/13 X-Men v4 #2 - 73,542 ( -59.9%)
03/13 Guardians of the Galaxy v3 #1 - 217,993
04/13 Guardians of the Galaxy v3 #2 - 88,184 ( -59.5%)
03/13 Wolverine v5 #1 - 117,669
04/13 Wolverine v5 #2 - 57,165 ( -51.4%)
11/12 Fantastic Four v5 #1 - 114,532
12/12 Fantastic Four v5 #2 - 58,421 ( -49.0%)
12/12 Avengers v5 #1 - 192,952
12/12 Avengers v5 #2 - 99,028 ( -48.7%)
11/12 Captain America v8 #1 - 123,667
12/12 Captain America v8 #2 - 64,377 ( -47.9%)
02/13 Uncanny X-Men v3 #1 - 177,463
02/13 Uncanny X-Men v3 #2 - 94,615 ( -46.7%)
09/13 Mighty Avengers v2 #1 - 101,921
10/13 Mighty Avengers v2 #2 - 54,862 (-46.2%)
11/12 Indestructible Hulk #1 - 118,200
12/12 Indestructible Hulk #2 - 63,653 ( -46.1%)
02/13 Secret Avengers v2 #1 - 85,267
03/13 Secret Avengers v2 #2 - 46,419 ( -45.6%)
11/12 All-New X-Men #1 - 181,693
11/12 All-New X-Men #2 - 100,983 (-44.4%)
01/13 Superior #1 - 209,944
01/13 Superior #2 - 118,104 ( -43.7%)
01/13 Savage Wolverine #1 - 102,530
02/13 Savage Wolverine #2 - 58,254 (-43.2%)
02/13 Nova v5 #1 - 80,857
03/13 Nova v5 #2 - 46,725 (-42.2%)
11/12 Thor v5 #1 - 110,443
11/12 Thor v5 #2 - 65,533 ( -40.7%)
11/12 Deadpool v4 #1 - 127,977
11/12 Deadpool v4 #2 - 76,445 ( -40.3%)
11/12 Iron Man v6 #1 - 116,529
11/12 Iron Man v6 #2 - 72,902 ( -37.4%)
12/12 Cable & X-Force #1 - 90,334
12/12 Cable & X-Force #2 - 57,719 (-36.1%)
01/13 New Avengers v3 #1 - 116,280
01/13 New Avengers v3 #2 - 79,433 ( -31.7%)
Did you catch where Superior Spider-Man was? Pretty close to the center of the pack. If Superior "lost half of its readers" from #1 to #2, then... so did pretty much every book in the Marvel stable. But none of them did. Because that would be silly. (Doubly silly for Superior since it's a twice monthly book and retailers would have put in their orders for #2 at the same time as #1... before "readers" ever had a chance to see that darn thing. But that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.) Again, what I'm trying to show here is that THIS is the trend of ALL major books that launch in this market place-- and it's been that way for YEARS.
To suddenly stumble upon this phenomena while looking at the sales for any ONE title-- and, in a vacuum, declare that THAT book is failing because of this regular trend-- is either knowingly-or-unknowingly deceptive. But, hey, NOW you do know. And according to 80's cartoons, that's half the battle, right? (OH MY GOD! HALF THE BATTLE?! THE BATTLE IS FAILING!!!!) :-P
Side note: I always point this out, even when the numbers skew in my favor... These numbers that fans like to use AREN'T the actual numbers. They're Diamond's ESTIMATES based on retailer ORDERS. They do NOT equal sales of the book. They do NOT reflect the entire market-- just the Direct Market (books distributed to brick-and-mortar Local Comic Shops). They do not take into account digital sales, foreign sales, subscriptions, collections, and lots of other additional venues. And even with all that... they're off ALL the time. And they're pretty much always on the low side. The books of all major publishers usually have actual numbers that are higher than these. (Just thought I'd get that out of the way. Carry on.)