New 52 - 'Superman' Sales Report

Posted by oppyu (6 posts) - - Show Bio

(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.
#1 Posted by Press Oblivion (1643 posts) - - Show Bio

@oppyu said:

the villain who must be stopped by the intrepid hero before they can continue on their dog-kicking, moustache-twirling rampage.

Best line of the whole article!

While you present a lot of facts here, I'm afraid the point of the article eludes me, is this just a sales report? Based on your closing statement it sounds like you're trying to substantiate that DC will not be canceling the Superman title. Or is this about month to month monetary and ranking establishment of the character?

If it is just about the numbers, then well done.

#2 Posted by BR_Havoc (1331 posts) - - Show Bio

I doubt they will ever cancel the Superman title I can see if sales go really low they could re-reboot it and bring it back to number one. I know the editors have ruined much of this book as well as the decision to reboot Superman closer to his golden age character problem with doing that is well many people and have never read a golden age Superman comic and it was a well know fact that DC had zero idea what to do with him 90 percent of the time and that seems to be a timeless struggle. Biggest fix DC can do is speed up the process to get him back with Lois and start writing the character with less teenage angst he is a grown man.

#3 Posted by chalkshark (1193 posts) - - Show Bio

I find it interesting that under Perez the title took so much criticism, yet sales were never better.

#4 Posted by oppyu (6 posts) - - Show Bio

@Press Oblivion: Just a sales report, yep. I picked the title at random out of the new 52 titles.

#5 Posted by toptom (1224 posts) - - Show Bio

@chalkshark: cause people were excited about the new 52 universe,but when they discovered that superman's first run was just crap they left the title

#6 Posted by Hanson724 (565 posts) - - Show Bio

@BR_Havoc said:

I doubt they will ever cancel the Superman title I can see if sales go really low they could re-reboot it and bring it back to number one. I know the editors have ruined much of this book as well as the decision to reboot Superman closer to his golden age character problem with doing that is well many people and have never read a golden age Superman comic and it was a well know fact that DC had zero idea what to do with him 90 percent of the time and that seems to be a timeless struggle. Biggest fix DC can do is speed up the process to get him back with Lois and start writing the character with less teenage angst he is a grown man.

@BR_Havoc: That what annoys me the most about Superman is how they write him with so much "teenage angst" .I don't get it. When he's Clark they write him like a total wuss.

#7 Posted by Deranged Midget (17740 posts) - - Show Bio

Sad to see that neither Superman nor Action Comics can hold a higher spot on the list. I'm sure that will all change though when Snyder's Superman title releases next year.

Moderator
#8 Posted by toptom (1224 posts) - - Show Bio

how much a title does have to sell ( or not to sell) to be cancelled?

#9 Posted by sinestro_GL (3254 posts) - - Show Bio

@toptom: Depends on the title. I doubt that 'Superman' 'Action Comics' 'Batman' 'Detective Comics' 'Green Lantern' 'Wonder Woman' 'Justice League' will ever get cancelled.

#10 Posted by toptom (1224 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinestro_GL: i know but i was wondering about how much a title,that is not so historical, has to sell to stay on the market

#11 Posted by JonSmith (4005 posts) - - Show Bio

Question: Since attaining Superman, has their ever been a point in DC's history, outside of the Death of Superman arc, where Superman did not have his own mainly solo title?

#12 Posted by oppyu (6 posts) - - Show Bio

@toptom: Looking at current sales in DC New 52, anything above 20k is pretty safe, and anything below 15k is dead in the water. Between 15k-20k is a toss up.

Not so sure on Marvel, but I assume they have similar standards.

#13 Posted by sinestro_GL (3254 posts) - - Show Bio

@toptom: In that case, I guess they cancel the lowest selling titles...not so much based on figures rather than ranking

#14 Posted by toptom (1224 posts) - - Show Bio

@sinestro_GL: @oppyu: thanks!...but 20 k...the k is for? (i am not english)

#15 Posted by oppyu (6 posts) - - Show Bio

@toptom: 20k stands for 20,000.

#16 Posted by cameron83 (7566 posts) - - Show Bio

@Deranged Midget said:

Sad to see that neither Superman nor Action Comics can hold a higher spot on the list. I'm sure that will all change though when Snyder's Superman title releases next year.

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