It has been a while since we here at The Revolution have reviewed the monthly sales numbers. I love sales charts and there is no better place to for that information than the incredible Comichron. It is like comic nerd heaven of there!
At any rate, November, 2019 was an unspectacular month. The number of Top 300 comics sold was up 1% compared to November, 2018. The Top 300 comics dollar sales was up 2% compared to November, 2018.
Marvel absolutely crushed DC by nabbing 42.68% of the unit sales. DC got 32.41% of the unit sales. Marvel also thumped DC in dollar share. Marvel had 37.41% while DC had 30.72%. This came in a month where DC actually released more new comics than Marvel. DC released 96 new comics while Marvel released 84 new comics.
The Battle for the Top Ten
The battle between Marvel and DC for the Top 10 in the sales charts was decidedly in the favor of Marvel. Marvel took eight of the Top 10 spots. DC got one title placed in the Top 10. Image equaled DC with one title placed in the Top 10. Marvel just decimated DC. It was ugly.
Marvel dominated DC on the back of Hickman’s rebuilding of the X-Men franchise. Marvel did a clean sweep of placing titles in spots 1-7. Marvel then added a title in spot 10.
The X-Men franchise titles accounted for four of Marvel’s eight titles in the Top 10. New Mutants #1 took the #1 spot with 138,484 units sold. That is a fantastic number. Unfortunately, New Mutants #2 dropped like a rock by only selling 60,518 units.
Hickman’s X-Men title continues to dominate as X-Men #2 sold 117,538 units. It is impressive to see X-Men still over the 100,000 unit mark.
X-Force #1 also enjoyed a great sales start by moving 105,138 units. But, X-Force #2 plummeted all the way down to 53,667 units. Fallen Angels #1 took the #5 spot with 86,672 units. However, Fallen Angels #2 dropped down to 46,859 units.
Unfortunately, the unit numbers fell off a cliff by the time we get to the #7 spot with Amazing Spider-Man #33 selling 77,581 units. The #10 spot with Amazing Spider-Man #34 sold 67,914. That is a sharp drop from the sales number for the #4 title in X-Force #1.
DC’s only comic in the Top 10 was Batman #82 in the #9 spot. Zero surprise. Even when DC does poorly in the sales charts you can still count on Batman being their best seller.
The Battle for the Top 25
Marvel continued to dominate DC in the Top 25 list. Marvel placed a stunning eighteen titles in the Top 25. Eighteen!! DC only placed a measly five titles in the Top 25. Image placed two titles in the Top 25.
Marvel’s domination in the Top 25 came on the backs of the X-Men franchise and the Spider-Man franchise. Out of Marvel’s eighteen titles in the Top 25, Nine were from the X-Men franchise and six were from the Spider-Man franchise. Captain Marvel, Avengers, and Immortal Hulk rounded out the rest of Marvel’s 18 titles in the Top 25.
Out of DC’s five titles in the Top 25, three were from the Batman franchise, one from the Justice League franchise and one from the Legion of Super-Heroes. Again, it is Batman to the rescue for DC. This seems to always be the case.
The Battle for the Top 50
Marvel also won the Top 50 with twenty-nine titles. DC placed nineteen titles. Image still just had two titles. By the #26, we got titles in the 40,000 unit range already with Justice League selling 48,522 units. By the #38 spot, we got tiles in the 30,000 unit range already with Flash #82 selling 39,710 units.
The Battle of The Bottom Dwellers
In the battle of the bottom dwellers, things were actually remarkably even between Marvel and DC. First, let’s look at the category of comics selling between 10,000-20,000 units. These are the dead titles walking. Marvel placed twenty-two regular monthly titles in this group. DC also placed twenty-two regular monthly titles in this group.
This section of comics selling between 10,000-20,000 units is populated with titles for Marvel like Valkyrie Jame Foster #5, Invisible Woman #5, We of Black Widow #3, Strikeforce #3, Magnificent Ms. Marvel #9, Yondu #2, and Loki #5.
What is so alarming is that this is a list of very new titles that are only in either their second, third, or fifth issue! It makes me wonder about Marvel’s decision making with some of the titles that they green light. Marvel seems to either simply not care if there is an audience out there for these new titles or Marvel is grossly overestimating the audience for these new titles.
For DC, this section includes titles like Nightwing #66, Lois Lane #5, Supergirl #36, Batgirl #41, and Aquaman #54. DC’s problem is more difficult than Marvel’s problem. Marvel is just answering questions that nobody asked with many of their new titles. However, many of DC’s titles in this range have been around for a long time and star some big-name characters.
DC has a much more troubling task with the titles in this section than Marvel does. Marvel can cancel those titles with no sweat. However, DC desperately needs titles starring characters in Aquaman, Nightwing, Supergirl, and Batgirl to sell well. And these are some great characters with long histories. There is no reason for these characters to be selling this poorly.
In the category of comics selling 10,000 units or less, things were still nearly even. Marvel placed eleven regular monthly titles in this range. DC placed twelve regular monthly titles in this range.
This section of comics selling 10,000 units or less includes titles like Agents of Atlas #4, Areo #5, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #50, Freedom Fighters #11, Swamp Thing #2, Wonder Twins #9, and Inferior Five #3. I do not have much to say about these titles other than I have no idea why any of them are still being published.
The Legion of Super-Heroes
How about my beloved Legion of Super-Heroes? There is no bigger fan of the Legion than me. I have been anxiously and excitedly chronicling all of the early teaser materials that DC released prior to Legion of Super-Heroes #1. Unfortunately, Legion of Super-Heroes #1 posted an unimpressive debut sales number of 51,835 units.
DC has to be disappointed with this sales number. DC placed a “big name” writer in Brain Bendis on this title. We will come back to whether Bendis is still a “big name” in terms of sales numbers later. DC also cranked up the hype machine for Bendis’ Legion by advertising for them all over the place. DC made sure to push the Legion on Superman’s own title before unveiling the debut issue of the Legion. On top of all of it, DC even got Bendis on Late Night with Seth Meyers to promote the new Legion of Super-Heroes comic! After all of those moves by DC, to only post a sales number of 51,835 units has to be crushingly disappointing.
My fear is that Legion of Super-Heroes will experience the customary drop in readership between the first and second issue and will end up in the 30K range by the second issue and then slide down to the 20K range by the thirty or fourth issue.
At that point, it becomes a question if DC wants to keep publishing the Legion of Super-Heroes or if a creative team change-up might be done to try and boost sales. Either way, I wanted the Legion of Super-Heroes to come out and post a dominating sales number. I want DC to keep publishing a Legion comic.
Brian Bendis’ Sales Numbers
Speaking of Bendis, let’s take a look and see how his titles are performing in the sales chart.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1: 51,835 units
Superman #17: 46,132 units
Event Leviathan #6: 42,092
Action Comics #1017: 35,996 units
Young Justice #10: 24,162
Then you have Bendis’ Wonder Comics titles that are not written by him.
Wonder Twins #9: 8,888 units
Dial H of Hero #9: 6,998 units
Those are some unimpressive sales numbers. DC has to be massively disappointed over Event Leviathan’s sales numbers. Those are incredibly low sales numbers for a “big event” comic book. Especially one that got so much hype leading up to the start of the big event.
Superman and Action Comics continue to tread water with pedestrian sales numbers. Then there is Young Justice already mired down in the low 20K range in just the tenth issue of this young title. That is a huge disappointment as well.
When DC trumpeted their hiring of Brian Bendis I was skeptical. Bendis came to DC in his 50s. This is hardly like Marvel signing Bendis back in 2000 when Bendis was in his early 30s.
I always viewed DC signing Bendis in his 50s much like when the Kansas City Chiefs signed Joe Montana, when the Arizona Cardinals signed Emmitt Smith, or when the Washington Redskins signed Donovan McNabb. DC was bringing in a big name whose best years were behind him. I am not sure it is wise for DC to continue to invest so much in Bendis. The titles that he writes are not burning up the sales chart. And the Wonder Comics label that he curates is flailing, too.
Star Wars continues to show the wear and tear of Disney’s ownership. Remember when Star Wars titles absolutely dominated the comic book sales chart. The best selling Star Wars comic was Star Wars #75 which moved 42,696 units. Star Wars Target Vader #5 only sold 23,456 units. Star Wars Doctor Aphra #38 and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #39: sold equally pathetic 19,516 units and 19,209 units, respectively. Those are the kind of bad sales number that gets titles cancelled.
It is interesting to note that there are rumors of Disney wanting to do a Doctor Aphra Disney+ TV show. I can think of numerous other characters that I would roll out on Disney+ way before Doctor Aphra. But, maybe Doctor Aphra will find more success on the streaming service than she has in the world of comics.
The Top Female Lead Titles
The Top 10 female lead monthly titles were:
- Captain Marvel #12: 62,227 units
- Catwoman #17: 35,056 units
- Wonder Woman #82: 34,520 units
- Absolute Carnage Captain Marvel #1: 32,765 units
- Harley Quinn #67: 30,377 units
- Black Cat Annual #1: 29,074 units
- Black Cat #6: 28,434 units
- Amazing Mary Jane #2: 23,886 units
- Ghost-Spider #4: 23,208 units
- Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #3: 21,312 units
Once you get past the #1 spot, this is a pretty unimpressive collection of sales numbers. The real surprise is Captain Marvel #12. That is a huge sales number for the twelfth issue of this title. Captain Marvel is a title that historically has hot garbage for sales numbers. Marvel has to be extremely happy with the sales number for Captain Marvel #12.
Unfortunately, the rest of the comics in this Top 10 are only getting pedestrian sales numbers. I cannot say that I am surprised at the sales numbers for some of these titles. I never understood the point of Amazing Mary Jane. And, evidently, I am not alone in that feeling. I am not surprised about Ghost-Spider #4. I think that the Gwen Stacy gimmick may have run its course.
On the other hand, I am sad about the sales numbers for Black Cat, though. I love that title. I would also like to see Wonder Woman selling better. She is such a wonderful and iconic character. It would be great if DC could figure out how to make her as popular in the comics as she is in the movie theaters.
The Top Minority Lead Titles
The Top 10 minority lead monthly titles were:
- Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12: 28,628 units
- Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda #3: 21,347 units
- Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #38: 19,516 units
- Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #39: 19,209 units
- Black Panther #18: 14,727 units
- Magnificent Ms. Marvel #9: 12,230 units
- Ironheart #12: 9,011 units
- Dial H for Hero #9: 6,998 units
This is a pretty depressing list of sales numbers. Miles is the best selling title and that sales number is pretty weak. The rest of the Top 10 has simply atrocious sales numbers. Marvel and DC need to figure out how to do a better job here.
The awful sales numbers for both Black Panther titles is more proof that there is zero connection between a comic book franchise’s success in the movie theaters and its success in the comics sales chart.
I also have to wonder how long Ms. Marvel is going to keep a monthly title. I know that Marvel Studios wants to do a Disney+ TV show for Ms. Marvel. But, this comic book is deader than dead.
All right, that is it for November, 2018. We will be back for the December, 2018 sales chart!
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, and our Instagram feed. Also, catch up with all of Rokk’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on his Twitter page.