Now that we are in July and have six months’ worth of sales data, it is time to assess the health of the various comic book franchises through the first half of 2022. Let’s start with the biggest and baddest comic book franchise of them all: Batman. First, we are going to look at the average sales ranking that each Batman franchise title has had in the first half of 2022. This will give us an idea of what titles are at risk of getting canceled.
Second, we are going to look a little deeper into the sales ranking details with several graphs plotting each Batman franchise title’s performance over the first half of 2022. Each chart will have the Batman title in them as a benchmark for the other Batman franchise titles.
These are the titles that consistently deliver Top 10 finishes every month. These are a rarity and publishers prize these tiles above all else. These titles are the Michael Jordan of comic books.
Batman is in first place with an average sales ranking of 4. This is no surprise and quite impressive. Nobody can sell issues like Bruce Wayne. Batman will always be the halo title that sets the example for the rest of the Batman franchise.
The Strong Sellers
These are the titles that may not always crack the Top 10, but they are strong selling titles that get sales rankings in the 11-25 range. If the All-Star titles are the Michael Jordans of comic books then the Strong Sellers are the Scottie Pippen’s of comic books.
Batman Superman World’s Finest is in second place with an average sales ranking of 17. This is not that surprising. The real Superman in his classic form plus Bruce Wayne is the peanut butter and jelly of comic books. Readers are always going to be attracted to this iconic pairing.
Batman Killing Time came in at third place with an average sales ranking of 25. Do you know why DC Comics loves cranking out Bruce Wayne mini-series? Because they sell well like this six-issue mini-series in Batman Killing Time.
These are the titles that have an average sales ranking between 26-50. They are dependable titles that a publisher can always count on. They may not be as flashy as the Top 25 titles, but this group of titles does important journeyman work earning steady money for the publisher.
Batman Beyond The White Knight took fourth place with an average sales ranking of 31. This Terry McGinnis eight-issue mini-series looks to be another success for DC Comics. Terry McGinnis also gets the honor of being the most successful Batman franchise character not named Bruce Wayne.
Nightwing came in at fifth place with an average sales ranking of 38. Nightwing has the distinction of being the only main DCU Batman supporting character that can actually get consistent solid sales numbers. It is nice to see Dick Grayson cementing himself as the most popular Batman franchise character not named Bruce Wayne in the regular DCU timeline.
Batman Beyond Neo-Year took sixth place with an average sales ranking of 48. This Terry McGinnis six-issue mini-series has been a solid performer on average. DC Comics usually gets rewarded with most of their Batman mini-series.
Cause For Concern or Just a Niche Title?
Now we get to the comic books that have an average sales ranking between 50-75. These titles are tough to judge and it depends greatly on the type of title we are examining. If it is a big name title that is in this category then the title can be deemed a failure. At this point, I would be examining what has gone wrong with the big-name title and if there needs to be a creative team change or if the story’s approach needs to be revamped.
On the other hand, if we are examining a smaller title or a niche title then it is perfectly acceptable for it to be in this 50-75 range. I would not bother with thinking about changing the creative team or the overall story’s approach.
Detective Comics slotted in at seventh place with an average sales ranking of 51. Detective Comics is absolutely a big title that is also one of the two flagship titles for the Batman franchise. It should be alarming to DC Comics that Detective Comics’ average sales ranking in the first half of 2022 places it outside of the Top 50. DC Comics needs to take a full examination of this title and make a decision on where the appropriate changes need to take place with the story or the creative team.
Batman The Knight came in eighth place with an average sales ranking of 63. Since Batman The Knight is a 10-issue limited series, DC Comics does not need to worry about this title’s performance. It is doing fine enough given the niche approach of this limited series.
Cancel or Shake up the Creative Team/Editor
Now we arrive at the titles that have an average sales ranking between 76 and 100. These are titles that absolutely need a creative team change and maybe an editor change. These titles should also have their story approach examined and refined. These are titles that are trending toward cancellation unless some intelligent changes are made quickly.
Robin took ninth place with an average sales ranking of 83. DC Comics has to be disappointed with this poor average sales ranking. As a result, Robin is getting canceled and replaced with a new Robin title. Out goes Damien Wayne and in comes Tim Drake. Time Drake: Robin will debut in September 2022 and will be written by Meghan Fitzmartin.
We all know what DC Comics is trying to do because everything they do is predictable and uncreative. DC Comics will get to roll out a new Robin comic book with a #1 on the cover which usually delivers a good sales number at the beginning. However, after the second issue sales inevitably drop back to normal.
I am not that impressed with Fitzmartin as a writer so I do not think she will lead to a sustained increase in sales numbers. I would expect Tim Drake: Robin to get a nice debut number and then fall down the sales chart. After several months, Tim Drake: Robin should be getting basically the same sales ratings as the current Robin title. Now, what will be interesting is that we are going to get some excellent data on which Robin is more popular. Damien Wayne or Tim Drake.
Catwoman came in tenth place with an average sales ranking of 89. This is another alarming result for a character that has such a storied history and has been incredibly popular in the past. Again, DC Comics needs to evaluate everything on this title and institute some changes.
Batgirls took eleventh place with an average sales ranking of 90. This is another Batman franchise title that is trending toward being a dead title. If DC Comics is serious about Batgirls then they need to make some changes across the board. What they have been doing is clearly not working.
Dead Titles Walking
Now we get to the Dead Titles Walking. These are all titles that sell outside of the Top 100. When you are DC Comics, you should not have titles performing this poorly. These are all titles that should be canceled immediately. DC Comics should then evaluate what went wrong and take steps to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
I am Batman came in twelfth place with an average sales ranking of 105. Nobody asked for Jace Fox as Batman and, as a result, nobody is buying this title. I am Batman is a leftover from Dan Didio’s ill-conceived 5G plans. The sooner DC Comics cancels this title and moves on the better.
Batman Urban Legends took thirteen place with an average sales ranking of 113. This is an anthology title that rarely sells well. DC Comics can continue to justify publishing this title if they use it as a test lab for new characters or existing supporting characters in order to gauge interest in a possible future solo title. This title can also be useful to give opportunities to unknown writers and artists a chance to prove themselves to DC Comics. However, at some point, DC Comics has to decide how long they want to subsidize a title like Batman Urban Legends.
Task Force Z came in fourteenth place with an average sales ranking of 134. I love Jason Todd, but this title is a failure. The result is that DC Comics is going to cancel Task Force Z with issue 12.
Harley Quinn took fifteenth place with an average sales ranking of 135. This should be terrifying DC Comics. Harley Quinn used to be one of DC Comics’ bigger characters. Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.
At this point, DC Comics would be wise to just cancel this title and let the character rest for a year. This should help build anticipation and excitement over a new Harley Quinn title after a one-year hiatus. DC Comics should roll out a brand new Harley Quinn title with a totally new creative team and editor and a completely different story approach.
Future State Gotham came in sixteenth place with an average sales ranking of 150. This is another title that is a leftover from Dan Didio’s terrible 5G plans. Nobody asked for this title. Nobody is reading this title. Time for it to go.
Okay, now let’s take a deep dive into the sales graphs for each of the Batman titles over the first half of 2022.
Batman had an excellent first half of 2022. Zero surprise there. The highest sales ranking for Batman was the number 3 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 6 spot. Batman is incredibly consistent each and every month. I would fully expect Batman to continue to be a Top 10 every month for the second half of 2022.
Batman Superman World’s Finest has had a steady and successful first half of 2022. The highest sales ranking was the number 3 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 24 spot. Batman Superman World’s Finest has been a steady seller over the course of issues 2-4. It looks like DC Comics has a consistent Top 25 title on their hands with Batman Superman World’s Finest.
Batman Killing Time was steady over its first three issues before finally hitting a big drop with the fourth issue. The highest sales ranking was the number 12 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 45 spot. I was feeling more confident that Batman Killing Time would remain a Top 25 title before the fourth issue was released. Now? I have a feeling that Batman Killing Time may end up dropping out of the Top 50 before the end of this six-issue mini-series.
Batman Beyond the White Knight has had a curious start. The highest sales ranking was the number 24 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 44 spot. Batman Beyond the White Knight had an unusual start debuting at the number 31 spot and then actually increasing in the sales rankings for issues 2 and 3. However, issue number 4 had a sizable drop in the rankings. I think that Batman Beyond the White Knight still has a good chance to remain a consistent Top 50 seller for the remainder of this eight-issue limited series.
Nightwing has been a steady seller for DC Comics over the course of the first half of 2022. The highest sales ranking was 27. The lowest sales ranking was 47. Nightwing’s highest sales ranking was a bit of an outlier as this title has been firmly between the mid-30s and the mid-40s. I fully expect Nightwing to remain a Top 50 title for the second half of 2022.
Batman Beyond Neo-Year started out hot and rapidly cooled off. The highest sales ranking was the number 15 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 84 spot. You can see the sales line for the first issue. It looks like the drop of a roller coaster. That is a bad sign. It looks like Batman Beyond Neo-Year is going to end its six-issue mini-series outside of the Top 75 and possibly outside of the Top 100.
Detective Comics has had an uneven and disappointing first half of 2022. Alongside Batman, Detective Comics is the other flagship title for the Batman franchise. The highest sales ranking was the number 21 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 93 spot. Detective Comics has been on the downward slide and has suffered two major drops along the way. There is a chance that Detective Comics may be able to rebound and claw its way back into the Top 50 in the second half of 2022. However, I think the more likely result is that Detective Comics is a Top 75 title in the second half of 2022. Either way, this is disappointing since this is one of the two flagship titles for the Batman franchise.
Batman The Knight has had a rough first half of 2022. The highest sales ranking was 36. The lowest sales ranking was 92. Batman the Knight took a big tumble with the last issue in June 2022. There is a chance that Batman the Knight can rebound in the second half of 2022 and finish in the Top 75. However, I do not think it is realistic to expect this ten-issue limited series to end up fishing in the Top 50.
Robin has had a bumpy first half of 2022. The highest sales ranking was the number 64 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 115 spot. As you can see in the chart, Robin’s sales line goes up and down like a drunk Bouncing Boy. We know that DC Comics is canceling this title. The big question is if Tim Drake: Robin can do any better in the second half of 2022.
Catwoman has had an uneven first half of 2022. Sales, in general, have been poor. The highest sales ranking was the number 71 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 99 spot. Catwoman has had some wide swings in the sales ranking from month to month. This makes predicting the second half of 2022 difficult. However, the fact that Catwoman has only been in the Top 75 once in the first half of 2022 is instructive. I would expect Catwoman to remain outside of the Top 75, but inside of the Top 100 for the second half of 2022.
Batgirls has had a bad first half of 2022. The sales line for Batgirls has been pointing steadily down. The highest sales ranking was 62. The lowest sales ranking was 135. I think there is a small chance that Batgirls can manage to rally and crack back into the Top 100. But, I think it is far more likely that Batgirls spends most of its time outside of the Top 100 for the second half of 2022.
I Am Batman has been a sales dud. The sales line has been uneven with a couple of big drops. The highest sales ranking was the number 69 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 149 spot. I feel confident that I Am Batman will remain safely outside of the Top 100 for the second half of 2022. What will be interesting is to see if I Am Batman can remain in the Top 150 in the second half of 2022.
Batman Urban Legends is an anthology series. This type of title rarely is a sales beast. The highest sales ranking was the number 82 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 141 spot. Batman Urban Legends started low and stayed low in the rankings. The sales line did have one bump up the rankings in April, but it was temporary as sales dropped back down. I do not think that Batman Urban Legends has any chance of cracking back into the Top 100 in the second half of 2022. It looks like this title is going to have to fight just to remain in the Top 150.
Task Force Z has had a terrible first half of 2022. The highest sales ranking was the number 90 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 172. As we mentioned earlier, DC Comics has canceled this title with issue #12.
Harley Quinn is a franchise in complete and total disarray. The highest sales ranking was the number 124 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 172 spot. The one bright spot is that the lowest sales ranking of 172 happened in January. Harley Quinn then saw two months of increased sales before beginning to slowly drop in sales. I think that Harley Quinn has a good shot of remaining in the Top 150 for the second half of 2022.
Future State Gotham is the bottom of the barrel in the Batman franchise. The highest sales ranking was the number 118 spot. The lowest sales ranking was the number 190 spot. The sales line is composed of a steady decline with a bump up in sales followed by another decline. Future State Gotham spent four months in the Top 150 and two months outside of the Top 150. My guess is that Future State Gotham remains in the Top 200 for the second half of 2022. However, I do not expect Future State Gotham to spend much time at all in the Top 150.
All right, that is it for the first half of 2022 of the Batman franchise! It will be interesting to see just how right and how wrong we were about some of these titles come the end of 2022!