Sunday, 14 April 2013

Comic-Book Sales: March 2013

March 2013 was a huge month for comics! From Age of Ultron and the Guardians of the Galaxy, to DC's new Constantine ongoing there was a lot for comic fans to get stuck into! So what sold big, and what got left behind? Find out here, as we take a look at last month's top titles as well as the struggling ones in our analysis of the March 2013 comic sales!

To start, here's the top ten comics of last month:

Marvel NOW! Continues...

Last month saw two more Marvel NOW! titles launched in Guardians of the Galaxy and Wolverine and, as you can see above, both of them did extremely well - however that's not exactly surprising. Wolverine has always been a bit of a cash cow for Marvel, who can be relied on to sell copies of his own books. Meanwhile, with the Guardians of the Galaxy movie fast approaching our screens, it's hardly surprising that people were going to give the comic a go - especially when Marvel's biggest writer, Brian Michael Bendis is at the helm.

The other big Marvel books this week were the first three issues in the Age of Ultron event comic. The book has been shipped at a blisteringly fast pace, presumably to get it out the door fast so that Marvel can go back to focusing on Thanos. Surprisingly, neither of the three issues made the No. 1 spot. Now, that's not to say that the event is doing badly - all three issues made the top 10 and sold over 100,000 copies - but normally the first issue of a Marvel event comic makes it to the top spot. Is this a sign that readers are finally giving in to event fatigue?

The really great news for Marvel is that they have got their hold back on the top 10. For a while, DC's New 52 had really been keeping the company at bay, however last month Marvel's books took not only the top spot, but also left only three spaces for DC.

Outside the top 10 this domination continued, with spaces 11-17 all taken up by Marvel books. Specifically, two Superior Spider-Man books - #6 and #6AU - Uncanny X-Men #3, Uncanny Avengers #5, Avengers #8, All-New X-Men #9, and Avengers #9.

So, those are your big-selling Marvel NOW! titles, now which ones aren't proving to be quite as popular? Well, first of all Winter Soldier continues to rank outside the Top 100 and so it's no surprise that the title has been cancelled! This week, Marvel released their July solicitations and Bucky Barnes' title was nowhere to be found. Marvel later confirmed the news. Any Winter Soldier fans can soon catch up with the character in the Secret Avengers as he joins the team soon.

The strange thing is, Winter Soldier isn't the company's worst-selling title by quite a lot. In fact, last month X-Factor, Morbius: The Living Vampire, and Gambit all sold worse than The Winter Soldier. However, it's worth noting that still all these titles sold over the 20K mark so they're probably still somewhat safe for the near future.

The titles that are really in the danger zone though, are Journey Into Mystery, Captain Marvel, Dark Avengers, and Red She-Hulk. All these titles are selling badly, however the only one I would worry about is Red She-Hulk which is the worst selling title by far. It sold little over 15,000 copies last month. When X-Treme X-Men hit these low numbers Marvel were quick to cancel it, and so I imagine the only thing keeping Red She-Hulk alive is the fact that Marvel want a variety of female-led titles.

DC: I'm Getting A Bad Vibe From Last Month's Sales

So, as I mentioned above, DC only got three titles in the Top 10 this month which is disappointing to say the least. Two of those titles, Batman and Justice League managed to sell over 100,000 copies though, which is still an achievement. However, I was surprised to see just how much the readership of Justice League of America fell over the course of a month. When the title debuted, it broke records selling over 300,000 copies, and while it isn't uncommon for a title's readership to drop with its second issue, for this title to have dropped under 100K already is worrying.

Outside the Top 10, DC's other big selling titles last month were Detective Comics at No. 18 with over 75,000 copies sold, with Green Lantern and Batman and Robin close behind at No. 19 and 20, both with sales of just over 69,000.

A title that sold surprising low last month was Green Arrow. When Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino came on board sales for the comic shot up, taking it from No. 100 to No. 58. However, this month despite the reaction to the new creative team being positive, the title plummets back down to No. 86. It's still doing better than it was pre-Lemire, but a surprising drop nonetheless.

DC's only new title this month was Constantine. The title is a relaunch of the Vertigo book Hellblazer which was controversially cancelled so it could be integrated into the New 52. The book makes a somewhat disappointing debut at No. 62 selling around 37,500 copies. Its a solid start for the title, but fairly underwhelming. The big question is will it be able to maintain these sales? So many New 52 titles start off strong and then lose readers fast.

Case in point, Vibe and Katana! Both of these books are only on their second issues, and are also both tied to the JLA and yet still they are flopping hard! Both books are now selling under 20,000 copies already which really isn't a good sign just two months into their lives.
But, they're nowhere near the worst selling New 52 books that are yet to be cancelled: Batwing, Demon Knights, Dial H and Stormwatch. These titles are all selling under 14,000 copies, with Batwing selling barely over 12,000. If you're reading any of these titles, I'd get ready to take them off your pull list because I don't think they will be around for much longer.

Image Comics: The Saga Continues

Image Comics has really been doing well recently. Brian K Vaughan's Saga has proven to be a great seller for them - not to mention critically acclaimed - the book makes the Top 50 every month and last month was no different where the book ranked No. 33 selling over 50,000 copies.

However, the big gun in Image's arsenal at the moment has to be The Walking Dead. As the TV show seems to do nothing but grow bigger and stronger, so does the comic book. Last month, The Walking Dead ranked No. 21 which is impressive for an independent title. Also, what this means is The Walking Dead is now outselling some of Marvel and DC's biggest books including New Avengers, Batman Incorporated and Action Comics.

Image also launched two more titles this month. Jonathan Hickman's East of West and Joe Casey's controversially titled Sex #1. Hickman's East of West managed a strong debut at No. 35 selling just under 50,000 copies. The much-anticipated book looks to be another winner for Image - that is if Hickman can actually maintain a regular release schedule.
Meanwhile, Sex #1 didn't make quite as much of an impact. It debuted at No. 98 with around 23,600 copies sold. Looks like the title of the book didn't help sales as much as the press coverage would suggest.

That's all the analysis we'll be doing on this month's comic sales, but please come back next month for more!


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