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TBU By the Numbers – May 2017

Our sales figures breakdown is back! And we are back with a bang as we cover May 2017, the month that Rebirth reached its one-year milestone. To mark this, we are not only covering the issue-by-issue variation and rank position, but also how the titles are doing since their relaunch.


Numbers can be quite tiresome, so we will try to keep it simple and easy to grasp. No, you won’t get my full spreadsheet in here, it has over one thousand columns with sales figures and an impossibly complicated formula. Which is, of course, me exaggerating, but what we are bringing here is the summed up, categorized figures. If you follow TBU’s solicitations breakdown or the Comic Podcast, we are using the same categories: Batman titles, Greater Gotham, and Greater DC. The sales numbers used were taken from Comichron.



The third installment of The Button came out in May with Batman #22. It figures in the overall first position if the lenticular and the regular cover sales are put together. After the event ended, the sales returned to their regular number of around 95 thousand copies, making the percentage variation go haywire.


As for Detective Comics and All-Star Batman, they are stable, Detective more so. It is interesting to see the difference between the rank in units and dollars for the bimonthly titles which have their prices held at $2.99. While All-Star figures higher in grossing than units sold, the bimonthly titles figure lower. The difference between units sold and dollar grossed is usually around 20 positions for the bimonthly titles, but it can be as high as 30.



Starting with the worst results, Batwoman and Mother Panic both had a significant drop in sales, but while Batwoman was still at its 3rd issue by May, meaning the title was still finding its audience, Mother Panic was already by the 7th. The title is one step from going below the 10 thousand issues line which usually means cancellation. Also under 10 thousand was Gotham Academy, a title that will be ending with issue #12.


The most stable titles are Red Hood and the Outlaws, Harley Quinn and Nightwing. An important information to have in mind is that issue #21 of Nightwing featured Wally West. Special appearances usually boost sales a little, but in this case it was not enough to pull a positive variation for the title.


Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey and Batman Beyond are dropping more than what should be expected at this point.



The sales for Teen Titans, Titans and Deathstroke skyrocketed due to the Lazarus Contract crossover. If those readers will stay with the titles for the following issue remains to be seen.


Both Trinity and Suicide Squad had considerable drop rates. Suicide Squad #17 was the second issue of a story arc, making it a worrisome number. As for Trinity, the previous issue was a tie-in to Superman Reborn, which probably drew some one-time buyers to the title, making sales drop for issue #9.


Also interesting to notice is how Super Sons seems to have found its regular audience much faster than Batwoman, both monthly titles that came out at the same time.



This is where we analyze how the titles have been doing for the past year. In order to do so, some things were taken into consideration. First of all, the comparison is being made with issue #2 of the titles. The reason for that is that number #1 issues always have their sales figures distorted due to their collectible nature. Second, for Teen Titans, Titans and Deathstroke we are using the sales numbers for the issue before the Lazarus Contract hit, because the crossover event also gave them artificial sales numbers.


The titles are ordered by current sales numbers. The second wave titles – Justice League of America, Super Sons and Batwoman – are not being considered for this analysis because of the short time since their release. Mother Panic and Gotham Academy are not part of the Rebirth line, so they are not being analyzed either.



Even considering only pre-Lazarus Contract numbers, Teen Titans is the monthly title with the smaller variation from issue #2 until now, which is surprising since the title has been having an average rating since its release.


The Batgirl titles are very much in trouble, especially Batgirl itself. It started Rebirth selling around the same as Trinity, but it has fallen bellow Red Hood and the Outlaws, a title that started selling 10.ooo units less than Batgirl. The only other title with over 60% decrease in sales is Harley Quinn, but it is a bimonthly title, meaning that the issue-by-issue decrease was smaller. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is the lowest selling title of the Batman Universe titles.



As was said before, Harley Quinn was the title with the highest drop rate out of all of the titles analyzed. It might be due to Rebirth having started very close to the release of the Suicide Squad movie, which built a lot of now faded hype on the character. With Paul Dini soon stepping out of the backup stories, its sales will probably drop some more.


On the other end of the spectrum is Detective Comics. It began Rebirth being oversold by Nightwing, Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Batman, and All Star Batman, but its sales are now surpassing all of those titles except for Batman and All Star Batman. This is proof of how good James Tynion IV’s run on the title has been. Also worth noting is that one of the reasons for renumbering titles is that high numbers such as 938 would be discouraging for new readers. Detective is proving this argument wrong. We should also have in mind that Tim Drake is yet to return to the title, an event that will probably boost the sales.


Batman is doing fairly well considering that its variation was similar to the average monthly book, but with double the issues. Nightwing, Suicide Squad, and Deathstroke are all showing a sharp drop. Deathstroke is a curious case, the series running for an Eisner and with 8.1 as overall in Comic Book Roundup, but still having such a significant drop rate.

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