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TBU By the Numbers – July 2017


July brought positive shifts for The Batman Universe titles in the overall market, with only three of the issues dropping on the ranking. With Marvel releasing some #1 issues as they make a Rebirth-style move, last month Dark Days: The Forge got outsold by Peter Parker Spectacular Spider Man #1. This month’s big Marvel #1 was X-Men, but it got outsold by Dark Days: The Casting.

Almost none of the books shifted in their relative position to each other except for Batwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws exchanging their positions and Bane: Conquest falling beneath Batgirl, whereas it figured above Batman Beyond in the month of June. Nevertheless, the sales for the title are getting more stable: the previous issue showed a drop of 60 positions in the ranking.

 

On the bottom of the list an interesting thing can be noticed. We take our sales numbers from Comichron. They list the top 300 titles of the month and three of June’s titles figure in the list: Batman #24 (selling more than Mother Panic, Batman ‘66, and Gotham Academy, by the way), Dark Days: The Forge and Batman #25. Those two Batman issues are the one with the proposal to Catwoman and the first issue of The War of Jokes and Riddles respectively.

 

BATMAN

Not only did issue #25 of Batman sell extremely well, Batman #26 saw an increase in sales – only for it to drop again in the following issue. Actually, adding the June and July sales for issue #25 they sum up to 108,749 issues, making the raise for issue #26 artificial. Nonetheless, Batman #27 sold the same as the first issue of the arc in its release month, which is telling to the popularity of The War of Jokes and Riddles.

 

Batman/The Shadow continued to have a relatively high drop rate, which is not to say that the title is doing bad. In fact, a sequel titled The Shadow/Batman has been confirmed. Detective Comics’ sales have stabilized at around 55 thousand, but the sales numbers are probably going to get higher once we hit September with Tim Drake’s return.

 

GREATER GOTHAM

Some good news came with July’s sales. Batgirl sales seem to be plateauing, no longer dropping at a fast rate, and Harley Quinn saw a little bit of a rise in sales. The best news, though, comes from Red Hood and the Outlaws: a 4% increase in sales. The title has been getting really good reviews and issue #11 was the finale of the “Who is Artemis” arc. Issue #12 was a sold out issue, so we should be seeing even better results for the month of August.

 

On the other end of the spectrum is Bane: Conquest, which continues being the title with the highest drop rate even with it getting less steep each month. Batwoman’s sales continue to decrease significantly each month, a scenario that may be getting worst with Tynion leaving the title on issue #7.

 

GREATER DC

Dark Days once again sold incredibly well. Not only is it a big overarching event, but it also features some of the biggest names in DC Comics, such as Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr. Despite the heaviness of those names, next month will show us the numbers of the first Capullo-Snyder reunion issue with Dark Nights: Metal. It is fairly safe to guess that it will outsell Dark Days.

 

The drop rate for the second wave titles – Justice League of America and Super Sons – is heading towards a plateau, falling from around 6% in June to around 4% in July. It is safe to say, therefore, that we can finally grasp the numbers of the actual audience of those titles. As it stands now, all of the team titles of DC sell roughly the same issue-by-issue except for Detective Comics and Justice League.

 

What we can get from this phenomenon is that, after one year of Rebirth, those books are back to only selling to those who would buy them anyway, failing to draw in new readers (see the sales numbers from June after the end of Lazarus Contract falling right back to where they previously stood). This can be caused by a number of different things but it is not unlikely that the main reason is that, while the books are not of bad quality (otherwise we would be seeing much poorer numbers), they have not been exactly outstanding, most of them being formulaic and very little daring.

 

Together with the overall market numbers for the month of July as provided by Comichron (the market was down 19% compared to July 2016, when DC released most of its Rebirth titles), this is proof of the increasing downfall of the industry. It is fairly safe to say that the comic book format in its entirety needs some shake-ups. Reboots, renumberings, events, “all-news” which are actually “all-old-with-some-makeup-on,” only go so far when it comes to effectiveness, giving comics a temporary boost in sales that ends up being artificial.

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