Editor’s Note: For those unfamiliar with TBU by the Numbers, this is a monthly article series started years ago at TBU to take a look at the sales numbers as part of the direct market for comics. While it has been on hiatus for almost a year, listeners of the TBU Comic Podcast will know that we are still nerds and love numbers. Steph is taking over the series from Jessica and plans on continuing the legacy of the series every month along with some newly added elements as well. Hopefully, you are just as nerdy as us and love all kinds of numbers.
Hi all! Steph here with ice-cold numbers from December 2018. All numbers presented in this article are from the December 2018 Comichron page. These numbers are only comics distributed by Diamond to US comic book stores. They do not include outside the US, digital, newsstand, and anything else.
Every month we’ll feature a TBU Number’s Spotlight where I’ll take a deeper look at some sales stats. This could be comparing Snyder to Tom King, times TEC outsold Batman or any myriad of statistical type things. This month, we will focus on Playing Favorites: Comparing the Bat-Kids Books.
First, we’ll take a look at the DC and TBU overall numbers.
Overall December 2018 Numbers
* Includes ALL DC comic sales, including reorders
** TBU is defined by that month’s TBU roundup on TBU.net’s website, does NOT include reorders
This year Christmas fell on a Wednesday so DC opted (or were forced to due to Diamond’s shipping schedule) to push back many of their books, causing this to be the lowest number of books that DC has put out in a month since February 1991. Compare this to what they were putting out in January of 2017, 89 single issue books. They still did alright, with the top 5 comic books sold for the month being DC books, all part of The Batman Universe.
Main TBU Books
I’ve added a few new columns to the data. In stats, you don’t really want to compare sales numbers to just one month, a single point. So, I have added the average of the previous three books to the sales numbers. As you can see, although Nightwing #54 did better than the previous month, on average readership is going down. The only book really seeing improvement is Detective Comics, most likely because it was Peter Tomasi’s first issue after the absolutely terrible Two-Face story arc from James Robinson.
The Batman Who Laughs took the number one spot in sales overall by a pretty hefty margin, almost 58% more than the #2 book, Batman: Damned. Is it Snyder? Is it the popularity of Batman Who Laughs? Is it people’s insatiable need for an evil Batman so that Batman can come face to face with his own demons and find truth within himself? Maybe it’s all three! Whatever the reason, it did really good.
Secondary TBU Books
There weren’t a lot of secondary books in December. The surprise (or not?) was the absolute drastic increase in Batman: Damned, snagging the #2 overall sales spot. This is a little nuts because there were only 8,312 reorders of Batman: Damned #1, which is nowhere near the 43K increase in orders for issue #2. Maybe people were hoping for more of the Batman’s batpole, or maybe it was just a really big hit. (Editor’s Note: This also had to do with the fact that initially the book was meant to go back for a second printing and then after the controversy of the first issue, DC announced it would not get a second printing. This, of course, raised the value of the first printings significantly and explains the lack of reorders for the first issue as all that could be reordered were copies that were already printed.) The only book in the danger zone was Archie Meets Batman ’66, which was a mini and is in no danger of being canceled as it is now over.
Main DCU Books
No surprise, but Doomsday Clock did really well, and though it is on a slow decline, it keeps very respectable numbers, over 120K. Snyder’s and Tynion’s Justice League continues to do very well. Teen Titans and Suicide Squad saw a small increase from the previous month, though overall they are on the decline. Adventures of the Super Sons is starting to flirt with the danger zone, though this is a maxi-series with a planned twelve issues and will hopefully not get canceled (article writer bias, I know).
TBU Number’s Spotlight: Playing Favorites: Comparing the Bat-Kids Books – Rebirth
Everything I’ve read on parenting says that you shouldn’t compare your kids’ and their accomplishments and talents. But this is fiction, so let’s do it anyway. This graph compares the Rebirth runs of all the Bat-Kids in their solo titled (or team) books: Damian Wayne (Super Sons and Adventures of the Super Sons), Barbra Gordon (Batgirl), Jason Todd (Red Hood and the Outlaws and Red Hood: Outlaw), and Dick (Rick) Grayson (Nightwing). (Sorry Tim)
The graph is a little skewed due to Nightwing’s double shipping (his issue numbers on top) and the rest of the books (issue numbers on bottom), but the overall picture is there.
Nightwing reigns supreme overall, though right now Batgirl is kicking his amnesiac behind. Red Hood’s numbers are on the rise and may be a contender for “Favorite Bat-Kid” if the trend continues. Super Sons had been doing decent, but that book was canceled and replaced with Adventures of the Super Sons, which unfortunately is not doing as well. Does this make Damian the red-hooded step-child? Is Jay going to work himself into daddyBat’s good graces with better sales numbers than Babs or Rick? We’ll keep an eye on them and keep you updated.
If you have any ideas you’d like to see in the TBU Number’s Spotlight, let me know in the comments down below!