Hi all! Steph here with January’s numbers hot off the presses. All numbers presented in this article are from the January 2019 Comichron page. These numbers only comics distributed by Diamond to US comic book stores. They do not include outside the US, digital, newsstand, and anything else. We also have a new TBU By The Numbers Spotlight. This month’s spotlight: Boxing Gloves Off! King vs. Snyder.
Overall January 2019 Numbers
* Includes ALL DC comic sales, including reorders
** TBU is defined by that month’s comics as defined by TheBatmanUniverse.net specifically the titles covered on the TBU Weekly Roundup’s and does NOT include reorders
Due to Diamond taking Christmas week off in December and January being a five-week month, January 2019 had an increase of 7% copies sold from January 2018, more than $5 million. Comichron also released an interesting table of the number of comic books put out by 8 of the top publishing companies. It’s interesting to see how not much has changed in the last 25 years, as far as the number of books releasing.
Main TBU Books
Batman Who Laughs topped the charts even though it saw an almost 50% drop from issue number 1. I do wonder what the reorder amount for issue 2 will be in February as this is actually a very interesting series and people will probably want to keep picking it up. Though most of the Main TBU books are seeing a decline in average sales, Batgirl saw a very respectable increase with issue #31 from the previous issue (the storyline is pretty great!) Batman #62 was staying pretty sturdy but then went down again with #63, the second of the Knightmares arc, which was much better than the #62, the first in the Knightmares arc, in this writer’s opinion. The only book seeing a steady increase in sales is Detective Comics, steadily increasing as anticipation for #1000 mounts. Since we did find out in February that issue #1000 will have nothing to do with the storyline in January, I wonder if the numbers in February will show a drop right before #1000. Red Hood: Outlaw starts flirting with the danger zone of cancelation, though this writer believes the book is still worth picking up.
Secondary TBU Books
This table looks a little bit like a horror show. All books are technically in the cancelation zone, all losing readership very quickly. Since some of these are limited series, they don’t have to worry about being canceled. Old Lady Harley only has one more issue left after January, and both Archie Meets Batman ’66 and Kings of Fear have wrapped up. Batman Beyond continues to hang on, but its readership is dwindling. Future Joker isn’t doing too much to save this series.
Main DCU Books
Heroes in Crisis comes out on top of this list, though readership is steady declining here as well. Young Justice had a very good first issue. However, all books are declining in readership with Adventures of the Super Sons entering the cancelation zone under 20K. It is a 12 issue maxi-series, though, so with half of the series released and the series meant to wrap in July, it is unlikely that the series will be canceled. Deathstroke is down a whopping 25% with the most recent storyline wrapping up soon. There will be a crossover with Teen Titans in March, though, so we’ll see if that breathes some life back into the readership of the recently indoctrinated Bat-Book.
TBU Number’s Spotlight: Boxing Gloves Off: King vs Snyder
Though it is hard to compare these two writers, as one was monthly and the other bi-monthly and the fact that the time of year of release can influence buying trends, the easiest and most direct way to compare Snyder vs. King is by issue number. So, we’ll be looking at the first 52 issues of both writers’ runs. I have opted to exclude specials such as villains’ month, the #0 issue, annuals, and future’s end issues. We are pretending that Snyder wrote issue 52. We are also only discussing original sales, so issues that got tons of reorders aren’t added here either.
So what does this tell us? On average, over the first 52 “real” issues of their run, Snyder outsells King, hands down. Snyder’s average sales are 128K where King lags behind just a bit with 120K. That’s an average of almost 8K more an issue. This average includes the King’s huge outliers! These outliers are the #1 and #50 issues, which were the Rebirth-but-not-reboot and the not-wedding issues, respectively.
Snyder also regularly outsells King per issue if you consider their entire run (specials and all), Snyder’s 123K average over sixty-two issues vs King’s 120K over fifty-eight issues. These two writers are obviously very different and attract different audiences within the Batman fandom, so it does make sense for their numbers to fluctuate, even with a book as popular as Batman.
What does this mean? Is King a bad writer? Absolutely not. In future spotlights, I’ll show today’s sales are amazing compared to the last 20 years and King is a big part of that. I, for one am, enjoying the run and I may be in the minority when I say that even the Wedding snafu didn’t bother me in the long run (after some counseling and breathing into a paper bag for three days). I’m very interested in seeing where King is going, whereas I have never and probably never will buy a Snyder Batman TPB. But I can understand that if you were frustrated with Snyder’s twelve issue story arcs over a year, then King’s one hundred issue story arc over five years is killing you. I think this also shows that Snyder did appeal to a broader audience and kept a pretty steady readership throughout his run.
What should our spotlight be next month? Let me know in the comments or on our Discord.