Diverse Comics Sales: December 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in the direct market. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Marvel Comics

  • Daredevil #1 / 84,500

Matt Murdock’s latest comics jaunt—his first launch since Netflix’s Daredevil—has vaulted him eight thousand copies above his last.

  • Deadpool #1 / 81,240

???

This #1 issue launched back in October; was he present in a geek subscription box?

  • Gwenpool Special #1 / 80,768

Successful thing + other successful thing = a new successful thing? It’s basic science.

Obviously retailers wanted this comic, but did fans? We’ll find out later this year when Gwenpool gets her own series!

  • Totally Awesome Hulk #1 / 74,471

Amadeus Cho’s run at the purple shorts sold one thousand copies over the Hulk’s last official launch.

  • Deadpool #3 / 72,357
  • Mighty Thor #2 / 70,331

Still fewer sales than Jane’s last run (her previous #2 sold 20k more copies); still solid sales overall.

  • All-New, All-Different Avengers #2 / 67,154

Between #1 and #2, the flagship Avengers title of the ANAD launch drops by 48% to the tune of 61k ditched copies.

  • Deadpool #4 / 63,149

Perhaps a result of anticipation for the upcoming movie, Deadpool is leveling out pretty nicely after early (expected) drops.

  • All-New Inhumans #1 / 58,123

This is certainly more than I was expecting! Previous Inhumans title haven’t faired too well and this is a secondary title.

  • Scarlet Witch #1 / 57,835

Wanda’s always occupied a pretty unique niche in the Avengers line-up and she hasn’t always earned ideal treatment from writers. I’m happy to see retailers support her series in at least decent numbers.

  • Spider-Gwen #3 / 54,844

The drop from #1 to #2 was spectacularly harsh (197k to 62k), so it’s nice to see the series level out at least somewhat. The last Spider-Gwen #3, however, sold 102k copies, so it at least appears that the character is losing long-term momentum.

  • All-New Wolverine #3 / 50,990

Only a ~10% (5k) drop between #2 and #3; that’s solid if the series can maintain it.

  • Daredevil #2 / 49,758
  • Squadron Supreme #1 / 48,247
  • Ms. Marvel #2 / 46,610

An 8k rise in direct market sales when compared to Kamala’s last #2 (if you discount reprints).

  • Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat #1 / 46,198

Solid sales if it manages to avoid a steep second issue drop.

  • Deadpool #3.1 / 42,615
  • Red Wolf #1 / 39,288

I can’t help but wonder how much this tepid launch can attribute to the character’s obscurity or the controversy surrounding its announcement.

  • Silk #2 / 38,356

Though the drop from #1 to #2 isn’t too harsh (about 19k, and I’m being generous), the drop from it’s previous #2 is (31k).

  • Ultimates #2 / 37,055

Approx. a 40% drop between issues.

  • New Avengers #4 / 36,669
  • All-New Hawkeye #2 / 35,363

Nearly a 50% drop between issues.

  • All-New Inhumans #2 / 34,471

And there goes my initial optimism with a 41% drop on an already mid-range debut.

  • Spider-Man 2099 #4 / 32,464
  • Weirdworld #1 / 30,288

Have retailers seen Mike Del Mundo’s art? Have they dazzled their customers with it? Apparently not.

  • Captain America: Sam Wilson #4 / 29,512

Captain America series aren’t always the sales juggernauts fans may expect them to be, but they still sell markedly better than this. It’s a shame considering this series’ critical praise.

  • Spider-Woman #2 / 27,801
  • Squadron Supreme #2 / 27,643
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 / 25,350
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2 / 21,715
  • Angela: Queen of Hel #3 / 20,958

Uncomfortable numbers for all of the preceding series, especially Spider-Woman, a character who should be an Avengers staple, and Angela: Queen of Hel, Marvel’s sole queer-led title.

Below 15k: Dark Tower: The Lady of Three – Lady of Shadows #4

Female-Led: 14
Person-of-Color-Led: 11
Queer-Led: 1
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 3
Total Diverse Series: 27

DC Comics

  • Harley’s Little Black Book #1 / 92,266

In which DC’s “Just Slap Harley On It!” strategy continues to succeed more than any Big Two long-term strategy has in recent years.

  • Harley Quinn #23 / 69,168

Marvel and DC’s recent launches only wish they could maintain these long-term sales. Only three of ANAD Marvel’s launches still beat these sales a few months out: Amazing Spider-Man (#4 and #5), Deadpool, (#1 and #3) and the Mighty Thor (#2).

  • Wonder Woman #47 / 40,123

Wonder Woman gets a 6k boost in sales, presumably due to the poly-bagged Harley Quinn variant covers from the month.

  • Grayson #15 / 35,765

4k bump here, likely due to the Robin War event.

  • Robin: Son of Batman #7 / 34,815
  • Harley Quinn and Power Girl #6 / 31,375
  • We Are Robin #7 / 28,181
  • Batgirl #46 / 27,591
  • DC Comics Bombshells #6 / 23,679
  • Cyborg #5 / 23,618
  • DC Comics Bombshells #7 / 23,014
  • Gotham Academy #13 / 22,947
  • Black Canary #6 / 21,666
  • Starfire #7 / 21,250
  • Earth-2: Society #7 / 21,059
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #7 / 18,601
  • Cyborg #6 / 17,864
  • Gotham Academy #12 / 15,865
  • Catwoman #47 / 15,038

Below 15k: Secret Six #9, Justice League 3001 #7, Doctor Fate #7, Midnighter #7, Twilight Children #3, Sheriff of Babylon #1, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #17, Clean Room #3, Prez #6, Red Thorn #2, Survivors’ Club #3

There’s no much I can offer here aside from “yikes” and “hopefully trades do well?”

Female-Led: 15
Person-of-Color-Led: 9
Queer-Led: 5
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 27

Overall Thoughts

Looking at these numbers (and giving a cursory glance to those not included), it would be easy to conclude that Marvel’s enormous output volume is cannibalizing comics sales—definitely DC’s, very likely Marvel’s, too.

It’s not just that Marvel ANAD series are suffering severe percentage drops from #1 issues to subsequent ones; that’s normal, especially considering all those variant covers. What’s fascinating is seeing how many of ANAD’s highest, flagship, or most-anticipated titles are landing hard into a mid-tier sales range by #3.

Invincible Iron Man, the relaunch’s flagship title, sits at 57k at #4. Spider-Gwen #3 at 54k. Extraordinary X-Men #4 at 49k. None of those feature remotely bad numbers, but they seem lower than they should be.

Sixteen of the ANAD launches—primarily #2s, a few #3s, and one #1—live in the 20k range, an area once considered prime cancellation zone (digital has altered the equation).

Vendors of direct market comics have a finite amount of funds, shelf space, and promotion effort for their comics. If they’re to accommodate such a large publisher launch (solicits and announcements clock ANAD at 70+ ongoing series—many with variant covers galore—over the next several months), they have to clear out room; these harsh sales drops indicate (to me at least) that Marvel’s hollowing out its own series’ long-term potential. Less room for Silk #6, more room for one of the four variants of International Iron Man #1.

With that said, what does terrible long-term sales matter if short-term sales are conquering consistently every month?

If any publisher’s been hurting from this shelf-blocking, however, it’s been DC. Aside from a few series with some incredible longevity (Batman, Justice League, and, oh, hey Harley), most DC series have been struggling to catch headlines or shelf space. And, from what I can tell, Marvel’s ANAD barrage shows no signs of stopping, so I’m interested to see how, or if, DC can break out its stand-still.

Diverse Comics Sales: November 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in the direct market. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Disclaimer: Direct market sales are only a piece of the comics sales equation, though they are a significant one. Unfortunately, they’re the only tangible and somewhat timely piece made available to the general public. Keep this in mind when reading.

Marvel Comics

  • Deadpool #1 / 180,565

Good ole’ Deadpool makes for the fourth-highest All-New, All-Different Marvel launch so far, behind Invincible Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, and Spider-Gwen.

Will the upcoming Deadpool movie in February stave off subsequent sales drop-offs?

  • All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 / 128,570

Lesson learned: all future Avengers line-ups should only feature one white dude.

  • All-New Wolverine #1 / 119,786

HMMMMMMmmmm Laura’s stint as Wolverine sold over 30k more copies than Logan’s last run at the title. Mayhaps we have another Thor situation?

  • Mighty Thor #1 / 112,053

Jane’s second run at the hammer comes with 38k fewer sales than her original stint, but this is still nothing to scoff at.

  • Deadpool #2 / 92,008

The ANAD Marvel Story: Inflate first issues, see epic drop-off in second issues.

  • Ms. Marvel #1 / 79,222

On the flipside, Kamala Khan has gained 30k sales since her launch in February 2014. With that steep $5 price tag, however, I’m left wondering how many digital readers (a core component of the Ms. Marvel readership) decided to opt out of this run.

  • All-New Hawkeye #1 / 68,933

Just 2k more sales than March’s relaunch.

  • Spider-Gwen #2 / 62,209

An almost 70 percent drop-off between issues.

  • Ultimates #1 / 61,406
  • Silk #1 / 57,140

About 17k fewer sales this time around for Cindy.

  • All-New Wolverine #2 / 55,634

Welp, she’s at least still beating out Logan’s last run.

  • Spider-Woman #1 / 53,885

Though she’s carting around double the cargo, Jessica Drew’s latest launch as Spider-Woman features half the sales.

  • Nova #1 / 45,536

Though he’s carting around double the cargo (the cargo being his father), Sam Alexander’s latest launch as Nova features half the sales.

  • New Avengers #3 / 41,630
  • Infinity Gauntlet #5 / 40,464

One of Secret Wars’ best miniseries ends on a fairly strong note.

  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 / 38,133

Opening a little lower than the original Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, the only comic series I can really think to compare it to.

  • Spider-Man 2099 #3 / 34,969
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson #3 / 33,984
  • Spider-Gwen #0 / 30,062
  • Angela: Queen of Hel #2 / 23,264
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 / 23,064

Below 15k: Dark Tower: The Lady of Three – Lady of Shadows #3, Max Ride: Ultimate Flight #1,

Female-Led: 12
Person-of-Color-Led: 9
Queer-Led: 1
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 2
Total Diverse Series: 20

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #22 / 58,344
  • Robin: Son of Batman #6 / 35,633
  • Harley Quinn and Power Girl #5 / 34,127
  • Wonder Woman #46 / 34,042
  • Grayson #14 / 31,831
  • Starfire #6 / 27,941
  • DC Comics Bombshells #4 / 27,239
  • DC Comics Bombshells #5 / 25,335
  • Earth-2 Society #6 / 21,948
  • Catwoman #46 / 21,661
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #6 / 19,328
  • We Are Robin #6 / 19,210
  • Secret Six #8 / 15,375

Below 15k: Doctor Fate #6, Midnighter #6, Twilight Children #2, Red Thorn #1, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #16, Slash & Burn #1, Clean Room #2, Survivors’ Club #2,

So little changes on a month-to-month basis for DC’s titles that it’s impossible to come up with unique commentary. New launches are rare and all other titles pretty much sit in the same order.

Female-Led: 10
Person-of-Color-Led: 6
Queer-Led: 4
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 0
Total Diverse Series: 20

Overall Thoughts

I would say Marvel’s wildly ping-ponging numbers might suggest scary things about their comics’ longevity, but I’m not convinced longevity’s even a priority at this point.

I’m curious to see if the back-half of Marvel’s 70+ series launch suffers (if at all) from diminishing launch returns. Miles Morales’ one series is starting months after Peter Parker gets three of his; I can’t imagine that’s good.

DC’s Vertigo launch, despite featuring a pretty awesome variety of leads, is not doing so hot in the direct market—every title is below 15k in sales, some deeply so.

Diverse Comics Sales: October 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in the direct market. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Disclaimer: Direct market sales are only a piece of the comics sales equation, though they are a significant one. Unfortunately, they’re the only tangible and somewhat timely piece made available to the general public. Keep this in mind when reading.

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #21 / 55,272

As always, Queen Harleen reigns supreme.

  • Robin: Son of Batman #5 / 35,619
  • Wonder Woman #45 / 33,885
  • Grayson #13 / 32,260
  • DC Comics Bombshells #3 / 32,147

Very solid sales for a digital-first property.

  • Batgirl #45 / 29,276
  • Starfire #5 / 28,714
  • Cyborg #3 / 27,550
  • Cyborg #4 / 25,926

At least the drops between issues aren’t too steep. #ChromeLinings

  • Earth-2 Society #5 / 23,459
  • Black Canary #5 / 22,215
  • We Are Robin #5 / 21,243
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #5 / 20,431
  • Catwoman #45 / 20,229
  • Twilight Children #1 / 16,896

Not the most encouraging sales Vertigo’s most recent relaunch.

  • Gotham Academy #11 / 16,560
  • Secret Six #7 / 16,343

Below 15k: Doctor Fate #5, Clean Room #1, Midnighter #5, Survivors’ Club #1, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #15, Prez #5

Female-Led: 11
Person-of-Color-Led: 7
Queer-Led: 4
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 22

Marvel Comics

  • Spider-Gwen #1 / 197,103

Fantastic numbers (third in the market overall), even if it is a nearly 60k drop from Gwen’s first series launch.

  • New Avengers #1 / 71,243

A team starring Squirrel Girl, Wiccan, Hulkling, Songbird, and a couple other lesser-known (by the mainstream) characters? I was not expecting it to be so well-supported by retailers.

  • Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 / 62,535

Sam Wilson’s earlier run launched at twice this number and suffered steep drop-offs in subsequent months. Here’s hoping Fox News and its sympathies for white-supremacist villain groups drew some eyeballs to the newer launch.

  • Star Wars: Lando #5 / 59,760
  • Spider-Man 2099 #1 / 57,719
  • New Avengers #2 / 50,455
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 / 43,155

Unlike Spider-Gwen and Sam Wilson, Squirrel Girl actually launched to higher numbers the second time around—by about 2k.

  • A-Force #5 / 41,337

Definitely one of Secret Wars’s sales success stories.

  • Spider-Man 2099 #2 / 40,701
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson #2 / 40,224
  • Angela: Queen of Hel #1 / 39,271

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin launched to the tune of 61k. 1602: Witch Hunter Angela launched to 38k. Not terrible, but not great for what is Marvel’s only queer solo-led title (or is it?) (it is) for the foreseeable future.

  • Ms. Marvel #19 / 31,408
  • Marvel Zombies #4 / 28,933
  • 1602: Witch Hunter Angela #4 / 19,545

Female-Led: 7
Person-of-Color-Led: 4
Queer-Led: 1
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 0
Total Diverse Series: 11

Overall Thoughts

Though it’s technically true that DC has double the amount of diverse titles that Marvel has, it would be dishonest of me to pretend like that’s indicative of any large trend. In subsequent months, Marvel is launching a number of series led by women and PoC alike, and will no doubt lap DC in over character diversity—at least in those areas.

This particular snapshot does, however, tell us a few peculiar things. First, the face of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different premier strongly resembles a white dude’s. Invincible Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Astonishing Ant-Man, and several white dude heavy ensembles (Uncanny Avengers, Uncanny Inhumans, Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.) all benefit most from the sparkly new sales scent of a relaunch—which is likely to suffer (probably only lightly) from diminishing returns.

It also shows us how much DC’s is struggling in the direct market—this goes beyond just the diverse offerings. Three of DC’s four Vertigo launches hit below 15k copies, and the fourth barely breached it. Many recent DCYou launches sink to the lower end of the sales scale, even in their relative infancy. It’s a shame that DC publishes trades so far after arc conclusions; heightened interest brought on by the book market could save some of the series.

With Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as the core exception, many of Marvel’s second-coming comics are selling below their original launches. Given the terrifying drops between first and second issues of many ANAD titles (Invincible Iron Man dropped by a staggering 76%), it’ll be interesting to see what’s sustainable and what’s just a glut of variant covers crowding out space on the shelf.

Diverse Comics Sales: September 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in the direct market. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Disclaimer: Direct market sales are only a piece of the comics sales equation, though they are a significant one. Unfortunately, they’re the only tangible and somewhat timely piece made available to the general public. Keep this in mind when reading.

Marvel Comics

  • Star Wars: Lando #4 / 61,542
  • A-Force #4 / 46,636
  • Infinity Gauntlet #4 / 45,160
  • Silk #7 / 36,477

I’m routinely impressed over how steady Silk’s sales have remained over the past several months. Hopefully her newest series doesn’t get buried in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Avalanche.

  • Years of Future Past #5 / 34,797
  • Ms. Marvel #18 / 33,761
  • All-New Hawkeye #5 / 31,141
  • Daredevil #18 / 29,945
  • Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos / 28,966
  • Agent Carter: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary / 26,438
  • Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary / 26,313
  • Mockingbird: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary / 25,593
  • Quake: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary / 25,193
  • Cavalry: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary / 23,831

As far as one-shot sales go, these sales are pretty decent—especially for the one about Melinda May, a character conceived totally from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. Hopefully Mockingbird will vault into a higher sales bracket when her ongoing series launches in a few months.

  • 1602: Witch Hunter Angela #3 / 23,058
  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps / 22,106
  • Runaways #4 / 20,582

Below 15k: Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #11,

Female-Led: 13
Person-of-Color-Led: 7
Queer-Led: 1
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 3
Total Diverse Series: 18

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #20 / 56,836
  • Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1 / 51,135

It’s hysterical to me how DC’s go-to strategy for making stable money nowadays is basically “throw Harley at it!” Honestly, I don’t hate it.

  • Robin: Son of Batman #4 / 38,162
  • DC Comics Bombshells #2 / 37,136

More than any other series would I kill to see how DC Comics Bombshells fairs in digital. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t see panels from this series posted on Tumblr with at least ten thousand notes attached to ’em. But, as fair direct market sales go, this is very solid.

  • Wonder Woman #44 / 36,151
  • Harley Quinn and Power Girl #4 / 36,031
  • Grayson #12 / 32,284
  • Batgirl #44 / 30,654
  • Starfire #4 / 30,485
  • Grayson Annual #2 / 25,470
  • Earth-2: Society #4 / 25,443
  • Black Canary #4 / 23,678
  • We Are Robin #4 / 22,893
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #4 / 21,974
  • Catwoman #44 / 21,507

Many of the preceding (and following) series have the potential to do well in digital or trade; hopefully they are, as these direct market sales are pretty discouraging. Especially for those in their early issues.

  • Secret Six #6 / 17,376
  • Gotham Academy #10 / 17,292
  • Wonder Woman ’77 Special #2 / 17,101
  • Doctor Fate #4 / 16,258

Below 15k: Midnighter #4, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #14, Doomed #4, Prez #4,

Female-Led: 14
Person-of-Color-Led: 7
Queer-Led: 5
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 0
Total Diverse Series: 23

Overall Thoughts

In terms of character diversity stats, those S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary comics sincerely helped out Marvel as it transitions away from Secret Wars into its All-New, All-Different publishing slate; they did highlight four women and three people of color, which is neat. Once ANAD Marvel kicks into full swing, it will have an appreciable number of diverse titles (by, unfortunately, a less-than-diverse creator pool).

DC—both in context of this and just generally—is in a weird place. It just recently announced a bunch of titles (that aren’t faring so great in the direct market), and I doubt the company wants to do that again, but it might just have to. Otherwise, character diversity looks to remain generally pretty steady. That is, until series get canceled, which I imagine will be around the #12 mark for many.

Diverse Comics Sales: August 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in the direct market. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Disclaimer: Direct market sales are only a piece of the comics sales equation, though they are a significant one. Unfortunately, they’re the only tangible and immediate piece made available to the general public. Keep this in mind when reading.

Marvel Comics

  • Star Wars: Lando #2 / 71,043
  • Star Wars: Lando #3 / 68,787

~Team Leia and Lando Should Have Gotten More Than Miniseries~

  • Infinity Gauntlet #3 / 54,279
  • A-Force #3 / 49,074

A-Force is one of the few Secret Wars titles to hold strong sales-wises going into its third issue. This bodes pretty well for the upcoming series.

  • Years of Future Past #4 / 37,968
  • Marvel Zombies #3 / 34,629
  • Silk #6 / 34,368
  • Ms. Marvel #17 / 31,567

As a fan of both Cindy and Kamala, I’m pleased to see they’re still holding strong amidst the Secret Wars clutter.

  • Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #3 / 31,135
  • Secret Wars: Secret Love #1 / 25,176

According to Bleeding Cool (and nowhere else?), Marvel’s recent foray into romance comics sold out. If true, I’d love to see more installments that are less homogenous and more homo-genius.

I’ll see myself out.

  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #3 / 24,295
  • Runaways #3 / 23,755
  • Spider-Woman #10 / 23,005
  • Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2 / 20,453
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 / 19,134

Oh hey, it’s the series whose first trade charted at #9 on the NYT’s Paperback Graphic Books Best Sellers List. Further proof that you should take these direct market sales with scrutiny.

  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #17 / 19,003
  • Master of Kung Fu #4 / 16,111

Below 15k: Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #10, Max Ride: First Flight #5,

Female-Led: 13
Person-of-Color-Led: 6
Queer-Led: 1
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 18

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #19 / 64,223
  • DC Comics Bombshells #1 / 59,253

In wake of Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman’s cancellation, this is buoyant news. Both it and DC Comics Bombshells are progressive, female-friendly comics that feature many female creators. Sensation debuted in the direct market at 30k; Bombshells nearly doubled that. Here’s hoping the 40s, feminist utopia never come to an end.

  • Wonder Woman #43 / 39,646
  • Harley Quinn & Power Girl #3 / 38,853
  • Robin: Son of Batman #3 / 38,413
  • Grayson #11 / 36,538
  • Batgirl #43 / 32,079
  • Secret Six #5 / 30,418
  • Starfire #3 / 30,207
  • Cyborg #2 / 29,167
  • Earth-2 Society #3 / 28,381
  • We Are Robin #3 / 26,830
  • Catwoman #43 / 26,451
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #3 / 24,040
  • JLA: Gods and Monsters: Wonder Woman #1 / 23,963
  • Black Canary #3 / 23,253
  • Doctor Fate #3 / 18,951
  • Gotham Academy #9 / 18,048
  • Midnighter #3 / 16,563

Below 15k: Doomed #3, Prez #3, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #13

In their third (and second, in the case of Cyborg) issues, many of the (diverse) DCYou titles aren’t faring too well in the direct market. They are, however, the type of stories that’d find home in trades and in the digital market—here’s hoping they are.

Female-Led: 12
Person-of-Color-Led: 7
Queer-Led: 4
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 22

Overall Thoughts

As it stands, both Marvel and DC are in weird positions.

Marvel’s nearing the end of its Secret Wars event, and, with a few exceptions, many of its miniseries are plummeting in terms of direct market sales. By October, I fully expect Marvel to re-engulf the market with its “All-New, All-Different” deluge, likely to resounding success.

DC, if rumors are to be believed, is at a crossroads. The (aces, quality-wise) DCYou titles aren’t selling as keenly as upper brass, allegedly, had hoped. Based on these direct market sales and the recently announced cancellations of Omega Men and Doomed (two new DCYou titles), I’m inclined to believe the concerns. On the flipside, many of these new titles have been doing great critically, and have great potential to succeed in other formats.

If DC course-corrects too dramatically, I worry that it (and the talented creators that work there) will lose long-term loyalty from its fanbase.

Diverse Comics Sales: July 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in comic book stores. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this series is not to discredit or undervalue the power of digital sales or trade sales; both are core components to a series’ lifespan, though it’s unknown just how core they are. Regardless, physical monthly comics sales through Diamond Comic Distributors are still important to the industry, and they’re the only numbers that are easily accessible. When reading this series, keep in mind that this isn’t the whole picture.

Marvel Comics

  • Star Wars: Lando #1 / 192,949

That right there is handily the most successful PoC-led comic of this year and last. Hopefully Marvel gives Lando and Leia the ongoing series they deserve?

  • Princess Leia #5 / 77,465
  • A-Force #2 / 60,330

Despite a near 50% drop in order numbers, A-Force still rises far above the rest.

  • Years of Future Past #2 / 47,572
  • Years of Future Past #3 / 44,074

Similar drop (from 71k) for YoFP, but less severe.

  • Marvel Zombies #2 / 39,148
  • Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #2 / 36,404
  • Hawkeye #22 / 32,397
  • All-New Hawkeye #4 / 31,661

Fascinating to see how the 22nd issue of one series eclipses the fourth issue (and final issue?) of the next.

  • Runaways #2 / 30,697
  • Daredevil #17 / 29,904
  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #2 / 28,741
  • Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1 / 27,618
  • 1602: Witch Hunter Angela #2 / 26,481
  • Spider-Woman #9 / 24,354
  • Black Widow #20 / 20,817
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #16 / 19,846
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #17 / 19,801
  • Master of Kung Fu #3 / 18,348

Below 15k: Deathlok #10, Max Ride: First Flight #4,

Female-Led: 13
Person-of-Color-Led: 4
Queer-Led: 2
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 2
Total Diverse Series: 20

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #18 / 59,566
  • Cyborg #1 / 45,187

These are solid numbers that land right near Starfire’s from last month. Hopefully this one gets a smaller drop.

  • Harley Quinn & Power Girl #2 / 44,974
  • Robin: Son of Batman #2 / 44,232
  • Wonder Woman #42 / 36,668
  • Grayson #10 / 33,990
  • Starfire #2 / 33,659
  • Batgirl #42 / 33,168
  • Earth 2: Society #2 / 31,663
  • We Are Robin #2 / 31,209
  • Batgirl Annual #3 / 28,731
  • Black Canary #2 / 27,512
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #2 / 26,870

Not ideal numbers for second issues. Fortunately, Black Canary, We Are Robin, and Constantine: The Hellblazer all earned second printings.

  • Justice League: Gods and Monsters — Superman #1 / 25,204
  • Doctor Fate #2 / 22,967
  • Secret Six #4 / 22,813
  • Gotham Academy #8 / 22,359
  • Catwoman #42 / 21,983
  • Midnighter #2 / 19,813

:/

  • Doomed #2 / 17,630

Below 15k: Prez #2, Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #12,

Female-Led: 11
Person-of-Color-Led: 8
Queer-Led: 4
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 22

Overall Thoughts

It’s heartbreaking to see so many well-conceived, critically-acclaimed series starring female and marginalized protagonists as created by female and marginalized creators fair so poorly on comic stands.

It’s not necessarily surprising—comic stores are hostile ground for these characters and like fans, and DC’s facing off against Marvel’s Secret Wars. Stores have limited shelf space, after all. My nightmare is seeing back bins clogged with SW tie-in comics knowing that ordering space could’ve gone to Black Canary, Cyborg, Midnighter, or Dr. Fate—comics with a real chance of cultivating new fans.

DC’s linewide diversity is rising, while Marvel’s is dipping—though that may U-turn in coming months. Marvel’s upcoming creator diversity is terrible, but it’s presence of female and characters of color is still pretty solid.

I hope the digital marketplace is proving to DC that diverse books are worth pursuing from a financial standpoint.

Diverse Comics Sales: June 2015

Diverse Comics Sales is a monthly feature that analyzes how “Big Two” comics featuring diverse protagonists are faring in comic book stores. Numbers are provided by Comichron; digital numbers are, unfortunately, unavailable. For team books, I’m using IrizWest‘s diversity measure: cishet white men don’t exceed 1/3 of the team’s roster. For a team book to count under a specific diversity category, 2/3 of team must belong to it.

Marvel Comics

  • Princess Leia #4 / 80,170

If Marvel doesn’t launch a Princess Leia ongoing series after this, it is leaving some serious money on the table.

  • Years of Future Past #1 / 71,450

My five-year-comics-plan has Marguerite Bennett as one of Grand Empresses of the Comic Industry. This is a great start.

  • Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 / 70,256
  • Spider-Gwen #5 / 67,697

And thus ends Spider-Gwen. But don’t worry, it’ll relaunch in just a few months with the same team and premise. ~Comics~

  • Infinity Gauntlet #2 / 59,667

I’m elated to still see this one going strong, as it’s incredible on the diversity front and storytelling front.

  • Marvel Zombies #1 / 51,917
  • Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #1 / 48,514

Wow. Is this because the character has “Deadpool” in the name? And she outsold all these higher-profile characters? Wow.

  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1 / 47,302
  • Runaways #1 / 41,063

Pretty solid numbers for a team of comics underdogs.

  • Silk #5 / 38,798

Hopefully her relaunch can recapture earlier success?

  • 1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1 / 37,996
  • Daredevil #16 / 33,309
  • Ms. Marvel #16 / 32,855
  • Black Widow #19 / 27,387
  • Spider-Woman #8 / 26,568
  • Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9 / 26,389
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #15 / 19,956
  • Master of Kung-Fu #2 / 19,763
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 / 19,341

Under 15k: Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #9, Deathlok #9, Max Ride: First Flight #3,

Female-Led: 15
Person-of-Color-Led: 6
Queer-Led: 3
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 4
Total Diverse Series: 22

DC Comics

  • Harley Quinn #17 / 68,243
  • Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 / 64,911

The only Divergence title to come close to one-upping Harley is, surprise, Harley herself (with some help from Power Girl).

  • Robin: Son of Batman #1 / 64,095
  • We Are Robin #1 / 51,943

YES. I haven’t heard much chatter about this title but I’m glad it sold well initially and earned a second printing.

  • Starfire #1 / 46,298

Another second printing!

  • Wonder Woman #41 / 45,284
  • Earth-2: Society #1 / 41,002
  • Black Canary #1 / 40,786
  • Grayson #9 / 39,610
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 / 38,080

It sold 500 more copies than the last one! And the last one made it to 23 issues—considering that Marvel’s titles last between 5-12 issues, I’ll take it.

  • Dr. Fate #1 / 35,962

Okay. Okay. Not incredible, but it’s solid.

  • Batgirl #41 / 33,220
  • Doomed #1 / 32,259
  • Midnighter #1 / 32,200

~~Midnighter is a totally rad comic that stars an out gay dude and I would 100% recommend you read it~~

  • Wonder Woman Annual #1 / 29,189
  • Secret Six #3 / 28,458
  • Prez #1 / 28,309
  • Catwoman #41 / 27,034
  • Gotham Academy #7 / 26,594
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 / 20,733

This sucker sold 3x more than Nux/Immortan Joe, and it totally trolled the audience who’d want to buy it.

Under 15k: Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #11, Coffin Hill #19,

Female-Led: 14
Person-of-Color-Led: 6
Queer-Led: 4
Protagonist with Disability-Led: 1
Total Diverse Series: 22

Overall Thoughts

Throughout 2015, DC’s had between 13-18 diverse titles published in a given month. June is a significant improvement on that front, and the July should be better with the additions of Cyborg and Justice League United. Additionally, the publisher did add some new creators of the color and queer creators to their line-up. That’s significant.

Marvel’s still holding strong in terms of character diversity, but is dipping (a bit) with Secret Wars. A great bulk of the announced series are rooted in nostalgia, and Marvel’s past is very white and male. I expect the next few months to get worse until All-New, All-Diverse Marvel hits (which has aggressive problems for creator diversity).

I’m delighted that some of Marvel series are selling so well (Years of Future Past, Infinity Gauntlet, Marvel Zombies), but I’m also totally heartbroken that DC’s Divergence titles are not doing as hot. If you haven’t at least checked out Black Canary, Starfire, We Are Robin, Dr. Fate, Midnighter, Prez, or Constantine: The Hellblazer, I’d recommend doing so! They feel, dare I say, actually all-new and all-different.