DC SALES — February 2017, Best of the Rest

Well comic book sales data for March 2017 came out today. So, while we’re waiting for the per-issue sales estimates to hit the interwebs, why don’t we take a moment to review the “best of the rest” for DC Comics from February.

As regular readers of this column will know, we’ve already covered February numbers for the Batman Family titles, the Superman books, and the series belonging to members of the Justice League, as well as as  Young Animal and Titans-related titles. Now, I did say “best” of the rest, so we’ll skip over the Vertigo and DC’s kiddie titles, as well as the Hanna-Barbera reboots, because, let’s be honest, those sales are just too pitiful to contemplate.

And, as to “sales,” a quick primer for any new readers — the numbers reviewed here are non-returnable sales from Diamond Distributors to North American comic books shops, not necessarily of the shops to their customers, as estimated by John Jackson Miller at Comichron.com. But conventional wisdom is that this still represents at about 85 percent of all comic book sales.

Listings below give the month of issue for each title, it’s ranking in that month’s Top 300 comics, and the sales estimate, and the percentage change from the previous issue. An asterisk (*) means the books was returnable, and Miller has taken 10 percent off his calculation for initial orders from retailers to account for probable returns. A number in brackets represents re-orders through Diamond following the initial order cut-off date, if those orders were great enough to merit a Top 300 ranking.

All set? Okay, then, here we go . . .

 

THE WILD STORM ($3.99)
02/2017: (23) Wild Storm #1* — 49,493

Considering that we generally expect to see a 35 percent drop-off for orders on a second issue, and another 15 percent for #3, followed by a couple of months at 5-7%, before winding up at “standard attrition” of about 2 percent per month, I would not call this as auspicious start if I was one of the bean counters at DC. I guess there was not as much fanboy nostalgia for the Wildstorm imprint as we might have presumed.

 

 

 

 

SUICIDE SQUAD ($2.99)
06/2016: (94) New Suicide Squad #21 — 23,887
07/2016: (93) New Suicide Squad #22 — 25,162
08/2016:  (5) Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1* — 177,806
08/2016:  (3) Suicide Squad #1* — 217,672
09/2016:  (9) Suicide Squad #2* — 89,575 (-58.8%)
09/2016: (14) Suicide Squad #3* — 82,623 (-7.8%)
10/2016: (27) Suicide Squad #4* — 69,385 (-16.0%)
10/2016: (35) Suicide Squad #5* — 63,472 (-8.5%)
11/2016: (24) Suicide Squad #6 — 61,973 (-2.4%)
11/2016: (27) Suicide Squad #7 — 59,452 (-4.1%)
12/2016: (27) Suicide Squad #8 — 59,967 (+0.9%)
01/2017: (26) Suicide Squad #9 — 54,010 (-9.9%)
01/2017: (27) Suicide Squad #10 — 53,649 (-0.7%)
02/2017: (25) Suicide Squad #11 — 48,723 (-9.2%)
02/2017: (27) Suicide Squad #12 — 46,860 (-3.8%)

Suicide Squad had a fantastic start, but the 58.8 percent drop off at #2 tells us it sold more as a movie-related “collectible” than as something people planned to actually read. About 12,000 variant covers helped in that regard. Since then, the numbers have dropped pretty precipitously. Still, the title is selling nearly twice as much as the “new” team did pre-Rebirth. So, from DC’s standpoint, it was a good reboot.

-78.5% over 12 issues from #1
-47.7% over 11 issues from #2

 

HARLEY QUINN ($2.99)
06/2016: (44) Harley #29 — 55,774
07/2016: (59) Harley #30 — 45,443
08/2016:  (1) Harley #1* — 359,957
08/2016:  (9) Harley #2* — 116,651 (-67.6%)
09/2016: (16) Harley #3* — 81,635 (-30.0%)
09/2016: (22) Harley #4* — 73,678 (-9.7%)
10/2016: (37) Harley #5* — 62,943 (-14.6%)
10/2016: (41) Harley #6* — 58,827 (-6.5%)
11/2016: (34) Harley #7 — 56,878 (-3.3%)
11/2016: (37) Harley #8 — 54,111 (-4.9%)
12/2016: (38) Harley #9 — 49,871 (-7.8%)
12/2016: (41) Harley #10 — 48,380 (-3.0%)
01/2017: (34) Harley #11 — 47,308 (-2.2%)
01/2017: (41) Harley #12 — 45,599 (-3.6%)
02/2017: (29) Harley #13 — 45,400 (-0.4%)
02/2017: (32) Harley #14 — 43,798 (-3.5%)

Like her team, Harley’s Rebirth started in the stratosphere. However, she’s had a harder fall and is now selling below her pre-Rebirth numbers. You’ll notice, too, that while Suicide Squad has held steady to its Top 300 ranking despite falling sales, Harley had been, until February, steadily sliding down the chart.  Why is that do you think? DC did drop the extra titles, so I’m not chalking it up to overall Harley fatigue. Maybe she’s just getting a little long in the tooth? Has Harley-mania played itself out? Should DC begin casting about for its next big thing? Should I sell my Batman Adventures #12 before the bottom drops out?

-87.8% over 14 issues from #1
-62.3% over 13 issues from #2

 

TRINITY ($2.99)
09/2016: (7) Trinity #1* — 93,797
10/2016: (32) Trinity #2* — 65,106 (-30.6%)
11/2016: (31) Trinity #3 — 58,253 (-10.5%)
12/2016: (37) Trinity #4 — 50,270 (-13.7%)
01/2017: (38) Trinity #5 — 46,204 (-8.1%)
02/2017: (37) Trinity #6 — 42,001 (-9.1%)

-50.7 over 6 issues from #1

Still, garnering decent numbers, but falling a lot faster than we might ordinarily like to see at this point. How much fan demand was there for a Big Three pairing, anyway? For my money, I ‘d much rather have a Brave and the Bold-like series that paired a different one of the three with lesser lights from the DCU each issues.

 

HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS ($2.99)
07/2016: (10) Hal Jordan/GL Corps: Rebirth #1* — 113,965
07/2016: (11) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #1* — 108,708
08/2016: (28) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #2* — 77,972  (-28.3%)
08/2016: (42) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #3* — 64,737  (-17.0%)
09/2016: (41) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #4* — 54,815  (-15.3%)
09/2016: (46) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #5* — 50,935  (-7.1%)
10/2016: (49) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #6 — 49,988  (-1.6%)
10/2016: (53) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #7 — 48,064  (-3.8%)
11/2016:  (51) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #8 — 45,194  (-6.0%)
11/2016: (55) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #9 — 43,485  (-3.8%)
12/2016: (54) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #10 — 41,234  (-5.2%)
12/2016: (57) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #11 — 40,111  (-2.7%)
01/2017: (60) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #12 — 39,148  (-2.4%)
01/2017: (63) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #13 — 38,053  (-2.8%)
02/2017: (52) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #14 — 37,504  (-1.4%)
02/2017: (57) Hal Jordan/GL Corps #15 — 36,311  (-3.2%)

This one Rebirthed 23,798 copies ahead of Green Lanterns, but as of February Hal is trailing Jessica and Simon by 315. That tells me the GL everybody knows has built-in interest where retailers are concerned, but has failed to deliver in the eyes of actual buyers. Considering he’s not in the Justice League movie (presumably), and considering the number of Green Lanterns Earth has running around anyway, is it time for DC to once again think about offing Ol’ Highball?

For comparison’s sake, Green Lantern (i.e. Hal) entered the New 52 era in September 2011 with 141,682 in sales (ranked #3 that month), while Green Lantern Corps sold 74,769 (14th). The Corps got canceled in March 2015 at #40, by which time it was ranked #37 and selling 42,334. A subsequent six-issue limited series, Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion, closed out in June 2016 at #117 with a mere 18,459 in sales. Hal’s solo title made it all the way to #52 in May 2016, ranking #54 that month with 32,936 in sales.

So, the combined titled is still outperforming where each was at individually, but Hal has managed to land in the mid-to-low 30k ranges in just 15 issues this outing, compared to 52.

-66.6% over 15 issues from #1
-53.4% over 14 issues from #2

 

GREEN ARROW ($2.99)
06/2016: (19) Green Arrow: Rebirth #1* — 81,760
06/2016: (33) Green Arrow #1* — 69,833 [+16,115]
07/2016: (34) Green Arrow #2* — 72,849  (+4.3%)
07/2016: (35) Green Arrow #3* — 72,864  (+0.02%)
08/2016: (40) Green Arrow #4* — 67,577  (-7.2%)
08/2016: (45) Green Arrow #5* — 63,209  (-6.5%)
09/2016: (52) Green Arrow #6 — 55,330  (-12.5%)
09/2016: (40) Green Arrow #7 — 52,974  (-4.3%)
10/2016: (43) Green Arrow #8 — 48,906  (-7.7%)
10/2016: (56) Green Arrow #9 — 46,606  (-4.7%)
11/2016: (57) Green Arrow #10 — 43,355  (-7.0%)
11/2016: (60) Green Arrow #11 — 41,576  (-4.1%)
12/2016: (66) Green Arrow #12 — 38,515  (-7.4%)
12/2016: (70) Green Arrow #13 — 37,365  (-3.0%)
01/2017: (70) Green Arrow #14 — 35,733  (-4.4%)
01/2017: (75) Green Arrow #15 — 34,590  (-3.2%)
02/2017: (63) Green Arrow #16 — 33,371  (-3.5%)
02/2017: (67) Green Arrow #17 — 32,392  (-2.9%)

Along among the titles in this installment of the DC sales charts, Green Arrow charted with re-order activity on its #1 issue, and initial orders actually were UP for a couple of issues — leveling off at about the point #1 actually arrived in stores. That tells me retailers under-estimated demand for this title, maybe getting a little more advance chatter in their stores than anticipated. But from there it’s already down in the low-30k range, and retailers seem to have really bailed at the point the book became non-returnable, telling me it may not have been everything readers were looking for. Were they expecting Rebirth continuity to track a little closer to the CW TV show?

-61.2% over 17 issues from #1 (counting known re-orders)
-54.2% over 16 issues from #2

 

DEATHSTROKE ($2.99)
06/2016: (101) Deathstroke #19 — 21,094
07/2016: (112) Deathstroke #20 — 20,562
08/2016: (12) Deathstroke: Rebirth #1* — 99,318
08/2016: (23) Deathstroke #1* — 83,602
09/2016: (39) Deathstroke #2* — 55,343  (-33.8%)
09/2016: (51) Deathstroke #3* — 49,916  (-9.8%)
10/2016: (66) Deathstroke #4* — 42,521  (-14.8%)
10/2016: (75) Deathstroke #5* — 39,144  (-7.9%)
11/2016: (76) Deathstroke #6 — 37,177  (-5.0%)
11/2016: (80) Deathstroke #7 — 35,782  (-3.8%)
12/2016: (86) Deathstroke #8 — 32,530  (-9.1%)
12/2016: (89) Deathstroke #9 — 31,519  (-3.1%)
01/2017: (90) Deathstroke #10 — 29,864  (-5.3%)
01/2017: (98) Deathstroke #11 — 28,625  (-4.1%)
02/2017: (86) Deathstroke #12 — 27,226  (-4.9%)
02/2017: (90) Deathstroke #13 — 26,328  (-3.3%)

It’s been a sizable fall from grade for everyone’s favorite mercenary. He’s due to drop to a monthly schedule and a “bold new direction” in July, whatever that means. Still, Deathstroke‘s numbers are still ahead of where they were when Rebirth hit, and he’s holding at a steady, if low, place on the charts, so it seems the change is intentional, and not reactionary to the sales drop, such as appears to have been the case for Cyborg.

-68.5% over 13 issues from #1
-52.4% over 12 issues from #2

 

HELLBLAZER ($2.99)
08/2016: (49) Hellblazer #1* — 59,734
09/2016: (68) Hellblazer #2* — 40,749 (-31.8%)
10/2016: (94) Hellblazer #3 — 33,596 (-17.6%)
11/2016: (102) Hellblazer #4 — 28,882 (-14.0%)
12/2016: (101) Hellblazer #5 — 25,780 (-10.7%)
01/2017: (116) Hellblazer #6 — 23,349 (-9.4%)
02/2017: (101) Hellblazer #7 — 21,450 (-8.1%)

This seems to be dropping a LOT faster than it should be at this point. Of course, even at 21k this would be the best selling Vertigo title by far. So, it’s beyond me why DC doesn’t ship Constantine back to where he arguably belongs.

-64.1% over 7 issues

 

KAMANDI CHALLENGE ($3.99)
01/2017: (255) Kamandi Special #1 — 5,722
01/2017: (114) Kamandi #1 — 23,576
02/2017: (133) Kamandi #2 — 16,650 (-29.4%)

The first issue was a $4.99 book, and the concept may be a little too heady for most fans. Thus, it’s not surprising #1 sold so poorly. Although, truth to tell, I would not have expected it to perform THAT badly. Subsequent issues may get a goose here and there where name creators are involved, but overall the real challenge may be DC’s commitment to publishing all 12 planned issues. Because at this rate, Kamandi will surely be well below 10k before it ends.

-29.4% over 2 issues

 

ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS ($3.99)
01/2017: (126) Amazons #1 — 21,811
02/2017: (157) Amazons #2 — 14,334 (-34.3%)

A six-issue limited series that ought to have been an easy sell to fanboys. I mean, it’s the origin of the Amazons — that is to say, the scantily clad Amazons. And yet reaction from retailers appears to have been a collective yawn. The problem is, I think, the relatively low name-recognition factor of its creators. This is the kind of thing that really screamed for an Adam Hughes, or a Frank Cho. This one will almost certainly drop out of the Top 300 before it’s done, which (and I hate to say this because it will sound cruel) had to be considered a failure by any measure.

-34.3% over 2 issues)

 

 

EARTH-2: SOCIETY ($2.99)
06/2015: (57) Earth2 #1 — 41,002
…..
02/2016: (114) Earth2 #9 — 18,868
03/2016: (111) Earth2 #10 — 18,391  (-2.5%)
04/2016: (121) Earth2 #11 — 17,844  (-3.0%)
05/2016: (111) Earth2 #12 — 17,492  (-2.0%)
06/2016: (128) Earth2 #13 — 17,430  (-0.4%)
07/2016: (135) Earth2 #14 — 16,960  (-2.7%)
08/2016: (145) Earth2 #15 — 16,884  (-0.4%)DC C
09/2016: (134) Earth2 #16 — 16,025  (-5.1%)
10/2016: (147) Earth2 #17 — 16,822  (+5.0%)
11/2016: (157) Earth2 #18 — 15,181  (-9.8%)
12/2016: (165) Earth2 #19 — 14,366  (-5.4%)
01/2017: (165) Earth2 #20 — 14,073  (-2.0%)
02/2017: (161) Earth2 #21 — 13,761  (-2.2%)

On the whole, this has been one of DC’s more consistent series, even if it does languish at the bottom of the sales charts. Still, next issue, #22, will be the last. I’m not sure what DC did to goose sales for #17, but you’ll notice that was a single-issue bump and all of the gains were wiped out with the next outing. You’ll notice that happens about 95 percent of the time. You’d think if retailers order high on a certain issue, that they’d order high on the next one, on the assumption that some of those who sampled the book might stick around. But instead they invariably seem to think those readers will feel burned by whatever stunt enticed them to try the one issue, and all those sales evaporated before the book even hits the stands.

For comparison, the first Earth-2 series, which ran 32 issues from May 2, 2012, to March 4, 2015. It started out at 86,168 in sales (ranked #11) and ended with 27,361 (#83), losing 68.2 percent of its circulation along the way.

-27.1% year-to-year (Feb. 2017 — Feb. 2016)
-66.4% over 21 issues from #1

 

DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS ($3.99)
08/2015: (18) Bombshells #1 — 59,253
…..
02/2016: (105) Bombshells #9 — 20,349
03/2016: (101) Bombshells #10 — 19,820  (-2.6%)
04/2016: (111) Bombshells #11 — 18,859  (-4.8%)
05/2016: (103) Bombshells #12 — 18,512  (-1.8%)
05/2016: (108) Bombshells #13 — 18,046  (-2.5%)
06/2016: (116) Bombshells #14 — 18,492  (+2.4%)
07/2016: (128) Bombshells #15 — 17,956  (-2.9%)
08/2016: (140) Bombshells #16 — 17,623  (-1.8%)
09/2016: (129) Bombshells #17 — 16,685  (-5.3%)
10/2016: (156) Bombshells #18 — 16,042  (-3.8%)
11/2016: (153) Bombshells #19 — 15,452  (-3.7%)
12/2016: (150) Bombshells #20 — 14,428  (-6.6%)
01/2017: (167) Bombshells #21 — 13,748  (-4.7%)
02/2017: (162) Bombshells #22 — 13,204  (-4.0%)

Lower sales than Earth-2, but it is a digital first title, so it has additional sales there — sales that are presumably sufficient enough to support a print edition. This is still solicited through June, so, it’ll be around until July, at least. Me, I dropped it with #2.

-35.1% year-to-year (Feb. 2017 — Feb. 2016)
-77.7% over 22 issues from #1

 

FALL AND RISE OF CAPTAIN ATOM ($2.99)
01/2017: (140) Captain Atom #1 — 18,728
02/2017: (164) Captain Atom #2 — 12,671 (-32.3%)

Yeah, that hurts. Ageism is a real thing in comics and I fear the takeaway from TPTB at DC might be that it was a mistake to bring back Cary Bates. Actually, I think the idea that Captain Atom could support a series, even a six-issue limited series, was the real boner. Granted, a 32.3 percent drop is about average for a second issue. A little better than, actually. But, having started at a paltry 18,728, this will almost certainly be out of the Top 300 before it’s over. Of course, the point of this series seems to be to remake Captain Atom into something that might sell in the modern market. At least I assume that’s the case. So, there may yet be long term benefits of pulling Atom out of mothballs.

-32.3% over 2 issus

 

DEATH OF HAWKMAN ($3.99)
10/2016: (103) Hawkman #1 — 31,316
11/2016: (146) Hawkman #2 — 17,061 (-45.5%)
12/2016: (157) Hawkman #3 — 13,607 (-20.2%)
01/2017: (170) Hawkman #4 — 12,670 (-6.9%)
02/2017: (170) Hawkman #5 — 11,879 (-6.2%)

These sales make it fairly evident why DC decided to kill off Hawkman. Of course, sales probably would have been a LOT higher if the book had been solicited with the title originally. Up until the third issue, or so, this was being pitched to retailers as Adam & Katar: Super Besties Forever, or something like that. Hawkman will almost certainly be back from the dead in the upcoming Dark Knights: Metal series, however — if not as Katar, then in some rebooted form that maintains the trademark.

-62.1% over 5 issues

 

DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE ($5.99)
10/2016: (159) Deadman/Mansion #1 — 15,297
11/2016: —
12/2016: (197) Deadman/Mansion #2 — 10,232 (-33.0%)
01/2017: —
02/2017: (197) Deadman/Mansion #3 — 8,669 (-15.3%)

I’m trying to imagine the discussion in the DC back office when it was decided to green light this series. “A new series starring Deadman, who’s never, ever proven able to carry his own title, you say? And make it a Gothic romance, even though that style of comics hasn’t sold since the ’70s? And make it a prestige format title at $6 a pop? BRILLIANT! Let’s do it!!” So, like Captain Atom above, while those are hardly horrible percentage drops per issue in today’s market, the starting point left nowhere to go but the cellar. Of course, I say all of this admitting I bought the book. Well, I have #2 and #3 sitting in my pull file at my LCS. Still waiting for #1 to show up. My retailer got shorted on that issue and has been trying to get a re-order ever since. Eventually, this will appear in TPB form and the individual issues will become fodder for the dollar bins. I might find my #1 then, I guess.

-43.3% over 3 issues from #1

 

GOTHAM ACADEMY: SECOND SEMESTER ($2.99)
09/2016: (106) Gotham Academy S2 #1 — 21,765
10/2016: (167) Gotham Academy S2 #2 — 13,856 (-36.3%)
11/2016: (175) Gotham Academy S2 #3 — 12,304 (-11.2%)
12/2016: (191) Gotham Academy S2 #4 — 9,751 (-20.7%)
01/2017: (197) Gotham Academy S2 #5 — 9,453 (-3.1%)
02/2017: (198) Gotham Academy S2 #6 — 8,624 (-8.8%)

I probably should have included this in my rundown of Batman-family titles, but, to be honest, I forgot the sucka even existed, and didn’t think to look this far down the sales charts for any DC book that didn’t have a Vertigo label on it. It’s still being solicited though #10, though. So, DC must be making up the difference somewhere. For comparison, the “first semester” ran 18 issues, from Oct. 2014 to May 2016, starting at 43,338 in sales (ranked #58) and ending up at 12,410 (#159). So, I sort of doubt there’s going to be a junior year for this crew.

-60.4% over 6 issues from #1

 

Okay, let’s wrap up with February-only sales for all DC Comics to make Diamond’s Top 300 not covered on this or one of the previous sales chart columns:

65. Justice League/Power Rangers #2 — 32,835
118. He-Man/Thundercats #5 — 18,278
122. Scooby Apocalypse #10 — 17,993
137. Future Quest #10 — 16,246
156. Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77 #2 — 14,484
178. Injustice: Ground Zero #6 — 11,110
180. Injustice: Ground Zero #5 — 11,043
187. Astro City #41 (Vertigo) — 10,066
190. The Flintstones #8 — 9,551
191. Midnighter and Apollo #5 — 9,366
199. Teen Titans Go! #20 — 8,601
207. Super Powers #4 — 7,770
224. Lucifer #15 (Vertigo) — 7,120
230. Justice League/Power Rangers #1 [re-orders] — 6,854
239. The Lost Boys #5 (Vertigo) — 6,527
246. Frostbite #6 (Vertigo) — 6,211
253. Scooby-Doo Team-Up #23 — 5,959
264: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #6 (Vertigo) — 5,399
283. Clean Room #16 (Vertigo) — 4,741
295. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #78 — 4,362

 

And finally, three regular comic book issues were solicited by DC for February release and did not make the Top 300. Vigilante, of course, won’t appear, as the limited series got canceled at #3. I have not checked to see if the other two actually come out during the month. If not, that would explain their absence. But, more likely, we can probably assume the sold less than 4,044 copies to retailers — which was what the #300 title, Action Lab’s Zombie Tramp #32 sold.

• Vigilante: Southland #5
• Looney Tunes #235
• Unfollow #16 (Vertigo)

 

And that’s it for February, sales chart fans. We’ll be back in a week or so to begin looking at the numbers from March.

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Duke Harrington

A newspaper reporter since 2004, Duke Harrington currently writes for the Kennebunk Post and the South Portland Sentry. He lives in Western Maine with one wife, one dog, two cats, and 19,237 comic books.