DC SALES: Bat-Books for March 2017

Time to take a look at March sales for DC’s Batman family of regular comic books. For an overview of the month, and DC’s victory over Marvel, see here. And for the fine print on what all these numbers mean and how they are calculated, look to the bottom of this page, fanboy!

Overall, the Bat-books are doing fine, holding down seven of the Top 20 issues for the month. When 35 percent of the Top 20 is tied to a single character, I guess you’ve got the darling of the medium in your stable. So, let’s take a closer look at the numbers and see what we can learn. This month, I’ll also link to recent DC Comics News reviews for the titles in questions, so you can check out b0oks you see here that you may not be reading. Maybe YOU can help drive those numbers up!

 

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE ($5.99)
12/2001: (1) Dark Knight Strikes Again #1 —  187,376
01/2002: (2) Dark Knight Strikes Again #2 —  166,720
02/2002: (1) Dark Knight Strikes Again #3—  184,327
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12/2015: (1) Dark Knight III #1 —  440,234                  [+8,865]
12/2015: (2) Dark Knight III #2 —  158,188  (-64.1%) [+10,4o2]
02/2016: (1) Dark Knight III #3 — 146,044  (-7.7%)  [+4,621]
04/2016: (3) Dark Knight III #4 — 143,055  (-2.0%)
06/2016: (6) Dark Knight III #5 — 139,919  (-2.2%) [+18,525]
10/2016: (4) Dark Knight III #6 — 133,642  (-4.5%)
12/2016: (3) Dark Knight III #7 — 119,114  (-10.9%)
03/2017: (2) Dark Knight III #8 — 107,892  (-9.4%)

Okay, so let me admit, I haven’t been reading this one myself. I felt so burned on DK2, which I thought was basically the Plan 9 of comic books, that I have assiduously shunned this book as my form of lingering protest. So, I really have no idea what it is about. The attrition has certainly picked up pace, though. I imagine the large layover between issues can’t be helping any in that regard.

DC Comics News reviewer Steven Brown gave #8 a laudable 4 out of 5 DC Bullets, calling it, “a great read if you’ve been following the series as a whole.”

 

BATMAN ($2.99)
03/2007: (17) Batman #664 — 80,492
08/2011: (20) Batman #713 — 51,760
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09/2011: (1) Batman #1* — 188,410
05/2016: (4) Batman #52 — 102,197
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06/2016: (3) Batman: Rebirth #1* — 199,807 [+9,479]
06/2016: (2) Batman #1* — 280,360
07/2016: (3) Batman #2* — 177,105  (-36.8%)
07/2016: (5) Batman #3* — 168,939  (-4.9%)
08/2016: (6) Batman #4* — 152,985  (-9.2%)
08/2016: (7) Batman #5* — 142,142  (-7.1%)
09/2016: (1) Batman #6 — 138,853  (-2.3%)
09/2016: (3) Batman #7 — 135,585  (-2.4%)
10/2016: (5) Batman #8 — 129,837  (-4.2%)
10/2016: (6) Batman #9 — 126,090  (-2.9%)
11/2016: (1) Batman #10 — 120,901  (-4.1%)
11/2016: (2) Batman #11 — 116,690  (-3.5%)
12/2016: (4) Batman #12 — 111,391  (-4.5%)
12/2016: (5) Batman #13 — 108,407  (-2.7%)
01/2017: (2) Batman #14 — 106,816  (-1.5%)
01/2017: (3) Batman #15 — 102,802  (-3.8%)
02/2017: (2) Batman #16 — 102,096  (-0.7%)
02/2017: (3) Batman #17 —   99,637  (-2.4%)
03/2017: (3) Batman #18 —  98,100  (-1.5%)
03/2017: (4) Batman #19 —   97,501  (-0.6%)

DC’s premier title still be kicking it, yo! There’s a reason the Diamond Sales Index, which serves as the source code for these sales estimates, lists everything as a percentage of sales on this title. Myself, I bailed at #18. I just didn’t feel like I was getting a complete reading experience in which issue, as it seemed a lot more was going on in writer Tom King’s brain that was making it onto the page.

But I am clearly an outlier in my opinion. Steven Brown found #19 worthy of 5 Bullets, calling it “pure action throughout.”

 

ALL-STAR BATMAN ($4.99)
08/2016:  (2) All-Star Batman #1* — 289,348
09/2016:  (2) All-Star Batman #2*— 137,748  (-52.4%)
10/2016:   (9) All-Star Batman #3* — 106,905  (-22.4%)
11/2016:   (4) All-Star Batman #4 — 99,064  (-15.8%)
12/2016: (10) All-Star Batman #5 — 87,422  (-11.8%)
01/2017:   (6) All-Star Batman #6 — 84,296  (-3.6%)
02/2017:   (7) All-Star Batman #7 — 77,096  (-8.5%)
03/2017:   (8) All-Star Batman #8 — 71,809  (-7.8%)

I dumped this series at #7, mainly because of the $5 price tag. I just didn’t feel I was getting enough story per issue for that entry fee. It appears from the numbers I may not be the only one who feels the same way, or at least not the only one bailing out, and it’s never a good sign when monthly attrition climbs above 5 percent.

But what do I know? In his review of #8, Derek McNeil awarded ASB 4 Bullets, saying, “The main story was great as always, and the backup storyline is back on track.”

 

DETECTIVE COMICS ($2.99)
03/2007: (41) Detective #830 — 52,393
08/2011: (37) Detective #881 — 39,729
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09/2011:   (6) Detective #1 — 103,392
05/2016: (33) Detective #52 — 43,961
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06/2016: (13) Detective #934* — 96,581                [+15,075]
06/2016: (16) Detective #935* — 94,015  (-2.7%) [+9,548]
07/2016: (16) Detective #936* — 100,626  (+7.0%)
07/2016: (22) Detective #937* — 92,172  (-8.4%)
08/2016: (17) Detective #938* — 88,935  (-3.5%)
08/2016: (26) Detective #939* — 81,465  (-8.4%)
09/2016: (17) Detective #940 — 80,897  (-0.7%)
09/2016: (12) Detective #941 — 82,953  (+2.5%)
10/2016: (14) Detective #942 — 81,432  (-1.8%)
10/2016: (20) Detective #943 — 74,340  (-8.7%)
11/2016: (16) Detective #944 — 71,923  (-3.3%)
11/2016: (19) Detective #945 — 69,942  (-2.8%)
12/2016: (17) Detective #946 — 66,374  (-5.1%)
12/2016: (18) Detective #947 — 65,090  (-1.9%)
01/2017: (16) Detective #948 — 64,090  (-1.5%)
01/2017: (19) Detective #949 — 61,543  (-4.0%)
02/2017: (12) Detective #950 — 62,628  (+1.8%)
02/2017: (14) Detective #951 — 59,630  (-4.8%)
03/2017: (14) Detective #952 — 59,722  (+0.2%)
03/2017: (15) Detective #953 — 59,160  (-0.9%)

We’re normally not thrown too awful much by monthly attrition that’s up around 2 percent per month. So, those are amazingly small drops for the March issues. Moreover we’ve actually seen a few upticks here and there since the relaunch. Sure, this sells about half of what Batman does, but an argument can be made that, in terms of consistency, which is one thing the bean counters really like to see, it’s ‘Tec that’s the real winner.

Konrad Secord-Reitz gave the most recent issues (#954) 3.5 Bullets, calling it “exciting” and “powerful.”

 

BATWOMAN ($2.99)
11/2010: (27) Batwoman #0 — 43,891
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11/2011:     (17) Batwoman #0 — 72,228
03/2015: (155) Batwoman #40 — 13,827
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02/2017: (21) Batwoman: Rebirth #1* — 52,650
03/2017: (19) Batwoman #1* — 54,849

Batwoman repeats what to me seems an odd quirk, with the #1 issue outselling the Rebirth #1. In most cases, the Rebirth title sets up the status quo, so you’d think that issue would be requisite reading before diving into the new series. Yet retailers have seemed pretty consistent in presuming many of their customers will skip the Rebirth introduction and start buying at the “proper” #1. Batwoman starts well enough, just inside the Top 20, but we generally expect retailer orders on a #2 to drop about 35 percent. That would drop sales to somewhere around 35,750 and, for March at least, would have placed it at #60 on the sales chart. Take off another 15 percent for #3, and 5-7 percent, each, for #4 and #5, and this will likely settle in around 26,900 before it levels out at standard attrition of 2 percent per month. that would land it just inside the Top 100, with question marks already in the air regarding long-term survival, sad to say, although the previous series dropped all the way to 13,827 in sales before it got the ax. Hopefully, the numbers will turn out better than I am predicting, based on industry averages.

Tiffany Khelfa liked #1, giving it 4 DC Bullets and saying it “did very well with giving just the right amount of information,” and calling the artwork “phenomenal.”

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: REBIRTH ($2.99)
02/2017:  (9) JLA: Rebirth #1* — 73,397
02/2017:  (4) JLA #1* — 93,494
03/2017: (21) JLA #2* — 53,349  (-42.9%)
03/2017: (25) JLA #3* — 48,504  (-9.1%)

As I noted last time out, I’m considering this a Bat-book, at least for now, finding it somewhat akin to Batman and the Outsiders in terms of its raison d’etre. The drop at #2 is a bit larger than might normally be expected, although the falloff to #3 less so. Because of the Bat-centric nature of this title, I’m not comparing it to previous incarnations of the JLA. My expectation, frankly, is that as sales fall off, new members will be brought in, with at least one “fan favorite” always in the mix. So, we might expect Lobo to go out and Deathstroke to come in, for example, regardless of how little sense that might make. We might even see a spell with Harley on the roster. We’ll have to wait and see if I’m right.

Issue #4 of this series is already out. Steven Brown liked it enough to give it a 4 Bullet rating. It was, he said, “a great read that’s full of action and the dialogue between characters is awesome.”

 

SUPER SONS ($2.99)
02/2107:   (5) Super Sons #1* — 90,345
03/2107: (30) Super Sons #2* — 47,021  (-48.0%)

That also is a mighty steep drop. Which is too bad, because I personally LOVE this book. Frankly, it may be my favorite title being published right now by DC.

But don’t take my word for it, Konrad Secord-Reitz gave #2 a full 5 Bullet rating. It was, he said, “fantastic.”

 

 

 

 

NIGHTWING ($2.99)
03/2007: (71) Nightwing #130 — 31,786
02/2009: (36) Nightwing #153 — 37,644
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09/2011: (21) Nightwing #1 — 62,717
04/2014: (38) Nightwing #30 — 43,932
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07/2014:   (8) Greyson #1 — 81,433
05/2016: (75) Greyson #20 — 23,762
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07/2016:   (6) Nightwing: Rebirth #1* — 127,848
07/2016:   (9) Nightwing #1* — 114,787
08/2016: (14) Nightwing #2* — 93,131  (-18.9%)
08/2016: (25) Nightwing #3* — 81,555  (-12.4%)
09/2016: (30) Nightwing #4* — 64,229  (-21.2%)
09/2016: (26) Nightwing #5 — 69,938  (+8.9%)
10/2016: (28) Nightwing #6 — 69,246  (-1.0%)
10/2016: (42) Nightwing #7 — 58,402  (-15.7%)
11/2016: (35) Nightwing #8 — 56,091  (-4.0%)
11/2016: (39) Nightwing #9 — 52,984  (-5.5%)
12/2016: (39) Nightwing #10 — 49,436  (-6.7%)
12/2016: (42) Nightwing #11 — 47,781  (-3.3%)
01/2017: (39) Nightwing #12 — 46,057  (-3.6%)
01/2017: (44) Nightwing #13 — 44,462  (-3.5%)
02/2017: (36) Nightwing #14 — 44,656  (+0.4%)
02/2017: (39) Nightwing #15 — 41,423  (-7.2%)
03/2017: (46) Nightwing #16 — 40,289  (-2.7%)
03/2017: (47) Nightwing #17 — 39,467  (-2.0%)

I don’t know why, I’ve just never warmed to Dick. I liked him well enough as a Titan, but have never followed any of his solo series more than sporadically. If it were me, I’d give him a young female protege codenamed Flamebird and give him a whole, “trying to be a better father” vibe that might resonate with his middle-aged fanboy fanbase.

Derek McNeil reviewed #18 and gave it 3.5 Bullets, applauding in particular the “great chemistry between Dick and Damian.” He was kinder than I would have been. I found the issue so full of exposition I couldn’t even finish it.

 

BATMAN BEYOND ($2.99)
01/1999:  (85) Batman Beyond #1 — 27,920
06/1999: (110) Batman Beyond #6 — 23,029
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09/1999: (107) Batman Beyond#1 — 27,984
08/2001: (146) Batman Beyond #24 — 12,732
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06/2010: (51) Batman Beyond#1 — 35,113
11/2010: (62) Batman Beyond #6 — 28,485
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01/2011: (28) Batman Beyond#1 — 35,880
08/2011: (108) Batman Beyond #8 — 21,838
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06/2015: (31) Batman Beyond#1 — 53,774
09/2016: (123) Batman Beyond #16 — 17,799
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09/2016: (27) Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1* — 67,929
10/2016: (39) Batman Beyond #1* — 60,537
11/2016: (62) Batman Beyond #2 — 41,313  (-31.8%)
12/2016: (84) Batman Beyond #3 — 32,916  (-20.3%)
01/2017: (92) Batman Beyond #4 — 29,767  (-9.6%)
02/2017: (84) Batman Beyond #5 — 27,495  (-7.6%)
03/2017: (93) Batman Beyond #6 — 26,261  (-4.5%)

Having never watched the cartoon show — I’m old enough that I have trouble finding cartoons if they don’t air Saturday mornings on one of the Big Three networks (Editor’s note: for our younger or uninitiated fans, the Big Three are ABC, CBS, and NBC) — I’ve never really felt an urge to try this title. The attrition seen so far is not glaringly unusual. The only problem is, we’re less than 10k away from where the title got canceled last time out. So, it may be a waiting game on this one’s life expectancy. I don’t expect DC will let this fall as far as Vol. 2 did in 2001, but we’ll see.

Derek McNeil liked #5, the most recent reviewed here at DCN, enough to give it 3.5 Bullets. He said the book “is looking a lot like the classic version again,” which I’m guessing is a good thing.

 

BATGIRL ($2.99)
09/2011: (29) Batgirl #0 — 50,441
05/2016: (70) Batgirl #52 — 26,492
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07/2016: (20) Batgirl #1* — 96,177
08/2016: (46) Batgirl #2* — 62,374  (-35.1%)
09/2016: (59) Batgirl #3* — 46,891  (-24.8%)
10/2016: (69) Batgirl #4 — 40,778  (-13.0%)
11/2016: (83) Batgirl #5 — 35,210  (-13.7%)
12/2016: (91) Batgirl #6 — 31,294  (-11.1%)
01/2017: (97) Batgirl #7 — 28,712  (-8.3%)
02/2017: (88) Batgirl #8 — 26,539  (-7.6%)
03/2017: (95) Batgirl #9 — 25,469  (-4.0%)
03/2017: (110) Batgirl Annual #1 ($4.99) — 22,344

Already below where the New 52 run closed out, so things don’t look great for Babs. Maybe DC can salvage this by having The Mighty Joss come in to pen a few issues as he works out ideas for his big-screen Batgirl movie.

Sean Blumenshine gave #9 a 4-Bullet rating, calling it “a solid issue” with “great” artwork.  He was even kinder to the annual, giving it 5 Bullets and saying, “The writing in both stories is top notch with wonderful dialogue and interesting plots.”

 

BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY ($2.99)
11/1998: (70) Birds of Prey #1 — 33,934
02/2009: (90) Birds of Prey #127 — 21,420
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05/2010: (30) Birds of Prey #1 — 50,428
08/2011: (80) Birds of Prey #15 — 26,043
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09/2011:   (40) Birds of Prey #1 — 50,466
08/2014: (145) Birds of Prey #30 — 15,397
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07/2016:  (17) Batgirl & TBOP: Rebirth #1* — 99,151
08/2016:  (30) Batgirl & TBOP #1* — 75,892  (-23.5%)
09/2016:  (53) Batgirl & TBOP #2* — 49,166  (-35.2%)
10/2016:  (72) Batgirl & TBOP #3 — 40,041  (-18.6%)
11/2016:  (90) Batgirl & TBOP #4 — 33,138  (-17.2%)
12/2016:  (99) Batgirl & TBOP #5 — 28,846  (-13.0%)
01/2017: (103) Batgirl & TBOP #6 — 26,618  (-7.7%)
02/2017:  (95) Batgirl & TBOP #7 — 24,466  (-8.1%)
03/2017: (106) Batgirl & TBOP #8 — 22,941  (-6.2%)

The Birds is another title I just never got into. No particular reason. It’s just that ya can’t buy everything, and I was never able to find anything I wanted to cut from my pull list anytime this series, or one of its limited series or one-shot specials, hit the Previews catalog.

The Batgirl-led version is on a pretty steep downward trajectory compared to the average title and is still losing more orders per month that I’d be comfortable with.

Issue #9 is out and Matthew Lloyd gave it 5 DC Bullets out of 5, saying “it only looks to get better.”

 

BATMAN/TMNT ADVENTURES ($3.99) [IDW]
11/2016:  (14) Batman/TMNT Adv #1* — 75,974  [+6,135]
12/2016:  (65) Batman/TMNT Adv #2* — 38,524  (-49.2%)
01/2017:  (99) Batman/TMNT Adv #3* — 27,921  (-27.5%)
02/2017:  (94) Batman/TMNT Adv #4* — 24,927 (-10.7%)
03/2017: (107) Batman/TMNT Adv #5* — 22,616 (-9.3%)

One more issue to go, at least as far as the sales charts go. It’s already on stands, however, and Konrad Secord-Reitz wasn’t impressed, giving the DC/IDW collaboration a mere 2 Bullets. “The villains were dealt with very quickly and there is an anticlimactic feeling to this final issue,” he said.

Still, despite the heady dropoff in sales, this did well enough, as did the prior series, that I’m sure we’ll see a third run. If the tend holds it will be yet another version of Batman and the Turtles. Would you buy a Frank Miller version? Dark Knight/TMNT Returns, anyone?

 

BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 ($3.99) [Dynamite]
06/2014: (66) Batman 66/Green Hornet #1 — 32,983
11/2014:  (111) Batman 66/Green Hornet #6 — 20,534
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12/2015:  (148) Batman 66/Man from U.N.C.L.E. 77 #1 — 17,363
05/2016:  (180) Batman 66/Man from U.N.C.L.E. 77 #6 — 11,060
——————————————————————–
07/2016:  (161) Batman 66/Steed & Mrs. Peel #1 — 13,921
01/2017:  (200) Batman 66/Steed & Mrs. Peel #6 —  8,675
——————————————————————–
01/2017:  (112) Batman 66/WW 77 #1 — 23,687
02/2017: (156) Batman 66/WW 77 #2 — 14,484  (-38.9%)
03/2017: (170) Batman 66/WW 77 #3 — 13,277    (-8.3%)

I’m enjoying this series, but, golly, those are icky sales, numbers, I think. I don’t see that DCN has had a review since the debut issue, but Sean Blumenshine gave that 5 Bullets calling it “an excellent issue,” and saying, “the concept is just too cool.”

This run looks like it will finish better than the last one, although probably below the two before that. Can we expect more of these Batman 66 Meets . . . series? I expect so, as these seem to be fairly decent numbers from Dynamite’s perspective. But who should he team up with? Much depends on licensing ability, of course. But I’d probably buy in for . . . Meets Superman ’52. And, if we look at the 1966 television schedule for potential team-ups, I might could be persuaded to try  . . . Meets The Monkees, . . . On Gilligan’s Island, . . . Gets Bewitched, or even, . . . Meets the Beverly Hillbillies. Of course, the best bet would’ve been . . . Meets I Spy, but I’m guessing Bill Cosby’s current P.R. problems preclude that as a possibility.

 

GOTHAM ACADEMY: SECOND SEMESTER ($2.99)
10/2014:   (58) Gotham Academy #1 — 43,338
05/2016: (159) Gotham Academy #18 — 12,410
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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%)
03/2017: (219) Gotham Academy S2 #7 —  8,131  (-5.7%)

Honestly, I can’t imagine why DC is still publishing this, or what could be keeping it alive, unless TPB sales are just through the roof.

Tiffany Khelfa reviewed #6, giving it 4.5 Bullets and saying, “Overall, this issue was great.”

 

So there you have it. Those are the bat-numbers for March 2017.  Now the fine print:

Sales estimates are calculated by two sources, comichron.com, and ICv2.com.

Diamond Distribution, the monopoly behemoth which enjoys exclusive contracts with most of the major comic book publishers, does not release actual sales data. It does, however, publish what it calls a Diamond Index which gives us all an idea of how each title is doing relative to others by ranking with a number that is the percentage of sales of that month’s Batman comic. But we fans want more that that. So, Comichron and ICv2, working together from sources within the industry, calculate issues sold by using the Diamond Index to extrapolate from books which they happen to know the actual sales.

Now, here’s the thing — when we say “actual sales,” what we mean is not sales to fans like you and me. We’re talking non-returnable sales by Diamond to North American comic book specialty shops. It does not include sales through Diamond to the U.K. and elsewhere, or sales outside of Diamond, via newsstands and other distribution streams. Nor does it include subsequent re-orders filled by Diamond, unless those secondary sales were high enough for the issue to crack the Top 300 a second time.

Still, the numbers are thought to represent about 80-90 percent of total sales — but again, sales to shops, not to customers. A lot of these books could be sitting on shelves unsold. So, another way of looking at this list is to see it as retailer expectation on initial customer demand. Or, instead of interpreting it as how many copies an issue sold, I like to think of these numbers as the minimum number we can expect to see floating around the back issue market.

The listings above include the month of sale, the rank that month among Diamond’s Top 300 comics (in terms of unit sales), the sales number, and the percentage up or down from the previous issue. Sometimes you’ll see a secondary sales number given in brackets. Those are reorders that charted after the first month’s order from retailers.

Oh, and one final caveat. When you see an asterisk (*) next to a sales number, that book was returnable. Thus, Comichron and ICv2 both have subtracted 10 percent from their calculated sales to account for probable returns from retailers to Diamond, because, again, the number we’re trying to get at is how many copies have entered the market.

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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.