Diamond released the sales index for July 2009, and icv2 released their sales estimate here. We usually wait to talk about these things until The Beat posts their sales analysis but I don't feel like waiting for the commentary tracks this time around.

The good news: comic book sales are up for the second month in a row. Not by much, only 3%. But it's still better than being down by 3%.

The interesting news: two big events were helping to drive the upward trend: Captain America Reborn with 193,000 and Blackest Night with 177,000. This confirms what I was saying about Final Crisis last year. FC did not sell well- not simply in comparison to a juggernaut like Civil War or its direct competitor in Secret Invasion, but also in comparison to other events of its type. Sorry, FC fans, but FC had a first month debut of 144,000, or 33,000 less than Blackest Night. At least FC did a good job of hanging onto its level, finishing at 103,000. But, don't let me be a downer. This is more good news for Captain America and Blackest Night than it is bad news for a mini-series from last year. .
More good news: Nice to see the anniversary issue of Spider-Man jump up to 116,000.

Some bad news: Wednesday Comics did not do well. The four issues sold 49,000; 42,000; 39,000 and 36,000. I thought that Wednesday would do better than Trinity, considering all of the big names attached and the smaller commitment (12 issues, instead of 52). But Trinity debuted at 70,000. And in only four issues, Wednesday is almost down to Trinity's finishing level (the last few issues sold around 32,000). I'll be honest: I'm surprised. Even though I wrote an article about anthologies not selling well, I thought Wednesday Comics would do better than this. Even anecdotally, it sounded like Wednesday was doing better with a bunch of local stores selling out.

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Oof.. I'm really sorry to hear that about Wednesday Comics.. I'm really enjoying it, and would love to see more.
Rob Staeger said:
Oof.. I'm really sorry to hear that about Wednesday Comics.. I'm really enjoying it, and would love to see more.
Hmmm.

I've yet to see a physical issue of Wednesday Comics, but I'm sure it fits within a standard comics bag, so I doubt that's the issue. Could it simply be that there's too many 5th tier features (i.e. Kamandi, Metamorpho, Sgt. Rock, etc.)? Could it be there's not enough story for the investment? You're essentially getting a 12 page story, with half of the features being characters you may or may not care about? Could it be that people are simply tired of weekly comics?
Wednesday Comics needs a Golden Age size bag & board.

I fully expect Blackest Night's total sales on #1 to end up being a lot higher once reorders are added in. I know I ordered heavy on this book, and I still needed to reorder 25% of my initial orders.

Cap Reborn #1 had a crazy awesome discount incentive that managed to get me (ME!) to bump my order by 25%. Without revealing numbers, 25% more copies ordered ended up costing me about 5% less. #2 had the same incentive.

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Randy Jackson said:
Rob Staeger said:
Oof.. I'm really sorry to hear that about Wednesday Comics.. I'm really enjoying it, and would love to see more.
Hmmm.

I've yet to see a physical issue of Wednesday Comics, but I'm sure it fits within a standard comics bag, so I doubt that's the issue. Could it simply be that there's too many 5th tier features (i.e. Kamandi, Metamorpho, Sgt. Rock, etc.)? Could it be there's not enough story for the investment? You're essentially getting a 12 page story, with half of the features being characters you may or may not care about? Could it be that people are simply tired of weekly comics?

Maybe it is the $3.99 price tag for 16 pages. That was a great deterrent to me and I believe others on this board.
I have mixed feelings about Wednesday Comics. On the one hand its probably the best comics DC are doing at the moment. On the other, it is expensive, and the 12 'newspapers' you are left with at the end don't feel like a long-lasting 'heirloom'.

Perhaps there is diminishing returns too in the enjoyment and novelty value of the big pages and large panels.

There is however waaay more reading in the 12 pages of WC than in most 22 page comics, so that argument doesn't wash. It does take a little more concentration to follow the action and range your eyes across such a large space, with such large detailed panels. I feel a little like some comics 'virgins' I hand a comic to and they don't know where to start in understanding how to read each page.

This might be suffering big time from the 'wait for the trade' syndrome. Its a big outlay for the 12 issues, which would go a long way towards paying for whatever big glossy coffee-table marvel that they collect these stories in.

Like FC before it (wouldn't let it lie, would you Chris?) this proves that sales figures aren't a guide to quality. Not in our hobby, at least.

It is interesting to see where FC lies in the estimation of the group-mind of monthly-buying fans but...Millenium probably sold way more than Sandman at the time, Zero Hour more than Starman. And so on.
Chris, I respect your opinions, but your comments on FC ... I just don't get it. I get that you are trying to make a point on the sales of FC, I just don't know who, outside of a numbers cruncher for DC, would care, especially a year after the fact. I don't think you're making the argument that sales equals quality. Sales wise, the individual issues of FC, probably were considered a disappointment, especially compared to Civil War and Secret Invasion, by the powers that be at DC. Beyond that, does that mean anything to readers? Wouldn't holding the audience, which I think FC did far better than SI, be an indication of "selling well'?

There are other factors to consider. Marvel is, inarguably, the #1 company from a sales perspective, and their hype machine is relentless. That was the case for CW, and certainly for SI; and SI was written by Brian Bendis, far and away the "hottest" writer at Marvel. Final Crisis was written by Grant Morrison; he is considered a genius by some (supporters), a mad genius by others (supporters and detractors), and far too obtuse and abstract for others (detractors). I would be shocked, regardless of the series, whether limited or ongoing, and regardless of the premise, if Morrison outsold Bendis in 2008. Does that make Bendis a better writer? Not necessarily, and I don't even think you would argue that. Now, take Blackest Night - written by Geoff Johns, who is (wait for it) probably DC's most popular writer. Again, in 2009, I would be shocked if Morrison outsold Johns, and in my opinion, Blackest Night has been hyped more - or at least better - than Final Crisis. At least Blackest Night didn't have a crappy lead-in which wasn't really a lead-in (hello, Countdown!).

Yes, I know, it's all opinion and spin I'm giving. I respect your opinion on this, Chris, I just don't agree with it. When the majority of comics sell under 100,000 copies in any given month, and most sell far less, a limited series that starts out at 144,000 and finishes off with 103,000 is not something I would consider "not selling well". You have to look at who the writer is, who the artist is, the premise, the hype, and, as Dagwan alludes to, what kind of incentives are given to retailers ... after all, we are talking about the number shipped and not actually sold when we say Captain America Reborn with 193,000 units. Dag said it cost him about 5% less to order 25% more, where are the "sales" of CAR without that?
Figserello said:
Like FC before it (wouldn't let it lie, would you Chris?)

Who me?

this proves that sales figures aren't a guide to quality. Not in our hobby, at least.

I'd say that's true of any entertainment medium. Whether it's movie tickets, television ratings or record sales, there is not a perfect correlation (if any) between quality and sales. And that's true in comic books as well. I've kind of been complaining about this recently in terms of X-Men spin-offs. The excellent Captain Britain and Exiles have been canceled, while lesser quality titles (IMHO) like Cable and New Mutants keep chugging along.
John Dunbar said:
Chris, I respect your opinions, but your comments on FC ... I just don't get it.

Yeah. See, this is why I made my original comment.

It would be one thing to reply, “Oh well, sales has never been an indicator of quality” as Figserello said. It would be another thing to say, “Final Crisis was a great comic; who cares if it didn’t sell well?” as you started to say. After all, greatness is in the eye of the beholder. And I’ve championed plenty a title that didn’t sell well myself.

But it’s something else to say, “Final Crisis sold perfectly well, thank you very much; who ever thought it would sell big numbers in the first place?” The first two comments are mostly subjective. The third is not. And to assert otherwise is ridiculous. Final Crisis did not sell well.

“Oh, but Marvel always outsells DC.” Not true, or not as much. Identity Crisis was the top-selling title that year. And the first issue of Civil War outsold the first issue of Infinite Crisis by over 11,000. So while I don’t think anybody was expecting Final Crisis to outsell Secret Invasion, it was still pretty shocking for the first issue of Secret Invasion to outsell the first issue of Final Crisis by more than 100,000.

And all that’s beside the point. Final Crisis didn’t sell well for a DC event. Ignore the Marvel numbers. Final Crisis didn’t sell as well as Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Green Lantern, Justice and now Blackest Night, all of which beat Final Crisis by at least 20,000 issues.

“Oh, but you shouldn’t expect Grant Morrison to sell well.” That’s a new one. Do you mean the Grant Morrison who wrote the #1 selling JLA or the Grant Morrison who wrote the #1 selling New X-Men? Do you mean the Grant Morrison whose All-Star Superman sold over 170,000 issues in 2005, or the Grant Morrison who just sold 168,604 issues of Batman and Robin #1 this year? This isn’t about Brad Meltzer or Alex Ross or Geoff Johns. The fact is Final Crisis didn’t sell as well as Grant Morrison’s other big projects.

Are the poor sales on Final Crisis entirely Grant Morrison’s fault? Nope. I agree that the bad lead-in was a big part of the problem. But there’s a difference between absolving Morrison of the full blame and saying “the sales are just fine and who are you to say otherwise.”

Oh, and the drop in readership between Secret Invasion and Final Crisis wasn’t that different (even though I said otherwise). The final issue of Secret Invasion sold 61% of the first and the final issue of Final Crisis sold 71% of the first. But that SI drop was almost entirely between the first and second issues. The drop from the second issue to the final issue was nearly identical, with the final SI selling 83% of the second and the final FC selling 82%.

Appreciate Final Crisis all you want. From what I gather, Final Crisis fans ended up happier with their story than Secret Invasion followers (I know I was pretty disappointed with SI before it was through). But don’t claim it’s sales were fine when that just isn’t true.
Wow.

Chris, if you took my post as an attack, my apologies. It wasn't intended that way. It is obvious to me that you care far more about all this minutiae than I do. I was just offering a few opinions here, as you did. You may feel my opinions are "ridiculous", but I am as free to state mine as you are to state yours. However, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from making up quotes and attributing things to me I did not say. Be as snarky as you want, it doesn't bother me; but accusing me of saying something as rude as "who are you to say otherwise" when I said nothing like that, is uncalled for. You offered your opinions, and I offered a few differing ones, and I don't think I was trying to belittle you. I'm surprised you have this much contempt for a difference of opinion.
John Dunbar said:
Wow.
Chris, if you took my post as an attack, my apologies.

Okay. And I'm sorry for coming on too strong.
Rob Staeger said:
Oof.. I'm really sorry to hear that about Wednesday Comics.. I'm really enjoying it, and would love to see more.

Not really surprised, as anthology books are a hard sell to begin with. Plus you have the disadvantage of the stories being told in one page (?) installments. If they had packaged a Kamandi mini-series by Gibbons and Sook? I'd be right there.

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