Monthly Comic Book Sales Report: April & May 2015: The Convergence Numbers

It’s time to take a look back and see how Convergence measured up.  I’m not going to compare the sales numbers for Convergence to the sales numbers of your average monthly releases because that is an unjust comparison.  Typically, a comic that is tied to an event will have numbers that are hugely blown out of proportion when compared to your average monthly sales.  (Ex: Catwoman #40 had 26k and Convergence Catwoman #1 had 37k.)  Instead, what I am going to do is compare Convergence to the other major DC Events that have occurred over the past couple of years.  In the charts below you will find comparisons for 2012’s Zero Year, 2013’s Forever Evil, 2014’s Futures End, and 2015’s Convergence.

Let’s start off with a chart comparing the Main Titles for each event.  Below you will find the 7 issues that made up Forever Evil, the 9 that encompassed Convergence, and a selection of the ones that made up Futures End.  Looking at the number per issue, we can see that of the three events, Convergence actually came out as the winner.  While Futures End did take in a larger total sum than the other two events combined, this was only due to the fact that it had so many more issues during its run.  When you compare the average per issue, Convergence comes out as the clear victor with Forever Evil close behind it and Futures End ultimately only doing a third as well as the other two.

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Now lets take a look at all the tie-ins that were associated with the main events.  Since the chart is displaying multiple events that had varying titles and different numbering sequences, some explanation may be required.  In many cases, the Forever Evil issues had 4 books per title.  Due to this they ended up being numbered 23.1, 23.2, 23.3, and 23.4.  The 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 in the chart represent these extra issues with the title names representing the .1 issues.  During the April and May months of Convergence, there was no title that was a direct representative of Batman, so I chose to compare Shadow of the Bat and Batman and the Outsiders since they were the closest facsimile.  Likewise, New Teen Titans and Titans are standing in for Teen Titans during Convergence.  The numbers listed for Nightwing are either for Nightwing, Grayson, or Nightwing/Oracle…depending on the event in question.  Lastly, the total and average listed for Convergence are the sum of both months.

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So, what does all this mean?  Well, the tie-ins follow the exact opposite formula that the main titles did.  The ones that flooded the market with massive amounts of books ultimately ended up doing poorly in the number’s game while the ones that stuck to a more conservative number fared far better.  In the main titles above, we see that Convergence and Forever Evil did exceedingly well but with the massive number of tie-ins that were distributed in conjunction with their events, the averages go way down.  Yes, their total sums are incredibly high, but only due to the increased number of books that were released.  When it comes to the tie-in race, Futures End pulls ahead of the other events to take the win.

What can we learn from all this?  It may be a bit cliche, but perhaps “less is more” is an adequate summation of these findings.  Not that any of these numbers represent the actual quality of the books in question, but I would like to think that if DC weren’t spreading themselves thin over so many books, they would have more opportunity to exhibit quality over quantity.  I know that this might squelch some of the diversity going on in the books, but personally, I would rather see 20 super strong titles than 50 average ones.  In the long run, having 20 titles that bring in 100k each or 50 that bring in 40k is basically the same thing, so why not make the change?

The flip side of this argument is that just because something is profitable for the company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it translates to the same amount of enjoyment for the fans.  Logic would dictate that larger numbers means more entertaining and vice versa, but sometimes it’s more about marketing.    Convergence is a pretty good example of this.  The main story was like a summer blockbuster.  It got all the attention and raked in a lot of cash, but ultimately didn’t have the same depth of story telling that was seen in some of the less profitable tie-ins.  In fact, one of the best Convergence stories I read was The Question, and it was one of the least profitable.  In the end, it may be best to have that mix of mindless explosions and introspective dialogue regardless of profitability.  That way there is something for everyone.  What do you guys think?