The Dark Knight III’s Miller-verse vs The Marvel Universe and Star Wars! Who will win this battle royale to take the prize as the number one selling comic of 2015? Well, if you’ve been watching numbers over the year, it should be pretty obvious. Instead, let’s see if DC went down fighting…or just got completely stomped.
Below you will find a chart detailing the 35 comics that this site reviews, along with the total sales for this month and several previous months. Numbers displayed are in the thousands.
*Keep in mind that these numbers represent physical copies sold. Numbers for the sales of digital comics are not currently being reported to the general public. Also, be aware that comics like Injustice are available in the digital format before print. This means that the bulk of their real sales are hidden to us.*
*Justice League, Batgirl, Black Canary, Gotham Academy, Injustice, and Gotham By Midnight did not release any books for the month of November. Justice League, Gotham Academy, and Gotham by Midnight did however release two books each in December. Hence, the smaller numbered issues of those titles are placed in the November column with the newest ones displaying their numbers in the December column.*
First off, my apologies for not posting a Monthly Sales Report in December. Things were crazy with the holidays, but now you get a double helping of stats in one go, so it all works out.
DC saved its biggest money maker for the end of the year. Dark Knight III ended up dominating the sales chart for November. However, it should be noted that DC was hoping to pull in some numbers similar to what Marvel was able to generate with Star Wars #1 back in January. As it turns out, Dark Knight ended up doing only half as much as the comic from a galaxy far far away. Granted, 440 thousand is no small feat, but seeing as how DC went so far as to try and pad their premiere numbers with over 80 variant covers for the first issue of DKIII, this marketing scheme brought in less than expected.
Aside from DKIII pulling in some somewhat respectable numbers, the rest of the Bat-verse failed to represent. With a few negligible exceptions, pretty much everything continued to follow suit with the standard monthly bleed of 1-2 thousand that every comic always has to fight to stave off. It is also worth noting that Batman #46 came in at 106,989, making it officially the lowest selling issue of Batman since 2011.
December saw 8 different comics getting a huge boost in sales. Unfortunately, these surges were due to events and marketing gimmicks, and not necessarily dependent on the stories within. Batman, Justice League, Justice League of America, and Harley Quinn all saw an increase of between 9 and 21 thousand (21 thousand going to Batman for that awesome Alex Ross Variant cover). These particular issues all benefited from the Harley Black Book variant covers. Since it was the presence of the variants and not the internal story that increased sales, we can expect to see these numbers drop back down now that DC has made a quick buck off their little gimmick.
While the first 4 titles that saw an increase were reliant on selling duplicate stories with alternate covers, the other 4 relied on an event to boost sales. Grayson, Red Hood, W.A.R., and Gotham Academy all saw between a 4 and 9 thousand increase due to the Robin War arc. While I have more respect for this method than cover gimmicks, it is no more sustainable than the former. Come next month, all these titles will see a return to their previous numbers since the title jumping story arc that assisted them is at an end.
To sum things up, things are not looking good over at DC. Perhaps I just don’t know enough about the business aspect of running a company to question their approach, but it seems to me that if they want titles to do well, they should stop with all the silly gimmicks and just write quality stories. After all, there is evidence that supports this line of thinking.
2015 in review:[table “33” not found /]
DC got decimated in 2015….. If you take a look at the DC titles that made it into the top 50 comics of 2015, DC only had 8. 8 out of 50! Only 2 of which made it into the top 30. They basically got butchered.
If you look at the Graphic novel sales from 2015, DC had one in the top 10, and interestingly enough, it is a comic from 28 years ago. Batman: The Killing Joke! In 2014, The Killing Joke came in at 12 on the list. Now it is up to 6. What is important to note is that this is not a cumulative profit from 1988 to now. The Killing Joke made enough green in 2014 alone to put it at 12 on the list and enough in 2015 to rank it as the 6th most sold trade from that year alone. What was I saying earlier about quality stories….
After sooo much negative news, I need something extra to smile about. Cue stage right, the new DC Bombshells: Harley Quinn and Joker Statue. But Brandon, what does this have to do with comics? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see, Diamond Distributors, the guys who provide us with comic numbers, also keep track of other items that comic shops order. This particular statue was their number one selling non-comic item in November and second on the list in December. In general, the entire Bombshells line is a great deal of fun, taking recognizable images from the 40s and plugging in classic DC characters. I find this particular statue to be the most whimsical offering yet. Instead of just supplanting the characters in the original image, they have flip-flopped them for added playfulness.
Coming Next Month: I have a lot of stuff to share with you all, but since this ended up being a double stuffed edition of the Monthly Sales Report, I decided to hold off on several ready to go features so that I wouldn’t give you a numbers overload. Next time you can look forward to seeing an examination of digital sales, complete numbers for the Nightwing/Grayson series since 2011, and January’s sale numbers. See you next month. Same Bat-time, same Batman-News website!
Last minute addition:
Last night I found out that DC is planning on resetting all their books to #1s later this year. After how poorly they performed in 2015, it doesn’t surprise me that they would need to do something to get numbers back up. I’d like to talk more about this, but I honestly haven’t even had time to entirely process how I feel about it myself. I’m pretty sure that I or one of my colleagues will post an article this weekend about it, so we can all discuss it more fully then.
November 2015 – Top 25[table “34” not found /]
December 2015 – Top 25[table “35” not found /]