Welcome back, Webheads! We’ve got another edition of Superior $ales-Talk coming straight at you, so hold on to your Internet communications device as I walk you through the weird and wonderful world of spreadsheets and sales figures! … Wait, where are you going? Come back!
February saw some pretty hard hits across the entire Spider-Family. February 2016 was a bit slower than February 2015, though it is a little difficult to tell exactly how much slower because last year’s February figures were inflated with another big Loot Crate bundle. Marvel commanded 48.17% of overall units moved this month totaling to 44.38% of over all dollars sold. The top selling comic of the month was DC’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 (as has been the case any month DKIII has shipped) selling 146,044 units.
Amazing Spider-Man has seemingly halted its free bleed of readers and now moves onto the point of relative stability, losing only around 5,000 units between last month and this month despite the larger than usual gap between January’s #6 and February’s #7. The befuddling Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 posted a 15% loss against its previous issue as more people abandon ship from a series that started with potential and has since gone in some questionable directions.
The much anticipated Spider-Man #1 finally hit the shelves after being delayed several months, selling close to 100,000 units. A high profile team does not always mean sustained high sales (Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer proves that), but in Spider-Man‘s case, I do believe that anticipation mixed with Bendis’s Midas-esque touch means this title will at the very least sell modestly. After all, Bendis (and a film) propelled Guardians of the Galaxy from a D-List title to a big seller for Marvel.
But there in lies the kicker, maybe the elephant in the room that should be addressed in regards to sales. Pretty much every title Marvel is producing that does not share its title with a film (or Netflix series) is in the 20-29k range. Even Power Man and Iron Fist #1 sold enough to get into the top 10 – 2011’s Power Man and Iron Fist #1 sold 27,579 units – and their respective Netflix shows haven’t even aired yet. This isn’t to say that a movie is enough to rocket a book up the charts; Drax #4 sold 14,620 units, only about 250 more than Black Knight #4, the only All-New All-Different title Marvel has officially canceled. Only Radioactive Spider-Gwen and Ms. Marvel have sold above 29,000 without the help of a film (A-Force #2 did sell 35k units this month, but as we’ve seen there’s typically another drop after the sophomore issue of a title).
What does that say about our beloved Spider-Titles? Radioactive Spider-Gwen continues to sell decently, and with a more gentle drop off than the other once-a-month titles. It, Spider-Woman, and Silk will all see a bump in sales in April as they launch into their own crossover “Spider-Women”. Spider-Woman #4 doubled-down on its percentage lost from #3, putting the title at just a few hundred units over 20,000. Clearly the title isn’t going anywhere until the crossover concludes, but both it and Web Warriors lost around 1/5th of its sales from last month, making them not only the lowest sales of the month, but also the some of the largest losses of sales.
The single largest loss of sales this month goes to Spider-Man/Deadpool #2, something that would not have taken a crystal ball to predict. Looking at previous Superior $ales, we can see that it is typical for a title to lose about half of its sales from a #1 to a #2. Spider-Man/Deadpool #2‘s 47% loss falls within the normal range. 69K units also makes Spider-Man/Deadpool the second largest #2 we’ve seen, beaten only by Amazing Spider-Man #2.
Carnage #4, Spidey #3, and Venom Space Knight #4 posted at about a 15% drop off as sales continue to dwindle. Carnage #4 also sees the end of Carnage‘s first story arc, a place some readers might see as a jumping off point. On the flip side, some readers might find it a great place to jump on after hearing good things about the title (by the way, Carnage is great!). Spidey continues its one-and-done format which is rare these days and seems to… not be paying off, especially for a title that was originally solicited as an in-continuity book starring solo adventures of Peter Parker – or maybe it was because of that bait and switch the title isn’t selling as well. Venom Space Knight continues its slow drift down the charts as the title nears the end of its first arc.
Silk, Spider-Man 2099, Amazing Spider-Man, and All-New All-Different Avengers all double-shipped in February, and we can see how double-shipping can really help retain readers. Excluding Amazing, the double shipped titles saw smaller losses from their second issue of the month, and a significantly smaller loss in Silk‘s case. Double-shipping isn’t something that every title can afford to do and sometimes it leads a breakdown of quality in both the art and the writing. But every so often, as Spider-Man 2099 seems to be double-shipping, it can benefit a title with sagging sales.
Not least, but always last, is Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man: Spider-Verse #4. #4 saw the end of the Spider-Verse storyline as well as our coverage on the comic itself. Always an outlier due to its different intended audience, Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man played by its own rules as far as sales went and will remain until a new Spider-Man cartoon appears.
That’s is for February guys, stay tuned next month for a Giant Sized Superior $ales Talk! It’ll be six months into All-New All-Different Marvel and we’ll take a look at the big picture (expect more charts!) as well as our normal monthly breakdown. Until then, true believer$!