Beware the ides of March, Superiorites, for it brings… surprisingly solid numbers? Look at all that green up there on that pretty chart painstakingly crafted by yours truly! What gives? After months of nothing but losses, we have gains almost across the board entirely! So March must have been a great month across the board, right? Well…. Yes and no. According to Comichron.com (where, unless otherwise mentioned, all of our figures here at Superior $ales Talk come from), March was a great month for graphic novel sales, but a little weaker on floppy sales than Marches past. March 2016 sold 11% less single issues than March 2015. March 2016 also was a month in where we had five Wednesdays rather than the typical four, which may speak for some of the gains we’re seeing. March 2016 had the lowest 300th place title (the lowest placing order than Diamond releases figures for) than any five-Wednesday month since February 2012. However, when you take both trades and floppies into account, this March was up 11% from last year.
Amazing Spider-Man #9‘s sales went up by nearly a quarter. I had to triple check the figure just to make sure I was reading the right one. A 25% increase for a run-of-the-mill issue is practically unheard of. #9 was the start of an arc, sure, but as we saw in January that did not lead to such a huge gain in sales. Perhaps the perfect storm of movie hype, five shipping weeks in March, and three variant covers contributed to a huge gain for Amazing over it’s last issue, but even then… we haven’t seen a number this good since #3. Unfortunately, all I can say is we need to wait until next month to see if this is a spike, which would give credence to this perfect storm hypothesis, or if this was a sustained gain and we more or less sold the memory of our marriage to Mephisto and hit the reset button on these figures. Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 did not fare as well as its big brother, posting one of the few losses we saw this month. If Dan’s review of the title is any indication of its overall quality, I’m not sure I’m entirely surprised that it’s getting half the numbers of the main title.
Spider-Man #2 slides down a mere 39%, giving us a really solid performance not really seen in a “blockbuster” title, but again, the extra shipping date in the month makes me cautious to call anything too big a hit. If we reduce Spider-Man #2‘s sales by a fifth (no way a scientific way of doing this, but we’re being rough here), that puts it at 48,000 which is still better than a lot of titles out there, but obviously no where near Amazing. As it stands now, Spider-Man #2 sold similar numbers to Radioactive Spider-Gwen #2, however Spider-Gwen‘s first issue sold nearly double what Spider-Man #1. So while Spider-Gwen started stronger, Spider-Man is showing so far to the be the stronger title, holding more sales from its first issue.
All-New All-Different Avengers #7 saw a nice 10% increase, keeping its numbers nice and high, losing one a few thousand readers since the new year. Carnage #6, Spider-Gwen #6, Spider-Man 2099 #8 and Spider-Woman #5 all posted gains as well, albeit smaller than Amazing‘s, which leads me to attribute them to the extra Wednesday.
In fact, the biggest loss (outlier Spider-Man #2 aside) came from Venom: Space Knight #5, which shipped out on the second to last Wednesday of March. Similar selling title Web Warriors #5 also posted a loss, but only about half the figures that Venom lost, illustrating the importance of calendar placement when we look at these figures and try to make heads or tails of small changes. Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 and Silk #6 both posted minute losses. If Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 stays at these numbers, it will prove to be a smashing success for Marvel. Silk‘s numbers are a bit more lukewarm-leaning-toward-cool, but perhaps it and Spider-Woman will see a nice bump toward Spider-Gwen numbers with the coming Spider-Women crossover series which just started.
Last but not least is the physical printing of the digital-first Amazing Spider-Man and Silk: The Spiderfly Effect #1 (I wonder if whoever came up with that title was paid by the character). 30,806 isn’t fantastic numbers, but mini series tend to have less fall-off than on-goings, since going in buyers know they’re only going to be on the hook for five or so issues. I’ll bet one Spider-Signal (that’s worth half a web cartridge for those playing the home game) that sales for this end in the midteens at the lowest.
That’s it for now– wait, what’s that? I promised you guys extra? Extra edition, what do I look like, a newspaper? What’s a newspaper? Alright, moving on!
I’ve made for you guys three charts that collect the data we’ve covered since All-New All-Different Marvel launched back in October. The first chart shows everything so we can take a look at the big picture, but honestly, it’s not too useful past that. Amazing #1 and Spider-Gwen #1 are such outliers that the chart is difficult to read once we get down in the 60k-20k range. From here though, we can see that Amazing leveled off at its forth issue.
The second graph omits the first issues as outliers and we start to get a clearer picture of what the sales actually look like. Three distinct tiers are clearly on display: the flagship tier which contains Amazing Spider-Man; the upper tier, which contains Spider-Man/Deadpool, All-New All-Different Avengers, Radioactive Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man, and Amazing Spider-Man .1; and the lower tier, which contains Carnage, Spider-Man 2099, Silk, Spidey, Venom: Space Knight, Spider-Woman, and Web Warriors. So by looking at these three tiers we can begin to see what kind of shape the Spider-Office is in. The flagship title is of course, a runaway success no matter how you slice it. Even when it wasn’t doing particularly hot It was selling leaps and bounds over the other titles (except for Spider-Man/Deadpool, which may straddle the line between the two tiers if it continues to have an extremely conservative rate of atrophy). The high tier titles represent the “hits”, titles that are guaranteed to not be going anywhere. These are “above average” numbers.
Under that is a noticeable gap which leads us to the lower tier, the “average” selling titles. Since it was still a little cramped, I made a third chart just for the lower titles so we could get the clearest picture. A lot of these titles sell similar numbers. Spider-Woman, Venom: Space Knight, and Web Warriors all occupy roughly the same space, their individual issues all hovering around the same points for the most part. These titles represent the flux at Marvel. These aren’t untouchables and really their fates are up to the powers that be, writer contracts, budgets, and whatever schemes Marvel has cooked up. I’m not saying that all of these titles are in danger of the ax, but if Marvel was looking to cut some fat from the Spider-Office, this is where they would look.
Finally, I have comprised a list of total percentage change between issue #2 and the current issue for every title covered here in the Giant Sized $ales Talk:
Amazing Spider-Man: -26.27%
All-New All-Different Avengers: -27.59%
Amazing Spider-Man Point: -28.34%
Radioactive Spider-Gwen -35.06%
Spider-Man 2099: -42.41%
Web Warriors –69.78%
Venom: Space Knight: -71.27%
Just for fun, if you were to use the figures from February for Amazing (since we do not know if this massive upswing was a spike), the percent change would be 45.06%. While these numbers don’t paint a picture all by themselves, we can see that the titles that have kept the most readers… are the ones that have had two and three issues out respectively. We can look at the graphs and see that a lot of these titles do not level off until issues four or five, so really, Avengers and Amazing .1 are the ones with the best average consistency, with Amazing proper also fitting in that position if sales hold at the levels we saw this month.
Looking down the list we can see that not only does Venom: Space Knight have some of the lowest sales out of the Spider-Office, but it also has suffered the biggest losses out of all the titles. Not far behind it is Web Warriors, which sells nearly identical numbers. Marvel does not release their reasoning behind canceling titles (a lot of the time they don’t even really bother telling us), but if you’re a big fan of those two titles, I would say try your best to spread the word, because they both could benefit from it.
I don’t know about you guys, but that’s enough numbers for now. Next month we’ll see if any of these gains were sustained sales or spikes, plus a little more data on the newer titles as well as the start of the big Spider cross over, “Spider-Women”! As always, thanks goes out to Comichron.com for putting together the figures we use here at the $ales-Talk. Until next time, Superiorites, remember to always floss after every meal, never spit in the wind, and with great power must also come – great responsibility!