Another month, another $ales Talk, Superior Believers! The merry month of May was for the most part a quiet month with no big surprises. May continued the 2016 trend of weaker sales compared to the same month in 2015, with about 15% less total volume sold comparatively (after adjusting for 2015’s Loot Crate sales). Civil War II had a big launch with #0, but nothing can match the staggering 738,485 units sold with last May’s Secret Wars #1 and #2. Meanwhile the much talked about summer event over at the Distinguished Competition kicked off as well, with DC Universe Rebirth #1 taking the number one spot on May 2016’s top 300 chart with about 236,000 units.
We’re going to break form for a moment and talk about Civil War II before we drive straight into the two main Spider-Man books. How did Civil War II do against other event titles past? Did #0 get the same push as #1 did? Will sales be higher for #1 or are we going to see #1 perform like a #2? (that is, a second issue, not – you know what, never mind) First let’s see how the past few summer books have done at Marvel (and their zero issue, if they have one).
- Secret Wars #1, Rank: 1, Est. Sales 527,678
- Original Sin #1, Rank: 1, Est. Sales 147,045
- Original Sin #0, Rank: 8, Est. Sales 73, 024
- Infinity #1, Rank: 1, Est. Sales 205,819
- Age of Ultron #1, Rank: 2, Est Sales 174,952
- Avengers Vs X-Men #1, Rank: 1, Est. Sales 203,181
- Avengers Vs X-Men #0, Rank: 2, Est. Sales 134,509
So we can see that Civil War II #0’s 177,283 puts it in the middle of the #1 issues, being outpaced by Avengers Vs X-Men and Secret Wars, and just barely surpassing Age of Ultron. But looking at the generally much weaker sales for the #0 issues of AvX and Original Sin compared to their #1 issues, it would be safe to guess Civil War II #1 will post around 300,000 issues, which would make it the second biggest event #1 in the past five years. While two samples doesn’t make for much of a pattern, Civil War II #1 also has about twice the variant covers of #0 so it’s safe to say that there’s going to be a significant bump in units moved.
On to Amazing Spider-Man! ASM #12 recovered somewhat from #11’s long-time low, gaining about 10% and putting it at about 1,000 units higher than #10. Aside from March’s spike and April’s dip, Amazing has hovered around the mid-to-low 70k’s since January, so I think it is safe to say that the title will bounce around there for at least one or two more months before jumping back up with “Dead No More”. Since Amazing is not crossing over with Civil War II (getting a tie-in mini instead), the title will be unaffected more-or-less by the greater happenings in Marvel, from the looks of things. The “Amazing Grace” Point One series returns after a month hiatus to post lower, but still decent numbers despite a story that falls mostly flat.
The Miles Morales Spider-Man dips nearly 20% on the heels of rumors that it will move to a once- every-other-month release schedule. A disappointingly large drop for a title with promise, especially since it carries the last of the Ultimate universe with it. Spider-Man will fly under the Civil War II banner though, so this loss will be recovered shortly.
The other big losses come from the tail end of the “Spider-Women” crossover, with Spider-Gwen, Silk, and Spider-Woman all taking big steps back to their previous numbers, implying that perhaps orders for the first half of “Spider-Women” were a little generous in wake of the demand. That being said, all these numbers are still a lot more solid than what these titles were posting before the crossover, so I would call this a win.
The gap widens between Venom: Space Knight and Web Warriors, two books that for the most part have sold within a stone’s throw of each other. As both these titles creep closer and closer to quad digits, I can’t help but think their days are numbered unless there’s an angel out for them in the Marvel offices.
The good news for the rest of the titles is that, for the most part, everything is saying the course and maintaining a level that we could call attrition rather than free bleed. Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, Carnage #8, Spider-Man 2099 #11, Spider-Man/Deadpool #5, Spidey #6, and the aforementioned Venom: Space Knight #7 and Web Warriors #7 all posted about a 5% loss or less. All-New All-Different Avengers #9 actually gained 300 units, thanks mostly to its solidly consistent numbers; it’s sold in the mid to low 50k’s since its third issue. Also worth noting is that every initial issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool has sold out and the reprints regularly appear on the top 300 charts, something I have been neglecting to mention (Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 came in at rank 220 this month with 7,601 units solid and Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 came in at 287 with 5,235).
Last but not least is the digital-first, print-second Amazing Spider-Man and Silk The Spider-Fly Effect #3 which actually dropped about 10% of its units sold from its sophomore issue. Since Marvel does not release figures for its digital sales, it’s difficult to gauge the meaning behind these numbers and if they match the digital comic. Looking at Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, it’s easy to see that just putting the wall-crawler’s name on something can give it decent enough numbers, so what’s hurting this title? Is the Point One style of numbering that much more appealing than the miniseries numbering? Is Silk somehow a toxic brand (she seems to be doing okay for herself in the “Spider-Women” cross over)? Are that many people buying the digital comic instead? With only a piece of the puzzle these questions are frustratingly difficult to answer.
That’s it for May, folks. Like I said, it was a fairly uneventful month but with Civil War II starting up proper in June and the tie-ins following up after that, we’ll start to see some shifts and changes that we can plot. Like always, all figures and data come straight from Comichron.com, a fantastic source for those who might want to delve into comic sales past Spider-Man. I couldn’t recommend them more. Until next month, Superiorites!