September continues the hot streak the comic industry has been on since, and almost entirely because of, the positive response to the DC Rebirth Relaunch. Orders from the direct market (that is, your friendly neighborhood comic shops) for September 2016 numbered 8,145,400 units, while only 7,046,700 were ordered for September 2015, about a 14.5% increase. However, that translates to only a 9.3% dollar increase, mostly due to DC Rebirth’s return to the $2.99 price point, rather than the $3.99 DC titles had crept up to since their “Drawing the Line at $2.99” initiative in 2011 had proven to not be a commercial benefit.
Meanwhile for Marvel this month, things are looking similar compared to last month. September 2016 saw 11 Marvel titles in the top 50, as opposed to August’s 10. September’s share of overall units sold was 30.75% for Marvel and 43.45% for DC (versus 32.11% and 44.45% last month), while dollar share was a little closer, with Marvel’s share at 31.40% and DC’s at 36.53% (v. 30.78% and 39.27% last month), due to Marvel’s higher price point.
Moving onto the Spider-Man titles, Amazing Spider-Man #18 went against expectations and actually dropped more units sold, despite the long awaited return of Doctor Octopus. 71,159 is the lowest the title has been since June’s all-time low for the volume at 65,519 for lucky number Amazing Spider-Man #13. We won’t know about The Clone Conspiracy #1 until next month, but going off of what I saw available at my local comic shop, Slott might have been correct when he said there were not enough orders for The Clone Conspiracy #1; the amount I saw was more aligned with what I saw for Amazing Spider-Man #1.1 or Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, rather than the amount that I saw for the “Spider-Verse” issues when that was raging on. Though, my one-shop observation isn’t even close to a scientific sample, so let me know in the comments if you noticed something similar and we’ll see next month what the writing on the wall is.
Speaking of Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man, the last issue came out in September and ended with a narrative bang. The sales were a little cooler, but still pretty well received compared to the Marvel catalog as a whole. It did, however, come up ahead of Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, which ended its mini series at 39.624 (#1.4 sold 44,160 issues).
Spider-Man #8’s sales dipped, despite Miles’s new-found importance in the center of the Civil War II story. This appears to be true across the board, with other Civil War II tie-in titles almost immediately returning to their prior figures. This doesn’t bode too well for the main Civil War II title, which comes in off its delay and with a 5% loss in sales. 120,208 units is still doing fantastic, but no where near the numbers Secret Wars was pulling. Ultimately, whether or not something was a success to Marvel is not necessarily tied to how much it sold, but how much it sold against what it was projected internally to sell, and that’s something we’re not going to be privy to.
All-New All-Different Avengers #14 continues to hover in the 45k range, sliding up and down that figure, but never quite recovering to the 50k it was regularly selling until June’s ANAD Avengers #10. However, it and Spider-Man/Deadpool remain the most consistently selling titles that we cover. Strangely, the Civil War II tie-in didn’t move the needle one way or another for All-New All-Different Avengers, selling at the same rate it did before the tie-in. Spider-Man/Deadpool exists in its own bubble, thankfully, allowing Kelly and McGuinness to deliver their story free of editorial mandates.
That’s about it for good news this month, however. Every other title we follow dropped by a sizeable margin, except for Spider-Man 2099 #15 and Web Warriors #11. Surprisingly, Web Warriors jumped almost 20% in sales for its terminal issue. I know when I tried to purchase my copy, the title was already sold out an hour after the shop had opened. It’s hard to say exactly what caused this jump, but it was a great way to send off one of the better B-titles in recent memory. Spider-Man 2099 only lost 582 units from last month’s issue. #15 is the penultimate Civil War II tie-in issue, and for Spider-Man 2099, the losses have been relatively minor throughout the tie-in. So that is a little bit of good news.
On to the aforementioned bad news. Superior Spider-Talk favorite Spider-Woman dropped past the 20,000 mark with a -7.83% change, bringing the title to 17,743 units sold for its eleventh issue. While there are certainly titles below it (Marvel’s lowest selling comic from their main publishing imprint was Drax #11, which sold 8,746 units), that’s still not a place any title really wants to be, and certainly not what is expected to happen when a title ties-in to a large event. These tie-ins are supposed to boost sales; that’s why they do them. Venom: Space Knight #11 also dropped 7% while flying the Civil War II banner.
Outside of Civil War II tie-ins, Spidey’s penultimate issue took a small hit, dropping another 949 units sold. I doubt we’ll see a large surge in units sold like we did with Web Warriors next month unless Marvel has something in its hat we don’t know about. Carnage #12 has finally dipped below the 20,000 mark after months of slowly sliding down. Solicits for January might be implying the series ends at #16, but nothing official has been announced. I would not expect this series to last much longer past Conway’s involvement with Renew Your Vows however. With numbers like this, I do not see another writer coming on to the title. Silk #12 and Spider-Gwen #12 lost 4.69% and 6.10% of their sales respectively, compared to last month. While Silk has been a title that has never really hit an equilibrium as far as normalized level of attrition, Spider-Gwen has stemmed its free-bleed of readers to single digit percentages. Both titles have looming cross-overs in the distance, with Silk crossing over into The Clone Conspiracy and Spider-Gwen crossing over with Spider-Man. Hopefully, these crossovers will be more beneficial than the Civil War II tie-ins have proven to be.
That’s it for this month, thanks goes out to Comichron.com, as always for providing to the public the figures used in this feature. Comichron is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to look into comic sales through the years and I could not recommend it more to anyone who wants to learn more about sales and numbers in the industry. Next month we’ll see the long awaited figures for The Clone Conspiracy as well as the tail-end of many Civil War II tie-in comics. Until then!