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October Comic Sales Figures

DC Comics The New 52 once again ruled the comic sales charts in October 2011! For sales through Diamond Comic Distributors, DC Comics held the top six sales spots, and 17 of the top 20 spots. Way to go DC Comics!

Since this is a Firestorm blog, we should probably talk about The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #2. In October our favorite Nuclear Men occupied the 54th sales spot with 39,591 units sold. Of DC’s The New 52 issues, Fury of Firestorm landed as the 34th book in units sold. Also worth mentioning, in October the second printing of The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1 sold 10,539 units. Not too shabby for a second printing!

Lets put this in perspective… last month Fury of Firestorm #1 (first printing) occupied the 46th sales spot with 43,200 units sold. Of DC’s The New 52 issues, Fury of Firestorm #1 landed as the 30th book in units sold. So we had some slippage from issues #1 to issue #2, which is completely normal. From issue #1 to issue #2, there was a drop of 3,609 units sold (8.4%). Honestly, that’s not a huge drop. By way of comparison, sales for the last Firestorm monthly series (2004) dropped from issue #1 to issue #2 by 23%. Also, units sold for issue #2 of the previous Firestorm series were less than the units sold for the current #2 issue.

Fury of Firestorm #2 still out-performed lots of other successful books such as: Wolverine, Daredevil, Invincible Iron Man, X-Men Legacy, Walking Dead, Captain America and Bucky, and many more. Also, just think how good these rankings would look if they included the digital sales! Overall, I still think Fury of Firestorm is performing well and should be considered a success! Below you’ll find the top 100 selling comics in October from The Comic Chronicles.

October 2011 Comic Sales according to The Comics Chronicles

Congratulations to DC Comics, Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone, Yildiray Cinar, the folks in DC Editorial and Marketing, and anyone else involved in making Fury of Firestorm #2 and the second month of The New 52 such a success!

Support Firestorm! Fan the flame!

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  1. outburst says:

    I’ve picked up a few issues of the new 52 and have to say, the quality of the storytelling in Firestorm’s new title has easily been one of the better ones.

    I hope Simone stays on – in part because I like where the title is going but also because I think her departure could have a lot of those non-loyal Firestorm fans leave with her.

  2. Frank says:

    It’s nice to see DC take seven of the top ten spots, and push Marvel out of the top 5 entirely. It would have been nicer to have seen that happen sooner, like in the ’90s when DC legitimately had better books to read. This isn’t a meritocracy, but a hype-ocracy. Looking at the competition, there’s the third or fourth Hulk #1 this decade, another pointless Wolverine/X-Men book wearing out both brands, and the last issue of a poorly received event mini-series. How pathetic would it be not to dominate with a linewide relaunch receiving national media attention? It’s also great to see Wonder Woman and Aquaman in the top 20, showing that with the right talent/direction, these icons can carry a book. On the other hand, Huntress’ debut outside the top 50 shows that the New 52 doesn’t have legs once you start adding books and months. It’s also a shame to see all of the New 52 genre books and titles starring minorities race to the bottom, saving OMAC the indignity of being the biggest dud.

  3. Luke says:

    OMAC’s problem will continue to be the fact that it is co-written by Dan DiDio, who a lot of Internet marks will call an idiot in one breath, but then heap praise upon the construct he helped create in the next. So knee-jerk reactionaries will continue to dump on a book they have not read.

    It’s like the same morons who dump on Hawk & Dove because of Rob Liefeld, comparing the book to older works like Youngblood or Brigade. Except that, ahem, Sterling Gates is the writer, NOT Liefeld (excepting an upcoming issue). The same Sterling Gates which the Internet marks piled love and adoration at the feet of for his work on Supergirl. And guess what? The book reads like Sterling Gates writing a pair of teen heroes. Imagine that.

    I also feel the need to point out to Shag that once more The Savage Hawkman outsold Fury of Firestorm. So nyah! 😉

  4. Robert Gross says:

    There probably is something to the observation that minority-centric books race to the bottom. I’ve maintained under a nom-de-plume quite often that Marvel’s success over DC is structural in nature: Marvel’s stories are all allegories about white adolescent male angst. Marvel realized something straight away: fanboys only want to read about themselves, or, at least, avatars for themselves. If they don’t see themselves in Wonder Woman or a Latino Blue Beetle or Asian Atom, or black Firestorm for that matter, they don’t pick the book up. Notice that Firestorm’s currently successful run must have a white male co-lead.

  5. Robert Gross says:

    I am also looking forward to the inevitable parade of trolls on the DC Comics Message Board with “LOL” posts trying to discount these figures as more evidence of DC’s failure, in the face of all contrary evidence.

  6. Frank says:

    Robert, I partially agree with your assessment, but I believe the most essential aspect to Marvel’s structural success has been “spreading the love.” Marvel has multiple franchises that it supports, so that when Spider-Man is down, Ghost Rider is up, or the Avengers buoying while the X-Men sink. Until recent years, DC tended to ride on Superman and Batman’s backs, with suddenly popular properties like New Teen Titans and Justice League International milked to death and discarded inside a few years time. I suspect in large part due to Geoff Johns’ influence, DC has finally started identifying brands with life outside of a moment in comics and making their maintenance an imperative (hello Green Lantern line.) The Wonder Woman-Batgirl-Batwoman block also shows you can sell non-white non-male characters if you just hire the right creators and promote their presence correctly. Marvel’s had a lot more success with reader acceptance of their non-white characters than DC for the same reason.

  7. Frank says:

    Oh, and Luke, I wasn’t intending to stab at OMAC. It’s just that Bleeding Cool targeted that book for cancellation based on one month’s performance, and look at how quickly the numbers changed. While I’m definitely not a Didio fan, I’d like to try me some O.M.A.C…

  8. Luke says:

    Frank, I have no doubt that some one of your fine tastes would appreciate what DiDio and Giffen are doing in OMAC (and no I am not being sarcastic). You and I don’t always agree, but I don’t think you ever use the sort of inane arguments you find some such wonderful places as the CBR forums.

    I also think you hit the nail on the head with the statement that you “can sell non-white non-male characters if you just hire the right creators and promote their presence correctly.” I think that DC has all the right tools to do just that with their “non-white non-male” characters, so it’s up to them to take the ball and run with it as they seem to be doing with the superheroine troika you mentioned.

  9. Boosterrific says:

    Luke, are you defending Rob Liefeld’s art? It sounds like you are defending Rob Liefeld’s art. If you’re into that sort of thing, that’s fine, but recognize that some people, probably even most people, buy comic books for the art. (Sterling Gates is fine for what Sterling Gates is, but he’s no Alan Moore or even Peter David.) Liefeld deserves all the criticism he gets for really, really terrible art, and it is to be expected that his attachment to any project would drive some vocal potential readers away, myself included.

    Frank, although I do agree that this sales bubble is a hype-ocracy, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. This time last year, sales were in the toilet and the future looked bleak, indeed. Maybe a little bit of excitement was needed to get us grumpy old fans to take another look at what we previously weren’t buying. (Granted, I would have to be the exception to prove that rule: Booster Gold appearances aside, I took the New 52 as a jumping off point for the most part, and haven’t regretted that decision for a minute.)

    Speaking of Booster Gold having again been relegated to a team book (at least this time the leader), I’m pleased as punch that JLI is in the top 25. A book about a team of nobodies is outselling both Hawkman and Firestorm? Seems about right to me.

    (My daily trolling is complete. Thank you.)

  10. Luke says:

    Please quote to me where I defended Rob Liefeld’s art. I’ll wait. Can’t find it? That’s because I didn’t.

    No, Booster, I am saying that netmarks who decry the book yet have not read it annoy me. The same netmarks who have bemoaned and cried and complained for the better part of a decade about how comic book writers are the true “auteurs” whom need to be worshiped as gods walking among us mere mortals, while artists and art are too “subjective.” Because “good writing” is obviously objective.

    I find Liefeld’s art serviceable. But Gates’ writing on teen heroes is excellent. And the same netmarks who bitch and moan about “why is there a Hawk and Dove book?” were the same damn netmarks who were lining up to make out with Sterling Gates when he wrote Supergirl. He’s not Alan Moore or Peter David? Uh? Who cares? How is either of them relevant to the fact that he is a good writer who was praised like a deity by the netmarks.

    Whether or not “most people” (itself an unverifiable quantity) buy comics for the art is irrelevant. I am talking specifically about the netmarks, whose numbers we are constantly reminded are not representative of the comic buying public in general.

    Furthermore, the sales numbers of Justice League International and Justice League Dark prove little other than the marketing plan by DC to franchise and brand “Justice League” worked; you’ll recall that the aforementioned netmarks cried and gnashed their teeth over how such branding was diluting the brand.

  11. Frank says:

    Trust the Booster Gold fan to come at me with dollars and cents. :)

    Seriously though, I became a major DC Comics reader by being drawn into events like Knightfall, Reign of the Supermen, and Zero Hour. I own a lot of crap books because of it, and even defend a few I’m soft on, like the Bloodlines crossover I named a blog after. The important thing is that when Peter David’s Aquaman proved a major disappointment, I had still bought and enjoyed Skeates/Aparo. Bloodlines led me to pick up Ennis’ The Demon, which led me to buy Hitman. There’s a lot not to like about the New 52, so I hope retailers take advantage of this opportunity by steering new/returned customers to other, more addictive material while they can. My shops survived the speculator bust because of that type of customer service and forethought, and I hope the people still in the game take advantage. The last time I was in a comic shop, they had sold out of Wonder Woman #1 and prattled on about British cigarettes in their little gamer geek/Android’s Dungeon circle. I was so annoyed, I passed on buying Captain Atom #1 or any subsequent weeks’ books because that is exactly the type of toxic atmosphere I avoided in my day. Point is, I hope the New 52 works in spite of my issues with the people behind it, because the ultimate survival of the industry may hinge upon it. This could very well be the last splash of the monthly comic.

    While it’s not doing JLI numbers, Stormwatch is totally killing Matchhead and Birdbrain. They might be white and male, but give it up for the gay power couple (and the Martian Manhunter.) Um, no, I didn’t mean it in quite that way.

    I figure the love for Sterling Gates had a lot to do with the dry spell that preceded him on Supergirl. I like Supergirl (specifically PAD’s first four years,) but not enough to suffer through Jeph Loeb. I tried Gates and found him serviceable. As much as I like Supergirl, it takes a lot more than that to make me buy a book, although I’d be doing cartwheels over serviceable if Gates took on a character I’m more invested in.

  12. Patrick says:

    Very interesting stuff — both the initial post and subsequent discussion. A couple things:

    1) Marvel vs DC question — I was a Marvel guy and I don’t recall why. I don’t know if I was drawn to the myths at first, so went to Thor and stuck with Marvel. I can’t say I made my choice based on any DC or Marvel comparisons.

    What are some of the other differences past and present between the comic book universes? Right now I’ve started with a few of the new DC 52 (Captain Atom and Firestorm) and like those more than the Marvel titles I also recently picked up

    2) Local Comic Book Shops — I hear a lot of horror stories about the LCS in podcasts/blogs. I’ve never had a problem with mine. Is it the location? I feel like there are a ton of books no matter when I go to purchase.

  13. seth says:

    Hey, just wanna let you know, you had a wrong estimated figure.
    In sept, Firestorm had 46383 units sold. While in Oct they had 39591 units sold.
    The changes from issue 1 to issue 2 is -14.64%
    Thats actually one of the lowest rate of changes ranked at 46 in terms of unit drop, but above other titles like new guardians, action and superman.

    Also wanna let you know that these figures are slightly lower than actual in that there is a 10% mark down.

  14. Shag says:

    My thanks to everyone for all the fantastic discussion!

    @Luke – Thanks for rubbing Thanagarian salt in that wound. 😛

    @Frank – Personally, I think the thing holding OMAC back the most is the writing. I read #1 and LOVED the art. I couldn’t stand the writing. … and thanks for pointing out Stormwatches sales. So I guess Firestorm is officially the lowest of the four Brightest Day elemental books. :(

    @Set – Thanks for the correction. I guess the data had been updated since I took my snapshot.

    Thanks again for all the comments and banter! You guys rock!


  15. Patrick says:

    Interesting. So, can it be surmised at all that the bulk of the people who purchased Firestorm, were fans anyway, so the drop off are those just testing out the new 52 market with no real Firestorm interest?

  16. Frank says:

    I tease, but the truth is that Stormwatch readership seems heavily comprised of old Wildstorm fans and and folks curious about the “new” super-team. Without a strong creative team, I doubt a Martian Manhunter series would be doing any better than Firestorm (likely worse.)

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