Author Topic: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?  (Read 1250 times)

Offline Nekobaghira

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Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« on: May 08, 2018, 03:01:03 PM »
Why not .... this forum is obsessed with them with some things and ignores them with others.  Anyway -
http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2018/2018-04.html

Xmen Red not too bad, but certainly not at its #1 numbers which was 98, 468 in January. I suspect the variants are helping a little bit, the "head shot" covers.

Domino out of the gate doing well, the #1 doing its thing and I suspect that Gail Simone has a fan following, and possibly with Domino in DP2 movie will give it some love as well.

Rogue and Gambit continued its downward spiral in sales, is what it is ...
#1, 38,657
#2 22,201
#3 18, 514
#4 17,501

Digital sales are not included in these figures, and its what is ordered in advance from shops and what is distributed makes up for these numbers. What is actually sold at shops is a different number and I'm pretty sure not tallied.  The number is an estimated number of units. 

Myself, I don't care about the numbers ... I don't feel like I influence distribution and knowing I'm not a target demo for Marvel, I can easily not care.


Offline Sparta

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2018, 03:38:28 PM »
Sales are bad all round. Blue and Gold have struggled to get ahead of the 30ks for ages...and they've been the core X-Titles for the last year or so. Red will soon follow that trend even though it's the best one out of those 3 colour-themed books. Though Red did get a sales boost this month with Gambit on the cover ;)


Astonishing X-Men have a lot of popular characters, and on paper it's a very good cast...but the story was a snooze. It's on 30k...and that's a fair statistic.


Rogue and Gambit's a mini, I see it as a niche market. Whilst the sales are disappointing...compared to where the core titles are at...R&G #4 should probably be between 20-25k. Though I noticed sales have steadied a bit since #2. I actually expected #4 drop under 15k. Books like Iceman, Jean Grey and Storm have/had performed just as badly...and Cable's heading that way as well.


I really enjoyed Domino #1, and it made a great start in sales. But #2's traditionally have heavy drops. The next month will be a clear indication of where that book's future's at.


But the big shock for me is Deadpool's sales. 25k??? very poor sales considering the amount of exposure and promotion this guy gets (comics and on screen). That's a head-scratcher...


« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 03:52:53 PM by Sparta »

Offline Paradox Jast

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2018, 04:20:01 PM »
There could be a number of reasons why sales are the way they are, but my gut tells me that the digital sales probably make up a lot of the difference. I stopped getting hardcopies in the mail a few years ago and am now exclusively digital, and I like it because I can really zoom in on some pages and take in all the detail that I might miss with a regular comic. Sure, something can be said for holding it in your hand, but after a while it's just... 'meh'.


Other than the piracy worries with digital (though pirates wouldn't have bought a copy anyway, and it was still a problem even before Marvel had its own digital program) Marvel doesn't have to pay the printing costs, so -technically- they may make more on digital copies sold.


The only other thing I can think of is that people are getting tired of constant reboots, retcons because of the movies, smashing two characters together for a couple months then ripping them apart, short story arcs that try to do too much too fast or are all flash and no substance... the list goes on. I don't read much any more, but from what I gather from reviews and others comments - there is a distinct lack of character and world building.


Part of me wonders if they would be willing to allow sort of short stories in between major books that are just in black and white, maybe with a different artist. Similar to the way weeklies work in the eastern hemisphere. So you get the main book once a month in all its colored glory, but then once a week you get a 12-15 page line art only story (same writer, different artist) that extrapolates or expands upon the main book - helping to keep people more invested. Heck, they could even have associate writers do it, just clearing things with the writer of the main book. I'd pay an extra dollar or two per issue if I got something every week.

Offline Sparta

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 05:46:38 PM »
Well from a 'Rogue and Gambit' perspective, many of the hardcore ROMYS bought digitally, because on their Tumblr pages they show screenshots of their online purchase when they stay up late at night for it to pop up and then read it. Whether they also get the prints, I'm not sure. But I saw a lot of them on social media buy digitally. It's quite pricey to pay TWICE for a single comic book, it takes someone very passionate and loyal to do that, and supportive...and I'm sure some of them are...but not all.


I pre-order the hard copies, but I live in Australia, so I'm not even sure if my purchases count in these statistics.

Offline Nekobaghira

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2018, 06:25:29 PM »
I don't think the numbers are about sales from shops. Its what leaves the distributors warehouse that is making up the numbers. Marvel considers what leaves a distributor as a sale even if the local shops don't sell a single issue.  Its a weird way to try and gauge sales of any book.


Offline Paradox Jast

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2018, 06:46:53 PM »
It probably works just like newspapers. (Was a paperboy, long ago.) They counted sales as to whatever left their warehouse, because they are getting paid for whatever leaves their warehouse floor, regardless if it reaches a person in the end. They still made their money from it, and that's all that matters.


It's a small amount of inflating the sales numbers, sure, but big numbers are all the editors and investors care about.


It's ridiculously easy to report on digital sales, because... well, digital. It's kinda funny, therefore, when hardly anyone likes to give solid numbers for actual digital sales of anything, and those numbers are typically always rounded if they do.

Offline anya

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2018, 10:51:54 PM »
Marvel doesn't give out any sales number, digital or physical. The numbers that always batted around are estimates.

Offline JJB26

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 12:00:31 AM »
I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the writers make most of their money from print sales. Anybody familiar with the process of how creators are compensated?
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Offline anya

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 10:00:57 AM »
I think it depends on the contract. I remember an article that said Len Wien (creator of Wolverine) has made more money from minor batsman character Lucius Fix, than he did from Wolverine. Because his contract with D.C. gave him a percent of the movies ( and Fox has been in the most recent movie) where his marvel contract didn't.

Offline dcgregorya

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 01:40:13 AM »
I don't know.   I'm not sure the physical copy sales matter much these days without inclusion of the digital figures.   Has Marvel or DC ever commented on what the breakdown looked like between digital sales and physical?

Offline bark_no_byte

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2018, 09:49:03 AM »
I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the writers make most of their money from print sales. Anybody familiar with the process of how creators are compensated?


I'm not saying you're wrong because I honestly don't know, but wouldn't it make more sense for the writers to make more money off the digital sales since there's less cost printing, shipping, etc?

Offline DonPriceTag

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 12:55:46 AM »

I'm not saying you're wrong because I honestly don't know, but wouldn't it make more sense for the writers to make more money off the digital sales since there's less cost printing, shipping, etc?


I think it's an ignored business model that would help the industry. Indie comics struggle due to not being part of a major label. But if Marvel used the same digital model they could make some decent money. Right now, most writers/artist are freelancers with only a handful receiving contracts. These writers and artist cost the most and have the most risk as books NEED to sell a certain number to carry itself.


I think there are a lot of stories out there worth telling but don't have the 30k+ numbers to support them. Instead of using the old model, Marvel should tackle niche market by implementing a profit share. Let the book pay for itself. Marvel takes a certain percentage off of the top and the creative team shares the rest. Being 100% digital, there's zero risk to Marvel but they create something of a farming system or minor house where even established creators can play with ideas that are less appealing to mass markets.
Rogue being flung vagina-first at the first male that pops up on her radar isn't how I'd define "romance," but Marvel must be using a different dictionary than me.- NicoPony

Offline bark_no_byte

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2018, 11:26:02 AM »

I think it's an ignored business model that would help the industry. Indie comics struggle due to not being part of a major label. But if Marvel used the same digital model they could make some decent money. Right now, most writers/artist are freelancers with only a handful receiving contracts. These writers and artist cost the most and have the most risk as books NEED to sell a certain number to carry itself.


I think there are a lot of stories out there worth telling but don't have the 30k+ numbers to support them. Instead of using the old model, Marvel should tackle niche market by implementing a profit share. Let the book pay for itself. Marvel takes a certain percentage off of the top and the creative team shares the rest. Being 100% digital, there's zero risk to Marvel but they create something of a farming system or minor house where even established creators can play with ideas that are less appealing to mass markets.


I would be all for this personally. I think there a lot of X-characters alone who probably couldn't carry a book on their own, but would still make Marvel some money if they had a digital exclusive. Plus that gives some more creators jobs and (like you said) gives more opportunity to be more experimental.


I wouldn't doubt if one of the major reasons they haven't done much with this is because there would be some push-back from a lot of struggling comic book shops

Offline DonPriceTag

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2018, 01:58:23 PM »

I would be all for this personally. I think there a lot of X-characters alone who probably couldn't carry a book on their own, but would still make Marvel some money if they had a digital exclusive. Plus that gives some more creators jobs and (like you said) gives more opportunity to be more experimental.


I wouldn't doubt if one of the major reasons they haven't done much with this is because there would be some push-back from a lot of struggling comic book shops


Yeah, but those are disappearing anyway. But just because the monthly issues would be 100% digital, it doesn't mean if it sells well it cant be printed as a trade, so the shops get the collected edition sales but dont have to carry dozens (or more) of unsold individual issues, simply because the market or interest isnt there to support it, which is exactly the reason for using this new model. I mean 5k sales (comes out to about $20K) a month doesn't mean much if the artist and writer (not including colorists, letterers, editors, printing, shipping etc) are costing Marvel upwards of a 100K or more a year when they expect a return on it. But take that same load, cut out all the production costs and Marvel can be making let's say 10K a month on ZERO investment because the leftover 10k is distributed to the creative teams. Probably not enough to live comfortably off of, however, most comic creators have more than one project at a time. This would most likely attract newer creators who shouldn't be expecting to get rich quick anyway. Besides, 5k is the low-end even for books that end up cancelled (due to not being able to support themselves). If a book is good enough to maintain 15-18k sales per month, then hey, that's a bigger piece of the pie to go around and again, zero risk to Marvel, all the while they get to have a development program for creative talent and even new editors. And who's to say that a 100% digital can't build such a following that it deems worthy of monthly printing? In the old model, there are a lot of books that took time to build a following, but by time they did, it was already lined up cancellation. This circumvents that issue.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 02:10:20 PM by DonPriceTag »
Rogue being flung vagina-first at the first male that pops up on her radar isn't how I'd define "romance," but Marvel must be using a different dictionary than me.- NicoPony

Offline bark_no_byte

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Re: Comic Book Sales - Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2018, 02:17:21 PM »

Yeah, but those are disappearing anyway. But just because the monthly issues would be 100% digital, it doesn't mean if it sells well it cant be printed as a trade, so the shops get the collected edition sales but dont have to carry dozens (or more) of unsold individual issues, simply because the market or interest isnt there to support it, which is exactly the reason for using this new model. I mean 5k sales (comes out to about $20K) a month doesn't mean much if the artist and writer (not including colorists, letterers, editors, printing, shipping etc) are costing Marvel upwards of a 100K a month. But take that same load, cut out all the production costs and Marvel can be making let's say 10K a month on ZERO investment because the leftover 10k is distributed to the creative teams. Probably not enough to live comfortably off of, however, most comic creators have more than one project at a time. This would most likely attract newer creators who shouldn't be expecting to get rich quick anyway. Besides, 5k is the low-end even for books that end up cancelled (due to not being able to support themselves). If a book is good enough to maintain 15-18k sales per month, then hey, that's a bigger piece of the pie to go around and again, zero risk to Marvel, all the while they get to have a development program for creative talent and even new editors. And who's to say that a 100% digital can't build such a following that it deems worthy of monthly printing? In the old model, there are a lot of books that took time to build a following, but by time they did, it was already lined up cancellation. This circumvents that issue.


No disagreement there. I think this all makes sense as a business model since the industry itself has been changing so much. And it looks like they might be trying something similar. I saw just yesterday they released a Comixology-exclusive Cloak & Dagger mini: https://www.newsarama.com/40238-cloak-dagger-gets-surprise-comixology-series.html