We knew that DC’s New 52 program would be a sales hit when it was first announced. Too many big name creators on big name characters. Too many new #1 issues which collectors can’t resist. Too much buzz surrounding even the smallest of new series. What we didn’t know was how big of a success the initiative would be, but we are now starting to get an idea.
On DC’s blog The Source, the company announced the sales numbers for Justice League #1, according to Diamond Comic Distributors, and they are pretty good to say the least. Justice League was not only the best-selling title for the month of August, but it’s also the best-selling single issue for all of 2011. The first printing run for Justice League exceeded 200,000 copies and sold out within hours of going on sale, with a second printing selling out within a day. The book is now onto its third printing, only two weeks after its original release.
One thing to keep in mind, whenever any comic company talks about a print run being “sold out,” they are talking about sales to the actual comic stores that you, the customer, buy from. They are not talking about sales that the stores make to actual customers. So, DC can talk about selling 200,000 copies, and your local store could have stacks and stacks of unsold books. Any of these sales numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Going back for a third printing is a good sign though, and should indicate that there is continued interest from stores who need to restock after selling through their first shipments of the issue.
These sales figures include the print-digital combo packs and all the variant editions, but do not include any actual digital sales. Digital sales numbers still remain a generally well-kept secret. DC’s announcement makes mention of the DC Comics app peaking at #4 on iTunes for Top Grossing iPad apps during the week of Justice League’s release, but that doesn’t really help us know how many copies were actually sold.
DC also released some other figures for the rest of the new 52:
There are currently ten titles that have seen a print run of more than 100,000 copies. These books are: Action Comics, Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman.
Action Comics joins Justice League as the second title to see a total print run of over 200,000 copies (between its first and second printing).
All of DC titles that went on sale September 7, 2011 have sold out from Diamond and are going back to press.
All of DC titles seeing release this week, September 14, 2011 have sold out from Diamond and are going back to press.
These are all pretty impressive figures and shows that, at least in the short run, DC is selling a lot of comics. I don’t think anyone should be surprised by that fact. The sheer volume of titles and all of these first issues are a sales magnet. I’m sure once September is done and the next batch of numbers comes out, DC will be the leader in both sales and market share. The question will not be whether they have good first-month sales, the question will be whether they have good sixth-month sales. Can DC maintain the excitement they have created with this, and will readers be sticking around on series they are taking a chance on this month? In addition, will this have the desired results of getting new or lapsed readers back into the shop? Finally, will we ever see honest numbers of copies sold digitally, or will we have to continue to guess at the numbers? I really wish I could see some kind of numbers for actual digital sales, just so I could know if it is a revolution or if it’s just a niche market within the already niche market of comic books.
Congrats to DC on these numbers. They are off to a good start, and if these sales continue, you have to assume that Marvel will make some kind of move to combat this. I doubt it will be as monumental as what DC has done, but they’re not going to rest on their laurels and let DC take away the dominance that Marvel has built over the last decade. I read 5 of the issues that came out last week, and I’ll be coming back for at least 4 of them, so that’s a pretty good record.
What did you think of the first batch of books, and do you think DC will be able to maintain these kinds of numbers?