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  1. #1
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    Default The Mayo Report: Marvel NOW! and DC Comics' New 52 Report Card

    John Mayo returns with his analysis of November's Marvel NOW! sales numbers, plus a look at DC Comics' New 52 performance from its 2011 launch through the latter portion of 2012.


    Full article here.

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  3. #3
    Long Live the Legion ultraaman's Avatar
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    Now a couple of real question: While sales have only seen a relative minor bump from pre-new52 sales, I wonder how many titles did DC actually have in print at that time? From a profit perspective if the number of titles went down and the total issue sales relatively stayed the same, would that not be seen as a success (financially at least)?

    Also, how are TPBs for these series doing? And do the sales on the charts you gave include digital? For larger selling titles like JLA or Batman, the sales prob don't make any real impact but for lower selling titles (say, under 40k) even a few thousand digital sales is a larger % increase than for a bigger selling title.

  4. #4
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    What isn't immediately obvious from those charts is that the New 52 can be judged a success, with the average monthly sales for the New 52 is around 2,356,624 units. Prior to the New 52, the DC Universe had been averaging 2,283,613 estimated units each month during the final order era which began in March 2003. The bottom line is the reboot increased sales. While it was a major gamble, it worked.
    ?? Even just looking at those two numbers, I don't know how one would conclude that a 3.2% increase represents a "success" on such a major effort. But why are those the relevant numbers to compare? For the New52, don't you want an average _after_ the initial honeymoon blip? My rough estimates of the data points for the last 12 months average about 2.14 million, below the pre-DCnU average. Then again, that average probably shouldn't be based on data going all the way back to March 2003.

    Beyond that, are total unit sales really the key measure? Are the payments to writers and artists (and editors) such a small fraction of revenue that it doesn't matter how many titles you're putting out to achieve a given aggregate sales volume?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by pogofan View Post
    ?? Even just looking at those two numbers, I don't know how one would conclude that a 3.2% increase represents a "success" on such a major effort. But why are those the relevant numbers to compare? For the New52, don't you want an average _after_ the initial honeymoon blip? My rough estimates of the data points for the last 12 months average about 2.14 million, below the pre-DCnU average. Then again, that average probably shouldn't be based on data going all the way back to March 2003.

    Beyond that, are total unit sales really the key measure? Are the payments to writers and artists (and editors) such a small fraction of revenue that it doesn't matter how many titles you're putting out to achieve a given aggregate sales volume?
    Yeah, I was going to say something similar. Because essentially he's saying that a 73,000 unit jump is significant.

    I guess I can accept that, but find it impossible to believe that that kind of minor bump, isn't something they could have achieved without such a bad reboot, or that they couldn't have achieved more with a more well-thought out reboot.

    To me this really supports my own theory, which is that New 52 is essentially being sustained mainly by the very significant sales on their top books, having gone through the roof with the reboot. Most titles seem to be selling at the same 'cancellation bubble' level they were previously.

  6. #6
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schnitzy Pretzelpants View Post
    Yeah, I was going to say something similar. Because essentially he's saying that a 73,000 unit jump is significant.

    I guess I can accept that, but find it impossible to believe that that kind of minor bump, isn't something they could have achieved without such a bad reboot, or that they couldn't have achieved more with a more well-thought out reboot.

    To me this really supports my own theory, which is that New 52 is essentially being sustained mainly by the very significant sales on their top books, having gone through the roof with the reboot. Most titles seem to be selling at the same 'cancellation bubble' level they were previously.
    What is interesting is the TPB market. Because TPB's make up for a lot of sales and if its increased as much as single issue sales has , its more of a success there. Because a lot of what DC is doing is geared towards moving TPB sales .
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERECWFAN1 View Post
    What is interesting is the TPB market. Because TPB's make up for a lot of sales and if its increased as much as single issue sales has , its more of a success there. Because a lot of what DC is doing is geared towards moving TPB sales .
    I have my doubts - but my doubts are wholly dictated by my tastes, and that is no barometer.

    I find most of the stories of the New 52 'padded' rather than what I think of as true decompression.

    padded=bad

    decompression=good

    The worst offender was Justice League 1 to 6. That was glacial, and woefully underwritten. Not decompressed.

    Just my opinion.

  8. #8
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    So DC destroyed its entire history and alienated longtime readers for an overall 3 percent bump in sales (some of which was counteracted by losing sales in the Summer of 2011 after the reboot was announced. TPB market for comics for those months was even more dismal single issues due to the delay).

    Everyone who said the new 52 would only be a short term solution, congratulations you're right. If DC had just invested in their creative talent rather than their marketing talent, it could have seen a 3 percent bump without the mess.

    Other thoughts:

    Look how badly books with "classic" names have done. GI Combat, Men of War, All Star Western, Sword of Sorcery, My Greatest Adventure. I bet sales would have been better had they just named them "Sgt. Rock" "Haunted Tank" "Jonah Hex" and "Amethyst." No one cares if the book has two stories, tell me who the book is about, not a generic title describing the type of book it is. If the goal was to attract brand new readers, what good does alluding to a 30-year old title get you? Horrible business choice. And we get Time Warp next year.

    Spilling out the Freedom Fighters into unrelated miniseries sure backfired, huh?

    Now we see why DC put top creators on Green Arrow. It would be embarrassing to have to cancel the only book starring a character who's on TV.

    Speaking of TV, how sad is it that the best DC storyline of the past two years was the Young Justice cartoon? DC editorial wishes it could put together a story that good.

  9. #9
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    "A number of Marvel NOW! titles shipped both a first and second issue in November. "All New X-Men" #1 was the top seller with around 181,710 units, while the second issue dropped by almost 47% down to around 96,445 units. "Uncanny Avengers" #2 sold an estimated 114,268 units, down over 62% but sales remained strong enough to keep it in the top ten. Both unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the Marvel NOW! titles dropped an average of 43.25% with the second issues. "

    For me this is the telling paragraph with regard to the Marvel Now Sales Figures.
    Call me sceptical here with regard to how genuine these figures are but...Uncanny Avengers #1 sells in excess of 300,000 copies alegedly, but then the second issue sells 114,268. And this makes sense? Retailers dropped their orders a whopping 62% for the second issue?
    Okay i've no doubt that a lot of people will possibly explain this by all the incentives with regard to variant covers on the book, and maybe that did have some part to play.
    The question i'm asking is, did Diamond offer an incentive on this book? It's been done before. Emails received after initial orders stating that orders will be double filled; ie...initial orders increased by 100%, so order 10 receive 20 copies.
    It'd certainly make sense and account for the glaring disparity in figures, and account for the All Ne X-Men figures too.
    Anyone got any information regarding this at all?
    Don't get me wrong here, i want to see the industry start to buck up, and sales increase, but i don't want it to prove to be a false economy accounted for by some conveniently massaged sales figures, in the long-term i don't believe that's going to do either retailers, distributors or the big two any good.

  10. #10
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeetsHD View Post
    Everyone who said the new 52 would only be a short term solution, congratulations you're right. If DC had just invested in their creative talent rather than their marketing talent, it could have seen a 3 percent bump without the mess.
    I disagree.

    For one thing, these are Diamond numbers, and those — if I recall correctly — do not include the digital sales numbers, which DC and WB are saying are roughly another 100,000 on top of print sales. That's a more significant bump, and the relaunching all titles at #1 for the easy crossover helped.

    For another, the relaunch cleaned out a lot of mess that the last few years had brought, even with strong creators. Batman was always going to sell, and Green Lantern was getting a lot of push from the movie, but after that it was a swift decline on their books. DC needed a way to boost interest in characters outside of those two franchises and that's where I think there's the most significant bump: readers are buying the other DC characters, and they're not just doing it when it's a major JL event.

    Finally, I think that WB will prove right in the long run when you consider that the relaunch was also to prepare the characters for translation into movie and television. Green Arrow was a misstep, but then so was X-Men for Marvel — and Marvel fixed it for Spider-Man with the Ultimate line. DC, unlike Marvel, has (or, now, had) a more connected universe as Smallville and now Arrow show, so getting it all set out now makes it easier to differentiate approaches to those characters on film.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeetsHD View Post
    Look how badly books with "classic" names have done. GI Combat, Men of War, All Star Western, Sword of Sorcery, My Greatest Adventure. I bet sales would have been better had they just named them "Sgt. Rock" "Haunted Tank" "Jonah Hex" and "Amethyst."
    Disagree. Those four names are nostalgia-sellers, but the books still suffer from other problems.

    The first two were originally cancelled because they were no longer relevant to the audience, and that's certainly true today. Sgt. Rock trades are not big sellers. There's only been only real military show on TV in the last ten years (The Unit) and it's been cancelled for a while yet. [While Homeland is set in the military, along with NCIS, they aren't military-themed; one is a spy thriller and one is a police procedural, and neither emphasize "the armed services" like Rock did.] The only military book outside of them is IDW's GI Joe, and that's because Hasbro/Paramount is keeping it as a promotional item for the movies. DC was bound for dismal sales, but it says a lot that they tried.

    Westerns also suffer from the same problem. Hollywood is slowly returning to them as a possibility (Django Unchained and The Lone Ranger being the latest attempts) but it's been years since we've seen a strong push towards Westerns. No other comic company is doing westerns. No TV network is doing westerns. And when it comes to Jonah Hex, you'd have to check pre-52 numbers, but I'm pretty sure the movie didn't get him many more fans. Calling the title something else emphasizes its additional story, and those who have read it really tend to like the book. This is one I think DC will stand by a lot more because the stories are that good and worth collecting.

    As for Sword Of Sorcery, the book also faces a huge challenge with a young female protagonist in its lead story. It works in manga, it works in teen fiction, but it doesn't necessarily transfer into comic sales all that strongly. But I think this book may have a chance since it's connected to the "dark" line from the beginning (Constantine shows up in issue 0!), and DC could really push the trades when it comes out.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeetsHD View Post
    Now we see why DC put top creators on Green Arrow. It would be embarrassing to have to cancel the only book starring a character who's on TV.
    Agreed. And I'd take it one step further: The strangest part about Arrow is that neither creative team in the first year was able to pick a path for the character that audiences accepted. It's almost as if they took the rough casting concept (millionaire parents, corporation, young and obnoxious hero out of costume) and went with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeetsHD View Post
    Speaking of TV, how sad is it that the best DC storyline of the past two years was the Young Justice cartoon? DC editorial wishes it could put together a story that good.
    But Young Justice has carte blanche with the entire DCU. That's a big difference. How would it be if their Green Arrow had to be consistent with Arrow, or their Robin had to match Teen Titans Go?

    And they are not held to a regular schedule either: so far, it's been 36 episodes over 24 months… not good, especially when we haven't heard whether or not a season three is even being considered. Comics need the regularity to survive.

  11. #11
    Senior Member J. Robb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeetsHD View Post
    Look how badly books with "classic" names have done. GI Combat, Men of War, All Star Western, Sword of Sorcery, My Greatest Adventure. I bet sales would have been better had they just named them "Sgt. Rock" "Haunted Tank" "Jonah Hex" and "Amethyst." No one cares if the book has two stories, tell me who the book is about, not a generic title describing the type of book it is. If the goal was to attract brand new readers, what good does alluding to a 30-year old title get you? Horrible business choice. And we get Time Warp next year.
    I assume they just used those titles to refresh the trademarks.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Soul Brotha's Avatar
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    In the Justice League group, the clear winner is the "Justice League" title itself. The spike in sales in late August 2012 was the result of the mass media promotion around the Superman/Wonder Woman kiss.
    And the moral of this story is...GOOD STORYTELLING IS WHAT INCREASES AND SUSTAINS READERSHIP. NOT GIMMICKS.

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