DC’s New 52 Sales Report – How’d They Do REALLY?

Power Rings for Sale

Earlier this week, Nerdy Nothings asked whether or not the DC relaunch was “worth it“. We concluded that it was, but without sales data to back that up, some of you may still be skeptical. Well, although sales numbers aren’t official yet, sales rankings are — this morning Diamond Comic Distributors released its list of the top 100 comics for September 2011, which includes the first issues of DC’s rebooted titles except for Justice League (which came out in August and sold very, very well). We thought our readers might be interested in seeing how these titles sold in comparison to one another, and just for fun we also thought we’d take a crack at estimating some actual sales numbers.

I cannot stress enough how unofficial the numbers below are. I’m basing them purely on mathematical extrapolation, and here’s how: every month Diamond publishes an index value for each comic, basically a percentile that comic sold in relation to whatever book sits at index number 100. Therefore, if, say, Detective Comics was indexed at 100, and we were told it moved 50,000 copies, a book indexed at 90 would have sold 45,000 units. Get it? Yeah, it’s needlessly Byzantine, but whatever… we can work with this.

We know from previous DC press releases that at least ten titles from DC (nine from September plus Justice League) topped 100,000 units sold, with the lowest ranking of those being Batgirl (which actually ended up 10th for September… Green Lantern: New Guardians snuck up there after DC’s initial release). So let’s conservatively estimate that Batgirl sold precisely 100,000 copies (technically 100,001, I guess). Diamond has that book indexed at 43.25. Meanwhile, Batman (the top seller) is indexed at 100. From there, I’ve figured out all the rest of the numbers you see below.

One final warning: please take these with a grain of salt. My numbers could be way, way off, and I’m more using them here to drive home comparison sales data. However, if my math is right, the numbers I’ve got below should at least be the bare minimum each book sold, and press releases also suggest that there weren’t many books to breach 200k (last I’d heard it was just Justice League and Action), so numbers probably aren’t that much higher. Regardless of their preciseness, though, I think the results of DC’s grand experiment are pretty interesting. What sold, what didn’t, and how well?

(It should be noted these numbers don’t include digital sales. Which, by the way — looks like having these books available same-day digital didn’t really hurt anything, did it?)

1. Batman – 231,216
2. Action Comics – 224,256
3. Green Lantern – 173,851
4. Flash – 158,614
5. Superman – 145,273
6. Detective Comics – 126,868
7. Batman: The Dark Knight – 120,740
8. Batman & Robin – 104,602
9. Green Lantern: New Guardians – 103,122
10. Batgirl – 100,001
11. Wonder Woman – 93,526
12. Green Lantern Corps – 91,746
13. Teen Titans – 90,405
14. Aquaman – 88,694
15. Batwoman – 88,625
16. Red Lanterns – 81,665
17. Justice League Dark – 77,133
18. Nightwing – 76,971
19. Justice League International – 74,960
20. Green Arrow – 68,116
21. Swamp Thing – 67,191
22. Supergirl – 66,335
23. Catwoman – 65,850
24. Red Hood and the Outlaws – 61,965
25. Birds of Prey – 61,919
26. Savage Hawkman – 61,804
27. Superboy – 61,410
28. Stormwatch – 56,925
28. Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men – 56,925
30. Legion of Superheroes – 55,653
31. Suicide Squad – 55,191
32. Deathstroke – 51,931
33. Legion Lost – 51,214
34. Animal Man – 50,867
35. Batwing – 50,775
36. DC Universe Presents – 50,474
37. Blue Beetle – 49,087
38. Captain Atom – 48,717
39. All-Star Western – 48,231
40. Hawk and Dove – 46,705
41. Resurrection Man – 46,104
42. Demon Knights – 45,942
43. Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE – 45,896
44. Mister Terrific – 45,780
45. Grifter – 45,526
46. Voodoo – 44,509
47. Blackhawks – 44,185
48. I, Vampire – 43,815
49. Static Shock – 41,734
50. Men of War – 41,410
51. OMAC – 41,202

Of course, these numbers don’t mean anything without something to compare them to, right? Well, how’s this for a comparison: DC’s worst-selling reboot book in September moved more units than Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men, and almost as many as Captain America. Would you ever have imagined OMAC to be anywhere on par with Cap? Further, pre-reboot sales for even top-tier DC books like Batman and Green Lantern Corps sat in the 50,000 range. Now, a book like Suicide Squad gives them a run for their money. Wow.

No one knows how long this honeymoon period will last, but it sure looks like DC knocked the first month out of the park.

tags: the new 52

  • TWH

    Animal Man: criminally under-read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678019951 Andrew Stamm

    Hawk & Dove selling more than Grifter, Voodoo and—most importantly—Frankenstein just saddens me. I hope Stormwatch gains some popularity as well. Still, I wonder how Stormwatch, Voodoo and Grifter’s sales compared to WildStorm sales numbers

  • Anonymous

    I know. I was really amazed that Hawk & Dove wasn’t in the bottom few books, and that Demon Knights and a few others were so low. Geez!

    I don’t have the most recent Wildstorm numbers on me, but I can tell you that about two-three years ago, during one of their many attempted reboots, most of their books sold around 8,000 copies. 

  • http://all-loserssquad.blogspot.com The Ronin

    So…. Avengers Academy which has been ultra stable at 25 thousand jumped to 30 thousand this month?

    PS: Animal Man RULES.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, if my math is right Avengers Academy would have sold about 29,364 units. Could the Fear Itself tie-in have explained the jump? That does seem odd, but again I’m being as conservative as I can be given DC’s announcement that Batgirl sold more than 100,000 units. If you’re saying that Avengers Academy is usually in the 25k range, though, that actually makes me feel as though my predicted numbers are fairly accurate (being off by 4,000 isn’t that bad).

    And yeah, Animal Man is my favorite book of the New 52. Not surprised to see it in the middle sales-wise, but it’s definitely at the top as far as quality. 

  • http://all-loserssquad.blogspot.com The Ronin

    Looks like in retrospect you might of over shot it a hair. Perhaps DC’s estimates were based on true sales, and didn’t take into account the returnability penalty in Diamond numbers? or they added non diamond numbers to their figures? For my estimate I assumed the above mentioned Avengers Academy sold at 25k, which put Action near 190k. I think the true number was 188. Still excellent numbers, but I also overshot it slightly.

    Good numbers though and a surprisingly small drop for most books on their #2 issues.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I would imagine returnability has something to do with my overestimates (there’s some metric Diamond uses for calculating them that I didn’t incorporate)… and I’m sure DC was happy to spin the news the best possible way in their press releases. :) But yeah, this is definitely good news for them, and a lot of retailers seem to be really happy with the reboot’s effect on the comic market in general. It still remains to be seen how long this will last, but two months of sales like that is nothing to scoff. 

  • badger

    Backed with TWH on Animal Man. Now if I could just catch up with all of the issues I’m missing from the series I’m keeping up with.. haha. Swamp Thing too, so damn good. Marvel should do a reboot of Werewolf By Night and all would be good in the world.

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