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Second Issue Drops Sees August 2018 Comic Sales Dip Over 336K

The new titles category added 1,275,538 units compared to last month.

Fantastic Four launched with over a dozen different covers. There two open-to-order variants, a 1-in-10 cover, a 1-in-25 cover, a 1-in-50 cover, a 1-in-100 cover, a 1-in-500, a 1-in-1,000 cover and eight meet-or-exceed Avengers #3 covers, four of which were by Artgerm. The second issue has a regular cover, two open-to-order covers and a meet-or-exceed 125% of Avengers #3 cover. This follows the pattern Marvel has of launching a title with a heavy incentive cover push followed by a second issue with far fewer incentive covers. The end result is typically a massive second issue drop on these titles. These sales are great but they are unsustainable. Maybe this will be that historic high selling run of the title, maybe it won't be. Either way, before too long, the sales of this Fantastic Four volume will likely to gravitate back towards how the property typically does be it with this creative team, the next or the one after that.

The Fantastic Four title historically sold at least 30,000 units an issue, often higher. Using the lowest issue sales of 24,716 from Fantastic Four #14 in December 2014 and assuming a single issue a month from January 2015 through July 2018, Marvel didn't sell a minimum over a million units of Fantastic Four comics. That assumes uninspired stories by an average creative team and no major relaunched or incentive cover gimmicks. Granted, Marvel would have had to pay to produce those 43 issues in order to sell those million imaginary units. But I suspect each of us could name at least a title a month that Marvel did produce which we feel could have been replaced by Fantastic Four. Of course, the title each of us might pick is likely to be a different title. The point is not publishing Fantastic Four for years cost Marvel a significant amount of sales over that time. A similar point could be made for DC not publishing Justice Society since the New 52 reboot or a Legion of Super-Heroes title for last few years.

Infinity Wars launched with 104,363 units and dropped by 32.59% down to 70,348 units on the second issue.

The first two issues of Extermination were released in August. The first issues sold around 55,704 units and the second issue dropped 20.53% to 44,269 units.

Punisher launched with 73,073 units. The first issue had a regular cover, an open-to-order cover, a 1-in-25 cover, a 1-in-50 cover, a 1-in-100 cover, a 1-in-500 cover and a meet-or-exceed 250% of Punisher #1 cover. The second issue has a regular cover, a 1-in-25 cover, a 1-in-100 cover and a 1-in-500 cover and the third issue has a regular cover, a 1-in-25 cover, a 1-in-100 cover and a 1-in-250 cover so we might not see the typical sharp drop after the first issue on this title.

The returning titles category added 295,490 units compared to last month.

Batgirl didn't ship any issues last month and released two issues in August resulting in 63,659 units returning to the top 300 comics total. Batgirl #25 was up 42.54% from the previous issue. That issues was the best selling issue of the series since Batgirl #4 back in October 2016. Batgirl #26 dropped 31.2% but still sold better than any issue of the series since Batgirl #8 in February 2017 except for Batgirl #24 released last month.

Mister Miracle is another DC title making some modest gains in sales recently. Mister Miracle #10 was up 4.83% this month after a very minor increase of 0.1% last month. Even the smallest of increases can be considered a win given how few comics increase in sales from issue to issue. Mister Miracle #10 was the best selling issues of the series since the fourth issue.

Most titles launch and then drop in sales. For a title to get back to the sales level of the initial few issues isn't particularly common. The question with Batgirl and Mister Miracle is if these sales increases will continue or are a short term anomaly.

The suspended titles category removed 407,762 units compared to last month.

A third of the units in this category were from the bi-monthly releases schedule of Doomsday Clock.

Saga #54 announced a year long hiatus for the title. It went into that hiatus at a sales level of 36,372 units. The initial gaps between arcs didn't hurt the sales of the series at all. The first issues after the first four gaps went up in sales. But the title seems to have cooled off a bit over the past three years. A year long gap could help get readers excited when it returns or it could find that many readers have moved on in that time. Sales of Saga #53 were an all time low for the series of 37,050 units so the creative team taking a break from the series to recharge might not be a bad idea. Few creative teams stay on a series for 54 issues these days. The decision to produce the title at a sustainable pace was a smart move and seems to have worked well so far.

The defunct titles category removed 453,355 units compared to last month.

Many of the defunct titles ended only to be replaced by another title. Man of Steel ended and Action Comics resumed and Superman restarted. Infinity Countdown ended and Infinity Wars started. One volume of Punisher_ ended for another to pick up were it left off. Spider-Gwen ended so they could retitle to Spider-Gwen aka Ghost Spider which will run for a while and then probably get replaced by a Ghost Spider title.

On the other hand, Star Wars: Thrawn, Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman and Mera, Queen of Atlantis were miniseries that ended with no replacement titles.

The annuals/specials category added 187,963 units compared to last month. August had five release weeks so a number of annuals were released. The only thing of note is that many of the these are selling at sales low enough to be in the danger zone of cancellation had a title been selling at that level a decade ago.

The non-series category added 137,222 units compared to last month.

July main consisted of the True Believer Fantastic Four reprints while August had a few bookend one-shots like Sandman Universe and Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends and the DC/Loony Tunes one-shots.

The reorders category added 20,975 units compared to last month.

As mentioned above, the first four issues of Venom had reorder activity in the top 300 which totaled to 28,518 units combined. The various Venom issues totaled to 202,352 units between new issues and reorders.

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