The Mayo Report: Analyzing The "Spider-Verse" Effect

"The Walking Dead" volume 22 trade paperback sold around 22,919 units, taking the top slot on the best-selling trades list with a commanding lead. "Teen Titans: Earth One" volume 1 hardcover sold around 8,849 units. The hardcover edition of "Saga" volume 1 sold around 8,382 units while the trade paperback edition sold another 7,292 units of reorder activity putting the total known sales of that trade paperback though Diamond around 135,359 units. Despite a number of strong sellers at the top of the list, the total sales for the top 300 trades was down about 2.89% from last month and about 3.68% from November 2013.

The aggregate sales of the top 300 comics was approximately 6,728,249 units in November 2014, down around 1,680,831 units from the record breaking total for October 2014 during the final order era. With "Star Wars" #1 reported to be selling over a million units next month, December will probably have recorded shattering sales for the top 300 comics. The top comics total for November was about 218,680 units above the average for the final order era but an estimated 139,295 units below the average for the prior twelve months.

Topping the list was "Amazing Spider-Man" #9 with 135,280 estimated units and kicked off the start of the Spider-Verse storyline. Since Spider-Verse is limited to just the Spider-Man family of titles, it isn't an event. The storyline has no immediate impact on any titles outside of the Spider-Man group of titles whereas and event typically has a direct impact either on the majority of titles or the majority of the characters features in active titles at the time. "Spider-Verse Team-Up" #1 sold an estimated 35,449 units to retailers which is less than half of the 71,232 units for "Spider-Verse" #1. "Amazing Spider-Man" #10 is also on the list with around 100,899 units which is a drop of about 25.41% from the prior issue but about 1,350 units about "Amazing Spider-Man" #8. Effectively, the sales bump from the Spider-Verse storyline lasted a single issue with only a percentage point or so of a gain in sales after that.

"Spider-Woman" #1 launched with approximately 93,723 units, which is a strong starting point for a new ongoing series. "Scarlet Spiders" #1 launched around 36,281 units, indicative of it being a secondary miniseries subordinate to the core "Spider-Verse" title. "Spider-Man 2099" #6 was also part of the Spider-Verse storyline and sold around 38,634 units, down around 5.49% from the previous issue of that series. Often a crossover storyline like Spider-Verse will increase sales on tie-in issues but that clearly did not happen in this case.

If the success of Spider-Verse was based solely on the sales bump for ongoing titles then is couldn't be considered a success since the bump for "Amazing Spider-Man" failed to continue past the first part of the story and "Spider-Man 2099" didn't see a sales bump at all. If Spider-Verse were to be judged based on the sales of the new titles, it could be considered somewhat successful so far given the strong launch of "Spider-Woman." It is too soon to tell how all of the new ongoing titles fare until we know the sales for the "Spider-Gwen" and "Silk" titles spinning out of Spider-Verse in February. However, the sales of "Spider-Verse" itself, "Scarlet Spiders" and "Spider-Verse Team-Up" indicate a lack of success for the Spider-Verse crossover.

In addition to two issues of "Amazing Spider-Man" and an issue of "Spider-Woman" in the top ten, Marvel had the "All New Captain America" #1 with an estimated 120,500, "Thor" #2 with around 89,131 units, down about 44.79% from the first issue and "Superior Iron Man" #1 with approximately 83,994 units. "Avengers and X-Men: Axis" #4 sold an estimated 79,068 units, followed by "Avengers and X-Men: Axis" #5 with around 74,928 units. That left only two slots in the top ten.

"Batman" #36 was in slot 3 with an estimated 115,183 units, continuing the unbroken run of issues selling over 100,000 units since the volume launched in September 2011. "Justice League" #36 rounded out the top ten with approximately 74,796 units, down only 0.80% from the previous issue. The sales on "Justice League" seem to have leveled out over the past few issues.

"Harley Quinn" continues to be a strong seller for DC with "Harley Quinn" #12 selling approximately 71,245 units. With all of the other ongoing DC titles excect "Batman" and "Justice League" selling at significantly lower levels than "Harley Quinn," expect to see as many extra issues of that title as DC can produce. "Wonder Woman" #36 with the new creative team sold around 58,965 units putting it over 12,250 units below "Harley Quinn". With New 52 titles averaging sales of around 36,507 units, expect to see come titles ending and DC going with titles and creative teams with a strong chance of success.

"Klarion" #2 sold around 11,416 units, down about 45.30% from the first issue. The odds of a second story arc for that series are very slim. "Infinity Man and the Forever People" #5 came in with about 9,350 units, down another 9%. Expect that title to end soon. The lowest selling New 52 title in November was "Star Spangled War Stories: G.I. Zombie" #4 with just 7,546 units. Three more issues of the title have been solicited and we'll see if all three get released. The Futures End issue of "Star Spangled War Stories: G.I. Zombie" accounted for nearly half of the total sales of the series to date while the Futures End issue of "Infinity Man and the Forever People" accounts for around 38.49% of the total sales for that series. All three of these titles were risks for DC. Presumably intentional risks on the hope one or more might get succeed. These are good risks to take. Unfortunately the New 52 line has a number of other titles in danger of cancellation due to low sales such as "Trinity of Sin," "Constantine," "Batwoman," "Aquaman and the Others," "Swamp Thing," "Justice League 3000" and "Red Hood and the Outlaws" to name a few. Generally speaking, titles under 20,000 tend to get cancelled at Marvel and DC. Over the past few years, DC has been letting titles continue a bit longer and into lower sales levels than they used to. While I think DC should continue to take some risks on various characters, titles and teams, they need to focus more on strengthening the New 52 line than on longshots.

[Editor's note: "Klarion," Star Spangled War Stories," "Infinity Man," Batwoman," "Aquaman and the Others" and "Swamp Thing" have all been canceled by DC Comics.]

The upcoming "Convergence" event at DC has me wondering if DC is going to try to get the older versions of the DC Universe back into play. The Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint universe as well as a number of the Pre-Crisis realities will be featured in the various Convergence miniseries. The question is, what will the line-up of DC titles look like after the Convergence event? DC currently has ongoing titles set in the New 52 universe, the Earth 2 universe, the "Injustice: Gods Among Us" universe with many of the same characters actively in use in each universe. It is entirely possible DC might start to shift away from a single universe for the majority of their titles.

If you'd like to listen to an in-depth discussion of the sales data, check out the Mayo Report episodes of the Comic Book Page podcast at www.ComicBookPage.com. In addition to those episodes, every Monday is a Weekly Comics Spotlight episode featuring a comic by DC, a comic by Marvel and a comic by some other publisher. Once a month is the Previews Spotlight episode which features clips from various comic book fans talking about the comics they love. With thousands of comics in Previews every month, Previews Spotlight episodes are a great way to find out about things which may have flown under your comic book radar.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at John.Mayo@ComicBookResources.com.

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