The Winners And Losers In DC Comics’ Zero Month

When I write up my Wonder Woman sales report each month, I track a lot of DC’s other books so I can get a sense of how Wonder Woman is doing comparatively.  This month, DC put out #0 issues for most of their series as a one year anniversary of the New 52 celebration, and I thought it would be fun to take a look at who did the best and who did the worst in terms of improving upon their past numbers.

There were 51 titles that came out in August and got the #0 treatment in September.  There were 55 zero issues overall, but 4 of them were new so there’s nothing to compare them to.  I decided on two criteria for these rankings: change in overall percentage of sales from last month and change in number of issues sold from last month.  I tabulated the numbers for both categories, ranked each list from 1 to 51, and then added the two rankings together.

So let’s look at the winners and losers for DC’s zero month!!  First up, the winners:

#1) Batman: 7 points, +31,312 (1st), +25% (6th)

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman is just a behemoth right now.  These gains are MASSIVE, and the book might even end up higher in October when the new Joker storyline starts.  It was already DC’s bestselling book, and it sold even better in September.

#2) Green Arrow: 19 points, +5,282 (10th), +22.8% (9th)

The top of the list is sort of surprising, and I was shocked to see Green Arrow so high.  Maybe people were jazzed to have Judd Winick back writing the character or something, but whatever the reason it really jumped up.

#3) Green Lantern: 20 points, +12,772 (2nd), +16.5% (18th)

Green Lantern is less surprising.  It’s been a strong performer for DC for years now under Geoff Johns, plus they introduced Simon Baz, the new Muslim, Arab-American Green Lantern.  That got some attention.

#4) Savage Hawkman: 24 points, +4,005 (22nd), +27.2% (2nd)

Another surprise!!  Apparently the book is selling so low that ordering four thousand extra copies will give it the second best jump in percentage out of all 51 issues.  Or retailers were just super jazzed there wasn’t a Rob Liefeld cover again, so they ordered a lot.

#5) Batgirl: 27 points, +6,637 (6th), +15.2% (21st)

Batgirl surprised me initially, but then I figured a) the book has some excellent word of mouth buzz, b) people would probably be curious about Barbara’s past seeing as that’s one of the bigger mysteries of the New 52, and c) all of the Bat-books had a great month, maybe due to everyone loving Bat-things or maybe in anticipation of the Joker story starting next month.  Whatever the reason, it’s great to see that a female-led book did so well!!

Since this is a Wonder Woman blog and all, let’s take a pause for Wonder Woman #0 before we get to the losers:

#21) Wonder Woman: 44 points, +5,194 (12th), +11.6% (32nd)

The middle would be #26, so Wonder Woman came in the top half of the chart.  It was also the third highest female-led book on the chart, with Batgirl at #5 and Catwoman at #19.  Interestingly, Birds of Prey, Voodoo, and Supergirl were the next three books after Wonder Woman, and all six of these female-led titles were on the top half of the chart!!  That’s nice to see.

Now, onto the bottom of the chart:

#47) Ravagers: 92 points, +1,707 (48th), +8.2% (44th)

It really speaks to the success of zero month that the fifth lowest book was still up almost 10%!!  DC must be over the moon with these sales numbers.  Ravagers was a Second Wave book, and this is only its fifth issue, and as we’ll see momentarily the Second Wave books didn’t fare so well in September, comparatively.

#48) Earth 2: 96 points, +1,718 (47th), +2.5% (49th)

Earth 2 has been doing fantastically, saleswise, since it debuted in May, and September was no exception.  It just didn’t change all that much from August.  So compared to last month, it’s #48 on the chart, but in terms of overall sales the book is actually #8.

#49) Dial H: 96 points, +1,337 (49th), +5.9% (47th)

Technically, Dial H is tied with Earth 2, but I gave Earth 2 the higher rank because its overall sales are better.  And really, when you’re down the list this far, what difference does one spot make?  Anyway, this is a bummer because I LOVE Dial H and because it’s zero issue was fantastic and did exactly what a zero issue should (and what most of the zero issues didn’t): Provide new, surprising backstory for the series.  But again, Second Wave books didn’t get much play in September.

#50) Aquaman: 100 points, +17 (50th), +0% (50th)

This was a shock.  Aquaman’s been killing it since the relaunch, but it seems that of the many thousands of comic shops across North America, retailers thought only 17 new people might want to try out the book.  Part of this might also be that Aquaman had a big jump in August for no apparent reason, so maybe retailers found that increase was unwarranted but kept the book at that level in case of zero issue interest.

#51) Batman, Incorporated: 102 points, -608 (51st), -0.9% (51st)

Batman, Incorporated was the lowest book in both categories, and the only book of the 51 titles that went down in sales.  And I have no idea why!!  It’s a solid seller, and seems fairly popular among people who like that sort of thing.  Again, it’s a Second Wave book, and this is only it’s fourth issue, so maybe retailers are still feeling out how to order this one.

Overall, zero month was a complete success for DC.  Of the 51 returning titles, 50 had improved sales, plus there were an additional 4 series that premiered decently.  Before Watchmen is still falling fast, and various minis are dropping like minis tend to do, but all told this was a great month for DC.  These gimmicks really do work, it seems.

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