Wonder Woman #20 had a fantastic month, rocketing up the sales charts in April with some massive increases. At first glance, there seems to be no reason whatsoever for this huge gain, but I think I may have sorted it out and I don’t think the gains are here to stay, unfortunately. In April 2013, Wonder Woman #20 was in 36th place on the charts with 46,492 copies sold, a gain of 21.1% from last month. Here are the numbers for the issue, and the five issues previous:
NOTE: The average sales total is based on all of the available sales data, which currently comprises every issue of the series since September 1996, for 192 issues in total. The average rank isn’t given because rank is dependent on what other books came out that month, and that’s such a variable that an average really wouldn’t mean anything.
This kind of growth is just insane. Wonder Woman was up 24 spots from last month, which is a ludicrous gain. Among DC books, it moved up from 22nd to 11th!! At first I thought it was just the special foldout covers every New 52 book had in April, but that didn’t hold up at all. Among the Top 25 DC titles, 16 titles lost readers last month, and while a few books might have benefitted from the promotion, particularly at the lower level, it was nothing in the ballpark of a 20% jump. Or even in the ballpark of 10%. The biggest non-event related jump in the Top 25 was Green Arrow #19 at 6.6%, and it was followed two issues down by Swamp Thing #19 dropping 4.8%. The foldout covers were net neutral at best.
Then I remembered that Wonder Woman #19 had a MAD Magazine anniversary variant cover, but so too did many of the other titles in the Top 25 and again there were no similar gains. Most of those titles had some slight improvements, perhaps due to the variants, but they were relatively minor.
It made no sense that all of a sudden 20% more people were interested in Wonder Woman, though that would have been very fun, so I kept searching and found that Wonder Woman #19 had a second variant. This one was a “We Can Be Heroes” blank cover variant. These covers are great for sketches, and are very popular at conventions or signings when a popular artist comes to town. A comic with a cool, one of a kind sketch cover by a well-known artist is worth a lot of money, and even the blank covers sell more than cover price.
I went back and took a look at the numbers for past “We Can Be Heroes” variants, and while a few of them coincided with new creative teams and crossovers, which usually cause a sales bump, all of them had a substantial growth in numbers. Over the past few months, whenever I’ve said that Comic X #Y was up a big amount for no discernible reason, it probably had a “We Can Be Heroes” variant. They seem to go over well.
So what this means is that while this is a great one month jump for Wonder Woman, if I’m correct about the variant then it’s all going to disappear next month. The big numbers should be fleeting, and we should be back to normal in May, drifting further down the charts into the mid-30,000 range. We’ll see how it pans out in a month’s time, but I’m not terribly optimistic.
Prediction For Next Month: Last month, I wildly over-estimated how successful this foldout cover thing would be, though I was right for thinking the book would go up, albeit for the wrong reasons. Next month, I predict a return to the past norm, with a drop in the 2% range from the MARCH total for sales of 37,650. Check back next month to see how I did!