Wonder Woman Sales: #19 Up More Than 20 Spots, More Than 20%


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!

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7 Responses to “Wonder Woman Sales: #19 Up More Than 20 Spots, More Than 20%”

  1. Derek from Simply Superheroes Says:

    Could the jump be a result of the Wonder Woman documentary that aired last month on PBS?

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I don’t think so. Comic sales figures are weird in that they’re not actually the issues sold in shops that month, but rather the number of issues ordered by shops TO sell. These orders are placed weeks before the issue comes out. The documentary aired on April 15, and Wonder Woman #19 came out just two days later, so I doubt it had any influence on order numbers for the book. Perhaps in an anticipatory way, but it seems unlikely that we’d get a big jump in orders because retailers were excited about a PBS documentary, cool as it was. If the documentary got people excited about the character and into shops looking to buy Wonder Woman, we might see an increase down the road if retailers have to keep up with increased demand.

  2. Karl Says:

    Heres an oddity…the Horror Channel here in the UK have aquirred the rights to all three seasons of the classic WW show with Lynda Carter. As much as I love this [and itll be shown twice a day, at 6am and 6pm respectively] I cannot fathom why its to be shown on a horror channel?!? I mean, I know the third season was pretty horrific plot-wise but still…lol.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      People tend to lump horror and superheroes and fantasy and sci-fi together, I suppose. The sci-fi channel here in Canada, Space, shows all four. That’s awesome you get to watch Wonder Woman every day!

  3. Daniel Amrhein Says:

    Sadly, I think that the Wonder Woman and Orion kiss on the foldout cover had a lot to do with the sales. I think it attracted some of the Superman crowd since so much of the reporting on Wonder Woman has been about her new relationship with Superman.

    Her existence (at least in the press) is largely being defined by the man in her life. This makes the Diana/Orion kiss on the cover much more shocking and relevant to more fans. Combine that with the fact that the cover of Superman #19 suggests that Orion and Superman fight over Wonder Woman (I didn’t read it so I have no idea if this actually happens) and it really does appear (from the covers at least) that there’s a little bit of a crossover happening between the two books.

    In short, I think more people bought it because it l looks like Wonder Woman is cheating on Superman and apparently that sells comics. But I am curious to what the sales figures will look like next month.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      As I said in reply to Derek above, comic sales numbers aren’t based on how many books sell in the shop but rather on how many books the shops order to sell, and they order the books weeks before they come out. The foldout cover with the kiss wasn’t revealed until just a few days before the book came out, so it couldn’t have had any affect on the orders.

      Amusingly, my local shop always puts out extra comics for FCBD, generally issues they’d ordered way too many of that were just taking up space in the shop. So I got some cool stuff like a couple Swamp Things and such. But the book they had the most of? Justice League #12, with the big first kiss. They had STACKS of them, just giving them away for free. I don’t think this relationships is bringing the sales DC was hoping for.

      • Daniel Amrhein Says:

        Huh. I knew that the figures reflected the number bought by shops not people, but I didn’t realize that the foldout cover wasn’t revealed until the book was nearly out. That seems like a bad call on DC’s part. If they’re going to reveal the foldout part at all, you’d think DC would do it in time for preorders. Very strange.

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