Sales For Wonder Woman #38 Fall 8%, Near Pre-Finch Levels


Sales for Wonder Woman dropped again in January, though the drop for the third issue post-Finch was far less steep than the second. After Wonder Woman #36 debuted at 58,956 copies sold in November, Wonder Woman #37 fell to 43,006 copies sold in December, a drop of 27%. In January, Wonder Woman #38 slipped down to 39,669, a drop of 8%.

On the one hand, this isn’t too bad as far as third issue drops go. It usually takes a little while for retailers to find the right level when a new creative team takes over, and initial enthusiasm quickly wanes for most series. Nothing’s at all settled in only three issues into a new run.

On the other hand, after debuting far higher than the numbers for Azzarello and Chiang’s final issue of Wonder Woman, the Finches are almost back down to that level, less than 4,000 issues away. Currently, Wonder Woman is selling only about 10% better than it was before Meredith and David Finch took over. Azzarello and Chiang’s tenure was one big three year storyline with little in the way of jumping on points for new readers; by the end, only the diehards were left buying the book. I can’t imagine that anyone at DC is pleased to see that their revamped, accessible take on Wonder Woman, headlined by a superstar artist, is already nearing the previous run’s sales.

Wonder Woman #38 is going back to print, so the sales might tick up somewhat, and that perhaps bodes well for Wonder Woman #39. It’s still early days. But it’s very unlikely that things will improve. The best DC is looking at right now, if things level out quickly, is that Wonder Woman will sell in the mid-30,000 range, which isn’t much of an improvement on what they had before and a bit of waste of an artist who’s been regularly selling other titles at a much higher rate.

Furthermore, Superman/Wonder Woman is starting to fall at a troubling rate. The second issue of Tomasi and Mahnke’s run fell only 6% in December, which was quite good in terms of an inevitable second issue drop, but Superman/Wonder Woman #15 sold only 36,887 copies in January, a drop of nearly 11%. It’s never good when a third issue drop is higher than a second issue drop, especially this much higher. It seems that neither mainline Wonder Woman book is on solid ground right now.

New issues for both series are on sale next week, and how they fare in February will be a good indicator of whether things are leveling out or continuing to tumble. Both creative teams are scheduled to return to both books in June after the “Convergence” event, presumably to launch new arcs, but if sales don’t level out soon that may not be the best idea.


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11 Responses to “Sales For Wonder Woman #38 Fall 8%, Near Pre-Finch Levels”

  1. Havilland Says:

    Is it bad for me to want them both to fail?

    I want to support Wonder Woman, but I cannot support what they are doing right now. I am one of the new readers they picked up in 2011. Everything I liked is gone, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal if what we were getting was good. I’m open to a different Wonder Woman – I kinda have to be cause they aren’t going back to the Azzarello/Chiang world anytime soon. They could have kept me but… 😦

    And I will never support Diana and Clark together. It’s the stupidest idea I’ve heard of and nothing I’ve seen has proved otherwise. If that book dies, I hope the couple dies with it. Yeah… That’s a little harsh but it’s how I feel.

    • Green Says:

      I’m with you, I like the character but if the product is so horrible and sexist, hope it fails can be good for her. It’s not the character, it is the ideas and execution.
      I liked the azz/chiang, it was much better than anything tomasi or finches are doing.
      Cheesecake doesn’t sell so well. take that DC

  2. Cow Commando Says:

    While I’m happy the sales for SM/WW are plummeting, I’m extremely disappointed that it didn’t happen during Soule’s tenure because although I dislike Tomasi’ work, Soule’s imo was just intolerably, gut-wrenchingly, mind-numbingly horrible

    • Kate Says:

      I think the issue was that Soule was equally offensive on SM/WW but in a more manipulative way. Soule was a very popular writer and he’s a good writer. The relationship was and is offensive as hell and Soule wrote some stuff that when you really broke it down was a massive misunderstanding of Wonder Woman. But the whole thing was so manipulative that it got by a lot of people who were taken by his popularity and his ability to try to present it as strength. Soule was better at faking sexism as feminism and, ultimately, that’s the most dangerous kind of sexism.

      Either way, I agree with comments above. I hope the numbers for SM/WW continue to plummet. I’m happy that WW has a second book but it shouldn’t be this. That book and that relationship are a gender abomination and one of the biggest letdowns in DC’s new diversity rollout is that despite all the new changes they are still so lost about what to do with Wonder Woman.

      (Looking at sales, it looks like sales on the Superman books are pretty low too. Action Comics is well below 40K. The Superman title with Geoff Johns is selling mediocre even with such a huge name. Serves them right for essentially removing Lois Lane from the narrative in such a crappy, sexist fashion.)

    • Jeppe Dittmer Says:

      I’ve only read the first six issues of SM/WW, once the series got caught up in the Superman Doomed crossover I just had no interest. I am a little curious (a little not a lot) about what Soule might have done with issues 7-12 of his run if SM/WW had not been part of the Doomed crossover, because while the first six issues were undoubtedly a little too Superman centric for a team up book Soule did seem to make a concerted effort to balance the narrative and give both characters equal treatment. I not claiming he was entirely successful, but I think he tried, which makes me wonder if he might originally have planed a second more Wonder Woman centric arc to follow the first one but that plan got scratch because of the Doomed crossover.

      I have maintained for a while now that the inherent problem with the Superman Wonder Woman couple (besides being a little to lazy and obvious) is not that it is inherently sexist or somehow automatically ruin Wonder Woman as a character, but rather that basic storytelling principles inevitably lead writers to try and differentiate the two characters because they are actually too similar if written appropriately to their common pre-new52 characterization. And since Superman is Dc’s flagship character, it is of course Wonder Woman who is subjected to the most changes to her characterization in an attempt by the writer(s) to create some much needed contrast between the two characters.

      • Cow Commando Says:

        wow maybe I am paranoid because I didn’t think that the first arc of SM/WW was just “supermancentric”, I thought it was an artful character assassination. Wonder Woman was dumb as a door knob and she was actually presented as a burden to Superman, except when he refused to fight his fellow kryptonians, then her lack of restraint came in handy. Her dialogue was downright sycophantic towards Superman, his was all about protecting her, she was pathetic. I agree with you KATE, Soule is manipulative and the sheep totally fell for his little tricks, it’s pathetic.

        And let’s not forget that he was the co-creator of Superman:doom so it’s not like he got dragged into it. He could’ve given Wonder Woman at least a more important role in it, but nop, that’s how much DC and Charles Soule respect the WW readership.

      • Kate Says:

        Jeppe, I both agree and disagree. I disagree that the pairing doesn’t have inherently sexist undertones. If you truly study the “why” in terms of why we have Wonder Woman then the very idea that she would be in a romantic relationship with a superpowered man like Superman is just completely at odds with that message. It’s a fundamental crapping on the idea that women are allowed to be physically stronger than men. Then you hit the sexist elements that, sadly, always exist in fandom with this pairing bc it perpetuates this gross idea that Superman needs a woman he can “bang” hard enough (so gross) and reduces really powerful female icons to their vaginas. It’s just really gross at it’s core.

        That said, even outside of all the stuff that just makes me physically recoil as a feminist from it speaks to your second point which I do agree with. The bottom line is that these characters are too similar in temperament when written as they should be written. They have zero romantic chemistry. So one of them has to be changed and bc WW’s personality is always more vulnerable due to her lack of presence in media for so long it’s always her. It’s like they are trying to create the banter that they know works with Lois and Clark but it just fails miserably with Wonder Woman. And Soule was totally guilty of that. He outright lifted scenes from Supes/ Lois comics and TV shows and tried to re-purpose them. It was weird. So it’s both. It’s an inherent sexism in the concept that I find repulsive and it’s the fact that these characters have no chemistry unless they rewrite WW.

      • Jeppe Dittmer Says:

        Cow Commando, I agree that the presentation of Wonder Woman in the first six issues (that I’ve read) of SM/WW was not great, but depressingly I thought it was better than anything else I had seen in the new52 up until that point. As the writers of Justice League and Wonder Woman’s solo title respectively Geoff Johns and Brian Azzarello got to define the portrayal of Wonder Woman in the new52 and I think Charles Soule did a better, but not great job than either of them. I guess I am inclined to give Soule a bit of a pass here because he clearly tried to improve on some of the shit he had been shackled with. Whereas Azzarello turned Hippolyte to clay and the Amazons into snakes in issue 4 and then didn’t bother with them again for about two years, Soule actually showed (although only through dialogue) Diana being concerned about their plight and frustrated about her inability to do anything about it. Azzarello portrayed Diana as a woman who apparently had nothing going on in her life except protecting one pregnant woman and later set woman’s son form her own extended family maniacal gods. Whereas Soule showed a superhero doing superhero things in addition to having a private life that involved other activities than hanging out in her apartment or various London clubs and cafes waiting for trouble to come find her. There was a honorable nobility to Azzarello’s WW that the Soule version somewhat lacked, and of course Tony S. Daniels’s art could not live up to Cliff Chiang, but apart from that I thought Soule did a better job on Diana’s character (though admittedly that is not saying a lot).

        Kate, let me make it clear that when I say that the Superman/Wonder Woman couple is not inherently sexist or somehow automatically ruin Wonder Woman’s character I am talking about the story concept of parring up these two characters, not the execution, or the fan reaction, or DC’s reasons for doing it. Because I do agree that there is something if not sexist then at the very least reactionary behind DC’s decision to pair up Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s a domestication of Wonder Woman and the underlying (perhaps unconscious) idea behind it, apart from generating media coverages and boosting sales, seems to be that a woman as powerful as Diana needs to be in a relationship with the only man on the planet who is stronger than her, and thereby restore the “natural” balance between the sexes. This notion of gender roles is of course detrimental to the core idea behind Wonder Woman and as such is damaging to Wonder Woman as a character. But it is worth remembering that even if this was DC’s deliberate motivation for creating this pairing it doesn’t mean that the very concept of the SM/WW couple is inherently sexist, that comes down to the execution. Even bad intentions on the part of the creator(s) have to actually be reflected in the work, or they are not there. And just to be absolutely clear, I am not saying these regressive or sexist ideas are not reflected in the actual work, because they are (Superman beating up Apollo in SM/WW #2 for slut-shaming Wonder Woman is just one example out of many), I just don’t think concrete issues with the actual execution, no matter how inevitable they might seem given the nature of the comics industry, can be used as confirming proof that the SM/WW couple is inherently a sexist idea.
        As for the whole “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” idea that is very popular among fandom, that is indeed gross and sexist, but as far as I know this issue has not been brought up in the actual post-new52 comics, and so I don’t think it is fair to use certain comicbook fans’s obsession with this idea as an argument against the SM/WW pairing. I mean if we jugged all female superheroes based on there representation in commission pinups and fan-art non of them would come across as anything but male fantasy-wish-fulfillment.

  3. thethemysciran Says:

    I’m still so sad we’re not getting a new team or reboot post-Convergence. If DC wants us to think it is inclusive and welcoming to women, why is their feminist icon allowed to dwindle, while Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and now Thor are now filling in what was once WW’s niche? I don’t know if you read Thor #5, but there’s a part where she’s fighting the Absorbing Man, who is saying sexist things about her. It was a little on the nose but pretty great, but it made me a little sad that despite Thor doing so well sales wise and critically, they’d still rather have WW be rather anti-feminist.

    • Jeppe Dittmer Says:

      Well the titles you mention are all Marvel and they just seem to be more committed then DC when it comes to female lead titles. Though interestingly enough, as Tim’s monthly Women in Comics breakdown revels, DC is actually doing better when it comes to woman creators working on comics. I can’t help but wonder if all the flag DC caught at the launch of the new52 in regards to female creators and their treatment of female characters, Catwoman issue one, Starfire in Redhood and the Outlaws, and the famous comic-con Batgirl actually have lead them to try and improve. Of course when it comes to DC it’s always two steps forward, one step back, but a little progress is bette then non.

  4. Dwayne G. Says:

    What the Finches have done in their 3 issues is better than anything in previous 35 issues.

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