Posts Tagged ‘DC Relaunch’

The Results Of DC’s Nielsen Survey OR Surprise!! It’s Middle-Aged Men

February 10, 2012

DC is rolling out some data from the Nielsen survey that ran last fall, and their Source blog and ICv2 have the details.  All told, roughly 6,000 readers participated in the survey, which isn’t huge considering that 250,000 people or so bought Justice League #1 but it’s definitely a decent sample size.  The results are everything that I expected but didn’t want to see.

The first thing DC announced on their blog, as if it were big, exciting news was this:

The launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 galvanized the traditional fan base for superhero comic books: male readers, who were already—or have at one time been—comic book fans.

So basically, the people who are buying their comics now are mostly the same people who were buying them before.  This isn’t great… in the lead up to the relaunch, there was a lot of talk about reaching new readers, and all of the effort they were putting into advertising and previews in non-traditional places to bring them in.  All told, only 5% of the survey participants were new readers.  Plus 70% were “avid fans” who hit the shop every week, ie. the readers they had already.  The relaunch was the biggest move DC’s ever pulled, and while it brought back a few lapsed readers, 5% new readers has got to be a big letdown for everyone at DC.  What else can they do to get in new readers?  Relaunching everything again seems a little silly.

Maybe they could appeal to women, the 50% of the population that comprised only 7% of the survey participants.  That is flat out ridiculous.  There are SO many ladies out there, and DC’s doing nothing to reach them.  Maybe the 5% new readers stat will be the swift kick they need to realize that just marketing to men isn’t going to cut it, but I’m not holding my breath. 

DC also pointed out that:

More than 50% of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 readers were between the ages of 13 and 34.

But that’s not the full story.  Of this “more than 50%”, only 2% were below 18 years of age, so it doesn’t sound like DC’s getting them young.  This is hardly encouraging for long term growth.  These middle-aged men aren’y going to be around forever… DC needs to bring in a new generation of readers behind them.  DC’s sort of terrible at reaching a younger demographic though… my nieces and nephew have been raised to be HARDCORE DC fans but now they’re getting into Marvel.  Why?  Because Marvel cartoons are ALL OVER Netflix, and there’s no DC shows to be found.  I’m indoctrinating them as best I can, DC, but you’ve got to help me out!!

Overall, the numbers we have so far are really disheartening.  I expected a lot of the same old, but not this much same old.  DC’s prospects for long term growth in the comics market are looking pretty grim right now.  I’d really like to see the entire survey results, as I’m sure there’s a lot more fascinating information in the details, but DC will likely keep a lot of it to themselves.

I will say that I was encouraged to see that DC is planning to conduct more surveys in the future, and use this first survey as a baseline.  They definitely need to follow up on these numbers, and hopefully they’ll learn something from them.  The current system just doesn’t seem at all sustainable, which worries me because I’d like to be reading new DC comics until I’m old and grey.  Get to fixing things, DC!!

Wonder Woman #8 And Justice League #8 Solicits

January 17, 2012

DC’s released some sneak peaks at their April 2012 solicits, and Wonder Woman has popped up on her usual two titles.  First up, Wonder Woman #8:

Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale APRIL 18
To march on Hell itself, you’re going to need some sensational weapons – and Wonder Woman intends to call in a few family favors to get them! Armor of Hephaestus? Check. The pistols of Eros? Check! But will any of it be enough to wrest an innocent soul from the grasp of Hades? And what does Hermes know that Diana doesn’t…yet?

I love this cover.  It’s just Wonder Woman diving and shooting and having a fun time.  I mean, look at that smile… she’s LOVING shooting the pistols of Eros at whatever fiend of Hell is impeding her mission.  It’s such a fun cover.

Also, “pistols of Eros”?  I’m intrigued.  Are they like Cupid’s arrows, where those who get shot fall in love with the first person they see?  Because that would be sort of fantastic and hilarious… especially in Hell.  This trip to Hell sounds like it’s going to be a really good time.

And it looks like Cliff Chiang is cowriting it with Brian Azzarello, which is a change.  I can’t remember the last time Azzarello ever co-wrote anything?  Has this ever happened before?  They seem to work rather well together, and rather collaboratively if Azzarello helping to design the characters is any indication, so this should work out fine.

Wonder Woman also appears on the cover of Justice League #8:

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
On sale APRIL 18
In the five years that the Justice League has been a team, Green Arrow has never once been a member. And he intends to rectify that right here, right now! One member against his candidacy: Aquaman!
Plus, in “The Curse of Shazam” part 2, Billy arrives in his new foster home just as an ancient evil is uncovered halfway across the world.

I don’t really give a hoot about the new Green Arrow, but I like Carlos D’Anda.  He’s filling in for Jim Lee this issue, though supposedly Lee will be back in May. 

Wonder Woman’s not mentioned in the solicits, but she’s on the cover anyway.  I’m sure she’ll be around in the book somewhere.  Also, SHAZAM!!  I’m sort of excited for that… I hope it’s cool.

Wonder Woman #8 and Justice League #8 are both on sale April 18.  You should get them both, really… they’re a good time!!

Wonder Woman Sales: #4 Down Over 10%, But So Is Everything Else

January 10, 2012

So things aren’t going great with Wonder Woman right now.  The book is spectacular, but its sales are dropping like a stone.  Plus, after three months in the top spot for dollar share and unit share, DC is again second to Marvel.  The relaunch bump seems to not have a lot of legs left.  But there is a slight silver lining at least!!  More on that momentarily.  In December 2011, Wonder Woman #4 came in at 16th place with 57,675 copies sold.  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 176 issues in total.  The average rank is not 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.

A quick technical note on the percentages: I’ve changed Wonder Woman #1’s percentage gain from +260.8% to +160.8%… while 76,214 is 260.8% of 29,223, the actual GAIN from the previous issue is in fact 160.8%.  The same logic has been applied to the average total.

Okay, so the good news first!!  Wonder Woman #4 went up a spot in the charts, rising from 17th to 16th.  That’s pretty fun.  The book has been fairly consistent since the relaunch… 16th place is not at all far off from the 13th place it debuted in.

There is some bad news on the charts front, though… Wonder Woman #4 fell to 11th place among the DCnU titles.  It had been in the 10th spot the past few months.  It’s been jumped by the rather popular Aquaman.  Damn you, Geoff Johns!!

Now, this isn’t looking good at all.  Wonder Woman is down nearly 8,000 issues in just one month, and over 22,000 issues since its high in October.  That’s a HUGE amount of readers.

(SIDENOTE: What is wrong with those people?!  Who drops Wonder Woman??  It’s a fantastic book… do people not like awesome comics??  I just don’t get it.)

Carrying on… dropping 12.1% seems very troubling.  Ominous even.  But as always, it’s a good idea to put things in context.  How are all of the other DC books doing?  Well, just as bad.

Of the top 15 DC comics in December, only THREE didn’t see double digit drops in terms of percentage.  Plus two of those were really close to double digits… Batman: The Dark Knight #4 was down 9.5% while Teen Titans #4 was down 9.6%.  Only Aquaman #4 was looking relatively healthy with its 6% drop.  Seriously, a 6% drop was DC’s BEST change in the top 15… that’s really not good.

Also, several titles had bigger drops than Wonder WomanAction Comics #4 fell a whopping 16.3%, and Flash #4 was down 14.5%.  Sadly, two other female-starring titles had big drops as well… Batgirl #4 fell 14.3% while Batwoman #4 was down 14.9%.

So basically, everything is falling at a very high rate, and Wonder Woman is in the middle of the pack.  The book is losing a lot of readers, but ALL of DC’s books are losing a lot of readers.  If everything else was doing okay and only Wonder Woman was in a slide, then I’d be really worried, but this seems to be a company-wide trend.  All in all, higher numbers would be more exciting, of course, but the book is still in 16th place and doing reasonably well relative to its peers.  It’s definitely still doing WAY better than it was pre-relaunch.

Prediction for Next Month: I honestly have no idea anymore.  I predicted a 6% drop for Wonder Woman #4 and it was double that!!  We’ve gone from 17% to 12%, so let’s continue that trend with a smidge of optimism, and predict a drop of 8% for Wonder Woman #5, for about 53,050 copies sold.  Check back next month to see how I did!!

Marvel Beats DC In Dollar And Market Share In December 2011 OR I Try To Make Sense Of These Weird Numbers

January 7, 2012

The sales indexes for December 2011 were released today and after being on top of the charts all fall, DC was bested by Marvel last month.  Wonder Woman did really well, which was nice to see… it was up one spot from November, rising from 17th to 16th.  But DC as a whole was back in second for the first time since the relaunch began. 

My initial thought was “Wow! Already?” and I was pretty surprised that revamping the entire line only got them three months in the top spot and that things had returned to the status quo.  But I’m no expert on these things so I thought I’d take a closer look.  And build charts, because things are always easier to understand with charts.  It was an exciting Friday night.  So here’s what I found:

“Dollar Share” refers to each publisher’s percentage of the overall amount of money spent, while “Unit Share” is each publisher’s percentage of the month’s total issues sold.  The numbers are different for each, but the trends seem pretty much the same.

Again, I’m no expert here, but I noticed a few things.  First is that the first eight months of the year were relatively consistent.  Marvel beat DC soundly in both categories by about the same amount each month.  However, it looks like DC got a pre-DCnU bump in the summer with slight gains in June, July, and August.  Those were Flashpoint months at DC, but they were also Fear Itself months at Marvel, so you’d think that might balance out some.  Whatever the case, DC was on the rise even before the relaunch started.

Second, October was nuts, obviously.  DC edged out Marvel for the top spot in September and November, but October was just crazy.  Strong second issue sales combined with sales from the reprints of all of the first issues resulted in some pretty epic sales. 

Third, while DC whooping Marvel only lasted for one month, DC’s edging out Marvel in September and November was a huge change of pace.  Marvel usually beat DC soundly before the relaunch, so while DC’s wins weren’t huge, they were a dramatic shift from how the numbers used to pan out.

Fourth, DC’s second place finish in December is still WAY better than all the pre-DCnU months.  It’s in no way a return to the status quo.  The positions might look like the same old, but the differences between the two publishers are slight, and way better than the blowouts that characterized January through August. 

So is the DCnU a bust?  The best answer is that time will tell… it’s only been four months.  But so far, it looks like a bit of a bubble.  September and November were good, October was GREAT, and December was pretty decent too.  DC is still better now than it was beforehand.  But they do seem to be in a bit of a decline.  October to November was a precipitous drop, though November to December was much smaller.  Nonetheless, if this slow decline continues then DC might be back to their pre-DCnU levels in a few months. 

What the hell, let’s do a fun experiment.  Nothing is on anyway, though I do sort of want to rewatch last week’s Sherlock.  But I can do that in a few minutes… let’s do some calculating first:

  • DC’s pre-DCnU averages (January through August) were 28.1% for Dollar Share and 31.6% for Unit Share.
  • From November to December, Dollar Share dropped 0.95% while Unit Share dropped 1.94%.
  • Let’s assume the numbers continue to drop by this amount each month.  If we do, in six months the Dollar Share will hit it’s pre-DCnU average.  Unit Share has only four months.

So, Dollar Share would be back to the old status quo by June 2012, and Unit Share would be back by April 2012.  This is pure conjecture, of course, but it’s sort of worrisome.  DC can’t do anything bigger than a relaunch… if revamping EVERYTHING doesn’t even get them a year of above average sales, where do they go next? 

Anyway, I feel like I understand things a little better now, so that’s fun.  Things are still going well for DC, even though they’re back in second place, and they’re well above average.  But this is two straight months of decline… how long until things settle down back to normal?  Maybe they have something else up their sleeve (like a Lois Lane book… seriously, do a Lois Lane book!!  But a good one, because the new Superman books aren’t really doing it for me), and there’s digital sales to factor in, and the collections yet to come.  But it’s looking less and less like DC’s picked up much of a new, stable audience in floppy sales.  It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months turn out.

Wonder Woman #4 Review OR Hermes Is Chillin’ Out Maxin’ Relaxin’ All Cool

December 22, 2011

Wonder Woman is not having the best luck lately, but she did get to go to a sweet concert, so that’s something nice for her at least.  Though Strife came along… she tends to really bring down an event.  Regardless, things are only getting worse for Wonder Woman AND there’s some nefarious stuff going on with the gods.  Let’s get into it.

SPOILERS, of course.  Look away if you haven’t read it yet.

Let’s start with Apollo, since he’s first up in the book.  It’s clear now that he’s making a play to become king of the gods, and his first move is to make sure that Ares isn’t gunning for it too.  I loved old man Ares, partly because he looks like Azzarello and partly because it’s such a different take on the character than we’re used to seeing.  Gone is the big, strong blonde fellow in the ominous blue armour… he’s just an old guy dressed like a cowboy now.

I wonder, though, if he’ll be back in a stronger, younger form.  At the end of the book, Ares says he’s going to sleep and that he might feel different when he wakes.  Maybe he used up all his life force stuff waging war in Darfur, so he looks super old now, and after he sleeps he’ll be revitalized and young and fixing to wage war again.  If so, Apollo might be in trouble.

Now, Wonder Woman’s aforementioned concert got spoiled by Strife, but she took care of that pretty handily, if you know what I mean.  Literally, she jammed a broken glass through Strife’s hand when she mentioned getting rid of Zola’s baby.  Jammed it so hard that glass went through Strife’s hand and stayed impaled in the table afterward.  It was pretty great.

I really like how they’ve been doing the pregnancy/protecting the baby thing.  Stuff like this can sometimes take a super tacky, pro-life angle (I’m looking at you, Breaking Dawn, and your unsubtle, annoying Mormon values), but this doesn’t have that vibe at all.  There’s no preaching going on here, no melodrama… just a really good story.

The relationship between Wonder Woman and Zola is developing nicely too.  In this issue, they find out that they have a lot in common, familywise.  They both had an absent father and a complicated relationship with their mother, and though Wonder Woman had scads of Amazon sisters and Zola had no sisters at all, they both felt alone and different.  And, of course, by the end of the issue they’re both completely alone, with only each other.

And that’s because Hera came by, turned the Amazons into snakes, and turned Hippolyta into a statue.  Obviously, since they aren’t dead, Hippolyta and the Amazons will be turned back at some point.  We all read comics… we know how this sort of thing works.  But yeah, Hera is harsh.

What I love most, though, is how pathetic Hera is.  I mean, Zeus cheating on her has happened a MILLION times, but she hasn’t extricated herself from that relationship.  After the first few, you’d think she’d buck up and stand up for herself, but here she is LIVID at Hippolyta.  And just pitifully so… this panel captures what I’m talking about:

Get it together lady!!  This still trying to please him, this clinging to a dead relationship is beyond pathetic.  I find it fascinating that the goddess of women is such a weak, outdated figure.  It’s almost like Azzarello and Chiang are setting up Wonder Woman as a new paradigm for what should define “woman”, someone who exists outside of a patriarchal hierarchy of titles and set roles and who has her own, unique identity that’s not reliant on others.  Maybe I’m just reading way too much into that.  Anyway, I liked Hera because they made me dislike her so much.  I really wanted Hippolyta to kick her ass, but I’m sure Hera will get hers before the story is done.

And what of my new favourite character in the whole world, Hermes?  He was just chilling at the club in a poncho and some shades, and then he headed back to the apartment, elevated his busted leg, and watched a little television:

Hermes is the coolest ever.  I REALLY want a Hermes spinoff book.  It’s never going to happen, but it would be great.  He could just hang out with people, doing whatever, being cool and awesome.

Anyway, it was another fantastic issue.  I love the story that Azzarello is building, and how he’s adding pieces to it each month.  He’s got a lot of pieces in motion already, and it looks like there’s more coming with Hades and Poseidon set to pop in soon.  If anyone can handle a lot of pieces, it’s Azzarello, and it feels like he’s building an epic story so far.

Cliff Chiang’s art is just incredible, and he’s getting better every issue.  There are random panels that I want to blow up into posters and hang on my wall.  And not the big, fancy ones either, though they’re fantastic… I love the little moments, like Hermes relaxing on the couch or the fantastic expressiveness of Zola or the way Ares steps over a body when he leaves the bar.  I love everything Chiang is doing with the book, and I would pay SO much money for an Absolute edition of this story when it’s done.

Speaking off Chiang, he’s taking a couple months off and Tony Akins is filling in on the next two issues of Wonder Woman. He’s got big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to see what he does with the book.  After only four issues, Azzarello and Chiang have built a fantastic and visually exciting world, and there’s lots for Akins to play with.

Look for Wonder Woman #5 on January 18, 2012… there’s going to be a sea monster!!

Wonder Woman Sales: Big Drop For #3 In November

December 15, 2011

November really brought DC down to earth after the highs of September and October.  After clobbering Marvel in terms of total percentage of market share and money last month, DC’s lead shrunk to a tiny margin as most of their titles shed thousands in sales.  Things are starting to settle out now, and it’s not looking great for DC.  Wonder Woman #3 dropped a considerable amount, falling by over 13,000 issues sold from last month.  The book came in at 17th place with 65,621 copies sold, a drop of 17%.  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 175 issues in total.  The average rank is not 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.

Well, that was a big drop.  But we can take some comfort in the fact that it’s not Wonder Woman specific.  Retailers are starting to sort out the level of interest for the new titles, and there were huge corrections across the board in November.  Wonder Woman’s drop is very similar to the drops of all the other DC titles in her vicinity on the chart. 

Her position relative to the other DC titles didn’t change either.  While a few new Marvel books pushed Wonder Woman down the chart overall to the 17th spot, the book remained in 10th place among DC titles just like it was in October.  So as much as this was a considerable drop, relative to every other DC book it’s not a huge deal.  I mean, it would be super fun if Wonder Woman stayed around the same number while everything dropped, but that’s not how it goes.  Justice League #3 was down 22,000 copies, and that’s DC’s best book, so no one was immune this month.

Third issues are usually the point where things start to settle out, but the novelty of the DCnU seems to have thrown the usual patterns for a loop.  Past Wonder Woman relaunches saw only minor drops with their third issues… Heinberg and Dodson’s Wonder Woman #3 was down 8.8% while JMS and Kramer’s Wonder Woman #602 fell only 4.2%.  Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman #3 falling 17% is massive in comparison to these books, but the comparison isn’t particularly accurate.  This current relaunch is a whole new sort of thing.

Compared to the historical average, Wonder Woman is still doing very well.  It’d have to slide MUCH further down the charts to get below its average, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.  It’s a popular book with a lot of good buzz, and barring retailers making further massive linewide drops, I think it will remain pretty stable for a while.

Prediction for Next Month: I used to be good at this!!  But the DCnU has really thrown a monkey wrench in trying to predict the numbers.  I said that Wonder Woman #3 would drop only 4% and sell 76,000 copies, and I was clearly WAY off.  But I was overly optimistic and was expecting a normal third issue level drop, so I’m going to transfer that approach to the FOURTH issue and be less hopeful.  For Wonder Woman #4, I predict a drop of about 6% or so, for 61,500 issues sold.  Check back next month to see how I did!!

Wonder Woman Sales: The Second Issue Outsold The First!!

November 9, 2011

The relaunched Wonder Woman is doing fantastically well so far… I’m very impressed.  DC owned the sales charts all around in October, taking huge portions of the market and dollar share, and Wonder Woman #2 was one of their best performers.  Wonder Woman #2 came in at 13th place with 79,060 copies sold.  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 174 issues in total.  The average rank is not 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.

Second issues rarely sell as well as the first.  Everybody likes to get first issues, thinking they’ll be valuable down the road and such, and usually the second issue sees a decent sized drop.  DC had a solid October and bucked this trend with a lot of their series… of their top 20 books in September, 7 had higher sales in October, which is quite a feat.  Of these 7, Wonder Woman #2 was smack in the middle with the fourth highest gain.

Now, if you want to get super technical, pretty much every DC book went down if you add up the first issue sales from October.  DC reprinted ALL 52 of their new books, and they sold really well in their second month on the shelves.  Wonder Woman #1 added an extra 19,688 copies!!  It was the sixth highest selling reprinted book for October, which is exciting… in terms of the DCnU, the first issue was in 11th place in September and then 6th in October, so that suggests that there’s a lot of interest in the book.  I’ve decided to stick to just the first month sales for these stats, but it’s important to note that past issues are doing well too… I’ll mention them in the months to come so long as they make the top 300.

In terms of the charts, Wonder Woman climbed over two books on the charts!!  While it maintained its spot in 13th place, there were a few new books ahead of it in October, and Wonder Woman jumped ahead of Batgirl and Green Lantern: New Guardians.  By every conceivable measurement, Wonder Woman #2 did spectacularly well in October!!

Historically, the book is doing well too.  Last month, we looked at several recent relaunches of Wonder Woman, and only Heinberg and Dodson’s relaunch in 2006 sold better than the current Azzarello and Chiang incarnation.  In August 2006, the OLD Wonder Woman #2 had a big drop, falling 36.3% from the first issue.  The NEW Wonder Woman #2 with its 3.7% gain, is clearly doing far better.  In sales, the old book sold 84,457 while the new is at 79,060, which is pretty close, and considering that the comic market was WAY stronger five years ago, the new series is doing much better comparatively. 

Overall, the DCnU books are going over huge, and Wonder Woman is at the forefront of this success.  The reprinted first issues gave DC a big boost for October, and I think that DC might be down a bit in November with those sales starting to trail off, but everything is going well so far.  The only question is how long it will last.  With Wonder Woman, two issues in things are looking really well.

Prediction for Next Month: I predicted 72,500 for Wonder Woman last month, and I was very glad to be wrong!!  Nonetheless, I’m going to predict a drop again.  So far, Wonder Woman #1 has sold 95,902 copies and the second issue is at 79,060, which is a decline in readership so far.  But still, the book seems to be going over well.  I predict sales of about 76,000 for Wonder Woman #3, or a drop of nearly 4%.  Check back next month to see how I did!!

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