A substantial drop in sales for a second issue of a comic book is rarely surprising, but we’ve got a bit of an odd situation with Wonder Woman. These big drops usually come after a new #1 issue; some people try out the new book to see if they like it, but a lot of people get the number ones just as a collector’s item, and then #2 doesn’t do as well. When a book doesn’t relaunch, such a big swing is less common; there’s not such a huge difference between #36 and #37. However, Wonder Woman #37 took quite a tumble on the charts.
First, let’s go back a bit. In October, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang wrapped up their run in Wonder Woman #35, which sold 35,968 copies. This isn’t a lot, as evidenced by the book taking the 77th spot on the chart that month, though it was still a lot better than Wonder Woman had been doing pre-New 52 relaunch.
In November, Meredith and David Finch’s Wonder Woman #36 had a very strong debut. It sold 58,956 copies, a 64% jump from the previous issue, and rose to the 18th spot on the charts. This was a massive improvement, though perhaps somewhat less impressive than DC was hoping for seeing as David Finch’s last few projects for DC premiered much higher. Nonetheless, it was a very good jump for Wonder Woman, which hasn’t been a Top 20 book for some time.
Then in December, Wonder Woman #37 fell to sales of 43,006, a drop of 27% from the month previous, and dropped to the 42nd spot on the sales chart. Such a drop is in the higher range of typical for a #2 issue of a new series, but oddly high for a continuing series, especially one with such a well known artist.
As a comparison, let’s take a quick look at Superman/Wonder Woman, which saw a creative change in the same month as Wonder Woman:
- In October, Superman/Wonder Woman #12 sold 47,885 copies for 49th place on the charts.
- In November, with the new team of Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke, Superman/Wonder Woman #13 sold 44,013 copies for 40th place on the charts (despite a sales drop, it rose on the charts because the charts are dependent on what other books came out that month; fewer books, or books that dropped further, can result in a jump on the charts despite a sales drop).
- In December, Superman/Wonder Woman #14 sold 41,231 copies for 45th place on the charts.
So the new team didn’t provide a bump, likely because October’s issue was a “Doomed” event tie-in, and those tend to sell better than regular comics, but the second issue drop for the new creative team was very minor compared to Wonder Woman, only 6% compared to 27%.
This suggests that the new Wonder Woman creative team may not have gone over well with readers of the first issue, and that retailers saw a big drop in interest. To get a better sense of how the book is doing, we’ll need a few more months of data. If Wonder Woman continues to tumble, obviously the audience is leaving, but if it stabilizes quickly, and at a higher level than the Azzarello/Chiang run, then it will be in a pretty good spot for Wonder Woman, historically. How the numbers go will also probably play a big role in whether DC brings back the Finches for a second arc after the “Convergence” event in April and May. Such a big second issue drop doesn’t arouse much optimism, but you never know. I’m going to keep an eye on things moving forward, and will report any significant changes.