In a previous post on Comics Corner Podcast, I’d talked about how the earlier distributor-level sales for Justice League #1 were quite high. DC has released even more sales-related information today, hoping to keep the “new 52″ buzz going even more. The link will take you to their blog, but here are some bullet point highlights:
• Justice League #1 is now on it’s 3rd printing, after the 2nd printing sold out at the distributor-level in less than 24 hours. It is the best selling comic of 2011
• 10 titles from the new 52 now have sales over 100,000. Action Comics #1 now joins JL#1 with sales over 200,000.
• All 13 week 2 titles have sold out at the distributor, and are getting 2nd printings. Perhaps more impressively, all 13 week 3 titles have also sold out at the distributor before any of them go on sale this Wednesday, and are getting 2nd printings as well.
• No numbers for digital comics have been given, but the article mentions that the self-branded DC Comics app (by ComiXology) was the #4 grossing iPad app for a while; ComiXology’s own Comics app was also in the top 10 for a while.
All this is very impressive. But the question is, how sustainable is it? Past the hype and marketing, are we looking at a new Renaissance for comics in which well-written and compelling comics will sell over 100,000 copies routinely? Or is this simply the bump from the hype, to be back down to anemic levels within 6 months?
What I would really have liked to read—and I hope will be released next month, if not sooner—is actual numbers for the digital sales. Sure, they won’t be in the hundreds of thousands, so they won’t look so impressive. But I believe that digital sales, even more than print comics, attract the fabled “new reader” and therefore represent a brand new growth area.
When Michelle and I went to our local comic shop last week to pick up our pull list and some extra comics, we asked Patrick, the young man behind the counter, how business with the new 52 had been going. Quite well, he related However, most of the new traffic was from returning comic readers, not so much from brand new readers. This makes sense to me; as I’ve stated before, I really don’t expect brand new readers to walk into a specialty boutique comic/gaming store even if they are curious—I expect those readers to buy a digital comic.
So I’m happy that so far, DC Comics’ big gambit seems to be paying off (and be sure and listen to the podcast for our reviews of the titles!) with current and previous readers, but the health of the industry really depends on the new readers. Those are the numbers I’m really interested in, and I hope that DC Comic and/or ComiXology releases them in the future. And more to the point, I hope that the new 52 maintain a level of quality that warrants the level of attention they are now getting.