Hey There! FYI, I am sooooo fucking sick right now, it's not funny. Well, it probably is funny to some, but fuck you guys!! My brain is working on, at best, 1/3 capacity, so that means the only real mentality I can function with is as it relates to alcohol, silliness and comics... yep, that pretty much covers it.
That said, I started this idea a little while back, and had intended to do it monthly, but scratched that idea come month #2. So, for now, it's bi-monthly. Sure, I'll miss the odd one-shot, special issue, premiere or finale here or there, but I can live with that... can you?
As a pre-cursor, Marvel is flooding the market of late. March is typically the launching point of the summer comics season, and the big 2 took very different approaches. I actually prefer DC's approach, and I think it will pan out over time (though they'll likely always be #2... too many X-fan-boy's to sway the numbers, I'm afraid). Right now, DC is the better company, but Marvel has the better track record, historically. Meh.
New Avengers had to cede the top spot to DC this month, with their stroke of pure marketing genious(more on that in the DC column, to come... eventually). Regardless, this title rocks. HARD. As with most titles that rock, the shipping consistency can be called into question(I'm not gonna get into it too much, but suffice it to say, it's silly as all get out), but this one is better than some in that regard, and since it's the current flagship of the empire, so to speak, I can live with a wee bit o' lateness, I guess. A spike upwards in sales from issue #3 the previous month, which had dipped, slightly(see, I can actually cover 2 months at once, if I like!). This may or may not be due to the expectant(and resultant) appearance of Wolvie within... a special "New" treat(this is all stolen and re-packaged rico-style) are the 5 year rolling numbers... 60,000+, 53,000+, 59,000+, 55,000+, 155,000+ -- that, my friends, is a GOOD thing!
The best the X-verse has to offer, of late, Astonishing X-Men, comes in at #4(all those who know me know of my antipathy for all things Ultimate... and soon All-Stars ... so here's all you are gonna here on it -- Ultimate Iron Man took slot #3 -- meh). The world of re-orders, second printings and variant covers is on it's way back in a big way(good or bad; discuss). Makes the analytics a bit difficult, but suffice it to say, this title is pretty steady, well in excess of 100,000... any doubters early on(issue #3 is the lowest selling to date at 129,000+) were converted into believers with the big reveal of issue #4... and it's been the smoothest of sailing(with the exception of the lateness... but I said I wouldn't harp on that) since... and with the news of Whedon/Cassaday signing on for a "Year 2", fan-boys rejoice everywhere!!
Issue #26 of Wolverine comes in at #5 on the charts... a big up-swing again for the second of Millar's arcs(not quite the levels reached for #20, but impressive none the less) -- most of the re-order/variant/etc. stuff said for Astonishing can be applied here... and universally for that matter... I look forward to seeing when/how this will all be tied into continuity... yeah, I'm a continuity whore, haven't you heard? :-) 5 year numbers: 67+, 69+, 62+, 69+, 105+(and not below 80 since Millar came aboard...) -- on a side note, is Marvel over-doing it with Hydra of late?!?
Coming in at #8, #10, #13, #19 and #20 are issues 1~5 of "Age Of Apocalypse"... this is the whoring of Marvel's X-verse at it's finest. But, it was likely a smart strategy simply for maintaining the audience. Dragging this over 6 months would've seen bigger sales drops, I'm sure. And it's been fun... not overly mentally stimulating(we're talking Akira Yoshida here...), but a good ol' romp through a 'verse that was big news 10 years ago, and continues to cause ripples to this date... some big, some not so big... good stuff!
Secret War #4 comes in at #9(between the first 2 issues of AoA) ... a pure sucker job from Marvel. This comic was horrible. I look forward to the resolution, but the entirety of this series(and the Pulse cross-over issues) has been one long, dragged out, cash grab from teh Marvel-ites. Assholes.
At #12 is Uncanny #457. Deservingly? Probably not, but it's better than it's counter-part(meaning adjectiveless) and the Psylocke stuff is intriguing... will always sell well, so it's kind of pointless to analyze it to death. 96+, 95+, 85+, 86+, 86+ ... meh.
At #14 is X-Men #168. 93+, 104+, 95+, 117+, 83+ ... that's the story, in a nut shell.
At #18(ahead of issues 4 & 5 of the series) is the AoA One-Shot. Which, in my opinion, was better than any of the issues of the series to date. Should've been hyped better... still, 80+ for a non-core X-title is pretty decent in today's day and age of X-crapola...
X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong (what a title?!?) #4(of 5) dips below 80,000 for the first time. Again, hard to analyze due to the afore mentioned "things". 2 issues in February... I see a pattern... good mini's don't necessarily need to be monthly. A success. And an awesome read... and the art!
Amazing Spider-Man continues to decline... will the "New Avengers" continuity help? ... we'll see... JMS was a good thing(between he and the movies, this franchise was "saved"), but it seems like his time has come... 45+, 92+, 96+, 83+, 77+ ... oh, and the only character more confusing continuity wise than Wolvie is this guy!
"Avengers" is HOT right now, and Marvel knows it. Thus, we get "Young Avengers". I admit, I was hesitant. I need not have been. This title rocks. HARD. I absolutely love it. With all the "things", the #1 issue(from February) is boosted to what would've been a debut at #4 on the chart... #2 will likely get similar boosts down the road, but for now it clocks in at 76+... pretty damn good, considering this title is somewhat "Marvel Next"... but when you throw about names like Kang and Vision, you got me by the short-hairs!
X-Men: The End... "Volume 2" ... kicks off with 71+. Compared to 109+ for the first issue of Volume 1. I haven't read it yet. Time that we see the end of "The End". But Claremont see's things differently. Meh. Maybe marvel should just drop an X on everything. Iron X. The Incredible X. Captain X. The New X. Young X. OK, maybe not ;-)
MK: Spider-Man #12, the finale of Milar's one-year run, drops just below 60. It was a fun, if somewhat confusing, ride. Again, continuity raises it's ugly head. And yes, before you pundits hammer me, MK is in continuity. But for whatever reason, the creative teams have more flexibility in not explaining the how's... be interesting to see how the #'s role out for the new creative team... it is set in "New Avengers" continuity... but I wasn't that impressed with the first issue(it'll be on April's charts).
X-23 is another hot Marvel property. No wonder she's popping up all over the place. With sales hovering just below 55,000 on the last few issues, and a bump in the vicinity of 20,000 for #2(that's just mind-boggling, seriously). The story is so-so... I'm not invested in any of the characters, and it's basically an origin dragged out over 6 issues... but seeing as how corporate America is all about the bling... I wonder where she'll pop up next(rumor has it New X-Men, amongst other guest-appearances...)
X-Men/FF -- more Akira Yoshida fare. Just below 55,000 with one issue to go. It's really all about the merchandising :-)
Daredevil #71 stays below 50,000. But that's ok numbers for this title. DD will never be a Spidey or Wolvie... but he's still an A-list(if lower A) Marvel hero... and if the rumors that he is part of "New Avengers" ring true, it could see a numbers boost here down the road... it's all about 'Avengers', folks! Oh yes, the 5 year: 59+, 48+, not-published, 54+, 49+ ... I'm glad Bendis is moving on... just keep Mack off this title... I'm not a fan :-O
Black Panther is hot. Seriously. It's one of my fav Marvel reads of late. #2 dips below 50,000 -- but compare that to the previous incarnation: 19+, 19+, 17+ ... skip a year and "ta da!" -- READ IT!
Penultimate to Spectacular Spidey stays steady at 47+... re-launch is coming after a summer hiatus (not that we won't get our share o' Spidey though... so no worries). Those that haven't read #27 yet(the finale) are in for a tear-jerker... it's that good!! Five Year: 42+, 47+, 48+, 54+, 47+ ... it's all good. Late breaking news: PAD will be writing the follow up this fall -- I'm soooooo looking forward to that!
Fantastic Four #524. 48+, 44+, 53+, 50+, 46+ ... It's all good. This is the year of the 4. Watch sales take off after the film hits. I will never abandon the 4.
Cap #4 comes in at #40 on the list. Brubaker is a fav of mine. Still well ahead of last years numbers, but hopefully the decline has leveled off, as indicated. Five Year: 37+, not-published, 50+, 39+, 46+. Another title where scheduling could be causing some unnecessary decline... meh?
PAD on Hulk is not having the impact I predicted. A new day, I guess. I'm loving it... wasn't that keen on the most recent incarnations... Five Year: 32+, 42+, 56+, 46+, 43+ ... all I can do is have faith, I guess. This isn't bad, it just could be better.
Exiles is the reigning king of publishing on time(and often multiple issues per month). A big spike for the two issues in March thanks to all the AoA hoopla. The "4 Year"(as 5 is not quite there yet): 37+, 35+, 37+, 42+ ... 50 issues published in 3 years... a very enjoyable read, each and every issue. I'm a fan, can't ya tell!
Wolverine: Soultaker ... meh. Haven't read either of the first two issues yet. Not sure when I will. Wolvie sells, but that doesn't mean you need to churn it out endlessly...
Shanna #2 is still over 40,000 -- and considering it's a title that could've just as easily have been produced by any other comics company out there with very little re-packaging, we should all be happy with these numbers. A la Exiles, it's another fun read... should've left it as a MAX title though :-(
Though MAX isn't always great for sales. Punisher #18 is consistent just under 40,000... but this is almost always the case as a comic enters the back end of it's second year... unless it's a huge hit... don't be surprised if Punisher is re-launched, again, at some point within the next year... maybe back to MK? 4 Year(nothing doing 5 years ago): 49+, 42+, 47+, 38+ ... I've read the first issue of arc #4 and while somewhat confusing, it looks promising... only redeeming quality of arc #3 was Fury. Who is being used more, Hydra or Fury? Discuss.
Excalibur #11. Steady at 37+. I don't get it -- I'd expect this to be doing much better. I'm a big fan. It's the obvious pre-cursor to Marvel's big summer event, House Of M. I'm betting back-orders will go through the roof once the "event" gets rolling... but I've been wrong before.
Official Handbook: AoA -- best one since it started with X-Men at 39+ (37+ here). I could really care less though.
New X-Men #11 continues to decline... 35+. It's an ok read, nothing more. Surprised to hear it's got a spin-off coming up. Oh well, as long as the X is there... and the "Ultimate" isn't :-)
Pulse is bi-monthly, which works in it's favour, somewhat. I'm presuming the expectations just are not the same. 33+ is decent for this title. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of vision here though... with Cage in "New Avengers", you'd think they could either cover this stuff there, or synch 'em up in such a way as to boost sales here... whatever. I still need to back-issue Alias!?!
Doctor Spectrum finally gets around to a conclusion with 2 issues to wrap it up in March. Ho-hum, at best. No more, please.
Runaways #2 holds steady at 30,000. I wish people would realize this is much, much better than what they are reading in Milligan's X-Men right now. First, if you haven't read the first 18 issue run on this, you are a douchenozzle. Second, this has ties to X-Men, Spider-Man, New Warriors(yay!), Generation X, Weapon X, Power Pack and ... Darkhawk! ... plus, some super-baddy villian is hooked into all this somehow... should be top 40, not #70. For shame. The good news? Re-orders of #1 in the vicinity of 35% of the original order... that's HOTT.
Marvel Knights 4 drops below the ever-dreaded 30,000 mark. I haven't been reading it much of late. It will survive on the power of the upcoming film alone. How long, after that, is up to the consumers, I'd say.
New Thunderbolts is also under 30,000... at only 5 issues in(#6 appears to have levelled out). One word. Hawkeye. It would make all the difference. Nobody cares about the cast. Everybody loves Clint.
Stormbreaker #3 levels out nicely. Not astonishing numbers, but decent for what this is(I feel like I'm starting to repeat myself... I guess it's bound to happen, particularly on the lower teir books... meh).
Cable/Deadpool has leveled at 25,000+. Needs a booster shot. Next arc could be what we're looking for. And, of course, there is "House Of M". Everything after this, FYI, is dead in the water...
DD: Redemption. Meh. Under 25,000. Completely unnecessary. Yep, meh sounds about right. It'll have to be a very rainy day...
Marvel Team-Up #6. What The FUCK?!? ... Huge nose-dive for the wrap-up of the first arc. I've read the first issue of the next arc, and while I'm happy to see Marc Spector(or whatever he's calling himself these days... or hours...), I can't see an up-swing coming out of it... not looking good... too bad, yep.
X-Force: Shatterstar... shoot me now.
Rogue #9. While this arc is better than the first, the title is just superfluous(sp?). Glad to hear it's likely to be axed soon.
Arana is *this close* to dropping below 20,000. And it's only issue #3. And issue #2 launched in the same month. Experiment failed. Meh?
Gambit #8. I do not care.
Spellbinders #1. Yeah, Marvel is sure doing a great job of promoting these MarvelNext titles, don't ya think ;-)
District X manages to stay in the top 100 at #99. It was fun while it lasted. First arc was better than the second. Recent issues have bored me. They are gonna try and save/redeem/relaunch/whatever it within the scope of "House Of M"... we'll see, I guess...
FF: Foes #3... when does that movie come out again?
Cap/Falcon #13... one issue to go... haven't read this one yet. I'll probably wait til the finale is available. What a confusing ride by Priest.
Spider-Girl #84. How many other titles could get to 84 issues with these sales at Marvel? DeFalco has something on somebody ;-) And here is the five-year: 23+, 23+, 23+, 20+, 20+ ... so it has dropped in recent years, but it's a "universe" I think Marvel would just like to see stay in the public eye... it will soon dip below 20,000 again(unless something big is in the making... I did read about a spin-off of sorts...) -- is that the magic number? Meh???
Spidey/Torch #3. I'm gonna read the whole thing once it's done, cause it's Dan Slott! But the formula just isn't in demand. I read #1 and it rocks. I will re-read it in a few more months. Can't wait for She-Hulk, Season 2.
Spidey Unlimited #8. And you thought I didn't care about Gambit.
Spider-Man Team-Up Special. ?.
New Invaders #8. I'll read the last few issues when the final one(#9) comes out. Still dreadful.
Livewires #2. Below 15,000. Ugh. Regardless of whether it's a good read or not, what is Marvel thinking???
Mary Jane: Homecoming. 12,707. And for some reason, I'm still considering reading this... when you debut at #148, that is some scary shite.
What did I miss by skipping a month. This might not be a complete list, but amongst the missing would be the final 2 issues of the Avengers:EMH mini(Casey is just a fun read), the last She-Hulk(how did it do? ... I'll have to go check, later), Black Widow #6(same deal), Mystique #24(ditto), Alpha Flight #12(more o' the same), Jubilee #6(will it ever end!) ... that's all that comes to mind...
What didn't come out this month? DD: Father(I'm shocked, I tells ya!), Supreme Power(sales are dipping a bit, and I blame the lateness), Iron Man(fucking Ellis), Strange(bi-monthly is not a good idea), NYX(penultimate issue has FINALLY been re-solicited... I'll believe when I see it), X-Unlimted(meh, bi-monthly swap-out with Spidey... trash 'em both -- I'm overdosed on X), Nightcrawler(on hiatus, hopefully to never return).
All told, a strong month for Marvel. How it will hold up against the "Crisis" marketing machine that is DC through the summer is a story for another day.
Cut 'n' paste time...
The most impressive monthly titles this month would have to be (based on the stats):
Wolverine, Runaways(yay!), Captain America, New Avengers and anything AoA-related(including Exiles... see, that makes it a monthly reference ;-))
Those monthlies hurting(but not already axed -- for the sakes of this post, we're assuming Rogue has been axed) include: Arana, Excalibur(makes me sad), District X(again), New X-Men(again), MK4(again, can you see a pattern...) and, to a lesser extent, Cable/Deadpool(but still, again). X-Men continues to drag, considering where it should be... and we all know where I place the blame for that.
In the special 2 year comparison, we see Black Panther rise to the cream of the crop and Ultimate Spider-Man at teh bottom(see, Ultimate does suck, and I just proved it!).
Updating my "If I were in charge" list:
Definite Keepers(not necessarily in any particular order)
17 core titles... down 1 from last month(and 3 of 'em are "New"). I would include others, but until the proper retro-fits are in place, they are not worthy... of course, "House Of M" will throw this all up in the air, I'm sure... but that's comics!
A look ahead: "House Of M" is everywhere. For example -- Iron Man, FF, One-Shots, continuing mini, Mutopia X(aka District X), Captain Britain(teh original), New-X, Hulk, Spidey, Jessica Jones(the biggest ret-con EVAR), Cable & Deadpool(it's like we're not allowed to mention them seperate anymore?!?) -- that enough to get you salivating?!? ... then there is Ultimate apparently trying to sneak into the 616... fuckers. Arana, arc 2(how long can it really last?). Spidey keeps busy, as always. More hit and miss from the MK line. Punisher V. DD! Defenders!!! New Warriors!!!!! (it better live up...) and much, much more. Oh, I almost forgot... Tieri is back with Weapon X, baby!!!!!!!!!!