New 52 Sales continue to skyrocket

Posted by CB Droege

DC has released yet more numbers regarding its sales figures for the New 52 relaunch.

As Justice League #1 goes into its third printing, it has become the best selling comic book in five years. The last time a book sold as well was the last time DC relaunched The JLA back in 2006. That time, it didn’t last, but the picture is bigger this time.

Since their release, Action Comics and Detective Comics respective first issues have also sold out twice, and would be breaking the same records if Justice League hadn’t already done so. 

The other 10 titles released last Wednesday have also done well, with every issue, even the minor and new lines selling more than 100,000 copies apiece - keeping in mind the caveat that these are sales from distributer to retailer, the retailer to consumer numbers aren’t out yet.

Those numbers don’t even take into account the online sales.

Last week I told you that the ComiXology app for iPhone was the second top grossing app in the App store at the time, being beaten only by Angry Birds.

You’ll perhaps remember that I predicted there was no way that Angry Birds would be overtaken. I was wrong. The ComiXology app is currently the top grossing app in the Apple iStore, though actual sales figures have not yet been released.

I wonder, however, if the folks over at DC are opening the champagne yet. They’ve taken a big chance here, and history tells us that it will not pan out in the long run. Will the numbers stay up, or will the books fall into the same old traps.

There is also the worry of wearing down the audience. How long can the fans consume books at this rate, and just how many heroes can fit into one world. It’s only week two of five of the DC relaunch, and we’ve only seen a quarter of the #1’s we’re going to see, and the world is already too crowded. The verisimilitude is already being stretched to the limits. 

We could say, "That’s just how comics are. There are tie-ins in your tie-ins, and the world is so full of superheroes that the story is bursting," but we would be doing ourselves and the comics a disservice.

The New 52 relaunch was supposed to be different. It was supposed to fix the canons and make things work in a way that makes sense, and allows new readers to get in on the action, but this many super hero lines, all taking place in the same world; it just doesn’t work for the non-initiated. DC should have started with fewer lines, and perhaps made them more frequent. 

So far, all the books have been interesting, but how long will it be before it just becomes too much? It would be a shame if DC’s relaunch failed because they simply had too many books to read and new readers got overwhelmed. 

In the past, relaunches failed because they were not extensive enough, they would change but all the other lines, all on each other’s peripheries would hold the story back. It would be ironic if, this time, they failed for the opposite problem. The whole universe did not need a relaunch. Frankly, some of it just needed to be pruned away.

Last week, I was worried that DC’s relaunch might not last the year. Now I’m concerned it might not be able to keep this momentum through the release of all 52 #1s.

DC’s comics can be purchased wherever you buy comics, including the ComiXology store.