Sales of IDW Comics

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Stevil2001, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unreality SF has published an article by me (or will have tomorrow, thanks to the wonder of time zones) looking at the sales of IDW Comics's Star Trek line since they began back in early 2007. I turn up what I think are some interesting trends, and it also has some charts. Only one graph, unfortunately.

    "The Alternative Factors - IDW's Star Trek comics by the numbers"
     
  2. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Very cool. I didn't read the whole article yet but I did skim the charts and I have to admit, those are much smaller numbers than I expected. Is that pretty normal for these kinds of comics?
     
  3. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Those numbers are fairly typical for a midlist title these days. The comics market is much smaller than it was, say, a decade ago.

    The drops between first and second issues are also typical. Countdown is odd in that it picked up readers for the final issue, and that may be due to IDW's success in selling Countdown as an iPhone app.
     
  4. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For what it's worth, the average title in the entire Top 300 for April 2010 would have sold about 18,500 copies.

    The average IDW title (Trek and non-Trek) in the month sold 7,900 copies, whereas the Star Trek issues sold 5,256 and 7,292, meaning they're slightly below average for the publisher. Star Trek seems to get out-sold by IDW's titles with more established comics bases, like Transformers and G. I. Joe. Their best-selling title is Angel (17,942 copies), but even so, that's all the way down in 104th place!
     
  5. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The direct market is geared towards superheroes with the big 2 publishers DC/Marvel holding the majority marketshare.

    What are the numbers for the collections in the mainstream bookstores and online outlets?
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I honestly must admit that I always assumed that comics like Trek sold in at least the hundreds of thousands, and DC/Marvel in the millions.
     
  7. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The numbers of anything sold in bookstores is kept closely under wraps, but according to Brian Hibbs, Countdown sold about 18,000 copies in bookstores, and is IDW's best-selling book of any stripe thus far. None of their other Star Trek books placed in the Top 750 for comics, meaning they all sold fewer than 4,000 copies.
    Even back in the 1960s, when comics sold like hot cakes, Superman was DC's best-selling title with around 700,000 copies sold on average. Nowadays, the top title in any given month tends to sell not much more than 100,000 copies.
     
  8. terpette

    terpette Commander Red Shirt

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    Hrm. Too many stats for me to comprehend this early without coffee. But I do hope IDW keeps going with Trek stuff. We had a subscription for them at our local comic shop but we had to cancel all that for a while while my husband was stuck working part time.

    And then just when I was ready to go over there and restart everything... he gets fired.

    Karen
     
  9. Cicero

    Cicero Admiral Admiral

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    Sales were somewhat higher during World War II. Many series sold more than a million copies a month; Superman's, Captain America's, and Captain Marvel's sales were closer to 2 million.
     
  10. Bob Greenberger

    Bob Greenberger Writer Red Shirt

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    Nice piece, Steve. With all this data at hand, it is not at all surprising they have been cutting back on releases. This, unfortunately, has meant the cancellation of my Captain Garrett one-shot. I was really happy with the story, too, but it was not meant to be.
     
  11. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Damn, that's awful news, Bob. I was looking forward to it, as I've enjoyed your work and IDW's other anthology titles.
     
  12. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Damn, that sucks. Did they cancel the whole Captain's Log line or just yours? Either way it sucks just the same, I'm only curious.
     
  13. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Captain Premium Member

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    That is a sobering report. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see IDW wind down its Trek line over the next year or so -- they might hold on through the next movie, but if I were betting, I'd guess they'll bail before then.

    Too bad -- I really can't imagine anyone doing a better job with Star Trek comics than IDW has done.
     
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not even close. I don't know what the last comic to hit a million copies was -- it may be either Adventures of Superman #500 or Batman #500. John Jackson Miller has a list of the top selling comics going back to late '96; there are comics that have topped 500k (Amazing Spider-Man #583 most recently), but nothing's hit a million in the past fifteen years.
     
  15. Cicero

    Cicero Admiral Admiral

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    ^ At the earliest, Superman vol. 2 #75 sold roughly 6 million copies in November, 1992.

    The comic book market had undergone significant contraction by January 1994, so it's unlikely that anything published after the Death of Superman storyline sold 1 million copies or more.
     
  16. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IDW has a bigger presence in Diamond's Previews now, but the Trek comics have been taking up less and less space in there. I think IDW has made some iffy decisions along the way (canceling the Garrett Captain's Log included), and surprisingly few of the series have really impressed me, but I don't want to see the line go under.
     
  17. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I refrained from editorializing in the article, but as far as I'm concerned, IDW's best stuff had been Byrne's work. Romulans: Pawns of War was my favorite full stop, and I also really liked Crew and Assignment: Earth. Alien Spotlight and Klingons: Blood Will Tell have been the other highlights.
     
  18. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    I blame the speculator craze in the mid 90's. Damned near killed the entire industry, just like they do with every industry those locusts turn their attention to.
     
  19. mmtz

    mmtz Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A good article. Thanks for illuminating the numbers. The downward trend is disappointing, even more so, the news from Bob Greenberger that Captain's Log: Garrett has been cancelled. I understood that a Khan story was in the works. I wonder if it will survive?
     
  20. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Outstanding article and discussion, fellas. I, too, thought Trek comic sales were probably in the tens of thousands, compared to, say, X-Men sales in the high hundreds of thousands. And I am also now wondering if the "wait for the trade paperback" crowd has anything to do with the reduction in single-issue sales (and if that crowd, incidentally, doomed the Garrett one-shot...). And whatever happened to the "Mirror Images" series?

    Question, if I may, as you guys seem to know your comic business...this is completely unrelated to Trek, so mods please bear with me, but there are several older single issues of various series that I'm looking for to fill in the gaps in some of my collection, and I'm less hung up on condition of the comics than I am on acquiring them so I can read the story in its entirety. Where is a decent place to go other than eBay that I might find some back issues from late 80s-onward? I've pretty much plundered all of the comic stores in my geographical area. I have heard of Mile High Comics and a tremendous backstock there, but know nothing of their customer service and pricing.