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May 19 2008

Buffy #13 is 11th biggest-selling comic of April 2008. It's that time again - sales charts are released, and issue 2 of Drew Goddard's "Wolves at the Gate" arc just misses out on a top 10 placing. Serenity: Better Days #2 reaches 32nd, Angel: After the Fall #6 is 45th.

In graphic novels, Buffy Omnibus volume 4 (the reprints of the old Dark Horse run) is the 10th biggest-selling GN, with the Serenity: Those Left Behind TPB in 22nd, Fray popping up in 41st, and a hardcover of Those Left Behind sneaking in at 99.

[ edited by littlexander on 2008-05-20 11:36 ]

Same old consistent numbers for Buffy but if I was a betting man I'd say there was a drop for ATF.
I find it exceedingly neat that the Buffy comics perform so well in the market month after month. Plus it still tickles me to see the three Whedonesque titles as the only variations between all of the MARVEL and DC titles in the top 50.
Also the sales figures for Serenity: Better Days screams ongoing series.
Those are very decent numbers for the Serenity mini and easily justifies an ongoing I reckon, if everyone's cool with it (basically, would Joss allow it considering he's said before that he'd rather keep the 'verse in his own hands as much as possible ?).
Heck I'd write it. Or more sensibly suggest Warren Ellis for the role.
Good points. There does seem to be a much more limited amount of story still residing in the current timeline though. Seems like they'd need to keep digging back in history as the Book miniseries will do (no complaints here) or start picking up the story where the movie left off (that'd also be cool).
I agree Saje, that is the key question. I guess if Joss were busy using the property on the small (or big!) screen, he'd allow one of his colleagues to take the helm of an ongoing comic. Kind of like the way he did with BtVS while the show was still running. But with the crew of Serenity on a (hopefully brief) hiatus from any screen, my guess is, he's less concerned with a few licensing dollars and more concerned with maintaining creative control and "saving" those stories for the right time. I get the impression that Serenity stories are like sweets to Joss. (i.e. eating cake sparingly as a desert versus eating it as the main course of breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Sunfire--I don't think Joss' storytelling is bound by the constraints of little things like the time space continuum.
It's a little known fact that Joss himself is not constrained by the time-space continuum.
Does anyone know what BtVS comic will end the series that will be in the TPB for this group?
littlexander - I think that should be BtVS Omnibus 4 at #10, according to the list. I'm not sure Omnibus 6 has even been announced yet?
Dark Horse should be pretty happy with Joss. Their only two comics in the Top 50 are from him: Buffy #13 and Serenity Better Day #2. He's keeping them "on the map".
Simon | May 19, 21:30 CET
Also the sales figures for Serenity: Better Days screams ongoing series.


It doesn't scream Straight to DVD movie? Issue #1 Sales figure estimates 62,300 x DVD price of $19.99 = $1,245,377.

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2008-05-20 05:11 ]
Yes but realistically we're more likely to get a Dark Horse comic series than a Universal straight to DVD movie. Also you can't really translate comic book sales to potential DVD sales.
Err, also $1.2 million is a pretty shitty return (especially considering that's gross, even given the higher profit margins for DVDs). To give an idea of D2DVD budgets, the Stargate film that just came out cost $7 million (and the one that's due in a couple of months was about the same AFAIK) and that had the benefit of a fairly well-oiled production crew some of whom had worked together for 10 years.

Also don't really see how a $2.99 comic compares sales wise to a $19.99 DVD and as Simon says, many fewer stars (literally and metaphorically ;) have to align for a series of comics than would for even a single D2DVD film.

Does anyone know what BtVS comic will end the series that will be in the TPB for this group?

The previous trades have been 5 issues so i'd bet it'll be the same (meaning the 'Wolves at the Gate' trade will comprise issues 11-15, inclusive).
ICV2 has the estimated order figures for the North American market up. Sales are down across the board and that's reflected in the figures for Buffy, Angel and Serenity. Here's a breakdown for the last three months.

February 2008
14 Buffy #11 $2.99 88,070

March 2008
6 Buffy #12 $2.99 88,930

April 2008
11 Buffy #13 $2.99 83,580
247 Buffy #7 $2.99 4,837
249 Buffy #6 $2.99 4,823

February 2008
37 Angel After The Fall #4 $3.99 48,407

March 2008
31 Angel After The Fall #5 $3.99 49,558
252 Angel After The Fall #6 $3.99 4,399
256 Angel After The Fall #3 $3.99 4,162

April 2008
45 Angel After The Fall #6 $3.99 46,645
255 Angel After The Fall #4 $3.99 4,574
263 Angel After The Fall #7 $3.99 4,403
298 Angel After The Fall #1 $3.99 3,009

March 2008
26 Serenity Better Days #1 $2.99 62,300

April 2008
32 Serenity Better Days #2 $2.99 56,128
266 Serenity Better Days #1 $2.99 4,311


Though interestingly for the last two months After The Fall seems to be shipping early to certain comic book shops so issues 6 and 7 could be shipping 50k+ on their initial release.
catalyst2 - You're right, my apologies. Corrected.
Even 'Detective Comics' slid (can't tell with 'Batman', like I said there was no issue in March) from

50,535 in February to
49,425 in March to
48,431 in April

though it's hard to tell if that's just normal fluctuation or not without getting a bit more involved. Strangely, Buffy seemed to drop nearly twice as much as the rough average (the slip seems to have been about 3%) from March to April. Cause for concern ?
It's probably got to do with the Big Controversial Scandalous Event of 8.12. Many people didn't like it. Many people probably didn't buy 8.13. Hopefully things will pick up again with Joss' Time of Your Life arc.
I definitely think that who is writing has some play here. A lot of the pull for people to this series is Joss as writer, when the arc is not his I wouldn't be surprised to see drops in the numbers. That said, the drop isn't coming from me. I can't get enough of it!

Oh, one more thing ... I need more Fray. I crave more Fray.

[ edited by zaphod on 2008-05-20 16:51 ]
It's probably got to do with the Big Controversial Scandalous Event of 8.12. Many people didn't like it. Many people probably didn't buy 8.13.


Well if it had dropped out of the top 20 I would agree but Buffy is hovering just outside the top ten like it has been doing now for a while.

I think we're just seeing a declining comic book market. I've seen umpteen posts elsewhere about the effects of the recession on comic book buying habits.
I think Perseo may be trying to explain why Buffy dropped by about 6% whereas the average has been reported as more like 2-3% (and different writers wouldn't explain a drop from issue 12 to 13 since they're both by Drew Goddard - though I guess you might have had people trying his first issue and deciding they didn't like it ?).

Makes sense though that since by all accounts we in the West are headed for a recession, luxury items like comics may be among the first things people cut back on.
I read Newsarama's boards daily, and the general economic stagnation is definitely the main pointed-at culprit for the across-the-board sales slump, but in Buffy's case the month-to-month fluctuation has been minimal. That's why a 5% drop seems to be related to the previous issue's content, rather than the cutback on luxury items. After all Joss himself, thru Scott Allie, commented that he'd probably lose the readers he was meant to "piss off" anyway:-) We're still talking about a massive seller, mind you, but I liked to see Season 8 above the 100k mark.
That's why a 5% drop seems to be related to the previous issue's content


But retailers ordered up on #12 which is why a 5% drop seems high. Had Dark Horse not hyped the issue to the retailers then #12 would have probably had orders of around 86,000. Personally I think comic book shop owners went "eh is that it?" when they saw what all the fuss was about and ordered as they would have done anyway for #13. But it is nice to see healthy re-ordering for issues 6 and 7 last month.
I think its just that 8.12 was so high due to Dark Horse warning of impending Girl-on-Girl-Action.

Sidenote on Better Days: even if you did translate comic sales to Direct-to-DVD sales the equation is incomplete:

Issue #1 Sales figure estimates 62,300 x DVD price of $19.99 = $1,245,377 - cost of making modest straight to DVD film >= $6M (probably more, although it might be done for less) - cost of packaging/marketing/distribution = <$0, I'm afraid.
I agree Simon, retailers are doing what they would have done anyway, it's just a pity for a comic book that rhymed with sales stability. On the positive note, the reorders are amazing. We're talking about nine and eight-months old comics, so this means new readers are jumping on board. If in the coming months we'll see this happening with the WatG arc, then it means these issues are a (albeit slower) sellout.

[ edited by Perseo on 2008-05-20 17:57 ]
heh, i accidentally bought two.

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