So July sales for comics have come in, and things are looking pretty amazing for DC. DC is now the number one comic publisher, and it is a big deal. Marvel have been dominating that title since 2013, so let’s take a look at what made DC’s Rebirth such a big success.
First of all, let’s take a look at the top 20 comics from the month. As you can see 18 out of the 20 titles are DC.
In comparison let’s look at July 2015. Marvel took 12 of the top 20 spots, with DC merely taking 4.
The obvious culprits like Batman and Justice League are selling well, but it’s also great to see titles like Batgirl and New Super-Man do so well in the top 20.
Now DC have had their phases from New 52 to DC You, and although it’s still new, it’s clear that Rebirth is the best one yet. Why? Because they’ve finally found that difficult balance between respecting the past and embracing the future. It’s a tricky balance to accomplish. Look at a character like Superman. There have been so many different iterations of him in the past. People resonate with different aspects of the character. So how in today’s society do you keep writing a character that has been around for so long?
When the New 52 started, they went about it the wrong way. By trying to keep him relevant and modern, they lost the core of Superman and instead we got an annoyingly angsty Superman to begin with (thanks Lobdell). This did improve as the New 52 went on and we finally started to find that balance and I went on to really love New 52 Supes. With Rebirth, it showcases DC’s ability to finally master that balance. With the Rebirth special we saw DC basically proclaim that they were going to start embracing the past of these characters, but continue to look at the future and keep them relevant in today’s world.
Another struggle with the New 52, was the lack of diversity. Art looked very similar in the comics, stories and characters felt very similar. You don’t get that sense in Rebirth. For example, Green Arrow (which has been one of my favourite Rebirth titles so far) has a completely different look and feel to a comic like New Super-Man. And yet both are amazing! Green Arrow has taken Ollie back to his social justice warrior roots, back to Black Canary, and has maintained a unique voice separate from other comics. New Super-Man also has its own unique voice, with a cocky but loveable Chinese kid named Kenan forcibly gaining the powers of Superman.
The driving motto behind DC You was about providing a story for everyone. Yes, the idea behind it was good, but the execution wasn’t there. With Rebirth, there really is a comic for everyone, a quality comic for everyone. Personally, I’ve never picked up so many DC titles.
Helping with DC’s Rebirth success is also their price drop and fortnightly comics. Obviously it’s understandable why comics no longer sell for 10c, but over the last few years we’ve seen the average price of a comic rise, with $3.99 being the base price for most comics. Even though comic book film and TV has exploded, that success hasn’t affected comic book sales too much. However, with DC’s $2.99 initiative, it has helped to make comics affordable again. It means that you now have more money to pick up even more titles to add to your pull list!
Then you have fortnightly comics. DC’s main titles like Batman, Justice League, Superman etc. are now published fortnightly instead of monthly. Consider this, normally we see Batman take the top spot as the bestselling comic with 100,000 units on average. Now we’ll see 2 issues of Batman in the top ten at 100,000 each, that’s a huge win for DC.
This does have its issues, with creative teams being restructured to accompany the extra work-load, but so far we haven’t seen the fortnightly schedule impact the quality of the books.
There’s always the discussion about how long sales for new comics will last. #1s are always nice starting points for readers, hence have a massive rise in sales. It’s a tactic Marvel love to use. But then eventually we start to see the numbers drop, and so we start the cycle again. So I understand people being skeptical over DC’s success with Rebirth. But the overall feeling and conversation surrounding Rebirth is vastly different to conversation when New 52 and DC You was launched.
People are definitely more positive towards Rebirth. There’s finally a sense of faith in DC again (mainly thanks to our lord and saviour Geoff Johns). So this success, I think it’s going to last. As long as DC keeps putting out the quality, it will continue to reflect in sales. We’ve already heard that Harley Quinn #1 this month sold over 400,000 and we also got Suicide Squad #1, All-Star Batman and a lot more potential big sellers this month, so expect to see similar results for DC this month.
And really this is good for Marvel as well. I don’t necessarily expect them to change their prices to $2.99 as well, but they will rethink their overall strategy. The whole constant number 1’s isn’t going to cut it anymore. It did when DC was struggling to find their groove as well, but now that they’re on a roll, Marvel needs to change their strategy.
Anyways let’s just be happy with the quality we’re getting with DC and hope they keep it up because it’s safe to say that Rebirth is a success!
Categories: comic books