Spider-Man's lost popularity to Batman in sales
Spider-man may be able to stick to walls but his sales figures are sliding as Batman becomes the US's top super hero, according to estimates based on distributor data.Too bad they won't mention the exact reasons why. Since when were moviegoers interested in reading about the non-adventures of a criminal who performed a mind-switch, and how can they possibly care about a series that throws out the best written leading lady?
Comics featuring the web-slinging superhero as a titular character have reached the top 300 monthly sales charts in the US just under 1,500 times over the past decade. These charting titles have led to estimated sales of 49m and a gross of over $140m - making him the top grossing superhero for comic books sales over the past decade.
However, despite coming out on top overall, Spidey's sales have begun to wane. Since 2010 comics featuring Batman in the title have sold more than those featuring Spider-man.
2012 saw 4.5m charting Batman comics being sold compared to 3.2m Spider-man comics. This represents a fall for Spidey from a height of 5.7m in 2002 - the year that the first Spider-man movie featuring Tobey Maguire was released - compared to 2.2m Batman comics.
Batman and Spider-man still fall behind the X-Men when it comes to overall sales but this is partially down to the large number of titles released under that banner. Charting X-Men comics sold just under 65m copies, grossing almost $200m between 2002 and 2012.
Female superheroes did not fare so well either with Wonder Woman being the only one whose sales were comparable with her Justice League teammates Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash.
While Spidey has lost popularity for many good reasons, Batman isn't faring much better because the editorial fiats at DC affect the Masked Manhunter's titles just as much as the Marvel editors do Spidey's, and Batman's been subject to some pretty bad crossovers too. In fact, none of the series they cite are doing very well at all, thanks to the political correctness of the editors and the companies that own the properties.
While we're on the subject, audience reception for Spidey isn't likely to improve with the following in store:
Spider-Man isn't exactly in his right mind.That's because his mind isn't in his body.
The signature Marvel Comics superhero has had an interesting 2013, with the fallout of dying archenemy Doctor Octopus swapping brains with Peter Parker and the villain becoming a more hard-core, no-nonsense, almost anti-heroic version of the character.And in the opinion of any sensible Spider-fan, the inferior editorial mandate. And how was this an interesting year for Spidey? It was only a boring, worthless one.
Or, in Doc Ock's opinion, the superior Spider-Man.
Strap in for more changes, true believers: July's "Superior Spider-Month" features Spidey undergoing a costume makeover, getting a new headquarters, recruiting henchmen and other things that would make Captain America's head turn. In addition, the month sees the debut of three Spider-books: the ongoing book The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (in stores July 3), the five-issue miniseries Superior Carnage (July 17) and Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (July 24).I looked at a picture USA Today provided, and it looks like they're just reusing elements from the old black costume again, pre-Venom. I honestly don't see how this makes for something that should take up an entire series going for more than a dozen issues, nor why Doc Ock has to be in the spotlight proper.
"Spider-Man has been around for 50 years, and it's nice that we have a Spider-Man that when he does things, it surprises the readers. People do not know what this guy's going to do next," says Dan Slott, writer of the main Superior Spider-Man series.And it's terrible that we have cynics assigned to write and edit Spidey's adventures, and when said writers proceed to do something, it only drives away the readers, even people new to comics.
Having a character with a different personality who's also changing the concept of a superhero has invigorated other scribes, too, such as Christopher Yost. In his Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, he's "writing the full, unchecked ego of Doctor Octopus, (who's) using all the villainous tropes, but for the greater good," Yost says.No good can come when the villain drives Peter Parker out of his own body and keeps it a secret from the rest of the superhero community. Who knew how many pretentious hack writers were out there who fully back the current vision all the way?
They're even launching a spinoff series called the "Superior Foes of Spider-Man", starring his rogues' gallery, and what's it all about?
The humor-driven series will focus on a bunch of working-class supervillains trying to survive in the crowded, messy New York City underworld. And while Spider-Man is "the elephant in the room," even though he might not be around that often, "some of these longtime rogues might be the first people who realize that something is not right here" with his new persona, Spencer says.I don't see what's so funny about criminals being just that. They make life miserable or worse for innocent people, and we're supposed to think that's funny?
"It's a book about unrepentant bad people making mistakes that only make their lives worse. Normally we're working on stories of personal redemption, and this is really just about small-time crooks being small-time crooks and getting to enjoy the train wreck that is these guys' lives."
Over in the main Superior Spider-Man book, those around Peter Parker and his web-swinging alter ego are starting to wonder why he's been different lately, too, especially now that Ock has finally gotten rid of the last remnant of the old Peter, who had been pushing him to be more heroic.And he still won't tell who he really is, or try to repent by helping Peter back into his body? And the woman he meets is set up to have poor taste in men's color of character, I guess. We could do without all this cheap excuse for mayhem being committed in the body of Spidey by a supervillain who's got no real remorse for wiping out the hero who owns it.
"They all have to deal with this really messed-up version of Spider-Man," Slott says. "It's going to lead to some weird stuff, things you'd never see in a Spider-Man comic ever. He's really going to Doc Ock this up."
He has a new love interest in Anna Maria Marconi, a science-type who is different from the supermodels Peter used to date back in the day and who falls for his intellect and odd personality. Spidey also has a new method for catching bad guys: being proactive and using a villainous methodology.
We've learned today just why Spider-Man's lost popularity in sales and audience reception.