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Wednesday, October 31, 2012 

Comics Buyers Guide sugarcoats the New 52 sales

Comics Buyers Guide's done some shilling for DC's sales post-Flashpoint, reducing it all to a lot of tabloid gushing:
The launch of DC’s “The New 52” in September 2011 was a huge gamble and a huge controversy. Arguments will rage on about various aspects of “The New 52” until we’re all old and gray, but there’s one thing that few fans question: It worked.

Sales: Up, up, and away

DC Senior Vice President Bob Wayne told CBG, “We consider the first year of ‘DC Comics — The New 52’ a big success, exceeding even our most optimistic projections.” While that might sound like hyperbole, a look at the numbers bears out that opinion.

[...] what a difference a month — and a complete revamp of a comics line — makes! DC virtually swept September 2011, when it launched the remaining 51 titles of “The New 52.” For the record: DC won units sold 43.04% to 37.88%, and took dollars 35.74% to 35.37%.

But the sales list was eye-popping in other ways. For example, DC took eight of the Top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 300 list — and 17 of the Top 20! The worst-selling of “The New 52” was OMAC at #82 — allowing only 29 Marvel titles and one lonely Dark Horse title to squeeze into #1-81. To put it in perspective, as many wags have: Aquaman #1 (#16 on the Top 300) outsold every Marvel title except Fear Itself #6 (#8) and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 (#9)!

All of the “New 52” titles sold out, and, by the second week of September, 10 titles had passed the 100,000 mark. Action Comics joined Justice League by zipping past 200,000, with the latter title far and away the best-seller of 2011.
Gee, some of those titles they speak of have since been canceled, and as the most recent sales results attest, all those big sellers they're fawning over have since sunk back to very dull levels. Their take on the artistic merits of the books isn't much better:
While the sales success of “The New 52” is undeniable, judging the books’ content is a bit more subjective.

One guideline we have is cancellation — and on that score, “The New 52” has seen ups and downs. In the first year, 10 titles — roughly 20% — have been canceled: Blackhawks, Captain Atom, Hawk and Dove, Justice League International, Men of War, Mister Terrific, OMAC, Resurrection Man, Static Shock, and Voodoo.

The demise of two war titles (Men of War, Blackhawks) surprised almost no one, although DC deserves kudos for attempting to revive that moribund genre. Some fans registered concern about the loss of two African-American headliners in Mister Terrific and Static Shock, leaving only Batwing and Fury of Firestorm (sorta) which are themselves on shaky sales ground.
Well did it ever occur to them that one of the reasons why these books have and are failing is because they're not very well written, mostly because DC's only real interest in launching them to begin with was for the sake of "diversity", and not solid storytelling? That's certainly the case with the new Firestorm, Jason Rusch, if he's still in the Firestorm role. For Static Shock, it was actually doing the hero a favor, after the way they treated him in the last incarnation, which was horrible and disrespectful to his creator, Dwayne McDuffie.

And again, their claim that the New 52 was a big success is downright exaggerated.
Not all of the successes are obvious on the surface. DC won’t reveal digital sales, but Lee and others have mentioned in public that they are setting records and are likely to continue to do so, as that market grows. (Lee told ICv2.com that 40% of digital readers of Smallville at comixology were new readers.)
And just how many is that? 40 out of 100? That's not much. They need to give actual figures even for digital output, which they haven't offered either, which only makes their claims dishonest.
After the zero issues, readers can look forward to a number of crossovers. The Joker returns for a Bat-title crossover called “Death of the Family” — a play on the story “A Death in the Family” in the “Old 52” — which will involve Red Hood and the Outlaws, and another Bat-peripheral, Suicide Squad (with Harley Quinn). The much-foreshadowed “Rise of the Third Army” will consume the Green Lantern titles in 2013, while “The New 52” Green Arrow and Hawkman will meet for the first time in their respective series in November. Finally, the upcoming “Trinity War” — foreshadowed in the Free Comic Book Day book — will pit the “Trinity of Sin” (Pandora, Phantom Stranger, the new Question) against pretty much everybody.
Sigh. This is exactly why sales have been unable to sustain long-lasting results, and you can be sure even new readers aren't going to be enthused. Very few are going to "look forward" to these. More likely they'll be looking back at better efforts from the past.

They even make a sugarcoated reference to an artist the medium would be better off without:
There have been a few bumps in the road, which continue to this day. For example, Rob Liefeld announced in August that he would leave Deathstroke, Grifter, and Savage Hawkman, leaving those titles’ future in doubt. But, for the most part, “New 52” has, as Wayne said, outperformed expectations. It may not be possible to keep sales at the outstanding level established by the first year of “The New 52” — but DC is clearly determined to try.
Anyone who's going to act oblivious to the badness of Rob Liefeld as both an artist and a writer and not recognize that his departure is for the best must be out of their minds! And wasn't his new take on Hawk and Dove already in doubt almost immediately out of the gate when it was first launched last year? I think it's safe to say that early or late, the new takes on Deathstroke, Hawkman and Grifter will go the same way too. None of DC's output has had long-lasting big sales, so to say they outperformed is simply untrue, and if this is the direction DC's going to go by, then they're not determined to try at all.

They didn't even mention some of the other writers who've left their stables lately, including even the most overrated like Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and even Judd Winick, whose own departure was long overdue. That's actually the most amazing irony about the New 52 - no matter how favored these writers (and artists) were by the editorial staff, even they eventually grew tired and decided to split. It's to be hoped that one day, ownership of DC's publishing arm will pass into better hands, and then it may be possible to reverse much of the desecration they led to.

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Of course... Captain Comics wrote this, so naturally he's going to sugarcoat everything. I don't think I've ever seen him give objective criticism of something. When he actually does criticize something, it's politically-motivated, such when he yelled at people who didn't like Superman giving up his citizenship, to name one example.

Congratulations New 52, you were the tallest midget.

Of course they'd bounce upwards temporarily just based on dumbbells who are always fooled by #400s being magically transformed into #1s.

The New 52 is turning out to be a terrible flop and rightfully so! In October 2012 DC lost 1.5m(!!!) units compared to October 2011 and sales were already back to pre-reboot levels! And MARVEL NOW! has barely begun! DC destroyed their fan-base with the stupid changes and the cheap tricks and now they are going to pay the price as most everybody is jumping boats!

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