SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT REBIRTH, THE MARKET HAS SPOKEN AND IT’S A SUCCESS…SORT OF.

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DC, for the fourth month in a row, has been Marvel in market share. And not just beaten, pounded. They sold 43% of all comics in September 2016, where Marvel sold only 30%. Not only that, they shipped fewer books. But what they did ship, they double-shipped. Look at the top 10:

1. Batman #6
2. All-Star Batman #2
3. Batman #7
4. Civil War II #5
5. Justice League #4
6. The Walking Dead #158
7. Trinity #1
8. Supergirl #1
9. Suicide Squad #2
10. Justice League #5

See? Two DC books occupy four top 10 slots, because they double shipped. Add to that All-Star Batman and Trinity and you’ve basically got Batman in 60% of the top 10. Marvel is nearly absent, with its disappointing Civil War II event coming in fourth. And the beatings continue, as #s 11-20 also contain only one Marvel book…And it’s a Star Wars one! You have to go all the way down to #24 to find Marvel’s first regular series title on the charts, and it’s one that has really fallen from grace: Amazing Spider-Man #18. ASpM has been a top ten seller for decades. What the heck is going on?

The quality of Marvel’s comics has gone noticeably down since their post-Secret Wars linewide reboot, and it looks like the Market agrees. I wish I could also say that DC’s books have gotten better, which is why they’re selling better, but with overall comic sales not moving much from 2015, DC’s newly captured market share appears to be more of a Marvel loss than a DC gain.

The saddest thing, though, when you dig deeper into the list, is that the better a comic is, the worse it sells.  And that’s not just opinion.  On the DC side, Wonder Woman (#21) is inarguably better than Teen Titans (#11) or Supergirl (#9).  That’s just a fact.  (Nice to see Flash at #13, though-I really like that book.)  As for Marvel, can anyone honestly say that Spider-Man/Deadpool (#28) is dramatically better than Power Man and Iron Fist (#104) or Warren Ellis’ groundbreaking Karnak series?  And objectively, it’s sad to see mediocre books (even if they may be fun and familiar to some) like Justice League, Civil War II, and Suicide Squad selling way, way, way better than some of the best comics we’ve seen in years, like Saga (#55) and the best Marvel comic of the year, Vision (which is way down at #114).

It’s not all bad new, though.  Some “experimental” and cool new books did do well: The rebooted Doom Patrol cracked the top 20 (#19); at #34, Black Panther is one of Marvel’s best-selling books (I’ve been underwhelmed by the content, but I really want to love this comic); and Moon Knight (#66) is selling enough to keep it going.

And when you turn to the lucrative trade market, Marvel is still getting killed.In fact, it wasn’t just DC that beat Marvel in the trades category-Image Comics did, too.  The indie publisher sold 23% of all trades sold last month, vs. Marvel who sold 22%.  It’s just one precent, but a win is a win.  (When you look at dollars, though, Marvel made over a million more than Image-and nearly tied DC as well-thanks to hardcover and omnibus sales.)  Here’s the top 10:

1. Walking Dead Vol. 26
2. Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (a $23 hardcover!)
3.&4. Batman Vol. 8 and 9
5. The Fix Vol. 1 (Yay! A really fun Image comic!)
6. Avatar Vol. 1
7. Secret Wars (a $34 reissue of the original, Shooter-Zeck production)
8. Batman: The Killing Joke
9. Justice League Vol. 7
10. Harley Quinn Vol. 4

Yes, in order to break the top 10 Marvel had to republish one of the best things it ever made.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But hey, it’s just in time for another linewide Marvel reboot!

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