Comics – By the Numbers

(It’s important to note that these numbers are by no means scientific, nor are they completely an accurate measure of what the iFanbase is buying.  The number of visitors fluctuates week to week and the same people do not pull their books every week. This article is for entertainment purposes only.)

It’s no secret around the iFanboy offices that my favorite part of the week is when the comics section rolls over with new books on Monday. I do a little happy dance that involves me skipping around in circles and clapping my hands. I just love pulling my books and seeing what everyone else is pulling. I supposed it’s the weird part of my brain that gets off on order and being able to compare things in a measurable fashion.

So let’s take a look at some numbers.

First up is a little something I like to call — The Darwyn Cooke Effect. It’s no secret that Josh and I are big fans of Jonah Hex, it’s definitely one of my favorite books.  I also know that not many people care for western comics, no matter how often we talk about how great it is. Taking a look at the pulls for the last few months, it has remained pretty consistent… that is until Darwyn Cooke showed up as a guest artist this month and the number of pulls shot way up, adding 97 new iFanbase readers, which is more than were reading Jonah Hex in the first place. The optimist in me likes to hope that a few people will hang on and read the next issue. We’ll see in a few weeks.

I’m not sure that there are a lot of people with that kind of drawing power these days. I bet the list is short, but it’s clear that Darwyn Cooke is definitely on it.

Is The Walking Dead the best selling independent comic book right now? I bet it is. It’s also one of the few comics on the market — from any company — whose sales go up every month. It’s an amazing phenomenon and a testament to Robert Kirkman and the story that he is telling. It appears that the iFanbase trends the same way as the general comic buying audience.

“Batman RIP” has been fairly controversial around here lately and now I have a better understanding of why. Almost 200 people started reading Batman when the much ballyhooed “RIP” storyline started and that’s 200 people who haven’t been reading Morrison’s entire run which has been chock full of clues and events that have been referenced in the RIP storyline so far. I had no idea that there were so many new people until I actually compared the pulls and now it’s clear why there is some confusion (although I’m not laying the blame for all the confusion on the new readers — let’s not start this fight again).

I think it’s safe to say that DC’s weekly comic book experiment is in big trouble. I’ll be surprised if we get another one after Trinity ends.

I’m curious to see how some of my favorite non-Big Two Superhero books are doing around here. You know, the ones we talk up all the time on the Pick of the Week Podcast.

Let’s see:

Now let’s take a look at the dueling event books — Secret Invasion and Final CrisisSecret Invasion has been pulling big numbers, and Secret Invasion #3 is, the last time I checked, the all-time highest pulled book on iFanboy since we instituted the system. Secret Invasion is definitely the power house book of the summer. Final Crisis has been no slouch in the sales department either, falling not too far behind Secret Invasion, at least with the first issue. I want to see how the third issue pulls because two issues is a just a straight line, we need a third to see if the line is going up, down, or crooked. 

Any way you slice it, Marvel and DC are pulling in a lot of money this summer from their big events.

Aren’t numbers fun? I love numbers. Well, I don’t love it when I see that some of my favorite books are getting pulled less than 100 times among a community that I like to think is one of the more progressive out there (It’s trades, right? You’re reading Fear Agent in trades!) but it’s a
marathon not a sprint. I think. Or not. Too many numbers make my brain go mushy.

I think the most important thing to take away from all this is that if you’re coming by the site to read stuff or watch the shows, please do go pull your books. It only takes a minute and it’s fascinating to get a snapshot of what we’re all buying.



  1. Cool piece. I’ve been reading Scalped and DMZ for a while and always recommend them to people. Read the first hardcover for Walking Dead and Invincible, and can’t wait to eventually be caught up so I can get those on a monthly basis. Also glad that Criminal is doing so well can’t wait for the next longer arc to start soon. 

  2. I’ll admit it – part of the problem is I’m AM reading the trades (for F.E.A.R. Agent at least).  I did pick up the latest Jonah Hex based on Cooke’s participation, and based on what I read I’ll definitely be going for the next couple of issues to see if it sticks.  Walking Dead and Invincible’s latest trades have finally enabled me to catch up with the single issues so they’re now part of my normal pull lists.

    Scalped, DMZ, and POWERS are all in my stack (along with Queen and Country, Madman, and Umbrella Academy), and my hope is I’ll get caught up enhough to get to the issues!

  3. Great article!  I find this information very interesting.  Now I did just buy Jonah Hex because of Darwyn Cooke and do not plan to continue buying the issues.  So I am part of the problem there.  However, I love buying the issues of Powers (just started based on iFanboys love of it), Walking Dead (started this is trades and started buying issues after the 4th trade), Criminal (my favorite comic right now) and Scalped (Jason Aaron goes to my comic shop and got be hooked on the first issue).  I read DMZ in trades and kinda like it that way. It’s fun to see what the numbers are each week.  Sometimes, I look at my pulls and see where they rank compared to the rest of the community.  It is a great way to see if there is a possible book I should check out.    

  4. Great piece Connor.

    I’ve been reading Jonah Hex in issues since, well, since the Vertigo days.  I won’t stop reading this unless the wheels completely fall off. 

    I read DMZ in trades and plan on doing the same for Fear Agent.

    I have been avoiding Invincible, but finally broke down and got the hardcovers 1-3.  Should be here today actually.

    I just don’t like Powers, Criminal or Scalped, which is a shame cause I love all three writers of these books.  Powers and Scalped will probably be revisted in trades someday just to make sure, Criminal not so much.

    Man those Trinity numbers are crazy.

    All these great books and here I am reading the Buffy ominibii, what the hell.

  5. For me it’s pretty damn set. With the exception of a handful of Vertigo books, anything non-superhero I buy in trades. I find I go back to read them more often and prefer that easier to transport format. 

  6. I agree I read my super hero stuff monthly and my non in trades.  I like to stay p on what’s going on in the marvel U.  Non superhero books look so good on the shelf and are easier to get my wife to read if they are collected rather than floppy monthlys.  I reread books like fear agent, walking dead, and dmz.  But I don’t think I’ve ever reread any current super hero stuff.

  7. I don’t like the art style in Criminal and Scalped. And I’m just not interested in Jonah Hex either. Powers looks okay so I may pick it up in trades someday. Fear Agent looks like a maybe also. You’ve already made me buy too much iFanboy.

    I read a ton of stuff in trades like the Walking Dead, DMZ, Invincible, Fables, all the Ultimate Marvel books, and more.

  8. Love it! Great idea. I do the same thing, peeking over the site’s shoulder to see what people are pulling. I hadn’t noticed that Trinity was going so wild, though; I’m a drop in that particular bucket myself.

    I am also part of the problem when it comes to Fear Agent. I’ll catch up eventually with these trades.  

  9. Conor this is friggin great–this should be a semi regular feature–maybe quarterly?


  10. @AlexG I agree at least quarterly.

  11. Hmm, is there a workable way to measure who is buying stuff in trade?  I try to mark those on my pull list if I’m pretty sure I’ll get them soon, but I rarely buy trades in the LCS on a Wednesday —

    Interesting number crunch, and I’m one of those who is getting Powers in issues b/c of the podcast.  I also have more Walking Dead and Invincible to read if I ever get to my stack from Heroes Con, but I doubt I’ll ever be caught up to those on issues.

    And, yup, I jumped off ‘Batman RIP’ after issue 2, for just the reason you suggested — I didn’t have strong feelings about the first two issues, but I realized I hadn’t read enough Batman to really get it, and I wasn’t invested enough to catch up. 

  12. Thing is, I don’t buy books that other people recommend because they say it’s great. I buy books people recommend that I feel I may love also. There’s only so much money to go around.

    Not to mention that I don’t like jumping onboard in the middle of an on-going.

  13. Damn! I knew Crisis and SI were big but damn! I’d be amazed to see a 1000 pulled book on this site. I’m sure some big comic store can do it, but I would love to see what issue will just pull in a thousand readers on to this site.

    I dont read much of the books you mentioned though. I know stuff like Criminal, Powers, Invincible, and Scalped are really good books. It’s just that I open a trade and I just get bored after the first couple of pages. Guess they just arent for me.

  14. I just switched to reading Fear Agent in issues rather than trades (although I plan on catching up with the trades, as well). I love Remender’s work, and am happy to support him on a monthly basis. As Josh said a few shows ago, it seems like this is the book he was meant to write, and probably the work he’s currently most proud of, as well.

  15. I just seriously got into comics 2 months ago, so I have been trying to catch up with these great series.  I have the first trade of Walking Dead and Fables.  The first four Y: The Last Man trades (I know it’s not in issues anymore, but it’s good, dammit).  I’m going to start pulling Invincible starting with 51 and go back and read the trades.  Don’t even get me started on all the other series I have to catch up on.  I’m poor.

  16. Timmy Wood (@TimmyWood) says:

    I read Invincible in Hardcover. I am trying to do the same with Powers. Where is that second hardcover?
    Scalped, Criminal, and Jonah Hex I read in issues and love them. I tried the first DMZ trade and really wasn’t feeling it. I will definitly revisit it as that was a long time ago.

  17. I read all of these titles in issues except Invincible, and that’s because I came late to the party. I wonder if these  titles are among the most pulled trades? I know a lot of the Vertigo books are among the biggest trade sellers according to the Diamond shipping reports, and those trend to not do so well in singles.

  18. Great feature – I love the numbers – hope to see it regularly. And I’m another one reading Fear Agent in trades (not to mention Scalped and Walking Dead).

  19. I’m surprised the iFanboys still have so much Bendis love. I started reading his stuff around the tail end of Jinx and I enjoyed his stuff for several years, but now I find his books to be pretty much unreadable. I stuck with Powers the longest hoping that it would get good again, but even that got to the point where I had to drop it.

  20. @Hellhound – For my money Bendis still writes circles around 95% of everyone else out there.

  21. Agreed.  Still awesome….most of the time.  

  22. Well, he does write caveman sex scenes better than almost anyone.

  23. I picked up the first Feat Agent trade on Monday, and then a went back and picked up two more today, along with issue number two, so that when the next trade comes out I’ll be all caught up. It was as awesome as everybody said. And I wouldn’t have bought it if you guys didn’t keep bringing it up.

    You guys spotlighting books really does matter. I wouldn’t even be reading monthlies if it wasn’t for you guys and around comics talking about 52. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have read Astonishing X-men, I wouldn’t be reading Criminal, I wouldn’t be reading Green Lantern, Action Comics or All Star Superman. So keep it up.

  24. I agree this should be done more often love the article.  Something else I love is scalped so glad you guys keep talking about it, you guys got me hooked. 

    The one complaint I do have is that most of the recomendations you guys give are so damn good my pull list is starting to get crazy.

  25. Out of the books listed —

    Invincible — I’ve just recently read the first trade & plan to keep reading. It’s as good as everyone says.

    Fear Agent — I plan to read the trades soon. Lately, all my trade money has gone to 100 Bullets & Manhunter which are both awesome.

    Scalped — I’ve been with this since issue #1 and have loved every single one. This is the one book you should be reading on this list, if you don’t already.

    DMZ — I read the first trade & won’t reading anymore. The political commentary & parallels to real world situations are way too obvious/heavy handed. I already know these situations are wrong as hell, I don’t need to be beat over the head with it. Also, I don’t like Wood’s dialogue, which is partly why I dropped Northlanders, but that’s another topic!

    Criminal — I’ve been with this since #1 and it’s AWESOME. Even with all the hype — it’s criminally underrated. *rimshot*

    Powers — I’ve never read a single issue, never been a Bendis fan … yeah, I’m the one.

  26. Just read some more Fear Agent, and DAMN. So far, I’d say this book is as good as Invincible. I hope eventually it will sell as well as Invincible and like Inivincible, make to issue fifty and beyond. This book is the real thing.

    It manages to do small fast stories, filled with action, one after the other, one out of the other, but somehow it’s also one sustained plot through-out with a really great main character with a slowly revealed backstory. That Remender manages to pull this thing off is amazing. And the level of intensity is amazing. It’s like the character is being shot out a cannon passing though stories so fast you hardly realize that it’s becoming a single story.

    Really, pick this up. You’ll do yourself a favor, and you’ll make Ron feel better too!

  27. F.E.A.R. Agent is my Invincible– I read it only in trade because I enjoy the story much more that way.  With wedding bells rining in my near future, my pull list has had to shrink, so many titles I used to buy in issues were either dropped or have been relegated to trade format.  I would be interesting…at least for F.E.A.R. Agent…to see what the numbers were like for trade versus issue buyers.

  28. I also read Fear Agent in trades, and yet I read "THe End League" in single issues…THAT right there makes noooo sense, I should really be waiting for the trade on a bi-monthly book.

    Scalped, DMZ and Walking Dead I read in trade cause I genuinely think they read better.  Invincible in hardcover.

    I do read Criminal and Powers in issue form.  THe back matter makes it worth it.  I’ve said it in the Powers pull page for this month, but I think the current arc is one of the best.

    Point is I like to think I’m dong my part. 🙂

  29. @TimmyWood


    I believe the second powers hardcover comes out in September. I actually stopped buying the trades after I got the first hardcover, because powers was a series i wanted in hardcover and i hate double buying. So I stopped with trade #8, figuring I’d be caught up in hardcover soon enough. Who knew it would be TWO YEARS before the next hardcover came out? WTF? 

  30. @JohnVFerrigno – Hardcovers take a long time to come uot in general.

  31. Update — I just got my new comics & I picked up the first Fear Agent trade … so, you guys can take me off your hit lists.

  32. @Wade I don’t think I’m in place in my life where I could really do that. Sorry, Wade, I’m not ready to let go. The best I can do is shuffle you down to the bottom.

  33. So…how much does this information sell for to the comics companies? 🙂