Gears of What, Now?

A little over a year ago (!) I wrote a piece for this site called “Comic Sales: Nobody Knows Anything.” It was what you might call a passion project, one of those articles you don’t so much write as shout at the screen. Writer Robert Kirkman had just announced his plan “to save comics,” and the idea that they needed saving in the first place sent me into a Tasmanian Devil dervish whirl of fact checking, number citing, and headache having. I was going to dispute the conventional wisdom that “comics are dyyyying,” but I didn’t want to be a radio talk show host about it. I wanted to have Reality on my side as much as I could.

Even after all this time, I’m amazed by how often so many other people have no such drive. The internet is like the universe’s most sarcastic joke: before us sits history’s greatest tool for looking things up, and almost everyone on it is using that tool to talk out of his ass. Even as I was adding my sixth or seventh citation to the article showing a continuing trend of positive growth for comics, I suspected that it was only a matter of time before someone disagreed with me in the comments offering up nothing more than an “everyone knows” as proof. You’ve gotta love that anecdotal evidence; not only are you entitled to your own opinions, but you’re entitled to your own facts.

“I know kids don’t read comics anymore. I never see a single kid at my shop when I go there every week at 11:30 on a school day.”

(Never mind researching it. You probably have a personal relationship with the guy who sells you your Superman. Have you ever just asked him how things are going?)

The main thing I learned from the experience of researching those numbers is that although you can get a good sense of things, the full, completed Big Picture is elusive and possibly even unknowable by design. Comic book publishers always laugh at the sales figures that are published online, saying they’re wildly inaccurate, but they’re not about to cough up the real ones, and they’re certainly not going to go into details like “comic shop sales v. Borders v. grocery stores.” All they want you to know is that their company is the best. McDonald’s will gladly tell you about those billions and billions served, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to mail you a spreadsheet listing which ones were Quarter Pounders and how many were sold at airports vs. Playplaces. That stuff is proprietary. All their strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace are hidden in those numbers if you’ve got the right decoder ring to read them.

Besides, I’m not a shareholder just because I buy a few issues of Captain America. What do I need to know for? Am I Marvel’s mom now, checking up on the company to make sure they’ve eaten enough and brought a sweater? I stopped reading about month-to-month sales a long time ago.

Nevertheless, I am occasionally surprised when I get a glimpse at just how little we really know. This weekend, I was reading about Jim Lee’s appearance at the Big Apple Comic Con, where he confirmed for the crowd that the #1 best-selling comic book of all last year was that popular epic about a team of heroes banding together to save the human race from alien marauders… Gears of War #1.

Wait, what is this?

I’m not a gamer, but I was dimly aware that Gears of War was probably a game. After spending a couple of seconds looking it up (because it only takes a couple of seconds to look s*** up on the internet) I discovered it was not so much “a game” as it was “one of the fastest-selling, most popular games of the 21st century.” Apparently over five million people I haven’t met have a copy at home. (Did I mention I’m not a gamer?) It has a soundtrack album; it has a movie in development; and, yes, it has a licensed Wildstorm comic that has been coming out since last fall. A lot more people have a copy of that comic than I’d have thought, in the sense that any people have a copy of that comic.

That’s the thing that struck me. I am inside a comic shop at least once a week looking at every new release on the shelf. I can spend anywhere from $15 to $50 a week in that shop. I work for a web site that does nothing but talk about interesting and/or popular comics. The people who visit that site consider themselves “in the know.” Yet I have never heard of this book. I have never seen it mentioned. I can’t remember ever seeing it in a store. If it truly was 2008’s #1 seller, then 2008’s #1 seller got exactly 61 pulls on The current issue got 13.

I would encourage you, the next time you start to think of yourself as an expert on the comics biz, to pause and think about Gears of War #1. As much as we may know about these books and the people who make them, ours is still a very limited perspective. I can only guess at the secret to this book’s success. Maybe they sold it at GameStop. Maybe some game shops bought copies and included it with a purchase of the game. It could be any number of things.

Assuming it’s even true, of course. When Jim Lee mentioned it was #1, “1” was the only number he cited. But he’s probably in a better position to know than I am.

Jim Mroczkowski will Google that for you. He spouts much less reliable information via Twitter like some kind of hypertext Old Faithful.


  1. Frig.

  2. Excellent work as always sir, and as someone who is a bit of a gamer, in the sense that i buy maybe 5 games a year and wander into Gamestop occasionally, i can tell you that yes Gamestop had Gears of War comics. I don’t know if they were given away with the game but i do know they had about 40 copies one day and about two weeks later the whole display was gone. Who knows if they actually sold all of them or not.

  3. Oni Press’ best selling book ever isn’t Queen and County or even Scott Pilgrim. It’s Jumper: Jumpscars. How’s that for a mindfuck?

  4. @miyamotofreak-Not as much of a mindfuck as the Gears news, but a mindfuck nonetheless.

    Yeah, the first issue of the Gears comic was part of a release deal with Gamestop for the Gears of War 2 game.  Like @Roi said, I don’t know for sure if it was given to people that bought the game, or if the cashiers convinced people to buy it while they were there.  I heard about that months ago, pretty crazy.  I doubt many of the people that picked up that issue bothered to go to an LCS to keep up with the series though.


  5. I have Gears of War.  You know me.

  6. Is it just game/movie tie-ins?  I remember non-comic-reading friends of mine going crazy for the Halo graphic novel that came out a while back, and when I finally got to read it was thoroughly underwhelmed (and I’d played the game).  As for GoW – playing through that was one of the fullest, most repetetive gaming experiences of my life.

    "What’s this…a series of small walls conveniently left out on the open where nothing would really have been standing previous?  There must be a fight coming…"

  7. Well… I guess it has something to do with that a Regular Comic only sells of a few ten or more thousand, while a Video game sells for "only a few" million.

    All you need is what?  1% of those kids to get over the stigma of owning a Comic Book to go out and buy 50,000 books.

    Look how much that Halo Book sold for. The thing is, we didn’t hear or know about it because it probably wasn’t that good, or it was too "Mainstream" for "one of us" to enjoy.

    Now that doesn’t mean that I’m gonna go out and buy the book. Even as I mock those who scoff at that book, I do the same. But that isn’t the point is it?

    What was it that Darwin Cook Said?

    "How do you get Amazing Spiderman to sell 5,000,000 Copies? Sell it for a Nickle on iTunes."

    Okay, I paraphrased. But the point stands. Comics aren’t dying, they aren’t evolving, and that’s just as bad.

  8. Meh. What comic junkies like is not always in line with what the public wants. Video gamers know never to watch the tie-in movie. Comic book fans know never to buy a licensed book. It is ‘common knowledge’ (sarcasm) that those books get saddled with mediocre talent. It is like a movie fan not wanting to see GI Joe – you just know it will suck. You don’t need to see the thing and experience that to know. Tat movie made millions and millions of dollars. Politely speaking, there’s no accountign for taste. Realistically speaking, the population of the world is fucking stupid and just wants shiny things that gratify quickly. While anecdotal evidence is surely flawed, sometimes it is spot on.

  9. As a former GameStop employee, I can confirm we did sell Gears of War, and other game comics. I am 98% sure we also included issue #1 in pre orders for the game, as I do have bad memory, but it seems very much like we did.

  10. I just read that they are making a comic adaptation for the video game Uncharted and I can think of several other games that have comics, Deadspace, Warcarft etc.. They must be doing pretty good if they keep making them.  I mean really more people walk into a gamestop then a comic book store.  To me it just shows the importance of selling comic books outside of the direct market.  

  11. It just goes to show you that the comics can be big, huge successes if they work their way into unconventional outlets, like video game stores. It doesn’t surprise me at all that there are that many copies of a video game tie-in comic. To play devil’s advocate, though, I’m not sure how that proves that the comic book industry is incredibly vibrant. Isn’t it sort of like saying "Baseball cards are still HUUUUGE; did you know that they gave out a free pack of cards to all the hundreds of thousands of people who went to an MLB game on July 2?" (<-Not a fact, just an example.) In fact you could actually argue that, if Gears of War was the most printed comic, then that just shows how week the core of the industry is, that an off-the-wall random tie-in to a more successful medium would instantly surpass anything that the industry does in and of itself. But don’t think me wrong, taken in and of itself, I think the Gears of War comic is a good thing.

    but they’re not about to cough up the real ones, and they’re certainly not going to go into details like "comic shop sales v. Borders v. grocery stores."’

    Erhm, actually Marvel does provide a lot of that information. You know how like once a year they provide that small-print column in every one of their ongoing titles? That breaks down total copies printed, copies sold for subscriptions, copies sent to dealers (comic shops), copies sent to news stands, and news stand returns. Marvels been providing that information for decades.

    "I stopped reading about month-to-month sales a long time ago."

    No offense, man, but if that’s the case then aren’t you just as at fault as the people you cite as relying on "anecdotal evidence"? If you seriously want to diagnose the industry, then you should be paying attention to all the facts, including monthly sales. Maybe you mean that you’re not caught up in paying attention to monthly sales on a consistent, month-to-month basis; but if you want to really figure anything out then you really do need to pay attention to sales now especially as compared to what they were "a long time ago". That’s sort of the point. Otherwise, you’re just kind of holding on to your optimism while willfully ignoring sales figures that could threaten your outlook. And don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a "comics industry is dying!’ doomsayer. I find a lot of monthly sales figures to be very encouraging.

    I look forward to reading your article, as someone who’s interested in comic sales and the future of the industry, but I’m sceptical of things based on what you wrote here and based on your article’s title: "Comic Sales: Nobody Knows Anything". That’s a huge over-generalization. I mean…I don’t claim to be an expert, but actually some people DO know some things. And actually paying attention to monthly sales would help you know something. Maybe what you mean is that the state of the comics industry is very, very complicated, and so people who think they’ve got it all figured out based on a few pieces of evidence…really don’t understand the whole picture. But saying "No one knows anything" and then admitting that you don’t pay attention to sales is kind of self-defeating.

  12. We’ve talked about GEARS OF WAR being the umber one selling comic book a few times around here. Definitely on the podcast.

  13. Hey Jim,

    I appreciate the tenor of your article, but as others have alluded, the Gears of War example is an outlier that Jim Lee (self-servingly) threw out there even though it’s hardly indicative of the ‘state of comics’ that you’re referring to initially.

    Gears of War ‘sold’ that well in the same way Prine’s last album was #1 in sales. Prince included his album with the purchase of a ticket to his concerts at the time, yet since it was itemized as a cost added onto the tickets, it counted as an ‘album sale’ according to Billboard. Similarly, Gears of War was, very much, a promotional item that only sold well b/c it was included as part of the Gears of War presales packaging. 

    My point being, regardless of it nominally being the top seller, it’s HARDLY indicative of the state of the direct market or conventional comic book buying. 

    As to your broader point about whether we can make anything of the numbers; in point of fact we can. As not only a comics geek but a portfolio manager, I know Marvel’s financials as well as I know the insides of the OHOTMU (which is pretty damn well). Here’s the way to think of things:

    The publicly available data is provided by Diamond. They provide the Top 300 comics (by units) each month sold into Diamond retail outlets. They also provide the Top 300 collected editions; but until recently had only disclosed the Top 100 trades. 

    On the comics (i.e., single issues), this data is HIGHLY relevant for what it is. Diamond is the exclusive distributor to the vast majority of the direct market. Effectively, the Diamond 300 tells you with great accuracy 85% of what’s being sold in North America each month in comic stores. Is that 100%? No, but 85% is a) statistically significant and b) all you need to know for pitch perfect understanding of comparative market share and TRENDING. Rest assured, if Proof is selling 6,000 copies in the Diamond 300 data, it’s not ACTUALLY selling 12,000 copies in other markets. It may be selling 6,700 copies, but then so too is Uncanny X-Men understated by a similar percentage.

    Now on the TRADES side, the Diamond data is much less compelling. Why? Because Diamond is not the main distributor into book stores and mass merchant retailers, where trades and collected editiosn sell quite well. To really understand how the trade market is faring, one needs to collate both the Diamond numbers with Bookscan’s data. Bookscan, unfortunately, doesn’t make its  number public. Brian Hibbs writes an annual column where he shares the annual comic-related BookScan data, but that’s anecdotal beyond an annual lookback.

    The other confusion I see when it comes to people reacting to sales numbers is the confusion between SELL THROUGH and SELL IN to the channel. In most retailing, goods are returnable and thus a company doesn’t record something as sold until it leaves the retailers shelves into the hands of an end consumer. For example, Nintendo doesn’t record a Wii as sold when it ships it to Toys R Us, it records it as sold once someone goes into Toys R Us and buys the Wii. Why? Because Toys R Us can return goods that aren’t selling well and thus companies would have to redact revenues from their income statements. But this is MUCH different than how the comic book market works. When a retailer orders 10 copies of Booster Gold from DC, DC immediately records that as 10 copies sold. How can they do that? Because the direct market is NON RETURNABLE. This is FANTASTIC for the comics publishers, who never have to worry about a deluge of returned books. But it’s murder on the retailers b/c they can’t afford not to get orders correct. If your LCS orders 50 copies of She Hulk and only 20 sell, he’s STUCK with those 30 copies which crushes his profit margins. And he has no recourse. This is, at its heart, why Diamond is in the dominant position it finds itself and why DC and Marvel have absolutely no incentive to change the arrangement. Non-returnability very much keeps the comic book market alive today. Without it, we would be looking at a much smaller industry with fewer choices, and most of the market would be in collected editions.

    Sorry for being long-winded here, but my hackles are always raised when I see this "Gears of War" rhetoric, which Jim Lee seems hellbent on perpetuating as though it’s something to be proud of for Wildstorm which, let’s be honest, is among the most confounding and uninspired imprints in the marke today.




    Jason Wood

    Co-Host — 11 O’Clock Comics


  14. @Conor-Jimski doesn’t listen to the podcast

  15. Yeah, comic book facts and figures are like searching for the holy grail. Certainly they exist, but they are notoriously inaccurate (however, they’re consistently inaccurate which makes them a a flawed but usable metric.) This has been true since Fredric Wertham’s book which makes some rather wide and glaring factual errors. In the late 90s to the mid 00s, Wizard magazine used to send out informal surveys to comic shops to (occasionally) get a sense of the average age of the comic book reader. It tended to be around 26. I’m not sure when/why it stopped, though. However, it was in no way indicative of the industry as a whole. And there really haven’t been too many "real" studies on the average reader since. What, admittedly little, field research I’ve done on it in and around New York supports the 26-30 age range of the average reader. However, children are increasingly being exposed to comics in academic and learning environments (classrooms, libraries, etc.) and with major book stores selling graphic novels, sales have improved.

    It would be a pretty smart idea for some of the major companies to invest some money in doing studies of their readership, which really does seem to be lacking.

    Also, it’s a bad sign when I didn’t even know the highest selling comic of the year was published, right? 

  16. @Conor: I don’t care for your program.

    Seriously, though, I cannot remember hearing a word about this before. Must be my mental gaming filter.

    @"Flapjaxx" the t-shirt picture: I stopped reading the month-to-month sales figures because 1) I read the people who actually sell the books saying they were inaccurate enough times that I thought, "Spending time absorbing imaginary data actually hurts my understanding of what’s going on," and nobody wants that, and 2) I discovered that even thinking I knew exactly how many copies of New Avengers were sold in August didn’t cause me to enjoy the book any more.

     @Wood: please comment all the time.

  17. @Wood-Thanks for the info!  Very informative and appreciated.

  18. @Wood – Well said. 

    I am in the same boat as Jimski.  I simply don’t care how many units of a book is being sold.  I just want to enjoy reading it.  The only time I look at sales figures is when the economist in me makes we want to check out the growth rate of indie publishers and to see if DC has cut into Marvel’s market share. 

  19. I’ve realized over the years of debating sales with everyone on this site….It’s just futile.

    Cause you can twist words to make anything sound your way. Scalped could be one of the best indie series in terms of sales; but then I can twist it and say it’s doing very low numbers considered the high praise. Penn and Teller really said it best on their show ‘Bullshit’.

    "Numbers don’t mean anything, it’s just numbers. Numbers are Bullshit."

    We sell that Gears of War comic at my bookstore and it sold well at first. But we have the 7th (or maybe 8th I’m not sure) issue and it hasn’t even been touched. So the appeal died in my area pretty quickly. The game was okay, just not a fan of it for some reason. Maybe it’s because people cheat like fuck on the game….But that’s another topic.

  20. I read the first few issues of Gears of War but dropped it bc the story wast very compelling and i lost interest in the Gears universe.

  21. @Jimski — Happy to post, this is in my wheelhouse 🙂

    @TheNextChampion — Dismissing ‘numbers talk’ with a wave of the hand and arguing that numbers can be manipulated is intellectually dishonest IMHO. Yes, people can and DO twist numbers, but it’s not as though the underlying numbers aren’t factual. Where things go awry is the context in which people put them. 

    Take your DMZ example. This is a great one particularly because Brian Wood took the issue of Diamond numbers to task about 1.5 years ago. His main "complaint" was with folks like John Mayo and John Jackson Miller reporting on the sales of DMZ and how the book was only selling a few thousand copies. Wood made a remark that his royalty check says otherwise.

    But as the issue played out in the blogosphere, it became evident that Wood didn’t understand what the numbers were he was criticizing. In the DIRECT MARKET (i.e., the LCS of the world), DMZ’s numbers as reported to those guys were spot on. But where they weren’t telling the story was in the sales of DMZ in trade. This is highly significant, particularly for a Vertigo book where historically trades carry the titles. The disconnect on the trade side came from two things:

    1) At the time, Diamond only provided the Top 100 collected editions each month. That REALLY distorted the numbers because you’re talking about hundreds of reorders of a given title going unreported, sometimes month after month. And a few extra thousand copies of a trade is the difference between a creator paying his mortgage as a full time writer versus having to carry on a day job. Now, Diamond provides the Top 300 trades each month. Much better data, but still not all inclusive. A greenfield trade like Fables could (and does) sell 50-100 copies every month and may not make the list, which over a 5-year span could understate sales by a few thousand copies. Think about that per volume, and Willingham could be banking major coin that never makes the Diamond list. 

    2) The Diamond numbers represent 85%-90% of single issues sold each month, but barely represent 50% of the trade sales. And in the case of a book like DMZ, it’s quite feasible that trades sold in book stores outpace the direct market. So Wood could’ve easily been seeing that his trade was selling 2x as well as the Diamond numbers were saying. 

    The key here is that this doesn’t make the Diamond number (or those reporting on them) bullshit. It merely makes them accurate for what they are. Now, if someone claimed the Diamond numbers on trade sales were THE FINAL SOURCE and 100% accurate, THAT would be bullshit. But I know that usually the guys at ICV2, and Comic Book Page and Comic Chronicles are very open and honest about what the data they have represents, and what it does not represent.


  22. As this book was coming out, I worked at a video store, and I can tell you that, in my experience, the vast majority of the people looking for, and subsequently buying, this book are not weekly comic book fans. They are gamers who maybe read some comics here and there when a movie of the same name comes out. We ARE in the know when it comes to comics that are made for the sake of making comics. The GoW comic was published to sell one more piece of crap product like action figures and t-shirts to the millions of people who play (and love) the game.

    I’m something of a gamer myself and GoW IS indeed a fantastic game, but I tend not to enjoy crossover media like this, so I avoided it like the plague. As an aside, I’ve actually been extremely resistant to all the quality licensed material being published recently, but the podcast has opened my eyes there.

    When it comes down to it, rest assured iFanbase, we are "in the know". So much so, that we knew that this licensed book was probably a waste of time. Sure there is some crossover between gamers and comic readers, but it’s a weird sort of crossover. In fact, just thinking about what the venn diagram would look like gives me a headache.

  23. Was this entirely through traditional sales?  For a while, the "most popular" comic was the one for City of Heroes because you got a subscription to it when you subscribed to the game.  Therefore hundreds of thousands of people got it without regard to whether or not they wanted it.  Sort of how the game Myst was pimped as the biggest selling game of all time for years because it was bundled with CD-Rom drives when those things started to become mandatory. 

    Now, I know that Kotaku, a popular gaming blog, pimps game-based comics, so that will drive up sales, especially for a number 1 issue.

  24. And to think, I was intimidated at the thought of commenting on this article BEFORE Wood showed up…

    Good questions raised in the article Jim and I’m glad that Wood showed up to offer some perspective. One more reason that I’m glad I’m an iFanboy member.

  25. TNC, I see your point, but it’s like you have some vendetta against Scalped. Why is it your go to book when discussing numbers?

  26. I think Secret Warriors was a good indication that the pull list here and real world sales aren’t the same thing.  Hell, I think Conor posted a comment somewhere showing how Archie sales destroy most of the Comics talked about here.

  27. @Hawkboy Archie Comics sell quite well but, again, they’re sold primarily outside of the direct market. The majority of the iFanboys that are pulling books are buying their comics in the direct market. Huge difference.


  28. Nice article Jim.  It’s an interesting thing to know.  I’m glad to see Wood laying down some perspective like that.  It’s interesting there wasn’t a similar comic book related thing in with the last few comic book games that have come out, like Batman or Marvel Ultimate Alliance.  Could have been cool to have something like that for the gaming set.   

  29. I get crap for defending numbers, I get crap for dismissing them. Argh!

    @Andrew: I think it was a phase of hating on Scalped. I mean I’m not a fan of the book and during the early years at being a member I just wanted to show it wasn’t selling well. I still go to it even though I don’t have a personal vendetta against it anymore.

    @Wood: But your proving my point! People twist the numbers and it’s never accurate. Why listen to anyone, like Kirkman or Diamond, if they are just going to lie to us? Or at least twist the facts a bit in their favor. It’s just pointless to discuss them now a days. I could say that Blackest Night #1 sold 250,000 copies and it would take forever to find the source of that info.

  30. @TNC – I think Mr. Wood (not to put words in his mouth) is saying that people (like Penn [who I actually enjoy, generally]) who tell you numbers lie are both right and wrong.  If you hold the numbers (and those who calculate them) to the appropriately high standard they are very useful and tell you things that you very much need to know.  If you don’t hold the numbers (or their reporters) to the appropriate standard then you should understand that they can mislead you.  I think he is simply reminding you not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  I work in numbers (statistics via economics) and try very hard to validate my findings.  Some don’t.  You should always question what you hear, but some numbers should hold up under close inspection and be paid attention to.  AND the Diamond number is something that is fairly valid and should be paid attention to.  [I agree wholeheartedly.]

  31. @TNC and @everyone really.

    I think what should be taken from this debate is that the onus is on the individual to be an informed participant in a debate.


  32. @stuclach: There has to be a good balance though. I don’t know how to describe such a thing, but there should be.

    @reg5000: No offense taken.

  33. @TNC – There absolutely must be a balance and in the current setting it is often on the reader to create it (unless the work is peer-reviewed).

  34. Maybe the balance is just thinking it to yourself and try not to explain it to others.

    That’s not a criticism to anyone on here. Just that maybe we would see the numbers better if we didn’t discuss about it so much.

  35. @TNC: If people did that traffic on the internet would drop by up to half. 33% of people know that.

  36. @stuclach See, this is why I’m in an empirical-only, non-generalizing non-supposing science. "So 99.9% of the people did it?" "Yes." "So everyone in the village does it?" "No." 😉

  37. The only sales number I care about are the numbers of comics I buy. As long as a book is selling enough for me to still get my copy, that’s good enough for me. And Jimski, my head also exploded when I read your gears of War fact. It sold more copies than ANYTHING???? That’s…..I don’t even know the word for what that is. 

  38. Arent we suppose to be positive with anything we heard?

    Like maybe the Gears of War Comic introduced gamers who never read comics before. Maybe they saw other cosmic series, like Green Lantern, and thought to buy them. Or at least we like to think that. The idea of GoW outselling major titles is baffling, but then again Archie probably outsells them all.

  39. I bought Gears of War #1 as a gate way comic for a friend of mine. He lent me the gaem a while back but I didn’t get into it. I thought it might be a good way for him to get into comics. I think in the end he stuck to his games, I stuck to my comics….Gears of war was the best selling comic last year? Really?

  40. @Prax – That is why I have such a hard time with qualitative analysis.  I need to see a number and I need it now.  I am an applied microeconomist. We want to see your results and we don’t need to hear your explanation.  Just email us the table and a description of your data and leave us alone.

  41. No. You’re wrong. You’re ALL wrong.

  42. @JumpingJupiter – 99% of people who claim we are wrong are actually wrong. 73% of all people know that.

  43. And statistics can be used to prove anything.  Nine out of ten people are aware of this.

  44. If you wanna see why numbers are a bit too confusing to the masses; go look at the ‘Can I Afford Comics’ thread by Mike Romo.

    This is not a negative comment on Romo or the people who commented on it. But just try to read all of those comments and understand everything that is being said. It’s nearly impossible.

  45. @TNC: That’s got nothing to do with numbers.

  46. @conor: You and Wood (heh) have been going at it with sales! That certainly involved numbers the last time I looked.

  47. This is by far the most appropriate article title in the history of titling. It couldn’t have been more appealing to me since I’m in the same boat as Jimski. These shooting scifi video games are all the same to me although I’ll talk with my shop buddies to see what they think of it, but from what I’ve heard so far it isn’t a very strong pitch at all.

  48. To add more examples to what Jimski was talking about:

    Apparently ’28 Days Later #3′ sold out within the day of release. Now that was a good first issue of the series, although I am trade waiting on it now, but seriously? A random sequel (of sorts) of a horror film was sold out within a day? That’s crazy.

  49. @Wood  A comic is a comic and Archie sells more than most of them.  I don’t see where Archie is sold somehow makes it’s superior sales less relevant.  Again I say what goes on here (Ifanboy) in terms of pulls does not really reflect what goes on in the real world comic sales (Direct or not). I’m not sure what is wrong with my statement.

  50. 10 out 8 people don’t understand ratios.

  51. Why am I telling Twitter when I should be telling all of you?:

    Once a year, publishers are legally required to print a "STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION" in each of their books. This statement lists how many copies of the title are printed on average, how many subscriptions the title has, and most importantly how many issues of the title sell in a month on average.

    As if the world is reading my mind and/or my column, this is the week those statements of circulation start showing up in the books, or at least Marvel books. Typically they’ll be next to half-page ads near the back if you’re interested in this topic. They’re easy to overlook (at least if you’re me) since they’re half pages of fine print. Just another set of numbers to clarify things or make things even murkier. (They don’t have to tell anybody how many trades they sold.) (Do they??)

  52. @Jimski – That you for the information.  I will look for it.  I had no idea they were required to do this.  Interesting.

  53. @stuclach: yes indeed. That’s how we found out that Archie dwarfs everything else on the shelves.

  54. Interesting.

  55. The first glimpse I got into the actual numbers of the comic book industry was when I stumbled across Valiant’s (Acclaim’s) print production numbers a few years ago. One of my favorite books of all time, Quantum & Woody, only printed a couple thousand copies per issue. It was immensely depressing. When I used to joke that only me and two other guys read it, I wasn’t far off.

    It’s all relative, though. I work for a publishing company, and we have books that are perfectly acceptable, profit-wise, and only print a couple thousand or even a few hundred.

  56. Have any of you actually read the Gears of War book?

    It’s actually really bloody good. Story by Joshua Ortega ((FREQUENCY)) and art work by the brilliant Liam Sharp (Testament, Incredible Hulk, Man-Thing, Death’s Head II). A lot of comic book fans may not have read it, but knowledge of the videogame is far from essential to read it.

    I’d actually say that Wildstorm’s Gears of War book is the best licensed property title I’ve read in years. The quality of writing, attention to detail and just plain enthusiasm for the product and its world has produced some really good work.

  57. Damn you Archieeeeee!!!!!!!