Justice League #1 is Best Selling Comic Book of 2011 & Other Numbers

After Diamond released their official numbers, DC Comics were quite happy to point out that Justice League #1 (an iFanboy Pick of the Week), sold out of its 200,000+ print run, DC’s highest printing since the last JLA relaunch, written by Brad Meltzer in 2006. The first print run sold out in a matter of hours, as did the second print run. These include both the regular issues, and the “combo packs” which are bundled with digital download codes. They’re now on their third printing. Clearly there’s something exciting about the Justice League and the magical combination of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, or readers are chasing the magical feeling they hope to get back once again from this issue.

While digital download numbers haven’t been released, and I wouldn’t hold my breath, they’re crowing that the DC Comics App peaked at #4 on the top grossing iPad apps last week.

Ten of the first week’s releases were printed over 100,000 copies, and all of this week’s and next week’s titles are sold out through Diamond.

For more on this, check out John Siuntres in this Word Balloon Podcast with DC VPs John Rood and Bob Wayne on this very subject:

What’s different about these #1 titles is that they are, unlike other comics, returnable, so it remains to be seen how that will play out as well, and if comic shops actually sold them to their customers. But from reports we’re hearing from our readers, the issues have been hard to find in some markets, so anecdotally, it seems to be going well.

Basically they’re moving a lot of comics, and it was a successful launch for all intents and purposes. The real question is how long this keeps up. We’re seeing that people are willing and even enthusiastic about trying something new (“new” being a relative term in this case), but where it gets interesting is when we get 2, 3, 6 issues down the line, and we see if people have been well and truly hooked, and how much of this momentum DC can keep going. It’s certainly the biggest story of the year in comics.

Also, because what the heck, there’s the cover for Justice League #4 by Jim Lee.


  1. Kudos to them! Oddly enough, that #4 issue with that threatening Aquaman pose will probably be where the sales start to fall. Ha just kidding, but really that is a terrifying cover.

  2. “Aquaman, that’s not what I mean when I asked if you had any Trident!”

  3. Kudos to DC, as a Major Jim Lee fan I’m really hoping for a long run (2-3 years). Oh and Hal getting a beat down from Aquaman for issue #4? *salivates*
    YES !!

    • Hal needs his ass kicked. I wanted to reach through the pages of Justice League #1 and slap that…”cocky douche”…is how I think Conor described him.

  4. Ive just started reading comics and this is already one of my favourites cant wait for #2 🙂

  5. “While digital download numbers haven’t been released, and I wouldn’t hold my breath, they’re crowing that the DC Comics App peaked at #4 on the top grossing iPad apps last week.”

    Not sure how to put that into context? How much do the top iPad/iPod apps usually gross?

    Its worth remembering that people can also buy the DC comics through the comixology app, rather than the dedicated DC app. Personally, I switched to the comixoloxy one because the DC one was making my ipod run like crap. Also, the DC app wouldn’t load the full catalog of day & date comics on its listings. Swamp Thing just wasn’t there. I found it in the comixology app, though.

    • I have yet to join the digital revolution…do most people have an iPad or something other than a PC that they read their comics on? I just can’t see myself sitting in front of my computer at home to read my books…

    • I guess so, but I don’t understand the trepidation about reading comics off a comptuer though. Its a concern I’ve seen reiterated a lot. People will sit in front of their computer for hours reading or watching anything else they come across on the internet, but a comic suddenly makes the practice arduous?

      Myself, since the release of Justice League #1 I’ve used my ipod to read comics.I haven’t even bother to go to the comic store. Don’t expect i will again, I guess.

    • @Firemass- I use my Ipod touch, which I absolutely love. There are good apps (Graphicly, Comixology, DC, Marvel) that allow you to set up an account, store and download tons of comics. DC is currently the digital comics industry leader with day and date release(available after 2pm EST) and Marvel has a solid selection of titles but are often priced @$3.99. Image has digital trades of Walking Dead and Invincible available too. The apps allow for zooming in and reading panel by panel, word balloon by word balloon and full page view. I love the portability aspect of it and on my commute or lunch hour enjoy reading issues anywhere.
      Yes, I still buy floppies but my digital library is increasing and I often take advantage of 0.99 cent sales that they offer periodically.

  6. Four issues in and it looks like Hal *still* isn’t winning any friends…

  7. I hope retailers will take a gamble and actually get enough stock to last em through the weekends. New/lapsed readers who saw the advertising aren’t interested in hearing about the need to pre-order 3 months ago…

  8. Should I take this cover to mean that Aquaman doesn’t appear until issue #4? I understand what Johns is trying to do by showing us how this version of the JLA got together, but there is a big part of me that wishes the team was together and kicking ass right out of the box. I’m not really interested in going 6 or 7 issues before that happens. This is something we could have revisited down the road a bit.

    The first issue was ok. Not terrible but not great. That was a problem. If I were a new reader I would have expected something more exciting for a first issue with a roster of DC’s top guns.

    • I have to disagree. Jl was one of my first comics I read and I loved it

    • Fear not. Aquaman may not appear until issue #4 but the cover of issue #3 already shows Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, the Flash, and Green Lantern working together “kicking ass”. It doesn’t look like you’ll have to wait 6 or 7 issues.

    • Well that’s good news. Like I said, the issue wasn’t bad I just wasn’t looking for the “slow burn” right out of the gate.

  9. Hal just cannot catch a break in this new League.

  10. Love that Jim Lee cover! If you look closely Batman is laying on the ground to left and Superman is maybe stuck in the tidal wave also? Looks great though!

  11. This is great news. But somehow Marvel will still have 52% of the share while DC still lags behind. Damn double-shipping competitors!

    • If you’re shipping twice as much product, you’re not making as much profit.

    • I’m saying that Marvel will still somehow get more share then DC like they always do when the sales are released.

      Even if DC have all 52 books sell out or go double print, Marvel will still find a way to get better overall numbers.

    • They will “find a way?” There’s no trick to it. If they sell more books, they get a bigger share. that’s all there is too it. They can publish as many books as they want, it doesn’t mean people are going to buy them.

  12. I was very surprised to find out which of the books had sold out of BOTH my LCS: Detective Comics and Stormwatch. Everything else they still had numerous copies, but those two were like golddust.

  13. On top of all that great news we still don’t know how well titles like Animal man, Swampthing and JLI are doing, there is talk of strong numbers down the line. How many titles are in the 80,000-90,000 range which may not grab headlines but is a number one seller most months.

  14. Excellent. I can’t wait to see how many of those sales hold up. I’d love to see the digital numbers.

  15. Additional question – how long will it take sales-wise for DC to start (whisper it) cancelling the less-succesful titles? When do they make that decision? Issue 5 or 6 ish?

    I don’t ask as a defeatist, I just can’t see ALL of the titles going on indefinitely like some of the flagship titles. When does the New 52 become the Few-Months-Old 44? Or is the plan to always have 52 titles, replacing those that fall with new ones?

    • If I recall correctly, all the New 52 are getting 6 issues out the gate, and then the evaluations begin.

    • I was wondering the same thing. Not, judging but it’s kinda crazy reading/hearing about people giving up on titles after issue#1. Granted, I’m not picking up every book but the few that I am I plan to at least finish out the story arc(Hawk&Dove). Kinda like sitting in the ballpark and leaving after the 3 or 4 th inning. It MIGHT get better!

    • Everything I’m reading gets a few issues grace. Hawk & Dove isn’t one of them – but I really can’t see that one lasting.

  16. One nice thing about all the books being online – if two, three, four issues down the line you don’t like the book you’re following, you can still get all the issues of another book you wanted to try, and get the early issues for cheap (no more back-issue bin diving and finding out issues are $1 or more over cover, if available at all). I might go this route with Animal Man and a couple others.

    • This is the one thing I am MOST excited about! DC is getting everything about the digital comics market right! Day and date release and a cheaper price point after a couple of weeks is definitely a way to earn more of my buying budget. I will drop Marvel titles in favor of DC’s digital comics

  17. My usual comic store on Wednesday last week was busier than usual, but all the number ones were on their shelves. However, when I happen to step in a different store the next day there were multiple titles (ex. Detective, Stormwatch) which were “sold out, hopefully more tomorrow.” Also, I have a friend that rarely buys DC expect Batman, but said the other day that he’ll be getting all four SUperman number ones . . . so, I imagine that DC will see healthy numbers for most of the month The big question mark, of course, is how many new readers will stick with these titles? For myself, I’ll probably end up trying near half of the 52, but it’ll be hard for me to keep up with all these series month to month. Yet, considering that I used to read only 6 or 8 DC books every month, they’ll definately be getting a larger chunk of my comics budget, which means, by default, Marvel will get less . . .

    @Selfstyler: my impression is that DC has replacement titles waiting in the wings, just as networks hold their mid-season replacements held in reserve. I recall editorial has already made passing references to a “second wave” of series, though I might be confusing fan speculation for an offical statement . . .

  18. Went by my LCS when I discovered that I missed Swamp Thing #1. Thankfully, they still had copies left, but the only other #1 they had was Men of War. Everything else, even Hawk and Dove, was sold out. Still not Batwing for me.

  19. In a world of full of short attention spans, lets hope these new readers will stick to their books.

  20. Great news, but they’re going to have to KEEP growing the market if they want to stay afloat. If they roll back the numbers to 2006 levels, that’s really “only” buying the industry five more years of life, in a sense. That’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself, but it’s not enough to ultimately make monthly comics viable for the long run.

    I really hope they release a breakdown of the digital numbers within the next six months so we can really see what’s going on there. I heard that they projected 10,000 downloads of JL #1. I have no idea if they met or surpassed that expectation. And then there’s the whole question of how many people will buy it after it goes down to $1.99.

    It’s an interesting time to look at the comics industry.

  21. cool

  22. Haha, it would be great if every hero joins the Justice League after first kicking Green Lantern’s ass. Batman already humiliated him and Superman took him out easily. The team can bond over beating Hal up. That would be great!

    • I would never stop reading that book. I would eventually want to see every single character in the DCU kick the crap out of Hal. If they ever did an issue where G’Nort and Ambush Bug beat Hal up, I would buy more copies of that than Ron bought of Darkhawk #1.

  23. Hopefully , this is the turn around the comic book industry needed.

  24. BUT, how many issues did Ron buy?