Robot 6

Comics A.M. | May sales shatter records; Spiegelman joins Occupy Comics

Avengers vs. X-Men #4

Publishing | May was a huge month for comics sales in the direct market, and John Jackson Miller quantifies just how huge: It was the biggest month for dollar sales in the “Diamond Exclusive Era” (i.e. since 2003): “Diamond’s Top 300 comics had orders totaling $25.72 million, an increase of 44% over last May and the highest total since Diamond became the sole distributor in 1997. It beats the total of $25.37 million set in December 2008.” [The Comics Chronicles]

Comics | Art Spiegelman is contributing a prescient New Yorker cover from 2001 to the Occupy Comics anthology; other creators who are contributing work include Alan Moore, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dean Haspiel. [Underwire]

History | Joe Sergi takes a look at the comics burnings of 1948, a series of disturbing events in which children, no doubt goaded on by well-meaning adults, collected comics door to door and then burned them in a public bonfire. [CBLDF]

History | Sean Kleefeld looks at how Marvel Comics got its name. [Kleefeld on Comics]

The Massive #6

Creators | Brian Wood talks to Brian Truitt about The Massive, his new series about a group of environmentalists roaming the seas searching for their companion ship in the aftermath of environmental apocalypse. “‘For a hard-core dedicated environmentalist of the direct-action kind, this is what they’ve devoted their life to. And they’ve fundamentally failed,’ Wood explains. ‘What do you do when you so closely identify with a cause, and now that’s passed you? How do you redefine yourself? That’s the human side, the personal side, of the story.'” [USA Today]

Creators | Matt Kindt, who takes over writing Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. with Issue 10, discusses his plans for a new backstory, more witty repartee and more “alone time” with the Creature Commandos. [USA Today]

Superman #0

Creators | Bryan Young talks to incoming Superman writer Scott Lobdell about his plans for the series: “Let me say that there will be tweaking aplenty — but I think it is going to be in terms of tone and attitude and not in history or continuity. We have no plans to reveal Lois is Superman’s daughter from an alternate future or that Perry White is actually an amnesic Jonathon Kent who has been in witness protection. But yes, you’ll see from the very first issue — in fact, even in the Annual and the Zero issue before it — a Superman that is going to feel very of the moment.” [Big Shiny Robot]

Creators | Tim Decker, who writes illustrated books for children about adult topics, talks about his picture books, his new graphic novel The Punk Ethic, and his writing process: “I’m not a linear writer. I imagine a scene and start typing until I’ve squeezed everything into it. That causes me to think of another scene, which I then write. Once I have a pile of scenes, I can see how they relate to one another, then write scenes to sew it together. It’s a messy, organic process that requires brutal editing.” [Chasing Ray]

Creators | Writer Jamie Rich (Spell Checkers, Bobby Pins and Mary Janes) is taking commissions — writing commissions. [Confessions of a Pop Fan]


Comics | Spandex creator Martin Eden talks a little about his favorite gay and lesbian comics characters, from Maggie Chascarillo and Renee Montoya to Northstar and Eden’s own Prowler. [Flavorwire]

Reviews | Bill Kartalopoulos turns a critical eye on three recent compilations of work by Rory Hayes, Daniel Clowes and George Herriman. [Imprint]

Webcomics | Shaenon Garrity writes short, witty reviews of a selection of webcomics suggested by readers. [The Comics Journal]

Commentary | Steve Morris rounds up reactions to Guillem March’s anatomically improbable Catwoman cover, which combines the infamous “brokeback pose” with a pneumatic Power Girl look. [The Beat]



“Superman” and “attitude” are words that rarely go well together.

True, that.

Shattered “all” records since 2003?!!! Wow!!! How ridiculous. you’re losing it, CBR. “Shattering records” in a tiny niche market is hardly that significant. Calm down, you look silly.

Dude, if you don’t think that a huge month is significant to the people who read this site…retailers, readers, and content, you’re missing the point. It’s not silly at all. It’s extremely important to this “niche” market. Let’s celebrate something positive and eliminate snark, eh?

Go comics! Boo The Truth!

Wow, Lobdell’s quote makes me even more apprehensive about his replacing of Jurgens.

@michael P
attitude certainly worked for the character when siegel and shuster dreamed him up.

@the truth
“fans” like you are the last thing the comic industry needs.

To clarify, the Diamond Exclusive Era began in April 1997, when Heroes World folded and Marvel went to Diamond. These figures are the largest in dollar terms since then.

As to a the niche-ness of the market, the Direct Market is still the place where the majority of comics and trade paperbacks (when measured by dollars) in North America are sold. The relative sizes of the various markets here:

…and before you ask, digital, not included with these print figures, would have been around $25 million last year from what I understand.

@The Truth

Get outta here. This is very good news.

Just ignore the pessimists, cynics and whoever spoil our day! Way to go, comics!

@ The Truth

Spot on. Celebrating a “record” within a shriveled and anemic industry is laughable. Not to mention that fact that since comics are now $4 each, comics should be shattering dollar sales records (notice they did not shatter unit sales records, not even “since the Diamond Era”)

Note the paragraph in there on the exact topic:

“These are dollar sales and not unit sales — though the unit figures came close to setting records, and inflation is not really a huge factor in comparisons over the last two or three years. As we can see on this table of average comics prices, that December 2008 peak found the average weighted price of comics in the Top 300 to be $3.31; this month, the average weighted price was $3.53. That’s less than a 7% increase over three and a half years.”

The unit sales for the month was 7.3 million copies of the Top 300 comics — which is better than 160 of the last 176 months going back to 1998. The last time comics were regularly doing 7.3 million copies a month was in 1997, when there were between two and three times as many comics shops. So the per-store sales are much higher.

Thanks for the clarification – but it sounds like there is still some spinning going on with this story

They compare the dollar figures to 2008. Why not compare them to 1997. If they almost beat the unit share mark from 1997, then the dollar share in comparison to that should be enormously different

Also, just in terms of dollar sales, it barely beat some sales figures from December of 2008, and we’re thumping our chests over this??

As The Truth said, we’re celebrating a victory in a tiny, withering industry. We’re celebrating 7 millions comics sold, when 1 issue of Uncle Scrooge regularly sold 2 millions copies every month back in the 60’s

I guess the old saying is true, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

Rivaling December 2008 was relevant because that month’s figure was the highest single-month performance since 1996. Getting close to a 16-year high is definitely worth talking about.

I wrote the story being linked to — and I was covering the sales in 1997 when they happened. So I do compare the figures to 1997 in my post — and I also note that there’s an apples-and-oranges situation involved, as there were far more comics shops in 1997.

There is simply no comparing industry performance across decades — and I make it my business to do so — without acknowledging there are HUGE structural differences involved; it’s really two different industries.

By the way, Uncle Scrooge sold slightly over 1 million copies per quarterly issue in 1960, as did Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories; they did so only in 1960, and no comic book again sold a million copies until Star Wars #1. You can find these figures at my Comichron site. The caveats about comparing across decades go quadruple for comparing the Direct Market era to earlier times — but you may find interesting that the industry may actually be more profitable today than it was in those earlier times:

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