Jun 5th 2012 By: Graeme McMillan
Just how successful was DC Comics' September relaunch of its superhero line
? According to one analysis of the publisher's sales over the last few years, perhaps not quite as groundbreaking as initial reports might have suggested.
Marc-Oliver Frisch, who writes about DC's monthly sales for The Beat, took a look at the performance of the New 52 since launch
, and found himself wondering if the rebranding of the line had gone from "'game-changer' to 'meh' in eight months":
The "New 52" boost to the average number did not prove to be very sustaining, however. Between April 2005 and December 2007, average DC Universe sales never fell below 37K units. But by March 2012, they were down to an estimated 33,229 units, less than half of the September figure.
In April, there's a slight improvement, to be fair. Thanks to the conclusion of various low-selling titles in March, average DC Universe sales went up to 35,264 copies. And, with six of the "New 52" titles being replaced with new launches in May, that trend will probably continue. Overall, the DC Universe figure is well ahead of the weak first eight months of 2011, but broadly in line with the figures from 2008 through 2010.
For those who would like to draw their own conclusions, you can check out his post and look at the graphs of average sales for the last 110 months of DC sales data to see for yourself; Frisch's breakdown is compelling and easy to digest, although as always -- the data is a point of contention among industry experts.
This isn't necessarily good news for DC, considering the amount of publicity and attention the New 52 relaunch garnered. It is
worth pointing out, in the publisher's favor, that digital sales are not counted in the estimates Frisch is using and would likely add an additional 10 percent or so onto post-September sales figures, but even so - that's an unpleasantly steep drop in the seven months following the boom of launch, and doesn't bode well for the future unless something major is waiting in the wings for the New 52's first anniversary... or Before Watchmen
is every bit the hit DC is branding it as.