July 11, 2008

Flash Sales: 1996-2002

Category: Flash History — By @ 9:56 am

Following up on yesterday’s graph showing Flash Sales from 2001-2008, I did some more searching and found a site with figures going back to 1996. More importantly, this one also has relative rankings.

Sales — but not ranking — dropped heavily in 1996 and early 1997. Of course, this was in the middle of the speculator crash, so the entire comics industry was doing pretty badly at the time. (Also, the first issue in these stats might have been higher, since #119 was a Final Night tie-in.)

They stayed in the low-to-mid 40,000s for the next few years, during the Grant Morrison/Mark Millar run and the return of Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn. Highlights during this period include:

  • #130, the first Morrison/Millar issue.
  • #135, part of the “Three of a Kind” crossover with Green Lantern and Green Arrow.
  • #1,000,000, part of the DC One Million crossover. Oddly, it didn’t jump much the previous month, when Waid and Augustyn returned with #142.
  • Small spike for #150, conclusion of Chain Lightning and a milestone issue.
  • Larger spike for #152, start of the Dark Flash saga.
  • I’m not sure what made #157 catch on, unless it was the striking cover showing Linda’s grave.

Sales started dropping as soon as Waid and Augustyn wrapped up the main part of their run (#159), and the book went into a series of done-in-ones.

Geoff Johns took over for a 6-part arc, “Wonderland,” with #164. I was surprised to find that sales dropped through the whole arc, but DC decided to give him the regular gig anyway. They kept dropping through “Blood Will Run,” bottoming out with the conclusion in #174. Oddly enough, that was also the highest rated issue since he’d taken over. The next year and a half held steady around 30,000. And the post-2002 climb is shown in yesterday’s post.

This shows an interesting contrast to DC’s current tactic of changing the creative team every time sales come in lower than the month before.

Other Observations

These years also cover most of Impulse‘s 90-issue run. At the start of this period it was selling in the mid-to-low-30K range, dropped to around 20K in 1998, and down to 15K from 2000-2002.

This also includes the overlap period between regular Annuals and Secret Files.

For three months in 1999, there were four Flash-related books each month: Flash, Impulse, and the miniseries Flashpoint and Flash/Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold. The latter miniseries outsold Flash for the first two months, then dropped below it for the next four issues.

The actual figures from CBGXtra appear after the cut.

The Numbers

Both these and the Beat figures are estimates, so you’ll notice in the overlap period of 2001-2002 they’re generally off by a couple thousand.

Date Rank Issue Sales
Sep 1996 58 Flash #119 53,700
Oct 1996 60 Flash #120 49,100
Nov 1996 73 Flash #121 47,600
Dec 1996 75 Flash #122 46,000
Jan 1997 62 Flash #123 43,900
Feb 1997 59 Flash #124 41,200
Mar 1997 62 Flash #125 40,500
Apr 1997 68 Flash #126 41,200
May 1997 63 Flash #127 40,000
Jun 1997 62 Flash #128 41,000
Jul 1997 65 Flash #129 38,900
Sep 1997 48 Flash #130 46,200 (yes, listed for September)
Sep 1997 50 Flash #131 43,900
Oct 1997 69 Flash #132 42,100
Nov 1997 53 Flash #133 42,600
Dec 1997 55 Flash #134 42,700
Jan 1998 39 Flash #135 46,800
Feb 1998 46 Flash #136 41,100
Mar 1998 52 Flash #137 41,300
Apr 1998 49 Flash #138 42,700
May 1998 53 Flash #139 40,400
Jun 1998 57 Flash #140 40,700
Jul 1998 59 Flash #141 39,400
Aug 1998 59 Flash #142 40,900
Sep 1998 56 Flash #1000000 47,000
Oct 1998 61 Flash #143 40,000
Nov 1998 58 Flash #144 40,100
Dec 1998 64 Flash #145 41,600
Jan 1999 59 Flash #146 39,400
Feb 1999 53 Flash #147 37,800
Mar 1999 63 Flash #148 38,600
Apr 1999 59 Flash #149 39,800
May 1999 56 Flash #150 41,900
Jun 1999 61 Flash #151 38,400
Jul 1999 51 Flash #152 44,100
Aug 1999 58 Flash #153 40,600
Sep 1999 62 Flash #154 39,400
Oct 1999 46 Flash #155 42,200
Nov 1999 44 Flash #156 41,400
Dec 1999 31 Flash #157 44,300
Jan 2000 35 Flash #158 40,900
Feb 2000 37 Flash #159 39,000
Mar 2000 42 Flash #160 39,000
Apr 2000 45 Flash #161 38,700
May 2000 44 Flash #162 38,100
Jun 2000 54 Flash #163 36,900
Jul 2000 52 Flash #164 36,300
Aug 2000 52 Flash #165 34,100
Sep 2000 60 Flash #166 33,800
Oct 2000 63 Flash #167 32,400
Nov 2000 69 Flash #168 32,100
Dec 2000 69 Flash #169 31,500
Jan 2001 72 Flash #170 30,300
Feb 2001 62 Flash #171 29,700
Mar 2001 61 Flash #172 28,900
Apr 2001 57 Flash #173 29,100
May 2001 53 Flash #174 28,700
Jun 2001 64 Flash #175 28,900
Jul 2001 75 Flash #176 30,200
Aug 2001 72 Flash #177 30,400
Sep 2001 74 Flash #178 28,700
Oct 2001 78 Flash #179 31,400
Nov 2001 86 Flash #180 28,700
Dec 2001 67 Flash #181 28,900
Jan 2002 70 Flash #182 28,500
Feb 2002 63 Flash #183 28,000
Mar 2002 62 Flash #184 28,900
Apr 2002 71 Flash #185 29,400
May 2002 67 Flash #186 30,000
Jun 2002 64 Flash #187 30,800
Jul 2002 62 Flash #188 31,800
Aug 2002 72 Flash #189 31,600
Sep 2002 58 Flash #190 31,400
Oct 2002 57 Flash #191 31,300
Nov 2002 70 Flash #192 30,800
Dec 2002 62 Flash #193 30,200