March 9, 2012

Flash Holding Steady as the #8 Comic, Three Months Running

Category: Flash News — By

Diamond has released its sales rankings for February, and The Flash #6 comes in at #8 for units sold.*

This marks the third month in a row that the Flash has been ranked #8, and the sixth in a row that it’s been in the top 10. In fact, every issue of the series since the relaunch has been in the top 10. It’s been a long time since the Flash was ranked that highly. Even the high-profile relaunch of Flash: Rebirth dipped below #10 in the middle of its run, and the Geoff Johns/Francis Manapul series spent most of its time in the 11-20 bracket.

Of course the streak will probably break next month when Marvel launches Avengers vs. X-Men, but during the time between giant events, with the series competing mainly against other regular series, it looks solid.

If DC is nervous about this book, the rankings suggest they shouldn’t be.

*Usual note: These are US print sales only.

March 5, 2012

News Flash! Jay Garrick’s Earth-2 Redesign Revealed!

Category: Covers, Flash News — By

Newsarama has revealed the new Jay Garrick design with the Earth 2 #2 cover in this interview with James Robinson.

As the book unfolds, Jay Garrick is very much our point of entry to the world. He’s the “everyman” character that we all like, that we all want to be, want to hang out with. That’s kind of the role he was in the original Earth-2, and I think it suits him well. He’s the likable guy, the one you care about.

The description of Jay himself sounds okay, but I think the costume is a horrible move. Over on Twitter, Greg paraphrased Barry Allen in The Dark Knight Strikes Again: “folks don’t know the difference between ‘old’ and ‘classic’.” The rest of the interview doesn’t do anything to help the concerns I raised yesterday about this this book and alternate reality being his only home in the New 52.

So what do you think? Is this a great redesign? A terrible one? Good for some Flash, but bad for Jay Garrick?

January 12, 2012

Quick Thoughts: The New 52, Wave 2

Category: Opinion — By

DC has announced the second wave of the New 52, with more details at USA Today. They’ll be adding six new series in May, and dropping six after #8 to keep the total at 52. Update: CBR interviews Bob Harras about the focus of the new books.

First off, I don’t think keeping it at 52 is a great idea, because the first time they change their line-up to feature 51 books, or 52, or anything else, people will read way too much into it.

Anyway, the canceled books:

  • Men of War and Blackhawks. War books are a tough sell these days. No surprise.
  • Mister Terrific. A gamble from the beginning, and the only praise I’ve heard about it is from the skeptic community for portraying an atheist in a positive light.
  • Static Shock. After all the effort DC went to to get Static (the only Milestone character they seemed interested in), what went wrong?
  • Hawk & Dove. The series’ biggest selling point was Rob Liefeld. Make of that what you will.
  • O.M.A.C. This always seemed to me as a — I don’t want to call it a vanity project — but basically, a chance for Dan Didio to have fun writing something. My guess is they didn’t really expect it to sell, but positioned it as an ongoing just in case people liked it.

And the new books, after the cut. Read the rest of this entry »

October 14, 2011

Flash Relaunch Sales Analysis

Category: Flash News — By

Flash #1 Sells Estimated 129K in US, Over 150K Worldwide

ICv2’s September sales estimates are out, and The Flash #1 is ranked #4 on the charts with 129,260 units sold. Those are US-only numbers, based on sales through Diamond, and DC states that the book has sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. Let’s stick with the ICv2 numbers for now, though, because they’re the ones I’ve been tracking over the last few years, which means we can compare trends over time.

The new Flash #1 does in fact beat the previous record-holder, Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 (2006, starring Bart Allen), which sold an estimated 126,741 copies after reorders.

Issue Rank Month Units Sold
Flash:TFMA #1 7 June 2006 126,741
All-Flash #1 22 July 2007 78,955
Flash v.2 #231 26 August 2007 72,898
Flash: Rebirth #1 2 April 2009 102,429
Flash v.3 #1 2 April 2010 100,903
Flashpoint #1 2 May 2011 95,845
Flash v.4 #1 4 September 2011 129,260

I’m only listing the launches here, since none of the series lasted long enough to find its level and start building back up. Flash: TFMA (Bart) dropped to around 46K before experiencing a Countdown-powered uptick. The relaunched Flash vol.2 (Wally) dropped into the 20s, about half the numbers it was pulling in before Infinite Crisis, when it peaked at 50K for the final issue of Geoff Johns’ first run. Flash: vol.3 (Barry) seemed to level out around 54K over its last few issues.

It’s obvious that a lot of the success of this issue is due to the massive relaunch. But at the same time, while DC’s 52 #1s sold phenomenally well overall, they didn’t all sell over 100,000 copies. This has driven home the fact that the Flash really is one of DC’s top-tier characters. Even if half the general public thinks his name is Gordon, they at least know he’s the guy in red who runs fast. He really is cancellation-proof.

The real question now, of course, is how many of those readers who picked it up to try it out will stick around. Based on the last six years, I think if the book is still selling well over 55K a year from now, DC can count this Flash relaunch a success. If not, well…fifth time’s the charm, right?

A few key articles covering past sales (with lots of numbers):

October 7, 2011

New 52: Flash Debuts at the #4 Comic for September

Category: Flash News — By

Diamond has released its September sales charts, and The Flash #1 takes the #4 spot on the chart. DC dominated the charts with 9 of the top 10 comics, and Flash was beat only by Batman #1, Action Comics #1, and Green Lantern #1.

From what DC has said before, we know that The Flash sold somewhere between 126K and 200K copies (more links in that article to older sales figures). And if three of DC’s books sold over 200K, and Flash is #4, it’s probably at the high end of that range.

Detailed sales estimates will no doubt be available soon at Comic Chronicles & ICv2.

Update: I had an interesting thought. Is this the first time sales have gone up with the next issue after Geoff Johns has left a series? Obviously the circumstances are unusual, but still…

September 30, 2011

Review: Flash #1 (The New 52)

Category: Reviews — By

I had no idea what to expect from The Flash #1. Actually, that’s not entirely true: I knew I could expect fantastic art by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, and it delivered. But I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story, the pacing, the characterization. And after five years of Flash relaunches, Wally’s disappearance, Bart’s death and rebirth, Barry’s return as Captain Angst, Wally being pushed so far off the sidelines that DC acted like they didn’t even recognize his name, and a general trend among the mainstream parts of DC moving away from the characters and stories that I wanted to read, I was beginning to wonder: Is it time to hang up the boots for a while?

Well, after reading the first issue, I can say: Today is not that day.

Some of the things I liked:

The art. This was my favorite part of last year’s Geoff Johns run, and it’s even better here. Not only does it look good, but Francis Manapul continues to experiment with layouts as well, going far beyond the standard grid-and-splash-page patterns. I particularly liked the fall from the helicopter and the page showing Barry in his apartment. And when was the last time you saw a splash page of the Flash standing still (and not posing dramatically) look so good?

With DC’s newfound emphasis on deadlines, I really hope these guys can keep on schedule!

The speed. While it’s not a headlong rush from beginning to end, it never drags. As much as I liked “Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” I still felt like it would have been better at 2/3 the length. This doesn’t feel padded.

Read the rest of this entry »