Flash: Rebirth Ranked #14 for August

IcV2 has posted their top 300 comics for August list with estimated sales figures. With no issue in July, Flash: Rebirth #4 still pulled a top-20 spot on the chart for August, coming in ranked #14. Sales estimates dropped below 80K to 78,107 copies.

Issue Rank Units Sold Change
Flash: Rebirth #1 (of 6) 2 102,429 +286.6%
Flash: Rebirth #2 (of 6) 4 86,183 -15.9%
Flash: Rebirth #3 (of 6) 10 83,086 -3.6%
Flash: Rebirth #4 (of 6) 14 78,107 -6.0%

Most comics do drop in sales from month to month, miniseries especially, but my understanding is that they usually level out. Flash: Rebirth actually dropped more from #3 to #4 than it did from #2 to #3…despite the fact that, according to ICv2, overall sales rose in August, buoyed by Blackest Night and Dark Reign.

So why the drop?

  • Did the delay cause readers to lose interest?
  • Did casual readers drop it at the half-way point? Is that typical? (I’ve found I usually give a miniseries 2 issues if I’m on the fence.)
  • Did the slow pacing of the first few issues frustrate readers?
  • Is it because it’s the first issue to be solicited after Flash: Rebirth #1 hit the stores? I’d expect that to have helped sales, given how well #1 has done.
  • Did budget crunches force readers to choose between Blackest Night and Flash: Rebirth?
  • Is it actually typical, and I’m just reading too much into it?

I’m puzzled.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?

Update October 2: The Beat thinks that these are “solid figures for a Flash title…especially considering that the property has gone through two failed major relaunches since 2006.”


11 thoughts on “Flash: Rebirth Ranked #14 for August

  1. papa zero

    I would think all of them were contributing factors with 1,3, and 5 being the most significant.

    Flash:Rebirth is definitely a big deal in the DC universe, but when you stretch it out into a relatively anti-climactic run of issues which are late AND scheduled for release against something that is generating the buzz of Blackest Night, Rebirth might be doing fairly well, all things considered.

    Personally, I haven’t had that much of a problem with the shape of the story (I’ll determine that when #6 is out) so much as the characterization but I think in a year’s time it will be fairly obvious to look back and see why those particular points you made proved that their strategy had them working against themselves in this case…

  2. fastest

    I think a combination of all your ideas is probably right. I’m sure many people lost interest in the series because of the delay. People that don’t necessarily read the Flash every month probably just forgot it existed. In addition, the first 2 issues were very slow, and then the third issue didn’t do that much to help it.
    I think it being the first issue to be solicited after #1 came out meant that retailers can adjust the amount they buy to the actual amount they sell. It’s like FMA #1. It sold 120K copies. But only to retailers. I can’t tell you how many I see in back issue bins and even in quarter bins. So retailers had the chance to adjust.
    I think at this point in time, everyone has to choose between issues. I recently had to drop about 60% of the books I buy per month (I’m now Marvel-free).

    It’ll continue to go down with #5 and #6, but probably not that much more. Than it will bounce back up with BN: Flash #1, then go down. Then it will bounce up again with Flash #1, and that may go down more gradually if it can come out monthly. Then it will skyrocket come the Flash “Sinestro Corps War” Story, and then it may actually increase every month. that would be interesting.

  3. I. Strange

    No doubt it’s a combination of factors, but I credit it to stolen thunder. Blackest Night, Captain America: Reborn, Batman and Robin–these are the latest “it” books. Barry Allen’s return, meanwhile, began over a year ago in DCU 0.

  4. I.Strange

    Just occurred to me that Rebirth #4 was originally solicited for July, the same month that Blackest Night and Captain America: Reborn debuted. That might explain the above average drop in orders.

    1. Kelson Post author

      That’s something I hadn’t though about: Not only competing with the big-name events, but competing with the launches of the big-name events!

  5. Demas

    The biggest factor, IMHO, is the inaccessibility of the series. Thousands of new readers were looking to Rebirth to introduce them to Barry and act as starting-point to jump into the Flash… instead, they got a LOT of obscure continuity, pages of technobabble exposition, and not a whole lot of fast-paced action/adventure (or Flash’s trademark). The diehard fans (and critics) might weather all of that, but someone with a low investment to begin with isn’t going to commit on that basis.

    Rebirth definitely needed to be a “Show don’t Tell” or “Bottom Line Up Front” type series. If it had been nothing but a straight-action/powers take on Barry, showing why the Flash is cool, the book would have earned loyalists willing to sit through bowtie origins and wait for mysteries to unfold during the regular monthly series. Right now, the book is forcing readers to ask themselves “Why am I buying this?”

  6. Barry Reese

    I think it’s hurt by the same factors that hurt lots of DC’s events: poor scheduling and inability to ship on time. What’s the big deal about Rebirth to the average fan? Barry came back in Final Crisis, not in Rebirth. And we know that he’s going to survive Rebirth reasonably unchanged because we’ve seen him in Final Night, which is set *after* Rebirth. Heck, because of solicitation info, we know Wally won’t bite it, either. Yes, no one probably thought that Barry would die in his Rebirth series but knowing in advance that the status quo seems mostly unchanged doesn’t make you feel like you *have* to read it when the issues come out. You can wait for the trade.

  7. Clegane, Sandor

    Given that the sales on the first issues reflect retailer estimates of interest, rather than actual reader interest, we are simply seeing the difference between what retailers thought they could sell and what they CAN sell.

    Then throw in a 6-week delay, and some additional orders come off. Pretty straightforward.

    But based on the sales so far, I suspect the ongoing sales will level off around 45-50K, just looking at the sales of this Rebirth vs. the GL one.

    Which also means a spin-off book (Kid Flash) selling somewhere around 70% of the ongoing’s sales probably won’t last forever, barring a big Flash-focused event to bump up sales. DC probably won’t keep Kid Flash going if it drops down to the 20K level.

  8. Kirk Warren

    As it’s not really a big title (it has some buzz, but it’s not a Blackest Night or other big ticket event), I think those are actually extremely good rankings and well within expected variance for a miniseries of this pedigree. If it had dropped intot he 20s and 30s by now, that would be cause for concern, but it looks fine as is to me and I wouldn’t bat an eye at seeing those numbers. It didn’t help that Blackest Night, Cap Reborn and several other major events started up midrun on Flash: Rebirth.
    .-= Kirk Warren’s latest blog post: Thoughts on Solicitations for December 2009 =-.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Like I said, I’m not sure what numbers are typical. I figured it would drop, but less than the previous issue. The fact that it dropped twice as much (by percentage, anyway) was a surprise.


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