Musings of a fandom geek

Sometimes, you’ve just got to say “The laws of time and space? Who gives a smeg?”

Column – IDW Month-to-Month Sales July 2008

Posted by Michael Warren on August 19, 2008

One of the (many) things I do over at Memory Alpha is update the sales figures for IDW’s Star Trek line each month, when the estimated numbers are released. Taking my cue from the work of Paul O’Brien and Marc-Oliver Frisch over at the comics blog The Beat, I thought it might be interesting to cover them here, as well. I also decided to follow the format they have established for similar articles covering Marvel, DC and other publishers (because IDW releases usually fall outside the top 100, they don’t typically cover those).

So, here we go. Each release will contain the estimated sales figures from ICv2 and Diamond Comic Distributors, along with the percentage drop from the previous issue, as well as some commentary on the figures, and the title, from myself. The number(s) before the series titles represent their position on the ICv2 chart, which catalogues the top 300 comics each month.

In July, with three of the four ongoing series receiving two issue releases this month, it was a pretty full pull list for Trek comic readers. As is now typically the case, one series comes to an end, with another starting up on its tail.

(One important thing to remember – diminishing returns with each succeeding issue are a general trend in comic book sales, and do not necessarily denote a series is failing.)



07/2008 – Mirror Images #1 – 10,325

07/2008 – Mirror Images #2 – 8,763 (- 15.1%)

This new miniseries from the now-familiar triumverate of Scott and David Tipton with David Messina, exploring the ascendance of James T. Kirk to the captaincy of the ISS Enterprise, posts a fairly comfortable debut number. And whilst that second issue drop looks steep, it’s actually in line with trends from most of IDW’s previous releases (see General Comments below). I’ve found this tale rather intriguing so far, although the sudden jump to TNG-era for #3 (and then back to the main story for #4) seems like a mistake to me – if this sidestory was originally intended to form part of the Next Generation Mirror Images series (which was mooted earlier in the year, but, as it didn’t feature in IDW’s SDCC panel for 2009, I suspect may have been cancelled), then why not release it as a one-shot, or at the end of this storyline as #5?



06/2008 – Assignment Earth #2 – 9,329 (- 9.9%)

07/2008 – Assignment Earth #3 – 9,123 (- 2.2%)

John Byrne‘s continuation of the Original Series episode, and the only miniseries to release one issue in July, continues to do well. It hasn’t suffered as steep a percentage drop as the other series, and seems to be levelling out rather well, which suggests it’s keeping readers entertained enough to catch the next issue. It held no interest for me at all, I’m afraid, but your mileage may vary.



06/2008 – Enterprise Experiment #2 – 9,739 (- 15.9%)

07/2008 – Enterprise Experiment #3 – 8,973 (- 7.9%)

07/2008 – Enterprise Experiment #4 – 8,743 (- 2.6%)

I really don’t know what to make of D.C. Fontana‘s miniseries. It starts off as a fairly intriguing tale of Romulans and technology gone wrong, following on from “The Enterprise Incident“, when it suddenly veers off into Klingon territory and some sort of Preserver angle. That rapid sea change with #3 (as well as some confusing plot twists in #2 – what was Sarek doing in the Romulan Empire?) made me more than a little wary of the continuation, and the title lost me completely after #4. The numbers are fairly solid, though.



06/2008 – Turnaround #3 – 9,070 (- 2.3%)

07/2008 – Turnaround #4 – 8,703 (- 4.0%)

07/2008 – Turnaround #5 – 8,272 (- 5.0%)

The continuation of the Star Trek: New Frontier storyline by the author, Peter David, suffered a fairly brutal second issue drop of almost 30%, and a shipping problem – which resulted in sales figures being split between May and June – made it appear to have lost even more readers with #3, although this was later resolved. Being a story that depended on the reader having knowledge of events that had happened in several recent novels – including the Mirror Universe tale, “Cutting Ties” – made it more daunting for the less up-to-date reader. I myself never caught up after the Excalibur trilogy, and, although I had kept up with the general plot of the series, I still felt a little lost at times with this story, especially considering its quite convoluted plot of time travel and multiple universes. I’d like to say that it seems others may agree with me, since Turnaround manages to lose 35% of its readers between #1 and #5, far more than the apparent norm – only The Space Between has suffered a worse percentage loss.



It’s interesting to explore the sales patterns of IDW’s releases – with the exception of Alien Spotlight (which, as an anthology work, sees its sales vary considerably, depending on the subject matter of the issue in question), all of the series released so far follow a similar pattern: debuting over 10,000, with a typical second issue drop of around 15-20%, before a reasonably tame dropoff for the remaining issues, closing out usually around 8-9,000. These numbers are dropping as time goes on, however – with each successive miniseries, the opening and closing numbers are lower, although the percentage drops remain fairly similar.


Standard disclaimer for the estimates from ICv2: These estimates are based on sales by Diamond U.S. (primarily to North American comic stores), using Diamond’s published sales indexes and publisher sales data to estimate a sales number for Batman (the anchor title Diamond uses in its calculations), and using that number and the indexes to estimate Diamond’s sales on the remaining titles. They do not include sales made by Diamond UK, orders on these titles placed after the end of July, or copies purchased by Diamond but held in inventory at the end of July.
In addition, IDW do not sell exclusively through Diamond Comic Distributors, so actual sales numbers are likely to be higher.


Let me know what you think of this new column, and any suggestions you might have to improve it.


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