NUMBERS GAME: Independents — July 2013

satellite-sam-issue-1-coverThe Indie Top 10

  1. (12) The Walking Dead #112 (72,975)
  2. (28) All New Fathom #1 (54,379)
  3. (42) East of West #4 (43,228)
  4. (48) Star Wars #7 (41,611)
  5. (66) My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #9 (35,153)
  6. (76) Satellite Sam #1 (32,452)
  7. (79) Red Sonja #1 (30,561)
  8. (93) Lazarus #2 (27,143)
  9. (103) My Little Pony Micro Series #6 (24,350)
  10. (111) True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #2 (22,401)

July saw several new #1s hit the independent publisher scene, with Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin’s Satellite Sam from Image Comics making the biggest splash at #76 on the charts. Suffice to say, though, it’s the continuing series that are keeping the non-Big Two in the top 100 month after month. With the phenomenal success of The Walking Dead (which is poised to go biweekly this fall) and Jonathan Hickman’s East of West (picking up an impressive 10% increase in sales with its fourth issue), Image clearly has the corner on creator-owned financial success. Even Lazarus, with its drop from 48,030 to 27,143 between issue #1 and #2, holds onto an impressively large audience. What’s the secret? In the case of these books, domination could be coming due to its clearly exceptional creator talent, but another factor might be at play too. Keep reading.


AllNew_FATHOM-01a_KonatFrom the depths.

All New Fathom #1 – 54,379
Bubblegun #2 – 5,681
Charismagic Vol. 2 #3 – 4,048
Jirni #4 – 5,790

Bubblegun #1 – 28,517 (June 2013)
Charismagic Vol. 2 #1 – 25,212  (May 2013)
Jirni #1 – 35,777 (April 2013)

Aspen Comics has been giving the comic market a unique opportunity this year. Every month since February, the publisher has released one #1 for the very satisfying price of $1. First issues have sold very well to stores as a result, but with subsequent sales quickly freefalling. But none of these titles have launched as high as All New Fathom #1. A new interpretation of the late, beloved artist Michael Turner’s original creation, this Fathom might very well have a chance at breaking out once again for the independent publisher.


Red-Sonja_1_DoranWith a mighty sword.

Red Sonja #1 – 30,561 (July 2013)
Red Sonja #77 – 5,212 (June 2013)

Star power, that’s what Gail Simone has. Relaunching Red Sonja for Dynamite Comics in July, the writer has brought rejuvenated attention to this classic heroine, not only increasing sales in a single month six-fold (with a second printing on the way), but also getting industry professionals excited as well. Issue #1 had 7 different covers, each from a different top female artist, and the excitement doesn’t stop there. Come this November, Simone will be launching Legends of Red Sonja, a mini-series featuring over a dozen female writers in celebration of the character’s fortieth anniversary. Looks like Dynamite made the right call on a property that deserves it.


8e5299d149f8b1c0e948285b16eab07c-wake3aThe non-Indie Top 10

  1. (89) The Wake #3 (27,560) – DC
  2. (124) Dexter #1 (20,540) – Marvel
  3. (128) Astro City #2 (20,193) – DC
  4. (151) Collider #1 (15,602) – DC
  5. (156) Fables #131 (15,109) – DC
  6. (171) Fairest #17 (13,915) – DC
  7. (175) Scarlet #7 (13,250) – Marvel
  8. (189) 100 Bullets: Brother Lono #2 (11,984) – DC
  9. (203) Powers Bureau #6 (10,883) – Marvel
  10. (207) Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1 (10,492) – DC

Traditionally, our focus for the Independent installment of Numbers Game has simply been on books being published outside of the Big Two, but not necessarily on creator-owned titles. Comics like My Little Pony from IDW and Star Wars from Dark Horse sell great these days, resting on the charts next to Image’s best offerings month in and month out. But what of creator-owned work published by Marvel and DC’s Vertigo imprint?

Well, it turns out that top ten starts almost where the other one ends. Chock full of high profile creators such as Scott Snyder and Brian Michael Bendis, who otherwise blaze up the charts every month with their corporate-owned super-hero work, this list shows that the distribution and marketing model provided by DC and Marvel may not be the best thing for a title on month of initial release. Their real advantage, I suspect, is in long term distribution through trade sales, but it just goes to show… day of release, it may pay to be independent after all!

What do you think Image and other independent publishers are doing right that the Big Two doesn’t seem able to duplicate for its creator-owned efforts? Sound off below!


Special thanks to Comichron for having more stats than any comic fan can imagine!



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