Bleeding Cool Bestseller List – 22nd January 2017 – "I Ordered Really Low On Monsters Unleashed But It Wasn't Low Enough"


This is the Top Ten Bleeding Cool Bestseller List, as compiled by a number of comic stores from their sales on Wednesday and Thursday. It measures what are known as the "Wednesday Warriors", those who can't wait to the weekend to get this week's comics. We salute you, and the keenness you bring to your passion.

This week, the Justice League/Suicide Squad event hits the top, followed by the usual big books from DC. Notably, Nightwing and Trinity outperform the Spider-Man books but Marvel do best with their new Star Wars original character book Dr Aphra.

And, you know, Monsters Unleashed did at least make it into the top 10…

  1. Justice League Suicide Squad #5
  2. Batman #15
  3. Justice League #13
  4. Superman #15
  5. Nightwing #13
  6. Star Wars Dr Aphra #3
  7. Trinity #5
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #23
  9. Clone Conspiracy #4
  10. Monsters Unleashed 1

Thanks to the following retailers

Who had this to say,

DC sweeps all ten position in our store's Top Ten–and once again, Marvel is losing readers who have decided to sit out the current wave of lackluster titles in hopes that Marvel will eventually launch its own back-to-the-basics Rebirth. Marvel's big event, Monsters Unleashed, was dead on arrival, coming in at #23 in our store this week. It's obvious that Marvel editorial has no idea what customers want to read; instead, Marvel keeps trotting out the same tired gimmicks to sell more books to stores (variants, deep discounts, match-to incentives) without worrying about appealing to the readers themselves.

Renewed interest in Captain America–the heroic 20th century version, of course.


Wow. We received a measly 16 copies on MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1, including the free overship. We have 5 left as Saturday at noon. Very few people care about the new "event." Invincible Iron Man is in freefall, Mighty Captain Marvel and Star-Lord have failed to register with readers… these are all indicators of fans' waning interest in Marvel. Which sucks– we WANT to sell Marvel, to be excited about their product, but there's only so much we can fake enthusiasm for mediocre comics. Especially when DC and Image are putting out consistently high quality work. Can Marvel open up their coffers and throw enough money at a Remender or a Hickman-level talent to come back and fix this? Jason Aaron can't hold it together on his own, and although Al Ewing's books are some of the best coming out, they languish from proximity to the rest of the line.


I feel like a broken record, but here's another top 10 list without a Marvel book. Actually, Marvel only had 3 spots in our top 20, and none were even in the top 15 so far this week! Marvel finally shows up at spot 16 with Star Wars Dr Aphra 3, Amazing Spider-Man at 17 and Clone Conspiracy at 19. We even had some of our Rebirth books from last week in our top 10 with Action 971 at spot 7, and JL/SS 4 making a return appearance after almost selling out of 100 copies there last week, and then selling most of this week's reorders on it. None of the Marvel books I've mentioned in this paragraph have hit double digit sales in my store yet in the first few days of sales. Ouch. Over the rest of the week and month, we will sell about 25 to 30 copies of these Marvel books, but most Marvel fans aren't your "Wednesday Warriors" at this point. Meanwhile, we've already sold over 40 copies of this week's top books: JL/SS 5, Batman, and JL in just 2 days, with the other titles close behind. Closing out our top 10 is Trinity at 4, Superman, CURSE WORDS 1 (so entertaining and our book of the week), Action Comics at 7 (rest of our shorted order from last week), JL: Ray Rebirth (selling better than expected), JL/SS 4 (just keeps selling) and Nightwing at 10. Other indy books in our top 21 include Kill Or Be Killed at 11, Power Rangers at 18, Motor Girl at 20 and Night's Dominion at 21.

So far, we're selling more Motor Girl and Night's Dominion than Monsters Unleashed 1, Mighty Captain Marvel 1, Starlord 1, Avengers 3.1, Invincible Iron Man 3, Venom 3, Gamora 2, Ultimates 2 # 3, or World of Wakanda 3. While some of these indies will only sell another few copies, and most of these Marvel books will sell another 10 or so copies over the next week or month, that's still some scary numbers for the "industry leader", especially on the first few issues. I know every store is different, but we've been done for a long time with playing the variant chasing game, and we're ordering lower than we have in almost 20 years on these new Marvel first issues and still not selling out of anything, even before the Marvel overships kick in. We gave Champions, Jessica Jones, Great Lakes Avengers and a few other new Marvel books a solid push, and it just fell on deaf ears, since people are just not interested in what Marvel's putting out right now, or they don't want to drop a book they already know they enjoy, to budget for what will be a quickly cancelled six issue series. Steve McNiven on a new series should be a strong seller, but I ordered REALLY LOW on Monsters Unleashed but it wasn't low enough. I'm just scared of how poorly received the MU one shots will be for $4.99 each. I feel like I'm going to eat my fair share on those when subs reject them, since they aren't interested in the main title that no one is buying so far.

Marvel announcing a third ongoing for Black Panther just seems like they couldn't be more out of touch with their audience. The main book is falling in sales, the second book didn't really catch and there's no market for a THIRD book for a character that could stay a strong seller with one really focused title, but short term thinking is going to make the character "radioactive" where he will be forced to go away for a while before they bring him back with a new number one six months after all his titles are cancelled. Just like every new Deadpool mini sells less than the last one, Marvel is about one more $9.99 issue of Deadpool away from dropping that down to one of my lower selling books from that publisher, when I used to sell almost 100 every month less than a year ago. Spider-Man/Deadpool has been my bestselling ongoing for a while now, but it's been sliding quite a bit these last few issues because of the oversaturation of DP titles right now.

I wish I had a better answer than asking for "less books, cheaper and better books" but they don't seem to want to hear it with their short term thinking. While our store is doing better than ever (best January so far in our 24 year history, selling tons of comics, TPBs, toys, Pops and more, just not much Marvel), our Marvel sales are approaching their worst numbers ever, hitting late nineties levels, where Amazing and Uncanny were barely selling to even the most hardcore Marvel Zombie. We've been cutting Marvel much closer to one or two copies over our exact sales by the end of the month, and allocating that budget to more Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Boom, DC and other indy books. I try NOT to sell out on most titles, because if I have a copy or two left at the end of a two month period, it means I covered my market and didn't strand 5 people that also wanted it, but didn't see it here.

Meanwhile, God Country and Curse Words are off to a great start and these are the types of books we're pushing with a money back guarantee, and we've sold crazy numbers so far on these books. We're going to dedicate a bigger push to Image titles (our bestsellers are Saga, Walking Dead and Paper Girls in single issues and TPBs, at over 100 issues sold each month) and just follow the market more carefully. I hope Marvel's next big relaunch includes less titles and more advertising money spent outside the industry. Less is more. I'd rather sell 10 top titles at 50 or 100 copies each than 25 mediocre books at 10 or 20 copies each, if that. Give me the right books with the right creative teams at the right price and we'll push them and sell them.

We sold some old X-Force from the end of the original run, sold some old cheap horror comics, older Swamp Thing and a few EC reprints this week. As always, a few Saga, WD, some Marvel variants for $5 including some 1:25 or 1:50 we just want to clear out that we bought years ago, and several Rebirth runs like WW, Flash, JL, Detective and more.

We sold a few Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, Hulk, Hellboy, Aliens Vs Predator and Spawn back issues this week too.


DC continues to crush it here. I was surprised that Trinity outsold Justice League. Curse Words 1 is off to an amazing start. Marvel had one book in our top ten (AMS 23) BUT a lot of Marvel books were in the top 20 for us. DC Rebirth trades continue to constantly end up at the cash register. One of my lowest selling new books was Angel. I am questioning the need for this book already. The new Star Wars tpb was a great seller as well.

We sold some mid grade TMNT issues 2 and 3 that had been in our inventory for over a year! We also sold some sharp Amazing Spiderman 252's for $75 each. Also, I have no idea but Spawn back issues do not stick around long. We sold a large stack to a few different customers.


No surprise that Justice League/Suicide Squad is at the top of the list, but given that we were missing key DC books (Superman, Batman and Justice League) due to a shipping error, Gamora and Monsters Unlimited actually made the top 10 this week.

It's interesting that Monsters Unlimited wasn't higher on our list. Thats probably due to our customers being event fatigued from Civil War 2.


Another interesting week for comics. Curse Words blew out the door. I find lately that many Image issue ones sell really fast to a subset of customers who are only looking for the next Walking Dead and won't be reading the book (or returning for issue two) while the readers often have a hard time getting in fast enough to get the book at all. Being a fickle bunch, it's hard to guess which books are going to catch the speculator's frenzy and which aren't. It has very little to do with supply and demand (as they'd like to think) or even quality of the book, but a more amorphous "are people talking about it on the internet today".

It can be frustrating, and made moreso when no one returns for issue two.

Speaking of no one returning for issue two… Gamora, Star Lord, and US Avengers (and Mighty Captain Marvel, which is number one but returning from issue zero) all had severe drops, just when you thought they couldn't get any lower. Terrible sales for the Marvel Now 2.0 (or whatever they branded it). It's no wonder the "Now" symbol is all broken up in the graphic.

Kill or Be Killed is still selling strong, as are the DC's. The main benefit I see for the $2.99 price point is that people stick around on a book longer. It's long-term thinking and the benefit can only be seen over the long-term. Bean counters hate that stuff, and always look for only immediate cause-and-effect. It's too bad there aren't more big-picture thinkers at all levels of the comics industry.


Slow week. Lots of Marvel titles out this week with only three Marvel titles managing to get into the top ten. Aquaman outsold Amazing Spider-man and Clone Conspiracy 4. Granted some people buy both covers of Aquaman though some buy the multiple covers of Clone Conspiracy 4 also. From Marvel Amazing Spider-man, Clone Conspiracy 4, Doctor Aphra, and Venom were the only real money makers for us this week. Thought I ordered low enough on Monsters Unleashed. Right now it looks like I was wrong. Another Captain Marvel series was not what the fans wanted. The Inhumans are not what the fans want to read about either. All New X Men did not see one extra person pick it up because of the Inhumans vs X Men crossover. I still order to high on Marvel because I am still amazed at how poorly they are doing. Marvel is stuck in their version of "DC You" funk right now. Marvel is tone deaf right now to what fans want. I need them to get back to exciting the fans.

Flash, Wally West of the 90s run oddly enough is in demand.


Doctor Aphra takes the top spot with a little bit of everyone filling out the rest. Monsters Unleashed was a fun read and did better for it. Popcorn flick in paper format. DC comic still doing well but the numbers are leveling out.

Wolverine and X-23 are the champions of the back-issue market which was to be expected. Star Wars still strong with new readers back tracking for all books, all publishers.

Star Wars was huge for us this week.  Darth Maul Pre Orders were almost 75% of our box holders.  We also saw a HUGE spark for Power Rangers.    Curse Words was the biggest surprise with a complete sell out of all covers.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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