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Author Topic: Superman of Earth-One still number one!  (Read 5178 times)
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Gangbuster
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« on: May 27, 2006, 08:07:39 PM »

I got bored today and did a bunch of Superman sales research. It was interesting to me, maybe not so much to you. At any rate, here it is....




=========================================================

"Those [Silver Age Superman] stories were like weird fever dreams and they sold millions and millions of copies every month. So, I'm still not sure about 'realistic' comics. Sales are always crap when comics get 'realistic' and sales are particularly crap right now, considering the wide-ranging public acceptance of superhero stories in other media."

-Grant Morrison, before releasing All-Star Superman #1

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2005 comic book sales info:

Of all of the Superman comics released in 2005, seven of them made it into the top 50. It is interesting to note, however, that all of the ones that did featured Silver-Age style characters or teamups. They were:

6. Justice #1

13. Supergirl #1 (with Kara Zor-El)

16. All-Star Superman #1

35. Justice #2

43. Superman/Batman #17

47. Superman/ Batman #19 (prelude to first issue of Supergirl)

50. Superman/Batman #18

To put this in perspective, All-Star Superman #1 didn't quite break 200,000 copies, but it did sell more copies than all of the regular Superman titles...combined!

November 2005 sales estimates:

All-Star Superman #1: ..............170,802
Superman #233: .........................69,739
Action Comics #833: .....................44,613
Adv. of Superman #646: ..............43,183

When rounded, this estimate says:

Superman of Earth-1: 171,000
Superman of Earth0?: 158,000
=======================================

Onward to that thing that is really keeping the comics industry alive, graphic novels in bookstores! While Amazon.com does not release actual numbers, they do have sales ranks. Here are the sales ranks for a number of Superman books: (also from 2005)

Supreme: The Story of the Year: #20,678

Tales of the Bizarro World: #25,549

Superman in the Sixties: #40,235

Superman vs. the Flash: #40,842

Crisis on Multiple Earths, vol. I: #60,568

World's Finest Comics Archives: #139,442

Man of Tomorrow Archives: # 166,892 ($50 hardcover book!)
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Compare with the sales ranks of some of the most talked-about post-1986 Superman stories:

For Tomorrow: #65,633

Superman/Batman: Supergirl: #72,611

The Death of Superman (Jurgens, etc.) #75,239

Man of Steel, Vol. 1 (John Byrne) #116,264

The Wedding and Beyond #235,097

Superman: Transformed! #259,150

The Death of Clark Kent: #481,720
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As with the comic books, the bestselling graphic novels were either from the Pre-Crisis period, or very much like it.

===========================================

Now, for DVDs: (more recent analysis, 5/27/2006)

I scanned Amazon.com for the same kind of data. Superman tv shows do not vary as much as the comics when it comes to personality differences, or the general character, powers, or mission of Superman. They all sell VERY well. Of all the recent Superman TV DVDs, (and Superboy pre-orders) all of them are ranked above #4,000 on Amazon.com, except for the earlier seasons of Smallville, which are competing with a flooded market of  resold used DVDs by now.  

One interesting thing to note is that the animated DVDs tend to sell better than most of the live-action ones.
===========================================

That's all the data that I care to gather for today. From it, I would posit that Superman of Earth-1 (1940-1986) is still more well-known and popular than his modern age counterpart, in comic book land. That may be why Kurt Busiek, nicknamed "Mr. Silver Age" was brought in to work on the Superman titles, and Bryan Singer has chosen to do a "classic Superman" in the new movie coming out this year.

On the other hand, there is a case for the Golden Age Superman...the first couple of issues of Infinite Crisis outsold those other comics I listed, and "It's Superman!," the Superman novel set in the 1930s, outsold all of those other books. But Kal-L is dead, DC killed him, and I doubt they will give him a monthly comic book any time soon.

G Cool
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Genis Vell
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2006, 07:52:57 AM »

Quote from: "Gangbuster Thorul"


"Those [Silver Age Superman] stories were like weird fever dreams and they sold millions and millions of copies every month. So, I'm still not sure about 'realistic' comics. Sales are always crap when comics get 'realistic' and sales are particularly crap right now, considering the wide-ranging public acceptance of superhero stories in other media."


Right.
Sadly, Sales became lower during the Bronze Age, even if there were the great stories by Maggin, Bates and the others.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2006, 11:41:00 AM »

I don't know about pointing to "the Nielsen ratings" as justification for creative decisions; after all, lest we forget, the Ron Marz issues of GREEN LANTERN sold better than the Steve Englehart issues of GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Many incredible ideas have not survived because of poor ratings, but should have because of the greatness of their concepts: Priest's THE CREW, Mantlo's CHAMPIONS, Kurt Busiek's POWER COMPANY, and so forth.

However, if what you are doing is noticing an overall trend that people "take" more to Superman in his classic incarnation....yeah, sure, absolutely.

I can't help but feel, however, that this is beating a dead horse.

We've "won," haven't we? The Byrne origin in MAN OF STEEL is no longer in play, replaced by the BIRTHRIGHT origin, featuring a sympathetic gutsy frontier Krypton, a superintelligent Superman, and scientist Lex Luthor. According to INFINITE CRISIS, Superman was at one point a Superboy. Guys that love the Classic Superman like Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns are on SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. The current Supergirl is the same character as she was pre-1986, and is in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Lex Luthor is back to being a criminal supergenius with death rays.

The only thing they've YET to bring back is the Supermobile. So what more do you want?

Quote from: "Gangbuster Thorul"
"Those [Silver Age Superman] stories were like weird fever dreams and they sold millions and millions of copies every month.


Grant is exaggerating here: "millions?" Comics haven't done that well since the 1940s.

Quote from: "Genis Vell"
Right.
Sadly, Sales became lower during the Bronze Age, even if there were the great stories by Maggin, Bates and the others.


Yes, but I don't think that has anything to do with the stories that they told and their respective quality. So many other factors in pop culture and the media have to be looked at. For instance, the dominance of television.

People have a problem often with reading, unfortunately. I often find myself wishing *I* read more, and I work in a library!
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2006, 11:07:45 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
after all, lest we forget, the Ron Marz issues of GREEN LANTERN sold better than the Steve Englehart issues of GREEN LANTERN CORPS.


No, actually, they didn't.

They charted higher, yes.  They did better by comparison to the other books of the day.  But in absolute numbers, the average issue of the Englehart run outsold the average issue of the Marz run.

kdb
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2006, 08:09:41 AM »

I am very pleased to be mistaken about this.

I still read over that Englehart LANTERN CORPS issue the chipmunk Green Lantern. The one with Dr. Ub'x? I loved that issue, it was one of the few that honestly made me really cry. At first it was a funny animal story involving furry squirrels shooting acorns and evil crab commanders saying "I'd prefer a SIDE attack!" THEN...when Ub'x realized that he alone survived the original Crisis, that he was alone and different from every other being in the universe...and finally, when he was pulled together by his former archenemy and they embraced...it was astonishing.

One of the truly, truly saddest stories ever written, right up there with the Cary Bates story about the Legionnaire with the unique power he could only use once...because it would kill him.

One of the best DC comics ever written.

And the issue where Salakk becomes Pol Manning? Whoa!

Since it was brought up by me, Kurt, I'm really, really pulling for your POWER COMPANY! I pulled for it when it came out - I even bought all the little individual issues where each member teams up with Nightwing or Green Lantern or whatnot. I loved the Dragoneer, and the appearance by Doctor Cyber. I loved Striker Z and his unique power. I loved the cute stuff like the team's vehicle being called "the company car." I love Bork's white undershirt. I cheered when they showed up, even in a cameo, in your JLA Crime Syndicate story. And I wanted to kick somebody when that book was canceled before its time.

The point I made above stands, however, just (insert unworthy comic that did well here) that outsold (insert great comic that wasn't a big hit here).
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
NotSuper
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2006, 08:43:11 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
So what more do you want?!

Frankly, I'm satisfied. I might not agree with everything DC does (though I do agree with quite a lot of it) but most of the changes they've made have been great. Having Busiek, Johns, and Morrison ALL working on Superman at the same time is like a dream come true. What this shows me is that DC is serious about Superman and is putting their A-list writers on the character. Furthermore, older concepts and characters are being brought back in fresh new ways to new audiences. And the innovative new concepts like 52 (which also features DC's best writers) really captures my imagination. I have the enthusiasm for comics that I had as a kid.

I was a little upset with Superboy-Prime being a villain and the Earth-2 Superman dying, but those are the breaks (and I can look past them since the story was good). Besides, who stays evil or dead for long in the DCU? (Incidentally, I'm doing a review of Superboy-Prime's first appearance for the Superman Homepage. He's always been one of my favorites.)
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Many people want others to accept their opinions as fact. If enough people accept them as fact then it gives the initial person or persons a feeling of power. This is why people will constantly talk about something they hate—they want others to feel the same way. It matters to them that others perceive things the same way that they do.
Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2006, 01:38:36 PM »

Quote from: "NotSuper"
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
So what more do you want?!

Frankly, I'm satisfied. I might not agree with everything DC does (though I do agree with quite a lot of it) but most of the changes they've made have been great. Having Busiek, Johns, and Morrison ALL working on Superman at the same time is like a dream come true. What this shows me is that DC is serious about Superman and is putting their A-list writers on the character. Furthermore, older concepts and characters are being brought back in fresh new ways to new audiences. And the innovative new concepts like 52 (which also features DC's best writers) really captures my imagination. I have the enthusiasm for comics that I had as a kid.

I was a little upset with Superboy-Prime being a villain and the Earth-2 Superman dying, but those are the breaks (and I can look past them since the story was good). Besides, who stays evil or dead for long in the DCU? (Incidentally, I'm doing a review of Superboy-Prime's first appearance for the Superman Homepage. He's always been one of my favorites.)


Feelings on what they did to Kal-L and Superboy-Prime aside (and the quality of "Infinite Crisis"), don't see how "52" is "innovative" in the slightest---it's just a knockoff of the format of the TV show "24" (right down to the title)...
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Gangbuster
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2006, 02:18:34 PM »

Quote from: "Johnny Nevada"
Quote from: "NotSuper"
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
So what more do you want?!

Frankly, I'm satisfied. I might not agree with everything DC does (though I do agree with quite a lot of it) but most of the changes they've made have been great. Having Busiek, Johns, and Morrison ALL working on Superman at the same time is like a dream come true. What this shows me is that DC is serious about Superman and is putting their A-list writers on the character. Furthermore, older concepts and characters are being brought back in fresh new ways to new audiences. And the innovative new concepts like 52 (which also features DC's best writers) really captures my imagination. I have the enthusiasm for comics that I had as a kid.

I was a little upset with Superboy-Prime being a villain and the Earth-2 Superman dying, but those are the breaks (and I can look past them since the story was good). Besides, who stays evil or dead for long in the DCU? (Incidentally, I'm doing a review of Superboy-Prime's first appearance for the Superman Homepage. He's always been one of my favorites.)


Feelings on what they did to Kal-L and Superboy-Prime aside (and the quality of "Infinite Crisis"), don't see how "52" is "innovative" in the slightest---it's just a knockoff of the format of the TV show "24" (right down to the title)...


I've never seen 24, but the One Year Later scenario is definitely from Marvel's Secret Wars.

Who stays evil or dead for long in the DCU? Hal Jordan, that's who! Superboy Prime is the new Hal Jordan, as you will soon see in Infinite Zero Hour.

What more do I want? I guess I missed something. I just looked up some data and typed it into "the Internets." But by all means, crusade against the mentality that I supposedly have! For my part, I have enjoyed every single issue of All-Star Superman, which I have BOUGHT, using MONEY. Also, the Superman issues that I keep stealing from Kurt Busiek's house are pretty good too  :wink:
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"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

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