DC Beat Marvel's X-MEN Reboot With Killer Justice Leagues

DC Marvel Comic Sales X-Men Batman Superman

The ongoing competition between Marvel and DC Comics takes an interesting turn now that the sales numbers are in for August. As expected, the shocking X-Men reboot sold like gangbusters, as fans lined up to see the next age of Marvel's mutants begin. But even they were bested by DC's current top-seller, Deceased... but you wouldn't actually know it from looking at the official numbers.

The world of comic book industry sales figures, decision-making, and variant vs. standard comic cover separations is one casual fans will prefer to steer clear of, but thankfully, this new discrepancy is easy enough to grasp. And it all comes down to the fact that Diamond Distributors--the source of the actual number of comic books ordered by comic retailers each month--tracks issues based on price. If Marvel charges the same price for every variant cover of its House of X and Powers of X releases, the numbers are totaled. But if there's a discrepancy, like there was for DCeased #4... well, the top ten sellers aren't exactly as they appear.

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Before we dive into the problem, we'll offer up the Diamond top sellers of August 2019, as reported. No big surprise, the massive Absolute Carnage event nabbed the top spot, with the Marvel Comics #1000 special issue slipping into second. The first issue of DC's new Batman/Superman comic followed a ways behind, before the aforementioned X-Men relaunch issues stacked the deck. Have a look:

  1. Absolute Carnage #1 (233,173)
  2. Marvel Comics #1000 (206,931)
  3. Batman/Superman #1 (156,610)
  4. House of X #3 (109,110)
  5. Powers of X #2 (107,524)
  6. House of X #2 (101,972)
  7. Powers of X #3 (100,267)
  8. Absolute Carnage #2 (94,070)
  9. Batman #77 (81,215)
  10. Batman Curse of the White Knight #2 (74,838)

It's an impressive month for Marvel regardless of the oddities in accounting, timing three major releases to overlap (and showing why both Marvel and DC love reboots, relaunches, and events). But the problem arises when readers remember DC's new adherence to cardstock variant covers, retailing for a dollar more, and accompanying both the releases of DCeased #4 and Batman #76. As we mentioned above, Diamond counts these books as standalone, due to the price difference.

DCeased Batman and Damian Goodbye

In the past it's led to some eyebrow-raising among Marvel and DC talent, like the time Marvel boasted having the best-selling comic with their Secret Empire--despite both Batman and The Flash's halves of "The Button" outselling it, once variant cover prices were ignored. It's unclear just how long Diamond will continue the practice, but when adjusting the numbers to actually include the same issues of the same books regardless of variant (offered via Comichron) the list of August sales has one notable difference:

  1. Absolute Carnage #1 (233,173)
  2. Marvel Comics #1000 (206,931)
  3. Batman/Superman (156,610)
  4. DCeased #4 (119,786)
  5. House of X #3 (109,110)
  6. Powers of X #2 (107,524)
  7. House of X #2 (101,972)
  8. Powers of X #3 (100,267)
  9. Absolute Carnage #2 (94,070)
  10. Batman #76 (84,879)

The numbers show just how successful the DCeased series remains among comic book shops and their customer bases, which is further credit due to Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine's incredibly entertaining horror show. There are arguments to be made about the House of X and Powers of X books locked to a weekly release, as opposed to DC's monthlies, but Marvel's sales speak for themselves. The real surprise is that after so much talk in film, TV, and comic book conversations online about the desire for lighthearted, optimistic, and hopeful superhero stories... the numbers continue to suggest the opposite.

Marvel's celebration of its past was topped by a nightmare Cletus Kasady horror show, and followed closley behind by a series following Batman and Superman hunting DC heroes corrupted by evil. Oh, and the zombie-like DC apocalypse back as another top seller. We'll let the mutant fans decide whether or not Marvel's relaunch fits into that same group, now that Charles Xavier's X-Men are betraying their own beliefs to become Earth's dominant species. The important thing is: these are definitely the comics books that Marvel and DC fans shouldn't be missing.

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Source: Comichron

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