While I was writing my last post, I had missed some of the talkback in David Brother's original post, including Very Special Guest Steve Wacker from Marvel. David's second post addresses most everything, but I want to drill down to one statement that Steve made which I think is germane here:
"We’ll keep making comics and the sales will tell us whether or not people like ‘em. That’s the foundation we’re built on."
That's a very fair point, and the one that I really want to get across as well -- for in January 2012, Marvel's single best-selling comic (UNCANNY #5) sold (according to ICv2) a mere 63,477 copies.
Of course it's more than that, as Diamond's reports under-report by some amount (at LEAST missing the sales in the UK), and probably there's a little bit of movement over in the digital world, etc. - but those are truly and fundamentally depressing numbers.
When the FIFTH issue of AQUAMAN (Aquaman, fer cryin' out loud!) out sells every single Marvel comic, then there's something rotten in the state of Denmark.
I desperately want and need a strong and competitive Marvel comics, but nearly every recent strategy they've employed has had the opposite impact that they were trying for.
I'm of the opinion that not one of Marvel's "Prime Franchises" should ever have an issue that's below, say, 50k -- and those should be the third spin-off titles, the main books should be WELL over 100k, because there are MORE THAN ENOUGH people in the market to support those sales. AMAZING SPIDEY is easily as good of a book as it has ever been... so why is it selling at what would have been almost Cancellation level when I started in this business?
I'm fairly certain the reason is tied to the twice-monthly shipping, and $4 cover price, steps that, again, were completely and totally self-decided.
I'm with Steve -- Sales totals are, really, all that matter; so look at those charts and see that the audience IS speaking, and they are saying "Stop, please."