No votes for Widening Gyre?

§ August 2nd, 2010 § Filed under question time § 6 Comments

So I asked you folks to pick your single favorite ongoing comic book (or manga/TPB) series, and boy, you certainly chimed in.

I actually went through the comments and tallied up how many “votes” each title received…not that I was planning on declaring a winner or anything, but more out of curiosity. I half-suspected that, even though this isn’t necessarily a large enough sample (or even a diverse enough sample, given that it was restricted to a group relatively web-savvy and, I’m assuming, perhaps slightly more aware of the reading choices available to them), that the votes may somewhat reflect a general relationship to in-store sales.

There’s a slight correlation between the votes and our shop sales, in that, say, Batman and Robin (the top vote-getter) is one of the bestselling comics at our shop, compared to, say, 2000 A.D. or DMZ, which each got one vote and sell very little at our store. (In fairness, I should note that while the monthly DMZ sells poorly, we do good business in the paperback collections.)

However, the correlation doesn’t remain the same across the board…Amazing Spider-Man only received one vote, but is still a consistent mid-range seller for us, while Jonah Hex received three votes, though in-store sales have plummeted since the film was inflicted upon movie theatres. So anyway, as far as correlation goes, it’s close in some cases, but no cigar.

Let’s take a look at what you folks voted for:

  • Batman and Robin – As I said, most of you folks picked this as your number one (and some of you included “all Batman by Morrison” in your vote, which does sort of fit with my rule of multiple series that are essentially part of the same run). I’d probably pick this one as my current favorite as well, since All Star Batman is currently resting.
  • The next-highest vote-getter is Secret Six, which kind of surprised me since you don’t really hear a whole lot of chatter about it. Or maybe you do, and I just don’t hang out with the right people. But it is a good series, written by Gail Simone (and occasionally John Ostrander) with a nice mix of dark humor, exciting adventure, and outright horror. Consistently sells well for us, and I’m always having to bump up orders and put in reorders on it.

And then we get down to the middling vote-getters, the ones that got three, four, or five votes apiece:

  • Scalped – Another Vertigo title that barely moves any copies of the periodical magazine version at all, but sells relatively well in its trade paperback format. It seems like the trick with Vertigo is finding that balance between reasonably strong monthly sales versus the portion of the audience that waits for the trade, and by and large only Fables and related titles seem to manage an even balance right now. (By the way, the last time I did this “name your fave” thing, Fables was at the top…this time around, it only got mentioned twice.)
  • Walking Dead – A solid and consistent seller, and another comic that found a successful balance between monthly releases and trade collections. I wonder what effect the TV show will have on sales, if any. I mean, if there was a Walking Dead movie coming out, yeah, comic sales would peak right before release and then die off completely, which is what usually happens. But an ongoing TV show…well, it’ll be interesting to see what it does for the comic.
  • Hellboy and B.P.R.D. – …got an equal number of votes, appropriately enough. Both are essentially continuing series released as a series of mini-series (more B.P.R.D. than Hellboy), and…well, it’s good stuff. Don’t really have much to add to that. Also, they recovered nicely from the sales-killing movie effect, thankfully.
  • Fantastic Four – This is another title that’s recently undergone an upward bump in sales, as people seem to be catching on to Jonathan Hickman’s excellent scripting on the title. I really like the concept of the Fantastic Four, though there have been gaps in my reading of the title (like, oh, say, the 1990s) where I didn’t much care for what was being done with it. But I came back onboard with Mark Waid’s run, followed by Mark Millar, and now Hickman, and it’s been quite a fun ride throughout.
  • Yotsuba&! was the top manga vote-getter, and it is indeed a very amusing and cute comic, about a five-year-old girl doing five-year-old girl things, to the amusement and occasional annoyance of family and friends, and its return to the shelves after a brief publishing hiatus was quite welcome.

And then there were a couple of things that sort of surprised me:

  • The only X-Men title anyone mentioned was X-Men Forever, which received one vote. The continuity-free, retro-style X-Men title, the only one anyone voted for. Perhaps there’s something to be learned here.
  • Deadpool – another one-voter, though there’s something like two dozen Deadpool comics on the stands at any given time. Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but not by much, and somebody‘s buying and reading all these. (And not reading my site, apparently.)
  • Punishermax – only one vote, which surprises me since the title seems to be slowly gaining readers with each issue. And it is a good series…I talked about it before, and it really is a return to the Garth Ennis-style Punisher. And as people catch on to that, the sales creep up.
  • American Vampire – also one vote, but this is one of the stronger Vertigo debuts in a while, and it’s selling reasonably well. I wonder if it can maintain the strong newsstand sales once the paperback collections hit.
  • Tales Designed to Thrizzle only received a couple of votes. This should have received every vote, my friends.

Okay, I’m going to cut it off here for now…if I have more to say about the results, I’ll pick it up tomorrow, but in the meantime — thanks for participating, everyone! This gave me a nice overview as to what you folks are reading and enjoying, and I’m glad you all took the time to leave a comment. I really do appreciate it.

6 Responses to “No votes for Widening Gyre?”

  • JD says:

    I didn’t vote, but PunisherMAX would have been one of my main candidates. I was a bit wary with the initial announcement that it’d be integrating new version of the Kingpin and Bullseye, but it’s worked out surprisingly well. I’m especially loving the current Bullseye arc, as Aaron manages to make him absolutely terrifying through his sheer batshit-insanity (I think he’s used his superior marksmanship… twice so far ?). And Dillon is the perfect artist for this.

  • Andres says:

    How many times did employee Aaron vote for Hellboy?

  • Rob March says:

    While I love Tales Designed to Thrizzle, I found the latest issue uneven…some brilliant stuff, some jokes dragged out too long. And since fame is fleeting, my opinion of the most recent issue probably colored my rating, even if I do love the series. Kupperman’s Twitter feed is often really really funny.

  • Leroy Hart says:

    Curious, and sorry if you’ve answered this before, but honestly do the “Deadpool” books sell as well for you guys as Marvel claims they are across the country?

    I’m a child of the 90’s, I do enjoy me some Wade Wilson hilarity (such as the Joe Kelly stuff), but I just keep finding it harder and harder to believe so MANY ‘Pool books are being supported by such a fragile market. It’s just hard to believe, seeing as though the character made a brief, mostly-horrible appearance in the “Wolverine” movie, he’s suddenly seen such a huge resurgence, which I assume will only peak and crumble once Deadpool sooner than later has his own movie. And is this trend in your opinion caused by people STILL thinking they can retire on comic books sparked by movie interest?

    I guess I would just like to see a comic book do really, really well just for being a comic book, you know? Without a silly movie prodding it along. I suppose, though, that WAS the 90’s, and we all saw how responsibly the industry treated THAT decade…Thanks, Mike!

  • “Continuity-free” doesn’t seem right for X-Men Forever. It’s out of Earth-616 (is that right?) continuity, but it’s *all* about the continuity of Earth-Claremont as that had developed through nineteen-ninety-whatever.

  • Mikester says:

    Jacob – You’re right, I was just using “continuity-free” as short-hand for “you don’t have to read a half-dozen X-books to figure out what’s going on!”