Batman Beats the Marvel Universe

by J.D. Cook

Alright so maybe the title isn’t exactly accurate. According to numbers released byDiamond Comic Distributors, Inc. last Friday, Batman #27 by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo was the top selling single comic book issue for the month of January. As a big fan of Snyder and Capullo’s run on the series I am not surprised the issue sold as well as it did considering issue 26 ended in a monumental cliffhanger with the Dark Knight ambushed and fired upon by the Gotham City Police Department. The ‘Zero Year’ story arc has been some of the most compelling and psychological work the duo has published to date. The second highest selling single issue belonged to Batman as well with Detective Comics #27.

That said Marvel still took home the biggest prize of the month by being the top selling Comic Book Publisher. Marvel took home 37.39 % of the industries unit share while D.C. only claimed 30.77%. The two major companies actually split the list of top ten single issues as Marvel had 5 issues which charted while D.C. also had 5 issues. A person has to wonder how much of Marvel’s current comic book success comes directly from their success at the box office. They have built a huge brand through various media. In the 1990’s their characters were a stable of Saturday Morning Cartoon shows and in the 2000’s their characters became a staple of summer movie blockbusters. Marvel has even brought obscure characters into the spotlight with the upcoming release of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately they did loose the rights to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men’s portrayal on the big screen in the early days of turning their character’s into film franchises.

In the meantime D.C. has focused almost solely on developing Batman and Superman movies. As a result the mainstream public really has very little knowledge of their extended universe. Looking at Marvel’s success with brand building throughout different medias it is bizarre that D.C. has not adopted a similar technique and applied it to their own characters. They have a good foundation with the success of the show Arrow, and the recent Man of Steel film but they do not seem to be able to put their pieces together in quite the right order. Maybe Man of Steel’s sequel, Batman vs Superman, will change things for D.C. but it seems they are stuck behind Marvel as the top Comic Company until that happens.

Lastly Image Comics claimed 10.10% of the comic market’s unit share. It’s great to see the creator driven company succeeding. Image is where the most interesting and unique stories are being developed free of shared Universe constraints like the ones writers at Marvel and D.C. must deal with. Their continued success with titles such as Saga and Black Science will hopefully give rise to even more fresh stories and creators.

Check out the Full Unit Share Pie Chart and List of Top Selling Comics Below.

Full Unit Share of Comic Industry

A Pie Chart on the Comic Industry

Top Ten Selling Single Issues of January 2014

1

BATMAN #27

2

DETECTIVE COMICS #27

3

AVENGERS WORLD #1

4

JUSTICE LEAGUE #27

5

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #25

6

ALL NEW X-MEN #22.NOW

7

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #26

8

HARLEY QUINN #2

9

AVENGERS #25

10

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #11

 

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