Top 5 Smallest Print Run Venom
With a new Venom series coming up this month, I decided to make a list of Venom issues that might be underrated, by looking at the sales numbers. I wanted it to be just a list, but something quickly became apparent: Venom has not sold very well for a while … which is funny, considering that he seems to be a fan-favorite character. And Marvel know this, which is why they keep giving him chances in the form of new twists, no matter how misguided, on the character.
So the following list has the 5 least selling issues, but it's limited to one issue per series (or it would be all Space Knight) and after the list I will try to give some more information for each series. Let's go!!!
Venom: Space Knight #13
Venom (2011) #42
Amazing Spider-Man Presents Anti Venom #3
Venom: Dark Origin #5
Venom (2003) #18
Print run: 3,378
Reprint of the Agent Venom origin, a tiny print and a cool cover might make this book hard to find and good to have in your collection.
Venom (2011) #1 1:50 Sketch Variant (and 2nd-4th printings)
Max. Print Run for the Sketch Variant: 1,080
As always, treat these numbers with a grain of salt. Sales numbers of 54K for the first printing make the maximum print run for the 1:50 around 1,080 copies. Probably a lot of less, though.
If the 2nd print was less than 5K, let's assume that the 4th would not have reached 2K, which is a smaller print run than some of the store exclusives that will be coming out for the new series.
As mentioned above here's some more info on the regular series print runs in the form of charts … I am not a chart specialist so I hope these make sense:
As I said above weird series about extraterrestrial agents cloning Venom and a lot more nonsense, which was not what you probably wanted as a Venom reader in 2003. Guest appearances by Wolverine and Spider-Man, wonderful Sam Kieth covers on the first few issues and Skottie Young's art (and even Sean “Cheeks” Halloway for one issue) are the only redeeming features in the series. It started selling over 90K, ended right below 25K.
Rick Remender and Tony Moore, fresh off their Frankencastle mini-epic, was the dream team for Venom and they started a great run featuring Agent Venom / Flash Thompson, a frail character that in Remender's hands went through hell and back. Cullen Bunn took over after Remender left and kept the series alive for another 16 issues. First issue sold over 59K (one cover, 4 printings) and with 42 (+5) issues is the longest Venom title ever. Just not the original Venom, of course.
Venom Space Knight
Don't have much to say about that. Sales of #1 were almost 60K (with a total of 5 covers and there's a reprint of #1 in case you want an even cheaper option). People don't seem to have liked this that much, I honestly only took a quick look at the last few issues as Venom came back to Earth. That it barely made a difference sales-wise says a lot about how people didn't care for this.
Comparison of the performance of the first 13 issues of the three series (relative to the sales of the first issue)
Just using the first 13 issues as that's how far Space Knight got before getting canceled. You can see the huge instant drop of Space Knight and the struggle of the 2003 series. The way I read this is Venom and Sci-Fi don't go that well together! 2011, on the other hand, shows a way softer downward trend (losing between 2-5% per issue, which is pretty much normal for comics) and even managed to pick some readers for the Circle of Four storyline.
So Marvel has some store exclusives going on for the new Venom series, they even got the 1:1,000 McFarlane variant in an effort to push the sales of the first issue as far as they can go, which is absolutely reasonable. They even got some store exclusives for #2 and #3 planned in order for the decrease in sales not to be so sharp, but at the end of the day (as this article tried to prove) readers will only stay if they are engaged by the story and the art.
I really think Marvel don't have to reinvent the wheel every time they put out a Venom series. Also, it's probably a character that ideally shouldn't have his own regular series. I personally see it a bit like Lobo, the minis were great, the series, not so much … Remender's run was great, but, even thought it's a great story about addiction, weakness and strength, it's not the original Venom.
OK, that's about all I have to say about Venom, if there's anyone still out there what do you think?