A look at Wonder Woman’s Sales
Once you do Batman and Superman, it's really hard to avoid taking a look at Wonder Woman. It's supposed to be Trinity after all, even if sales tell a different story over the last few years. If Batman sits comfortably at around 100K and Superman is closer to 60K, Wonder Woman seems to have problems breaking 40K. Yes, Batman traditionally sells as much (if not more) than Superman and Wonder Woman combined.
As always, we start with sales numbers in 1997, so it's 20 years of sales numbers, let's see what they tell us!
Wonder Woman Vols. 2, 3 and Straczynski: Hughes' covers and the bottom of the barrel
This time I decided to include all the data available, so I decided to break it down in two charts: one for volume 2 (#119-226) and another for volume 3 (#1-44) including the renumbering with issue #600 till the end of volume 1 (#614).
We join the series in the middle of John Byrne's run, which would take us to issue #136. Unsurprisingly, the numbers during these 18 issues remain very solid in the 36-39K range. After that, we get three issues by Chris Priest (#137, #138 and the One Million special) before new series writer is introduced: Eric Luke (whose main writing credit before WW was Dark Horse's Ghost, if i remember correctly).
Wonder Woman #139 sold a low 32,765 and by the time Luke left (#159) sales had lost another 10K down to a terrible 22,374. Again, keep in mind this was back in 2000 and the industry crisis was at its worst. Funnily enough, this run is getting increasingly popular due to Adam Hughes' covers (who would stay as the main cover artist until issue #197).
After Luke, other creative teams managed to push up the sales (Phil Jimenez, Walt Simonson or finally Greg Rucka), but it barely managed to break 30K (except, predictably, anniversary issue #200 with 43,810). until the title crossed over with the Infinite Crisis non-sense and (spoiler alert!!! But if you haven't read this already, there's a good chance you will never do) Wonder Woman killed Maxwell Lord (#219 with sales of 92,168). It seems that some people stayed around for the last few issues of the series, allowing it to pass away in the mid-40Ks.
Here's some interesting information, though: the lowest-selling issue was #161 with 21,275 copies. Why interesting? Because (a) it has a cover by Adam Hughes, which is always nice and (b) it's written by a certain Brian K. Vaughn. I am a creator groupie, so if I like someone I will try to get all of his work. I am pretty sure I am not the only one. Saga #41 sold more than twice number. Just saying …
In fact, issues 149, 152, 154-163 all sold below 25K and most of them have Adam Hughes covers. His Catwoman covers move around those sales and they are getting really hot. Zatanna sales numbers with Hughes covers are even lower.
Moving on to Vol.3 and the creative team that got everyone really excited: Allan Heinberg (fresh off his Young Avengers run) and Terry Dodson! #1 Sales of 139,862 seemed to confirm that DC had a hit in their hands. Sadly, it was not meant to be.
Heinberg's delays (4 issues in 9 months) made it clear that he couldn't keep up with a monthly series, so he decided to leave the series and wrap up his run in an annual. He left the series at 69,847 copies and in the hands of various writers (while numbers went down all the way 48,334) until Gail Simone came along.
Putting the most popular female character in the hands of Gail Simone seemed like a no-brainer. Her first issue, #14, jumped over 50K (53,071). Three years later, she left the series with issue #44 and sales of 25,443. Not even the 1:10 variants seemed to do anything for the sales. Time for a change!
Straczynski came in with issue #600 (anniversary issue, with variants and short stories by big creative teams). As it was the case with Superman #700, things looked immediately good: 63,700. As it was the case with Superman's Straczynski run, by the end of it, sales had gone down to below 30K. I guess it's easier to understand by looking at the numbers how DC thought it was time for a line-wide reboot, right?
New 52: Azzarello vs FinchTwo main runs for this volume: Brian Azzarello (#1-35) and Meredith and David Finch (#36-52). Nothing much to say here, series started strong, then experienced the standard decline until some people decided to jump back for the last arc of the Azzarello run.
Lots of people tried to get in with the Finch run, at which point the numbers became a bit more unstable due to variants possibly, but by the end of the volume they were back at Azzarello's lowest numbers 30K.
I have to give it to DC, they went back to Rucka even though his first run was not exactly gold, but he had a plan. And it seems it's working, as the numbers are still slightly over 50K, which sounds really good for Wonder Woman.
Also it seems that losing Frank Cho on variants didn't do much one way or the other, but getting Frison has been an amazing idea. With less and less retailers ordering the variants, however, does it really matter?
When we compare it to the previous volumes, we can see a sales improvement, but the standard decline is still there:
Still, doing a lot better than the other 2 volumes. It might not seem like much in the chart, but I would consider doing 25% better than previous volumes is a win for DC. For now. But that's all the big two think about.
Next week, we take a look at Marvel, possibly …