When DC Studios heads James Gunn and Pater Safran revealed their first 10 projects for Chapter One of the revamped DCU, one thing jumped out right away: they were all based very closely on comic books. And as I’ve noted many times, the closer the comics-to-media connection, the more copies the comic will sell.
And indeed, backlist titles for All-Star Superman, Supergirl, The Authority, Swamp Thing and Booster Gold immediately saw a run on Amazon. I didn’t screen screenshot all the rankings, but Supergirl from Tom King and Bilquis Everly sold out, The Authority Vol. 1 is sold out in print and All-Star Superman is currently #7,521 in Books, which I guarantee wasn’t the case prior to the announcement.
One can only imagine the scene at LA’s The Golden Apple comics shop, where Hollywood types traditionally make a run to pick up comics they need for development and what not. I’m sure anxious stars and agents grabbed every available copy of The Authority to see whether they’d be better to play Apollo or Midnighter.
James Gunn is no johnny come lately to comics – his work shows a deep knowledge of comics lore, and his social media is full of plugs and artwork. But his twitter feed has quickly become not only the prime place to debunk DC rumors – but the place to plug new DC comics. Witness this exchange last night (Screenshot):
This is a PR dream in action. Gunn tweeted a beautiful piece of Swamp Thing art by the late great Berni Wrightson, DC’s official twitter tweeted that “SWAMP THING WINTER SPECIAL #1 by @TomKingTK & @JasonFabok is now Free-to-Read with registration here bit.ly/3HCWYMX on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.”
And Gunn retweeted that! An 80 page giant, no less.
A little while later, Gunn had an even more direct comment on DC Studios’s impact on DC Comics sales.
Oh yeah! #ReadComics @DCComics https://t.co/mNFMJHzAt7
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 10, 2023
Given my current obsession with sales charts, I dug into the origin of this graphic, and it’s a site called CovrPrice, that tracks aftermarket sales and offers to “SEE WHAT YOUR COMICS ARE WORTH. REAL SALES DATA, REAL VALUES” along with other collector services. According to a story on the DC sales surge on ComicBook.Com,
Want to know what comic books are trending each week and why? COVRPRICE.COM uses live sales analytics to identify and compile the most robust market price guide, highlighting the weekly top trending comics. No opinions. Just data. Each week, they present a newly updated list of the TOP 10 COMICS trending in the aftermarket. These trends are due to rumors, fan-favorite covers, story-driven content, and content-related news.
Hm, must investigate more.
A previous tweet from Gunn right after the Chapter One announcement directly plugged the source comics, like Grant Morrison’s Batman and so on. And Gizmodo reported on the sales spike:
According to Amazon’s current list of best-selling superhero comics and graphic novels, readers are snapping up Morrison’s Batman and Superman books as well as King’s Supergirl (in both paperback and Kindle editions). The comics and graphic novels list (without the “superhero” subcategory) also shows the same three books in the top 14.
This is just one day after Gunn’s tweet, so you can only guess that these numbers are going to go up once DC’s various projects move along in production. Is James Gunn the new Oprah’s Book Club, causing a publishing boom in the comics world? None of these titles were exactly obscure to begin with, but if it turns more moviegoers into comic fiends, we’re all for it.
Unfortunately Gizmodo did not screenshot the Amazon chart in question, as it’s updated hourly. (Ya gotta screenshot it, people! Learn from an expert.) The chart as I write this shows the New Avengers: Breakout AUDIOBOOK by Alisa Kwitney at #1. It’s not a comic book, but we’re Alisa Kwitney fans here, so we’ll let it slide.