The series got off to a strong start, debuting at number 41 on Diamond Comic Distributors‘ monthly sales charts, but quickly saaw a 35.13% drop-off in its second month. Over the first five issues, The Wicked + The Divine saw an average decline of 11.2% in sales from month to month, suggesting that readers weren’t kept engaged by the story or quickly began to trade-wait. That theory is supported by the fact that the first trade, which collected issues 1-5, debuted at #4 in November, selling over 7,700 copies at the distributor level.
Unfortunately, the trend did not improve after what should have been a solid jumping-on point. The December issue of The Wicked + The Divine sold only 22,159 copies, marking a decline of 12.84% from October’s issue #5.
What’s most surprising about the downward trend in sales for The Wicked + The Divine is that it hasn’t correlated with the book’s perceived quality. Comicbookroundup.com, which aggregates review scores from across comic book review sites, shows consistently high ratings for the book. The series debuted with a very solid 8.8 aggregate score, with over thirty-one sites offering reviews. The low point came in issue #3, with an average review score of 7.7, but no other issue has earned a combined score lower than 8.4. As the series has gone on, fewer and fewer reviewers have chosen to score the book, with May’s issue #10 receiving only two scores for an average of 8.5. This would suggest that the book’s hardcore fans are enjoying it, but more casual readers have fallen out of the month-to-month chase.
Let’s be clear, none of this is to say that The Wicked + The Divine is in trouble. The book’s sales are very solid for a niche indie title, and if it plateau’s at around twenty thousand copies per month, that would put it in comfortable company with such mainstream books as Gotham Academy, Captain Marvel, and Black Widow, or indie successes like My Little Pony. With a second trade volume on the horizon, it will be interesting to compare numbers from the first volume to the second, as this will tell whether the series is retaining it’s long-form readership.