As CBR reported earlier today, Marvel Comics dominated the Top 10 sales list for the month of October. They did it on the strength of their Marvel: NOW! relaunch books, with six of the ten best-sellers being #1 issues (All New X-Men, Captain America, Deadpool, Indestructible Hulk, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Thor: God of Thunder) with one more for “Uncanny Avengers #2.” This following a month when DC’s continuing New 52 books scored 5 of the top ten slots, with Marvel sharing the rest with indie publisher Image.
What comic book market watchers should be concerned about when looking at these numbers is that they are reinforcing the idea that the easiest way to bump sales is to slap a #1 on a bunch of covers and watch the dollars flow in. This is not to say that Marvel isn’t handling the Marvel: NOW! event quite well. There is positive buzz surrounding most of the new titles, despite some serious concerns regarding the scheduling of Uncanny Avengers. It should go without saying, though, that there is no way the books would have sold as well as they have, fantastic creative teams aside, had there not been the added edge of carrying that critical numeral.
There is no need to fear a sudden mass movement towards restarting titles, as DC is unlikely to do so this soon after the launch of the New 52. Marvel’s key competition has also been releasing a steady stream of #1 issues but mostly as ways to draw attention to new characters they are introducing. There is the notable exception of the upcoming, yet-to-be-named Superman title from Lee and Snyder, but the Superman titles could definitely use a fresh start.
What is cause for pause is that this will help justify future re-launches, reboots, re-imaginings and regurgitations in the future. Let us only hope the next one is a long way off.