In an ideal world, quality would translate into sales. Sometimes, though, even the best of books can’t break through. Such is the case with Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie‘s The Wicked + The Divine.

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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., 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.


Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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  • phuzz

    I can’t tell, do those number include digital sales as well?

    • Josh Epstein

      Unfortunately, digital sales numbers are still a tightly kept secret.

    • gwalla

      Nope, nor trades apparently. Just floppies.

      • From par. 1:

        “…the first trade, which collected issues 1-5, debuted at #4 in November, selling over 7,700 copies at the distributor level.”

  • Ryan Colson

    The short answer is Gillen says no and stop clickbaiting

    • Josh Epstein

      It’s a lot easier to say now that sales will surely be boosted by the TV announcement, but we’ll still be keeping an eye on it.

  • Richard Pace

    First sentence of last paragraph:
    “Let’s be clear, none of this is to say that The Wicked + The Divine is in trouble.”

    I have to think it’s a little easier to go through life living that stupid.

    • Josh Epstein

      Asked the question and then answered it. Sort of what analysis is supposed to do…

  • flameape

    “While I generally object to jumping on a singular writer when talking about a larger issue which I see all over industry commentary columns, if you think that you can look at WicDiv’s sales and think they’re in any way in trouble, you have no business writing an industry commentary column. You simply don’t know enough to be doing this, and in doing so, you are hurting people’s perspective of the industry.”
    -Kieron Gillen

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