It’s not all about gender when it comes to Thor.
On Tuesday, Fusion magazine published a piece which was referenced by a number of other publications, in which Danielle Henderson touts the sales success of Jason Aaron’s new female-led Thor comic. She cites higher sales on the book as an indication that the book is “outselling the last series by A LOT.”
There is no denying that the first part of the series’ run has been quite successful from a market standpoint. The problem emerges when taking a closer look at the way in which Henderson built her data.
She compares the sales on the final five issues of Thor: God of Thunder to the sales on the first five issues of the new Thor. As anyone familiar with the long-term slide in sales on most mainstream titles can tell you, it is a very rare book which sustains its numbers over the very long term.
To provide a more accurate comparison of sales on the two versions of Thor, we’ve broken down the sales on the first five issues of each series using data from Comichron, the same source used by Henderson in her analysis.
In terms of first-to-second issue change, the two books were nearly identical. The first issue of the 2012 Thor sold 110,443 copies at the distributor level and dropped to 65,533 for the second installment. This represents a change of 40.66%. Compare that to the 2014 version, which sold 150,862 copies of the first issue and 89,131 copies of the second, representing a change of 40.92%.
From there, the comparison shifts a bit more in favor of the 2012 version of Thor. The change in readership from issue two to issue three on that version was a drop of 9,986 copies, or 15.24%. Compare that to the 2014 version, which shed 16,568 copies in its third month, representing an 18.59% change.
These aren’t really vastly different numbers, and their similarity continues unabated to date. At 69,513 copies for the month of February, the 2014 version of Thor has shed 53.92% of its readership since it was launched. Compare that to the 2012 version, which dropped to 51,861 copies by issue #5, a change of 53.04%.
Essentially, the two versions of Thor followed almost identical sales trends in their early lives, regardless of the chromosomal makeup of the lead character. While the 2014 version started with an admittedly higher baseline, it has hardly ventured into uncharted territory.
Simply put, Thor is Thor. And that’s not a bad thing.