Who Wants To Live Forever?1 of 12The monthly wave of advance solicitations for comic books is about to hit the shores of Newsarama, and with the news of new titles there's the notice of titles ending or being absent all together.
And it's not unexpected - there's bound to be a DC "Rebirth" title on the chopping block at some point, and over at Marvel there's still remnants of "All-New All-Different Marvel" floating around as "Marvel NOW!" takes full effect. Large waves of new titles often result in an early culling once the dust settles, so it's possible readers will see several titles get their pink slips in the coming weeks.
Based on the math from recently cancelled DC and Marvel series like A-Force, there are some titles at both Marvel and DC that might struggle to stay on the shelves, based solely on their sales numbers at least, though there are other factors that go into these decisions.
Here’s a look at the five lowest-selling DCU and main Marvel books in the North American direct market as of September 2016, according to Comichron.
But again to make it clear, we're not saying these are bad books, or that they don't deserve a reprieve - some of them are critically acclaimed, in fact. Just based exclusively on sales, here are the titles the Big Two publishers are probably hoping muster up some additional support soon.
Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat2 of 12Patsy Walker was the star of Marvel's longest-running female-led title, but her current series Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat doesn't seem to have the same legs as that pre-Marvel Age title did.
Originally launched this time last year coinciding with the character's live-action debut in Netflix's Jessica Jones, the title never seemed to catch on the way that other light-hearted books at Marvel like Squirrel Girl and Gwenpool have.
Although the book receives consistent high marks by Newsarama's Best Shots review team, Patsy Walker currently sells approximately 11,000 copies according to an extrapolation of Diamond's figures, putting it below already-cancelled titles like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and to-be-relaunched titles like Venom: Space Knight.
The good news is that Marvel traditionally lets a series run its full arc, and the series just began a new one with December's Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat #13.
Could other, not-publicly-known factors like the weight of being a Netflix character or digital sales give it a reprieve? It's possible, but generally Marvel has cancelled titles when they show up at this level on Diamond's charts.
Gotham Academy: Second Semester3 of 12One of the few holdovers from DC's pre-"Rebirth" days, Gotham Academy is something of a cult favorite, but thus far, its "second semester" has failed to find the kind of mass appeal that would seemingly-guarantee it a long shelf life.
Gotham Academy ranked 106 on Diamond's September 2016 sales charts - not great for a title ostensibly connected to the Batman universe.
A crossover with BOOM!'s Lumberjanes recently added some profile to the franchise, but even that hasn't been enough to move the needle on the main title. Still, it's unlikely that even if Gotham Academy: Second Semester does go the way of the dodo that the characters would be gone for long. DC is unlikely to completely do away with a title that has possible life in other media.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl4 of 12Many people said Marvel was nuts to launch an ongoing series for Squirrel Girl, but 22 issues (and one OGN in), and there's something there...
...but with Diamond sales what they are, there's a question if Marvel has found enough of an audience to keep it around.
September's Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #12 was one below Mockingbird on Diamond's September sales charts (#145 and #144, if you're wondering), and that series was cancelled. The average ratings for Squirrel Girl's issue tell another story, but with Marvel's primary goal being making money, that doesn't pay their bills.
One thing that Unbeatable Squirrel Girl does have going for it is stronger-than-typical TPB sales in the Direct Market. That could be the reason Marvel did the unique one-off OGN recently, and could speak to outside factors coming into play.
Speaking of outside factors, with this title it's important to keep in mind the reported New Warriors live-action series led by Squirrel Girl. Marvel and ABC Studios are reportedly shopping it around to outside networks, so those sales call - and hopeful TV series - could benefit with having new issues on stands, and trades at the ready if it ever airs.
Hellblazer5 of 12Now, this entry comes with the caveat that DC just announced a new penciller for Hellblazer in Philip Tan, but that doesn't mean that its immune to the wages of low sales numbers.
A new artist is not necessarily proof against a quick cancellation, but Hellblazer has a few other things going in its favor, notably a return of Matt Ryan, who played John Constantine on television, to the role of the trenchcoat wearing warlock in next year's Justice League Dark animated movie - something that could feasibly offer a bump to the ailing title.
Still, it'll have to rise above its status as the 68th best selling title of September to guarantee itself a lasting run.
Scarlet Witch6 of 12Scarlet Witch ranked at 139 on the September sales charts, a low position for a Cinematic Avenger with ties to Marvel's magical wing, which has seen a recent boost from the success of Doctor Strange.
But Wanda Maximoff has never been a headliner. Even though she's always been an important Avenger, just giving her an ongoing solo series is a risky proposition.
Still, Scarlet Witch presents a unique title in Marvel's line-up, with a rotating cadre of up-and-coming artists and a narrative that has defined Marvel's vision of "Witchcraft."
But when you get down to the nitty gritty, artistic intentions are less important than sales numbers when it comes to a Big Two title, and it's already a little miraculous that Scarlet Witch has lasted this long, quality aside.
New Super-Man7 of 12Kenan Kong was one of a handful of new characters introduced as part of "Rebirth," with his title New Super-Man telling the tale of a Chinese teenager who inherits some of Superman's powers.
But even with the current success of the Superman titles, this spin-off has struggled to find an audience,
Now, New Super-Man ranked at 67 on the September sales charts - far from the lowest on this list - but for a title with ties to DC's top character, it's not great. Another factor may be that New Super-Man has been largely isolated from the rest of the DCU, a dicey proposition for an entirely new character.
New Super-Man represents one of the few big risks of "Rebirth," so its relatively low numbers aren't entirely discouraging, but the title will need to go Up, Up, and Away eventually or it could also become one of the first casualties of the relaunch.
Spider-Woman8 of 12Jessica Drew has always been marginally popular among fans, and the most recent volume of her solo series has received critical praise, but that doesn't change that her title came in at #124 on the September sales charts.
Fortunately for Spider-Woman, the most recent issue of the series brought in Hobgoblin, a popular Spider-Man villain, for an arc that has all the hallmarks of decent sales: high stakes, a high profile guest star, and even a few character deaths.
Still, even with the right formula, Spider-Woman hasn't exactly been burning up the shelves, so there's more than a little chance that she'll be relegated to supporting cast again in the foreseeable future.
Batgirl9 of 12Babs is the lead in two books - but sales may be telling DC it's one book too many.
The recently-'Rebirth'ed Batgirl sits at an estimated 51,580 in sales figures three issues into its run, an unhealthy 48.75% drop - and remember, these are returnable by retailers. While it's up considerably from Batgirl sales this time last year, it's a decline from the character's historical sales looking back two, three, four, and five years.
Interestingly, Batgirl is outsold by its sister title Batgirl & The Birds of Prey.
Squadron Supreme10 of 12Marvel's squad isn't exactly matching up sales wise to DC's suicidal group, and that's despite James Robinson and Leonard Kirk's equally bleak and body count-heavy stories.
Squadron Supreme kicked off with the spoiled death of Namor, and are in the midst of the Atlantean king's return in a Civil War II-themed tie-in, but that only gave the title a sales bump for one issue. Estimates now have the book dipping below the 20k sales mark, a sales number than felled its spin-off titles Hyperion and Nighthawk.
With Marvel cancelling titles ranking higher than SS like Astonishing Ant-Man and X-Men '92, this team of extra-dimensional refugees might need to find a new home or a new modus operandi to keep going.
Aquaman11 of 12With a twice-monthly shipping schedule, Aquaman is one of the first "Rebirth" titles to get beyond its returnable grace period and into natural sales figures - but it seems like Arthur Curry is swimming against the tide, as he has the lowest selling of DC's twice-monthly books.
While critics have been impressed by Dan Abnett's run, Aquaman is selling well below the "New 52" title at this same point in its numbering - by about 20,000 copies given the estimates. Having Geoff Johns as writer during that time undoubtedly helped, but it is what it is.
Speaking of Johns, he has said on several occasions he would be returning to the character for the long-awaited "Rise of the Seven Seas" arc; depending on where that comes ashore, it could be very beneficial to the Aquaman title - even if it's just doing tie-ins to a seperate, standalone event title.
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