Writer Mark Millar claims that his upcoming Netflix comic book debut The Magic Order has broken the record for the most comic book Direct Market pre-order sales for a brand new franchise in almost 20 years.
“The second biggest pre-order of the last twenty years was Jupiter’s Legacy, which I released back in 2012,” Millar told Deadline. “Prior to this, you need to go back to 1998 for these kind of orders on a brand-new franchise.”
Millar was likely referring to Michael Turner's Fathom #1, which was in 1998 an Image Comics release and sold approximately 257k issues in July of that year, according to comic book industry sales tracker Comichron.
Also according to Comichron, Jupiter's Legacy #1 actually debuted in the comic book Direct Market in April 2013, with approximately 111k issues sold per its 2013 year-end chart. Millar did not offer any specific numbers for The Magic Order's pre-sales.
Millar also claims that so far, pre-sales between The Magic Order #1 and its competing issue of writer Brian Michael Bendis' Superman relaunch The Man of Steel #3 are "too close to call" in terms of chart position.
“It’s a very competitive month we’ve been released in,” Millar elaborated. “Marvel went all out and DC has just relaunched the Superman franchise for the first time in over thirty years. We’ve come in higher than almost every single Marvel and DC book, which is crazy for something brand new. I don’t know if Superman is above or below us, the actual chart position apparently being too close to call, which is just nuts.”
Superman #1 will debut on July 11, and will actually be the third relaunch of the long running series since 2011's "The New 52," which also relaunched Action Comics. The second recent relaunch occured just two years ago in July 2016, with Rebirth's Superman #1. Rebirth also restored Action Comics' pre-"New 52" numbering. The previous line-wide Superman relaunch occured in 1986 when John Byrne relaunched the franchise following 1985's Crisis On Infinite Earths limited series. Byrne's Man of Steel limited series was followed by a new Superman #1 in 1987. The original Superman #1 hit shelves 79 years ago in June, 1939.
But there's a strategy behind Millar's claims - The Magic Order's purportedly record-setting inaugural print run will be its only print run. Millar explains that this single print strategy, which goes against the industry trend of printing to meet demand, is designed to make the print copies of The Magic Order "collectible."
“In the past, we’ve always gone back for second, third and fourth printings, but we love the idea of making this as collectible as possible and literally doing no more printings after it sells out on Wednesday,” Millar said. “I love the idea of scarcity here and making these a must-buy. So, it’s going to be a fun week and I’m curious what these move at on eBay by Wednesday night!”
The Magic Order #1 is due out on shelves June 13.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of the article listed an incorrect name for The Magic Order.