DC makes splash with Justice League #1 sales

Last Wednesday, DC released Justice League #1, the first issue of what many consider the most ambitious comics relaunch project in history.

Today, DC confirmed it is ordering a third printing of the inaugural issue, as the first printing sold out within a couple days, and now the second printing has already sold out as well. Of course, this is all at the distributor level, which means that the distributers (the people the stores order from) are the ones running out. Most likely, your local comic shop still has some on the shelf.

The ambitious book was already the best selling comic of the year long before it actually went on sale.

Still, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that final sales numbers won’t be in for some time because DC’s comics are fully returnable.

This means it’s possible retailers have purchased way more than they need with the intent of just sending back the ones they don’t sell. So we won’t know how much of these numbers are actually retailer padding until the end of the month.

We can, however rely on the numbers from the digital sales, which are direct-to-consumer. Distributor ComiXology (who also distributes digital comics for Marvel, Image, Tokyo Pop, and others) posted the following statement on their Facebook page Thursday: “OK friends, how about you buy a comic from our iOS app, & prove comics can beat games. We’re behind just ONE GAME in top revenue on iTunes!”

I’m guessing that the ‘one game’ they weren’t beating was Angry Birds, and I have a feeling it will not be outsold by anything any time soon, but DC’s sales are still mighty impressive, especially considering their prices are higher than ever before.

The intent of the DC relaunch is to draw in new readers, and it seems as if this strategy has been a success so far. Of course, it should be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. Sure, it’s great that sales are up for this one issue, but how will the other 51 #1s sell?

Even if they all do well, will the new readers stick around, or will they walk away again after a few months? DC is hopeful of course, but these things have a pattern of not working out in the long-run. Then again, the precedents for the relaunch never were as grand or sweeping as DC’s latest comics relaunch.

Justice League #1 is currently available at any store that sells comic books, or from ComiXology. 12 more of the New 52 will be released Wednesday, September 7, 2011, including Batman #1 and Action Comics #1. A collection of all 52 #1s can be pre-ordered from Amazon, and will be hitting store shelves this holiday season.