DC sees comics reboot payoff

Publisher logs best sales in more than 20 years

DC Entertainment’s reboot of its 52 comicbook titles is paying off for the publisher, with the company selling 5 million copies of its new first issues over the past six weeks.

The company’s decision to start each title from scratch by renumbering the books and introducing new character designs and storylines has resulted in DC’s “best comicbook sales in more than 20 years,” the company said.

“We did more than just change Superman’s costume and renumber the entire line,” said Jim Lee, DC Entertainment co-publisher and artist of “Justice League.” “We took a huge risk and it’s paying off. Comic book retailers are seeing returning fans and as well as new readers flock to their stores.”

The most popular book so far has been “Justice League #1,” which has sold more than 250,000 copies. Book unites Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Cyborg.

“Action Comics #1” and “Batman #1” have both sold more than 200,000 copies, followed by “Detective Comics #1,” “The Flash #1,” “Green Lantern #1” and “Superman #1” at more than 150,000.

Rounding out the group is “Aquaman #1,” “Batgirl #1,” “Batman and Robin #1,” “Batman: The Dark Knight #1,” “Green Lantern Corps #1,” “Green Lantern: New Guardians #1” and “Wonder Woman #1” at more than 100,000 copies.

Bestselling books typically moved about 100,000 copies.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response from retailers, fans and the creative community to DC Comics” said DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. “This was a bold publishing initiative that is reinvigorating and growing the industry and medium we love.”

DC’s numbers do not include digital copies viewable on tablets like Apple’s iPad, which DC released on the same day as their print versions.

But “our digital sales have been better than we could have imagined and we are pleased that these sales are additive to traditional publishing sales in the comic book stores,” said John Rood, executive VP of sales, marketing and business development at DC Entertainment. “We’re not migrating readers from print to digital. We’re adding more new readers into the mix.”

The Aug. 31 relaunch of “The New 52” is part of DC Entertainment’s reorg in 2009 to attract new readers to its lineup of comicbook characters as WB takes more control over how DC’s properties wind up on screen as movies, TV shows, videogames and at retail through the books or merchandise. Sales have been dropping for comicbooks, especially for print versions over the last three years, as fewer consumers visit comicbook stores.

“When DC Entertainment was created almost two years ago, we committed to an environment of ‘no fear’ when it came to creative and business risks,” Nelson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our Publishing team for embracing this mantra and delivering in a way that is growing the genre, our partners’ businesses and our fan base, while helping to fuel the creative engine that drives so many Warner Bros.’ content businesses.”

“Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment’s co-publisher, called the relaunch “step one” for DC. “Now our plan is to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going.”

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