How few?

Feb 1, 2019

There was a time when I subscribed to a dozen magazines a month. Back Issue, Alter Ego, Old Bike Mart, Radio User, Mojo, you name it. Slowly I’ve let the subscriptions expire and resisted renewing. The final subscription I still maintained was for a Titan DC reprint bimonthly. Today I received this email:

Dear Sir,
We regret to inform you that Titan Magazines Ltd is ceasing to publish all of the DC Comic ranges. Issue Vol3 No12 is the last issue of DC Universe Presents: Justice League.
Both Titan Magazines Ltd and DC thank you for your support and love for the DC characters and universe.

So (unless someone takes on the franchise) for the first time in my life there are no british reprints of DC comics available. I can’t say I’m surprised. The eight (mostly Batman) titles were becoming increasingly difficult to locate. Tesco stopped them years ago. Recently they (and the Marvel reprints) were even missing from W.H Sm*ths. Magazines across the board are failing. I thought I’d look around the Interweb to see how many comics were still being purchased in the States. It made depressing reading. Comic Book sales to comic shops for the month of November 2018 according to Diamond Distributors were as follows.

1Uncanny X-Men 01              176,125
2 Green Lantern 01                113,651
4 Amazing Spider-Man 10  103,636
5 Batman 58                               94,930
9 Avengers 10                              77,715
11 Justice League 11                 74,204
12 Fantastic Four 03               72,597
20 Superman 05                        54,727
68 Harley Quinn 53                 27,903
497 Elvira Mistress of Dark 02 397

I’m amazed that the X-Men are still top (although the fact that we’re back to another No 1 may have helped). Batman sells almost twice as many as Superman. The former fan favourite Harley Quinn must be close to being cancelled. My personal favourite, Elvira, only just scraped into the top 500 comics with a mere 397 issues sold. There’s a future collectors item. It’s surprising there is still a choice of over 500 different titles each month. I’m sure many if not most only continue due to the film franchises (or the vain hope that a low selling title is picked up by a film/TV company and becomes the next big thing). . PS: To put things in perspective. In the 1950s the Beano here sold approaching 2 million copies PER WEEK. Even in the 1960s/1970s comics in the UK sold around 200,000 issues per title PER WEEK. There was a massive decline of titles/circulation in the 1980s but issues sold still exceeded the figures in the USA now (and the population of the UK is a fifth of the size of the USA).