It appears DC’s Rebirth movement has officially built up enough steam to dominate the comics industry. In the last month, DC Entertainment has seen eight of its new releases hit the top 10 highest-selling comics ranking, including Justice League #1 (the highest-selling comic overall), Justice League Rebirth #1, Batman comics, and Nightwing Rebirth. In fact, the only comics leading the industry sales that weren’t from DC were Marvel’s Civil War II issues.
What’s most impressive about DC’s juggernaut sales is the publisher having released far fewer individual comics than Marvel; in simple terms, DC outsold Marvel despite publishing a third fewer books in the same amount of time. The publisher even took a chunk out of Image’s typical victory lap, selling more Harley Quinn and Killing Joke Special Edition copies than Huck or Southern Bastards, although Image’s Monstress remains in the top trade paperback spot. We can also assume another Saga trade would have blown those sales out of the water, as Brian K. Vaughan’s space opera is wont to do.
Hypotheticals aside, it appears the paradigm shift Geoff Johns was pulling for months ago has begun to resonate with fans, who have been running to comic book stores to pick up Rebirth titles in droves. Notably, the Rebirth titles that have been seeing the most impressive sales are first issues, so it remains to be seen whether Nightwing or Green Lantern will maintain their captive audiences as their stories progress.
Perhaps there’s a disconnect still to be bridged between DC’s stellar comic sales (and frankly, stellar writing and art!) and the production of DC’s films. Though the clips released from Justice League and the trailer for Wonder Woman impressed both fans and critics at San Diego Comic-Con, Suicide Squad bombed with critics despite beating Captain America: Civil War during its first weekend in theaters. Rabid DC fans began personally attacking journalists and critics online who criticized Suicide Squad, many repeating the phrase, “fans have spoken.” Will DC Entertainment keep its huge fan base engaged across both cinematic products and comics? It’s difficult to say, but one thing is clear: DC has recaptured a hardcore part of its fan base (those who buy and read comics) with its Rebirth movement, so it’s evidently doing something right.