Sales of X, Part 0 – pre-HoXPoX

Hey, howsitgoin’ everybody!

 
As discussed on X-Lapsed, I’m kicking off our deep-dive on X-Book sales figures since the HoXPoX era rocked the family of books into our new status quo.  After this initial installment, I’m planning on making this a Patreon exclusive, not because I think it’s particularly special… I just don’t assume that it’s content that everyone’s going to be all that interested in.  Maybe I’ll find out that I’m wrong?  You tell me!  I aim to please!
 
Now, rather than start with the July, 2019 sales charts – and the launch of House of X and Powers of X #1, we’re going to go back to January, 2019.  This marks the start of the second-half of the “Rosenberg run” (Uncanny X-Men v.5), and also the launch of the Age of X-Man “crossovent”.  I feel like beginning here might give us some salesy “context” to view the health of the X-Books as they were preparing to head into the Hickman/Krakoan Era.
 
This installment is going to be a longer one than what will become the “norm” for this type of thing, as we’re going to cover seven entire months (in relative brevity) to see just how far gone X-Books sales were before the Summer of X.  And, hoo boy, they were not hot.
 
Let’s begin with a look at January, 2019:
 

 

The top selling X-Book of January, 2019 was Return of Wolverine #4, shipping 58,560 copies and ranking in at the 17th highest selling comic of the month.

 

That was followed by four issues of the flagship Uncanny X-Men (vol.5).  Issues 8, 9, 10 and Annual #1 (which wrapped up the Disassembled arc and explained the Return of Cyclops, respectively) shipped 51,292 & 46,566 & 52,365 & 41,700 copies.  Uncanny X-Men as a title shipped 191,923 copies.  Uncanny Ranked at positions 21 (#10), 23 (#8), 29 (#9), and 36 (Annual #1).

 

The Uncanny X-Men Annual was nudged down just a notch below Age of X-Man: Alpha #1, the one-shot that would kick off the Age of X-Man crossovent… which, we’ll be talking about quite a bit over the course of this article. AoX:Alpha shipped 42,022 copies and ranked in at the 35th best selling book of the month.

 

With the return of one Wolverine, we kinda had to get rid of the other… and so, Dead Man Logan was a thing.  Dead Man Logan #3 shipped 31,113 copies, and ranked as the 68th highest selling book in January.  While on the subject of clawed characters, there was also the X-23 ongoing.  Issue #8 of that book shipped 25,980 copies (86th highest seller).

 

Other X-Ongoings included a smattering of team and solo books.  Let’s start with X-Force (vol.5) #2, which shipped 32,420 copies (Ranking 64).  Domino‘s solo series wraps up with its 10th issue… which lotsa folks appear to have checked out on.  19,655 copies shipped… 112th highest seller.  The Gambit and Rogue ongoing, Mr and Mrs X rolled on, with its 7th issue shipping 17,864 copies (Rank 119).  Iceman shipped his last issue (vol.4 – #5)… and a pathetic 9,800 copies (Rank 191).  Sliding even further down, Exiles (volume… whatever it was) wrapped up its run with it’s 12th issue by shipping 9,645 copies (Rank 199).

 

There was one miniseries listed for this month… the penultimate issue of the Shatterstar solo.  This shipped 9,752 copies, and ranked in at the 195th highest seller of the month.

 

For an “at-a-glance” for January:

 

In sum, the X-Books shipped 448,734 copies between the 14 issues Marvel put out that month.
February, 2019:

In February, the flagship regained its top spot among the X-Family of books… and we launched a bunch of Age of X-Man minis that… it would appear as though, very few people actually bothered with.  At the end of this piece, we’ll go track many of these “series by series”.

So, let’s start with the Uncannys.  Issue #11, which kicked off the post-Dissassembled “Rosenberg run”, shipped 66,962 copies.  Issue #12 shipped even more – 68,636 copies (position 9 and 7 on the list of highest selling books for the month!)  An increase of 12-14k from last month’s numbers!  Between the two issues of Uncanny, the title shipped a respectable 135,598 copies.

 

From here, the Return of Wolverine #5 actually exceeded the numbers of #4 – by less than 1k… but, still – higher is better!  #5 shipped 59,313 copies (17th highest seller).  Wolverine’s just barely back, and he’s already getting a second miniseries… Wolverine: Infinity Watch, which shipped 61,123 copies of its first issue, making it the 14th Highest Seller for Feb!  Dead Man Logan continues along, dropping very slightly to a shipment of 30,497 copies.  It was the 58th highest seller.  X-23 #9 holds firm at 25,845 copies shipped, and a ranking of 70.  Very steady sales to this point on the claw-corner of the X-Verse!

 

Let’s talk ongoings… all two of ’em!  X-Force (vol. 5) #3 shipped 26,809 copies, dropping over 20% from January.  It was the 66th highest seller for the month.  Mr and Mrs X #8 is down to 16,513 copies shipped (#105 for the month).  Rather than start a whole new paragraph, let’s throw the final issue of the Shatterstar mini in here… #5 shipped 8,514 copies – this is definitely our “basement” number for this study, ain’t no (first-run) X-Books shipping any fewer than that!  I tell ya what… if you want an actual “rare” book… try and grab yourself a copy of Shatterstar #5!  Get that sucker CGC slabbed!

 

Enter Now… Age of X-Man.  Ooh boy, this is not going to be a fun number-crunch.  Personally, I’ve only read a smattering of these things… and was saving them for some sort of audio project down the line, so I can’t really speak to their quality.  I know the few that I read, I… kinda enjoyed?  It’s a weird story… definitely won’t be for everyone.  That said… let’s talk numbers!
AoXM kicked off four mini-series… and shipped four #1 issues in February.  Before I “came back” to Marvel and the X-Books, I assumed that AoXM was going to be like Age of Apocalypse, where they’d actually put the regular ongoings on hiatus for a few months.  When I realized that wasn’t the case, I started to really feel bad for the creators who were tossed on these minis!  And again, that’s no indictment on the quality of their work… just an appreciation of the realities of the random comics enthusiast’s interest level and budget allowance.

 

Okay, enough vamping… of the four AoXM launches, the arguable “flagship” of the crossovent, Marvelous X-Men edged out the rest, shipping 42,021 copies.  Not a bad number… but, just wait.  The remaining three books, Amazing Nightcrawler, Nextgen, and X-Tremists shipped 32,180 + 32,059 + 30,737 copies respectfully.  Altogether, the AoXM “line” shipped 136,997 copies… which, I suppose Marvel might look at as a success.  Again though, just wait!
For an “at a glance” look at February, 2019:

 

In sum, the X-Books shipped 501,209 copies between the 13 issues Marvel put out.  The Age of X-Man definitely facilitated a marginal amount of growth (10-11%).
March, 2021:
 

March kept the flagship book(s) in the top spot among the X-Books… and since the Return of Wolverine ended last month, it’s a pretty wide gap between Uncanny and the rest!  That doesn’t mean that Uncanny‘s sales are all that great, however…

The flagship got three issues this month, though in fairness, we should only consider two of them “legit”.  Uncanny X-Men (vol.5) #13-14 shipped 50,430 and 48,840 copies respectfully (dropping +/-30%).  They were the 20th and 23rd highest sellers for the month.  The third “Uncanny” book was the curious Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End #1, which was basically where Sina Grace was able to wrap up the canned Iceman “ongoing”.  The “uncanny” branding and name value damn near tripled the shipped numbers from Iceman (vol.4) #5… 27,714 copies (67th highest shipper).  I know I only grabbed it because of its title!

 

Let’s hit up the Claw-Corner.  Wolverine: Infinity Watch #2 shipped 34,018 copies (45 for the month), Dead Man Logan finally dipped under 30k with its 5th issue, shipping 28,295 copies.  X-23 somehow sidesteps the usual limp toward cancellation, issue #10 shipped 26,638 – not a huge gain from #9… but, a gain all the same!

 

Ongoings – X-Force (vol.5) shipped two issues in March.  Issues #4 and 5 shipped 25,984 and 24,847 copies each… which is, less than ideal. Speaking of which, Mr and Mrs X, shipped 16,069 copies with it’s 9th issue (only three to go… and it would appear as though the few readers who have held on to this point know it!).  Domino may have had her “ongoing” cancelled with January’s issue… but, here’s another (hot)shot at giving her a brand-new #1!  Domino: Hotshots #1 shipped 34,980 copies… which is a bit more than I’d have expected.  Let’s see if it holds up, yes?

 

Ya ready fer Age of X-Man?  Yeah, me neither… but, let’s do da t’ing.  Prisoner X #1 tops the charts for this weird little corner of the X-World, shipping 29,006.  So yeah, the TOP selling Age of X-Man book (and a #1 to boot!) still can’t break 30k?  That’s not a good sign.  Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #1 shipped 27,895 copies… likely only thanks to the #1 on its cover.  Last month’s top AoXM book, Marvelous X-Men saw a nearly 50% attrition with its second outing… 22,371 copies from 42,021 in March!  You think these numbers are bad?  Well, other three AoXM books didn’t even manage to break 20k!  Amazing Nightcrawler #2 shipped 19,400… Nextgen #2 shipped 18,950… and X-Tremists #2 shipped 19,015.  Not a great sign for the second… of six months!

 

Here’s the “at a glance” for March, 2019:

 

In sum, the X-Books shipped 454, 452 copies between the 16 issues Marvel put out.  That there’s not a great trend setting in.  Though, part of me wonders if the HoXPoX future had already been announced by this point… as something like that would definitely speak to these levels of (relative) attrition.
April:

April sees more of a gradual sales decline… making me consider that, yeah… Marvel almost definitely already announced the reboot/relaunch/rewhatever that was coming our way in July.

 

Uncanny once again tops the list of X-Books… which, ya know… same as it ever was, right?  Once again, Marvel put out three Uncannys… two of which we might consider “legit”, the other… LGY# notwithstanding, we might not.  Of the legits, we’ve got vol. 5 #15-16, which shipped 48,162 and 48,160 copies respectfully (wow, only two copies less from 15 to 16???).  The other one is War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1… which is a rather curious one.  War of the Realms was (one of) the big Marvel crossover event(s) of 2019… and for the X-Men tie-in, Marvel decided to be big jerks and actually put the Uncanny X-Men LGY#ing on the miniseries!  Thanks, dicks!  In any event, WotR:UXM #1 shipped 31,940 copies… so, it probably didn’t work as well as Marvel would’ve liked.  I still bought em all (as back-issues), but I’m a sick, sad individual.  Don’t be like me.

 

Next up is an oddity… the “sold-out” Major X #1 and 2.  And yeah, I’ve tossed quotes around the phrase sold-out.  This was one of the many, many Marvel launches where a 2nd-4th printing was announced before the first print even hit shelves.  I wasn’t even going to include this in our study… but, eh… what the hell, right?  #1 shipped 43,071… wow, did Comichron forget to include the “2” before that figure?  You’d think this was a quarter-million seller from how folks talked about it!  Major X #2 dropped down to 28,152.  Yikes, a 35% drop in the same month!  Get them 5th printing Peach Momoko variants out stat!  Ahem, sorry about that… told myself I wouldn’t editorialize during this… but, I’m about three hours in at this point, and I gotta keep myself entertained.

 

Okay, Claw Corner… all of the Wolverine family books are now under 30k.  Wolverine: Infinity Watch #3 shipped 27,722 copies, Dead Man Logan shipped just a few hundred less at 27,206.  X-23‘s penultimate issue drops around 2k copies, shipping 24,281 copies.

 

Ongoings and et-cetera!  X-Force (vol.5) #6 continues its decline… threatening to dip below 20k before its 10th and final issue.  #6 shipped 23,627 copies.  Mr and Mrs X continues to exist… barely.  #10 shipped 15,627 copies.  Finally, Domino: Hotshots‘ second issue shipped a painful 18,963 copies… woof, a +/-45% drop.  Which, if I’m being honest… sounds more right than the 35k it launched with.

 

Age of X-Man!  Hold on to yer hats.  None of the six AoXM minis managed to break 20k… and half of them threaten to dip under 15k!  Marvelous X-Men reclaims its top spot (faint praise indeed) with it’s third issue.  18,079 copies shipped.  MXM narrowly beats out, Prisoner X #2, which shipped 17,983.  Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #2 shipped 17,258 copies.  Amazing Nightcrawler #3 shipped 16,572… X-Tremists #3 shipped 16,032… last and least, Nextgen #3 shipped 15,987.  The Age of X-Man books shipped in sum… 101,821 copies.  Again, that’s 100k books Marvel wouldn’t have sold otherwise… so, maybe it’s still considered a win?
Here’s the at-a-glance for April, 2019:

In sum, the X-Books shipped 438,732 copies between the 17 issues Marvel put out.  Not looking great, and we’re not even at rock-bottom yet for our X-Family.
May:

Pretty much more of the same in May… just less readers all around.  Folks have seemingly abandoned this X-Era, and are content biding their time until the arrival of the soon-to-be-former Head of X!  The Uncanny‘s are holding firm… but, that’s to be expected.  That’s definitely the “habit” book of this era.  Let’s get into the weeds…

 

 

Three Uncanny books… two legit, one War of the Realms tie-in.  Issues 17-18 of vol. 5 lose about 6k copies each, shipping out 42,677 and 42,713 respectively.  The War of the Realms cash-in lost near 1/3 of its readership with its second issue, only shipping 23,490 copies.

 

Claw Corner continues to limp toward its wrap up.  All three books are solidly under 30k now.  Dead Man Logan #7 leads the pack, shipping 27,169 copies.  Wolverine: Infinity Watch #4 shipped 25,822 copies… and the 12th and final issue of X-23 shipped 21,622 copies.  It says something for ol’ X-23 that it didn’t dip under 20k!

 

Ongoings and et-cetera… Major X #3 rebounds a bit, shipping 31,477 copies… buuuut, then #4 only shipped 27,713.  I don’t understand that at all.  Mr and Mrs X‘s 11th and penultimate issue shipped 15,120 copies… kinda holding firm around that 15k mark.  X-Force (vol.5) put out two issues, #7-8… and with #8, it finally dips under 20k.  They shipped 20,119 and 19,617 copies respectfully.  Domino: Hotshots continues to bleed out… shipping 15,120 copies.  It’s almost like people don’t WANT a Domino solo series?  Huh, go figure…

 

Age of X-Man!  Woof… all six titles are teetering at the 15k mark, with three falling even below that!  Marvelous X-Men #4 holds its stranglehold over the rest of the “line”, shipping a mighty 16,260 copies.  From there, Prisoner X #3 and Amazing Nightcrawler #4 ship 15,581 and 15,539 respectfully.  Then… we’re sub-15k, with Apocalypse & the X-Tracts #3 (14,887), Nextgen #4 (14,967), and last/least X-Tremists #4 (14,832).  Altogether, AoXM shipped 92,066 copies.  I can’t begin to pretend to know Marvel’s bottom-line, but, you gotta assume there comes a point where numbers are so low that they actually lose money on this sort of thing?
Here’s the at-a-glance for our “penultimate” pre-HoXPoX month…

 

In sum, the X-Books shipped 405,582 copies between the 18 issues Marvel put out in May.
June:

Our final pre-HoXPoX month is… definitely the most painful we’re going to see this year.  Gotta wonder how much of this is due to people walking away to wait for the Head of X… or, how many just walked away because they didn’t like the direction of the Rosenberg and Company era?  I suppose it really doesn’t matter, does it?  Anyway, let’s do it…

 

Uncanny (vol.5) begins to wrap itself up… it’s actually not going to end until July, the same month as HoX and PoX #1.  It would appear as though there’s a bit of curiosity here with the flagship.  Perhaps folks think this will segue into Hickman’s grand plan.  Suckers.  Anyway, #19 shipped 51,920 copies, #20 shipped 41,199 copies.  The War of the Realms cash-in holds firm at 22,506 copies for its third and final ish.

 

We may have lost X-23 last month, but we still have three Wolvie books this month (because, of course we do!).  The Wolverine: Exit Wounds one-shot, which saw Larry Hama return to tell a forgettable story, shipped 39,359 copies.  Dead Man Logan #8 shipped 26,302 copies, and Wolverine: Infinity Watch wraps up its run, shipping 24,236 copies of its fifth and final issue.

 

Ongoings and et-cetera… X-Force (vol.5) released it’s 9th and penultimate issue, shipping 19,482 copies.  Mr and Mrs X wraps up its run, and finally dips below the dreaded 15k mark, shipping 14,802 copies.  Major X holds firm to the sub-30k slot he’s been in for most of his run.  The final two issues shipped 28,641 and 27,114 copies each.  Domino: Hotshots #4 shipped 14,911.

 

Age of X-Man‘s penultimate month as a thing sees 5/6ths of its family of titles dip under 15k.  The only title to avoid it is, the arguable “flagship”… Marvelous X-Men #5 just barely eked past 15k, shipping 15,488.  The other five books?  It’s hardly even worth listing them… but, here we go… in alphabetical order, because why the hell not?  Amazing Nightcrawler #5 (14,549), Apocalypse & the X-Tracts #4 (14,030), Nextgen #5 (14,045), Prisoner X #4 (14,550), and X-Tremists #5 (14,202).  I warned ya that these numbers were gonna get depressing… at least I think I did… I feel like I started writing this like three days ago.  Altogerher, the AoXM books shipped 86,864 copies in June.
Here’s the at-a-glance for the last month of books before the Krakoan Era!

 

In sum, the X-Titles shipped 397,340 copies between the 17 issues Marvel put out in June.
July!

Huh… well, there’s a curious line graph, innit?  Wonder what might’ve happened in July, 2019?

Okay, so… let’s get the big stuff outta the way.  This was the month that saw the launch of the two series that were one… or whatever they called it.  House of X and Powers of X is what I’m saying.  And, not only were they the top X-Books of the month… they were actually the top two comics overall for the month!  House of X #1 shipped 185,630 copies while Powers of X #1 shipped just a bit less, 167,840 copies.

 

Now, over to our unseated flagship… Uncanny X-Men.  Volume 5 wraps up with its two last issues.  Issue #21 shipped 47,931 copies, while the 22nd and final shipped 51,606 copies.  Man, remember when a volume of Uncanny lasted longer than 22 issues?  Yeah, me neither.

 

Ongoings and et-ceteras… we’re definitely in dustbin mode here, just clearing the board.  Dead Man Logan enters the home stretch, #9 shipped 25,656 copies.  X-Force wraps up its fifth volume… issue #10 shipped 18,492 copies.  Ouch.  Domino: Hotshots mercifully ends its run, shipping 13,915 copies with its fifth and final ish.  Yeesh, give it another couple months, and it’d make those Shatterstar numbers look good!  Finally, and here’s a weird one for ya… Marvel released a Giant-Size X-Statix #1, which sadly, only shipped 18,312 copies.  Still can’t believe we’re going to be seeing this series continue this coming February (2022) in The X-Cellent!

 

Last… and least, The Age of X-Man finally limps past the finish-line.  The last two issues of the remaining two minis did about as well as we’d expect.  Apocalypse & the X-Tracts #5 shipped 13,080, while Prisoner X #5 shipped 13,959.  The big wrap up in Age of X-Man: Omega #1 shipped 21,882 copies.  Ouch.  That’s like less than half what Alpha shipped.  That must’ve stung a bit.

 

Anyway, here’s the at-a-glance for the first month of our brave new era!

 

In sum, the X-Books shipped 578,303 copies between the 11 issues Marvel released in July.  That’s… really not much of a surprise, is it?
—–
Let’s go a bit deeper into the weeds, and take a look at a couple of items a bit more closely.  First, we’ll study the trends of the flagship… then, we’ll get to the unfortunate business of x-amining the ill-fated Age of X-Man crossovent.
We’ll start with the flagship.  Uncanny X-Men shipped 15 issues during the first seven months of 2019.  In addition, there was an Annual, the Winter’s End one-shot, and the War of the Realms three-part miniseries.  I’ve also included the first issues of House of X and Powers of X to this chart, as I suppose it supplanted the run as the “flagship” of the line for the few months that it ran.

 

As we can see, Uncanny was pretty good about holding firm.  It wasn’t blowing up the charts by any means, but it wasn’t necessarily bleeding readers either!  The one-shots, and minis probably benefitted from getting the “Uncanny” branding… though, I still feel like that’s a pretty dirty trick from Marvel.  The Uncanny “family” shipped a total of 906,799 copies before HoXPoX set in.

 

Have you ever seen an uglier chart than this?  Can’t really read the numbers on it, it’s so jumbled… but, I mean – does it really matter?  Age of X-Man devolved into an arc that… very few people seemed to want.  And a reminder here… these numbers we’re dealing with, as much as Marvel (and DC… and the rest) don’t want us to realize… are the SHIPPED numbers.  These numbers do NOT account for how many copies actual people (that is, not poor retailers) traded actual money for.  Now, I missed out of Age of X-Man when it was coming out.  Ya know where I bought about 90% of my AoXM run?  Yup, 50ยข bins!  Sad numbers here.  Had these series’ gone on another issue or two, I have very little doubt they’d have dipped into under 10k.
Welp, I think I’ve squeezed just about as much as I can out of the first half of 2019.  Data overload, plus (and especially) use of a wildly unresponsive blogging platform, have caused this piece to come out about a week and a half later than I’d hoped.  I thank you all for reading this far… if’n ya have.
I’m planning on future sales studies (month-by-month… nothing as grand as this), to appear at

the X-Lapsed Patreon

– again, not because I feel like they’re all that special… I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of interest!  If I’m wrong, please let me know!

 

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