The news that Marvel executive David Gabriel attributed their recent slump in sales to a lack of demand for diversity and female characters generated a storm in the media. Here’s the quote:
“We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.”
But is what Gabriel says true? Looking at the sales figures for the Avengers, who must surely be considered core Marvel characters, tells a different story. The following graph is based on data from Marvel Month-to-Month Sales Chart January & February 2017. For months in which two issues where released, I took the higher figure.
Note that the peaks in Captain America and Iron Man are due to reboots to issue #1. The exact series are: Captain America Steve Rogers, Invincible Iron Man, Mighty Thor, Totally Awesome Hulk, and Uncanny Avengers.
Look at the average per issue sales per year for Avengers between 1965 and 2011 (based on data from The Avengers Sales Figures). In years where Marvel neglected to submit their numbers, I averaged the previous and next years:
From a peak distribution of 280000 copies per issue back in 1967, sales of the Avengers comic book have slowly declined. In 2011, roughly 80000 copies of each issue were being sold. Now, The Uncanny Avengers, the current iteration, is heading toward the dreaded 30000 level. How the mighty have fallen.