The latest numbers for DC Comics’ new woke Superman series, Superman: Son of Kal-El, show the book is a loser despite writer Tom Taylor’s spurious claims to the contrary.
Towards the end of January, Taylor took to Twitter to try and deflect from sales data that showed Superman: Son of Kal-El was a sales loser.
On Twitter, Taylor wrote, “Wow. Stick around for the end of this. It’s worth it. Today, I woke up to piles of strangers in my mentions attacking the sales of Superman: Son of Kal-El issue #6 and celebrating the failure of our comic… ”
He then went on a 15-tweet thread attempting to push a narrative that the book had good sales, despite not showing any actual hard sales numbers.
He wrote, “Now, this was pretty confusing. I don’t believe a story’s worth is measured by its sales. But our Superman is selling pretty well. Issue #5, where Jon Kent comes out as bisexual, made the Top 10 in comic sales for November.”
Taylor’s desperation to prove the book had good sales even had him quoting outlets who used DC Comics’ press release language that the book’s fifth issue had “unprecedented sales.” But as noted above neither he nor DC Comics have shared their numbers.
Taylor tweeted, “I get there are those who want to see this series fail for some pretty obvious, and awful, reasons, but… it’s not failing.”
Next, he claimed the book sold out. However, this is industry language to try and convince people it had good sales. Of note, Taylor doesn’t reveal what selling out means. The book could have had a very small print run before it went to a second issue. And as we’ll see, that’s very likely the case.
Taylor stated, “Far from it. Issues 1-4 of Superman: Son of Kal-El all sold out and went back for a 2nd printing. Issue 5 well outsold our first issue, even though our first issue had to be reprinted twice. So, what’s happening here?”
Next, he began targeting people reporting on the poor sales of the book’s annual.
Taylor tweeted, “I mean, some guy on youtube can’t be wrong, right?”
Taylor then pointed to an Amazon sales chart, which again doesn’t actually show how many comics are being sold.
He tweeted, “Maybe Superman: Son of Kal-El isn’t selling that well AFTER issue 5? That would make perfect sense. Issue 5 made global news. And yet…”
In the next tweet he added, “…a quick glance at Amazon shows SEVEN issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El are currently in the Top 50 of the comics Bestseller list. (Sales are updated hourly. And we only have seven issues out.)”
He then wrote, “(On closer inspection, it also shows my collaborators and I currently have 13 comics in the top 50, which is kind of mind-blowing. Thank you!)”
Taylor then tried the same trick with Comixology tweeting, “Maybe we should check how the latest issue is doing on Comixology? Oh… it’s in the Top 10 alongside some sales-juggernauts. (I’ve read a few of these. Great comics here. And yes, I’ve read Nightwing.)”
He then mocked Cosmic Book News for their accurate reporting of Superman: Son of Kal-El’s poor sales numbers by tweeting, “But then… how is this true? (I’m getting to the best bit. The entire reason for this thread. And, oh, it is good.)”
Not satisfied with Cosmic Book News, he also went after YouTuber Ryan Kinel. Taylor tweeted, “Is this… not true? Is someone LYING on the internet?”
Taylor then wrote, “Apparently, I’m the one who’s lying. And manipulating whole sales charts to support my lies… or something.”
He then went after Cosmic Book News again for their accurate reporting. “Wait. Issue #6 didn’t even appear in December sales? What?!”
This tweet is especially galling since it appears to show that Taylor doesn’t realize that Cosmic Book News is reporting that Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 was 6th on the sales chart in November. He appears to think that they are referring to Superman: Son of Kal-El #6.
Taylor would double down on this fictional narrative that he created to virtue signal by coming after Bounding Into Comics’ reporting on the book’s poor sales.
He tweeted, “Okay, accurate physical comic sales to stores are hard to come by but some good sites do report estimates. Sometimes they’re close. Sometimes they’re off by a lot. But I’m sorry to say… this is true. As so many are reporting, Superman #6 DIDN’T sell well in December.”
He then added, “Because… it didn’t come out until January.”
Unfortunately for Taylor’s entire thread, his punch line is a complete lie as anyone who read our reporting would know.
The annual for Superman: Son of Kal-El did come out in December and it fell off the Top 50 chart completely when it came to unit sales. The book did place 45 on ICv2’s Top 50 Comic Books By Dollars chart in December.
Not only was his narrative shoddy when he posted all of these tweets in January, but the new January sales charts from ICv2 confirm it.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #6 barely made it on to the unit chart. It was in 42nd place. On the Top 50 Comic Books by Dollars chart it was in 50th, dead last on the list.
It was clear in January that Taylor’s thread was a deflection given he never showed any numbers, and it’s abundantly clear now. It’s likely without another major gimmick like making Superman gay, which is what they did in Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, that the book will fall off the charts in February.
DC Comics and Marvel Comics are not in good shape despite what people like Taylor will try and convey. DC Comics publisher Jim Lee even admitted a significant portion of their publishing line was losing money.
Lee revealed in a 2020 interview, “That said, we will be reducing the size of the slate. But it’s about looking at everything and looking at the bottom 20 percent, 25 percent of the line that wasn’t breaking even or was losing money.”
Former Marvel Comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick was also honest about the state of the comic book industry in a 2019 interview.
She stated, “Boy, that’s hard because from our perspective the industry has contracted and we’re very worried about comics right now. So, it’s always interesting to me that the outside perspective is always, ‘Comics are booming!'”
Later in the interview, DeConnick added, “I think I tend to be pretty optimistic, but in this one I’m worried. I’m straight worried. Because stores are closing at a phenomenal rate. Independent comic sales are down. Mainstream comic sales are down except the top three or five books are up. Everything in the mid list is way down.”
“Numbers that used to be numbers that would get you cancelled are now like, ‘No, that’s a hit.’ Independent books making back the cost of doing floppies is– like names that should be able to do it no sweat are going into the red on singles and not coming out until the trades. And it worries me,” she elaborated.
What do you make of the latest sales numbers for Superman: Son of Kal-El?