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Archie circulation numbers heading into ground, but how unusual is that?

Yesterday, I joked that the new Life With Archie comic in which the title character is killed was a desperate attempt to remain relevant. This morning I read a post over on Comic Chron that tracked the height of Archie’s popularity (spoiler: peaking in 1958) and the long decline since. For those of us who like to play with numbers, it’s an interesting read.

FiveThirtyEight, the data analytics company associated with political analyst Nate Silver’s, has taken that post and run with other data to determine the market share of Archie. It’s not much. How much of a boost will this Life with Archie make? Probably not much.

From FiveThirtyEight:

So what kind of sales movement does killing off the main character have on a comic?

?The main example of course is the ?Death of Superman? in November 1992 which led to what was reportedly a $30 million day in comics shops, to this day, the largest amount of revenue made in a day in the comics market,? Miller wrote in an email to FiveThirtyEight. ?Captain America?s death in the 2000s was another big example.?

Community Comments

#1 Jim Laveey
July/15/2014
@ 1:23 pm

Unfortunately,Archie Comics strategy was to kill off their sales before they killed off their main charcter.

#2 John Jackson Miller
July/16/2014
@ 10:35 am

Note that the market share track at FiveThirtyEight is just at Diamond; on the newsstands, Archie sells anywhere from one third to one half the comics sold. But the newsstand market today is only 7% of the market for periodical comics, so the effect is probably to double the above shares.

The track on my site is just for the main monthly title, which is not the breadwinner for Archie — that would be the digests that sell on the newsstand. The sales peak for the title is 1968 in the numbers we know of, but could have been higher before 1960, before when publishers had to file circulation statements.

#3 Jason Nocera
July/21/2014
@ 9:00 am

What about Afterlife with Archie? Didn’t the first four issues sell out?

Nice article about Archie Comics here:
http://www.wired.com/2014/03/archie-comics/

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