This actually isn’t a post about Secret Six, per se. This is a post about something that’s been bothering me but I couldn’t put any words to it. So like, people talk about diversity in comics and bla and bla and the answer always is as follows: When a book comes you have to buy it, then you have to tell everyone you know about it. If the book is good more and more people will buy it. If you get the word out the book will be a success and won’t get cancelled. If you yell to the rooftops, no matter what the book is, or the subject matter of the book is, the book will take off and be a success.
While there are numerous flaws to this argument I am too tired to argue this along with everything else I normally argue. Then I’m listening to a podcast today that was celebrating the life of the Secret Six comic book and I felt like I had just been slapped about the face! With the full hand!
I will look up the Villains United! numbers later, they’re really not so important to this discussion. I just was curious. Also, that’s a good book and people should read it.
Secret Six Mini Series issue 1: 54,940
Secret Six Mini Series issue 6: 35,510
Secret Six Ongoing Issue 1: 31,664
Secret Six: Issue 34: 19,562
I got all these numbers from Comichron, which is a pretty stellar resource.
What does this tell us? Not much at all really. It says that the longer a series goes on the less people are buying it. It is known each issue sells less than the prior issue. It happens almost without fail. The important part of this is that Secret Six is one of the most beloved books of the past four years. So many comic book podcasters praise this books to the seven capital cities of heaven. Websites that review comics give it consistently high ratings. I’ve heard it highly recommended in all four shops in the Charlotte area. Secret Six is a known entity. Ever listen to the DC Panels from SDCC (not so much this year, but it even showed up there) or that one time they put them up from NYCC? Secret Six is brought up. People are always thanking Gail Simone for writing it. There is absolutely no lack of love for this book. No one can say that fans aren’t passionate about it or getting the word out.
What’s the end result? Every single month less and less people read it. No less people are talking about it. The people who are still reading it are no less passionate about the book. Everyone who reviews it agrees that the book is still of a super high quality. The only complaint I’ve ever heard is that the new artists on the book aren’t as good as Nicola Scott, but Sweet Christmas, not many people are. So not so much of a complaint there. I stopped reading the book a year or two back, but I stopped reading everything a year or two back. I picked up issues here and there and loved them so much I decided to go and pick up the trades. I know the book does well in trade, but if everyone who dropped the book in the past three years went to trades it’d be much higher on the sales charts for comics and graphic novels.
This isn’t even a negative article. I’m just pointing out the thing that’s been in the corner of my mind that I couldn’t reach. I’m not saying stop praising your favorite books. I’m not saying to not tell everyone you know that they should be reading what you love. I’m just saying sometimes it doesn’t matter how much or how hard you shout, people don’t want to listen. It feels like the entire online comic book community got behind this book, and look what happened. I think DC would’ve kept floating it because it is so critically acclaimed, but c’mon. Eventually even without the big September relaunch this book would’ve fallen to the 10,000 range and DC would’ve axed it. Sucks a lot.
Turns out, there was nothing we could do about it.