2008 Titans Titles by the Numbers: Analysis
(see 2008 Titans Titles by the Numbers below)
Analysis:TEEN TITANS has lost over 15,000 readers in 2008. Ever single issue has shown a steady decline in sales. That's not good news at all. Something needs to stop the bleeding - and fast!
A steady membership roster may help things. I doubt new artist Joe Bennett will result in a sales spike. Sean McKeever is doing solid work here; I think he just needs some room to do his thing with a solid roster. It's a bit troubling that the membership drive storyline has not resulted in any sales increase.
Advice: It may be time to return to the formula that worked so well for the 2003 relaunch. Return to the core membership of Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and Superboy - with the additions of members like Ravager, Miss Martian, Red Devil, Blue Beetle and Static.
Thematically, I think the book also needs to be a mix of teen drama and action. Tone down the violence and gore. In other words, no more dismembered, eaten or maimed members - at least for awhile. And while Joe Bennet's pencils are good, I'd rather see a Cliff Chiang or Mike Norton on TEEN TITANS, because both artists can draw lively young characters.
It also wouldn't hurt to get a sales-boosting cover artist. I suggest George Perez, Josh Middleton or Amanda Conner.
Linking TITANS to TEEN TITANS may also be a good idea.
Analysis: More bad news here. This series has lost an astounding 36,430 readers in 2008. About half it's initial readership. Now, granted, the dropoff from a #1 issue is standard. For a more sobering view, we can also note a 18,000 dropoff from #2 to #8.
Critically, this series has been derided for the most part. TITANS seems to have been fast-tracked on the belief that throwing the beloved Wolfman/Perez team back together is enough of reason to sustain a series. Obviously, it is not.
Advice: TITANS needs to shake off the stink of the first story arc. In the wake of "Deathtrap", the series needs to convince readers that the problems of the initial issues have been addressed. To do that, it needs a new creative team.
I suggest either Sean McKeever as writer (of both Titans books) or Fabian Nicieza (who worked wonders with the NEW WARRIORS). For art, I would suggest Julian Lopez (who did excellent work on TITANS #5).
The book needs a serious and significant restart to draw readers back in. After "Deathtrap", it needs a storyline that somehow gives the team a new status quo, or kicks off a mystery that will picque the interest on lapsed fans.
It also wouldn't hurt to get a sales-boosting cover artist at the relaunch. I suggest George Perez or Phil Jimenez (whose Marvel contract is up soon).
Linking TEEN TITANS AND TITANS: This was something Jonathan Peterson did well in the days of NEW TITANS, DEATHSTROKE and TEAM TITANS. The books were linked in a loose way, letting them occupy their own corner of the DCUniverse.
It's too bad "Deathtrap" is happening soon. A crossover with the Titans books could have re-energized both books and given then soft restarts, but also linking them together (with Perez covers!). It could be something as simple as the Titans becoming regular advisors to the Teen Titans. Or, having the Teen Titans mess up in a way that would make the Titans vow to keep a close eye on them.
TEEN TITANS RELATED MINI-SERIES:
Analysis: It seems no one is really clamoring for these, huh? Mid-series, it seems most of them are hovering around numbers that would get an ongoing series canceled. Even TERRA, with popular artist Amanda Conner, didn't ignite the sales sharts. TERROR TITANS did slightly better, but I'd wager that's because it has closer ties to the ongoing series (written by Sean McKeever and featuring Ravager).
Now, the one notable exception is TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE, which sold around 30k for most of its run. Compared to other DC mini numbers, this should be seen as a success. But, in DC's infinite wisdom, they have largely ignored this series. There are no follow-up plans. No Year Two.
Advice: Any future mini-series need a stronger tie to the ongoing Titans series. Also, a return to 3-or-4 issue mini-series might be a good idea. (Trades can package an origin story with the mini to pad up the pages).
Also, greenlight TEEN TITANS: YEAR TWO.