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Where does Dark Circle go from here?

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Post Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:39 am
Matesamo User avatar
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I was pretty excited when the New Crusaders series was announced and thought it was pretty good. Sales by the end of the series were in the 2,500+ range which was right where the regular Archie publications were at the time (Archie was mid 3k, Life with Archie was 2,5k). The Fox also released its two series and saw sales averages of 4k+ for both runs which, in my opinion, were the high point creatively for the line. With those sales numbers across all their titles it seems like the all-ages idea was working to a certain degree.

Of course then Afterlife Life with Archie blew up and Alex Segura announced the cancellation of the all-ages comics and changed the line into Dark Circle with a more mature line-up. While the initial burst of interest was substantial (Black Hood #1 sold 10,386 copies and dropped below 3,000 by the time the first series ended) it did not last and more importantly when Black Hood relaunched its season 2 with a new issue one, it did not even crack 3,000 copies. The last two issues did not even chart as far as I can tell.

Hangman saw a similar drop off (9k to 3k) while the Shield launched with an even smaller 7k first issue sales. It is not that more older content is failing to sell with Archie; Afterlife still sells 18k an issue, Sabrina 13K, Archie 10k. I personally think Archie did the classic mistake of seeing one success and thinking they could easily duplicate it, which turned out not to be the case. Black Hood quickly dropped off my pull list as the relentless gloom and utterly unlikable characters wore out their welcome. The Shield did not really feel like the Shield I know and love but the first issue was pretty interesting before the publishing schedule got completely thrown out of whack. I am not even sure how many issues came out.

With Dark Circle running out of gas the question is, where does Archie go from here? Keep plugging away with the mature titles hoping one catches fire and lifts the entire line? Is there even a line left to lift or is it just going to fade away?

I personally feel that they were on the right path with The Fox, mini-series that are self-contained and slowly introduced new characters. If they kept going and alternated mini-series among the various characters I think it could have been a sold path to keep the characters in the public eye expand its fanbase. It certainly would not have set the world on fire sales wise and I am not sure that 4k a month would be worth it to Archie. Back in 2010 it certainly would have been but the lure of mainstream attention and gritty inflated sales numbers may have finally sealed the Red Circle characters doom once and for all.

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