While Marvel surprised many comic book fans last summer when it announced a new series of Thor with a woman as the title character, sales numbers over the last few months have proven it to be a smart move, at least business-wise if nothing else. After the first issue of the new Thor Vol 4 series hit stores in October, it and the following four issues have each sold better than those that began the previous Thor comic series from 2012, titled Thor: God of Thunder.
Sales data from comic book distributors across North America, including Diamond Comic Distributors, shows that the first issue of Thor Vol 4 sold 150,862 copies, a 36% increase over God of Thunder #1 at 110,442 copies. This trend continues across the follow four issues of each series, female Thor up by roughly 30%, despite the overall sales numbers of both series declining after the first issue.
On one hand this is a great showing of support for Marvel’s attempt to diversify its characters and be more inclusive of women, but on the other the sales numbers don’t really show why the new Thor series is selling better. Is it drawing in more women who weren’t so interested in comic books before, rekindling an interest in the character among existing female comic book fans, or are male readers picking it to up to see what all the fuss is about?
Either way, this new Thor appears to have kicked off a new trend by Marvel to get more female characters on comic book covers. Back in February the company announced the new A-Force series, an Avengers-like team entirely made up of female heroes. While it’s not taking the existing Avengers heroes and making them women, similar to Thor, it is a chance to see some of Marvel’s lesser-known characters in the spotlight.