I've ranted here before about how much I loathe online discussions of comic sales. To save you the trouble of digging through the archives, my objection to it is two-fold. (1) I don't like the way it bleeds into substantive discussions of the books themselves, and (2) Most of it is ignorant and stupid - people draw all kinds of conclusions from sales estimates that the data doesn't support, and then try to use those estimates to "prove" their subjective opinions about the quality of books. (Ever notice how the same people who repeat "sales do not equal quality" like a mantra immediately invoke sales figures as "proof" in other contexts? Watch for it.)
But see, that's me. One thing I have learned from years on these here interwebs - people like or dislike whatever they like or dislike. People aren't wrong to like, or be interested in, whatever they choose. If I find their interests stupid, well, I'm welcome to my opinion - but maybe they think the things I'm interested in are stupid. Look, I read all 100 issues of Azrael: Agent of the Bat. Judge me as harshly as you like.
So the reply Brubaker got on Twitter more or less carries the day - people care about sales because they care about sales. Imploring people to care less about sales, or putting them down over it, is a waste of time and, frankly, incredibly presumptuous. None of us gets to tell another what they are or are not supposed to care about or enjoy.
For me - I don't read sales figures or articles about them. They're not the real sales figures, to start with. They are estimates of sales to one portion of the market. It's relatively clear that most of the people pretending to analyze those figures online have absolutely no background in, or understanding of, statistics. There is zero intrinsic value in "analyzing" those sales estimates "month-to-month", particularly when even a cursory examination of the methodology used reveals that they're not actually doing that. Honestly, I just find most of it ass-brained. The sole exception is John Jackson Miller, who seems to have a superior understanding of what the estimates represent and what they mean than do some others - but I don't read his stuff anymore either, because on a very fundamental level I just don't care.
I want books I enjoy to do well, so that they will continue and their creators will be rewarded. Beyond that, sales just aren't relevant to me at all. And even in the case of books I enjoy, me looking at sales charts doesn't affect their success or failure one iota. As for books I don't read or don't like? Why in the heck would I care what they sell? I think a lot of fans have this weird thing where they root for things they don't like to fail. By doing that, they acquire a stake (in their own heads at least) in the success or failure of things that presumably do not consume.
Again - people care about what they care about. But we're all welcome to our opinions, and here's mine:
Rooting for failure is small. Taking joy from failure is small. These are things that small people do.
It's one thing if we're talking about issues of morality. Rooting against pedophilia? Sure. No problem.
But no matter how many times people try to make their subjective opinions about comic books into moral stands - 999 times out of 1000, they're really not, and the people who try to cast them as such end of betraying a childish loss of perspective. We don't all like the same comic books, and that's okay. That's not meant to denigrate or trivialize the medium at all - it is not trivial to me and I suspect it isn't to you, either - but neither does it become a moral issue just because one feels passionately about it.
I submit that if people could make themselves stop rooting for failure of comics/ publishers/ creators they don't like, much of the asinine discussion of sales would evaporate. You wouldn't have people jumping into discussion threads of books - sometimes books that are only an issue or two old - with made-up sales figures proclaiming that the book will get canceled. There'd be no point.
Online behavior is very strange. This is not a revelation, I'm sure, but still. Can you imagine if you had a co-worker who felt the need to jump into every conversation anyone has about a particular TV show to complain loudly about how awful it is? "Yeah, that show you like is getting canceled for sure! The ratings stink! I quit watching six months ago but man was that terrible!" Would you keep listening to the guy who was beating the same complain-y drum day after day, or would you start figuring out ways to get out of the office for lunch without letting him know? Even if he's *right*, or even if he has insight - why on Earth would anyone want to listen to it?
So much of the sales stuff seems to play into this cynical instinct and mindset (which is a thought basically cribbed from Kieron Gillen's replies to Brubaker, so please give credit where it's due). It's like people feel a need to argue with people who like things they don't, and because that discussion has a large subjective component to it, they feel the need to pull out "evidence" supporting their opinion. There's a very fine line between discussion and argument. We don't all need to agree in order to have a discussion or a friendly debate, but we also don't need to have an argument just because we disagree.
Of course I'm pissing into the wind, because once again - people care about whatever. Nothing I can do about it, and not my place anyway. That's fine. But I will leave you with this - and it's based entirely on my own experience, and anyone else's mileage may vary. Comics are a heckuva lot more fun when all that cynical bullshit gets left on the cutting room floor. Even if I found comics sales discussions interesting (and there was a time when I did) - they never, ever added to my enjoyment of the hobby. I've been as guilty as anyone over the years of being cynical or snarky or acting like some kind of self-appointed pundit, but for me it casts a pall over the hobby. It mixes the business side of the equation into the consumption of the product in a way that lessens the product and the experience of being in the hobby. Again - I can't speak for anyone but me. Maybe others derive some genuine enjoyment from this stuff.
But I doubt it.