In fact, “mediocre sales figures” was far from the truth circa Empowered vol. 5, as back then the series was still doing very well indeed, though not quite as well as the first few volumes had managed. (Early Empowered volumes were in the top 10 of graphic novel sales in the months they first shipped, which now seems amazing to recall.) Nowadays, the comics direct market’s dreaded “standard attrition,” which normally whittles down—or gouges—the sales figures of successive issues of any given series, has driven down the order numbers for later installments quite severely. In fact, we now sell more copies in bookstores than in comic stores, though this has more to do with the collapse of sales in the latter than any stupendous success in the former. Then again, it should be said that the direct market is in much more dire condition than it was a decade ago, with a mind-boggling glut of far too many titles chasing far too few readers—and let us not even speak of the stupendous onslaught of variant covers, which doesn’t help matters overmuch.