The numbers on the monthly comic series Die, from Image Comics, have been climbing since the third issue, Image told ICv2, with the connection to RPG play a big factor in the series popularity.  Initial raw orders from Diamond Comic Distributors are up over 20%, and appear to show no signs of slowing down.  Here are those initial orders:

  • Die #3:  19,399
  • Die #4:  20,420
  • Die #5:  21,997
  • Die #6:  24,000+

And even that increase was not enough, as Image announced this week that it was ordering a second printing of #6 a week ahead of release.

We asked Image Publisher Eric Stephenson why this was happening.  He pointed to two factors.  One is the popularity of writer Kieron Gillen, who writes the series with art by Stephanie Hans.  "Kieron's coming off of a strong run with Wicked + Divine, which was his creator-owned series with Image Comics and his collaborator, Jamie McKelvie," Stephenson said.  "At the same time, he was doing Star Wars over at Marvel.  Kieron has built up a brand for himself, and he's someone that comics readers gravitate towards."

The second factor in the sales surge is that the story, which builds off a roleplaying game concept, ties into the red-hot RPG category, Stephenson told us.  "[G]aming is a big part of the book," Stephenson said.  "It's set in an RPG come to life.  It's built around a game that Kieran has meticulously constructed as part of his world-building and that is also available for people to play via a download.  This is basically people who play a roleplaying game being able to go into that world and have experiences there.  RPGs are a really big deal right now, and I think readers have latched onto that."

The storyline is bringing in new customers, Stephenson explained.  "From talking to a number of stores and people who work in stores, they have people who don't really read comics who have come in and said, 'Hey, I'm into D&D and I've heard about this comic. Where is it?'  Even though there have been Dungeons & Dragons comics and things like that before that have had varying degrees of success, this has appealed to people who like that kind of game."

Die is a dark fantasy in which a group of adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage roleplayers.  The first story arc ended with issue #5, and the first trade paperback collection was released in June.