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Frequently Asked Questions

Links to answers about comic-book circulation history



Monthly Direct Market Distributor Sales Data for Comic Books
Our main resource regarding distributor sales charts, including answers to:
• When did distributors begin reporting indexed sales rankings?
• What is included in the numbers being reported?
• What is not included in the numbers being reported?


U.S. Postal Service Sales Data for Comic Books
Our main resource regarding postal Statements of Ownership, including answers to:
• When did circulation figures first appear in comics?
• What does the law require publishers to print, and why does the government require it?
• How valid and reliable is the information found in Statements of Ownership?


Comics Numbering: The Origins
Comics are numbered unlike most other American magazines; a look at some of the historical reasons that may be involved.

Legacy Numbering: Restarts and Restorations Across Time

Check out our decades-spanning survey of comics-series reboots and numbering restorations.

Legacy Numbering at Marvel: A Guide
A quick visual guide to Marvel's numbering, up through 2017's Marvel Legacy event.



The Best-Selling Comic Book of All Time
A look at X-Men Vol. 2, #1 (1991), and how it compares with international rivals

Best-Selling Comics of All Time: Why There's No List.... Yet
Knowing what's #1 turns out to be the easy part

Comics Buyer's Guide: A Look Back
Read how a newspaper started by a teenager became one of the hubs of comics fandom, running nearly 1,700 issues.

Free Comic Book Day: The Origin
Learn how ice cream inspired the most successful annual event in comics retailing

Watchmen: How It Sold as a Comic Book
Long before the movie and millions of reprinted editions, a look at the series' sales origins as a comic book

Watchmen and Its Relationship to Film Techniques
A look at the kinds of visual transitions used in the graphic novel

This section will be expanding soon; check back for updates.
Also look to our Vital Statistics section for information about record-setting comics.