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Aggregated 1996 Comic Book Sales Figures
Comics Preordered by North American Comics Shops as Reported by Heroes World Distribution and Diamond Comic Distributors

In 1996, comics sales to comics shops were mostly handled by three different major distributors: Diamond Comics Distributors, which was the exclusive comics-shop reseller of DC, Image, Dark Horse, and Acclaim comics; Heroes World Distribution, which was the distributor of Marvel comics; and Capital City Distribution, which sold miscellaneous other publishers until its acquisition by Diamond in late July.

In September 1996, with the market down to two distributors, I began a monthly tracking merging data from Heroes World with Diamond's reported figures. Before then, Heroes World did no reporting, and Diamond and Capital City (until its closure) produced their own top-seller lists. Spawn is thus probably not the top-seller in the industry in most months in the first part of the year, but Marvel sales are required before a definite top-seller can be named.

Capital published data through July, when it was purchased by Diamond. Capital City's charts in 1996 no longer ranked comics by unit sales, but rather by dollar sales — and combined with all its other non-comics products. It is difficult to tell which book sold the most units because the titles were not indexed. But the numbers are small in comparison to the rest of the comics market, with Kitchen Sink often the publisher of the top-selling title.

Follow these links to the rankings and, where available, estimates for preorders for the following distributors: 

Diamond Comic Distributors rankings
January 1996
February 1996
March 1996
April 1996
May 1996
June 1996
July 1996
August 1996



Diamond and Heroes World rankings
My analyses of combined preorders from Heroes World Distribution and Diamond Comic Distributors for these months can be found here:
September 1996
October 1996
November 1996
December 1996

Diamond's final rankings for all comics and trade paperbacks during the year appear below. Diamond reported these issues without indexes allowing actual sales estimates to be calculated. You can find the first-month sales for these issues in the monthly charts; click one of the months above or use the search tool at the top of the page to find the specific issue. But note that those monthly numbers do not include reorders for the entire year; the rankings below do take the entire year's sales into account.

Further, note that since Diamond wasn't carrying Marvel, the rankings seen below are incomplete. Only its issues from Amalgam appear, as well. DC versus Marvel #4 probably is the best-seller for the year, but figure on several Marvel books outranking Spawn.


Comic-book Title Issue Price Publisher
1 DC Versus Marvel 4 $3.95 DC
2 Spawn 50 $3.95 Image
3 Spawn 43 $1.95 Image
4 Spawn 42 $1.95 Image
5 Superman The Wedding Album Collector's Ed.
$4.95 DC
6 Gen 13 8 $2.50 Image
7 DV8 1 $2.50 Image
8 Legends of the Dark Claw 1 $1.95 DC
9 Kingdom Come 4 $4.95 DC
10 Spawn 44 $1.95 Image
11 Spawn 51 $1.95 Image
12 Spawn the Impaler 1 $2.95 Image
13 Spawn 45 $1.95 Image
14 JLX 1 $1.95 DC
15 Spawn 52 $1.95 Image
16 Spawn 49 $1.95 Image
17 Spawn 48 $1.95 Image
18 Amazon 1 $1.95 DC
19 Spawn Wildcats 1 $2.50 Image
20 Spawn 46 $1.95 Image
21 Spawn 47 $1.95 Image
22 Kingdom Come 3 $4.95 DC
23 Super Soldier 1 $1.95 DC
24 Spawn 53 $1.95 Image
25 Spawn 55 $1.95 Image
26 Gen 13 10 $2.50 Image
27 Spawn 54 $1.95 Image
28 Gen 13 9 $2.50 Image
29 Kingdom Come 1 $4.95 DC
30 Curse of the Spawn 1 $1.95 Image
31 Spawn 56 $1.95 Image
32 Medieval Spawn Witchblade 1 $2.95 Image
33 Gen 13 11 $2.50 Image
34 Spawn 57 $1.95 Image
35 Assassins 1 $1.95 DC
36 DC/Marvel All Access 1 $2.95 DC
37 Kingdom Come 2 $4.95 DC
38 Gen 13 Ordinary Heroes 1 $2.50 Image
39 Medieval Spawn Witchblade 2 $2.95 Image
40 Doctor Strangefate 1 $1.95 DC
41 Gen 13 12 $2.50 Image
42 Spawn Wildcats 2 $2.50 Image
43 Medieval Spawn Witchblade 3 $2.95 Image
44 Curse of the Spawn Dark Future Part II Blood Lust
$1.95 Image
45 Gen 13 13A $1.30 Image
46 Spawn the Impaler 2 $2.95 Image
47 Gen 13 13B $1.30 Image
48 Sandman 75 $3.95 DC
49 Curse of the Spawn 4 $1.95 Image
50 Gen 13 13C $1.30 Image
51 Curse of the Spawn Dark Future Part III Blood Lust
$1.95 Image
52 Spawn the Impaler 3 $2.95 Image
53 Spawn Wildcats 3 $2.50 Image
54 Gen 13 Ordinary Heroes 2 $2.50 Image
55 DC/Marvel All Access 2 $1.95 DC
56 Deathblow Wolverine 1 $2.50 Image
57 Gen 13 14 $2.50 Image
58 Spawn Wildcats 4 $2.50 Image
59 DC/Marvel All Access 3 $1.95 DC
60 Gen 13 15 $2.50 Image
61 Gen 13 The Unreal World
$2.95 Image
62 Gen 13 16 $2.50 Image
63 Witchblade 3 $2.50 Image
64 Gen 13 Bootleg 1 $2.50 Image
65 Spawn Bible 1 $1.95 Image
66 Wildcats 26 $2.50 Image
67 JLA 1 $1.95 DC
68 Badrock Wolverine 1 $4.95 Image
69 Lady Death The Odyssey 1 $3.50 Chaos
70 Wetworks 4 $2.50 Image
71 X-Files 14 $2.95 Topps
72 Backlash Spider-Man 1 $2.50 Image
73 Death The Time of Your Life 1 $2.95 DC
74 Deathblow Wolverine 2 $2.50 Image
75 Grifter Shi 1 $2.95 Image
76 Adventures of Superman 541 $1.95 DC
77 Backlash Spider-Man 2 $2.50 Image
78 Witchblade 10 $2.50 Top Cow
79 Action Comics 728 $1.95 DC
80 Lady Death The Crucible 1 $3.50 Chaos
81 Final Night 1 $1.95 DC
82 Superman The Man of Tomorrow 4 $1.95 DC
83 Gen 13 Bootleg 2 $2.50 Image
84 Pitt 10 $1.95 Full Bleed
85 Superman Man of Steel 63 $1.95 DC
86 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 1 $2.95 Dark Horse
87 DC/Marvel All Access 4 $2.95 DC
88 Prophet Cable 1 $4.95 Image
89 Tales of the Witchblade 1 $2.95 Top Cow
90 Detective Comics 700 Collector's Ed $4.95 DC
91 Witchblade 9 $2.50 Image
92 Angela Glory Rage of Angels
$2.50 Image
93 Darkness 1 $2.50 Top Cow
94 Final Night 2 $1.95 DC
95 Youngblood X-Force
$4.95 Image
96 Tomoe 0 $2.95 Crusade
97 Grifter Shi 2 $2.95 Image
98 Death The Time of Your Life 3 $2.95 DC
99 Final Night 3 $1.95 DC
100 Final Night 4 $1.95 DC
101 Witchblade 11 $2.50 Top Cow
102 Death The Time of Your Life 2 $2.95 DC
103 Batman 533 $1.95 DC
104 Witchblade 8 $2.50 Image
105 Batman 528 $1.95 DC
106 Catwoman 31 $1.95 DC
107 Glory Angela Hell's Angels
$2.50 Image
108 Shi Way of the Warrior 8 $2.95 CRU
109 Shattered Image 1 $2.50 Image
110 Lady Death The Odyssey 2 $2.95 Chaos
111 Lady Death The Odyssey 4 $2.95 Chaos
112 Azrael 15 $1.95 DC
113 Supergirl 1 $1.95 DC
114 Crusade Special Shi vs. Tomoe 1 $3.95 Crusade
115 Batman 529 $1.95 DC
116 Lady Death The Odyssey 3 $2.95 Chaos
117 Batman 532 Collector's Ed. $1.95 DC
118 Batman 530 Collector's Ed. $1.95 DC
119 Witchblade 7 $3.95 Image
120 Dreaming 1 $1.95 DC
121 Batman 534 $2.95 DC
122 Wildcats 29 $2.50 Image
123 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 2 $2.95 Dark Horse
124 Shi The Way of the Warrior 9 $2.95 Crusade
125 Action Comics 719 $1.95 DC
126 Superman 110 $1.95 DC
127 Maxx 22 $1.95 Image
128 Witchblade 6 $2.50 Image
129 Batman 531 Collector's Ed. $2.50 DC
130 JLA 2 $1.95 DC
131 DV8 2 $2.50 Image
132 Wildcats 31 $2.50 Image
133 Detective Comics 695 $1.95 DC
134 Wildcats 30 $2.50 Image
135 Batman 536 Standard Ed. $1.95 DC
136 Adventures of Superman 533 $1.95 DC
137 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 3 $2.95 Dark Horse
138 Superman The Man of Tomorrow 54 $1.95 DC
139 Wildcats 27 $2.50 Image
140 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 4 $2.95 Dark Horse
141 Green Lantern 81 Collector's Ed. $3.95 DC
142 Dawn 4 $2.95 Sirius
143 X-Files 22 $2.95 Topps
144 Puragatori The Vampire's Myth 1 $3.50 Chaos
145 Wildcats 28 $2.50 Image
146 Superman 111 $1.95 DC
147 Parallax Emerald Night 1 $2.95 DC
148 Shi Way of the Wariror 10 $2.95 Crusade
149 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 6 $2.95 Dark Horse
150 Action Comics 720 $1.95 DC
151 Superman 112 $1.95 DC
152 Detective Comics 696 $1.95 DC
153 X-Files 23 $2.95 Topps
154 Star Wars Shadows of the Empire 5 $2.95 Dark Horse
155 Shattered IMage 2 $2.50 Image
156 Detective Comics 701 $1.95 DC
157 Action Comics 722 $1.95 DC
158 Ballistic Wolverine 4 $2.95 Top Cow
159 Batman 537 $1.95 DC
160 Detective Comics 698 $1.95 DC
161 Darkness 2 $2.50 Top Cow
162 Batman 535 Collector's Ed. $3.95 DC
163 Superman The Man of Steel 55 $1.95 DC
164 Adventures of Superman 535 $1.95 DC
165 Batman Black & White 1 $2.95 DC
166 Action Comics 32 $2.50 Image
167 Detective Comics 113 $1.95 DC
168 X-Files 697 $1.95 DC
169 Detective Comics 4 $2.95 DC
170 Darkchylde Glory 723 $1.95 DC
171 Nightwing 703 $1.95 DC
172 Adventures of Superman 0 $3.95 Topps
173 Star Wars Heir to the Empire 699 $1.95 DC
174 Adventures of Superman 1 $2.95 Image
175 Batman 1 $1.95 DC
176 Superman The Man of Steel 534 $1.95 DC
177 Star Wars Heir to the Empire 4 $2.95 Dark Horse
178 Adventures of Superman 536 $1.95 DC
179 Batman 538 $1.95 DC
180 Superman The Man of Steel 57 $1.95 DC
181 Fire from Heaven 1 $2.50 Image
182 Action Comics 721 $1.95 DC
183 X-Files 24 $2.95 Topps
184 Supergirl 3 $1.95 DC
185 Batman Shadow of the Bat 48 $1.95 DC
186 Superman 114 $1.95 DC
187 Witchblade 4 $2.50 Image
188 Supergirl 4 $1.95 DC
189 Batman Black & White 3 $2.95 DC
190 Superman The Man of Steel 58 $1.95 DC
191 DV8 3 $2.50 Image
192 Batman Shadow of the Bat 53 $1.95 DC
193 Shattered Image 3 $2.50 Image
194 Superman The Man of Steel 56 $1.95 DC
195 Shi Way of the Warrior 11 $2.95 Crusade
196 X-Files 25 $2.95 Topps
197 X-Files 15 $2.95 Topps
198 Wildcats 33 $2.50 Image
199 Action Comics 724 $1.95 DC
200 Grifter 9 $2.50 Image
















Trade Paperback Title
Price Publisher
1 Batman Captain America Amazon data for this TPB $5.95 DC
2 Batman: Dark Knight Returns 10th Ann. Slipcase Ed. Amazon data for this TPB $100.00 DC
3 Sandman The Kindly Ones HC Amazon data for this TPB $34.95 DC
4 Batman Deadman HC Amazon data for this TPB $24.95 DC
5 Lady Death The Crucible #1 Lthr. Ltd. Ed. Amazon data for this TPB $19.95 Chaos
6 Lady Death The Odyssey #1 Premium Ed. Amazon data for this TPB $19.95 Chaos
7 Death Dealer #2 Amazon data for this TPB $6.95 Verotik
8 Sandman Wake HC Amazon data for this TPB $29.95 DC
9 Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Pop Up Amazon data for this TPB $17.95 Dark Horse
10 Flash Archives Vol. 1 Amazon data for this TPB $49.95 DC


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