January 1989 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Preordered by North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
1989 would be a banner year for the comic-book Direct Market, with the Batman movie and attendant buzz — and while the year would start with Marvel taking twelve of the top 13 slots, Batman would still make his mark with the kickoff of his 50th anniversary year. The seventh-place Detective Comics #598 was a $2.95 80-page giant including work by Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm.
But while Diamond did not yet report dollar rankings, the Detective issue was surely beaten in terms of dollar sales by the $3.50 Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown #3, which placed fifth overall.
New series launches were led with John Byrne'sSensational She-Hulk #1, which placed second overall. On the cover, the title character threatened to rip up customers' X-Men comics if the series did not succeed; when it ended at #60, the cover recalled that threat.
Other launches included Marvel's Damage Control #1, in 25th place, and DC's New Gods #1, in 29th. Eclipse had the first issue of Mike Grell's James Bond 007.
The raw version of the chart below was presumably published in the November 1988 Diamond Dialogue newsletter; it was reprinted in Comics Values Monthly #33, where we found it. We've added publishers and ship dates. Diamond did not yet report market shares; Capital City this month found Marvel with a dollar share of 44.62%, DC with a dollar share of 29.64%, and Eclipse at 4.28%.
Diamond's chart included two entries for Previews itself, which was just beginning a consumer edition.
The dates shown below are the dates the comics shipped from the printer, according to Diamond's Previews #113 (November 1988). While many dates were reported as Tuesdays, which corresponded to when the printer Ronald's released its comics, World Color Press wasn't releasing its books until 12:01 a.m. on Thursdays. It's not clear which books came from that printer, however, as neither Diamond nor Capital were publishing that information yet.
Further, in this era, distributor catalog dates for all publishers did not synch up exactly with the calendar month, so Diamond's January charts include one week's worth of DC comics and some Marvel comics from February — and are missing the first week's comics, which would have appeared in Diamond's December 1988 charts. This would continue until March 1995, when DC would realign its solicitations with the Direct Market's calendar month (that chart only included three weeks of DC sales). Because Diamond did not report indexed sales, there is no way to know where those comics would have landed in this month's chart.
Diamond did not report graphic novel sales separately, but the Punisher: Return to Big Nothing hardcover did make its comics list.
—John Jackson Miller
This list includes all items on Diamond's Top 100 chart.
Distributor charts are regional commodity reports, not measures of a work's total reach. Read our FAQ.
The links lead to current listings for each item on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|5||Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown||3||$3.50||1/12/89||Marvel|
|10||West Coast Avengers||44||$0.75||01/05/89||Marvel|
|12||Web of Spider-Man||50||$1.50||01/05/89||Marvel|
|23||Justice League International||25||$0.75||01/17/89||Marvel|
|26||Marvel Comics Presents||20||$1.25||01/26/89||Marvel|
|27||Marvel Comics Presents||19||$1.25||01/12/89||Marvel|
|33||James Bond 007||1||$3.95||01/10/89||Eclipse|
|39||Doctor Strange Sorceror Supreme||4||$1.50||02/02/89||Marvel|
|40||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures||2||$1.00||Archie|
|41||V for Vendetta||9||$2.00||01/17/89||DC|
|48||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||18||$1.50||Mirage|
|50||Adventures of Superman||452||$0.75||01/31/89||DC|
|52||G.I. Joe A Real American Hero||86||$1.00||01/19/89||Marvel|
|54||Saga of the Sub-Mariner||7||$1.50||01/19/89||Marvel|
|59||Legion of Super-Heroes||58||$1.75||01/24/89||DC|
|61||Advanced Dungeons and Dragons||4||$1.50||02/07/89||DC|
|62||Groo the Wanderer||51||$1.00||01/12/89||Marvel|
|63||Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||7||$1.50||Mirage|
|65||Firestorm The Nuclear Man||83||$1.00||01/17/89||DC|
|68||Punisher: Return to Big Nothing HC||$16.95||01/26/89||Marvel|
|71||Action Comics Weekly||642||$1.50||01/24/89||DC|
|72||G.I. Joe Special Missions||21||$1.00||01/05/89||Marvel|
|73||Conan the Barbarian||218||$1.00||01/19/89||Marvel|
|79||Action Comics Weekly||641||$1.50||01/17/89||DC|
|85||Power of the Atom||10||$1.00||01/31/89||DC|
|89||Lone Wolf and Cub||21||$2.50||12/30/88||First|
|92||Conan the King||52||$1.50||01/05/89||Marvel|
|100||Savage Sword of Conan||159||$2.00||01/12/89||Marvel|
Diamond did not report graphic novel sales separately this month, but the Punisher: Return to Big Nothing hardcover from Marvel made its overall comics list and was its bestseller.
Not all the links below are currently active, but they will be when more charts are added.