August 1989 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Preordered by North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
By August 1989, the wave of mass-market attention from the Batman movie was still going. Ticket sales may have finally been on the way down, but merchandise was flowing everywhere. Prince's "Batdance" peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 5. In comics shops, meanwhile, retailers were still receiving preorders that were placed before the movie came out. The order deadline for the August 1989 Previews catalog from Diamond Comic Distributors was June 22; the movie released that evening!
Yet because distributors had responded early to the film's release, retailers had already had much Batman material to sell — and offerings in the August catalog reflected further confidence in the film, with Topps already offering second series of trading cards.
DC, meanwhile, began a new Batman comic story arc, "A Lonely Place of Dying," introducing Tim Drake. August's Batman #440 would edge out June's issues to become the bestselling issues of the series in the Direct Market age; Batman #441, in September, would blow that record away when Drake became the new Robin. DC also saw its Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told and Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told trade paperbacks continue to sell well.
The raw version of the chart below was published in the July 25, 1989 Diamond Dialogue. It was still a newsletter, at that point; only issue names and prices appeared. We've added publishers and ship dates, and have integrated dollar rankings that appeared in a different table. Diamond did not yet report market shares.
Diamond also did not have a separate graphic novel category yet, with the top-selling graphic novel, the Punisher: Intruder hardcover, making the comics charts. We've retained it in the comics chart but also built a graphic novel chart. Diamond also included a number of non-comics items in its Top 100 chart; these have been included but not counted towards the averages at left.
As the chart below reports preorders, some of the comics ranked did not come out in August 1989; that was the case with Swamp Thing #89, which was delayed.
The dates shown below are the dates the comics shipped from the printer, according to Diamond Previews #120 (August 1989) and subsequently reported in Amazing Heroes. Diamond reported almost all dates as Tuesdays, which corresponded to when the printer Ronald's released its comics — but World Color Press wasn't releasing its books until 12:01 a.m. on Thursdays, and Diamond's catalog seems to have grouped everything together under the earlier day, regardless of which printer a comic came from. (Capital's Advance Comics uniformly announced dates that were two days later. Its dates appeared in Comics Buyer's Guide and Comic Shop News.) We've adjusted the dates on the comics known to have come from World Color Press to Thursday. Specific on-sale dates were rarely announced in advance for smaller publishers' titles as they could seldom guarantee printer times.
Further, in this era, distributor catalog dates for all publishers did not synch up exactly with the calendar month, so Diamond's July charts include two week's worth of DC comics from August — and are missing the first two weeks' comics, which appeared in Diamond's June 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.
Click to skip to the Top Graphic Novels for the month.
—John Jackson Miller
This list includes all items on Diamond's Top 100 chart, plus items that appeared in Diamond's dollar sales table.
Items marked (resolicited) were offered in an earlier month but never shipped; disregard any previously reported figure, as earlier orders were canceled when the books were resolicited.
Where Diamond did not provide dollar rankings for an item, "999" is entered for sorting purposes.
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 issue on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|10||5||Secret Origins Special||1||$2.00||08/17/89||DC|
|11||12||Punisher War Journal||11||$1.50||08/29/89||Marvel|
|12||24||Justice League Europe||7||$1.00||09/07/89||DC|
|15||27||Justice League America||31||$1.00||08/17/89||DC|
|16||29||Avengers West Coast||51||$1.00||08/03/89||Marvel|
|21||35||Web of Spider-Man||57||$1.00||08/03/89||Marvel|
|25||20||Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update||6||$1.50||08/10/89||Marvel|
|26||21||Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.||4||$1.50||08/15/89||Marvel|
|27||22||Star Trek: The Next Generation||1||$1.50||08/29/89||DC|
|34||999||Upper Deck 1989 High-Number Set (not comics)||$7.50||Upper Deck|
|36||16||Aliens II||3||$2.25||Dark Horse|
|37||30||Marc Spector, Moon Knight||7||$1.50||08/29/89||Marvel|
|41||42||Marvel Comics Presents||35||$1.25||08/10/89||Marvel|
|42||45||Marvel Comics Presents||34||$1.25||08/24/89||Marvel|
|43||999||Batman Button Set #3 A (not comics)||$8.00|
|44||999||Adventures of Superman||459||$0.75||08/31/89||DC|
|50||48||Doctor Strange, Sorceror Supreme||10||$1.50||08/29/89||Marvel|
|51||999||Hawk and Dove||5||$1.00||08/22/89||DC|
|56||38||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||24||$1.75||Mirage|
|64||999||G.I. Joe A Real American Hero||93||$1.00||08/17/89||Marvel|
|67||999||Groo the Wanderer||58||$1.00||08/10/89||Marvel|
|69||61||Cloak & Dagger||8||$1.50||08/22/89||Marvel|
|72||999||Firestorm the Nuclear Man||90||$1.00||08/17/89||DC|
|76||70||Advanced Dungeons and Dragons||1||$1.50||09/05/89||DC|
|78||999||Punisher: Intruder HC||$15.95||Marvel|
|81||999||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Archie)||6||$1.00||08/08/89||Archie|
|82||999||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Archie)||7||$1.00||09/19/89||Archie|
|85||999||Swamp Thing (resolicited)||89||$1.50||10/03/89||DC|
|87||999||Swamp Thing (resolicited)||88||$1.50||08/03/89||DC|
|88||999||Conan the Barbarian||225||$1.00||08/17/89||Marvel|
|89||58||Rock 'n' Roll Comics||4||$1.95||Revolutionary|
|91||59||Rock 'n' Roll Comics||3||$1.95||Revolutionary|
|94||999||G.I. Joe Special Missions||28||$1.00||08/03/89||Marvel|
|96||999||Power of the Atom||17||$1.00||08/31/89||DC|
|100||999||Batman Movie Cards Set 2 (not comics)||$29.95||Topps|
|n.a.||28||Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein||3||$6.95||08/15/89||Eclipse|
|n.a.||51||Appleseed: Book Three||1||$2.95||08/22/89||Eclipse|
|n.a.||53||Lone Wolf and Cub||28||$2.95||07/28/89||First|
|n.a.||65||Savage Sword of Conan||166||$2.25||08/08/89||Marvel|
August 1989 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks Preordered by North American Comics Shops Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
Diamond released no Graphic Novel list in this month; this chart amalgamates relevant reported data.
The links lead to details about each title on Amazon. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
Diamond did not publish graphic novel charts in this era, but it did include better-selling graphic novels in its overall dollar rankings. The list below is cobbled from those charts and is ranked by dollars and not units. Marvel and DC released new printings of X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills and Watchmen respectively.
|Units||Dollars||Trade Paperback title||Price||Publisher||Est. units|
|n.a.||1||Punisher: Intruder HC||$15.95||Marvel||n.a.|
|n.a.||2||Marvel Masterworks Vol. 8: Hulk||$24.95||Marvel||n.a.|
|n.a.||3||Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told||$15.95||DC||n.a.|
|n.a.||4||Greatest Joker Stores Ever Told||$14.95||DC||n.a.|
|n.a.||6||X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills||$8.95||Marvel||n.a.|
|n.a.||8||Batman Special Edition||$9.95||DC||n.a.|
|n.a.||9||Grey Vol. 1||$16.95||Viz||n.a.|