March 1991 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops

Estimated Comics Preordered by North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors

#1 Most Ordered Issue
#2 Most Ordered Issue
#3 Most Ordered Issue
#4 Most Ordered Issue
#5 Most Ordered Issue

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January 1991 saw the start of the first Gulf War, a fact reflected in the ad on the cover of Diamond's Previews for that month — but it's uncertain what retailers ordered from that catalog. That's because it appears highly probable that no sales chart for comics shipping in March 1991 was published by Diamond.

It appears that the oversight resulted from the fact that Diamond Dialogue, which normally reported the data, was in the middle of a transition from a colored-paper newsletter to a magazine format. The March 25, 1991 edition included April's Top 100; no mention of the omission of the March list was made, nor any suggestion as to where it would have been.

The Feb. 15, 1991 Dialogue leads off with Steve Geppi's letter to retailers, as usual, followed by another regular feature in Marty Grosser's "Game News" column. The only other feature in the newsletter is another regular feature, the Cancellation List — and in this issue it ran an extremely long 13 pages. No Top 100 appeared — and neither did it appear in Previews or does it seem to have been moved to Diamond Dateline.

It just didn't appear at all — which may be why Comics Values Monthly #58 ran the Capital City charts that month instead of the Diamond ones which had become its mainstay. The Diamond charts just don't exist. That said, we can be reasonably sure of some placements, since we do have Diamond data from February and April, along with Capital's chart from March to work with. And we know the top four nearly for certain, as they all appeared on Diamond's end-of-year 1991 chart.

It seems very likely that Spider-Man #10, the top seller at Capital City, would have likewise been the top seller at Diamond; the title was in first at Diamond in both February and April. It was the highest-ranking March title at Diamond in 1991.

Robin #4 was third at Diamond in February behind a final (and anniversary issue), New Mutants #100; the 1991 end-of-year chart suggests Robin #5 returned to second place in March, just as it did at Capital.

Uncanny X-Men was fourth at Diamond in February and second in April; Uncanny X-Men #276 thus likely landed in third in March, where it did at Capital. It was the third bestselling March comic on the 1991 chart.

Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1 placed fourth at Capital in March, one slot ahead of Amazing Spider-Man #347. Deadly Foes was the final March comic to make the Top 100 list for the year, which pretty much ensures it was fourth during the month. Since Amazing was sixth in February at Diamond and fourth in April, it's likely it was fifth in March, just as at Capital.

Ghost Rider #12 was 10th at Diamond in February and Ghost Rider #14 was third in April, so Ghost Rider #13 was likely around sixth, where Capital had it.

Capital's seventh-place book, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II #2, saw its February and April issues at fifth and 16th place at Diamond; it's a reasonable bet for a slot between seventh and tenth at Diamond. Capital's ninth place issue for March, Armageddon 2001 #1, is also probably in there somewhere.

Beyond that, it becomes more difficult to speak with any certainty. Capital saw Batman #462, which launched a new arc, leap up to eighth, where the issues on either side of it at Diamond had both placed 15th; Capital also placed Legends of the Dark Knight #18 at 10th, whereas Diamond had the title at 13th and 12th in February and April respecitively. Capital had Predator: Big Game #1 at 13th; Diamond put the second issue at 18th.

If a true list from Diamond is reported found or if Diamond locates the data, we'll certainly add it. But it seems quite probable that this would be the last month for which no Diamond chart is available until April 2020, and the Coronavirus pandemic, 29 years later.

—John Jackson Miller