August 1991 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Preordered by North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
August saw one of the seminal moments of the comics boom of the early 1990s, as Marvel published the bestselling comic book of all time: X-Men Vol. 2, #1. The comic book had sales across multiple channels of 8,186,500 copies, but the vast majority of it went to Direct Market distributors like Diamond. (Read our special feature for more about the issue's historic sales.)
Marvel's Uncanny X-Men series was already the bestselling series most months in the North American comic book market at that time, but there had not been a regular North American series called simply X-Men since the series took on the "Uncanny" adjective in 1981. There had never been a regular North American series called simply Spider-Man either until Marvel released one in 1990; the sales of its first issue were so astonishing that it made sense for the publisher to try it again with its bestselling title in 1991. X-Men Vol. 2, #1 was the result — but unlike with Spider-Man #1, Marvel made the issue's release into a month-long event by staggering its sales across five different weeks, with a different cover for each one. DC did the same thing with Legends of the Dark Knight #1 in 1989, in part because the printer simply couldn't produce them any faster!
Diamond wasn't indexing its sales charts in this era, so its exact sales are unknown. But Capital City's sales of each edition ranged from a high of 424,800 copies, for the Beast cover, to a low of 332,800 copies for the Magneto cover; the Collector's Edition had sales through Capital of 408,300 copies. Capital's overall sales were 1,874,100 copies, or 23.3% of all direct market sales. Diamond's sales would have been higher than Capital's, and there were at least twelve ordering Direct Market distributors at the time. Still, it was plenty: Diamond founder Steve Geppi wrote in Diamond Dialogue #146 (July 25, 1991) that, "It's scary to think that when all advance reorders have been tabulated, Diamond alone will sell more copies than the entire print run of X-Force #1." Just two months earlier, it had set a modern-era record with what Geppi called sales of 3.6 million copies.
X-Men #1 was printed at Ronald's Printing in Montreal, Canada, significant in that most comics in the previous two decades had come from World Color Press in Sparta, Ill. Geppi noted the fact in Dialogue #147, along with the news that World Color had announced plans to sell itself to its employees.
Diamond reported market shares in Dialogue #146, reporting that Marvel had accounted for 65.93% of its dollar sale, its highest share at Diamond ever. Diamond's Bill Schanes reported in Dialogue #147 that X-Men #1 alone accounted for 33% of all comics sales all on its own. That contrasted with a 17.17% market share for DC. DC had only one comic book in the top 20 at Diamond, Armageddon 2001 #2; one of its larger earners would have been Batman: Holy Terror, which placed 44th with a $4.95 price tag.
The raw version of the chart below was published in Diamond Dialogue #146 (August 1991) and reprinted in Comics Values Monthly #63. We've added publishers and ship dates. The dates shown below are the dates the comics were scheduled to have shipped from the printer, according to Diamond Previews #144 (June 1991, for August-shipping product).
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.
In some cases, comics were delayed; where available, the correct later dates have been included from Diamond's Dateline and Capital City Distribution's New Weekly Releases newsletters.
Further, in this era, distributor catalog dates for all publishers did not synch up exactly with the calendar month, so Diamond's August charts included two of the X-Men covers, which shipped in September. They also include one week's worth of DC comics from September — and are missing the first two weeks' DC comics, which appeared in Diamond's July 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.
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.
|1||X-Men||1 Cvr E||$3.95||09/10/91||Marvel|
|2||X-Men||1 Cvr A||$1.50||08/13/91||Marvel|
|3||X-Men||1 Cvr C||$1.50||08/27/91||Marvel|
|4||X-Men||1 Cvr B||$1.50||08/20/91||Marvel|
|5||X-Men||1 Cvr D||$1.50||09/03/91||Marvel|
|21||War of the Gods||2||$1.75||08/15/91||DC|
|22||Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight||23||$1.75||09/05/91||DC|
|23||Detective Comics Annual||4||$2.00||08/22/91||DC|
|25||Marvel Comics Presents||86||$1.25||08/08/91||Marvel|
|26||Marvel Comics Presents||87||$1.25||08/22/91||Marvel|
|29||Adventures of Superman Annual||3||$2.00||08/22/91||DC|
|30||Justice League Europe Annual||2||$2.00||08/29/91||DC|
|32||Punisher War Journal||35||$1.75||08/27/91||Marvel|
|34||Deathstroke: The Terminator||3||$1.75||08/20/91||DC|
|37||Punisher: Family Affair||$2.50||08/08/91||Marvel|
|41||Guardians of the Galaxy||17||$1.00||08/22/91||Marvel|
|42||Web of Spider-Man||81||$1.00||08/08/91||Marvel|
|43||Superman: The Man of Steel||4||$1.00||08/15/91||DC|
|44||Batman: Holy Terror||$4.95||08/27/91||DC|
|45||Terminator: Secondary Objectives||2||$2.50||08/06/91||Dark Horse|
|48||Original Ghost Rider Rides Again||4||$1.50||08/13/91||Marvel|
|49||Doctor Strange Sorceror Supreme||34||$1.50||08/27/91||Marvel|
|50||Giant Size X-Men (reprint)||1||$3.95||08/06/91||Marvel|
|52||Namor the Sub-Mariner||19||$1.00||08/08/91||Marvel|
|56||Avengers West Coast||75||$1.50||08/08/91||Marvel|
|59||Avengers West Coast Annual||6||$2.00||08/08/91||Marvel|
|64||Justice League Europe||31||$1.00||09/05/91||DC|
|65||Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.||28||$1.50||08/20/91||Marvel|
|66||Justice League America||55||$1.00||08/22/91||DC|
|67||Adventures of Superman||483||$1.00||08/29/91||DC|
|71||Adventures of Captain America||2||$4.95||08/29/91||Marvel|
|76||Legion of Super-Heroes||223||$1.75||08/20/91||DC|
|79||Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Modala Imperative||4||$1.75||08/29/91||DC|
|81||Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Modala Imperative||3||$1.75||09/03/91||DC|
|84||Magnus Robot Fighter||6||$1.75||Valiant|
|85||Queen of the Damned||1||$2.50||Innovation|
|87||Justice Society of America||7||$1.00||08/22/91||DC|
|89||Legend of the Shield||4||$1.00||08/29/91||DC|
|94||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||36||$2.00||Mirage|
|95||Bill and Ted's Comic Book||1||$1.00||08/08/91||Marvel|
|96||Star Trek: The Next Generation||24||$2.50||08/27/91||DC|
|97||Marc Spector Moon Knight||31||$1.50||08/27/91||Marvel|
August 1991 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
This list includes all items on Diamond's charts. If you don't see a book, Diamond released no data for it..
The links lead to details about each title on Amazon. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
It wasn't always clear which items belonged in Diamond's graphic novel grouping in this era; some higher-priced comics wound up in the comics charts, others in the graphic novel list. Diamond did not publish order index numbers for graphic novels in this era, so units cannot be estimated.