1998 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Shipped to North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
Dollar Preorders for Diamond's Top 300 Comics and
Top 25 Graphic Novels from each and every month from the year
around $226.49 million
A year that turned out to be a big loser, continuing a string of awful years for the Direct Market.
Light publisher offerings in January led to one of the weakest months to date in the direct-market era. One of the top books of the month didn't come out in January anyway: Darkness #11, with its eleven covers, shipped the last week of December. A lackluster February did little to dispel the reputation for winter as comics' "dead quarter." But in February, Diamond began reporting indexed sales figures for trade paperbacks for the first time, setting the stage for things to come. Danger Girl launched in March, a month that lagged well behind the previous year.
April and May continued to be weak, but June's sales drops were down to single digits, generating (premature) hopes for industry recovery.
In July, Image's Fathom provided one of the strongest launches for an non-Big Two title in many months. Holographic covers on both X-Men titles helped provide some punch to dollar sales in August. September was unique in that DC ran its "DC One Million" promotion, in which the supposed millionth issues of each series appeared.
But any hopes for a recovery were dashed by October's weak sales. November was notable for the restarting of Amazing Spider-Man with Vol. 2, #1 — a numbering change that was later undone. In December, Witchblade/Tomb Raider briefly broke Uncanny X-Men's hold on the top spot in a year that closed down considerably.
The final rankings for all comics and trade paperbacks during the year appear below. Diamond Comic Distributors reported these issues without indexes allowing actual sales estimates to be calculated. You can find the first-month preorders 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.
Click to skip to the Top Graphic Novels for the year.
— John Jackson Miller
Listed are all items on Diamond's end-of-year chart. If you don't see a book, Diamond released no data for it.
The links lead to listings for each issue on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|2||Witchblade Tomb Raider||1||$2.95||Image|
|9||Uncanny X-Men Holo Cvr||360||$3.99||Marvel|
|14||X-Men Holo Cover||80||$3.99||Marvel|
|49||Witchblade Tomb Raider||25||$2.95||Image|
|51||Peter Parker Spider-Man||1||$2.99||Marvel|
|58||Superman Forever Collectors Ed.||0||$5.95||DC|
|79||Darkchylde The Legacy||1||$2.50||Image|
|91||Spider-Man Chapter 1||2||$2.50||Marvel|
|94||Spider-Man Chapter 1||1||$2.50||Marvel|
|100||Peter Parker Spider-Man||2||$1.99||Marvel|
1998 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks Shipped to North American Comics Shops Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
Early days for Diamond's graphic novel sales reports; many were just comics priced over $5.
This list has all items on Diamond's end-of-year chart. If you don't see an item, Diamond did not rank it.
Follow the links to search for each title on Amazon. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
My analyses of preorders from Diamond Comic Distributors for individual months can be found here: