Guardians of the Galaxy Sales Figures
Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership
Filed with the United States Postal Service
The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in 1969 in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 as a group of 31st Century refugees from the Badoon invasion of the Solar System. Led by Vance Astro, the team (created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan) seemed to spend more time in the 20th Century than their own, appearing in various titles but never really catching on.
It wasn't until 1990 that they got a title of their own, written by Jim Valentino. It followed an interesting premise, with the Guardians (now back in their own time) traveling the stars and finding various artifacts and remnants from the Marvel Universe of the past, ranging from Captain America's shield to Iron Man's armor (which, as it turned out, had influenced an entire species calling itself The Stark).
That Guardians of the Galaxy series sold well out of the gate, releasing into the high-circulation era of the early 1990s; its sales increased considerably in its third year. Valentino left the series to join Image, then, almost exactly halfway through the series run. Sales dropped precipitously in the two years that followed and the Direct Market went into collapse.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning created a completely different team of Guardians in 2008 in Annihilation: Conquest #6, leading to several new series — and providing the inspiration for feature films in 2014 and 2017. Postal Statements of Ownership have only been found in the 1990-95 series, so circulation data below is for that series. Sales for the later titles may be found in our monthly reports.
—John Jackson Miller
|Issue Statement appearing in:||#10 March||#22 March||#34 March||#45 February||#58 March|
|Date of filing:||10/1/90||10/1/91||10/1/92||10/1/93||10/1/94|
|Issues published during year:||12||12||12||12||12|
|Annual subscription price:||$12.00||$15.00||$15.00||$15.00||$18.00|
|Cover price during year:||$1.00||$1.25||$1.25||$1.25||$1.50|
|Total Copies PRINTED (avg):||314,181||233,925||289,842||156,344||56,743|
|Sales through DEALERS (avg):||172,850||141,008||208,317||118,609||51,363|
|Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):||300||1,758||2,692||1,900||992|
|Total PAID circulation (avg):||173,150||142,767||211,008||120,509||52,354|
|Samples by MAIL (avg):||150||125||250||125||125|
|Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):||0||0||0||0||0|
|Total FREE circulation (avg):||150||125||250||125||125|
|Copies not distributed (office):||600||250||683||500||500|
|Copies not distributed (RETURNS):||140,281||90,783||77,900||35,210||3,763|
|Reported % Paid/Requested:||99.0%|
|% of RUN RETURNED:||44.6%||38.8%||26.9%||22.5%||6.6%|
|SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:||55.1%||61.0%||72.8%||77.1%||92.3%|
The first Statements of Ownership appeared prematurely for the series, which only appeared during the latter part of 1990, so the sales there are inflated, reflecting the first issue's sales. The Reported Paid/Requested Percentage was not required until 1994. As the series only survived a short time into 1995, there was no form for that year.
Understanding Statements of Ownership
The figures above are taken directly from the annual Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation filed by publishers with the United States Postal Service. The sales figure is the Average Paid Circulation figure and includes all copies sold through newsstands, comics shops, and postal subscription. It does not count copies the publisher gave away for free, or copies that were kept for office use.
More information can be found in the FAQ section.