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Number of Comics in the Top 300, by publisher

Total number of titles in the Diamond Comics Distributors Top 300 by publisher, 1997-2010

Diamond Comic Distributors, the sales agent for most North American comics publishers serving the comics shop "direct market," reports its top-selling comic books by unit sales each month. One means of measuring both publisher output and performance in the comic book shop market is by counting the number of items the publisher has placed across time in Diamond's Top Seller list. The following charts cover everything from the beginning of the Diamond exclusive era, in April 1997, to 2011:

The component data making up the graphic above is summarized here, in a table showing the average number of monthly items each year per publisher. The links lead to the annual year-end charts:

Average Number of Comic Books Ranking in the Top 300 Each Month
as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors

YearMARVELDCIMAGEDARK HORSEIDW
199749.982.438.624.30
19985276.334.722.80
19994683.431.824.30
200048.887.333.322.90
200145.871.926.116.90
200253.671.120.514.31
200358.386.834.918.22.9
200471.289.324.817.17.6
200580.695.130.714.59.4
200688.391.827.611.912.8
20078991.926.816.513.4
200899.390.323.916.219.8
2009104.187.718.813.820
2010101.68918.51421.8
201196.484.925.51523
201277.683.529.920.126.6
201374.983.732.520.830.8
201478.981.339.218.525.9
201579.674.947.317.325.8
201690.676.336.115.225.6
20179281.339.813.322.8
20189476.144.811.823.2
2019105.575.734.112.821.7


Tallies before April 1997 are problematic for Diamond, as Marvel Comics was self-distributing from July 1995 to March 1997. Before July 1995, counts are again possible. December 1993, for example, finds Marvel with 103 items in the Diamond Top 300, DC with 65, Image with 12, and Dark Horse with 17. After June 2020, DC is no longer distributed by Diamond.
 
There are several reasons that the number of entries in the Top 300 is not an ideal measure of publisher performance. The average unit and dollar sales of comics on this table changes from year to year — and of course, it's financially better to have publish Top-10 comic book than two comics near 300th place.

On top of that, comics publishing has evolved. With the rise in importance of trade paperback collections and manga, some publishers maintained — or grew — market share while their item count in the comics list was the same or decreasing.

The Top 300 is also not a perfect indicator of publisher output, particularly in times when high outputs from all publishers cause a number of their releases to place past the 300th place item. In the December 1993 example, Marvel may have had 103 items in the Diamond Top 300 — but at Capital, which ranked every single one of the 681 comics released that month, we see that Marvel released 133 comics that month.

Furthermore, the Diamond lists are not entirely consistent from month to month and year to year when it comes to the treatment of multiple printings of the same item. Diamond generally tries to combine order codes so that like items have their orders combined — but some items slip past. And since 2003, reorders for a comic book can cause it to reappear in the following month or months on the list. The number of entries for all publishers above are, thus, slightly inflated beyond the number of new items that came out. Only consulting shipping lists — or reconciling monthly sales charts to omit repeat appearances — can really insure what items really shipped in which month.



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Still, it does show some interesting general trends in publishing. Immediately apparent are two more consistent trends observable at this level: the continuous increase of copies ranking in the Top 300 by Marvel from 2001 to 2009 and IDW from 2001 to 2010. In Marvel's case, the publisher's line had been much larger in the boom of the early 1990s, collapsing in size during the comics recession (and its own bankruptcy) that followed.

The specific month-to-month counts appear here below. Click here or click on the individual months to see the Top 300 Charts that make them up:


Number of Comic Books Ranking in the Top 300 Each Month as reported by Diamond Comic Distributors

MonthMARVELDCIMAGEDARK HORSEIDW
1997-04557939230
1997-05458037220
1997-06457639240
1997-07518238280
1997-08498445210
1997-09458338230
1997-10518238280
1997-11518238260
1997-12579435240
1998-01507735230
1998-02487439250
1998-03547634230
1998-04517137270
1998-05518035210
1998-06457542220
1998-07498730260
1998-08558538230
1998-09567530230
1998-10617235210
1998-11496935200
1998-12557426190
1999-01417320210
1999-02377925220
1999-03418627240
1999-04437629250
1999-05437528250
1999-06398233220
1999-07488230250
1999-08498536240
1999-09519443240
1999-10498637250
1999-11568937260
1999-12559436280
2000-01458433250
2000-02468431260
2000-03419838240
2000-04468046250
2000-05499936210
2000-06488937230
2000-07508740230
2000-08499830230
2000-09578729250
2000-10508527230
2000-11508025200
2000-12547628170
2001-01507128170
2001-02427325200
2001-03397029140
2001-04366935200
2001-05336930160
2001-06387022190
2001-07466925170
2001-08418021160
2001-09506925140
2001-10617822180
2001-11637625170
2001-12506926150
2002-01537422141
2002-02446921150
2002-03496518180
2002-04536518121
2002-05526920150
2002-06606818131
2002-07606917150
2002-08617925122
2002-09567320152
2002-10526722132
2002-11547624152
2002-12497921151
2003-01497623152
2003-02539035173
2003-03578735174
2003-04688040201
2003-05568331161
2003-06618726194
2003-07679032211
2003-08549535192
2003-09589156163
2003-10648642215
2003-11579229144
2003-12568435235
2004-01627825146
2004-02618817185
2004-03668329238
2004-04688226218
2004-056388232010
2004-067185291810
2004-07719522177
2004-08729627187
2004-09839332127
2004-10729618178
2004-11789329107
2004-12879420178
2005-01719925116
2005-02729630168
2005-038490301412
2005-0475100291311
2005-057710431199
2005-068698351312
2005-07809831146
2005-088597371314
2005-098210026148
2005-10789135168
2005-11879327157
2005-129075321612
2006-018686251112
2006-029691241211
2006-0310083401015
2006-0485100221313
2006-058910226916
2006-068592291010
2006-078788291211
2006-088686331018
2006-097695261311
2006-108585301110
2006-119497241914
2006-129197231312
2007-018898261516
2007-028791251416
2007-038691271111
2007-049391171115
2007-059285322011
2007-068675331511
2007-079482282015
2007-08989422129
2007-098293302110
2007-1080107241821
2007-1183100292610
2007-129996281516
2008-018297252418
2008-028388261718
2008-039486281523
2008-049286262424
2008-059689242020
2008-0610585231522
2008-079997261221
2008-0810788161222
2008-0911687271415
2008-1010594191118
2008-119392271320
2008-1211995201716
2009-019293191221
2009-0211078271620
2009-039979201326
2009-0411189171022
2009-0510583181320
2009-0611981181321
2009-079889171422
2009-0897100201618
2009-0911197161214
2009-109896171422
2009-119882182117
2009-1211185181117
2010-018988171522
2010-0210479241118
2010-0310685131126
2010-049587201324
2010-051089017920
2010-0611295161319
2010-0710293181222
2010-0810481241721
2010-0910684211925
2010-1093102171723
2010-119791201321
2010-1210393151820
2011-018276301130
2011-029978261425
2011-0311485231220
2011-0410473301828
2011-059668351524
2011-0610087231521
2011-079290271122
2011-0810394191420
2011-0910468271820
2011-1084129161718
2011-119086251922
2011-128985251626
2012-018084311822
2012-028185241831
2012-037493281927
2012-047681302423
2012-059478281725
2012-068085341824
2012-077481292425
2012-088485242026
2012-097782261831
2012-108085291826
2012-116881342529
2012-126382422230
2013-018584341728
2013-027773342037
2013-038378371928
2013-047474342133
2013-057479312330
2013-067670302532
2013-077980262328
2013-086780322432
2013-0963128271522
2013-107788352029
2013-117278361935
2013-127292342436
2014-017674431629
2014-026976382326
2014-037475422228
2014-048069451927
2014-057576412127
2014-068070402327
2014-079183361623
2014-088075422027
2014-0980115301518
2014-108690351624
2014-117982421828
2014-127790361327
2015-017980381627
2015-027983471617
2015-038175441832
2015-0410377471323
2015-058168492124
2015-068064532024
2015-078172451728
2015-087368461827
2015-097969521725
2015-106875452028
2015-117176531927
2015-128092481327
2016-018978461724
2016-028179421427
2016-038878331429
2016-049477341523
2016-0510268251429
2016-061076637929
2016-079477381522
2016-0810071351625
2016-097776391825
2016-108682411424
2016-118482331726
2016-128581301924
2017-019185292222
2017-0210282331022
2017-038887371829
2017-049277381619
2017-0510181441126
2017-069982401322
2017-079174391522
2017-081047542919
2017-098876441221
2017-107981521025
2017-11849243824
2017-128584371522
2018-018410340421
2018-02859045918
2018-03898538922
2018-04948140929
2018-0510076471321
2018-0610078461412
2018-079562461234
2018-089572411526
2018-0910465441821
2018-10977951922
2018-118468501327
2018-1210154491625
2019-0110087361320
2019-029765431816
2019-039360411723
2019-041186634920
2019-0512459261125
2019-0611153381521
2019-0710685311125
2019-089765411529
2019-0910783281619
2019-1011510226921
2019-118598361223
2019-121138529818
2020-011099627917
2020-0295101291017
2020-031028330823