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Top Comic Books of the 21st Century

Estimated Sales of Comic Books to North American Comics Shops
based on reports from Diamond Comic Distributors

The first issue of Marvel's relaunched Star Wars series is the comic book ordered most by comics shops in North America so far in the decade of the 2010s, up through the end of 2015. The issue's sales include several hundred thousand copies purchased by the repackager Loot Crate, but its sales even without those are enough to make it the top title of the decade. Close to 100 different variant covers exist of the issue.

Comichron looked back at every month of comic-book orders reported by Diamond Comic Distributors, the exclusive retail agent for the largest publishers in the industry. The tables report Diamond's Top 300 comics from each month, as well as the number of copies ordered by its approximately 3,000 retail accounts; the figures represent final orders beginning in February 2003, and preorders before that. Since many comics reappear on the list several times each year due to reorders, all reorders for the same comics were combined to form a listing of the 300 comic books most ordered by retailers in the 2000s.

For the years 2010-2015 and 2017-18, the sales include all issues shipped by Diamond in the calendar year. 2016 is like the years of the decade of the 2000s, where the chart only includes data from the monthly Top 300 lists. Actual 2016 figures will be slightly higher in most cases than the figure that appears here.

These figures are for the comic book direct market only — the network of comic book stores that sell the lion's share of comic books in periodical form in North America. Sales of these comics on newsstands or by subscription are not included. Copies of titles repackaged by the bundling service Loot Crate are included only if Diamond distributed them to Loot Crate.

Here's what the top five would look like with 2019's information so far included:

We only update the chart below annually, once full orders are in for the year — but we already know from 2019 that Detective Comics #1000 will move into second place, at least, as seen above. Click to see the 2019 sales figures so far.
One reason comics from the early decade are less represented is that before January 2003, Diamond did not report reorders, so those issues are at a disadvantage. However, looking at known reorder rates from when Diamond did begin publishing the data, reorders are unlikely to shuffle the list dramatically. The industry was still coming out of the seven-year recession of the 1990s, and few titles were selling over 100,000 copies.

More after the charts:


† Items marked with a dagger include between 200-400,000 copies sold by the repackager Loot Crate.
* Items with asterisks were returnable issues whose final orders may be higher or lower.

UnitsComic-book TitleIssueReleasePricePublisherEst. units
1Star Wars1†Jan-15$4.99Marvel1,073,000
2Amazing Spider-Man1Apr-14$5.99Marvel559,200
3Secret Wars1May-15$4.99Marvel550,500
4Amazing Spider-Man583Jan-09$3.99Marvel530,500
5Action Comics1000Apr-18$7.99DC504,200
6 Bravest Warriors Tales of the Holo John1†May-15$4.99Boom503,000
7Orphan Black1†Feb-15$3.99IDW502,000
8Dark Knight III Master Race1Nov-15$5.99DC449,100
9Amazing Spider-Man800May-18$9.99Marvel439,500
10Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York1†Oct-16$3.99Boom421,600
12Star Wars Vader Down1Nov-15$4.99Marvel410,600
13Civil War II1Jun-16$5.99Marvel391,500
14Walking Dead (including Chromium ed.)100Jul-12$3.99Image384,800
15Fantastic Four1Aug-18$5.99Marvel381,700
16Harley Quinn1*Aug-16$2.99DC366,100
17Civil War2Jun-06$2.99Marvel341,900
18Civil War3Jul-06$2.99Marvel337,000
20Walking Dead115Oct-13$2.99Image329,300
21Civil War1May-06$3.99Marvel328,500
22Walking Dead132†Oct-14$2.99Image326,300
23Justice League of America1Feb-13$3.99DC326,000
24Captain America25Mar-07$3.99Marvel317,700
25Darth Vader1Feb-15$4.99Marvel315,600
26Marvel Legacy1Sep-17$5.99Marvel315,300
27Rocket Raccoon1†Jul-14$3.99Marvel311,000
28Uncanny Avengers1Oct-12$3.99Marvel305,900
29DC Universe Rebirth1May-16$2.99DC305,700
31Amazing Spider-Man1Jul-18$5.99Marvel298,300
32Civil War4Sep-06$2.99Marvel291,000
33All Star Batman1*Aug-16$4.99DC289,300
35Dark Nights Metal1Aug-17$4.99DC287,500
36Black Panther1Apr-16$4.99Marvel286,800
37Doomsday Clock (plus Lenticular Ed.)1Nov-17$4.99DC285,500
38Civil War5Nov-06$2.99Marvel283,900
39Invincible Iron Man1Oct-15$3.99Marvel282,400
40All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder1Jul-05$2.99DC276,000
41Civil War7Feb-07$2.99Marvel274,500
42Death of Wolverine1Sep-14$4.99Marvel274,000
43Princess Leia1Mar-15$3.99Marvel271,000
44Infinite Crisis1Oct-05$3.99DC270,000
45Return of Wolverine1Sep-18$4.99Marvel269,800
46Avengers Vs X-Men1Mar-12$3.99Marvel265,100
47Civil War6Jan-07$2.99Marvel263,800
48Secret Invasion1Apr-08$3.99Marvel263,000
50Superman Unchained1Jun-13$4.99DC259,100
51Justice League (including Combo Pack)1Aug-11$3.99DC255,400
52Justice League of America1Aug-06$3.99DC250,800
54House of M 1Jun-05$2.99Marvel248,200
55Amazing Spider-Man1Oct-15$5.99Marvel247,600
57Identity Crisis1Jun-04$3.95DC242,900
58Amazing Spider-Man798Apr-18$3.99Marvel242,400
59New Avengers1Dec-04$2.25Marvel241,500
60Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man1Jun-17$4.99Marvel238,400
62Secret Wars2May-15$4.99Marvel234,000
63Secret Wars3Jun-15$3.99Marvel230,000
64Batman (plus Lenticular Ed.)21Apr-17$3.99DC228,700
65Secret Wars4Jul-15$3.99Marvel227,300
66Batman Who Laughs1Dec-18$4.99DC226,100
67Infinite Crisis2Nov-05$3.99DC225,600
69Guardians of Galaxy1Mar-13$3.99Marvel221,200
70Star Wars2Feb-15$3.99Marvel219,700
71Infinite Crisis3Dec-05$3.99DC218,800
72Astonishing X-Men1May-04$2.99Marvel218,300
74Suicide Squad1*Aug-16$2.99DC217,700
75Superior Spider-Man1Jan-13$3.99Marvel216,700
76Star Wars4Apr-15$3.99Marvel216,300
77Star Wars: Shattered Empire1Sep-15$3.99Marvel215,200
78Dark Tower Gunslinger Born1Feb-07$3.99Marvel213,700
80Infinite Crisis4Jan-06$3.99DC211,000
82Batman Rebirth1*Jun-16$2.99DC209,300
83Justice League1*Jul-16$2.99DC209,200
84Infinite Crisis6Apr-06$3.99DC208,000
85Secret Wars5Aug-15$3.99Marvel207,200
86Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows1Jun-15$3.99Marvel206,500
87Amazing Spider-Man799Apr-18$3.99Marvel206,000
88Blackest Night1Jul-09$3.99DC205,500
89Infinite Crisis5Mar-06$3.99DC205,100
90World War Hulk1Jun-07$3.99Marvel204,700
91Action Comics1Sep-11$3.99DC204,000
92Justice League1Jun-18$3.99DC203,500
93Justice League (including Combo Pack)2Oct-11$3.99DC201,900
94Amazing Spider-Man700Dec-12$7.99Marvel201,000
95Star Wars Lando1Jul-15$3.99Marvel200,400
96Avengers Vs X-Men2Apr-12$3.99Marvel200,300
97Captain America Reborn1Jul-09$3.99Marvel199,900
98Secret Invasion2May-08$3.99Marvel198,800
100Infinite Crisis7May-06$3.99DC198,400
102Avengers Vs X-Men6Jun-12$3.99Marvel197,000
104Flash (plus Lenticular Ed.)21Apr-17$3.99DC194,100
105Secret Wars6Oct-15$3.99Marvel193,200
106Avengers Vs X-Men5Jun-12$3.99Marvel192,200
108Dark Nights Metal6Mar-18$4.99DC190,900
109Batman and Robin1Jun-09$2.99DC190,300
110Avengers Vs X-Men3May-12$3.99Marvel190,000
111Civil War II0May-16$4.99Marvel190,000
112Fallen Son: Death of Captain America: Iron ManJul-07$2.99Marvel189,400
113Dark Knight Strikes Again1Dec-01$7.95DC188,700
114Ultimate Fantastic Four1Dec-03$2.25Marvel188,500
115Avengers Vs X-Men4May-12$3.99Marvel187,500
116Doomsday Clock2Dec-17$4.99DC187,400
117Batman (plus Lenticular Ed.)22May-17$3.99DC187,100
118Uncanny X-Men1Nov-18$7.99Marvel187,100
120Dark Knight Strikes Again3Feb-02$7.95DC186,600
121Secret Invasion3Jun-08$3.99Marvel186,500
123Civil War II3Jul-16$4.99Marvel185,900
124Identity Crisis2Jul-04$3.95DC185,300
125Amazing Spider-Man16Aug-16$3.99Marvel185,300
126All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder2Sep-05$2.99DC185,000
127All New X-Men1Nov-12$3.99Marvel184,700
128Star Wars3Mar-15$3.99Marvel184,500
129Age of Ultron1Mar-13$3.99Marvel184,000
130Justice League Rebirth1*Jul-16$2.99DC183,800
131Uncanny X-Men1Feb-13$3.99Marvel182,700
132Avengers Vs X-Men7Jul-12$3.99Marvel182,500
133Spider-Man Deadpool1Jan-16$3.99Marvel181,100
134Green Lantern1May-05$3.50DC180,500
136Justice League Suicide Squad 1Dec-16$3.99DC179,600
137Wolverine: The Origin6Jan-02$3.50Marvel179,300
138Avengers Vs X-Men8Jul-12$3.99Marvel178,700
139Green Lantern Rebirth1Oct-04$2.95DC178,300
140Wolverine: The Origin5Dec-01$3.50Marvel178,200
141Suicide Squad Rebirth1*Aug-16$2.99DC177,800
142Secret Wars7Nov-15$3.99Marvel177,300
144Secret Empire1May-17$4.99Marvel177,100
145All Star Superman1Nov-05$2.99DC176,700
146Civil War1Jul-15$4.99Marvel176,300
147Doomsday Clock3Jan-18$4.99DC175,900
148Dark Nights Metal2Sep-17$3.99DC175,700
149Secret Invasion4Jul-08$3.99Marvel175,400
150House of M 2Jun-05$2.99Marvel175,300
151Star Wars Poe Dameron1Apr-16$4.99Marvel175,300
153Avengers Vs X-Men9Aug-12$3.99Marvel174,800
154Superman/Batman12Sep-04$2.95DC 173,600
155Ultimate Comics Spider-Man160Jun-11$3.99Marvel172,700
156New Avengers31Jun-07$2.99Marvel172,600
157Secret Empire0Apr-17$4.99Marvel172,500
158Green Lantern1Sep-11$2.99DC172,300
160Captain America1Jul-18$4.99Marvel172,100
161Avengers Vs X-Men10Aug-12$3.99Marvel172,100
162Fallen Son: Death of Captain America: Captain AmericaMay-07$2.99Marvel171,800
163Avengers Vs X-Men12Oct-12$4.99Marvel171,800
164Death of Wolverine4Oct-14$4.99Marvel170,800
165Justice League (including Combo Pack)3Nov-11$3.99DC170,800
166Batman13Oct-12$3.99DC 170,500
168Avengers Vs X-Men0Mar-12$3.99Marvel169,700
169Secret Wars8Dec-15$3.99Marvel169,700
170Secret Invasion6Sep-08$3.99Marvel169,400
171Justice League of America0Jul-06$2.99DC169,200
172Avengers Vs X-Men11Sep-12$3.99Marvel169,100
174Superman Unchained2Jul-13$3.99DC168,800
175Wolverine: The Origin4Nov-01$3.50Marvel168,500
176New Avengers5Apr-05$2.25Marvel168,500
177Dark Tower Gunslinger Born2Mar-07$3.99Marvel168,200
178Dark Knight Strikes Again2Jan-02$7.95DC168,100
181Dark Nights Metal5Jan-18$3.99DC167,000
182All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder3Dec-05$2.99DC166,200
184Secret Invasion5Aug-08$3.99Marvel165,900
186World War Hulk2Jul-07$3.99Marvel165,300
188Star Wars7Jul-15$3.99Marvel165,200
189Identity Crisis3Aug-04$3.95DC164,800
190Justice League12Aug-12$3.99DC 164,800
191Fallen Son: Death of Captain America WolverineApr-07$2.99Marvel164,600
192Wolverine Origins1Apr-06$2.99Marvel164,200
193Flash (plus Lenticular Ed.)22May-17$3.99DC164,000
194Justice League of America5Dec-06$2.99DC162,900
195Doomsday Clock4Mar-18$4.99DC162,300
197Dark Nights Metal3Oct-17$3.99DC161,800
198New Avengers 6Jun-05$2.25Marvel161,500
199Blackest Night2Aug-09$3.99DC161,400
200Star Wars6Jun-15$3.99Marvel161,200
201Batman14Nov-12$3.99DC 161,000
202Uncanny X-Men500Jul-08$3.99Marvel160,800
204Identity Crisis4Sep-04$3.95DC 160,400
205All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder4May-06$2.99DC160,300
206Batman0Sep-12$3.99DC 160,300
209Star Wars Han Solo1Jun-16$3.99Marvel159,500
210Amazing Spider-Man544Sep-07$3.99Marvel159,100
211New Avengers7Jul-05$2.25Marvel158,700
212Batman Superman1Jun-13$3.99DC158,600
214Justice League of America2Sep-06$2.99DC158,500
215Magic Order1Jun-18$3.99Image158,400
216Dark Knight III Master Race2Dec-15$5.99DC158,200
218House of M 4Jul-05$2.99Marvel157,900
221Mighty Avengers1Mar-07$3.99Marvel156,400
222Action Comics2Oct-11$3.99DC156,400
223Identity Crisis7Dec-04$3.95DC156,300
224Astonishing X-Men10May-05$2.99Marvel156,300
226Doomsday Clock5May-18$4.99DC156,200
227Walking Dead150Jan-16$2.99Image156,200
228Identity Crisis5Oct-04$3.95DC156,100
229New Avengers8Aug-05$2.50Marvel156,000
230Amazing Spider-Man539Mar-07$2.99Marvel156,000
231Guardians Team-Up1Mar-15$3.99Marvel155,500
232New Avengers 2Jan-05$2.25Marvel155,400
233Civil War II2Jun-16$4.99Marvel155,400
234New Avengers23Aug-06$2.99Marvel155,300
235Star Wars5May-15$3.99Marvel155,000
236New Avengers4Mar-05$2.25Marvel154,900
237New Avengers21Jun-06$2.99Marvel154,900
238Justice League of America7Apr-07$3.50DC154,800
239Original Sin1May-14$4.99Marvel154,800
241Secret War Book OneFeb-04$3.99Marvel154,700
242Secret Invasion7Oct-08$3.99Marvel154,700
243Ultimates 31Dec-07$2.99Marvel154,600
245Detective Comics1Sep-11$2.99DC154,400
247Identity Crisis6Nov-04$3.95DC153,800
248Amazing Spider-Man500 (#59)Oct-03$3.50Marvel153,300
252Astonishing X-Men4Aug-04$2.99Marvel152,800
253House of M 3Jul-05$2.99Marvel152,800
254Dark Nights Metal4Dec-17$3.99DC152,600
255Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey1Dec-17$4.99Marvel152,500
256Marvel 16021Aug-03$3.50Marvel152,500
257Secret Invasion8Dec-08$3.99Marvel152,400
258Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight1Mar-07$2.99Dark Horse152,200
259Final Crisis1May-08$3.99DC151,700
260Batman15Dec-12$3.99DC 151,600
261World War Hulk3Aug-07$3.99Marvel151,500
262Ultimate Iron Man1Mar-05$2.99Marvel150,700
263Dark Knight III The Master Race3Feb-16$5.99DC150,700
264Heroes In Crisis1Sep-18$3.99DC150,600
265Amazing Spider-Man797Mar-18$3.99Marvel150,600
269Doctor Strange1Oct-15$4.99Marvel149,800
270Doctor Strange Sorcerers Supreme1Oct-16$3.99Marvel149,700
271Justice League (including Combo Pack)4Dec-11$3.99DC149,300
273New Avengers3Feb-05$2.25Marvel149,000
274Dark Tower Gunslinger Born3Apr-07$3.99Marvel149,000
275Secret Wars9Jan-16$4.99Marvel149,000
276Death of Wolverine2Sep-14$4.99Marvel148,900
277Batman5Jan-12$2.99DC 148,800
278Blackest Night*5Nov-09$3.99DC148,700
280World War Hulk4Sep-07$3.99Marvel148,600
281Justice League of America1Jun-15$5.99DC148,600
282Justice League5Jan-12$3.99DC 148,500
283Astonishing X-Men13Feb-06$2.99Marvel148,200
284New Avengers9Aug-05$2.50Marvel147,500
285DCU Brave New World1Jun-06$1.00DC147,400
286Star Wars8Aug-15$3.99Marvel147,400
287Death of Wolverine3Oct-14$4.99Marvel147,200
289Forever Evil1Sep-13$3.99DC146,600
290Fallen Son: Death of Captain America: AvengersApr-07$2.99Marvel146,500
291Ultimates 21Dec-04$2.99Marvel146,300
293Blackest Night3Sep-09$3.99DC146,200
294Fantastic Four587Jan-11$3.99Marvel146,100
295Fear Itself1Apr-11$3.99Marvel146,000
296World War Hulk5Nov-07$3.99Marvel145,800
297Transformers Armada1Jul-02$2.95Dreamwave145,600
298Amazing Spider-Man538Feb-07$2.99Marvel145,400
300Civil War Front Line1Jun-06$2.99Marvel145,200

A few more words about what's on the list — and what isn't. Orders for variant editions and reprintings of comic books were combined if those versions were essentially the same product — that is, same physical configuration, same interior, and same cover price. This rolls up most of the snap-reprintings into the same entry, but disallows items like "Director's Cuts" or the Marvel Must-Have editions, which are in many respects distinct products. Also, the Combo Pack edition of Justice League #1 was combined with the regular edition.

And, importantly, the list at right focuses on comic books sold at full, and not promotional, prices. The Diamond lists have, in the past, included a number of comic books offered below publisher cost: Fantastic Four Vol. 3 #60, priced at 9¢, had preorders of 752,700 copies in August 2002. There are many such examples of free or promotionally priced comics; Diamond made the decision a few years ago to no longer list low-priced comics, and that move has been followed with this list to guarantee comparisons of like items.

Since comics shops are the focus of this list, it also does not include some other highly circulated comics. For example, Gears of War #1 garnered attention for its strong circulation through game stores in 2008. Unfortunately, few specific numbers are available from the video game trade, and as much circulation in this channel is promotional, rather than sold, it's unclear how to integrate this sector's information for purposes of comparison, were it to become available.

Because not all reorders make the list every month, any decade ranking released by Diamond would differ somewhat. Diamond only began releasing its full-year totals in 2009. From 2003-2008, the numbers at right only include reorders from months in which those reorders made Diamond's monthly Top 300 chart. (And before 2003, it includes no reorders at all.)

And as this is a periodical ranking, it doesn't get into the sector that brought the most new money into the business in the 21st Century, bound collected editions and graphic novels. But it's an interesting snapshot. How does the century thus far compare with other periods for comics? Probably not spectacularly — only a handful of the charting issues would make a similar chart for the speculator-mad 1990s. But, as just noted, comics are not just about periodical sales any more, with stories reaching readers in more ways than ever.

—John Jackson Miller

Want to see how individual decades look?
Click to see the Top Selling Comics of the Decade for the 2000s and the 2010s.