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Iron Man Sales Figures

Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership
Filed with the United States Postal Service

When Marvel renegotiated its restrictive agreement with its distributor in 1968, it was suddenly able to double its number of offerings. It did so with characters in several of its "double feature" titles. Iron Man and Captain America fissioned from Tales of Suspense, with Captain America continuting the original series' numbering. 

Iron Man began with a fresh #1, only after a weird one-month gap during which the feature was paired with the Tales to Astonish orphan, Sub-Mariner, in the Iron Man and Sub-Mariner one-shot.

Marvel did not publish sales figures for the title for a very long time, but by the time it did, Iron Man was a mid-range seller along with the other Avengers titles. The series peaked above 200,000 copies in the mid-1980s during David Michelinie and Bob Layton's first run on the title; it approached that level again several times before collapsing during the market recession of the mid-1990s.

Marvel addressed the decline then — and several more times — with the same strategy: restarting the series from a new #1. The "Heroes Reborn" volume 2 and the "Heroes Return" volume 3 resuscitated sales, as did the Warren Ellis Volume 4 in 2004.     
   
That title was renamed Invincible Iron Man and then Iron Man Director of SHIELD — and then a concurrent Invincible Iron Man title was started in 2008, which later assumed the original series' numbering (only after leaving out three Director of SHIELD issues starring War Machine). The long run concluded when the Marvel Now Iron Man series began. The numbering was restored in 2017 when the Legacy event merged the numbering from a large number of titles.

There have occasionally been spinoff titles, mostly in the 1990s (such as Force Works and War Machine) and 2000s (such as Ultimate Iron Man).

Some direct-market only information is available in themonthly reports.

—John Jackson Miller


 

19791980198119821983
Issue Statement appearing in:#145 Apr#157 Apr#170 May#182 May
Date of filing:10/1/8010/1/8110/11/8210/11/83
Issues published during year:12121212
Annual subscription price:$6.00$7.20$7.20$7.20
Cover price during year:$0.50$0.60$0.60$0.60
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):350,171362,541366,109366,109
Sales through DEALERS (avg):184,368169,056175,768175,768
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):4,5628,46411,79611,796
Total PAID circulation (avg):188,930177,520187,564187,564
Samples by MAIL (avg):642600702702
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):0000
Total FREE circulation (avg):642600702702
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:189,572178,120188,266188,266
Copies not distributed (office):1,5884,3744,5864,586
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):159,011180,047173,257173,257
Reported % Paid/Requested:
% of RUN RETURNED:45.4%49.7%47.3%47.3%
Copies existent:191,160182,494192,852192,852
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:54.0%49.0%51.2%51.2%
19841985198619871988
Issue Statement appearing in:#194 May#205 Apr#218 May#231 Jun#241 Apr
Date of filing:9/28/8410/1/8510/6/86undated10/1/88
Issues published during year:1212121212
Annual subscription price:$7.20$9.00$9.00$9.00$9.00
Cover price during year:$0.60$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):328,749337,098339,324332,924319,155
Sales through DEALERS (avg):168,200192,827181,816172,975190,170
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):9,4599,1258,7006,5925,925
Total PAID circulation (avg):177,659201,092190,516179,567196,095
Samples by MAIL (avg):140140225135130
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):00000
Total FREE circulation (avg):140140225135130
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:177,799202,132190,741179,702196,225
Copies not distributed (office):1,6521,7151,7131,205860
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):149,298133,291146,870152,017122,070
Reported % Paid/Requested:
% of RUN RETURNED:45.4%39.5%43.3%45.7%38.2%
Copies existent:179,451203,807192,454180,907197,085
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:54.0%59.7%56.1%53.9%61.4%
19891990199119921993
Issue Statement appearing in:#256 May#266 May#278 Mar#290 March#301 Feb
Date of filing:11/1/8910/1/9010/1/9110/1/9210/1/93
Issues published during year:1212121212
Annual subscription price:$12.00$12.00$15.00$15.00$15.00
Cover price during year:$1.00$1.00$1.25$1.25$1.25
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):317,115327,728277,525246,750274,083
Sales through DEALERS (avg):192,500192,225167,733151,458193,742
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):6,6005,8754,7174,5584,266
Total PAID circulation (avg):199,100198,100172,450156,017198,133
Samples by MAIL (avg):125150125250125
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):00000
Total FREE circulation (avg):125150125250125
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:199,225198,250172,575156,267198,238
Copies not distributed (office):600600250683500
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):117,290128,878104,70089,80075,450
Reported % Paid/Requested:
% of RUN RETURNED:37.0%39.3%37.7%36.4%27.5%
Copies existent:199,825198,850172,825156,949198,633
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:62.8%60.4%62.1%63.2%72.3%
19941995199619971998
Issue Statement appearing in:#314 Mar#324 JanV2#2 Dec.!V3#2 MarV3#10 Nov
Date of filing:10/1/9410/1/9510/1/9610/1/9710/1/98
Issues published during year:1212121212
Annual subscription price:$18.00$22.00$22.00$23.88$23.88
Cover price during year:$1.50$1.50$1.95$1.99$1.99
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):197,883141,837117,716230,909220,530
Sales through DEALERS (avg):106,82579,33662,415181,403147,816
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):4,3083,1332,3022,9833,946
Total PAID circulation (avg):111,13382,46964,717184,386151,476
Samples by MAIL (avg):125750600298298
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):00000
Total FREE circulation (avg):125750600298298
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:111,25883,21965,317184,684151,774
Copies not distributed (office):500500125125125
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):86,12558,11852,27446,10068,631
Reported % Paid/Requested:99.0%99.0%99.0%
% of RUN RETURNED:43.5%41.0%44.4%20.0%31.1%
Copies existent:111,75883,71965,442184,809152,185
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:56.2%58.1%55.0%79.9%68.7%
19992000200120022003
Issue Statement appearing in:V3#22 Novv3#36 JanV3#49 FebV3#63 FebV3#75 Feb
Date of filing:10/1/9910/1/0010/1/0110/1/0210/1/03
Issues published during year:1212121212
Annual subscription price:$23.88$27.00$27.00$27.00$27.00
Cover price during year:$1.99$2.25$2.25$2.25$2.95
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):139,575102,12580,06771,87749,233
Sales through DEALERS (avg):88,53466,36554,15352,74239,148
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):3,4742,8922,4042,0151,892
Total PAID circulation (avg):92,00869,25756,55754,75441,040
Samples by MAIL (avg):6006006006001
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):2,7980001,249
Total FREE circulation (avg):3,3986006006001,250
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:9,26869,85767,15755,35742,290
Copies not distributed (office):125125
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):46,84232,26822,91016,5206,933
Reported % Paid/Requested:99.0%100.0%99.0%99.0%97.0%
% of RUN RETURNED:33.6%31.6%28.6%23.0%14.1%
Copies existent:95,53169,98257,15755,35742,290
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:65.9%67.8%70.6%76.2%83.4%
20042005200620072008
Issue Statement appearing in:V3#89 DecemberNot in V4#1-3Not in V4#5-6Not in Invincible I.M. #20-25#35 January
Date of filing:10/1/049/30/08
Issues published during year:1512
Annual subscription price:$27.00$27.00
Cover price during year:$2.99$2.99
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):52,29756,091
Sales through DEALERS (avg):37,31944,403
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):1,9103,504
Total PAID circulation (avg):39,22947,907
Samples by MAIL (avg):00
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):1,2171,730
Total FREE circulation (avg):1,2171,730
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:40,44649,637
Copies not distributed (office):
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):11,8516,454
Reported % Paid/Requested:96.9%96.5%
% of RUN RETURNED:22.7%11.5%
Copies existent:40,44649,637
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:75.0%85.4%
20092010201120122013
Issue Statement appearing in:#19 December#32 January#510 January
Date of filing:9/30/099/30/109/30/11
Issues published during year:121212
Annual subscription price:$27.00$27.00$27.00
Cover price during year:$2.99$2.99$3.99
Total Copies PRINTED (avg):62,05460,23958,927
Sales through DEALERS (avg):49,85151,10749,008
Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):3,2863,4253,784
Total PAID circulation (avg):53,13754,53252,792
Samples by MAIL (avg):000
Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):836593517
Total FREE circulation (avg):836593517
TOTAL DISTRIBUTION:53,97355,12553,309
Copies not distributed (office):000
Copies not distributed (RETURNS):8,0815,1445,618
Reported % Paid/Requested:98.5%98.9%
% of RUN RETURNED:13.0%8.5%9.5%
Copies existent:53,97355,12553,309
SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:85.6%90.5%89.6%




Statement history
The circuitious route the title took to the shelf seems to have impacted its subscription accounting. The Statement of Ownership that belonged to Tales of Suspense was continued in Captain America, apparently with all subscribers going along; and for some reason, Iron Man did not have any Statements for more than a decade, even though it was sold by subscription in that period.

And the 1983 Statement was certainly entirely in error — as it simply repeated all the data from the 1982 version. The only thing changed was the date on the form, so it does not appear that the earlier form was accidentally reprinted — the numbers were simply all the ones from 1982. There are a few more Statements where entries do not add up; the figure that is most likely correct is published here.

Subscriptions from Volume 1 were transferred to Volume 2, and then Volume 3, when those restarts happened; presumably, this happened with Volume 4, as well. Data was not published in the early years of that restart. 2009's figures come from Invincible Iron Man, which was later made part of the original title with a numbering change.

Marvel stopped publishing its forms after 2011 for all its titles, bringing the record to a close.