Every so often we post a new Title Spotlight here on Comichron, listing all the postal Statement of Ownership circulation data from the 500+ titles confirmed to have run forms with numbers — and every so often some event from the outside world moves to push a title to the head of the line. With Marvel Studios‘ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 releasing this week, you can now click to see the full postal sales data for the longest-running Guardians title.
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).
Valentino’s 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 on the Title Spotlight page is for that series. Sales for the later titles may be found in our monthly reports.
Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.
He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War, and his latest release, Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing. Read more about them at his fiction site.
Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!