1986 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Shipped to North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Direct Market Distributors
1986 was noteworthy for many things in comics — including the black-and-white comics glut, part of the first boom-and-bust cycle purely of the Direct Market age. At the top of the charts, however, John Byrne's Superman was the big attraction.
While Capital City Distribution released monthly reports with order index numbers, Diamond Comic Distributors does not appear to have released any charts at all, at least not that we've found. Year-end charts were still several years away. But known Capital City preorders suggest that the Top Five for the year were all issues of Man of Steel, interrupted only by the first issue of Byrne's Superman ongoing series.
Watchmen started in 1986, but its high cover price made it difficult for it to compete with the top sellers in most months of its release: see its numbers and rankings here. And while Batman: The Dark Knight made waves in 1986, it too was handicapped in the sales charts by its even higher price — and moreover, there was not yet any mechanism for distributors to report reorders or reprints. Capital City's initial orders for the first three issues were all in the 20,000s, well below the bestsellers for the month.
None of the monthly charts below is live, but we have them and they will be added in the future. Stay tuned!
—John Jackson Miller
CAPITAL CITY TOP SELLERS BY MONTH
Listed are all the top sellers for each month at Capital City.
Where months are linked, click to see the full Capital chart for that month.
Est. units are the number of copies preordered just from Capital, Overall totals would be much higher.
Distributor charts are regional commodity reports, not measures of a work's total reach. Read our FAQ.
The title links lead to current listings for each item on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|Month||Comic-book Title||Issue||Price||Publisher||Est. units|
|March 1986||Uncanny X-Men||207||$0.75||Marvel||49,100|
|April 1986||Uncanny X-Men||208||$0.75||Marvel||49,500|
|May 1986||Classic X-Men||1||$1.00||Marvel||58,100|
|June 1986||The Man of Steel||1||$0.75||DC||125,400|
|July 1986||The Man of Steel||3||$0.75||DC||85,000|
|August 1986||The Man of Steel||5||$0.75||DC||81,450|
|September 1986||Superman Vol. 2||1||$0.75||DC||91,650|
|October 1986||Superman Vol. 2||2||$0.75||DC||59,100|
|November 1986||Uncanny X-Men||215||$0.75||Marvel||58,400|
|December 1986||Uncanny X-Men||216||$0.75||Marvel||56,800|
My analyses of preorders from Capital City Distribution for individual months can be found here: