1997 Comic Book Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Comics Shipped to North American Comics Shops
Based on Combining Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors and
Heroes World Distribution
Dollar Preorders for Diamond and Heroes World's Fused Top 300 Comics from each and every month from the year
around $244.39 million
In 1997, comics sales to comics shops were mostly handled by two different major distributors: Diamond Comic Distributors, which was the exclusive comics-shop reseller of DC, Image, Dark Horse, and Acclaim comics; and Heroes World Distribution, which was the distributor of Marvel comics. I tracked data from Heroes World and Diamond both, merging their reported figures until April 1997, when Marvel folded Heroes World and took its business to Diamond.
The year started slowly, with no major driving editorial events in January. On February 7, Marvel announced that it was closing Heroes World and returning distribution to Diamond in April. The final Heroes World month, March, saw DC launch the "blue Superman" editorial event.
In April, comic-book distribution in the direct market was unified in a single distributor, and Marvel and DC joined for another round of "Amalgam" cross-over issues. May was "Flashback" month at Marvel, a promotion in which negative-numbered issues for its series were published. As of June, Marvel had already announced its plans to end the "Heroes Reborn" project later in the year.
By July, DC had more than 30 titles on the market more than Marvel each month. DC's "Genesis" and the end of "Heroes Reborn" helped the market to its third-best month of the year in August, but the final month of the promotion, September, was disappointing.
Heroes Reborn: The Return helped October rebound, while DC unleashed Tangent Comics, an event that did middling numbers. Third volumes began for Fantastic Four and Captain America in the wake of "Heroes Return" in November, but the market was at a hugely reduced level versus the year before. December was a better than average month for retailers in 1997 — still down, but helped by fifth-week sales including Darkness #11, the year's top title with 11 variant covers, and DC's "New Year's Evil" promotion.
The final rankings for all comics and trade paperbacks as reported by Diamond at the end of the year appear below. Diamond reported these issues without indexes allowing actual sales estimates to be calculated; the listing does not include Marvel comics from the first quarter, which it wasn't carrying. You can find the first-month preorders for these issues in the monthly charts; click one of the months above or use the search tool at the top of the page to find the specific issue. But note that those monthly numbers do not include reorders for the entire year; the rankings below do take the entire year's sales into account.
Click to skip to the Top Graphic Novels for the year.
— John Jackson Miller
Listed are all items on Diamond's end-of-year chart. If you don't see a book, Diamond released no data for it.
The links lead to listings for each issue on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|2||Superman||123 Coll Ed.||$1.95||DC|
|8||Uncanny X-Men||350 Prism||$3.99||Marvel|
|30||Heroes Reborn The Return||1||$2.50||Marvel|
|36||Heroes Reborn The Return||2||$2.50||Marvel|
|37||Heroes Reborn The Return||4||$2.50||Marvel|
|38||Heroes Reborn The Return||3||$2.50||Marvel|
|48||Curse of Spawn||9||$1.95||Image|
|54||Challengers of the Fantastic Four||1||$1.95||Marvel|
|55||Magnetic Men Featuring Magneto||1||$1.95||Marvel|
|58||Dark Claw Adventures||1||$1.95||DC|
|63||Super Soldier Man of War||1||$1.95||DC|
|64||Curse of Spawn||5||$1.95||Image|
|73||Thorion of the New Asgods||1||$1.95||Marvel|
|77||Gen 13 Generation||1||$2.95||Image|
|78||Curse of the Spawn||6||$1.95||Image|
|91||Lobo the Duck||1||$1.95||DC|
|96||Wolverine Days of Future Past||1||$2.50||Marvel|
|97||Wildcasts X-Men The Silver Age||1||$4.50||Image|
|98||Wolverine Witchblade Part 5 Devil's Reign||0||$2.95||Image|
1997 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops
Estimated Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks Shipped to North American Comics Shops Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
Only a Top 10 released by Diamond this year, and note that because the definition of a graphic novel was based partially on price, there's an odd combination of comics and books in the list. Note that no Marvel items from January to March appear in the list below because Heroes World released no graphic novel data.
This list has all items on Diamond's end-of-year chart. If you don't see an item, Diamond did not rank it.
Follow the links to search for each title on Amazon. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|Units||Trade Paperback title||Price||Publisher|
|3||Tales from the Age of Apocalypse Sinister Bloodline||$5.99||Marvel|
|4||Batman Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #7||$3.95||DC|
|7||Sin City Family Values||$10.00||Dark Horse|
|8||Batman & Robin Movie Adapt. Coll. Ed.||$5.95||DC|
|9||Batman & Superman Adventures World's Finest||$6.95||DC|
|10||Vertigo Winter's Edge||$7.95||DC|
My analyses of preorders from Diamond Comic Distributors (and Heroes World, for January throuh March) for individual months can be found here: