Black Panther Vol. 4 Sales Figures
Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership
Filed with the United States Postal Service
The self-styled King of Wakanda, Marvel's Black Panther character first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 back in 1966. That was the first year that Marvel would report comics sales circulation in its Statements of Ownership; sales for the average issue that year were 329,379 copies.
The character's first comics series, in 1973, wasn't under his own name; T'challa took over as the lead in Jungle Action in issue #5, headlining the title until it ended with #24 in 1976. It didn't last long enough to generate a postal circulation statement. A bimonthly series running from 1977 to 1979 was the first Black Panther title fully under the character's own name; Black Panther Vol. 1 ran only 15 issues, and likewise did not last long enough for Marvel to publish a postal circulation statement.
A four-issue limited series ran in 1988; while its overall sales are unknown, Capital City Distribution shipped 23,700 copies of the first issue and slightly fewer thereafter, suggesting its overall per-issue was likely between 100,000 and 150,000 copies. Another miniseries, Black Panther: Panther's Prey released in 1991, with first-issue sales at Capital of 19,200 copies; its overall sales would have been just over 100,000 copies.
From 1998 to 2010, however, there would finally be three ongoing Black Panther series which would last long enough to see the publication of Postal Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation. The 1998-2003 series by Christopher Priest ran the longest; its postal circulation record is detailed here. The 2005-08 series, a better seller in part because of improved conditions in the Direct Market, is detailed here.
The 2009-10 series — Vol. 4 in my own counting — featured a female Black Panther in a tie-in to the "Dark Reign" storyline ongoing at Marvel. The publisher sold subscriptions for the title, but readers barely had time to receive any copies, as it wrapped with the twelfth issue. Its sole postal statement appears in the grid below; it reports overall sales in 2009 averaged 33,255 copies per issue. you can find the per-issue Direct Market sales for every issue of this series in our monthly reports section.
A later Black Panther series by Ta-Nehisi Coates would launch with the bestselling comic book of April 2016; end-of-year sales through comics shops were above 287,000 copies, placing it pretty close to what that first Fantastic Four appearance sold. The series would be renumbered as part of Marvel's Legacy program in 2017 to include all the titles mentioned above. Marvel was done filing postal statements by then, so the only place to find that information here is by searching the monthly sales reports.
—John Jackson Miller
|Issue Statement appearing in:||#10 Jan|
|Date of filing:||9/30/09|
|Issues published during year:||12|
|Annual subscription price:||$27.00|
|Cover price during year:||$2.99|
|Total Copies PRINTED (avg):||37,907|
|Sales through DEALERS (avg):||32,335|
|Sales by SUBSCRIPTION (avg):||920|
|Total PAID circulation (avg):||33,255|
|Samples by MAIL (avg):||0|
|Samples OUTSIDE mail (avg):||364|
|Total FREE circulation (avg):||364|
|Copies not distributed (office):||4,288|
|Copies not distributed (RETURNS):||0|
|Reported % Paid/Requested:|
|% of RUN RETURNED:||0%|
|SELL-THROUGH at RETAIL:||87.7%|
Marvel's sole circulation statement for the series, published in #10, has the peculiarities common to the publisher's filings late in its tenure as a Periodical Class shipper. While the title was probably not offered to newsstands, a huge number of "office copies" are reported. It's not clear whether these were copies unsold at Diamond, or actual returns from newsdealers. The series ended before a 2010 form could be published.
Understanding Statements of Ownership
The figures above are taken directly from the annual Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation filed by publishers with the United States Postal Service. The sales figure is the Average Paid Circulation figure and includes all copies sold through newsstands, comics shops, and postal subscription. It does not count copies the publisher gave away for free, or copies that were kept for office use.
More information can be found in the FAQ section.