With the new year already here, Marvel Comics is getting ready to release new additions to its comic universe with expansions of already-established series and potential revivals of old series that fans enjoyed, like The Pet Avengers.
Even though many people associate Marvel with its cinematic universe and various television shows, the comics that made the entertainment giant a force to be recorded with are still flying off shelves and have fans on edge about what will be coming in the following issues of the series they are reading. Over the years, Marvel had seen some issues reach record numbers in sales as they have unique elements that comic book fans had to explore before they disappeared from print.
The Amazing Spider-Man #800 – 439,465
The Amazing Spider-Man #800 had stiff competition in the market as Action Comics #1000 hit shelves the same year, drowning out the hype around Marvel’s landmark issue for the web-slinging hero. Despite Superman taking center stage, the issue topped sales in May 2008, as reported by Comic Book Resource, with over 411,000 sold, but Comichron would report the final sales capping out at 439,465.
Overall, 2018 was a big year for Spider-Man with Tom Holland’s iteration of the character being an important figure in Avengers: Infinity War. Many comic book fans looked to get more Spidey in their lives after he was blipped from the movie with no clues as to if he would return at the time.
The Amazing Spider-Man #583 (2009) – 530,500
It is easy to see why issue 538 of The Amazing Spider-Man ranks among Marvel’s most-sold comics. As the inauguration day edition, readers not only got a new Spidey story but a piece of history as Barack Obama was sworn in. The comic not only used that as the location but as the entire backbone of the story.
With several different variant covers, collectors were quick to pick up as many issues as possible to complete the set and get the one-off story that was exclusive to the issue. According to Comichron, the issue would round out 2009 as the best-selling comic of the year.
Secret Wars #1 (2015) – 550,500
Secret Wars is already gaining traction as one of the most exciting TV shows coming in 2023 and the comic series that inspired the show received similar hype and saw success as one of Marvel’s most successful launches. This issue marked the ultimate crossover that hadn’t been done since the mid-’80s, which was exciting for fans who were not into comics or weren’t alive at the time of the original Secret Wars run.
The comic finished 2015 as the second best-selling comic, only falling short because of the massively successful Star Wars release that same year (per Comichron). Marvel marketed the comics as the end of both Marvel and the Ultimate Universe, which pulled in readers from all of their series, allowing the sales to soar throughout its run.
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014) – 559,200
As described by Marvel, The Amazing Spider-Man run marked a new phase of life for Peter Parker, as previous runs of the comic featured a down-on-his-luck Peter who couldn’t seem to get ahead of the villains. Just like The Amazing Spider-Man movies did things differently from other Spidey movies, this comic focused more on the origins of Peter as the neighborhood hero everyone knew him to be.
This also marked the return of Electro, who had just been introduced as the main villain in The Amazing Spider-Man sequel making it the perfect time for new fans who wanted to get into the comics to pick up an issue, and led the year as the best-selling comic (per Comichron).
Free Comic Book Day Edition Ultimate Spider-Man #1(2002) – 631,990
2002 was one of the most significant years for Spider-Man fans as the first trilogy of Spider-Man movies was released just three days (May 3) before the free comic book day edition of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 hit shelves, as reported by Comichron; this was a re-release from the previous month.
With the movies being a box office hit, the comics saw a new crop of fans looking to get more Spider-Man in their lives and explore the world of comic books for the first time. This edition was a re-run of the original, but that didn’t matter to fans just getting into the series as they saw Peter Parker embark on a new adventure.
Fantastic Four #60 (2002) – 752,699
The Fantastic Four was somewhat of an anomaly as the 60th issue didn’t line up with a movie release (the first Fantastic Four movie was released in 2005) and wasn’t introducing a new storyline to readers, but it was still special for fans.
For starters, the issue was only 9 cents which was the cheapest any comic was being sold at the time, and, as reported by Games Radar, this was the first issue that introduced Mark Waid and the late Mike Wieringo to Marvel fans. Their run as a team would span 35 issues and move The Fantastic Four in a new direction that fans enjoyed, as told by the sales of their first venture.
Marvel Comics #1(1939) – 880,000
As the comic that started it all, Marvel Comic #1 has outsold modern-day comics with two runs that resulted in 880,000 issues being sold. As reported by CBC Canada, the issue marked the first appearance of many iconic Marvel characters, including the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. Eventually, it led to the creation of a new comic book division that would introduce the world to Stan Lee.
The comic ushered in a new era for comics and what was expected of sale and would remain in the top spot until 2015, and capitalized on being a cheap form of entertainment when many American families were still recovering from the Great Depression, and the world needed heroes as World War II was ravaging Europe.
Star Wars #1 (2015) – 1,073,000
Star Wars comics have originated some of the best villains in the series, but that wasn’t what propelled the first issue of the new Star Wars comics into record sales. The release of this issue lined up with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the merger between Disney and Lucasfilms (as reported by Forbes), allowing Marvel to produce a new line of comics that would remind fans of the original trilogy that started it all, while also getting them excited about the new age of Star Wars.
This also ushered in a new crop of fans who hadn’t seen the original movies and needed a crash course in Star Wars lore, with comics proving the perfect quick read in a world void of Disney+.
X-Force #1 (1991) – 5,000,000
The 1990s was a strange time for comics as non-comic book readers saw the industry as an investment and purchased many issues hoping they would appreciate in value and turn into collector items. Ultimately this backfired, but it did boost some comics’ sales into the record-breaking territory, with the first issues of X-Force selling 5 million copies.
Even though the sales of this comic may have been a fluke, it still ranks among the best X-Force comic issues and will be hard to top in sales as there are more series and genres than ever in the comic book sphere.
X-Men Vol 2 #1 (1991) – 8,186,500
The ’90s saw a resurgence in the popularity of comic books, and the X-Men reaped the benefits in a big way. Marvel has already established the X-Men as powerful heroes and was connecting with readers as they made the series one of Marvel’s most popular. According to Comichron, this was the first run for the series that didn’t have an adjective associated with the heroes.
It was also the first time a staggered release was tempted by Marvel, allowing them to have several cover variations that made one big image, making it the perfect item for die-hard collectors. This new strategy paid off, and X-Men Vol 2 #1 became the best-selling comic book of all time for any company.
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