What Is The Top Selling Comic Book Issue Of All Times?

X-Men 1 Fold Out Cover

I have been around comics for many years and I know comics as well as the next guy but this question got me thinking for a while. What single issue comic sold the most issues of all times. I thought of the Death of Superman in Superman #75, The Amazing Spider-Man #583 (the Obama issue) went into I think six printings, and the Death of Robin in Batman #428 one of the first comic events to make mainstream news. Then I remembered the comic event by Marvel of the 1991 the new release of X-Men #1 in 5 new covers written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee. Shipping with four variant covers priced at $1.50, and a special gatefold cover combining all four and printed on higher quality paper selling for $3.95, X-Men #1 sold nearly 8.1 million copies with the combined sales of all five editions. That gave Marvel’s 1991 X-Men #1 The Guinness World Record Best Selling Comic Of All Time.

The comic sales of the 90’s as I remember them was fueled by speculation, not necessarily comic fans. When I sold comics back then young people would ask me what comic I thought would go up in value. I would tell the young person there are lots of reasons comics and other collectibles go up in value the most important being popularity and low print runs and how rare an issue is. It is simply supply and demand. Then I would recommend they buy comic books because they liked the story and artwork not because it might put them through college someday or make them rich. Sometimes they would listen and be wiser for it.

Comic books are a form of Entertainment and unless you have some money and want to speculate on old classic comics you should realize they should be enjoyed as such. That is what we are about at Comics Talk to make the most of the entertainment and pleasure of reading this visual media. So to put this in perspective I have a list of the most popular comic book issues of the last 10 years to show what comics have sold in the real world of entertainment below this post. Keep in mind I don’t think the record of X-Men #1 will ever or should ever be broken. If it is ever broken I hope it is from comic readers who want to read not speculate on its future value. But such is the world we live in. We are here for you with Comics Talk news and information, stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt

PS; The top-selling comic book Issue of the last 10 years was the Obama Inauguration Day Issue: 530,500 Unit Sales and check out our other posts on comics and movies plus read comics on the web free Here.

Justice League #1 2006 sales: 250,847
Action Comic #1 2011 Sales 250,898
Batman 1 2011 Sales 262,379
Secret Invasion 1 2008 Sales 262,975

Infinite Crisis 1 2005 Sales 269,991
Batman and Robin 2005 Sales 276,017
Captain America 25 2007 Sales 317,713
Civil War 2006 Sales 341,856

Justice League 1 2011 Sales 361,138
Amazing Spider-Man #583 2009 Sales 530,500

11 Thoughts to “What Is The Top Selling Comic Book Issue Of All Times?”

  1. Bruce

    Wow that one got past me X-Men #1 seems like a long time ago 1991, I am glad comics are controlled more today by people who actually want to read them.

  2. Bruce

    Yea I knew that, Not

  3. X-Men #1 sold so many copies because it had FIVE covers. So many speculators (including me) bought multiple copies of each cover. It was rather shameless of Marvel, but it’s not their fault.

  4. Maxx

    it’s the only comic i own. i was 10 y/o when i bought it! lol

  5. Barry A

    X-Men 1 was not a bad comic but why did it sell so many, speculation I say. Only the X-Men fans read the comic.

  6. chris

    Why would u put that id–t on the cover of spider man?

  7. Chris

    I’m not sure this data is correct. Shortly after this, Image comics was born and eifeld’s Youngbloods outsold X-Men #1. Then Jim Lee released Wild Cats #1 which outsold Youngbloods.

  8. Walt

    I am sorry Chris but both issues that you mentioned did not come close to the 8.1 million copies that sold in 1991. The Uncanny X-Men. X-Men #1, the 1991 spinoff series premiere that Lee penciled and co-wrote with Chris Claremont, remains the best-selling comic book of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records: according to Wikipedia. Check it out

  9. I can pretty much guarantee you that *none* of the titles you list are amongst the top selling of all time, unless you specify *US only* or specify that it needs to be a periodical or in a short initial sales period.

    The US is a tiny comic market.

    Comics like Spirou et Fantasio, Tintin, Asterix all eventually sell in *millions* per book, over multiple print runs in dozens of countries, sometimes with *initial* print runs in millions.

    Periodicals like Donald Duck & Co. have average sales numbers of 100k-150k per *week* in tiny Norway (5 million people), and probably sell a combined half a million or more a week in Scandinavia alone (though over 3 separate editions). Home grown Norwegian series sell in 100k copies per month. Some Marvel and DC series and other US series like The Phantom have at various times sold substantially more in their Norwegian editions than in the US… (The Phantom at its peak in the 80’s used to sell 150k or more every 2 weeks in Norway…).

    Now consider that the Norwegian market is a tiny niche market in Europe – I’m mentioning it because I know it well. Consider the rest of Scandinavia, Germany, France, Belgium etc., and you’ll find series that don’t even get translated into English in some cases that still regularly outsell US comics by large factors. I know e.g. the Japanese market is also massive compared to the US. For that matter, you will find French editions of some Japanese comics likely to outsell most US titles.

    And this is without nonsense like the multiple covers and collectors buying tons of issues (in europe, it is normal to assume 3-5 readers per copy sold, rather than multiple copies per reader).

  10. Got a point there. But UNLESS there are hard cold data, the assumptions are at best debatable.

    Further, in terms of reach, non-US comics cannot rival or equal Superman, Batman or Spiderman and their ilk.

    While internet made it possible for netizens to know non-US comics but as far the global general public is concerned, they are largely unheard of.

    On the other hand, Superman Batman, Spiderman and a few other DC/Marvel Superheroes are widely popular not only in North America but also in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. And in most instances popularity translates to marketability, hence, sales. But I digress.

  11. Bruce

    In the ’70’s, Star Wars saved Marvel from bankruptcy. By licensing Star Wars early, Marvel became instrumental in increasing the blockbuster sci-fi epic’s profile, and provided Marvel with a much needed hit. 30 years later, the franchise returned to Marvel, with Star Wars #1 becoming the only single issue of the 21st century to crack 7 figures in sales so far. Unit sales: 1,073,000

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