Diamond Comics Distributors released their top 10 sales chart for January 09, and much to no one’s surprise, Amazing Spider-Man #583 was the biggest selling comic of the month with an estimated mid-300,000 copies sold throughout the direct market. Can anybody remember the last time a single issue sold that many copies? Maybe Marvel’s next variant cover gimmick should be President Obama meeting all the Marvel superheroes. It’s certainly a more original idea than monkeys and zombies, or whatever the “Wolverine Art Appreciation” covers are from April’s solicitations.
Of course, the mid-300,000 number is low-balling the issue’s overall sales, because it doesn’t count the number of copies sold outside of the direct market. Back in the halcyon days of yore, comic books were all over the place: grocery stores, convenience stores, toy stores, drug stores and the like. These days, just about the only places you can still find comics hanging around the shelves are in book stores. So imagine my surprise when I came across a stack of Spidey #383′s second printing on the magazine rack of my local Kroger supermarket. It was the only comic book available, but it makes sense that this particular comic would be there, given the astronomical demand and publicity surrounding the issue’s release weeks ago. It’s not like we’re going to start seeing other titles hitting the supermarket stands now, as retailers won’t spare the shelf space for the minimal profits comics bring them. Still, I wonder how many extra copies of Amazing Spider-Man #583 were sold outside of the direct market? I wouldn’t be surprised if the total sales for the issue push the 400,000 copies mark.
I ended up buying a copy at Kroger, even though I wasn’t caught up in the buying frenzy like everyone else when it first came out. Seeing it there made me wistful for the days when my mom would take me grocery shopping, and I would spend the entire time in the store’s deli sipping a can of RC Cola and reading as many comics as I could while Mom shopped. Thinking about it now, it makes me sad that kids today can’t have that same experience. Maybe that’s one of the reasons kids don’t read comics much anymore? Oh well, at least they can still squat in the manga section in the book stores.