Best Selling Marvel Comics of 1978 – 35 years later !
Lets take a look at a list I have compiled of potentially the best selling ongoing Marvel Comics series of 1978.
This list ranks them in order of best selling titles based on total number of sales. Most of the sales statistics come from the yearly average published in each title. Sales annual data information originally collected by John Jackson Miller in his book “Comics Buyers Guide: Standard Catalog Of Comic Books”. For some titles marked with a * I have come up with a potential number of what the sales might have been for numerous titles basing the numbers on years around it when the 1978 info was not known.
Star Wars was in its first full year of publication after the debut of the hit movie the year before which totally changed the movie industry, comic industry and toy industry. Star Wars sales for 1978 are estimated and may potentially have been much higher.
Star Wars sold a minimum of 278,000 copies during 1978 on average per issue.
The new Spider-man live action TV series may have failed but Spider-man sales were at a high fever with Spider-man appearing in the #2, #3, #4 and #13 best selling Marvel comics of the year.
Conan The Barbarian with estimated sales may have ranked a very impressive #5 of the year.
The Thing was a true celebrity with sales of his own title Marvel Two In One potentially tie-ing in sales with Fantastic Four.
The team up and reprint related Marvel title series were definitely popular in the late 1970’s with numerous titles in the top 20.
The last of the Marvel bronze age horror comics were being made at this time but no sales figures exist except for Ghost Rider which ranked a decent #14.
Two of the weaker long running Marvel titles in the late 1970’s were Daredevil and X-Men before they were resurrected and became hot titles again in the early 1980’s.
Sgt. Fury was hanging on in sales selling almost as much as X-Men as Marvel’s last war genre title.
Spider-woman was the hottest new debut marvel title of the year. Sales figures are not known so its possible it may actually rank a lot higher than listed here.
The western genre was on its last legs with Rawhide Kid now selling under 100,000 copies which was a poor seller in this era.
There are 27 more ongoing series listed down below but no sales figures have ever been reported on these titles in any given year so its hard to estimate where the sales might be except to make a few stereotypical presumptions that the superhero original series would have sold the best and that the newer the series was the more people were likely picking up early issues. There were numerous Hanna-Barbara comics aimed at young readers which possibly had smaller sales as copies have proven to be scarcer years later for collectors. Numerous Marvel magazines and treasuries were also being made at this time so its hard to estimate a sales figure.
BEST SELLING COMICS OF 1978
1 STAR WARS 278 *278 #12 in 1983
2 AMAZING SPIDERMAN 258 #4 in 1983
3 SPECTACULAR SPIDERMAN 219 *219 #14 in 1983
4 MARVEL TEAM UP 218 *218 #13 in 1983
5 CONAN 215 *215 #8 in 1983
6 IRON MAN 189 *189 #11 in 1983
7 MARVEL TWO IN ONE 177 *177
8 FANTASTIC FOUR 177 #3 in 1983
9 INCREDIBLE HULK 171 #10 in 1983
10 AVENGERS 162 #6 in 1983
11 DEFENDERS 152 *152
12 MARVEL SUPER HEROES 140 *140
13 MARVEL TALES 138 *138 #30 in 1983
14 GHOST RIDER 135 *135 #31 in 1983
15 THOR 135 #18 in 1983
16 WHAT IF 134 *134 #17 in 1983
17 MARVEL PREMIERE 131 *131
18 MASTER OF KUNG FU 128 *128 #26 in 1983
19 SPIDER WOMAN 126 *126
20 CRAZY MAGAZINE 123 *123
21 DAREDEVIL 123 #2 in 1983
22 CAPTAIN AMERICA 116 #20 in 1983
23 X MEN 115 #1 in 1983
24 SGT. FURY 112 *112
25 POWER MAN 107 *107 #25 in 1983
26 DOCTOR STRANGE 105 *105 #28 in 1983
27 SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN 100 *100 #22 in 1983
28 RAWHIDE KID 89
29 MARVEL SUPER ACTION ? 77
30 MARVEL COMICS SUPER SPECIAL ? 77
31 PIZZAZZ ? 77
32 BLACK PANTHER ? 77
33 LOGANS RUN ? 77
34 MS MARVEL ? 77
35 RAMPAGING HULK ? 77
36 RED SONJA ? 77
37 JOHN CARTER WARLORD OF MARS ? 77
38 TARZAN ? 77
39 GODZILLA ? 77
40 HUMAN FLY ? 77
41 FLINTSTONES ? 77
42 SCOOBY DOO ? 77
43 DYNOMUTT ? 77
44 YOGI GEAR ? 77
45 HOWARD THE DUCK ? 76
46 MARVEL PREVIEW MAGAZINE ? 75
47 INVADERS ? 75
48 MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION ? 75
49 SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP ? 75
50 MARVEL TREASURY EDITION ? 74
51 SPIDEY SUPER STORIES ? 74
52 MARVEL TRIPLE ACTION ? 72
53 TOMB OF DRACULA ? 72
54 MARVELS GREATEST COMICS ? 69
55 KID COLT OUTLAW ? 48
I have debated many times with collectors about the potential future value of late bronze age books. Many don’t believe the era has a chance of huge price increases but I see more and more signs of nostalgia kicking in as these books finally reach of age as true collectibles and key issues (even though common) are bringing record prices. If the number of collectors that reminisce correspond with the popularity of the books in the first place than this chart could actually help show which titles have the best long term potential based on interest.
The late 1970’s made a significant increase in speculators and superhero collectors who would buy multiples of #1 issues and collectors were starting to bag and board their comics. On average Marvel Comics in 1978 sold 300% higher / more copies than a Marvel Comic does today in 2013.
In case you are wondering so far only 3 Marvel Comics from 1978 have hit the $100.00 price guide mark.
The biggest key valuable books so far are Marvel Comics Super Special #5 – the 2nd magazine to feature the rock band Kiss and is now highly collected. X-Men began its new era in 1975 and sales were actually still fairly low in the late 1970’s as the title gained a new following making those issues scarcer than most and in very high demand which makes late 1970’s X-Men the most collected title of the late bronze age.
Article by comic book historian Terry Hoknes of www.HoknesComics.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
I am always happy to hear your comments and thoughts/criticisms on any of my posts.
Sales annual data information originally collected by John Jackson Miller in his book “Comics Buyers Guide: Standard Catalog Of Comic Books”.
Looking for any comics on this list! Contact us as we can order any comics for you on this list at www.HoknesComics.com
Terry Hoknes (author) of Hoknes Comics loves analyzing statistics and watching the growth and fall of comic titles over a period of time. He sells all of the latest hot back issue secondary market new comics and all new Diamond products at www.HoknesComics.com and also self-publishes a series of books called “Investing In Comic Books” that focus on the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages of comics. email@example.com