With 2023 in the rear-view mirror, it is time to sift through all of the single-issue comic sales rankings and come up with some final numbers. First up, let’s take a look at how many Top 10, Top 25, Top 50, Top 75, and Top 100 titles that each publisher had in 2023.
Most Top 10 Wins in 2023
The battle for the Top 10 throughout 2023 has essentially been Marvel Comics kicking sand in all of the other publishers’ faces every month.
Marvel Comics managed to score an impressive total of 76 issues in the Top 10 during 2023.
DC Comics came in a distant second place by placing 34 issues in the Top 10 during 2023.
There were no other comic book publishers that played a relevant role in the Top 10 during 2023. The Top 10 remains the province of Marvel Comics and DC Comics.
Image Comics ranked third with a mere six issues in the Top 10 in 2023. Hasbro licensed comics comprised four of Image Comics’ six issues in the Top 10 in 2023. Without that Hasbro license, Image Comics would have been tied with IDW Publishing for third place with two issues.
IDW Publishing came in fourth place with two issues in the Top 10 during 2023.
BOOM! Studios and Vault Comics tied for fifth place with one issue a piece in the Top 10 during 2023.
Most Top 25 Wins in 2023
Marvel Comics also enjoyed supreme dominance in the battle for the Top 25 every month in 2023. Marvel Comics placed a massive 198 issues in the Top 25 during 2023.
Once again, DC Comics came in second place by placing only 81 issues in the Top 25 during 2023. This highlights the massive gulf that existed between Marvel Comics and DC Comics in 2023. DC Comics cannot be considered legitimate competition to Marvel Comics.
Image Comics came in third place that is so distant you need binoculars to see it. Image Comics had a mere thirteen issues in the Top 25 during 2023. The Hasbro-licensed comics accounted for eight of Image Comics’ thirteen issues. Once again, without the Hasbro license, Image Comics would have just barely beaten IDW Publishing with five issues in the Top 25 in 2023.
IDW Publishing came in fourth place with just four issues in the Top 25 during 2023. BOOM! Studios came in fourth place with a mere two issues in the Top 25 during 2023. Titan Comics and Vault Comics tied for fifth place with one issue apiece in the Top 25 during 2023.
All of this highlights that the only relevant publishers in the Top 25 in 2023 were Marvel Comics and DC Comics. The other publishers are non-factors in the battle for the Top 25. Image Comics only managed to separate itself from the other publishers due to that coveted Hasbro license.
Most Top 50 wins in 2023
Marvel Comics annihilated all other publishers by placing 381 issues in the Top 50 during 2023. Marvel Comics just steamrolled all of the other publishers. It just was not even close.
DC Comics took second place by placing just 167 issues in the Top 50 during 2023. The gap between Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the Top 50 in 2023 emphasizes the long climb that DC Comics has ahead of it in 2024. Winning the Top 50 is what drives real profit. It is unrealistic to expect DC Comics to transform into legitimate competition for Marvel Comics in the battle of the Top 50 in 2024. But, DC Comics must narrow this massive gulf in 2024.
Image Comics came in a non-competitive third place with just twenty-five issues in the Top 50 during 2023. Seven of Image Comics’ twenty-five issues were from the Spawn franchise. Ten of Image Comics’ twenty-two issues were from Hasbro-licensed franchises. One of Image Comcis’ twenty-two issues was from the Universal Monsters franchise.
This means that Image Comics only had seven issues outside of the Spawn franchise and the licensed properties from Hasbro and Universal. Without those valuable licenses and Spawn, Image Comics would have come in fourth place behind IDW Publishing. This underscores how niche the other titles that Image Comics publishes are and that they simply do not get meaningful sales rankings.
IDW Publishing came in fourth place with nine issues in the Top 50 in 2023. BOOM! Studios came in fifth place with a mere four issues in the Top 50 in 2023. Dynamite Entertainment, Titan Comics, and Vault Comics all had one issue apiece in the Top 50 in 2023.
All of these publishers were irrelevant when it came to the monthly battle for the Top 50 in 2023. The results in the Top 50 for all of 2023 also highlight why the health of superhero comics and Marvel Comics and DC Comics is so vitally important to the North American market. This is what drives sales.
Most Top 75 wins in 2023
Marvel Comics dominated all publishers with a total of 534 issues in the Top 75 during 2023. Marvel Comics’ unrivaled success did not slow down at all in the Top 75.
DC Comics limped into second place with a total of 260 issues in the Top 75 during 2023.
Image Comics took a distant third place with just sixty-nine issues in the Top 75 during 2023. Twenty-four of Image Comics’ sixty-nine issues were from the Spawn franchise. Fourteen issues were from the Hasbro license. Three issues were from the Universal Monsters license.
This means that forty-one of Image Comics’ sixty-nine issues came from the Spawn franchise, the Hasbro license, and the Universal Monsters license. Without those franchises, Image Comics would have had only twenty-eight issues in the Top 75.
Again, this shows the importance of Spawn and the licensed properties for Image Comics to have meaningful sales success in 2024. All of the other Image Comics are too niche to translate into substantial sales numbers that are much different from all of the other smaller publishers.
IDW Publishing came in fourth place with only twelve issues in the Top 75 during 2023.
BOOM! Studios came in fifth place with a mere eleven issues in the Top 75 in 2023.
Dark Horse Comics and Titan Comics tied for sixth place with two issues apiece in the Top 75 during 2023. Dynamite Entertainment, DSTLRY, and Vault Comics all tied for last place with one issue apiece in the Top 75 during 2023.
Most Top 100 wins in 2023
Marvel ruthlessly destroyed all of the competition by placing 681 issues in the Top 100 during 2023. Marvel Comics made its fair share of mistakes and embarrassing sales failures in 2023. No doubt. But, the fact remains that Marvel Comics is the undisputed leader and has no competition at all in the North American comic book market.
DC limped into a distant second place with just 347 issues in the Top 100 during 2023. DC Comics must improve upon this in 2024. As a long-time DC Comics fan, it would be nice to see DC Comics do some housecleaning in their editorial staff and finally begin to turn things around in the sales charts.
Image Comics came in third place with 104 issues in the Top 100 during 2023. Twenty-nine of Image Comics’ 104 issues came from the Spawn franchise. Fifteen issues came from the Hasbro license. Four issues came from the Universal Monsters license.
This means that without the valuable licenses or the Spawn franchise, Image Comics would have only had fifty-six issues in the Top 100 during 2023. Image Comics would have been largely in the same place as BOOM! Studios.
This underscores how there is no sales success in the litany of niche titles that Image Comics publishes. If financial success is the goal then Image Comics is certainly going to lean more into the Hasbro license in 2024. I would be interested to see if this also spurs Image Comics to pursue more licensed properties going forward.
BOOM! Studios was a non-player with a mere twenty-four issues in the Top 100 during 2023.
IDW Publishing was also irrelevant with only sixteen issues in the Top 100 during 2023.
Dynamite Entertainment had only seven issues in the Top 100 during 2023. Titan Comics had four issues. Dark Horse Comics had three issues. DSTLRY and Vault Comics had two issues apiece. Sumerian Comics had one issue in the Top 100 in 2023.
Top 5 Franchises in 2023
The Spider-Man franchise grabbed the coveted first-place spot by placing 37 issues in the Top 10, 70 issues in the Top 25, and 107 issues in the Top 50 in 2023.
The Batman franchise came in second place with 24 issues in the Top 10, 49 issues in the Top 25, and 93 issues in the Top 50.
The X-Men franchise slotted in third place with 18 issues in the Top, 47 issues in the Top 25, and 89 issues in the Top 50.
The Avengers franchise took fourth place with 9 issues in the Top 10, 34 issues in the Top 25, and 67 issues in the Top 50.
The Superman franchise finished in fifth place with 1 issue in the Top 10, 12 issues in the Top 25, and 33 issues in the Top 50.
Marvel Comics took three of the Top 5 best-selling franchises. The fight for the number one spot was not even close. The Spider-Man franchise powered by Amazing Spider-Man blew away all of the other franchises. I do not see the Spider-Man franchise slowing down at all in 2024.
The X-Men franchise took third place, but this franchise cooled off compared to prior years. It will be a priority for Marvel Comics to reheat the X-Men franchise with their new direction for the franchise in 2024. This will be interesting to watch.
The Avengers franchise took fourth place which is sure to make Marvel Comics happy. The Avengers franchise has rebounded in the sales charts compared to prior years. I do not expect the Avengers franchise to surpass either the Spider-Man franchise or the X-Men franchise in 2024. However, the Avengers franchise should still be strong enough to be a Top 5 franchise in 2024.
The Batman franchise is still a sales juggernaut for DC Comics as it came in at second place. I would expect Batman to continue to retain the number 2 spot through 2024. Bruce Wayne is going to remain an ATM machine for DC Comics throughout 2024.
DC Comics has to be happy to see the Superman franchise crack into the Top 5. This is a positive sign for DC Comics as they head into 2024. It is vital that the Superman franchise remain in the Top 5 in 2024. IF DC Comics wants to avoid completely collapsing into irrelevancy they need to at least have two franchises in the Top 5.
Ideally, DC Comics could grow the Justice League franchise into a Top 5 franchise. But, so far, outside of Hal Jordan and Princess Diana, DC Comics has struggled to generate much success with their Justice League characters.
The success of the Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong does suggest that there is a strong reader interest in the classic Justice League characters starring in a team title. It will be interesting to see what DC Comics does with the Justice League franchise in 2024. DC Comics has to do something in light of the Titans franchise utterly failing to have any sales success as the Justice League replacement in the DCU.
Smallest Drop Between Debut and Second Issue in 2023
It is interesting that despite Marvel Comics beating the crap out of DC Comics in 2023 every month that it was DC Comics that had the issues with the smallest drops between the debut issue and the second issue in 2023.
Superman #1 debuted at the number 5 spot. Superman #2 then took the number 11 spot. This was just a difference of six spots.
Justice League vs Godzilla vs Kong #1 debuted at the number 6 spot. Justice League vs Godzilla vs Kong #2 then took the number 12 spot. This was only a difference of six spots, too.
However, there was one title that did even better than Superman and Justice League vs Godzilla vs Kong. That would be Batman and Robin. Batman and Robin #1 debuted at the number 7 spot. Batman and Robin #2 took the number 9 spot. This was only a difference of two spots!
Biggest Drop Between Debut and Second Issue in 2023
These are titles that were simply bad ideas or the product of terrible writers. Take your pick.
In fifth place is Steelworks. Steelworks #2 fell from the number 60 spot to the number 147 spot for a difference of 87 spots.
In fourth place is Black Panther. Black Panther #2 plummetted from the number 11 to the 99 spot for a difference of 88 spots.
In third place is Silk. Silk #2 fell from the number 22 spot to the number 113 for a difference of 91 spots.
In second place is Capwolf & The Howling Commandos. Capwolf & The Howling Commandos #2 fell from the number 66 to the number 167 spot for a monstrous difference of 101 spots.
In first place is Blade. Blade #2 dropped from the number 9 spot to the number 124 spot for a mind-bending difference of 115 spots.
Fastest To Being Unranked
These titles are among rarified air. It is quite the feat to drop out of the Top 200 as quickly as our winners of this category. Two titles tied for the honor of the fastest title to being unranked. Both titles are from DC Comics. This is no surprise as DC Comics generally is the factory of bad ideas and home to unqualified writers.
Amazons Attack #1 debuted at the number 167 spot and was unranked with Amazons Attack #2. This result was tied by another DC title in Speed Force. Speed Force #1 debuted at the number 193 spot and was unranked with Speed Force #2.
Dead Titles Walking
Marvel Comics had a total of 274 issues out of 826 issues in the Dead Titles Walking category during 2023. This means that 33% of Marvel Comics’ issues in 2023 were Dead Titles Walking. We shall see if Marvel Comics can improve on this in 2024.
DC Comics had a total of 298 issues out of 631 issues in the Dead Titles Walking category. Now, while in terms of raw numbers, DC Comics only had twenty-four dead titles walking than Marvel Comics, the difference is highlighted when you compare the percentages. A massive 47% of DC Comics’ issues in 2023 were dead titles walking. That is insane. That is almost half of all of DC Comics’ new issues in 2023.
This is unsustainable and emphasizes the problems that DC Comics has with their editorial staff. It is one bad decision compounded upon another that is crippling DC Comics. Marvel Comics may make some boneheaded decisions at times, but DC Comics is in need of a full house cleaning in order to become a legitimate competitor with Marvel Comics.
Joshua Williamson Award for 2023
The competition was fierce for the honors of taking the Joshua Williamson Award for 2023 for the writer with the most issues in the Top 50 during 2023. We will honor the Top 5 writers in this category and unveil the winner.
Jed MacKay came in fifth place with eighteen Top 50 issues in 2023.
Zeb Wells came in fourth place with twenty Top 50 issues in 2023. This was the least impressive job of the writers in this category since Wells was the only writer who relied on just one title starring a popular character to power all of their Top 50 success.
Al Ewing and Benjamin Percy tied for second place with twenty-two titles apiece in the Top 50 in 2023. I was more impressed with Percy since he blossomed in 2023 and established himself as a top-selling author.
However, much like the Highlander, there can be only one. And in first place was Joshua Williamson with an impressive twenty-six issues in the Top 50 in 2023. Hey, the award is named after Joshua Williamson for a reason! So, with that, Joshua Williamson takes the crown as the winner of the Joshua Williamson Award for 2023!
Tini Howard Award for 2023
The battle for the Tini Howard award for the most dead titles walking in 2023 was fierce.
Erica Schultz came in fifth place with eight issues in the dead walking titles category during 2023.
Michael Conrad came in fourth place with nine issues in the dead walking titles category during 2023. Conrad piled up his numbers early in 2023 before he parted ways with DC Comics.
Becky Cloonan took third place with eleven issues in the dead walking titles category during 2023. Cloonan also piled up her numbers early in 2023 before departing the Wonder Woman franchise.
Alyssa Wong took second place with fourteen issues in the dead walking titles category during 2023. That is an impressive number, but it was not good enough to land the Tini Howard Award for 2023.
Tini Howard gets the honors as she scored a first place finish with seventeen issues in the dead walking titles category during 2023. Therefore, Howard caps off 2023 by winning the Tini Howard Award for 2023! Hey, just like the Joshua Williamson Award, this award is named the Tini Howard award for a reason!
All right, that is it for our year in review for the 2023 comic book sales rankings! I am looking forward to what 2024 is going to bring us.