- Captain America #296
- G. I. Joe #26
- Iron Man #185
- Incredible Hulk #298
- Micronauts #59
- Rom #57
There is, of course, a caveat. The direct sales market was still very young in 1984 and Marvel was still seeing most of it's sales in the traditional, newsstand market. The difference between the two is that newsstands could return unsold comics, while direct sales shops couldn't.
So what sold better than Rom? The usual suspects (X-Men, New Mutants, Spider-man titles, Fantastic Four, etc.) plus Marvel's hot new limited series, Secret Wars (#4). If you want to see the complete list, visit the blog entry linked above. For now, I'm (naturally) going to focus on Rom's numbers.
Rom ranked 16th amongst Marvel's titles, down from 15th the previous month. It was pushed down by Power Pack #1, Alien Legion #2 (a bi-monthly that wasn't published the previous month), and Quest Probe #1 at 15th (78,800 units). Rom saw a remarkable increase in sales of 12.5% from 65,600 the previous month. Mind you, a quick glance through the numbers shows that most titles were seeing increasing sales. This is just another reminder that the direct sales market was new and expanding.
Three issues prior, in Rom #54, Marvel had printed its statement of ownership. It revealed an average sales per issue of 160,741 for the year and 170,588 for the most recent issue. That means direct sales accounted for approximately 35-45% of the title's sales.
So what's the bottom line here? When he was in print, Rom was not the third-tier character comic fans tend to think of him as now. While consistently outselling Dazzler, Doctor Strange and Power Man & Iron Fist may not sound like something to brag about, how about Marvel stalwarts like Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk? Not to mention other licensed comics like Micronauts, G. I. Joe, Conan, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. You might say I'm jumping to a conclusion, but I think the only reason we haven't seen full revivals of him is because of the Parker Brothers license.