There aren’t many writers who can claim to have a best-selling prose nonfiction book and a best-selling comic book over the course of a few months. Indeed, that list probably only contains one name: Ta-Nehisi Coates. Last year, the author of Between the World and Me was tapped to write a Marvel Comics series about long-running superhero Black Panther, and the first issue came out in April. The sales numbers for that month’s comics just came in, and not only was Black Panther — drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and colored by Laura Martin — the top-selling comic of the month, it’s also the top-selling comic of this calendar year. North American retailers ordered an estimated 253,259 copies of the issue, while the second-place finisher (for the month as well as the year) only snagged 175,322.
That number doesn’t include European sales, nor does it include re-orders that come in after April, meaning the final number will likely be closer to the 300,000-copy mark that Marvel announced in March. The numbers are a wee bit misleading, as they only count how many copies retailers ordered, not how many copies were actually purchased by readers. Unfortunately, this is the only industry statistic available and it’s generally a good indicator of interest in a comic. It’ll be interesting to see how sales pan out over the course of the series, as first issues generally outsell subsequent ones. And hey, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can pick up the first issue, but you should read our little primer on it first.