'The Walking Dead' Lurches Back to the Top
Of BookScan Top 20
Published: 11/09/2012 03:02am
Need a loan? Talk to Robert Kirkman--the guy must be made of money by this point. With the debut of the third season of The Walking Dead last month, Image Comics and Kirkman return to dominate the charts in October with five books in the top 20, according to the ranking of "Top 20 Graphic Novels" sold in the book channel provided exclusively to ICv2 by Nielsen BookScan. Cannily releasing the second The Walking Dead Compendium in time for the show, this second massive $60 volume easily took the top spot, while the first volume jumped back up to position number 5. (Let’s all take note again that the The Walking Dead Compendium Volume One is currently the number one graphic novel in bookstores for 2012 in both units and dollars. Especially dollars.)
Position six was held by DK’s Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Guide. While not itself a graphic novel, the book features information about Marvel’s most popular heroes along with art from the comics in which the Avengers appear. Curiously, none of those comics have ever shown up in the monthly top 20 list on BookScan, despite the film’s massive success. (Yes, I pointed that out last time, and no, I’m not going to stop pointing it out until the situation changes. To be unable to sell Avengers graphic novels to casual readers in 2012 is an indication of deep-rooted problems at the "House of Ideas.")
The first manga in the list appears at number seven, with the eighth volume of Sailor Moon from Kodansha Comics. Given that this book released on October 30, a number seven slot in October should not be taken as a sign of weakness from this juggernaut shojo series. The seventh volume of Sailor Moon also appears and is ranked at number 16.
Stephen Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine comic strip shows up at position eight with Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out. This is unusual, but a quick scan of Pastis’ other books in BookScan shows inconsistent categorization: Sometimes they’re listed as graphic novels, and other times they’re listed as non-fiction/humor, which is why we don’t usually see his books in this list.
VIZ Media has three slots with Naruto Vol. 58, Bleach Vol. 48, and Bleach Vol. 49 taking positions 10, 11 and 15 respectively. Other manga on the list include Yen's Black Butler Vol. 11 at position 13, and Dance in the Vampire Bund Vol. 13 at position 19, making a total of seven manga this month.
Charles Burns’ sequel to 2010’s X’ed Out, The Hive, comes in at number 17, the second Pantheon book to hit the list in October. Rounding out the list are two DC titles, the recently released Nightwing Volume 1 and the perennial Watchmen. It’s a poor showing this month for DC, who just a few months ago were dominating the list with a plethora of Batman titles.
For those keeping track at home, Image has the most books on the list with five The Walking Dead releases, followed by DC and Viz with three books each. Kodansha and Pantheon each have two, while Yen, Seven Seas, DK, Dark Horse and Andrews McMeel all have one each.
Look for things to heat up next month with the release of Superman: Earth One Volume 2 from DC and two new The Walking Dead books from Image Comics and Robert Kirkman.
For past BookScan Top 20 Graphic Novel lists, see the "BookScan Top 20 GNs Index."
--Disclosure: Dallas Middaugh is the director of publishing services for Random House Publisher Services. RHPS provides distribution and other services for several graphic novel clients, including DC Comics, Kodansha Comics, Archie Comics, and Vertical. He has also worked with or for Viz Media, Oni Press, and Slave Labor Graphics, and he co-founded Seven Seas.