Manga Back on Top
And One 'Avengers' Title
Published: 10/05/2012 12:02am
Manga took the lead in bookstore graphic novel sales in September. As frequently happens when they release in the same month, Sailor Moon and Naruto took the top two slots, as manga took back space on the list that it had lost in recent months with DC Comics’ success with their line of Batman books in the wake of the recent film (and a special sales promotion at Barnes & Noble). In total, manga held eight spots on the list, up from a paltry four last month.
DK Publishing’s Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide HC jumped back up to number three, presumably on the strength of the promotional push for the video release of The Avengers movie last month. Why the book remains categorized as a graphic novel is anyone’s guess, but it draws attention to Marvel’s complete absence from the top 20 list at a time when they’ve released the most successful film of the year. Hopefully by the time The Avengers 2 comes out they’ll have learned from other publishers how to capitalize on successful TV or film exposure outside of comic shops.
DC takes the fourth position with a new edition ofKnightsend, one of six Batman books on the September list. The other five Batman titles are a mixture of front- and backlist, as the evergreen The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke hold strong, alongside Scott Snyder’s popular The Court of Owls. DC has two non-Batman books here as well: the perennial bestseller Watchmen, and the first volume of Aquaman. With eight books on the list, DC continues to dominate this market as it has the past several months.
Number five is third volume of Avatar:The Last Airbender: The Promise, published by Dark Horse. With the killer combination of a new Avatar cartoon, legions of devoted fans, and the storytelling prowess of Gene Yang, Dark Horse clearly has a major hit on their hands. The second volume of the series remains on the list at position 20.
Yen holds slot six with the 11th volume of the popular manga Yotusba&!,while The Walking Dead continues its relentless march towards complete domination of graphic novel sales for the year. The massive The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1, which is in position eight, is currently the number one graphic novel for the year so far, both in units and dollars, and it’s likely to get a huge bump from the debut of the third season of the TV show later this month. Volume 16 of the series sits at number 19. Add the imminent release of The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 2, and things are likely to get even better for Image Comics and Robert Kirkman as we approach the holiday season.
Seven Seas, the little manga publisher that could, continuesits slow and steady rise with the second volume of Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz. When Borders had its going-out-of-business sale at this time last year, Seven Seas was one of the chief benefactors, and unlike some other graphic novel publishers, they have managed to hold onto their gain in marketshare since that big push.
VIZ Media takes slots 11, 12 and 13 with two volumes of Bleach and one volume of One Piece, giving them a total of four books, the second largest number for one publisher. The third largest is tied between Image and Dark Horse, who both have two books here, while the remaining publishers have one each.
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.
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