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Image Dominates Bookstore Top 20

From December BookScan

Published: 01/15/2013 02:13am
Christmas came, and Robert Kirkman's wallet got fat this year.  Taking the top three, plus an additional seven slots for a  total of half the list, The Walking Dead owned the graphic novel market in bookstores in the month of December.  This alone would be a great showing for publisher Image Comics, but the first volume of Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples' Saga also placed at number 12, giving the publish an astounding 11 books in the "Top 20 Graphic Novels" sold in the book channel provided exclusively to ICv2 by Nielsen BookScan.  Hats off to the whole Image crew for the fantastic achievement.  The Walking Dead's success was aided by heavy promotion at Barnes & Noble, where they ran a zombie endcap that featured the title prominently.

Pantheon ran out of copies of Chris Ware's Building Stories (#4) briefly, as demand for the book was stronger than anticipated, but they started filling orders again quickly and kept the book available for some last minute Christmas shopping.  Look for this one to drop a bit in January, but I'd expect it to stay on the list until at least March.

DK Publishing's books about comics heroes make great gifts, so this month saw three of their guides hit the list: Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide  (the highest at #8), DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide at #13, and Spider-Man Chronicle: A Year By Year Visual History at #16.  It was good thing that Avengers and Spider-Man were there to represent Marvel on the list, because Marvel itself dropped off completely.  Unsurprisingly, last month's Avengers Vs. X-Men proved to be a one-off, probably driven by the heavy discounting of the $75 book on Amazon.  In other words, readers bought this one for themselves, and not as a Xmas gift.  The next Marvel movie is Iron Man 3 in May, but don't count on seeing any Iron Man books in the top 20 that month--except for the inevitable DK guide, of course.

BookScan Top 20 Graphic Novels in December 2012

Rank

Title

Author

Publisher

1

THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM VOL. 1

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

2

THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM VOL. 2

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

3

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 17

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

4

BUILDING STORIES HC

CHRIS WARE

PANTHEON BOOKS

5

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

6

THE WALKING DEAD BOOK 1 HC

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

7

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 2

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

8

MARVEL AVENGERS: THE ULTIMATE CHARACTER GUIDE HC

ALAN COWSILL

DK PUBLISHING

9

MAXIMUM RIDE VOL. 6

NARAE LEE

YEN PRESS

10

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 3

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

11

WATCHMEN

ALAN MOORE

DC COMICS

12

SAGA VOL. 1

BRIAN K. VAUGHAN

IMAGE COMICS

13

DC COMICS: THE ULTIMATE CHARACTER GUIDE HC

BRANDON SNIDER

DK PUBLISHING

14

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

FRANK MILLER

DC COMICS

15

NARUTO VOL. 59

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ MEDIA

16

SPIDER-MAN CHRONICLE: A YEAR BY YEAR VISUAL HISTORY HC

ALAN COWSILL

DK PUBLISHING

17

THE WALKING DEAD BOOK 8 HC

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

18

THE WALKING DEAD BOOK 3 HC

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS

19

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE DLX ED HC

ALAN MOORE

DC COMICS

20

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 4

ROBERT KIRKMAN

IMAGE COMICS


The first of only two manga on the list debuts at #9: Yen Press' Maximum Ride.  The other manga is Naruto Vol. 59 from Viz.  Manga don't make great gifts, so this isn't a big surprise, but it's probably not a great way for manga publishers to end the year, nonetheless.

DC rounds out the list with three perennial bestsellers: Watchmen (#11), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (#14), and Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition (#20).  Two of these are, of course, Alan Moore books; it remains to be seen when we'll get Killing Joke: The Movie, but it seems inevitable at this point.

So once again, that's a whopping 11 books from Image, three each for DC and DK, and one each for Pantheon, Viz and Yen.  Next month, The Walking Dead should loosen its death grip on the market a little bit, but with no comic-based movies or TV shows dominating the market in January (and gift cards to be spent), look for manga to step back up into one or two of the
slots that The Walking Dead should be relinquishing.

For past BookScan Top 20 Graphic Novel lists, see the "BookScan Top 20 GNs Index."

--Dallas Middaugh

[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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