Last year was a tough year for comics and graphic novels, according to retailers, publishers, and others interviewed for the year-end market reports in the recently released Internal Correspondence #74.  Comic sales were softer than graphic novel sales in the direct market, but bookstore sales of graphic novels took a major hit even before Borders entered chapter 11 earlier this year.  Declines in graphic novels occurred despite two significant media-driven hits in the second half of the year:  Scott Pilgrim and The Walking Dead.

It may be harder to find media drivers for graphic novels in 2011.  None of the four major movies based on comics that will be released this year, Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, and X-Men First Class, has a clear connection to a particular book or small group of books, making it difficult to exploit the attention the characters will receive as a result of the films.

TV may offer better opportunities, including a second season of Walking Dead, HBO's Game of Thrones, and possible launches of Locke & Key and Wonder Woman.

On the manga front, TV no longer has much to do with sales, where Yen Press's Black Butler, Tokyopop's Hetalia and Alice in the Country of Hearts, and Viz Media’s Dengeki Daisy were the new hits in 2010.

In addition to its year-end market reports (and the top properties of the year in eight categories, see below), Internal Correspondence #74 includes a number of features on strong upcoming releases, Best in Shows, with an overview of the comic-connected films from March through August, Pick Hits, and reviews.

Here are ICv2’s top graphic novel properties across eight categories for the full year 2010:

Top 10 Genre Properties--2010
Top 10 Fiction & Reality Titles--2010
Top 10 Superhero Properties--2010
Top 5 Comic Strip Properties--2010
Top 10 Kids & Tweens GN Properties--2010
Top 10 Shojo Properties--2010
Top 10 Shonen Properties--2010
Top 10 Manga Properties--2010

For information on how to get the new issue of Internal Correspondence, see "ICv2 Releases 'Internal Correspondence' #74."