Tracking graphic novels sales is difficult—they’re sold through two channels, the conventional bookstore/Amazon market, which is measured by Bookscan; and the direct sales market which consists of nearly 2000 comic book shops. Sales via comics shops are usually estimates based onsales charts released monthly by Diamond Comic Distributors. To compound matters, Bookscan measures consumer sales, while Diamond measures orders from retailers.
I thought it would be interesting to start looking at the combined sales on both channels to get some sense of overall bestsellers. But before I add that up, what I wanted to do was check on the top frontlist sellers for some of the top comics publishers. Please note these figures are snapshots only, based on YTD sales up as of August 18th.
Also, as always, Bookscan numbers reflect outlets that report to Bookscan—about 80% of book sales—and do not represent all sales via book stores.
DC Comics has always had fantastic sales of its stellar backlist including Watchmen, The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight, but they’re looking to add to their perennial list with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s lively take on the Caped Crusader. The second volume of their action-packed Court of Owls saga Batman: The City of Owls has sold 15,090 copies thus far in 2013. Throw in 9075 copies of the paperback edition of Volume 1, Batman: The Court of Owls and you can see how popular the story has been.
Marvel’s biggest seller through August is a bit more offbeat: Hawkeye: My Life as A Weapon
by Matt Fraction features gorgeous art by David Aja and Javier Pulido and oddball stories that eschew Marvel’s cosmic universe for the kind of gritty street scenes that were pioneered by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The collection has sold a brisk 11,648 to copies to date, Bookscan reports. Coming in #2 for August is another offbeat title, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic find the anarchic mercenary character doing what the title suggests, to the tune of 7096 copies thus far.
At Image, various Walking Dead titles have sold through the roof—author Robert Kirkman has over 2 million copies of his books sold thus far according to Bookscan—but coming just behind is the SF tale Saga. Created by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, like many of the best selling books, it’s what might be called an unusual tale—new parents Alana and Marko are being hunted by a variety of factions in an endless war between species that exemplify science and magic. Enlivened by Vaughan’s one liners and Staples’ character design, book has been a smash in comics shops but in book stores Bookscan reports that Volume 1 has sold 19,384 copies and the just released Volume 2 has already sold 12,460, with more to come.
Next time, I’ll look at some manga numbers.