The Top 100 Selling Graphic Novels for February 2006
So, what is this list? Every month, Diamond Comics (the company that ships comic books to comic book shops) list the sales figures of the previous month so that they can list actual sales through the entire month, but they list it in the form of average number of copies sold to each comic shop. Then, the site www.ICV2.com goes through the numbers they post and attempts to turn it into an approximation of the actual number of books sold. This doesn't doesn't list the graphic novels sold in bookstores, just comic book shops which is where the big publishers like Marvel, DC and Image sell most of their books, but Manga publishers sell far more in stores like Barnes and Nobel or Borders.
February was another month dominated by reprints of big crossover events and regular comic series collected into trades. The Marvel crossover House of M has 8 different trade paperbacks that tell the whole story, and the DC crossover Infinite Crisis is going to start showing up with all of the different lead ins starting to show up on the sales charts.
The big book on the list, however, is V For Vendetta. The movie came out in March, but people were buying the book in HUGE numbers in February and shows amazing sales for a book that was first collected in 1989, has had strong sales all along, so there's almost of question of Who hasn't bought this comic yet? Also, The Walking Dead once again has all four trade paperbacks on the top 100 list, showing just how strong the series has been.
The DC Showcase books are also huge sellers, and are selling better than Marvel's Essential books. They both have the same format (around 500 pages in black and white), and DC is reprinting more obscure works like the late 60's issues of House of Mystery and Metamorpho, but they have better printing than the Marvel books, and the Marvel stuff has been reprinted in different formats over time.
As for the rest, let's get on with it!
1 HOUSE OF M TP $24.99 MAR 8,279
Marvel's big crossover story from last summer, and while it reads better as a collected story, it still suffers from a couple of problems: It is all buildup to a Big Happening, then what happens from that is in other books, so you're effectively getting the first act of a story here. It also is a book that requires you know a lot about other comics to understand, like the big Disassembled story from last year, a LOT of the Scarlet Witch's history and some painfully stupid continuity wank from the late 80s by John Byrne. The other thing is that Big Events work better as individual comics because they Do have all of the tie-in books involved. For fanboys only, really.
2 ULTIMATE X-MEN VOL 13 MAGNETIC NORTH
TP $12.99 MAR 6,093
3 V FOR VENDETTA TP $19.99 DC 5,376
The movie has brought a lot of attention to this book, and a recent article states that they have sold a half million copies of it since they collected it as a trade. Which is good. I like this book more than Watchmen, and think it is Alan Moore's best work overall. It is a primer on a philosophy while still being a political story that seems to resonate more as time goes on. A brilliant, brilliant book, and highly recommended.
4 SHOWCASE PRESENTS HOUSE OF MYSTERY VOL 1 TP $16.99 DC 5,236
Both Showcase and Essentials are my favorite trades to buy. This reprints the first issues of House of Mystery from the 60's when DC decided to make it a horror comic again, and while the first few stories have a stiff, late 50's DC feel to them, it quickly fills with solid 8 page horror yarns and art that is among DC's bast from that time period. Over 500 pages for $17, and good reading for a long time. This one is highly recommended.
5 TEEN TITANS OUTSIDERS DEATH & RETURN OF DONNA TROY TP $14.99 DC 5,110
This book is the exact definition of Fanwank. Donna Troy (who was once Wonder Girl has had her background messed with so many times that the character is a walking continuity problem, so she was killed in a big crossover, then brought back in a mini-series that was so convoluted even a long-time reader like me was lost. This s an utterly impenetrable book that ranks down with the worst of fan-fic for endless explaining of old comic book stories no one much understood the first time. Avoid.
6 STAR WARS COMICS COMPANION TP $19.95 DAR 4,565
For Star Wars fans, this is a GREAT book as it puts ALL of the different Star Wars comics in context, and gives summations of what happened in all of them. It's not so much a comic book as an index, and if you know that going in, and like Star Wars a lot, this is a neat book to have on your shelf.
7 SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL 1 TP $14.99 DC 4,445
Much like the Batman Chronicles, this is the start of a project to reprint all of the Superman stories in Chronological order. The early Superman stories are VERY crude by today's standards, and while they have a definite charm, they are not the kind of stories you'd read anywhere now. There is a LOT of wish fulfillment in these stories as well, with Superman lashing out at the ills of the time on top of the flying and feats of strength. A great book if you are interested in early Superman stories, and with the price, it's highly recommended.
8 POWERS VOL 9 PSYCHOTIC TP (MR) $19.95 MAR 4,439
Powers is a book I have liked for a long time, and this, most recent compilation from Marvel shows just how well Bendis and Oeming are working together on the comic. It's gotten away from the cops solves crimes related to super-heroes, but it's still as well written and expertly drawn. A great comic that comes highly recommended.
9 ESSENTIAL MOON KNIGHT VOL 1 TP $16.99 MAR 4,140
Marvel reprints the early stories of Moon Knight (hose new series just started recently), and it's easy to see how both Doug Moench and Bill Siekevitch were finding their way in the early stories. The reproduction isn't as good as I would like, but this differers from most Marvel books in the 70's, in that it's not a soap opera, and it's not dependent upon knowing anything about other Marvel comics. It's a solid character, and the stories show a LOT of progression. It's a good book but if the do a second, that one will be MUCH better. Mildly recommended.
10 LUCIFER VOL 9 CRUX TP $14.99 DC 3,947
11 BATMAN WAR CRIMES TP $12.99 DC 3,728
Ick. Just ick. This story spins out of the War Games event from the year before, and Batman discovers that a trusted ally has done something horrible. It was just a bad, bad story that was meant to shock, and only showed how bankrupt the editorial team was when it came to finding ways to tell good stories. Avoid.
12 HOUSE OF M UNCANNY X-MEN TP $13.99
13 HOUSE OF M SPIDER-MAN TP $13.99 MAR 3,488
A couple of tie-ins to the Big Event of House of M. X-Men was by Chris Claremont, and as such dealt with a lot of stuff you had to have been reading the X-Men for years to grasp, and ended up being a story that set up the NEW Excalibur series. Spider-Man, on the other hand, was the best story that came out of the whole thing, and was a what if exploring how Spider-Man would deal with a life in which he got everything he wanted. It's a fascinating exploration of the character by writer Mark Waid and can be read without any of the other House of M stuff. Highly recommended.
14 GOON VOL 4 MY VIRTUE & GRIM
CONSEQUENCES TP (MR) $16.95 DAR 3,469
15 ESSENTIAL PETER PARKER SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN VOL 2 TP $16.99 MAR 3,369
In the 70's, this was the other Spider-Man book, and while there were some half-hearted attempts to tie it in with Amazing Spider-Man. The stories are what you might expect, standard Spidey stories that follow the formula set up in the 70s of some soap opera stuff setting up a future story, and a big fight scene to keep things moving. There's nothing that stands out here as GREAT, but it is a fun read, and for the price, you get HOURS of reading. Mildly recommended.
16 TRIGUN MAXIMUM VOL 8 SILENT RUN TP
$9.95 DAR 3,349
17 RUROUNI KENSHIN VOL 23 TP $7.95 VIZ 3,196
18 JLA GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD TP $19.99 DC 3,143
A nice reprint book that grabs a few stories from every era of the Justice League. They aren't really the BEST, since they were limited by the fact that they wanted to get a story from every era, but there's not a bad story in the bunch, and it's a good compilation for newer fans.
19 HOUSE OF M WORLD OF M TP $13.99 MAR 3,130
All of the tie-ins that aren't in other books, and is really for the completists who want the whole thing.
20 HOUSE OF M FANTASTIC FOUR IRON MAN TP $13.99 MAR 3,116
This tie-in was a mess. The Iron Man story was unreadable, the FF story opens with the fact that they are dead, so it's really a story about Dr. Doom. For hard core fans only, since this is pretty much for people who want ALL of the House of M tie-ins.
21 WONDER WOMAN LAND OF THE DEAD TP
$12.99 DC 3,090
22 BATMAN BRUCE WAYNE FUGITIVE VOL 1 TP $12.95 DC 3,076
This is pretty odd...this book came out about four years ago,
was the conclusion of a big crossover and doesn't really tie in
with any of the current Batman stuff that I can think of. As a
stand-alone story, it doesn't work, but when read with the
Bruce Wayne, Murderer trade, it's actually a really
good story. Recommended as part of a bigger story.
23 HOUSE OF M INCREDIBLE HULK TP $13.99
24 KID ETERNITY TP (MR) $14.99 DC 3,010
One of Grant Morrison's early works at DC, back in print. It's a good story, not one of his best, but a good Grant Morrison story is still better than 90's of anyone else's. It revamps a VERY old Golden Age character, and really reads like a 90's revamp. I loved it, and recommend it to people, even if they don't like super-heroes.
25 BLEACH VOL 11 TP $7.95 VIZ 2,890
26 HOUSE OF M NEW X-MEN TP $13.99 MAR 2,877
27 TSUBASA VOL 8 GN $10.95 RAN 2,851
28 BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL VOL 15 TRICKSTER TP (MR) $16.95 DAR 2,711
29 LIBERTY MEADOWS VOL 4 COLD COLD HEART HC $24.95 IMA 2,678
A collection of the comic strip, which didn't succeed in the newspaper for some reason. It's expertly drawn, always funny, and instantly accessible Liberty Meadows probably would have been as big as Bloom County or Calvin and Hobbs if promoted correctly, but now Cho has moved on to drawing comics. These strips are definitely worth the money and highly recommended.
30 DONALD DUCK ADVS VOL 16 TP $7.95 GEM
31 STAR WARS EMPIRE VOL 5 TP $14.95 DAR 2,598
The Star Wars comics are pretty convoluted, and don't use ANY of the characters from the movies, so this is pretty much a book for the people who have bought the previous four volumes. And I lost interest in the Dark Horse Star Wars characters ages ago.
32 RANMA 1/2 VOL 33 TP $9.99 VIZ 2,545
33 HOUSE OF M MUTOPIA X TP $13.99 MAR 2,498
It figures that this would be the one tie-in that sold the least, since it was the one I liked the most. Using characters from the excellent District X series, this shows how the world would be different without the prejudice against mutants, but does it in a gripping, interesting story. It can be read without any of the others, and is highly recommended.
34 SUPERMAN JOURNEY TP $14.99 DC 2,485
Finally wrapping up the story of the villain Ruin, this is one of the better Superman stories of the last few years, and is a solid super-hero story
35 WARCRAFT VOL 2 GN (Of 3) $9.99 TKP
36 GREEN ARROW MOVING TARGETS TP $17.99 DC 2,286
37 SERENITY TP $9.95 DAR 2,286
Last month's number one book, still selling in comic shops. For fans of the Firefly TV series or Serenity movie, this is a must buy, and for those who aren't, it's a good introduction. Mildly recommended for non-fans, and highest recommendation for fans.
38 SPAWN MANGA VOL 2 TP $9.99 IMA 2,199
39 AVENGERS GALACTIC STORM VOL 1 TP $29.99 MAR 2,199
This is one of those books that shows why a lot of older comics just aren't set to be collected as trades. This was a MASSIVE crossover that took place in over 10 comics over a three month period. The story itself has some decent things involved, but it more of an excuse to get people to buy all ten comics and get the readers into the comic stores every week to pick up the next two parts. Very dated, but the art isn't as BD as most mid 90's comics. I didn't care for it when it came out, and the fact that you only get PART of the story after spending $25 makes it a must miss for me.
40 LOVELESS VOL 1 GN (Of 5) $9.99 TKP
41 SAMURAI DEEPER KYO VOL 17 GN (Of 31) (MR) $9.99 TKP 1,841
42 SUPERMAN MAN OF TOMORROW ARCHIVES VOL 2 HC $49.99 DC 1,801
I know that a lot of people have fond memories of the Superman stories of the 50's and 60's, but reading them now, they read like they were intended: silly kids comics that are all based on some kind of story twist or gimmick. The art is stiff and the stories are horribly dated. I don't care for this kind of stuff, and if you want to sample the kind of stories this reprints, pick up Superman in the 50's instead.
43 ANGEL CURSE TP $19.99 IDW 1,787
44 DOOM PATROL ARCHIVES VOL 3 HC $49.99 DC 1,728
Because I grew up reading Marvel, and being immersed in the Jack Kirby style, the DC books of the same time period seem stiff and boring to me. Still the Doom Patrol didn't have the same sort of gimmick story that DC did in most of their other books, and reads much better than the other DC stuff from the 60's. It's not a book that people are going to be blown away by, and I don't think a casual reader will give much of a damn, but for DC fans, this is solid stuff.
45 CONCRETE VOL 3 FRAGILE CREATURE TP $12.95 DAR 1,641
ALL of the Concrete stories are well worth reading, with
excellent art and some of the best writing in comics. Even though
Concrete is a rock man these are not super-hero
stories, but rather SF stories set in the current time. This one,
dealing with overpopulation has some overly obvious plot points,
but still wins over the reader with great storytelling and fine
character work. A winner on all fronts and highly recommended.
46 MARVEL ROMANCE TP $19.99 MAR 1,635
I am REALLY surprised, first that Marvel put this book out, and second that it sold this well. This is a reprint of some of Marvel's Romance stories from the 50's and 60's when romance comics actually sold. These stories are only about 6 8 pages each, are the living embodiment of every old fashioned Romance story cliché, and really, the only reason to read them is for the art by people like Jack Kirby, John Buscema and John Romita.
47 INITIAL D VOL 21 GN (Of 30) $9.99 TKP
48 LITTLE LULU VOL 8 LATE FOR SCHOOL TP $9.95 DAR 1,628
Little Lulu looks like a kids comic, and in a lot of ways, it is a perfect comic book for kids, but as you read this, you'll be surprised by how well the stories read for adults as well. Much like the movie A Christmas Story, it tells nostalgic stories of childhood in a way that anyone can enjoy, and if you didn't know these stories were first printed in the 40's, you think they were all brand new. Highly recommended.
49 SAMURAI CHAMPLOO VOL 2 GN $9.99 TKP
50 BATTLE CLUB VOL 1 GN (Of 2) (MR) $9.99 TKP 1,615
51 DRAGONBALL Z VOL 24 TP $7.95 VIZ 1,581
52 CITY OF TOMORROW TP $19.99 DC 1,548
53 PUNISHER MAX VOL 2 HC $29.99 MAR 1,535
Reprinting the second year of the recent Punisher series, and while there's nothing here that I can point to as classic, it is a solid action comic that reads like the best Executioner stories ever told. Ennis has moved beyond shocking people with his plots (like on Preacher as his Marvel Knights Punisher series) and now is just putting together some of the best action stories in comics. Mildly recommended.
54 LIFE & TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK TP $16.99 GEM 1,515
Marvel and DC are both working on series that are for long time fans by explaining all of the old stories and doing Big Continuity stories. This is the same sort of thing, with Don Rosa tying together TONS of old Uncle Scrooge comics to tell his entire back story. Unlike a lot of the Big Continuity comics, this one works as a story all on its own, and shows why Uncle Scrooge is one of the best characters in comics. Highly recommended.
55 WALKING DEAD VOL 4 HEARTS DESIRE TP (MR) $12.99 IMA 1,515
STILL selling well, and all of the other Walking Dead trade paperbacks are still on the sales list, deservedly. Probably the best horror series since the old EC stuff, and highly recommended.
56 NIGHTCRAWLER WINDING WAY TP $14.99 MAR 1,495
I liked the Nightcrawler series, mostly because of the Darick Robertson artwork. The series tried hard not to be yet another generic X-Men spin-off series, but it had to follow up on the moody, brooding Nightcrawler version of the character. The story is a decent enough magic related story, but the art is some of Marvel's best and makes the book mildly recommended.
57 SIMPSONS COMICS VOL 14 JAM PACKED JAMBOREE TP $14.95 BON 1,495
ALL of the Simpsons comics have been done well, and for the last few years, the comics have been better than the TV series. All of the stories are self-contained, and if you are a Simpsons fan, this is a must read. Highly recommended.
58 KAMI KAZE VOL 1 GN (Of 7) $9.99 TKP
59 ELFQUEST GRAND QUEST VOL 13 TP $9.99 DC 1,462
By this point, the Elfquest reprints are reprinting the stories that I didn't follow. The Pinis tried to start a comic line based on their characters, and had a lot of decent talent on the books, but it wasn't the kind of series I wanted to follow. I would imagine that it's selling well to the teenage girls who buy manga, since it's a similar art style, and a female friendly fantasy setting. Not for me, tho.
60 AI YORI AOSHI VOL 12 GN (Of 15) (MR)
$9.99 TKP 1,462
61 WALKING DEAD VOL 1 DAYS GONE BYE TP (MR) $9.95 IMA 1,442
62 WALKING DEAD VOL 2 MILES BEHIND US TP (MR) $12.95 IMA 1,435
63 MARVEL MASTERWORKS SGT FURY VOL 1 NEW ED HC $49.99 MAR 1,429
This is a series that hasn't gotten a lot of attention from fans over the years, but it was Marvel's 3rd or 4th series after the Fantastic Four, and used the Lee/Kirby style in a non-super-hero format. The stories are ones that haven't been reprinted much, and has Kirby's art from the peak of his talent and creativity. Well worth it for any Marvel fan, but a bit of a stretch for casual readers.
64 GET BACKERS VOL 13 GN (Of 26) (MR)
$9.99 TKP 1,402
65 GIANT KILLER TP $14.99 IMA 1,395
66 PUT BOOK BACK ON THE SHELF BELLE & SEBASTIAN ANTH GN $19.99 IMA 1,389
67 ASTONISHING X-MEN VOL 1 GIFTED TP $14.99 MAR 1,375
MORE sales for this series. Anyone who wonders why Marvel and DC are hiring movie and TV writers for comics needs to look at how their collected books sell. This is probably the best-selling X-Men trade in the past five years, so it's more than made back any of the money they had to spend to get Joss Whedon working on the series. It's also the BEST X-Men story not by Grant Morrison ever. Highly recommended.
68 PRINCESS AI VOL 3 EVOLUTION GN (Of 3)
$9.99 TKP 1,362
69 GI JOE AMERICAS ELITE VOL 1 TP $14.95 DDP 1,356
70 NEW WARRIORS REALITY CHECK TP $15.99 MAR 1,349
Reprinting the recent mini-series to see if anyone was interested in the return of this series. Obviously, not enough people cared.
72 SNK VS CAPCOM VOL 3 SVC CHAOS TP
$13.95 DR 1,329
73 GENSHIKEN VOL 4 GN (MR) $10.95 RAN 1,322
74 BROKEN ANGELS VOL 1 GN (Of 5) $9.99 TKP 1,269
75 ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND VOL 1 GN $8.99 VIZ 1,249
76 SWAMP THING BOOK 3 HEALING BREACH TP (MR) $17.99 DC 1,249
Swamp Thing was the first of DC's books that had the whole Vertigo feel when Alan Moore took the series over. Since he left, DC has tried over and over to get new creative teams to get the same sort of excitement and interest, but it hasn't ever happened. The current series is another one that I'm just not interested in. Rumor is that the series is canceled, and with trade sales like this, they can't make up for the poor sales of the monthly comic.
77 KING OF HELL VOL 12 GN (Of 13) $9.99
78 ANGEL SANCTUARY VOL 12 GN $9.99 VIZ 1,243
79 DC UNIVERSE STORIES OF ALAN MOORE (MR) $19.99 DC 1,223
This collection makes it so all of Alan Moore's stuff is collected in trade paperback, and this is one of the few books I can recommend without any reservations. Moore is an amazing writer who is able to do stories that appeal to anyone who can deal with the fact that they are reading a super-hero comic. This book reprints the Last Silver-Age Superman story before Byrne revamped him, which is arguably the best Superman story of all time, and also reprints The Killing Joke which is one of the best Batman stories of all time. This also reprints a lot of shorter stories that Moore did that show just how entertaining a short story can be. Highly recommended.
80 ASTONISHING X-MEN VOL 2 DANGEROUS TP
$14.99 MAR 1,209
81 CERES CELESTIAL LEGEND VOL 14 TP $9.95 VIZ 1,203
82 WALT DISNEYS THREE MUSKETEERS $3.95 GEM 1,203
83 MARVEL MASTERWORKS SGT FURY VOL 1 HC VAR ED $54.99 MAR 1,203
84 MARVEL MONSTERS HC $20.99 MAR 1,196
Reprinting the recent four issue event that had new versions of the old Marvel Monsters./ A fun concept, and a blast to read, it also reprints a scattering of 50's monster stories that Marvel was known for in the late 50s before they started running super-heroes. This should have sold better, but I would imagine that the price per page is a bit high for most comics fans. Mildly recommenced, but most people should wait for the paperback.
85 BATTLE HYMN FAREWELL TO FIRST GOLDEN
AGE TP $14.99 IMA 1,176
86 PENNY ARCADE VOL 1 ATTACK OF THE BACON ROBOTS TP $12.95 DAR 1,169
More reprints of the on-line comic strip. I didn't think that it would do as well as it did, since a LOT of the gaming humor is dated and references games from up to 6 years ago, but Dark Horse announced that between comic stores and book stores, it has sold through its first printing (over 50,000 copies) and is still selling well. For video gamer fans, this is a no-brainer, and is highly recommended.
87 WALKING DEAD VOL 3 SAFETY BEHIND BARS
TP (MR) $12.95 IMA 1,169
88 MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM LOST WAR CHRONICLES VOL 1 GN $9.99 TKP 1,169
89 HIKARU NO GO VOL 6 TP $7.95 VIZ 1,169
90 GORGEOUS CARAT VOL 1 GN (Of 4) (MR) $9.99 TKP 1,163
91 WALLFLOWER VOL 6 GN (MR) $10.95 RAN 1,156
92 EDEN VOL 2 ITS AN ENDLESS WORLD TP (MR) $12.95 DAR 1,156
93 TEEN TITANS OUTSIDERS INSIDERS TP $9.99 DC 1,150
Reprinting the crossover, and these are re-orders from last month. For people who follow DC comics, this culminates about two years worth of stories and ties in with with the big Infinite Crisis crossover. For non-comics fans, its a bunch of super-heroes referring to things that aren't in this book.
94 WITCHBLADE VOL 10 WITCH HUNT TP
$14.99 IMA 1,143
95 BATMAN HUSH RETURNS TP $12.99 DC 1,143
96 HANA KIMI VOL 10 GN $9.99 VIZ 1,143
97 BATMAN HUSH VOL 1 TP $12.95 DC 1,136
98 JLA VOL 18 CRISIS O/CONSCIENCE TP $12.99 DC 1,110
99 FABLES VOL 6 HOMELANDS TP (MR) $14.99 DC 1,110
100 MARVEL VISIONARIES ROY THOMAS HC $34.99 MAR 1,096
And that's it for this month!
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