The Top 50 Selling Graphic Novels For August 2003
This list comes from digging through sales figures, asking too many questions and using Diamond Comics information. The snotty comments in white are mine.
1 Y THE LAST MAN CYCLES VOL 2 TP (MR) $12.95 DC 7,901
DC has to be happy about this, the graphic novel sells about 1/2 what the regular comic sells, and that's just the first shipment, not counting bookstores. As I said last month, these graphic novels aren't really "complete", more like episodes of a TV mini-series, when things aren't so much resolved at the end of the book as coming to a break. Still, it's one of the better New Vertigo books, and is well worth reading, and gets more interesting as the story moves forward. Highly recommended.
2 BATMAN HONG KONG HC $24.95 DC 6,930
Have bought it, but haven't read it yet. It looks beautiful, and is a hefty book for the $25, since most of DC's hardcover GNs are only 80 - 100 pages. I'll give it a real review once I read the darn thing.
3 DH BOOK O/HAUNTINGS HC $14.95 DAR 6,474
A GREAT little anthology of short stories about hauntings, some funny, some serious and unlike most anthologies, all worth reading. Highly recommended.
4 WONDER WOMAN HIKETEIA SC $17.95 DC 4,737
Greg Rucka and Jeff Jones do a Wonder Woman story, and it came out as a hardcover last year. I'm not that big a Wonder Woman fan, so I passed on this. $18 for a 128 page story? I don't THINK so.
5 ESSENTIAL HUMAN TORCH VOL 1 TP $14.99 MAR 4,017
The last of the Essentials reprinting the Silver Age Marvel Hero stuff, and this is possibly the goofiest of them all. Much like Ant-Man, it wasn't Marvel's best stuff, and they changed creative teams on an issue by issue basis. Many of the stories read like someone just tossed it off in a lunch meeting, and many of the villains are Marvel's goofiest, but there is a charm and sense of silliness that makes the book worth reading for Silver Age fans. It's great to see how Marvel created it's style over time (as this first Human Torch story in this book saw print around the same time as Fantastic Four #6. Recommended for Silver Age fans and people who would like to see just how silly Marvel used to be in the early 60's.
6 SQUADRON SUPREME TP $29.99 MAR 3,825
This collection illustrates both the good and bad of Marvel in the 80's. The story by Mark Gruenwald is interesting, engaging and has a lot of good ideas tossed into it, but is hampered by stiff dialogue and some incredibly bland and pedestrian art. It's really a shame that it wasn't drawn by someone who could have added to the story, or edited by someone who would have asked Gruenwald to work on making the characters more unique. As is, it ranks as a flawed work that is still worth reading, and is reprinted again to tie in to the "Supreme Power" series.
7 MAXX BOOK ONE TP $17.95 DC 3,678
One of my favorite comics of the early 90's, and the subject of a MTV animated mini-series, being reprinted by DC to keep it in print. Highly recommended, but not for people who like their art to be overly realistic, as Sam Kieth is well known for his impressionistic and individualized art style.
8 JLA OBSIDIAN AGE BOOK TWO TP $12.95 DC 3,634
What a gawdawful mess this book was. This was a LONG story that brought Aquaman back from the dead, and as a complete story, it just didn't work. Too much going on at once, too many characters and a complete lack of focus. To remind people, to write a Big Story, you don't have to have every page filled with Big Action, just a plot that leads up to something important.
9 BATMAN ARCHIVES VOL 1 HC NEW PRICE $19.95 DC 3,340
Highly Recommended. DC reprinted their best-selling archive, and it's best-selling for a reason. The early Batman work was VERY pulp drenched, with monsters, gunplay and a hero who dealt out justice without thinking about. The stories here have been retold in different ways every time they want to re-vamp Batman. Most Golden Age work is a curiosity for people who love old comics, but these can be read by anyone and enjoyed as if they were new, once you get past the crude art and lettering. And it's only $20!
10 STAR WARS LONG TIME AGO VOL 7 FAR FAR AWAY TP $29.95 DAR 3,163
Dark Horse finishes their series of graphic novels, reprinting ALL of Marvel's Star Wars series, and as I read through them, it's one of those series that may have gotten better as it went on, but lost that sense of sheer goofiness from the early issues. Yeah, by the last issues, all of the Star Wars mythology was in place, so there weren't any 8 foot tall green rabbit Jedi knights, but there was also a blandness to what was being told. For Star Wars fans only.
11 SUPERMAN & BATMAN GENERATIONS II TP $19.95 DC 3,104
I knock pretty hard on John Byrne when I do reviews. Partly because he is capable of doing much better work than he has shown since about 1992, and partly because his work seems like he just doesn't care anymore, with bland stories, sketchy art and a need to change things whether they need changing or not (see: Spider-Man's Origin, Hulk: Year One, etc...). His work on things out of continuity has been better, and his art on the Generations series has been his best in a while, showing an investment in what he is doing. The gimmick of this series, however, makes it so this is just a collection of short stories using the conceit that Batman and Superman have been around since 1938, and what their stories would be like if they aged accordingly. Mildly entertaining for long time fans, confusing and inside for those who aren't.
12 STAR WARS EMPIRE VOL 1 TP $12.95 DAR 3,016
13 RANMA 1/2 VOL 23 TP $9.95 VIZ 2,928
Using the smaller size (and price tag) implemented by Toykopop, this is Viz's longest running manga, and one of the best. A martial arts sitcom about a boy who becomes a girl when splashed with hot water, it has been running in the US since 1990, and is still a light, fun read, even if you aren't much of a manga fan. Mildly recommended.
14 EARTH X VOL 4 PARADISE X BOOK 1 TP $29.99 MAR 2,810
For hard core Marvel fans only. Trust me on this one. I barely get all the references, and I've been reading Marvel books since 1975.
15 LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN BOOK ONE TP $14.95 DC 2,648
Still selling due to the movie, and one of the best graphic novels available. Alan Moore takes a very well worn idea (a bunch of heroes getting together to fight a menace) and turns it deftly on its head, showing that it isn't the tale, but the teller. Highly recommended.
16 STAR WARS DARK EMPIRE TP 3RD ED (Note Price) $16.95 DAR 2,619
The comic that started the Star Wars comics revival. Oddly enough, this mini-series WAS going to be published by Marvel's Epic line, and was listed in their "Upcoming books" of 1991, instead coming out from Dark Horse a few years later, and was one of the best selling comics when it did come out. This is one of the very few Star Wars comics that deals with the aftermath of the first three movies, and does it quite well. If you don't have this, it's highly recommended.
17 WILL EISNERS SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL 11 HC $49.95 DC 2,560
DC continues to give this groundbreaking series a high class treatment. If you don't already have these stories from the Kitchen Sink reprints, this would be the way to pick them up. One of the few Golden Age comics that reads as good as, if not better, than a modern one, except for the unfortunate racial stereotypes that were so prevalent in pop culture from before 1960. Highly recommended.
18 LOVE HINA VOL 13 GN $9.99 TKP 2,531
While it's only the 18th best selling GN in comic shops, it is easily the best selling GN in book stores. And I know nothing about it other than it is a Japanese series that is aimed at teenage girls. Which is a market that doesn't come into comic stores.
19 BATMAN ALIENS II TP $14.95 DC 2,501
Enough with the damn Aliens!
20 THOR LEGENDS VOL 2 WALT SIMONSON BOOK 2 TP $24.99 MAR 2,486
Simonson was the last person to really make me interested in Thor, mostly by making the series full of Kirby style action and going back to Stan Lee's mix of myth and science fiction. This is a GREAT collection of his run on the book, and while it's probably cheaper to dig through the back issues and buy it now, the printing is SO much better in this format, it made a good series even better because you can see the detail that Simonson put into his art. Recommended for super-hero fans.
21 CHOBITS VOL 7 GN $9.99 TKP 2,457
22 QUIMBY THE MOUSE SC $14.95 FAN 2,369
More Chris Ware stuff from his "Acme Comics Novelty Library", and while it isn't as good as "Jimmy Corrigan", it is still an amazing collection, showing Ware's mastery of design and way of taking nostalgic ideas and putting them in a post-modern context. Even if you don't LIKE the stories, you can't help but be impress with Ware's art and layouts. This is, by far, the best Graphic Novel of the month.
23 HUMAN TARGET FINAL CUT SC $19.95 DC 2,222
Another reprint of an original hardcover, still overpriced from DC. If they would cut the price on the softcover to $12, I would pick them up, but when you have to pay $20 for 128 pages, it's a bit steep.
24 ASTRO BOY VOL 17 TP $9.95 DAR 2,207
25 AL CAPP LIL ABNER FRAZETTA SUNDAYS VOL 1 HC $18.95 DAR 2,177
Lil Abner was the best comic strip being done until Peanuts. Period. And these Sunday strips by Frank Frazetta show that the strip wasn't just funny and fun to read, but had some of the best art to ever grace the funny pages. Easily one of the best collections and highly recommended for anyone who reads comics, even if they don't care for older comic strips.
26 ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP VOL 3 TP $12.99 MAR 2,148
Finishing up the "lost" Ultimates series, written by Bendis (who writes Ultimate Spider-Man) and featuring a line up of Indy artists on some very good one and two part stories. If you are reading the other Ultimate comics, this is one you shouldn't miss. Highly recommended.
27 ASTRO BOY VOL 18 TP $9.95 DAR 2,133
28 PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES VOL 5 HC $49.95 DC 2,089
Most of the Golden Age work is pretty crude, and doesn't read well now. Even my favorite series of the Archives, All Star, featuring the Justice Society, is very hard to read, with crude art, bad lettering and a style that was made for people in the 40's to enjoy. However, the Plastic Man Archives are filled with stories that are just as entertaining now, all because of Jack Cole's brilliance in telling a comic book story. Each story seems as fresh as if it were drawn today, and is more entertaining than most modern comics. Highly recommended!
29 CSI SERIAL TP $19.99 IDW 2,016
Reprinting the 5 issue mini-series, and while this is well done, a CSI novel is only $7, and most of them tell more complex and richer stories. I liked it, but not enough to shell out $20 for it.
30 BATMAN CULT TP $19.95 DC 1,942
Boy, this hasn't aged very well. At the time it came out (right after Dark Knight) it was a HUGE hit, and features some of Bernie Wrightson's last comic art (where has he gone, anyway?). However, the story isn't all that good. Jim Starlin is good with Big Cosmic stories, but his run on Batman showed he really doesn't have a grasp of super-hero crime stories. In the end, this book comes off as poorly written, overwrought and just not worth the presentation, and would have done better as 6 issues of the Batman series, rather than a Big Event.
31 TAROT WITCH O/T BLACK ROSE VOL 1 TP (MR) $24.99 BRO 1,913
This stuff creeps me out. Jim Balent was a good artist on both Vampirella and Catwoman, if incredibly breast obsessed. This series, written and drawn by him, shows his breast fetish is MUCH worse than we thought, with every female having boobs bigger than their heads, some having nipples that are pointed steel spikes and...I just wonder what happened to him while he was being breast fed.
32 ESCAFLOWNE VOL 1 GN $9.99 TKP 1,869
33 CAGE TP (MR) $13.99 MAR 1,869
Marvel's "adult" version of Luke Cage, with some GREAT art by Richard Corbin and a mediocre story. Mildly recommended for Corbin fans, but there really isn't much to recommend here.
34 DEATH AT DEATHS DOOR SC $9.95 DC 1,780
The second month after it came out, and re-orders were almost 2,000...that's got to be good next for DC. A manga size (and styled) graphic novel by Jill Thompson, and while it's not as good as a Neil Gaiman version would be, it's still very well done, and cheap for the format. Highly recommended.
35 WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 BRAND BUILDING TP $14.95 DC 1,766
I haven't much cared for the third revamp of the Wildcats series. In fact, the only version I like was when Alan Moore wrote the book in the mid 90's.
36 LIBERTY MEADOWS HC VOL 1 EDEN HC $24.95 IMA 1,677
Reprinting strips that were reprinted in the first few issues of the comic. I wish they would have just keep the comic in print, as it works well to reprint comic strips in that format, but I can understand why they did it this way. So, if you don't have the stories already, this is a nice format, if a bit expensive.
37 DRAGONBALL VOL 12 TP SHONEN J ED $7.95 VIZ 1,648
38 X-STATIX VOL 2 GOOD GUYS & BAD GUYS TP $15.99 MAR 1,633
One of Marvel's best books, a series about super-heroes in a media drench world. The series is losing a bit of steam, mostly due to late shipping, but when a new issue comes out, it reminds me why I liked the series in the first place. With retro-style art by Allred, it's also one of the few Marvel super-hero books that can be read by people who aren't big fans of super-heroes, for the themes of celebrity it touches on. Deeper than it first appears, this collection is mildly recommended.
39 DORK VOL 2 TP CIRCLING DRAIN $13.95 SLA 1,604
A collection of Evan Dorkin's catchall comic "Dork" which reprints his short strips and has some original longer form stories. This one isn't as funny as the previous collection, as it reprints the issue of Dork where Even Dorkin explains his current state of mind and why he might not do comics anymore. It's jarring, but one of his best works, showing that autobiographical works can be more than just a tedious examination of a life that doesn't need to be examined. Yes, I'm talking to YOU, boring on-line comic strips. Mildly recommended.
40 JIST CREATING DC UNIVERSE BOOK TWO TP $19.95 DC 1,604
This is the reprint of the Stan Lee DC books, and when they came out, a LOT of people bashed them, saying that Stan isn't as good as he used to be, blah blah blah. I look at these as a retired player coming out to the ballpark for one last at bat, just to wow the fans and let them say how much they liked his old stuff. They aren't GREAT, and the dialogue is a little hokey, but the stories themselves are fun, and while not innovative, they have great art. I'm going to recommend these, and I liked them. They aren't a "great revelation in storytelling", but they are a good solid read for when you are sitting around on a lazy afternoon and want to read an old style comic.
41 CANNON GOD EXAXXION STAGE 2 TP $14.95 DAR 1,589
42 ACME NOVELTY DATEBOOK $39.95 DRA 1,589
A sketchbook and other stuff by Chris Ware, showing how he plots his ideas out. For hard core fans only.
43 SCARLET TRACES HC $14.95 DAR 1,545
44 GTO VOL 13 GN $9.99 TKP 1,545
45 TRANSFORMERS TIME WARS GN $19.95 TIT 1,530
I will be So Glad when the Transformers nostalgia dies out again. Then there things will be relegated to back issue bins and other forgotten dust filler areas of comic shops.
46 RED STAR COMPLETE COLL VOL 1 TP $24.95 ARC 1,515
47 X-MEN EVOLUTION VOL 2 TP $11.99 MAR 1,515
The comic based on the TV show. No, don't buy it, just buy one of the DVDs instead. It's prolly cheaper.
48 CASTLE I/T SKY VOL 3 TP $9.95 VIZ 1,442
49 ORIGIN TP $14.99 MAR 1,412
STILL selling. A decent story with well-rendered art that gives an origin of Wolverine, and while it doesn't live up to the hype, there's no way it could have. Mildly recommended for Marvel fans, and no one else will much care.
50 SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS CINEMANGA VOL 1 GN $7.99 TKP 1,412
That's it! You go now!
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