Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Here is a list of the best-selling graphic novels sold at both JHU locations in 2009. Notes and observations follow the jump.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier TPB
Secret Invasion TPB*
Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition HC*
Civil War TPB
Batman: Joker (by Azzarello) HC*
Batman: RIP HC*
World War Hulk TPB
Batman: The Long Halloween TPB
Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TPB
Final Crisis HC*
Asterios Polyp HC*
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:GN: III: Century-1910*
Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader HC*
Thor: J Michael Straczynski Premier Volume 2 HC*
Superman: Red Son TPB
Green Lantern: Sinestro Corp War Volume 1 HC
Walking Dead Volume 9: Here We Remain*
Y - The Last Man Volume 1: Unmanned
*Represents a new release, though in some cases this may be a new release of much older material.
Some notes: First, this is a ranked list by total dollars, not units sold. Second, the full data set for the year is incomplete - our full computer inventory system was not finalized until mid-year, so this list represents the best estimate that we have based on the available data. Our 2010 figures will be more comprehensive.
Some interesting, though not entirely surprising, observations about the titles on this list...
Most of our customer base at our primary retail location in midtown Manhattan is walk-in (tourists and the like), though that is not to say we don't have a solid and adventurous Wednesday crowd willing to try new things. I think the list is more representative of our first-time customers looking to try a comic for the first time.
It is no surprise to see Watchmen at the top given the crossover demand for the novel around the film's release, as scores of people bought the book on the strength of the film adaptation. Of course, even without the movie to drive interest, Watchmen is an evergreen novel that sells very well to the uninitiated comic reader, the superhero fan, and the art-book crowd alike.
Batman collections/GNs had a big year in 2009, be they reprints of older material (Killing Joke), perennial sellers (Long Holloween), collections of recent material (RIP), or new graphic novels (Joker). Much of this can be attributed to the recent shake-ups involving the character in his ongoing books, but, anecdotally, there is still a significant amount of new readers spurred on by the recent film adaptations wanting to explore some of the best stories featuring the Caped Crusader.
Recent event books from the Big Two have been good sellers for us, with Civil War remaining a strong crossover success more than three years after its conclusion. Final Crisis, despite its relative inaccessibility for new readers versus, say, Secret Invasion, has done surprisingly well for us in my opinion. I've certainly used its gorgeous hardcover presentation and overall quality as a single, complete reading experience as selling points in moving the book.
It is certainly heartening to see the success of Asterios Polyp at our stores. We are big fans of Mazzucchelli's masterpiece, and have been able to hand-sell many copies on top of the crossover interest driven by glowing reviews in the mainstream press. While the list appears dominated by more mainstream crossover books (again thanks to our large walk-in customer base), we pride ourselves on the many, many independent graphic novels we sell.
I am surprised to not see more Walking Dead and the like on the list, as these do very well for us - but it is important to note again that this list is by total dollars and not units. Many of the items on the list are at price points much higher than the most popular Image and Vertigo bestsellers at our stores. Though, of note, the first Umbrella Academy collection continues to be a smashing success, mostly driven by Gerard Way's involvement.