The Top 100 Selling Graphic Novels For February 2004
This list comes from digging through sales figures, asking too many questions and using Diamond Comics information. The snotty comments in white are Mine. It looks as though we'll now be getting the top 100 graphic novels from now on, which is a good thing, since that is the director of the future of comics. When I started doing this, they only listed the top 100 comics and top 25 graphic novels. Of course., it also means I have to do more work in reviewing this stuff, which is a pain. But I do it for you, the ever-adoring fans. And this is a work in progress, so as it gets done, more will be uploaded here.
1 NEW X-MEN VOL 6 PLANET X TP $12.99 MAR 5,196
The next to last Grant Morrison X-Men story, and possibly the best (since the last one didn't work as well for me). As I read it, I realized that Morrison is pretty much doing his own version of "Ultimate X-Men" by stripping away anything that didn't work or bogged the series down and made it work for the first time in almost 20 years. His run will be remembered as one of the best, and this book is highly recommended.
2 ESSENTIAL PUNISHER VOL 1 TP $14.99 MAR 5,028
The 70's. Filled with bad fashion choices and worse cultural touchstones, comics were transitioning from the goofy, campy Silver Age stuff to being aimed at adults and nowhere is that more evident than in the early Punisher stories. The Punisher is a thinly veiled rip off of the action novel hero "The Executioner", but because he was in the comics code, he had to use rubber bullets, and didn't kill people...capped off by a truly horrid period where he went insane and was trying to gun down jaywalkers because editorial decree said he couldn't be considered a hero. This book collects ALL of the stories up to and including the Punisher mini-series which made the character capable of sustaining his own series. This book is a pure wallow in nostalgia, and many of the stories are wince-worthy, but if you want to see what comics were like in the late 70's and early 80's, this is a perfect way to find out.
3 DONALD DUCK ADVS VOL 4 TP $7.95 GEM 4,204
Pretty good sales, even though it's a dollar more than the Disney "comics". Not the BEST Donald Duck stories, but still, the Duck stories are about the only funny animal books that can be read by people of all ages. Mildly recommended, but if they had either Carl Barks or Don Rosa stories, it would be highly recommended.
4 LOVECRAFT HC (MR) $24.95 DC 4,061
5 THOR VIKINGS TP (MR) $13.99 MAR 3,800
A decent enough story by the team who did "Preacher", but it was all buildup and no real sense of a pay off. I don't know if the story was cut short, but it almost read as is the creators liked setting up a bunch of zombies decimating New York City and didn't much care about how they were defeated, or they just thought "The hero shows up and beats them down quickly" was enough, but it was ultimately disappointing.
6 BORN HC (MR) $17.99 MAR 3,716
Another version of the origin of the Punisher, set in Vietnam, and without a lot of the "super hero" elements that were grafted onto the story over the years. Good, but not really worth an $18 hardcover.
7 RUROUNI KENSHIN VOL 3 GN $7.95 VIZ 3,523
8 ARKHAM ASYLUM LIVING HELL TP $12.95 DC 3,414
A QUICK turnaround for a DC mini-series, which is strange, since DC normally waits 6 months to a year before collecting a mini (and Marvel seems like they do it the week after the last issue ships). A solid, if unremarkable, Batman mini-series.
9 WONDER WOMAN GODS & MORTALS TP $19.95
10 BIRDS O/PREY O/LIKE MINDS TP $14.95 DC 3,237
11 LOSERS ANTE UP TP (MR) $9.95 DC 2,934
The first six issues of the new series, put out at a low price to try and get some buzz for a writer that DC is pushing as "The Next Big Thing". I haven't read it yet. Sorry.
12 ALAN MOORES COURTYARD TP (MR) $6.95 AVA 2,817
OK, this is NOT a "trade paperback", but is instead a 48 page comic put in a very expensive package. Moore is a brilliant writer, but his work at Avalon feels like he's tossing them the stuff he has left over and lets them adapt it. The art is VERTY hard to follow and poorly done, so it's for hard core Alan Moore fans only.
13 SOJOURN VOL 4 THIEFS TALE TP $15.95
14 PUNISHER VOL 6 CONFEDERACY O/DUNCES TP $13.99 MAR 2,733
The last of the trades for the Garth Ennis Punisher series, and the last of the "over the top" dark humor run, which was VERY good, but had pretty much outstayed its welcome. In this one, the Punisher takes on a group of super-heroes and smacks them up pretty well. Funny, interesting and well done for people who both like and hate super-heroes. Mildly recommended.
15 ADAM STRANGE ARCHIVES VOL 1 HC $49.95 DC 2,699
This is always held up as an example of the best of DC's Silver Age work, and if that's so, it's easy to see why Marvel eventually was able to pass them in sales. The art is serviceable, but pedestrian, the stories have a certain sameness to them and in the end, it's a pale copy of Flash Gordon without the amazing art and endless invention that mark the early years of Flash Gordon. For nostalgia buffs only.
16 X-TREME X-MEN VOL 7 STORM ARENA TP $16.99 MAR 2,539
Ugh, what an utter piece of crap this was. Over-written, poorly plotted and filled with scenes that make the reader wonder if ANYONE read it over before it was printed. A failure in every way, and it shows why Chris Claremont needs a strong editorial hand.
17 SUPERMAN RETURN TO KRYPTON TP $17.95
18 FLASH CROSSFIRE TP $17.95 DC 2,514
Both of these reprint recent DC story arcs, and while they aren't horrible, they aren't all that great either. For people who want to see what the series are like lately.
19 AI LOVE YOU VOL 1 GN (Of 9) $9.99 TKP
20 FRUITS BASKET VOL 1 GN (Of 11) $9.99 TKP 2,480
21 BATTLE ANGEL ALITA LAST ORDER VOL 3 TP $9.95 VIZ 2,455
22 TRUTH RED WHITE & BLACK TP $17.99 MAR 2,178
A good idea, marred by poor execution. The idea that the Captain American experiment was first tried on black soldiers is one that ties in with incidents in American History, and I wanted this to be a good story, but Kyle Baker (who is normally a brilliant cartoonist) turned in a lackluster job, and the story just meanders about before dealing with the relevant issues. A missed opportunity.
23 13TH O/NEVER GN $7.95 SLG 2,169
24 HAWKMAN ENEMIES & ALLIES TP $14.95 DC 2,119
Reprinting more issues of Hawkman, one of DC's better series. Mildly recommended if you don't already buy it and like super-hero stories.
25 SHAZAM ARCHIVES VOL 4 HC $49.95 DC 2,068
One of the few archives that is as fun to read as it should be. Most Golden Age comics are hard to read, poorly drawn and feel like they are lurching from poorly developed idea to bad idea. The original Captain Marvel, however, is still a lot of fun to read, and most stories feel as fresh as if they were written today. Highly recommended.
26 DAREDEVIL VOL 3 HC $29.99 MAR 2,043
Reprinting a year's worth of the incredibly well done Bendis written Daredevil series. I am amazed that this comic sells so well, when it is pretty edgy, drawn in a very indy style and is as close to a "noir" super-hero series as you can get while still having a costume show up every few issues. Highly recommended and in a format that gives you enough of the story to see just how good it is in big doses.
27 ZERO HOUR CRISIS I/TIME TP $17.95 DC 2,026
The 90's were filled with these "big crossover" series that were fun when read as part of the super-hero soap operas, but now feel like you are getting bits and pieces of an actual story. It's also VERY funny how much of this mini-series was either re-written, ignored or paved over by much better writers who came after. For hard core super-hero collectors only, since there isn't much of an actual story here.
28 FULL METAL PANIC MANGA VOL 3 TP $9.99
29 ULTIMATE X-MEN VOL 6 RETURN O/T KING TP $16.99 MAR 1,791
30 SIMPSONS COMICS BELLY BUSTER TP $14.95 BON 1,783
Reprinting more issues of the Simpsons comic, which is just as good as the TV show (and some weeks is better). Mildly recommended for fans of humor comics, but a must buy for Simpsons fans.
31 BIONICLE TP $12.95 DC 1,774
Another case of comics missing the boat by a couple of years, as the whole "Bionicle" craze seems to have passed. Did I read it? OK, if I ever read a comic based on a kid's toy line, I have officially lost all control of my comics buying, OK?
32 DRAGONBALL VOL 14 TP SHONEN J ED $7.95
33 AZUMANGA DAIOH MANGA VOL 3 TP $9.99 ADV 1,749
34 WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 FULL DISCLOSURE TP (MR) $14.95 DC 1,749
An odd case, since the regular comic doesn't sell all that well, the trades don't sell all that well, but DC keeps publishing it. I gave up on it when they did the second series and I couldn't figure out what character was what, and the third series didn't fare much better.
35 SUPERMAN RED SON TP $17.95 DC 1,656
Dear Mark Millar, when you said DC wouldn't publish this because they didn't like you going to Marvel, did you REALLY think DC would walk away from money on the table? One of the few "Elseworlds" that I like, since it does more than just tell a standard story in a different setting. This tale (what if Superman had landed in Russia) is interesting, takes a lot of ideas to interesting conclusions and uses the new setting to explore the very idea of Superman. Too bad he can't do work this good over in the Ultimate line at Marvel. Highly recommended. Oh, and this is re-orders.
36 YU YU HAKUSHO VOL 3 TP $7.95 VIZ 1,656
37 GRAVITATION VOL 4 GN (Of 12) $9.99 TKP 1,614
38 REX MUNDI VOL 1 GUARDIAN O/T TEMPLE TP $14.95 IMA 1,589
39 INITIAL D VOL 10 GN (Of 23) $9.99 TKP 1,589
40 EDGE 10TH ANNV ED* $19.95 VAN 1,539
41 HELLBOY VOL 1 SEED O/DESTRUCTION TP NEW PRINT $17.95 DAR 1,522
For the movie, and a great little comic, even though Byrne's scripting was pretty bad...it wasn't until Mignola took over the scripting that Hellboy because the GREAT comic it is (is was just OK with the pedestrian dialogue) If you liked the movie, give this a try since it's a bit more fun...and if you are a comics fan, it's Kirby-style art, high action, Nazis and monsters, so how can you go wrong? Highly recommended.
42 SAMURAI DEEPER KYO VOL 5 GN (Of 18) $9.99
43 EXCEL SAGA VOL 5 TP $9.95 VIZ 1,488
44 MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH II VOL 1 GN (Of 3) $9.99 TKP 1,446
45 SUKI VOL 1 GN (Of 3) $9.99 TKP 1,446
46 KILL ME KISS ME VOL 1 GN (Of 5) $9.99 TKP 1,404
A whole bunch of manga here that I know nothing about. Sorry.
47 JACK STAFF VOL 1 EVERYTHING USED TO BE BLACK & WHITE TP $19.95 IMA 1,387
The Jack Staff series is one that Image started publishing about a year ago, and this is all of the stuff before that series that was published at a much smaller company. I like that Image is allowing these smaller book to get their work collect, since that is where the long term money is. If a creator wants to make it in comics now, they have to be able to have their stuff available when new readers discover it, since comic shops really can't afford to stock a lot of back issues anymore. The book itself is a quirky, but unremarkable British super-hero comic.
48 ALAN MOORES COURTYARD COMPANION (MR) $9.95 AVA 1,371
Like most of the Avalon stuff, I don't see why this collection of bad sketches and Moore's notes is $10 and not just the "DVD Extras" in a collected trade of the comic. Not worth your money and time.
49 INU YASHA ANI MANGA VOL 1 $11.95 VIZ
50 KINGDOM COME TP $14.95 DC 1,354
DC seems to be pulling out the old crossovers and getting them back into stores, and this is one of the few that holds up, since it was NOT a multi-book crossover. It was a story of a possible future of DC, painted by Alex Ross at the height of his talent, and written by Mark Waid, who used the series to not just tell a great story, but to comment on the state of comics at the time. This is a comic series that a non comic fan can like, but a comic fan will love...but they probably already have. Highly recommended.
51 COURIERS VOL 2 DIRTBIKE MANIFESTO GN
(MR) $12.95 AIT 1,337
52 GI JOE VOL 4 ALLIANCES TP $14.95 DEV 1,320
I have never much liked GI Joe, and the New More Adult GI Joe just strikes me as the same sort of stuff that annoyed me in the early 90's, trying to force adult sensibilities into something aimed at kids.
53 GET BACKERS VOL 1 GN (Of 21) $9.99
54 TOMORROW STORIES BOOK 2 HC (MR) $24.95 DC 1,278
This is the GOOD Alan Moore stuff. He broke into comics doing short stories, and is still one of the last masters of the form. This is a collection of six issue that each had three stories in them, and is a WONDERFUL read. Excellent art, wildly inventive writing and highly recommended.
55 GRRL SCOUTS VOL 2 WORKS SUCKS TP $12.95 IMA 1,228
Jim Mahfood's art is very indy, and his Grrl Scouts (sorry, but that name is a little too 1995 for me) is a lot of fun. Regular super-hero fans won't care for it, but for people who don't primarily spend their time reading super-hero books will enjoy it. Highly recommended.
56 HEAVY METAL LIVE VOL 2 PHOTO O/JULIE STRAIN SC* $8.95 AMR 1,219
This kind of creeps me out a bit. Kevin Eastman, one of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is also the publisher of Heavy Metal Magazine...so this is a bit like, "Hey, look at these fetish pics of my girlfriend!"
57 ARIA VOL 2 SOULMARKET TP $16.95 IMA 1,211
58 JUNK FORCE VOL 1 TP (MR) $9.95 ONE 1,202
59 THOSE WHO HUNT ELVES MANGA VOL 2 TP $9.99 ADV 1,177
This manga is one that I read and didn't care for. The anime is filled with LONG boring stretches and a plot that doesn't hold up to examination, and the manga isn't much better.
60 WARREN ELLIS SCARS TP (MR) $17.99 AVA
61 FIGURE 17 MANGA VOL 1 TP $9.99 ADV 1,160
62 REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA VOL 5 TP TO BLOSSOM (C: 3 $9.95 VIZ 1,118
63 DORK TOWER COLL TP VOL 6 1D6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION $15.99 DOR 1,110
64 MARVEL MASTERWORKS AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL 5 HC 2ND ED $49.99 MAR 1,101
And I think with this book, Marvel has all of the Masterworks back in print, which they never should have allowed to go OUT of print. DC's Archives program is one of the most amazing long term projects, as they are giving most of their biggest series a nice volume covering its history. Marvel has a history that works better in the format, since they didn't have the sort of goofy Golden Age stuff to deal with. By this time in Spider-Man's history, Stan Lee was in pure soap opera mode, with John Romita finally shaking off the feeling that he had to imitate Ditko any longer. If you won't buy the Essentials because they are in black and white, this is the best of the Marvel stuff from the 60's. Highly recommended.
65 KANE VOL 1 GREETINGS FROM NEW EDEN TP
$11.95 IMA 1,093
66 ALIEN NINE EMULATORS VOL 1 GN $9.99 CPM 1,085
67 DONALD DUCK ADVS VOL 3 TP $7.95 GEM 1,043
Reorders of the Disney Digest, which is the best way to buy the Disney books now. Now if they would start putting the Barks and Rosa stories in them, it would be one of the best bargains in comics. Highly recommended.
68 BATMAN HUSH VOL 2 HC $19.95 DC 1,026
The second six issues of Jim Lee's run on the Batman book, and I think that DC is doing the smart thing (for them) by publishing the run as two books so that they can squeeze as much money as they can out of this event. I didn't care for the run at all, but if you want to read it, here it is.
69 MAD ABOUT OSCARS $12.95 DC 1,017
A big trade paperback, reprinting a bunch of parodies of movies that have won Oscars. While the Mad Parodies are never quite as cutting as they should be, most of these do have some of the best art that has been seen in comics, with Mort Drucker being one of the best caricaturists to work for ANY magazine. A nice trade to have, and even though I'm not as big a fan of the post 1960 Mad as some people, but if you are, this is a must buy.
70 BOYS OVER FLOWERS VOL 4 HANA YORI
DANGO TP $9.95 VIZ 1,017
71 PLANET LADDER VOL 6 GN (Of 7) $9.99 TKP 984
72 NAUSICAA O/VALLEY O/WIND VOL 1 TP 2ND ED $9.95 VIZ 975
One of the manga that I fully thing any comics fan needs to read. Beautifully drawn, excellently written and with a story that can only be done as a comic book, this is a classic in the medium, and is highly recommended, even if you hate manga.
73 ASTRO BOY VOL 1 TP $9.95 DAR 967
74 ULTIMATE X-MEN VOL 7 BLOCKBUSTER TP $12.99 MAR 959
75 HELLBOY VOL 2 WAKE DEVIL TP NEW PRINT $17.95 DAR 959
More great Hellboy stuff, back in print for the movie. Highly recommended.
76 BATTLE ROYALE VOL 6 GN (Of 10) (MR) $9.99 TKP 950
I recommended this when it came out (and these are re-orders) as a powerfully brutal and well done manga adaptation of a movie and novel. The story of a group of high school students who have to hunt each other or die is NOT for kids, and not for the easily offended, but is well done and highly recommended.
77 RAVE MASTER VOL 7 GN (Of 18) $9.99
78 REBIRTH VOL 6 GN (Of 11) $9.99 TKP 925
79 GYO VOL 2 TP $12.95 VIZ 916
80 MARVEL MASTERWORKS AVENGERS VOL 3 2ND ED HC $49.99 MAR 891
Reprinting issues 21 - 30 of the Avengers series, which was really an odd mess. Stan Lee had pulled out all of the big name Marvel characters, turned the book over the Roy Thomas (who was brand new at Marvel) and had Don Heck doing art when Heck was not a super-hero artist. For historical purposes only, this is not for casual fans.
81 DRAGON KNIGHTS VOL 12 GN (Of 17) $9.99
82 SISTER RED VOL 1 TP $9.95 ONE 874
83 LES BIJOUX VOL 1 GN (Of 6) $9.99 TKP 866
84 WATCHMEN TP $19.95 DC 841
Many people say this is the best graphic novel ever. It's damn good, and probably the best super-hero graphic novel, but even Alan Moore has done better work (From Hell, anyone?). Still, if you read comics and haven't got this one, you need to pony up and see what all the fuss is about. Be prepared to be slightly disappointed, since all of the VERY innovative storytelling ideas and most of the plot has been stolen over and over again by lesser creators, so you don't get the "shock of the new" that people got when it first came out.
85 TRANSFORMERS ARMADA CINEMANGA VOL 3
GN (Of 3) $7.99 TKP 841
86 TALES O/ORDINARY MADNESS TP (MR) $11.95 ONI 824
A reprint of an odd little mini-series from the early 90's. The writer was a guy who was best known for writing letters to Vertigo comics, and worked in psychiatry, and he got an offer to write a mini-series because his letters were so well written and literate. It didn't sell well the first time, and doesn't look like it sold well this time either, mostly because the story is NOT a very visual one, and would have worked better as prose.
87 BERSERK VOL 1 BLACK SWORDSMAN TP $13.95
88 MEGATOKYO VOL 2 TP $9.95 DAR 807
Reprinting the webstrip, and while I like the strip well enough (it's not nearly as good as the one I write), it does work much much better as a collected book, especially now that he no longer writes it to have a laugh at the end of each page. Highly recommended, and congrats to the artist, who really worked his ass off to get this into print.
89 BATMAN HUSH VOL 1 HC $19.95 DC 790
The first part of the Jim Lee story that I reviewed up top, and didn't care for.
90 Y THE LAST MAN VOL 1 UNMANNED TP $12.95 DC 790
The first of the trades of this series exploring a world where all the men but one have died of a mysterious virus. One of DC's better series and mildly recommended.
91 PLEASE SAVE MY EARTH VOL 3 TP $9.95
92 Y THE LAST MAN VOL 2 CYCLES TP (MR) $12.95 DC 748
93 KINDAICHI CASE FILES VOL 5 TREASURE ISLE GN (Of 10) $9.99 TKP 748
94 LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN BOOK TWO HC $24.95 DC 748
The superior sequel to an already excellent graphic novel that was the subject of a horrid little movie. Highly recommended.
95 FOUR CONSTABLES VOL 1 TP $13.95 ONE
96 RUROUNI KENSHIN VOL 1 GN $7.95 VIZ 740
97 SAVAGE DRAGON VOL 9 WORLDS A/WAR TP $16.95 IMA 732
They still put out collections of this comic? Why don't they just tell people to dig through the quarter bins of their local comic shop?
98 JOHNNY HOMICIDAL MANIAC DIRECTORS CUT SC $19.95 SLG 723
This has always been a big seller, and I like the creator's work on Invader Zim, but his layout and lettering make the comic utterly unreadable to me.
99 LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN BOOK ONE TP $14.95 DC 723
And this is the first one. It's highly recommended too and is better than Watchmen.
100 X-TREME X-MEN VOL 4 MEKANIX TP $16.99 MAR 723
And...we're out of here!
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