The Top 50 Selling Graphic Novels For July 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 DEATH AT DEATHS DOOR SC $9.95 DC 15,364
A manga-style book by Jill Thompson, who has done both great and horrid work in the past. Great like Scary Godmother and her stint on Sandman, horrid, like her version of The Invisibles, which did NOT suit that series' story at all. This, thankfully, is one of the great ones and shows a different style for her, and has a good story. The damn thing is sold out everywhere, so if you didn't find it in July, you might have to wait for the second printing in December. Highly Recommended.
2 TWISTED TOYFARE THEATRE VOL 3 TP $9.99 WIZ 8,224
How sad is it that a "graphic novel" reprinting stories created by posing Mego figures is the second best selling Graphic novel. Oh, it's funny, but not exactly a graphic novel...more of a long inside joke for fanboys. If you are a LONG TIME comic reader, you'll love this, and casual readers will think it's fairly funny. But the #2 selling graphic novel?
3 ULTIMATE X-MEN VOL 6 RETURN O/T KING TP $16.99 MAR 6,846
4 LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN BOOK ONE TP $14.95 DC 6,685
Selling very high because of the movie, which is just fine with me. Anything that brings new readers to the very literate and well drawn series is fine with me. Some may not like Kevin O'Neill's angular and harsh drawing style, but I find it fits the subject matter perfectly, and I have yet to read a BAD Alan Moore story. Highly recommended.
5 FABLES VOL 2 ANIMAL FARM TP $12.95 DC 6,524
Reprinting the second story arc of Vertigo's latest hit series. A "high concept" series, where fairy tale characters life in a modern world, but done in a way that goes beyond the normal expectations of a high concept piece, and also Highly Recommended.
6 DONALD DUCK ADVS VOL 1 $7.95 GEM 5,776
A digest sized comic with about 100 pages of duck comics for $8. This is the one Gemstone duck comic I will be buying, and it shows why the Disney Ducks are some of the best selling comic book characters in the world, with the amazing ability to go from straight humor to adventure and all styles in-between, all because Carl Barks led the way. Highly recommended.
7 SUPERGIRL MANY HAPPY RETURNS TP $14.95 DC 4,442
Reprinting the last few issues of Supergirl by Peter David, where he finally quit trying to tell long, involved stories and just told one with a beginning, middle and end, and amazingly, it started the book on an upward trend, sales-wise. But, it was too little, too late. Mildly recommended for DC super-hero fans, as most other people will be a bit lost.
8 JIMMY OLSEN ADVS BY JACK KIRBY TP $19.95 DC 4,178
I was recently asked what I though the "Essential Superman" stories were, and I immediately thought of these. Kirby stripped away all the goofy gimmick stories and did straight action stories the way he did them best, by tossing all kinds of ideas in the air and seeing what ones stuck. There's a lot of goofy things in this book (Goody Rickles, Flippa Dippa, and the Hairies), but the stories have a sense of fun that is missing from most current comics. Like ALL Jack Kirby work, this is Highly Recommended.
9 LOVE HINA VOL 12 GN $9.99 TKP 4,149
10 STAR WARS CLONE WARS VOL 1 DEFENSE O/KAMINO TP $14.95 DAR 3,973
Does anyone else think it is odd that the Clone Wars is being told in all these odd little formats, and not so much in the actual Star Wars movies?
11 INCREDIBLE HULK VOL 4 ABOMINABLE TP $11.99 MAR 3,973
A QUICK turnaround on this story, which was one of the Better Hulk stories in an already good run. For those who have missed Hulk Smashing...well, he does it here, and the story is told in a way that hasn't been done before. Highly Recommended for super-hero and horror fans.
12 SWAMP THING VOL 6 REUNION TP $19.95 DC 3,694
DC is doing a GREAT service by reprinting the Alan Moore Swamp Thing stories, not just because they are the beginning of Vertigo and a more mature storytelling style, but they are just great stories. Highly recommended.
13 SWITCHBLADE HONEY GN $9.95 AIT 3,240
14 GREEN ARROW SOUNDS O/VIOLENCE HC $19.95 DC 3,181
I liked the Kevin Smith stuff on Green Arrow, but it sure wasn't worth hardcover, deluxe treatment, and the stuff after hasn't been worth it either. It's a well done super-hero comic, but not GREAT. Wait for the paperback.
15 TRANSFORMERS WAR WITHIN TP $15.95 DRE 3,123
I have been saying it every month, and now I get to say it in the graphic novel section. I couldn't not give less of a rat's ass about the Transformers if I tried. I thought comics were "not just for kids" anymore, and they keep pushing these 2o year old toys as The Next Hot Thing. Piffle. Hopefully, if I ignore it for another year or so, it will go away.
16 CHALLENGERS O/T UNKNOWN ARCHIVES VOL 1 HC $39.95 DC 3,123
DC's output in the 50's and early 60's was pretty bland. There was a "house style" of art, stories were usually some kind of little puzzle, and nothing much seemed to happen. I have heard for years about how good Kirby's Challengers of the Unknown was, and after reading this I can say that it was better than most of DC's other stuff at the time, but it wasn't as good as his Marvel work. Even with Wally Wood inking, Kirby's natural energy was VERY subdued. A curiosity for Kirby fans and Silver Age fans, but most other people won't care for it.
17 CATWOMAN SELINAS BIG SCORE SC $17.95 DC 3,020
A paperback reprint of the hardcover from last year. I don't understand why a paperback version is only $8 less than a hardcover, since a trade of reprints of comparable size would run between $10 and $14. And, sadly, I haven't had time to read my copy yet. Hey, I'm late enough as is, don't you think?
18 SUPREME RETURN TP $24.95 CHE 2,917
19 EXTRAORDINARY WORKS O/ALAN MOORE TP $24.95 TWO 2,873
These two books together show the depth of Alan Moore's talent, but also his one glaring flaw. In his Supreme work, he tells Superman stories that are incredibly well done, dealing with not just the normal story aspect, but giving it all a meta-context that shows he is far smarter than even these brilliant stories let on. His DC work (in the second book) shows that he was able to turn out great stories, even on characters that no one cared about or on tight deadlines. However, it also shows that he works great on other people's creations, or different versions of them, but has none of his own. Either way, these two books are Highly Recommended.
20 BATTLE ROYALE VOL 2 GN (Of 5) (MR) $9.99 TKP 2,844
A Manga series I really like, with a VERY dark premise: A class of 7th graders is put on an island for a reality TV show in which the last one left alive, wins. The age of the children doesn't work for me, as the characters think and act like young adults, and the violence is VERY in-your-face, but like most manga, it's a solid read and is mildly recommended for those who think the idea behind it is interesting.
21 X-MEN LEGENDS VOL 3 ART ADAMS BOOK 1 TP $24.99 MAR 2,785
Do you think Art Adams thinks about how many people have made their careers drawing like him? When he burst onto the scene in the 80's, we'd buy ANYTHING he did. Even Longshot. Yeah. Longshot. This collects most of his X-Men work and shows just why so many artists want to draw just like him, but also that none of them are able to do so. The stories are better than average, as his art seemed to inspire Chris Claremont to do his better work. Highly recommended.
22 ENEMY ACE WAR I/HEAVEN TP $14.95 DC 2,771
23 PUNISHER VOL 4 FULL AUTO TP $17.99 MAR 2,741
By this point in the series, most of the dark humor from the early issues was gone, and what you were left with was tight, well done action stories. Garth Ennis may not be able to make you laugh and be disgusted on this comic any more, but it is still the best version of the character to ever see print, and this book is Highly recommended.
24 INU YASHA VOL 14 TP $8.95 VIZ 2,653
25 BATMAN DARK KNIGHT ARCHIVES VOL 4 HC $49.95 DC 2,551
This series continues, reprinting the early stories from Detective Comics, and they are now in the midst of WWII. By that point, Batman was pretty much shorn of his pulp roots and was well on his way to being the smiling big boy scout of the 50's and 60's. The stories here are little more than a historical curiosity at this point, and this book is only for hard core Golden Age fans.
26 SUPERMAN ALIENS II GODWAR TP $12.95 DAR 2,536
OK, so you have Superman AND Aliens, so why not add MORE stuff to the mix? Like The New Gods! By the end of this trade, I was horridly confused, and it felt like the creative team just wanted to see how much they could cram into this book without actually having to worry about a coherent plot. Can we PLEASE go for a year or so without anyone teaming up with the Aliens?
27 XENOZOIC TALES VOL 2 TP $14.95 DAR 2,522
Highly recommended as Dark Horse reprints the rest of Mark Schultz's beautifully drawn series about a world where humans interact with dinosaurs. A fantasy series that plays by its own internal rules and tells great stories would be enough to recommend this on its own, but the art is some of the best pure figure drawing in comics, and rightly ranks up with some of the best EC work by the masters. Go out NOW and buy this book.
28 BATGIRL DEATH WISH TP $14.95 DC 2,507
Reprinting more issues of Batgirl. A book I don't much care for. So I didn't buy this.
29 BATMAN NINE LIVES SC $17.95 DC 2,507
Haven't read it yet, but it sure looks good.
30 LONE WOLF 2100 VOL 2 TP $12.95 DAR 2,448
I don't care if it IS authorized, I hate the whole idea of this comic and think it's a waste of paper. The Lone Wolf and Cub series from Japan was one of the few comic series that left NO room for a sequel and was totally complete when it was done. We don't need a lame retelling of it in the future, ok?
31 KOLCHAK NIGHT STALKER DEVIL I/T DETAILS GN $6.95 MNS 2,419
32 BATTLE ANGEL ALITA LAST ORDER VOL 1 ANGEL REBORN TP $9.95 VIZ 2,404
33 TOMORROW STORIES BOOK 1 TP $17.95 DC 2,360
Alan Moore's quirky short stories are one of the real treasures of his ABC line, and he is one of the few authors in comics who can writer great short stories. Highly recommended.
34 COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY VOL 2 FRANK MILLER TP $18.95 FAN 2,316
I dunno why this is listed as a trade paperback, as it is old interviews with Moore and some nice black and white reproductions of his art. For hard core Frank Miller fans, this is a great book, for other people it is much ado about nothing.
35 ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP VOL 2 TP $11.99 MAR 2,287
During the early days of the "Ultimate" line, Brian Bendis wrote this team-up book, which featured rotating artists, fresh looks at Marvel characters and great stories. The book was canceled, which is a shame, but if you don't have these issues, and like the stuff he does on Spider-Man, you should get this Highly Recommended book.
36 DH GOON VOL 1 TP NOTHIN BUT MISERY $15.95 DAR 2,228
37 WOLVERINE LEGENDS VOL 4 XISLE TP $13.99 MAR 2,184
A reprint of a mediocre Wolverine mini-series. For hard core Mutant fans only.
38 FANTASTIC FOUR LEGENDS VOL 1 UNSTABLE MOLECULES TP $13.99 MAR 2,155
A "What if?" kind of story that Marvel is tossing out once in a while, this one based on the premise that the Fantastic Four was based on actual people from the late 50's. If you can get into the admittedly odd idea behind the story, it is very well done, albeit bleak. Not a standard superhero comic by any means, but as a work of mainstream fiction, it works. Mildly recommended.
39 Y THE LAST MAN VOL 1 UNMANNED TP $12.95 DC 2,082
This has been in the top 50 for a few months now, which has to make DC pretty happy. A collection of the first five issues dealing with a world in which all the men have died from a strange disease. It's very well done, but as a stand alone graphic novel it doesn't work, since it doesn't really come to an ending. It's a lot like a TV mini-series where there is a pause in the story at the end of each episode, but it doesn't really resolve much. Highly recommended.
40 CBLDF SPX 2003 TRAVEL GN $9.95 CBL 2,052
This is a GREAT bargain, with over 300 pages of small press and alternative creators doing short stories. Some are great, some, not so and some right out stink, but the good thing in an anthology is that you get a good mix of stories, so you find ones that suit your tastes. And the money you spend on it goes to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a good cause. Highly recommended.
41 MARS VOL 12 GN $9.99 TKP 2,023
42 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE VOL 1 TP SHARD O/DARKNESS $9.95 CRO 2,008
They never leave the planet and they are Masters of the Universe? Methinks some people have a pretty high opinion of themselves.
43 CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON GN #4 $13.95 ONE 2,008
44 TRANSFORMERS NEW ORDER GN $19.95 TIT 1,950
45 ALAN MOORES SMALL KILLING TP NEW PTG (MR) $16.95 AVA 1,906
A reprint of a fairly obscure graphic novel Alan Moore did right after leaving DC. He calls it his favorite, and I like it a lot, but I wouldn't call it my FAVORITE. It IS, like all of Alan Moore's work, highly recommended.
46 PROMETHEA BOOK 4 HC $24.95 DC 1,876
More of Alan Moore's very complex and mystical leaning reworking of the Wonder Woman archetype. A dense and eventually satisfying read, but a bit too much for some people. I'd try an issue of the comic and see if you like it before starting the collected trades.
47 LOST WORLD TP $17.95 DAR 1,876
48 BLANKETS GN $29.95 TOP 1,862
Time Magazine lists this as one of the best graphic novels of the year, and they are right, but this is a book that will NOT go down well with mainstream super-hero fans. For people who like comics without capes and tights.
49 IN SHADOW O/EDGAR ALLAN POE SC $17.95 DC 1,862
This is kind of the way to see all the clichés of the Vertigo line in one book. Highly painterly art, pretentious storytelling and in the end, an unsatisfying read that left me wondering how good it could have been if they just would have told the story in a straightforward manner.
50 ROBOTECH MACROSS SAGA VOL 3 TP $14.95 DC 1,862
That's it! All done until next month!
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