The 50 Best Selling Graphic Novels for March 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.
1 100 BULLETS VOL 5 COUNTERFIFTH DETECTIVE TP (MR) $12.95 DC 4,901
First thing I notice when looking over the figures is that graphic novel sales are WAY down. I don't know if it's because there isn't a lot of really great stuff in March, or if stores didn't order a lot or what, but a year ago, the top selling graphic novel came in at about 12,000. Now, the #1 GN can't even break 5,000 copies...this is NOT a good sign, and for all the talk about how comics are coming back, sales like these have to make you think that all is not well.
As for a review of this GN, I'm not all that big a fan of this series. I picked up the first few issues and didn't care for them, and I haven't cared for the writer's work on other titles. So, instead of getting this "Crime noir" GN, pick up one of the Queen and Country or Brian Michael Bendis crime graphic novels like Jinx or AKA Goldfish.
2 TOP TEN BOOK TWO TP $14.95 DC 4,348
One of Alan Moore's better series, which is saying a lot. The premise is a bit like "Powers" (cops in a super-hero universe), but it's played more broadly with super-powered policement, cross dimentional invastion, aliens, etc... A mix of humor makes it a unique series that is filled with inside jokes in the art by the amazing Gene Ha. Highly recommended for super-hero buffs.
3 STAR WARS INFINITIES EMPIRE STRIKES BACK TP $12.95 DAR 3,439
The whole idea of this book is a bit odd...kind of a What If...? retelling of the Star Wars movies where Han is the Jedi and...OK, I kind of lost interest after I read about that. I'm as big a Star Wars geek as anyone else, and I couldn't get interested enough to read more than a couple of pages of it.
4 CHOBITS VOL 5 GN (Of 8) $9.99 TKP 3,403
5 CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON GN #3 $13.95 COM 3,083
Haven't read either of these books, but it's amazing to me to see hwo well Japanese comics are selling outside the comics market. Tokyo Pop struggled its first couple of years to get an audience, but with their paperback sized comics, they have really changed how comics are sold in bookstores, which is a good thing. It's also bringing in a new audience, which comics need. Anyone want to tell me if these are any good or not?
6 COWBOY BEBOP SHOOTING STARS VOL 1 GN (Of 2) $9.99 TKP 3,059
7 BIZARRO COMICS SC $19.95 DC 2,960
This book was so good, I bought it as a hardcover. DC lets a bunch of alternative comics artists do odd takes on the mainstream DC characters for stories that don't always work, but do show an incredible amount of diversity and creativity. Even just as an experiment, it's worth the $20 price tag for Kyle Baker's "Superbaby" story alone, but the rest of the book is worth reading. Like any anthology, not every story is great, but every one is an attempt at something fresh and makes this comic Highly Recommended.
8 GREEN LANTERN EMERALD DAWN II TP $12.95 DC 2,936
Here is the FIRST time DC tried to get people to read Green Lantern, and pissed them all off instead. Looking back on the story, it's a very standard super-hero comic with very little to recommend it over other super-hero comics. If you are a big Green Lantern fan, and weren't collecting in the late 80's, you might be slightly interested in this, but it's nothing worth remembering at this point.
9 HEROBEAR & THE KID VOL 1 INHERITANCE TP $17.95 AST 2,887
10 METROPOLIS TP $13.95 DAR 2,887
11 GOLDEN AGE SPECTRE ARCHIVES VOL 1 $49.95 DC 2,702
Golden Age comics are an acquired taste, and this is more of a historical work than something the average fan will pick up and say, "Oh wow!" The art is crude, the stories simplistic, but if you like this sort of thing, there IS a feeling that anything at all can happen in each story. If you want to try the waters with an archive, I'd recommend the Plastic Man or Spirit archives, as thier stories are truely timeless and have aged well. These are for hard-core faboys only.
12 BATMAN ADV DANGEROUS DAMES & DEMONS TP $14.95 DC 2,702
The Batman Adventures books are one of the overlooked gems of the comics industry right now. Based on the cartoon (which is the best super-hero based cartoon ever) these book feature done in one issue stories: moody, art deco art; and stories that kids can read but adults can enjoy as well. I wish DC would put out more collections of the series so that people outside comic can get their hands on Batman stories that aren't endless "events" done by committee. Highly recommended.
13 MARVEL UNIVERSE VOL 1 THANOS INFINITY ABYSS TP $17.99 MAR 2,641
Jim Starlin does yet another big story with Thanos trying to destroy all of existance. You would think about five times getting his plans foiled, he'd try something else. After being gone from Marvel (and, for the most part, comics) for about 10 years, he still does the same stuff he did in the 70's, so this is for us fans of his work back then.
14 Y THE LAST MAN UNMANNED VOL 1 TP (STAR17386) (MR) $12.95 DC 2,580
A MONSTER hit according to DC, even though the monthly comic only sells about 20,000 copies. It's a decent enough action comic with a lot of potential. If you are picking it up thinking it will be the next Sandman or Preacher, you'll be dissapointed, but for a SF comic that is better than the premise makes it sound, it's worth getting. Mildly recommended.
15 NEW TEEN TITANS JUDAS CONTRACT TP NEW ED $19.95 DC 2,567
What is with DC reprinting their stuff from the 80's this month? This was really the last great New Teen Titans story, with Wolfman and Perez finishing off two years worth of plotlines in a stunning fashion for long term readers of the comic. It's still a very fun super-hero read, with both creators at their peak. However, it is pretty soap-opera based, and like most comics of the 80's, to get the full impact, you have to have read the comics that came before. However, if you want to know why the New Teen Titans was compared to the X-Men for fan favorite series, this is the book to read. Mildly recommended for super-hero fans.
16 AVENGERS LEGENDS VOL 2 KORVAC SAGA TP $19.95 MAR 2,543
Both the best and the worst of late 70's Marvel is in this book. This reprints a run of the Avengers that was when "Big Stories" didn't crossover into other comics, so it is self contained, and the story is a decent super-hero story, but it's overcrowded with TONS of obscure characters, art changes from issue to issue, a botched ending and a sense that the writer thinks the story is far better than it really is. 70's comics were odd in that comics creators saw themselves as changing the medium into one for adults, when they were really making the medium far more insular and self-important. Still, if you are a long-time Marvel hero fan and haven't read this, it's worth a read.
17 ULTIMATE X-MEN VOL 2 HC $29.99 MAR 2,543
The second year of the comic for those who like it. I don't.
18 XENOZOIC TALES VOL 1 TP $14.95 DAR 2,530
This series by Mark Schultz is highly recommended on all fronts. It has incredible art, and well plotted stories that remind you of a top-of-the-line EC comic. I don't think there's a person who reads comics who won't enjoy this brilliant fantasy series, and I am glad that Dark Horse is putting it back in print. Hopefully the sales will allow Schultz to go back to work on the series, as it has been missed.
19 LOEG ABSOLUTE ED VOL 1 OVERSIZED HC $75.00 DC 2,518
That's "Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and this is a deluxe hardcover with tons of extras and the like. Kind of like a special edition DVD of the comic. It's good, and deserves this treatment, but this is NOT for the casual fan, who should just pick up the trade paperback for $15.
20 ASTRO BOY VOL 14 TP $9.95 DAR 2,518
21 STRANGERS IN PARADISE VOL 12 TP $12.95 ABS 2,494
22 KOLCHAK NIGHT STALKER LAMBS TO SLAUGHTER GN (MR) $6.95 MNS 2,444
Moonstone is publishing a lot of these $7 "graphic novels" that actually run about 80 pages. They are well done, but the price keeps me away from them. Maybe when they get 4 - 5 of each character done, they can put them in a more affordable format.
23 DAREDEVIL VOL 1 HC $29.99 MAR 2,408
The first year of Bendis's current run. If you don't have it either as comics or trade paperback, this is the way to pick up the comic. Oh, and Marvel? Your hardcovers will sell a bit better if you do what book companies do, first the hardcover, THEN the paperback. Thanks.
24 WONDER WOMAN PARADISE FOUND TP $14.95 DC 2,408
Yep, more issues of this series by Phil Jimenez, who does the best George Perez imitation of any artist working in comics. Too bad I couldn't care less about Wonder Woman.
25 JUSTICE LEAGUE ADV TP $9.95 DC 2,358
A tie-in to the series on Cartoon Network, and much like the other "Adventures" books, a well done comic that has stories that appeal to kids, but aren't so cloying that they annoy adults. A nice book to get a kid who is interested in comics.
26 BATMAN DEATHBLOW AFTER FIRE TP $12.95 DC 2,309
27 WAY O/T RAT VOL 1 TP WALLS O/ZHUMAR $15.95 CRO 2,285
28 INU YASHA VOL 13 TP $8.95 VIZ 2,211
I LOVE this comic, by the creator of Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku, the story of a girl who has a quest in a fantasy world and a normal mundane life on the real world, but throws in a number of very Japanese twists and put in enough fight scenes that male readers can maintain an interest. AND at a MUCH lower price than the previous volumes. Highly recommended for manga fans.
29 FORGE #12 $7.95 CRO 2,199
Crossgen's compendium series, where you get 8 issues of various series for $8. A nice format and a great idea. Crossgen's stuff strikes me as well-drawn mediocre fantasy. None of the stories in this book will blow you away, but none of them will make you think you wasted a dollar either. Mildly recommended for fantasy buffs.
30 AVENGERS VOL 1 WORLD TRUST TP $14.99 MAR 2,113
Reprinting the recent story arc by Geoff Johns, which pretty much set the stage for his run on the comic without feeling like it was a big story all on its own. For super-hero fans who missed his issues and want to see what the fuss is all about.
31 WOLVERINE LEGENDS VOL 2 MELTDOWN TP $19.99 MAR 2,100
32 CARDCAPTOR SAKURA MASTER O/T CLOW VOL 4 GN $9.99 TKP 2,100
33 EDGE #12 $7.95 CRO 2,064
You know what I said about Forge? Same there here. I'm too lazy to even cut and paste.
34 PROHIBITED #3 HC (MR) $14.95 HEA 2,039
35 SIMPSONS COMIC MADNESS TP $14.95 BON 2,027
The best comic book adaptation of the TV show ever. Most issues of the comic have actually been better than the series lately, and this collection is highly recommended.
36 WOLVERINE LEGENDS VOL 3 LAW O/T JUNGLE TP $12.99 MAR 1,978
37 MARMALADE BOY VOL 6 GN (Of 8) $9.99 TKP 1,929
38 HIGH ROADS TP $14.95 DC 1,892
Dear DC, when you put out a trade paperback, it might be a good idea to promote it, so that people who know comics somewhat have an inkling of what you are publishing. I read Previews religiously, but don't remember this book at all.
39 WEAPON X VOL 1 TP $21.99 MAR 1,879
40 BTVS WILLLOW & TARA TP $9.95 DAR 1,867
More of Dark Horse's bland Buffy comics, collected in a trade paperback. The problem I have with the Dark Horse Buffy trades is that they are so thin...for $10 you get 3 issues reprinted in one book. A Buffy paperback novel costs less and takes much longer to read, so I woudl imagine that unless the art is GREAT (and it usually isn't) most Buffy fans will pass this by.
41 ALL NEW TENCHI MUYO VOL 1 TP ALIEN NATION $8.95 VIZ 1,806
42 LUPIN III VOL 3 GN (Of 14) $9.99 TKP 1,781
43 MEGATOKYO CHAPTER ONE $10.95 ICE 1,744
Reprinting the Brilliant webstrip www.megatokyo.com in a format so that you don't have to wait for the art to download. This is one of the few webstrips that I go out of my way to read, and having it available to put on a bookshelf and read without having to stare at a computer screen is a very good idea. Highly recommended.
44 SCION VOL 4 TP SANCTUARY $15.95 CRO 1,597
45 TOKYO MEW MEW VOL 1 GN (Of 4) $9.99 TKP 1,597
46 HOOD VOL 1 BLOOD FROM STONES TP (MR) $14.99 MAR 1,597
This "adult super-hero" book from Marvel didn't sell very well in regular comics format, and didn't do too well here either. The creative team has done some good work, but the series just didn't seem to gel for me. I tried to like it, since I want to support Marvel's new line, but if they can't get people to put together better work than this, the line will end up being just Alias.
47 SPIDER-MANS TANGLED WEB VOL 4 TP $15.99 MAR 1,523
Marvel's unappreciated gem with different creative teams doing off-beat Spider-Man stories, most of which end up being the best thing Marvel publishes that month. Some issues are funny, some are poigniant and some are chilling, but every single one of them has been worth reading. If you haven't picked up this series because you hate Spider-Man, give this book a try, as it is more about the effect of Spider-Man on people's lives. Highly recommended even for people who hate super-heroes.
48 INITIAL D VOL 6 GN (Of 23) (RES) $9.99 TKP 1,511
49 SHADOW STAR NOTHING BUT TRUTH TP $14.95 DAR 1,474
50 MERIDIAN TRAVELER VOL 1 FLYING SOLO $7.95 CRO 1,462
That's it, you can go now.