The Top 50 Graphic Novels for November 2002
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 JLA SECRET ORIGINS OVERSIZED SC $7.95 DC 31,695
Another of the Big Oversized Alex Ross books, this one is just the origins retold of the major heroes. Maybe I'm just getting jaded, but I didn't even buy this one, after buying all the others. The paintings are nice posters, and the origins are nicely retold in text form, but it all seemed like a project to have something by him available for Giftmas. I LIKED the previous ones because of the underlying stories, but this one was a pass for me.
2 JLA JSA VIRTUE & VICE HC $24.95 DC 15,999
The JSA and the JLA team up in a story that should have been an annual, but instead, DC will put it in a hardcover and charge $25 for it. NONE of the original hardcovers DC does are worth the extra $10 for a hard cover, so wait until next fall when it's put out as a softcover.
3 LONE WOLF & CUB VOL 28 FALLING TREE TP $9.95 DAR 13,195
Best. Comic. Ever. A samuri drama that can work as Japanese history, a twist on the standard western, a story of a man and his child, or an all out action romp. This comic has influenced all Japanese comics in some way and a lot of American comics as well. And, even though this is the next to last issue, every story is self contained and readable on its own. Highly Recommended.
4 ORIGIN TP $14.99 MAR 12,387
Ah, the origin of Wolverine. I don't think it matters how good or bad this was, no matter how it was done it would be disappointing. You can't hold a secret for 25 years, not have it told by the creator of the character and have people like it. It was a good story, and had some interesting twists, but at the end it felt more like something you HAD to read, rather than something you WANT to read. But why should you care, if you read the X-Men, you bought the damn thing anyway, didn't you?
5 TRANSFORMERS GENERATION ONE VOL 1 TP $17.95 DRE 7,196
Don't care. Robots who turn into cars are not why I read comics. Unless written by British guys who dress all in black and make them an allegory for the lost gods of the Incas. Maybe Vertigo SHOULD have tried to snap up the rights.
6 BATMAN BRUCE WAYNE FUGITIVE VOL 1 TP $12.95 DC 5,846
A story that showed that you can have a lot of talented people who can do a lot of good work and still when you have them write by committee, it turns into a big mess. A low point for the Batman books in the Bob Schrek era, which is too bad that it took so much time away from the great work they were doing before and after this crossover.
7 BATMAN ABSOLUTION HC $24.95 DC 5,238
$25 for a glorified annual. Think of it as $25 you saved by not buying it.
8 LADY PENDRAGON SPECIAL $7.95 IMA 5,181
A 30 page story, a ton of "behind the scenes" stuff to pad it out, ads and the promise of more. I didn't care for this book during the "Titty book" boom, and I care even less now.
9 TRANSFORMERS GENESIS ART BOOK HC $29.45 EIG 4,687
For people who Star Trek fans can push down for their lunch money.
10 BLADE O/T IMMORTAL BEASTS TP (MR) $14.95 DAR 4,421
A nice rip-off of Lone Wolf and Cob (and I don't mean that as a put-down). It is a decent Japanese action comic I have read off and on since it started, and one of the few "Non-anime fan" manga being published. Mildly recommended for Lone Wolf and Cub fans.
11 CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON GN #1 $13.95 ONE 4,363
Dunno if it's adaptation or a prequel...can't be a sequel, since everyone died at the end of the movie. Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie yet, sorry about spoiling it for you...and Rosebud is the sled, she's her mother and her sister, Annikin grows up to be Luke's dad as well as Darth Vader and in every action movie ever made the good guy kills the bad guy at the end.
12 JSA RETURN OF HAWKMAN TP $19.95 DC 4,088
If you aren't buying JSA and are at all a super-hero fan, try this collection. Hawkman returns without the headache inducing continuity problems in a great action story. Highly Recommended.
13 INVISIBLES #7 INVISIBLE KINGDOM TP (MR) $19.95 DC 4,040
I can't be objective about this book, just like a goth kid can't be objective about Sandman. A great, mind-expanding comic that gets progressively better with each reading. If you haven't bought it, pick up the first Trade and dive in. Highly recommended.
14 METABARONS ALPHA OMEGA GN $9.95
15 SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS TP $14.95 DC 3,898
DC is just getting around to putting this in a trade? The team of the Batman "Long Halloween" stories and Marvel's "Colors" mini-series (Daredevil Yellow, Spider-Man Blue, etc...) did a brilliant mini-series dealing with Superman's past, and is the last great Superman story so far. Highly recommended if you've even HEARD of Superman and like the concept of the character.
16 SUPREME STORY O/T YEAR TP $26.95 CHE 3,318
Alan Moore, using a
Rob Liefeld rip-off of Superman to re-enter the field of super-hero
comics with a story that SEEMS simple, but has subtle
undercurrents of particle physics, viability of fictional
realities and other things that just weren't in the old Superman
stories he's channeling here. Highly Recommended and an
amazing piece of work.
17 ASTRO BOY VOL 10 TP $9.95 DAR
18 TRANSFORMERS FALLEN ANGEL GN
$19.95 TIT 3,166
19 X-FORCE VOL 2 TP $19.99 MAR 3,137
Marvel's best Super-Hero book, art that echoes the Silver Age Marvels and stories that are astoundingly playful and serious at the same time. I don't like tossing around word like "post-modern", but this is a comic that really attempts to be more than just a disposable comic while using the trappings of a disposable comic. Highly recommended.
20 BATMAN YEAR TWO FEAR REAPER TP NEW ED $17.95 DC 2,890
One of the better Batman stories of the late 80's, with art by Todd McFarlane when he still had to tell stories. Mildly recommended for Batman fans.
21 SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL 9 HC $49.95 DC 2,662
Some of the best stories ever done in comics, in a very attractive format. Most Archives are just a nice repackaging of nostalgia, with stories that were disposable then and haven't aged well. The Spirit stacks up well against modern comics, and if you had no idea it was a reprint, you would just think they were stories set in the 40's. Highly recommended.
22 FORGE #8 $11.95 CRO
23 EDGE #8 $11.95 CRO 2,595
The CrossGen monthly trades, each reprinting about 7 or 8 comics for $12. A good bargain for some nice looking, mediocre fantasy comics.
24 INCREDIBLE HULK VOL 1 HC $29.99 MAR 2,472
Another repackaging of Bruce Jones's take on The Hulk, showing that it IS possible to do amazingly new things on 40 year old characters. By keeping the basic concept of the character and recasting the stories in a horror mode, it feels like a brand new series without invalidating anything that came before. Highly recommended.
25 PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES VOL 4 HC $49.95 DC 2,348
An amazingly fun read, and much like the Spirit Archives, ageless, with stories that don't seem like most Golden Age books. They are going through the run fairly fast, and these stories are from 1946 already. Highly Recommended and let kids read this book if you have it, since Jack Cole's work is still funny and inventive.
26 STRAY TOASTERS TP $19.95 GRA 2,272
A Bill Seikevitch story from 1988 that seemed pretty groundbreaking back then and is just confusing now. Bill's art is polarizing with some people hating his style and other loving the impressionistic and surreal aspects of it. Worth a glance through, and pretty influential for other artists like David Mack, most fo the mid 90's Vertigo artists and a LOT of indy stuff.
27 JUST A PILGRIM VOL 2 GARDEN OF EDEN TP $12.99 WIZ 2,263
Garth Ennis doing a post-apocalyptic western. You know, I bought the first volume, read about 10 pages and haven't finished it. That should be review enough for you.
28 LUPIN III VOL 1 GN $9.99 TKP
29 GROO ODYSSEY TP $12.95 DAR 2,006
More issues of the Marvel Groo series, horridly overpriced in this trade but still a fun read. I dropped Groo when it became more expensive than most comics because, while it IS a fun, silly comic, it just isn't worth paying $3 for a comic you can read in 5 minutes. Porn phone lines are cheaper.
30 CARDCAPTOR SAKURA MASTER O/T
CLOW VOL 2 $9.99 TKP 2,006
31 EDGE 10TH ANNIVERSARY* $19.95
32 WISH VOL 3 GN $9.99 TKP
33 CANNON GOD EXAXXION STAGE 1 TP (MR)
$15.95 DAR 1,797
34 MERIDIAN VOL 4 TP $15.95 CRO 1,778
CrossGen reprints a bunch of more issues, proving that you don't need to buy the monthly comics. I like the idea of reprinting comics so that if you don't WANT to buy the monthly issues, and if I knew that the comics I get would be reprinted in books, I'd buy them ALL in collected trade paperback. Let's see if CrossGen can get that model to work.
35 CRUX VOL 2 TP $15.95 CRO
36 KRAZY & IGNATZ LOVE LETTERS IN ANCIENT BRICK 1927-28 TP $14.95 FAN 1,664
Oh how I love this project...now it's weird and hard to read, but at the time, this was one of the most popular comic strips in the newspaper. I could go on and on about it, like most every comic historian does, but instead, I'll recommend it for serious comics fans who want to know the history of the art form and people who enjoy classical surrealism.
37 MARS VOL 7 GN $9.99 TKP
38 WILDCATS STREET SMART TP $14.95 DC 1,645
Does anyone buy this book anymore? Anyone?
39 DIVINE RIGHT BOOK TWO TP $17.95 DC 1,578
Jim Lee's last "This will make the fans know who I am again" series that was so late by the end than most of the people who started buying with #1 weren't reading comics anymore by the ending. They didn't miss anything...it's very typical Jim Lee stuff, Big Panels, lots of stuff going on, and no story to be found.
40 SPYBOY VOL 5 SPY SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL TP $12.95 DAR 1,550
Peter David did a nice job on this book that should have sold very well to the same kids who read Harry Potter books, but since kids don't buy comics anymore, the book failed. And don't buy the 5th one to get a good idea of the series...it is a bit convoluted and confusing by this time.
41 MAX HAMM FAIRY TALE DETECTIVE #1
$4.95 NIT 1,531
42 CLIVE BARKERS TAPPING VEIN TP $21.95 CHE 1,531
Reprints of some very good adaptations of Clive Barker short stories. It always makes me feel a bit queasy when I see "Oh, they are reprinting that...I haven't had a chance to read the original yet" and the original is over 10 years old. *sigh*
43 DARKNESS VOL 1 COMING OF AGE TP $14.99 IMA 1,407
Reprinting the crappy Witchblade spin-off series's first few issues to get people excited about the NEW crappy series. Anyone want to bet on if the book makes it 12 issues this time?
44 DYLAN DOG ZED GN $5.95 DAR
45 G-FORCE ANIMATED TP $15.95
46 DESPERADOES QUIET O/T GRAVE TP $14.95 DC 1,312
Wildstorm's western series, this time drawn by John Severin, one of the best western artists of all time. This is a guy who worked for EC, Marvel and Cracked Magazine, and he's still putting out art that is amazingly detailed and entertaining. The story is just passable, but still, it's worth it for Severin's art. Highly Recommended.
47 STORM RIDERS GN #8 $13.95 ONE
48 MONSTERS INC VOL 1 GN $7.99 TKP 1,217
better than a movie adaptation comes out a year after the movie
when you can get the actual movie itself for about $4 more.
If anyone, and I mean ANYONE
can explain why
movie adaptations are still being done in comics, let me know.
49 GRAPHIC CLASSICS VOL 4 HP
LOVECRAFT $9.95 EUR 1,207
50 SPIRITED AWAY VOL 5 TP $9.95 VIZ 1,198
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