While this report primarily concerns US comics, news that the US comic book industry, boosted by the success of films such as The Dark Knight has helped maintain growth for graphic novel sales is welcome with 2009 looking otherwise gloomy.
Hub Entertainment reports that total comics sales remained “strong” and the graphic novel category grew by five per cent in 2008 according to Steve Geppi, CEO of Diamond Comics Distributors, which services more than comic book stores in the US and the UK.
“We remain optimistic about the comic-book industry heading into 2009,” he says.
Sales figures show Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion #1 was the best-selling comic book of 2008. The eight-issue miniseries about the takeover of superheroes by shape-shifting Skrulls took the first six spots. Only Uncanny X-Men #500″ and DC Comics’ Final Crisis #1 (No. 9) also cracked the Top 10. Diamond did not release actual sales figures, but best-selling comic books (priced at $2.99 or $3.99) normally sell more than 100,000 copies.
DC Comics dominated top sales of graphic novels taking seven of the top 10 positions, with a reprint Watchmen the top seller. The number of reprint titles in this chart is of note, reinforcing the longevity of graphic novel titles on the bookshelves, in direct contrast to many other book genres which tend to depend on early sales for their success.
Diamond notes Marvel and DC continue to dominate the US comics industry: Marvel took in 41 percent of retail sales, DC 29 per cent and Dark Horse 6.5 per cent.
Top Ten US Comics 2008
1. Secret Invasion #1 (Marvel)
2. Secret Invasion #2 (Marvel)
3. Secret Invasion #3 (Marvel)
4. Secret Invasion #4 (Marvel)
5. Secret Invasion #5 (Marvel)
6. Secret Invasion #6 (Marvel)
7. Uncanny X-Men #500 (Marvel)
8. Secret Invasion #7 (Marvel)
9. Final Crisis #1 (DC)
10. Secret Invasion No. 8 (Marvel)
Top Ten Graphic Novels 2008
1. Watchmen (DC)
2. Batman: The Killing Joke (DC)
3. Joker (DC)
4. Y: The Last Man Vol. 10 (DC)
5. Walking Dead Vol. 8 (Image)
6. Batman: Dark Knight Returns (DC)
7. Fables: The Good Prince (DC)
8. Wanted (Image)
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future for You (Dark Horse)
10. Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 (DC)
Source: Diamond Comics Distributors
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
Categories: British Comics - Graphic Novels