Tim Leong, the art director for Wired and former editor-in-chief of Comic Foundry magazine, has come up with a pretty amazing infographic tracking the titles that have appeared on the New York Times paperback “graphic books” over the past year. The chart is great, but Tim also did some solid number-crunching, and there are lots of interesting results, starting with the fact that the charts were dominated not by Marvel or DC, but by Oni Press and Image.
This doesn’t speak so much about comics as a whole as about a particular segment of the comics world: graphic novels and collected editions. Marvel and DC still dominate the world of single-issue comics sold in the direct market, but the Times looks at sales from independent and chain bookstores, online booksellers and newsstands, as well as comics shops. In that world, two indie properties, both backed by media tie-ins, ruled in 2011. (It would be interesting to see how the hardback charts compare; my guess is that they are more superhero-centric.)
The Hollywood Reporter makes a big deal about The Walking Dead dominating the charts this past week, saying, “No graphic novel series has ever dominated the list quite like Kirkman’s Walking Dead,” although a glance at Leong’s chart makes it clear that Scott Pilgrim dominated even more, with the six volumes of Scott Pilgrim spending a total of 167 weeks on the charts compared to 102 weeks for the seven volumes of The Walking Dead. Incidentally, the next two books were Watchmen (of course!) and The Adventures of Ook and Gluck, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, which is a kids’ graphic novel by the author of the Captain Underpants books.
Leong’s graphic provides a lot of food for thought. What happened in September, for instance, when all the Scott Pilgrim and Walking Dead books pretty much disappeared from the charts? (I looked at the charts for those weeks and nothing jumped out at me, but who knows?) What happened to the five books that came in at No. 1 and then disappeared? And is it better to hit the top spot for a couple of weeks or sit at a lower rank for almost a year? It’s hard to see behind the rankings to hard numbers, but it does seem that the bookstore market is nurturing some diversity.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s hotly anticipated follow-up to his bestselling Scott Pilgrim series will be published in 2013 by Random House’s Villard imprint, Publishers Weekly reports.
Virtually nothing is known about the graphic novel beyond its title, Seconds, which O’Malley revealed in a tweet early last month. Random House’s Ryan Doherty will edit the book.
Published by Oni Press, all six volumes of the Scott Pilgrim series appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, thanks in part to director Edgar Wright’s 2010 adaptation. Although the film failed to ignite the box office, the books continue to sell well: The second volume, originally released in 2005, landed in BookScan’s Top 20 for graphic novels sold in bookstores in June — 10 months after the movie’s opening. The final volume, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, received a 100,000-copy first printing.
As part of the Wait, What? podcast I do for the Savage Critics – You do listen, right? If not, shame on you – someone asked the other week what I thought of Oni Press, and I admitted that I am a fan of pretty much everything Oni puts out. It was a thought that reappeared in my head this weekend, re-reading Sarah Oleksyk’s spectacular Ivy and thinking, “Man, Oni owns the YA comic market, doesn’t it?” – even though Oni themselves call the book for Older Readers, for obvious reasons if you’ve read it… but as a YA book, it’s just so, so good. So, this week: Five Oni Press books you should really make a point of reading, if you haven’t already.
Broadway | Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, producers of the troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, talk candidly about the $70-million musical — or “$65 plus plus,” as Cohl says — as it shuts down for more than three weeks for a sweeping overhaul. Will the production, plagued by delays, technical mishaps, injuries and negative reviews, hurt their reputation? “It might,” Cohl concedes. “It’s a matter of the respect of those whose opinions I care about. Most will recognize that Jere and I stepped in dog poo and are trying to clean it up and pull off a miracle. We might not.”
In related news, Christopher Tierney, the actor who was seriously injured on Dec. 20 after plummeting 30 feet during a performance, will rejoin rehearsals on Monday. [Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter]
As I noted yesterday, I’m a fan of both Image’s Skullkickers and Oni’s The Sixth Gun. So when I saw that the two creator-owned books were having a mini-crossover of sorts — or, to be more specific, an ad swap — I thought it might be fun to see if Skullkickers writer Jim “Zub” Zubkavich and The Sixth Gun‘ writer Cullen Bunn might be up for interviewing each other.
And they were. If you missed part one, no worries; you can find it here. In part two, they discuss Marvel and DC, the recent focus on creator-owned comics, Dungeons & Dragons, their ad swap and more.
Zub: So, speaking of collaborators, how did your DC and Marvel work come about?
Cullen: I did a little thing for Marvel a year and a half ago, which was one of the Immortal Weapons books. That one came after I sent the editor a copy of The Damned. He finally got around to reading it and said, “Hey, you want to do this one-shot?” The new stuff all came about primarily through The Sixth Gun. A number of writers, artists and editors have picked it up, read it and either pushed me to their editors or thought I would work for other projects they had. It was definitely weird because I’m not used to anyone contacting me. I’m used to begging for work. For years I’ve gone to San Diego, and it’s the most humbling experience.
Although the final volume of Scott Pilgrim has come and gone, Bryan O’Malley’s epic comic lives on overseas — with new cover art by O’Malley himself!
The image at right is for a Japanese edition of Scott Pilgrim that collects vols. 5 and 6. The image, colored by Mariel Kinuko Cartwright, is a not-so-subtle homage to a classic illustration for Street Fighter Zero 2 (also known as Street Fighter Alpha 2).
Although his follow-up project to Scott Pilgrim hasn’t been announced yet, O’Malley has done several new Scott Pilgrim illustrations for foreign editions of his series that you can view on his website, Radiomaru.com.
I’ve got to hand it to Comics Alliance/Moviefone blogger (and CBR alumnus) Andy Khouri: Late last week, he assembled two absolutely stunning image galleries for his readers’ delectation. First up, over on CA, he put together
the first of what he promises will be a his latest weekly look at the “Best Art Ever (This Week)”, an extensive selection of cool artwork — some old, some new, some fan, some pro — from around the Internet. Highlights in this week’s batch include the above Scott Pilgrim pin-up by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Wonder Woman and her invisible jet by Mike Allred, a steampunk version of The Lord of the Rings‘ Witch-King by Max Arkes, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by Gilbert Hernandez (!!!!!!).
Today’s Six by 6 sprang out of a recent post Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon did on five of his favorite superhero fights. It’s a pretty excellent list and made me want to come up with my own, though I thought I might see if I could expand it a bit by staying away from the superhero genre and moving into other realms. What great fights could I find in the world of manga or alt-comix, I wondered?
Turns out I didn’t have to look too far. I should note though that this list is by no means definitive — it’s simply a list of six comic book battles that I like a whole lot. I’ve probably forgotten some. Actually I’ve probably forgotten plenty. Feel free to let me know what I’ve overlooked in the comments section.
MightyFine T-shirts, makers of the Squirrel Girl and Rainbow Galactus T-shirts, among others, have updated their MyTee application that lets you build your own T-shirts. First up is a do-it-yourself Scott Pilgrim shirt in the style of a two-player fighting game that allows you to pick what characters you want to match up — Scott vs. Nega Scott, Ramona vs. Roxy, Knives vs. Gideon or whoever you’d like to see brawl for it all.
In addition, MODOK fans should check out the site as well … right now you can design your own MODOK shirt, which includes four different designs, but per MightyFine they’ll be launching something called a “MODOK maker” in full next month. Can’t wait.
If there’s one thing that today’s mainstream media coverage of the death of a Fantastic Four member proves, it’s that slow news days are great for Marvel Comics. But if there’s another, then it’s that Death = Attention in the crazy, depressing world of comic book math. Bearing that in mind, here are some new candidates for the Grim Reaper, to goose some other publishers’ coffers. Continue Reading »
“Fun fact! NINE of the TOP TEN graphic novels in 2010 were creator-owned books! Walking Dead, Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim among them.”
–Savage Dragon cartoonist Erik Larsen, speaking the truth. Of course, the flip side of this is that NINE of the TOP TEN graphic novels in 2010 had major Hollywood properties to thank for much of their notoriety, Walking Dead, Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim among them. (The tenth was a Superman book that got over with mass audiences largely on the strength of a fortuitous press comparison to Twilight.) I don’t mean to short-change the success of Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., and Bryan Lee O’Malley, but proponents of creator ownership and creators’ rights probably ought not break out the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner just yet.
Diamond Comic Book Distributors announced its 2010 numbers yesterday, and the results were mixed: Sales of comics, graphic novels, and magazines in comics stores were down 3.5% for the year, but they moved up a bit in the last three months of the year, which is a hopeful sign.
In terms of market share, Marvel won the year with 38% of the dollar share and 43% of units sold (I’m rounding here). DC was second with 30 and 34%, respectively, and tagging along after them were Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Dynamite, and Boom! Studios. Viz, the top manga publisher, had 1.4% of the dollars and less than 1% of the unit share, which is about where they have been in previous years.
And what comics were we reading this year? Well, we weren’t exactly breaking new ground. Individual volumes of Scott Pilgrim and The Walking Dead dominated the graphic novel list, which is not surprising given that both had strong media tie-ins. The comics list had a bit more variety, and it’s interesting that the last two issues of Blackest Night outsold the first two issues of Brightest Day.
Here’s the list of the top ten periodical comics for the year:
Continue Reading »
The Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim dominated graphic novel sales in bookstores in December, claiming nine of the Top 10 spots on the Nielsen BookScan chart.
Buoyed by the record-setting first season of the AMC television adaptation, zombie comic landed the top spot with The Walking Dead: Compendium One, the $60, 1,088-page collection of the first 48 issues of the Robert Kirkman-Tony Moore-Charlie Adlard series. Three volumes of The Walking Dead, including new editions of the first two collections, appeared in the Top 10, and five in the Top 15.
All six volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim made the Top 10, which could be attributed to the November release of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World on DVD and Blu-ray — or a sign that the series is on its way to becoming a perennial bestseller.
Meanwhile, Superman: Earth One, the hardcover graphic novel whose blockbuster sales led J. Michael Straczynski to abandon the Superman and Wonder Woman monthly series so DC Comics could fast-track a sequel, plummeted from No. 1 on the chart to No. 15. The retail news and analysis site ICv2.com suggests the book may be a victim of availability — there may not be enough additional copies to replenish what’s been sold — rather than a decrease in interest. Indeed, Superman: Earth One is No. 5 after nine weeks on The New York Times hardcover graphic books list.
If you’re looking for a company that started and ended strong 2010, look no further than AdHouse Books, the independent company that’s published books by Joshua Cotter, Paul Pope and James Jean, among others. Although they aren’t the kind of company that puts out a huge amount of books, they are one you can always count on to put out something interesting.
As for those bookends for the year, AdHouse kicked off 2010 with the release of Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg, and ended it with Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines, which landed at the top of some folks‘ best comics of the year lists. (Including my own; it came in at No. 16 on CBR’s list for 2010).
I spoke with AdHouse Publisher Chris Pitzer about the previous year, the above two books, their new AdDistro initiative and what they have coming up for 2011. My thanks to Chris for sending over a lot of cool art to show you as well.
JK: Thanks for agreeing to talk to us today, Chris. I thought we could start off talking about 2010, and in particular some the bigger projects you put out.Let’s start with something that seems like it came out a long time ago, Afrodisiac. It seemed to garner a lot of attention when it came out in January.
Chris: Thanks for the interest in AdHouse, JKP! I dig what the Robot 6 blog does, so I appreciate the opportunity to chat about this stuff. In regards to Afrodisiac, it was an HONOR to work with Jim and Brian on that. We’ve been “dancing” around the topic of publishing it for years, and it was nice to finally have it happen. Yeah, it feels like so long ago, doesn’t it?
What a difference a year makes! A year ago today, the iPad not only didn’t exist, it hadn’t been officially announced yet. People read comics on their iPhones and iPod Touches, but the screens were too small for a good experience (and therefore, no one wanted to spend much money on them). The iPad changed all that, with a big, full-color screen that is just a tad smaller than a standard comics page (and a tad larger than a standard manga page), and publishers started taking digital comics seriously. The distribution was already in place, thanks to the iPhone—comiXology, iVerse, Panelfly—and now the publishers not only jumped on board with those platforms but also started developing their own apps.
The digital comics scene is still developing, but the iPad was the game changer. For many people, it was the first time that they could comfortably read comics on a handheld screen. Now, it’s just a question of marketing—this year, publishers will grapple with bringing comics to a wider audience, outside the existing readership, and balancing the digital marketplace with the established brick-and-mortar retail structure.
Here, then, is a look back at our digital year.