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‘The Walking Dead’ dominates bookstore sales in 2013

walking dead-compendium oneThe first two Walking Dead Compendium volumes have sold a combined 100,000 copies this year in bookstores, towering above the other titles on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the Top 10 bestselling adult graphic novels for the first half of 2013. With a suggested price of $59.99, Image Comics’ 1,088-page Compendium One is “by far” the most expensive book on BookScan’s Top 200 chart for adult fiction.

Graphic novel sales have increased 10 percent year over year, which the company seems to attribute in no small part to the performance of the collections of the long-running comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, and the popularity of the AMC television series.

Volumes of The Walking Dead accounted for four of the top five spots on the BookScan chart, a streak only interrupted by Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, Vol. 60, at No. 4. In fact, six of the Top 10 graphic novels were held by Image books, with another volume of The Walking Dead claiming the No. 7 spot, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, Vol. 1, slipping into the final slot with 15,000 copies; the remaining books are manga.

According to BookScan, The Walking Dead books have sold more than 1 million unites in the past 18 months, with Compendium One seeing “a 47 percent week-to-week sales lift” that coincided with the Season 3 finale of the AMC series in March.

Sneak peek at ‘American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell’

american-vampire3-cropped

Vertigo has unveiled a preview of American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell #1, a one-shot co-written by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, with art (naturally) by Albuquerque. It sports a variant cover by Tony Moore.

Arriving June 12, the special features the return of fan-favorite vampire hunter Travis Kidd (introduced in the series’ “Death Race” arc) as he tracks a pair of newly turned young lovers — the “Heartbreak Killers” — across the American heartland.

“This is my first time writing for Vertigo and it’s a big honor,” Albuquerque said in March. “Once it was decided we would go on hiatus, I approached Mark (our editor) with the idea of doing this special, so the fans could have a ‘taste of blood’ while waiting for the book’s return. He liked the idea and we (Scott Snyder, Mark and I) began talking about it.”

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The secret to the record-breaking success of The Walking Dead

The second best-selling issue of The Walking Dead in 2012

Diamond Comic Distributors this week released its lists of the bestselling comics and graphic novels of 2012, and ahead of all the expected big titles from Marvel and DC was The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. While the splashy headline is that The Walking Dead‘s 100th issue is the bestselling comic of the year — possibly of the past 15 years — what makes the achievement so remarkable is that the success is so thorough and consistent.

Not only did The Walking Dead top both the comic and the graphic novel lists, but nearly every conceivably qualifying product with the words The, Walking and Dead appears significantly high on both direct-market charts. Nine issues of the comic book are in the Top 300. In additional, all 17 volumes of the softcover trade paperback are among the Top 30 graphic novels, with Volume 1 claiming the top spot for the third year in a row. But wait, there’s more: Both oversized Compendiums, all eight hardcover collections and The Walking Dead Survivor’s Guide all appear elsewhere on the graphic novel chart. These are all remarkable achievements for an indie comic, and in many ways has primed the direct market for the success of Saga, Chew, Fatale and other titles that didn’t come from established franchises.

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Comic Couture | Niles, Moore, Jones team for comic tees

This week brought the release of the latest round of “Comics-On Tees” by Threadless, the crowdsourcing T-shirt site. Following in the footsteps of John Cassaday, Brandon Graham, Ben Templesmith, Becky Cloonan, Jeff Lemire, Anders Nilsen and many more, the artists this time around include Kelley Jones, Tony Moore, Chet Zar and Menton3.

The theme this time, provided by Steve Niles, is “Bad Night at the Precinct,” and each shirt features a different monster’s mug shot. Check’em all out after the jump.

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Mint copy of The Walking Dead #1 fetches $10,000 on eBay

Even as The Walking Dead #104 arrived in stores Wednesday, a mint copy of the first issue of the acclaimed horror series sold for $10,000 on eBay.

Characterized by the seller as “the holy grail of comic books,” the slabbed copy is graded 9.9 out of 10 by the Certified Guarantee Company, “the highest grade of this book in an extremely low print run.”

While many would argue whether the October 2003 first issue of The Walking Dead trumps, say, Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27 as “the holy grail of comic books,” it did have a pretty low print run: Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson revealed this year at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that initial orders for the comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore “totaled a mere 7,300 copies.”

The Walking Dead came in dead last out of the half dozen new titles we launched that month,” he told the crowd at the Diamond Retailers Summit. It was beaten by Cursed #1, Battle of the Planets: Manga #1, Sword of Dracula #1, Something Wicked #1, and Realm of the Claw #1. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was actually working at Image back then and aside from the Dracula book and the Battle of the Planets book, I don’t even the vaguest recollection of what those other books were about. And I don’t say that because they were necessarily bad, but because they’re not around anymore.”

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Chain Reactions | Deadpool #1

Deadpool #1

It was a tough week here at Camp Chain Reactions, trying to pick from the half-dozen or so first issues that arrived on Wednesday. Luckily there was nothing on the ballot Tuesday that ruled against doing more than one of these roundups each week, so expect to see one or two more before Monday.

Speaking of elections, let’s start off with a book that apparently (I haven’t read it yet) features zombie presidents: Deadpool #1. Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn tag team on the writing, as Tony Moore and Val Staples provide the art. Do they do justice to the merc with a mouth? Here are a few opinions from around the web:

Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources: “Duggan and Posehn take just the right tack for a Wade Wilson book, coming up with an outlandish idea of resurrected former presidents out to destroy America so that they can rebuild it. Dead president zombies on the loose is a concept that effortlessly inserts Deadpool into working for S.H.I.E.L.D., of all places. The result is comedy gold. Duggan and Posehn, in addition to conceiving of a perfect plot for Wade, have a good handle on his energy and sense of humor. Not every joke lands, but the ones that do are great and the ones that don’t still make a reader groan good-naturedly. Zombie FDR making jokes about a ‘new deal?’ This is fun.”

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Comics A.M. | Police recover $19,000 in stolen comics

Crime

Crime | Police in Jackson, Mississippi, have recovered a comic-book collection valued at $19,000, and arrested two suspects in the burglary. [WJTV]

Legal | Gerry Giovinco questions why Marvel and DC Comics zealously defend their intellectual property rights, going so far as to sue a birthday party company that rented out lookalike costumes, but don’t even touch the many porn parodies of their comics that have sprung up in recent years. [CO2 Comics]

Comics | A Florida mother was upset to discover Chick tracts among her children’s trick-or-treat haul, saying the comics are racist and offensive. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the long-controversial evangelical comics have been publicly called out by a displeased parent. [KTNV]

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Art for Sandy Relief: Bid on cool art to help hurricane victims

Art for Sandy Relief

Hurricane Sandy left a wake of devastation across the East Coast last week, and following the superstorm’s destruction come efforts to help those who were affected by it. One of the great things about the comic industry is that there are always people who work in it willing to do what they can to help people out, and this time is no different.

Art for Sandy Relief is an effort by Rich Ginter and Jim Viscardi. Viscardi currently works at Marvel in New York, while Rich left Marvel earlier this year to take a job as a digital designer in Disney’s publishing department in Glendale, Calif. He made the move to California just two months before the hurricane hit his former home.

Both gentleman were kind enough to answer some questions about the initiative. Before getting into it, though, their first art auctions went live today, and you can head over to eBay to bid on them now. Rich also shares some other ways that you can help out below, either via direct donation, by donating art or just by spreading the word.

Here are the auctions that are currently up:

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Telltale reveals details of Walking Dead video game retail release

Telltale Games has released details of the retail version of its Walking Dead video game, available in standard retail and collector’s editions in North America beginning Dec. 5.

The standard edition is, well, pretty standard, with$29.99 getting you what sounds like an entertaining adventure game set in the universe created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. The story begins while Rick Grimes is still in a coma, and follows Lee Everett, who takes under his win an orphaned girl named Clementine under his wing.

However, the GameStop Exclusive Collector’s Edition comes with The Walking Dead Compendium One, collecting the first 48 issue of the comic series, a special Collector’s Edition box featuring Adlard’s artwork, and a  game disc containing the entire first season. The Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order only for $69.99.

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The Walking Dead: The Musical (Come on, it’s bound to happen)

Given the relative ubiquity of The Walking Dead, which has moved from acclaimed comic series to hit television drama, collectible toys, prose novels, a magazine, board games and a video game, it’s probably only a matter of time before the property hits the stage. Make it happen, Robert Kirkman; we hear Julie Taymor is available.

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Quote of the Day | Robert Kirkman on the price of success

“That’s the kind of thing that happens when things get as big as this is. There has been turmoil on the show and in the comic and a lot of crazy behind-the-scenes stuff, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to lie to you – it’s all worth it. It’s fun to have a successful comic and a successful show. Having a show as big as The Walking Dead that really is drawing attention on the comics industry as a whole and is definitely bringing new readers into stores … You know, the comics industry is very near and dear to my heart, and so, because this thing has grown into this giant machine that does seem to be serving a lot of purposes and doing a lot of good for a lot of people, if I have to deal with a couple of headaches from time to time, I think it’s completely worth it. It is a double-edged sword, but swords are pretty nice.”

Robert Kirkman, from an interview with Robot 6 alum Sean T. Collins,
addressing his recently resolved legal feud with former Walking Dead collaborator Tony Moore

The Middle Ground #116 | All’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds

You know that you’ve become too cynical about comics when, reading Brian K. Vaughan talk about Saga, it feels like a surprise to see him mention a 50/50 split of royalties with artist Fiona Staples. Or, to put it another way, you know that you’ve become too cynical about comics when Tony Moore upgrades his legal battle against Robert Kirkman, and your first thought is, “Well, sure. Of course.”

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Tony Moore’s poster for horror movie REC 3: Genesis

Magnet Releasing has unveiled Tony Moore’s poster for REC 3: Genesis, the third installment of the Spanish horror series.

Directed by Paco Plaza, the film centers on a couple about to celebrate their wedding day. Everything seems to be going as planned until some of the guests begin to show signs of a strange illness — and before they know it, the bride and groom are in the middle of a hellish ordeal as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on their ceremony.

Available now On Demand, REC 3: Genesis opens in U.S. theaters Sept. 7.

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Comics A.M. | First Second’s success; more on Moore-Kirkman suits

Feynman

Publishing | First Second editorial director Mark Siegel sits down with Milton Greipp to talk about his company’s success, which comes in part by marketing books in a number of different channels — independent bookstores, libraries, even textbook adoptions. He also talks numbers, and it’s interesting to see that Feynman spent 11 weeks at the top of The New York Times graphic books best-seller list with a print run of 10,000; that’s an indication of the order of magnitude of book sales for the titles on that list. Siegel also gives a preview of the fall list. Updated (Aug. 13): Siegel notes to Robot 6 that Feynman has had multiple printings, exceeding 35,000 copies. It will soon be released in paperback. [ICv2]

Legal | The attorney for Tony Moore explains why the artist’s legal dispute with his former Walking Dead collaborator Robert Kirkman has moved into federal court. “Once Moore establishes fraud and rescinds the agreement [as laid out in the first filing], the issue is going to be whether he was a co-author of these works,” Devin McRae tells Newsarama. “And it’s the federal court that has the power to decide that. So we still have to first go in the state court and prove the fraud, which we think we’ll do. This is just something that is part and parcel of the whole thing. Nothing’s really changed.” [Newsarama]

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Quote of the Day #2 | Pool … Deadpool?

“Some of you are against celebrities making comics, but @thebrianposehn’s art is wonderful & Roger Moore’s scripts are hilarious.”

– television and comics writer Gerry Duggan, following the release of the above teaser from Marvel
trumpeting the creative team for a new Deadpool series (that’s Duggan and Brian Posehn writing,
and Tony Moore illustrating, as far as you know)


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