Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Kevin Melrose, on his blog Thought Balloons, has reproduced Publisher's Weekly's list of the top 25 graphic novels of 2004, "based on combined sales from bookstores, comics shops and online retailers." Here they are:

1. In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
2. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 1 by Nobohiro Watsuki (Viz)
3. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 3 by Nobohiro Watsuki (Viz)
4. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon)
5. Fruits Basket Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya (Tokyopop)
6. Trigun Vol. 2 by Yasuhiro Nightow (Dark Horse)
7. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 2 by Nobohiro Watsuki (Viz)
8. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
9. Fruits Basket Vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya (Tokyopop)
10. Naruto Vol. 3 by Masashi Kishimoto (Viz)
11. Naruto Vol. 2 by Masashi Kishimoto (Viz)
12. Tsubasa Vol. 2 by Clamp (Del Rey)
13. The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley (Plume Books)
14. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 5 by Nobohiro Watsuki (Viz)
15. Tsubasa Vol. 1 by Clamp (Del Rey)
16. .hack/Legend of the Twilight Vol. 2 by T. Hamazaki & R. Izumi (Tokyopop)
17. Fruits Basket Vol. 3 by Natsuki Takaya (Tokyopop)
18. Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 6 by Nobohiro Watsuki (Viz)
19. Hellboy: Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
20. Naruto Vol. 1 by Masashi Kishimoto (Viz)
21. hack/Legend of the Twilight Vol. 1 by T. Hamazaki & R. Izumi (Tokyopop)
22. Trigun Vol. 1 by Yasuhiro Nightow (Dark Horse)
23. Inuyasha Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi (Viz)
24. Yu-gi-oh Vol. 1 by Kazuki Takahashi (Viz)
25. 1602 by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove (Marvel)

A few thoughts:

1) Even when comics shops are included, superheroes are getting killed. There's only one superhero title on the list, at the very bottom, and even that doesn't use Marvel's regular superheroes, but is more of a "high concept" project like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

2) Personally, I wasn't crazy about either In the Shadow of No Towers or Persepolis 2 (particularly the former), but their success bodes well for the increasing acceptance of the graphic novel as a literary form. Especially Persepolis 2: unlike Shadow or Maus, or the first Persepolis to some extent, it doesn't have a "hook" to catch media attention; it's a memoir, plain and simple.

3) Obviously, the much-feared manga contraction hasn't happened yet. In terms of the specific manga titles, there are no big surprises, although I am surprised that Hellsing isn't up there. (For that matter, what happened to Rurouni Kenshin vol. 4?) Of the titles that are on the list, all but two (Fruits Basket and Tsubasa) began in 2003. For that matter, some of the actual volumes on the list were published in 2003. One could see this as demonstrating that manga series have "legs"; or, less positively, as a lack of new series which have captured the market. On the other hand, Chobits, various volumes of which accounted for six of the top manga in 2003 on BookScan, is off the list for 2004. More generally, all the manga on the list are from series that are currently ongoing (in the U.S., at least).

4) Another discrepancy between this list and the BookScan list: Yu-Gi-Oh, whose first volume was the top-selling manga in 2003, only makes one appearance on this list, near the bottom. Inuyasha was number five in 2003, and again near the bottom here. I don't know whether this represents a genuine loss of interest in these series, or whether it's the result of the adding in comic shops and online retailers, who presumably sell to an older audience than the chains.

(Slightly edited to fix a bit of careless cut-and-pasting.)

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?