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BookScan's Top 20 Graphic Novels for January 2009

'Watchmen' & 'Naruto' Remain Dominant

Published: 02/05/2009, Last Updated: 02/09/2009 12:03am

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen continues to dominate sales of graphic novels in bookstores.  Watchmen has now been the #1 graphic novel for seven months in a row, and for the second consecutive month a hardcover edition of the classic post-modern take on the superhero genre was in the third spot, trailing only a volume of Naruto, the king of manga titles, which placed no fewer than seven volumes on the January BookScan list.  Naruto’s influence on the list was especially evident in January because Viz Media released four volumes of Masashi Kishimoto’s ninja-themed adventure in the second coming of the publisher’s “Naruto Nation” event (see “Free Naruto Anime”).

 

The January blitz of Naruto titles helped manga and anime-related titles expand its majority of the BookScan Top 20 from 11 in December to 15 in January.  DC Comics held all the non-manga spots with Brian Azzarello’s Joker, which has been a huge hit in both the direct and bookstore markets, in fourth; Alan Moore’s venerable The Killing Joke in the sixteenth spot; and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns at #18.  All of DC’s non-Watchmen titles on the list relate directly to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight movie and are probably still benefiting (in the bookstores at least) from the release of the TDK DVD in December.

 

Rank

Title

Author

Pub

PubDate

1

WATCHMEN TP

ALAN MOORE

DC

4/1/95

2

NARUTO VOL. 33

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

1/1/09

3

WATCHMEN HC

ALAN MOORE

DC

11/1/08

4

JOKER

BRIAN AZZARELLO

DC

11/1/08

5

NARUTO VOL. 32

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

12/1/08

6

NARUTO VOL. 34

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

3/1/09

7

NARUTO VOL. 35

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

5/1/09

8

CHIBI VAMPIRE VOL. 12

YUNA KAGESAKI

TKP

1/1/09

9

NARUTO VOL. 36

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

2/1/09

10

NARUTO VOL. 37

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

2/1/09

11

BLEACH VOL. 25

TITE KUBO

VIZ

12/1/08

12

NARUTO VOL. 31

MASASHI KISHIMOTO

VIZ

9/1/08

13

MAXIMUM RIDE VOL. 1

JAMES PATTERSON

YEN

1/1/09

14

FRUITS BASKET VOL. 21

NATSUKI TAKAYA

TKP

11/1/08

15

NEGIMA! VOL. 20

KEN AKAMATSU

DEL

12/1/08

16

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPEC. ED. HC

ALAN MOORE

DC

3/1/08

17

BLACK CAT VOL. 18

KENTARO YABUKI

VIZ

1/1/09

18

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

FRANK MILLER

DC

5/1/97

19

DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME HC

PETER DAVID

MAR

10/1/08

20

SKIP BEAT! VOL. 16

YOSHIKI NAKAMURA

VIZ

1/1/09

 

These rankings, provided by Nielsen BookScan, track the bestselling U.S. graphic novels in major book chains, mass merchants, online retailers, and some independent bookstores using POS data from January.

 

Other than Naruto, the top manga titles were Tokyopop’s Chibi Vampire, a title whose popularity continues to grow--it is now clearly the publisher’s second biggest franchise after Fruits Basket.  The 21st volume of Natsuki Takaya’s shojo saga came in at #16 in January after finishing seventh in December and second in November.  Ken Akamatsu’s Negima from Del Rey, the twentieth volume of which finished in the fifteenth spot, is another long running series that has developed a devoted following.  Three substantial series from Viz Media, the shonen Bleach (#11) and Black Cat (#17) and the shojo Skip Beat! (#20) have also demonstrated considerable longevity.

 

Special mention should be made of Maximum Ride Vol.1 from Yen Press, the lone OEL title on the list, and the anime-based Bakugan Battle Brawlers from Del Rey.  Maximum Ride is based on the bestselling YA series of novels by James Patterson and is the latest in an impressive string of graphic novel adaptations of popular works of fiction that have done well over the past 18 months, while the Bakugan title, which made the list for the second month in a row, is further evidence of the popularity of that toy and anime property among young readers.

 
 
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