'The Walking Dead' Back on Top in Bookstores
'Last Airbender' at #2 and #4
Published: 07/06/2012 01:26am
Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead returned to the top of the Nielsen BookScan list of the "Top 20 Graphic Novels" sold in bookstores in June thanks to the release of the 16th volume in the long-running Image Comics zombie series, which has been given a huge boost thanks to the success of the AMC TV adaptation of the comic book series. As the memories of the second season of the TV series that ended in March continues to fade, the number of TWD titles on the Nielsen list has continued to fall from twelve in March and April to five in May and just four in June. Nevertheless the release of Volume 16, even though it didn’t happen until June 19th, was a big enough deal that it soared to the top of the list with just 11 days of sale, a potent display of the property’s dominance in the "Genre Graphic Novels" category.
But The Walking Dead’s dominance should not obscure the potent performance of another TV-driven property, Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels. The first volume in the series, which is written by award-winning creator Gene Luen Yang, debuted on February 1st and has been a fixture on the "Top 20" list ever since. In June the first volume of the series moved up to #4 in support of the newly released second volume, which debuted at #2 for the month. The current success of The Legend of Korra, the cartoon sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, certainly hasn’t hurt sales of Dark Horse’s Avatar graphic novels, which take place in between the events in the first Nickelodeon cartoon series and The Legend of Korra.
DK Publishing’s Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Guide remained on the list at number three testifying to the continuing power of Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie. But the influence of another summer blockbuster, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, is also clear thanks to the appearance of Batman Knightfall #1 as well as Tony Daniel’s first Detective Comics HC collection, the only new "New 52" title to make the list this month.
However two of "New 52" titles that were on the May list, Batman: The Court of Owls HC and Justice League: Origin HC both remained on the list for the second month in a row. Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls slipped just one spot, from #4 in May to #5 in June, while the Justice League title (which outsold Court of Owls in the direct market) fell from #5 in May to #16 in June. Batman is clearly the bestselling DC Comics property in the bookstores, and Nolan’s films have played a major role in that dominance.
Mention should also be made of Marvel’s Kick-Ass 2 HC, another movie-driven title (the second Kick-Ass movie is still in development, but the first film sold a lot of books in the bookstore market) that debuted at #11.
The number of manga titles in the "Top 20" grew from just 4 in May to 7 in June led by two volumes of Tite Kubo’s Bleach from Viz Media. Viz plans to publish two volumes a month through the end of the year in order to catch up with release of the trade paperback collections in Japan (see "Viz Plans Speed-Up of 'Bleach' Manga"). Two volumes of Bleach finished at #6 and #7, followed by one of the top shojo series, Black Bird Vol. 14 at #8. Other manga titles debuting on the list include the latest iteration of the popular anime/TCG/manga property Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Vol. 1 at #14 and Alice in the Country of Clover at #19. The latter is the first volume in the series published by Seven Seas, which took over the property from the now defunct Tokyopop.
Another title on the list that is not a “graphic novel” is Larry Tye’s Superman: The High Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, a prose history of the creation and creators of The Man of Steel.
For past BookScan Top 20 Graphic Novel lists, see the "BookScan Top 20 GNs Index."
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