Analyzing the 2010 Comics Charts

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Diamond Comic Distributors–the company from which virtually every comics specialty store in America buys the bulk of their stock–has released their charts for the bestselling comic books and graphic novels of 2010 (for copies sold through them, which is to say it doesn’t include many bookstore sales). They list the top 500 in each format; they don’t list exact sales figures, but do indicate overall sales ratios, which means that graphic novel #1–the first volume of The Walking Dead–sold almost 19 times as many copies through Diamond last year as graphic novel #500–the second volume of X-Men Forever.

(More on The Best Graphic Novels of 2010)

The charts don’t include a lot of surprises, but a few things are worth pointing out:

*Book-wise, 2010 belonged to The Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim. Nine of the top 20 books were Walking Dead collections, and all six Scott Pilgrim books were in the top 20 as well. (And the $60 Walking Dead Compendium is #60 on the sales charts, but #7 in dollar rank.)

*Marvel’s highest-charting book was the Kick-Ass hardcover by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., at #2–but its second-highest-charting book was Millar and Steve McNiven’s Wolverine: Old Man Logan, all the way down at #40. The highest-charting Marvel book not written by Millar was #64, The Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead.

*Nine of the top ten books are properties owned by the people who wrote and/or drew the book. (The exception is Superman: Earth One.)

(More on The Best Comic Books of 2010)

*Alan Moore’s former domination of the book charts has ended. Watchmen is now down at #42, and V for Vendetta at #57. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, a backlist perennial, was #36 this year–but his sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again was all the way down at #433.

*Geoffrey Hayes’ early reader for preschoolers from Toon Books, Benny and Penny in The Big No-No, slightly outsold Darwyn Cooke’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter.

*The periodical comic book chart belongs to Marvel and DC, in a very big way. The highest-charting comic book not published by one of them was True Blood #1, from IDW, at #299.

*The 26 best-selling DC single issues were all written or co-written by either Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison. The best-selling DC single issue that was neither a Batman comic nor a tie-in to Blackest Night/Brightest Day was Superman #700, at position #109.