Where Do We Stand? September Comic Sales

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Death of Wolverine #1 coverTopping the Diamond’s top ten lists are two beloved characters, Marvel’s Wolverine and DC’s Batman. Taking the top two spots on single issue list is Death of Wolverine #1 and #2. The weekly mini series is getting so much buzz that even NPR’s All Things Considered has a piece about it. First prize on the graphic novels is boxed set of Batman: Death in the Family, which comes with, just in time for Halloween, its very own Joker mask.

Marvel and DC are all alone in the top ten single issues this month, but jockeying for spots in the graphic novel list. Although DC and Image eek out 3-week runs on the NYT list with Forever Evil and Walking Dead Volume 10 respectively, they couldn’t pull through with all four.

Of note Fatale_v5 cover imageon the NYT list, for the last week of September, powerhouse Raina Telgemeier had three books in the top five, Smile, Sisters and Drama. Smile and Sisters spent all four weeks in the NYT list and Drama edged in with three weeks. With the release of Sisters, the author has embarked on an extensive book tour which may be the reason for the top ten takeover.

Female representation on the Diamond list is uneven this month. For single issues, it’s low with only two women on covers, but for graphic novels and trades we’re up to eight. The NYT list squeezed between them with five out of eight titles that appeared all four weeks of September.

There’s positive movement in the number and variety of main female characters across both the Diamond and NYT lists. As I haven’t read all the titles, I can’t vouch that they’re all well-done female characters, but sometimes more is good all on its own.

Creators looking for ideas on how to write female characters have a lot of inspiration. Though notShoplifter cover image an inclusive list, here are some examples.  The latest Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner appears on both Diamond’s single issue and graphic novel list.  Fatale wraps up its run with the mysterious Josephine, Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 holds a Gamora versus Angela battle, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds focuses on a talented young chef, Katie, and Jules Feiffer’s first graphic novel, Kill My Mother, following five formidable women.

Graphic memoirs from Ros Chast, Raina Telgemeier and Marjane Satrapi share the not-so-glorious stories of taking care of your parents as they get older (Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant), the quirks of middle school (Smile) and growing up before and after the Islamic revolution in Iran (Persepolis).

Also new and noteworthy are up-and-coming titles on the NYT list, specifically Shoplifter by Michael Cho about a lonely twenty-something young woman in the city and Cece Bell’s El Deafo about a young girl dealing with making friends at school while wearing bulky hearing aid.

Each month, Diamond Comics Distributors releases data on the top selling products from single issue comics, to graphic novels and trade paperbacks, to toys. Their sales data represents items sold through comic book shops.

I also include information from the New York Times’ weekly bestsellers’ list for graphic books. Their list comprises sales data for items sold through venues other than comic book shops, like bookstores. As it’s weekly, it won’t be an exact picture of all the days in the month, but it’s  valuable way to see what fans who aren’t buying at comic shops are reading.


Brenda Noiseux

Brenda Noiseux

Community builder, artist, convention organizer, gamer, geek writer @womenoncomics, @Sidequest_BHP. Owner, Bittenby Studios