A lot of people pointed out that Marvel and DC failed to chart in ICv2’s monthly BookScan chart for February. Instead Image and Manga crushed it with mega franchises The Walking Dead, Saga, Bleach, Naruto and Attack on Titan. Locke and Key and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children also appeared, along with Dark Horse and Boom’s perennials, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Although I used the sensational headline, the real news is that classic manga and Image are crushing it, not that Marvel and DC didn’t make it. Yes it’s a bit of a surprise to not see Watchman and The Dark Knight in that list, but it is perhaps more of a sign of health to see book that were published this century selling well. Of course we don’t see the actual numbers, so they could be puny. Perhaps I can use my magic Bookscan powers to peek at this at some point.
Still, it’s interesting to speculate on where the next backlist success is coming from. DC’s Batman franchise under Scott Snyder is going strong, as is Fables, although it’s ending eventually. Vertigo is in a rebuilding phase. With Marvel stopping and starting so many franchises and their generally weak backlist, it’s more of a big question mark.
I think more of a story here is manga making a little bit of a comeback, even if it is with legacy titles. The one big newish success story is Attack on Titan, a big hit for Kodansha, and proof that a manga series can still break through.
And of course, Walking Dead, Saga and kids comics. But you knew that already.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.