What a Year That Was! Bestselling Graphic Novels From the 2014 New York Times Bestseller Lists!


Then a miracle occurs…

Ah… another year draws to a close, and just like the Facebook New Years app, I analyze a year’s worth of data, run my quirky algorithms, and post it for all to see.  And just like those “here’s the great things our family did this year” holiday letters, you’ll probably look at the graphs, skim the post, and move on to the next post.

But it’s a tradition here at Beat Manor, and I’d do it anyway, just because I’m curious about sales figures. [Read more…]

Who Sold What?: New York Times Graphic Novel Bestsellers 2013

#1It’s a new year, and what better time to take a look back at what happened in 2013?

Regular readers of The Beat know me as the comic BOOK guy.  I’m a bookseller, a librarian, a comics evangelist, and, yes, a seeker of the esoteric.  So that means while people (and websites) cover the comics industry, I’m usually wandering off to some strange corner, discovering something cool that no one else knows about.

I’m also a bit of a recreational mathematician, a numbers wonk, and while others run Fantasy Football leagues, I’m over at Massey Ratings checking in on all 916 college football teams!

So, we talk a lot here at The Beat about sales charts, the Top 300 this-and-that, and how big the slices are (and how bigger the pie itself is growing).

One of the most famous rankings in bookselling, and one of the oldest, are the weekly bestsellers as charted by the New York Times newspaper.  After a bit of controversy over the non-listing of Watchmen in the Summer of 2008 (although the novelization of “The Dark Knight” did get listed), the Times instituted three bestseller charts for “graphic books”.  (Yeah… it’s awkward… but nobody notices that.)  So, in March 2009, the list was introduced, and various creators have been able to list “New York Times bestselling author” on their press releases!

I offered a multi-part analysis here last year, and I’ll just do one this year, since I’m sure many really aren’t that interested.  It’ll be long, but there will be lost of pie charts!  Everyone loves pie, right?  Click on any graphic to make it larger!

[Read more…]

Analysis: New York Times Bestsellers: Graphic Books: Trade Paperbacks: 2012

Every week, the New York Times runs bestseller listings, which include “Graphic Books”.  There’s a listing for Hardcover, Paperback, and Manga titles.  The Times dates the charts a week ahead of publication, while tabulating titles a week behind.  That means that the chart from January 1, 2012 “reflects sales for the week ending December 17, 2011″.  As I begin to type this, the December 30, 2012 chart has already been posted a week ahead of time.  Does this alter the analysis any?  Not really, a year is a year, and anyway, the holiday sales usually bleed into January anyway.  (Yes, I moved the goalposts, but it’s still the same distance between them.) [Read more…]

Analysis: New York Times Bestsellers: Graphic Books: Manga 2012

When the New York Times first started their “graphic books” bestseller lists, they included one for manga.  Why manga?  Why not one for superheroes, or comic strips, or any other segment of graphic novels? [Read more…]

Analysis: New York Times Bestsellers: Graphic Books: Hardcovers 2012

So as the new year approaches, I continue my look back at the graphic novels which made the New York Times bestseller lists in 2012. [Read more…]

Analysis: New York Times Bestsellers: Graphic Books: 2012: Overview

As the end of the year approaches, it is commonplace to take a look back at the year, see where we’ve been, and if it foretells anything for the year ahead.  I’m a bookseller and librarian, and this past year saw a continuing growth of comics in bookstores and specialty shops.

The New York Times posts bestseller lists each week, and has tracked “Graphic Books” for the past three years.  So, since I’ve got nothing better to do (although there is a lot of something worse to do!), why not analyze the entire year in all three lists, and post my insights here?  (Yeah, it’s good to indulge my inner nerd!)  Instead of a yardstick (or even a meter stick!), I’ll be using my own unique method of weighting each ranking (10 points for #1, 9 for #2…) as well as special charts for categories, publisher imprints, and franchises.  (Mmm… pie…) [Read more…]

Miscellaneous Linkage: Weekend Edition


What’s been going on this weekend?

Bronys and pegasisters meet in New Jersey for “BronyCon Summer 2012″!

As Yahoo reports (via AP):

[“Friendship is Magic” creator Lauren] Faust told The Associated Press at BronyCon on Saturday that she never imagined the show would be such a hit with teenage boys and young men. She said her main target was little girls, but she hoped to draw in moms and perhaps some boys with strong characters and compelling story lines.

“We live in a society where saying that something is for girls is the equivalent to saying that something is stupid, or saying that something isn’t worthwhile,” Faust said.

“I think that’s awful and I think that kind of attitude needs to be changed,” she said. “And these men are doing it. … They’re proud that they’re forward-thinking and modern enough to look past this misogynistic attitude.”

Faust said she, like the Bronies, is disturbed at the negative images some people have about men who like the show.

The New York Times’s chief movie critics, A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, ponder the meaning of an apparently invincible genre.

Scott and Dargis discuss why superhero movies are so popular, and what sort of meaning can be gleaned from the genre.

DARGIS They’re certainly avatars of reaction in how they justify and perpetuate the industry’s entrenched sexism. You just have to scan the spandex bulges in “The Avengers” to see that superhero movies remain a big boys’ club, with few women and girls allowed. Yes, there are female superheroes on screen, like Jean Grey from the “X-Men” series, but they tend not to drive the stories, while female superheroes with their own movies never dominate the box office. Most women in superhero movies exist to smile indulgently at the super-hunk, to be rescued and to flaunt their assets, like Scarlett Johansson’s character in “The Avengers,” whose biggest superpower, to judge by the on- and off-screen attention lavished on it, was her super-rump.

Your weekly article about comics and academia

University of North Texas professor Shaun Treat teaches “Mythic Rhetoric of Superheroes” in the UNT Department of Communication Studies.

Half of the University of North Texas students in professor Shaun Treat’s summer class had never read a comic book.

His WordPress blog can be found here.  The amazing syllabus is here!  What’s on the reading list?

  • Jewett & Lawrence, The Myth of the American Superhero. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002. [HIGHLY recommended!]
  • Barry Brummett, Rhetoric in Popular Culture. Sage, 2006 (2nd Ed) or 2011 (3rd Ed).
  • Reading Packet of superhero scholarship [at copy shop] and Graphic Novels [list below]
    • Batman: Year One
    • Green Lantern & Green Arrow
    • X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
    • The Dark Knight Returns
    • V for Vendetta
    • Marvels
    • Kingdom Come
    • Superman: Red Son
    • Icon: The Hero’s Welcome
    • Promethea
    • Marvel Civil War
    • Watchmen
    • All-Star Superman
    • Batwoman: Elegy
    • Wonder Woman: Hiketeia*
    • The Authority*/ Astro City*
    • Superman: Birthright*
    • Swamp Thing*
    • Daredevil: Reborn*
    • Birds of Prey*
    • * = recommended, not required

Man…. I wish Texas wasn’t so far away!

“So what exactly is Grant Morrison building out there in the Nevada desert?”

The Los Angeles Times reports on the forthcoming MorrisonCon.

“The ideas of comic books have exploded off the pages to influence our entire culture so we wanted to create an event to celebrate that,” Morrison said. “Something that would combine visionary ideas, occult ritual, music and spoken word performances, art workshops, experimental films, DJ sets and in-depth discussions inspired by the comics.”

I wonder what the logo/sigil will look like?

All Programming for Comic-Con International has been posted.

There will also be exclusive retailer programming, and a network lounge.

Perhaps cosplay could be an extreme sport?

Anime Expo and the X Games take place simultaneously in downtown Los Angeles. 

ESPN has an interesting perspective.

That’s exactly what happened this year as ESPN moved the Summer X Games from its normal slot at the end of July to the end of June to accommodate athletes and fans who are Olympics-bound in London.

So, this weekend, it was 100,000 people watching skateboarders, BMXers and Rallycross drivers at the 18th annual X Games, and right next door at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was another 100,000 people dressing up as their favorite anime characters, listening to famous voice-over TV actors and buying the latest Japanese comic at the 21st annual Anime Expo 2012.

The crowds aren’t so different, Diaz said. “I see a lot of people walking between the two conventions and they are enjoying their days. Our plan is to go to both.”

And the most awesome quote:

Diaz was carrying a blowup gun and sporting black shorts and a black shirt with a skeleton design on the front.

Is that from a movie or a comic book?

“No, this is just how I dress.”

I’ll say it again….  sports fans are just another tribe of geeks.  Arcane knowledge, t-shirts and jerseys of their favorite teams, passion, fantasy gaming, a growing female presence, billions of dollars spent…