bestselling comics

On last week’s book bestseller list, as reprinted by PW from Bookscan numbers, five of the top ten best selling books were comics, or “nearly comics.”

Dav Pilkey charted twice with the last two Dog Man books at #1 and #6, the new Wimpy Kid was at #2, Raina Telgemeier’s Guts was #8 and Nathan W Pyle’s Strange Planet was at #10.

Even if you don’t count the text/comics hybrid Wimpy Kid….that’s 40% of the Top Ten.

According to the article by Carolyn Juris, the new edition of Watchman was also charting strongly.

Pilkey’s Fetch-22 (the eighth book in the Dog Man series) has already sold a mind boggling 312,605 copies. 

Just to emphasize that.


These are Stephen King/John Grisham numbers.

Backing that up, Pilkey was just named Publishers Weekly’s Person of the Year, the first time a cartoonist-type has been named to that honor. The numbers don’t lie.

Since Dog Man’s debut in 2016, more than 26 million copies of the first seven books in the series have been printed, according to Scholastic. In 2019 alone, Graphix says it’s printed more than seven million Dog Man books (not including Fetch-22) for the U.S. market. For Whom the Ball Rolls, released in August 2019, has sold nearly 40% more copies than its predecessor, Lord of the Fleas, which was released in August 2018, according to the publisher.

While Pilkey’s Dog Man and Captain Underpants books are flying off the shelves, his fans are flocking to his public appearances. A Pilkey book tour is essentially a rock concert for his throngs of young fans. David Saylor, creative director of Graphix, says of a recent sold-out Pilkey appearance at the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus comics festival in Ohio, “I was blown away by the event. The unbridled joy of the crowd and the way he connects with kids… I’ve never seen anything like it. Afterward, he met with every kid that wanted to meet him. It took hours and they waited patiently and got to talk with him.”

This overwhelming success of kids comics is undoubtedly why The New York Times had to reinstate their comics bestseller list – to have Dog Man and Guts on the “real” book list would have been unthinkable.

To which as we finish out a 2019 that was pretty incredible for comics, I can only say




  1. I know DC is looking — they’re doing more tween books in the Raina format. I think Art Baltazar and Gene Yang are on the right track. (And American-Born Chinese is great.) OTOH, is Marvel even trying? That age group LOVES the Avengers movies — but Marvel Comics gots NOTHING? Is it that the next Raina, Dav Pilkey and Jeff Kinney won’t do work-for-hire for Disney?

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