The massive analysis of NPD BookScan sales compiled annually by Brian Hibbs is one of the Beat’s most popular and eagerly awaited features, but it is daunting. At around 20,000 words, it’s a statistician’s dream, but some of the more interesting findings (to me anyway) are not necessarily immediately apparent. In case, you wanted to just skim the highlights, or get some talking points for your next Ted Talk, here’s some snapshots.

My own little preamble: 2022 was an interesting sales year for graphic novels. After spectacular growth in the second pandemic year, sales were essentially flat in 2022. Graphic novels, both western and Manga, went in strong but came out even better. WE’e seeing all the results of over optimism over Pandemic Era growth – Funko destroying $30 million worth of inventory being perhaps the prime example. It’s hard to imagine perpetually anxious comics publishers and retailers falling into the Funko trap of seeing unlimited growth, but it is human nature. Several areas softened in 2022 – where they’ll find their level will be fascinating to watch.

All statistics are based on the curated Top 750 list as filed by Hibbs. I’ll have some more new charts based on NPDBookScan later this week.

  • Sales in the top 750 titles were up only 1.02% – essentially flat in 2022. However it was still the greatest number of graphic novels ever sold, more than 33 million units.
  • Sales in the top 750 titles represent about half of all graphic novel sales in BookScan reporting outlets
  • For the entire BookScan report – more than 50K titles – sales were up 1.53% with more than 52 million graphic novels sold.
  • Just over 10% of the unit sales of all 50k different graphic novels sold was  generated by only the top twenty books.


  • The #1 comics seller of the year was CAT KID COMIC CLUB v3: ON PURPOSE which sold 623,000 copies.
  • Dav Pilkey sold more than 3.7 million graphic novels but sales of his #1 title were half of 2021;’s top seller, Dog Man v10: Mothering Heights, which sold 1.3 million copies
  • Still, Pilkey sold more than 7% of all graphic novels in 2022.
  • The #1 manga was Chainsaw Man #1 which sold 276,000 copies


  • The first superhero comic to appear is at #257 with Batman: Year One making it the best selling superhero graphic novel of 2022.
  • Marvel had only one title in the top 750 up from ZERO in 2021, and that was Moonknight from Lemire and Smallwood – that’s the actual titles, a $34.99 collection of their run

moon knight lemire smallwood.jpeg

  • The top selling GN that was not manga or for young readers was Maus, at  #25  with 177k copies sold.
  • Manga sales were up 6.77% in units overall, with Viz selling over 60% of the total.
  • Non-manga publishers (“western comics”) were down 4.4% in units in the top 750.
  • Scholastic was the #1 non-manga publisher, with 23 million copies sold, however year to year they were down 7.5% from 2021.
  • The Hobbit adaptation by Dave Wenzel originally published in 1989 continues to be a steady seller decades later, with some 134,000 copies of the 2001 edition sold since 2004.
  • HarperCollins and its associated imprints had a strong year, making it the #3 non-manga publisher, up 11% in units – led by Terri Leibenson and Jerry Craft.
  • John Patrick Green was First Second;’s most successful author last year with 352,733 copies sold of his Investigators series.
  • DC Comics was the #6 non-manga publisher, with only 20 titles in the Top 750, down from a high of 131 in 2014. You can look at a lot of reasons for this – the rise of manga and kids comics being one of them – but the deliberate dismantling of DC’s sales department must also be mentioned. DC’s unit sales were down 13.5% from 2021 – however it was their 8th best year since 2007.


  • IDW had a strong year thanks to TMNT: The Last Ronin, which sold some 66K copies, and giving them a 10.7% rise over 2021. Dark Horse took a sizable hit in 2022, down -18.44% from 2021.
  • Image is way down from its Walking Dead era highs, understandably, although Saga is making a big comeback. Image was down 12% from 2021.
  • Marvel Comics has by far the most baffling performance of any publisher, with a paltry 16,000 copies of a single book sold in the top 750. Looking at the total list, they had a shade over 5000 different titles on the list, but only 932k copies sold – an average of 186 per title. Meanwhile Scholastic was able to move 42k copies of Miles Morales: Shockwaves. In fact every Marvel licensee – Viz, Scholastic, PRH, Abrams –  was able to sell more books than Marvel itself.
  • Oni Press’s biggest book of the year was Gender Queer, which sold more than 27k copies.


  1. Some notes on your condensed notes, Boss.

    “Dark Horse took a sizable hit in 2022, down -18.44% from 2021.”

    This is for the “Western Comics” side of their business — if you add in their manga, they’re only down -4% in pieces, but up +17.5% in dollars

    “In fact every Marvel licensee – Viz, Scholastic, PRH, Abrams – was able to sell more books than Marvel itself.”

    Not quite stated right. I’d rephrase it as my original: “At least four other publishers licensed to publish Marvel characters (Viz with the Manga Deadpool: Samurai; 74k, Scholastic with “Miles Morales: Shockwaves”; 42k, PRH with “Penguin Classics: Amazing Spider-Man”; 14k, and Abrams with “Fantastic Four: Full Circle”; 16k) beat every single comic Marvel itself published, except for one: “Moon Knight by Lemire & Smallwood”, with 17k.”

    They all outsold Marvel’s #2 comic in bookstores, though!


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