200705041308There’s been a lot of talk lately about comics on various bestsellers lists, and of course, comics have their OWN bestseller list at Publishers Weekly. While manga has been quite rightly noted for its dominance of the charts, there is a new comics bestselller that hasn’t been much noted: a collection of Jeff Kenney’s DIARY OF A WIMPY KID came out recently from Abrams, and has been on the New York Times Children’s Bestseller list for two weeks now, debuting at #7. Impressive. (Click on image for a larger readable version of the chart.)

Which brings us to the question: What was the first comic book to make a nationally recognized bestseller list? Some have said SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS; others MAUS. We’ve often remembered an ALIEN movie adaptation by Walt Simonson as making the chart back in the day, but have only our own shaky memory to go on. So how about it, Beat Street Irregulars? Any links or ideas?

Now that we’ve raised this point, we’ll render it moot by pointing out, YET AGAIN, that comics have actually been on the bestseller lists for weeks, nay, years on end if you count…GARFIELD, CALVIN & HOBBES, DOONESBURY, etc etc.

But no one ever does. So let’s go back to the drawing board.


  1. I would consider Pogo to be one of the first graphic novels to be a bestseller. The first book, Pogo, used panels from the daily strips, but was laid out as a comicbook page into distinct chapters. Walt Kelly also produced original books later in his career.
    I suspect that some of the woodcut graphic novels from the 1920s might have charted as well. Thankfully, the New York Times has digitized its entire run. Has PW?

  2. Let’s not go back to the drawing board. Go back far enough and comic books are virtually indistinguishable from comic strip collections. It’s an artificial distinction.