DC’s November sales once again dominated the Diamond top ten list. Comic Chron has the lists of the Diamond top ten for both comics and trades. Marvel still won out in sales thanks in part to their books carry the $3.99 price tag. This is one of things that bothers me about Marvel of late. The jump to $3.99 has lead to fewer sales but the price increase compensates for the loss in actual sales numbers. Essentially the people willing to shell out the higher price now carry more of the burden of the sales. This would not be so bad if Marvel fallowed DC’s pattern of having most of their $3.99 books have backup features, which increases the page count with new material giving more value for what the consumer will pay. Some of Marvel’s books have done this, such as the Incredible Hulk, but their top books still carry the lower page count. I realize this is a typical business practice and it is certainly not exclusive to comics, but it takes advantage of the most loyal readers without generating new costumers. DC seems to genuinely care about their fans and what they have to pay. That is at least showing in the latest sales numbers even though Marvel is taking in more money. My hope is Marvel will eventually fall in line with DC’s more fan friendly practices.
In contrast to the Diamond’s sales numbers the Times Best Seller and the Nielsen BookScan lists tell a different story of what is popular in the more traditional bookstore settings. ICv2 has the BookScan top 20 from November. The interesting thing about the BookScan list is that it shows how dominate manga is among book sellers. The Times separates manga into its own category, so manga’s dominance is not as obvious there. Topping both lists is Robert Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated, meaning it is even outselling manga. Thanks to positive media and word of mouth Crumb’s latest work has increased in sales after a more modest start. It has worked on me as I recently picked up a copy. I still need to read it as it did not dawn on me until after I picked it up at that this is just a literal illustration of the King Jame’s version of the Book of Genesis. I’m not a terribly religions person so stories from the Bible tend to be rather bland to me as I’ve already had all the highlights hammered into me over the years. Crumb’s art is fantastic though and worth the trouble of reading through the thing.
The Book of Genesis reminds me of something else I read recently that being the first volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha. Much like Crumb’s work Tezuka, best known as the creator of Astro Boy, illustrates early stories from the Buddhist tradition. It is more of a humorous interpredation which makes it a much more entertaining read then a more literal translation would have been. I’m looking forward to reading the other volumes in the series.
One last quick note before I close this out. The first issue of the Vertigo title the Unwritten can be read for free from DC’s Vertigo blog. It is a pdf which is a welcome change from the usually crumy flash based readers like Marvel and Zuda have. I recommend using the free Foxit reader for all pdfs, it’s much faster and friendlier then the Acrobat reader.