Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover!

Now that's what I want in my Jimmy Olsen comics: Jimmy facing off against a giant green ape! Brad Walker, John Livesay & Pete Pantazis do the honors on the cover to Action Comics #854 (2007).

(Standard disclaimer about giant Kryptonite-infused apes not really being monkeys applies.)


Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amazon Top 50

Here are the Top 50 Graphic Novels on Amazon this afternoon. All the previous caveats apply.


1 (-). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days *
2 (-). Mercy Thompson Homecoming
3 (+4). Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
4 (+2). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
5 (-). Watchmen
6 (+2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
7 (+4). Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
8 (+6). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
9 (-). The Complete Persepolis
10 (-7). Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages
11 (-7). The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become
12 (+8). The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974 Box Set *
13 (+4). Parker: The Hunter
14 (+12). Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition)
15 (-3). Diary of a Wimpy Kid
16 (+2). Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
17 (+5). Fun Home
18 (-8). Asterios Polyp
19 (-6). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
20 (+1). V for Vendetta
21 (N). A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
22 (+2). Batman: The Killing Joke
23 (+4). The Complete Peanuts, 1973-1974 *
24 (-5). American Born Chinese
25 (-10). Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe Edition
26 (-1). Batman: Year One
27 (-4). The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
28 (R). Predators and Prey (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Vol. 5) *
29 (R). Final Crisis
30 (R). Batman: The Long Halloween
31 (+6). Mouse Guard Volume 2: Winter 1152
32 (R). Watchmen (hardcover)
33 (-17). Time of Your Life (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 4)
34 (+14). Bone: One Volume Edition
35 (+6). The Arrival
36 (+7). The Joker
37 (N). Batman: Hush
38 (+2). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation
39 (-9). The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
40 (-9). The Boys, Vol. 4
41 (N). Unknown Soldier Vol. 1: Haunted House
42 (N). The Manga Guide to Calculus
43 (-1). Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns
44 (-6). Dark Avengers Assemble (Dark Avengers, Vol. 1) *
45 (N). Blankets
46 (R). Stephen King's Dark Tower: Treachery
47 (-14). Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 4
48 (+1). The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1

Items with asterisks (*) are pre-order items.

N = New listing appearing on list for first time
R = Item returning to the list after having been off for 1 or more weeks


Commentary:

* Mercy Thompson Homecoming is finally released, but can't quite topple the newest Wimpy Kid pre-order. It will be interesting to see how long it hangs out int he top ten.

* The rest of the top ten—seven out of ten titles—is dominated by the University Effect. Expect to see it continue through at least mid-September.

* Despite reports from certain comics gossip columnists, followers of these charts know that the Arkham Asylum GN has been hanging about in the low teens–mid twenties–upper thirties on the Amazon bestseller lists for many months now. There might be a little bump from the video game, but it's not very significant and we know that you can't judge trends just by looking at a one-time snapshot. If it moves up into the top ten, then maybe we'll have something; but until now we haven't ever seen movement on the graphic novel charts based on a video game release.

* The highest debut, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, saw some favorable mainstream press, and was as high as at least #4 earlier in the week. Another debut, the first Unknown Soldier collection, also had some MSM attention, but didn't get nearly as high of a jump in the charts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Could Digital Comics Save the Midlist?

I was contemplating this morning the coming wave of digital comics. (And by digital comics I don't mean Webcomics—those that are born online—but rather digital editions of print comics.)

It's no secret that the past decade or so has not been kind to the midlist in the direct market. A system has evolved by which the major publishers are chasing the hits with splashy first month sales. As in other media (films, books, music) this serves to depress sales of midlist titles, making it very hard for a comic series to have a long life selling in the middle of the pack. And you almost never see a comic series have a nice regular upward growth in sales.

It occurs to me that a couple of different digital comics models could be a boon to midlist titles.

The first, the "iTunes model" that is nearly imminent with Longbox, could results in long tail effects being realized. This would especially be a boon to smaller publishers that aren't picked up by a majority of comics shops, as they would have a way to point their widely dispersed potential audience to an online location for purchase. Since marginal costs for distributing digital comics is close to zero and "shelf space" is virtual, such comics can potentially find their audience much more easily,

The second, a subscription model, would potentially be more helpful for midlist titles at major publishers. An analogue for this is cable television subscription channels such as HBO or Showtime. These networks are selling a package to viewers, not individual programs. This means that a critically acclaimed title adds to the overall package and is not viewed in terms of opportunity costs lost by not doing the next big crossover event. (In an interview I recently heard with the head of documentary programming for HBO, she said that in her 30 years with the network no one had ever even gone over ratings with her!)

I for one want a comic market that can support a title like Nexus and that can nurture the next Bone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover!

A chimpanzee has an Ace up his, um, sleeve? on John Bolton's cover to Proposition Player #5 (200).

(Standard disclaimer about poker-playing chimps not really being monkeys applies.)


Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Amazon Top 50

Here are the Top 50 Graphic Novels on Amazon this afternoon. All the previous caveats apply.


1 (-). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days *
2 (+1). Mercy Thompson Homecoming *
3 (+8). Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages
4 (-2). The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become
5 (-1). Watchmen
6 (+1). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
7 (-2). Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
8 (-2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
9 (-). The Complete Persepolis
10 (-2). Asterios Polyp
11 (+1). Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
12 (+2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid
13 (-). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
14 (+4). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
15 (-5). Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe Edition
16 (-5). Time of Your Life (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 4)
17 (-1). Parker: The Hunter
18 (-1). Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
19 (+14). American Born Chinese
20 (+16). The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974 Box Set *
21 (+7). V for Vendetta
22 (+17). Fun Home
23 (+9). The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
24 (-5). Batman: The Killing Joke
25 (+4). Batman: Year One
26 (-). Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition)
27 (+18). The Complete Peanuts, 1973-1974 *
28 (+12). Green Lantern: Rebirth
29 (-4). Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 2
30 (R). The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
31 (+12). The Boys, Vol. 4
32 (N). New Avengers Vol. 11: Search for the Sorcerer Supreme *
33 (-10). Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 4
34 (+8). Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3)
35 (+13). No Future For You (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 2)
36 (-12). Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 1
37 (-2). Mouse Guard Volume 2: Winter 1152
38 (N). Dark Avengers Assemble (Dark Avengers, Vol. 1) *
39 (R). Lost Girls Hardcover Edition
40 (-13). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation
41 (R). The Arrival
42 (-12). Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns
43 (R). The Joker
44 (N). Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
45 (R). Serenity, Vol. 2: Better Days
46 (N). Invincible, Book 11: Happy Days *
47 (R). The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
48 (-2). Bone: One Volume Edition
49 (R). The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1

Items with asterisks (*) are pre-order items.

N = New listing appearing on list for first time
R = Item returning to the list after having been off for 1 or more weeks


Commentary:

* The new Fables volume jumps up into the top five, while the new Walking Dead volume remains up there as well. Both have recently been picked up as potential tv series; perhaps a bunch of actors looking to get a leg up on the properties prior to casting calls? Of course, both comics have well-established track records as comics that appeal to the non-Wednesday crowd and that many people prefer to read in collections, which make them prime candidates for strong Amazon sellers.

* Mercy Thompson Homecoming inches ever so closer to the top of the list as it nears its release date next week. It's been creeping up the list for quite some time now, indicating that there will be a good number of copies going out next week to Amazon customers. (Maybe the publisher will make enough money to pay their freelancer payment backlog?)

* The University Effect continues, with Maus, Persepolis, Watchmen, & Understanding Comics all remaining in the top ten or rising up towards it.

* Two of the three new titles this week are pre-orders of Avengers hardcovers from Marvel, showing that a few Marvel fans are willing to wait a few extra weeks in order to get the sizable Amazon discount. The only other new item is the latest volume of Invincible, also in pre-order; if Image/Kirkman can successfully wage a 'from the creator of The Walking Dead' campaign, maybe it will see greater success in the coming weeks?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Amazon Top 50

Here are the Top 50 Graphic Novels on Amazon this afternoon. All the previous caveats apply.


1 (-). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days *
2 (+23). The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become
3 (+3). Mercy Thompson Homecoming *
4 (-2). Watchmen
5 (+6). Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
6 (-2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
7 (+2). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
8 (-5). Asterios Polyp
9 (+4). The Complete Persepolis
10 (-5). Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe Edition
11 (+13). Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages *
12 (+9). Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
13 (-5). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
14 (-7). Diary of a Wimpy Kid
15 (+1). Maximum Ride, Vol. 1 Manga (kindle)
16 (-1). Parker: The Hunter
17 (-3). Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
18 (+5). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
19 (-9). Batman: The Killing Joke
20 (-8). Tumor Chapter 1 (kindle)
21 (+10). Time of Your Life (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 4)
22 (-3). Final Crisis
23 (+3). Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 4
24 (+8). Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 1
25 (R). Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 2
26 (+7). Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition)
27 (-10). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation
28 (-10). V for Vendetta
29 (-1). Batman: Year One
30 (+7). Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns
31 (N). Pax Romana *
32 (R). The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
33 (-4). American Born Chinese
34 (R). The Walking Dead, Book 1
35 (-8). Mouse Guard Volume 2: Winter 1152
36 (R). The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974 Box Set *
37 (R). The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics
38 (+7). The Long Way Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 1)
39 (+3). Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
40 (-5). Green Lantern: Rebirth
41 (R). Stephen King's Dark Tower: Treachery
42 (+4). Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3)
43 (-13). The Boys, Vol. 4
44 (N). The Walking Dead, Book 3
45 (N). The Complete Peanuts, 1973-1974 *
46 (-2). Bone: One Volume Edition
47 (R). The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House
48 (R). No Future For You (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 2)
49 (N). Classic G.I. Joe Volume 3


Items with asterisks (*) are pre-order items.

N = New listing appearing on list for first time
R = Item returning to the list after having been off for 1 or more weeks


Commentary:

* Huge movement for The Walking Dead, possibly tied to the announcement that's it's being developed as a television series for AMC.

* Highest debut goes to Jonathan Hickman's Pax Romana. For a collection by a non-name (though very talented) creator and not featuring an established character or franchise, this is quite impressive.

* We may be beginning to see the start of a university effect, where GNs that are assigned as reading in college classes take a bump up at the start of the semester. This would affect books like Maus, Persepolis, Understanding Comics, and Watchmen. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see if this holds true.

* Is Green Lantern DC's new Batman?

* A GI Joe volume squeaks in at #49, showing that just because you have the top movie in the country doesn't mean that it will translate to big comics sales.

* I added in the 'R' code to differentiate items which are returning to the list, as opposed to items which are appearing on the list for the first time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How Amazon's Bestseller Lists Work

Those of you who have been following our weekly snapshots of the Amazon Top 50 Comics lists—and/or the recent discussion over at Comics Worth Reading of the same—may find the following article of interest

Over on Slate's The Big Money blog, Marion Maneker discusses "Secrets of the Amazon Best-Seller List," with speculation on how the list is derived, and how some authors attempt to game the system.

In short, Maneker quotes author Andy Kessler, who speculates:
"I'm not sure the exact number," Kessler says of the weightings, "but my guess is 40 percent hour, 30 percent day, 20 percent week, and 10 percent month. So if you have a huge spike in sales, you don't completely dislodge books that have been in the top 10 or top 100 for months and months. Though you might pass them for a very fun hour."

(link via Marc-Oliver Frisch)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Amazon Top 50

Here are the Top 50 Graphic Novels on Amazon this afternoon. All the previous caveats apply.


1 (-). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days *
2 (-). Watchmen
3 (-). Asterios Polyp
4 (+2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
5 (-1). Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe Edition
6 (+6). Mercy Thompson Homecoming *
7 (+2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid
8 (+2). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
9 (+2). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
10 (+15). Batman: The Killing Joke
11 (+3). Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History
12 (-4). Tumor Chapter 1 (kindle)
13 (+11). The Complete Persepolis
14 (+6). Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
15 (-10). Parker: The Hunter
16 (-3). Maximum Ride, Vol. 1 Manga (kindle)
17 (-10). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation
18 (+10). V for Vendetta
19 (-3). Final Crisis
20 (N). The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir
21 (+14). Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began
22 (N). The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir (kindle)
23 (+13). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
24 (N). Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages *
25 (N). The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become *
26 (-5). Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 4
27 (-9). Mouse Guard Volume 2: Winter 1152
28 (+16). Batman: Year One
29 (N). American Born Chinese
30 (-4). The Boys, Vol. 4
31 (-16). Time of Your Life (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 4)
32 (+2). Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 1
33 (-6). Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition)
34 (+16). Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938 *
35 (-13). Green Lantern: Rebirth
36 (N). The Joker
37 (-18). Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns
38 (N). The Arrival
39 (+10). The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
40 (-23). Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Deluxe Edition
41 (N). Green Lantern Vol. 2: Revenge of the Green Lanterns
42 (N). Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
43 (-3). Nevermore *
44 (N). Bone: One Volume Edition
45 (+3). The Long Way Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 1)
46 (N). Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 3)
47 (-15). Serenity, Vol. 2: Better Days
48 (N). The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders
49 (N). Al Williamson's Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic
50 (N). Predators and Prey (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Vol. 5)

Items with asterisks (*) are pre-order items.


Commentary:

* Cooke's Parker: The Hunter falls out of the top 10; a temporary dip, or has it run its course? Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp stays the course as a top three, just below Watchmen and the new Wimpy Kid.

* Highest debut of the week belongs to Laurie Sandell's The Impostor's Daughter, which comes in at #20 for the hardcover and #22 for the Kindle edition. This is the first time we've seen both the print and digital edition of a comic his the charts at the same time.

* The latest collections of Fables & The Walking Dead debut as pre-orders in the mid-twenties.

* Green Lantern & Buffy interest both seem to be waning this week, while old reliable Batman keeps chugging along.

* No graphic novels from Marvel again this week. Surprisingly, no manga on the chart either.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover!

Monkeys in the zoo laugh at the funny people on Chris Schaare's cover to Wow Comics #66 (1948).

(Standard disclaimer about funnily-dressed people not really being monkeys applies.)


Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.