It should come as no surprise to find that comic books and graphic novels are among the most popular forms of art and entertainment. More recently, society has moved away from the association of comics with teenage boys, and has come to recognize and appreciate their value at multiple levels, across multiple demographic groups. Their reach has extended into other forms of media, from comic con, to TV, to some of the biggest blockbusters in recent years. And as an industry, it’s still raking in the dough – despite the average going rate of $4.
Month after month, kids, teens and adults pile up at their local comic book shops to purchase the next issue of their favorite series. Superheroes, zombies, folk creatures – you name it, there is a comic book out there about it. But which are the best of the best? Here is a list that compiles the top-sellers over the last year, based on data provided by the distributors. If you were ever wondering which comic book might be for you, or which series might be worth jumping into, this is a great way to peruse your options.
10. Batman #27
Released in November of 2013, this issue took the shelves by storm, bringing in over $125,000. The 32 page epic leads the readers into the final arc of the Zero Year series, which is meant to redefine Batman’s origin story. The narrative follows Bruce Wayne who, after a flood that all but wiped out Gotham City, is believed to be dead. Living underground, Bruce battles personal demons linked to his past, and soon finds himself in real danger when city villains find out he is alive, and come after him.
Key talents throughout the series include Scott Snyder, Rafael Alberquerque and Dustin Nguyen, all of which also contribute to Stephen King’s series, American Vampire.
9. Batman #32
By June 2014, the second to last issue of the Zero Year series set it up to go out with a bang – that is, a banging $130 thousand. This final arc has Batman duking it out with the Riddler, in an attempt to restore his beloved city. With the Riddler in control, Gotham has been cut off from the rest of the world, and is in serious need of super-protection. As the final battle closes in, readers simply couldn’t wait to get their hands on this one.
8. Origin II #1
A follow up to 2001’s Origin series, which took readers back to Wolverine’s roots, Origins II had been highly, highly anticipated. Finally released in December of 2013, the series kicked off with James (soon-to-be Wolverine) having to come to grips with the age-old mutant question; Man? Or Beast? The series also boasted a revelation into Wolverine’s greatest enemy, and insights into the danger and horrors of living as a mutant in a relentlessly ignorant society.
The first issue was written by Kieron Gillen, primarily known for his work on Iron Man and Young Avengers. It brought in over $130,000.
7. Forever Evil #1
A ground-breaking event in the DC universe, Forever Evil, creates a unique crossover as the Justice League, the Justice League of America, and the Justice League Dark, all come together in one action-packed narrative. The first issue sets up a universe (or multiverse) in which all three Justice League teams are “dead”, allowing the Crime Syndicate to take over. With villains ruling the Earth, there has never been a more terrible time for Superheroes to be eradicated. The series was promoted as the beginning of an epic-tale of the world’s greatest super-villains. The hype paid off, and released in September of 2013, the opening issue garnered nearly $140 thousand.
The lead talent for the issue was Geoff Johns, a highly acclaimed comic writer known especially for The Flash and Teen Titans.
6. Original Sin #1
As the title suggests, this series was put together as a murder mystery, pertaining to the questions of the universe. When The Watcher, who has been known to watch over the world from the moon since the beginning of time, is found to be dead, Nick Fury puts together his team of Avengers to crack the case. Of course, the search for a truth this big always leads to more questions, like what is the Original Sin? – and why is Black Panther gathering a secret team that includes Emma Frost of the X-Men? Dark, philosophical and action-packed, this one was a no-brainer for a top-sellers list. It raked in almost $150,000 upon its release this May.
The issue was written by Jason Aaron, who is famous for his work on Wolverine and PunisherMAX.
5. Superman Unchained #2
Released in July of 2013, this issue was the second in the ongoing series of this all-new Superman story. The excitement never stops, and this issue in particular, follows a sub-plot about Jimmy Olsen. More importantly, Superman’s new mission is not only to continuously save planet Earth – but to find out who (or what) the superhuman being, hidden by General Lane, is up to. One thing is for sure, he has been shadowing Superman… But why? Well, people are willing to pay to find out. The comic brought in over $165 thousand.
The issue is written by best-selling author, Scott Snyder.
4. Infinity #1
This series makes a point to utilize many narratives within the Marvel universe, bringing everything together for a uniquely over-sized new story. It kicked off in August of 2013, with the Avengers recognizing an impending threat on the planet. They must then travel to the Galactic Council (bringing in issues from Guardians of the Galaxy) to explore the larger ramifications of the political atmosphere, and Thanos returns with his own set of peculiar demands. The fans flooded the comic book shops for this one, handing over upwards of $200,000.
Jonathan Hickman, a seasoned Marvel writer, was the lead talent for this one, along with illustrators Jim Cheung and Jerome Opena.
3. Rocket Raccoon #1
A prominent member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team, since its relaunch in 2008, Rocket Raccoon was certainly due for another story arc. Released just last month, July 2014, the comic received a ton of support, raking in nearly $300,000. It is especially good timing with the release of the IMAX 3D blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, in which his character is voiced by actor Bradley Cooper. The ever-popular character has been the source of many gimmicks and merch, and now, the new series draws in readers by putting their favorite Guardian on the run.
The talent is headed by Scottie Young, who also leads the Oz comics (Yes, like Wizard of Oz).
2. The Walking Dead #115
After over a hundred issues, and its launching of AMC’s hit TV series of the same name, you just know it had to make the list. This issue in particular managed to bring in a whopping $310 584. Published in October of 2013, it marks the beginning of the “All Out War” story arc. Now having accepted that the world as they once knew it is never coming back, and with the dead ruling the world, the survivors are forced to make some tough decisions. The promotion of the new story-line boasted, “it’s going to get bloody.”
The art talent heading this arc saw Dave Stewart (Captain America, Hellboy and more) and Stefano Gaudiano (Daredevil, Gotham Central and more) teaming up with Walking Dead regular, Charlie Adlard. Very exciting.
1. Amazing Spider-Man #1
The April 2014 re-launch of the Amazing Spider-Man series was a very, very big deal. This was largely because it was the return of Peter Parker, who had apparently died in the body of Dr. Octopus, during the previous year’s story arc. Generating hype for the re-launch, the comic was said to bring back Parker with a whole new, second chance at life, attitude. How much will the public pay to have Spider-Man back? Roughly $533, 000!
The issue was written by Dan Slott, who also penned some of the simultaneous Original Sin comics, which also featured Spider-Man. Consistency is always appreciated.