Since Publishers Weekly Comics Week can’t seem to be bothered to offer commentary on their top ten comics for the month of January, I thought I’d take a stab at it.
1. Death Note, Volume 9. Tsugumi Ohba. (Viz Media, $7.99 ISBN 978-142150630-2) With so much attention paid to “the Cartoon Network Effect,” it’s a little surprising to see a manga title rise to the top of a sales chart without a concurrent anime release acting as a driver. It’s less surprising that said title is Death Note, which combines a perpetually twisting, suspenseful narrative with excellent art.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 11. Hiromu Arakawa. (Viz Media, $9.99 ISBN 978-142150838-2) But it seems that the Cartoon Network Effect isn’t entirely irrelevant, even if airings of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime are sporadic and reserved for the wee hours of the morning.
3. Vampire Knight, Volume 1. Matsuri Hino. (Viz Media, $8.99 ISBN 978-142150822-1) While Fruits Basket (Tokyopop) generally holds the title for highest sales chart shôjo placement, this new addition to Viz’s Shojo Beat line is the first series to join the serialization roster of the line’s monthly anthology since its launch in 2005.
4. One Piece: It’s All Right!, Volume 13. Eiichiro Oda. (Viz Media, $7.95 ISBN 978-142150665-4) Is it the Saturday morning cartoon? The serialization in the Shonen Jump monthly anthology? Or do kids just love pirates?
5. Black Cat, Volume 16. Kentaro Yabuki. (Viz Media, $7.99 ISBN 978-142150610-4) The second entry from Viz’s Shonen Jump line, with its $8 price point and action-rich stories.
6. Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 8. Bisco Hatori. (Viz Media, $8.99 ISBN 978-142151161-0) Another Shojo Beat offering, though not one serialized in the anthology. The higher frequency of releases in Shojo Beat’s non-serialized titles (Yû Watase’s serialized Absolute Boyfriend only recently released its third volume) doesn’t seem to be hindering sales.
7. Shaman King, Volume 11. Hiroyuki Takei. (Viz Media, $7.95 ISBN 978-142150678-4) Okay, maybe they don’t all beg for individual commentary. See comments for One Piece.
8. Punch!, Volume 2. Rie Takada. (Viz Media, $8.99 ISBN 978-142150875-7) Um… ditto. See comments on Ouran High School Host Club.
9. Inuyasha, Volume 28. Rumiko Takahashi. (Viz Media, $7.95 978-1421504681) While many women have had success in shônen manga (like Hiromu Arakawa above), Rumiko Takahashi remains one of the best examples with long-running hits like Inuyasha and the recently concluded Ranma ½.
10. W Juliet, Volume 14. Emurai. (Viz Media, $9.99 ISBN 978-142150567-1) Shôjo releases don’t need to be new (or new-ish) to enjoy strong sales, as demonstrated by this long-running series.