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October 16, 2007

September’s Direct Market sales figures follow the familiar pattern – perennial sellers, strong performances for Dark Horse and Digital Manga’s boys’-love books, and just a couple of surprising items. (Are items still surprising if you can predict that they’ll crop up, even if you don’t know precisely how they’ll surprise you?)

There’s further evidence that Viz’s Naruto Nation strategy is paying off, with all three of September’s volumes in the top 10 overall and leading the manga entries in the top 100 graphic novel list. Then comes the chunk of the list where Dark Horse dominates, interrupted by the second volume of Tokyopop’s Start Trek manga (no surprise there, though perhaps I’m stereotyping the comic shop customer demographic) and the Fruits Basket Fan Book. (If Fruits Basket ships, it sells. It sometimes doesn’t even need to ship.)

I personally found the first volume of I Luv Halloween (Tokyopop) really mean-spirited and nihilistic, but I’m apparently in the minority, as new volumes keep showing strong sales. This isn’t really surprising, partly owing to writer Keith Giffen’s popularity in the Direct Market. (I feel like I should mention something here about objections to his adaptation of Battle Royale, but I can’t figure out how to make it fit.)

Another slightly surprising appearance on the list is made by the first volume of Death Note (Viz – Shonen Jump Advanced). The entire series is available, but news of the imminent arrival of the anime on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block (I think the first episode airs this Saturday at midnight) has clearly given it a boost and is bringing in new readers.

And there’s probably something to be made of the strong performances of both Tokyopop’s Welcome to the NHK (a scathing parody of fanboys) and He Is My Master (Seven Seas), which proudly waves its fan-service flag. My socio-analytical powers are weak this morning, though.

The list of manga entries is after the jump.

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