Diamond Comics Distributors has released its lists for the top 500 comics and graphic novels of 2012, a year which will undoubtedly be remembered for the strength of Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead." The 100th issue of the long-running Image Comics series was the bestselling issue of 2012 while all 17 volumes of the trade paperback collections charted in the top 30 bestselling graphic novels, with the first volume taking the #1 slot for the third year in a row.
"The Walking Dead" #100 was one of two non-Marvel or DC single issues to crack the top 100 for the year, the other being IDW's "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" #1 at position #90. Marvel led the way with "Uncanny Avengers" #1 finishing second, gaining a lock on the top 20 with "Avengers Vs. X-Men" and Marvel NOW! debuts. DC's first entry on the list was "Batman" #13 at seventeenth. While Marvel and DC dominated the single issues list, there were six publishers in total represented in the top 500 with showings from Marvel, DC, Dynamite, IDW, Image and Valiant.
The top 500 graphic novels, by contrast, showcased books from 22 publishers, with Image and DC leading the charge for the top 50. Image held 23 of the top 50 books while DC published 21. "The Walking Dead" held 7 out of the top 10 bestselling graphic novels of the year, while DC's "Batman: Earth One" and "Superman: Earth One Volume 2" OGNs snagged two of the coveted top ten spots. Filling out the top ten was Top Shelf's "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 2009." Despite a strong showing in single issues, Marvel's trade paperback presence was much weaker. The publisher debuted at #31 on the top 500 with "Thanos Quest" #1.
Marvel's weaker showing on the top 500 bestselling trade paperbacks didn't stop the publisher from being the top publisher of the year overall, with a 34.06% dollar share and a 37.59% unite share. DC, by comparison, came in second with 31.94% dollar share and 36.75 unit share.
According to Diamond, 2012 was a much better year for comics sales-wise than 2011. Annual sales of comic books and graphic novels in the direct market increased 15% and 14%, respectively, compared to 2011.