Comic book sales went up 10 percent in 2013, according to a news release from Diamond Comic Distributors Inc., the world's largest distributor of comics, graphic novels and pop-culture merchandise.
Local retailers also reported strong sales in comic-book items, including Image Comics' “The Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” No. 115 was the best-selling comic book published in 2013, based on total unit sales to comic book specialty shops, according to Diamond. “The Walking Dead” TV show, based on the comics, remained one of 2013's highest-rated TV shows.
“We're starting to see more and more fans of the show looking for the actual comics,” said Justin Allen of Second Chance Books, 3909 N Macarthur Blvd. in Warr Acres.
Written by creator Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Charlie Adlard, “The Walking Dead” No. 115 celebrated the zombie series' 10th anniversary with 12 variant covers.
Marvel Comics finished the year as the comic book specialty market's top publisher, with more than 33 percent of the market as measured by dollars. Marvel Comics had six titles in the top 10, led by “Guardians of the Galaxy” No. 1 in the fourth spot.
DC Comics, officially now called DC Entertainment, was the comics specialty market's second-largest publisher with 30.33 percent of the dollar market share. Its top seller, at No. 2, was “Justice League of America” No. 1, which featured a variant cover for each of the 50 states.
“It was a really cool promotion,” Allen said. “I imagine on a national level it would have done really well. Everybody here wanted Oklahoma, except for a couple of people from Texas who wanted that.”
Graphic novel sales were up by 6.5 percent, Diamond reported. The top graphic novel was “Saga” Vol. 1 from Image Comics.
Image was the third-largest publisher, with 8 percent of the market share. “Saga” in 2013 received the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.
Bryan O'Quinn of Empire Strikes Books, 600 NW 23, Suite 103, said sales of “Saga” at his shop were strong throughout the year.
Image Comics had seven of the top 10 graphic novels, including five volumes of Kirkman's “The Walking Dead.”
“Hawkeye Volume 1: My Life as Weapon” was Marvel's top-charting graphic novel at No. 7.
“‘Hawkeye' was the best-selling thing ever,” said Brian Berlin of New World Comics, 6219 N Meridian. “I sold 250 copies of the trade. As soon as that trade came out, it was the easiest thing to sell.”
“‘Hawkeye' has been a really big one,” he said. “The way that it's portrayed, it's not really like a ‘hero book,' per se.”
Allen said writer Matt Fraction has made “Hawkeye” stand out for Marvel Comics.
“They finally found a writer who understands how to make that character hold a book,” he said. “It's a superhero, but it's not a superhero book.”
Marvel's “Infinity” cracked the top 10 at No. 6. The space adventure featuring Marvel heroes from Jonathan Hickman was also a strong seller locally.
“Jonathan Hickman, his sci-fi stuff has just been selling through the roof with ‘Infinity,'” O'Quinn said.
Joey Belden of Atomik Pop, 7884 S Western, pegged “Infinity” No. 1 as his third-best seller, behind “Forever Evil” No. 1 and “Superman Unchained” No. 1.
“Unchained,” which featured “Batman” writer Scott Snyder teaming up with popular comics artist and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, was Diamond's third-best-selling book of the year, tying into the hype around the “Man of Steel” film.
“I can't keep it in,” said Allen. “It's jumped to our third most-popular pull (title).”
IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics rounded out the top five publishers.