naruto19_final.jpgI’ve been waiting for this for a few months now, and this week we came so close I could taste it. Luckily, close only counts in horseshoes, not comic books.

Looking at our shipping list for new comics and graphic novels over at The Beguiling this week, I counted a whopping 64 new manga line-items being released this week. If that’s not the highest ever, it’s pretty damned close. Three simultaneous volumes of Naruto hitting the shelf alongside the launch of Yen Press and a few shockingly late Dark Horse products and full compliments of Viz and Tokyopop titles have gotten us to this point (at least there’s a new volume of Nana!), and it’s going to be a brutal slog Thursday morning (comics are delayed this week because of Canadian Thanksgiving).

But then I went and counted the new comics coming out this week, and we’re only getting 71 line items. Less than 7 comic books separate the total number of comics and the total number of manga shipping to our store. That’s kind of insane… Jason Thompson’s gonna have to write a new book.

Here’s the even more-shocking revelation: 9 of those line items are variant or incentive covers, different editions of the same book… particularly the ridiculous Marvel Zombie variant covers… and when you remove all the variants from the equation? New manga outnumbers new comic books by a couple of volumes.

Now of course, there are all kinds of factors to consider. The comics have higher per-unit sales in many cases, the manga has a higher price per-unit, the manga is doing less than a third of it’s total sales in the direct market, there are also another 50 new North American and European graphic novels shipping this week that clearly tip the balance of the new material back away from Japan… The big one is that due to a miscommunication between Viz and Diamond, a bunch of the Shonen Jump books scheduled to drop last week were delayed to this week, so 64 new manga is more of an unfortunate accident than any kind of planned coup.. etc. etc. It’s for other people besides me to discuss, I don’t have that head for numbers.

But the easy math is right there in front of me: 63 new manga (removing the Kingdom Hearts Box Set) to 62 new comic books (removing all of the variants) is indicative of a comics industry that, quite frankly, I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.

- Christopher


4 Comments on “More new manga volumes coming this week than new comic books? It almost happened.”

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  1. Manga Outnumbers American Comics » Comics Worth Reading says:

    [...] Christopher Butcher documents a significant turning point at the Beguiling comic shop (after caveats): the easy math is right there in front of me: 63 new manga (removing the Kingdom Hearts Box Set) to 62 new comic books (removing all of the variants) is indicative of a comics industry that, quite frankly, I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Related Posts: More Tokyopop Reaction § Archie #565: Wrong About Manga § HarperCollins/Tokyopop Deal § OEL Classification? § Styx Taxi Now Online [...]

  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Oct. 9, 2007: Shuffering and Shmiling says:

    [...] “Here’s the even more-shocking revelation: 9 of those line items are variant or incentive covers, different editions of the same book… particularly the ridiculous Marvel Zombie variant covers… and when you remove all the variants from the equation? New manga outnumbers new comic books by a couple of volumes.” – Christopher Butcher [...]

  3. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » More manga than ever before says:

    [...] Christopher Butcher has two interesting articles up at Comics212 that touch on manga’s place in the overall comics world. The first is his observation that this week’s shipment at The Beguiling, the comics store he manages, included more manga than non-manga. There are some caveats to this (he counts a comic with several variant covers as a single title, which seems reasonable to me), but it’s significant nonetheless. The second post is a review of The Best American Comics 2007. While he acknowledges that the selections are pretty good, Butcher points out that they also aren’t very representative of the comics world as a whole, omitting not only manga but webcomics and “anything with a whif of genre about it,” and he gives his own list of the best graphic novels of 2006 as a welcome alternative. [...]

  4. From the stack: Manga: The Complete Guide « Precocious Curmudgeon says:

    [...] From the stack: Manga: The Complete Guide Filed under: Del Rey, From the stack, Linkblogging — davidpwelsh @ 8:11 am As Chris Butcher noted, there’s a whole lot of manga shipping every week. (Okay, so The Beguiling isn’t exactly representative of the average comic shop or even chain bookstore. It used to be the only place in North America where you could order books from Fanfare/Ponent Mon online.) Still, it’s a crowded field, and it never hurts to have a reference. [...]

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