Batman and Robin #1

Batman and Robin #1

2009 was a pretty good year for comics sales. At All New Comics we saw our month-to-month sales rise by about 80% year over year, with a lot of that coming from new customers.

Our existing customers aren’t demonstrating any of the so-called “event fatigue” which retailers like Brian Hibbs are complaining about, and instead are subscribing to event based titles in record numbers for us, prompting us to place our first triple digit numbers for some titles!

For fun, here’s our top 10 subscription title on All New Comics right now.

  1. Blackest Night – DC Comics 8 Issue Mini-Series
  2. Batman – DC Comics
  3. Amazing Spider-Man – Marvel Comics
  4. Green Lantern – DC Comics
  5. Batman and Robin – DC Comics
  6. Captain America Reborn – Marvel Comics 6 Issue Mini-Series
  7. New Avengers – Marvel Comics
  8. Detective Comics – DC Comics
  9. Captain America – Marvel Comics
  10. Green Lantern Corps – DC Comics

That’s what we’re selling a lot of, but what were my favourites this year? Well that’s a slightly different story. Here they are (in no particular order).

Batman and Robin – by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Philip Tan
Batman RIP was not great, although like most Morrison stuff it holds up better in a collected version, but the new Batman and Robin duo withthe dun loving Dick Grayson as Batman and the brooding Damian Wayne as Robin has been terrific. Throw in some new rogues, and we have a new series that was the title I most looked forward to every month.

Blackest Night – Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
This title actually got me into a comic shop on a Wednesday, something I haven’t done in 5 years! That first issue was awesome, and Johns has managed to do something amazing on the last page of each issue.

Green Lantern – Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke
Green Lantern’s been consistantly great since Johns relaunched the title 5 years ago, but the war of light and current Blackest Night storyline are amazing.

Green Lantern Corps – Peter Thomasi and Patrick Gleason
A companion book to GL that focuses on the larger pantheon of characters. It stumbled a little a couple of years ago but has still been pretty solid, especially with the Blackest Night storyline.

Superman Secret Origin – Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
Who needs ANOTHER retelling of the single most retold comic origin of all time? Apparently we all did. Not only was the characterization spot on, but Frank’s portrayal of Superman bears an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Reeves. It’s goodness of the highest order.

Captain America Reborn – Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch
This story has re-twisted Cap’s story to make him a man out of time again as he has been forced to go back through his history and relive crucial moments in it. Hitch draws an amazing Cap and has done some incredibly dynamic work here.

Wednesday Comics – by Various
I didn’t expect much from this, but man was it ever cool. Printed at full newsprint size, and consisting of a dozen stories each 1 page long, every week we got something cool from twelve amazing artistic teams. This is being collected in a 17×11 collection which I’m really looking forward to owning (but have no frigging clue where I will store).

The Flash Rebirth – Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver
Geoff Johns is on this list a lot, and here he breathes new life into Barry Allen, a character I have never really cared about. I didn’t read Flash as a kid, and my only exposure to the character was through Kid Flash in Teen Titans. In many ways Wally West has always been “my” Flash, so when he inherited the mantle after 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, it made sense to me. Barry Allen was always flat, boring, and predictable, while Wally had a real character arc and was much more of a three dimensional character. Johns is currently changing this, giving Allen motivation, and introducing a lot of character development. Van Sciver is a brilliant technical artist, and it’s a pleasure to watch him continue to evolve as an artist.

Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse Gets Ready
Jeff Smith of Bone fame wrote and drew this clever 32page hardcover that Kaylin and I read at bedtime some nights. It’s a cute little story, and meant to be an early reader. Good stuff.

Neil Gaiman Blueberry Girl
I don’t remember if this came out this year or not, I gave it to Char for mothers’ day. A very touching little story about a mother’s prayer for her daughter which Gaiman originally wrote for his friend Tori Amos.

Collections and other stuff from this year:

Starman Omnibus V2 and V3
I’ve made no secret of my love all things Starman, I’ve got a tattoo of Starman’s logo on my arm (the cool graphical star on my right shoulder), and I own an amazing original sketch of Jack Knight by James Robinson and Tony Harris. These two volumes collected another 24 issues of the 60 issue series, which puts us at the half way point. Harris evolved so much during this time, and Robinson breathed life into characters who up until this point had no personality whatsoever. A lot of what Geoff Johns is doing today is inspired in some way by what James Robinson did nearly 20 years ago.

Absolute Justice HC
While the story behind Absolute Justice felt a little lacking to me, the ideas behind it were solid. I enjoyed it, and the art by Alex Ross was spectacular as always. This edition has a ton of extra stuff at the end of it, and feels like a nice solid package.

PVP Awesomology Deluxe HC
Okay, I love Player vs Player, and this is an “Absolute” slipcased edition which clocks in at 600 pages, and has all of the PVP strips from 1995-2006. It’s an incredible collection, and has some serious heft to it.

The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics
Written and illustrated by Freddie Williams, this latest in DC’s “Guide’s to”, showcases how to give up pen and ink and do everything digitally. He wisely shows you how to create “hybrid” art as well which allows him to make certain pages “analogue” in order to have some secondary art to sell. After getting this I bought a new Wacom tablet, and proceeded to do some digital drawing.