Top 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS of 2019

January 11, 2020 Articles

A quick look back at the absolute best selling GRAPHIC NOVELS from 2019. Note: this isn’t based on our opinions, it’s based on the sheer number of copies that were purchased throughout GCComics 12 store chain. In other words customers voted with their dollars and these are the books they were most interested in reading in 2019. If you stopped into any of our stores during the past year, odds are you saw these books on our TOP 50 charts at some point.  Take a look which books rose to the very top of the charts after 12 months of sales….


The first time a Manga series has made it on our TOP 10, My Hero Academia could have placed even higher on our charts if the publisher/distributor would have kept it in stock.  We would stock multiple copies deep in the chain and still find ourselves selling out and having a week or even multiple weeks of being unable to offer copies to our customers!

Completely unfamiliar with the anime series myself, there must be some magic here that this many people want to read it, with new customers still coming in looking for this series or the newest volume.  Plus it’s a bargain at 192 pages long (b&w) for only $9.99


Collecting the 12 issue series written by, then on-fire author, Tom King. This comic series began in August of 2017 and finally wrapped up in November of 2018 (but it sure felt even longer than that) – just in time to be collected into this nice big volume for sales in 2019. Regardless of what you think of his very long Batman run, this series is more often compared to his award winning Vision series from Marvel, and most people agreed that it’s worth reading – with many customers giving up on the, supposed to be monthly series and simply waiting for this nice collection.

With some interesting story telling experiments from Mitch Gerads, this was a solid self contained story that people with SOME understanding of the character should be able to jump into and enjoy.

 Always a strong seller – WATCHMEN performed stronger than ever this year for one reason alone.  HBO had a brand new ‘sequel’ series to WATCHMEN called….WATCHMEN.  Constantly touted as one of the TOP 100 NOVELS of all time by TIME MAGAZINE – every year I think, surely every one of our customers has read this by now?   Evidently not.

Embarrassingly my own niece mentioned to me at a dinner one evening how great this new HBO series ‘WATCHMEN’ was – she had not idea there was originally a comic book that it was based on, and also wasn’t even aware of the movie adaptation of this book.

I could do without the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER stuff, but the rest of the book is about as good as it gets.  A fantastic self-contained story written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.  Both at the peaks of their careers, with characters loosely based on the old Charlton Action Heroes.  Don’t be the guy that’s never read this.


    The titles a bit misleading, but when we first listed this book on our TOP 50 Graphic Novel list the series implied that there would be more to come.  This comic series started in 2014 and has gone against all logic by staying on the TOP 50 lists WITHOUT having a VOL 2 ever show up, and no new ongoing comic series to draw customers to it!

Written by Scott Snyder (Batman New 52) with art by Jock – interest in this title should have died out years ago, but not only does it continue to sell but it even managed to rank our 7th best selling book in 2019 – 5 years after the book came out.  That’s saying something.


A classic MARVEL EVENT book written by Jim Starlin with artwork by George Perez (and Ron Lim).  There’s one reason alone that this book is in the TOP 10 and that’s due to the most recent AVENGERS MOVIE loosely based on this book.  People constantly tell me that the comic industry must be doing great since all these movies are such HUGE blockbusters, I tell them unfortunately not, and that a new IRON MAN or BATMAN movie barely changes the number of IRON MAN or BATMAN comics we sell…

…BUT the exception are the GRAPHIC NOVELS.  Customers that do enjoy the films, tend to be willing to try out the original source material for the movies in the form of these collected editions.   Still a good series, and a shining example of when MARVEL did and can do the EVENT books correctly.



Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Y the Last Man, Saga) and clean artwork by Cliff Chiang.  I describe this to customers as STRANGER THINGS (before Stranger Things existed) with Junior High paper delivery girls dealing with the strange happenings in town.

Brian K. Vaughan once again proves his not a one idea writer, coming out with another hit series.   Easily accessible to new readers, easy to follow storytelling from Cliff Chiang.  This series now has 6 collected volumes (with more to come) – and almost every volume makes the TOP 50 charts each month at our shops.



A hit comic book series from Dark Horse from way back in 2007.  This series written by Gerard Way (lead singer of My Chemical Romance) and highly stylized art by Gabriel Ba.  This comic sold well and the trades did decent, but never well enough to make the charts at our shops…until…

2019 Netflix releases a TV adaptation of the comic that was superbly done and sent floods of customers into our shops looking for that original source material.   While Dark Horse anticipated demand, they way under anticipated how strong it would be and their HUGE overprint lasted about 2 days and every shop in  America was suddenly sold out of Umbrella Academy.  Who knows if we had the stock in hand when the most people were looking for it – this might have been a #2 or #1 best seller.  Once again showing the power a HIT TV or MOVIE can have in the Graphic Novel department.

3. SAGA TP 01

Brian K. Vaughan, the only author to land on the top 10 chart twice, wrote a series so unusual, so unlike any other comics out there, that it’s remained on our TOP 50 non-stop since it’s release initial release in 2012.  The only thing hurting this series now are the continued LENGTHY breaks that the creative team have taken.  When the comic series returns, I’m sure the sales numbers will be a fraction of what they were – but the GRAPHIC NOVELS keep out performing most series from the BIG TWO publishers.

A sci-fi epic with love that should never be and with VERY ADULT themes, not to be handed out to Junior High readers into comics.  Vaughan found a nice to fill that no one realized existed, and he’s been pleasing new readers ever since.


Originally released in 2015, like Saga, Monstress hasn’t left our TOP 50 best sellers and is a comic series unlike anything else out there.  Written by Marjorie Liu with stunning artwork by Sana Takeda, Monstress is a pure joy to just look at if nothing else.  With 4 volumes in the series already released this book has found another niche of comics that you can’t compare to much of anything else out there.
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.


I recently saw someone complaining that we don’t have the great WRITER/ARTISTS in comics anymore like we did in the 1980’s.  Citing JOHN BYRNE, FRANK MILLER, WALT SIMONSON, guys that could draw as well as write a compelling story.   This person clearly hadn’t read SEAN MURPHY’s BATMAN the WHITE KNIGHT.

A ‘Black Label’ DC book (read: adult themed) – this series collects the hit 8 issue mini-series where Murphy tackled the idea of after years of combat between the Joker and Batman, what happens when the Joker becomes sane and starts fighting to better improve the lives of everyone in Gotham.  Batman’s inability to believe the Jokers good intentions may lead Batman to madness.

Beautifully drawn/beautifully executed, and easily accessible to everyone as I’ve yet to have to explain to anyone who the Batman or the Joker are – so you’re all good to go with one of the best writer/artist books of 2019.