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Star Wars and The Walking Dead were the bestselling comics of the decade

By Matthew Jackson
Marvel Star Wars 1 cover

We've made it to 2020, but that doesn't mean we're done taking stock of the 2010s and the impact various pieces of pop culture had on the last 10 years. This week, Diamond Comic Distributors is helping us out in that endeavor with their official lists of the bestselling comics of the decade, and if you've been paying attention to comics in the 2010s, the top books probably won't surprise you. 

Diamond released two lists to tell the story of the decade's bestselling comics, one for single issues and one for graphic novels, and tabulated the winners based on "total unit sales of products invoiced," meaning the total number of orders they received from comics retailers throughout the decade. The number one bestselling single issue of the decade is, unsurprisingly, Star Wars #1, Marvel's first new Star Wars comic after The Walt Disney Company's purchase of Lucasfilm, released in 2015 months ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The comic has since transitioned into its second volume, but has maintained a series of all-star creative teams ever since. Marvel's Star Wars also ranked tenth on the bestselling single issues list with Vader Down #1, the one-shot first issue of the crossover event told between the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles in 2015 and 2016. 

Over on the graphic novels list, the bestselling book was The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, the first volume of the comic book series from Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard which rose to become one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the decade thanks to the hit AMC TV series inspired by it. Days Gone Bye was originally published in 2004, collecting comics that began publication in 2003, but it remained a top-seller throughout the 2010s thanks to fans who continued to be drawn in thanks to the franchise's prevalance on television. The Walking Dead didn't just take the top graphic novels slot, though. The first four volumes of the trade paperback collection are ranked in the top 15, including Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us at number four, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars at number nine, and Vol. 4: The Heart's Desire at number 15. 

The rest of the graphic novel top 10 is rounded out by other frequently revisited comics, which also happen to be comics new readers are often drawn to or pushed toward. The second bestselling graphic novel of the decade was the first volume of Saga, the sci-fi epic by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, who also landed multiple volumes in the top 10 with volume two of Saga at number five and volume three at number eight. The rest of the top 10 was filled out by a series of superhero classics, including Batman: The Killing Joke at number three, Watchmen at number six, Marvel's Civil War at number seven, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns at number 10. What's perhaps most striking about the top 10, though, is that Image Comics rose above Marvel and DC to claim six of those slots, including the top two, on the strength of a pair of mega-hit series.

In terms of the rest of the top 10 single issues of the decade, the list is largely marked by milestone issues, as well as a couple of new series that drew lots of readers thanks to the franchises they were tied to. DC Comics took three spots in the top 10 thanks to three mega issues, including Detective Comics #1000 at number two, Action Comics #1000 at number five, and Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 at number 8. Marvel dominated the top 10 by claiming half the list, taking the top and bottom with Star Wars issues and adding Amazing Spider-Man #1 at number three, Secret Wars #1 at number four, and Amazing Spider-Man #800 at number nine. Smaller publishers weren't shut out of the top 10 single issues, though. The first issue of IDW's Orphan Black comic took the number seven slot, while BOOM! Studios' Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1 took number six. 

To check out the full top 100 lists, head over to previewsworld