Spend your Sunday counting.

*Number Crunching Dept: Attention sales figure junkies who’re interested in manga - Adam Stephanides has posted the 2005 circulation numbers of a big stack of Japan’s many manga anthologies, along with some analysis (actually, the raw numbers are down at the June 23rd entry - permalinks don‘t seem to be working for me). Not a comprehensive list - it’s unknown whether these figures are yearly averages or taken from the last editions of the year, a few of the numbers apparently haven’t been audited, and some publications may have been voluntarily omitted from the count. But still, there’s interest to be had, as anthologies (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) continue to be a major vehicle for serialization of many Japanese comics series. Year-by-year comparisons and handy categories also included.

Quite a breadth of sales among the titles released by the manga Big Three, from sturdy old Weekly Shounen Jump (Shueisha, home of Death Note and Naruto) still hanging in at just under three million, to the ‘alternative’ stylings of monthly IKKI (Shogakukan) moving a mighty 29,000. I don’t think these numbers account for returns, which the US Direct Market needn’t be concerned with, so take everything with a grain; maybe I’ve just been conditioned to see 29,000 as not being too bad for the home of Sexy Voice and Robo and Ryuguden and Witches, though the somewhat similarly-positioned (and much longer-lived) monthly Afternoon (Kodanasha, home of Me & the Devil Blues and Vinland Saga) is showing a comparatively healthier 133,834, though it too is far off from the bi-weekly (I think) likes of Big Comic (Shogakukan, home of Golgo 13) at 627,083 and Big Comic Original (Shogakukan, home of Pluto) at 958,958. Note that Big Comic Original is actually four years younger than plain vanilla Big Comic - please, don't mind me, I'm just babbling along here...

*Nothing much else today; getting ready for some Independence Day 'weekend' travel. I notice that Avatar is apparently biting down and launching a proper Avatar Horror line of books, now that this sort of thing comprises a solid chunk of their output. Just like what happened with both Warren Ellis' Blackgas 2 and the new Night of the Living Dead license, I've not been able to find any true announcement of the effort in the comics information media. There's a contest regarding the line in the most recent Previews, and Rich Johnston mentioned a few of the books a while back, but beyond that I'd not known a new line was starting until I saw the brand in the back of some of Avatar's recent releases. I think they've been making announcements at horror conventions, though, so perhaps they're simply looking to court a different fandom.

Most of these books will be out in September. I note with some amusement that it looks like we're going to be getting a Round 2 for American v. European zombie traditions as the aforementioned Ellis-written Blackgas 2 is set to arrive with the (*deep breath*) George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead: Back From the Grave special, written by John Russo (maybe with Mike Wolfer, though I'm not sure), which is actually only 16 pages at a reduced $2.99. It's even literally brother against brother - Max Fiumara brings art to the former, Sebastian Fiumara the latter. Also on hand is the new three-issue Escape of the Living Dead: Airborne from Mike Wolfer and Dheeraj Verma, plus a trio of original one-shot specials clearly aimed to launch in-house series: Witchman, a Wolfer solo book, Mischief Night, from Brian Pulido and Juan Jose Ryp, and Bad Moon Rising from Pulido and Wellington Alves. Sometime in the future there'll also be a 10-issue miniseries titled George R.R. Martin's Fevre Dream, a comics adaptation of the prose novel, written by Martin himself with Rafa Lopez on art, though the preview of that is supposed to arrive in August.

And yes, there's still a bunch of stragglers ambling around from the current New Line license titles, but if Chris Butcher's info is correct all of that stuff is due... next week. That's five issues at once (remember what I said the other day about Avatar putting things out in clumps?), which means there'll be about 364,977 different covers sitting around - be sure to check the insides of your books, Leatherface fans!