Explore the colorful world of comics as we count down the 20 Best Selling Comics of All Time. From iconic superheroes to beloved characters, these comics have captured the hearts of readers around the globe. Join us on this journey through the pages of some of the most popular and enduring comic books, ranked based on their impressive sales. Whether you’re a seasoned comic enthusiast or just getting started, this list is absolutely for you. Now, let’s see what we came up with!
Editor’s Note: This list was updated in December 2023.
20. ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ (120+ Million)
Since Japanese manga is a form of comics, many well-known comics have made the list, and ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ is one of them. The series is illustrated and written by Hirohiko Araki. The series was popular enough to have its animated show, and over 120 million copies have circulated as of December 2023, making it one of the best-selling Japanese comics in the country and worldwide. It’s easy for the rest of the world to love the series due to its unique art style, flashy poses, and several Western references, especially in music and fashion. If we include the issues of Weekly Shounen Jump it’s been sold, then JoJo would have over 3.6 billion issues in circulation.
19. ‘Bleach’ (120 Million+)
Ichigo Kurosaki, a simple teenager, obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper and inherits his parents’ destiny. Now, he must defend humans from evil spirits and guide departing souls to the afterlife.‘Bleach’ manga has over 120 million tankobon volumes in circulation all over the world. Meanwhile, individual chapters have been said to have over 2 billion copies in circulation due to them being available in Shounen Jump Magazines.
18. ‘Oishinbo’ (135+ Million)
Sometimes, you don’t have to create a big superhero to make a story successful. One of the world’s best-selling comics is a manga called ‘Oishinbo,’ a comic written about cooking by Tetsu Kariya. It’s a long-running comic following the adventures of a culinary journalist, Shiro Yamaoka, and his partner, Yuko Kurita. They sell about 1.2 million copies per volume and a total of 135 million copies sold. Sadly, the series is currently on an indefinite hiatus; however, the author has already expressed wanting to give it a proper ending in a blog announcement.
17. ‘Garfield’ (135+ Million)
Compilations of the popular ‘Garfield’ comic strips have also been made and sold, and their collection has sold over 135 million copies worldwide. The story tells the day-to-day adventure of the lasagna-loving cat Garfield, Jon Arbuckle, and Odie. The comic was even included in the Guinness World Record for being the most widely syndicated comic strip. Despite ‘Garfield’ being a strip you see in the weekly newspaper, people have been collecting the compilations and even merchandise of Garfield.
16. ‘Crayon Shin-Chan’ (148+ Million)
The comic did so well that the team decided to continue the series even after the original author died. The series follows the adventures of five-year-old Shinnosuke Hohara. Like other five-year-olds, Shin still has difficulty with his Japanese. Despite the anime and manga heavily relying on a person’s Japanese proficiency or understanding, the comic still managed to sell exceedingly well outside of Japan.
15. ‘Diabolik’ (150 Million+)
‘Diabolik’ is one of the most famous Italian comic series created by Angel and Luciana Giussani. The comic is also part of why the Fumetti Neri subgenre for comics exists. ‘Diabolik’ comic is named after the series’ main character, who is an anti-heroic thief inspired by pulp fiction characters from Italy and other countries.
Accordingly, the comic’s format was an idea the sisters had while watching everyday commuters. They wanted to create a comic that their readers could carry around while traveling. The sisters also found out that many of their neighbors are into mystery novels. Despite only thinking small scale, the comic grew into something that would reach worldwide acclaim. The comic had an animated series, films, a live-action TV series, and even video games.
14. ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’ (150+ Million)
Most of the comics in this list are oldies and classics. ‘Demon Slayer’ is one of the newer comics released but has already made it to the best comics list in terms of sales. The Japanese comic is written and illustrated by Koyohau Gotouge. The story follows the quest of Tanjiro Kamado, who has recently lost his family to the hands of a demon. His sister, Nezuko, has survived but turned into a demon. Now, Tanjiro decides to join the Demon Slayer Corps in order to avenge his family and find a cure for his sister.
As of February 2023, the manga has reported over 150 million copies in circulation, including digital copies. In addition, the entire franchise has generated annual sales of over 8.7 billion dollars. With that number, it is one of the highest-grossing media franchises in the world. Surprisingly enough, even in Japan, the manga has beaten ‘One Piece’ and ‘Attack on Titan’ in terms of sales while the manga was running. Currently, ‘Kimetsu no Yaiba’ has already finished its run but has made it to the list.
13. ‘KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops’ (156. 5+ Million)
The manga is commonly just called ‘KochiKame.’ The comic is a comedy manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Akimoto. The manga follows the comedic everyday adventures of Kankichi Ryotsu, who is a middle-aged cop in the downtown part of Tokyo. A short anime featuring the comics’ characters was made to popularize the Paralympic sport of goalball before the Tokyo Olympics. The series ended in 2016 but has recorded over 156.5 million copies being circulated globally. If you add the Shounen Jump copies it’s been included in, over 6 billion copies are circulated.
12. ‘Doraemon’ (170+ Million)
It’s really no surprise that this robotic cat has made it to the list. ‘Doraemon’ has been a part of many childhoods. Even if people have never read the comics or watched the series, several merchandise with the characters have been purchased. The comic is written and illustrated by Fujiko F. Fujio, and it’s about a blue-robotic cat from the future that has traveled to the past to help Nobita Nobi. The comic has sold over 170 million copies across the globe. The character of the comics is also viewed as a cultural icon in Japan. The characters were even appointed as the first anime ambassadors in 2008.
11. ‘Slam Dunk’ (170+ Million)
The influence of ‘Slum Dunk’ has even reached the shores of my country. Almost any kid born in the 80s and 90s has fond memories of watching anime during their youth. The comic is a sports manga about basketball written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. It focuses on the high school basketball team of Shohoku High School. The manga has over 170 million copies sold globally. It even received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1994 for the Shonen category. The author even received a special commendation from the Japan Basketball Association for playing a role in popularizing basketball across Japan.
10. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ (200+ Million)
It is a comic written by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, commonly referred to by his pen name Herge. The series became one of Europe’s most popular comics in the 20th century. The comic has been translated into over 70 languages and sold more than 200 copies. It has also been adapted for other forms of media, such as radio, television, theatre, and film.
Similar to ‘Garfield,’ the comic started out as comic strips in a newspaper. However, it soon had its own magazine and, eventually, its own book compilation due to its popularity. The story of Tintin is set in the 20th century, where Tintin is a young and talented Belgian Reporter who goes on adventures with his faithful dog Snowy. Other characters also make several recurring appearances throughout the series.
9. ‘Spike and Suzy’ (230+ Million)
Originally a comic strip by Willy Vandersteen, it soon grew in popularity to have its own collection. The story of the comic series revolves around the adventures of Spike and Suzy, along with their family and friends. The story has elements of comedy, fantasy, and even science fiction. As of 2020, there have been 382 albums that have been published. The comics have sold about 230 million copies over the years, even surpassing ‘The Adventures of Tintin.’ Before they had their book, the comic was published in several newspapers and magazines, including Tintin Magazine.
8. ‘Detective Conan’ (250+ Million)
‘Detective Conan’ is also sometimes referred to as ‘Case Closed.’ It is a long-running Japanese detective manga series by Gosho Aoyama. However, the manga was renamed to ‘Case Closed’ in its English release due to legal problems. The story follows Shinichi Kudo, who was unfortunately transformed into a child while he was investigating a case. ‘Case Closed’ has over 250 million copies sold across the globe. The manga won the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award for the Shounen category in 2001. The comic and its animated adaptation have been well-praised in and out of Japan. The manga was made when detective manga were a big hit in Japan. However, Detective Conan managed to survive the test of time.
7. ‘Naruto’ (250+ Million)
It is the title of Masashi Kishimoto’s hit manga series. The manga also shares the same name as the story’s protagonist, Naruto. The comic follows the adventure of Naruto Uzumaki, who had just started his journey as a ninja in his village. The boy hopes to gain recognition from his peers by becoming the village’s Hokage since he has spent most of his childhood hated by the village. The main manga has already finished, so Kishimoto has made another comic titled ‘Boruto,’ where the story now focuses on Naruto’s son, Boruto. The comic has recorded over 250 million copies being circulated worldwide. About 153 million copies are being distributed in Japan. Meanwhile, 97 million are being circulated elsewhere.
6. ‘Dragon Ball’ (260+ Million)
Many of us probably grew up with ‘Dragon Ball’ being our first anime; at the very least, it was the first anime that I would religiously watch after school. ‘Dragon Ball’ manga was written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. Akira originally had the idea of keeping the series light and funny, but as the series started to grow, it became an action-packed manga. The comic follows the adventures of Son Goku from the time he lost his adopted grandfather, Gohan, to the time Goku hit adulthood. Goku’s journey begins when he decides to help Bulma look for the other Dragon Balls in order to summon Shenron, who has the ability to grant wishes.
The manga is one of the most successful manga of all time. When it was released in Shounen Jump, it was said that the chapters being made available in the magazine had boosted sales for the magazine. Its solo volumes have made over 260 million sales worldwide. ‘Dragon Ball’ has also inspired several manga artists to create their own stories in the shounen genre, such as the authors of ‘One Piece,” Naruto,’ and ‘Bleach.’
5. ‘Lucky Luke’ (300+ Million)
Lucky Luke is a Belgian comic series made by Morris in 1946. He used to handle the comic by himself until he collaborated with French writer Rene Goscinny. Unfortunately, the partnership had to end due to Goscinny’s death in 1977. Morris continued to partner with several other writers to continue the series until his own death in 2001. After he died, art for the comic was made by French artist Achde, but the writers kept changing. The comics are set in American Old West and stars Luck Luke, a talented gunslinger known for shooting fast. Lucky Luke has to face several villains inspired mainly by American folklore and history in the story. Despite the somewhat serious premise, the story is known to be funny and would often parody the Western genre.
4. ‘Golgo 13’ (300+ Million)
It is one of the best-selling manga of all time, and it is also the oldest manga still in publication. Golgo 13 is a Japanese comic series by Takao Saito. The comic’s tankobon edition was included in the Guinness World Records as the highest number of volumes for a single manga series. Even after Saito’s death, the manga has continued to be under publication, now being continued by the Satio Production Group with the assistance of Big Comic’s editors.
Over 300 million copies are being circulated in various formats, and it’s the second-best-selling manga series in history. It is also the world’s top-selling seinen manga in the history of Japan.
3. ‘Peanuts’ (370 Million)
It started out as your usual Sunday morning comic strip you’ll get to see in your newspaper. The comic was written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. It is one of the longest stories ever told, with over 17 thousand strips published. The strip is even known as the one that cemented the four-panel gag format as a standard format for American comic strips.
‘Peanuts’ focuses on a social circle of young children and their interactions amongst themselves. While the story has adults in them, they are hardly in the comics themselves. Animal companions such as Snoopy are also present in the comics. Snoopy, in particular, is portrayed as an average beagle dog but has human thoughts and can use tools.
2. ‘Asterix’ (370+ Million)
‘Asterix,’ or you might know this comic as ‘The Adventures of Asterix,’ is another French-Belgian comic. The comic is about a village of Gaulish warriors who go on adventures worldwide to fight off the Roman Republic. Fantasy elements such as magic potions help them on their journey to fight their enemies. The potions give them temporary human strength. While the series is mainly about the village, there are protagonists to the series, the title character Asterix and his friend Obelix.
1. ‘One Piece’ (500+ Million)
Eiichiro Oda created the long-running manga. The story follows the adventures of the pirate Monkey D. Luffy, who has gained powers due to eating a Devil Fruit. He forms a pirate crew called the Straw Hat Pirates and explores the Grand Line to locate the ultimate treasure called the “One Piece.” The manga has broken several records, even setting the Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic by a single author. It has been the best-selling manga for years and has circulated over 500 million copies worldwide. As of 2021, it is the best-selling manga series and the best-selling comic series by volume in history.
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