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Thursday, March 5, 2009 4:03 pm
World, Meet Comics, Me
Posted by: Ian Chipman

So graphic novels (er, comics) (er, graphic novels) (erand this is my favoriteil-literature [illustrated literature, get it?]) (er, whatever) officially became legit today with this announcement from the New York Times (Introducing the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller Lists, by George Gene Gustines):

Comics have finally joined the mainstream . . . today The Times introduces three separate lists of the best-selling graphic books in the country: hardcover, softcover, and manga.

Well well well, seems everybody wants to piggy back onto the sole segment of publishing that is still seeing growth (or is it?). Seeing as how the New York Times has deigned to offer legitimization to comics, I’m here to take it right back. In a move that will likely set comics back decades, or at least one day to a preNew York Times endorsed dark age, I announce my role as the graphic novel blogger for Likely Stories.

First up? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod Watchmen tomorrow!!!!

Second up: the lists. Unsurprisingly, Alan Moore is all over the hardcover and softcover lists, where Marvel and DC are pretty much just cleaning everyone else’s clocks. Dark Horse, Image, and IDW form an itty-bitty resistance force, though.

I find the manga list particularly hilarious, as 8 of the 10 slots are occupied by various volumes of Masashi Kishimoto’s superhypermegaexplosionpunch!hit Naruto. Wouldn’t it have been more helpful to just lump series together? What madness can we infer from the fact that vol. 35 outsells vol. 36 but not vol. 37? Poor any-other-manga-besides-Naruto, it could be a while before you get much face time here.

So now that comics are sanctioned, what ever are our children to read that they shouldn’t be reading?

Comments

comments

2 Responses to “World, Meet Comics, Me”
  1. Keir Says:

    Welcome to Likely Stories, Mr. Chipman. Glad to have you. As to your question, I guess the only thing that’s left are the questionable magazines found in the backs of some fathers’ closets . . . of course, according to some recent reports, teens are increasingly likely to MAKE their own explicit material. Sigh. I say we start a campaign telling young people that, under any circumstances, they are NOT supposed to read mid-century classics like Lord of the Flies, 1984, Brave New World, etc. etc. Maybe they’ll start furtively reading Catcher in the Rye behind their copies of Watchmen.

  2. John Says:

    Ian, the moment has arrived. It’s like the Clash accepting a Grammy or Prince winning an Oscar for Best Song. It is strangely fun to see the NYT posting a list of best selling titles for graphic novels/comics. Keep in mind it is the list of Best Selling Titles. This is why you have Naruto dominating the manga list. You cant lump the titles together as that would be the same thing as lumping all the Harry Potter series together.

    I believe, if you combined manga sales with the paperback sales, manga would likely crush that category as well.

    I do like Keir’s suggestion we make the classics like Lord of the Flies and the others look like subversive reading. Kids love to read those things not allowed.

    The NYT Bestseller lists are barometers of popular reading. They are not intended to determine what is classic literature. What’s difference between an Oscar winning movie and a summer blockbuster? About 100 million dollars in ticket sales and unforgetable lines which become absorbed into our cultural dialog.

    I am certain there was a moment when librarians and literary giants orignially frowned upon the value of the NYT lists. Same thing happened with rock and roll.

    I say bring it on…bring on the manga, bring on the superheroes, bring on the memoirs, bring it all!

    I did notice there’s not a list of romance titles.
    What’s up with that?


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