Friday, February 23, 2007

Graphic Novels Outsell Comic Books

For the first time in history, more money was spent on graphic novels than on comic book periodicals. Of course, part of that graphic novel total includes repackaged comic book periodicals and comic strips like "Peanuts" and "Gasoline Alley." Nonetheless, this is an historic switch for the industry and a troubling one perhaps for specialty comic book stores. They tend to be weak on graphic novel sales, which has given an opening to chain bookstores. For example, the Barnes & Noble at Union Square probably has a better selection of graphic novels than Forbidden Planet and other stores. People spent $330 million on graphic novels and $310 million on comic book periodicals. I'm probably somewhat typical of the graphic novel consumer. I was never a big comic book reader and frankly never went weekly to buy any titles. But when graphic novels first came to prominence I read "The Watchmen" and "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Maus" -- all the obvious titles. And in recent years I've been reading more and more of them. I wait for any hot series to be collected in book form and love classic strips, like "Krazy Kat" and "Little Nemo." With a graphic novel serialized in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine, graphic novels are slowly being seen as just another genre, like mystery or sci-fi and just as likely to be taken seriously.


1 Right Opinion Comics said...

I am not surprised at all. I have sold comics for 16 years. I have seen an nonstop increase in trade sales.

People like trades because they can put them on a book shelf. Comic stores should like them because they have a longer shelf life than traditional comics.


Michael in New York said...

That's exactly why I buy trades. Good luck switching from brick and mortar to online. It's really hard and I'll bet you miss the interaction with customers, but hopefully it'll work for you. And free shipping for $25+ orders is a great bargain. My friends at NYCD have struggled with the switch but have survived. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael, check out "Ex Machina" its the best grafic novel in years and theres no guys in capes. You need to if only to add to your "read in recent years" list--and those three of those graphic novels came out in the 1980s!
cheers, hope all is well

Michael in New York said...

Hey Geoff,
Those were just early examples of getting into graphic novels. I still read regularly, including Ex Machina, which was great.

illustrationISM.... said...

A great Italian Renaissance
Graphic Novel to read is AMBROGIO BECCARRIA! it's
very engaging!
Click HERE for a preview!

Thanks -
'a friend',
ofJonathan M. Prince
(the author & artist of 'Ambrogio
' & owner of Calicuchima Press).