Friday, June 08, 2007

NPR's Summer Reading List

This week NPR released it's summer reading list, and there are a few graphic novels on it.

They are: Mouse Guard, Phonogram, Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1 and The Plain Janes.

To read the entire list, click here. They even have links to samples, so you can take a peak at the books before you come back to Neptune and get your copies.

Mouse Guard and Scott Pilgrim are both great (Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4 is in this current issue of Previews, so get your pre-orders in now) and The Plain Janes was pretty good. I read the first issue of Phonogram and thought it was too messed up for me, personally.

While I'm on the subject of Graphic Novels, I read this article on the Wall Street Journal about how comic book publishers are working on trying to capture the female market, especially teens. Of course they mention DC's MINX line - of which Plain Janes is one. They also discuss manga, and how that's seen such great sales numbers: "The manga category in 2006 accounted for about two-thirds (68.5%) of all graphic novels sold in U.S. bookstores, up from slightly more than half (53.8%) in 2004, according to Nielsen BookScan. (The figures don't include comic-book stores.)" They say Marvel too is trying to get more female readers, but with a different tactic: "Marvel, has also been gunning for female readers, although its strategy differs. Instead of starting a separate line dedicated to the demographic, the company has been hiring writers known for their established female following. In format, these comics are more like traditional superhero periodicals, but the company's strategy also involves repackaging the material in hardcover and graphic novel formats." They use the Laurel K. Hamilton Anita Blake comic and having Joss Whedon writing Astonishing X-Men as other tactics to get female readers.

Towards the end of the article they claim that because Diamond's sales numbers are up it means that more women are buying graphic novels at comic book stores. I'm not so sure about that - it could be just overall market growth. They also have a quote from a buyer from Barnes & Nobel book stores that says that their stores see equal numbers of men and women buying graphic novels - which I do believe is fairly accurate, but I've never really witnessed the folks at B&N keeping track of my gender and what I buy when I go there. Anyway, it's an interesting article if you're interested in that kind of thing. Or you can click here to watch the video version - and see some great shots of Midtown Comics - a large comic book store on or near the Times Square area of New York.

1 comment:

Doola! said...

That article left me a bit bemused. I mean, I know that Buffy/Angel and Firefly have lots of female fans, but did any girls who were previously disinterested in the X-Men say, "Ooo, Joss Whedon's writing X-Men, I have to go to a comic book store and get it!"?

Marvel says it's interested in generating female readership, but as far as I can tell, their strategy for that is basically, "If we just go about business as usual, maybe girls will start reading our comics, y'know, just because."