jueves, junio 05, 2008


Portadilla ilustrada por Bernardo Vergara para la sección Retro de la revista Xtreme de junio.

2 comentarios:

Borja dijo...

Y es raro que su creador, Doug TenNapel, sigue inédito en España. Que el tío saca uno o dos tomos al año. Y están bastante bien.

Caron dijo...

Perdón por el pedazo de OT y por el "pegado" tan cutre, pero creo que puede ser de interés. Se trata de una noticia o extracto de una jornada educativa de la Asociación Americana de Libreros (ABA) en la BEA (BookExpo America), en la que John Shableski (de la distribuidora Diamond Comics) y Scott MacCloud dan consejos a los libreros sobre cómo vender "eso-que-se-llama-novela-gráfica":


BEA: Eager Students Embrace Graphic Novels 101
When ABA education coordinator and panel moderator Lisa Winn asked a crowded room on Thursday morning during BEA's Day of Education, "How many of you have graphic novel sections in your stores?" the majority of hands flew up. The level of sophistication of the questions that came after a highly informative panel likewise conveyed the commitment that booksellers have made to this growing category.

The panel for "Buying, Merchandising, and Selling Graphic Novels, 101" consisted of John Shableski of Diamond Book Distributors, comics creator Scott McCloud and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of New York's McNally Robinson Booksellers (and a Shelf Awareness contributor). The trio agreed that the definition of graphic novel was "up for grabs," ranging anywhere from "sequential art" to "big expensive comic book" to Art Spiegelman's description: "A comic book that needs a bookmark."

In answer to Winn's question: "Why graphic novels, why now?" Shableski said, "To be brutally honest, the money." He estimated that comic books grossed $375 million in sales last year, and with Canada included, closer to $410 million. McCloud added, "There's a reason they're buying them. There's genuine excitement for the characters and story lines." McCloud said that the strongest-growing category is for girls aged 12-15, for whom there was not even a market 10 years ago. With the level of diversity and sophistication now, according to Bagnulo, comics have "come of age." Shableski reeled off some of his favorites from last year as a way of demonstrating their breadth and range: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, National Book Award-nominee American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and Caldecott Medal-winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. "You can't pull the text out, you have to have the visuals," Shableski said by way of explaining its graphic novel classification.

McCloud underscored Shableski's point by suggesting that graphic novels are "all part of the same art form, but not necessarily for the same audience." Graphic novels can include comics from Japan, Europe and even Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen, according to McCloud: "If it tells its story by putting one picture after another, and the pictures are carrying the weight of the story, it's a comic book," he said.

For booksellers just getting started, Winn suggested the resources that are available online at bookweb.org/events/bea/program/graphic.html. Of those same resources, Bagnulo recommended the list Mark Siegel has made available at firstsecondbooks.com/pdf/onesheets.pdf, and Shableski recommended ICv2.com and noflyingnotights.com.

Booksellers wondered about the best way to convey that they sell comics. The panel suggested everything from working with librarians to get the word out to high school students, to using graphic novel characters in ads, to placing a sign in the bookstore window that reads, "Naruto sold here." Winn suggested a graphic novel section party à la the traditional book release party, and Bagnulo has hosted events with graphic novel artists who demonstrate how they create their work and has also marketed to comics-related blogs.

Booksellers also asked about how best to display the graphic novels. Does Bagnulo, for instance, still stock Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes in the comics section? "That's an ongoing argument in our store," Bagnulo answered. "Do we put Calvin and Hobbes next to Alison Bechdel? Or do we shelve it in the humor section?" McCloud suggested that it would make sense to shelve Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes "near the graphic novels in the same way that you'd place rock 'n' roll near classical. Shelving by content--Middle East graphic novels near Middle East studies is a noble impulse," McCloud continued, but he believes graphic novels belong near other comics.

"What do you say to parents who sneer at comics?" asked one bookseller. Shableski said that "the challenge is to educate them in 30 seconds." His suggestion: hand them Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies and say, "Just take a couple of moments and look through this," and also to tell parents to "give [your children] something they want to read rather than what you want them to read." Bagnulo also suggested pointing out reviews of graphic novels in periodicals such as the New York Times Book Review and in the New Yorker.

Another bookseller was concerned about how to keep manga books with sexual themes apart from the Tintin, Bone and Asterix titles. Shableski said that many publishers are now labeling comics with appropriate age ranges. Samantha Wynns of Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Calif., speaking from the audience, said, "America has had a hard time embracing manga and anime. There's adult anime in Japan, and just because it's in that form, does not mean it's for children." She said Viz and Tokyopop provided age ranges.

"You must have a passion for it to sell it," Bagnulo said, in answer to the question about how to draw patrons into the graphic novel format and also how to handsell it. She urged booksellers to enlist young people who may already have an inherent interest in graphic novels. Shableski gave his top three titles: With the Light by Keiko Tobe (a story about a child with autism and a mother dealing with that); the graphic novel version of The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon; and the aforementioned Mom's Cancer. Bagnulo added Peter Cooper's adaptation of Metamorphosis by Kafka and a pop-up version of Melville's Moby Dick by Sam Ita.

"What about shelving graphic novels next to the novels from which they've been adapted?" asked an audience member. Does one put the Remembrance of Things Past graphic novel next to Proust's tomes? McCloud said no: "Think of the audiobook distinction." On the other hand, Bagnulo responded, if you have enough copies, you can put one Proustian graphic novel near its literary inspiration and the other copies with the graphic novels.

Asked about trends, McCloud mentioned what he calls the "metabolization" of manga, a "demarcation between Japanese works and American-originated manga." He explained, "The generation that grew up on manga is now creating their own form." He cited the Scott Pilgrim series by Brian Lee O'Malley and the recent Flight anthologies as reflecting the creators' influences from manga, anime and the Web. "Manga, for all its power, does not speak to everyday life in North America today," McCloud said. He believes that these new creators are "bringing the revolution home."

Bagnulo mentioned Toon Books (a new line from Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman) as another example of a new frontier, using comics as reading and teaching tools. She also predicted that indie comics would continue gaining steam. "Indie comics are where some of the biggest comics started; if you have self-published comics, let them do it in your store," she suggested. "Vanity press is another term for self-published books," McCloud said. "If we use the term vanity press, then all others must be referred to as 'greed press,' " he added with a wink. McCloud pointed out that "genres grow on the bookshelf slowly. On the Web, we're seeing an emergence of readership of hundreds of thousands of genres that didn't exist before." And in cyberspace, shelf space is limitless.--Jennifer M. Brown