Thursday, 3 January 2013

2012-2013

Happy New Year to you - so sorry about the lack of blog activity over the last couple of weeks but it was for the best reason: a busy Christmas period. Obviously comic/graphic novel shops are selling a product that is yet to find itself in the mainstream but a successful clutch of superhero movies has raised awareness and acceptability to a genre which had looked as if it were flagging until the DC re-launch in 2011 which included a super-popular, critically-acclaimed Batman ongoing story, followed by Marvel's block-busting, easy-sell Avengers vs. X-Men and now a re-launch of their own (plus throw in a Spider-Man controversy) and everything suddenly feels freshened up and livelier - not bad for characters that have been around for quite a while now.

Meanwhile the non-Marvel/DC publishers have provided some really strong alternative titles from a mix of new and established creators and the phenomenal success of The Walking Dead continues to bring new readers to the medium via word-of-social-media and the tv show.

Original graphic novels have been slowly elbowing their way into the book review sections of the Sunday papers for a couple of years now to the point that people are not becoming slightly less surprised to see graphic novels popping up on book award lists. In fact the issue of whether they should be included on those lists or have their own category is raising it's head (see here). Chris Ware's Building Stories (Jonathan Cape, see here), with its multiple formats blew the metaphorical doors off of how we think of a graphic novel as a book both in terms of a linear narrative and as a piece of art, and the news that Bryan & Mary Talbot's Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes (Jonathan Cape, see here) is the first ever graphic novel to win the Costa book of the year award will at least raise eyebrows and generate some all important chatter about the subject. Naturally the subjective nature of an art-based medium, no matter how engrossing or affecting the story and characters, will prevent too many books making the same huge sales figures of novels and we're a little away from a time when these creators are being suitably recompensed for their efforts (and I do fear that this may hinder things) but I hope you agree it's an exciting time to be engaged in the industry.

The pen of Joann Sfar - wouldn't it be great if he were a household name?


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