Comics

A (Graphic) Novel Idea

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Over at TCS Daily, Joshua Elder notes that graphic novels—comic books in paperback form—are the fastest-growing segment of the publishing industry. This despite the death of comic stores and of monthly, $3 comics.

Today the only retail outlets that typically sell comic periodicals are comic book specialty stores which too often are unkempt, uncool and unwelcoming to anyone who isn't a hardcore superhero fan. This made it next to impossible for any comics other than superhero comics to succeed in the marketplace. And by alienating the general public, it ensured that comic sales would continue to spiral downwards since there was no way to recruit new fans as the old ones died off or left the hobby.

There has to be some irony in the fact that animated web comics—those hyped inventions of the late 1990s—have gone nowhere, while comics repacked as dusty old books are keeping the medium alive.