Friday, March 6, 2009

Did Comics Just Go Mainstream?

No, I'm not referring to The Watchmen movie about the hit theaters, although I am a. Mildly excited about the film, despite the fact that 300 was a Linkbig waste of time
b. Pretty sure the Watchmen film had something to do with it.

No, what I'm referring to is the fact that The New York Times will now publish a graphic novels best seller list weekly!

Amusingly, their post, which I had not read when I started my own (I started writing just based on the headline) begins "Comics have finally joined the mainstream."

Certain minds, great or not, do think alike. Comics of course haven't finally joined the mainstream; it would be more precise to say that comics have rejoined the mainstream, or that modern comics have finally joined the mainstream. Obama, for example, is a fan of Spider-Man from way back, for four decades or so, comics were for kids, but most certainly mainstream. It is only for the last 30 years, when comics have mostly been for adults, that comics have been out of the mainstream.

Hopefully that's no longer the case. I was hoping, with the success of The Dark Knight and the insane sales of the Watchmen before the movie even came out, that comics might be inching their way to respectability. But if Time naming Watchmen one of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century didn't make comics mainstream, a poorly reviewed movie doesn't seem likely to do so either.

This, however could. First of all, the New York Times is now a place where people can read about comics, every week. Although it's only about comics sales, and not the weekly comics reviews which would make an even bigger difference, it's a big step.

But more importantly - and here's where a best seller list is better than reviews - publishers can now slap "New York Times Best Seller!" on any comic that hits the list. That's huge for the general public, browsing a bookstore display where one nerdy employee has, under the employee picks, stuck a volume of Criminal between to Hundred Years of Solitude and Middlesex. Now the comic will not only have the employee's gushing description, but the seal of sales of approval the NYT brings - people are buying and reading this book, enough that the premier newspaper in the world noticed.

Furthermore, several of the industry giants - Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Robert Kirkman, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, etc - have already been honored in this very first list. Now every new project by those authors - and every older product, even - can also have a sticker slapped on it that says "By the New York Times Bestselling author." That'll help even more.

Anyone else excited about this? Anyone considering giving comics a try now?

1 comment:

Film-Book dot Com said...

I'm a little excited by this news.

I hope V for Vendetta makes it onto the list. That comic is great.