“I think a solid core of high-selling mainstream-y genre comics would be nice, but it really hasn’t happened (except for arguably the manga phenomenon, and I don’t get the impression that the success of manga has bled back into non-manga comics) and “art comics” have achieved enough big successes now (Persepolis in particular) that we may be stuck with the image of book-sized graphic novels as being serious literary work… or archival collections of initially mainstream work that have since acquired the patina of art. (It’s weird to see the Onion AV Club list reprints of comic strips like Peanuts and Popeye in their “art comics” review section given that these strips were originally read by an audience two or three orders of magnitude larger than whoever is reading the “mainstream” comics. But that’s one of the paradoxes of culture for you.) I don’t think American comics will ever have a Stieg Larsson or Stephen King. I know even Art Spiegelman is now pining for more vulgar, populist fare to shake out some of the graphic novel stuffiness (which he realizes he himself is to a large degree responsible for!) but it may just not be in the cards. We may be stuck with comics as art.”
–Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson in a thorough, similarly frank, and informed interview at The Comics Reporter
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.