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Brits catch on to the graphic novel thing finally

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Or so says the New York Times. Of course, when you have people like Raymond Briggs and Posy Simmonds leading the pack, it’s about time:

First came the surprise successes of “Ethel and Ernest,” Mr. Briggs’s 1998 word-and-image biography of his parents, which sold more than 200,000 copies, and “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth,” the American artist Chris Ware’s graphic novel, which controversially won The Guardian’s first-novel award in 2001. Since then, the graphic novel — loosely defined as a novel whose content is displayed in both images and text — has begun to break into the British mainstream.

Leading the pack, Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House UK and the British publisher of “Jimmy Corrigan” and “Ethel and Ernest,” has more than tripled its graphic novel output over the past year, publishing nine new titles since July 2006. Dan Franklin, Cape’s publishing director, said he hoped to increase this number.

“When we started about nine years ago with ‘Ethel and Ernest,’ I said that we wouldn’t do more than one a year,” he said. “And they’ve been so successful that I am now doing potentially up to 12 a year, if I can find them.”

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