Buzz, Balls & Hype is a book marketing blog aimed at booksellers and librarians. It’s just added Diamond Books sales manager John Shableski as a blogger every other Tuesday, and in his first outing he delivers what could be called the basic stump speech for comics advocacy:

Graphic Novels are “The New Rock and Roll.” That’s a pretty audacious line to brand onto this new entertainment format but calling graphic novels “the new rock and roll” is probably the most accurate description I can think of.

For those of you who have just begun hear or read about graphic novels, here’s some history. The term graphic novel is something that the late, great Will Eisner gets credit for and, as the legend has it, he used the term as a pitch to get his book A Contract With God published. It was a long-form comic book that he knew wouldn’t get a second thought if he told the publisher that it was indeed a comic book.

It’s sort of GNs 101, but if you have a call to go out on the road and preach it, brother, you may pick up some talking points.


  1. Sister Heidi, I have been spreading the Good News since 1984. As I stood in front of the grocery store’s magazine rack, Divine Providence opened my eyes to the four-color glory of sequential fiction! Brother and Sisters, as I read that issue of Amazing Spider-Man #254, my life was changed! I became a True Believer, born again, as I rediscovered the childhood hero I had forgotten while tempted by the false idols of movies, television shows, and video games! Like a near-mint issue of Sensation Comics wrapped in mylar, my soul was surrounded by the joy and pleasure of comicbooks!
    Today, that spirit clothes me like Superman’s indestructible suit, protecting me from all that is mundane and humdrum in the world around me! I have been saved, so I work to save others, preaching the special Salvation that only comicbooks can offer!

  2. i’d feel better if he knew that Richard Kyle invented the term “Graphic Novel” in the early 1960s. and a smiliar term (Graphic Story) was used on the well known zines in the 1960s: “Graphic Story Magazine” and “Graphic Story World”. there was even a book published pre-Contract With God, suing “Graphic Novel” on the book.
    Kyle was rather well known in both fan and pro cirucits, and was known to Eisner.
    Eisner never claimed to have created the term “Graphic Novel” (he had an alternative to it that he used) – why do some folks continue to insist he did?

    Oops, he doesnt claim credit for Eisner, he calls it a legend – sure, I guess legends are what salesman are known for telling folks they are trying to sell to…..after all Diamond is selling books by eisner… and not by kyle….

  3. Thanks for the post Heidi, I do appreciate it and Seven, I do also appreciate the correction there. I knew that some how, I would probably be too general for some folks but for the future issues, I will do my best. I think I actually cut the copy for that post from an original 4,000 words to 1300 and with it being the introductory article, I figured that I couldnt go too deep lest I bore the hell out of the audience.
    As for selling Eisner or Kyle? I really dont have a bias regarding that. There are a ton of great books out there and quite a few that Diamond doesnt carry but I will talk about as many as I can because, if they are any good, they are good for the industry overall.
    So my thanks to you, Torsten and anyone else who throws out the pointers. I may miss a few but it is with the best of intentions.