Hey it’s Paul Fridays! as DC head honcho Paul Levitz begins blogging at Blogorama.

Another interesting phenomenon is the difference in concentration between three types of graphic novels; manga, the strongest category in bookstores, seems increasingly dominated by a handful of properties; literary graphic novels (about 5% of bookstore sales and less in comic shops), by a couple of authors’ backlists with no major new hits in ‘07; and genre graphic novels (the strongest in comic shops) seem to spread the readers around to the most titles. This is an evolving situation, and as the number of literary titles being published expands, it’ll be particularly interesting to see how the pattern shifts. And the definitions of these categories are all highly debatable.

Debatable they are, as John Jakala picks up the gauntlet:

So if “genre graphic novels” “spread the readers around to the most titles,” I guess we can expect to see significantly more than 140 properties represented on the Bookscan list, right? Well, that would be tough considering that DC only placed 58 books on the top 750 and Marvel only 37. (“Everything else” accounts for another 72 books, but many of those appear to fall into Levitz’s third category of “literary comics.”) Even if we count each book from Marvel and DC as its own property, that’s only 95 spots.


  1. I think what Levitz is saying is that manga readers tend to be only manga readers, while literary graphic novels read mainly read literary graphic novels and people who read superhero books also read manga and literary graphic novels.

    I don’t think this theory can be disputed using the 2007 Bookscan numbers. Mainly because Levitz is using combined numbers from the book market and the direct market while Bookscan only measures a portion of the book market.

  2. Dear Mr. Levitz,

    I would rather you folks at DC cared more about unleashing a flood of “Showcase: Golden Age Comics” type B&W trades onto the market in order to reward your long term fans.

    I will not be holding my breath though.


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