Speaking of Hill & Wang, the Book Standard had a probably the most important story about comics you’ll read this week, as the impact of the book world entering comics begins to be examined.

Although the companies are focused on their own upcoming books and new online and DVD projects, the motivation is simple: As the popularity of comics and graphic novels explodes, more entrenched publishers have to adapt in order to keep up.

As one of the first publishers of graphic novels and manga, San Francisco–based Viz publishes the Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto series, installments from both of which have held the No. 1 spot on The Book Standard’s Comics and Graphic Novels Chart this year, as any bean-counting publisher will tell you.

Comics and graphic novels have grown beyond mere niche publishing, and manga has gained considerable momentum in the English-speaking world over the past five years. Liza Coppola, senior vice president of marketing for Viz, says that the company has been in the unique position, as a veteran publisher of the genre, of monitoring the growth and changes in the marketplace, all the better to remain aggressive in promoting their existing series.

With book publishers moving in and offering such things as advances and complete copyright ownership without question, how will comics publishers respond?