A lot has been said about the impending doom of the comic book industry, fueled by low sales, and resulting in comic book store closings. But in bookstores, at least, the sales of “graphic novels” are up, according to a report from Publishers Weekly. Normally, this might be considered good news, but it flies in the face of everything UK Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard is trying to do.
Last October, Adlard declared war on the graphic novel, according to a Bleeding Cool report, saying, “If there’s one phrase I loathe, it’s the graphic novel. It is somebody sticking a label on something and saying they can’t call it comics as that’s for children … it is a label saying ‘this is for mature people’ – giving it another title to make it for grownups. [But] comics are literally for everyone, and there should be no labelling.”
How can Charlie Adlard be expected to succeed at eliminating the loathsome term “graphic novel” if people continue buying them? If you’ve been buying graphic novels from your local bookstore, Bleeding Cool understands that you are probably trying to do the right thing and help the comics industry, but you’re not, so stop it.
The trends appear to be moving in the right direction, thankfully, as the 12% growth is down from 22% growth a year ago. However, it’s doing way better than adult fiction (of which graphic novels are a subcategory), which is down 1% overall, and even juvenile fiction, which rose less than 1%. Print books in general were up 3%.
Charlie Adlard’s quest to destroy the graphic novel is progressing slowly, but there’s still a lot of work to be done if its to be eradicated once and for all, and it’s all of our responsibility to do our part to have his back.