Graphic Novels


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An overview of comic books and comic novels. Describes how to find graphic novels and the best way to place orders for the books. This presentation was given at the Jefferson County Public Library Association (Alabama)

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Graphic Novels

  1. 1. Graphic Novels: Help! I Don’t Know What I’m Doing! By Maya Jones Birmingham Public Library (AL) & Heather Miller Homewood Public Library (AL)
  2. 2. Comics or Comic Books <ul><li>Stories written and illustrated in chronological order and published in magazine format. Just like any periodical or magazine once you acquire so many issues it becomes a volume. The only difference is the volume format many times becomes a graphic novel. </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Creator Owned” Comics/Graphic Novels <ul><li>Artist that created the comic/graphic novel owns the story or work. Many independent publishers and some imprints of major comic book publishers are “creator owned”. (Ex. Frank Miller’s Sin City). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Graphic Novel <ul><li>Stories written and illustrated in comic book style, published in a bound format. It can be a bound compilation of previously published comic books that tell one story or an entirely original work. “Comic Strip” compilations are not usually considered to be graphic novels as they are originally published on a daily or weekly basis and do not have a centralized storyline connecting them. </li></ul>
  5. 5. American Manga <ul><li>American comic written and illustrated in the style of Japanese Manga. This is not a translation but produced for the American public. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Manga <ul><li>Means comic book in Japanese. Oftentimes, manga is published in serial form first. Serialized manga is published in weekly or monthly magazines like Shojo Beat or Shonen Jump (Show Examples). </li></ul><ul><li>Many times after being serialized in a magazine for several issues it is then bound as a “graphic novel” or “trade paperback”. Usually read from back to front but some publishers are printing the translated manga in western format from front to back. (Show example Tokyo Mew Mew). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Novels <ul><li>Tokyopop and Viz have begun to publish full text novels based on manga series. </li></ul><ul><li>(Ex..hack, Crest of the Stars, Ghost in the Shell). </li></ul><ul><li>Marvel and DC also publish novels based on their graphic novels. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Other Terms <ul><li>Manwha – Korean comics and graphic novels. Artwork tends to be elongated and more delicate than Japanese manga. (Ex. Aegis) </li></ul><ul><li>Shonen – Means boy(s) in Japanese. This manga has a lot of action, martial arts, characters with superpowers and robots. Age range young readers to older teens. (Ex. Naruto, Yu-Gi-OH, InuYasha, Prince of Tennis). </li></ul><ul><li>Shoujo or Shojo – Means young girl in Japanese and is used to refer to manga that has a romance theme and/or a female protagonist. Age range young readers to older teens. (Ex. Fruits Basket, Boys Be, Boys Over Flowers.) </li></ul><ul><li>Yaoi – Manga with homosexual themes. Age range older teens to adults. Usually published by specific publishers or is a separate imprint. </li></ul>
  9. 9. American Graphic Novels vs. Japanese Manga <ul><li>American Graphic Novels are drawn in a more realistic style while manga tends to be more stylized than American Graphic Novels. Manga is printed in black and white while American graphic novels are usually in color. Exception examples: InuYasha Animanga (color based on the anime stills) and Marvels Essential Series (usually classic issues done only in black and white and bound like a book, but size-wise looks like a large catalog or telephone book). </li></ul>
  10. 10. American Graphic Novels vs. Japanese Manga <ul><li>Size: Manga is traditionally smaller, digest size and can have hundreds of pages. American graphic novels are usually magazine sized and have 30-32 pages. Exceptions ex. Marvel hardbound GN, and DC hardbound GN. </li></ul><ul><li>Production: American Graphic Novel usually involves a team effort: Writer/s, Penciler/s (does initial sketches), Inker/s (uses pen to ink over sketch), letterer/s (adds dialog), and colorist/s (colors the inked sketches). In contrast, manga is usually done by one artist who creates, writes and draws the series (ex. Of series done by one artist; ex. Of series done by 2 artists). </li></ul><ul><li>Layout: Manga has less dialog than American Graphic Novels and can be read at a faster pace. </li></ul><ul><li>Price: Manga $7.99-$10.99. American graphic novels $10.99-19.99 paperback and $24.99-$49.99 hardcover. Some American graphic novels in hardback form can be considerably more than $49.99. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Manwha <ul><li>Term used for South Korean comics. Rule of thumb, if the name doesn’t look Japanese it is probably manwha not manga. Manwha is read horizontally and left to right just like English because Korean is written from left to right. Manwha is less explicit than Japanese Manga, because of stricter censorship laws in Korea. Manwha mostly meets the standards that are more common in the United States. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Genres <ul><li>Superhero: Superman, Batman & X-Men </li></ul><ul><li>(by far one of the most popular genres) </li></ul><ul><li>Science Fiction: Star Wars, Gundam & Ghost in the Shell </li></ul><ul><li>Fantasy: Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Bone & Full Metal Alchemist </li></ul><ul><li>Action Adventure: Saiyuki, Saiyuki Reload & Air Gear </li></ul><ul><li>Martial Arts: Naruto, Blade of the Immortal & InuYasha </li></ul><ul><li>Supernatural/Horror: Blood, Hellsing & Rebirth </li></ul><ul><li>Romance: Kare Kano, Boys Over Flowers, Peach Girl & Fruits Basket </li></ul>
  13. 13. Ratings <ul><li>There is no one </li></ul><ul><li>universal ratings system </li></ul><ul><li>Each publisher rates it’s own </li></ul><ul><li>comics/graphic novels/manga </li></ul><ul><li>Conscientious publishers, such </li></ul><ul><li>as Tokyopop, put their ratings on </li></ul><ul><li>the covers of their materials and </li></ul><ul><li>provide explanations of their </li></ul><ul><li>system on their websites. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes publishers create different </li></ul><ul><li>imprints for different age groups rather </li></ul><ul><li>than rate each graphic novel. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Publishers <ul><li>American Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>Marvel </li></ul><ul><li>Owns 36.97 % of the market share (2005). Publishes (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Avengers, Spider-Man etc…). </li></ul><ul><li>Imprints: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Icon creator owned titles. Be wary of ordering from them. Some titles are for mature audiences. Ex.Powers “My Powers Mistake Story”and Criminal, and Book of Lost Souls. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marvel Next attracts young readers. Ex.Runaways and Young Avengers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MAX geared toward mature audiences. publishes Punisher: MAX, and Punisher Presents, Fury (Character Nick Fury). </li></ul><ul><li>Marvel Adventures imprint is intended for children and always published in digest form, </li></ul><ul><li> ex. Avengers Power Pack Assemble </li></ul><ul><li>Another imprint Marvel Knights is intended for teenagers. </li></ul><ul><li>MC2 Alternate future timeline for Marvel Universe. </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimate Marvel updated versions of Marvel’s most popular superheros. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Publishers <ul><li>American Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>DC Comics </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest publisher in operation and a division of Time Warner. They own 32.96 % market share (2005). DC publishes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Elfquest, Teen Titans etc….) </li></ul><ul><li>Imprints: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DC Kids Ex.Superman Adventures, Teen Titans Go! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MAD humor magazine. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vertigo an imprint that publishes comics for mature audiences. Vertigo published Neil Gaiman Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer (character became Constantine movie) and V for Vendetta. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wildstorm publishes creator owned comics ex. Astro City, Ex Machina </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and Gen 13. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CMX is a division of Wildstorm that publishes translated manga. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Publishers <ul><li>Independent Publishers of American Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>Archie Comics – Publishes Archie, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, </li></ul><ul><li>Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Sonic the Hedgehog. </li></ul><ul><li>Dark Horse Comics – 3rd largest company famous for publishing cutting edge comics/graphic novels i.e. Sin City, 300, Aliens, Star Wars, Hellboy, current issues </li></ul><ul><li>of Usagi Yojimbo. They own 5.59% of the market share. </li></ul><ul><li>Fantagraphics – Publishes alternative comics/graphic novels, classic comic strip anthologies and cutting edge graphic novels. They also own the adult comic imprint Eros Comix. Published vol. 1-38 of Usagi Yojimbo, Prince Valiant and </li></ul><ul><li>The Complete Peanuts. </li></ul><ul><li>IDW Publishing - (Transformers, 30 Days of Night, CSI, Angel and Spike, </li></ul><ul><li>Jack Bauer (from 24) own 1.49 % of the market. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Publishers <ul><li>Independent Publishers of American Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>Image - Fourth largest comic book publisher and competes with Dark Horse Comics. In 1999 largest part of Image Studios was acquired by DC became Wildstorm. </li></ul><ul><li>The part of the company not sold publishes Spawn, WitchBlade, WildC.A.T.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Mirage Studio – Creators and distributors of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. </li></ul><ul><li>Mirage will become part of Viacom in January 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Slave Labor Graphics (SLG) – Publishes Gargoyles and some other Disney </li></ul><ul><li>related titles such as Tron. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Publishers <ul><li>Publishers American Manga </li></ul><ul><li>Del Rey/Kondansha (publishes original English language titles), Tokyopop/HarperCollins has a deal to publish manga based on HarperCollins books and have yet to publish its first novel. </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers Japanese Manga (English Translations)- </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyopop – Large publisher of manga and manwha. Publishes Fruits Basket, Pantheon (American manga), Earthlight (American manga) and Kingdom Hearts, Kilala Princess, Kare Kano (His/Her Circumstances) </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyopop manwha – Rebirth </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyopop Novels based on Manga/Anime series (Ex..hack//Another Birth) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Publishers <ul><li>Publishers Japanese Manga (English Translations) </li></ul><ul><li>Viz – Major manga publisher. Viz publishes Shojo Beat & Shonen Jump manga magazines, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Prince of Tennis, Pokeman and Bleach. Viz has been criticized for its excessive censorship of its manga when translated into English. Viz does this to sell its titles to a wider American market and is known for its all-ages rating. </li></ul><ul><li>Imprints: </li></ul><ul><li>Shonen Jump Advanced Geared toward an older audience </li></ul><ul><li>and rated older teen. </li></ul><ul><li>Studio Ghibli ex. Kiki’s Delivery Service. </li></ul><ul><li>Viz Signature rated for mature audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>CMX </li></ul><ul><li>Dark Horse Manga ex. Usagi Yojimbo </li></ul><ul><li>CPM Press </li></ul><ul><li>Del Rey/Kodansha – Partnership with Del Rey distributes its translated titles to the American market. Del Rey publishes: Tsubasa, xxHolic, and Negima. DGN Productions/DrMaster. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Publishers to watch out for <ul><li>Be Beautiful </li></ul><ul><li>Dramaqueen, LLC </li></ul><ul><li>TokyoPop (BLU Manga imprint) </li></ul><ul><li>Iris Print </li></ul><ul><li>D(igital)M(anga)P(ublishing) (801 Media) </li></ul><ul><li>June Manga </li></ul><ul><li>Kitty Media </li></ul><ul><li>Yaoi Press </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally Tokyopop or IceKunion (Manwha) will issue a yaoi title under its own name (ex.Gravitation for Tokyopop or One Thousand and One Nights). </li></ul>
  21. 21. Starting A Graphic Novel Series and Replacement Copies: <ul><li>I firmly believe that you don’t have to start a series at the beginning. On the other hand, if a series becomes popular and you have volume 4, you should buy the first three volumes. I’ve found at West End that readers don’t care if you have the whole series. You can place a hold at another library or use ILL for volumes you don’t have. </li></ul><ul><li>Binding – Nothing lasts forever especially with graphic novels and manga. You can repair a hardback graphic novel but don’t bother repairing paperbacks; it’s a waste of time and energy. I don’t reorder either, if a graphic novel or manga has been damaged or stolen, let it go. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Standing Orders <ul><li>Standing orders for graphic novels/manga work just like other plans, allowing you to collect a popular series without having to continually check publication dates. This is especially helpful with manga, as there is very often no set schedule of publication. </li></ul><ul><li>BWI and Ingram have standing order plans. Between the two companies, most popular series are covered. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Traditional Review Sources <ul><li>School Library Journal </li></ul><ul><li>SLJ has begun publishing 1-2 pages of reviews for graphic novels/manga in every other issue. They try to cover a broad spectrum in a few reviews but don’t give a lot of information about content. </li></ul><ul><li>Booklist & Publisher’s Weekly </li></ul><ul><li>These two publications give little to no information about content and do not truly review the material, so they are not your best source for collecting new items. </li></ul><ul><li>Ingram Advance </li></ul><ul><li>No Flying No Tights Website </li></ul>
  24. 24. Traditional Review Sources <ul><li>Ingram Advance </li></ul><ul><li>This publication has started to give information on age ratings, but not content. It does list the publishers and imprints, though, which can help you avoid known mature material. And if you collect items that are not on standing order, Advance will help you keep up. </li></ul><ul><li>No Flying No Tights Website </li></ul><ul><li>Can be considered a “Traditional Non-Traditional” site. This website offers traditional-style reviews and gives information on content, age appropriateness, etc. as well as an informed opinion of the plot. Not updated often, but archived and searchable. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Non-Traditional Review Sources <ul><li> – Many times, esp. for manga, readers will write their own reviews. I read them when I can’t find much on a graphic novel or manga series. I always try to choose things that have more than one review </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia – Good source for series information. Especially for Marvel and DC. Helps you navigate the maze of Marvel’s alternate universes. (Look at Example—Civil War story arc.) Use this as a starting point for manga and manwha series that you know nothing about ex. Air (Visual Novel) and Air Gear. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Non-Traditional Review Sources <ul><li>Anime News Network – Good source for news bulletins on new manga and anime series as well as user ratings. This has reviews of manga series and anime. It has useful Top Ten Lists. The encyclopedia function has an exhaustive list of manga and anime series as well as brief series description </li></ul><ul><li>ICV2 Internet Correspondence version 2: Inside the World of Pop Culture Products – Website that offers articles and reviews of manga, graphic novels, anime and gaming. Good for up and coming manga/graphic novel information and but not reviews. You have to order the magazine ICV2 Guide to see most of the reviews. Reviews in ICV2 Guide are done by librarians and comic book retailers. The graphic novel and manga issues are published only five times a year, the other issues are devoted to gaming. . </li></ul>
  27. 27. Publisher Websites <ul><li>If nothing else is available, publisher websites </li></ul><ul><li>may give you a synopsis </li></ul><ul><li>Marvel – The Marvel website has its own wiki that details marvel universes, story arcs and characters . </li></ul><ul><li>DC – This website is not as informative as Marvel’s but it does have character bios, sneak peaks at new titles, podcasts and miniposters . </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyopop – First of all you have to register for a login to use the full website. This website can be hard to use but it has loads of interesting things: internet manga and original anime series. . </li></ul><ul><li>Viz – A good website that is free for all. . </li></ul>
  28. 28. Ways to choose without relying on reviews: <ul><li>Watch TV – Often what is popular in cartoons and anime is popular in graphic novel/manga form. Stations to look at are Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, Scifi Channel, Anime Network (On Demand) and Nickelodeon. If your’re not into tv, check out their websites. Check out the website . (Anime on TV) will tell you what anime is being shown, the station and time. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to your customers – Graphic novel and manga fans usually love to talk about what to buy. </li></ul><ul><li>P.S. not all of your customers are teens so try to have a variety of graphic novels/manga available. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Ways to choose without relying on reviews: <ul><li>Talk to each other – Talk to fellow librarians/library workers to find out what’s hot and what’s not at their libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to fail – When we’re not comfortable with something we often shy away from it, which usually translates into “I don’t order much of this.” If you order a series that never checks out, don’t worry about it. Sometimes, the series is in its infancy and then gains popularity later, sometimes you just miss the mark and sometimes your customer interest is different in your area and you can send the series to another library. </li></ul>
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