After a strong summer the graphic novel market is girding itself for a frenetic fall and winter season fueled by a tsunami of new releases highlighted by twelve volumes of the leading manga title, Naruto, that Viz Media is publishing over the final four months of 2007. The first three volumes in the Naruto blitz have dominated sales of graphic novels in bookstores during September, but the effect of the release of nine more volumes over the next three months remains to be seen. In the newly released ICv2 Guide #47: Graphic Novels, the editors of ICv2 examine sales trends through the first two-thirds of 2007 and highlight the titles that should keep graphic novel sales growing through the remainder of the year in both the direct and bookstore markets.
While manga remains dominant in the bookstore market, traditional American genre comics have exhibited a stronger growth rate in bookstores over the summer led by Marvel's Civil War collections that demonstrated that 'event' comics can be successful in the bookstore market especially if the 'event' has generated significant media interest -- something that should aid Marvel's Death of Captain America releases in October and November. Still, the most successful graphic novel in this category during the fall season is likely to be Wildstorm/DC's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, which should build on the tremendous success of earlier volumes in the series and writer Alan Moore's increasing reputation among bookstore audiences.
But other titles are also surely destined to challenge LOEG for the top spot including Marvel's first Dark Tower collection (based on the novels of Stephen King), and Dark Horse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, a continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series in graphic novel form written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon (who is the subject of the 'Writer's Spotlight' profile in the new Graphic Novel Guide).
The 'literary comics' category will also be well represented this fall thanks to Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings (Drawn & Quarterly), Oni Press' mangaesque Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4 (by Bryan Lee O'Malley), Chris Ware's Acme Library #18 (also Drawn & Quarterly), First Second's Town Boy (by LAT), and Andrew Helfer's graphic novel biography of Ronald Reagan (Hill and Wang).
The most difficult category to predict as far as sales are concerned is 'movie tie-ins,' but given that the top American releases for the past several years have all had movie connections, graphic novels with movie connections obviously have enormous potential. IDW has two strong releases an adaptation of Robert Zemeckis' Beowolf movie (screenplay by Neil Gaiman & Roger Avary), and 30 Days of Night, one of IDW's first graphic novel collections -- a high concept horror saga written by Steve Niles and set in the Artic, which has been made into a horror film that currently has a lot buzz. Other potential hits include Marjane Satrapi's
The new ICv2 Guide #47: Graphic Novels includes analysis of sales trends as well an in-depth look at some of the 'Pick Hits' in all the various categories relating to graphic novels including 'Humor' (Popeye Vol.2 & Aaron McGruder's All the Rage), 'Kids & Tweens' (Classics Illustrated: The Wind in the Willows, Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, and Walt Disney Treasures Vol. 2: Uncle Scrooge), and 'Holiday Gift Books' (Marvel Zombies: The Covers, The Acme Novelty Datebook, 52:The Covers, The Marvel Vault, and Nausicca Watercolor Impressions).
The new Guide to Graphic Novels also contains reviews by noted librarians and the ICv2 staff, including reviews of a number of upcoming releases including Shortcomings (October), Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (September), Laika (October), and Reagan: A Graphic Biography (September).
For more information on obtaining the ICv2 Guide #47: Graphic Novels, which is free to retailers and also identifies the best prospects from the hordes of graphic novel releases set for October, November and December, see 'ICv2 Releases ICv2 Guide #47: Graphic Novels.'