An ICv2 Release.  Pop culture trend tracker ICv2 released its latest size estimates for the comic and graphic novel markets at the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference at New York Comic Con on Thursday, and revealed that graphic novels now outsell the traditional comic periodical format.  'Based on our latest analysis, graphic novels passed comic periodicals in 2005 and held that lead in 2006,' ICv2 President Milton Griepp said at the Conference. 


According to the ICv2 White Paper presented at the Conference, graphic novel sales through retail stores in the U.S. and Canada were around $330 million at retail last year, compared to $310 million in sales of comic periodicals.  This is the first time since the origination of the comics medium that book format comics have outsold traditional comic books.  The $640 million total also represents the highest sales for the comic and graphic novel market since the early 90s. 


A number of factors contributed to that trend, according to Griepp, including the rapid growth of manga (Japanese comics translated into English), the increasing numbers of female readers, greater acceptance of graphic novels as literature, and the growing TV and movie exposure of graphic novel material. 


Libraries and schools are also getting in on the trend, capitalizing on the increasing popularity of graphic novels among young readers. 


'It's a great time for fans of the comics medium,' said Griepp.  'There's a wider range of material, of higher quality, than at any time in the last 50 years.'


ICv2 publishes daily news taking readers 'inside pop culture' on its Website; and also publishes the ICv2 Guide, a monthly magazine covering major pop culture categories including graphic novels, anime and manga, and games.