We've recently heard from several of the savviest retailers that specialize in graphic novels that they're having great success selling McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (Vintage Books, $13.95) an anthology of modern 'pulp fiction,' edited by Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay who is also involved in several projects for DC Comics. In addition to a delightful exercise in alternate history from Chabon, the volume contains a hardboiled detective yarn by Michael Crichton, a science fiction story by Nick Hornby (Hi-Fidelity), another installment in the Dark Tower universe from Stephen King, plus stories from Neil Gaiman, Elmore Leonard, Harlan Ellison, David Eggers, Rick Moody, and Sherman Alexie. Howard Chaykin supplies wonderful pulp-style illustrations for the stories, while the cover features a great vintage H.J. Ward cover from a 1940 issue of Red Star Mystery Magazine.
Though McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales has been on sale for a month, only FM International (among comic distributors) has included it in its catalog, at least so far. While the volume may not be right for all pop culture stores, those retailers who sell graphic novels from Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Drawn & Quarterly, etc., should have this volume on hand. In fact many retailers who do well with 'literary' graphic novels carry McSweeney's Quarterly Concern magazine, which is edited by David Eggers, and which appeals to the same hip, literary audience that is likely to buy graphic novels by Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, and James Sturm.