Jim Hanley, former owner of Jim Hanley's Universe (now JHU Comics), comments on the longevity of some popular graphic novels from one generation of comic readers to the next.

It seems worth mentioning that the first thing I thought of, when reading your un-bylined article on bookstore sales ("28 Years Later, 'The Killing Joke' IS #1") was Dave Sim's essay, "Comics and the Mass Medium."  Specifically, I was thinking of a piece I thought he quoted therein by one of the owners of Page 45 in Nottingham (not sure if it was Stephen or Mark).  As it turns out, in the online version of Sim's essay, I don't find that quotation, so I may be misremembering where Sim published it.  Without access to Stephen or Mark's writing, I'll have to wing it.

Essentially, he listed key graphic novels, which, even by the time of the piece, were considered long in the tooth, hence seeing less and less display in comics stores.  After each was listed a number of anticipated sales, at that time unrealized.

As someone who long made his living selling comics, irrespective of their original release dates, the insight demonstrated here was thrilling.  Trafficking strictly in what came out the prior Wednesday never made much sense to me, much less depending on what might or might not come out, at some future date.

The Suicide Squad film may increase sales of Alan Moore & Brian Bolland's Batman: The Killing Joke now, but it's the work itself that matters.  When Ang Lee's film of Sense and Sensibility was released, I'm sure sales of Jane Austen's novel spiked, but it was the novel itself that had continued to sell for nearly two centuries, before the film's release.  Moore & Dave Gibbons' Watchmen saw a similar spike around the time of its filmed version.  But both books continue to sell now.  The fact that many were disappointed with the filmed Watchmen hasn't diminished the original work, nor its appeal (as is clear from your article).

I guess my point is that we shouldn't be surprised that good work remains popular, years after its release.  New readers come of age, every day.  And they want to read what's best, as much as people who excitedly read the serialized chapters, all those years ago.

In the meantime, I need to go back and reread "Comics and the Mass Medium," now that I've found it again.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.