Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto Vol. 7, published by Viz Media, has won the 2006 Quill Award for the Best Graphic Novel, the first time a manga title has taken home that award.  Naruto, which has been by far the most popular manga and graphic novel series in the U.S. for the past year, won the graphic novel award in spite of strong competition from Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Brian Fies' Mom's Cancer, and Marvel's stylish Maximum FF.  Driven by the popularity of the Naruto anime series on the Cartoon Network, Viz Media's series of Naruto graphic novels has accounted for nearly 10% of all manga sales in bookstores during 2006 so far.


The Quill Awards are a two-year-old joint venture between Reed Business Information (Publisher's Weekly) and the NBC TV network, and the idea behind the awards is to create a literary analog to the People's Choice Awards by having readers vote for their favorite books in a variety of categories.  Neil Gaiman's 1602 won the first Quill Graphic Novel Award last year (see 'Gaiman's 1602 Wins Inaugural Quill Award').