October 27, 2006

There isn’t much in the way of sequential art in the latest top 150 best sellers from USA Today. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Vol. 1 (Tokyopop) drops from 112 to 134.

I had briefly hoped that the National Book Award nomination for Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese (First Second) might land it somewhere on the list, but no. Hell, a Nobel Prize for Literature doesn’t get you any higher than 94, and poor Orhan Pamuk is barely hanging on at 150, so I don’t know what good I thought a mere nomination would do.

And besides, Wired copy chief Tony Long insists that “the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels, or short stories. It’s apples and oranges.” Long comes to this conclusion without having read American Born Chinese, and I find that depressing. I was sort of hoping that people would say, “How good must that graphic novel be to earn a National Book Award nomination?” and then perhaps read it to find out instead of dismissing it out of hand. (There’s no word as to where the copy chiefs of Cat Fancy, Town & Country Travel, and Cigar Aficionado will come down in the controversy. File it under “developing.”)

At least poor Captain Underpants hasn’t been unduly damaged by the recent unpleasantness. The Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People is nestled comfortably at #72. (Though it was at #66 last week.)