Awards watch

May 8, 2007

It looks like there are some new additions to the current roster of nominations for the list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens, assembled by the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). (I say “looks like,” because my memory is far from perfect, so apologies if the books I’ve pegged as new nominations have been there for a while.)

DC’s Minx line seems to be making a favorable impression on nominators, with Re-Gifters joining The Plain Janes. The current edition of Sequential Tart has the first part of an interesting insider’s view of the Minx line from Mariah Huehner, including this assessment of some of the imprint’s early sound bytes:

“Its times like this I really wish marketing a product based solely on its own merits, of which the titles in MINX have a lot, was the preferred method. Putting down other kinds of books aimed at the same demographic doesn’t do much to elevate the medium. And anyway, wouldn’t it be better if teen girls were readings more of everyone’s titles? I don’t think it’s a choice between Manga and MINX. I think you’ll find a lot of crossover.”

The first volume of Fumi Yoshinaga’s The Moon and Sandals (Juné) is an interesting choice, partly because Digital Manga has given it an age rating of 18+. It follows two couples, one adult and one teen-aged, and the older pair does reach a sexual milestone, though I’m blanking on how explicit that encounter was at the moment. I thought the book kind of dawdled in a perfectly likeable way, but it does end with an emotional gut-punch worthy of Natsuki Takaya at her most ruthlessly tear-jerking.

The successful partnership between Tokyopop and HarperCollins (just look at the sales figures for Warriors) hasn’t stopped HC from publishing graphic novels on its own, and Mark Crilley’s Miki Falls books earn two slots on the YALSA list.

As usual, the list also serves as a handy collection of recommended reading for me, with intriguing-sounding titles like Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age from Penguin/Viking:

“A very unscientific poll recently revealed that 99.9% of all people who attended middle school hated it.”

Yay! I’m in the majority! (Though 7th and 8th grades were classified as “junior high” back when I endured them, right around the popularization of the internal combustion engine.)

And while it’s only kind of tangentially related, there’s a great interview with this year’s Eisner judges over at Bookslut, one of whom is Robin Brenner, one of the librarians who assemble the YALSA list. Some of my favorite quotes:

“The shift from the collector market to the reader market has been incredibly significant, in terms of just where one can find comics and graphic novels today but also in terms of signifying the growing diversity of what’s out there and what people want to read. I feel the industry can only benefit from a concentration on attracting readers rather than collectors — so the story and artistry of the title is the most important thing.” (Brenner.)

“The industry’s attempt to force-start another speculator glut, is, fortunately, somewhat of a miserable failure.” (Comics writer Chris Reilley.)

“I would like to see a few less comics about zombies; they’re really overstaying their welcome in my opinion.” (Reilly, again.)

Well, zombies do move rather slowly.

Cleaning up

May 8, 2007

Remember the controversy in California over a library copy of Paul Gravett’s splendid Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics? The local paper, the Hesperia Star, does, because it won a regional award from the Society of Professional Journalists for an editorial on the situation:

“If our libraries should be 100 percent sanitized by young children, then let’s get rid of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Hemingway. Let’s not take any chances. Burn the National Geographics before another adolescent sees them.”

Funny how portable that sentiment is.