RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir Then, Noir Now

From: Frederick Zackel (fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 30 Jun 2009

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    "There is anecdotal evidence that people are reading less and less (books, not blog posts and gossip on the Internet). That sounds like an old warhorse but apparently it is happening. One of my teenage kids was telling me that from his classmates, only a couple read anything besides the mandatory books
    (and those they often avoid reading by using notes). These guys will soon reach adulthood and they don't know anything (book knowledge isn't the epitome of knowing, but there is important stuff between covers...)."

    Yes, and men (i.e., males of reading age) stopped reading, Except ... for graphic novels.

    from Publishers Weekly, 2/6/2009 ...

    2008 Graphic Novel Sales Up 5%; Manga Off 17% by Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 2/6/2009 7:17:00 AM

    "Overall graphic novels sales in the U.S. and Canada for 2008 were $395 million, a 5% increase over 2007 and the slowest rate of growth since 2001, according to the annual report on the market delivered by ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp at the pop culture news site's annual Graphic Novel Conference held at the Javits Center yesterday on the eve of New York Comic-con. And for the first time since ICv2 began tracking the size of this market in 2001, manga sales, the largest segment of the graphic novel market, declined, falling 17%, to $175 million.

    "Sales of graphic novels in general bookstores continued to grow faster than in comics shops. Bookstores generated $265 million in sales in 2008 compared to about $165 million in sales through the comics shop market (also known as the direct market). Libraries represent about $25 million in sales.

    "Griepp blamed the decline in manga sales on the tough economy as well as inventory reductions at Borders and the ongoing closing of mall stores. He also cited a decline in exposure of anime on cable TV and the overwhelming popularity of the blockbuster Twilight series, which competed with manga for the consumer dollars of teen girls."

    In short, males are reading graphic novels to get what the book trade has failed to offer them. (Teenage girls WANT effeminate vampires; curiously enough, effeminate vampires are non-threatening. No, I cannot explain it. Although the cruder parts of my id suggests that blood-suckers can't suck enough to get it up. But I disgress.) Oh ... I forget that the book trade is avalanching itself to get into the graphic novel market.

    Not only are Westlake's books being turned into graphic novels ... Megan Abbott, whom I championed in rara-avis last year -- is working on her own graphic novel.

    From one blog: "Megan Abbott sold her first graphic novel to Vertigo/DC for inclusion in the Vertigo Crime line-up. It's called Normandy Gold and is co-written by Alison Gaylin."

    Will it be noir? You betcha! A blurb says "a Tarantino-esque graphic novel about a small-town sheriff who comes to 1970s Washington DC to avenge the murder of her call girl sister." Megan Abbott with PICTURES!!! Whoa!!!

    So, since we're heading towards the holidays, how about if each of us points out some novelist now writing graphic novels?

    Happy Fourth, y'all! Let us all sacrifice raw meat to the charcoal gods!

    Fred Zackel

    Henry Ford: "My life would have been so different if I hadn't taken off my underwear."


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