Top Graphic Novels: Viz takes half the slots in the September BookScan top 20 chart, which measures sales of graphic novels in the book channel: Vol. 12 of One Punch Man was the top seller, followed by the all-in-one edition of Death Note (a 12-volume omnibus—yes, it’s a brick). Perennial best-sellers Fun Home, March, and Watchmen all make the chart, as does Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, vol. 3 of Tom King’s Batman: Rebirth, and Avatar’s limited edition of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence: Act 3. Interestingly, there is not a single Image title on the list.
Military-Industrial Comics: As might be expected, the Defense News website has a very different take on the Marvel/Northrop Grumman PR disaster than the comics Twitterati. For those who missed it, Northrop commissioned Marvel’s special projects division (which is separate from the publishing division) to make a comic that would feature “a team of Northrop Grumman themed heroes” encouraging kids to take more science and math courses. The project also included a video explaining the real-world science behind superhero technology.
To those in the defense industry, these types of events are de rigueur. All major defense firms spend money to encourage STEM growth, and for the marketers at Northrop this likely seemed like a creative way to get that message across. Several Northrop employees online expressed bewilderment and frustration that what they thought was a cool way to reach young adults turned into such a disaster.
But the reality is that for many Americans, they hear the name Northrop Grumman and simply think of bombers and drones. While the company prides itself on high-tech innovations, it also drew in more than $20 billion in defense profits in fiscal year 2016, and for large numbers of Americans, defense contractors are simply war profiteers making a buck off of killing people abroad.
Marvel announced the project with a terse Tweet during New York Comic Con, inviting attendees to come to their booth at 3 p.m. the next day—an invitation that was rescinded around midnight after it became clear that the reaction was not what they expected. Writer Aaron Mehta gives a good explanation of what happened, putting it into the context of Marvel’s other woes at the con, and he even tracked down a real comics retailer to add some insider knowledge.
The Mary Sue also has a good description of the comic and the reactions to it.
Interviews and Profiles
Stepping Down: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner talk about ending their four-year on Harley Quinn.
Superwoman: NBC News profiles Sheena Howard, the first black woman to win an Eisner Award; a professor and new mom, Howard edited the recently released Encyclopedia of Black Comics and is co-writing the superhero story Superb with David Walker for Lion Forge.
Reviews, Roundups and Commentary
Best of the Year: At Spy Magazine, Ryan McBride lists The 10 Best New Graphic Novels of 2017… So Far.
Boo! Just in time for Halloween, Mahnaz Dar rounds up some spooky graphic novels for teens.
Conventions and Festivals
How Big is Too Big? Hannah Means-Shannon considers the reasons why this year’s New York Comic Con seemed so crowded, as well as the effect that had on her and others.
Bookstores vs. Direct Market: At the ICv2 Insider Sessions at NYCC, Milton Griepp predicted that bookstores will overtake comic shops by 2020 as the place to buy comics.
Straight Talk on Comics Economics: Jim Zub runs the numbers on Wayward, his creator-owned comic, which has been running for a couple of years now (the most recent issue is #22). The bottom line is that this is a long game, and monthly sales of single issues don’t tell the whole story.
Retail Detail: At the Diamond Retailers Panel at NYCC, publishers gave their customers an idea of what to expect in the near future.