Seeking to disprove stereotypes that comics are merely simplistic or juvenile entertainment for the uncultured; to enlighten the open-minded and encourage the broadening of one's horizons; to examine comics as a text; to deepen appreciation for comics, comic books, and graphic novels as a formidable form of art in all cultures.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Word of Mouth

Check out this installment of a podcast hosted by the writing center at Brigham Young University, my alma mater.

I would have personally given a few more details as to the economic influence that has encouraged the prominence of superheroes in the comics medium over the years, and the hosts are a little monotone and unnatural, but they pull in a couple guests who are more lively, and the podcast in all is a good intro for someone who is curious about looking at comics more seriously and understanding the phenomenal popularity of comics-related media in the last decade (original post at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

NY Times Introduces Graphic Books Best Seller Lists

The New York Times today introduced its first-ever listing of best seller graphic books, split into three categories: hardcover, softcover, and manga!

George Gustines, author of the article, compares/links this newfound recognition of the medium with the feature-length Watchmen movie that is soon to be released. While Watchmen certainly is an important work in comics -- one of the first superhero comics to take itself seriously and explore the strengths of the medium -- this list comes long overdue, since before Watchmen was collected into a single volume.

That being said, this is definitely a big step in the right direction. The country is finally starting to recognize the important impact that comics have had on our culture. Granted, it's not exactly time to jump and shout for joy just yet. After all, this doesn't necessarily mean that people are going to be looking at comics as being anymore valuable than commercialized sludge pandering to children, and looking at some of the bestsellers it's obvious that the majority of the comics audience maybe isn't always demanding the quality of literature we could be getting (Batman R.I.P. being a major one that stands out to me -- a storyline that delivers soap opera plot elements and cheap gimmicks as a scheme to increase controversy, and thus readership).

But a step nonetheless. And, as I've shown, it should provide a useful tool for measuring the artistic appreciation of popular audiences for the comics medium.

What are your thoughts on what this reflects and where we are to go from here?