February 8th, 2017
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
One of my favorite things to do is to laugh at men who say that women don’t care about comics and then point them to the New York Times graphic novels bestseller list where Raina Telgemeier always has at least half of the top ten books (if not all ten) and many other women, including queer women and women of color, regularly appear. It brings me so much joy to see them have to scroll down past Sisters, Smile, Ghosts and half a dozen Babysitter’s Club graphic novels before they see anything close to a Batman or Iron Man. But I won’t be able to do that any more because yesterday the Times announced, without any warning, that they’re eliminating many of their lists, including the Graphic Hardcover, Graphic Paperback and Manga Categories, which are the places where the comics would be listed. This isn’t only a major blow to creators and publishers of comics, but to comics fans and fans of all types of books.
Many in the comics world are understandably reacting with shock and sadness. This is a big blow to a part of the publishing world that is often regarded as “books for kids” or something less than “real literature.” It’s an especially big blow to marginalized people. Queer women, for example, have been able to find success on these lists and have been able to build careers partially off of that. But they’ll no longer have that chance. I spoke to several industry insiders after the announcement yesterday.
Shannon Watters, an Editor at Boom! Studios and Lumberjanes co-creator added that this decision will erase marginalized creators even more than they already are.
The NYTimes Bestseller List for graphic novels offered irrefutable proof that the creators, genres and themes truly dominating the medium were those marginalized by so-called “mainstream” comic book publishing (women, creators of color, LGBT creators, kids graphic novels, etc.). Thanks to that list, we know that the largest group reading comics right now are young women. What a valuable tool to lose for such ridiculous reasons at such a terrifying, tumultuous juncture.