Friday, October 17, 2008

Fiction Friday: graphic novels

We're about to put our graphic novels in a separate section - some manga, bought this year, but also Raymond Briggs' When the Wind Blows, and Shaun Tan's The Arrival, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  Be interesting to see how it goes.  My plan for next year is to have students who like manga form some sort of advisory committee to make suggestions for additions.  The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft is one specialist bookseller making a particular effort to learn about manga so it can advise teacher librarians.  Their suggestion is not to go deep in one series, but thin and broad, a few from many, to meet the widest range of user interests.  Realistically, I'm not sure that a school library can fully support every manga reader's every wish, given the volume/frequency of issue; unlike what one tries to do with popular fiction series such as Ranger's Apprentice, Redwall and Twilight, to name just three, where you do try to stock all titles.

It was therefore thought provoking to find this article from the Guardian in the UK, about a US graphic novel venture aimed at teenage girls that hasn't worked: and that one of the main issues may have been quality.

A quote from the article (which is by Ned Beauman):

 Although it does have some big hits, the manga industry is mostly a triumph of market segmentation: among the thousands of titles published every year in Japan, there is something for every conceivable taste. Coming out of this giant, delirious laboratory, a popular title may keep up such an intimate dialogue with its specific teenage audience that it is almost unintelligible to anyone else.

Discovered via Read Alert.  Image source: the Guardian article .


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