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February 20 2006

Serenity comic book was the best selling graphic novel for January. The collection of the three issue mini-series sold an estimated 8,016 copies in comic book shops.

Pssst Dark Horse. Do a hard cover version with the scripts and an interview with the writers. Fan would snap it up. The Nathan intro for the trade paperback was lovely btw.

That's excelllent news. And they beat out Superman's "Sacrifice" too. Whoa.
I'm actually surprised 'Sacrifice' sold this well--there was a lot of negative fan-backlash because the story crossed over with the 'The Omac Project' miniseries, after DC promised that would be a standalone book.

But, hey, Serenity outsold Alan Moore! Not to mention, New Avengers, which is consistently one on the top books on sales of singles.
Can I ask a really dumb but genuine question? What is the difference between a graphic novel and a comic?
A graphic novel is a collection of individual comics within a particular series, all bound together under one cover. The "Serenity" graphic novel contains the individual comic issues 1, 2 and 3.
Seems to be doing quite well in the UK also since it's been sold out of every comic shop i've tried.

Not bad beating Alan Moore tho' that TPB is very similar to a collection that's been out for a couple of years so it's maybe not surprising that it's seemingly a bit slow to sell (I bought one last year which seems to be about the same but minus 'The Killing Joke').

Re: terminology, some people reserve 'graphic novel' for a comic story which was never published as individual issues and call collections of individual issues Trade PaperBacks (or TPBs). To some extent 'graphic novel' is an invented term by folk who were too snobby or (from the other side) ashamed to call a comic a comic (it really came to prevalence in the 80's with ground-breaking works like 'Watchmen' and 'Dark Knight Returns' which were deemed by the literati to be too complex to be 'just a comic'). I throw the terms around pretty interchangeably tho' strangely i'd be much more likely to call 'Watchmen' a graphic novel than 'Serenity'. Maybe there's a wee bit of snob in me too ;).
Actually the 'term' "Graphic novel" was invented by Will Eisner, who was one of the greatest comic artists ever. It's just used *also* by snob people. I'm just being fussy actually 8-)
Why did Dark Horse go with the smaller format than the usual size of a TPB? Is it a manga thing?
Actually actually ;), according to this wikipedia entry Eisner popularised the term but it was around before he used it. You're right tho' Laz, there's nothing wrong with the term per se, just the way it's seometimes used.

I didn't realise 'Serenity' was in a smaller format. Maybe it's some policy shift on Dark Horse's part to save money resetting presses etc. (given the manga stuff).
I like the small size, is kind of strange though.

I already had 2 copies of each issue (but only 3 of the covers) but nice to have them all together though, and the foreward by Nathan's pretty good too.

Looking forward to new Serenity comics.
I didn't realise 'Serenity' was in a smaller format. Maybe it's some policy shift on Dark Horse's part to save money resetting presses etc. (given the manga stuff).
Or possibility Dark Horse did it not to save money but in hope to make more money by selling copies to manga fans, which dominate the bookstore market. Dark Horse did the same thing to the new editions of Frank Miller's Sin City last year, after publishing a larger version for years.

As for the term graphic novel, it's now the term widely used in bookstores for just about any comic book with a spine. I think it's a very small number of people who use that term with any bit of snobish attitude as it's term that is just so widely used now.
Yeah, that could well be it Matt_Fabb tho' you'd have to wonder if manga fans are daft enough to buy something clearly NOT manga just because it's the same size. Still, that doesn't mean the Dark Horse marketing division aren't thinking like that (and if the Sin City reprints sold well that'd only encourage them ;). In fairness, I could accept a person might be more likely to pick it up to have a look if it was the same size and shape as their usual comics, and that might translate to higher sales.

More generally, I suppose, it's just more convenient to carry and saves vertical shelf space in bookshops, could be as simple as that.
I'm actually surprised that Serenity outsold the likes of Batman and Superman. I had no idea the comics were that popular. I picked up the graphic novel as well, but I'm not a big fan of the smaller size. It gets completely lost on my bookshelf between all the other graphic novels.
As I understand it, this list doesn't include the likes of Amazon.com or bookstores like Borders or Barnes and Noble so the Serenity tpb could have sold a lot more than 8,016 copies.
Yeah, these are just the "direct sales", sold through Diamond to comic shops. Book shop and Amazon sales are a wholly seperate entity.
If it has been released in the UK, I wonder why Amazon UK and Play are still listing it as not released... I have had it pre-ordered at Amazon for some time and it says it isn't released to the end of the month, with Play citing the end of March. I'm getting impatient for another Joss fix.

Personally I just prefer the term 'graphic novel', and no way am I a snob because I'm not that into comics so it's not like from a pretentious perspective. I just think it seems to describe them better and sounds more appealing, but not in a snobby way. 'Comics' makes me think of the kind of comics I would have read when I was younger, like The Beano and The Dandy (although I'm not sure if they exist outside of the UK). In that way I find it difficult to lump those kind of comics with the often more adult and sophisticated 'graphic novels'.

I got The Hard Goodbye with my Sin City DVD set and was kind of disappointed about the smaller size, I think the bigger size really shows off the artwork so much better. If I see the Sin City series reasonably priced in bigger sizes I'd rather get them. Does that mean the single issues of the Serenity comic are bigger than the TPB? In that case maybe I should have tried harder to hunt them down.
I think the French know how to package their comic books or rather bandes dessiné the best. Shiny hard cover, lovely quality paper and a larger size than the US TPBs.
French comics/graphic novels are bound very nicely, no doubt about that. But you pay for it (at least, you do when they're imported to North America). In one collection you might get three or four issues-worth of material, but you pay serious hardcover prices (and then some, sometimes) for what little you get. Sometimes the art is so worth it though. I love European comics (Humanoids Publishing, for example), I should reserve more cash for them.

Already got the Serenity issues, will hold out for a hardcover the same way I did with Fray (though I still just have the monthly issues of that, the hardcover's on my Amazon wishlist). Disappointing to hear that they reduced the format size. I'm still buying Runaways in monthly form due to hating the manga-sized collections and the probability that Marvel won't put out proper trades. The art is made smaller and I imagine the text bubbles/font have to be made larger in some cases for most people to be able to read it--not an ideal reprinting of the material, even if it does cost less.
Still, that doesn't mean the Dark Horse marketing division aren't thinking like that (and if the Sin City reprints sold well that'd only encourage them ;).

Last year the new versions of Sin City were selling so well, bookstores were only getting part of the orders they were asking for because Dark Horse couldn't print out new copies fast enough to keep up with the demand. Of course, I think it's more likely to do with the movie being released rather than the size, but I wouldn't be surprised if some people are Dark Horse thought the new smaller size helped.

Then latter that year once it was impossible to find the regular sized Sin City editions, Dark Horse released an oversized version of Sin City in hardcover.

In fairness, I could accept a person might be more likely to pick it up to have a look if it was the same size and shape as their usual comics, and that might translate to higher sales.

More generally, I suppose, it's just more convenient to carry and saves vertical shelf space in bookshops, could be as simple as that.

Well, bookstores already have shelves for the larger North American size graphic novels, so I don't see why it would be more convenient for Serenity to be smaller. However, the graphic novels that are shaped the same size as manga, often get put on the same shelf with manga, or at least right beside it, which once again the marketing people want to see as manga is the big sellers in the bookstores.
Thank you for explaining my question. You are kind people.
Maybe the smaller size is cheaper to produce. Not that I like it better. The larger pages with good artwork are one reason I like graphic novels so much.
Also, with the Sin City small versions, they fit into the packages with the DVDs better, to form a nice boxset, rather than having normal sized books. But I'd still rather have the bigger size.
Wow. Sweet. I bought 3, so I guess I did my part. Simon: Hardcover, with more stuff. Yes please!

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