Thursday, September 25, 2008

Minx bows out; shelving practices blamed

Looks like DC Comics' Minx division for teens is shutting down. Although there's no full consensus yet on the cause for the failure of the line (a line best known for Cecil Castelluci's The Plain Janes series), a major component appears to be the inability of comics distributors to convince bookstores to shelve the graphic novels alongside YA novels. Apparently, not enough of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants crowd is venturing into the Graphic Novels section of bookstores.

Some trouble was evident back in March. I wrote then:

I guess it looks like DC tried to do both--get girls into traditional comic-book stores and get a piece of the YA bookstore market--and fumbled.
Seems the fumble led to a game-losing touchdown (to stretch the metaphor too far).

It's an interesting quandary—which section do you go for? For instance, in the Children's category, most graphic novels tend to be filed with other children's books, not with the graphic novels. I can think of a number of reasons: (1) the difference between picture-laden kids' books and graphic novels is not as great as the difference between text-only teen books and graphic novels; (2) there are simply not that many graphic novels in the children's category, so it makes less sense to devote a special section of the GN area to them alone; (3) booksellers/parents feel more comfortable keeping children out of the GN area altogether, because that way they don't have to worry about the young'uns stumbling onto the sex and violence that will probably be shelved not too far away from Bone and Owly.

I suppose the dichotomy has helped Babymouse, keeping it where the book readers are, but hurt the Minx line, which couldn't get at those same book readers.

Graphic Novels and Books ... why can't we all just get along?

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