Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Graphic Novels

If I had gobs of money, I’d set up a publishing house that produces nothing but graphic novels or anthologies of grafiction (or comics), all packaged as books, with nicely coated covers and impressive book design. The publishing house would also venture into publishing the short fiction and prose novels of the grafictionists, and perhaps an occasional how-to.

Again, IF I had gobs of money.

The graphic novel has distinct advantages over its serial pamphlet cousins (comics magazines) as well as straight-prose novels. And these advantages can spell healthy returns for a publisher.

Versus Pamphlet Comics

Because graphic novels are packaged and designed as books, they can reach audiences who shy away from the stigma-ridden comics magazines. They can also attract those who may have ‘outgrown’ comics.

Graphic novels make great gift alternatives. It’s very rare to give magazines as gifts, but common to give books.

Graphic novels have greater longevity. If you still live in your parents’ house, chances are you’ll find books printed decades ago still sitting in a book shelf or cabinet. Not so much magazines.

Graphic novels have self-contained stories. Buyers are not burdened with repeat purchases just to see how a story ends. It’s very book buyer-friendly.

There are more favorable export avenues for graphic novels compared to comics magazines.

Versus Prose Novels

The comics format can attract those who shy away from prose novels.

The comics format attracts two sets of buyers: the fans of the writer and the fans of the artist.

Producing graphic novels would, of course, entail a humongous amount of moolah, but it’s hard to deny the wider market potential in the Philippine set-up. With the proper story and art and high production values, targeted to the 18 to 35 year-old set who have disposeable income, graphic novels can succeed as a staple in the local entertainment industry.

Adarna House started with After Eden. I’m hoping others will follow suit. It’s still very much an open game.

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