Raina Telgemeier Is the Most Important Comic Creator of the Current Age
Why not state the obvious? Brian Hibbs’s yearly BookScan sales review column is now up, looking back at the top-selling graphic novels of 2016 through the bookstore market.
The obvious fact is this: of the top seven, six are by Raina Telgemeier (and the seventh, Dork Diaries, isn’t a comic). Between her illustrated memoirs, her fiction, and her Baby-Sitters Club adaptations (reissued recently in color), she has sold over 1.3 million books in just the last year. As Hibbs says, “literally every book she’s done that is in-print is a top-of-the-charts best-seller, which is wildly unprecedented”.
Moreover, since she’s published by Scholastic, as Hibbs points out, there are likely many additional sales through book fairs that aren’t tracked by this method. It’s no surprise to me her works do so well — they’re universal stories, approachable and easy to read but with substantial cartooning skill behind the deceptively simple storytelling.
The only books from the traditional comic industry that rank near the top are The Killing Joke (what would DC be without Alan Moore? and an animated movie to promote the story?) and The Walking Dead (TV is the best advertising). There’s lots more data (lots!) in the linked column, including publisher rankings and lists of top-selling books, but I wanted to point out that if you think comics are superheroes made by men, you don’t know what really sells to a young and growing readership.