On Monday, Modern Tales announced the launch of GraphicNovelReview.com, a journalistic publication dedicated to shining a spotlight on the “literary mainstream” in the field of book-length comics.
“Most people with any kind of grasp on contemporary culture have a sort of vague sense that there’s something going on in the field of graphic novels — that there is literate, engaging work to be found there,” said Joey Manley, publisher of GraphicNovelReview. “They may have heard of Art Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ or ‘In the Shadow of No Towers,’ for example, or they may have even read Scott McCloud’s ‘Understanding Comics’ or the recent comics-focused issue of ‘McSweeneys.’ But exploring the larger context from which those works emerged, the vibrant literary scene surrounding graphic novels, is difficult for anyone who isn’t a hardcore devotee of the form. All too often, comics-related critical publications, both ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream,’ expect their readers to be masters of arcane tribal knowledge and ritual; most comic book stores seem about as disreputable as porn shops to literary readers; and the graphic novel shelves at big box bookstores are clogged with gaudy melodrama, from both sides of the Pacific. Beyond the one or two literary graphic novels that get attention in the general press every year, the kinds of books we are spotlighting have been mostly hidden from the view of their ideal audience, racked alongside superhero adventures and pre-teen romance books on shelves where the average Anne Tyler or John Irving reader, for example, is loathe to tread.”
Graphic Novel Review editor Alexander Danner said, “Most people don’t limit their reading to a single niche genre, so neither will Graphic Novel Review. The books discussed in the first issue alone range from political satire to epic fantasy, crossing through crime thriller and Egyptian mythology along the way–not to mention an in-depth interview with one of the most respected autobiographers working in the medium today. The goal is to provide a resource that will help even the most casual readers of graphic novels find books to suit their tastes. To accomplish this, we’ve tapped reviewers who are more than just comics enthusiasts; these are literature enthusiasts with an appreciation for the graphic novel form and everything it can accomplish. It’s an ambitious project, and one that I’m thrilled to be a part of.”
Graphic Novel Review will update with one full magazine sized “issue” on the third Monday of every month. The contents of the first issue are as follows:
Milo George Interviews Eddie Campbell
“/Batman: The Order Of The Beasts/ is a comic book; /Graffiti Kitchen/ is a graphic novel. They are both 48 pages long.”
M. Campos Reviews Joe Chiappetta’s “/Silly Daddy”/.
“It’s bothersome when a writer who was valued for his unremitting honesty should feel the need to clean up after himself.”
Joey Manley Reviews Jeff Smith’s “/Bone: One Volume Edition/”
“These character-driven little bits, scattered throughout the book, are enough to carry a nearly 1400-page book all by themselves, despite the clunkiness of its larger storyline.”
Sneak Preview: “/Gutsman/”
Four pages from Erik Kriek’s wordless graphic novel, scheduled for release in January, 2005. Pages provided courtesy of Top Shelf.
In Brief Reviews:
/Birth of a Nation/
/Amy & Jordan/
/Dioramas: A Love Story/
Modern Tales, in business since March 2, 2002, runs several popular comics-related sites, including four subscription-based “webcomics anthologies,” ModernTales.com, serializer.net, girlamatic.com, and graphicsmash.com, which serve approximately 4,000 paying subscribers among them. More than 100,000 individuals visit one or more of Modern Tales’ websites in any given calendar month.
GraphicNovelReview.com will be a free online-only publication, operating on an advertising-support model. Manley has specifically disavowed any intention to participate in bookseller affiliate programs to support the publication: “People have to know that we’re not trying to sell them a bill of goods — they have to be able to trust our reviews.” In addition to paid banner advertising, GraphicNovelReview also offers publishers and authors an outlet for free promotion, in the form of classified ads as well as online digital previews of upcoming works.
Information for potential advertisers can be found on GNR’s media kit page, here:
Information about Modern Tales can be found here:
Writers who wish to contribute to GraphicNovelReview may find more information here:
Publishers and cartoonists who wish to arrange digital “sneak previews” of upcoming works, or to submit copies of their published books for possible review, should get in touch with Graphic Novel Review’s publisher, Joey Manley:
Joey Manley, Publisher
Alexander Danner, Editor