DC Comics publishes the largest line of graphic novels in comics publishing; it includes more than 500 titles driven by classic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and by such authors as Neal Gaiman, Alan Moore and Warren Ellis.
Paul Levitz, publisher of DC Comics, attributes the gains in graphic novel publishing to "an enormous increase over the last decade of both the creativity that's going on in the field and the degree to which consumers are responding to the personal voice of creative work. That opens an opportunity for a much broader range of material."
In the last decade, DC has increased its commitment to graphic novel publishing, first by aggressively repackaging successful periodical comics as graphic novels and by offering creators the opportunity to create original graphic novels. "As you change the types of stories, different stories are friendly to different formats," Levitz said. Levitz believes comics are through a period where experimentation has gone beyond the limitations of the traditional 22-page periodical comic book. "Now," Levitz said, "we've reached the next stage."
Levitz is upbeat about the future for graphic novels in both bookstores and comics stores. He told PW, "We're seeing that the book format, as a format, is acceptable to people who are unwilling to shop for the periodical. The book formats allow us to attract a group of readers who can show up when they feel like it, and I think that potentially opens the door to a much wider range of customers."
However, Levitz is cautious about "how much growth we can drive out of the bookstore business," questioning "how much growth we can drive out of our creativity." The key, he continued, is to "create comics that are of interest to a wider and wider range of people. That's ultimately the key to the bookstore side and to the comic shop side. The pace of growth is very, very healthy and we hope it continues to accelerate."