We're back with the latest version of our guide to graphic novels for booksellers. We received so much feedback about our initial listing of graphic novels (PW Daily, August 28) that we decided to tweak our criteria and format just a bit.

From now on the list will feature three categories: Manga (Japanese comics), generally published in seemingly endless multivolume series; recent non-manga releases and backlist titles.

Sales of manga dominate graphic novel sales to such a degree, we've decided they need their own category. Manga titles also very often have video/DVD releases or may have a broadcast program on MTV or the Cartoon Network that will also bring in fans. The recent releases category will feature non-manga titles that are selling well or have unusual interest or quality. The backlist category will feature a variety of titles that are also either selling well or have unusual interest or quality.

We're going to run the list once a week and hope to give booksellers a better sense of the wide variety in subject matter and audience offered by graphic novels.


1. Love Hina by Ken Akamatsu (Tokyopop). A very popular manga series. 19 year old Keitaro is desperate to attend Tokyo University. But he flunks the entrance exam, so decides to take a job as caretaker at his grandmothers hotel and spend all his time studying to get into Tokyo U. But it turns out the hotel is a girls dorm and Keitaro is only guy in the house! Now his biggest problem is how to keep his mind on studying.

2.Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse). A six volume epic set in Tokyo 38 years after World War III, this complex graphic novel follows two teenagers and a motorbike gang after an encounter with a strange child with an old man's features. Afterwards one of the young bikers begins manifesting violent, supernatural powers and both find themselves enmeshed in a fight between two sinister government agencies battling to control some unnamed thing so terrifying its locked away in a vault and frozen to absolute zero. A cult manga and anime classic.

3. Sailor Moon by Naoka Keuchi.(Tokyopop) This enormously popular manga series features the adventures of Bunny Tsukino, a little girl who discovers she's also Sailor Moon, a princess from the future, and her talking cat Luna as they battle the evil forces of the Negaverse in the distant future. Very popular among younger girls.

Recent Releases:

1. Epileptic: Book I by David B. (Fantagraphics). Set in the 1970s this extraordinary memoir is the story of the author's childhood in France and his family's determined to effort to find some help for his epileptic brother. Desperate for help, the family turns to macrobiotic cults, deeply esoteric mystics and all manner of quackery. David B.'s drawings are nothing short of spectacular.

2. Finder: Talisman by Carla Speed McNeil. Lightspeed. Part of a multivolume series set in an indeterminate future society that combines high technology and a little magic. This story focuses on a young girl who loses a beloved storybook and her obsession with finding the book or becoming a writer herself. Ultimately this book is about the power of storytelling itself.

3. Ruse: Enter The Detective by Mark Waid. (CrossGen) The adventures of Simon Archard, a Sherlock Holmes-like character only much more studly. He and his companion Emma Bishop, a pert and sarcastic blonde, solve a series of improbably fantastic crimes in a kind of alternative Victorian London.


1. Palestine by Joe Sacco.( Fantagraphics). A fascinating first-person, you-are-there work of comics journalism that documents Sacco's two month stay in Jerusalem, The West Bank and Gaza Strip to document the lives of Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.

2. Heavy Liquid by Paul Pope (DC/Vertigo). Set in the year 2075, Heavy Liquid is an urban love story and a futuristic international crime thriller set in moodily rendered New York and Paris. It is the story of "S," his addiction to a mysterious, powerful and hallucinatory substance sought after by different characters for its different properties.

3. Bone by Jeff Smith. (Cartoon Books). A Charming and funny character driven fantasy series. Masterfully and playfully rendered in the manner of Pogo creator Walt Kelly, Bone's comical adventures will delight kids or adults.

This article originally appeared in the October 10, 2002 issue of PW Daily for Booksellers. For more information about PW Daily, including a sample and subscription information, click here.