On Thursday, the New York Times announced plans to stop publishing weekly bestseller lists for graphic novels and manga from February 5th. There’s been no word on the Graphic Hardcover, Graphic Paperback or Manga lists being combined with other categories either. Consequently, there’s been some heated discussion within the world of comics on the newspaper’s apparent ignorance of the medium’s legitimacy.
The response from the Times does little to persuade us otherwise. Danielle Rhoades Ha, the paper’s vice president of communications, claimed that while some of the bestseller lists were introduced “as an experiment”, the lists being discontinued “did not reach or resonate with many readers”. But in slightly better news, there are aims for the Times to “devote more space and resources to [its] coverage beyond bestseller lists”. At the same time, they’ll continue to cover comics news in print and online.
Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, reiterated that there will be “new graphic reviews by comic artists, more reviews, more news and features about the genre and its creators”. She continued “We are big fans, and want to recognize growing readership”. These comments came after controversy about Paul’s suspected dismissal of John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell’s graphic novel March, based on the civil rights protests of now-Congressman John Lewis.
We hope the Times follow through on their promise to expand its comics and manga coverage in the place of their dropped bestseller lists. Letting them fall out of recognition would show a gross disregard of the literary and artistic importance of these mediums. Not to mention that of their creators, and the opinions of readers like us.