I was very skeptcial of the New York Times announcing special beseller lists for various categories of comics back in March, and have only grown more skeptical and cynical since, as being on any of the three ghetto-ized lists under the ghetto-ized “graphic books” category doesn’t seem to mean much of anything.
Unless you’re a publisher, in which case it means you can refer to yourself as a New York Times bestseller in blurbs, and perhaps make readers think that means you’re a real New York Times bestseller (that is, on the books list), and not that you got a participation ribbon in the just about everybody wins eventually lists, micro-targetted to make entry fairly easy (that is, one of the graphic books lists).
If you’d like to hear someone who isn’t just a cranky crank talk about why the lists don’t really work right, I’d suggest reading Christopher Butcher’s posts on the subject here and then here. Obviously I personally don’t put much stock in the list and generally ignore it, but I certainly understand why publishers would like it (and thus why the NYT would bother producing it).
In the past few months, I’ve seen inclusion on that list touted in more and more press releases and other PR material for various comics and graphic novels, but by far the most elegant example of such touting I’ve seen came in this week’s issue of Incredible Hercules:
See that box in the lower right corner? That’s Incredible Herc‘s editor Mark Paniccia semi-ironically name-dropping the NYT while in the process of providing one of those old-school footnotes.
Bravo Paniccia! That’s an amusing bit of own-horn tootery worthy of Stan Lee himself!
(The image above is by Reilly Brown and Nelson DeCastro, and it appears in Incredible Hercules #132, which, by the way, you should totally read if you’re not already a regular Herc reader. It’s a great jumping-on point!)