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Library Group Finalizes 'Great Graphic Novels' Nominations

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Manga, manhwa, world manga comics make up most of final list

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, released its final list of graphic novels nominated for its 2008 Great Graphic Novels. Over 70 of the 130 volumes on the list hail from Japan or are published by a company that specializes in manga.

Tokyopop leads all North American manga publishers, with 13 of its Japanese and eight original volumes nominated, as well as one manhwa. Tokyopop's books competing for Great Graphic Novel honors include: Aqua Volume 1, Nosatsu Junkie Volumes 1-3, Baku, King of Thorn Volumes 1 and 2, Mugen Spiral Volumes 1 and 2, and The Good Witch of the West Volumes 1 through 4. Among its world manga nominees are the first volumes of Rhysmyth, Pantheon High, Battle of the Bands, Avalon High: Coronation, Gothic Sports, We Shadows, and My Dead Girlfriend, and the second volume of Dramacon. The Korean comic Good Luck also picks up a nomination.

Nine of Del Rey's manga volumes were honored, along with two of its original comics. Nominations went to the first two volumes each of Alive, Mushishi, and My Heavenly Hockey Club, as well as the initial volumes of Dragon Eye, Princess Resurrection, and Pumpkin Scissors, and both volumes of its original work Make 5 Wishes.

With a total of ten nominations, Viz placed third among the manga companies on the list. Four of the nominations it received were for manga series that have been ongoing for some time: Kekkaishi Volumes 7, 8 and 9, and Boys Over Flowers Volume 25. The remaining six were split between the beginning volumes of Gin Tama (three), Vampire Knight (two), and Love*Com (one). CMX is one behind, with nine (Emma Volumes 1-5 and Canon Volumes 1-3, and one for the reissue of Gon), while Go! Comi holds eight spots on the list with After School Nightmare Volumes 1-5 and TRAIN+TRAIN Volumes 1-3.

The industry's smaller publishers range from Digital Manga's four nominations (three for Flower of Life and one for The Moon and Sandals, published under their June imprint), and Vertical's three (all for To Terra), to one each for ADV Manga (Yotsuba&! Volume 4), Dark Horse Comics (Translucent 1), alternative comics publisher Last Gasp (for the one-shot Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms), and manga industry newcomer Aurora (for Walkin' Butterfly). The now-defunct Korean comics publisher ICE Kunion picked up one nomination, for the first volume of Goong, and so did Abrams Young Readers, which publishes in the U.S. a manga-style adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

All eligible works must have been published in the U.S. between September 2006 and December 2007. Members of YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee will review all of the nominees and select the year's best graphic novels for teens from among them, based on such criteria as "an integration of images and words, outstanding artwork quality, and a narrative that is enhanced by artwork." YALSA will announce its final selections at the conclusion of the American Library Association's Mid-Winter Meeting, which is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia on January 11-16.

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