Booksellers contacted by Q&Q agreed that Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn & Quarterly) is one of the most popular graphic novels of 2011. “Kate’s Web comic is incredibly popular, and I think her very rabid fan base was anxious to own a new book by their heroine,” says Jason Grimmer, retail operations director at Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore.
Booksellers aren’t alone in recognizing Beaton’s appeal: Time magazine picked Hark! A Vagrant as one of their top titles of 2011 (and so did Q&Q).
Another graphic novel in high demand this year was Chester Brown’s Paying for It (D&Q), the follow-up to his 2006 book Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography. “For us, [Paying for It] was probably the most awaited book in comics,” says Peter Birkemoe, owner of The Beguiling in Toronto.
Other 2011 titles with buzz include David Collier’s autobiographical Chimo (Conundrum Press) and Seth’s The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists (D&Q). Ray Fawkes’s graphic novel One Soul (Oni Press), which tells the story of 18 people’s lives, launched at The Beguiling and has become an in-store favourite. “It’s wildly experimental and really fascinating,” says manager Chris Butcher.
One Soul has also been a top seller at Strange Adventures in Halifax, along with Mike Holmes’s collection of comic-strip memoirs, True Story (Invisible Publishing). Parker: The Martini Edition by Darwyn Cooke (IDW Publishing) is also attracting attention. The collection, which includes 2008’s The Hunter and 2010’s The Outfit, has been “the one book that has gathered the most adoring looks so far this holiday season,” says owner Calum Johnston.