The form is decades old, obviously...the term "graphic novel" was coined by Will Eisner back in in 1978.
(I co-wrote The Everything Guide to Writing Graphic Novels, so I know a wee bit about it)
But as far as NYC publishers are concerned, graphic novels are the "hot" new form. I attended the BEA last year and brought with me a few copies of my recently printed (but not yet distributed) graphic novel, Death Hawk: The Soulworm Saga.
None of the editors I met with were very impressed with my novel writing credentials ("Created the Outlanders series, 42 of them over the last ten years, yeah, yeah, uh-huh") but they all got excited when I showed them my graphic novel.
Most of the bigger houses now have graphic novel divisions that cover all categories. Since graphic novels and even comic books are attractive to movie people (because the work is already storyboarded), I think it's a form that thriller and mystery writers should consider pursuing.
I would absolutely love to pursue this form. I don't think my current novels would translate directly into it, although they definitely have strong movie potential, but I would love to start with writing some DC stuff first (Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Batman) and then a graphic novel when I felt I had a complete graphical story arc in my head. I actually just finished a new short story for a proposed anthology that I think would work wonderfully well as a comic arc.
Thanks for sharing, Mark. I've been told several times to do a graphic novel as my artwork appeals to kids, but finding the time when working fulltime is really tough. I'll have to check your book out. But it'd be foolish to ignore what publishers are eager to obtain. There is also a great need for talented Manga artists. The good ones are really busy--so I've heard from a book company looking for new talent.
Some graphic novelists/cartoonists are pushing the title, "drawn book," but I don't have a problem with graphic novel, myself.
I recently finished adapting my own crime novel, Head Games, for a graphic novel to be published by First Second (the artist search is now on). Reducing the novel to script form for a picture-driven format was...interesting. The story beats are all there, but it's the novel from a different set of camera angles, so to speak.
(By the way, Mark, I loved Millennium's treatment of Doc Savage. Yours, and the B/W Marvel series, are the only truly great presentations that character has gotten in comics format.)
Head Games sounds exactly like the kind of book I would love. I'll pick it up ASAP, I won't wait for the graphic novel. What is First Second?
I think our "heads" are in the same place, to some extent. Look at this page from an upcoming graphic novel of mine entitled Lakota...check out the dialogue in the second panel...the art is by Jim Mooney, BTW.