I recently bought Dawn of the Bunny Suicides as a gift for a friend. For anyone unfamiliar with the genius of Andy Riley, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a collection of cartoons showing plump, would-be adorable bunnies in the act of creative suicide. Death by potato masher, lawn mower and Quidditch broom are just some of the highlights (fellow geeks, rejoice—Star Wars and Doctor Who both get to shine). And before you call PETA on me, take a look at the book, because it’s bound to have even the greatest Watership Down fans chuckling.
What puzzles me is why these books get shelved in the adult section. The deadpan, often cynical humor seems perfect for YA. Same goes for the amazing xkcd collection…¥et they’re rarely found outside of bookstore gift displays or adult comic book sections. Wouldn’t it make sense to also stick a copy with the YA graphic novels? On a related note, I’ve found the opposite problem with books like Persepolis, which, despite being required reading for West Point cadets, usually get cataloged only as YA. (To go even more extreme, there’s always the well-hashed controversy over It’s a Book!) It seems that the liberal use of illustrations in books confounds the normal rules of marketing. What a shame, because pigeonholing them in one category is a surefire way to limit readership.