THOMPSON: The industry has changed far more radically, and for the better, than I ever could have imagined, in terms of the respect accorded to comics, the level of work being produced, comics' place in the market, the whole ball of wax. (You have to bear in mind that when we started cartoonists were literally wondering whether Americans would ever be willing to read comic books that ran beyond the length of an issue of Giant-Size Fantastic Four.)
The weird thing is that the idea of "graphic novels" and comics for adults has had so very little penetration into the general literate populace. Most regular people are, in my experience, still utterly stunned and confused at the very idea, New York Times Book Review reviews notwithstanding. There is a weird disconnect between the press's enthusiastic embrace and promotion of the medium and its effect on actual "mainstream" readers. You have millions of New York Times subscribers reading and presumably mostly enjoying the Jason serial, but how many of them would even think "Hey, I should go buy a book by this guy"? .001 percent?
It remains an uphill battle, and if I'd known how much of an uphill battle it would continue to be, even with all of these victories, I might have become an advertising copywriter circa 1979.
So what will it take to make the Graphic Novel a household item in all of North America? Because we're working at that one too, over here.