Thursday, August 2, 2007

Amelia Rules at Scholastic

Great news!

"Renaissance Press is pleased to announce that Amelia Rules! will now be carried as part of Scholastic Book Fairs and Clubs nationwide and in Canada."

Congratulations to Jimmy Gownley -- Scholastic has a pipeline directly into schools and this will bring another great comic directly to kids.

Read the press release here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Comic-Con Report

We had a very busy time at Comic-Con in San Diego -- so many people to talk to! The girls enjoyed using their new digital recorder to ask everyone the question of the day -- read the answers here.

Creator News
Scott Sava told us that he has optioned his newest book, Pet Robots, with Disney -- read all about it here. He's also hoping to land a publisher for Dreamland Chronicles soon as he has had buyers for major book chains express interest. The girls spent quite a bit of time with their noses buried in the preview copies of Dreamland Vol. 2.

It was great to see Andy Runton (our favorite person!) and order our Owly hat (handmade by Andy's mom). Right next to Andy was Christian Slade, who told us that on the day he and his wife brought their new twins home from the hospital his copies of Korgi were waiting on the front porch. What a great story!

It was great to meet Jason Kruse, whose World of Quest was not only picked up by the new Yen Press, but will also become an animated show on the WB. The character designs look good and it was interesting to hear about the process Jason has gone through in making all this happen. More info at Jason's site.

Debbie Huey had not only Bumperboy t-shirts, marble magnets, stickers, and buttons (I might as well have handed her my wallet), but a new mini comic called Bumperboy Learns How to Ride a Bike. It's as charming and fun as everything else she does and it turns out she is just learning to ride a bike herself, which is what inspired the story.

One of Sarah's favorite comics is Oz the Manga by David Hutchison (Antarctic Press), so she was thrilled to meet him and get a sketch. We even bought her an original page from the book for a scandalously low price. It features the steampunk Tinman and is incredibly cool. A collector is born!

We finally got to meet Mike Kunkel of Herobear and the Kid fame. He has really great news, but if I tell you I'll have to kill you and, well, there are a lot of you. You'll have to be satisfied with Mike's hints on his blog.

Art Baltazar and Franco of Patrick the Wolfboy also have big news -- look for an announcement at the Chicago con next month. You must visit them at a con -- they're more fun than a barrel of monkeys and you must see Art's crayon sketches and Franco's CD paintings.

Young Readers' Graphic Novel Publishing News
I attended two panels on Sunday. "The Graphic Novel Explosion" with publishers like David Saylor from Scholastic Graphix, Karen Berger from Vertigo/Minx/DC, and Mark Siegel from First Second, among others, ended up spending quite a bit of time discussing how to get graphic novels in the hands of kids. David Saylor told me afterwards that the Graphix line sells very well through Scholastic Book Fairs and Book Clubs, but not so well through bookstores.
The next panel, "What's Happening in Kids Comics Today?", skillfully moderated by Dave Roman, featured Debbie Huey (Bumperboy), Kazu Kibuishi (Flight, Amulet), Gene Yang (fresh from his Eisner win for American Born Chinese), Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules!), George O'Connor (Journey Into Mohawk Country), and Svetlana Chmakova (Dramacon). This discussion also turned to the distribution of comics and how to get them to kids.
Kazu's view is that there just isn't enough good material available for kids, and when there is, the kids will find it. Jimmy Gownly disagreed, saying that there is plenty of good stuff out there, and that kids are finding it in libraries, but not in bookstores.
I had a great conversation on the subject with Robin Brenner, librarian and all-ages cheerleader extraordinaire (her site, No Flying No Tights, inspired me to take up this work), Janna Morishima of the new Diamond Kids division, creator George O'Connor, and a reporter from the Detroit News who was working on a piece about how comics are for kids again.
The general thread that emerged from the panels and in conversations that I had throughout the con is that kids will voraciously read comics and graphic novels if they are readily available. The publishing of graphic novels for young readers seems to be a snowball rolling downhill -- it's gathering speed and momentum all the time. Librarians are reporting that kids love graphic novels and the circulation rates are very high.
I really feel that if two particular hurdles can be overcome -- if bookstores can find a way to effectively shelve and display comics and graphic novels for kids, and if parents and teachers can be convinced that reading graphic novels is "really reading" -- this segement of the market will truly explode.