Rumors have been spreading of late about several new graphic novel imprints at traditional publishers and Abrams Comic Arts has just unveiled Megascope, a new line focusing on “rediscovering powerful speculative work by and about people of color and also visualizing new diverse narratives through the comics medium.” Genres will include science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism, and non fiction centered around social justice issues.
The line will be headed up by John Jennings, who drew the bestselling Kindred graphic adaptation for Abrams Comic Arts. The name of the line comes from an invention by famed African-American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois that can peer through time and space into other realities.
I can’t think of anything more intriguing than an Afro-futurism-tinged line of graphic novels and art books. The line launches in fall 2019 and will publish four to six books a year.
Jennings, a much respected figure on the comics scene, will work with Abrams editor Charlotte Greenbaum, as well as editorial director Charles Kochman, who formed the imprint along with Jennings and SVP Andrew Smith.
An advisory board has also been established, including Jennings Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Harvard), Sherryl Vint (UCR), Frederick Luis Aldama (OSU), Stanford Carpenter (Black Comix Arts Festival), Kinitra Brooks (MSU), Ricardo Padilla (Latino Comics Expo), Rebecca Wanzo (WashU), Darieck Scott (UC Berkeley), and Frances Gateward (CSUN).
“Everyone who participates in our society deserves to see themselves and their culture reflected back to them in the media with which they interact. Storytelling is an empathy technology and it gives us a space to share and explore everyone’s humanity. We plan to reach back and find speculative critical narratives of the past and introduce them to new audiences. We also want to help develop new stories from new voices that speak to the imagination and wonder of fantastic shared narratives for all to learn from and enjoy. ABRAMS has repeatedly shown its dedication to creating beautiful books for everyone. It’s just one of many reasons why this partnership is so timely and exciting for me,” says Jennings of Megascope.
“We’re thrilled to be working with John to expand our graphic novels list in this important new way—and to welcome the new talent and invaluable voices, both on the creative side, as well as on the publishing team. As we prepare to celebrate ten years of Abrams ComicArts, this the first of several exciting announcements about the expansion and increased inclusivity of our graphic novels list,” says Smith.
“Besides being an amazing artist and a committed creator, John is fully immersed in the comics community and the world of academia. Through our conversations, it became clear that what has been missing was proper, consistent representation of comics created for, by, and about people of color in the mainstream. To address this, there is no one more qualified than John Jennings, and we are excited to work with him to shepherd these stories into existence. The formation of Megascope is just the start of this necessary dialogue,” says Kochman.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.