Dynamite hit Book Expo with a pocketful of announcements today. Projects based on prose books with a mix of deal extensions and new deals. Projects that also might have resonance with the bookstore demographic for Book Expo.
The first announcement, coming clear out of left field, is Dynamite’s acquisition of the rights to the Shaft literary cannon. Yes, Shaft as in Richard Roundtree and Isaac Hayes. Ernest Tidyman originally wrote seven Shaft novels, co-wrote the first Shaft film and wrote the second Shaft film, Shaft’s Big Score (which was actually the third Shaft novel). Tidyman also did a little screenwriting, picking up the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The French Connection and Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter.
What all did they get?
These novels have long been out of print, and Dynamite intends to bring these back and make them available again. In addition, the new prose stories and Original Graphic Novels will be the first new Shaft stories, outside of the movie, since Tidyman’s passing. Further editorial plans for new comics and prose will be announced at a later date.
Dynamite has been doing a bit of prose with Chuck Dixon over on the eBook side of things and having some success. This is them branching out a little further in the prose area. The OGNs will figure prominently, no doubt, but the traditional book market aspect is a bit of a curve ball. Definitely appropriate to the venue, though.
Next up is an expansion of their relationship with Dean Kootz, a staple of the New York Times Bestseller list specializing in dark fantasy and horror. Dynamite’s adding licenses for Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, Dean Koontz’s Christopher Snow and Dean Koontz’s Nevermore. Koontz will provide new stories for those properties.
Perhaps a bigger deal, though, a bit of elaboration is required:
Dynamite also announced it is further building its longstanding relationship with the literary icon, and is in discussion with Dean Koontz regarding publishing work based on 3 brand new original Koontz properties.
Under the deal currently being discussed, the 3 original properties are being created exclusively for Dynamite, straight from the mind of Dean himself. Each property will have at least 3 graphic novels published, to create a full program around the new work.
That brings the total of Koontz projects to 6, which practically makes it a sub-imprint.
Next up is Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson may be best known for finishing up Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, but has a number of his own series out, including Mistborn, Reavers, Stormlight Archive and Alcatraz.
A brilliant, new fantasy world, White Sand is split into two halves: on one side are the Daysiders, and on the other the Darksiders. Daysiders have a unique ability to control and manipulate sand, bending it to their will to attack, or protect, as they wish. Darksiders have their own unique abilities and culture, and must wear thick dark lenses while on the Dayside. Generally speaking, Daysiders and Darksiders do not get along…and White Sand follows the adventures of one particular Daysider, a boy named Kenton.
The White Sand Graphic Novels are based on Brandon Sanderson’s manuscript, and the graphic novels are the first published work to explore these worlds. As with Brandon’s other fantasy novels, White Sand takes place in his larger universe called the Cosmere, where consistent rules and themes are followed. The White Sand Graphic Novels will be as integrated into the Cosmere as any of Brandon’s other novels with many “Easter Eggs” for Brandon’s large fan base.
White Sand will be a 3 GN series.
Next up is Patricia Briggs, who is extending her Mercy Thompson deal.
This all new story is called “Hopcross Jilly”. In Hopcross Jilly, Mercy Thompson, shapeshifting coyote and member of the Tri-Cities werewolf pack, stumbles upon the buried bones of numerous dead children, and is soon hip deep in the mystery of a legendary fae–a mystery that could be the death of her!
Hopcross Jilly is an original story written by Patricia Briggs. Writer Rik Hoskins is on board to script the comics, and Tom Garcia is delivering the stunning artwork to this new series. The first issue of the 6-issue series is shipping monthly from Dynamite beginning in October, and will be available both digitally and in print. The graphic novel collection will be published in 2015.
Finally, we have Jim Butcher extending his Dresden Files deal:
Currently in the works is “War Cry” another original story taking place four months after the events depicted in Dead Beat, the 7th novel in the Dresden Files series. The first issue of War Cry ships next month, and the graphic novel will be published later this year.
Two more original Dresden Files graphic novels will be coming in 2015 and 2016. The details around the creative teams and stories in each graphic novel will be announced at a later date.
Granted, Book Expo is geared towards the bookstore market, where monthlies comics aren’t the norm, but Dynamite just released 5 graphic novel-centric announcements with literary origins and the return of an out-of-print cult novel series. Given the current situation between Amazon and Hachette, which everyone in comics should be paying attention to, I can’t help but notice (Shaft prose novels aside) these announcements are all deals that Amazon didn’t get. These projects are all roughly in the wheelhouse Amazon’s Jet City Comics imprint is trying to create for itself.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.