In a move that reinforces that graphic novel publishing is here to stay, Abrams ComicArts, the graphic novel arm of Abrams, is becoming its own division. Previously an imprint of parent company Abrams Books, the reorg means it will be its own standalone division, alongside the adult and children’s divisions.

The line, which has published such books as Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross, Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies, Joseph Smith and the Mormons by Noah van Sciver, and The Nighteaters by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, was founded in 2009, by ex DC alum Charlie Kochman.

The new division will be run by Rodolphe Lachat, who has the title Vice President and Publisher of Abrams ComicArts, reporting to  Abrams president and CEO Mary McAveney, who announced the move.

Abrams Comic Arts founding editor Charlie Kochman will retain the title of editor-in-chief and report to Lachat, and continuing to edit the Wimpy Kid line of books, Jeff Kinney’s mega-popular series. Abrams ComicArts is already home to the Megascope imprint, edited by John Jennings, a line of graphic novels dedicated to speculative fiction and nonfiction by people of color; and Lachat will continue as editor of Cernunnus, an adult fiction imprint at the house.

Abrams’ parent company is French publisher Média-Participations, which also owns French comics publishers Dargaud and Dupius; under this new structure ComicArts will work more closely with their French counterparts to bring more international comics and manga to their US line. Manga is a particular focus, as Lachat revealed in a statement. “Media-Participations has built much of its success and reputation based on its extraordinary catalog of comics, graphic novels, and manga,” he says. “Launching the first Abrams manga program, we will be able to leverage the relationships MPP, one of the first manga publishers in Europe, has built. Our new titles—soon to be announced—will further the immense richness and diversity of the Japanese culture here in the US.”

Abrams Comic Art recently created a stir with Marvel Arts, a pact with Marvel to produce adult graphic novels by notables creators, starting with Alex Ross’s Fantastic Four: Full Circle and The Superhero’s Journey by Patrick McDonnell. The new stand along division will kick off with the fall 2024 line, and two new Marvel Arts titles, including The Veracity Vortex by Chip Kidd and Michael Cho and a deluxe edition Ross’s Fantastic Four: Full Circle.
Upcoming original graphic novels include Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: A Graphic Novel Adaptation and Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology: A Graphic Novel Adaptation.
“Graphic novels, comics, and manga are an area of tremendous growth with a devoted and diverse fan base,” says McAveney in a statement. “Our unique access to rich content through MPP allows us to strategically expand our presence in this market. Our best-in-class publishing in the art of comics makes Abrams ComicArts the division to magnify our backlist publishing while expanding into this important market.”
This is a big deal that not only validates Kochman’s leadership of the imprint over the last 14 years, but shows that comics – including adult comics – continue to be a success story in the mainstream publishing world.