Okay… continuing on with Fall previews, we move to one of the Big Six pubishers.  No, not comics, the mainstream Big Six, the ones which dominate American and English bookselling.  Macmillan is part of of the Holtzbrinck Group, and includes such marques as Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Henry Holt, St. Martin’s, Tor, Scientific American, and, of particular interest to comics fans, First Second Books.

First Second has always produced graphic novel books of exquisite quality (of a variety of criteria), and their Fall catalog is amazing!

So amazing, that Macmillan is offering a FREE e-book sampler! (That cover images is from Stan Nicholls’ Orcs: Forged for War.)

Have you ever asked yourself what goes on in comics between the panels and behind the scenes?  Now, you can get an inside look at the making of eleven exciting new graphic novels and learn more about how they’re put together.
Written and Illustrated by Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card, Jonathan Case, Chase Conley, Chris Duffy, Joe Flood, Jonathan Hill, Honoel Ibardolaza, Thomas LeBien, Leland Myrick, Stan Nicholls, Jim Ottaviani, MK Reed, and Sara Varon.
Orson Scott Card? Doesn’t he only publish graphic novels for Marvel?  Not anymore!  And while those Ender Game adaptations are enjoyable, all the cool kids are reading manga, so Mr. Card and daughter have written an original graphic novel about teenagers who are mysteriously chosen to maintain alien technology which powers Earth.  Of course, there’s a mystery involved.  I’ve read the first few chapters, and it looks like an entertaining read, a bit of Tezuka’s drawing style and message mixed with Card’s hard science fiction.  Of course, I’m not the target audience, so proceed with caution.
(And if you want something more sophisticated, Tor will also be publishing the color omnibus of Girl Genius sometime next year.)

What? You want more?  TWO Hugo Award winning authors isn’t enough?!  Okay… go read The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1, by Chuck Dixon and Chase Conley, based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

Tired of all this human-centric fantasy?  You’ll probably enjoy Orcs: Forged for War, by Stan Nicholls; illustrated by Joe Flood.

It follows a ruthless and deadly cohort of warrior orcs as they fight their way free of the dominion of an evil human enchantress. Sitting on an exhilarating peak with high fantasy on one side and the thrilling, gruesome battlefields of graphic novel classics like Frank Miller’s 300 on the other, Orcs presents the world of its ogre-like protagonists with technicolor violence and moments of unexpected sympathy.

Or perhaps you want something more spooky.  Friends with Boys, written & illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, is about Maggie McKay, a homeschooled teenager mainstreamed into high school.  As if high school wasn’t scary enough, Maggie must solve the mystery of a melancholy ghost which has followed Maggie her entire life.  Due to be published in February, go read the award-winning Brain Camp, which Hicks illustrated.

Of a different sort of teen angst is Derek Kirk Kim’s classic, Same Difference.  Reprinted by First Second in a deluxe hardcover, it is scheduled for December.

Geez… romance comics are making a comeback!  Periscope Studios’ Jonathan Case makes his debut with Dear Creature, which tells the tale of underwater creature Grue, and his star-crossed romance with Giulietta.  Will the course of true love run smooth for Grue?

Originally published as a webcomic online, Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil chronicles the aftermath of the Iranian elections of 2009.  There is a discussion guide, and the comic has been translated into thirteen languages!  First Second offers other webcomics as well on their blog.

Set in 1967 Texas, The Silence of Our Friends is a semi-autobiographical story  written by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, and illustrated by Nate Powell.

The Silence of Our Friends follows events through the point of view of young Mark Long, whose father is a reporter covering the story. Semi-fictionalized, this story has its roots solidly in very real events. With art from the brilliant Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) bringing the tale to heart-wrenching life, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature for older teens and adults.

Too serious and timely?  Or perhaps you want some political commentary from the 18th and 19th Centuries?  (Or so the conspiracy theory postulates…)  Or perhaps you wish to sample comics by a multitude of world-class cartoonists!  Then you’ll probably enjoy Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists!  Roz Chast!  Nick Bruel!  Mike Mignola adapting Solomon Grundy!  Tony Millionaire!  Kate Beaton!  (And some guy named Mark Siegel…)  If you click on the title link above, there’s a Google Books preview which includes the table of contents as well as some preview pages!  (Although, for some strange reason, the pages are blocked as “copyrighted material”, even though it’s Macmillan’s own website!  Go figure…)

Or maybe you want romance, intrigue, and office politics.  Or just cute doggies.  Or perhaps you’re intrigued by the elevator pitch: Arrested Development meets Call of the Wild. You’ll probably like Mush: Sled Dogs with Issues, by Glenn Eichler and Joe “Fur” Infurnari.

Don’t like all this make-believe?  Well, you can learn stuff from comics as well.  Comics are ideally suited for taking a difficult subject and making it easy to understand.

How difficult?  How about the Affordable Care Act Hill & Wang will publish Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works by Jonathan Gruber and Nathan Schreiber.  Since you’ll probably already have an opinion about the subject matter, I’ll skip it and give you the bios:

Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was a key architect of Massachusetts’s ambitious health reform effort and consulted extensively with the Obama administration and Congress during the development of the Affordable Care Act. The Washington Post called him “possibly the [Democratic] party’s most influential health-care expert.”

Nathan Schreiber’s comics have appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Overflow, and Smith Magazine and on ACT-I-VATE.com. His comic Power Out won a Xeric award and has been nominated for an Eisner award and multiple Harvey awards.

Or maybe it’s the economy, stupid.   If it is, then you’ll probably want to read The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics by Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, Ph.D.  There will be a lot of economic theory proposed by candidates (including one inspired by a video game) so it’s best if the electorate is informed and educated.  This book looks at the Big Picture (MACROeconomics) of national and global economics, explaining stuff you probably learned in high school but forgot because TMZ doesn’t cover the economy.

Macmillan also has a manga imprint, titled Seven Seas.  I generally avoid spotlighting subsequent volumes of titles, so there are only two new titles this season:

My Boyfriend is a Vampire, volume 1-2
Story and art by Han Yu-Rang
The series will be released in this omnibus format.

Dracula Everlasting 1
Story by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir; Art by Rhea Silvan

Macmillan also distributes other publishers, including Drawn & Quarterly, Papercutz, and Bloomsbury USA.  This post is long enough already, so here are some choice links for you to explore at your leisure.


  1. I was thinking Dracula Everlasting was going to be a straight up shoujo/paranormal romance, but it’s much closer to a horror mystery and has a couple of nice twists. Really enjoyed it.