Here’s some exciting COMICS news out of Comic-Con – the winners of Scholastic Graphix’s “Get Published By Graphix” contest were unveiled at the Scholastic panel today, and they are two very strong young cartoonists with two good projects.
234 manuscripts were submitted, and two author/artists have been awarded contracts with Graphix for publication of their debut graphic novels.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet and work with new talent, but this is the first time I’ve done so as a result of a publishing contest,” said Cassandra Pelham, Senior Editor at Graphix and Scholastic Press in a statement “Out of more than 200 submissions, MANU by Kelly Fernandez and TRESPASSERS by Breena Bard truly stood out. Both graphic novels are a unique addition to the Graphix list, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help introduce them to readers everywhere.”
The contest was a great way to get noticed by one of themes successful graphic novels publishers; many people asked me about how to submit when the contest was announced last year. The winners are two very promising looking cartoonists, one of whom already won a CAKE Cupcake award; the other won a Xeric.
And they are:
Kelley Fernandez makes comics that are inspired by her daily experiences, American culture, and her Hispanic heritage. Her work was recently featured in Cicada magazine, and she has won a Chicago Alternative Comics Expo Cupcake Award for her self-published work.
“I’m still in shocked disbelief, it’s like a dream come true,” said Fernandez. “My first graphic novel was Bone by Jeff Smith. I bought it at a Scholastic Book Fair when I was in middle school, and I’ve been making comics ever since then. I’m living my childhood dream! I’m most looking forward to sharing my characters. They’re tough and smart Latino girls, the type of characters I needed when I was growing up.”
MANU by a middle-grade graphic novel featuring Manu and her best friend Josefina who live in a magical school for girls. Their lifelong friendship begins to sour when they turn thirteen and Josefina becomes more distant, mature, and humorless toward Manu’s hijinks. A prank goes wrong, and Josefina wishes Manu’s magic would disappear for good. It does, and when Manu summons a demon to restore her magic, it becomes too powerful for her to control and she inadvertently puts her school in danger. The question quickly becomes whether Manu can save both her classmates and her friendship with Josefina. MANU was acquired by Cassandra Pelham of Graphix/Scholastic, who will edit a simultaneous jacketed hardcover, paperback and eBook edition slated to publish in Fall 2020.
Breena Bard was a 2011 Xeric Award winner for her self-published graphic novel Picket Line, and is the creator of a Kickstarter-funded comic memoir, Hey Baby. She has drawn educational and informational comics, as well as concept sketches for Android, Red Bull, and Dropbox.
“Publishing with Graphix will easily be one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Bard. “I’m honored to join their ranks of authors (which include some of my personal heroes!) and energized by the chance to make my own mark in the world of kids’ comics. I’m excited for readers to be surprised by my story, not just by turns in the plot, but by characters who are much deeper than they appear at first glance.”
TRESSPASSERS by is a contemporary middle-grade graphic novel of family, friendship, a summer lake house, and a local mystery. Thirteen-year-old Gabby Woods is looking forward to another summer vacation at her family’s lake house. While exploring the lake, Gabby wonders about an extravagant house high on a bluff that seems to be empty. Gabby’s mom says it was built by a famous architect, Walter Goldsworth, who, along with his wife, disappeared after a party. Soon Gabby befriends Paige, whose family just moved in next door, and together they investigate the mystery while writing their version of what they think happened. As the girls piece the clues together, a twisty tale of friendship, family, and a mysterious house by the lake unfolds around them. TRESSPASSERS was acquired by Cassandra Pelham of Graphix/Scholastic, who will edit a simultaneous jacketed hardcover, paperback and eBook edition slated to publish in Spring 2020.
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.