gaglianoIn a letter to collaborators last week, Random House Graphic publishing director Gina Gagliano revealed she will be leaving the imprint on December 3rd.

Although her next move was not revealed, she wrote that she plans to take time to work “more directly with readers.”

RHG, an imprint focused on publishing kids GNS,  will continue to run under Random House Children’s Books evp and deputy publisher Judith Haut and the team that Gagliano assembled, including  Senior Editor Whitney Leopard, Senior Designer Patrick Crotty, and editorial assistant Danny Diaz.

The move came as a surprise to many as Gagliano is one of the most respected and influential publishing figures in the comics industry. She was the founding editor of RHG, and the two year old imprint published many notable titles, most notably the multiple award winning The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Other releases include Lucy Knisley’s Stepping Stones, The Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse, and most recently, Let’s Talk About It by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan.

Before moving over to run RHG, Gagliano was at First Second where, as Associate Director of Marketing, she oversaw innumerable initiatives to grow readership, and reach out to librarians and and booksellers. In particular, she’s credited with helped Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese come to the attention of the National Book Awards, where it become the first kids comics to be shortlisted and helped graphic novels reach a new level of literary acceptance.

In short, as the First Second blog wrote when she left that imprint, Gagliano is one of the “transformative factors” in the growth of graphic novels over the last two decades. I’m sure she’ll be a success at whatever she puts her mind to next.

Disclosure: Gagliano is also the cohost of the Graphic Novel TK podcast which is hosted here at the Beat, a soup-to-nuts look at the process of making and publishing GNs. If you want to find out why Gagliano is so respected in the industry, look listen to an episode or two.