When Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint 10 years ago, graphic novels were a novelty, if you can pardon the expression, in the mainstream publishing world. And kids comics were an unknown quantity—comics shops didn’t want them and bookstores didn’t know what to do with them. In the first wave, there were many miscues and misunderstandings at many houses along the way. But Graphix wasn’t the one making them. Granted, starting out a line with Jeff Smith’s Bone is about as much a sure thing as possible—6.9 million copies in print and counting. But picking Raina Telgemeier to do a Babysitter’s Club relaunch and eventually Smile, and Kazu Kibuishi to publish his Amulet series weren’t as sure—but they sure paid off. Along the way Graphix has picked up multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers. They’ve published many more top cartoonists such as Doug TenNapel, Greg Ruth, Mike Maihack and Jimmy Gownley. And there’s more to come.
To celebrate their tenth anniversary—Bone: Out From Boneville was published in 20o5—Scholastic has some cool stuff on tap. To kick things off they’re revealing two covers for the first time:
Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins comes out in August. It’s the first kids book by the acclaimed author of Blankets and Habibi, and his first one in full-color, with Dave Stewart adding hues.
And the sister/brother duo of Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, best selling authors of Babymouse and Squish have a new one as well: Sunny Side Up (August 25, 2015; ages 8-12), which is a semi-autobiographical story, their first.
In addition, 12 Graphix artists have created new art that will be offered as prints throughout the year at events and online. The line-up: James Burks, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Matthew Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Dave Roman, Greg Ruth, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, and Craig Thompson. Events include ALA Midwinter (Chicago, IL), Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA), Texas Library Association (Austin, TX), BookExpo (New York City, NY), ALA Annual (San Francisco, CA), Comic-Con International (San Diego, California), Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach, CA), Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT), and New York Comic Con (New York City, NY).
Finally, on February 24, Graphic will publish BONE #1: Out from Boneville, Tribute Edition, with a new illustrated poem from Jeff Smith and new tribute art from sixteen top artists.
Along with the cover reveal, Graphic has announced some future projects:
- Two more installments in the Amulet series
- A new graphic novel, as yet untitled, by Kazu Kibuishi
- Books 3 and 4 in Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space series
- And from Raina Telgemeier, a nonfiction family story in the vein of Smile and Sisters), a collection of short stories, and a fictional graphic novel.
It’s definitely worth giving Graphix and its founder, David Saylor, a tip of the cap. 10 years ago it was a gamble. Today it’s an institution.
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.