Laura Terry is a cartoonist, a graduate of Pratt and the Center for Cartoon Studies and a former Xeric Grant winner (for Overboard). And now she’s had an original graphic noverl called Graveyard Shakes picked up by Scholastic. The cover looks great and the synopsis which you can read below also sounds very appealing. What interests me most about this deal is that, generally speaking, Laura Terry is unknown outside of minicomics circles, and this never appeared online as a webcomic, but she’s had a whole GN picked up for publishing by one of the most successful publishers in the business. Having an agent probably helped, but we’ve moved on to the Third Wave of graphic novels at traditionally publishing houses: after a boom (2004-5), and then a bust (2006-2012), it appears YA graphic novels are being sold on their own merits with a real chance of being successful. Could it be that cartoonists will someday be abel to making a living making comics? I don’t want to sounds crazy but fingers crossed.

To me it’s also a reminder of just how awesome the Xeric Grant was as a springboard for talent. CCS has definitely become a greenhouse for some of the best young cartoonists around, but instead of GETTING money to be awesome, they have to pay to learn. But it seems to be money well spent.

Katia and Victoria are scholarship students at a fancy private boarding school. Try as she might, Victoria just can’t fit in, and Katia refuses to give up the quirks she’s bullied for. After a big fight with her sister, Katia runs away from school. When an unexpected storm covers the grounds with ice and snow and Katia is nowhere to be found, Victoria goes looking for her little sister in Katia’s favorite hiding place, a ramshackle graveyard.

Victoria accidentally tumbles into the graveyard’s underworld only to discover it’s inhabited by ghouls—and a necromancer named Nikola who’s preparing a devious spell missing only one vital ingredient: a child’s life. Victoria teams up with adorable Little Ghost and Nikola’s kindhearted son, and together they search for Katia, who they fear is in danger of becoming Nikola’s victim. No sooner are the two girls are reunited than they resume their squabble—and are captured by the necromancer!

Now, Victoria and Katia must not only figure out how to get away from graveyard alive, but with the help of their new friends, they have to prevent Nikola from ever using his dark magic again. Can the sisters stop fighting and work together long enough save the day?



  1. Third Wave?
    You forget the Maus Trap of the mid-80s, when traditional publishers tried to cash in on the popularity of Maus, Dark Knight, and Watchmen! (As well as the Comic Strip renaissance of Far Side, Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes…) Dover seems to be mining that vein of fogotten titles now.

    This was followed by the wilderness years, when a handful of comics publishers had bookstore distribution, and one would find the occasional comics title from a normal publisher. (The Adventures of Sandee, for example.)

    Then in 1999, Viz (see previous paragraph) imports Pokemon. Spawn gets distribution via Random House, and Fantagraphics signs with … Norton? Or was that later?

    Now… YA/kids titles? In libraries? Mid-90s, when DC tests the category with the New York Public Library (c.1997). 2002 is when you have a quadruple whammy… FCBD, Spider-Man, BookExpo America, and ALA. YA librarians were already hip to GNs at that conference.

    Was there a lull from 2006-2012? American Born Chinese? Smile? Toon Books? Graphix? First Second? Abrams? 2010 was a VERY good year… multiple GNs received librarian awards, as well as being mainstreamed at the conference with their own subject area in 2011 (GraphiCon).

    Granted, the children’s librarians were a bit hesitant to explore the format, partly due to a reluctance with licensed titles. Toon Books helped change that, as well as circulation figures and studies from the YA librarians. Now, just about every audience is covered at the library.

  2. For those keeping score (or searching for an agent), Bernadette Baker-Baughman is the GN expert at VSA.

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