All Ages

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Canadian publishers get on the graphic novel field

Picked up off of my Publisher's Weekly Childrens Bookshelf newsletter:

Patsy Aldana at Groundwood Books has purchased Skim, a YA graphic novel by Toronto playwright Mariko Tamaki, with artwork by her cousin, New York-based illustrator Jillian Tamaki. Set in 1992 suburban Toronto and written in the form of a diary, Skim was originally a 24-page, one-shot comic collaboration riffing on goth-girl angst. The Tamakis will expand it to a 96-page graphic novel that's pegged as "a dark romance about rebellion, friendship, and bittersweet first love for Goth private school girls." While Groundwood has already published graphic fiction of sorts, such as Nicolas Debon's award-winning Four Pictures by Emily Carr, this is the publisher's first foray into full-length graphic fiction for young adults. The book is scheduled for spring 2008.

Considering what I've heard about BONE's success in Canada, as well as the widespread critical acclaim and of Drawn and Quarterly's LOUIS RIEL, it's no surprise to see smaller Canadian publishers making the effort to acquire graphic novels to their lists. Are Canadians just more open to the format? Who knows... Penguin Canada has also already made the jump into the adult graphic novel field with their book DRAGONSLIPPERS, but this is the first foray into the YA market.

I'm just wondering if 96 pages is meaty enough to really stand out on a shelf.

Monday, November 07, 2005

YALSA makes it happen!

The Young Adult Library Services Association has released its list of nominations in their newest book list category. The Great Graphic Novels for Teens list will be released in sometime in midwinter 2007. This is the first acclaimed list associated with libraries and dedicated solely to the format. While librarians have embraced graphic novels as a way to excite kids and teens to read for years, this is definitely an indication that the support is now out there in pushing them as a valid and growing form of literacy. Both YALSA and ALA are organizations with strong voices in the children's book community and any kind of official list is a step in the right direction.

According to the YALSA website, the final list will be compiled using the following criteria:
- appropriateness for young adults aged 12-18
- how well image and word are integrated
- clarity of the panel's flow on the page
- ability of the images to convey the necessary meaning
- quality of the artwork's reproduction.

The committee making the choices for the final list are all librarians (both school and public, very important here) and included are Dawn Rutherford, a very well-known YA librarian who dyed her hair in order to get kids to read more and Robin Elizabeth Brenner who runs the excellent website, No Flying No Tights. The rest of the committee can be found here. What I'm most curious about is who is actually nominating these books. The list is quite ecclectic with a mix of manga, superhero and alt indie titles, but surprisingly no books from Marvel Comics.

Some commentary below on the nominees:

Burns, Charles. Black Hole. Random House/ Pantheon Graphic Novels, 2005. 24.95. (0-375-42380-X).
A very very dark book about the isolation and grotesqueness of being an adolescent - totally belongs here.

Clugston, Chynna. Queen Bee. Scholastic/ Graphix, 2005. 16.99. (0-439-71572-5).

Yay! Pat Scholastic on the back...

Crane, Jordan. The Clouds Above. Fantagraphics Books, 2005. 18.95. (1-56097-627-6).
I love this book but it's almost too much of a fetish object to be here.

Holm, Jennifer L. Babymouse: Our Hero. Random House/ Books for Young Readers, 2005. 5.95. (0-375-83230-0).
Definitely not for the 12-18 set. This is Random House's first graphic novel squarely aimed at ages 7-10. A review will come later.

Katayama, Kyoichi. Socrates in Love: Volume One. VIZ Media/ Shojo Beat Manga, 2005. 8.99. (1-4215-0199-6).
Takanashi, Mitsuba. Crimson Hero. VIZ Media/ Shojo Beat Manga, 2005. 8.99. (1-4215-0140-6).
Yazawa, Ai. Nana. VIZ Media, 2005. 8.99 . (1-4215-0108-2).

Three titles originating from Shojo Beat magazine -- considering all the hype this summer about how this book was going to change the industry, things have been very quiet. Although, I've very much looking forward to reading Nana when it comes out in early December.

Meltzer, Brad. Identity Crisis. DC Comics, 2005. 24.99. (1-4012-0688-3).
Pekar, Harvey. The Quitter. DC ComicsVertigo, 2005. 19.99. (1-4012-0399-X).
Vaughn, Brian K. Ex Machina Volume 2: Tag. DC Comics/ Wildstorm Signature Series, 2005. 12.99. (1-4012-0626-3).
Baker, Kyle. Plastic Man Volume 2: Rubber Bandits. DC Comics, 2006. 14.99. ( 1-4012-0729-4).

Four very different titles from DC Comics and I'm just having a really hard time seeing any of them having a wider appeal to a teen audience.

Quick, Jen Lee. Off*Beat. TokyoPop Media, 2005. 9.99. (1-59816-132-6).
Rivkah. Steady Beat: Volume One. TokyoPop, 2005. 9.99. (1-59816-135-0).

Two OEL titles from Tokyopop -- they seem to be shifting their attention to this list and pushing them hard in the teen market. It will be interesting to see what ones come out on top.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Graphix swag

swag-2-1

I'm promised Raina a few weeks ago that I'd upload a picture of the new BABYSITTERS CLUB promotional backpack clips, so here they are. I've also included the sassy QUEEN BEE change purse that we gave away at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival back in May and at Comic-Con in San Diego in July. Fun stuff -- I'm thinking AMULET action figures would be really cool.