Comics aren’t just for adults at Comic-Con International. Big announcements for children’s comics share time with blockbuster movies and roaming hordes of costumed fans. This year there were announcements about new books for Raina Telgemeier and Kazu Kibuishi, and Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman plans a book collecting his first kids' series, Super Dinosaur.
Despite these books, there seemed to be fewer big announcements in the kids’ comics category this year and some observers suggested that a lot of stuff simply isn’t being announced at San Diego. Not surprising. Many comics publishers worry that blockbuster films will drown out book publishing news at Comic-Con and some either announce new titles just prior to San Diego or wait until October and New York Comic-Con.
But there were big and smaller announcements. After winning a 2011 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens (Smile, Scholastic/Graphix), Raina Telgemeier announced plans to publish Drama, a 240-page graphic novel about a teenage theater group working to put on play. Telgemeier said the book is about “love and hate and friendship,” and Drama will be published by Scholastic in 2012. (In addition, the winner of the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids was Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans, from DC Comics.)
Although Kazu Kibuishi, editor of the ongoing eight-volume series of Flight comics anthologies (Villard), is also the creator of the Scholastic/Graphix fantasy/adventure series Amulet, he now plans to edit a new full-color comics anthology for Abrams ComicsArts. The new anthology will be called Explorer: The Mystery Boxes—all the stories will be based on a theme involving a mysterious box—and will feature a wide variety of popular cartoonists. Kibuishi has a growing publishing media empire: Scholastic is also publishing books 6 and 7 in the Amulet series (book 4 is due in September) and Warner Bros. and Overbrook, Will Smith’s production company, have optioned the Amulet series for a film.
Abrams ComicsArts executive editor Charles Kochman also announced Garbage Pail Kids, a new book collecting Art Spiegelman’s classic gross-out sticker illustrations, coming in 2012. And along with editor Sheila Keenan, Kochman also pointed to two books just released from ComicsArts: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, a coming-of-age graphic novel about a young woman moving to New York City with her family; and Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls, with Kim and Wanda and Xyla and the rest of Lela Lee’s comical cast of confrontational little girls.
Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman announced a sixth issue for the all-ages series and a book collection for his first kids' comics series, Super Dinosaur, the story of a nine-year-old super genius and his buddy, a genetically altered Tyrannosaurus Rex that can shoot rockets out of his robotic arms. The new issue will come in November with a book collection to follow, although the book’s pub date was unclear.
Quick hits: Papercutz publisher Terry Nantier was over the moon about Ninjago, a new series of graphic novels based on Lego’s Ninjago toy figures, wacky version of ninjas that practice Spinjitzu, a martial arts tradition found only in the Lego world. He said the first title in the series, set to start in the fall, has over 100,000 advance orders. In response to the popularity of Riverdale High’s first gay character—the first issue sold out and had to be reprinted—Archie Comics is giving Kevin Keller his own solo monthly title, beginning in February 2012. Viz Media used Comic-Con to launch Mameshiba, a new series in its Viz Kids line that takes a popular Japanese character and merchandising focus and creates an American version of the series with non-Japanese creators. The Mameshiba series will launch this summer with two titles, Meet Mameshiba and Mameshiba: On the Loose!
Marvel is launching Season One, a series of graphic novels for all ages that will offer a way for younger as well as older readers to tap into the origin stories of its classic characters. Created using younger artists and writers, the series will launch in February 2012 with three books each month. Ape Entertainment, creator of the popular Pocket Gods digital comic app, is publishing a series of digital comic apps for iOS4 devices, this time based on Cut the Rope, a popular mobile videogame. And Yen Press is publishing Kitty & Dino by Sara Richard, a picture book/graphic novel about a baby dinosaur and a cat.