More comics publishers have opted not to attend BEA this year, with both indie house Fantagraphics and Marvel Comics sitting it out. However, as with previous years, most comics publishers can be found in the Diamond Comic Distributors row (4839), including such houses as Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics.

With BEA scheduled to be in New York for the next 10 years, Fantagraphics has decided to attend every other year. Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds explains: “Attendance tends to overlap considerably, as opposed to when the show moved around from year to year, attracting a wider pool, by moving around regionally.” Fantagraphics’ distributor, W.W. Norton will act as its agent this year, and the independent comics house will return in 2012. As for Marvel, after switching distributors in September, from Diamond to Hachette, it was too late to get booth space. But Marvel is planning to attend in 2012 as well.

Despite these absences, there are still notable comics titles at the show. Pantheon will focus on its two upcoming books: Craig Thompson’s Habibi and Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus. Thompson will be speaking at the ALA Breakfast today and will be signing books at the Random House booth (4420) at noon. And this afternoon at 3:30 p.m., he will be on the Insight Stage with PW senior news editor Calvin Reid. Habibi will be released September 20, and MetaMaus on October 4.

NBM and its kids’ comics affiliate, Papercutz, are exhibiting together (3139). NBM is promoting the partnership with its new distributor, Independent Publishing Group, and some of its fall books. It will be showing Inner Sanctum: Tales of Mystery, Horror, and Suspense, an adaptation of the classic radio show famous for the creaking door sound in its introduction. Ernie Colón, the artist of Hill and Wang’s The 9/11 Report graphic adaptation, is working on this adaptation, and he is signing advance galleys of Inner Sanctum at the booth. The book will be released in February 2012. NBM will also promote Star Gazing Dog by the acclaimed international gallery artist Takashi Murakami, best known for appropriating manga and anime imagery into his gallery work. In this instance Murakami has produced a manga about a down-on-his-luck man and his dog, who brings him comfort. NBM is also promoting the second volume of Salvatore by Nicolas de Crécy. Star Gazing Dog will go on sale in November and Salvatore, vol. 2, in December.

Papercutz is showcasing the launch of a graphic novel series based on a new line of toys from Lego, Ninjago, action figures similar to Lego’s Star Wars line, but based in a ninja-themed world. The Papercutz graphic novels will flesh out the Ninjago world, with the first volume coming out in November. Also, Papercutz will promote its latest Twilight spoof, Breaking Down, which will appear in Papercutz Slices #2. The creators of Breaking Down, Stefan Petrucha and Rick Parker, will be signing books at to-be-announced times today and tomorrow. Petrucha will also be signing the relaunch of Nancy Drew the New Case Files: Vampire Slayer. Papercutz will also be showing previews of Monster Christmas by Lewis Trondheim, Sybil the Backpack Fairy, and Ernest and Rebecca.

Zenescope Entertainment and Silver Dragon Books will have at the show a couple of their Discovery Channel branded graphic novels: Discovery Channel’s Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Predators and Top 10 Deadliest Sharks, which is Based on the Discovery Channel show, Shark Week. Also, Zenescope will present their new series Tales from Neverland with the first issue, which is about Tinkerbelle. The author of all these books, Joe Brusha, will be at the Zenescope Entertainment and Silver Dragon Books booth (3492) to answer questions and sign books on May 23rd from 2 – 3 pm and on May 26th from 2 – 3 pm along with the artist of Top 10 Deadliest Sharks and Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Predators, Anthony Spay. The signings include a free book for the first 50 people for the Discovery Channel books and 150 free issues of Tales from Neverland.

Bloomsbury, which over the past couple of years has started a small literary graphic novel list, will promote two new graphic novels this year: Seymour Chwast’s Canterbury Tales and Roz Chast’s What I Hate. Roz Chast will be doing an in-booth (3358) signing tomorrow afternoon.

IDW will also present a number of titles and series this year, including Locke & Key, vol. 4; True Blood; Extreme Facts; Transformers; and G.I. Joe. Also, they will promote upcoming Craig Yoe books such as Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers and Barks’ Bear Book. From its Library of Classic American Comics, IDW will showcase archival reprintings of Bloom County, Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, and Flash Gordon. While no signings are scheduled at press time, check the booth during the show.

Kingstone Media will bring 7 new graphic novels as part of their Kingstone and Galaxy imprint. Included in this new line up is 2048, by WORLD magazine editor Dr, Marvin Olasky, about a future America in which a clone creature, “bumans,” has been created. Another title to be featured at the show is Echoes of Eden, in which an archeologist travels to Cambodia and becomes involved in a conspiracy along with a woman fighting sex trafficking. Babylon retells the story of the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar and his struggle with Daniel, an exile and Hebrew royal. Art Ayris and Mario Ruiz, the writer and illustrator of Babylon will sign copies on Wednesday 25th from 1:30 – 2:30 at the Kingstone Media booth (4947).

While not an at-show event, Dave Roman, the creator of First Seconds Astronaut Academy, will be a featured speaker at the SLJ Day of Dialogue on May 23rd at the Fordam Manhattan campus.

And although it will not have a booth, Viz Media will be on hand for meetings at the show. First Second (3352) is also exhibiting this year, but had no announcements by press time.