At a time when publishing is looking for a new paradigm, graphic novels—the visual storytelling paradigm—looked particularly strong at BEA. And a traditional book publisher, W.W. Norton, may have one of the strongest comics lists for the fall. In addition to publishing Stitches, an unusual and powerful graphic memoir by Caldecott-winning children’s illustrator David Small—his first work of book-length comics—W.W. Norton will also publish The Book of Genesis Illustrated by the world-famous underground comics artist R. Crumb, a book sure to create a firestorm of media and consumer interest. Crumb has taken the text of Genesis and fleshed it out with both his rich, detailed drawings and offbeat perspective to reimagine the great stories of the Bible. New York magazine snapped up first serial rights and the world of comics and religion can’t wait to see the complete project. Norton executive editor Robert Weil acquired both books.
Bloomsbury USA will publish Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou with art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie DiDonna, a book that manages to document the life and work of the philosopher/mathematician Bertrand Russell; introduce basic concepts of logic; and tell a rousing good historical yarn starring the great intellectuals of the early 20th century. Bloomsbury publicist Peter Miller said the book has gotten a great response and he’s had to field a steady stream of requests for galleys at the Bloomsbury booth.
Looking to broaden the variety and image of manga in the U.S., Viz Media will publish Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi, a beautifully illustrated and subtle fantasy work about two mysterious boys raised by sea manatees, whose plot is also driven by an ecological mystery. Released as part of Viz’s Signature imprint, the book is an effort to introduce manga aimed an older, more sophisticated reader.
And there’s much more. Akashic books will publish Confessions of an Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha, a graphic work by Melvin Van Peebles, the acclaimed black director of the seminal 1970s film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasss Song, that mixes prose, comics and photo stills from the film that is based on it. NBM will publish the Big Kahn by Neil Kleid, a dramatic graphic novel about a much-revered rabbi who is revealed as both a gentile and a fraud to his shocked family and congregation at his funeral. And for children, check out Chris Giarrusso’s delightfully illustrated and charmingly goofy G-Man: Learning to Fly, the story of a kid who wants to be a superhero and his pushy older brother.
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