Yen Press, Hachette Book Group’s graphic novel imprint, will first unveil French cartoonist David Ratte’s satirical/environmental graphic novel, Toxic Planet, as a webcomic in an effort to build an audience for the book’s English -anguage publication in August. Yen Press publishing director Kurt Hassler said beginning Monday Toxic Planet will be serialized three days a week as webcomic under the Extras section of the Yen Press Web site.
Hassler said the book was created in a comic strip style—short full-color 4-panel comics strips that lampoon a future-society so awash in pollution that people take wearing a gas mask for granted—and will work well as an online serial. And Hassler said that the book is perfect for the web—a funny and unusual comics strip by an author that is being published in English for the first time.
Publishers like Del Rey and Dark Horse have long been acquiring webcomics with significant online followings and turning them into print works that sell well. In this case, Yen Press is trying to do the same thing by turning a print title into an online work in hopes of attracting readers in advance of its U.S. print publication. “We have a French author that is not well known in the U.S.,” said Hassler, “and we’re going to use the web to build an audience for a very funny book.”