This year’s Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, held April 19–23 at McCormack Place in Chicago, featured a robust showing of children’s and YA comics as IDW, Lion Forge, and Oni Press offered news of forthcoming titles.
IDW made a flurry of announcements over the past two weeks, including a new Star Wars series for young readers, Star Wars Adventures. The monthly comics, which will launch in the fall, will feature original stories set in all areas of the Star Wars universe and will be collected into graphic novels as well.
Just before the show, IDW announced two Disney tie-ins: a monthly comic based on the DuckTales animated series and an original graphic novel, Adventure Is Calling, based on Tangled: The Series. IDW also publishes a number of comics based on Hasbro properties, and at C2E2 it announced a massive crossover, First Strike, which will bring together the Transformers, GI Joe, M.A.S.K., and other Hasbro characters in a single story.
St. Louis-based publisher Lion Forge announced a slate of new titles in its two imprints: Cub House, which is geared for readers from pre-K to age 12, and Roar, its young adult line. The Roar lineup includes Katie Green’s memoir of anorexia, Lighter Than My Shadow, first published in the U.K. in 2013 and nominated for a British Comic Award; and Taproot by Keezy Young, a love story between a gardener and a ghost. Both are due out in September.
]The Cub House lineup includes two hardcover graphic novels, Little Pierrot by Alberto Varanda, a fantasy tale about a boy exploring the universe, scheduled for August; and The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf’s point of view, to be published in September. October will see the launch of a monthly comic, Wrapped Up, by David Scheidt and Scoot McMahon.
“Wrapped Up is basically the story of Milo, who is a regular kid but he’s a mummy,” said Scheidt. Milo’s parents are also mummies, and his best friend is a wizard. “It’s a funny story about growing up and being the only sane person in a crazy world,” Scheidt said. The current plan for the series is 10 monthly issues that will be compiled into two graphic novels.
Oni Press announced Spectacle, a YA trilogy by Megan Rose Gedris, at the Diamond Retailer Summit on the eve of the show. The story is a supernatural murder mystery: Anna performs as a psychic in a circus, but she’s also a practical-minded engineer who doesn’t really believe in that stuff. That changes when her twin sister, Kat, is murdered and comes back as a ghost—and insists that Anna help her find out who killed her.
Bill Willingham was at the First Comics/Devil’s Due booth signing copies of a preview of Lark’s Killer, his first new comic since he wrapped up his long-running series Fables. The artist for the series is Mark Dos Santos. In Lark’s Killer, a homeless girl named Lark has just been caught shoplifting in a Walgreens in Los Angeles when she is abruptly transported to a fantasy world where everyone wants to kill her. She takes refuge in a tavern where she hires a thug to protect her as she figures out what is going on.
Although Fables was published by Vertigo Comics, DC’s indie-comics line for mature readers, Willingham said he would have preferred it to be an all-ages or a kids’ title that will appeal to older readers as well. “I think it was C.S. Lewis or Tolkien who said no children’s book is any good unless it’s also a delight to adults to read, and I’ve always subscribed to that,” he said.
In Artist’s Alley, Janet Lee was displaying some of the original art from Return of the Dapper Men, which was originally published in 2010 by Archaia. Top Shelf will publish a new edition of the book, which was written by Jim McCann, later this year, and Lee and McCann plan two sequels as well. Lee creates the art as collages, using decoupage on wooden boards, which created a unique three-dimensional effect.