Simon & Schuster has acquired world English rights to Roughneck, a new graphic novel from award-winning comics artists Jeff Lemire, author of the acclaimed graphic works Essex County and The Underwater Welder. The forthcoming work will be published in 2016 and was acquired by Brit Hvide of S&S in a deal brokered by Charlie Olsen of Inkwell Management.

Roughneck is the story of a former NHL hockey player who returns to his hometown in North Ontario to reconnect to his Cree heritage and must contend with both a troubled sister and his own troubling past.

“We’re absolutely honored to be publishing Roughneck,” Hvide said. “It’s a story about cycles—the way patterns, memories, and people return to us, again and again, whether we want them to or not. Jeff is one of those unique storytellers whose books speak to readers across all genres, and we think that Roughneck will be his finest work yet.”

Lemire came to prominence in 2009 after the publication of the Essex County Trilogy by Top Shelf. The book was awarded the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Doug Wright Award, and the Joe Shuster Award. Since that time Lemire has gone from award-winning indie literary graphic novel creator to a writer for several of DC Comics superhero titles, among them Justice League of America, Superboy, Green Arrow and Animal Man. In addition he has also published such acclaimed works as Sweet Tooth, The Underwater Welder and most recently Trillium for DC/Vertigo.