Among the many announcements in the first days of the San Diego Comic-Con, digital comics marketplace Comixology marked its 10th anniversary with a new slate of titles from Comixology Originals, IDW has acquired the specialty publisher Sunday Press Books, and Scholastic and its Graphix imprint returned to the exhibition floor of SDCC.
The San Diego Comic-Con International, held July 17-21 at the San Diego Convention Center, also began celebrations around its 50 anniversary in addition to welcoming the usual throngs of fans on preview night on Wednesday.
In a press conference, Comixology cofounder and Amazon head of digital comics worldwide David Steinberger took note of how much the graphic novel marketplace has changed since the launch of Comixology in 2009. “The industry has grown to 3 times the size of the market in 2009,” he said. “Not only is the industry seeing incredible sales for young readers – which dominated 2018’s BookScan’s top ten last year and are creating a generation of lifelong comics readers, but manga is making a resurgence – I’m happy to report that our manga business is up significantly in the last five years.”
Steinberger also cited the growth of its subscription service Comixology Unlimited (now offering about 25,000 graphic novels) and Comixology Originals, Comixology's digital/POD publishing imprint.
Comixology Originals announced the release of several new original graphic novels, comics series, and the continuation of other series. Among the CO series renewed are Delvers, co-written by Iron Circus publisher C.Spike Trotman and M.K. Reed, a fantasy with social issues, and The Pride by Joe Glass and Cem Iroz, an LGBTQ superhero series.
Steinberger also unveiled Adora and the Distance by writer Marc Bernardin and artist Ariela Kristantina, a fantasy work inspired by Bernardin’s daughter who is on the autism spectrum; and Afterlift, a new series by humor writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jason Loo, the story of the ultimate ride-share that takes its fare straight to hell.
On the acquisitions front, IDW bought Sunday Press Books, a specialty archival publisher known for its meticulous restoration of classic newspaper comics strips into oversized hardcovers. Founded in 2005 by Peter Maresca, SPB has a backlist of about 17 titles, among them Little Nemo in Slumberland, Krazy Kat and Thimble Theatre.
Sunday Press Books founder Maresca will continue to oversee the publishing program while IDW will handle and expand the press’s distribution and marketing. IDW will also launch a digital publishing program to bring SPB’s classic restored works to a new generation of readers.
Maresca said the acquisition will allow him to focus on curating new titles in a category—broadsheet newspaper strips—that seemed “destined to disappear. But the business end has been daunting. Partnering with IDW allows me to take advantage of their infrastructure, while concentrating on the production of new editions.”
Graphix publisher David Saylor told PW that Scholastic was returning to the SDCC exhibition floor. Although Scholastic’s bestselling authors are always prominent at SDCC (the publisher also throws a lively and packed annual rooftop party), the house has not had a booth on the floor for about a decade.
And also on the exhibition floor: A new location for the DC Comics booth. A centerpiece of the exhibition hall, DC’s booth is always jammed with fans and DC artists and was formerly situated in a prime spot on the floor near Dark Horse. DC has now been moved to a far corner of the hall among the TV/Movie exhibitors and is in a shared booth with its parent company Warner Bros. It’s all very nice but takes some getting used to.