Mad Cave Studios, a fast-growing Miami graphic novel publisher, has acquired Papercutz, the groundbreaking independent children’s graphic novel house founded in 2005 by Terry Nantier and Jim Salicrup. Terms for the deal were not disclosed.
Papercutz, which is based in New York City, publishes between 40 and 50 titles a year aimed at the middle-grade children’s graphic novel market. Once the acquisition is complete, Papercutz will become an imprint of Mad Cave, and will move its operations to Miami. Papercutz books are distributed to the book trade by Macmillan, and to the comics shop market by Diamond Books Distributors.
Nantier, who is also owner and publisher of NBM, a literary-oriented New York City graphic novel publishing house, will continue to work with Mad Cave over the next eight months before leaving the company. Papercutz editor-in-chief Jim Salicrup, a former editor at Marvel and a well-known comics publishing figure, will also continue to work with Papercutz during the transition, then will also leave the company.
Mad Cave Studios was founded in 2014, and added Maverick, a YA graphic novel imprint, in 2021. The house also publishes between 40 and 50 graphic novels a year; its books are distributed by Simon & Shuster. CEO Mark London told PW that the acquisition is a “strategic move to make an impact with a new target audience for us, while also allowing Mad Cave to continue doing what we love most.” He added: “Middle grade is the most dynamic and exciting category in publishing today and will play a key role in the development of future readers. We’re investing deeply in making world-class content that puts readers and creators first while also publishing titles that are inclusive and accessible to all.”
The Papercutz brand and trademark will continue, London said, adding: "We’ve always been fans of the work Terry and Jim did and we will honor what they created." He expects the Papercutz list to grow, noting: “It’s going to increase. We have a very exciting publishing plan for Papercutz well under way, and you will certainly be hearing more about what you can expect in the coming months.”
London continued: “Papercutz will continue to be its own imprint, but it's inevitable that it also stimulates growth for Mad Cave and Maverick. Gaining competitive advantages, increasing market share, and even influencing supply chains. It’s also going to help with our international distribution and bring us new licensing opportunities. We feel well-positioned to expedite the growth of the Papercutz brand in the middle-grade market while also expanding Mad Cave and Maverick’s reach in the process”
Papercutz was launched at time when the children’s and young adult graphic novel market virtually didn’t exist. Nantier and Salicrup focused their publishing program on book-format comics aimed at young readers, sold to readers both in bookstores and via the comics shop market. The house had success releasing a mix of updated classics, European translations, and licensed series—such as the manga-style Nancy Drew in 2005 and, later, Lego’s Ninjago, Geronimo Stilton, and Smurfs series, all of which Nantier said sold “millions of copies, and helped get attention to the middle grade graphic novel category, which was the sweet spot for Papercutz.”
Nantier told PW: “When we started Papercutz in 2005 there weren’t any book-format comics for kids and we saw an opportunity grow the category into a mass market audience.” He praised Mad Cave for publishing “stories that inspire and entertain.” He said he plans to continue to publish adult comics via NBM, which publishes about 12 books a year.
“We’ve done well with Papercutz," Nantier told PW, "but I’m getting older, and it was driving me crazy running two publishing companies. But I’ll still be around.”