Miami-based independent publisher Mad Cave Studios is expanding its offerings this fall with the launch of a young adult graphic novel imprint called Maverick. While the genres of its titles will range from slice-of-life stories to urban fantasy and horror, each Maverick title will be an authentic, universal story of personal struggle. “Maverick is an inspiring line of books that will show people they are not alone; that their voices matter,” says Mad Cave publisher Chris Fernandez. “And that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be.”
Each Maverick title will inspire and empower independent young readers by offering insight into difficult situations. To that end, Chris Sanchez, Maverick’s editor-in-chief, worked with a diverse group of creators, including David Pinckney, whose Needle & Thread will be released by the new imprint in September. The graphic novel follows Noah and Azarie, who both dream about pursuing passions that aren’t approved of by their families and friends. Noah’s and Azarie’s respective social statuses keep them from crossing paths, but a chance encounter makes the duo realize just how much they have in common. Together, they risk everything and decide
to reveal their true selves via an unlikely medium: cosplay. With Needle & Thread, Pinckney and first-time graphic novel artist Ennun Ana Iurov tell a story about self-discovery and resilience.
In December, Maverick will publish Lela Gwenn’s Nightmare in Savannah. The southern gothic fairy tale focuses on Alexa Bowman, who is forced to live in Savannah, Ga., after her parents are sent to prison. Alexa joins a group of outsiders, and together they discover a power that gives them license to fight back against their bullies. Nightmare in Savannah is illustrated by macabre artist Rowan MacColl.
“We wanted to create stories for those who think differently,” says Sanchez. “Readers who aren’t afraid to be independent; who find freedom in the unexpected, and fight for who they truly are. My hope is that Maverick becomes a place where readers can find stories that mirror their own and understand that they’re not alone in their struggles.”
In winter 2022, Maverick will continue World Class by writer and podcaster Jay Sandlin, as well as Rachael Smith’s Good Game Well Played. World Class follows Adrian Molina, a soccer superstar who garners a full scholarship to an elite prep school in London. The opportunity seems too good to be true, and it is, when Adrian ends up being bullied. The constant fighting and teasing gives Adrian crippling anxiety. But eventually, he finds Luciano DeSilva, who takes the young soccer star under his wing and eventually gives him the confidence he needs to believe in himself.
In Good Game Well Played, a group of misfit high school students— Sienna, Art, Jo, and Hope—struggle to save their failing video game store, Game Champ, from being torn down by a greedy landlord.
“Maverick, defined as an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party, is a line of original, hilarious, and heartbreaking young adult stories intended to spark a sense of awe about human relationships,” says Mark London, Mad Cave Studios CEO. “The feeling of cracking open a story and finding not only your friends but also yourself within the pages is what Maverick intends to achieve. Maverick will be known for producing ‘not your typical’ young adult books and will directly reflect the life experiences of its young readers for years to come.”