Once again, the print run of a graphic novel published by Fantagraphics Books is trapped on board a container ship. The entire 10,000-copy print run of cartoonist Jordan Crane’s new graphic novel, Keeping Two, is on board the Ever Forward, a 1,000-foot ship carrying nearly 5,000 containers, that has been mired near shore in the Chesapeake Bay for more than three weeks.
Jacq Cohen, Fantagraphics executive director of consumer marketing and publicity, confirmed that the ship is physically trapped in the Bay. Cohen also told PW its likely that other publishers also have titles trapped onboard the ship. A source knowledgeable about the situation, confirmed to PW that other publishers have books on the stranded ship, although it is unclear which publishers or how many.
Fantagraphics faced a similar shipping predicament in 2016: Emil Ferris’s graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters, a surprise bestseller, was trapped onboard a container ship for more than a month after its parent company went bankrupt. In this new case, the ship carrying the print-run of Crane’s Keeping Two ran aground just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
According to a report in the Guardian, the company is removing some of the containers to help release the vessel and it will likely take weeks to refloat the massive ship, which was on the way to New York. And in a curious twist, the Ever Forward happens to be owned by the Evergreen Marine Company, the same shipping company that owned the Ever Given, the huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal, and the global supply chain, for weeks in 2021.
Asked about the impact of the delay on promotional events and sales of the book, Cohen said they were monitoring the situation along with their distributor: “The Amazon orders are high and the direct comic market orders strong. So, we feel confident that the book will still have great sales numbers. A byproduct of the pandemic is that booksellers and consumers are more accustomed to delayed books.”
Nevertheless, the delay will likely disrupt a planned book tour. “He was going to be a special guest at The LA Times Book Festival, a guest at Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, and do a West Coast in-person book tour,” Cohen said. “With the uncertainty of when the books will be unloaded, we have to either cancel or, hopefully, reschedule the tour. The greatest loss in sales will likely be linked to cancelled events and festival appearances.”
Update: information about the impact of the delay on the book's promotional events and sales has been added.