The LPC Group recently picked up two significant additions to the roster of graphic novel publishers it distributes exclusively to the book trade: Oldsmar, Fla.—based CrossGen and the French/American company Humanoids Publishing. They couldn't be more different.
CrossGen was founded by Mark Alessi, a software multimillionaire who retired from the technology business to go into comix publishing two and a half years ago. Almost all of the company's writers and artists work in its office in Oldsmar, which ensures that they nearly always publish on schedule—and it's quite a schedule. The company's marketing and sales director, Chris Oarr, has CrossGen's comics and book publishing schedule worked out for the next four years. The company is also working hard at licensing its properties (genre fiction, from fantasy to Victorian cyberpunk, but no superheroes) to film and TV.
"The trade paperbacks are the final destination for everything we do," Oarr said. Of the publisher's nine regular series to date, the first four, Mystic, Meridian, Sigil and Scion, have already been reprinted in two paperback collections apiece. (The initial print runs were 15,000 each; the volumes will be reprinted now that they're going through LPC, with their covers and indicia adjusted to be more bookstore-friendly.) This year, CrossGen will publish 18 paperback collections, each compiling a six-issue story arc into a 160-page, $15.95 book.
Humanoids is the U.S. arm of a French company that's been publishing for 15 years—the English-language titles are printed at the same time as the French ones, generally changing only the black plates. The house has hundreds of backlist titles, and encourages its artists to create visually gorgeous work that is often published in luxurious hardcover editions.
LPC's Robert Boyd said that the official rollout of Humanoids to bookstores will happen in the fall, although the first few books are available now.