Games Workshop Group, a U.K.—based publisher of science fiction, gaming books and graphic novels, announced plans to launch a new publishing program plus deals to publish a series of film and game book tie-ins.

In a separate announcement, Titan Books, a U.K. graphic novel publisher, announced the start of a U.S. publishing program and new U.S. distribution to the book trade.

Games Workshop Group is launching BL Publishing, a new standalone subsidiary devoted to book publishing that will include the five-year-old Black Library imprint, which publishes graphic novels and books based on GWG's game characters, and a new unit to be called Black Flame.

BL Publishing will be run from Nottingham, England, and its titles will be distributed in the U.S. market by Simon & Schuster, which has been distributing graphic novels from GWG's Black Library imprint. S&S will also handle titles from Black Flame.

BLP has also reached an agreement with indie film producer New Line Cinema and Oxford-based computer game developer Rebellion to publish titles based on New Line's films and Rebellion's game characters. The first titles to come from Black Flame will be a series of novelizations based on New Line and Rebellion properties.

Vincent Rospond, GWG's global sales and marketing manager, told PW the launch of BLP reflects the profitability of the five-year-old company and the need for a larger publishing program to expand into new media categories and grow its presence in the U.S. market. Rospond noted that in addition to novelizations, the Black Flame imprint will publish a series of original and reprint science fiction and fantasy novels. He said the Black Library imprint publishes six to eight graphic novels a year. "We hope to do more new graphic novels based on New Line film properties."

U.K. graphic novel publisher Titan Books will now be distributed to the U.S. book trade by Client Distribution Services. The house will publish about eight books a month specifically for the U.S. market, most of them graphic novels. Jean Richards-Ballot, spokesperson for Titan, told PW that four titles will be released this month, including two graphic novels: Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin; and Judge Dredd: Emerald Isle by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillioni. "Titan has never had good bookstore placement before, and this is an effort to take advantage of the growing bookstore market for graphic novels," said Richards-Ballot.