A Renewed Focus on Graphic Novels at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

As more than 130,000 pop culture enthusiasts and comics fans flooded downtown San Diego for Comic-Con International, the news was all about lines—literal and literary. At the annual pop culture show, held July 19-23 at the San Diego Convention Center, the lines—the queues—for exclusive releases, signings, screenings and offsite attractions seemed even more immense than usual.

The publishing news involved lines as well—new book lines, imprints, and releases. Comic-Con continues to present a growing awareness of the importance of graphic novels in an evolving comics marketplace.

Nevertheless, Diamond Comics Distributors announced at its retailer breakfast that graphic novel and comics periodical sales were flat or worse for the year thus far. Graphic Novel sales are down 13% and periodical sales are down 4%, so far, in 2017. No one has been able to pinpoint a single reason for the slide, although various theories—from a lack of hot titles to the end of the New York Times Bestseller list for Graphic Novels—have been floated.

While movie and TV announcements can drown out comics news at Comic-Con, there was still plenty of publishing news flowing out of the show. As reported, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint announced a new deal with Atria Books for a line of prose SF and fantasy books. And manga/graphic novel publisher Yen Press, a joint venture of Hachette and Kadokawa, announced the launch of JY, a middle grade graphic novel line headed by Yen’s deputy publisher JuYoun Lee.

DC Comics offered several new lines, including a previously announced Young Readers line, and a 25th anniversary publishing tribute to the Harley Quinn character of Suicide Squad fame. At DC’s “Meet the Publishers” panel featuring DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, Lee gave some details about an upcoming line of standalone graphic novels by top talent (like Neil Gaiman) with mature themes. The titles in this line will be in the vein of DC superhero epics such as The Dark Knight and Watchmen.

Reinforcing DC’s focus on book format comics, acclaimed writer Grant Morrison made a surprise appearance on the panel to announce two DC graphic novel projects: Wonder Woman Earth One Vol. 2, a sequel to last year’s successful release (with art by Yanick Paquette) that takes a closer look at Princess Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta. He also announced Arkham Asylum 2 (with art by Chris Burnham), a sequel to Morrison’s classic Batman tale from 2005.
more at:  https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/comics/article/74326-a-renewed-focus-on-graphic-novels-at-san-diego-comic-con-2017.html

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