Wednesday, August 25, 2010: Dedicated Issue: Diamond Book Distributors

Dark Horse: The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola, colorist Dave Stewart

Oni Press: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley

IDW Publishing: Witch and Wizard: Battle for Shadowland by James Patterson and Dara Naraghi, illustrated by Victor Santos

Oni Press: Yo Gabba Gabba Comic Anthology

Dynamite Entertainment: Buddha: A Tale of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra

Dynamite Entertainment: Dresden Files: Storm Front by Jim Butcher with Mark Powers, Penciller/Inkers Ardian Syaf and Brett Booth

Editors' Note

Dedicated Issue: Graphic Novels

In this issue, Shelf Awareness looks at the world of graphic novels and comics, which, when bought and merchandised well, can be extremely rewarding financially and draw in new readers to bookstores and libraries. Here we offer stories about how some booksellers and librarians have made their graphic novel sections blossom. We talk about the trend of well-known novelists to collaborate in various ways on graphic novels--and hear an editor's version of the experience. Also two graphic novelists who are husband and wife tell all in a joint Book Brahmin.

This issue has been supported by Diamond Book Distributors, which represents Dark Horse, Image, IDW Publishing, Oni Press, Toon Books, Top Shelf Productions, Udon and more than 100 other houses.

Silver Dragon Books: Discovery Channel's Top Ten Deadliest Sharks by Joe Brusha

Books & Authors

Graphic Novels: The Passion and the Profit

Good customer demographics help. Good business practices help. But successful bookselling, it can be argued, is ultimately about passion and how that passion gets transferred from booksellers to customers. This is especially true in the graphic novel section where, particularly among younger booksellers, passions can run high. With support and communication from owners and managers, the graphic novel section in some stores is becoming a profit center as a result of these booksellers' love of comics.

Skylight Books, located in the vibrant neighborhood of Los Feliz in Los Angeles, Calif., is a case in point. The store has had a graphic novel section throughout its 14-year history. Head buyer Charles Hauther is an alumnus of Chatterton's, which "had a long tradition of selling 'underground' comics and graphic novels long before the term graphic novels was invented," he said. Hauther brought that appreciation of indie comics to Skylight, and the section did well: for a long time, it ranked sixth among the store's categories.


Around two years ago, Daniel Kusunoki and Darren Clavadetscher joined the Skylight staff. Both had worked at comics-heavy bookstores and comics stores, and they brought their expertise and passions with them. "Darren is the master of the Marvel and DC Universes, and Dan is the single most knowledgeable person I've ever met when it comes to manga," said Hauther. The two new staffers convinced their bosses to expand the graphic novels section from two shelves to two full cases and to move it to a more prominent position in the store. They collaborated with Hauther on title choice, handselling and merchandising. Now graphic novels are the #2 category in the store, second only to fiction.


Kusunoki, who began reading manga in Japanese around age three, describes the working relationship with the store's buyer as "a constant dialogue," which he emphasizes is vital for keeping the graphic novels section fresh and interesting. "Darren does the research on websites like Aintitcool and Newsarama, looking at what the new thing is and going to comics stores; I look at what the next manga thing will be," said Kusunoki. They bring their knowledge to discussions over catalogues with Hauther. "The store has to be behind those who deal with graphic novels; if it's just one person passionate about it and no one else is, it doesn't work," he insisted.


In many ways, the graphic novel section at Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville, N.C., has had a similar trajectory. When graphic novel buyer Gina Marie Cole began working at Malaprop's more than five years ago, the graphic novel section consisted of "about 10-15 titles"--and some of those titles were unusual art books, not comics per se. "I decided that the section needed a curator, and since I was the only bookseller that read graphic novels frequently, I nominated myself," she said.


Under Cole's curation, the graphic novel section has grown to three cases, with 300-400 titles, including classic and indie comics, manga, series and how-to. And the section's sales are up 50% from two years ago. "I've had nothing but support from my co-workers, the store owner and managers, and our customers," said Cole, though she admits that purchasing comics is not a given even in Asheville's hip atmosphere. "Readers are very open to trying new things, but rarely do they peruse the graphic novel section at our store without the help of a bookseller. I think that our graphic novel section is doing really well right now because I hand-select every single title we carry. This hands-on approach takes a lot of the guesswork out for our customers."


It can be a challenge, especially in an established store, to get everyone on the same page with regard to graphic novels. At 40-year-old Logos Books and Records in Santa Cruz, Calif., new book buyer Janina Larenas returned from a trip fired up with a new passion for comics.  She made a plea to move the graphic novel section from its previous home downstairs with genre fiction to upstairs near the literature section, arguing that "the stigma previously associated with comics had long since passed, and that we needed to move it to a place in the store that was accessible to everyone." 


As Larenas recounted, "There was definitely resistance from some of our senior staff at first. It can be difficult to notice a trend change when you have been immersed in bookselling for so long. But the resistance was short lived, and the owners and managers have an incredible amount of faith in my ability as a buyer. All of the staff is on board and happy to see it doing so well at this point." The store is gradually adding more titles, both new and used, with the expertise of Larenas and her comics-loving co-workers (including Ray Gabriel, who blogs about comics for a local newspaper) as a guide.


Gerry Donaghy, new book purchasing supervisor for Powell's City of Books, Portland, Ore., credited an impassioned publisher as well as his comics-reading staff for helping to turn the graphic novel section around at the enormous bookstore. While he has "a 30-plus-years-long habit" of reading comics, he admits that "until recently, the graphic novel section was a subsection of humor. Also, because of concerns of customers reading them in lieu of purchasing them or just plain manhandling them, graphic novels were kept in sealed bags"--not very conducive to browsing. A few years ago a sales rep from Viz Media, which publishes English translations of Japanese manga, persuaded Donaghy to create a manga display and gave him an incentive: he would replace any damaged copies if he would display them unbagged. "We didn't have to take him up on his offer," Donaghy said, "and shortly thereafter we stopped bagging them."


The store's graphic novel section has increased in both the shelf space and in sales in recent years. Like Hauther, Donaghy relies on conversations with his staff to keep the section fresh. "The staff in the Gold Room, which is where our genre fiction and graphic novels are kept, is pretty keen on graphic novels. They make the bulk of the decisions of what to face out, what to feature, and handselling. I also rely on them to fill in gaps in my knowledge," he said. Fortunately, the staff members "aren't shy about making suggestions for titles that fall outside of the mainstream."


As Skylight, Malaprop's, Logos and Powell's can attest, booksellers' knowledge and passion about graphic novels, with the support of management and staff, has the potential to grow into a major sales boost for a general bookstore. And it takes only one or two impassioned graphic novel readers to get it started--passion spreads among booksellers as well as from bookseller to customer. Donaghy observed, "It's great to see co-workers who have never previously discussed graphic novels or comics carrying around copies of Y: The Last Man or Scott Pilgrim or DMZ." As Kusunoki pointed out, "It's infectious, this graphic novel thing."--Jessica Stockton Bagnulo


Archaia Studios Press: The Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, illustrated by Janet Lee

The Challenge of Shelving

Having a graphic novels section in a bookstore sounds like a simple proposition, but the reality of shelving and organizing works by cartoonists can be complicated. The reasons range from the existential to the logistical. While some see graphic novels as a genre, others insist it's a separate medium like text or audio. Despite what the name implies, only some "graphic novels" are long-form fiction: works in panel-and-dialogue format run the gamut from war reportage to memoir to slice of life stories, and even the fictional works encompass fantasy, horror, adventure, short stories, coming-of-age tales and much more. In addition, there is the question of age appropriateness: while many comics are great for kids and teens, especially reluctant readers, many have content that is decidedly not kid-friendly.


So, in reality, these titles span subject matter about as broad as traditional books. How to shelve them?


Many independent bookstores have come up with different solutions by focusing on two major questions: What is the audience for these titles? And where will these titles have the most impact?


Part of the answer depends on the breadth of selection the store carries. Powell's City of Books in Portland, Ore., has a wide range of graphic novel subsections, particularly compared to smaller stores--and most stores are smaller than Powell's. (Still, Gerry Donaghy, new book purchasing supervisor at Powell's, said the store doesn't have "too many subsections in graphic novels yet.") Powell's separates its graphic novels into Manga (and separately, the sexually explicit manga genre Yaoi), Superheroes, Graphic Novels General, Toons (comic strips like Doonesbury), Classic Toons (Little Orphan Annie, for example) and Toon History, which includes works like Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. Graphic novels for kids are shelved separately. Notably, fiction and nonfiction are not separated, though Donaghy said that "as more different kinds of graphic novels continue to be introduced, it seems inevitable that we will be further sub-categorizing graphic novels."

At Malaprop's in Asheville, N.C., where graphic novel buyer Gina Marie Cole has revamped graphic novel shelves in the past few years, there is a general area for graphic novels as well as a Manga section, a "Comic Book History, Art & Reference" section and a "Comic How-To" section for art instruction and writers' manuals. There is a separate shelf in the children's section for kid-friendly graphic novels, though Cole noted that she recently "culled most of the young adult titles from that section and placed them in our general/adult graphic novel section."


In 2007, when Riverrun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., started to raise the profile of graphic novels, the store had separate sections for adults and young adults. Later, however, the store combined all the graphic novels into one section. "We thought at first that the kids graphic novel section would be more successful, but it wasn't," buyer Michele Filgate explained. "It's mostly adults and older teens who buy comics" at Riverrun, so having them all in one place made for better sales among customers who weren't likely to venture into the kids' section. 


Even at Books, Inc., which has 12 stores in California, there is no standard approach to graphic novel shelving. "Any time you try to separate things out, ambiguities will appear to ruin whatever scheme you have," said David Ho, graphic novel buyer. All Books Inc. stores have a graphic novel section, but "each store subdivides their section by whatever works for them," Ho noted. This typically means stores "integrate the section into a continuum that includes YA and science fiction," with kids' comics separate, though Ho admitted this works better for the traditional superhero and manga comics than for the "adult/literary" titles.


One solution to the problem of different genres within graphic novels is cross-shelving graphic novels in the relevant subject areas throughout the store. Dan Kusunoki at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., has been experimenting with this approach, and said, "It works great." For example, Darwyn Cooke's noirish story The Hunter is shelved in crime fiction/mystery, and Kusunoki has been delighted to shelve Asterios Polyp (David Mazzuchelli's graphic novel of philosophy, architecture and relationships) next to works by Ayn Rand. 


Cole at Malaprop's makes an eloquent case for keeping graphic novels together. "We don't cross-section graphic novels in other areas of the store, mostly because I really want our graphic novel section to 'pop,' " she said. "When a customer browses that section, I want them to be able to see the full range of what graphic novels have to offer. If I took A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn and shelved it in the history section, customers might see it or they may totally overlook it. In the graphic novel section, it really stands out. Customers see it and say, 'Wow! A Howard Zinn graphic novel? Cool!' "


Despite the multiplicity of approaches, independent booksellers share some common best practices. Shelving graphic novels advantageously involves understanding the store's customers and market, as well as the content of the graphic novels themselves. It may involve some experimentation to find out what system works best. And as the graphic novel category continues to grow, shelving systems will probably evolve and change as well--just like books in other categories and the bookstore itself.--Jessica Bagnulo Stockton


IDW Publishing: Kill Shakespeare by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Belanger

Librarians and the Love for Graphic Novels

Many libraries have embraced graphic novels with great enthusiasm, offering a range of titles for adults, teens and children. In many cases, they are among the libraries' most popular sections. Here we talk with two librarians whose graphic novel sections have expanded dramatically in the past few years--and drawn in a range of readers.

About two and a half years ago, Eva Volin, supervising children's librarian at the Alameda Free Library, Alameda, Calif., began building a graphic novel section in the children's area, which until then consisted of only a few titles. (The library has separate graphic novel sections in its teen and adult areas.) The main hurdle came not because of the content of the graphic novels but from the technical processing staff because of changes that needed to be made to the catalogue. Once that was settled, the transition came smoothly. One of the main things they had to teach the staff was that the word "graphic" has meanings beyond the one associated with violence or sexuality. "Once they understood that we weren't adding naughty books to the children's collection, they began to support the changes we were making," Volin said.

The library now has more than 800 graphic novel titles in the children's section and is in the process of acquiring about 100 more. The section has been organized like one in a bookstore and not with the standard Dewey system, which has made "the books easier for our customers to find." The area devoted to graphic novels has increased to six bays of shelving--with room to grow. It's "the first thing you see" when you enter the children's area, and the response has been "overwhelming," Volin said.

The most enthusiastic younger readers have been upper elementary and middle school kids, both boys and girls. As a result, Volin has aimed to keep the collection "diverse," which means having a range of superhero, adventure, mystery, romance and nonfiction titles, so that "no one goes home disappointed," as she put it.

The section has only a few comics because they are paid for out of the magazine budget, which is significantly smaller than the book budget, which encompasses graphic novels. Volin noted, however, that the comics the library stocks are "very popular." Since more graphic novels are being reviewed than ever before, librarians who are restricted to buying books that are professionally reviewed are finding it easier to buy a range of titles, Volin noted.

Still, Volin would like to see more kids' graphic novels reviewed, although "things are getting better all the time." It's more of a challenge, she said, just to keep up with new releases in series. But for her, keeping up is a labor of love: she enjoys graphic novels "probably more than I should."


At the Brookline Public Library, Brookline, Mass., the graphic novel section has existed for about four years--coinciding with Robin Brenner's arrival at the library.

Now, in the adult section, the library has more than 1,300 graphic novels and 79 comic strip collections; in the teen area, the numbers are nearly 2,700 and almost 100. The children's section has more than 200 titles. In addition, the library has access to all the graphic novels in the 42-library network. Still, Brenner is "fairly proud of our collection here," and she noted that she's had "strong support" from the director.

By several measures, graphic novels and comics have been wildly popular among patrons. Circulation of graphic novels rose last year by 50% and has surpassed DVDs--and more and more adults are requesting titles to be added to the collection. Adult men browse both the adult and teen graphic novel sections. Adult women are drawn to the adult collection for its indie content and manga for women. The teen collection is the most popular teen category, and teens regularly "camp out with stacks of comics near where the graphic novels are shelved," Brenner noted.

Brenner has had to move the teen collection several times as it has expanded and also moved the adult collection recently so it has more room to grow.

Most staff members support graphic novels, though there are a few who "just don't quite understand the appeal." Twice, patrons have asked about the appropriateness of a title, but these didn't become official challenges after staff members discussed library policies on the subject. (For example, the teen collection is geared for ages 13-18, so some material is not appropriate for those in the lower ages.)

Brenner keeps up with the latest in graphic novels by reading reviews, blogs and the New York Times graphic books bestseller list. She also listens to patrons. "If someone sends in a purchase request, I almost always buy it," she said. "I want to be sure I'm hitting what my local patrons want, so I really enjoy having people tell me directly."

Brenner was introduced to the genre when she was working in a library and was asked to investigate "these newfangled graphic novels" for possible inclusion in the library's teen room. Although she had read a few graphic novels, like Maus, enjoyed comic strips as a child and even taken cartooning courses, it was only when doing research for the section that she "fell in love" with the form, the combination of images and words. Brenner especially enjoys reading "anything that's well written and features strong art" and personally adores manga, "but I also have dearly loved many a superhero story in my day."


Book Brahmins: Kathryn and Stuart Immonen

Kathryn and Stuart Immonen have been making comics together for more than 20 years. Stuart has worked for virtually every comics publisher that has existed in the past two decades and is best known for such diverse work as Nextwave, Superman: Secret Identity and Ultimate Spider-man. Kathryn has written stories for both DC and Marvel, including the sleeper hit miniseries Patsy Walker: Hellcat. Kathryn and Stuart published Moving Pictures with Top Shelf Productions in June, recently completed the special edition of Never As Bad As You Think for BOOM! Studios and are moving on to their next project, Russian Olive to Red King. They live in London, Ont., with their very tall son and their very bad dog.

On your nightstand now:

Kathryn: Gael Greene's Insatiable and Bret Easton Ellis's Lunar Park.

Stuart: Jaime Hernandez's Locas II and Anne Enright's Yesterday's Weather.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Kathryn: Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes.

Stuart: Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Detective.

Your top five authors:

Today we mutually agree on Herge, Paul Theroux, Tove Jansson, Iain Banks and Cormac McCarthy.

Book you've faked reading:

Kathryn: Almost every single play in my fourth-year BFA theater seminar.

Stuart: Moby-Dick! For a grade seven book report.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Kathryn and Stuart: The Complete Carl Barks Library.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Kathryn: Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding.

Stuart: Bret Easton Ellis's Less than Zero.

Book that changed your life:

Kathryn: Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.

Stuart: Dan Koppel's To See Every Bird on Earth (most recently, anyway).

Favorite line from a book:

Stuart: "F*** the bloody creative life."--Eddie Campbell in Alec: The Years Have Pants (most recently, anyway).

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Kathryn: Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson.

Stuart: The Crow Road by Iain Banks.



Novelists Go Graphic

The mainstream popularity of graphic novels has meant that popular novelists have increasingly turned to the medium, either to extend the reach of existing franchises or to create new work. For retailers or librarians, the benefit is obvious: a graphic novel done in collaboration with a known name has a built-in hook that can extend beyond the community of comics fans. Here are some notable graphic-lit titles from writers who already command a large novel-reading fanbase.

The most notable of that group is Stephen King. Several of King's novels have been adapted in comics form. Marvel has published long-running adaptations of The Stand and his genre-bending Dark Tower series. However, these adaptations are penned by others (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the team of Peter David and Robin Furth, respectively). Running in monthly issues, American Vampire (Vertigo) tells two intertwined stories: the first about a wannabe actress, Pearl, trying to make her way through the predatory jungles of 1920s Hollywood, the second about a seemingly unstoppable Wild West Era bank robber. Both plotlines get tangled up when a clan of European vampires crosses the path of each protagonist. The latter tale, focused on desperado turned vampire Skinner Sweet, is penned by Stephen King. (Co-writer Scott Synder tells Pearl's story.) The series effectively blends genre pleasures, explosive violence, tight narrative pacing and a likable female lead. The first volume of the collected series comes out in hardcover in October. Graphic violence and sexual imagery mean this isn't one for the "hey kids, comics!" spinner.

Keeping it in the family, King's son, horror and urban fantasy author Joe Hill, pens the haunted house metaseries (the term for a connecting series of short miniseries) Locke and Key. The series focuses on the Locke family, who have moved to Keyhouse in the town of Lovecraft in an effort rebuild their lives after the family patriarch was murdered by a mentally unstable high school student. Supernatural entities, a collection of magical keys and the reappearance of the murderer all threaten to destroy the Lockes. IDW Publishing has produced three collections of this continuing series: Welcome to Lovecraft, Head Games and Crown of Shadows. There's some genuinely creepy imagery packed between the covers of these books, but the strong characterizations of the young heroes, specifically Bode Locke, youngest of the Locke family, will appeal to YA readers as well as adults.

Troublemaker, the Dark Horse graphic novel by mother-and-daughter team Janet and Alex Evanovich, takes an existing novel series and continues it in graphic novel form. (See an interview with Troublemaker editor Sierra Hahn in the following story.) Troublemaker picks up the story of Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby, the grease monkey heroine of the novels Metro Girl and Motor Mouth, and finds her involved in another comedic mystery with her on-again, off-again NASCAR-driving love interest, Sam Hooker. This time, Barney is on the hunt for a missing person and must steer through a surreal Florida underworld that will be familiar to readers of Carl Hiaasen and James W. Hall. Like the novels that preceded it, Troublemaker's emphasis is on quick plotting, snappy dialogue and quirky characterizations. The novels in the Alexandra Barnaby Series did well with YA and adult readers, and a graphic novel addition to the series seems to appeal to the same demographic.

The manga-style In Odd We Trust by prolific multi-genre novelist Dean Koontz and Australian manga artist Queenie Chan is somewhat problematic because it's not clear what Koontz's involvement was. Sometimes he's credited as the author; sometimes he is described as having "assisted in the creation of" it. But there is a solid retail argument for the manga Odd Thomas series. In Odd We Trust is a prequel to the Odd Thomas YA novels, which focus on a short-order cook who can communicate with the dead, a power that leads him into various mysteries, which he solves with the help of his gun-crazy girlfriend. Thus the original series has a built-in following. Furthermore, it is one of the few manga titles a store can stock without committing to the feet of shelf space that many manga series often take. For those hesitant to stock manga, Odd Thomas is a good starter series. In Odd We Trust is available from Del Rey. A second volume, Odd Is on Our Side, will be available in October.

In the U.S., the dominant comic genre is, of course, the superhero comic. As the most popular and influential genre, it has drawn its fair share of big-name authors ready to try their luck in the cape and cowl world.

In his novel Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem referenced an obscure Marvel character named Omega, a teenage superhero with a mysterious past and inexplicable powers. Two years later, Lethem worked with Marvel to relaunch the cult character as a miniseries. An off-kilter mix of po-mo sensibility, teen angst and superheroics, with great art by Farel Dalrymple, the Eisner-nominated mini is collected in hardcover as Omega the Unknown. (The original series is also available as Omega the Unknown Classic.)

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult penned the Wonder Woman story arc entitled Love and Murder. Available from DC Comics in a trade paperback collection, Picoult's tale puts Wonder Woman in the impossible position of being assigned to capture her own secret identity, Special Agent Diana Prince.

Legendary SF author Orson Scott Card re-envisioned the origins of Marvel Comics icon Iron Man for the house's Ultimates line. Ultimate Iron Man posits Tony Stark as an almost freakishly tragic character: human wreckage of the corporate battles between Stark's father and his corporate rival. Card has steered the franchise through two volumes, both available in paperback collections.--Michael Bagnulo


Making Trouble: Sierra Hahn, Editor of Troublemaker

Sierra Hahn is an associate editor for Dark Horse. In her three years as an editor, she has worked on titles as diverse as the horror anthology Pixu, tie-ins for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and the Terminator franchise, and the surreal supernatural action noir Mesmo Delivery. Hahn spoke with Michael Bagnulo about one of her latest assignments: editing Troublemaker, the bestselling graphic novel by Janet and Alex Evanovich.

Could you briefly describe the editor's role in creating a graphic novel like Troublemaker?

The job of an editor oscillates wildly. My favorite part is acquiring new projects and working closely with the creators on their scripts and their artwork. I do a lot of story editing, working with writers to convey their ideas in the most impactful way for their particular audience. With the artwork I help make sure the storytelling is working with the text to create a compelling sequential narrative.

In a USA Today interview, Janet Evanovich stated that she always intended for the first two prose novels in the Motor Mouth series to be graphic novels, but she felt the series wasn't ready. When did Evanovich and Dark Horse start seriously considering this project?

Dark Horse approached Janet just over a year ago about doing a line of books together. We knew Janet was a comics fan and wanted to know if her love of the medium was met with a desire to write them.

This is the first graphic novel for the co-writing team of Janet and Alex Evanovich. How do you help a bestselling and prolific novelist make the transition from prose to comics?

I was pleasantly surprised by how seamlessly Janet and Alex segued from prose to comics. They have a knack for conveying great action, capturing emotion and delivering snappy dialogue--all of which have a way of translating well into comics. They also have a story set against an extremely vibrant backdrop--Miami, Little Havana and the swamps, which gave the artist a lot of fantastic visuals to play with.

Could you tell when you were reading the work of Janet and when you where reading the work of Alex? What's distinct about their voices and how do they merge in Troublemaker?

Since Janet had previously established these characters in Motor Mouth and Metro Girl Alex was very familiar with their personalities, their voices, and quirky attributes--she seemed very comfortable capturing them in the book under the guidance of Janet.

The artist for Troublemaker is Joëlle Jones, whom comics fans might recognize for her work in the fantasy series Fables (Vertigo) and Madam Xanadu (Vertigo). How did Jones join the project and how did Dark Horse know she'd be such a good fit?

I worked with Joëlle on a comic called Dr. Horrible, and I was eager to work with her again. I've been a longtime admirer of her work, and knew she could bring these characters to life, and work with Janet and Alex to create a fun story.

Who is the readership for projects like Troublemaker? Is it bringing Evanovich fans to the comics world? Or is it introducing comics readers to the works of the Evanovichs?

We definitely have an obligation to Janet's fans--a passionate and loyal bunch of readers. We'd love to have more of Janet's demographic reading comics and reading the Troublemaker books, but I think this series could appeal to a teen audience looking to discover comics and to longtime comics readers looking discover more about Janet's successful line of books.

Both Troublemaker and the graphic novel adaptation of Twilight surprised some with the size of their initial print runs. Troublemaker's initial print run was reportedly 100,000 copies. Is this publication a game-changing event? Are we entering an age of bigger comics blockbusters?

The scale of our initial print run of Troublemaker was unique to the creators involved. Comics continue to garner more mainstream attention, but--as you point out--do not often reach numbers of 100,000 copies sold right out the gate. With Troublemaker we saw an opportunity to work with great writers excited about comics and excited to try their hand at something new. Janet and Alex were eager to get out there to promote the series to their fan base, and we wanted to deliver a product that Janet, Alex, her fans and comics readers would love. We've been ambitious and reached out to an ever growing audience. With that ambition we had to have enough books to get into readers' hands.


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