Scholastic Launches New Graphic Novel Imprint

Posted on July 13, 2004

In January 2005, Scholastic will launch its new graphic novel imprint, Graphix, with the publication of Jeff Smith's award-winning series Bone. The first Bone comic book was released by independent publisher Cartoon Books in 1991. Originally published in black & white, Scholastic's new Graphix edition of Bone will be in color with a 6x9 inch trim size. Jean Feiwel, Scholastic's publisher and editor in chief, negotiated the deal with Cartoon Books' president, Vijaya Iyer, and its counsel, attorney Vincent M. Waldman of Los Angeles.

"We are thrilled to launch Graphix with the highly acclaimed and award-winning series Bone," said Jean Feiwel. "The mission of Graphix is to bring the visual literacy and aesthetic sense of graphic novels to children, and Bone has exactly the originality and artistic vision we were looking for. We will launch Graphix in Spring 2005 and add original titles, reprints, and imports for ages 6-14 as we find, develop, and acquire them. We are excited and ambitious on behalf of Graphix, but we are not looking to simply fill up a pipeline. Each acquisition will be carefully considered."

Bone tells the story of the three modern Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who find their way into a hidden, pre-technological valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. According to Neil Gaiman, Bone creator "Jeff Smith can pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful -- so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs." Neil Gaiman, a bestselling novelist, is also well known for graphic novel series, The Sandman.

Scholastic will launch Bone as the flagship title for Graphix with a six-figure marketing campaign. Bone will be officially announced at Comic-Con International 2004, and promotional items will include comic book teaser booklets, give-aways, and in-store display and merchandising materials. Scholastic will also mount a national advertising and publicity campaign including author appearances at conventions, book and comic book stores, and a dedicated Bone page on in cross-promotion with Cartoon Books' existing website.

Jeff Smith has done artwork for all the major comic book publishers while spending most of the last twelve years creating Bone for Cartoon Books, the independent imprint he started with his wife Vijaya Iyer in 1991 in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Smith has won multiple awards for his work here at home as well as in Germany, France, Spain, Finland, Norway, and Italy.

"Nothing could be better for the art form of comics than having a respected house like Scholastic get behind it," said Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith. "More and more people are realizing how much fun and imagination it takes to read a graphic novel. Comics excite both kids and adults for that reason. I am very happy to have the chance to join with a major publisher to take the books to a much wider audience."

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