We asked David Saylor, Creative Director, to tell us about the comic book saga, BONE, the first series from Scholastic’s new graphic novel imprint, GRAPHIX.
I'd like to tell you about a book. It's adventurous and funny. It's a page-turner with strong characters and an irresistible plot. It's got magical creatures and an appealing hero who is fighting a powerful and evil enemy who will stop at nothing to regain power.
No, it's not Harry Potter. It's BONE, the incredible comic book saga that's sold over 1 million copies around the world and has been translated into 15 languages. BONE is also a graphic novel and it's the centerpiece of a new graphic novel imprint at Scholastic, called GRAPHIX.
BONE was written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, who was born and raised in the American Midwest. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, and he's a star in the comic book world, based on his amazing nine-volume BONE books. The books were self-published in black-and-white by Jeff's own company, Cartoon Books, beginning in 1991 and quickly became cult favorites among comic book fans. What makes our editions of BONE so special is that we're publishing them in splendid, new, full-color editions, beginning with Out From Boneville, volume one of the BONE series.
How did Scholastic come to publish BONE? It first came to my attention through my assistant, Janna Morishima. She and I had been thinking about creating comics specifically for kids and we wanted to know which comics kids were reading. BONE was the one book everyone was talking about at Forbidden Planet, a comic book store in downtown Manhattan. And once Janna and I read it, we were hooked. And I guarantee you, once you've read the first book, you'll be hooked, too!
Incredibly, BONE had never been marketed or sold directly to kids and the publisher of the Scholastic Book Group, Jean Feiwel, thought that BONE would be a perfect book to launch our graphic novel imprint, GRAPHIX. It's got humor, adventure, great characters, and wonderful artwork. In short, everything that a book should have.
If you're nervous about comics because you haven't picked one up in a long time or if you're worried that comics just aren't real books, put your mind at ease. Jeff Smith is a master of visual storytelling. And if you haven't read a comic book in a long time, BONE will take you back to being a kid again when you used to curl up with your latest comics and couldn't wait for more. Some of the nicest comments about BONE came from one of our copyeditors, Susan Casel, who was a bit iffy about having to copyedit comics. But after reading Out From Boneville she told me, "You know, this book is great! When can I find out what happens next?"
So, we're very happy to be publishing Jeff Smith and to have Out From Boneville launch GRAPHIX. But more importantly, we're happy to bring BONE to a whole new audience of kids — and adults.