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Most adult comics readers probably have never heard of Lerner’s Graphic Universe imprint; Lerner produces children’s books for the library trade, and when we were kids, their output was fairly stodgy. But no more! Their Graphic Universe line, launched in 2006, includes some stunningly good reads: Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue’s Hamster and Cheese: Private Eye stories, which is laugh-out-loud funny even for adults, and the French series The Elsewhere Chronicles, a fantasy adventure that is literary in a First Second sort of way, if you know what I mean. (And they get bonus points from me for hiring the very talented Tintin Pantoja to illustrate their Manga Math Mysteries.)
Their most interesting upcoming series is the French fantasy trilogy Nola’s Worlds (original title: Alta Donna), which meshes manga-influenced art (as popular in France as over here) with the more traditional French color comic style. Editorial assistant Erin Finnegan interviewed the artist, MiniKim, at the GU blog, and they have also launched an art blog to show off the work in progress. Pop (Mélanie Buffière) is the colorist.The finished books will all come out this fall, and from the look of it, they will be a worthwhile read for adults as well as for kids.