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SDCC ’12 | A roundup of news and announcements from Thursday

Sandman

Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:

• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.

• Mark Waid, Shane Davis and Max Brooks will team to create Shadow Walk, a graphic novel coming out next year from Legendary Comics.

• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.

• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.

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SDCC ’12 | Yen Press to adapt James Patterson’s next novel

Zoo

James Patterson’s Zoo hasn’t even been released yet, but Yen Press already has a graphic novel adaptation of it in the works. Andy MacDonald revealed on his blog last night that he’s been working on it, and Yen Press is showing off promotional materials for it at its booth at Comic-Con International in San Diego. According to the description on Patterson’s website, Zoo is about:

All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it’s too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson’s ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from “One of the best of the best.” (TIME)

Yen Press has published several graphic novel adaptations of Patterson’s books aimed at younger readers, including Maximum Ride and Daniel X, but I believe this is the first “adult” book of his the company will adapt. According to Amazon, it comes out in November, two months after the prose novel.

Wimpy Kid outsells all rivals while giving it away on the ‘net

Heidi MacDonald points to an article in the Hollywood Reporter about the runaway success of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid novels (which are often classed with graphic novels, although they are really more of a hybrid format). There’s a lot to chew on in the article, and Heidi’s post gets some interesting comments about the fact that kids are reading—and buying—lots of comics lately; the only writer whose work is outselling Kinney right now is Stieg Larsson.

One of the really interesting angles of this story, though, is that from day one, the first three volumes of Diary of a Wimpy Kid have been available online, for free. It started out as a web-only book on the kids’ site Funbrain.com, and author Jeff Kinney has insisted on keeping it there. How does that work? I suspect there are two kinds of readers: Those who know about Wimpy Kid but not Funbrain (I’m guessing the target audience doesn’t spend a lot of time using BitTorrent) and those who go to Funbrain for math help, as my daughter did, and stumble on Wimpy Kid along the way. So he’s tapping into two separate audiences, much as comics publishers hope to do with digital and direct market sales. In addition, Kinney upgraded both the writing and the art for the print edition and threw in some extra twists that aren’t online. Although this seems to be pretty ad hoc, it sounds like a pretty good business plan to me.

Kinney had better watch his back, though: James Patterson, the author of Maximum Ride and Daniel X, both of which have done well both as prose novels and as graphic novel adaptations, has just published Middle School, a prose-graphic novel hybrid with a bit of a Wimpy Kid vibe—and he has put the first 20 chapters online for free.

What Are You Reading?

Saturn Apartments

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. Our special guest today is Faith Erin Hicks, creator of the graphic novels Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere and the upcoming Friends with Boys. She also drew the recent First Second release Brain Camp and has a comic strip in her local weekly newspaper The Coast called The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

To see what Faith and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The Murder of King Tut

The Murder of King Tut

Publishing | Bestselling author James Patterson is partnering with IDW Publishing for adaptations of his novels and comics based on new material. The first title, a five-part miniseries based on Patterson’s young-adult novel Witch & Wizard, will debut in May.

“Comics could reach a much larger audience than they do right now,” the author tells USA Today. “With all of the quality work and talent that’s out there, this industry could be so much bigger.”

Chris Ryall, IDW’s publisher and editor-in-chief, provides additional information on his blog. [USA Today]

Retailing | Discussion, or perhaps dissection, of retailer Brian Hibbs’ annual BookScan analysis continues: Hibbs, responding to Tom Spurgeon’s criticisms; Eric Reynolds, associate publisher of Fantagraphics; Hibbs, responding to Reynolds; and Johanna Draper Carlson. [Tilting at Windmills]

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