Looking to make an impression on American readers who have yet to discover the sci fi stylings of European comics, Devil's Due announced this Thursday a publishing partnership with French comics house Les Humanoides Associes (commonly known stateside as Humanoids). The deal will see Devil's Due publishing English translations of Humanoids comics from a wide range of American talent, starting with never before fully translated projects from John Cassaday and Guy Davis.
While many readers may recall a similar deal between Humanoids and DC Comics in 2004 that saw a slew of translated titles before low sales forced the American publisher to end the partnership, Devil's Due's Manager of Development Stephen Christy told CBR that this new presentation of Humanoids material would receive a more focused and manageable rollout in terms of both scheduling and formatting.
"I went in talking to [the Humanoids publishers] as a fan but also knowing that they had been in previous relationships before, but for whatever reason hadn't seen it gone as well as fans would've hoped," Christy explained, adding that to Devil's Due, the main flaw in the DC releases was their focus on more expensive trade paperbacks with talent untested in the American market. "You can't expect someone to take a chance on a writer, artist and title you've never heard of for 20 bucks."
As an alternative, Christy sold the French publisher on "a very slow, focused rollout of Humanoids titles" serialized as 32-page comic books before an eventual trade paperback edition. "We want to sell these to the North American market in a format they're familiar with. If someone wants to take a chance on the book, they only have to pay $2.99 or $3.50 for it rather than $20."
The other selling point Devil's Due is stressing to American fans traditionally wary of trying new titles is the publisher's focus on Humanoid comics by established American talent. "The crown jewel of this is 'I Am Legion' by John Cassaday and Laura Martin," Christy noted of the acclaimed World War II graphic novel series scripted by screenwriter Fabien Nury, which will kick off the publisher's Humanoid's offerings in November as a 6-part series presenting the entire "I Am Legion" story. "Legion" will be followed in December by an 8-part serialization of Jerry Frissen and Guy Davis' "The Zombies That Ate the World."
"Our plan right now is to never be publishing more than two or three 32-page Humanoids books a month - to really keep it as a prestige line within the Devil's Due lineup and make sure the titles are top quality with great translations. It allows Devil's Due to get A-list talent working on books that we haven't had relationships with before. I'm hoping that some of these artists will be willing to create new material for some of these books be they covers or pinups as we begin to go to press."
Future titles that Devil's Due has plans to release include:
- "Redhand" by Kurt Busiek and Mario Alberti
- "Sebastian X" by Michelangelo La Neve and Stuart Immonen
- "Mandalay" by Philippe Thirault, Butch Guice and Mike Perkins
- "Infinity" by Chuck Austin and Matt Cossin
- "Songes" by Denis-Pierre Filippi and Terry Dodson
- "Olympus" by Geoff Johns, Kris Grimminger and Guice
Christy also said that the deal between Devil's Due and Humanoids encompassed the entire Humanoids catalogue, which meant that other comics by European creators weren't off the table for eventual American editions (specifically, he expressed a strong interest in publishing the entire "Metabarons" saga, possibly in the form of an omnibus). "The long-term goal to also move beyond simply translating books to forming a broader partnership across the board, which will hopefully lead to a greater sharing of creators between continents."
Now discuss this story in CBR's Independent Comics forum.