Hyperion/Disney to Publish Graphic Biographies For Young Readers

Official Press Release

New York, NY - February 28, 2005 - Hyperion Books for Children has teamed up with The Center for Cartoon Studies of White River Junction, VT, to publish graphic biographies for young readers. The Center for Cartoon studies will package the books for Hyperion Books for Children, drawing in critically acclaimed authors and illustrators.

The first two biographies in this series will be Houdini, written by Jason Lutes and James Sturm and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi, about the world's most famous escape artist whose illusions riveted the country during the early 19th century; and Satchel Paige, written by James Sturm, about the legendary ballplayer whose great pitching talent spanned five decades beginning in the era of the Negro Leagues. Both biographies are slated to release in fall 2006.

"When I saw the work of James Sturm and Jason Lutes at Comic-Con this year I wanted to find a way to bring their sense of aesthetics and of American social history to young readers," said Brenda Bowen, vice president and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books for Children. "We're always on the lookout for new creative content to expand our growing graphic publishing program; and graphic biographies by critically-acclaimed artists and writers are the perfect way to complement the program." Agent Judith Hansen of Hansen Literary Agency handled the sale for the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The graphic biographies will focus on figures from history whom children find both interesting and entertaining. At 80-96 pages each, the books will tell an exciting chapter of the subject's life in graphic form along with ten pages of back matter expanding on the political and social history of the period. After the debut of Houdini and Satchel Paige, Hyperion Books for Children will release two new graphic biographies each year.

"Teachers now recognize and look to comics as a tool for learning. These biographies will open an exciting window into American history," said James Sturm, director, The Center for Cartoon Studies. "This is also a tremendous opportunity for students planning to attend CCS to learn first-hand how graphic novels are produced. I'm looking forward to working with Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint known for producing quality books for young readers"

Jason Lutes graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 1991. His weekly comic strip appearing in the Seattle newsweekly The Stranger, became the critically acclaimed graphic novel Jar of Fools, which Wired magazine called "something transcendent - a piece of literature that speaks to the emotional core."

James Sturm is the author of the best-selling and award-winning graphic novel The Golem's Mighty Swing, which has been translated into several languages and was named "Best Comic 2001" by Time Magazine.

Nick Bertozzi is best known for his Ignatz-Award winning book Boswash and graphic novel The Masochists, which garnered him a 2002 Eisner Award nomination. Bertozzi's work on Rubber Necker has won him the 2003 Ignatz Award for "Outstanding Comic", and two 2003 Harvey Awards for "Best New Issues" and "Best New Talent".

Hyperion Books for Children is a unit of Disney Publishing Worldwide. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the largest children's publisher in the world, with 274 children's magazines and 120 million children's books sold each year. DPW publishes books, magazines, comics and continuity programs in 55 languages in 75 countries, reaching more than 100 million readers each month. Disney Publishing has been producing comics since 1930, with over 340 regular titles read in more than 80 countries around the globe. Global headquarters are in New York City.

Based in White River Junction, VT, The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) is dedicated to providing the highest quality of education to students interested in creating visual stories. CCS's curriculum of art, graphic design, and literature reflect the wide array of skills needed to create comics and graphic novels. CCS emphasizes self-publishing and prepares its students to publish, market, and disseminate their work. CCS's Advisory Board consists of many of today's most predominant cartoonists and publishers, and includes Scott McCloud, and Art Spiegelman.

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