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Schoolastic Launches New Graphic Novel Imprint, Graphix, with “Bone”

by  in Comic News Comment
Schoolastic Launches New Graphic Novel Imprint, Graphix, with “Bone”

Official Press Release

(New York, NY – July 6, 2004) In January 2005 Scholastic will launch its new graphic novel imprint, Graphix, with the publication of Jeff Smith’s award-winning series Bone, it was announced today. The first Bone comic book was released by independent publisher Cartoon Books in 1991. Now a nine-volume book series, it has been met with international acclaim. Originally published in black & white, Scholastic’s new Graphix edition of Bone will be in color with a 6×9 inch trim size.

“We are thrilled to launch Graphix with the highly acclaimed and award-winning series Bone,” said Jean Feiwel, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Scholastic. “The mission of Graphix is to bring the visual literacy and aesthetic sense of graphic novels to children, and Bone has exactly the originality and artistic vision we were looking for. We will launch Graphix in Spring 2005 and add original titles, reprints, and imports for ages 6-14 as we find, develop, and acquire them. We are excited and ambitious on behalf of Graphix, but we are not looking to simply fill up a pipeline. Each acquisition will be carefully considered.”

“Nothing could be better for the art form of comics than having a respected house like Scholastic get behind it,” said Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith. “More and more people are realizing how much fun and imagination it takes to read a graphic novel. Comics excite both kids and adults for that reason. I am very happy to have the chance to join with a major publisher to take the books to a much wider audience.”

Bone, sometimes described as Pogo meets The Lord of the Rings, tells the story of the three modern Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who find their way into a hidden, pre-technological valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. According to bestselling author Neil Gaiman, Bone creator “Jeff Smith can pace a joke better than almost anyone in comics; his dialogue is delightful – so are all his people, not to mention his animals, his villains, and even his bugs.”

Scholastic will launch Bone as the flagship title for Graphix with a six-figure marketing campaign. Bone will be officially announced at Comic-Con International 2004, and promotional items will include comic book teaser booklets, give-aways, and in-store display and merchandising materials. Scholastic will also mount a national advertising and publicity campaign including author appearances at conventions, book and comic book stores, and a dedicated Bone page on Scholastic.com in cross-promotion with Cartoon Books’ existing “boneville.com” website. Advance copies will be sent to a very wide range of key influencers in the children’s and adult book worlds, and special attention will be paid to the library market where Bone has been consistently acclaimed for its role in promoting literacy.

Jeff Smith has done artwork for all the major comic book publishers while spending most of the last twelve years creating Bone for Cartoon Books, the independent imprint he started with his wife Vijaya Iyer in 1991 in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Smith has won multiple awards for his work here at home as well as in Germany, France, Spain, Finland, Norway, and Italy. Cartoon Books also publishes a variety of other series, both related and unrelated to Bone, and its books are distributed in numerous major foreign territories and in sixteen languages.

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries, and television networks; and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com .

Publisher Jean Feiwel negotiated the deal with Cartoon Books’ president, Vijaya Iyer, and its regular counsel, attorney Vincent M. Waldman of Los Angeles.

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