Hope Larson Goes to Simon & Schuster

Hope Larson (Gray Horses, Salamander Dream) was mentioned at Publishers Weekly (link no longer available) for signing a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster’s young adult imprint.

Her first project, Chiggers, sounds terrific. It’s about two 13-year-old girls at summer camp and the fantasy book they both love. Unfortunately, it’s not due until 2008.

Her career path is another example of comic creators going to “real” book publishers as a sign of “making it” (a term that used to mean going to work for DC or Marvel, my how times have changed for the better), but I found two things of note:

1. how many of these publishers think of graphic novels as best suited for their young adult audience, or target them that way, for which I don’t blame them. Manga created that market, and teens have many fewer annoying preconceptions about what comics are or can be about.

2. Larson’s quote below

My comics are becoming more conventional because I finally realized I’d rather draw books that people want to read than make hollow objets d’art. The art and design in this book are in service of the story, which hasn’t been the case before.

It’s great to see a creator being brutally honest about their analysis of their work, if surprising in this press-puffery comic world. I’d disagree with her about how well her design and artwork serve her stories in her previous graphic novels, though — I think her ability to integrate the three without boundaries or obvious separation is a large part of what drew me to her work.

2 Responses to “Hope Larson Goes to Simon & Schuster”

  1. Bradley W. Schenck Says:

    As far as your #1 goes, I think this just fits in with the way book publishers deal with genres like fantasy and science fiction. So many of these titles could easily be shoehorned into those labels.

    It’s commonplace for a publisher to release these genre novels in hardcover for the young adult market, then in mass market paperback for adults.

    The reasoning doesn’t necessarily fit; they do it that way to maximize sales of each version. They get far more hardcover library sales with books targeted at young adults, and more paperback sales if that edition is targeted at adults (“old adults”?). Even though it’s the same book.

    My guess is that they do it this way partly from habit and partly because they expect to make more library sales here, too, if the book is considered a juvenile or YA title.

    On the other hand, not only am I not a book publisher – I don’t even play one on TV.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Interesting. I wasn’t aware of that, and it makes sense to consider the library market for that audience.




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