It was only yesterday that I asked my editor when Comic-Con begins, because the comics-related announcements seemed to be ramping up.
Sure enough, Tuesday morning Amazon Publishing announced a new comics and graphic novel imprint, Jet City Comics. It will publish graphic novels by George R.R. Martin, of “Game of Thrones” fame, self-publishing sensation Hugh Howey (“Wool”), and Neal Stephenson’s “Foreworld” series.
And yes, Comic-Con is coming soon: it runs from July 18 to 21. There are many comics and graphic novel festivals, but the San Diego Comic-Con is the one to rule them all.
In recent years, what was once a geek-fest has turned into a blockbuster-fest. San Diego’s proximity to Hollywood means studios can pop down and show previews of upcoming superhero, sci-fi and sexy vampire films, and bring along the stars. The conference means that those clips are almost guaranteed to be shown before an audience filled with fans.
With all the big movie hubub, comic books and graphic novels have fallen into the background. That’s why the fans are there, but the attendance base has broadened -- about 130,000 attended last year.
Why, then, launch a new comics and graphic novel imprint? “Comics and graphic novels, especially in digital format, represent a unique area for innovation,” Jeff Belle, vice president of Amazon Publishing said in the company’s release about Jet City. “Our focus will be on adapting great books for this medium as a means of expanding the audience for our authors, pushing boundaries with new ideas that combine visual and narrative storytelling, and creating compelling new experiences for readers.”
In other words, Jet City’s main task will be to monetize previously published works in the comics and graphic novel format. These might be works the company already owns: The Foreworld series was originally published by Amazon imprint 47North.
Amazon Publishing now has 10 imprints: 47North, Jet City, AmazonCrossing (works in translation), AmazonEncore (reprints), Montlake Romance (romance), Thomas & Mercer (mysteries), Little A (literary fiction), Day One (digital-only short fiction), Two Lions (children’s picture books) and Skyscape (young adult).