With the Bologna Children’s Book Fair taking place next week (30th March – 2nd April) and the London Book Fair hot on its heels (14th – 16th April) it’s inevitable that there will be plenty of new book projects in the news, as publishers seeks to license their characters and stories across the globe.
Artists will also be at the Bologna event, seeking to sell their work to publishers.
While there have never been Harry Potter-inspired comics – no, we don’t know why, either – Bloomsbury have revealed the cover of their Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, which will be released globally on 6th October, which is bound to attract international buyers.
Comics publishers and licensors of comic characters and stories will also have a presence, such as the world-famous Strip Art Features run by Ervin Rustemagić, who hold rights to a huge range of characters likely to interest British publishers looking to increase their range of English language versions of European stories.
With a number of recent sales under their belts (I particularly like the look of Nomads by Spanish artist Xosé Tomás, an 80-page story tackling immigration, that has yet to secure a UK publisher), I do hope British publishers will look at projects such as the wonderful-looking Football Club by Bruno Ramello and Giuseppe Ferrario may well attract interest, a three book series, centring on the story of a former football player sentenced to community service who helps a team of young football players progress from playing school football to representing their country in a competition.
From the UK, DC Thomson, the publishers of The Beano, will also have a presence and have their plans to expand its children’s book publishing category, working with Penguin Random House to build on the success of its kids’ fiction series, The Diaries of Dennis the Menace, the UK’s best-selling young fiction launch of last year.
LicensingBiz reports the range has been extended into a selection of non-fiction titles, including The Beano: Official Sticker Book, Where’s Dennis (and Gnasher) and The Beano Prankipedia and 20/20 Editora in Portugal, Artline Studios in Bulgaria, Ulpius-haz Kiado in Hungary and Slovart in Czech Republic and Slovakia have all acquired rights for the series, all helping build Dennis into a global brand.
“The overwhelming success of our partnership with Penguin Random House is a true testament not only to the strength of the Dennis and Gnasher licensing programme, but also in enduring popularity of the characters themselves,” said Tim Collins, head of brands at DC Thomson.
“Bologna Children’s Book Fair provides us with the ideal platform to showcase the book series and build upon Dennis and Gnasher’s growing international presence.”
Other British exhibitors with comic titles in their portfolio at the Fair include Egmont UK, seeking to expand sales of its picture books, Young Adult fiction and children’s classics ranges; the Carlton Publishing Group, who have published collections of DC Thomson’s Commando stories; Ladybird; Macmillan; Penguin; and Random House.
Although Titan Comics have no stand at the event, we understand they’ll also be there looking for new projects.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.