2000AD publisher Rebellion has announced that Jim Killen, former Barnes & Noble buyer for science fiction, fantasy and graphic novels, and one of the most influential figures in US publishing, is to join its editorial team.
Jim will join Rebellion Publishing’s fiction team as Editor-at-Large, based out of New York, from Monday 19th October 2020.
A legend in the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, graphic novels and role playing games, Jim identified and helped to build the careers of countless authors and artists, including Neil Gaiman, V.E. Schwab, Marjorie Liu, Kim Harrison, and George R.R. Martin.
Jim started his career as a bookseller and then manager for Barnes and Noble stores in Manhattan. From there, he was brought into the corporate office and was their regional buyer for over a decade. In 1998, became Science Fiction, Fantasy, Role Playing Games and Graphic Novels buyer at American book chain Barnes and Noble. Over the following years, he took genres and mediums that had been ignored and sidelined, and helped build them into major categories that now regularly dominate bestseller lists.
During his time at Barnes and Noble, sales of graphic novels and manga grew by 1500 per cent and as a result, in 2015 the firm took the unprecedented move of doubling the space of graphic novels in every one of its locations.
He has appeared on the Top 100 most influential people in comics list every year since 2012, the only African American to do so, and in January 2018 he was named in Bleeding Cool’s Top 100 Power list of the comic industry’s most influential people.
“Jim took categories that were considered the bottom of the barrel in publishing and he elevated them,” noted Rich Johnson of Jim in an article for The Beat earlier this year. “Science Fiction, Fantasy, Role Playing and Graphic Novels. These categories were not taken seriously by many people in the world of publishing. Only geeks and nerds read comics and science fiction. Only the outcasts played Dungeons & Dragons. Because Jim loved books and was a fan, he took his job seriously. He admired the authors and artists that created these worlds.”
Rich also noted that as “a fan with power”, Jim helped double the size of of Barnes & Noble’s graphic novel section in 2015, which wouldn’t have happened without him.
One of the most respected and influential figures in publishing, Jim joins Rebellion Publishing at an exciting time. The international publisher, based out of Oxford in the UK, continues to celebrate success with critically-acclaimed titles such as Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, Derek Künksen‘s Quantum Evolution series, Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Hugo and Nebula award-winning Calculating Stars and Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers.
The publisher has doubled in size in the last three years, successfully expanding its fiction, graphic novel and non-fiction lists and the addition of Jim Killen to the team will strengthen its hand still further.
“I’ve been a fan of Rebellion for some time,” says Jim, “I’m glad to call it my new home.”
Ben Smith, Head of Film, TV & Publishing at Rebellion, said: “Jim Killen is not only one of the best informed people in the US genre scene, but he has been a strong supporter at Barnes and Noble for Rebellion’s books over the last decade. Our respect for his knowledge and insight has meant that I have long wanted to tempt Jim over to fence into publishing.
“I am delighted he is starting a new chapter in his highly respected career with Rebellion and look forward with great anticipation to the impact he will have on our list and performance. Being based in New York, Jim is perfectly situated to engage with our US agent colleagues, our distributor Simon and Schuster and the wider industry. As Rebellion’s publishing lists continue to expand we are thrilled to have Jim join us at such an exciting moment.”
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.