January 27, 2009
Here's Some Good News For A Change
A lot of happy kids this month:
* not comics, but still: Neil Gaiman's prose work The Graveyard Book
, featuring illustrations by Dave McKean, has won
this year's Newbery Medal
given out by the American Library Association. It goes to the "most distinguished American children's book published the previous year" and along with the Caldecott is probably the award in that arena of publishing that gets the most media play (it's been on the front page of NYTimes.com for the last 14 hours, initially on the initial, top part of the screen). It should make the book a library perennial, boost over the counter sales for several months, and add to Gaiman's growing reputation as a skilled practitioner in a variety of written forms. Past winners of the Newbery include works by Susan Cooper and Madeleine L'Engle. A bunch of the major awards in children's book publishing were announced, and you can read about them at any one of the news stories that resulted, like this one.
* one of the winners of one of those awards -- a Geisel honor book, the Geisels going to books for beginners -- was actually a comic: Eleanor Davis' Stinky
, from the nascent Toon Book line. Davis is quite young, too, so the win is noteworthy for publisher and creator. As I recall, Francoise Mouly took the Toon project back into her own RAW set-up when she couldn't find a willing publishing partner for the line, so I can imagine honors like that being very important in terms of establishing the line.
* finally, a few of the news sites and your better class of blog
noted that Jeff Smith has a book coming out from Toon this September, called Little Mouse Gets Ready
. Smith is killing it right now. His first RASL collection is out
, the serial comic version of that series continues this Spring, and perhaps most remarkably the last Scholastic color volume for Bone came out earlier this month
, concluding that iteration of the series. That was a huge publishing project and one of historical importance both within comics and children's book publishing, and I hope that uneasy times won't keep it from being celebrated throughout comics as the model publishing journey it was. Also, considering that the work was not only originally intended for black and white publication, but actually appeared that way and was well-received as such, Steve Hamaker's coloring on the volumes has to be one of odder and effectively executed achievements in comics craft this decade.
posted 4:10 pm PST
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