(posted on behalf of Greg Hunter, assistant editor)
I vividly remember my first comic book, as most comic nerds probably do. It was Spectacular Spider-Man #197, and I was in second grade. The issue isn’t very good in hindsight, but it didn’t matter—I was hooked on the color, the characters, the whole new way of reading it demanded. In spite of the fact that few friends of mine were regular comic readers—or maybe because I liked having the hobby to myself—I stuck with the medium, and eventually moved from Spidey books to artier fare like Asterios Polyp (a recent, massive graphic novel by artist David Mazzucchelli, acclaimed for its experiments with style and form). Okay, I also kept up with Spider-Man.
After reading comic books more or less in a vacuum throughout childhood, it’s interesting to see the places where this means of storytelling is gaining traction. At 22, I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to start sentences with “When I was a kid . . .” but when I was a kid, there were no graphic novels in my school library. Consequently, it’s been exciting to help out with a couple of Lerner’s Graphic Universe titles since starting as an assistant editor—they’re the kind of books I would have seized upon as an elementary-age reader.
The Twisted Journeys series, under the GU umbrella, is a perfect example. A TJ book “lets you control the story”—they’re part comic, part prose, with multiple plotlines for readers to choose from. Two new Twisted Journeys titles are arriving next year, and I’ve recently had the chance to see different moments in the production cycle for these titles, from concerns about word balloon placement to decisions about what color to make a giant insect. It’s almost a relief that I get to see pieces of these books ahead of time—otherwise, I think I’d start feeling a little envious of the kids who will be taking them off library shelves.