Tagged: Wimpy Kid

Martha Thomases: Graphic Novels Save The Day!

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was that physical books (and therefore, bookstores) were endangered species. All of us were going to get our reading material beamed directly into our various devices, if not our actual eyeballs, and there would no longer be physical books to buy.

This isn’t happening. Print book sales are up this year.

Among the categories helping to sell hard copies of books (besides coloring books, and is that still a thing?) is graphic novels. Sales of graphic novels were up twelve percent last year.

That is a lot.

A great deal of the credit for the book market success of graphic novels is Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, which continues to sell and sell and sell. Raina Telgemeirer is another dynamo. Both are considered to create books for the children’s market (or young adult). While this market is not growing as quickly as it was a few years ago, it’s still a very profitable segment of the business.

However, kids’ books aren’t the whole story. All kinds of graphic novels are doing well. Why are they selling so many in the book market that isn’t necessarily kind to actual, physical books with pages? I have my theories.

For one thing, a lot of people (myself included) have not yet accustomed themselves to reading comics on a screen. It can be difficult to read lettering on a small device, and blowing up the image means you don’t get to see the entire page. To me, that diminishes the experience. Note that changing the size of the type in a prose book, especially the mysteries and thrillers I tend to pack into my Kindle to read on airplanes and in hotel rooms, makes no difference whatsoever in the experience.

People are busy. People have trouble unwinding at the end of a stressful day. A graphic novel, all things being equal, provides as rich and nuanced a reading experience as a prose book, but more quickly.

(Yes, I can think of a zillion exceptions. Please feel free to list your favorites in the comments section.)

Graphic novels are the new coffee table books. Along with collections of great art, great photography or great travel destinations, graphic novels demonstrate to your guests that you are a literate sophisticate who appreciates the finer things in life.

This is all lovely and satisfying to those of us who love the medium, but it isn’t all roses. While graphic novels are selling very well, individual comic books seem to be less successful. This means trouble for the comic book stores that were designed to sell individual comics to fans on a weekly basis. Now, I love my local stores, and I am a regular customer at several. It’s hard for me to pass up an opportunity to buy books in any form. However, I understand why a reader new to the medium might prefer to buy collected editions of comic book stories. It’s simply more satisfying as a purchase. The parallel case might be someone who prefers to binge on a whole season of a television show instead of waiting week to week.

This is where Amazon, which I generally love (they have everything!), gets to be a problem. Because they buy in enormous quantities, they can sell graphic novels for much less than your local shop. And if your local shop isn’t selling weekly pamphlets, and if it can’t sell graphic novels either, then it won’t be open for much longer.

I love my local comic book shops. They are places that understand me. And as the graphic storytelling medium has grown to cover more kinds of storytelling, they understand even more people.

Ross Richie of Boom! Studios has a solution. He urges everyone to buy a graphic novel from our local comic book shops.

It’s a great idea. I’m going to do it, even though it means that I will have to schlep a heavy book around with me all day. Along with yarn, water, money, glasses, pens, phone, tablet and all the dreck of modern life. It’s a small sacrifice to make to keep my pals in business.

‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ teams with Cartoon Network to promote movie release

‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ teams with Cartoon Network to promote movie release

For one of the most popular book series of the last few years, the movie adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid seems to be getting very little marketing push (as compared to, say, Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and it’s coming out in less than a month. But that may be changing.

Cartoon Network and 20th Century Fox are teaming up for a multi-week online and on-air promotion, including a behind the scenes look and exclusive clips from the movie which opens March 19th.  Beginning this week, viewers can go to CartoonNetwork.com where they can view digital diaries from cast and crew members from the movie and interviews as well as footage from the set and movie clips. The promotion caps off with a Diary of a Wimpy Kid on-air event when the movie’s star, Zachary Gordon, hosts “HarHar Tharsdays” on Thursday night March 11.

Check out our interview with Jeff Kinney here. And if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the trailer:

And if you look very hard, you can see Hit Girl in the trailer.

‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ Book 4 in October… and a movie!

‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ Book 4 in October… and a movie!

First the good news: Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Books, is set to release the fourth book in Jeff Kinney’s Harvey Award-winning series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, on October 12, 2009 (October 13 in Canada).  To support the release of the book, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid ice cream truck will be visiting over forty libraries across the US throughout the month of August. For details check out www.wimpykid.com.

Now the better news: There’s going to be a movie version. Fox 2000’s big screen version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will star Zachary
Gordon (National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Brothers Bloom) as
middle schooler Greg Heffley, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass, (500) Days of Summer) is
expected to also be in the film as a girl in his class who is all clad
in black and has a wry sense of humor.  Rachael Harris (The Hangover, more VH1 “I Love the…” specials than you can count)
has been cast as Gordon’s mom.

Marvel Announces Kid Friendly ‘Wolverine’ Graphic Novel

Marvel Announces Kid Friendly ‘Wolverine’ Graphic Novel

Clearly inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Marvel is releasing a hardcover graphic novel, Wolverine.  The press note says, “That’s right Bub, Marvel is proud to unveil Todd Nauck’s cover to Wolverine, an all-new hardcover graphic novel presenting the history of Wolverine’s life from his days as wimpy kid to just how he became one of Marvel’s deadliest heroes. In stores this April, experience the most unique look ever inside the mind of everyone’s favorite Canadian in Wolverine!”

The question must be asked: is it right to release a kid-friendly Wolverine book just weeks before the not-kid-friendly Wolverine movie opens?

ComicMix Radio: Big Future For The Wimpy Kid

ComicMix Radio: Big Future For The Wimpy Kid

Best selling graphic novelist Jeff Kinney has another Wimpy Kid book set for release right after the New Year, and hopefully more to follow, but don’t look for The Kid to age too much. we’ll explain that today, plus:

  • A new Pixar trailer this weekend
  • An original Avengers story already set for Free Comic Book Day 2009
  • X-Men Noir disappears from shelves

It’s all joyful and triumphant  when you Press the Button!


And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!


“Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ Gains Director

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ Gains Director

Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be directed by Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs) according to The Hollywood Reporter. Casting continues to find a fresh face to portray the junior high school student who writes the diary. There was an open call back in October with no teen yet selected.

The Fox 2000 film will be produced by Nina Jacobson.

Jeff Kinney’s  characters gained life on the web before Harry N. Abrams’ Charlie Kochman brought the stories to print.  There are now two books plus a related activity title already on sale.  The third book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, is due out in January.

The series tell of  “the life of pre-adolescent Greg Heffley, a smart aleck who frequently gets caught up in escapades at school and with his family.”

20th Seeks Actors for ‘Wimpy Kid’

20th Seeks Actors for ‘Wimpy Kid’

Interestingly, 20th-Century Fox is seeking a fresh face to play Greg Heffley, the star of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series.  The casting agent is seeking Males 11-14 only.  Boys coming to the open call need to be able to handle dialog and ironic comedy, and should bring a current photo and snapshot and a parent/guardian.  The casting call will be held this Saturday, October 25 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Debbie Reynolds Studio 6514 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, California.

We recently interviewed Kinney about his books and a movie adaptation sounds like a swell idea.

Studios Prepare Productions for 2009

Studios Prepare Productions for 2009

Gotta love those studio bigwigs. Even in the midst of an impending Screen Actors Guild strike and the greatest financial crisis in modern American history, these head honchos still have dollar signs in their eyes.

Variety is reporting today that studios are planning 40 or more films to begin production between spring and summer of 2009. Since June 30, studios have mostly resisted the urge to start production on major films due to the very real threat of the SAG strike.

The studios are betting that in light of today’s erratic economic climate, the actors won’t authorize a strike order to cease working. Plus,  according to an anonymous dealmaker, "[do] you think a big star is going to have its union tell them who can negotiate their deal?" The studios are banking on no.

It’s a huge gamble. Variety cites production costs on studio-sized films at between $100,000 and $500,000 per day. If an actors strike occurs, studios can only retain their actors for eight weeks after the strike’s start. That could be a potential disaster for Tinseltown, which is already recovering from the effects of last year’s writer’s strike.


Interview: Jeff Kinney

Interview: Jeff Kinney

Nine years ago, game developer Jeff Kinney started to write the diary of a boy named Gregg Heffley.  A few years after that, he began to publish the story on the website FunBrain.com.    Charles Kochman  picked it up for the Harry N. Abrams imprint, Amulet Books, and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid phenomenon was on.

Since then, Kinney published a sequel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and, this month, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do it Yourself Book.   A third story, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Last Straw is due in January.

The series has a passionate following.  Like Harry Potter, the books attract kids (who may be too young for Rowling’s longer novels) who can’t wait to read them.  Bookstores plan parties around new volumes.

Jeff was in Baltimore for the recent Comic-Con, where Abrams sold advance copies of the new Do It Yourself book. We spoke with him at the Harvey awards, where he was nominated in eight categories, including Best New Talent, Best New Series, Best Writer, and Special Award for Humor.  He lost in every category, but he had the longest lines at the show, as kids waited an hour and more for his autograph.

I read your books this week. Sorry I’m a little late, but my kid is grown.  They’re really fun.  I met your mom today.  I saw the line for your signing, which was thrilling. 

Jeff Kinney:  Thank you very much.  I had no idea if it was long or short.  I just sat there and signed. 

CMx:  Was this your first comic convention?  I know you’ve done book conventions. 

JK:  I’ve done a few others.  Actually, I got my book picked up at New York Comic-Con two years ago.  And I just wandered around with a manuscript and lucked into meeting Charlie Kochman, who picked it up on first sight.  He took a look at it for maybe 30 seconds and said, “This is what we want.  This is why we came here.”