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Papercutz, a new graphic novel publishing company for tweens 8-14, launched in the Spring of 2005 with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. With writers Scott Lobdell and Stefan Petrucha, and artists such as Lulu Award winner Lea Hernandez and Sho Murase on board, these classic characters are poised to make an impact in the exploding graphic novel market. "With the years of experience we have in graphic novels, I don't think anyone can accuse us of hopping on the bandwagon," founder and president Terry Nantier says. Nantier is a thirty year veteran of the comics industry and noted pioneer of the graphic novel form in the U.S. "We're focusing on the tween market with Papercutz. This is truly a huge market. As you know, Nancy Drew was recently given a big relaunch by Simon & Schuster, with the introduction of an all-new Nancy Drew series, bringing the original girl detective into our modern world. It's a major success - with the first book landing on the New York Times best-seller list."
Joining Terry in the new venture is comics veteran Jim Salicrup as editor-in-chief. "I'm thrilled to be a part of Papercutz. Taking well-established characters and adapting them to appeal to new generations of fans is something I tend to specialize in." Jim is perhaps best remembered as the editor of Marvel's best-selling Spider-Man #1 by Todd McFarlane, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Topps Comics line which featured such licensed properties as The X-Files, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Zorro. "The trick is simply keeping the heart and soul of whatever made the characters successful to begin with, and telling new stories in as contemporary a manner as possible. It also doesn't hurt to have great talent as Scott, Stefan, Lea, and Sho to make the characters come alive in such new and unexpected ways. Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon would be proud!"
The stories do remain true to the classic characters. No sooner do the Hardy Boys solve one case, involving the rescue of a Kentucky Derby contender called Jackpot, and they're suddenly involved in a case involving their old pal, Chet Morton, who's wanted by the FBI for smuggling an art treasure known as the Ocean of Osyria which was stolen from a museum in a war-torn Mid-Eastern country. Meanwhile, Nancy Drew makes her acting debut in a college film about a local urban legend known as the Demon of River Heights, only it doesn't appear that the demon knows it's just supposed to be an urban legend. Joining Frank and Joe Hardy, as well as Nancy Drew, are all the other well-loved cast of characters, such as Callie Shaw, Iola Morton, Fenton and Laura Hardy, Carson Drew, Ned Nickerson, Bess Marvin, George Fayne, and more. Scott Lobdell, creator of Marvel's Generation X and long-time X-Men writer, is a master at writing action-packed series with young protagonists. He's creating stories that will appeal not only to tweens, but to all fans of exciting adventure stories. Stefan Petrucha is known for both expertly capturing the personalities of Scully and Mulder in the X-Files comics and Carl Kolchak in the Nightstalker graphic novels and weaving original taut tales of suspense. His Nancy Drew stories will not only appeal to Nancy's vast legion of female fans, but also to anyone who loves a good mystery.
It was important to Terry and Jim to also find the right artists for these famous characters. "While it's certainly a big plus that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew are household names, we didn't want the comics to look at all old-fashioned or dated. We were thrilled to get Lea Hernandez, Daniel Rendon, and Sho Murase to give our teen detectives their new look," Jim said.
Indeed. It almost looks as if America's teen detectives are getting a manga makeover. "Not quite," Jim protests. "There's a big audience out there that now accepts the manga style as the contemporary comics style. Also, the manga-style is far more naturalistic in portraying realistic human characters, thus far better suited to the type of stories and characters we're presenting. But to be clear, we're not trying to create authentic manga material, we're trying to present exciting stories about these really cool characters in a very up-to-date way, to create the freshest approach possible, and in a very reader-friendly format."
In the fall of 2005 Papercutz launched Zorro in graphic novels as well. Associate Editor Michael Petranek joined in 2008. Papercutz has added such successful series as Tales from the Crypt, Geronimo Stilton, The Smurfs, Garfield & Co., Papercutz Slices, Classics Illustrated, Classics Illustrated Deluxe, Disney Fairies, Ernest & Rebecca, Ninjago, Sybil the Backpack Fairy, and Monster.
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