Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is launching a graphic novel imprint, LB Ink, which will encompass all of its graphic novels for young readers, intermediates, and young adults. Andrea Colvin, LBYR’s Editorial Director, Graphic Publishing, will lead the new imprint, and the logo will begin appearing on the books in fall 2023.
LBYR’s graphic novel output has grown exponentially, from three titles in 2019, the year Colvin joined, to the 20 a year they plan to publish under the LB Ink imprint. “The time has come to recognize this exceptional and robust program with its own name,” LBYR President and Publisher Megan Tingley said in a statement. Colvin agreed, saying TP that she has a lot of books in the works and anticipates a strong fall 2023 season. largest and most mature, with the rest falling into the early reader and YA categories.
As she built the line, Colvin also shaped it. “I think all really successful prints have their own personality,” she said. “First Second is not the same as Graphix. They have a different feel and tone. For LB Ink, she focuses on “authentic and relatable” stories, with an emphasis on contemporary themes and voices , rather than fantasy or science fiction.Some are stories of middle-class children struggling with family and relationship issues, like Tori Sharp’s Let’s pretend, one of his most popular acquisitions to date. Others speak of extraordinary experiences, such as Unaffected by this, Kendra Neely’s memoir of surviving a mass shooting and its aftermath, and Muhammad Najem, war journalist, the true story of a teenager who used his phone and social media to report on the war in Syria.
While at Lion Forge (now Oni Press), Colvin was the editor of gender queer, which is currently the most contested graphic novel in the country. Despite the recent flurry of challenges to books centered around LGBTQ+ characters and people of color, Colvin will continue to include them in LB Ink. “I love queer stories,” she said. “I grew up reading non-gay stories, and it’s exciting to have them. And there are so many different types of queer stories. I do stories with queer and non-binary characters where that’s not the focus of the story at all, but I also do mid-level stories about coming out and finding your gender identity.
Colvin doesn’t plan to take LB Ink in a new direction just because it’s an imprint. “It’s just about putting a name to what we’ve been building from the beginning,” she said. And what she’s built is a line of graphic novels that engages readers in a direct way with a variety of captivating stories. “I look for authentic voices that readers can really connect with,” she said. “It must be relevant to children reading today; they have to be able to see themselves in it and it has to be the kind of thing they want to keep coming back to.