Independent comic book publisher Oni Press — home of such projects as Scott Pilgrim, Atomic Blonde and Bad Machinery — continues to expand its audience even further with an upcoming slate of graphic novels covering a diverse genre base including murder mysteries, supernatural romance and a mash-up between hip-hop, sci-fi and kung-fu. Heat Vision has the exclusive details of what the publisher is planning for Spring 2018.
Since the company’s founding in 1997, Oni has been dedicated to quality comics unbeholden to any particular genre or format — a focus that has allowed it to not only release early work by the likes of Bryan Lee O’Malley, Greg Rucka, Brian Michael Bendis, Charles Soule and countless others now famous in the comic industry and beyond, but also gain a reputation as a trailblazer and tastemaker that few publishers can compete with. Its dedication to breaking new ground continued with the creation of erotica and sex education imprint Limerence Press last year, and the announcement of a new tabletop games division earlier this month.
The company’s main publishing program continues to grow as well, as the five new properties announced for Spring 2018 demonstrate. Featuring work from YA novelists, Disney illustrators, webcartoonists and librarians, it’s a lineup that speaks to Oni’s diversity. “We are very proud to be publishing this incredible lineup of original graphic novels,” Oni Press Managing editor Ari Yarwood said. “All of these talented authors have strong creative viewpoints that we wanted to showcase, and we hope readers will love these stories as much as we do.”
The five titles scheduled for early 2018 are:
The Altered History of Willow Sparks by Tara O’Connor
The New Jersey-based O’Connor is responsible for this tale of a high school student who wishes she could change her life — only for that to become a possibility after she discovers a mysterious book that allows her to alter reality. “The Altered History of Willow Sparks is for anyone who ever wanted to be the someone they’re not,” she explained. “For anyone who ever sought acceptance from others and didn’t realize they already had that acceptance with the ones who mattered most. I hope to share this with all ages — to reminisce, to teach and to remind everyone to cherish their friends.” (January 17)
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz
A ghost story that is, in Weir’s words, “about growing up, relationships and mental health that is equal parts scary, heartfelt and funny,” Archival Quality focuses on a former librarian whose new job as an archivist at the local museum might be more dangerous than she suspected — especially when a young woman who haunts her dreams asks her for help. According to artist Steenz (who, like Weir, has worked as a librarian), it’s a book that will “be a welcome read for those who believe that not only white people have adventures.” (March 7)
Sci-Fu by Yehudi Mercado
Mercado, whose work includes Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon for Marvel/Disney Interactive, comes up with a story about a young MC in 1980s Brooklyn whose perfect beat accidentally summons aliens to kidnap him and his friends to another planet, setting them on a new mission where only music can save Earth. “Sci-Fu mixes and mashes all my favorite things from childhood — sci-fi, hip-hop and kung fu,” said Mercado. “It’s funny, action-packed and at its core is a story about an adolescent boy’s journey to discover his own inner power. I could not be more excited to share it with the world.” (March 14)
My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris
The title really does say it all for this book, described by Farris as “silly and sweet [and] something that hopefully makes people smile.” It really is about a woman who finds that the bear she met on a hike in the Los Angeles hills might be the boyfriend she’s been looking for all along. (And, yes, it’s an actual bear.) Ribon’s name might be known to audiences from Disney’s Moana and her current work on Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, while Farris has worked on material for Rovio, Amazon and her own webcomic The Last Diplomat (April 11)
Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon and Matthew Seely
A new spin on the murder mystery idea, four teens at a weight-loss camp in the Oregon wilderness find a distraction from their diets when one of the camp counselors ends up dead … and one of the camp’s staff is responsible. “I grew up on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes so murder mysteries are a great love of mine. I was actually voted Most Likely to Write Murder Mysteries in high school!” Muldoon said of the project. “So Dead Weight is really a work of love.” (April 25)