Almost twenty years ago, Janna Morishima began her career in publishing as the assistant to creative director David Saylor at Scholastic 9 (#5 on the Power List). Two years later, she co-founded the Graphix imprint with Saylor and editor Sheila Keenan, to publish graphic novels for kids, and helped to bring Raina Telgemeier (#4 on the Power List) and Jeff Smith's Bone to its inaugural list. In 2007, she left Scholastic to helm the Kids Group at Diamond Book Distributors, where she worked with publishers like Marvel, Oni, Image, and Dark Horse, and helped launch Francoise Mouly's Toon Books.
She has now launched Janna Co., a literary and illustration agency specializing in children's and YA graphic novelists and visual storytellers.
"This is the culmination of many years in children's book and graphic novel publishing, entrepreneurship, and creative business management. My heart tells me it's the perfect time to bring together these disparate parts of my career in support of the authors, artists, and industry I love," Morishima says.
Morishima recently announced two new book deals: Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round, an illustrated chapter book memoir by activist and debut author Kathlyn Kirkwood, signed by Erika Turner at the Versify imprint at HMHCo.; and Bounce Back, a graphic novel by manga artist Misako Rocks!, signed by Liz Szabla of Feiwel and Friends at Macmillan. Both books are slated for release in Fall 2021.
She currently represents 22 artists, authors, and production studios from across the comics and children's publishing landscape.
"As much as the graphic novel industry has grown over the past decade," Morishima observes, "it has the potential to grow as much or even more over the next 10 years. We are seeing more and more different types of stories told in comics format, and at the same time, comics easily cross entertainment media boundaries and are impacting publishing, animation, gaming, and technology alike. Most importantly, we can see the tremendous fan enthusiasm for the form in the seemingly unstoppable growth of comics conventions and festivals aimed at every niche audience imaginable."
So… what position will she place on next year's list?