Paul Gilligan, creator of newspaper strip Pooch Cafe and graphic novel King of the Mole People and its sequel Rise of the Slugs, has sold his latest graphic novel series, Pluto Rocket, to Tundra Editorial Assistant Peter Phillips and Tara Walker, Vice President and Publisher, Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers.
The new early graphic novel series "follows Joe Pidge, a boastful city pigeon who thinks he knows it all, and Pluto, a pink creature who arrives from outer space and needs help fitting in". Tundra will publish the first two Pluto Rocket books in the spring and autumn of 2023. Paul Gilligan's agent Stephen Barr at Writers House negotiated the deal.
Tundra, part of Penguin Random House, is Canada's oldest children's book publisher, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. They publish primarily for young readers, in a wide range of categories: board books, picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, illustrated nonfiction and middle-grade fiction. Tundra is the home of many writers and illustrators from Canada, the United States and beyond, as well as Canadian classics The Hockey Sweater and Mordecai Richler's Jacob Two-Two.
One of the largest literary agencies in the world, the New York-based Writers House was founded by Al Zuckerman, a former novelist, TV writer, and teacher of playwriting at Yale.
The expansion of children's graphic novels is fuelling all manner of publishers extending into the comics medium. Right now it seems like an infinite market that is being tapped into, and creating longstanding comic book readers for decades to come. It is not for nothing that kids graphic novels in bookstores are being referred to as the newstand of the twenty-first century, and the recent shutdown and lockdowns has put a fire underneath it right now.