Tom Taylor has successfully auctioned his new planned graphic novel with artist Jon Sommariva, colourist Michele Assarasakorn and letters by Wolfgang Bylsma. Won at auction, Neverlanders has been picked up by Chris Hernandez at Penguin Random House imprint, Razorbill, with world English rights to their debut young adult graphic novel series. While at the same auction, French rights were acquired by Olivier Jalabert at Glenat.
A gritty modern fantasy tale set in the world of Peter Pan, this story follows a group of young runaways who have been spirited away by the last living Lost Boy. He's desperate for their help to save Neverland, which has become a warzone in Peter's absence. Along with General Tinkerbell and her fairy army, these lost teens will have to face-off against a merciless band of pirates until a new Pan has finally risen.
Josh Adams at Adams Literary was the agent for the two creators for a two-book deal. Publication is scheduled for Summer 2022.
Tom Taylor is the co-creator of The Deep series on Netflix, created the DC Comics hits, Injustice and DCeased, and recently launched Seven Secrets at Boom Studios. He has written lots of Star Wars, Wolverine, Spider-Man and X-Men along the way. Jon Sommariva has drawn series including Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Avengers.
The two comic creators and long-time friends from Australia, are working together for the first time Tom Taylor tells the story.
"A few years ago I was away in Fiji with my family, and I was supposed to not be working. I didn't even have my laptop with me. But one night, instead of sleeping, the idea of Neverlanders came to me. Over the next few hours, I filled a hotel notebook with the start of this story. Before I fell asleep, I'd already messaged Jon Sommariva with the idea, and the biggest twists and turns.
"Jon and I had wanted to work together for about ten years, and I knew he'd be perfect for this. He's such an amazing talent. I just hoped he'd like it and could find the time to work on it with me.
"I eventually woke up (late) to find Jon's excited response. A while later, over terrible wi-fi and with an ocean between us, we were already developing characters together and he was sending me these incredible sketches that lit a fire under me.
"Neverlanders is a story for now. It feels like the exact right time for an epic tale of young people fighting for their future and standing against short-sighted, greedy adults."
Jon Sommariva added
"I couldn't be more excited to sign a two book deal with Penguin Random House. Knowing we'll have that penguin on the spine of our book is a bit of a dream come true. Chris Hernandez and everyone at Razorbill are giving Jon and I the opportunity to tell a very big story here. We can't wait for the world to join Bee and the rest of the Lost Ones on their adventures.
"While it is a lot of fun working on huge franchises that everyone knows and that I have been a fan of since childhood, there is no better feeling than being able to bring your own characters and the worlds they inhabit to life.
"Neverlanders is the best of both worlds. There is a familiarity to Neverland and its inhabitants, but we are also able to use that as a starting point to create a whole new set of characters and creatures along with our version of Neverland. I get to draw and reimagine mermaids, goblins, pirates, fairies and our version of the lost ones. It's an artists dream playground.
"I had been wanting to work with Tom for years. I witnessed this guy go from an unknown (to comics) playwright wanting to write comics to a guy who just wrote some local Indy comics to quickly becoming one of the top writers in our industry. All throughout our paths crossed and we flirted here and there with wanting to work together but the timing was just never right, until it was!
"I had the itch to create something original, 'creator owned' and was talking to various writers about collaborating when out of the blue Tom wrote to me with this idea. He pitched it via text messages and like a true writer I was more and more hooked with each text until Pow! He hit me with the hook of the story – We're telling the tale of the Last Lost Boy, and just like that I was all in.
"I think Tom just has such a natural knack for telling stories and particularly writing comics. He makes it look easy. Like, really easy. The characters have souls and it comes across on the page right away. There's always a sense of fun and adventure and he has a huge range, whether it be a wholesome family of deep sea explorers or a bloody zombie apocalypse taking over the DC universe. I like to think that our project will sit somewhere in the middle of that.
Teaming up with Tom has really been a great experience. We're on the same wavelength here and I think it shows in the work. It's kinda scary how often we will type each other the same message at the same time. I think with Neverlanders you will be getting the best version of both of us. I know it's a project that I am already very proud of and every time I read a new piece of script or co-create a new character it's just a little reminder of how lucky I am to get to do what I truly love for a living."
Chris Hernandez added:
"Razorbill is an imprint known for publishing bestselling young adult properties and being the home for risk-taking commercial books, so Neverlanders was a perfect fit for us. I've loved the story of Peter Pan for years because of its weirdness and for its imagination, and the way it captures the spirit of youth. And I was blown away by Tom and Jon's edgy vision for this reimagining. It feels so fresh and so fitting for the world we're living in now. A story about a group of teens who feel left behind and forgotten, but are given the chance to make a difference—to take on adults clouded by their own self-interests—and are willing to sacrifice everything to protect their new found family. Neverlanders both honors the classic story but also make it relevant and exciting for today's readers—but I would expect nothing less from the amazingly talented team that is bringing this series to life."