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Graphic Novels August 15, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in children's literature, graphic novels.
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Sean O'Reilly

Generations have grown up reading comic books, those simple, center-stapled newsprint sagas with superheros, crime-fighters or iconic characters. These comics, sometimes fully told within a single edition, or serialized through multiple editions, were often considered picture books for adults who needed visual stimulus to carry them through a written story. When DC Comics bound the full collection of Watchmen comics into a single volume in 1987, the graphic novel was born. It was a slow burn for the graphic novel rendition of Watchmen and those who came after it, but by 2005 Time magazine named it among the All Time 100 Novels. This week in #litchat we’re discussing graphic novels, their appeal, evolution, and influence to readers and the literary community at large.

Joining us in #litchat on Friday, August 19, is Sean O’Reilly of Arcana Studios, co-author along with Kevin Hanna of the graphic novel, The Clockwork Girl. Having sold more than 300,000 copies in a series of 5 comic books originally released by Arcana Studios, Harper Collins has re-released this classic graphic novel on brilliant glossy pages in preparation of the film now in production with Luximation Studios.

Mad scientists, supernatural dangers, and a series of all-too-human challenges confront two unlikely heroes in The Clockwork Girl, a steampunk mashup of Pinocchio, Frankenstein and Romeo and Juliet set in the farthest reaches of the imagination. Tesla, a mechanical girl created by a Frankenstein-like tinker, faces a wall of fear, intolerance, and superstition in her steam-shrouded castle. Against the wishes of the tinkerer, she finds companionship in Huxley, the amazing mutant circus boy who risks his life to be with her. Together they tackle questions like what man can feel that a machine or mutant can’t, what loneliness is, and what love is.

As a lifelong fan of comic books, Sean O’Reilly’s dream was to become a comic book creator. In 2004, Sean opened Arcana Studios, a comic book and graphic novel publisher.  In one short year, Sean took Arcana from a one-person operation in his basement to an award winning publisher with more than 150 graphic novels produced for Simon & Shuster, Harper Collins, Random House, Stone Arch Books, American Girl, KISS, Scholastic, and Arcana. Arcana won the Shuster Award for Outstanding Publisher in 2005, as voted by the retailers and readers. He is author of The Clockwork Girl and The Gwaii, winners of the Moonbeam Award for Top Children’s Graphic Novel in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The Clockwork Girl was also Foreword Magazine’s Top Graphic Novel of 2008.

Follow Sean O’Reilly on Twitter at @arcanastudios.

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