Fuse #8

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Courting the Tamora Pierce Fan Base

While I monitor the children's literature blogs out there, my husband does the same to those of the film and graphic novel persuasion. Once in a while our interests will meet, and he'll find me a particularly choice nugget.

Last week the web got all giggly over DC launching its new girl-centric graphic novel imprint Minx. Suddenly everyone was considering the fact that maybe there's a possibility that females have an ability to synthesize together the mix of word and image with just as much ease as their male counterparts. I know. Shocking.

Cut to Greg Hatcher. Greg teaches cartooning to kids and he likes them to use original material. When a girl in his class asked if she could base her cartoon on a work of fiction, he was skeptical and told her that due to copyright she'd have to get permission from the author.

The following Tuesday, Tiffany came in waving a slip of paper. “I got permission, is it okay now?”

“Well, I’ll be–” –damned, I almost said, but cut it off just in time. “Let me see that.”

Sure enough, it was a printout of an e-mail from Tamora Pierce, granting Tiffany a limited permission to adapt her stuff for comics, cautioning her that it couldn’t be done for money, but she was proud to have inspired such an effort and by all means go ahead, and finishing with, Keep doing what you love!

Greg tips his hat to Ms. Pierce's generosity, but brings his post around to a very interesting idea. Ms. Pierce, as you may or may not know, has just started rewriting an old Marvel comic book character by the name of White Tiger. What Greg wanted to determine was whether or not Ms. Pierce's fan base (i.e. those who love her fiction) would crossover and love her comic book as well. He concludes with this:
There’s a lesson there, Marvel marketing people. If you don’t get a collected edition of this book into the young-adult section of chain bookstores — and make damn sure to get Tamora Pierce’s name on the cover in big giant letters — well, you’re passing up millions of dollars. Don’t ignore this huge, throbbing dynamo of as-yet-untapped consumerism out there for comics. There are thousands upon thousands of these bookish teenage girls daydreaming and drawing unicorns on their binders, they’ve all got money to burn, and they all love Tamora Pierce. Get this comic into their hands and get them texting each other and it’ll make Civil War’s numbers look like the income from a mediocre bake sale. Seriously. Here’s your answer to “Minx” and it’s already got the brand-name familiarity. Think about it.
All unicorns aside, read the piece. It's well worth your time. Especially the girl's comic panels. If you've ever wanted to see Pierce go manga, now's the time.


At 7:07 PM , Blogger Ms.Y said...

I too am a recipient of Mrs. Pierce's generous spirit. When I was about eleven years old I was OBSESSED with her Alanna series. My local librarian suggested that I write to her, so I did. When she wrote me back I was so excited I seriously told everyone I met. The one question I asked her was if Alanna would ever appear in any other books. She promised she would. I looked for YEARS. Of course I finally found them, but only after I was an adult. A few weeks ago at the NCTE conference I got to meet her. When I told her the story - she personalized her entire Alanna series for me. =) One of course said "well met at last." I've never felt more simultaneously like a book dork and a kid in the candy store all at the same time.


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