Yen to Publish Middle-Grade Light Novels; New ‘Avatar’ OGN on the Way

Cover of Phantom Thief Red, vol. 1

Light novels have become a big part of the Japanese pop culture scene, with many serving as the basis for manga and anime. They are generally aimed at teens or adults, but Yen Press is making a bold move with four middle-grade light novel series, Horror Collector, by Midori Sato and Norio Tsuruta, and Phantom Thief Red, by Shin Akagi, both due to launch in November 2023, and Online! The Unbeatable Game and Canine Detective Chris, both of which will launch in December.

Cover of Horror Collector, vol. 1

Horror Collector is based on urban legends and follows a boy who always seems to turn up after mysterious occurrences, and Phantom Thief Red follows the youngest members of a family of “righteous vigilantes.” Online! The Unbeatable Game is a kid-friendly twist on trapped-in-the-game stories such as Sword Art Online, with a group of kids forming a club to develop strategies to beat the game, while Canine Detective Chris is, as advertised, a dog who solves crimes. Anime News Network has more details. At about 176 pages, all four books are about the same length as a chapter book, and all are rated for grades 3-7.

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JY also has a new middle-grade graphic novel in the works: Amy’s Big Brother, by BonHyung Jeong, the creator of Kyle’s Little Sister. The book looks at a new sibling relationship from the point of view of the older brother, with a similar style and vibe.

Cover of Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Bounty Hunter and the Tea Brewer

Dark Horse has a new Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel in the works. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Bounty Hunter and the Tea Brewer, by Faith Erin Hicks, Peter Wartman and Adele Matera, will be released on May 14, 2024. Here’s the blurb:

Deliveries to Uncle Iroh’s tea house, the Jasmine Dragon, have dried up! Further complicating Iroh’s life, a familiar face – the bounty hunter June – has captured him in hopes of a payday large enough to set her and Nyla up for life. Who hired June, and what do they want with the former Dragon of the West? In an epic trek across the Earth Kingdom, Iroh must confront a part of his past while June considers her future, but however things go…someone’s got to free the tea!

Cover of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, vol. 1

Viz has posted a 17-page preview of the first volume of Star Wars: The Mandalorian on its website. This manga is written and drawn by Yusuke Osawa, the creator of the one-shot manga Spider-Man: Fake Red.

Cover of The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries #1

The Beat reports that The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries will return as an ongoing series from DC in 2024. The original series was slated for 12 issues; Caleb reviewed the first volume of the collected edition.

Cover of Power Pack #1

More superhero comics news: Writer Louise Simonson and artist June Brigman are returning to the Marvel series they created, Power Pack, for a new five-issue miniseries to celebrate the superhero team’s 40th anniversary. The comics feature a quartet of superpowered siblings who fight against an alien menace known as the Snark; other Marvel characters such as Franklin Richards and the X-Men made frequent appearances, as they will in the new series (which presumably will be collected into a trade paperback before too long). “This story explores the looming question: Should Power Pack tell their parents about their powers?” Simonson said in the announcement. “I loved hinting at Franklin’s nascent abilities, one blocked by his parents, but too powerful for even them to contain completely.” The new series will also introduce

“Loved introducing a couple of Snark princesses—good and tragic—and delving a bit deeper into Snark culture,” she added. 

Filed under: News

About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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