His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman is releasing his first original graphic novel through Scholastic. The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship, a middle-grade tale about a doomed ship trapped in the mists of time, will be published jointly by imprints David Fickling Books and Graphix in North America in June 2017.
David Fickling Books in the UK acquired world rights. They’ve already been serializing The Adventures of John Blake in The Phoenix, a weekly British children’s anthology comic, and will collect all of the strips, illustrated by Fred Fordham, into a full-color graphic novel.
So, who is John Blake? From the summary:
Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John and the crew rescue a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promise to help.
But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg’s true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will…
And here’s a look at one of the pages:
“We are so proud and thrilled to be bringing Philip Pullman’s brand new hero and astonishing adventure, out of the pages of The Phoenix comic, to all the readers of North America,” David Fickling, Publisher of David Fickling Books, said in a press release. “Can anything be better than to sail in the company of Fred Fordham, a blazing new comic strip talent, and to have Philip at the helm, The Captain of Story himself!”
David Saylor, Vice President Creative Director, Trade Publishing, and founder and Editorial Director of Graphix, added: “What an honor to welcome the brilliant storyteller Philip Pullman to the Graphix list. And to partner with The Phoenix and David Fickling Books—publishers at the forefront of creating acclaimed comics and books for young readers in the UK—makes this collaboration even more exciting.”
“John Blake is a story that’s close to my heart,” said Philip Pullman. “In Fred Fordham, John and the crew of the mysterious schooner The Mary Alice have found the ideal illustrator, and I’ve loved watching the story develop in his hands. The joy of the setting and the characters for me is that they’re capable of infinite variations. The Mary Alice can roam throughout time, past, present, and future, and anywhere on the oceans of the world. I hope readers will enjoy it as much as we have!”