The Smithsonian gets graphic

A new partnership with award-winning IDW Publishing will produce a series of graphic novels drawn from Smithsonian stories and collections.

The Smithsonian and IDW Publishing Have announced a multi-year publishing program to create a series of graphic novels built on the cultural and scientific knowledge of the world’s largest museum, educational, and research complex.

Castle illustration

Illustration of the Smithsonian Castle by Nate Powell. The towers show objects from the Smithsonian’s collections:
TOP LEFT: 1968 Olympics salute and Abe Lincoln
TOP RIGHT: Rosie the Riveter and moon landing
BOTTOM LEFT: T.rex skull and Hokusai’s “Boy Viewing Mount Fuji”
BOTTOM RIGHT: Native American Code Talker during war action, giant panda, and mail coach.

Beginning this fall, IDW and the Smithsonian will invite readers on a voyage of discovery with a comprehensive range of graphic books in a variety of formats. Among the planned product lines are: Time Trials, a middle-grade graphic novel series inspired by the National Museum of American History video series; original graphic novels focused on landmark events and individuals, in the tradition of IDW’s acclaimed March and They Called Us Enemy; coloring books in both the youth and adult categories; picture books for young readers; and more.

Drawing from the Smithsonian’s vast holdings,  IDW will create visual narratives for lifelong learners worldwide, produced by a close working relationship between experts at the Smithsonian and top talents from the world of graphic literature.

“We’re excited to work with the IDW team and share the full breadth of the Smithsonian’s extraordinary collections and research with readers around the world,” says Carol LeBlanc, President of Smithsonian Enterprises. “We can’t wait to see world-class writers and artists bring the Smithsonian mission to diverse audiences in innovative, accessible, and engaging new ways.”

“Comics can communicate complex ideas in the blink of an eye,” says Justin Eisinger, IDW’s Editorial Director, Graphic Novels & Collections. “As our art form becomes increasingly central to the work of educators and librarians, this program presents a unique and important opportunity to align IDW’s mission of quality graphic storytelling with the Smithsonian’s quest to share information with curious minds everywhere.”

IDW’s books published in collaboration with the Smithsonian will be available everywhere books are sold, including comic book specialty shops, bookstores, libraries, museums, and ebook vendors.


Posted: 24 January 2020
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The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.