By Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald | Publishers Weekly

Photo: Jody Culkin

Bestselling author and Sandman creator Neil Gaiman on the Will Eisner panel at Comic-Con 2013.

Despite the towering posters for NBC’s Blacklist and Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, or the endlessly long lines of fans sleeping overnight outside Hall H to see previews of Dr Who and Breaking Bad, there was plenty of chatter about publishing going on at the San Diego Comic-Con International. Congressman and Civil Rights legend John Lewis walked the exhibition floor at the San Diego Convention Center promoting his graphic memoir alongside alien cosplayers and swag-laden fanboys, digital comics distributor Comixology continues its relentless growth adding Scholastic’s list, and Viz Media, Image, PaperCutz, Kodansha, Abrams ComicArts, Seven Seas Entertainment and others all had news on new titles and licenses as well as expansions of their digital programs.

TV and movie promotion, of course, continue to dominate Comic-Con headlines, but these blockbuster projects will also drive publishing sales. DC announced plans for a Batman/Superman team up film in 2015, Kick-Ass 2 comes in August and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is slated for 2014–just a small sample of movie/TV marketing at Comic-Con. On the other publishing hand, bestselling novelist/comics writer Neil Gaiman was there to talk about his first new Sandman stories in years (DC/Vertigo), Viz Media and PaperCutz announced new kids’ comics licenses and imprints—Perfect Square and a WWE teamup with bestselling kids author Mick Foley, respectively.

While Pantheon did not have a big literary graphic novel this year (they will next year), independents like D&Q (Art Speigelman’s Co-Mix), Fantagraphics (Joe Sacco’s Bumf 1), IDW (an adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Abrams ComicArts (The Art of Rube Goldberg) had lists full of new, exciting titles. And on the digital front, aside from Comixology’s continued growth and the expansion of digital first publishing as well as digital comics reading, very likely the most interesting digital platform on display may have been iVerse Media’s Comics Plus: Library Edition, a cloud-based pay-per-checkout library e-lending service that offers a possible solution to the protracted library/publisher e-book lending standoff. CPLE may have been the sleeper killer-application of the show (the service was a featured part of Sunday’s PW panel on graphic novels in libraries). Look for more coverage of CPLE as well as full coverage of the rest of Comic-Con 2013 beginning tomorrow.

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