The Great Company today told ComicBook.com exclusively that they are launching NextChapter, a new graphic media publishing and distribution platform whose mission is "to build a community for creators and fans to connect over their love of sequential storytelling," according to a statement from The Great Company. NextChapter collaborates with creators on a 2-pronged partnership -- first, releasing a digital version of the story on NextChapter's Instagram channel (@NextChapterPost), followed by a 24-hour digital drop of physical copies supplemented with insight into the creative process of each storyteller. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, NextChapter seeks to fill the void left by closures of conventions, trade shows, and retailers.
On September 1st, NextChapter will host their first digital drop, giving fans an opportunity to purchase Wingman: Compendium of an Artist’s First Writing Experience, a graphic storybook featuring author and artist Sean Chen’s original story The Second to Last Seal ( retitled Wingman) - which is currently available on NextChapter’s Instagram.
"NextChapter is a much needed platform dedicated to showcasing original stories from today's graphic storytellers," said Sean Chen, best known for his work on Avengers and Fantastic Four at Marvel, who will serve as NextChapter's first creative partner. "What really impressed me about them as a publishing and distribution partner was that they saw a climate where more people than ever are telling stories, and they wanted to provide a place to not only share those stories, but also offer a glimpse into how and why each unique project came together."
The compendium aims to fulfill the artist-to-fan connection promised by NextChapter, by complementing the panels with a page-by-page look at Chen's creative process and inspiration for penning his first story after decades of drawing for other people, on characters ranging from Iron man to X-O Manowar.
"No badges. No crowds. 100% access. That is our motto," founder Carl Choi told ComicBookcom in a statement. "As a long time attendee of comic and pop-culture conventions, my favorite part of the experience has always been to connect with the artists in authentic ways. I want to learn about their story, thought process, and inspirations. So when the conventions were no more, I asked myself how I could help continue to foster community between fans and artists, and from there NextChapter was born."
NextChapter hopes to keep that creator-fan intimacy alive by providing opporutnities for fans to get their hands on creator-owned content, as well as sales opportunities for collectibles, presumably with lower overhead and fewer middle-men than most corporate comics.
Beyond serving as a publisher and distributor, NextChapter's goal is to help build community, offering a safe space for emerging talent to showcase their artwork and connect with new communities. As part of this "effort to give back and connect," NextChapter plans on highlighting stories and art created by people of color, "to help dismantle unjust structures that have historically marginalized and suppressed creative voices deserving to be heard."
NextChapter will also collaborate with youth programs and schools in Southern California, on ways to support existing art programs and implement new opportunities to inspire and educate aspiring student artists.0comments
"Paper and pencil are the great equalizer," said Guy Gilchrist, known for his work on The Muppets comic strip as well as Tom & Jerry and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. "When you pick up a comic book or graphic novel, you are immediately captivated by the artwork and immersed in the story. You don’t ask how old the author is or what ethnicity they are. You simply want to know what’s on the next page.
Gilchrist will partner with NextChapter as their next creative partner, with a planned digital release of his YA graphic media title Mudpie set for Fall 2020 .