by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer
Over the last five years, Degrassi: The Next Generation has grown into the highest-rated show on The N in the United States. The shows Canadian audience, watching on the CTV Network, is the largest for any homegrown drama. Legions of fans have followed Emma, Paige, Craig, Jimmy, Ellie, Manny and their schoolmates through five exciting years of high school. Every week around the world, teens see themselves and their lives reflected in the dilemmas, dramas, joys and pains of the kids of Degrassi Community School.
But theres so much more that never makes it to the screen. What happens during summer vacation? What about the off-camera, after-school lives of the Degrassi students? What are the characters home lives really like? What about the weeks that go by in the Degrassi world between one episode and the next? Surely, some good stuff must be going on and the fans want to know!
Now, DEGRASSI: EXTRA CREDIT graphic novels fill in those gaps! The original storylines in each volume written by award-winning graphic novel and comic book writer J. Torres in collaboration with the television shows creative staff pick up where the show left off, expanding on plot elements from Degrassi: The Next Generation and weaving new adventures, challenges and life experiences seamlessly into the DNG story. And the dynamic visuals created by illustrator Ed Northcott will grip readers from the first panel.
We work tremendously hard to ensure that Degrassi is relevant to the lives of teens, said Degrassi creator Linda Schuyler, president of Epitome Pictures. Thats why being at the forefront of the English-language manga movement is incredibly exciting its an art form that kids everywhere are embracing. Adds Christopher Jackson of Madison Press Books, DEGRASSI: EXTRA CREDIT titles will be must-haves, for fans of the show and fans of graphic fiction alike. Its been fantastic to work with Ed, J. and Epitomes DNG writers and to find out just how perfectly suited Degrassi is to this brand of visual storytelling.
Look for the first two volumes of DEGRASSI: EXTRA CREDIT in stores across North America in October 2006, published by Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster in the United States and Fenn Publishing Co. in Canada.
Toronto-based writer J. Torres is the author of the immensely popular Teen Titans Go monthly comic book for DC Comics. He also writes the quarterly graphic novel series Love as a Foreign Language and contributes to the cartoon Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, seen on the Cartoon Network. His titles have earned nominations for the prestigious Eisner Award (Alison Dare, 2003) and Harvey Award (Sidekicks, 2001), among others. In 2004 he received two Shuster Award nominations for Outstanding Canadian Writer, and his graphic novella Days Like This was an American Library Association Selection. Torress other credits include writing for Batman, Black Panther, Rugrats and X-Men comics, for various childrens chapter books and activity books, and for magazines including Kayak, Nickelodeon and Whoa.
The talented and prolific Ed Northcott has made his name creating graphic art for countless role-playing games and their book covers and interiors, including Centauri Knights, Uresia, GURPS and Silver Age Sentinels. Northcott lives in Toronto.
MADISON PRESS BOOKS, a Toronto-based co-edition book publisher, has been creating bestselling books for the international market since 1979, including the illustrated behind-the-scenes look at the twenty-five year history of the Degrassi franchise, Degrassi: Generations (2005).
EPITOME PICTURES and its affiliate companies have been producing quality television programming since 1976, including the multi-award-winning, internationally recognized Degrassi franchise: The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, all of which still air throughout the world. Epitome Pictures also produces the hit drama Instant Star, seen on the CTV television network in Canada and on Nickelodeons The-N in the United States.
Editor’s Note: The art attached to this press release is a prototype cover and prototype page. The work shown here will not be published, but it simply develpment material by Ed Northcott (illustrator), J. Torres (writer), and the Madison Press Books team as proof-of-concept for the graphic novel series.
According to the publisher, “The cover and inside page feature the Degrassi: The Next Generation character Ellie Nash (the television role is played by Stacey Farber.) As rabid fans of DNG will no doubt know, the artwork here depicts Ellie the way she looked in Season Three of the show. When Volumes 1 and 2 are released in October 2006, fans will find that characters are drawn to more closely resemble their appearances in Season Five of DNG.