Back in September, Penguin Random House‘s Razorbill imprint acquired the publishing rights to Neverlanders, a new, young adult graphic novel series from writer Tom Taylor and artist Jon Sommariva. The graphic novel, meant to launch a new series, is “a gritty modern fantasy tale set in the world of Peter Pan,” according t o the announcement, and “follows a group of young runaways who have been spirited away by the last living Lost Boy. He’s desperate for their help to save Neverland, which has become a warzone in Peter’s absence. Along with General Tinkerbell and her fairy army, these lost teens will have to face-off against a merciless band of pirates until a new Pan has finally risen.”
Taylor is likely best known among comics fans for his alternate-universe tales DCeased and the comics adaptation of Injustice: Gods Among Us. He also developed The Deep, a kids’ adventure TV series for Netflix that also had a comic release from BOOM! Studios, where Taylor published Seven Secrets. Sommariva’s career has included household names like Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Avengers. The pair are longtime friends from Australia.
“A few years ago I was away in Fiji with my family, and I was supposed to not be working,” Taylor said in a statement. “I didn’t even have my laptop with me. But one night, instead of sleeping, the idea of Neverlanders came to me. Over the next few hours, I filled a hotel notebook with the start of this story. Before I fell asleep, I’d already messaged Jon Sommariva with the idea, and the biggest twists and turns. Jon and I had wanted to work together for about ten years, and I knew he’d be perfect for this. He’s such an amazing talent. I just hoped he’d like it and could find the time to work on it with me. I eventually woke up (late) to find Jon’s excited response. A while later, over terrible wi-fi and with an ocean between us, we were already developing characters together and he was sending me these incredible sketches that lit a fire under me.”
“While it is a lot of fun working on huge franchises that everyone knows and that I have been a fan of since childhood, there is no better feeling than being able to bring your own characters and the worlds they inhabit to life,” Sommariva said. “Neverlanders is the best of both worlds. There is a familiarity to Neverland and its inhabitants, but we are also able to use that as a starting point to create a whole new set of characters and creatures along with our version of Neverland. I get to draw and reimagine mermaids, goblins, pirates, fairies and our version of the lost ones. It’s an artists dream playground.”
It also makes sense to take a book like this to Razorbill. Their biggest niche is best-selling young adult stuff, and they exist outside of the direct market, which is typically not especially friendly to YA original graphic novels.
“Neverlanders is a story for now. It feels like the exact right time for an epic tale of young people fighting for their future and standing against short-sighted, greedy adults,” Taylor added. “I couldn’t be more excited to sign a two-book deal with Penguin Random House. Knowing we’ll have that penguin on the spine of our book is a bit of a dream come true. Chris Hernandez and everyone at Razorbill are giving Jon and I the opportunity to tell a very big story here. We can’t wait for the world to join Bee and the rest of the Lost Ones on their adventures.”
Publication is scheduled for Summer 2022. You can see the cover of the first volume, and a number of character sketches, below.