Scholastic today announced the North American debut of The Phoenix, a U.K.-based weekly, all-ages anthology comic. The comic will be released here in digital editions under the David Fickling Books imprint, which will also publish trade paperback bind-ups of Phoenix comics twice a year, beginning with The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection: Volume One, due out next March.

Founded by David Fickling in 2012, The Phoenix was the first independent comic in the U.K. since 1969 to be free of advertising. Contributors to the publication, which features serialized adventure stories, humor strips, puzzles, and original artwork, include Philip Pullman, Neill Cameron, Jamie Smart, Chris Riddell, Laura Ellen Anderson, Rob Deas, James Turner, and Zak Simmonds-Hurn.

Every backlist issue of The Phoenix is now digitally available in the U.S., and Scholastic will publish digital editions of forthcoming weekly issues in this country through comiXology. To celebrate the launch, Scholastic is offering issues #1 and #2 as a free double issue download until November 14.

“The Phoenix is a creative volcano of amazing ideas where brilliant new creators can bring wonderful original stories to young readers everywhere,” said David Fickling, editor and publisher of his eponymous book imprint. “We are deeply and passionately committed to great story-making.”

David’s son Tom Fickling, The Phoenix’s editor and managing director, noted, “The Phoenix is the weekly comic I wish I’d had when I was a kid. Also, considering that as a boy the thing I wanted more than anything else in the world was to be American, I’m ludicrously excited that The Phoenix is coming to the U.S.! We want it to become as culturally important as the other great names in comics.”

Lori Benton, v-p and group publisher of Scholastic Trade Publishing, looks forward to introducing The Phoenix to American fans of comics and graphic novels. “As The Phoenix grew in popularity in the U.K., we began exploring ways to bring the weekly issues to North America,” she said. “Every issue is an exciting surprise of ingenious comics, and we realized that publishing online would be an ideal way to engage kids, on a weekly basis, with a wide range of content and characters.” And, she added, “It’s also a gateway for us to introduce new talents and grow an even larger audience for The Phoenix.”

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