Th3rd World is starting to look like the "Little Publisher that Could."

Not only did Th3rd World Publishing recently land a deal with Del Rey/Random House to collect its new The Stuff of Legend comic book, but now comes word that the company will adapt the bestselling novel series, The Mortal Instruments, which could bring a whole new audience to comic books.

"When the book was recommended to us, to be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect,"  said Th3rd World publisher Michael DeVito, explaining how the Mortal Instruments deal happened. "We had talked internally about adapting various properties, but none of them had ever come to fruition for one reason or another. A friend of mine gave me a copy of the book and I was like, wow, this could definitely work really well as a comic."

Set in New York, the Mortal Instruments series by author Cassandra Clare centers on the "Shadowhunters," human-angel hybrids that hunt down demons while also keeping peace between the warlocks, vampires, werewolves, faeries and other mythical creatures who inhabit the Earth. So far, three novels have been released, City of Bones, City of Glass and City of Ashes, although more novels are planned, as well as a movie adaptation.

"There is a little bit of everything in there," DeVito said, "and I think unlike a lot of what is available in the comic format, it appeals to both male and female readers pretty equally, which was something I found really interesting. There is action, mystery, romance, you name it. Fans of everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Twilight to horror movies should find something here to like and then some."

DeVito isn't just throwing that Twilight reference in there for attention – The Mortal Instruments books are endorsed by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and have an enthusiastic reading audience among female readers, particularly young readers, since the novels are classified as young adult fiction.

"I know some people will dismiss this as another vampire type book who are unfamiliar with the property, but it's definitely not. Cassandra has done a really unique job of bringing something different to the mythology for this series," DeVito said. "Her growing fan base is definitely a testament to that. Not only has it spawned a prequel trilogy and sequel, but it was also just announced that the film rights have been optioned."

Although the creative team and timetable for the release of the comic adaptations haven't been finalized, DeVito admitted they have the potential to not only offer something new to current comics readers, but also bring new readers into comic book stores.

"This series adaptation has the potential to bring a whole new crowd of readers to our titles and possibly comics in general. On the other side of the fence, long time comic fans who pick up the comics will hopefully want to take the next step and read the books," he said.

The adaptation comes on top of already good news for Th3rd World as the publisher announced earlier this month that the first issue of its Stuff of Legend comic would go to a second printing after the 30 percent overprint sold out within three days of its release.

But DeVito got good news about the The Stuff of Legend before it was even printed -- Del Rey's associate publisher contacted him shortly after the seeing the preview on Newsarama of the Free Comic Book Day version of the comic.

"He was impressed with the overall package and the direction we were taking the book," DeVito said. 

As a result, Del Rey will now publish the collected trade paperbacks, which DeVito said allows the company to take advantage of their resources and reach audiences through both the direct and mass market.

"It means we will find the book in stores like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and other book outlets without us having to do all the hard work associated with getting it into those locations," DeVito said. "Yes, we'll still be actively promoting the book and will be instrumental in putting it together, but the success or failure of the TPB will not live and die with us. We also need to get rolling on volume 2 of the book, so not having to worry so much about the TPB promotion will allow us to spend more time on the creative aspects of the book."

The Volume 1 of The Stuff of Legend will hit stores in 2010 as a hardcover, and the second volume, subtitled "The Jungle," is planned for release in spring 2010, DeVito said.

"We are hoping that if things continue along our current path, we will be able to have less of a gap between volumes 2 and 3, but sales will dictate that," DeVito said. "Mike and Brian have some pretty amazing twists and turns planned for volume 2, and knowing what Charles is capable of  makes me really excited to get started. It will give us a chance to explore some other areas of The Dark and play with more of the mythos since the setup will be out of the way.

"As far as the company outlook goes, we have been working hard for four years as a small publisher and have been careful with how many projects we put out each year, so as not to fold under the weight of too many titles," DeVito said. "We can only grow so much at that level, and this gives us some additional opportunities for exposure that we may not have had otherwise."

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