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James Patterson gets bigger -- graphic novels next

USA Today has an interesting story about plans by James Patterson, the one-man mystery/thriller conglomerate, to move into comics and graphic novels. He'll start with a five-part comic series that will be based on his YA novel "Witch & Wizard" and written by Dara Naraghi. The deal with IDW Publishing (Transformers, Star Trek, Dr. Who) is the latest move for JP Inc., an empire built by partnering with other authors. They do the bulk of the writing, and he supplies the big ideas, supervision and marketing firepower.

That assembly-line format has yielded popular series such as Maximum Ride and Alex Cross (who has a Ph.D. in psychology from Johns Hopkins, by the way). A recent New York Times story noted that in recent years the combined U.S. sales of John Grisham, Stephen King and Dan Brown don't match his. His formula has been insanely lucrative: A deal last year with Hachette, reportedly worth $150 million, calls for him to produce 17 books in three years. Patterson also is a presence on the big and small screens. "Private," a series that begins in June, may morph into a TV show, according to his website, which also notes that a movie based on Alex Cross is in the works.

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What's next? How about the iPatterson, a dedicated e-reader that can download only his books, movies and TV shows, and play video games based on his characters. With his prolific pace, you'd never be bored.

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