Lucas Wetzel named PW Star Watch 2020 Honoree

Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) is excited to share that Editor Lucas Wetzel has been named a Publishers Weekly (PW) Star Watch 2020 Top 40 Honoree. Wetzel was selected from a pool of almost 200 entries. His selection was announced by PW on September 15.

The celebratory event, which usually takes place in New York, will look a little different this year. A virtual celebration recognizing the honorees will be held on October 13 and is free and open to the public. If you wish to attend you can RSVP through the event link. A charitable component has also been added to this year’s celebration. A portion of the sponsor proceeds will go to support the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), which provides financial assistance to booksellers, helping replace income lost due to COVID-19 closures and furloughs.

“Recognition like this from PW is nice, especially since AMP is geographically removed from the New York-centric publishing world. In the big picture, I think it just reinforces Andrews McMeel’s stellar reputation when it comes to publishing cutting-edge humor, authentic voices and diverse perspectives,” said Wetzel. “I take pride in my relationships with authors and helping them navigate the editorial and aesthetic decisions required to put a book together.”

Now in its sixth year, the annual Star Watch program “identifies and celebrates members of the U.S. and Canadian publishing communities who are redefining creative thinking, moving the industry forward in surprising and unexpected ways, and sparking innovation in publishing and bookselling.” The selection jury is made up of editors and managers from Publishers Weekly, Frankfurter Buchmesse and the American Booksellers Association.

“Lucas has an extraordinary gift as an editor. He has a natural talent for identifying, nurturing and curating the work of the best comic storytellers of our times,” said AMP President and Publisher Kirsty Melville.  “He is a champion for new voices; yet greatly respected by renowned cartoonists. We are thrilled that he has been recognized for his contribution to the publishing industry and for the impact he is making to comic readers around the world.”

Wetzel started at AMU in 2005 as a publicity intern for Universal Press Syndicate (later Universal Uclick and now Andrews McMeel Syndication). His first full-time job at the company was as assistant acquisitions editor. He worked as an editor in the syndicate for about 10 years total (working and living elsewhere for a couple years in between). Then in February 2018, following Dorothy O’Brien’s announced retirement, Kirsty extended an invitation to join the Book Group.

“It was a steep learning curve but also a very natural transition, since I was working with some of the same cartoonists like Lincoln Peirce, Stephan Pastis, and many of the GoComics creators I’d met or blogged about over the years,” said Wetzel.

In his current role, Wetzel acquires, edits and helps produce comic collections, illustrated humor books and middle grade children’s graphic novels. Some recent favorite include Fangs (Sarah Andersen’s new gothic romance), Dbury@50 (a half-century of Trudeau’s brilliance in one deluxe package), Reflection (charismatic NFL star Tyler Lockett’s debut book of inspirational poetry), SMEAR: Poems for Girls (an international anthology of feminist poetry), Tommy Siegel’s I Hope This Helps, and Jackie Davis’ Vulnerability Is My Superpower.

“I love working with our production editors, art directors and production managers to put our books together,” said Wetzel. “It’s fun to see how both first-time authors and longtime creators find ways to keep their book designs, concepts and contents fresh and interesting.”

Wetzel credits his success with reaching out to authors and agents to Andrews McMeel and the roster of talent. That makes it easy to attract more great people to work with, and is a credit not just to him, but to everyone who works here.