SDCC – Day Two and Three

“I’m interested in doing good comics for kids.”
- Nick Abadzis, author of Laika

Sorry for the delay gang – a hectic party schedule (including one where Shirley Manson from the band Garbage and Sarah Silverman attended) along with a messed up internet connection forced me to combine days two and three. But I promise way more content to come.

The con is still just as hectic with insane crowds coming to see the huge number of Hollywood stars signing at various booths. Saw Fred Savage in the crowd too!

A couple interesting tidbits:
- I spoke with David Saylor of Scholastic/Graphix who said that there are plans for more Bone after volume 9 comes out in Spring 2009. It will be peripheral material that has been published before but adapted for a children’s audience.
- Raina Telgemeier gave me some insight on her next book following the 4th Baby-Sitter’s Club title. Longtime fans of hers will GRIN at what’s upcoming and I’m sure so will a whole new audience of kids.
- The publisher Abrams who put Diary of a Wimpy Kid into the hands of fans across all ages is starting a full-fledged imprint called Abrams ComicArts to include comics and comic-related art books. No children’s titles are featured in the first offerings and it remains to be seen if the children’s end of the line will be expanded beyond Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

I also attended an interesting panel called The World of Graphic Novels where Eddie Campbell expressed his frustration that the focus on graphic novels these days has been in the children’s sector. He remarked that had been approached by several YA authors to illustrate graphic novels they had been working on but was far more interested in working on adult work. Nick Abadzis agreed with a YA librarian in the audience that graphic novels for kids are important to get kids interested in the format in order for them to move onto more adult works. I think that even more importantly kids comics are teaching an entire generation a new learned language of comics and will absolutely lead to reading more graphic novels as adults. I’m not saying that all adults now won’t read graphic novels but it is defintely a challenge for most. Another woman in the audience had said that she brought Persepolis to her book club to read and not one member managed to finish it. Despite all the talk these days of graphic novels, I’m certain we are only on our first baby steps here with more exciting times to come.

4 Responses to “SDCC – Day Two and Three”

  1. As a librarian who has promoted graphic novels and comics in libraries for about 25 years now, I’ve observed that adults do tend to resist the comic book format. Most older librarians even find graphic novels with very straightforward and easy-to-follow panel layouts challenging. They’re oriented to words and simply can’t “read” the pictures! The situation has been changing, as more and more young people who have grown up with visual material (comics, tv, video games, etc.) are becoming librarians.
    In the school where I work part time, I did find that Free Comic Book Day comics were popular among the adult teachers and staff members, not just the kids.

    But, if I were at that panel, I would have wanted to tell Mr. Campbell (who is brilliant, BTW) that libraries are beginning to explore putting more adult content graphic novels (such as his books) in their collections. Building the market for adult graphic novels is happening; it will take time, but it is happening.

  2. [...] At Good Comics for Kids, Scott Robins reports that Scholastic has plans for more Bone after Vol. 9 is released next spring. [...]

  3. [...] and Jeff Smith to Extend Bone Relationship Past Volume Nine? Apparently, according to Scott Robins, some peripheral material will be adapted for young readers after Scholastic finishes its [...]

  4. Scott, I can’t speak for Abrams ComicArts and haven’t specifically talked about this with exec. editor Charlie Kochman, but I know he would LOVE to find another Wimpy Kid. He’s real proud of that series. I think Charlie’s open to work of any kind that gets his attention and fits Abrams’ reputation and niche in the market. At the same time, I doubt he’s deliberately targeting children’s titles, but don’t quote me on that.

    My upcoming book for Abrams ComicArts, “Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?,” isn’t specifically a children’s or young adult title but will be good for all ages. I think a kid with a taste for Space Agey history and tech would appreciate it.

    Mr. Campbell acknowledges his own crankiness, particularly on the topic of “Gee, comics aren’t just for kids anymore!” I think he thinks comics should be past the point of having to prove themselves as literature for adults, making his frustration understandable.

    I hear the complaint about people not understanding how to read comics a lot. That’s hard for us to grasp but I think it’s true. The most challenging synthesis of words and pictures many adults have experienced for decades is probably a three-panel newspaper comic strip. I don’t know what’s to be done about that–you can’t force adults to read stuff they don’t enjoy–except continue to do the best work we can and let time take care of the rest.

    Good coverage of the Con, and a great site.

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