From the Eisner Awards to an unusual recreation of Rep. John Lewis’ historic march across the Edmund Pettus bridge, Comic-Con International was the place to find great kids’ and YA comics.
On Tuesday evening, Raina Telgemeier, author of the bestselling childhood memoir Sisters, kicked off the show with an appearance before a packed room at the San Diego Public Library. The show itself had a robust slate of children’s comics presentations, and at Friday night’s Eisner Awards, many children’s and young adult creators won awards in general comics categories: Lumberjanes won the prize for best new series; cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer took the award for best new graphic novel; two-time NBA nominee Gene Luen Yang, writer of The Shadow Hero and the Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels, got the best writer award; and Telgemeier took top honors as best writer/artist.
The winners in the youth categories were The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke, in the early readers category (up to age 7); El Deafo, by Cece Bell, in the kids' category (ages 8-12), and Lumberjanes again in the teen category.
During her panel on Sunday, Telgemeier announced that her next graphic novel will be titled Ghosts and will be published in fall 2016. The story is about an 11-year-old girl who moves to a spooky coastal town. Telgemeier is the bestselling children’s graphic novel author at the moment; she currently has four books on the New York Times graphic novel best-seller list, and her graphic novel Smile has been on the list for three years.
Scholastic celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Graphix comics imprint with a rousing Comic-Con party, and also announced a new graphic novel: Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape, by actor Greg Grunberg (Heroes; Felicity) and cartoonist Lucas Turnbloom (Imagine THIS). Pitched at readers aged 8 to 12, the graphic novel is a story about a boy who can jump into other people’s dreams and uses his power to rescue his friend from an evil dream-monster. The book will be published in June 2016 and will feature a foreword by director and producer J.J. Abrams.
There were plenty of children on the show floor and in the panel rooms, and one event was planned specifically to include them: a group of third-graders from Oak Park Elementary School in San Diego joined civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis in a march across the convention center on Saturday morning, following a panel on March, his graphic memoir of the Civil Rights movement.
After speaking about the book, together with his co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, Lewis led the children on a march to the exhibition floor booth of his publisher, Top Shelf. Lewis even cosplayed as himself for the occasion, wearing a trench coat and backpack as he did during the historic march in 1965 across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on “bloody Sunday. ” In the backpack he carried the same items he had with him that day, including an apple and a toothbrush in case he was arrested.
Dark Horse, the home of the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels, revealed at its panel that it will publish a Legend of Korra graphic novel that will pick up where the animated series ended. Korra co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino will write the series, and the other co-creator, Bryan Konietzko, will consult. The format will be similar to that of the Avatar graphic novels. Konietzko is also working on his original graphic novel, Threadworlds, which will be published by First Second.
Independent publisher Oni Press announced three new titles: Over the Surface, by Natalie Nourigat, which the publisher described as “a sort of Miyazaki/Porco Rosso story told through a European comics lens”; The Mighty Zodiac by J. Torres, writer of Teen Titans Go and Bigfoot Boy, and Corin Howell, described as “Avatar the Last Airbender by way of Kung Fu Panda”; and Another Castle by Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau, which is “a sword and sorcery comedy with a damsel most definitely not in distress saving herself.”
Although Archie Comics rebooted its flagship title last week with a new more mature feel and a writer-artist team of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, the traditional Archie style doesn’t seem to be going away completely. Archie Meets the Ramones, the latest Archie crossover, looks like it will be drawn in the longtime Archie house style. The comic will be co-written by Alex Segura (who also happens to be the Archie publicity director) and Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by veteran Archie artist Gisele.