Live Action Graphic Novels
This past weekend was the Small Press Expo, a fantastic conference of smaller publishers of comic books, graphic novels and other graphic arts. I had a blast on both days looking for new titles for DC Public Library's graphic novel collection and sitting in on some incredible panels. It was quite a thrill to be at an event where one might bump into Jules Feiffer waiting in line for the drinking fountain.
Indeed, my favorite panel was probably one that focused on alternative weekly newspapers and their place in the careers of some of the leading comic artists working today. Feiffer's memories of his early work at the Village Voice was just one piece of the panel's history lesson that included Charles Burns, Ben Katchor and the hysterically funny and soulful Lynda Barry. I am glad to know that we have many titles from these independent artists whose work was shaped by the unique, thriving (and now sadly disappearing) culture of independent local newspapers.
Two other highlights included a talk by Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker and Mimi Pond, a longtime screenwriter and cartoonist who just published a graphic memoir of her young adulthood in Berkeley, Calif. As someone who loves a good New Yorker cartoon, it was a joy to listen to Mankoff reflect on the changing history of cartoons and the place of humor in society.
Pond did an extended reading of the opening passage (with slides!) of her new book Over Easy, which was perhaps my first live reading of a comic. I am in the thick of reading Over Easy right now, and it is a welcome addition to our graphic memoir section.