Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the New York Comic Con, and here are some highlights:
1. THANK YOU, REED EXHIBITIONS, for learning from your mistakes. This is the third time I've attended NYCC and every year it is more organized, seems less crowded, and offers a wider range of programming. The first year, the exhibits hall looked like rush hour on the A train. This year, there were wider aisles and everyone could move around much easier. I got through registration quickly and easily. Also, thank you for offering free registration to librarians. What was the one major thing wrong with this year's programming lineup? All the programs I wanted to go to were at the same time. It seems like no one considered the idea that often, the children's librarian and the teen librarian in any given library are the same person. With the children's-centric panels and the teen-centric panels running concurrently, librarians often had to sacrifice one for the other.
2. The exhibits themselves were really neat. I am not as well-versed in the comics world as many of my colleagues, so it was cool to see the wide range of available (and vintage/collectible) comics and graphic novels. In addition to the comics booths, major publishers had booths and were offering some galleys and trade editions of popular titles. I know I saw Harper, Random, Tor, Hachette, and a few others. What I found most interesting, though, was that the titles these publishers were offering were almost entirely fantasy and science fiction. I realize many comics and graphic novels are centered on fantastic themes and ideas, but didn't Neil Gaiman say that graphic novels are a format, not a genre? One would think that people who enjoy comics and graphic novels but prefer realistic fiction to fantasy would want to see publishers displaying their realistic fiction as well. So now I'm curious: Who else out there likes graphic novels but prefers realistic fiction to speculative fiction?
3. Fabulous panel #1: "Helping bookstores buy and shelve comics for teens." I know libraries aren't bookstores, but when it comes to moving and marketing the teen collection in a library, I like to employ the occasional bookstore technique (handselling, faceouts, themed displays, etc.). The panel included buyers and distributors of YA novels and graphic works, who talked about issues of visual content, cultural differences, and age ratings on manga. They also discussed issues behind shelving and marketing a graphic novel collection for teens.
4. Fabulous panel #2: "Age-appropriate content for kids and teen comics." Lana Adlawan and the awesome Alison Hendon from the Brooklyn Public Library gave an excellent run-down of high quality graphic works for people ages 0-18. At the end, they talked about their wishlist for graphic novel publishers who want to see more libraries buying their books, including higher-quality printings, better bindings, etc.
5. Sherrilyn Kenyon is just about the nicest author ever, even though I made a fool of myself in front of her.
6. Fabulous panel #3: "Minx: Your life in pictures." Minx, an imprint of DC Comics aimed at teen girls, had several of their authors and illustrators on a panel and showed preview pages from upcoming books to the audience. I'm really excited to read all of them, especially because I've read and loved previous Minx titles.
I really wanted to go to the dinner with Neil Gaiman, too, but alas, I lack the $400 it would have cost. Ah well. I will have to follow my fish from afar.
crossposted at Pop Goes the Library