San Diego Comic Con 2014: A Recap for YA Lit Fans

comic_conEach summer, I look forward to the San Diego Comic Con with all of its celebrity sightings, out-of-this-world costumes, and tons of  free swag and goodies to purchase… really, what’s not to love? Scheduling time to attend can be a little hectic because the SDCC usually follows the ALA Annual Conference – however, I thank my lucky stars that I’m local so I can squeeze in at least one day of good times. Librarians take note – you are eligible to apply for a creative or trade professional badge, so definitely look into that!


A cool keepsake to hang in my sons’ room.

Last Thursday, I kicked off my Con experience at a lovely party hosted by Graphix (the graphic novels division of Scholastic, Inc.) on a swanky hotel rooftop a few blocks away from the convention hubbub. Several favorite authors and artists were in attendance to hang out with old friends, meet new ones, and of course, talk the night away about books and Con adventures. Graphix provided everyone with a print showcasing artwork from the likes of Raina Telgemeier, Mike Maihack, Dan Santat, Jeff Smith, and more. As an added bonus, artists were equipped with pens, and happily autographed/doodled near their respective sections.

BONE Tribute featured art.

Graphix also announced that they will be publishing BONE #1: Out from Boneville, The Tribute Edition in February 2015. This special edition of Jeff Smith’s first book in his immensely popular BONE series is part of Scholastic’s 10th anniversary celebration of its Graphix imprint which launched in 2005. The BONE Tribute Edition will be in full-color and feature artwork from sixteen additional artists including Jeffrey Brown, Dav Pilkey, Kazu Kibuishi, and Raina Telgemeier.

With my friend Sara Coney (Youth Services Librarian with San Diego County Library) and John Bradley-West (aka Samwell Tarly on HBO's Game of Thrones) - SDCC 2014.
Sara and I with John Bradley-West (aka Samwell Tarly on HBO’s Game of Thrones) – SDCC 2014.

As I mentioned before, SDCC wouldn’t be SDCC without at least one celebrity sighting, and gosh did we have one! On our way out, my friend Sara and I ran into John Bradley-West (a.k.a. Samwell Tarley on HBO’s Game of Thrones) – he was kind enough to take a photo with two admiring fans (it helped to mention that we were librarians ;) ).

Due to work, I missed the action on Friday, but was back again on Saturday with my husband, ready to explore the exhibits hall. First stop: Fantagraphics’ booth. That morning, I was ecstatic to discover they had copies available of Lucy Knisley’s An Age of License: A Travelogue, which formally releases in September. Fans of her earlier books, French Milk and Relish (2014 Alex Award Winner, 2014 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners – Arts and Humanities list), will love Knisley’s latest where she recounts a 2011 trip she took to Norway for a comics convention, as well as her romance with Henrik, a Swedish guy she met in New York. Next summer, Fantagraphics will also release Displacement, Knisley’s chronicle of a cruise she took with her elderly grandparents.

Lucy and John - these two are adorable!
Lucy and John – these two are adorable!
Later that afternoon, I attended Knisley’s spotlight panel where she shared insights on her art and writing. It was also an intimate conversation between Lucy and her fiancé, John Horstman. He frequently shows up in her comics, and both discussed what it’s like to portray (and be portrayed within) Knisley’s work. The two are getting married this fall, and she is currently working on a graphic novel called Something New, about their “nerdy feminist wedding” which will be published by First Second.
Nils Johnson-Shelton (l) and James Frey (r) signing copies of Endgame: The Calling at the HarperCollins booth.
Nils Johnson-Shelton (l) and James Frey (r) signing copies of Endgame: The Calling at the HarperCollins booth.

Just before heading out for the day, my husband and I made one last stop at exhibits. We spotted a huge line for the ARC signing of Endgame: The Calling, the first in a sci-fi triology by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, due in October from HarperCollins. For Endgame, HarperCollins partnered with Google’s Niantic Labs to create an augmented reality game, combining elements from the real world to create a unique interactive experience. Given how incredibly well teens took to I am Number Four (2011 YALSA Teen’s Top Ten), Endgame will definitely pique readers’ interest.

If you were at Comic Con this year, what were some awesome things you saw and/or experienced?

-Lalitha Nataraj, currently reading I am a Bacha Posh: My Life as a Woman Living as a Man in Afghanistan by Ukmina Manoori