The sun was high in the sky and the air was remarkably low in humidity as thousands of people begins to fill the downtown streets and converge on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. While many might have left the city for the Labor Day long weekend, others have traveled into the nation’s capital to spend Saturday in an air-conditioned and crowded convention center talking about books. And as I have for the past five years, I joined the throng and headed down to the Library of Congress‘s 15th Annual National Book Festival.
After collecting my trusty guide pamphlet and the all important, traditional Book Festival swag—a large brightly colored tote and at least two copies of the highly collectible poster—I stopped by the Starbucks in the main foyer to arm myself with additional caffeine before trekking back to the Children’s and Teen’s pavilions.
Happily, the Library of Congress documents the multitude of wonderful speakers at this event and makes the recordings available on their website as webcasts. According, I will refrain from verbatim recaps. Instead, I will try to offer a sampling of favorite interesting moments from the presentations I attended.
Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World, shared that one of her largest take-aways from the project was everyone (especially women) must find the space that works for them to pursue their ambitions and dreams–and if such a space does not exist, make it!
This month, I thought I would take a look at some of the great works by women that are nominated for this year’s Eisner Award. The Eisner Awards, or more correctly, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, recognize the best achievements in American comics on an annual basis. The award nominations are typically announced in April with the awards being presented at San Diego Comic Con in July. This year, some wonderful works by women are nominated and it seems like a great time to consider both those that I have previously written about and some new gems. This post won’t look at the work of all of the Eisner nominated women, but will instead focus on those that will appeal to teens and fans of young adult literature.
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona, Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples, and Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover are three of only four titles to have received three or more nominations which doesn’t surprise me at all. Ms. Marvel has been extremely popular for the way that it has reimagined the Ms. Marvel character as a teen Pakistani-American named Kamala Khan who is a huge fan of Carol Danver and ultimately ends up stepping into her shoes as Ms. Marvel. The series received a lot of publicity for the fact that Kamala Khan is the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel series and the story has helped to keep it popular. It earned not only Eisner nominations in the categories of Best New Series, Best Writer (for G. Willow Wilson), Best Penciller/Inker (for Adrian Alphona), Best Cover Artist (for Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson), and Best Lettering (for Joe Caramagna), but also a Hugo nomination and a spot on YALSA’s 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. Continue reading Women in Comics: 2015 Eisner Award Nominations
Graphic memoirs are comics or sequential art that tell an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical story. Because they are a sub-genre of graphic novels and comics in general they may sometimes be referred to more generally as “nonfiction graphic novels.”
Most graphic memoirs do not cover the same wide scope a print memoir would. Typically what they lack in breath, the make up for in depth. Since graphic memoirs are instead more focused, they often afford the author the opportunity to focus on one particular event, span of years, or relationship with someone or something and their feelings surrounding it. A key advantage of using the comics medium is the ability to show rather than merely tell. Everything from the font used for a particular character’s speech, to the size and position of each panel helps to tell the story. In memoir, this can help the author to communicate a feeling or situation from their past more immediately and, and perhaps more effectively, than if they were relying on text alone. Continue reading Genre Guide: Graphic Memoirs
Last month when I started writing my Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist post I envisioned it as a one-time list of suggestions, but as I got into the process of collecting books with women in charge of the story, artwork, or both, I realized that (1) there are far too many examples for a single post and (2) I was having way too much fun to only go through the process once. When I published the post and started getting supportive comments with even more reading suggestions, I decided that I wanted to turn it into a recurring series. So, my current plan is to continue writing Women In Comics posts that offer suggestions for those interested in finding great new comics and graphic novels.
As I was preparing to write this post, both Marvel and DC released plans for upcoming superhero movies for the next several years and this gave me the inspiration to focus on the contributions that women have made to superhero comics. This post will highlight a wide range of superhero stories written or illustrated by important women in the field. Without further ado, here are some more great stories to choose from: Continue reading Women In Comics: Superhero Edition