Graphic Novel Alley Attracts Patrons at BookExpo and BookCon

Comics creators, panels, and graphic novels galore were present during this year's BookExpo and BookCon. Including publishers such as Image Comics, Lion Forge, Dynamite, and more, graphic novels were a highlight of the weekend. Check out our reflections of the graphic novel activities from BookExpo and BookCon below!

Panel Highlights

Moderator Michael Link and book store owners/buyers discussed the important contributions graphic novels and graphic nonfiction have made for immigrants in the United States and those fleeing oppression in their native countries. Graphic Novels and Nonfiction: Providing Refuge in an Uncertain Climate provided key titles to booksellers that will draw in new audiences to their stores while also provide quality content for current patrons, including titles such as Persepolis from Pantheon and Rendez-vous in Phoenix from Lion Forge. The panel guests also provided unique tips for displaying, shelving, and choosing graphic novels in a bookstore for optimal exposure.

The Hot Graphic Novels panel at Book Expo provided an eye-opening display of how far comics have come in diversity. The panel included six creators from around the world whose content focused on a variety of styles and subject matter from drone warfare to immigration to LGBTQ+ themes. Guests on the panel included Katie O'Neill (Princess Princess Ever AfterThe Tea Dragon Society), Iasmin Omar Ata (Mis(h)adra), Nidhi Chanani (Pashima), Pratap Chjatterjee and Khalil Bendib (Verax: The True Story of Whistleblowers), and Liniers (Good Night, Planet). 

Katie O'Neill opened up about the inspirations behind her use of LGBTQ+ themes in her graphic novels, especially in her upcoming titles The Tea Dragon Society. Set in a fantasy world, the tea dragons in her story produce a delicious and enchanting brew from the leaves grown on their horns. "When you brew this tea, you share the memories this dragon has had through its lifetime"—including the experiences of the previous dragon trainers, O’Neill explained. "I think especially for the queer community, it's important to have the feeling of choosing your family," she said, "because your biological family might not accept who you are. Being able to forge communities that accept and love you is part of it too."

On Sunday, comic creators Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Magdalene Visaggio (Kim & Kim), and Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do) came together with Joe Illidge (Catalyst Comics) and Hiedi McDonald to talk about creating comics and how our current rise in extremism and political turmoil have affected their work. The panel provided an in-depth look into the message of inclusion and acceptance that has influenced the work of creators in comics today, and the importance these themes have on creators as they create their stories. The panel was live streamed by Lion Forge and can be viewed on their Facebook.

Comic Creator Signing Highlights

Marjorie Liu

Author of the critically acclaimed Monstress, Marjorie Liu, had fans lining up to get copies of Monstress Volume 1 (978-1632157096, $9.99)and to discuss the the second volume (978-1534300415, $16.99) coming July 2017 from Image Comics.

Katie O'Neill

Coming all the way from New Zealand, author of the beloved all-ages tale Princess Princess Ever After (978-1620103401, $12.99), Katie O'Neill, was signing copies of her upcoming graphic novel The Tea Dragon Society (978-1620104415, $17.99). The graphic novel will be available October 2017 from Oni Press.

Katie Green

Based just outside of Plymouth, England, Katie Green was out promoting her upcoming graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow (978-1941302415, $19.99) from Lion Forge. The graphic novel will be available September 2017.

Anthony Del Col

It was no mystery to see lines of fans waiting to meet writer Anthony Del Col and get a signed copy of the first issue of his new mystery thriller Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys (978-1524104177, $19.99) from Dyamite. The graphic novel will be available November 2017.

Craig Engler

Z Nation (978-1524104542, $19.99) fans lined up to meet writer Craig Engler and receive a signed copy of the first issue of the comic series from Dynamite. The graphic novel will be available November 2017.

Several other comics creators were available during BookExpo and BookCon including: 

  • Brian Azzarello, Moonshine (Image Comics)
  • Charles Soule, CurseWords (Image Comics)
  • Alex de Campi, Mayday (Image Comics)
  • Brendon Fletcher, MotorCrush (Image Comics)
  • Cameron Stewart, MotorCrush (Image Comics)
  • Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh, Lucky Penny & Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us (Oni Press)
  • Svetlana Chmakova, Dramacon & Awkward (Tokyopop/Yen Press)
  • Gregg Schigiel, Pix (Image Comics)
  • Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder, Wytches (Image Comics)


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