New York Comic Con: Day 2

9:00 pm Friday, October 10, 2014

Well, technology has gotten the better of me. I was planning to post consistently throughout Comic Con, but at every turn my computer is deciding to do something other than what I want it to do. From flipping pictures upside dow (even after you flip them manually they are still upside down), to a slow (basically no) connection to the interwebs, to not recognizing my camera at all, and more.

Lesson One: Comic Con is exhausting.

I really thought I would be posting content consistently throughout the day at Comic Con, but there is just no time to sit and write, let alone write well. I walked over 6 miles yesterday and when I headed home at 8:30 my legs were buckling on the subway platform as I waited for the mind numbingly slow C train to Brooklyn. I actually started weeping when the 3rd E train went buy with no sign of the C train in sight. Why didn’t I walk to the Q? 

I was so delirious from hunger it was hard making simple decisions, let alone stringing a coherent sentence together.

But here is a recap of the rest of Thursday and.

Thursday was all about panel discussions, and there were plenty to choose from.

At 1:15, I attended a panel discussion on Comics as Literature in the English Classroom, which talked about utilizing comics and graphic novels as more than just a reading strategy for Teachers. It turns out that Graphic Novels are now part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is designed to prepare children for college. For grades 6-12 the range of texts types include the subgenres of adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries, myths, science fiction, realistic fiction, allegories, parodies, satire, and graphic novels.

For slow or reluctant readers, graphic novels add the component of visual story telling which can be very motivating, and in turn will lead to more reading of traditional texts later on as confidence builds and reading becomes enjoyable.

A lot of problems teachers face is an assumption that comics or graphic novels are somehow a lesser art form than traditional prose. The fact is that they are just a different form of art. Creating a good Graphic Novel (and believe me, not every graphic novel is good or even worth reading) is the result of intense collaboration with the writer and the artist. 

Later, at 5:00 pm, I attended a pannel discussion on Diversity in Comics which addressed the necessity of a richly diverse landscape of ethnicities, gender identities, and minorities in comics. The sad fact is, that the majority of comic book and/or graphic novel producers, be it writers, artists, editors, colorist, letterers are white males and as a result, a lot of their content isn’t exactly diverse. But things are changing, Kamala Khan, is the new Ms. Marvel (from Marvel Comics) and the first Mulim-American superhero, and as of last week, a brand new Thor title came out with a female wielding the mighty Mjölnir

at 6:15, I attended a panel discussion called,  Why Should I Let My Child Read Comics, which explored the benefits of the graphic medium for conveying complex situations, as well as motivating readers. For example, in the new book El Deafo, written by Cece Bell and illustrated by David Lasky, we discover what it’s like going to school being profoundly deaf and having to wear a huge hearing aid around. In one sequence, the main character’s hearing aid battery starts to fade, and to show that visually, the artist made her thought bubbles turn slowly gray, conveying what it might feel like for her.  

At 7:00, I attended a panel on LGBT in comics, presented by New York TimesOUT and GeeksOUT, which featured Moderator Jude Biersdorfer (NYTimes Book Review – Staff Editor) and Panelists Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman), Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers), Jamie McKevlie (Young Avengers), Luciano Vecchio (Marvel Infinite Comics Ultimate Spider-Man), Noelle Stevenson (Nimona) and Annie Mok (Screentests), where they discussed everything to Wonder Woman then and now, to marriage equality.

At 8:00, I was wiped out. Close to 7 miles walked and I still hadn’t written anything. By the time I got home, my brain was mush.

But it was a great day.

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