More Diverse Comics: Trends In Kid's Graphic Novels At San Diego Central Library

Marilyn Weiss writes,

This year San Diego Comic Con has shown its commitment to librarians and educators. Attendees have been pouring into the San Diego Central Library to attend a series of comics panels without having to buy a hard to obtain badge for the whole con. These panels have drawn in teachers, educators, families and comics fans. I went back to the library for a discussion for the Trends in Kid's Graphic Novels panel on the most recent trends in children's comics, and I'm happy to say that the future is looking pretty darn bright.

Moderated by Brigid Alverson, Filip Sablik and Charles Kochman sat down and talked about the rise in popularity and the ever expanding world of kids comics and graphic novels. Both Sablik and Kochman referenced their own childhood love as comics as a driving force behind their work in the comics industry today.

Sablik discussed what Boom! Studios looked for when they were founded. It all came down to what was missing from the market. There were plenty of comics for adults on the shelves, but children's comics were often seen as secondary and an afterthought by major comics publishers. The goal was to bring in voices that had been underrepresented for decades by the comics industry.

Both Sablik and Kochman praised the recent work that libraries all over the country have been doing to get comics into the hands of children. Kochman explained that his childhood librarian saw comics as a lower form of literature and had asked him if he had problems reading. Fortunately the times they are a changing, and librarians no longer act as the gatekeepers.

Looking at the current state of comics, Kochman said that he was happy to see an increase in diverse comics. Many comics publishers and creators are looking to publish the stories that their younger shelves would have wanted to see. This means more comics for women, people of color, and queer stories are hitting the shelves. And now with the help of knowledgeable librarians and the wide reach of social media, more diverse comics are making their way into the hands of kids, who are eagerly snatching them up and asking for more.

Looking for some reading recommendations? After their discussion the panel asked the audience what books they were reading and offered up some suggestions of their own. Seems like everybody can't get enough of Lumberjanes, Giant Days, and Goldie Vance.

Marilyn Weiss is a contributor for Bleeding Cool and loves her job as a children's librarian. You can find her on Twitter @marilynjweiss

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