YA graphic novel
"The artists and writers we meet in these pages are among the
most talented comics creators working today. While nearly all are
themselves lifelong comics fans, they came to their work by way of a
surprising variety of backgrounds, including biology, computer
science, filmmaking, painting, and acting. Not surprisingly, the
stories they have to tell take off in an abundance of equally
When I was reading Svetlana Chmakova's Awkward, I was intrigued
by a few pages at the end. Chmakova walked readers through all the
steps of creating a graphic novel from design to adding color. Holy
cow! I never knew what an arduous, exacting process it is.
Then, in the serendipity so frequent in my life, I remembered
I'd just borrowed a book that could offer more insight into the
production of graphic novels--Leonard S. Marcus' Comics Confidential:
Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, And Life Outside The
Box. Marcus asked each artist a fascinating array of questions. He
also had each design and explain a comic having something to do with
the city. Since a lot of peopke see cartooning as male turf, I was
delighted to see a good number of women.
Remember Matt Phelan? We just became acquainted with his work
by reading his Snow White. He came to cartooning as an adult. When
he was in his twenties he taught himself how to draw. He did The
Storm in the Barn as a graphic novel only after he couldn't get it to
come to life as a prose novel. His acting background has him
constantly seeking to understand what his characters are thinking and
Danica Novgorodoff drew from the time she could hold a pencil.
She hedged her bets in college, sticking with an art major "unless
something better came up." She created her first graphic novel during
a post graduate trip to South America. Showing it around back in the
states opened doors for her. She finds travel essential for her
research. She goes to the place her story is set in to get a real
feel for it.
And there are eleven others.
Comics Confidential is a great read for kids (and adults) who
enjoy graphic novels, especially those contemplating careers in
cartooning. Listings of the work of the artists at the back of the
book can point to future reads. I've added some titles to my must
On a personal note, we had a really poignant coffee hour at UMaine
recently. It was put on by people collecting clothes and raising
money to help people stranded in refugee camps. There was a short and
immensely powerful video of a 13-year-old girl talking of her life and
hopes. She dreams of stuff kids here take for granted: a real home
(instead of a tiny tent), having her family together, being able to go
to school... Today 1 out of every 113 people is a refugee. And with
global climate change as well as wars kicking in, the situation will
probably get more dire. It's crucial for America to keep her borders
open and for all who can to help our displaced brothers and sisters.
A great big shout out goes out to refugees and all who help and
advocate for them.
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