Archive for July, 2010

SDCC 2010: The Epic Fantasy Panel

July 31, 2010 @ 9:54 am | Filed under: Books, SDCC

It’s a week after Comic-Con and I’m still working through my notes! Two more panels and another booklist to post, and then it’s likely to get quiet around here for a spell.

I scrawled a crazy amount of notes at the Once Upon a Time panel—six authors of epic fantasy discussing their craft—but the odds of my being able to translate the scrawl to English are slimmish, so never fear. This was a fascinating panel. (Hence the 12 pages of notes.) Have I mentioned I love hearing other writers talk about their work? Yeah.

The panelists, in order of seating: Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Lynn Flewelling, Megan Whalen Turner, Christopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss. The moderator: Maryelizabeth Hart of the awesome Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. She was great. They were all great.

Hart’s first question was about the everyman character vs. the larger-than-life superheroic character. In epic fantasy, with these sweeping adventures and grand-scale worldbuilding, does the main character also need to be larger than life? (more…)

SDCC 2010: The LOST Panel

July 29, 2010 @ 7:59 pm | Filed under: SDCC, Television

I didn’t take many notes on this one, but there are stories to tell. First of all, I went into it expecting a discussion about the show, the ending, our questions, our theories—I mean, I figured there would be five or six people up front debating and taking comments from the crowd. It wasn’t like that. What it actually was was an info session on DK’s soon-to-be-published LOST Encyclopedia, moderated by a DK rep, with the book’s two authors as panelists/interviewees.

This sounds very market-y, but it was FASCINATING. And before twenty minutes had passed, I had shifted from feeling very shruggy about the notion of an “encyclopedia” for a TV show, even one as intricate and awesome as LOST, to thinking I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK.

So: if it was a commercial, it was a darned effective one.

But it wasn’t really a commercial. It was two intelligent and enthusiastic writers talking about the process of researching, writing, and organizing a complex work of nonfiction. (more…)

Books That Caught My Eye at SDCC, Part 1

July 28, 2010 @ 6:04 pm | Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, SDCC

Again, quickly typing up my notes. These are things that piqued my interest and beg a closer look, when time permits.

No particular order here except the order in which I encountered them at the con. (UPDATE: this post got too long! So now it’s a Part One.)

Owly (kids’ graphic novels, the one I saw was wordless and sweet, published by Top Shelf Press)

• Practically everything at the First Second (:01) booth made me drool—I was already familiar with these folks, having read (and been blown away by) Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese a little while ago. Gene was on one of the children’s graphic novel panels I attended at SDCC last year.

genejenniGene Luen Yang and Jennifer Holm at SDCC 2009.

This year, “Urgent Request” from The Eternal Smile (written by Gene; illustrated by Derek Kirk Kim) won the Eisner for best short story, which is very exciting. To my amusement, at the very moment I was paging through Eternal Smile, I looked up and there was Gene with his family at the First Second booth. He and his wife had their three small children in tow—Gene was wearing the baby in a front-carrier, a heartwarming sight. We chatted briefly; it was a delight to meet them.

• Back to First Second Books. Other titles that caught my eye:

Cat Burglar Black

Adventures in Cartooning—we’ve checked this out from the library, big hit with my kids, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before

Foiled (Jane Yolen)—has been on my TBR list, even more appealing in person, wonderful art

Tiny Tyrant

The Color of Water


Hill & Wang, an imprint of Macmillan. Boy was I impressed with these folks! They’re publishing nonfiction graphic novels on a somewhat stunning range of topics. Author Jonathan Hennessy gave me a copy of The United States Constitution—that’s right, it’s the Constitution in graphic novel form—and when I brought it home to Jane, she devoured it the next day. She’s raving about it; I’ll write more when I’ve had a chance to review it myself.

Other intriguing Hill & Wang titles:

The Cartoon Guide to Economics. I went back to the booth on Sunday to buy this—I usually save my purchases for the last day so I don’t have to lug stuff around for too long—and dadgummit, it was sold out. But it’s on my list of must-haves for Jane. And I hear there’s a Cartoon Guide to Statistics on the way…

The 9/11 Report. Scott bought a copy of this. He’s excited.

The Stuff of Life, “a graphic guide to genetics and DNA” with art by one of my favorite Comic-Con pals, Zander Cannon. There’s a sequel on evolution forthcoming soon.

—Biographies of Isadora Duncan, Malcolm X, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Che Guevara. We came home with the Duncan bio; Jane enjoyed it; more on that one later too.

Anne Frank: The Authorized Graphic Biography. Arresting art. I’m eager to take a closer look at this one.

The Beats, a graphic history of the beat poets with text by Harvey Pekar.

OK, that’s a lot for one post. More to come in a follow-up.

More on SDCC 2010:

A few photos
Photos of supercool steampunk wheelchair
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
What I did at SDCC
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 2)

SDCC 2010: The Rick Riordan Panel

July 28, 2010 @ 2:12 pm | Filed under: Books, Percy Jackson, SDCC

I owe my daughter Jane a nod of thanks for this one. Sunday-morning-at-10:00 panels don’t usually make my list, but Jane attended Comic-Con for the first time on Sunday and she was especially keen to hear Rick Riordan speak about his Percy Jackson books. So in we went, bright and early, and snagged good seats about four rows from the front.

The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe interviewer was acclaimed Irish author Michael Scott, an authority on Celtic folklore and writer of the popular Nicholas Flamel series. Both Scott and Riordan had a wonderful rapport with the audience, showing genuine affection for their enthusiastic young fans. I so enjoyed the warmth, humor, and wisdom radiating from these two amiable authors. Michael Scott asked wonderful questions and could undoubtedly have gone on asking them for a good long while, but the queue of readers eager to ask Riordan their own questions was so long that Scott graciously turned the floor over to the fans about halfway into the hour.

I’m pressed for time today (this week, this month) so what I’m going to do is simply type up my notes. If any point is particularly interesting to you, leave a comment and I’ll try to expand on it there. (more…)

What I Did at SDCC

July 27, 2010 @ 1:25 pm | Filed under: Books, SDCC

“So what do you do at Comic-Con, anyway?” a friend asked me. My con experience is generally quite different from most of my friends’ experiences there, the daytime parts at least. Most of my con pals are writers, artists, and editors who are there to work. They put in time at publishers’ booths, they sign books and do sketches, they speak on panels and meet fans and go to special events. For most pros, it’s a fun week, but a hard one too, often quite exhausting. People are usually pretty wiped out by Sunday afternoon. Even I am exhausted, and I didn’t have to work. As you know, I took a break from fiction writing with the last two babies, so I haven’t had any new books to promote in the past couple of years. (Though I suppose this is as good a time as any to tell you that I did get back to work in January, and I will have three new books coming out in 2012 and 2013. But that’s a topic for another post…)

At dinner with Babymouse author and utterly lovable person, Jenni Holm, and her delightful husband, video game developer Jonathan Hamel. My crazy gremlin smile is because that is how happy they make me.

Anyway, for me, as a pro who has been on hiatus, SDCC is kind of an ideal convention experience: I get all the fun of spending time with writer and artist friends, many of whom I only see once a year, and I get to explore the vendor hall and scout out interesting new books to read—which you know is pretty much my favorite pastime—but I am also free to attend panels all day long, if I wish. And I love the panels at Comic-Con. I love listening to other creative professionals talk about their work. The folks who speak on SDCC panels are some of the smartest, most talented, most interesting people I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. Comic book writers and artists, children’s book writers, science fiction and fantasy authors, cartoonists, editors…a feast for the curious mind.

So: I went to lots of panels, and when I wasn’t tweeting about them, I took copious notes in my notebook—notes I will shortly attempt to write up here, for my own records if nothing else. Here are the panels I attended; I’d love to know which ones you’d be most interested in hearing more about:

• “Once Upon a Time”—panel on high fantasy with authors Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Lynn Flewelling, Megan Whalen Turner, Christopher Paolini, and Patrick Rothfuss. SUCH A GREAT DISCUSSION! Topics: everyman vs. superhero; role of prophecy/destiny in fiction.

• Digital comics (this one turned about to be more about marketing than the creative and technical processes)

• Webcomics

• The LOST Encyclopedia

• Rick Riordan interviewed by novelist Michael Scott (EXCELLENT panel; I tweeted notes and took many more)

• “Entertaining One’s Inner Child”—panel of children’s graphic novel author/illustrators moderated by Jennifer Holm. The panelists were: Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules), Sina Grace (Among the Ghosts), Matt Holm (Babymouse), Adam Rex (Fat Vampire), David Steinberg (Daniel Boom), and Greg Van Eekhout (Kid Vs. Squid).

• Spotlight on the legendary comic-book writer and Batman editor Dennis O’Neil, moderated by my favorite man in comics, a handsome fellow by the name of Scott Peterson

Besides the panels, there were lunches and dinners and discussions that lasted late into the night. On Saturday evening a large group of children’s lit folks—authors, artists, and editors—met for drinks at the Hyatt and then a bunch of us drifted over to Buster’s Beach House for fish tacos and lively chat.

The lovely Raina Telgemeier, author/illustrator of Smile (the graphic novel Rose has read at least six time in the past four weeks), and her husband, cartoonist Dave Roman.

I’ll share my enticing book discoveries in another post; exploring the publisher booths occupied a considerable number of my hours at the con. And, of course, there was plenty of time simply to marvel at (and sometimes be overwhelmed by) the crowds—tens of thousands of creative, colorful comic-book fans, some of the most dedicated and passionate readers in the world.

More on SDCC 2010:

A few photos
Photos of supercool steampunk wheelchair
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 1)
Books that caught my eye (part 2)

SDCC Pix: Things That Make Me Go Squee

July 27, 2010 @ 6:28 am | Filed under: Art, SDCC

The amazing, Eisner-nominated artist Fiona Staples drew this sketch for me. I can’t stop looking at it and giggling from sheer glee. Thanks, Fiona.

SDCC Pix: Maud Hart Lovelace Goes to Comic-Con

July 27, 2010 @ 6:16 am | Filed under: SDCC

The supercool Carney’s House Party shirt made for me by HarperPerennial’s Jennifer Hart, aka @bookclubgirl. I would wear it every single day if I could get away with it.

SDCC Pix: Steampunk Wheelchair

July 27, 2010 @ 6:10 am | Filed under: Books, Events, SDCC, Steampunk

Coolest thing I saw at the con. These pictures don’t come close to doing it justice. I chatted briefly with the owner—she did all the work herself. Wish I’d gotten her name. Amazing craftsmanship.

More on SDCC 2010:

A few photos
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
What I did at SDCC
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 1)
Books that caught my eye (part 2)

SDCC Pix: The First Batch

July 26, 2010 @ 9:56 am | Filed under: SDCC

More on SDCC 2010:

Photos of supercool steampunk wheelchair
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
What I did at SDCC
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 1)
Books that caught my eye (part 2)