Sunday, June 25, 2006

Graphic Novel Seminar

On this past Thursday night I got to give a presentation for the Brookfield Public Library.  They billed it as “crazy about comics” I think, and it was a presentation on writing a graphic novel.  No, I have not written one myself.  My only qualifications are that I own a comic book store, I read comics and graphic novels, I have met people who HAVE written one, and I did some research.  Those are more credentials than a good portion of the population, so it made me an expert, per se.  

Both the Brookfield Library and myself got press releases out for the event, and it even ended up in the local news paper.  Unfortunately, the turn out was pretty small, 4 people plus the librarian who organized the event.  It was supposed to be for 13+, and that’s how I geared it, however there was one 8-year old in attendance.  He had written his own comic book, but wasn’t really well suited for my presentation.  Luckily I brought some graphic novels along – he ended up reading a good chunk of the Essential Avengers Volume 1, when he wasn’t crawling under the table, squirming in his seat, or obviously not paying attention.  The rest of the group was great – two were teen age girls, which I was super glad to see.  

The seminar was slated to be about one and one-half hours, and I went almost that long.  With the 8-year old getting restless I cut it a bit short, but then people wanted me to look at their comics they made, so I ended up being there way after that time.  They even paid me, which was nice.  I almost felt guilty taking it all, since the turnout wasn’t that hot.  The librarian was very apologetic that the turn out was bad, and she said she thought it was very informative.  I offered to come back another time, and she said we could try it again in the fall, hoping that people would be less busy with their vacations and summer softball and such once the kids were back in school.  Maybe we can even do something to promote it in the local middle and high schools, which might help get a better crowd.

I also talked to the two girls after, while I was reading their comics.  They were saying that the did a lot of the work during lunch at school, but they’re worried that next year it will be more crowded and they might not have room.  I encouraged them to try and get an after-school club going for writing comics, it could get together every week or month or something.  I offered to give lessons on graphic novel writing for them, and I even offered them the chance to “sell” their finished graphic novels at our store at the end of the semester.  Hopefully something will come from that!  It’s like my own little grass-roots campaign to get more girls reading and writing comics!

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