Sunday, August 8, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Books and Comics Panels

I know Comic-Con has been over for awhile now, but it's taken some time for me to able to write up my thoughts! I've already shared my thoughts on the TV panels I attended, now on to the books!

My first day at Comic-Con (well not including Preview Night) was almost totally dedicated to books and comics. Books are obvious...I love them and I always enjoy panel discussions with authors. The comics panels were new to me, for the main reason that I often feel like an outsider who wants to jump into the pool of comics but has no idea where to start. I figured attending a few panels previewing upcoming work would give me a better idea of what I might like to try. If I wasn't so broke, I probably would have bought them all by now.

I started off by attending a panel called The Power of Myth with Amber Benson, Esther Friesner, Thomas Greanias, Lev Grossman, Les Klinger, Seanan McGuire, Michael Scott, and Thomas Sniegoski. I can't say that things started off with a bang...this panel was okay but lacked the dynamic energy of some of the others. I was personally interested in it mainly to see Amber Benson (you know me, big Buffy fan). The panel discussed why myths are so appealing for storytelling, how we mash them up and make them our own, and also a few hot button topics like "why isn't there more cultural diversity in books about myths" (interesting answers such as the fear of being accused of cultural appropriation and stereotyping) and of course..."what's the difference between what you do and fan fiction?" The answers varied from specific storylines to quality (big boo from the audience!)

My next panel was Once Upon a Time which included authors Lynn Flewelling, Christopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Megan Whalen Turner, and Brent Weeks. What's interesting about this is that I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the history of fantasy and also the importance of a sort of everyman character in fantasy, etc. Christopher Paolini and Patrick Rothfuss admittedly talked quite a lot, but I found them both very fascinating and interesting speakers. Later on, however, I heard someone say they thought Paolini was very arrogant because he had to comment on everyone's thoughts. Different perspectives life gives us! Someone asked about fan fiction here, too, and I appreciated the response that the authors don't want to read it but don't mind if fans write it. I have to be honest and say that fan fiction is something I've never really understood. I think there was one time in my life I wanted to write fan fiction and that was due to The Phantom of the Opera. I so desperately wanted to give Erik a happy ending. But then I read a book along those lines and realized it wasn't satisfying me because I knew that wasn't the story. I've never even been able to read officially commissioned books for TV shows because I've never felt like they were the real stories. I certainly don't deny others the right to write fan fiction or read it and I'm saying nothing about the quality. I'm sure a lot of it is excellent. It's just a prejudice or block I have for myself that I can't read it.


Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon

After this, I went to Dark Horse Comics panel about their horror comics. I enjoy horror, what can I say? This panel introduced me to some creators and the editor, and also I just really enjoyed the discussion on horror in general...I'm really looking forward to reading some of their stuff!

I went to a non-bookish panel after that I'll write about in a different post and my last visit of the day was to Vertigo's New Classics. I can't wait to start reading some of these, and this is an imprint I'll definitely keep my eye on in the future. I'm especially looking forward to getting my hands on Unwritten.

Saturday I attended a panel called Reading With Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction. Here's another confession...I've grown to love zombie stories. I find that I often have these ideas about things...I decide I don't like them before I really ever try them. It's completely unhelpful but I've definitely done it. I did it with zombies. Now it's like I almost can't find enough zombie books. So this panel was helpful in introducing to me some new ones. Due to the presence of Max Brooks and the ever delightful Mira Grant, this was one of the best panels of the entire Con. It was funny and also serious as panelists discussed why they made their zombies the way they did (fast, slow, decomposing, etc.) and also why zombie lit is so popular in times of such great uncertainty. The panelists were: Amelia Beamer, Max Brooks, Seth Grahame-Smith, Mira Grant, Walter Greatshell, Ryan Mecum, John Skipp, and Joan Frances Turner.

Finally on Sunday I caught the second half of a panel on children's lit which was all men. The panelists joked that it was the only panel on children's literature you'd see with all men. I thought they covered some interesting points such as using curse words (to which I say what do panels on children's lit and Christian fiction have in common?) and the struggle to be taken seriously as writers. I was really sad about how empty the room was, but Sunday is generally a quieter day at the Con.

Inner Child
Adam Rex, author of Fat Vampire

My last panel of the Con was the panel on Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Teen Angst in Young Adult Fiction. This is one of my favorite topics! It was moderated by the lovely Cindy Pon. I have to admit I was disappointed that Christopher Pike didn't show up for whatever reason, it was actually something I was really excited about having read his books as a teenager. No matter, I still enjoyed hearing from the rest of the panel which included: Emily Drake, Nancy Holder, D.J. MacHale, James Owen, Kathy Reichs, Neal Shusterman, and Michael Spradlin.

Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman, author of Unwind

cindy Pon
Cindy Pon, author of The Silver Phoenix

It took me so long to write this that I'll save the books I learned about and am looking forward to for another post.


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