Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving
Every year has its high and low points, and if 2019 was an annus horribilus for some of us, there was also a lot to celebrate: The children’s graphic novel category continued to grow, with the addition not only of a host of new books but also of the new HarperAlley imprint and the announcement of Random House Graphic’s first books, which will be published in early 2020, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s new imprint, Etch. The indy publisher Iron Circus will publish their first middle-grade title in 2020. Jerry Craft’s New Kid, Cathy Johnson’s The Breakaways, and Raina Telgemeier’s Guts all added to the long list of relatable graphic novels, while Big Nate continued to make us laugh so hard we snorted milk out our noses. Here are the things the Good Comics for Kids bloggers are thankful for this year.
Brigid: This was a particularly stressful year for me, because of family and job issues, so I really enjoyed my escape reading. I wasn’t kidding about Big Nate. John Allison’s Bad Machinery is another comic that I turn to when I just need to get away from reality for a bit and have a good laugh. In terms of manga, Dr. Stone is my go-to escape read, as I enjoy watching a couple of high school kids re-create thousands of years’ worth of technology with rocks and leaves. It’s like MacGyver but with battles and fanservice.
I also want to give a big shout-out to Seven Seas, which has greatly diversified its publishing program in recent years. Some of the best manga I read all year came from them, including the coming-out story Our Dreams at Dusk and Akiko Higashimura’s artistic memoir Blank Canvas. More, please!
Esther: This year has brought about a lot of change in my personal and professional life! And while change is neither necessarily good or bad it certainly has brought a lot of stress into my day-to-day. Reading is what always helps alleviate my stress. Especially graphic novels, because half the time I don’t have the attention span to read a lot of words on a page, but the pictures engage me.
I have been grateful for graphic novels that gave me a window to another time or to another world. New Kid by Jerry Craft, was eye-opening for me. It made me think of my role as an educator. It had me evaluating how I do my job. George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy took me down a dark path of American history. A path I wanted to understand. Jen Wang’s Stargazing gave me a glimpse of another culture.
I have also been grateful for DC’s new line of comics, DC Ink and DC Zoom. Both lines gave me the richness of a YA novel that I so enjoy, with so many beloved authors, with the format I’ve come to love, and with characters that are familiar, but not necessarily characters I knew well as I consider myself a “newcomer” to comics.
Finally, I’m just grateful to the Comics/Graphic Novel industry. When students first come into my library—some who have never had a library in elementary school—they marvel at our graphic novel collection. It invites them in and makes them feel welcome. It’s made my job all that much easier (except when I have to try to keep up with all those series!).
Lori: Work and classes have not only induced a lot of stress for me, but has also kept me from reading as much as I used to. But winter and summer break did allow me to squeeze in some fun reading before hitting the books again in the spring and fall. I agree with Brigid that Dr. Stone is a great escape title. I didn’t think I would like it as much as it did. The characters and the application of science were just so much fun, it was a great escape for at least an hour from work woes.
I’m also grateful that Elfquest has returned in the form of a miniseries featuring one of my favorite characters, Skywise. I’d been reading Elfquest since the 4th issue of the original quest came out in the late seventies, and its been with me for most of my life. Getting another chance to return to the World of Two Moons really made me happy.
Filed under: All Ages
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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