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Graphic Novels At The 2015 ALA Annual Conference

The American Library Association Annual Conference takes place June 25-30 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, and has a wide variety of programs and events for both casual and hard core graphic novel fans.

Returning this year is the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage, featuring a wide-ranging line-up of speakers discussing the roles of comics and games in the library, as well as the Artist Alley, offering attendees the chance to meet over 40 comic book and graphic novel creators.

The Annual Conference also features the announcement of several awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in Young Adult literature, the Coretta Scott King Award for "outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults," and the Stonewall Book Awards for "exceptional merit" relating to the GLBT experience, each of which has awarded or honored graphic novels in previous years.

A number of notable graphic novel-related events will take place over the conference, including:

The awarding of the annual Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grant for Libraries, sponsored by Diamond Book Distributors. Two libraries will receive a collection of graphic novels nominated for the 2015 Will Eisner Comics Industry Award, a $2,000 voucher for the purchase of additional graphic novels, a $1,000 grant for the library to hold graphic novel or comics themed events and a $1,000 travel stipend. Winners will be announced Saturday, June 27 at 2 p.m. at the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage.

The annual gaming/cosplay/geek fun event ALA Play Friday, June 27, 7:30 - 10 p.m. in Yerba Buena Salon 07 of the Marriott Marquis San Francisco. Paizo, Fantasy Flight, and Academy Games will host open playing of selections from their games catalogs, and this year features Unpub, in which games makers can bring in their unpublished games for attendees to try out and offer feedback, with a prize awarded for the highest-rated game.

Udon Entertainment will host a raffle Sunday, June 28 for an original piece of art created by Street Fighter artist Long Vo, who will also be signing at the booth Saturday, June 27, at booth #219.

Several graphic novel publishers and organizations will also be exhibiting at the conference, including:

Diamond Book Distributors/BookShelf (Booth #216)
Capstone Publishing (Booth #3118)
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (Booth #211)
Dark Horse Comics (Booth #221)
IDW Publishing (Booth #216)
Image Comics (Booth #216)
Macmillan/First Second (Booth #1009)
Mastermind Comics (Booth #3442)
NBM/Papercutz (Booth #203)
Oni Press (Booth #216)
Udon Entertainment (Booth #219)
Viz Media (Booth #214)

The ALA Artist Alley will feature a number of graphic novel artists offering sketches, books, and conversation. The artists scheduled to appear are:

Erika Alexander
Ivan Brandon
Frank Cammuso
Ben Collison
Oliver Chin
Tony Cliff
Ariel Cohn
Daniel Corey
Jonathan Dalton
Nick Dragotta
Alexis Fajardo
Matthew Fillbach
Shawn Fillbach
Otis Frampton
Chris Giarrusso
John Green
Justin Greenwood
Nathan Hale
Joshua Hauke
Christopher Henderson  
John Hendrix
Becca Hillburn
  Gareth Hinds
Kill Shakespeare (Anthony del Col & Conor McCreery)
Janet K. Lee
Mike Maihack
MariNaomi
Paul Roman Martinez
Kevin McCloskey
Nikki McClure
Carlos Nieto III
Kip Noschese
Thien Pham
Matt Phelan
Tony Puryear
Jimmie Robinson
Dave Roman
Greg Schigiel
Chris Schweizer
Aaron Steinke
Raina Telgemeier
Jeremy Whitley
Alex Woolfson
Gene Luen Yang 

The Conference features a number of graphic novels-themed presentations and meetings for attendees. Here is the official list of events, broken down by category: 

Panels/Presentations
Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage
Author Meet/Signings

Panels/Presentations

Friday, June 26

12 - 4 pm
GraphiCon Discussion Forum: Diversity in Comics
We Need Diverse Books Masters of Ceremony Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung host a series of panels with creators, editors, and librarians inspired by the #weneeddiversebooks and #weneeddiversecomics hashtags which explore the efforts made to increase the diversity of creators and representation in the industry.

The panels:

12:15 - 1:15 pm
#WeNeedDiverseComics
Comics blogger and Image Comics editor David Brothers moderates a panel featuring Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy), Gene Yang (The Shadow Hero, American Born Chinese), Ethan Young (Nanjing the Burning City) and Jeremy Whitley (Princeless), which examines the current state of diversity in the comics industry from both mainstream and independent perspectives.

1:30 - 2:30 pm
His, Hers, and Theirs: Gender and Comics
Comic creators Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant), Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer), Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl, Gotham Academy), Jennifer L. Holm (Babymouse, Sunny Side Up), and Trina Robbins (From Girls to Girlz, Pretty in Ink) will discuss the issues of gender depiction and representation in comics.

2:45 - 3:45 pm
Out of the Closet and Into the Library: Queer Comics are Here
Comic book retailer and Valkyries member Juliette Capra moderates a panel featuring comic creators Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf, Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever), Noelle Stephenson (Nimona, Lumberjanes), Alex Woolfson (The Young Protectors, Artifice) and Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer, Skim) discuss queer representations in comics for all ages.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 3010 (W)

7:30 - 10 pm
ALAplay 2015
The annual gaming/graphic novel/cosplay event takes place again this year, where attendees will have the chance to play some of the newest games in the ALA’s game library as well as meet representatives from game makers Paizo, Fantasy Flight, and Academy Games. Also included this year is Unpub, in which local game designers and librarians will bring in their unpublished games for play and feedback, with the chance to win prizes. To have your game included in Unpub, contact Brian Mayer.
Location: Marriott Marquis San Francisco, Yerba Buena Salon 07

Saturday, June 27

8:30 - 10 am
Kids Comics Have Arrived
Scott Robins, Children's Services Specialist for the Toronto Public Library moderates this panel which include Jennifer Holm (Babymouse), Cece Bell (El Deafo), Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space), and Svetlana Chmakova (Awkward) discuss using graphic novels to encourage creativity and a love of reading in children.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 232-234 (S)

10:30 - 11:30 am
Best/Worst Comics and Manga for Kids
Librarian/School Library Journal writer Eva Volin moderates a panel that includes Deb Aoki (MangaComicsManga), Juliette Capra (Fantastic Comics), and Dave Roman (Goosebumps, Kids' Comics Revolution podcast), which will enthusiastically discuss the best new comics and manga for kids from the previous year while highlighting upcoming titles, and offer their thoughts on the titles that should be avoided.
Location: Hilton San Francisco Union, Golden Gate 2

1 - 2:30 pm
AIDS in the End Zone: Working with Incarcerated Youth to Create a Graphic Novel on HIV/AIDS Prevention
University of South Carolina Associate Professor Kendra Albright will describe the program that created the educational graphic novel AIDS in the End Zone, in which two professors and a graphic illustrator worked with incarcerated youth on the graphic novel, which is used as an HIV/AIDS prevention tool, as well as the process of making comics with teens.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 122 (N)

Beyond Tintin: Collecting European Comics in the U.S.
Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Curator and Associate Professor Jenny Robb moderates a panel with University of Washington Associate Professor José Alaniz, First Second Books Editorial Director Mark Siegel, and Stanford University Professor of Film and Media Studies Scott Bukatman looks at the current European comics scene and offers tips and suggestions about collection development.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 3004 (W)

Celebrating Graphic Novels: Graphix and Beyond!
Panelists Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters), Dave Roman (Goosebumps Graphix), Craig Thompson (Space Dumplins), Jennifer Holm (Sunny Side Up), and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) will discuss their new and upcoming titles and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the young reader graphic novel publisher.
Location: Marriott Marquis San Francisco, Yerba Buena Salon 05

Librarians in the Podcast and Forthcoming Novel
Librarian/No Flying No Tights editor in chief Robin Brenner hosts a panel with Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, co-creators of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and authors of the forthcoming novel. The duo will explain why librarians play a unique role in the podcast, and how librarians can use the podcast's popularity with teens and young adults in programming and event ideas.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 3011 (W)

1 - 5:30 pm
Great Graphic Novels for Teens
The YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee discusses nominated titles for 2016.
Location: Westin St. Francis, Kent Room

2:45 - 3:30 pm
Conversation Starter: Should Graphic Novels Have Their Own Award? *event has been cancelled*
Prince George's County Public Schools Teacher-Librarian Rebecca Oxley leads a panel that will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of creating a book award specifically for graphic literature with panelists Gene Luen Yang (comic creator and high school Computer Science teacher), Candice Mack (librarian and former chair of the Great Graphic Novels committee), Dave Roman (comic creator, founder of Kids Comics Revolution! podcast),  Laura Given (K-8 Media Specialist, 2016 Caldecott committee member, chair of Star of the North Picture Book Award), and Charles Brownstein (writer, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund).
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 130 (N)

3 - 4 pm
Adventures in the Archives
Rory Grennan (University of Illinois Archives) moderates a panel discussing reference and collecting with Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), Corry Kanzenberg (Charles M. Schulz Museum), and Miki Bulos (Lucas Research Library at Skywalker Ranch).
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 3004 (W)

Geek Out!: The Importance of Pop Culture in Libraries
Ivy Weir (Bayard Taylor Memorial Library) will discuss how librarians can use popular culture to bring teens into libraries, using personal anecdotes from her work experiences.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 2001 (W)

Sunday, June 28

10:30 - 11:30 am
From Podcast to Panels: Taking The Thrilling Adventure Hour to Graphic Novels!
Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, creators of the hit podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour, discuss the work that went into adapting their show to comics for their two Image Comics series, Sparks Nevada and Beyond Belief.
Location: Moscone Convention Center, 3010 (W)


Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage

Saturday, June 27

9 - 10 am
Paizo: Pathfinder Organized Play in Your Library
Games maker Paizo, Inc., has one of the largest organized role playing networks in the world, and representatives from the company will discuss the game, and show how it can be used in libraries to bring in younger patrons as well as its educational benefits, with examples from libraries who are running their own Pathfinder campaigns.

10 - 11 am
Mark Siegel: The History and Growth of First Second Books
Mark Siegel, Editorial Director and Founder of First Second Books, will discuss the history of the company, which has published many award winning and best selling graphic novels including Gene Luen Yang's Boxers & Saints, Paul Pope's Battling Boy, and Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl, and how librarians helped in the publisher's growth.

11 am - 12 pm
Academy of Games
Uwe Eickert from the Academy will examine “What makes a game an effective learning tool?” using examples to show how games engage players.

12 - 1 pm
Derf Backderf
Backderf, author of the award-winning graphic novel My Friend Dahmer will discuss his new book, Trashed, an inside look at the work of a garbage collector.

1 - 2 pm
Zine and Not Heard!
Matthew Murray, editor of the Zine Two Fisted Librarian, will emcee a panel in which zinesters from the Zine Pavillion, including Alex Wrekk and Jonas Cannon, will read their works.

2 - 3 pm
Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries Announcement
The 2015 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants will be presented to two winning libraries, and information will be offered on how to apply for next year's grant.

3 - 4 pm
Award Winning Authors: Their Books, Process, and the Future
Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz honor-winning authors Cece Bell (El Deafo) and Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer) will discuss the importance of graphic novels' recognition in literary awards.

4 - 5 pm
Daniel Corey: "Moriarty" The experience of creating, the image, and self branding
The writer and creator of the Image Comics series Moriarty – based on Sherlock Holmes' nemesis – discusses the title and his work managing the brand identity of the comic, an essential element of today's publishing market.

Sunday, June 28

9 - 10 am
Chris Harris: Teaching Through Games: A Play-Based Approach to Learning in Libraries of All Types
Gaming and learning expert Christopher Harris (author of the Teaching Through Games series) will offer suggestions of tabletop games that libraries can use to start play-based learning programs.

10 - 11 am
Christos Gage: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
The New York Times best-selling author discusses the rewards and challenges of adapting properties, how to stay true to the source material while continuing the develop the characters.

11 am - 12 pm
Westport Libraries Robotics: How Robotics Interact with People
The Westport Library has developed programming for two Alderbaran NAO robots, and trained over 500 people to use the software. This panel will show how humans and robots interact, and how robots can be programmed.

12 - 1 pm
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Charles Brownstein and Maren Williams discuss the fight against comic and graphic novel censorship with Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints), and Eva Volin (School Library Journal).

1 - 2 pm
DC Entertainment- Inside the Page: Bat-Universe
Batman Group Editor Mark Doyle will discuss the inner workings of DC Comics's various Batman comics with creators Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Brendan Fletcher (Batgirl, Gotham Academy), Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy),Tim Seely (Grayson), and Tom King (Grayson).

2 - 3 pm
Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen: Using Musical Activities to Build Early Literacy Skills
The creator of the early literacy program Mother Goose on the Loose will discuss ways parents can teach kids the joy of reading through interactive methods and the program app.

3 - 4 pm
Historical Fiction Graphic Novel Panel
Comic creators Chris Schweizer (The Crogan Adventures), Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese), Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant), and Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales) discuss the ins and outs of creating stories that take place in specific historical eras, and how the books can impart greater understanding of the settings on readers.

Monday, June 29

9 - 10 am
Joshua Hale Fialkov: The Bunker
The graphic novel, animation, video game, film, and television writer will discuss his latest project, The Bunker, in which a group of people are warned by their future selves not to make the choices that will destroy the world – but they're not sure they’ll be up to the task.

10 - 11 am
Graphix 10 Panel
Jennifer Holm (Babymouse), Craig Thompson (Space Dumplins), Raina Telegemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy) will discuss the tenth anniversary of the young reader graphic novel publisher.

10:30 - 11:30 am
Graphic Novel Petting Zoo
Jack Baur (Berkeley Public Library), Casey Gilly (Comic Book Resources), and Eva Volin (Alameda Free Library) will discuss their picks of the best comics released in the last year, and offer attendees copies to flip through.

11 am – 12 pm
Lark Pien
The cartoonist and children’s book author discusses the differences and similarities of both labels, and asks the audience’s opinion on the distinction between the two.

12 - 12:30 pm
Nick Dragotta and Dr. Saul Griffith
The creators of the Howtoons instructional comics discuss their experiences using comics in the library, and offer details on their comic which teaches elements of science while showing kids how to make their own toys and other devices.

Author Meet/Signings

Friday, June 26

5:30 - 7 pm
Stacy King (Manga Classics Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter)
Udon Entertainment
Exhibit Hall, booth #219

6 - 7 pm
Cece Bell (El Deafo)
Abrams Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #1022

Saturday, June 27

10 - 11 am
Jeff Parker (Meteor Men)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

Noelle Stevenson (Nimona)
HarperCollins Children's Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #3100

10 am - 12 pm
Long Vo (Street Fighter)
Udon Entertainment
Exhibit Hall, booth #219

11 am - 12 pm
Jeffrey Brown (Star Wars Jedi Academy)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Jeffrey Burandt (Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

12 - 1 pm
Ted Niafeh (Courtney Crumrin)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

1 - 2 pm
Cece Bell (El Deafo)
Abrams Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #1022

Paige Braddock (Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue)
Andrews McMeel
Exhibit Hall, booth #1136

1 - 3 pm
Long Vo (Street Fighter)
Udon Entertainment
Exhibit Hall, booth #219

2 - 2:45 pm
Cece Bell (El Deafo)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Exhibit Hall, booth #1127

3 - 4 pm
Jeff Parker (Meteor Men)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

4 - 5 pm
Derf Backderf (Trashed)
Abrams Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #1022

Jeff Burandt (Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Dave Roman (Goosebumps Graphix)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Sunday, June 28

9:30 - 10:30 am
Jeffrey Brown (Darth Vader and Friends)
Chronicle Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #3124

10 - 11 am
Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Adventures)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

Raina Telgemeier & Ann Martin (Baby Sitters Club Graphix)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

11 am - 12 pm
Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer)
Groundwood Books/PGW
Exhibit Hall, booth #1327

Mike Tanner & Greg Smith (Junior Braves of the Apocalypse)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

12 - 1 pm
Ted Niafeh (Courtney Crumrin)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

1 - 2 pm
Cece Bell & David Lasky (El Deafo)
Abrams Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #1022

Chris Giarrusso (G-Man Super Journal: Awesome Origins)
Andrews McMeel
Exhibit Hall, booth #1136

2 - 3 pm
Dav Pilkey & Dan Santat (Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Mike Tanner & Greg Smith (Junior Braves of the Apocalypse)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

3 - 4 pm
Christos Gage & Ruth Fletcher Gage (The Lion of Rora, Netflix's Daredevil)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

Jenni Holm (Sunny Side Up)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Dav Pilkey (Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Exhibit Hall, booth #1219

Craig Thompson (Space Dumplins)
Scholastic
Exhibit Hall, booth #3224

Monday, June 29

9:15 am - 10:15 am
Dav Pilkey (Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Stupid Stinkbugs from Saturn)
Perma-Bound Books
Exhibit Hall, booth #1112

10 - 11 am
Zach Lehner (Junior Braves of the Apocalypse)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

11 am - 12 pm
Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

1 - 2 pm
Zach Lehner (Junior Braves of the Apocalypse)
Oni Press
Exhibit Hall, booth #216

For more information, visit the ALA Annual Conference web site.