Friday, June 30, 2006

ALA Report
KLC heads to the American Library Conference!

From ALA, here's my Graphic Novel Pavilion report, as I helped run the brand new KIDS LOVE COMICS! booth:

Although ALA attendance was apparently down a bit (this was my first ALA) in comparison with past shows (still over 20k, by official standings), you would not know it by the throngs (that's right, throngs!) of eager librarians packing the Graphic Novel Pavillion! While the big publisher booths were generally busy-- the Graphic Novel Pavillion was BUSY!--packed with librarians searching for the scoop on kids, and young adult GN's, manga, and anime. They were greeted by Diamond Books Library Division (the always friendly Allan Greenburg and Terry Hellman), as well as publishers and creators as varied as DC, Dark Horse, Batton Lash (Supernatural Law-- a big hit with the Law Libraries), TokyoPop, Viz, ADV, PaperCutz (which, to the uninformed) is a sister co. to NBM, publishing the super-popular Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys graphic novels...

Now, is where I've just lost some comics people-- Nancy Drew? Hardy Boys? Those books don't sell big numbers, right? Wrong! Terry Nantier of PaperCutz let me know sales on the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books are nearing hundreds of thousands in sales-- to libraries and book stores! I didn't know they were popular-- and, with my Buzzboy comics and trades, I am aimed squarely at this same market. The librarians agreed-- kids of all ages love comics and GN's-- they are just heading to their library to read them-- which I really hope leads them into the retail environment, for the sake of the direct market-- if the direct market steps up and supports these books... which brings me to my booth: KIDS LOVE COMICS!

KIDS LOVE COMICS! ( put together as an advocacy group to promote kids comics and graphic novels to yound people-- because kids are the most ignored audience in comics today. In retail shops, this is an uphill battle, but at the libraries, this organization is being welcomed, just if to offer up a list of kid friendly and appropriate comics to parents and librarians who can't make heads or tails of whether a comic is appropriate for a 12- or 21 year old. At ALA, Jimmy Gownley was there, promoting his new printings of Amelia Rules, Jane Fisher from WJHC and I was there with Buzzboy. But we were also pushing other Kids Comics-related projects, like Dave DeVries' Monster engine, and Mark McKenna's Banana Tail. Unfortunately, Top Shelf was unable to get the Owly books to us, but many libarians were already singing Owly (and Andy Runton's) praises. Okay, enough plugging, back to ALA...

Tying in with KLC, the biggest concern of the librarians was age-appropriate placement of the GN's in the library. DC and TokyPop were mentioned more than once as publishers in need of better descriptions of content (TokyoPop does have age ratings, but one librarian mentioned almost dropping DC's Identity Crisis in her juvenile section). Other librarians mentioned wantiong to have more creators come in and talk about creating comics. Many school librarians cited challenges in proving comics are educational, and I directed the to Diamonds's Bookshelf website, which offers up lesson plans, as well as Ally and Barry Lyga's book about using GN's in the Media Center.

Panels on graphic novels were PACKED! Like 200+ people in every GN panel, covering topics mentioned above, as well as the growing trends in GN's and Anime-- Robin Brenner, Michele Gorman, and Kat Kan may not be well names in comics shops-- but as librarian experts on GN's they are ROCK STARS!

Can you tell I had a good time! New Orleans was quieter but everyone was super friendly, and boy, do librarians know how to party!

In closing, let me plug my website,, you can see a preview of my new Buzzboy miniseries, launching in August from Sky-Dog Press. Thanks!

Welcome to Kids Love Comics-- working hard to get comics and Graphic Novels in the hands of kids! We hope to be an advocacy group for parents, librarians, and educators across the world!

--John Gallagher
creator of Buzzbot