The second and third of the hybrid Virtual/In-Person 4 day U.S. Book Show were lively in person sessions with amazing galleys to score, intimate but well attended sessions promoting the books, and authors who were open to meeting and greeting fans, librarians, industry and press alike. While there were no booths, it easy to engage with guests and if desired get your galleys signed. Many of my galleys were sitting in a press room so I could sit comfortably but I did get my copy of OCCULTED signed as well as the Dracula Motherfucker. I’ve known Ryan Estrada via online for 24 years and it was a pleasure to finally meet him in person. There were other nice surprises of industry folks I did not know would be in attendance in advance, so that added to the enjoyment.
The first session of the day was Roz Chast discussing her up coming “I Must Be Dreaming” from Bloomsbury (scheduled for October 2023) with fellow cartoonist Emily Flake. In a fun and spirited discussion they spoke of dreams themselves and the most common that have afflicted them such as teeth, high school nightmares and even murder, including of their own children. It sounds horrific but it was hilarious and you should get yourself the VOD of the show to hear it yourself while you.
Next up activist and librarian Stephanie Anderson moderated a chat promoting what are considered the Big Books of Next Season. A very diverse selection of amazing stories. It was also a diverse conversation speaking of different viewpoints, differernt storytelling, processes, and backgrounds. All four books truly worth your time, money and energy to invest and discover more.
Ryan Estrada and Jeongmin Lee bring Amy Rose’s harrowing story of forced cult lifestyle as a youth in the very strong, powerful story OCCULTED (out June 2023 from Iron Circus Books in conjuction with Consortium). One that left me with wanting more. Luckily there is this little short story by Amy and Ryan on of all places the official Star Trek website that illuminates more facts but yet still lets me know there’s even MORE story to be had.
Pedro Martin’s MEXIKID (August 2023, Dial Books, a PRH Imprint) is a stunning and fun memoir. The art is quirky and cute, but also has parts which action packed comic art and sections with heavily detailed backgrounds. There’s even a recipe and a photo family album at the end.
I do not have an ARC of Curlfriends (October 2023, Little, Brown) to truly get a feel for the interiors, but Sharee Miller has been making amazing and important Children’s books for years. To know there is a graphic novel feautring a diverse group of black female teenagers that will not just speak to those teenagers but show others the diversity of personalties that exist is so important and wonderful.
I have been a fan of George O’Connor‘s Olypians series since its inception. It entertains while it educates on classic myth. As much as I like Greek myth (I’m queer, was a theater major and studied The Illiad in college), I LOVE Norse mythology so seeing George tackling Asgaridans, and first with Odin is just wonderful. ASGARDIANS: Odin is out November 2023 from First Second.
The third session of the day was Chuck D. in discussion with noted journalist Kelefa Sanneh. They discussed his June release STEWDIO: The Naphic Grovel ARTrilogy from Akashic Boos. Chuck is a unsurprisingly great at promoting himself and his work and Kelefa was an amazing moderator/interviewer.
During the interview Chuck made a big point of promoting Kelefa as well. So I reccomend checking out his New Yorker articles but also his book Major Labels. During the session, Chuck’s long time performance partner Flavor Flav also showed up and there was no way I was passing up the chance to get a selfie with two members of the legendary hiphop group Public Enemy.
After this there was break with catered food and plenty drinks. It also allowed a chance to stretch and for me to get this view which I got lost in.
This rest was much needed and meant missing two panels but which I would be remiss to mention as like with all these sessions you can still watch via VOD.
Aidyn Arroyal, aka Snailords, in conversation with Bobbie Chase about the collected Freaking Romance (Webtoon Unscrolled, September)
Stephen Graham Jones in Conversation with Alex Segura about Earthdivers, Vol. 1 (IDW, September)
I came back in time for the Adult Big Books session, actually seeing Mattie Lubchansky as they headed towards the elevator from the 9th floor where the press room was down to where the Comics sessions were being held.
This was another very spirited session. In discussion as per the books themselves were identity, process, book banning, development and more. Unfortunately other than issue #1 of James Tynion’s W0rldTr33 was available as material but hearing about each of these books made me want to read them and add them to my library and trust me, so do you.
Boys Weekend by the afore mentioned Mattie Lubchansky is an unusual horror during a bachelor party in which the transexual lead works with their fellow friends to discover some mystery. It sounds like a perfect platform to discuss multiple subjects.
WORM (November 2023, Metropolitan books) is the debut graphic novel from long time and noted painter and illustrator Edel Rodriguez. A memoir detailing his early youth in Cuba and travel to America through troubled turbulent politically fueled times. He was told by his family that the book would probably mean he’ll never get to return to Cuba in the future. A great side note, Edel’s teenage child was at the show and doing amazing ink drawings and he also had his own cameraman so hopefully that’ll make a great little documentary.
ROAMING (September 2023, Drawn & Quarterly) is the latest from Jillian Tamaki. This book is a little different than prior ones. While her cousin Mariko helped co-write it, this one is definitely more a Jillian solo creation devised from ideas and dreams during the pandemic. She had a plan to visit NY for reference but instead it became built on memory and the internet and this fascinates me cause from the pages we saw on the panel showed this is going to be a visual feast as well a great read.
W0rldTr33 (Collected edition November 2023, Image) is currently being published monthly. It is the latest from James Tynion IV who as stated by him is also now a different writer than he has been after a full identiy discovery and acceptance of himself. I feel artist Fernando Blanco’s statement from his Twitter profile page (as of this writing) about W0rldTr33 says a lot. “After a long and satisfying career, finally I’m drawing the kind of book always wanted to make: W0rldtr33”
Next up was a short session on The Prophet: A Graphic Novel Adaptation. (June 2023, Graphic Mundi)
While not the first time Kahil Gibran’s novel has been adapted in graphic novel form, Lewis’ version seems to tackle the material in new and intriguing ways and Justin Rentería’s art gives it a very special feel. The way A. David Lewis spoke about the book on the panel made me really curious to see it all laid out in front of my eyes.
The last panel before the closing keynote was noted and accomplished editor behind some of the greatest comics ever Joan Hilty in discussion with writer/director Alex De Campi on her upcoming Parasocial (October 2023, Image). Featuring art from her Dracula Motherfucker co-creator Erica Henderson this books promises to be awesome. Also to quote comics David López per the panel “Wow, @joanhilty and @alexdecampi together??? That’s too much badassery.”
Finally to close out the festivities of Day 2 we had Heidi Macdonald of The Beat interviewing Jeff Smith and Tillie Walden.
Jeff Smith spoke not only of his upcoming Bone: More Tall Tales (September 2023, Scholastic) but his self-published book TUKI, and the history Bone. As well as Heidi’s history with Bone having been with Disney Adventures magazine when Bone was first printed in color and went from little indie to a property known by millions.While Tille Walden presented upon the second volume of the very popular Clementine ( October 2023, Skybound/Image). Based upon and continuing the story told in the video game series of The Walking Dead originally developed by by Telltale and now published by Skybound Games. Tillie is working on Vol 3 BUT she also is developing another important project of her first child which she happily mentioned during the panel.
Before the panel ended Heidi made sure we saw this amazing sketch Ryan Estrada had done earlier combining BONE and his very popular BANNED BOOK CLUB. Amazingly BONE is one of the most banned books there are.
The second day ended with an amazing reception sponsored by Astra Books for Young Readers, Scholastic, Skybound, and Viz. It was open bar (wine and IPA beer) and hors’d voures. Unfortunately P-CS had to leave early because of extreme high sensitivty to shell fish but it was definitely a lively affair and a welcome addition to the show and proper ending to the panels and day 2 of the show.