Saturday, April 26, 2008

LA Times Festival of Books Comics!

So....I went to the Festival of Books today, and it turned out that two of the three panels that I was able (and most wanted) to attend were on graphic novels. (Owing to the frustrating scheduling mentioned earlier.)


The first was panel titled Comics: Superheroes of the Page & Screen and featured Jeph Loeb, Mike Mignola, and Steve Niles. Geoff Boucher moderated.

Loeb was hilarious, Mignola was pretty damn funny as well, and all three were entertaining and interesting. The overall conversation left me (internally) screaming "Wonder Woman!" But sadly, not in a good way.

Also sadly, no autographs as I was pretty ignorant of all their work beforehand and so wasn't prepared to go the the signing. More importantly, I had less than a half hour to get to the next panel, and UCLA is a freaking big campus.


The second panel I went to was titled Tween Series Writing: Other Worlds and featured Cornelia Funke, Erin Hunter and Rick Riordan. Moderated by Sonja Bolle.

Funke is sweet and kick-ass smart, Hunter is sassy and funny as hell, and Riordan is just the kind of teacher you wished you had in middle school. Plus, there were tons of kids there, which was super-cool.


The third panel was Reading Manga: A Japanese Phenomenon Comes to America, featuring Liza Coppola, Lillian M. Diaz Przybyl, and Frederik Schodt. Charles Solomon moderated.

This last was not quite as hilarity filled as the other two (although laughs were to be had, this is manga we're talking about), which may be due to it being made of reviewers and editors rather than writers. Or it could have been the heat. But it was still interesting and informative - if perhaps a bit basic at times, as anything involving manga (that isn't held at a con) must sadly still be.

Unfortunately, the manga fans were the ones pulling the stupid crap that comic fans gets stereotyped as doing (although, being manga fans, the "questions" centered around fanfic/art and scanlations.) I kept wanting to tell them to act their age, but the main problem did seem to be that they were.


My most prized signature of the day was from multiple-Caldecott-winning-author and illustrator David Weisner, who signed my newly bought copy of Tuesday, possibly the first (mostly) wordless picture book I ever read. Since it was my love of wordless picture books (along with my love for the X-Men movies) that got me thinking maybe there was something to this whole comic book stuff, the day seemed more like "sequential art day" to me. :)

Oops! I forgot!


Angry Little Girl buttons!

Cute! Colorful! Angry!

And Lela's right, the bags did look kind of like bags of candy. Cute, colorful, angry candy.



FF said...

Although I admit I am not an active reader of your blogs, I too attended the Japanese Manga panel at the festival of books and was greatly annoyed at the behavior of the fans. First, the girl in the pink sweater, who should probably never wear that in public again because she looks like a giant ball of bubblegum, not only came off as haughty but also foolish as well. Her question about scanlations in front of TWO executives was by far the most sweepingly retarded move I've ever seen. It's as if she described how to steal a car in front of a police officer or automobile salesman. Then, one of the final questions from the young man who was writing a book, was equally absurd and uncalled for. He begins his question by first bluntly stating he doesn't like Naruto, which had no relevance to his question anyway, then trying to pitch his own book that has already been written. WOW -- if he's such a big fan he should know there's already a written publication about the subject he's writing on. Another disturbing fact was his stance; he attempted to look cool or pull off some look, but he came off as very childish and flat out rude because displaying your crotch to the panel is anything but appealing. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion but after seeing some of the people in the room, I truly felt disappointed at the anime community.

Mickle said...

I am in complete agreement with everything but this:

"who should probably never wear that in public again because she looks like a giant ball of bubblegum,"

While the outfit was hardly stylish, it's also irrelevant to anything else she said or did, and so mentioning it - especially with the implication that the worst part was her size - comes a bit to close to simply judging her by her looks, imo.

It's one thing to say that the boy's long hair reinforced his rudeness, as it kept falling in his downturned face, but looking like pink bubblegum has nothing to do with her actions. I don't even see it as a metaphor for her personality, because she came off as more self-centered than airhead to me.

ps (being the silly feminist that I am - she was a "girl", but he was a "young man"? I'll admit that I couldn't see him very well, I was back behind him on the panelists left side, but he looked and sounded younger than her to me. I'd guess she's college aged while he's merely high school aged.)

But yeah, major dissapointment

I think a part of it has to do with maturity, but I also think a part of it has to do with lack of cohesion among manga/anime fans - especially outside of the younger crowd - which makes self-policing harder.

FF said...

My reference to the "giant ball of bubblegum" is somewhat of an inside joke my friends made after we left the panel. ^_^ I guess it's character defamation...

As for the "young man," I didn't get a good look at his face either because I was actually sitting on the far right hand row directly behind him. I assume he was in his late teens or early twenties based on his height, sound of voice, etc.

I also have to agree with 'michel' about the lack of cohesion, which I believe is based on maturity and, more specifically, the ability to discern between having a healthy leisurely activity and having a hobby which consumes too much of one's social life and/or alters the view on reality. The manner in which the young lady in pink (better?) pressed her question after being rebuked simply reveals to me that she believed she was in the right about the situation. Her reference to "we" and insistence on explaining what scanlations were, despite having been told that the panel would explain in, suggests she felt she knew more about the subject. I'm quite sure that the large Anime companies understand that piracy is a big issue.

To bridge the gap that 'michel' proposes would be difficult because it goes beyond the realm of fandom and oriented towards character change. Much like how comic books provided an escape for many of America's youth, leading them into a fantastical world of freedom and heroism, manga is also breeding a distinct culture; however, it is one that is young and still draws some negative attention, particularly from individuals who decide to take their love of the art form to a degree that repels most of us away.

FF said...

Correction: I believe his name is 'mickle' and not 'michel'.

FF said...

Possible Correction: HER name is mickle? I kept assuming it was male but the blogger, after reading the articles, seems to be female.

Mickle said...

yup, I'm a girl :)

Mickle is a pen name - stolen from Lloyd Alexander's Westmark series.