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Roundtable: Looking Back, Looking Forward

W.I.T.C.H.

W.I.T.C.H.

Happy New Year! As we leave 2017 behind and plunge into 2018, some of the Good Comics for Kids bloggers paused to look back at what they liked best about 2017—and what they are looking forward to in the new year!

Johanna: My favorite thing about 2017 was attending SPX and MoCCA Fest, two of the best artist-focused comic shows. It’s great to see so many upcoming creators mingling with established favorites, and they’re wonderful ways to find something new to read. Plus, as time has gone by, more diverse types of stories—including kid-friendly—have begun appearing at these shows, reflecting positive changes in audience and material across the industry.

Young FrancesWhat I’m looking forward to in 2018: I just found out that AdHouse will be releasing a collected edition of the Pope Hats storyline about Frances the law clerk by Hartley Lin in May. This is some absolutely superb cartooning that makes subtle and realistic observations about growing up and figuring out what you want out of life. Frances’ everyday job is contrasted with her friend Vickie’s more glamorous dreams. It’s the kind of story a lot of people can relate to but that isn’t often seen in comics. I loved it. I hope the collection will bring it to the attention of a lot more people; it deserves it.

Esther: My favorite part of 2017… My new 6th grade. [Esther is a middle school librarian—Ed.] They have kept me on my toes with my graphic novel collection. They are constantly asking me for book recommendations and are on me about not enough new titles. They are super excited to use the library and really challenge me in my work in the best possible way. There are some students who have gone through most of my collection—and I have a lot of comics!

So I guess in 2018… I continue to look forward to that challenge. But I look forward to really reading more and I hope that I can get to a professional show, like Comic Con NY this year.

Space Battleship YamatoLori: My favorite thing about 2017 was my collection of cozy mysteries. This last year was a bit of a roller coaster for me, and having stories with familiar characters—and almost always a cat somewhere—solving problems made it easier to traverse the ups and downs. And they are just so much fun to read! Discovering The Hallmark Channel Movies and Mysteries had turned several into TV movies was just a bonus.

What I’m looking forward to in 2018 is the release of the Leji Matsumoto manga Captain Harlock and Space Battleship Yamato, both announced by Seven Seas Entertainment. Like many old school anime fans, I never thought we would get the original manga of these two shows. I can’t wait to finally be able to read them.

JY logoBrigid: While 2017 was a difficult year in many ways, there were a lot of bright spots in the world of children’s comics: The continued influx of young creators, the revival of older properties for a new audience, and new publishing programs (such as Humanoids’ kids’ line) to provide a greater variety of comics for young readers than ever before. One development that summed up these trends is the launch of Yen Press’s JY line of young-readers graphic novels. This year, they published Svetlana Chmakova’s Brave, one of the outstanding children’s graphic novels of the year, and they brought back the W.I.T.C.H. graphic novels, which were among my kids’ favorites when I first started writing about manga in 2005. (My daughters are now in their 20s, but they shrieked with delight when I showed them the new editions.) JuYoun Lee, who oversees the line, is a top-notch editor, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with this year.

SparksSpeaking of 2018: This year Good Comics for Kids will celebrate its 10th anniversary. In our first post on SLJ, I wrote that we were standing on the brink of a golden age. That was two years before Raina Telgemeier became the best-selling creator in comics, but we already knew what was coming, and the children’s graphic novel category has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. There’s more to come: I spent the holidays reading a stack of awesome new graphic novels—Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto’s Sparks and Jodorowsky and Bess’s The Magical Twins, to mention just two. Katie O’Neill, creator of Princess, Princess, and The Tea Dragon Society, has a new book in the works. And in a studio somewhere, a creator is settling down to work on our new favorite graphic novel. We just don’t know what it is yet, but I’m looking forward to finding out in 2018.

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Brigid Alverson 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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