There is a debate on the literary worth of comics and graphic novels. Some traditionalists cite the limited text and the heavy reliance on illustrations as reasons not to take the medium seriously. However, this past weekend, comics had a significant presence at the San Diego Festival of Books and one graphic novel in particular was the star of the show.
For the first time ever for One Book, One San Diego, a graphic novel was chosen. This year the critically acclaimed March was selected. The title, from the creative team of Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, follows Lewis’ experiences and perspectives during the civil rights movement. The “One Book” initiative encourages San Diegans to read the same book and then come together to discuss it during the Fall at a number of events throughout the county and Baja, California.
In addition, a couple of creators were invited to be part of the author line up. They included founder of Kid Comics and writer and artist of the series, The Power Knights, Keithan Jones, maker of the marine science-based, Squidtoons, Garfield Kwan, and from the graphic novel, Dream Jumper, Lucas Turnbloom. There were also panels held by local Little Fish Comic Book Studio about dynamic comic creation and one where Jones and Turnbloom discussed the business and lifestyle of comic culture.
Finally, since the event was held at Liberty Station, publisher IDW participated in the festivities. They had talent signings with John Barber (Transformers Unicron), Tom Waltz (TMNT), Bobby Curnow (Ward’s Valley), and David Mariotte (Hanazuki). Also, they had a highly curated selection of books that were on sale at discounted prices.
Overall, the SD Festival of Books was a fun and great celebration of all books. The inclusion of comics and the selection of March for “One Book” during the show help make the medium more accepted and appreciated for its literary impact.