If you’ve read my About page, you’ll know that I’m part of a organization called WUD PubCom (short for Wisconsin Union Directorate Publications Committee). We’re still a fairly new committee (about five or so years. Meanwhile, Hoofers has been around for more than fifty at least) and we’re trying to make our mark on campus. One such way is Litfest, a week-long literary festival celebrating the written and spoken word. I volunteered to help organize the graphic novel panel, which took place last Monday at Union South.
We had some setbacks. One of our panelists didn’t show up, which is unfortunate but since we had a panel of three people already, we were just fine. And when we first arrived at the room and went to pick up our order from catering, we discovered that catering didn’t even have our order on file! The woman who took care of us brought out lemonade, pretzels, and popcorn to make up for it. But since our initial order was something sweet (cookies and union punch*) she went to hunt down what she had available that was sweet. Her findings brought us brownies, which were all gone by the end of the night.
*Union punch is a carbonated punch with fresh raspberries. If I were to guess what it was made of, I would guess pink lemonade and white soda. It’s delicious.
Despite this, the panel was a great success! We had questions prepared beforehand for our panelists to talk about, which got the discussion going, but then it melded into a Q&A with the audience. And when the audience ran out of questions, the panelists asked the audience questions. We talked about alternate universes in comics, various theorists that studied comics and their findings, DC’s New 52 and some of the things they did there (both right and wrong), and the differences in comics/graphic novels between different countries. One of our panelists is a masters student studying graphic novels (let’s call her Jessie). She grew up with Asterix and Tintin and other European comics whereas the other two (Johnny and Ken) were more familiar with Wolverine and Batman. So it was a great mix of opinions and ideas. Jessie was also coming from an academia side where Ken was more of a fan. Johnny knew the least, but he had some good input from a casual fan’s perspective. We touched on manga, but since no one considered themselves an expert, there wasn’t a full-on discussion about them.
Meanwhile, I took notes of various comics to check out (Persepolis and Superman: Red Sun) as well as theorists (Dr. Batman). And when all was said and done, the panelists asked the audience questions, which was mostly a list of awesome web comics and what fans like in web comics. So that was enlightening to me, who doesn’t read any web comics beyond Girl Genius and xkcd.
Overall, the panel was a success. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Am I a professional event planner? No, but I have experience with it. I’m satisfied with what went down, and I’m sure the audience can say the same.
Discussion Question: Do you read graphic novels? Which is your favorite and why? If you don’t, tell us your favorite funny to read in the newspaper.