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What was likely the busiest New York Comic Con ever, this year’s highly anticipated fall extravaganza, once again, drew an energetic array of Graphic Universe authors, illustrators, agents, and fans to Big Apple’s Javits Center.
A frenetic scene at the Graphic Universe booth at the heart of Comic Con
All the way from Denmark, came Lars Jakobsen, creator of the greatly enjoyable GU series Mortensen’s Escapades. Lars’ talent was on full display Friday as he illustrated and signed images of his eponymous time traveling main character. He feverishly drew so many original vignettes in the hour that he could have probably completed a new volume.
Eager fans lining up for autographs from Mortensen’s Escapades author-illustator Lars Jakobsen (left) and Guinea PIG author Colleen AF Venable (right)
The next day, and perhaps the most frenetic of the weekend, saw two memorable GU signings. First, the prolific author Dan Jolley provided autographs for several of his recent titles—The Girl Who Owned a City and My Boyfriend is a Monster series. It was followed that afternoon by the Eisner-nominated dynamic duo of author-illustrator Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue who captivated the crowd with their latest Guinea PIG title Raining Cats and Detectives.
Graphic Universe author Dan Jolley handing over a signed copy of his book (left); Little White Duck Illustrator Andrés Vera Martínez with Lindsay Matvick, Lerner Senior Publicist (right)
Sunday was designated “Kids Day’, which was a perfect fit for the Illustrator-author husband and wife team of Andrés Vera Martínez and Na Liu who showcased their starred reviewed book Little White Duck. Fitting because their delightful young daughter, Mei Lan, was there to sign books too. And I must say she demonstrated an early gift for the activity.
Kathleen Clarke, Lerner Trade Show Manager with Robyn Chapman, Graphic Universe Editorial Assistant (left picture); Convention goer chatting with Carol Burrell, Graphic Universe Editorial Director and GU author Dan Jolley (right)
In addition, Spanish agent and friend Eduardo Alpuente, who represents many GU contributors (illustrators, colorists, and letterists) overseas made several appearances at the GU booth. The most memorable one was when accompanied by a friend, Alberto, a master magician, who mesmerized us with an impromptu card trick.
A young Guinea PIG fan (left); One of thousands of eye catching costumes at Comic Con; and Lars Jakobsen posing as Mortensen (pictured right) with Kasper Bent Rasmussen, Assistant Cultural Officer of the Royal Danish Consulate General (left)
And, of course, the convention couldn’t have been carried out without the tireless efforts and well-honed skills of the Lerner staff, including Lerner VP, Director of Marketing Terri Souter, the very pregnant Senior Publicist Lindsay Matvick, Lerner Trade Show Manager Kathleen Clark, GU Editorial Director Carol Burrell, and GU Editorial Assistant Robyn Chapman.
(above) A variety of fans gathered for autographs at the Graphic Universe booth
In an adjacent hall was “Artist Alley”, a venue where independent artists showcased their works.
Carol Burrell, Editorial Director, participating on a panel discussion (left); A quiet moment at the GU booth with The Little Prince display in foreground
On any given spring weekend in New York the city comes alive with street fairs and conventions. Last weekend (April 28-29), Graphic Universe was right smack in the middle of one such festival. The annual Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) fest, taking place at the historic 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, was center stage for aspiring and seasoned comic book artists alike to show off their wares and expand networking. It was also a perfect place for comic book aficionados just to take in a festive atmosphere.
Carol Burrell with GU authors Lars Jakobsen and Colleen AF Venable.
This year Graphic Universe had prime real estate at the event as well some notable GU authors and illustrators on hand. A continual stream of interest surrounded our booth with special guests like Lars Jakobsen who came all the way from Denmark. He was there to promote his much anticipated, upcoming time-traveling-detective series Mortensen’s Escapades, which is expected to be released this September. Lars also demonstrated his impressive drawing chops by offering free sketches to convention goers. And then there was the always effervescent Colleen AF Venable of Guinea PIg fame—one of Graphic Universe’s favorite and bestselling authors. And to round off the booth was the much admired GU illustrator Alitha Martinez, whose My Boyfriend Bites (from My Boyfriend is a Monster series) was one of the most requested titles there. Other well-received books were The Girl Who Owned A City: The Graphic Novel, and series Lou!, The ElseWhere Chronicles, Nola’s Worlds, and Miss Annie.
Although tiny compared to the New York Comic Con, this fun little convention packs a punch when it comes to artistry and earnestness in comics and graphic novels. Graphic Universe is always proud to be part of it.
We’re all doing a little jig at the Graphic Universe office! The Ferret’s a Foot, the third book in the Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye series, has been nominated for an Eisner Award! Colleen Venable and Stephanie Yue’s book shares the spotlight with five other stellar titles in the category of “Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)”.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Eisner Awards, you might be curious as to why we’re so excited. After all, Graphic Universe books have been nominated for (and won) plenty of awards. But in comics, the Eisners are THE awards. Or, as Colleen put it, “the BIGGEST award in comics, think Oscars sans Joan Rivers.” It is named after one comics’ premiere “founding fathers” and early scholar, Will Eisner. Nominations are made by a select panel of industry professionals. Ceators, editors, publishers, and retailers cast their votes, and the awards ceremony is held annually at Comic-Con International (America’s biggest comics convention). So, when we say it’s an honor to be nominated, we’re not whistling Dixie!
Congrats, Colleen and Stephanie! Bring home the gold this July!