Retold, Reimagined, and Refreshed
The CBC Graphic Novel Committee returned to San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCCI) this summer to host six awesome panels at the San Diego Public Library. For this series, we are going over each panel and sharing insights from authors, teachers, librarians, and more. CBC’s Sommer Wissner and John McCormack were on hand for the entire day.
We are back with a recap of our third panel, Retold, Reimagined, and Refreshed.
This panel was about different approaches to revamping classic stories. From vampires to witches, these authors created their own versions of monsters and presented them with new challenges and environments.
What would happen if a kid got bit by a vampire, werewolf, and a zombie? What could a personified vegetable do to help against a vampire threat? What should a young girl do about her suspicions of her next-door neighbor being a witch?
While these are intriguing questions that only reading the book would solve, the panelists discussed how each of them came up with their ideas.
Moderator Tracy Edmunds asked the panelists about the challenges in drawing in readers to want to read horror stories, then circled back to the inspiration for the monsters involved, and each one talked about their own processes and their research.
Katy Farina discussed how she wanted to ensure that her books were relatable. “How would I want someone explaining things to me at six years old?” The topics in her graphic novel, Baby-Sitters Little Sister, reflect this type of thinking. She was challenged in how she tied in not only the creations of Ann M. Martin’s novel series, but also in illustrating the characters to show more than tell. So, she had to show how would the six-year-old protagonist, Karen, would go about proving her suspicions of the neighbor being correct. She wanted her young readers to have “validation to what they are feeling.”
Bree Paulsen also spoke on the topic of empathy. The characters in her graphic novel, Garlic and the Vampire, showcase big emotions and deal with people’s expectations. “Don’t be rude to your friends. Be nice to the people in your community.” The protagonist, Garlic, goes through several challenges for her to reach her end goal of confronting the vampire.
Bree and Katy also discussed how inspirations from the book’s monsters came from ideas of the past, like how vampires must count every grain of rice spilled in front of them.
Editor Sally Morgridge agreed that author Steven Banks did similarly with his book, Middle School Bites: Night of the Vam-Wolf-Zom. The reader can see this in the strengths and weaknesses shown in the protagonist, Tom, who was bitten by three different monsters right before middle school. Super strong like a werewolf, but also with the sunlight skin sensitivity of a vampire.
“Steven was able to go beyond,” not only in his depiction of the main character but in the relationships surrounding him. “The feeling of being different is okay. I hope this book reinforces this message that nobody is perfect.” Just like Katy and Bree, the ultimate goal of getting kids to read their stories was to create characters who were relatable.
Find the info on the moderators and panelists with links to their digital platforms. Click on each book title to see how to get a copy of your own.
- Tracy Edmunds – VP of K-12 Education, Reading with Pictures
- Katy Farina (Baby-Sitters Little Sister) – Scholastic / Graphix
- Bree Paulsen (Garlic and the Vampire) – HarperCollins / Quill Tree Books
- Sally Morgridge – Holiday House Senior Editor (discussing Steven Banks‘s Middle School Bites: Night of the Vam-Wolf-Zom)
Next week: a recap of the On Beyond Hero: Who’s Behind the Mask? panel.