Today I have a fun guest post from the author of Monster Mayhem, Christopher Eliopoulos! Which looks like a fun graphic novel for middle grade readers.
My prompt for the author: Graphic novels as an important medium
Christopher Eliopoulos began his illustration career at Marvel Comics, and has worked on thousands of comics, including Cosmic Commandos, Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Pet Avengers, and Cow Boy, all of which he wrote and illustrated. He is also the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Ordinary People Change the World series. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their identical twin sons (when they’re home from college).
And he’s what he had to say:
“There I was at 7-years-old, laying on a pile of books in a giant metal bin inside a vast warehouse. I was reading a slightly damaged copy of a Peanuts book and my world was opening up. I was coming to love the unique storytelling joys of art and writing coming together.
My Uncle owned a remainder book company that bought and sold extra books from publishers to stores and libraries. On the weekends, my parents would help him at his warehouse and I was brought along. I spent those days physically in that metal cage in that warehouse, but my mind went to all different kinds of places. I loved the idea of comics. Any kind.
I was told I must read “real” books. Instead of comics. In fact, I still have my second grade report card that says I enjoy reading but should drop the comics for “real” books. That word again: “real.” I grew older and would pick up comic books now and again, but I began reading prose books as well. What none of my teachers realized was that my love of graphic storytelling led me to prose books naturally. And to this day, I believe there is a stigma to comic books or graphic novels that essays it isn’t “real” reading. I disagree.
What is real?
“Graphic novels are coming into their own these days with subjects and genres and characters as vast and rich as prose novels. They are a wonderful way of storytelling and a great gateway for reluctant readers. I can’t tell you how many people I know who found the love of reading through comics.
So, I humbly suggest, if you have a reluctant reader, give them a graphic novel, maybe a more comfortable place than a warehouse to read, and watch their world open up to reading!”
Wow, this definitely addresses many of the issues we are currently seeing in the industry, although I’m happy to say that the conversation is changing! At least in some areas. Librarians and parents are starting to offer more and more graphic novels and comics as reading materials for readers of all levels, and I think it’s important that the publishing industry is embracing diversity in both writers and main characters 🙂
Thanks for your insight, Christopher!
There’s still more room to grow, but I think we’re finally on the right track. What are your experiences with graphic novels? Let’s have a conversation in the comments.
In this funny, action-packed graphic novel adventure, a science-obsessed girl finds herself in the middle of one of her favorite monster movies. Can she invent her way out of disaster while also saving the monster who has become her friend?
Zoe’s favorite thing to do–besides invent and build robots–is watch classic monster movies. She has never been comfortable with kids her own age, and so she pretends she doesn’t need friends while inside she’s longing for connection. And then one day, Zoe finds a mysterious ring on her way home from school. She puts it on, gives it a twist, and–FRZAAKK! There’s a massive burst of light! The next morning, a familiar monster appears at Zoe’s window. He’s from one of her favorite kaiju movies, and he likes Zoe–he wants to be her friend. Has her secret wish been fulfilled? But it turns out that Zoe’s ring has brought more than just this friendly monster to life. More monsters have arrived, and they are hungry! Now she’ll need to reach out to other people to help her save her town from destruction. Good thing she’s a robotics genius!