Teenagers will have the opportunity to create their own graphic novel at a workshop on Saturday, as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival. Graphic novel author and illustrator Barbara Slate will show participants how to take their ideas and turn them into readable works of art.
Slate started working for DC Comics in the mid-eighties with a monthly comic book, Angel Love.
"That lasted for nine issues," Slate writes in an email. "It was yanked off the comic book stands for being about drugs, sex and rock 'n roll."
She then moved on to Marvel Comics, where she created a three-part graphic novel titled, Yuppies From Hell.
In addition to the workshop aimed for teenagers (Saturday, 12:30-2 p.m., College Library in Helen C. White Hall), Slate is conducting a session for parents, teachers, and librarians. This workshop (3-4:30 p.m., College Library) will teach adults how to read and appreciate graphic novels, and use them them in the classroom.
Graphic novels, Slate says, are the descendants of comic books, which were demonized in the 1950s.
"Even in the 1990s, the words 'comic book' has a negative connotation, as if someone who read them was stupid," she says.
These workshops, and her book, You Can Do a Graphic Novel, are her way of introducing graphic novels and comic books as positive reading materials for teens.
As far as graphic novels she recommends, Slate suggests Lynd Ward's Gods' Man, a wordless story from 1929 composed entirely of wood engravings. For modern graphic novels, she names Terry Moore's Stranger in Paradise, along with anything by Lynda Barry, Harvey Pekar, and Neil Gaiman.