Some of the Cartoonists I met at MICE and their Wonderful Graphic Novels for Kids

I recently attended MICE – Mass. Independent Comics Expo – with my family. It was so exciting to meet the authors of some of the amazing graphic novels and comics geared towards children – a field that seems to be taking off in recent years. I want to showcase a few of the authors we met in two posts. This first one is of graphic novels and comics geared particularly to kids ( I would say in the 7 and up age range) and their parents who love graphic novels. My next post will be about historical/biography graphic novels that I think would appeal to adults and kids 10 and up.

Jon pic Leo Geo pic.

Here is Jon Chad, and his wonderful graphic novel, Leo Geo, about a young man who decides to travel through the middle of the earth in his drill machine. At first it seems scientific and then he encounters underground monsters and it turns out to be blissfully fantastical. Also it has a great horizontal format that switches direction and flows from one page to the next. We had read his graphic novel from the library and I’d heard about him form my brother, Jan, who met Jon when he was a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont where Jon teaches. It was great to meet Jon in person. He shared his wonderful view of comic making, which went something like, it should not be just hard work. You should have fun doing it. He is kindly holding up the Rootlands postcard I just gave him.

Fairytale comics editor pic Fairy Tale pic

This is Chris Duffy, who edited Fairy Tale Comics, an anthology of fairy tales illustrated in comic format by some of today’s greatest graphic novelists. The stories and art are fantastic and I noticed three of my favorite cartoonists contributed stories: Charise Harper Mericle, author of Fashion Kitty, and the Hernandez brothers, Jamie and Gilbert, best known for their adult comic, Love and Rockets.

Maris pic Primates pic

This is Maris Wicks, illustrator of Primates, a biography of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas. In this graphic novel, Maris shows the stories of these three primatologists in a way that is accessible and engaging for children and adults alike. My 9 year old son loved it.

nico bravo pic Mike C pic

This is Mike Cavallaro, author of Nico Bravo, an ongoing series about a whimsical world where the ancient gods all coexist. Nico Bravo appears in a high quality weekly English comic anthology for kids called Phoenix – thats right, weekly! We purchased a five issue bag and my son Eli has been pouring though it. Nico Bravo is his favorite. He asked if we can get it in the US. I’m not sure but will look into it. When I was a teenager my brother and I discovered 2000AD, an English dark weekly comic anthology that featured comics like Judge Dread, that were of the YA bent. This magazine is more geared towards younger kids, but is equally well made. I wish we had something like this in the US.

Jan's Friends Pic Kraken pic

This is a poster by Paul Swartz, pictured here with another cartoonist who’s name I don’t have (if you see this please let me know your name). These folks are two recent graduates of the Center for Cartoon Studies. Paul made a beautiful poster series of the letters of the alphabet with fantastical, and somewhat dangerous, creatures. Here is his his K is for Kraken. I love the subversive deadpan Edward Gory-like humor. Also, his poster series shares a sensibility to my game, Rootlands, which is also full of fantastical creatures.