Graphic Novel (Con) Review 333/365: Reviewing Cons for Teachers

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

Hey, all! I have some cool things coming your way in June, so make sure that you are checking back every day. I appreciate you for reading.

If you saw my post yesterday, you know that I had a packed day in Denver Comic Con room 301 from 10:30-3:30.  I was lucky enough to find a homie to help me out a bit so I could grab some food around noon, but dang, it was a long day.  But, it was amazing.  If you look up the panels that we had today, you will see the amount of ridiculous talent that we worked with over the course of those five hours.  We also handed out 15 graphic novels to lucky panel guests!

My favorite panel of the day is one that I’d like to talk about: Michael Gianfrancesco, Jason Nisavic, Adan Alvarado, and I talked about navigating a convention for educators.  I think we did a pretty darn good job, and while the buzz is still in my brain, I’d like to share the top three suggestions we made in helping educators navigate the con game.

1.) Panels: go to them, apply to get them accepted to shows, leave them if they suck.  While going to panels can take you from the show floor, the panel room is where you can make some of the best connections with other educators, creators, and industry folk.  If a panel sucks, leave.  Don’t feel bad.  It’s your time.  They should have had better content…or content that you were looking for; sometimes a panel can be great but not what it was billed as.  Finally, apply to get a panel accepted at a con.  If you have a stellar idea, submit it!  Get out there, make friends, get students on panels.  Get in the game…that’s how we started building a name for ourselves.  Getting panels accepted puts you in front of other people like you!  Don’t freak out if no one comes.  My first NCTE panel had about 15 people in a room for about 200, but we pushed on, and those 15 people loved us!

2.) Artist alley: go, make friends, make connections.  Some of the coolest things I do in my classroom involves connections that I’ve made with local artists at conventions.  These people are hungry for cool exposure, and your school/library/classroom can be the place for that!  Plus you’ll for sure find some cool indie books that you would not have found at a big book store.  Support local artists!

3.) Make your time on the show floor count: find indie publishers, ask them what books they have that would be good for the classroom, tell them you are a teacher/librarian, ask them if they have any digital ARCs (advanced reader copies).  They may be looking to get into more schools.  Also, if you tell some peeps that you are in education, they might cut you a deal (big or small) on your purchases.  Buy stuff to decorate your classroom/library.  Cons have some cool vendors that carry merch that you might not find elsewhere.  And yeah, you might find it for a few bucks less on Amazon, but if everyone did that, they would stop coming to cons, and you would not know about their cool product.  Buy from merchants from time to time…unless they are asking ridiculous prices.

Hope some of this helped!  Please let me know if you have any questions on the topic; I consider myself a bit of an expert…oh, and wear comfortable shoes.

Happy reading!

Eric

Twitter: @comics_teacher

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