at last a photo of Gaiman and Campbell. It's out of focus, but the other one Anne took made me look like the grim reaper.
I arrived at the Children's Book Council of Australia's Annual Conference just as several people on a panel were explaining what a graphic novel is (Graphically Speaking: the challenge of 'reading' graphic novels.) I wanted to give it a miss, for as any one who has followed this blog from its early days knows, I have exhausted my tolerance for that subject. But then Anne noticed that we seemed to know almost everybody on it (the blogs of Neil, Nicki Greenberg and Zoe Sadokierski are all linkable from my sidebar.) Neil was up, emphasizing that 'The Important thing about comics is that it's a medium and not a genre.' He explained the same thing earlier in the profile interview in Junior Bookseller and Publisher May 2008, and I'm sure all the four hundred trade people at the show, the librarians and bookstore managers, all knew what he meant. The problem is that the hundred thousand or so who read about him in the Melbourne Age the same day got the garbled version:
"Neil Gaiman is relieved the comic book genre now has wide acceptance, writes Frances Atkinson".
And further down it says: "He agrees that the line between comics and graphic novels has blurred over the past two decades..." the journalist, on her own authority, giving us to believe 'comics' and 'graphic novels' at some time in the past were distinct entities (or genres if you prefer to continue with the befuddlement.) If one is invited to go somewhere and explain what a graphic novel is, then it would sure seem like a good idea, on behalf of the creative community and for the benefit of readers everywhere, to perform the offices to the best of one's ability, but since my debacle with the Sunday Arts tv program last year, for which they shot forty minutes of me explaining it and then decided it didn't fit with what they already understood and threw the whole lot out, I avoid the situation.
It was a treat to see me old pal again and to experience the marvellous hospitality of Peter Nicholls and Clare Coney (see Neil's own post from yesterday)
(If you've arrived here from Neil's link, click the Neil label below for update)