A visitor checks on some illustrations displayed at a booth during the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival 2018 in Vancouver, Canada, on May 20, 2018. Hundreds of comic artists, creators and publishers attended Vancouver Comic Arts Festival 2018, held from May 19 to May 20, to showcase their works. (Xinhua/Liang Sen)
By: EVAN DUGGAN
VANCOUVER, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Lina Le stands in a queue that snakes out of the gymnasium and into the hallway of a community centre in Vancouver's Yaletown.
She's clutching a copy of Blankets, a graphic novel by Craig Thompson. At the other end of the line, inside the gym doors, sits Thompson. He's making quick chats with other fans and signing copies of his hefty comic.
Le tells Xinhua that Blankets is her favorite novel and this is the first time she'll meet Thompson.
"I'm trying to be cool about this," she says.
A young man near her in line speaks up "I'm in the same boat," he interjects. "Craig Thompson is the reason I got into drawing comics so I'm trying not to be a weirdo about it."
They're here at the sixth Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. The volunteer-run festival will attract about 10,000 comic fans through the doors this weekend, all eager for a chance to meet their favorite artists and illustrators, or to discover new ones.
Among the creators is Molly Muldoon. She's here with her co-writers to unveil their recently-published graphic novel: Dead Weight.
It's a murder mystery set in the Oregon woods at a fat camp, she tells Xinhua.
"It's a young adult comedy murder mystery," she says. "It just came out three weeks ago so we're very excited about it."
Muldoon says this isn't her first time at the event, but this is the first time she has a presentation table.
"I've come before, just because it's a really good environment," she says, a short stack of her colorful novel sits on the table in front of her in the gym that feels steamy hot as hundreds of people wander from table to table.
"Everyone is really creative," she says. "Everyone has cool stuff to show. I'm just happy that now I have cool stuff to show as well."
She says the novel took about three months to write but about three years to finally get published. (It's now available on Amazon and in bookstores.)
Andrea Demonakos, the event director, says the event aims to bring together comic artists of all different types and genres and to boost their public exposure. Admission is free.
"We have about 300 creators this year," she says. "The majority of them are from the Vancouver or British Columbia area."
Among them are New York Times bestsellers, but also young up-and-comers.
"We're not really (about) mainstream comics, like it's not super hero comics very often here, but sort of everything else representing the wide range of genres and stories and people that can create comics," she says.
The comic industry is diversifying and opening up, Muldoon says.
"Now you can put your stuff online for free," she says. "You can have a web comic, pretty much for free, and that gets your work out there for people to see it."
She said the stories, characters and genres are also becoming more representative of potential readers.
"We try to represent anyone who would go to fat camp," she says, referring to Dead Weight.
"You don't have to go through Marvel or DC to get your stuff out there," she adds. "There are people who want the diverse stuff, who aren't into like, the big buff superhero dudes, but would like to see a bunch of kids solve a mystery."