New York Comic Con (NYCC) took over the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center two weekends ago, hosting readers and gamers and geeks of every shade.
Stephenie Meyer visited the convention on Thursday to talk about the ten-year anniversary of Twilight. While she had fun writing the genderbent version of Twilight, where Edward became Edyth and Bella became Beau, Meyer considered finishing Midnight Sun, a version of Twilight told through Edward’s point-of-view. But she stopped writing after seeing an announcement for Grey, the version of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian’s point-of-view.
Fifty Shades started as Twilight fanfiction and has been a sore spot for Meyer since its publication.
“It was a literal flip the table moment for me,” said Meyer, according to Business Insider.
But luckily for YA fans, most of the news from NYCC was of the happy sort.
Carol Danvers, who saves the world under the moniker Captain Marvel, will be starring in her own YA novel. After the positive response to Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red, Marvel Press is expanding their universe to make room for more Carol Danvers. Authors Shannon and Dean Hale will be penning the novel, though the title and release date have yet to be released.
— Shannon Hale (@haleshannon) October 10, 2015
Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red was all over NYCC. Forever Red established the canonical Marvel backstory of Natasha Romanoff and introduced a new character to the Marvel universe – which Marvel loved enough that they placed her in a new comic. Stohl signed multiple times throughout the convention and spoke on panels, including the “YA Lit: Calling All Geeks!”.
The “YA Lit: Calling All Geeks” panel featured Stohl, Claudia Gray (Lost Stars), David Liss (Randoms), Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil) and Max Wirestone (The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss). While the panel was dubbed YA Lit, only Gray and Stohl’s novels were truly YA – Liss’ Randoms and Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil are both considered middle grade novels, while Wirestone’s Unfortunate Decisions is being billed as adult. But the panelists had a great time regardless, talking about their fandom origins, their first fandom crushes, and what it was like to play around in the worlds they had loved since childhood.
Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars is a an epic romance and adventure story set in the Star Wars universe and follows childhood friends Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell. Ciena has grown up to become an Imperial officer; Thane has grown up to be a Rebel pilot. The star-crossed lovers could reunite – or duty could tear them apart.
For Gray, who used to build imperial ships in her closet as a child, it “was like going back in time to high five my 7-year-old self.” It never dawned on her to be intimidated by the scope of the world she was playing with or the expectations up on her until the book was done; she had to much fun writing it. For Stohl, writing the Black Widow backstory has been “a career high, in a certain way.” It was the hardest she’d ever worked – she went and studied everything she’d need to know to build the perfect super spy backstory. But she wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
“Creating a Marvel character… I’ll never get over that in my life,” said Stohl. “I don’t care how the book does. This was life-changing.”
But big names like Marvel and Star Wars weren’t the only fandoms to get love at the convention.
MTV debuted a new trailer for their television adaptation of Terry Brooks’ Shannara Chronicles. The fantasy series takes place in an alternate future where humans are in danger from a demon army. While traditionally slotted as adult fantasy, the series features three young teen heroes, played by Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton and Ivana Baquero. The show will debut on January 5 in a special two hour premiere.
Another highlight of the convention was the “I’m Not Your Sidekick” panel, put together by the We Need Diverse Books team. Featuring Sona Chairapotra (Tiny Pretty Things), Zoraida Cordova (The Vicious Deep), Robin Talley (What We Left Behind), Daniel Jose Older (Shadowshaper), Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things) and Sara Farizan (If You Could Be Mine) they discussed the need for inclusive characters and stories within mainstream stories and media.
There were a dozen topics touched on – what happens when white writers write characters with marginalized backgrounds; how readers can support inclusive books; websites that look critically at books featuring ‘diverse’ characters. But mostly, they talked about the lack of opportunities for inclusive characters, and how they want them to be front and center.
“There can’t be one book about an Indian queer person,” said Older, referencing Farizan’s books. “There had to be multitudes.”
The panel ended on a high note: “Every kid wants to be a hero. That’s what we’re trying to make happen.”
The Epic Reads team hosted a book club in the midst of the convention, gathering Sona Charaipotra (Tiny Pretty Things), Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things), Heidi Heilig (The Girl from Everywhere), Jodi Meadows (The Mirror King), Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and Dan Wells (Bluescreen) to talk about their books with readers.
And, of course, there was a huge amount of buzz around the floor for the panel featuring the cast of ABC Family’s new “Shadowhunters.” The cast, along with the creators and author Cassandra Clare, took to the stage to talk about the new television adaptation of The Mortal Instruments series after showcasing a short clip to the audience. Clare, who asked fans to “keep an open mind” about changes to the adaptation, seemed delighted with the show. The cast and Clare later signed at the ABC Family booth.
Outside of the panels and the big announcements, YA still found a home among the comics and cosplayers. Sam Maggs, author of Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, signed at the Quirk Books booth for over an hour, chatting with fans and signing books and posters. Amandla Stenberg, the activist and actress who played Rue in The Hunger Games film, signed copies of her new YA comic Niobe with the rest of the creative team.
While Maggs and Stenberg signed, author Sarvenaz Tash wandered the floor with one of her good friends, who cosplayed as the lead of her new YA Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.