The French Comics Association Heads to Washington, DC for the American Library Association’s Annual Conference

French Comics Association

The French Comics Association (FCA) is bringing their spring tour of acclaimed francophone graphic novelists, coming to Washington, D.C. for the 2019 American Library Association annual conference (ALAAC19), “the premier global library event.”

The French Comics Association will exhibit and give away books, with 4 artists signings daily at booth #3644 from June 21-24th, 2019.  

Meet the creators at #ALAAC19, along with their French and North American publishers. Eight panel discussions will feature Francophone graphic novelists in conversation with critically acclaimed American cartoonists, such as Amy Chu, Jaime Hernandez, and Emily Whitten; industry experts including notable librarian Betsy Bird; and comics publishing specialists from France and American, such as Charlotte Moundlic, Thierry Laroche, Jérôme Baron, The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, and others.

Every year, the translation rights for more than one hundred French comics are sold to American publishers.

The FCA is also an official 2019 sponsor of the ALA Eisner Reception (June 22nd).

The American Library Association’s Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants recognize the important role that Graphic Novel Librarians have played in the growth of the graphic novel in libraries. The reception celebrates the vision of Will Eisner, who championed the graphic novel and pioneered the graphic novel movement.

organizer John Shableski


Book signings at all events & to follow panels—full signing schedule available on request.

Friday / June 21st


American Library Association Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

ALA Exhibit hours 5:30 – 7:30pm

Graphic Novel and Comics Roundtable Friday Forum:

So Many Comics, So Little Time!
12:20 – 1:45pm

How can you possibly keep track of all the titles coming out and all the topics they cover? In this session, you’ll spend time in small groups with creators and colleagues discussing titles that work for different social justice topics. After the session, all the titles will be combined into a totally excellent resource just for you! With Karim Friha

Free Public Event:

Drink & Draw with International Comics Artists
East City Bookshop / 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE
6 – 7:30pm

Featuring artists Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets: Is This How You See Me?) and Ezra Claytan Daniels (BTTM FDRS) from America; Karim Friha (Rise of the Zelphire) and Christophe Ferreira (Milo’s World) from France; Typex (Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol) from Amsterdam; and Flavia Biondi (Generations) from Italy; with comics writer Wilfrid Lupano (Curtain Call) also on hand to sign! Select artists drawing onstage and all signing new release graphic novels. Stop by the store and pick up a pen (or just watch others and meet the creators), sip free wine, and meet other indie comics and bande dessinée (Franco-Belgian style comics) fans. Co-hosted with Fantagraphic Books and EuropeComics.

Saturday / June 22nd

American Library Association Exhibit Hours: 9am – 5pm

At #ALAAC19: Do it the French way. Stop by Booth #3644 for morning croissants and comics

Panels at the Graphic Novel and Gaming Stage:

Literary Comics Publisher Spotlight
10:30 – 11:20 am

Join some of the comics medium’s most renowned publishers as they share new and perennial titles for your collections. We will discuss comics for adults and kids, as well as fiction and nonfiction, with staff of publishing houses Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Uncivilized Books, Abrams, and the French Comics Association (Charlotte Moundlic).

French Comics Association Showcase
2:30 – 3:20pm

There’s a wealth of translated bande dessinée (Franco-Belgian graphic novels/nonfiction) available in recent years for library collections, from diverse genres, voices, and publishers. The French Comics Association showcase brings together renowned and star creators on tour from Europe, with new releases in English: Karim Friha, Wilfrid Lupano, Typex, Julia Billet, moderated by Meg Lemke, French Comics Association.

Graphic Novel and Comics Roundtable Panel:

Behind the Scenes: Creating a Diverse World of Comics
2:30 – 3:20pm

Join publishers and creators from around the world to learn about the routes graphic novels take to come to your attention and to your library. What makes up the process? How are editorial decisions made? How do publishers seek out and champion diverse voices in the medium? What role can librarians play and at which points? Attendees will learn about what happens behind the scenes in creating a graphic novel, the careful work of translating cultural context and languages, marketing, issues around censorship, and how to advocate for an inclusive, international collection. Featuring Thierry Laroche (Gallimard).

ALA Events:

ALA Graphic Novel and Comics Roundtable Breakfast
8 – 10:00 am

Eisner Graphic Novel Library Grants Reception
co-sponsored by the French Comics Association
6 – 8pm

Sunday / June 23rd

American Library Association Exhibit Hours: 9am – 5pm

At #ALAAC19: Do it the French way. Stop by Booth #3644 for morning croissants and comics.

Public Events:

Storytime: The Wolf in Underpants, with Wilfrid Lupano!
10:30 – 11:30
Solid State Books / 600 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Join French creator Lupano for a morning storytime at this lovely local DC store. “Young readers will howl for this tale that combines a timely, smart message alongside crowd-pleasing silliness.”—Kirkus Reviews

Create your Own Hero: Comics Character Design with Bande Dessinée Star Karim Friha!
Bonjour Books / 3758 Howard Ave, Kensington, MD 20895

Youth aged 8-12 are invited to this special workshop with visiting French artist Karim Friha, creator of Rise of the Zelphire, a super-cool steampunk fantasy story about a group of young people with strange powers, newly translated to English by Lion Forge (originally in French from Gallimard). Friha will share how he sketches and creates characters, and help the young artists design their own heroes, and inspire them to dream up new, fantastical worlds. The artist will inscribe book copies at the end of the event! RSVP and pre-order of the English edition required (French editions of additional titles in the series will also be available for sale).

Panels at the Graphic Novel and Gaming Stage

European Comics: A Melting Pot
10:30 – 11:20am

AsterixTintinThe Smurfs and Persepolis are just some of the few that have made it across the Atlantic. But Europe’s comics heritage is much richer and varied, different in every country. As we stress on the importance of diversity and the need of different voices, Europe Comics presents a panel of award-winning European creators and their latest works. Featuring: Typex. Presented in coordination with EuropeComics.

Wordy to Wordless: How Comics Writers Adapt to Different Genres, Ages, and Artists
12:30 – 1:20pm

Comics scriptwriters creatively adapt their styles across publishers and partnerships, from realistic, to genres including crime/sci-fi/fantasy, to picturebooks, and even wordless narratives. What guides language choice, dialogue decisions, and pacing for comics writers depending on the age level and audience for a book? How do writers “write” a wordless script? How do they work in conversation with artists? A shop talk! Featuring: Amy Chu, Jaime Hernandez, Julia Billet, and Wilfrid Lupano, moderated by Heidi MacDonald.

Panels at the Pop Top Stage:

Middle Grade Graphic Novels: New Titles for Growing Readers!
2 –2:50pm

Middle Grade is a huge growth category for graphic novel publishing, and these books are popular and flexible for younger library patrons—from eager elementary readers, who are growing out of picturebooks and ready to jump to sophisticated topics, to older reluctant readers who find the appealing style and comfort level bringing them back to books.  From historical fiction to fantasy, these creators will showcase a breadth of genres in this popular category! Featuring: Karim Friha, Julia Billet, and Emily Whitten, moderated by Betsy Bird.


Small Press Expo Meet-up at the French Comics Association booth!
3 – 4:30pm

Come learn about The Small Press Expo, headquartered in Bethesda, MD, and all they do for indie comics. Treats will be served and French comics will be signed…


French Comics Kiss Better: A Showcase of Contemporary Bande Dessinée Creators
5:30 – 7:30pm
Fantom Comics / 2010 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036

This panel offers a rare opportunity to meet French and European artists on tour, who represent the contemporary bande dessinée (BD) scene. French comics are familiar American bestsellers, from Tintin to Persepolis to Valerian, but fans can discover the diversity in genres—from steampunk fantasy to crime fiction to graphic biography and historical fiction—and vibrant/sophisticated art styles from the next generation of creators who are “big in France.” This ultra-cool panel will be followed by a comics party with a cash bar! Featuring 2019 Eisner-Award nominee Wilfrid Lupano (Sea of Love and Curtain Call); Typex (Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol); Julia Billet (Catherine’s War); and Karim Friha (Rise of the Zelphire).

Monday / June 25th

American Library Association Exhibit hours 9am – 2pm

Graphic Novel and Comics Roundtable Programming:

Exploring Trauma and Recovery through Comics
9 am – 10:00am

Trauma is life-changing, from living through the explosive conflict of a war zone to recovering from personal ordeals. Eyewitness accounts are particularly well evoked in the constraints and freedoms of a graphic narrative. This panel will draw together creators who can speak from their first-hand knowledge of violence and the work that goes into expressing a traumatic event in comics. Attendees will learn about expressing strong emotion and experiences graphically, the difficulties of first-person narration and reportage, and receive suggestions for their collections. Featuring: Julia Billet.

At the Graphic Novel and Gaming Stage:

BioGraphics: Reading Graphic Novel Biographies
11:30 am – 12:20pm

The virtues of graphic biographies are now recognized. Having two visions of a famous person’s life in one, that of the biographer and of the artist, adds even more nuance and depth to a person’s life story. It might also happen that we pick up a biography we wouldn’t usually be interested in, thanks to the appealing art. A panel of award-winning graphic biographers will discuss and present their works. Featuring: Typex.  Presented in coordination with EuropeComics.

ALA Event:

Meet-up with Pop Culture ClassroomGlobal Literature in Libraries Initiative, and French Comics Association!
11:30am – 1pm

Details TBA – watch our website! 
Educators, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect about comics and their academic potential are encouraged to RSVP for this ALA offsite meet-up with a “comics creator speed-dating” element. Coffee and treats will be served, and give-away comics will be available to participants!