Adaptation: Turning Gripping Stories into Graphic Novels

with Mel Valentine Vargas and Kat Baumann

Saturday, October 14, 2023
Youth Stage, 2:15-3:00pm

Join graphic novel creators Mel Valentine Vargas and Kat Baumann for a rousing talk about their new books, which both adapt someone else’s story into an artistically wondrous graphic work. In Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass: The Graphic Novel, Vargas transforms the acclaimed book by Newberry Medalist Meg Medina into a dynamic pictorial narrative about school bullying, while in The Golden Voice: The Ballad of Cambodian Rock’s Lost Queen, Baumann depicts the riveting true story of Ros Serey Sothea, whose singing prowess helped define Cambodia’s Golden Age of music until her mysterious disappearance, in a graphic novel collaboration with her family. This event is sure to be a hit with comics and graphic literature readers and creators, YA fiction enthusiasts, history buffs, and music lovers. Ages 14+

About the Illustrators

Mel Valentine Vargas is a queer, Miami born, Chicago based, Latine comic creator and illustrator. They work largely with digital media and have a BA in illustration from Columbia College Chicago. Mel loves drawing minorities and art that their younger self needed while growing up. Their work is largely inspired by LGBT, Hispanic, and fem experiences, and is focused on graphic storytelling with themes that help highlight minority lifestyles of all shapes and sizes. It is Mel’s goal to ensure that their illustrations help people who are not often represented feel a little less alone and a lot more love. Mel has worked with Candlewick, Little Brown, Harper Collins, and Penguin Random House. They have also done editorial work with many publications including The Chicago Reader and Lions Roar Magazine. When they aren’t working, Mel can be found playing with their cats, eating gyoza, or playing farming simulator games.

Kat Baumann is an illustrator from Southern Minnesota. She grew up in a family of musicians, and as a kid she spent most of her time singing show tunes in her room and drawing her favorite manga characters. After graduating with a BFA in Studio Art, she interned at Helioscope Studio in Portland and began working as a freelance cartoonist. Other works of hers include Ferdinand Magellan Sails Around the World (Black Sheep: Extraordinary Explorers), Blind Spot (from the anthology Death Saves Vol. 2), 20 Fists by F.D. White, and her 2017 auto-bio graphic novella Broken Plastic Horses.