Non-Fiction Comic Festival teaches comic books are more than cartoons

Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 10:05 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Combining nonfiction with comics.

While not so common... this genre of books was the focus at the Fletcher Free Library where they celebrated the second annual nonfiction comics festival.

The topics covered by nonfiction comics can range from journalism to graphic medicine. Burlington Resident Romaney Granizo Mackenzie says she’s always been a fan of books, but she’d actually never read a nonfiction comic. And now, she’s a fan.

“I’m excited because I think it’s also like kind of expanding my view on books normally, I just read fiction novels, but I think graphic novels are ones that I would to add to the reading list,” she said.

She says reading complicated information in a comic format can make the material a little more digestible.

“But I think that they’re so much easier to read because there’s so much more immersive,” the Burlington resident said.

Co-organizer Teppi Zuppo is excited that this genre is getting more recognition.

“We’re the only nonfiction comics book in the country, and it’s a really big genre. It’s growing and it needs this kind of focus,” Zuppo said.

Organizers of the nonfiction comic festival tell me there’s over 50 authors here. The day was filled with workshops as well as presentations. While people are immersing themselves in nonfiction comics Zuppo hopes people there share the message that there’s more to comics than cartoons.

“But also, just getting people to take comic seriously as like a real learning medium. Comics can really like break up that information in a way that makes it more accessible...Comics aren’t just for kids, comics aren’t just superheroes,” Zuppo said.

As for Romaney Granizo Mackenzie -- the book worm enjoys how this book festival is bringing the community together.

“The nice thing about Vermont is that it’s a small state and I think there is a small community of cartoonists, I think just the community that it’s bringing here is awesome,” she said.

Even though this is only the second nonfiction comics festival organizers say they hope they can continue the tradition for years to come.