It’s no secret that comics are our favorite thing. But what we love more than comics is geeking out about them with our community. It was a dream come true to host our first Comics Fest at Lincolnwood Library, which we reimagined to offer a variety of live and asynchronous virtual programs to engage patrons of all ages in our celebration of comics, creativity, and art!
Here’s a recap of our 2020 Comics Fest that took place this June.
Teen Comics Club
We made our monthly programs part of our Comics Fest, which added to the excitement and fun – and also enabled our attendees to win our gift card raffles. Our Teen Comics Club, which was started by local teen, Sofia, has grown over the months, drawing in (get it?) new friends to hang out, sketch, and share the latest memes they’ve created or enjoyed. I especially like how this program transforms based on the young people attending it, offering whatever they’re interested in creating or discussing.
Books & Bites: The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
We hosted our usual Books & Bites Book Club with a discussion of The Cardboard Kingdom to prepare for our visit with Chad Sell. It was so fun returning to this magical world, especially reading it during this summer as we all seek out ways to connect, collaborate, and imagine with our community. We talked about which characters we would be in the kingdom, finding affinity with the Robot and the Animal Queen. Who is your favorite Cardboard Kingdom character? I will always have a special place in my heart for Seth, the Gargoyle.
Boom! Smash! Pow! Cartooning Workshop with Mark Anderson
We hosted an entertaining and informative cartooning workshop with talented cartoonist Mark Anderson who helped us draw our own superhero cartoons with clear step-by-step instructions that also provided lots of space for creativity and customization. Our participants came up with the most incredible, imaginative, and hilarious takes on the characters we were drawing! One of the benefits of hosting this program on Zoom is that we were able to spotlight the artists when they were sharing their art, so everyone could see their creations. Mark did an excellent job of pacing instruction, taking questions, giving each kid a chance to shine, and making drawing fun! After the success of this class, we will definitely be offering more drawing classes in the future.
Author Visit with Chad Sell
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell and friends is one of the few graphic novels we’ve discussed several times in Books & Bites over the past years. It is just that good! We were thrilled to be able to host Chad Sell at our library close to the release of his newest book, Doodleville. Since our program was virtual, we had attendees from all over, including Texas, New Jersey, and even Senegal! Chad took us behind-the-scenes into creating The Cardboard Kingdom, showing how creativity is magic. He showed us the early stages of the art or the “doodle drafts,” revealing that it’s messy at the beginning and takes a while to figure it out. I especially loved learning about kids cosplaying as characters or making their own original characters out of cardboard. Chad led our group in discussing and sharing the characters we would be, which was a wonderful way to engage our patrons.
Chad then shared his latest book, Doodleville, introducing us to the delightful cast of characters and doodles, who are sure to be fan favorites. (I can’t wait to see Doodleville cosplay!) Chad showed us that what we create as young people stays with us throughout our life. I especially appreciated Chad’s attention to our social and emotional needs, talking about doubt and insecurity in creating art and ways we face these feelings. He then led us through a drawing demonstration to help us learn to draw some of the characters in Doodleville, which was so fun and hands-on! My favorite is KittyBunny. I’m still figuring out how to draw the ears – but that’s the whole point. Our group had many questions for Chad and everyone had a chance to share during the Q&A. Our group did not want our visit to end! It was truly a magical and wonderful author visit!
We have partnered with our wonderful local independent bookstore, Booked in Evanston, to sell copies of Chad’s books. You can buy them here.
Author Visit with MK Czerwiec
We were honored to host MK Czerwiec, aka the “Comic Nurse,” a nurse, cartoonist, educator, and co-founder of the field of Graphic Medicine in a live, interactive virtual visit. It was exciting to welcome attendees who had been fans of MK’s research and writing – and new people who had just discovered her work. MK shared her experiences that led her to write Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 and the process of creating autobiographical comics. She provided insights about the field of Graphic Medicine and how it has developed over time. She shared the definition of graphic medicine coined by Dr. Ian Williams “refer[ing] to the interface between the medium of comics and the discourses of health, illness, disability and caregiving.”
It was fascinating to learn about the work of the Graphic Medicine community to collect and curate COVID-19 comics, which has been invaluable in sharing vital information and facilitating conversations – and continues to grow. I especially appreciated the many examples of Graphic Medicine texts that she shared, which is always helpful for finding new books to read and add to our collections.
She also shared some of the behind-the-scenes process of editing Menopause: A Comic Treatment, which comes out August 17, 2020 from Penn State University Press. (You can attend the virtual book launch hosted by local indie bookstore, Women and Children First, on August 20!) We then hosted an engaging Q&A where MK answered our audience’s many questions. Our audience also had the chance to add to the great conversation together in the chat. I am so grateful that we were able to facilitate this important discussion and advocate more for the power of comics in health.
We have partnered with Booked in Evanston, to sell copies of MK’s books. You can buy them here.
We also wanted to make sure to offer virtual programs you could enjoy at your convenience. You can watch our Box City and Autobiographical Comics videos below at any time to join our programs. Feel free to share your results with us on social media or via email at email@example.com. Share your creation with us to be entered into our Comics Fest raffle.
Anyone who attended our Comics Fest programs was able to receive a free swag bag. A HUGE thank you to Lion Forge/Oni Press and Scholastic who provided the giveaways. We still have limited supplies left if you stop the library. Feel free to let us know if you made any of the crafts in the bags and share your creations with us.
Comics Fest Resources
We have collected Comics Fest Resources, which includes information about our author visits, resources for reading comics, making comics, teaching with comics, Graphic Medicine, comics publishers, more virtual comics events, and more! Feel free to let us know how you use this resource. Our Comics Fest displays are also now available to browse in the library to Lincolnwood residents, so feel free to stop by and check out our comics.
We want to hear from you!
Did you know that one of our Summer Reading challenges is to make a comic and share it with us? We’d love to see what you make! We’ve already received some amazing comics that we’ll post soon.
What has been your favorite part of Comics Fest? What would you like us to do at our next Comics Fest?
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your feedback and ideas.
A HUGE thank you to our Comics Fest team, Kate, Seth, Gaby, Lisa, Bill, Kevin, and Eti, for making Comics Fest 2020 a success!