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Comic Con is coming to Centre library

BELLEFONTE — Do you love comic books? How about dressing up as your favorite superhero or villain? Then mark your calendars for Saturday, May 6, because Comic Con is coming to Bellefonte!

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, the Centre County Library, located at 200 N. Allegheny St., is hosting its first ever Comic Con, called “Novel Con,” a free fandom event for all ages that will include workshops about comic book drawing from local artist Seth Young and cosplaying basics from State College-based cosplayer Shinjaninja Cosplay. There will also be a cosplay contest, pop culture trivia, prizes, and more. The event is being held on Free Comic Book Day and the library will be partnering with local comic book shop Jake’s Cards and Games to give a free comic book to each attendee.

“Comic Cons at public libraries have become a trend in recent years, and after hearing about a few successful ones in smaller libraries, we decided to give it a try,” said Laura Sarge, youth librarian at the Centre County Library.

The event will have several vendors selling fandom merchandise, including Hot Topic from the Nittany Mall, which will have T-shirts; Grimpressions by Phil Mertz, which will have impressionistic paint renderings of characters and fandom art from Vanity Designs by Amanda Walk. There will also be a few local clubs present to talk about what they do, including the State College Roller Derby and Alliance of Heroic Hearts. For children and those who need to take a break from the festivities, there will also be a “chill out” tent that will have face painting and activities, Sarge said.

“Our hope is to reach a new community of potential library users, people who may not be aware of the services and materials that the library can provide to meet the needs and interests of all members of our community,” she said. “We always strive to be present and relevant in the community; we hope that this event will bring us some recognition and perhaps some new patrons.”

The cosplay contest will be a lot of fun, Sarge said. Participants are asked to only bring weaponry made of foam or cardboard and will not be permitted to carry plastic or projectile weapons, realistic firearms or any other kind of weaponry that could cause harm to others. Since it is an all-ages convention, participants are also asked to respect all library patrons and fellow event attendees in regard to their behavior and costume public decency choices.

Participants will need to register for the contest between 10 a.m. and noon and then have their photo taken, which will be posted to the Centre County Library’s Facebook page between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Each participant will have to tag themselves in their photo and ask their friends to “like” their photo on the library’s page.

By 3:30 p.m., the participant whose cosplay photo has the most “likes” will be named the “Cosplay Champion,” and they will win a prize pack of assorted fandom, according to Sarge. Participants will also have the opportunity to win prizes through a raffle at the event. The raffle will give away several prize combinations of T-shirts from TeeFury.com and companion items, such as Funko Pop! Vinyls and DVDs.

Fun prizes will also abound for winners of the pop culture trivia contest, Sarge said. For the contest, which takes place at 11 a.m. in the Library Community Room, a team of up to five people must register with a team name at the registration table by 10:45 a.m. Spaces for the contest will be limited.

The first workshop of the day will be taught by Young, who is from Bellefonte. In addition to his workshop, he will have on sale caricature drawings, which he has done for similar events in the local community.

Young said he has been designing art for comics since 2003 and has been working on breaking into comics full-time. Since 2015, he has been teaching comics and has taught at Penn State and the McCann School of Art.

Young’s workshop is intended for both individuals who have a passion for comic books and ones who are just starting out.

“Attendees can expect basic breakdowns of comic layout, as well as figure and perspective work,” he said. “I am going to cover the fundamentals of drawing comics.”

To see some of Young’s art, visit sethjyoung.com.

The second workshop will focus on the basics of cosplaying and be taught by Mary Hanahan of Shinjininja Cosplay, who said she has been cosplaying in Central Pennsylvania for the past 10 years and has spent several years helping to organize Setsucon, the Penn State-based anime convention that happens every January. The workshop will serve as a 101 guide to costumes,wigs, makeup, props, and posing for the camera.

Hanahan said that attendees can expect to come away from her workshop with some of the knowledge that she has gained throughout the years, especially in regard to planning and creating costumes.

Hanahan herself first got into cosplaying at the age of 14.

“I was a huge fan of anime and video games growing up, but I actually was bullied a lot in middle school and had difficulty connecting with people who had the same interests,” she said. “Through discovering cosplay, I not only was able to dress up to be someone stronger than I was, but I found a whole network of other nerds who had the interests I did. Nowadays, I cosplay to have fun with the friends I’ve made and for my love of the costuming craft.”

To see some of the cosplay work Hanahan has done, visit www.facebook.com/shinjaninjacosplay.

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