Staff Members See Benefit In Free Comics For Community
By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 5/6/19
HARRISONBURG — Massanutten Regional Library hosted its third annual Comic Con on Saturday, stocked with over 1,000 free comic books, games and activities, guest speakers from the comic world, all in an event that draws over 200 people.
MRL’s Comic Con, held at the Central Branch in Harrisonburg, coincides with international Free Comic Book Day, said Denise Munro, youth services coordinator for Massanutten Regional Library.
“It started with, ‘How do we give away free comic books?’” Munro said.
MRL works with The Secret Lair Comics in Harrisonburg to get enough comics for the event.
“We’re getting books, words and literature into the hands of young people and hopefully that gets them coming back for more,” Munro said.
Comic Con is just another service the library performs for the community, Munro said.
“Something big and fun like this where kids can get behind and come to” and interact and learn, she said.
Comics are graphic novels and can help get kids more interested in reading, Munro said.
“Getting that comic book and having the pictures that go along with to help get them interested and involved, but also the comprehension,” she said.
Local comic producer John K. Snyder, a famous graphic novel artist and writer, spoke about the non-superhero comic detectives from the 1950s to the 1970s.
In the past, he has worked on editions of “Green Lantern,” among other famous comic series.
One of his recent works is called “Eight Million Ways to Die” and is an adapted comic form of the novel written by Lawrence Block.
He also mentioned how technology has changed the industry with the rise of internet connectivity to send and create art.
“It’s almost like being in the industrial revolution,” he said.
Jocelyn Cook, 15, and her father, Paul, 56, of Harrisonburg, sat through Snyder’s presentation.
“This is wonderful,” said Jocelyn, who also enjoyed the opportunity to talk to comic artists.
“She’s been excited about this for about three weeks,” her father said.
Paul Cook’s interest in art history was satiated by the artists’ talks, he said.
“It was interesting to hear them talk about the influences on their illustrations and watching the development of the style,” he said.
Jocelyn enjoyed the event, but said it could expand.
“Maybe in 20 years, it’s this big deal thing that everyone in the Valley is coming to Comic Con — that’s the hope,” she said.