Hundreds of people will converge on Bronx Community College (BCC) for the Third Annual Kids Comic Con in Colston Hall Lower Level, 2155 University Avenue at W. 181st Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 25.
Free to anyone 17-years-of-age and under. It is $5 for others. The Comic Con will bring together community children, parents, and a score of comic book writers, artists, editors, and publishers who will talk about how comic books communicate at the crossroads of current events, science and history. Coming to BCC with the family will be cheaper than paying carfare and high-priced admission fees to attend a Comic Con convention in midtown Manhattan.
“Comic books have a greater impact today than when we grew up,” says Eugene Adams, director of BCC’s Collaborative Education Programs. “They can stand up to literary and critical analysis.”
Comics are coming into their own in classrooms of all kinds, gaining an unprecedented level of respect and spawning serious debate over their greater meaning. Many school libraries now put comic books and graphic novels on their shelves.
“For certain types of students – particularly those who are visually oriented and bright but lack the motivation or maturity to succeed in conventional reading – the graphic novel can become a bridge to other academic pursuits,” notes Adams.
BCC’s Collaborative Education Program works with local middle and high schools to keep students focused on the importance of building skills now in reading, writing and science for college courses.
Some of the professionals at the New York and San Diego Comic Cons, where thousands of people attend each year, will be at BCC’s Kids Comic Con. Scott Gimple, creator and executive producer of the animated series “Disney’s Fillmore,” will fly in from California to be a guest speaker at this year’s event.
Parents can bring reluctant readers who will be exposed to a new literacy pathway through appealing graphics and text in comic books, novels, movies, videos and the web. Attending the conference will be twenty or more professionals who work in the comic industry today. Many found their calling for seizing a career path by honing their skills in art and language when they were youngsters. They read comic books that inspired them to create their own. Many of Saturday’s comic con presenters will be talking about how their passion for cartoon drawing and writing turned into a career.
“Comics and graphic novels contain a huge body of individual examples of sequential art and storytelling. They are not simply funny books,” says Comic Publisher and Educator Alex Simmons. “They can be utilized effectively as inspirations to open doors for students with reading disabilities, English-as-a-Second-Language, and reluctant readers. Graphics and presentation of text often stimulate curiosity in readers for academic information that a full page of closely spaced text might not inspire,” he adds.
Simmons says that graphics and text which illustrate powers of science tech heroes like Xmen, Iron Man, Spiderman, and Superman often help readers contemplate and marvel over complex scientific concepts.
“Now more than ever it is imperative that we supply kids with a continuous flow of positive ideas, skills, and outlets for their thinking as well as self-esteem building activities, like creating from their own imaginations,” Simmons says. “No matter what path a kid’s life takes, having a solid habit of reading and being able to think, synthesize ideas, and come up with new concepts or fresh ways of looking at things will help them succeed. That’s what we do here, and it is all fun.”
Last year’s Kids Comic Con at BCC attracted over 700 visitors from the Bronx and as far away as the Midwest. Through the generous donation of books and other related items every child and teenager at the convention received a bundle of great reading materials. Since the start of the graphic and media arts program over 3,000 children, parents, and educators have participated in BCC’s workshops, conventions, and teacher professional development seminars.
BCC’s Kids Comic Con whole-day event will feature a kids’ corner for reading pleasure, comic exhibits by field veterans and young people, panels and workshops such as “How to Have Fun Reading Comics” and “Comics in the Classroom.” The event provides parents and educators with ideas on how to make learning more fun.
Portfolio review, additional workshops and demonstrations will bring professional advice to new artists, guidance on comics’ creation and provide attendees with specific cartooning skills.
Representatives expected to attend include: Random House Books, Jim Hanley’s Universe, Diamond Book Distributors, The East Coast Black Age of Comic Convention, Publishers Weekly, Dasan (Korean publisher of a graphic novel, “The Obama Story”), EthiDoll (producer of books and dolls on African queens in history), Archie Comic Book Publications, Bronx Community College Art and Music Department, and Facilities Management.
For more information call (718) 289-5952.