Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dark Horse Giveaway!

Dark Horse comics has been around awhile, and while other companies come and go, this west-coast publisher seems to have found its niche as the number three publisher behind the behemoths called DC and Marvel. One thing Dark Horse has done to stay competitive is to keep moving to t he cutting edge of the industry- with talent searches, licensed properties, and digital formats, Dark Horse continues to be a company that presents something fresh. Now, the folks at Dark Horse are offering an Ipad giveaway along with a $100 credit towards your choice of digital Dark Horse comics. That's a lot of good Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Conan to keep you busy for quite awhile! so head on over to the site to register for your chance to win!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A great night at the Cartooning Club!

The April Cartooning Club was one to remember as Area 51 Comics creator Jim McGee dished out all he could about how and why he chose to create a web comic, his cartooning experiences before that, how he created his characters and made them unique (like having a vegetarian zombie who eats "heads" of lettuce!), and he he uses basic shapes to form his characters. A big thanks to Jim, who also put a challenge out to the kids. He is letting them make their own Area 51 strip and when they send it to him, he'll post it on his website as part of the regular strips and they will receive credit for their work. To get a look at the strip, the characters, and to contact Jim by email go to Let's see those cartoon aliens, okay?
We had about 15 kids, with four of them being girls (one came all the way from Concord!) and we had comics pro Al Bigley drop in again!! The best part of the night for me was afterwards, when a mother came up to me telling me how much of a difference the Cartooning Club has made in her daughter, who was not interested in books before then, but has found things she likes to read and is doing it for the enjoyment of it. It's very humbling to hear such words come from a parent- especially one who is an educator. It's also its own reward.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jim McGee and Area 51- TODAY!!

Today at 5:30 Jim McGee, creator of the Area 51 comics strip will be at the Union West Regional Library in Indian Trail. For kids and adults interested in learning about how people get involved in and create their own comics, and how artists like Jim use the internet to publlish a comic, then please join us for this great time. You can check out Jim's web site at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boom Studios Comes Through BIG!

A few weeks ago the first calls to publishers for help with this year's convention went out. This week, we got our first big donation from a publishing house! The fine people at Boom! Studios in California sent us 175 copies of their limited run of the Muppet Show! Boom's traffic coordinator Travis Beaty was extremely helpful, stayed in contact, sent a tracking number for the box, and even filled my request for hi-res images of the studio logos! And now, thanks to the efforts of Travis, 175 kids will leave our library on June 11 with a new, mint comic in their hands! And this is no throw-away comic, either. The cover is an alternate one, limited to a run of 500 copies, and we have 175 of those. As a result, the book is now "sold out".
While Travis helped us out, he hasn't been the only one- we received a handful of comics from legend Roy Thomas, and Darkhorse loaded us up with so much stuff (and such a variety) that we still have a small selection to hand out. All totaled at this point, we have enough stuff to hand out to roughly 225 kids!
Thanks Boom! Studios, and thank you very much, Travis! You rock!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ben Towle Gets Eisner Nomination- Again!

Big congratulations to Winston-Salem based comics artist, writer and creator Ben Towle who has been nominated for an Eisner Award for his work on Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean! This is Ben's second nomination, his first coming in 2004. The Eisner's are the comic book industry's equivalent of the Oscars in movies, or the Grammys for music. To read more about the nomination, go to Ben Towle's own blog here, and to see the list of Eisner-nominated books, writer, and artists, go here!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jim McGee at Cartooning Club April 21

Jim McGee, the creator of Area 51 Comics, will be presenting all kinds of useful information for budding cartoonists on Thursday, April 21 beginning at 5:30. Jim's Area 51 is an online comic about aliens trying to understand earth culture, and his discussion will include some pointers for drawing, and how he started his comic strip and why he chose to put it on the internet.
You don't to miss this one as digital comics and online media become more and more the preferred standard for readers- especially in the area of comics where digital copies don't show wear and tear and can be downloaded to multiple devices making them extremely portable.
Also, we'll go over the list of free comics being offered this year for Free Comic Book Day!
Don't miss it!
For more information ask a children's librarian at Union West, or call 704-821-7475 ext 4.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Free Comic Book Day is May 7

It's that time of year again, people!
Free Comic Book Day lands on Saturday, May 7th at comic shops across the nation! Stores will hand out a wide variety of specially printed comics for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) with the idea being that there will be something there for pretty much anyone. Like the hottest writers on the NY Times list? Then try James Patterson's Witch & Wizard. Want something to take you back to Saturday mornings and after-school cartoons? How about comics featuring the Smurfs, Darkwing Duck (Let's get dangerous!), Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers, or The Tick? Are you a fan of a more reality-based fare? Then look for Discovery Channel's Deadliest Sharks and Prehistoric Predators, or try Chuck Dixon's Civil War Adventure. Want your reality to be campy? There's Misadventures of Adam West!And the list goes on and on!
The idea behind FCBD started more than 10 years ago and has grown into a national (and even international) event. But why hand out free comics? Many of the stores and publishers see it as a way to attract people who may not currently be reading comics. For others, it offers retailers the opportunity to put new titles into their customers' hands, exposing them to new material to buy.
In the Charlotte area, there are three comic book stores- Pennyworth's (named after Batman's butler) in Matthews, located in a shopping center at the intersection of Hwy 51 and Monroe Rd. They have very limited space, both in the store and in the parking lot, and the entrance/exit is a little steep, so you have to catch a ggod break in traffic OR risk having the bottom of your car scrape hard several times. YOUCH!

Rebel Base Comics has the best parking of the three shops, located on Sharon Amity just off of Providence Rd and before you reach Randolph Rd. Rebel Base doesn't just hand out free comic books, they typically include the Imperial 501st as their special guests, put a bunch of stuff on sale, and they even bring in local talent to draw for fans. The 501st is a worldwide coalition of Star Wars re-enactors who craft their own costumes down to intricate detail. They then don these uniforms for comics and Star Wars related events, and for many charitable organizations. The store has one of the best selections of resale action figures and related toys you could imagine! For phone number, address, or other information, click the link under "Links For the Comics Fans in the Carolinas" (that's why I put the links there!).

Finally, there is Heroes Aren't Hard to Find. This store is the host of the annual HeroesCon and is the largest of the three comics stores, with tons of back issues just waiting to be grabbed up. Usually, FCBD at Heroes involves setting up some tables outside for people to get to meet some real comic book creators. Inside the store, free comics are scattered throughout the well-packed shelves, encouraging browsers to pick up more than just the free issues. The problem is, while the store is spacious, and they always have great artists on hand for the crowd, parking is very limited and shares space with shoppers from other stores and restaurants. Driving in a group and maybe walking a couple of blocks might be good ideas. Heroes is located on 7th street and Pecan near Showmars. For more information, again look for the link under "Links For the Comics Fans in the Carolinas."

For more about free comic book day, including the full list of titles that will be available, copy this address in your browser-

Along with the free comics being offered in comic shops, a variety of publishers (mostly independent or small press) are offering free comics via download to your computer! You never have to leave the house to enjoy some of the fun! And unlike their printed counterparts, digital comics don't wear out, fade or wrinkle!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The First Pieces Come Together

Planning for a mini-con begins MONTHS in advance as space and layout, format and themes, and activities, guests and other things are all thought about and prepared. The guest list is starting to build up with comics scribe Dan Johnson, artist extraordinaire Al Bigley, web comic pros Derek and Nikki Davis of Bitter TEA Studios, Bluewater Comics' artist John DaCosta and independent creator Tom Davidson all returning for this year's event. Add in Sonic writer Ian Flynn, inker Henry Eudy, and Area 51 web comic creator Jim McGhee and the guest list appears to be shaping up nicely! I also got word in recently from BOOM! Studios ( that they will supply us with 175 comics to hand out! Campfire Graphic Novels ( have also agreed to send an assortment of graphic novels. And in what was an unexpected and very kind move, writer, editor in chief and fanzine creator Roy Thomas sent a box of new comics and graphic novels to hand out for the event! Roy could not make it to our mini-con this year, but he still wanted to help with the event somehow. A big thanks to him, BOOM! and Campfire for their generosity this year!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Return of Mini-Con Strikes Back!

That's right- the Return of Mini-Con is back! It was touch-and-go there for awhile, but the green light has been given for one of the finest library-based mini-cons in the state of North Carolina.
Saturday, June 11 is the big day where you can mingle with independent and major comics creators! Want to get a sketch from a favorite artist? Or get some drawing tips from a pro as you show your portfolio? Have questions about how comics are made?
Then come on down for the big show (and by the way, you can't beat the price to get in- it's FREE!)
This will be a great family-friendly event and a nice way to get out and beat the heat so be sure to mark your calendars!
Announcements on guests, activities and more will begin coming up soon so make sure to keep checking back!