Cranium Comics

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Yomicon Event Inspires Many Young Manga Fans

Last Friday evening, my wife and I attended Yomicon, a small anime and manga convention put on by the Austin Public Library at the Spicewood Springs branch. As part of the Connected Youth program, Yomicon offered a plethora of things for kids to do ranging from free comic books and manga to costume design, workshops, discussions and many other related events. The organizers did a great job of giving parents and adults plenty of ways to keep themselves (and their kids) entertained.

Cosplay and Dealer areaThe library was divided up into several different areas of interest. To the right of the entrance was the cosplay and comic dealer areas. Just past the parent lounge area in front of the windows, many participants were sharing fabric swatches while the adults were showing them how to put together their creations on two sewing machines. Not being familiar with the whole cosplay thing (essentially what fans call the art of dressing up as their favorite manga or animated character), seeing young and old alike as excited about their favorite characters was a pleasant surprise. Not very many things can foster as much passion for its characters as much as this genre can, which felt very similar to traditional comic conventions.

Representatives from Dragon’s Lair were on hand, offering a chance to win a free $25 gift certificate for attendees who were willing to roll the dice and see what they had won. They had brought close to a dozen individual stacks of free comic books on display on the adjacent table, many left over from the free comic day event which had happened this past May.

Cosplay Contest and Other Events

cosplayOne of the highlights of the event was the Cosplay Contest over in the main stage area. Following some anime and manga trivia, the participants lined up along one wall and were allowed to show their creations to the entire group. This fostered a lot of camaraderie amongst the kids and it looked like they really enjoyed it. Every character from Sailor Moon to Full Metal Alchemist to Cowboy Bebop was represented. We even saw a few non-anime/manga characters such as Mario and others. While not participating directly, many of the library staff members were dressed in full costume as well.

As we meandered around the rest of the library, there were several other stations for which participants could enjoy. The library displayed their extensive selection of Anime DVDs and Manga comics, along with student artwork, an arts and crafts area, gaming room (for guitar hero and old school Mario games), and tabletop gaming areas. Gurren Lagann was being projected on the big screen in the juvenile book area. There were several people crowded around on beanbag chairs watching.

Playing card gamesBehind the kids playing Magic the Gathering was the Workshops area. We arrived at the very tail end of Manga Artist Rivkah displaying some of her pencil and ink artwork to a group of teens. I was interested in talking with her after her workshop was over as I had the opportunity to listen to her panel on “Online Comic Books: The Future of Graphic Novels” during a South By Southwest panel earlier in the year, but unfortunately she was preoccupied with fans for the majority of the evening. Because of this, I wasn’t able to follow up with her on user interfaces for online comics (next time, we’ll have to get there earlier).

Summary

Although the event lasted from 6pm until midnight, we ended up leaving a little after 9:30. I went in not knowing much about anime, cosplay, and the public library’s offerings to its younger audience, but I left having a better sense of the devotion the fans have to their genre. By hosting an event like this, the library has proven their willingness to meet the demands of hungry manga & anime fans. In addition, the support from local businesses and the community really made the event a success. I’m looking forward to further comic-inspired events put on by the Austin Public Library. If this is any indication of how well community can foster growth in and around an industry, I’m excited for the future.

7 Responses to “Yomicon Event Inspires Many Young Manga Fans”

  1. nice write-up! it made me feel like i was there….your enthusiasm and genuine interest in comics, regardless of genre, is refreshing and inspiring…

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  3. Omg I’m the one in the blue cape in the 2nd pic

  4. Really nice content. I just bookmark your site and wants to say that I have really appreciated while reading through your posts. Thank you for sharing the knowledge with all.

  5. Awesome @Phoenix! I hope you had a good time at the event. I think it’s great that Libraries are doing things like this now. When I was a kid, there was hardly anything even close. I’m looking forward to more things like this in the future.

  6. It was a cool event, but this Year’s yomicon (2011) was even better! WOOT! It’s safe, had food, everyoe was happy and things were fair. And wow in the first picture, the sasuke with it’s back turned all the way in the upper left corner is me!o.o hehe.

  7. That’s great! I think it’s so cool that it seems to have gotten bigger and bigger. Yeah, I was hoping to be there to document it, but I wasn’t able to this year. Glad it turned out really well. I taught a Summer Camp class on creating comics where I promoted it pretty heavily. Oh wow – you’re in that first pic? That’s awesome!

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