Kids Read Comics Convention celebrates comics, creativity at HFCL this weekend

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DEARBORN — The second annual Kids Read Comics Convention, a free event promoting comics and graphics novels for kids and teens, will be held at Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave., Saturday and next Sunday.

Admission is free.

The event will feature more than 50 artists and writers who work in comics and animation. These creators will lead a variety of hands-on workshops and participate in panel discussions and presentations aimed at kids, teens, parents, teachers and librarians.

Dan Merritt, an organizer of the event and co-owner of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, said much of what comics offer today is geared toward older fans, but that comics for young readers are making a comeback. The nonprofit Kids Read Comics group wants to give those readers a chance to explore the world of possibilities that comics create, Merritt said.

“It’s also a chance for kids to unlock their own creativity through comics,” Merritt said. “And we want to show teachers and librarians how they can use comics in their settings. We think comics can be a great tool for promoting literacy.”

Guests will include Dwayne McDuffie, a Detroit native with a long career writing for comics and animation, and who is currently story editor on Cartoon Network’s “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien;” Raina Telgemeier, graphic novel adapter of the Baby-Sitters Club novels and author-artist of the middle school memoir “Smile;” Ferndale’s David Petersen, creator of the award-winning comics series “Mouse Guard;” Spider-Man writer Marc Sumerak; and Lansing-based cartoonist Jef Mallett, whose “Frazz” comic strip is nationally syndicated.

“Chiller Drive-In” host Wolfman Mac of Detroit will be master of ceremonies of a Saturday evening cosplay contest, with teens dressed up as their favorite characters. And the younger set will have their own costume parade.

The convention also will host local independent and small-press artists and writers. Co-organizer and teaching artist Jerzy Drozd said some of his students will be displaying their work at the show. “KRC is about giving everyone the tools they need to express themselves creatively through comics,” Drozd said. “Even if they never become professionals, they can make artistic creation a rewarding lifelong pursuit.”

Green Brain Comics will host an art display on the theme “kids reading comics,” and works created for the show will be sold in a silent auction to help defray the cost of running the convention. Artwork can be viewed at http://bit.ly/ajn9pK. The works will be on exhibit at Green Brain Comics, 13210 Michigan Ave., until Friday.

The Kids Read Comics Web site is www.kidsreadcomics.org.

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