Anyone who has EVER met me knows that I am in LOVE with comics and graphic novels. I could talk about characters and back history for hours, and have watched almost all the movies (yes, even the bad ones). It’s no surprise that all the libraries I’ve worked at have participated in Free Comic Book Day since its inception in 2002. While the purpose of Free Comic Book Day is actually to bring new readers into independent comic book shops, there is no reason that librarians and libraries cannot partner with comic shops and use Free Comic Book Day to celebrate it as a day of comic book and graphic novel reading appreciation.
Despite the name, the comics are only free to those coming in to the comic shops- retailers have to pay for each and every issue that they give away, from $.25 to $.75 an issue depending on the size, the price from the publisher, and the shipping being charged. The orders for the comics have to be in by the end of January, so if you haven’t already paired with your local comic shop, it may be too late for this year to do anything aside from giving them some wonderful publicity. However, there is no reason why you cannot have some wicked programming planned to celebrate the comic and graphic novel lover!
Set aside tables or space within the library and have a dedicated gaming afternoon. Bring out games dedicated or themed around comics or graphic novels (Marvel or Star Wars Monopoly, Yu-GI-Oh dueling, Munchkin, Doctor Who) and let the teens game the afternoon away. Munchkin is a favorite of my teens, as well as Fluxx.
Bring out the console games such as the Wii, XBOX, or Playstation for a surprise free play or gaming tournament. Not only Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers count as comic-based games, but also Halo, DC vs. Mortal Kombat, Injustice, and other games that have comic book characters.
If you have a bit of money, see if you can find a character artist to come out and teach the basics of drawing to tweens and teens, or an art teacher come and teach the basics of facial drawing. Another option would be to search and see if you have an animation studio or a voice over studio in the area, and whether they have someone willing to come out for a reasonable fee to do a session for the tweens and teens. A lot of the manga that is brought over from Japan and shown in the US on networks like Comedy Central is actually dubbed here in the US, and the range of voices an actor can do is amazing.
This year the Collaborative Summer Reading Program is Every Hero Has a Story, and because of this there are TONS of superhero craft ideas flowing on blogs and online. Ideas from creating your own superhero/villain identity to buttons to comic canvases are floating around. I’ve been collecting a bunch on my Pinterest board; feel free to use it as a starting point.
My favorites for tweens and teens so far:
- Cuff bracelet from Plucking Daisies
- DIY Book Coasters from Refreshed Designs
- Superhero Magnets on Crafts by Amanda
- Superhero Canvases on Mod Podge Rocks
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