Official Press Release
June 18 and 19 brings the third annual Kids Read Comics Celebration to Chelsea, Michigan. This year's event has its headquarters at the Chelsea District Library and spreads throughout the historic downtown, where sixteen shops and restaurants will take part by hosting artists and activities. The weekend will feature interactive events with comics professionals, free comics giveaways from major publishers, a kids' costume parade down Main Street, and much more. Festivities run from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and noon until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The nonprofit Kids Read Comics was organized to highlight comics' unique blend of words and pictures, and to foster fun, imagination, creativity, and a lifelong love of reading. Over the course of the weekend, kids and teens (and adults too) will have plenty of opportunity to meet and talk with more than forty comics creators at two artists' alleys, and buy comics from those artists and writers. They'll also be able to participate in hands-on cartooning and storytelling workshops, and attend panel discussions, art demonstrations, and fun events like the improvisational Quick Draw challenge.
Special guests for the weekend festivities include Raina Telgemeier, cartoonist creator of the Eisner-Award-nominated middle-school comics memoir Smile; Dave Roman, writer-artist of Astronaut Academy; Ruth McNally Barshaw, author and illustrator of the popular Ellie McDoodle series of books; Rob Worley, writer of Scratch9, an Eisner nominee for best children's publication; Barbara Slate, creator of You Can Do a Graphic Novel; and Marc Sumerak, writer of many comics in Marvel's all-ages line as well as the upcoming graphic novel All-Ghouls School from IDW. Roman and Telgemeier will also give a kickoff talk at the Ann Arbor District Library on Friday, June 17, followed by a live performance of "Avatar: The Last Puppetbender" with Dave Roman and Kevin Coppa .
Dan Mishkin, a longtime comics writer and a cofounder of Kids Read Comics, describes the guest list as "fantastic." "From popular creators like Dave and Raina, Marc Sumerak, and the almost legendary John Ostrander and Bill Messner-Loebs, to mini-comics greats like Matt Feazell, to talented newcomers, we've got a great range of guests."
In addition to the kids and teens artists' alleys, Saturday events feature a superhero costume parade, face painting, kids' comics crafts, a comics scavenger hunt, and lunch with artists. Saturday activities specifically oriented to teens include a drawing wall, cosplay classes, and a costume contest and masquerade party ending the day. Chelsea's River Gallery will hold a 6:00-8:00 p.m. reception for "Comic Jam," an exhibit of original comic book art on display from May 28 through June 23, 2011.
Sunday will feature in-depth cartooning and storytelling workshops for kids, teens, and adults, along with professional development workshops for teachers and librarians who will learn how to use comics on behalf of young people in their work settings. On Sunday there will be a single, combined artists' alley. Free comics will be given away on both days, says co-director Dan Merritt of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan, courtesy of DC Comics, Top Shelf Productions, Archaia Entertainment and Sky-Dog Comics.
Admission to all Kids Read Comics events is totally free, and guests are charged no fees for table space. KRC is run by volunteers and benefits from the generous in-kind contributions of the Chelsea District Library, the Friends of the Library, the Chelsea Center for the Arts, and River Gallery Fine Art, as well as a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Additional information and a full schedule of events are available at www.kidsreadcomics.org.