Returning to the campus of the Bronx Community College, the seventh annual Kids Comic Con will kick off on May 11 with more than 30 exhibitors, including Viz Media, Papercutz, Archie Comics, Jim Henson/Sesame Street and Scholastic Book Fairs, in addition to a slate of panels, film screenings and hands-on workshops on creating comics.
Forced to move last year due to a scheduling conflict, Kids Comic Con—held from10 am to 6 pm on the BCC campus—is now back where it belongs, on the college campus where the show was founded seven years ago. KCC founder Alex Simmons, author, educator and comics writer for Archie, Tarzan, Scooby-Doo and other properties, said the theme for this year’s show is “Sci-Fact to Sci-Fiction, Where Creativity and Technology Meet.” Simmons explained that, “KCC’s primary goal is to use comics to promote reading, creativity and exploration in kids’ lives."
Among the artists on hand for this year’s Kids Comic Con are Papercutz artist Rick Parker, DC and Marvel cover artist Alitha Martinez, comics writer Danny Fingeroth, the Jim Henson/Sesame Street creative team of Louis Mitchell and Diana Leto and Jerry Craft, creator of the Mama’s Boyz comics strip in addition to comics editors Jim Salicrup and Joan Hilty. Programming includes panels on the Global Impact of Comics on Education and a panel (by Hilty) on Creating Comics from Real Life, that will take a look at nonfiction comics
This year’s show will also feature a screening of a short documentary about the first comic book shop in Guatemala, a store launched by a couple from New York City, and at a separate screening earlier in the week feature the presentation of White Scripts, Black Superheroes, a documentary by Jonathan Gayles that looks at the images of black superheroes in American comics, though Simmons advised that the film is really for an adult academic audience. In addition, Simmons highlighted an appearance by Larry Brown, a championship level archer and real-life Green Arrow—“brown arrow,” joked Simmons, who noted that he is African American—who also teaches archery in the public schools will demonstrate his skills including attempting some of the superhero gadget-oriented archery depicted in Hawkeye and Green Arrow comic books and movies.
Simmons also emphasized the work Robert Williams, who has worked with public school high school students to produce a play based on DC Comics’ Batman, called Fathers of the Dark Knight, a look at the roles of Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson in the creation of various classic Batman characters. The play uses public school student actors--who also created their own, rather impressive superhero costumes--to bring the characters to life on the stage. The students portray a number of iconic Batman characters such as the Dark Knight himself, Nightwing, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Catwoman and the Riddler. Batman and the Riddler will be on hand at KCC.
The seventh annual Kids Comic Con offers something for kids as well as for their parents and teachers. “Now more than ever it is imperative that young people embrace a continuous flow of positive ideas, skills, and outlets for their thinking as well as self-esteem,” Simmons said. “This year we’ve found even more people who share these ideas and goals so come share the day and the magic.”