Sat 2/29 @ 10AM-3PM & 5-8PM
The comic book zeitgeist shows no signs of slowing down thanks to the Marvel Comic Universe blockbusters. Interest in the genre is at an all-time high, especially among kids who are not only readers, but also interested in creating their own characters and telling their own stories.
That’s where Lake Erie Ink’s 8th annual Kids’ Comic Con comes into the picture. The event targeting youth ages 8-18 takes place from 10am-3pm Feb. 29. The unique comic convention for young writers and artists last year drew nearly 150 kids and teens from all across Northeast Ohio,
More than a dozen artists and writers will be talking about everything from the secrets of character and drawing to great storytelling and laying out a page. Returning is the popular “Create your own comic character in clay” workshop.
“It’s a day of workshops for kids to learn how to create comics,” Lake Erie Ink education director Cynthia Larsen said. “Either as writers or artists, they come in, sit in workshops with professionals doing the work and learn from them. We keep doing it because comics are a way to engage youth in writing and storytelling.”
This year marks the debut of a second session from 5-8pm focusing on teenagers (grades 6-12).
The evening affair — including a cosplay fashion show and a Snack n’ Sketch ’zine exchange — features a “Make Change with Comics” panel with participants having the opportunity to learn the difficult balance of making money through art while simultaneously making a positive difference in their community.
“What we’ve done for teens is try to give them their own space with their own workshops,” Larsen said. “This also gives them a chance to hang out with each other. Hopefully it works out.”
Founded by Larsen and Amy Rosenbluth, Lake Erie Ink believes that creative writing is not only for kids and teens who already love writing, but also for youth who have something to say and often feel that no one is listening.
The nonprofit is a writing space for youth providing creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the Greater Cleveland community. Lake Erie Ink is a member of Greater Cleveland Community Shares, which supports local nonprofit organizations working for long-term, sustainable solutions to build a stronger Cleveland.
While on the surface some folks may feel the point of the annual Kids’ Comic Con is to hopefully discover the next Stan Lee, Larsen said that misses the point regarding the Lake Erie Ink mission.
“We really want kids to be good communicators when they grow up,” Larsen said. “We want kids to be able to express themselves and feel the power of their own language and expression — whether that’s through comics or poems or fiction or anything like that.
“Comics are just a really good way to engage with a larger audience of kids. So if they’re telling their stories — whether it’s fiction or whether it’s autobiographical — we want them to grow up and feel like they control their communication and they can speak up in the world.”
[Written by John Benson]