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Akron Comicon celebrates art form

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Akron Comicon, as shown during last year’s event, will include vendors, appearances by artists and writers and opportunities to learn more about the art form, according to organizers.
Photo courtesy of Akron Comicon
DOWNTOWN AKRON — When West Akron resident Robert Savene and his friend Robert Jenkins, of Kenmore, heard that a local comic book show was going to cease, they decided to pick up the ball.

“We thought, gee, we’ll miss out on a lot of fun, so why don’t we go ahead and do it,” Savene said. “Then the guy decided to keep going, but we had already invested so much time in it.”

The two moved forward with their ideas for a convention, and the result was the first Akron Comicon, which took place a year ago at The University of Akron (UA) Student Union.

“We had over 1,000 people,” Savene said. “We exceeded our expectations.”

The all-day affair was such a success that Savene and Jenkins have planned the second annual event, to take place Nov. 9 at UA’s Quaker Station from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re two fans, so it’s exciting for us to be involved in something like this,” Savene said.

The convention will include appearances by comic book and graphic novel artists and writers, as well as a lineup of vendors with items for sale.

“It’s great for the entire family,” Savene said. “Comic books are the original American art form. We want to reach all ages and promote the art form.”

One way that will happen is through ongoing workshops that will help children and adults learn how to create their own comic book. Those will take place at the top of each hour.

As for guests, Savene is happy to have Tom Batiuk, of Medina, creator of “Funky Winkerbean,” back again this year. He’s also looking forward to hosting Jon Bogdanove, of Los Angeles, who created the title “Superman: Man of Steel” for DC Comics.

Mike Barr, of Akron, a Kenmore High School graduate, also will be on hand. He has written a Batman graphic novel, “Son of the Demon,” as well as “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” comics.

Others writers and artists scheduled to appear are Adam Beechen, Ron Frenz, Tony Isabella, Brad Ricca and Chris Sprouse.

Some of the guests will be part of panel discussions throughout the day. At 2 p.m., Siegel and Shuster Society representatives will lead a panel on Superman, while at 4 p.m. a group of mainstream and independent comic artists and writers will gather for “How to Succeed in Comics Without Killing Anyone.”

Up-and-coming artists and writers also will be featured in Artists Alley, Savene said, along with comic book clubs and other organizations.

The Comicon also will include a costume contest for those who like to dress as their favorite character, Savene said. Judging will take place at noon.

Advance tickets for the Akron Comicon are $8 and available through today, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m. at www.akroncomicon.com. At the door, tickets will be $10, $5 for senior citizens and UA students and free for children 10 and younger. More details about the event are on the website. Quaker Station is located at 135 S. Broadway St.

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