The atrium of the Steinman College Center serves as a place to meet, to hang out and to learn about campus events. On Nov. 23, a group of students and faculty from the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House community transformed it into a lively convention hall.
Franklin & Marshall hosted the Lancaster Comic Con last Monday afternoon, the first festival of all things comic in Lancaster. Local comic fans joined members of the College community to kick off the inaugural event, which included tables from The Comic Store, Lead Slinger Studios and other organizations devoted to comics and graphic literature.
The College bookstore and library also contributed displays.
The centerpiece of the event was a book signing by David Small, author of the graphic memoir Stitches, a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award. Following the Comic Con, Small presented a reading at the Bonchek Lecture Hall in the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building.
A group of student organizers helped to plan the Comic Con, along with members of the Writers House, the Department of Art and Art History and the Anime club. The event was designed as a miniature version of larger comic conventions, such as those held annually in San Diego and Baltimore.
"It seemed like something the local community would be interested in, so we wanted participation from outside the College," says Cheryl Fazio '11, one of the students who planned the event. "We found a lot of local vendors and local artists, and actually ended up going beyond the Lancaster community."
The planning group pulled things together in just four weeks, working quickly to secure vendors, artists and prizes.
The Comic Con also included displays from the winners of F&M's first student comics contest, anime-inspired snacks and door prizes and $1,200 in statues from Sideshow Collectibles.
Fazio hopes the event will become an annual tradition at the College. She credits the Graphic Novels class taught by Kerry Sherin Wright, director of the Writers House and adjunct assistant professor of English, for sparking an interest in graphic literature among students.
"Next year, we're hoping to upgrade and take over the College Center for a day or two," Fazio says. "I'd encourage people to be open-minded. It's not just anime, or the traditional Batman and Superman comics. It's becoming more of a mainstream medium, and getting an improved reputation."