The Wildcat Comic Con - an unprecedented melange of education, enlightenment and entertainment related to the far-reaching worlds of comics and graphic novels - is open for registration.
Award-winning authors and illustrators will offer a broad spectrum of professional and fan presentations, panels and workshops at the April 13 to 14 event, to be held across Pennsylvania College of Technology's main campus in Williamsport.
Interested participants are encouraged to visit wildcatcomiccon.pct.edu to register, choosing among options sure to suit varied schedules and interests. The Wildcat Comic Con website also includes details about renowned presenters and their impressive array of programs, as well as airport and hotel information for those traveling from outside the area.
"Whether you are an educator, a student, a fan or any combination of those, the Wildcat Comic Con provides an opportunity to share your expertise, explore the varied topics of interest in the comics universe, and learn something new," said Judy J. Zebrowski, an assistant professor and librarian for information literacy initiatives in Penn College's Madigan Library.
Registration is available for one or both days (at $25 and $40, respectively), and includes entry to sessions with more than 40 authors and other experts related to writing, illustration, education and careers in the industry. Also included in the fee are a cosplay competition, Star Wars impersonators, Artist Alley, vendors, author book-signings, portfolio reviews and exhibitors.
Admission for Penn College students will be discounted to $15 per day or $25 for both days.
If the library's recent ComiXnite activities are any indication, the breadth of programming should attract a range of audiences to the Comic Con.
"One of the best things about ComiXnite is the fact that we have participants of all ages who share common interests, participate in the sessions and learn from one another," said Patricia A. Scott, associate professor and librarian for archives and digital collections initiatives.
While there is ample opportunity for fun, much of the programming is geared toward the use of graphic novels and related material in the classroom.
John Weaver, an English teacher at Williamsport Area High School, has assessed the curricular value of graphic novels, addressing such factors as literacy and relevance to students' everyday lives.
"Graphic novels go beyond illustrations of the words that a writer composed," he said. "As Jimmy Gownley of the 'Amelia Rules' series - one of the scheduled presenters for the Wildcat Comic Con - put it once, comprehending a comic requires that a reader understand the juxtaposition of text and art, which is a very complex process. Reluctant readers will often start reading graphic novels in my class because the artwork initially attracts them, as well as the fact that the writing is presented in small chunks. Very soon, however, these readers not only build their comprehension of the text, but look deeply into the artwork to develop a more profound understanding of the graphic novel than they could looking at the words alone.
"As graphic novels reach students at all reading abilities and address issues that young adults, from high school to college, find to be relevant to their own lives, I envision connections between these two groups of students - through interscholastic book clubs, or perhaps college students tutoring reluctant readers through the medium of graphic novel."