Over 100 comic and Anime enthusiasts turned out for the Vinton Public Library’s first LibraryCon event on July 29, which featured “everything comic and Anime” in a variety of exhibits and activities scattered throughout the library from noon to 5 p.m.
Anime is the Japanese term for hand-drawn or computer animation, characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters, and fantastical themes.
There were workshops, crafts, games, movies on the patio, mask-making, Manga, a karate demonstration, comic vendors, food, and even costume and haiku writing contests.
Organizers said they were stunned at the attendance which included all ages (but mostly middle and high schoolers) for this inaugural event, which they hope will become an annual one.
Roanoke County Library Teen Coordinator Teresa Nuar said LibraryCon was the result of brainstorming among the library assistants, including Caitlin Gills and Kristin Hodges, who work with youth. She says that comics and Anime are some of the most-read collections at all Roanoke County branch libraries. The Vinton and South County libraries, with ardent groups of tweens and teens, have Anime clubs.
Activities got under way at noon with a Cosplay Panel and workshop. “Cosplay” is a term coined from “costume” and “play,” and is defined as “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of Manga and Anime.” Cosplay participants usually portray characters from the fictional universes of Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman, Spiderman, Anime, or a host of others. Individuals dress up with a specific theme and embody the characters during the panel/workshop.
Next up was the costume contest with about 12 competing for the first prize of tickets to the inaugural Big Lick Comic Con convention and festival on August 5 at the Berglund Center. The Evil Queen and Emma Swan from ABC TV’s “Once upon a Time” were represented, along with Gollum from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, DC Comics’ Poison Ivy, and Lufefe Lufe from the Fantasy games. The winner was character Aerith Gainsborough from the “Final Fantasy 7” game.
Mixed martial arts instructor John Bryant from Super Kicks Karate led a demonstration on self-defense tactics during the event.
There was a Fan Fiction Panel workshop for writers where-in they rewrite, embellish, or modify an original work of fiction with new storylines, characters, alternative endings or beginnings. Fan Fiction writers pick a universe and rewrite a work of fiction as a fan of the work— maybe changing an ending they don’t like or adding a prologue or epilogue to the original story.
If much of this sounds alien, be sure to attend next year’s LibraryCon event to become a fan.