Boise Library Comic Con Celebrates Intersection Of Pop Culture And Literature

Aug 28, 2015

Comic book conventions, known has "cons", happen in nearly every city in the country. Some are money-making affairs, others are organized by fans for fans. But in Boise, the public library has gotten in on this pop-culture phenomenon.

Boise’s third annual Library Comic Con happens Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the downtown library as well as in buildings and outdoor areas nearby. That includes the warehouse across the street where staff and volunteers are busy setting up. There are tables for artists and writers, shelves for books, and since this is a comic convention, there’s art. Library employee Josh Shapel shows off a nine foot by six foot Wonder Woman made of post-it notes stuck to the warehouse wall.

Shapel is one of the founders of the convention. For years, he had watched as comics and graphic novels became some of the most popular media at the library. He saw the library’s collection grow to keep up with the demand and he saw the literary establishment come to accept comics as a serious art form.

So Shapel knew there was interest. But he was still surprised when more than 7,500 people came to library comic con the first year. More came the next year and Shapel expects even more Saturday.

Boise is not alone. An American Library Association spokesperson says Boise is among a growing list of cities where public libraries have begun hosting comic conventions in the last few years.

Like most comic cons, Boise’s celebrates a lot of pop culture, including TV and movies.  But Shapel says it’s more focused on comics as an art form.

“So we’re not as interested in bringing in movie stars,” he says. “We’re really focused on bringing in writers, artists, creators who make literature.”

The con has a lot of popular events including the costume contest, but Shapel thinks the 14 nationally known comic creators and the nearly 30 local writers and artists will be the big draw.

“It’s just an opportunity to really make a connection with the people who create the stuff that you love,” Shapel says.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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