Part of the Catonsville branch of the Baltimore County Public Library will transform into a mini-comic and superhero convention on Saturday, June 30.
The library’s third annual Comic Con, scheduled from 10:15 a.m through 4 p.m. that day, at 1100 Frederick Road, will feature programs for all ages, including a costume contest, story time and dance lessons.
“I’m really looking forward to so much of it,” said librarian Jason Aglietti, who has organized each of Catonsville’s Comic Con events.
He said the free event is a great way for families to come together and share an interest in something that may not always be family friendly — bigger comic conventions. They can be too loud or crowded for younger kids, he said.
Aglietti said he expects about 250 people to filter in and out throughout the day at the Catonsville event. Baltimore’s Comic Con typically draws more than 15,000 people, and the Comic Con in San Diego draws over 125,000, according to Comic-Con International.
“I think it’s a way for people to come in and celebrate a love for comics [or] superheros in their area,” said Aglietti, who’s been a librarian at Catonsville for 2 ½ years.
He said other librarians had been thinking about doing a comics-based event before he started working at the branch, but his personal interest in comics helped him execute the idea for the first time in 2016.
Cosmic Comix and Toys, a business at the Shops at Mellor, has been a partner in making the Catonsville Branch Comic Con happen for all three years.
General manager Andy Bridges said the store will be on site to “help make the overall vibe all about superhero and comic as much as we can.”
“We consider ourselves the ambassadors of comics for this part of the world,” Bridges said.
In addition to selling comic books and merchandise at the library that day, Bridges said the store helped the library connect with comic book artists who will be participating in different events at the Catonsville Branch Comic Con.
The store, located a half-mile from the library, will almost certainly see some “new faces” in the first week or so following the daylong event at the library, he said, adding that raising awareness of the store would be a “win.”
“From the get-go, we have looked at Cosmic Comix as a community business,” Bridges said. “We consider it our mission to share the art form that we love with as many people as possible.”
The event will also feature the Jurassic Pork Food Truck, serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Photographer Jian Aquair, an artist who specializes in costume work, will be offering discounted cosplay photo shoots for individuals and taking event photos for the library.
Generally, events geared toward younger visitors are in the morning, with those aimed at teens and adults in the later afternoon.
The June 30 event, which takes over the meeting room on the basement floor of the Catonsville library, opens with story time and learning how to draw Pokemon characters with instructors from Columbia-based Art Way Alliance. The organization provides students with an opportunity to work with comic book industry professionals while learning to draw. y working with professionals and learnin
Afterward, there’s a surprise event called “A Superhero Adventure,” sponsored by the Disney Store.
There’s bingo and a costume contest scheduled for around noon, with prizes donated by Cosmic Comix. A panel featuring authors Howard Weinstein, Bob Greenberg and Steve Wilson will discuss how comics and science fiction literature have influenced each other.
Throughout the day, visitors will be able to speak with five local comic artists: Monica Gallagher, Marc Adona, Kata Kane, Charles C. Dowd and Jordan Clark.
Aglietti said all the vendors are donating their time, except for performance group Super Art Fight, which describes itself as “Pictionary meets prop wrestling” and undertakes live drawing featuring teams of artists working on one giant canvas.
The money to book Super Art Fight came from the nonprofit Friends of Catonsville Library, Aglietti said.
The last scheduled event is a K-Pop dance program at 3 p.m., when dancers will perform — and teach — popular dances from Korea.
In addition to getting visitors excited about comics and providing families something to do on a Saturday afternoon, Aglietti said the Catonsville Comic Con is important in that it involves the library creating a community space.
“Hosting events like Comic Con not only introduces customers to a part of the library’s collection of which they may not be aware, but is a way to highlight the changing landscape of the modern library,” Erica Palmisano, a spokeswoman for the county library, said in an email. “Today’s library is inclusive, relevant to all ages and a true community center.”