For many in Vegas, the heat wave days of summer mean either staying indoors, vacationing on a tropical getaway, or participating in the local public library’s summer reading program. While all three of these options can end up with a book in hand (curled up on the couch in the air conditioning, lounging with a beach read, or to log hours for prizes), the choice of reading material during the summer can also be a little more…animated. On the west coast, as in many places across the country, summer has become the time for comic books.
Nowhere is this more evident than at the annual San Diego comic convention. Running for almost a week in the middle of summer (July 20-24 this year), Comic-Con International is one of the largest gatherings of comic book, science fiction, fantasy, video game, and pop culture fans, reporting numbers of over 130,000 attendees in recent years. Dating back to 1970, Comic Con continues to celebrate its fans through a massive exhibit hall for vendors and artists, numerous programs and workshops, autograph opportunities from favorite authors/artists/actors, costume contests, art shows, portfolio reviews, and special film or TV show screenings. Though not as “niche” as it used to be, Comic Con is one of the best examples of how comic books have become an integral part of our culture.
But fans who can’t make it down to San Diego (or couldn’t nab a badge before they sold out) still have opportunities to enjoy comic life closer to home. Las Vegas itself will be hosting the Amazing! Las Vegas Comic Convention starting next Friday, from June 17-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Their summer convention includes guest speakers, costume contests, live demonstrations, and an expanded video game presence as well. While their website has yet to post a full programming schedule, tickets are still available online for purchase.
On a smaller scale, the Paseo Verde public library in Henderson, Nevada recently held their 2nd-annual “Mini Con” on May 28, showing that libraries are big on the comic scene too. Their convention consisted of an artist alley for local artists to showcase and sell their work, a cosplay costume contest, and panels about pop culture heroines and geek style. Free and open to the public—as libraries tend to be—no tickets were required to get in to this library con. Another benefit of hosting a comic convention in a library? You can still read (and borrow) comic books after the event ends!
And speaking of borrowing comic books, our own CSN libraries have collections of comics you can check out between studying—or sometimes use in research projects depending on the project! Our libraries stay open through summer (view our hours here) and the West Charleston campus library will have a display of graphic novels this month for fans to explore. Browse through the PN6700 section to learn about comics themselves, or view some of your favorite classics in illustrated form: from Frankenstein (PZ7.7.S483 at Cheyenne) and The Odyssey (PA4025.A5 H56 at Cheyenne) to the edgier Watchmen by Alan Moore (PN6737.M66 W39 at Henderson), and, yes, even Twilight (PS3613.E979 T85 at Charleston). There’s some Japanese manga too, and a lot of history on comic origins. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask a librarian to guide you to the perfect summer escape for any proud geek, superhero, or mild mannered student reader.