We kicked off Free Comic Book Day 2015 at 1 pm on Saturday with a visit from three comic book artists, who shared with us their art, their passion and their insights.  We held the event on the 4th Floor Studio.

Here’s artist Jen Wang talking about her experiences in the comics field. One of the Free Comic Book Day comics included a story by her, so she signed those for the kids who attended this workshop!


This is “Penny Dora” artist Sina Grace talking about how you lay out a comic book page to emphasize the most important part of what’s happening on that page. In this example, he was showing Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk. He talked about how if you want to dramatize someone’s final transition, one of the ways you do it is to make the climactic panel bigger.


This photo is of Michael Stock, the “Penny Dora” writer, talking about collaboration, and how you write a comic book.


After getting lots of inspiration from our amazing writer/artist panel, kids got their Free Comic books signed and were invited to join us for more programs downstairs.  From 2-4 pm, we had two separate, simultaneous programs in the Technology Learning Center and the Story Room.  In the Technology Learning Center, Mr. Nick led a workshop with three different web-based programs (see image links below!) that all give you different ways to design your own superhero character:


Here we’re printing out the sample costume design that Mr. Nick made with Hero Machine.

These are the three websites we used–click on the images:


superhero generator


Author Michael Owen Carroll also has a superhero/supervillain name generator at http://www.michaelowencarroll.com, and the kids were having fun with that. It generates ten names at a time, and gives you some names that are good [like Power Quake], bad [Lass Brother] and others that are just goofy [Weevil Power].

At the same time, in the Story Room, we had a program showing kids our comic-book-themed iPad apps, iPads provided.  There were two apps we played with, one that was better for older kids and one that was easier to use for younger kids.  Click the pictures below to find out more and purchase these apps from the Apple App Store.  (They are only available for iOS devices.)


Big Nate: Comix By U! is an app recommended for kids ages 7 and up. Kids use the characters from the bestselling Big Nate books and craft their own comic strip, adding their own dialogue in text word bubbles to tell a funny story!







Superhero Comic Book Maker is an app recommended for kids ages 5-8.  Kids use animated stickers and make the characters come to life while recording dialogue in their own voice.
Superhero Comic Book Maker is an app recommended for kids ages 5-8. Kids use animated stickers and make the characters come to life while recording dialogue in their own voice.










Here are some sample comic strips I made with the Big Nate app, to show kids what they can do with it:

book report comic

fortunes comic


Here is a comic strip made by Melissa, one of our participants:

melissas comic


Here are some shots of kids playing with and learning about the apps.  Children and parents worked together to learn how to use them to make something fun.  Some parents went and bought the apps for their device at home so they could keep the fun going!












We used a few joke books to give us inspiration for our comic strips.  One of them, called Monkeyfarts, was a book that one participant already had at home and memorized from cover to cover!


In addition to the iPads, we had other stuff for kids to play with.  We had posters all around the room and props for kids to dress up as their favorite superheroes!  Then we took their pictures:









A few kids made a game out of being superheroes in battle:






Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.  So if you were outside in the heat, waiting in a line stretching around the block for free comics at your favorite comic book store… Well… YOU WERE MISSING OUT!!  Remember, libraries do Free Comic Book Day in air-conditioned style. 🙂