Comic Surge brings fiction to life at library

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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By Gillian Stawiszynski

Contributing Writer

If you’re familiar with the Jessamine County Public Library’s (JCPL) social media, you know the staff never shies away from a costume. Earlier this month, fans of all media joined the library staff to bring fantasy and fiction to life.

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JCPL held its sixth annual Comic Surge Convention on Saturday, Oct. 8. Many area residents attended the convention to cosplay, game, and dance. In addition, artists at the event sold fandom items at various vendors, one of which sold medieval cloaks made from real animal hide.

JCPL’s Marketing and PR Coordinator Kimber Gray said conventions like Comic-Con could be too overwhelming for families with children. She said that’s how Comic Surge came to be.

“We wanted to create that comic con feeling with a thoughtful atmosphere that’s welcoming, family-friendly, and kid-friendly,” said Gray.

Though the event is much more intimate than larger conventions, they hold the same values. Gray said the local event appreciates comic books as true works of art.

“Because, you know, a lot of hard work comes from the illustrators and writers to make them, and so often I think they get a bad rep for being, like, pulpy,” Gray said.

Comic Surge is an opportunity for locals to dig into their creative side. Residents could “Make their own costumes and props and show them off to other folks in the community,” Gray said.

And they did. Cruella de Vil and a few of the 101 dalmatians made an appearance, along with a homemade Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Groot was created by JCPL staff person Les Leighman. She spent 60 hours of her time working on the costume. Everything about it was handmade, aside from the stilts under the legs of cosplayer and staff person Adam Linkous, who donned the costume.

Cosplayers also got to participate in a costume competition judged by a few locals, two of which are creative by trade: Jessica Hatterman, Jennifer Hall with Shadowbrite Cosplay, and Scarlett Kellum with Lexington Children’s theater. Gray said these judges are a great example of how you can make a living with your art.

Three cosplayers won the competition for each age category. For the children’s group, a young boy won for his Star Wars costume as AT-AT-The tall, gangly combat vehicle from the series. For the teen category, a girl won with a plant costume comprised of dangling vines over dark green cover-alls and a few dangling braids. Finally, the adult category winner was a realistic and homemade Deadpool, a Marvel comic book character.

You can expect to see the seventh Comic Surge take place on the weekend of the full-length week in October 2023.

The annual event is free of charge. JCPL wants residents to expect to feel comfortable and have a good time at the Library. Gray said the team would like to center JCPL as a “meaningful institution, a reliable and trustworthy institution,” in the community.