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Mini Comic Con to return to Harwood Heights

From Captain America and Iron Man to Superman and Wonder Woman, one local library is using its force to unite readers of all ages.

Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights is preparing to host its annual Mini Comic Con on Sept. 8.

“We just like people to come out and have a good time,” said Penny Blubaugh, a teen librarian. “We have a small event. It’s not like Wizard Con. It gives people a chance to have more time with the artists and writers.”

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New this time around, the library plans to host a manga meet-up as a drop-in event.

Blubaugh said Mini Comic Con is going to feature a similar format to what they had done in years past.

The event intends to showcase the creative works and offerings of about 10 vendors and 25 artists.

Ali Cantarella of Chicago is among the creatives expected to appear at Mini Comic Con.

“I offer all ages comics and children’s books,” she said. “They are whimsical and colorful, with ideas of friendship, positivity, chasing your dreams, and encouragement. I also offer coloring books, and all my wares are creator owned and original ideas.”

This will serve as Cantarella’s fifth year attending the event.

“The Eisenhower Public Library is a wonderful hub of education, which encourages youth and adults who enjoy comics, manga, graphic novels, and more along with standard library offerings,” she said. “They offer a bevy of artistic programs and workshops, making it a great community space to be a part of. I have taught several summer art camps and been a part of the community through Free Comic Book Day, so I think their effort in the Mini Comic Con is admirable and enjoyed by participants and attendees.”

A costume contest is slated to take place, and the library has enlisted a group to serve as judges. Typically, prizes are awarded to individuals based on the participant’s age grouping.

Blubaugh did not reveal what costume contest participants can win, saying they want it to be a surprise for everyone.

“We started planning when we finished last year,” Blubaugh said. “It’s been a year. It’s a large event we have at the library.”

Blubaugh said the community’s excitement for Mini Comic Con this year is evident.

“I do know that talking to middle and high school students they’ve been talking about it for months,” she said. “[The costumes,] they know exactly what they’re going to do.”

Last year, there were 30 participants in the costume contest.

The library prides itself on bringing in artists to showcase their creative works. Blubaugh said they sometimes get overshadowed at the larger events and noted that Mini Comic Con serves as a nice platform for them.

Wesley Sun of Sun Bros Studios is expected to run a booth during this year’s event to showcase he and his brother’s work, which has been featured in a number of comic anthologies.

“ ‘Chinatown’ is our best-received book,” Sun said.

Every year, Sun and his brother attend dozens of comic cons throughout the country. Sun hopes Mini Comic Con will provide an opportunity to connect with fans.

“Our content runs PG-13 and up, and these events usually attract a younger crowd,” he said, noting that their work will serve as a good match.

Blubaugh said Mini Comic Con does a wonderful job of getting people into reading and that it’s a win all around for the library. Organizers hope people will move at their own pace throughout the day, taking in the event and all of what it aims to offer.

Blubaugh encourages everyone to “plan on stopping at all the booths, visit the vendors, bring some money because you could see something you’d like to buy. And consider cosplay.”

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