This weekend, the Cottonwood Recreation Center will be running rampant with comic book fans clad in superhero garb, sporting the uniform of their favorite pop culture icons. No, Halloween hasn’t come early. It’s time for the annual Verde Valley Comic Book Expo.
The conception of what is now the expo began with just a few booth outside the Cornerstone Church in Cottonwood. This year, the pop culture event will take place inside the Cottonwood Recreation Center.
The expo has expanded over the years with its inaugural event taking place three years ago within the conference rooms of the Recreation Center. Returning for its third year, this will be the event’s second year in the gymnasium.
Attendees are encouraged to dress up and get into the spirit of their favorite comic book characters.
The sentiment of the event is more than just the pomp and circumstance of DC and Marvel comic book lore, however.
What separates the expo from other comic book conventions is the focus on education, said Sedona-based comic book artist Jan Marc Quisumbing who is one of the organizers of the event.
“Events like Comic-Con have a large pop culture aspect which is fine,” he said.
“We want to have it be more about programing and give it an educational element”
Marc Quisumbing said the expo will feature both artists and colorists and kids will be able to sit down and talk to them. Guests will have the chance to challenge artists during a sketch off
Other programs includes a Yu-Gi-Oh! gaming demonstration and a Jack Kirby 24 Comic Book Challenge which will be moderated by Phoenix-based comic book artist Russ Kazmierczak.
The expo is one of the largest fundraising events for the Cottonwood Library.
Quisumbing, who said he learned to read by reading Spider-Man said partnering with the library has made the event possible.
“I could not have done this one my own,” he said.
Joyce Read of the Cottonwood Library said the money raised from the event goes into a fund for the summer reading program.
“It helps to purchase prizes and any of the performances and events as well as the supplies and things we may need for end of the summer program party,” she said.
Read said the partnership between the expo and the library has been a mutually beneficial one and that the culture that goes along with comic books has opened her eyes to that world.
“I never have been interested in comic books but I find them interesting,” she said. “If the kids are going to read and it’s a comic book that’s fine with me.”
Marc Quisumbing said so far, the event has been received well by the community.
“They’ve embraced it,” he said. “It’s something different … not just another yoga fest. It encourages art and reading and if someone is inspired by it, that’s great.”
–Follow Kelcie Grega on Twitter @KelcieGrega