PICTURED: Daniel Handler, creator of A Series of Unfortunate Events under the pen name Lemony Snicket, will be a featured guest at the Camarillo Public Library Comic-Con®.
Thought Halloween was over, did you?
For some, playing dress-up in a favorite costume — a.k.a., “cosplay” — is a year-round activity that allows one to step outside an everyday persona and into not just the world of make-believe but contact with fellow “cosplayers.”
“It’s community building,” smiles Gabriela Jimenez, community outreach and promotions coordinator for the Camarillo Public Library, which is hosting its first-ever Comic-Con® festival on Nov. 9.
“Cosplay has universal appeal because it’s so imaginative and it doesn’t allow for stereotypes,” says Jimenez. “It allows people from all parts of life, from all ages, to connect with each other. And because the library functions as a community center, having Comic-Con here connects the community in a way that is fun, interactive and inclusive.”
Adults as well as teens and kids, she says, are interested in anime, manga and the superhero genre, which have helped account for the rise in popularity of comics conventions throughout the country. Recognizing local community interest, the Camarillo Library in October hosted a “school of cosplay,” a four-part series of workshops for adults, teens and adults with special needs.
The workshops (funded by a grant from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services) were taught by professional costume designers who introduced students to creating custom patterns, sewing, decorating on fabric and working with special effects material.
“We had very good response,” notes Jimenez. “The participants learned new skills, and they created things they’ll get to wear at events like ours.”
Aimed at all age groups, Camarillo’s Comic-Con offers an opportunity to celebrate comic books and pop culture via crafts, activities, games and cosplay. Numerous local businesses and agencies, led by the Friends of the Camarillo Library, are providing support for the event
A Comic Creator Panel (12:30 p.m.) is scheduled to include Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics), Larry Houston (X-Men), Christina Rice (My Little Pony), Nat Gertler (The Peanuts Collection), Dylan Campbell (Scared by the Bell) and Spencer Labbe (The Castaway King Chronicles).
At 1:30 p.m., featured guest Daniel Handler, creator of the beloved book series A Series of Unfortunate Events under the pen name Lemony Snicket, will speak and answer questions (pre-registration required). “A lot of families have pre-registered for this,” says Jimenez.
Throughout the day, all are invited to interact with those in costume (take a picture with Pikachu!), “and at the very least be entertained,” says Jimenez.
“Cosplay is both mainstream and niche, and it allows people to connect with each other. Those not into it can still appreciate the interpretations that are created. And people of all ages enjoy the chance to bring characters to life in a way that is spirited and engaging.”
Camarillo Public Library Comic-Con® takes place on Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 4101 Las Posas Road, Camarillo. Admission is free; pre-registration required for Daniel Handler event. For more information, call 805-388-5222 or visit www.camarillolibrary.org.