Schlow Centre Region Library

What is a Comic?

Sometimes known as a comic book, strip, or graphic novel, sometimes simply as sequential art, it’s a format using pictures and words to tell a story. Comics come in many genres. They can be non-fiction, history, biography, and yes, even fiction. They are online as web-comics, and in the analog world in magazines and books. They can be found at dedicated local comic stores, public libraries, and even today, in newspapers.

When published individually they’re called comic strips. When published as an issue, they’re called books, but as a collection, they’re known as  graphic novels. These formats, using both the power of the written word and the power of the image, have inspired readers young and old to embrace new concepts, communicate life’s challenges, and celebrate the fantastic. From award-winning Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home to Art Spiegelman’sMaus, the comic is a medium that speaks to broad cultural issues as well as to our need for escapist entertainment.

Since its founding in 2009, BookFest has grown into an important community event that celebrates something many of us take for granted – the book!

In 2015, after more than four years of celebrating authors of memoirs, local history, and fiction, event organizers began to focus on authors and artists working in an often over-looked medium, the comic.

BookFest celebrates this graphic medium of storytelling on Saturday, July 16. Meet authors and artists who have worked for Marvel, Archie, and DC, as well as the independents who design their own path.

BookFest events, including a costume contest and board games, will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Schlow Centre Region Library and the BookFest tent in the library’s parking lot.

Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: America’s Most Wanted Comics & CollectiblesThe Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Comic Swap, Nittany Con, The Pennsylvania Centre for the Book, and Udon Publishing!

BookFest Speakers

Join these innovative writers and illustrators as they explore the question of gender and diversity in comics. From Archie to Iron Man to Wonder Woman, these engaging speakers will share their experiences within the comic industry, their passions for their path, and take your questions.

Downsbrough Community Room, 11:00 a.m.

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and comes to us all the way from Nova Scotia. With two books under his belt, Hanley blogs about Wonder Woman at Straitened Circumstances and also writes about women in comics at Bleeding Cool in his monthly Gendercrunching column. He has a graduate degree in history from Dalhousie University, writing his honors thesis on DC Comics and the 1950s juvenile delinquency crisis, and his graduate thesis on Wonder Woman and feminism. He’s kind of a nerd, really.

His latest book Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter, was released in March 2016, from the Chicago Review Press.

Downsbrough Community Room, 2:00 p.m.

Bring your comments, questions, and capes. Aspiring writers, artists, and devoted fans are invited to discuss gender and diversity issues in our most beloved comics. From indie publishers to big studio artists and authors, our industry panel members will share their unique insight into the world of comics in the 21st century. Featuring Dave Ebersole (Dash), Ariell Johnson (Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse),  Alitha Martinez (Batgirl, Iron Man, New Crusaders), Regine Sawyer (The Rippers, Eating Vampires: Blood, Bone & Sand Mini Series), and A.Y. areyoshi (Optical Disarray)! Moderated by Udon Publishing’s John Shableski.

Participating BookFest Authors

Meet authors and illustrators from Pennsylvania and the Northeast!  Discover their inspiring paths to publishing and get signed copies of their work. Comics, webcomics, and graphic novels are all represented. BookFest 2016 speakers will be autographing books at the BookFest Tent after their talks.

A.Y. aka “areyoshi,” creator of the webcomics Optical Disarray and Third Kingdom, is a freelance artist with a BA in Fine Arts from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. areyoshi specifically hopes to create an inclusive environment for all comic readers, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

areyoshi will participate in the afternoon panel discussion, Are We There Yet? Making Comics Inclusive, in the library’s Downsbrough Room.

Born and reared on the island of Barbados, Shawn Alleyne relocated to Philadelphia in his teens. He is currently working in the demanding field of freelance art as a Writer, Illustrator and Instructor, and has produced numerous pieces for novels and comics, as well as a video game with his Street Team Studiomates. Shawn’s personal work is produced under the Pyroglyphics Studios banner. It’s a name roughly translated to “Hot Images” and is meant to reflect his gritty self-taught style. Titles include Street Team, Aizan, and Hardwired.

The driving force behind many of Tortoise & Hare Creation’s projects, Billman began the company by approaching Indi Martin to illustrate Fern Sea Chronicles, a fantasy children’s book. His projects include Cobalt, the webcomic Morel and a geocaching-themed card deck, GoCache.

Dave is a playwright, comic book writer, director, amateur mixologist, and sometimes-actor in the Philadelphia area. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater from Temple University, Dave also attended the 2012 Summer Seminar for Writers at Sarah Lawrence College, focusing on graphic novel writing (taught by Scott Snyder). His plays include: Task, Living Space, The Church Bells All Were Broken, Subdivision, Redemption: a romantic comedy?, and Absolution. He is the co-creator and writer of DASH, an ongoing comic book series published by Northwest Press. He lives outside Philadelphia with his puppy Ernie.

He will participate in the afternoon panel discussion, Are We There Yet? Making Comics Inclusive, in the library’s Downsbrough Room.

Robert is the artist of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the hit horror series from Archie Comics. He also provides cover art for a wide range of comics – Doctor Who, The X-Files, Archie, Jughead, Dirk Gently’s Hollistic Detective Agency, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, Vampirilla, The Powerpuff Girls, The Shadow, Archie Vs. Sharknado, Judge Dredd, Afterlife With Archie, The Black Hood, Shaft, Army of Darkness, Swords of Sorrows, Archie Vs. Predator, Red Sonja, and many others.

Jason Lenox is an Illustrator who specializes in penciling, India ink rendering, and sequential art. His current project is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy adventure graphic novel Lords of the Cosmos. Jason also creates prints, posters and does freelance artwork. He has contributed material to Dark Horse Comic’s King Conan, as well as several independent comics: En Tenebres, FUBAR: By the Sword, and Wyrlwynd’s Kantara. Jason’s artwork is also featured in the role playing game modules: Classic D&D: The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, TPK Games: The Bleeding Hollow and Arion Games:Beyond the Pit 2. His work also appeared in the 2013 Tribeca film Zero Charisma. Jason’s most recent self-published comic book, UGLI STUDIOS PRESENTS #3, was a 2015 release. The third volume of his artwork is targeted for 2016.

In 2011, Indi Martin joined forces with writing partner and idea-generator William O. Billman II to create Tortoise & Hare Creations. Indi is best known for penning the Gina Harwood novels, a paranormal investigation series, as well as Dissolution: A Graphic Novel. Together with William, she has illustrated and co-created the Cobalt modern noir comics, and the Fern Sea steampunk children’s comic world.

Alitha Evelyn Martinez began her career in 1999 penciling Iron Man for Marvel Entertainment. Since then, she has worked on many more like X-Men; Marvel Age Fantastic Four; NBC’s Heroes; New 52 Bat Girl; Archie Comic’s New Crusaders. Current projects include WWE Superstars and WWE Slam City for Paper Cutz, plus creator-owned titles Yume and Ever, Foreign, and Ningyo.

She will participate in the afternoon panel discussion, Are We There Yet? Making Comics Inclusive, in the library’s Downsbrough Room.

Chris is known for his creator owned comic, CarbonKnight along with his work on PMK’s books The Perfect Victim, Nevermore, A Collection of Edgar Allan Poe Stories, and The James Bond Literary Dossier, The Other Woman pin-up book & CD. Outside of comics, Chris has also had a long career as graphic artist & commercial illustrator.

Regine L. Sawyer is the Owner/Writer/Creator of Lockett Down Productions; a small press company specializing in Sci-Fi/Horror Comic Books. She is also the Founder and Coordinator of the Women in Comics Collective, an organization focused on highlighting the merit and craftmanship of women working in the comic book and multimedia industry.

Her book credits include: The Rippers, Eating Vampires, and the upcoming Ice Witch.

She will participate in the afternoon panel discussion, Are We There Yet? Making Comics Inclusive, in the library’s Downsbrough Room.

John Skerchock was born between the hour of man and wolf. He sold his first story while still in high school. A Penn State degree in Creative Writing was followed by a successful career with the Pennsylvania State Police. Skerchock has published more than one hundred articles and dozens of short stories, as well as a dozen books, including Zacherley Illustrated and Zombo’s Scary Jokes & Riddles. He’s even produced a horror movie!

True Indigo creates comics about overheard conversations, dreams, texts and the little hiccups in life that create character. Much of her work is woman-centric, focusing on a thought and execution process that is frequently different from many taught in textbooks and classes. Born in Washington DC but having lived most of her life in Central Pennsylvania, True Indigo and her husband love traveling to NYC to visit their son. Educational institutions that she has found useful include The Center for Cartoon Studies, The Pennsylvania State University and Marathon Training Academy. Recent works include: Ballet Ptomaine, Dirty Diamond #6, and Section 711.

BookFest Activities and Vendors

In addition to meeting and learning about comic book authors, you can also play tabletop games, show off your best cosplay in the BookFest Costume Contest, get a caricature, and see what local vendors have for sale.

Enjoy the library’s collection of tabletop games with the State College Boardgaming Meetup in the Schlow Centre Region Library parking lot from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Compete with other comic book fans for prizes in the Schlow Centre Region Library parking lot from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m!


1. Register from 10:00 am to 10:20 am at the BookFest Costume Contest Tent in the Schlow Centre Region Library parking lot to receive your number. All prop weapons must comply with our weapons policy. Any unacceptable prop weapons will be checked. Do not bring functional or realistic weapons.

2. Remain in the Schlow Centre Region Library parking lot with your number displayed so judges can see you.

3. Winners will be announced at the costume tent at 10:40 a.m.

Contest Prizes

Best Overall Costume (handmade): $50 Comic Swap Gift Card
Most Accurate Representation: $50 Comic Swap Gift Card
Best Duo Costume: $25 Jake’s Cards and Games Gift Card for each person
Best Children’s Costume: Michael’s Crafts $50 Gift Card

Costume Weapons Policy

For everyone’s comfort and safety, no functional or realistic weapons are allowed! Projectiles and weapons that are realistic enough to be mistaken as real are not permitted. All costume weapons must be inspected when you register for the contest. You will be asked to leave your weapon elsewhere if it does not meet these standards.

Local artist Seth Young will be on hand from noon until 4:00 p.m. in the Schlow Centre Region Library Parking lot to draw your likeness and capture your personality on paper. Prices vary.

Several booksellers will be exhibiting in the BookFest tent.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse
We’re delighted to welcome Philadelphia’s newest comic book store and coffeehouse.

Penn State Press
Academics have fun too. Don’t miss their run of medical graphic novels.

Udon Publishers
Featuring manga titles like Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and Manga Classics!