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Oldham County Comic Con

O.C. Public Library to hold
inaugural ‘Comic Con’ event

Comic characters to descend
on La Grange on Saturday, Nov. 8

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2014) – When Jonathan Swinney got his first comic book at age 9, he was on top of the world. It was a special three pack containing Transformers No. 1, Uncanny X-men No. 190, and Crisis on Infinite Earths No. 1.
The following week, his church had a yard sale, and he purchased 20 more books for $5. “I was hooked. I loved the art and colors but, the stories were such a change from what I was reading in school,” said Swinney, 39.

Photo provided

Comic letterer Jonathan Swinney (far right) aided in creating the poster advertising the first ever Oldham County Comic Con.

Once he was a little older, he found out he “wanted to work in comics, but my skills as an artist were lacking. However, I was very good with a computer so, when the technology caught up to the art, I was able to change my love for comics and my knowledge of Adobe Illustrator into a nice skill set.”
For his first job, Swinney, who grew up in Pewee Valley, Ky., was approached by Valiant Comics to design a logo for Bloodshot. “While they didn’t use my logo, I still got paid, and it was my first professional job. After that, things just kind of fell into place,” he said.
Swinney now publishes comics with his partners, Craig Partin and Stu Berryhill, under Pinwheel Press. He also freelances as a letterer.
“When I look at a page, the layouts just kind of appear in an order in my head, and I use the computer to illustrate that order. I may still go back and tweak it to cover up as little art as possible and still maintain lettering conventions.  But, in the end, the product you get from me stands against any professional currently lettering.”
Swinney is helping to coordinate the inaugural Oldham County Comic Con on Saturday, Nov. 8, inside the main branch of the Oldham County Public Library, 308 Yager Ave. in La Grange. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., anyone with an interest in comics is invited to attend what co-organizer Bethany Morse hopes “will be a yearly event.”
“Comic Cons happen all over the United States,” said Morse, who is Public Services and Outreach Librarian for the Oldham County Public Library. “It’s a convention for people who like pop culture, art and comics.”
Comic Con was founded in 1970 by comic strip letterer and artist Shel Dorf in San Diego. By 1995, the event had become so popular it took on the name Comic Con International.
That first Comic Con event drew about 300 spectators. Thirty years later, the 2010 Comic Con convention attracted more than 125,000 comic book, movie and television fans. Out of all the significant comic book conventions, Comic Con International is the largest in terms of attendance and number and diversity of exhibitors.
The Oldham County Comic Con “will have lots of different artists from the region. Artists and vendors will be set up to talk to people and for people to see their art,” said Morse.
Comic Con is an all-day event filled with activities for all ages. Morse said there will be costume contests with prizes, a student art show, a panel discussion on “How to get into creating comics,” a gaming area, food trucks and a photographer will be on hand to take pictures. Comic Con “will fill the entire space at the library. It’s a great fit for a community space.”  
A plus to this event is that it is free. “To get into most Comic Cons, you have to pay,” she said. “It’s a great way to shop for Christmas gifts and it’s an event for all ages.”
Any funds raised from this event, through vendor booth rentals or a silent auction, will go to the library for the purchase of more materials, Morse said.
She also said there are a lot of comic book fans in the area. “Oldham County has not had anything like this before. A large number of people are going into Louisville for events like this. We want to have something closer to home.”
Swinney, who also designed the lettering for the Comic Con advertising poster, said, “I think Oldham County is a huge untapped pop culture market. I can only remember one comic book shop ever being in Oldham Count, and that was in La Grange in the ’90s. It went out of business shortly after the comic market tanked in the early ’90s.”
He wants Comic Con attendees to come away with two things. “First, I want them to experience a Comic Con for free without having to pay a huge entrance fee. Some shows can charge anywhere from $15 to $60 for a one day show. For myself and the library, it was important that we kept the admission to this event free.”
Secondly, he wants attendees to “discover a comic that isn’t Marvel, DC, or Image. We will have comics for all age ranges, from kids’ comics (Ramone Cologne, Outer Field) to comics for teenagers and adults (Man of God, Wilder, 1968).”

• For more information, contact Bethany Morse at the Oldham County Public Library at (502) 222-9713, ext. 302, or via email at: Bethanym@oldhampl.org.

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