Earlier this month kids, parents and comic books fans across the Bronx descended on the Church of the Mediator to participate in the annual Kids Comic Con. Graphic Universe’s editorial director Carol Burrell—a resident of Riverdale in the Bronx—and GU illustrator Alitha Martinez—from upper Manhattan—were on hand to represent GU’s vast array of colorful and engaging titles. Also present was Robyn Chapman, GU’s assistant editor (and Brooklyn resident), who happily made the journey north to conduct a workshop on accordion bookmaking. These books are long pieces of paper folded into sections that form a unique presentation. (See pictures below)

One of the convention’s special guests was veteran animator Dan Haskett, creator of the character designs for Disney’s Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Ariel (The Little Mermaid), who also conducted a workshop for kids and other aspiring artists.

GU illustrator Alitha Martinez (left); the convention floor comes alive (right).

Graphic Universe’s colorful line up.

Established about five years ago by author, comic artist, and educator Alex Simmons, the Kids Comic Con formerly was held on the campus of the Bronx Community College. But because of scheduling conflicts, this year’s event was relocated to the Church of the Mediator in Kingsbridge on West 231st Street. Those who participated said the new hosts were gracious and enthusiastic.

An accordion book success! (above); a youngster engrossed in a Twisted Journeys title (below).

This convention, with its small but loyal following, will only grow in size and prestige as more young people are exposed to the art of comic books and graphic novels.

Samples of accordion books from Robyn’s workshop (left); kids working on their masterpieces (right).

Who knows, maybe someday some sort of alliance could be formed with the behemoth New York Comic Con? That would be very interesting.

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