My son Noah is a reader. I don’t mean to say he enjoys reading, or reads an occasional book now and then. What I mean when I say he is a reader is that he devours books whole as if they were slices of pizza and he was Governor Chris Christie catching up on a late dinner after a long commute across the George Washington Bridge.
I was known as the reader in my family growing up and the amount of reading material my son has polished off so far has easily dwarfed my lifetime consumption of books. Granted, the variety and quantity of reading material targeted at his age range has exploded since I was his age. There are many series he’s read that I know the 11-year-old version of me would have loved. Regardless of the amount of choices available to him, the scope of things he’s read and re-read is staggering.
When you have someone in your family who is that voracious of a reader, you’re constantly looking for new things to feed the beast. A few years back Noah dipped his toe into comic books with some of the school-approved graphic novels in the library. He was hooked. From old Archie comics, to super-heroes, to stories of pre-teen angst, he read it all. I opened up my old longboxes in the basement full of bagged and boarded Amazing Spidermans, Captain Americas, and G.I. Joes and he polished them all off within a few days.
A few weeks later for a school assignment, he had to write about some of his life goals. Among them he listed attending San Diego Comic-Con. Unfortunately, a trip to southern California is not in our near future, but I knew that I could get him to something along the same lines a little closer to home. Enter Baltimore Comic-Con and its reputation as a comic-book focused show (as opposed to a pop culture affair).
Noah and I aren’t super-savvy to the names in the industry, but we were amazed at the talent of the artists creating work on the spot, grateful for the authors who were willing to talk about their work, and more than happy to walk around and peruse a wide variety of comics, art, and merch. Of course there were plenty of amazing cosplayers who added a sense of excitement and occasion to the goings on, but ultimately you could tell where this show’s focus was; on the art and stories of these books and the people who create them.
When we left the con that evening, I think Noah’s love for comics had only deepened and I left with a renewed respect for the amazing talent of creators. Behind each panel of the books I read growing up (and still take in now and again) were multiple individuals who created something out of thin air. That’s magical, and it’s amazing to see it in action.