Library to kick off Comics Project

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 04:27 PM

The Durham County Library is inviting members of the Durham community of all ages to tell their stories using the visual medium of comics. The yearlong Durham Comics Project will begin Saturday as part of the library’s third annual Comics Fest.
Amy Godfrey, a comics artist and the children’s librarian at Southwest Regional Library, compares the project to “a comics version of StoryCorps,” the NPR project that records the stories of Americans. She would like the project to capture “moments of Durham. … I would like this to reflect the diversity of the Durham community – stories from as many different people as we can.”
For the next year, Godfrey will be teaching workshops in different locations in Durham, “and trying to engage as many different folks in many age groups in comics,” she said. The results will be posted on the project website (, and an anthology will be released at the 2014 Comics Fest, Godfrey said.
Participating in the project does not require visual art expertise or talent, Godfrey said. She emphasizes that comics are another medium for telling stories, and it’s the story, not the quality of visual art, that counts. “There are professional comics where the main characters are dots: You can be very abstract in how you choose your characters,” she said.
Comics have gained more respect as a form of storytelling, and the Comics Fest offers newcomers “a good place to start if you’re hoping to broaden your notion of what comics are,” Godfrey said.
Modern comics have diversified beyond newspaper strips and the Marvel and DC superhero series. The line between comics and graphic novels has blurred. Many of the comics artists who will give workshops and presentations Saturday are illustrators and storytellers, as well as comics artists.
Raina Telgemeier, Eisner Award winner, will be giving workshops. She is the author of the books “Smile” (about a sixth-grader’s anxieties about braces) and “Drama” (about a middle school student’s traumas as the set designer for a middle school play) and the “Baby-Sitters Club” series of graphic novels. Hugo Award winner Ursula Vernon is the author of the “Dragonbreath” series, which alternates between graphic novel format and text, and “Digger,” featuring a wombat caught in a one-way tunnel.
Other workshop presenters will be Harvey Award winner Scott Hampton (“Batman,” “The Books of Magic”), Eisner nominee Ben Towle (“Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean”), and Jan Burger (“Uitke and the Magic Penny”).


Go and Do
WHAT: Third Comics Fest and kickoff of yearlong Durham Comics Project
WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Durham Comics Project presentation is at 2:15 p.m.
WHERE: Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public