NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The West Essex High School (WEHS) media center was transformed into a Comic Com entertainment and comic convention after school on Wednesday with the help of WEHS and West Essex Middle School (WEMS) librarians Rosemary Rich and Catherine Spinella as well as student volunteers.
The Fairfield Public Library also played a role in bringing Comic Con to WEHS, and Youth Services Librarian Jaime O'Donnell was on hand in "cosplay" to help attendees understand the draw of Comic Con to middle and high school students as well as what these events mean to fans all over the world.
"About three years ago, the librarians were looking for ideas to draw teens in to the library and the idea of Comic Con popped up," said O'Donnell. "The first Comic Con in 2015 was very successfull and the students were asking for another one shortly after."
Comic Con is a celebration of fandom love. Some popular fandoms include comic series from Marvel and DC Comics as well as movies and television shows such as the Harry Potter series, Dr. Who and Supernatural to name a few, O'Donnell explained.
As participants walked into the high school media center, they were quickly transported into the world of Comic Con with different fandom display panels and activities. Some of these included assembling magnets with comic books, face painting from members of the National Art Honor Society, Hunger Games Bow and Arrow games created by the students and more.
Those who completed each activity were given tickets to enter into drawings for prizes that included Funco Pops and other fandom merchandise. Prizes were donated by comic book store East Side Mags in Montclair, the West Essex Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Fairfield Public Library.
The library also awarded a prize for the best "cosplay," the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
The best cosplay prize was awarded to student Abigail Haenggi, who was dressed as a Japanese Anime character from "Love Live! School Idol Project." Haenggi won a gift bag with a gift card and merchandise donated by East Side Mags.
Spinella said that Comic Con is one of the few activities besides sporting events where middle and high school students come together to mingle. Adding that she was satisfied with this year's turnout, Spinella said she looks forward to future fandom and thanked all the volunteers and her fellow librarians for their help.