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Kapow! Elgin comic book convention a hit
By Lenore T. Adkins | Daily Herald Staff

Comic book artist Art Baltazar of Streamwood meets fans and draws them quick comic sketches during the "Comic Book Mania!" convention at the Gail Borden Public Library on Saturday.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Josh Lonigro, 10, of Lake in the Hills, clutches his free sketch of Krypto, Superman's dog, by comic book artist Art Baltazar of Streamwood.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 7/11/2010 12:32 AM

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Chantelle Wimms, 10, of Elgin, reads two hours a day, preferring books about dog breeds and fantasy characters.

But Saturday, her father Don decided to expose her to the world of comic books by taking her to the Gail Borden Library's Comic Book Mania Convention.

Don Wimms, who credits his love of comic books for teaching him how to read, may have hooked his daughter on the hobby as well.

"I really liked her designs," Chantelle said of artist Serena Guerra's work at the convention. "I like fantasy - it makes your imagination come out." More than 300 people descended on the library Saturday for the convention bringing local artists, comic book enthusiasts, young readers and parents together.

It also gave artists an opportunity to promote their work and meet their audience.

Dave Dorman of Carpentersville has drawn comic book covers for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Aliens, Predator and Batman. He also designs book covers, toys and art for movie productions.

His goal Saturday was to show children that if they have the talent, they too can find work as professional artists.

"I think it opens up the eyes of a lot of parents that art is a viable profession," said Dorman, who is due to release a book chronicling his 30-year career in the business. "To see you can make a living from something as silly as comic books."

Saturday also featured games, face painting and a costume contest.

Stephanie Vera of Algonquin donned a tightfitting green and yellow costume to channel Rogue, one of her favorite characters from X-Men.

"She takes power from other superheros by touching them," Vera explained.

The convention coincides with the library's comic book and costume exhibition, which runs through Aug. 22.

So far, roughly 6,000 people have signed up for the summer reading program that features comic books.

Library officials credit the program for setting new registration records.

"We already were the place to be in Elgin," said Bob Cassinelli, who oversees youth services, curated the comic book exhibit and organized the convention. "It solidifies that reputation."