Graphic Novelty²




Annie is a cosplayer – she makes costumes for fictional characters and dresses up like them for conventions and for fun. Verti is a photographer and aspiring videographer. They meet and become friends. They spend a summer together making videos, posting them on YouTube, and attending conventions to meet other fans and participate in cosplay contests.

There isn’t so much an overarching story here as it is a series of related vignettes. There is very little plot, character development, or conflict. There really isn’t that much about cosplay. To me, it felt like a few stories about two flimsily-written girls and their screwing around over a summer – and they happen to like anime and cosplay. The hows and whys are omitted, plopping us right in the middle of their story (such as it is) without exposition. There are some stabs at themes of loneliness, attachment in the digital age, and even existentialism, but they felt half-baked and tossed in because, “Why not?”

The art is subpar. It’s drawn simply, which provides easy access to the book, but I found it overly simple. Many panels are one color, or two variations of, and it sort of reminded me of two-color prints. Normally I would have enjoyed it more, but the writing was so paper-thin I just couldn’t get into it. Overall, I found this one really frustrating and disappointing – I am wondering why it was so hyped.

– Kathleen

Shaw, Dash. Cosplayers. 2018.

Wizard World


I recently attended my first full blown Comic Con! After dipping my toe in the con world by attending Northern Illinois University’s small Karoshi-Con, I was ready for the big leagues!


My partners in crime were an amazing mother/daughter duo (WB & SA!) and we left early as to make the most of our day at Rosemont. None of us were brave enough to cosplay, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that many attendees wore every day attire. So, although I did not wear any costume, I did enjoy admiring others!

Gravity Falls face off!
Star Wars epicness!
Avengers unite!
Predator- best costume IMO!

There were panels galore to pick from, although I sadly admit I did not plan my day well, and while I did attend a few, I did not go to as many as I should have. I wish I had attended the X-Files panel, but the one I totally planned on, that would have had Kate Mulgrew aka Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager there, was cancelled. I seriously had tears in my eyes once I discovered that.

Besides panels there were many other distractions. My friends and I did a paint and take, where we bought little figurines and painted them. There was the autograph area, which had some big names such as Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny  (X-Files), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) and Danai Gurira and Norman Reedus (Walking Dead) plus dozens more.  There were vendors galore and I picked up a little swag.WWswag

All in all, a fun day and a lot of the panels I participated will help me in my professional duties as a teen librarian. In fact, my library paid for my ticket, and I briefly met up with a few of the fabulous teens that attend my teen programming. This nerd was happy to be part of the herd at Wizard World!


Karoshi-Con 2016 (aka My Journey to Geekdom)


The clues were all there when I was younger: my love of the ElfQuest comics, reading The Magic of Xanth fantasy book series, idolizing Luke Skywalker and my not so secret obsession with Star Trek TNG. But I wasn’t a geek, was I? I was in a sorority for God’s sake!

But the lovely part of getting older is becoming more comfortable with yourself. Why hide my passions? I had worked in Youth Services at my library for a few years when I was approached to take over the teen department. I had already started a teen volunteer program that was  successful and I was the staff member that the teens spoke to when they came into the library. So I got to combine my love of crafts, reading, Star Wars & Star Trek into an awesome new job!

All of this led me into attending my first anime-con at NIU. The ironic thing is that I attended NIU, but as this is the sixth year having Karoshi-Con, it was not around when I was a student. To be truthful, had it been running when I was a student there, I would not have gone. But now I’m enlightened! A local friend, who is a kindred soul to me (WB!), suggested we go together with our kids.

I was impressed with the dedication of the students running this small convention. It had free admission, but hosted several panels including one led by a well regarded voice actor, Lucas Schuneman, who works in the anime and comics business. There were game rooms for board and card game enthusiasts, and a video game room with tournaments for Tekken 5, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers. Popular anime series were showing in the viewing room, and there was a Cosplay contest. Speaking of Cosplay, some of the costumes were fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised to see no overlap of costumes. Everyone’s outfits were unique, and there are so many characters out there in the anime world to choose from, enabling variety.

The Vendor Hall had a good selection of booths to stop at. Many artists were there selling wares that revolved around the anime world from paintings,  plush toys, to costume accessories. My two favorite booths were The Gaming Goat from DeKalb and Comic Wreck. I stopped to chat with TGG’s owner Philip Henrikson, and when it came up in conversation that I was a Teen Librarian he generously donated the game Codenames to my library to be used at our Teen Lounge or our new monthly Role Playing game event. His store hosts tournament nights regularly and is a popular location for gamers in this area. Building community is important, and he just scored a dedicated customer for my future gaming purchases! I also enjoyed the booth Comic Wreck that was selling posters of popular comics, movies and TV series (hello, Star Trek!) in addition to selling many Manga series.

When I enthusiastically told my library director about attending, she said the library could pay my admission for a future Comic-Con (I’m much more into comics than anime) like C2E2, I actually squealed aloud. My path to Geekdom lies ahead, but…I must admit, there are limits. You will never see me in a costume (unless Wil Wheaton asks me personally to do so)!



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