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First Guest Speakers Announced for April 13-14 ‘Wildcat Comic Con’

Dean HaspielWith a lineup that includes an Emmy Award winner, a National Book Award finalist and a recognized leader in introducing comic books and graphic novels to school libraries, the inaugural Wildcat Comic Con promises to deliver a host of cartoonists, authors and industry trailblazers to Pennsylvania College of Technology.

More than 30 talented writers, artists and experts in the fields of comics, graphic novels, animation and video-game development, as well as pioneers from the educational and library markets, are anticipated to be among the presenters and panelists at the groundbreaking April 13-14 event on Penn College’s main campus in Williamsport.

David Small“”We will have programming developed for students, fans, teachers and librarians, and, as far as I am aware, Penn College is the first educational institution in the country to create such an all-encompassing approach to the comics convention format,” said John Shableski, program organizer and publisher liaison.

What’s really exciting about the speakers we have for this event is they will be seen not just as presenters, but teachers as well,” he said. “Many of these attendees will be working with students who want a career in some aspect of the comics world, game development and even costume design for the film industry.”

Registration will begin Nov. 1 for the Wildcat Comic Con, which will reflect the exponential growth in the use of comics in the K-12 classroom as teachers are discovering that comics allow more students to discover the joy of reading.

Barry Lyga“At Wildcat Comic Con, we will be presenting programs that focus on the teaching and learning elements, as well as the pedagogy of the comics medium and graphic-novel format,” Shableski explained. “Librarians will also find great programs created specifically for their profession. From the art of title selection to creating an effective collection development policy, there will be a wide variety of subject areas covered for them, as well.”

Among the first speakers to commit are Dean Haspiel, who has played an influential role in the comics and graphic-novel world; David Small, an award-winning children’s illustrator who splashed into the comics medium with his memoir, “Stitches;” and Barry Lyga, whose “Free Comic Book Day” led to a guest appearance on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

  • Dean Haspiel A native New Yorker, Haspiel created the Eisner Award-nominated “Billy Dogma” and the semi-autobiographical “Street Code” and helped pioneer personal webcomics with the invention of ACT-I-VATE. He has drawn many superhero and semi-autobiographical comic books published by Marvel, DC/Vertigo, ACT-I-VATE, Dark Horse, IDW, Image, Scholastic, Toon Books, Top Shelf and The New York Times. Haspiel also illustrates for SyFy’s “Warehouse 13” and HBO’s “Bored to Death,” for which he won an Emmy for main-title design.
  • David Small Small’s illustrations have won him numerous awards, including a Caldecott Medal in 2001 and a Caldecott Honor in 1997. He has created more than 40 books for children, has reviewed children’s books for The New York Times and was the final judge for the 1989 Parents’ Choice Awards for Illustration. His editorial drawings regularly appear in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ and The Washington Post. His book “Stitches” was selected as a finalist for the 2009 National Book Awards.
  • Barry Lyga In 2006, Lyga’s first young-adult novel, “The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl,” was published to rave reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and USA Today. He has written a sequel, “Goth Girl Rising,” as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers. Works in progress include the graphic novel, “Mangaman” (written with Colleen Doran and due in November) and the “I Hunt Killers” series. He also has cowritten a book on incorporating comic books and graphic novels into school libraries: “Graphic Novels in Your Media Center.”

In addition, Wildcat Comic Con will be host to The New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Josh Neufeld and librarian favorite Jimmy Gownley, creator of the “Amelia Rules!” graphic-novel series. Another expected highlight of the show will be a presentation from award-winning children’s author Sarah Stewart.

Not without its fun side, there also will be fan-friendly offerings such as an Artist Alley, a cosplay (costumed play) contest and masquerade ball, gaming events and certain surprises.

Additional speakers and expanded biographical information, specifics about programming tracks and other Wildcat Comic Con events, registration and accommodations will be available online as details are finalized.

For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web , email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Wildcat Comic Con

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