The Return of the Free Library of Comic Con!

By Kris L. RSS Tue, May 1, 2018

The 4th annual Free Library of Comic Con will descend upon the Parkway Central Library on May 12, 2018! There’s so much going on at this year’s event that we don’t even know if we can fit all of our excitement into one blog post, but we'll try...

When you arrive at Free Library of Comic Con, you’ll first encounter our Vendor Hall which will be chock full of an array of local businesses, colleges and universities, and other organizations. You’ll find everything from enamel pins, stickers, and prints from Playful Gorilla to coding lessons offered by EPAM Systems. Those looking to further their education can chat with University of the Arts or Moore College of Arts and pick up their art supplies from Artist & Craftsman or Dick Blick too. We’ll also be hosting some local nonprofits for the day so you can learn about the services offered by The Attic Youth Center, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. And if you can’t get enough of comic book conventions in the Philly area, you can find out about the next events hosted by Camden Comic Con, The Nerdtino Expo, and Shikkaricon.

Artist Alley is where you can find all the day’s featured panelists after you’ve heard them speak. There’ll be other artists as well—Ryan Brady of Camden’s Comics, Shawn Alleyne of Pyroglyphics Studio, Dirty Diamonds, Joanne Luu, Steiner Palomino, and Trenton Hauptman. We’ll even be hosting some young artists from around the city who are certain to play a role in the future of comics!

The Montgomery Auditorium will be where we gather all of our special guests for a series of panels:

  • At 11:00 a.m., join Claire Folkman of Dirty Diamonds, sequential artist and arts instructor Jaz Malone, Alexander Rothman of InkBrick, and comics artist Anna McGlynn for "A Life in Comics". This panel will focus on autobio comics and how elements of the creator’s personal lives make its way into their work.
  • At 12:00 p.m., we’ll welcome Ariell R. Johnson, the owner Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Alex Smith, member of the queer sci-fi arts/activist collective Metropolarity, and Bryan Way author of Life After: The Arising. They’ll be discussing their careers and creations in a panel entitled "Self-Made: Promoting Your Work and Building Your Brand".
  • Relax at 1:00 p.m. and enjoy Philadelphia’s premiere Star Wars-inspired brass band, Wookiedelphia, as they play John Williams jams in ways you’ve never before heard.
  • At 2:00 p.m., we'll shine a spotlight on cartoonists Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. The two are published cartoonists, editors, and teachers recognized around the world. They'll both present slides of their work showing how they learned and developed. Together they'll answer your questions about starting out and finding your way as a cartoonist—or any kind of artist!

Those who are inspired by what they hear can also try their hand at our free Art Workshops. This year’s featured workshop facilitators are Pat Aulisio and Alex Smith.

  • At 12:00 p.m., join Pat Aulisio for "Improvised and Sampled Comic Making" where students will learn to make quick comics using pre drawn panels and prompts to create their own original work. Pat Aulisio is an artist and educator whose comics work has been published in numerous publications including retrofit comics, hic and hoc publications, hidden fortress press, and le dernier cri.
  • At 2:00 p.m., enter "NOWTOPIA: Creating Diverse Worlds" led by Alex Smith, a writer, artist, activist, DJ, musician, designer, curator, and founder of Philadelphia's revolutionary speculative arts collective Metropolarity. NOWTOPIA will focus on crafting diverse worlds on paper in a real world that won't let us and creating characters from the ground up.
  • Free Library Makers will also be constructing a Cardboard City that leads to our Art Workshops in Room 108! 

The Children’s Department will once again join in the fun hosting a series of events for our young attendees ages 12 and under.

  • At 11:30 a.m., Teaching Artist and Cartoonist Meghan Turbitt will host a cartooning workshop where children will learn how to create a character mixing emotion, humor, exaggeration, and the grotesque.
  • From 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., children will be able to have their face painted and maybe even catch a photo with a special guest!

All attendees can enjoy some down time in our designated Gaming Room, which will be located on our 4th Floor in the Skyline Room. Bring your own Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic: The Gathering cards and face off against other attendees. Meet other gamers and borrow one of our board games such as Pandemic, Codenames, Castle Panic, and many more! Teen Central’s own Dungeons and Dragons club from Wednesday Geekscape will also be helping to create RPG characters throughout the day.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, we have one last activity to highlight: In true Free Library of Comic Con tradition, the day will culminate in a Cosplay Competition for all ages! Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed in all three age groups: adult, teen, and children. Hosted and judged by Cosplay Philadelphia, the Cosplay Competition is the highlight of each Free Library of Comic Con. Make sure you register at the Cosplay Registration table in the lobby when you arrive as space will be limited and Cosplay Registration closes at 1:00 p.m.

And of course, while you're here, you can borrow all kinds of cool comics from our collections—all you need is your library card!

We hope you’ll join us for our 4th annual event on May 12, 2018 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Register in advance and get your FREE ticket today! If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with our team at

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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looking forward to it.
Toni Boone - philadephia
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The young Deadpool was my favorite costume. I enjoyed a brief chat with Bryan Way, author of Life After: The Arising. Now I'm adding that title to my Read List. Usually, I prefer vampires to zombies - consider the post-encounter results - but the story sounds interesting. The Cardboard City looked fun to put together - for the kids. I'd have preferred creating something smaller scaled. Next year, I'll make sure I attend the panels. And talk to more people.
Saturday, May 12, 2018