The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

LibCon at Iowa City Public Library creates space for comic fans of all ages

Iowa City’s third LibCon event brought together a wide variety of comic artists and enthusiasts to enjoy all things nerdy across generations.
Jordan Barry
A volunteer interacts with an attendee at a LIbCon in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2023.

The Iowa City Public Library hosted its third annual LibCon comic book convention this weekend, which brought comic, cartoon, and art lovers of all ages together to enjoy their favorite hobbies.

Marking the first LibCon since 2019, comic fans were treated to a convention featuring a wide variety of booths and activities. Local artists provided samples of their work, a room designated for board games was set up, and there was a viewing area for con-goers to relax and watch the 2023 blockbuster hit “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Doug Brenner represented the social club Mindbridge Foundation, which holds the annual conventions AnimeIowa, GamiCon, and ICON in the Iowa City and Coralville area.

Brenner noted that AnimeCon hosts almost 3,000 attendees and GamiCon is open to a wide range of ages.

“We want young folks to get excited about these things as we have been for many years,” Brenner said.

Brenner said his love for science fiction extended beyond a passion for science and served as a form of escapism.

“Science fiction was something that I was introduced to when I was really young and, growing up being gay, I didn’t really feel like I was fitting in necessarily,” Brenner said. “Yet, this world suddenly seemed like a world that meant something with people being different.”

The world of science fiction seemed to resonate with the LGBTQ+ community and providing a space for those who may feel othered is important to artist Kate Doolittle, who expressed the importance of representation at events like LibCon.

“I want them to come away with, especially if they’re queer, that you belong. And even though the state is trying to systematically eradicate you from existence you deserve to have a place here,” Doolittle said.

Their table was covered in stickers, buttons, zines, and handmade crafts about the environment, sharks, and representation of LGBTQ+ folks. Most of the art at Doolittle’s table was under $5.

Iowa City cartoonist Shane O’Shaughnessy has been presenting his Mad Magazine-inspired art at major conventions in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Portland since 2011.

They said that the Iowa City comic scene was not much different than that of Chicago, despite the difference in the cities’ respective sizes.

“You get to know everybody,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s a hometown, small town kind of vibe.”

This opinion was shared by one attendee, Katherine Randazzo. Randazzo has attended plenty of major conventions in the past but shared that LibCon felt “much more authentic.”

“Larger conventions don’t really have that [authenticity] because they’re so commercialized,” Randazzo said.

A common theme among the more seasoned convention participants was including new generations of fans in the hobbies they all love.

“A lot of the old players are really enthusiastic about teaching new players,” Jherek Ford, representing Hobby Corner at their booth, said.

“My dad played D&D, so I started as a little kid. I started at four years old, but I wasn’t really role-playing. I was sitting on his lap and rolling his dice for him,” Ford said. “It’s everything that I love, everything that’s important to me.”

Editor’s note: Kate Doolittle is a former employee of The Daily Iowan.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said that LibCon is one of three conventions that Mindbridge hosts. However, Mindbridge hosts AnimeIowa, Gamicon, and ICON. The Daily Iowan regrets this error.

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About the Contributors
Lily Czechowicz
Lily Czechowicz, Arts Reporter
Lily Czechowicz is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa from which she earned a degree in English & Creative Writing.
Charlie Hickman
Charlie Hickman, Arts Reporter
Charlie Hickman is a sophomore at the University of Iowa. He is majoring in English on the Pre-Law track with minors in Political Science and Cinema.