Cozby Con encourages reading through comic books

Video by Katie Kennedy

This past weekend, the William T. Cozby Public Library held its first “Cozby Con”. The convention, which is similar to a smaller version of the bigger Comic-Con, was held to show the importance of using things like comic books to encourage kids to read.

The original Comic-Cons are fan conventions held in various places around the world such as London, San Diego and New York. Not only is it a great way to meet fellow fans of various comic franchises, these events play host to actor and director panels from movies, screenings of anime films, booths for comic-book merchants and tons of other fun and exciting things.

The bigger Comic-Con’s however, are missing a key element that the Cozby Con has, and that is to encourage literacy among children, especially boys. In a world where kids seem to be spending more and more time on the computer and less time focusing on their studies or reading a book, the Cozby Con is a good way to get children interested in improving their literacy.

Though comic books may not seem like the best source of literacy, an article published by the Canadian Council on Learning showed that boys are less inclined to read novels like girls, and prefer literary works that are fantasy or comic books. The article proved to be the basis for the Cozby Con event.

“Studies have shown that comics can be beneficial in encouraging children to start reading,” Cozby librarian Sarah Silverthorne said. “[The article] demonstrated the importance of comics books in developing literacy, especially for boys.”

Comic books have increasingly become popular pieces of literature since they came onto the scene more then 70 years ago. They’ve been made into TV shows, movies and have expanded from more than just the funny section of a newspaper or simply superhero comics. And it’s not only boys that they’ve become popular with either.

“I’ve been reading comic books since I was little and they’ve always been a fun and exciting form of literature to me,” senior Amanda Perkins said.

Unlike other novels, comics have pictures and illustrations that would attract the attention of kids from younger age groups. It’s not just words that kids are reading, it’s the pictures that come with it and ultimately what gives comic books their appeal to any audience.

“Comics give a real sense of movement and action to a story that you can’t always get with a normal novel, and the different art styles add a lot to the story,” senior Sung Bin Lee said.

The convention wasn’t just a showcase for comic books though, and those that attended were encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero. The winners from the art contest were also announced, with the first place prize being a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

Visitors were also treated to a comic read-a-thon, the showing of an anime feature, and the chance to purchase things like comics and art prints from local artists. Local comic book writer and artist, Taylor Lymbery, was also present as well as Justin Rojas and Joel Rodriguez from the anime entertainment company, Funimation, who have produced shows such as Dragon Ball Z and One Piece and whose headquarters are actually located in Flower Mound.

Cozby Con helped to show that reading could be fun and celebrated comics, manga and anime. It’s not just boys that were encouraged to read either, but for everyone to utilize what the library offers.

“We hope, with this convention, to encourage people of all ages to read and make use of their local library,” Silverthorne said.

Next time you’re in the mood for a the action packed pages of a comic book, or even just for a normal book to read, William T. Cozby is always there to cater to your literary needs.