‘Off the Page’ Fest on Sept. 12 to Feature Comics, Graphic Novels, Artist Ben Towle

Published Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:38 am

Do you love comic books and graphic novels? Want to learn more about them? Check out this year’s “Off the Page” High Country Festival of the Book from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Readers of all ages can join the Friends of the Watauga County Public Library for this event.

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Graphic Novelist Artist Ben Towle

Craig Fischer, an English professor at Appalachian State University, and his class are partnering with FWCPL to bring comics and graphic novels further into the community.

“Comics and graphic novels are a really big part of the public library, especially with young adults and teens,” Fischer said. “And we thought this would be a good way to keep that demographic flowing into the library while introducing graphic novels into the higher consciousness of the High Country.”

The event will include a comicon, hosted by one of Fischer’s very own classes, from 10 a.m. until noon, which will feature a variety of comic books, fun comic activities for all ages and original comic artwork.

“We are bringing in a lot of original artwork,” Fischer said, “And we are hoping that this will help people see the sheer production and effort it takes into creating comics.

“We just want to educate people on the fact that comics are a labor induced art form but that they can do it, too.”

Additionally, the event will offer a workshop with Ben Towle, a comic artist, from 1-3 p.m. in which people can learn all about comics, what it’s like to draw comics and the production and art forms that come along with it. Registration for the workshop is required as there are only 30 spots available.cover_w_lettering

Ben Towle has published a variety of graphic novels, including Farewell, Georgia (2003) and Midnight Sun (2008). Another of his graphic novels, Oyster War, is currently in production and will be released sometime in late September or early October of this year.

Towle has been nominated for an Eisner Award three times, which, according to Fischer, is the equivalent of the Oscar of the graphic novel industry.

“I’ve known him for around 10 years now,” Fischer said. “He’s a great teacher.”

The FWCPL chose comic books and graphic novels as their focus this year because they wanted to pay special attention to young adults and what interested them in the community, Fischer said.

“I think a focus on comic books and graphic novels is interesting,” Fischer said. “Focusing on what young adults and teenagers like to read is something really special about this.”

With an event like this opening up doors and spiking interest in the unique industry of comic books and graphic novels, Fischer and the FWCPL are hoping to host a series of workshops in the fall.

“If we get enough people interested, we are hoping to get the ball rolling and really get the community involved and interested in graphic novels and comics,” Fischer said.

The event is free to anyone who is interested and will take place in the meeting room of the Watauga County Public Library, 104 Queen St. in downtown Boone.

To register for the workshop hosted by Ben Towle, call Youth Services at the WCPL at 828-264-8784.

For more information on the event, contact Craig Fischer at 828-262-2325 or visit the Off the Page website.

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