May 18, 2017
By MATT DEMIRS
LYNN — The Lynn Museum/LynnArts will host the North Shore Comic Con on Saturday.
Carolyn Cole, director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District, conceived the idea after being inspired by the work from Massachusetts illustrator and comic Brandon Gorski during a Raw Art Works event.
Gorski, who has worked closely with Cole to organize the convention, said comics are becoming more popular.
“Comic books are no longer a closeted thing,” Gorski said. “Now even more people are getting into comic books because people are being exposed to the genre in new ways.”
In the 1980s, Lynn had a thriving comic book scene, when four comic book stores served the city. Tim Coles, owner of a comic bookstore in Lynn, Cole’s Comics, agrees with Gorski. He said there has been attraction to his store — the only one in Lynn — and comic books in general over the past 10 years.
“I believe that movies and TV shows have helped stimulate the activity,” he said.
Coles said is too early to tell if the comic con event downtown will increase sales.
“Because it is a new event, I am unsure of what will come about,” he said.
The event is funded by the Economic Development Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, through the Community Development Block Grant program.
Carolyn Cole says she is excited about the event.
“We want to make people feel welcome and show them what we have, while giving the community and kids access to the art and culture that Lynn has,” she said.
There are 14 vendors, including Gorski, who are scheduled to have tables at the event.
“We are bringing people from places like Danvers, Malden, Beverly, Salem and more,” Gorski said. “You don’t ever see artists coming to Lynn to do things like this showcase and that’s what we are trying to change.”
The work will be diverse including Camden Ballard, whose hand-sculpted masks are used in horror movies. Bailey Bollen from “The Droid You Are Looking For Baked Goods,” will give away R2-D2 cupcakes.
Cole hopes to put Lynn on the map in the world of comics. The largest comic con event in the nation takes place in San Diego. Boston has a strong showing every year for their comic con convention, but Cole said the cost for artists to feature their work in the show is high.
One of the most exciting parts of the night, Cole said, will be the unveiling of the unnamed Lynn resident who was written into Elliot S. Maggin’s comic as Superman’s friend and psychiatrist.
Admission to the event is free. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at in the LynnArts on Exchange Street. Kids and students get in for free. All activities like DIY superhero costume making and fantasy face painting will be free. DJ Vanilla Rice, a Cambodian Lynn rapper who used to run the music program at the Lynn YMCA, will entertain. There will also be raffle prizes from the Bent Water Brewing Co., White Rose Coffeehouse, and others.