Pow! Bam! Wham! Annual Kids’ Comic Con is calling all superheroes for weekend fun

Calling all Superheroes! It’s that time again for kids to let their imaginations run wild at Lake Erie Ink’s 11th annual Kids’ Comic Con on Friday, Feb. 24 and on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.

The theme this year—Create New Worlds—encourages kids to lean into their imagination and turn their dreams into reality. The event will host a variety of speakers, workshops, and opportunities for visitors to hone their art skills.

<span class="content-image-text">Lake Erie Ink’s Kids’ Comic Con</span>Lake Erie Ink’s Kids’ Comic ConWhile many workshops will be in-person at Lake Erie Ink (LEI), 2843 Washington Blvd. in the Coventry PEACE Campus in Cleveland Heights, free virtual workshops are available for those who rather participate from home.

The effects of encouraging artistic expression in children are far-reaching, says LEI executive director Amy Rosenbluth, and the theme this year was chosen to stretch the boundaries. 

“Now, more than ever, we see the critical need for kids to be able to share their ideas, emotions and experiences; to be able to imagine what can be,” she says.

Lake Erie Ink staff members take pride in creating a safe space where young people can use art, writing, and other creative endeavors to express themselves. This year they have focused specifically on creating a space that allows kids to let their imaginations run free, but also to show that—with a bit of practice—their imaginations can become something more material. 

“Kids’ Comic Con brings together literacy, creative arts and social emotional learning, giving kids the resources, support and space to look forward and imagine what could come next,” says Rosenbluth. “They try things out and learn from each other and mentor artists and, most importantly, join in a community with others to share and create together.”

New to this year’s program features a free artists’ panel geared towards teens and adults on Friday, Feb.24 at Visible Voice Books, 2258 Professor Ave. in Tremont.

The panel will discuss how to help educators and activists use art to create community-based change. Comics lovers and creators of all types are welcome. Valentino Zullo, Ursuline College’s Anisfield-Wolf postdoctoral fellow in English and the public humanities, will be moderating the panel of seven professional artists.

Kids’ Comic Con weekend will then officially kick off with Nickelodeon’s Virtual Drawing Jam Friday, March 3 at 4 p.m., led by Nickelodeon Animation production assistant Alexia Valentine.

Cleveland Institute of Art will sponsor a Teen Trivia and Cosplay Party on Friday night at the B-Side Lounge, 2786 Euclid Heights Blvd., in Cleveland Heights.

Saturday’s schedule is full of workshops geared toward teaching new skills and building new worlds. You can learn how to make your own comic character with Angel Oster in the morning, and try turning yourself into a comic character in the afternoon with David & Misty Wilson. Be sure to register in advance so you don’t miss out.

The full day of workshops Saturday costs $15; virtual workshops are free. Tickets for the Friday night party are $10, or $20 for the party and Saturday workshops. Check out the schedule and register here.

Additionally, new this year to LEI’s spring programming is DnD Story Games, where kids can learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons in one of three learning sessions.

This comes in conjunction with an elevated focus on worldbuilding as a tool to help kids inspire fantasy and ingenuity. 

“I like that D&D is story building where you choose what happens and the dungeon master was really good.” says fifth grader Asher Benedict “It was a really fun experience. It makes Friday my favorite day of the week.”

Registration is currently open for the weekly DnD Story Games campaigns on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between April and June.