It’s a costume party! It’s a book fair! It’s a tournament! It’s an art show!
Petaluma’s own unique, multi-generational, artist-friendly, kid-supportive take on that pop cultural phenomenon known as the comic book convention will return to Lucchesi Park this weekend for its fifth consecutive year. LumaCon 2019 arrives at a time when comic books, comic-based movies and comic-based television shows are enjoying their single highest degree of public popularity since “The Adventures of Mister Obadiah Oldbuck” hit the stores in 1842.
Yes, history fans, Oldbuck was the first comic book published in America, and times have certainly changed since then. What was once dismissed as an aberrantly fringy and unsophisticated, even dangerous and lowbrow form of storytelling has, in recent years, become an impressively bold, brave, expectation-challenging arena for the examination of the world’s most pressing problems.
LumaCon is produced by an alliance between the Petaluma Regional Library, Casa Grande High School Library and Petaluma High School Library. Though it annually showcases some of the best comic book artists and writers in the Bay Area, it puts as much emphasis on young, emerging artists as on the folks with established names and full bodies of work. Visitors to LumaCon — which once again is absolutely free — will find high school students sitting at tables selling their drawings right alongside legends signing their own books and posing for pictures.
In addition to the visiting artists in the showroom, LumaCon includes the following events and activities.
A popular cosplay contest. Live Action Role Playing (LARP) games. A “Magic: The Gathering” tournament. Appearances by members of the Star Wars-inspired Rebel Legion, Endor Base and Stormtroopers from the 501s Legion, Golden Gate Garrison. A virtual reality experience. Opportunities to draw and display your favorite characters from books, TV and film. And a room full of Legos just waiting to be turned into massively imaginative structures of your own designing.
As always, there will be plenty to do and see at this year’s LumaCon. But the main attraction is the opportunity to talk with artists, young and old, who’ve devoted themselves to telling stories, true and imagined, through the art of drawing pictures.
Among the numerous, highly-talented folks who’ll be on hand this year are the renowned artist Tom Beland, known for his work on such classic comic book franchises as “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Fantastic Four” and others. He’s just as well known for his autobiographical comic book series “True Story Swear to God,” in which he described his romance, marriage to and eventual divorce from a famous Puerto Rican TV star. He has often told the story of how reading Spider-Man comics as a child, following the death of his parents, gave him a sense of comfort and strength, since Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker) was also an orphan.
Paige Braddock is the creator of “Jane’s World,” a pioneering comic strip that stands as the first LGBT-themed comic to receive wide online distribution by a national media syndicate. Braddock ended the series last year, and the New York Times itself marked the conclusion of the iconic strip with a huge story examining and celebrating its impact.
Maia Kobabe is a celebrated comic artist and illustrator, whose work honestly and inventively explores issues of being a non-binary gender queer person in America. In 2019, Lion Forge press will publish Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: a Memoir,” based on years of journaling and writing and drawing, intended as a clear, entertaining and useful explanation of what it means to be non-binary. The book will include clever illustrations of how to speak to and about gender queer individuals, including some tips on using alternative pronouns, such as “e,” “em” and “eir,” the very pronouns Kobabe emself prefers to use. Oh, and if Kobabe’s past work is any indication, the artwork in “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” will be gorgeous. Kobabe will be displaying past work, and will no doubt be eager to chat with fans and young artists.
PLANNING TO GO?
What: LumaCon 2019
When: Saturday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Petaluma Community Center, Lucchesi Park, 320 N. McDowell Blvd.