Kids Read Comics came and went, and it was fantasmagorical. I’ve gone on and on about Ann Arbor’s KRC before, but people don’t seem to understand: you have to go to this! Each year the con is busy, but not nearly as busy as it should be. The building should be busting at the seams from the sheer number of people in attendance, but it sits there intact. It isn’t right.
Of course, the relaxed atmosphere of KRC is part of what makes it great. This is a family-friendly (don’t roll your eyes at that term. It means kids don’t get stepped on and if kids aren’t getting stepped on, neither are grown-ups), laid-back event with something for everyone. Plus, this year the con expanded beyond the Ann Arbor District Library into three satellite locations with happenings at Vault of Midnight, 826Michigan, and the Ann Arbor Art Center.
I had a curious and very fast toddler with me so I wasn’t able to attend as many events as I would have liked, but we did the Artist’s Alley right. Part of what I love about KRC is how accessible the artists are. They seem non-stressed and are able to joke around, answer questions, and even talk to each other without rampant chaos. For the most part I’m comparing my experience here with the Motor City Comic Con, which is simultaneously fun and nightmarish. That is rampant chaos. But here, you could easily chat up and get signings from big names like Raina Telgemeier, Faith Erin Hicks, Kean Soo, Tory Woollcott, Ruth McNally Barshaw, Rafael Rosado, Zac Gorman, Chris Duffy, and many more. Plus there is the added bonus of getting to rub shoulders and buy stuff from newer voices on the scene—there were a bunch of kids selling their wares! And they were great. One such vendor said, “Hi, buy my comic. There’s a chainsaw in it,” and I did.
Beyond the whole chill atmosphere, KRC featured educator focused booths, quick draws, live music, discussions on the comics industry, a live podcast, cosplay, digital art demonstrations, signings, a video-game design workshop, storytelling primers, a make-your-own-cape-and-mask workshop, sidewalk chalk murals, and more. As long as everyone promises not to make it too crowded, make sure to catch this next year.