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Library Matters

Library Matters is a podcast by Montgomery County Public Libraries exploring the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning.
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Library Matters is a podcast of Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) in Montgomery County, MD. Each episode we explore the world of books, libraries, technology, and learning. Library Matters is hosted by Julie Dina, Outreach Associate, Lauren Martino, Children's Librarian at our Silver Spring branch, and David Payne, Branch Manager of our Davis branch and Acting Branch Manager of our Potomac branch.  

Jan 17, 2018

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Lauren Martino:  Hello, welcome to Library Matters.  I'm Lauren Martino, your host.

 

David Payne:  And I'm David Payne.

 

Lauren Martino:  And today we are here with Dana Alsup, and Amy Alapati who are going to talk to us about MoComCon.  MoComCon is coming up guys, it's coming up very quickly.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes it is.

 

Lauren Martino:  We are very excited to hear more about this event in January.  So can you tell us a little bit about what is MoComCon; what is the silly name all about?

 

Dana Alsup:  Well, MoComCon is the Montgomery County Public Libraries Comic Con, so Comic Con let's bring it back even further past MoComCon Comic Con.

 

Lauren Martino:  It's for us square people.

 

Dana Alsup:  I see, it means Comic Convention, and it's an event celebrating comics and comic culture.  There’s Comic Con celebrated all over the country, all over the world.  The biggest one in the United States is in San Diego and that is when people usually say Comic Con that's what they were referring to.  And that's where big names go to and they talk about new movies, they talk about new Star Wars, they talk about new Marvel, and stuff like that.  So ours is not San Diego.

 

David Payne:  Not quite.

 

Lauren Martino:  Stan Lee won’t be there?

 

Dana Alsup:  Stan Lee will not be there, he’ll just be the janitor in the corner making a subtle appearance.

 

Lauren Martino:  Exactly.

 

Dana Alsup:  But we will have local authors and we will have artists, we will have cosplay contests, there will be cosplayers there.  Cosplay is costumes that people dress up as characters, there will be workshops and panels and drop-in events and merriment in abundance there.

 

Lauren Martino:  For people of all ages too.

 

Dana Alsup:  For people of all ages.

 

Amy Alapati:  Not just for grownups and it's not just for comic book geeks.

 

David Payne:  It's for everybody.

 

Amy Alapati:  Everybody, Everyone would be interested, preschoolers, there's story time at the beginning.

 

Lauren Martino:  Technically a little bit before.

 

Amy Alapati:  A little bit before the start time, there's things for elementary age kids, teens, young adults, adults, senior citizens so no matter what your interest, if it's comic books, if it’s graphic novels, mange, anime, superheroes, fantastical realms, dragons, magic, time travel, zombies or any other pop culture fandom you are sure to find something of interest in our Comic Con.

 

Lauren Martino:  If you want to geek out?

 

Amy Alapati:  Yes.

 

Lauren Martino:  So this is the place to geek out?

 

David Payne:  So now that we define MoComCon and a Com con, tell us when, where, how do we get to it, where do we find it?

 

Amy Alapati:  So this year MoComCon is the same place that it was last year at the Silver Spring library, the address is 900 Wayne Avenue Silver Spring Maryland 20910, and it's happening on Saturday January 27th 2018.  The day is going to start with that super hero story time we talked about that's for preschoolers and that's at 10:30 but the workshops and panels begin at 12:00 noon.  So we're hoping that people will arrive in the morning sometime between 11:00 and 12:00 to get registered, to get their bearings, to look around make their plans.  There is convenient free parking located in the Wayne Avenue parking garage directly across the street from the library, the address for the parking garage is 921 Wayne Avenue.  So set your GPS for that, but the library also has easy access by public transport, you can get there via the on bus, the Metro bus or the Metro Red Line, and there are directions to Comic Con on our website www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

 

Lauren Martino:  We'll put all of this in our show notes as well, so in case you didn't have your pen to write everything down.

 

David Payne:   There you have it.

 

Lauren Martino:  There you have it.  So if I'm not into comics or graphic novels, if I just I haven't read either of those should I still go to MoComCon?  Is there something for me there?

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes, do you like crafts?

 

Lauren Martino:  I do like crafts.

 

Dana Alsup:  Then you should go, because there's going to be a DIY dragon egg.

 

Lauren Martino:  My favorite.

 

Dana Alsup:  You can make your own dragon egg, so if you want to make a dragon egg ala Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.  And then.

 

Lauren Martino:  Your choice.

 

Dana Alsup:  And then you could take your dragon egg and go sit in our very own homemade Iron Throne.

 

Lauren Martino:  And put the crown on your head, 3D printed.

 

Dana Alsup:  You could do it all.  So if you like crafts, there's going to be button making, there’s going to be crafts for kids and they can be superheroes, or you, do you like to dress up?

 

Lauren Martino:  Who doesn’t like to dress up?

 

Dana Alsup:  Costumes or not just for Halloween, you can reuse them at Comic Con and if you're into learning about new technologies, we have a Google expeditions that will have there and you can immerse yourself into various TV production sites like say The TARDIS, you can get yourself into a TARDIS via Google expeditious.

 

Lauren Martino:  Seriously that's what we're doing at Google ex- how to.

 

David Payne:  That’s actually great because as a Doctor Who nut I do have to ask you what is there for the Doctor Who fan?

 

Dana Alsup:  Okay, well for.

 

Lauren Martino:  Amy is sighing, last year she had the complete outfit with the hat.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah last year was the TARDIS last year was the TARDIS.

 

Lauren Martino:  It was the most incredible TARDIS wasn’t it?

 

David Payne:  Yeah how do you follow that?

 

Amy Alapati:  I followed it by going to Awesome Con and having David Tennant sign my TARDIS hat.

 

Lauren Martino:  Oh my goodness.

 

Amy Alapati:  Sadly David Tennant is not coming to MoComCon.

 

Dana Alsup:  But you know what David, if you're listening, you are welcome to join us we would be thrilled absolutely.

 

David Payne:  And there is always next year.

 

Dana Alsup:  Always next year.  So there's lots of stuff to be doing, and comics play a large part in Comic Cons, but it's all kinds of fandom, it's not just things that have started as comic books, imagine Harry Potter, Game of Thrones those are not comic books, but it’s all kinds of fandom's, Disney, we are going to have stuff about Disney there as well all kinds of stuff.

 

Amy Alapati:  We have a really exciting Harry Potter link this year, do you want to talk about it Dana?

 

Dana Alsup:  We have a Harry Potter escape room this year, so you can solve Harry Potter style riddles to get out of the escape room.  And I – That's what I think I maybe most exited for, and it makes me a little bit sad that I'm not attending as just as someone coming into the building and attending the whole event, I will be working the whole time.

 

Amy Alapati:  One of these years.

 

Dana Alsup:  One of these years.

 

Lauren Martino:  You just have to not be part of the Comic Con but yeah I want to see how many people show up in costume during the Harry Potter escape room because that would be amazing.

 

 Dana Alsup:  I am a huge Harry Potter person so I'm very jazzed about that.

 

Amy Alapati:  We had a lot of great costumes last year and I'm hoping that we will again this year, we have that cosplay contest and we give a nice prize.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes we do.

 

Amy Alapati:  And in three different categories, the kids category, the teen category, and the adult category.  So lots of adults came in costume last year, there were some pretty serious costume.

 

Dana Alsup:  There were.

 

Amy Alapati:  Several doctors, 10 and 11 were both there.

 

Dana Alsup:  And the kid who won the kid's costly contest that Amy and I judged, it was incredible he was a Pokémon card, It was such and he [crosstalk].

 

Amy Alapati:  He had lights.

 

Lauren Martino:  He had lights.

 

Dana Alsup:  It was such an amazing – it was so amazing I couldn't believe that he had made this at home, we were so impressed by the talent and the skill put into this costume.

 

Amy Alapati:  He was little like what do you think like seven eight years old?

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah.

 

Amy Alapati:  And he was there all day long and it was like a card, it was almost like a box around him and he wore it all day long.

 

Dana Alsup:  It was very impressive. He was excellent.

 

David Payne:  Maybe he will come with something else this year.

 

Amy Alapati:  Hope so, I hope so.

 

Dana Alsup:  Oh gosh yeah, one up himself.

 

David Payne:  So as you mentioned this is the second year of MoComCon.  How did the idea of, how did the idea come about of doing MoComCon and why Silver Spring Library?

 

Dana Alsup:  So the origin story of MoComCon is that one of our assistant directors attended a conference where she learned about Dover Public Libraries Comic Convention and in Delaware, and she gave this idea– she loved this idea and she gave it over to a teen committee who is made up of librarians and other staff members who come up with programming and stuff for teens throughout the county.  So they worked pretty hard coming up with an outline of what a Comic Con at the library would look like and last year we made it happen.

 

Lauren Martino:  First time ever.

 

Dana Alsup:  First time ever and it was intense trying to figure out what exactly we should do, what people would want to attend, and we – I think we did a good job.

 

Amy Alapati:  We had 10,000 more ideas than we could actually do and even the week before we’re like, “What if we add–” “No, we can’t no.”

 

Dana Alsup:  No, and they're even ideas for this year where we had to table them and it's like maybe next year, maybe next year, there's so many possibilities but there's only so much time and space unless we are in the TARDIS.  So that was how it kind of came to be, and MCPL wanted to have an event not just for teens although the main focus of it was providing programming for teens, but just like a great community event, a large event.  And last year we picked the date which was January 21st 2017, we picked it in the spring and later it became the day of the Women's March which was little bit of a blow at first, but our community really turned out for the event and it was an incredible day.  It was bananas I think for staff, I don't think I stopped talking saying the same things about where everything was as for four hours straight, but I walked out of there with a big dumb smile on my face seeing that everyone was happy.

 

Amy Alapati:  So many customers thanked us for having such a fun and positive event at a time that was in a little bit of upheaval for our country, and even people who went to the Women's March instead of coming to Comic Con, when they got off the Metro, off the Red Line they stopped in MoComCon on their way home from the Women's March some of them so that was fun too.

 

Dana Alsup:  It was great.

 

Amy Alapati:  To be able to help serve everybody.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah and then why is Silver Spring as Amy mentioned before it has enough, it has a lot of parking and that garage across the street and it's free on the weekends, and it's close to the Metro station and many bus routes.  So it's very accessible for a lot of people in the county and also coming over from the district as well.

 

Amy Alapati:  And it's a big building, it's a three story building so there's a lot of space, there's a lot of rooms where we can have different events, we can have fandom rooms, we can have workshops, we can have tabletop activities, so it's a good marriage between the two of accessibility and the space.

 

Lauren Martino:  Not to mention plenty of plugs.

 

David Payne:  And I’m guessing people come from quit a distance to–

 

Dana Alsup:  We do one of the people on our panels Melody on our author panel is coming from New York just to attend our conference and to be a part of our panel on our presentations which is pretty great.

 

David Payne:  That’s great.

 

Dana Alsup:  And we know that people came from various parts of the state even to come to this.  Comic Cons tend to get followings and people seek out these events, so I'm glad that people were getting involved and seeing like they're coming from Baltimore, they're coming from Anne Arundel County to come to our MoComCon.

 

Amy Alapati:  Our first ever MoComCon, we didn't know how many people would come, we didn’t know if there would be ten people or a thousand people, and we had a good number.

 

Dana Alsup:  We did.

 

David Payne:  Are there sort of Comic Con listservs you post this information on this kind of thing or?

Dana Alsup:  I don’t know about listservs but I may have to look into that.  But there are – posting things in local like comic shops and in places like that where we might catch the attention of people who are interested in cons.  And not just within the county but in other places, not everyone lives in this county staff-wise, so we tend to take it home with us and sharing our communities outside of Montgomery County as well to pull people into it.

 

Lauren Martino:  So what's different this year?  What are you excited about this year that we didn't have last year?

 

Amy Alapati:  Well, for me I'm excited about that Harry Potter escape room that we talked about.  But I'm really excited about one of our guest speakers this year Marc Tyler Nobleman.

 

Lauren Martino:  Yes, please do tell us.

 

Amy Alapati:  He is such an entertaining speaker, he is going to talk primarily about two of his nonfiction books.  He wrote about the creators of some of our most iconic superheroes.  His first book was Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, it got multiple stared reviews and it made the front page of USA Today.  And then his second book it went even further it's called Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, and this book is about just what it says the co-creator Batman that nobody really knew about until Marc Tyler Nobleman started researching the origins of Batman, and he discovered that this guy really was the co-creator but never had any credit for it.  And so he wrote a book about it, and it drew so much attention it inspired a Hulu documentary called Batman and Bill.  It has inspired a TED talk, it's been covered by NPR's All Things Considered, the Today Show, The New York Times, Forbes Magazine; it made the best of the year lists at USA Today and The Washington Post and on MTV.

 

So Marc’s research for this book turned the history of comic books upside down, and if you want to learn more you're going to have to come to his presentation which for adults teens and children ages eight and older and he'll do a whole PowerPoint and talk about his journey and his journey with Bill Fingers family members, who also did not know about his history.  It’s pretty inspiring.

 

Dana Alsup:  It’s amazing, I'm very excited about him coming, I think it's such an incredible journey that he's been on and then will take us on.  We’ll become a part of it, but we have a couple different presentations we have Marc Tyler Nobleman coming in the escape room, we have some new table crafts and the dragon eggs which is a staff led program, then the Google expeditions as I mentioned we can go inside the TARDIS.  We have fandom rooms at Comic Con and for those that didn't attend last year we are in the smaller meeting rooms within Silver Spring and there are rooms that are dedicated to one fandom.  So last year like there's one room and it's all Star Wars and you can just immerse yourself in Star Wars and there's props, and you can take photos, there's posters, there's backdrops all kinds of fun stuff in there.

 

Amy Alapati:  We had Doctor Who last year.

 

Dana Alsup:  Last year we had Doctor Who so we're bringing some back we will have Star Wars again but we're having some newer ones and we're going to have anime and manga specific one, we're going to have Disney and we're going to have a Game of Thrones one, which is where you will find said homemade iron throne.

 

Lauren Martino:  That Dana-

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah is in my living room.  And I'm very fearful pocking an eye out on.

 

David Payne:  It sounds intriguing.

 

Dana Alsup:  It’s intense.  My dog is not a fan and one of our other work group members Tom is 3D printing a crown to wear, so you can just have your dragon egg, wear the crown, do the whole thing and.

 

David Payne:  Get the whole experience.

 

Dana Alsup:  The whole thing immerses you.

 

Amy Alapati:  Immersion.

 

Lauren Martino:  Do you have any tips for anybody trying to make a throne at home?

 

Dana Alsup:  A throne at home, hot glue super glue did not hold it the way I wanted it to, it's just got to be a hot glue gun, and you got to get your Adirondack chair before they sell out.  Lauren reminded me of that shortly before I bought my chair.  “I think Dana, they're going to sell out.”  “You’re right, they will.”  So we have also another local person coming and a fellow podcaster Matthew Winner is coming and his podcast and his website is All the Wonders and it's about children's books, so he'll be doing a presentation about children's graphic novels which I find to be some of the best graphic novels.

 

Amy Alapati:  I agree with that.

 

Dana Alsup:  Children's graphic novels [crosstalk] we were reading one like reading one today, they're fantastic.  So he is going to talk about those.  And he is also a media specialist – an elementary school media specialist, so he is – that is his thing, is children's books and children's graphic novels, so he's coming as well.  And I think those are some different things that we have going on this year.

 

Amy Alapati:  And then some old favorites coming back the button machine.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes the buttons machine we have two this year.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yes, the line won’t not going to be as long if you were there last year.

 

Dana Alsup:  You can button away.

 

Amy Alapati:  You can make your own button badges and we have all different kinds of artwork for you to manipulate into a button or a badge.

 

Dana Alsup:  And we have Don Sakers who is back doing his writing and publishing sci fi and fantasy workshops which are very popular last year so he's coming back to do those again as well.  And Future Makers is going to be doing workshops – different last year we had a Dalek drawbots.  Another nod to Dr. Who.

 

Dana Alsup:  We had Doctor Who cover.

 

Amy Alapati:  We did; we had Doctor Who covered last year, sorry David.

 

David Payne:  Well, next year.  [crosstalk] [0:17:21].

 

Amy Alapati:  That will be existing, and this year they're going to do drawing with light wands.  So that’s a fun thing.

 

Amy Alapati:  That is going to be fun.

 

David Payne:  Yeah obviously putting on an event of this scale seems to require a lot of planning and preparation, is that the kind of thing where the minute you stop the 2018 event you'll be looking ahead to 2019 how do you go planning that?

 

Dana Alsup:  Oh yeah.

 

Amy Alapati:  Absolutely.

 

Lauren Martino:  Tell us your secrets.

 

Dana Alsup:  We started planning 2018 the moment 2017 – during 2017.

 

Amy Alapati:  During 2017 next year we are not doing this again.

 

Dana Alsup:  We all started, going into your first one you don't know exactly what you're coming into and you of some things you just have to make up because you're not sure how it's going to go.  And so during 2017 we over all I think left with like tiny pieces of scrap paper in our pocket with ideas and comments, this did not work, this is absolutely worked.  A customer said we should do this, let's try this next year.  And in two weeks after the event we came together again as a team and we did a massive debrief for two hours of just nonstop, what worked?  What didn't work?  What do we do better?  How do we change this?  What about next year?.  And then shortly thereafter I was tasked with heading up the team for 2018 so every all planning started pretty much immediately.  But we've been working solidly on this one for about seven months.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah and of cause it's – I'm going to say this because I'm not in charge of it, it’s so much easier this year than last year because we're not starting from scratch, because we have

 some expectations realistic expectations of what works, what didn't work, how it's going to run.  So I feel like this year we had a better handle on – from the start gate, how it was going to go.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes, I agree even as the person writing it, I totally agree.  The wonderful Lennea did this last year, and she created an amazing framework that I have and structure that I have really built this on without altering too many things but-

 

Lauren Martino:  Can you tell us a little bit about that for anybody that's out there wanting to do this in their library?

 

Dana Alsup:  I mean it's every – you start with nothing, you start with I want to have a Comic Con.  And what the heck does that mean?  You start with nothing and I – Thank goodness, I have Amy and the other teams, you send them emails, “Does this make sense?  Will this work?  Is this a real thing?  Am I making these words up?”  So I have a great team to bounce all these wacky ideas off of-

 

Amy Alapati:  And she’s open to hearing.  “No, Dana that's crazy, that’s not going to work.”

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes, “Dana these are not real words, none of this makes sense.”  But Lennea, and us as a team last year we started with nothing except, “I think we want to have a cosplay contest.”  “I think we want to have local authors.”  “I think we want to have a panel about diversity and comics,” and then you just build everything.  You find people in the community who are experts in the field of diversity in comics, you find local authors, these fandom rooms were-

 

Amy Alapati:  From people's closets.

 

Dana Alsup:  Closets, you know, honestly.  I think I have–

 

Lauren Martino:  So you picked people there were big geeks that had a bunch of stuff.

 

Dana Alsup:  Exactly.  You say, “Well actually I have this and I'm willing to loan it for the day.”

 

Amy Alapati:  I had 17 cauldrons in my closet and some brooms.

 

Dana Alsup:  Great, terrific, let’s put it in a room.  And we used – you know the Future Makers have done various things throughout Montgomery County for years now and so we called on them, and they were willing to adapt something to be a Dalek rather than what they had originally called it to – So it’s starts from just ideas and what you think of what this could be and you think of what other cons are and how can you make it happen here, but it's a lot of work-

 

David Payne:  And he managed to get you other work done at the same time.

 

Dana Alsup:  Somehow.  Although I feel like with it coming up so quickly but my life is just dominated by it.  I can't escape it.  I have boxes of Comic Con stuff in my house, I have that chair in my living room.  I cannot escape Comic Con right now, but it's well worth it I have to say.  To see how happy our community was at the end of last year’s was just – I think it's what pushed the majority of all of us, of the team from last year to come back and do it again, was how much fun it really was.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah.  And it's really – it's a way for people to come together and over things that they have in common.  Even if you're a Harry Potter fan and somebody else is a Star Wars fan, but you're coming together in this open and welcoming environment where it's okay, to be all of those things.

 

David Payne:  For all of our ages.

 

Amy Alapati:  For all ages.

 

Dana Alsup:  For all ages.

 

Amy Alapati:  It crosses generations, it crosses socioeconomic backgrounds, it just – it connects everybody together.

 

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Lauren Martino:  So Dana I’m a librarian what’s your super power?

 

Dana Alsup:  My super power if I had one would probably be flight that I don't have to commute anymore.  Then I could just fly right on over.  Although it's really cold today, so maybe I wouldn’t-

 

Lauren Martino:  The wind chill.

 

Dana Alsup:  Want to be up that high, but may so maybe I have some super thermal stuff going on to – I did watch Wonder Woman over the weekend and that truth lasso was pretty spectacular.

 

Amy Alapati:  Oh yeah.

 

Dana Alsup:  That could be handy.

 

Lauren Martino:  That was a great trait, yeah.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah.  That was – There are so many fun superpowers.

 

Amy Alapati:  Mine is going to cover everything, she's not really a superhero, but when I was growing up she was my superhero, I want to be Jeannie, from I Dream of Jeannie.

 

Lauren Martino:  There you go-

 

Amy Alapati:  Blinking power because then I could have everything, I could blink myself able to fly or if it's too cold I could just blink myself directly to work, or I'd blink [crosstalk] [0:23:47].

 

Dana Alsup:  Blink yourself to Hawaii.

 

Amy Alapati:  A TARDIS costume or whatever I would you know.

 

Lauren Martino:  I like how all of your superpowers revolve around commuting.

 

Amy Alapati:  I only have 10 minute commute, my commute’s good so.

 

Dana Alsup:  I could fly right to my relatives across the country, it will be great, flight I'm really liking flight, also hopefully I wouldn't get airsick, right?

 

David Payne:  Yeah.

 

Amy Alapati:  My sister would like to apparate, that's the power that she wants.

 

Lauren Martino:  That would be good.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah.  It that would be pretty cool. 

 

Lauren Martino: I’ve always thought I’d like to be able to like shape shift.  [crosstalk] [0:24:19]

 

David Payne:  That could be useful yeah.

 

Lauren Martino:  Yeah I’ll shift myself into being an eagle or something and I’ll fly right along with Dana or yeah.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah.  That sounds like fun.

 

Lauren Martino:  absolutely.

 

David Payne:  For the beginner who is looking to get into the com world what are some comic books that you would recommend?

 

Amy Alapati:  So like with any recommendation it depends on the reader's interests and age group.  If you want to explore your particular interests as a listener let a library staff person know the type of book that you like and we’ll help you find a graphic novel for you in that same genre.  So you tell us a novel that you liked we’ll find you a graphic novel in the same vein.  But to be more specific to give you some examples, if you're an adult who enjoys nonfiction, a classic like Maus by Art Spiegelman is about the Holocaust or Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi which is about growing up in Iran would be good choices for you.  But if you're a kid who likes funny stories about friendship, you could try anything by Raina Telgemeier if you can find it on the shelf, they're incredibly popular.

 

Lauren Martino:  Good luck.

 

Amy Alapati:  So Smiles, Sisters, Drama that’s not just popular with girls though those books are also popular with boys even though the main characters are mainly girls.  Also popular with new readers is Dav Pilkey’s hilarious Dog Man about a crime fighting superhero dog.  Teens have been asking for the March trilogy recently by Andrew Iden and Nate Powell and the civil rights leader John Lewis.  It's a series that tells the story of Lewis’ life in the broader context of the civil rights movement, so it's autobiographical.  So those are just a few examples for me what about you Dana do you have anything else or you have the same list-

 

Dana Alsup:  All the same.

 

Amy Alapati:  We have all the same things, we have the same brain.

 

Dana Alsup:  Amy and I have very similar tasted in these beginning of books.  I also have Persepolis and Maus and anything by Raina Telgemeier because she's glorious and her books are fantastic.  I also love Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales.

 

Lauren Martino:  Oh my goodness.

 

Dana Alsup:  Those are children’s graphic novel and-

 

Lauren Martino:  What’s the Donner party one called?

 

Dana Alsup:  The Donner Dinner Party.  Which is the first one I read and I loved it, the World War One, one – is The World War One Book One, one, is fantastic, it's intense, I read it on vacation – it's not really a vacation read.

 

David Payne:  That doesn’t seem like it, no.

 

Dana Alsup:  But I read it on vacation.  And it was great the Underground Abductor is about Harriet Tubman and I loved that one as well.  They are – Just they're great that, you don't have to be a kid, they're fantastic, they're funny, they're accurate-

 

Amy Alapati:  And you learned dates.

 

Dana Alsup:  Just great, they’re so much fun.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah, you learn about history.

 

Dana Alsup:  I also love Gene Yang with Boxers and Saints.

 

Lauren Martino:  Yes, yes.

 

Dana Alsup:  His dual graphic novels set there and American born Chinese is a great way to get into graphic novels as well.  I'm much more of a nonfiction graphic novel reader than I am a fiction graphic novel reader, personally.

 

Lauren Martino:  I saw Gene Yang at the National Book Festival and he was the nicest guy in the world, I was waiting in line, waiting in line and waiting in line and then like I was two people from him and my four year old daughter comes up crying, “Mommy I need you now.”  He was so nice about it, he was so, so nice about it, he’s like, “I will make this quick,” but he talked to me and told me stories and stuff like, and it was like I swear 20 seconds.  It was this 20 second encounter with Gene Yang over my crying daughter, I was like, “You are the best person ever.”  Sorry I just had to share that.

 

Amy Alapati:  It's exciting when you meet somebody and they turn out to be just as nice as you wanted them to be.

 

Lauren Martino:  And if Gene Yang wants to come to Comic Con, please Gene Yang we would like to have you.

 

Amy Alapati:  Or Shaun Tan.  I love Shaun Tan books and I have a friend in Australia and she came to this and she said, “Oh, I have something for you.”  And out of her purse she put a little scrap of paper and it said, just a scrap of paper not a book not – It said to Amy from Shaun Tan.  She had seen him at a conference and didn't have anything for him to sign but she said could you sign this for my friend in America, and so he did.

 

Lauren Martino:  Wow.

 

Amy Alapati:  So yeah, it’s exciting to have to connect with those authors that you love and there's illustrators that you love.

 

Lauren Martino:  I know it can’t be easy to deal with this crowds and these crazy people all day long but–

 

Dana Alsup:  And I’ve also said there is some graphic novels that are classic novels that have been put into a graphic novel form, so you can also search for those.  If you're familiar with that novel then that's a good introduction into-

 

Amy Alapati:  A Wrinkle in Time which is coming out in a movie format, in spring that would be a good choice for you.

 

Dana Alsup:  Or reread the classics that way, it gives you a different perspective on the-

 

Amy Alapati:  The Rick Riordan books are all graphic novels, the Percy Jackson books-

 

Lauren Martino:  There's that MacBeth with animals that’s like hilarious because the queen is the cheetah and she says, “Out damn spot!”

 

Amy Alapati:  We talked a lot about graphic novels for older readers and teens, but if you're looking for something for your very, very most beginner most reader then my personal favorite graphic novel of all time is The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller.

 

Lauren Martino:  Oh, yes.

 

Dana Alsup:  It's a wordless book and it's a very imaginative tale about a little dog who sets out in a boat and finds adventure.  And that would be good for kids ages three and up.  It's filled with wonder though, so even an older child might enjoy it.  It was a personal favorite of mine and my youngest child, and now my youngest child is in art school hoping to be a graphic novelist inspired by all the wonderful books that Montgomery County Public Libraries has in its collection and beyond.

 

David Payne:  A future guest at MoComCon.

 

Dana Alsup:  Hopefully.

 

Lauren Martino:  That sounds like a good one to have your child tell to you.

 

Amy Alapati:  Absolutely.

 

Lauren Martino:  But they can’t read yet but they can tell you the story and they can-

 

David Payne:  If someone is unable to actually attend MoComCon this year, is there any other way they can participate?

 

Dana Alsup:  Yes.  There are 19 lead events at various branches throughout the county that are happening in January.  And you can attend those, they're all on our website, there in our paper calendar, that you can pick up at any of our branches, but there is movies, there's crafts, there's story times, there's all kinds of fun stuff happening.  You can make your own superhero at Little Falls on January 24th, you can celebrate MoComCon with Harry Potter at Maggie Nightingale by making your own mandrake and watching the first Harry Potter movie on January 25th.

 

There is also on the 25th at Marilyn Praisner, a fandom Jeopardy, so you can compete to show how amazing you are with your fandoms if you can't come to our fandom rooms.  There's a ton of stuff happening in the county throughout January.

 

David Payne:  And a reminder you can find our complete list of events on our MCPL website.

 

Lauren Martino:  Do you have any costume suggestions for anybody that might be last minute can't think of anything?

 

Amy Alapati:  You know what any costume is great, store bought costumes are great.  In the cosplay contest you're going to want to make a homemade costume if you want to win or do well, but you're welcome to wear any kind of costume.  I like closet cosplay, so a lot of times my cosplay costumes are not – they don't look exactly like the character from the movie or the TV show.  I find a blue dress in my closet and I write police box on white tape and put it across.

 

Lauren Martino:  You made that, you made that.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah.

 

Lauren Martino:  Oh, my goodness I didn’t realize that.

 

Amy Alapati:  So when I find a blue hat and I take a dollar store votive candle and put a cut up spice container over it and that's the light on top of it to be the TARDIS light.  So I'm a big fan of costume making out of whatever you've got in your closet.

 

Dana Alsup:  You can easily be like a, you can go to Hogwarts put on a pair of slacks and a sweater and a tie, and draw a lightning bolt on your forehead and you're good to go.  You can be you know, casual at home Harry and just wear your everyday stuff and put [indiscernible] [0:32:44].  I have always, personally I've always wanted to dress up as Hans Solo, but I don’t really – I have not had to dress up for Halloween for years now and so I haven't yet.

 

Amy Alapati:  Last year I was the TARDIS but I went to Awesome Con this year and I had, I wore my TARDIS costume one day.  I was Professor Sprout another day, and I made that costume just with some brown fabric and I cut arm holes into it and made a cape, and then I cut out some leaf shapes from green fabric and stuck them on it, and made a brown burlap hat and just had some wool flowers in my closet and so I just wrap them around.  And then my kids had, had – My family we've had at least three or four Harry Potter birthday themed parties for my two children that I have.

 

Lauren Martino:  But who’s counting.

 

Amy Alapati:  And one year they went out in the woods and got sticks and burnt the tips of them and those were wands that we gave to everybody.  So that was my wand, it's not a fancy wand, it's not a special expensive wand.  It's a stick from the woods and they just burnt the tip of it and that was my wand so.

 

Lauren Martino:  Wow.

 

Amy Alapati:  Yeah.

 

Dana Alsup:  You can do a lot with just use your imagination, you can be Amy Pond from-

 

Amy Alapati:  You could be Amy Pond.

 

Dana Alsup:  You could just wear a plaid shirt and pants and shoes, Amy Pond everybody it’s-

 

Lauren Martino:  Remind me who Amy Pond is I’m sorry.

 

Dana Alsup:  Amy Pond.

 

David Payne:  Doctor Who.

 

Lauren Martino:  Okay.

 

Dana Alsup:  Yeah she one of the Doctor’s who [crosstalk] [0:34:10] she’s the eleventh doctors.

 

Amy Alapati:  The eleventh first female.

 

David Payne:  The eleventh doctor.

 

Amy Alapati:  First female first companion.

 

David Payne:  First companion.

 

Lauren Martino:  First companion.  Okay.

 

Dana Alsup:  Amelia Pond she’s [crosstalk] [0:34:20].

 

David Payne:  More formally known yeah.  We ask all of our guest one closing question, tell us about a book you've enjoyed recently.

 

Dana Alsup:  I am currently in the middle of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I loved Fan Girl which is – this kind of ties into it all with fandoms.  Fan Girl was fantastic and then Carry On is the story that is discussed with in fan girls and I reading Carry On and it's-

 

Lauren Martino:  Oh is that where it came from?

 

Dana Alsup:  Harry Potter-esc.  Yeah it’s, that’s where it came from..

 

Lauren Martino:  Because I picked it up but I had no idea that there was a precedent.

 

Dana Alsup:  Well and Carry On as written after Fan Girl, because people wanted to know about this story that the main character is writing fan fiction for.  So I’m in the middle of that and it's very Harry Potter-esc I feel like I know where it's going, but it's fun and it makes me feel happy right before bed time which is when I read it.  And then I was reading today before I came here.  I am just halfway through it, a children's graphic novel that we just got in at the branch called Pashmina by – I'm going to try this name Nidhi Chanani and it's about eight.  I think she's like 16 or so, 16 year old girl and her mother is – she's Indian her mother is from India and she will never talk about India, she won't talk about why she left, she won’t talk about her father and the girl – the daughter finds a Pashmina that she puts on, and when she puts it on she's transported to India, and she starts to learn about India and her past and everything.  But I’m only half way through.

 

Amy Alapati:  That’s good that you won’t give away the ending.

 

Dana Alsup:  So I did put a hold on it so that I can get that back in my hands, but sadly it had to go somewhere else first.

 

Amy Alapati:  And a recent favorite for me would be Broccoli Boy, The Adventures of Broccoli Boy Frank Cottrell Boyce, and it's about a boy who wakes up one day and he's green, his skin has turned green and nobody knows why, so they quarantine him in the hospital, but he knows why he's sure that he's turned green because he's a superhero, because the only green people that you know about are superheroes, the Hulk, the Green Lantern.

 

So he's convinced that he's a superhero and he's got super powers, so he sneaks out of the hospital at night and he does super heroic deeds with these superhero powers that he is convinced that he has, but does he really have those powers and what happens when some of his friends start to turn green too and they’re put in quarantine with him, and one of them is not really a friend, one of them is more of a bully, not even a frenemy but a bully.  And I don't want to tell you what happens after that you'll have to read it.

 

David Payne:  But there's no connection to him turning green and eating broccoli?

 

Amy Alapati:  You’ll have to read the book, you’ll have to read the book and keep eating your broccoli.

 

David Payne:  That’s right.

 

Amy Alapati:  You never know.

 

David Payne:  Anyway Amy and Dana, thank you so much for joining us today, for giving us a sneak preview to what sounds to be a very, very exciting MoComCon 2018, I can't wait for that.  Keep the conversation going by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on the new Apple Podcast app, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.  Also please review and rate us on Apple podcast, we'd love to know what you think.  Thank you for listening to the conversation today; see you next time.

 

David Payne:  Don't forget MoComCon MCPL's Comic Con will take place at Silver Spring library on Saturday, January the 27th;; we’ll see you there.

 

[0:37:50] [Audio Ends]

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