Jousting! Cosplay! Comics! LumaCon, 2016

Brian Fies and Erin Coaass, who writes The Masked One. Erin also volunteers at the Schulz Center

Do you like comic books? Love live-action role play? Do you love cosplay? Jousting? Drawing? Then LumaCon, Petaluma’s own annual youth comic convention, is for you.

LumaCon is held the fourth weekend in January, in Petaluma, and this year it took place at Luccesi Park.  The convention’s founders include the Petaluma Library, Casa Grande High School, Friends of the Library and the Charles Schulz Museum and Education Center. Copperfield’s Books is also a great partner.

The inaugural event in 2015 overflowed its venue at the fairgrounds, and this year’s space was perfect; big enough for separation for quieter events like panels and a Magic; the Gathering tournament, cozy enough to feel like you could see everything and not get lost. The majority of the action took place in the large meeting space called the Assembly. I’ll have more, and more photos, in an upcoming post.

Live Action Role Play; Whack-a-Knight

If you, or your parents, signed a liability waiver, you could try to whack a medieval knight with a foam bat. You could dress up as your favorite superhero, manga character or television character, and participate in the Cosplay parade and the contest. You could write or draw; you could meet many successful comic book artists and writers who were present, and talk to them about their work. You could hang out in the Fandoms room, which left you the space to draw/write your own chapter in the life of a character, or, if you were very daring, you could enter the Fan Fiction Contest (which I think was new this year). In the oddly named Time Out Room, you could draw and show your drawing, and you never knew which successful comic artist might wander through and sit down

Shortly thereafter, the knight hobbled over to the sidelines, moaning, “My knees…”

next to you. What a great opportunity for a young artist.

You could also wander around the lobby and visit tables set up by Friends of the Library, Copperfield’s Books, or several Sonoma County comic book stores, including my favorite, Brian’s Comics.

I have to take a minute to credit the Sonoma County Library here, for their approach to comic books. They realize that for many young people, comics are a “gateway” to reading. As one panelist said, when he was a youngster, he read the Classics Illustrated version of Treasure Island. He really liked it. His mom handed him the book and said, “Here’s the extended version.” Far from treating comics, collections and graphic novels as the enemy, the library includes them as fiction, as poetry and as literature. It probably doesn’t hurt that we live in the county with the Charles Shulz Museum.

The helpful friendly owners and staff of Brian’s Comics.

The TARDIS and a Weeping Angel. The Angel won an award.

Definitely most of the 1500+ 3000 attendees were young. Many of the folks in the dealers room were young artists, creating and distributing comics via Tumblr and the internet, some the old-school way, via paper zines. This year’s clock tower logo was drawn by a teen artist who won the logo contest.

Some formerly independent writers, like Alexis E Fajardo, are seeing their work picked up by conventional publishers. Fajardo created Kid Beowulf, which uses the premise that Beowulf and Grendel were half-brothers. One thing you learn in an afternoon at LumaCon is that there are many paths to success.

I love the energy of this event. The planners have scaled it exactly right; it’s one day, it’s free admission (but there are donation boxes around, and you can donate. Check out the donation page on their website.) They are aiming at the right audience — youth. (Okay, and, well, me.) They are celebrating storytelling and creativity. And they are hosting fun.




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