In 2021, the Schuyler Public Library welcomed comic artist Dylan Jacobson, creator of “Dinoboy and Rex”, “Champions” and “Together with the Goblins”, for a comic book illustration workshop. This summer, Jacobson will return for another, but with a slight twist.

Jacobson will offer advice and instructions for ten budding cartoonists at the workshop. They will be able to create a comic strip, which library will then send it to be produced.

Mike Rea, assistant director and coordinator of youth services at the library, set things in motion to bring Jacobson back to Schuyler. Rea said the idea for this came from browsing comic book kits online.

“Dylan had been here before with a workshop and he was very well received. We were looking for ideas to bring it back with a part for the kids,” Rea said.

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Rea said the process is simple. Participants submit samples of their work, then ten from this pool are chosen for comic kits.

“We call them and bring a sample just to see if it would make a good comic. One brought in an example of a book he had already done at home. They will take the kits home and mail them out,” Rea explained.

Selected comics will be available to artists, and copies will be in circulation at the library. Additional copies will also be available for purchase.

Jacobson’s approach to writing can be unconventional. It uses role-playing techniques to amplify fictional narratives by creating characters and encounters with the decision-making devices built into games, according to library director Jenny White.

“It’s interesting to see how the gaming experience can help with the writing. People sometimes ignore the game, but he uses it to make character choices based on game mechanics,” White said.

White said Jacobson’s previous visit had been a success, and comics in general were a hot topic in libraries nationwide.

“There are libraries that have dedicated librarians just for the manga and graphic novel section. It’s not going away, it’s not a fad, it’s a legit genre,” White said.

The topic of comics as legitimate books or art has been discussed for years, she added.

“I think comics become a kind of bum rap and that’s historically the bias that comics artists and writers have to deal with because people don’t see it as real writing or a work of art” , White said.

White said comics and graphic novels, like any form of art or literature, can be compelling or mediocre, it all depends on the intent behind them.

She added that the library wants doing these kinds of events to attract this comic book audience.

“Anything we can do to involve the students or the age group that we’d like to try,” White said.

Currently, Rea said there is no deadline for nominations and they have yet to receive 10 to choose from. The workshop takes place on June 30.