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Comic-book enthusiasts assemble

BY BENJAMIN TOWAR | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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One of the newest clubs on campus is calling all comic fans to come join its crew.

Calvin Hoff, one of the University of Iowa Comic Club’s presidents, said the group aims to gather together those who love comics to share in their experiences and to foster the ideas of those who wish to create their own comics in the future.

The group of approximately 15 members meets on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. in either the Lindquist Center or the English-Philosophy Building. Every month, the group aims to choose a comic to read together and discuss when they convene each week.

“The club is still young,” Hoff said. “We just had our second meeting, and we’re still working out the kinks, but we’ve got a great group of people here who love the medium. We don’t have much, but I think we really reflect the demographics of the university.”

Hoff said the club consists of roughly 60 percent men and 40 percent women.

In the past decade, with the release of movies such as Batman Begins, Iron Man, and The Avengers, the world of comic books has boomed in front of the general public, drawing many new readers to the medium, said Jake Nelson, an employee at Daydreams Comics, 21 S. Dubuque St.

“I think back to the Blade movie, and then there was kind a lull in popularity,” Nelson said. “Then, when Batman and Superman came back into theaters, it kind of came back and people started to pick up their comic books again,”

Despite the fluctuation in popularity based on cinema appeal, “hard-core fans” such as UI freshman and club member Michael Hayes hold fast to cherished memories with the comic book community — characterizing their love for the genre.

“It’s a whole world of literature that is often overlooked,” Hayes said. “Growing up, I always wanted to write for TV, always writing.”

While a teenager just entering high school, Hayes met comic book writer Kyle Higgins, author and illustrator of the Nightwing and Deathstroke comics in their mutual hometown of Homer Glen, Illinois.

Higgins enthusiastically sat and conversed with Hayes, signing copies of comic books and drawing pictures.

Higgins spent two years studying film and creative writing at the UI before transferring to Chapman University in California.

“They’re my most prized possessions,” Hayes said, referring to the books. “I’m actually bringing them in to our next meeting to let everyone take a look.”

With the help of talented illustrators he has met through the club membership, Hayes hopes to one day become the author of his own comics, to share his stories with those willing to read.

The club has hopes of expanding in the near future, networking with other clubs and even organizing a carpool to Chicago for a comic convention later this semester.

“We’re open to all levels of fans,” Hoff said. “From the hard-core to those who leisurely pick them up, we’d love to have you.”


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