Memorabilia and artwork celebrating some of pop culture’s most iconic characters, from Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter to Superman, are all currently on display at the Hillsboro library.
The Allen family contributed pieces from their many collections just in time for the library’s first ever comic con. All four family members – Steve, Shelly, Sarah and Seth – have items in the teen section’s display case. The pieces range from comic books and action figures to lunchboxes and Pez dispensers.
Steve Allen contributed most of the comic books to the display. Childhood memories, he said, were what inspired him to start his collection.
“It’s just a fun hobby,” he added. “The search is as much fun as finding what you’re looking for.”
Comics currently in the exhibit include: Batman, Justice League, Spiderman, Aquaman, X-Men and Green Lantern.
“Collecting is a good way to remember the past,” Steve Allen said.
His favorite comic on display is a Joker story signed by Adam West.
“I like the artwork of it and it was signed by the original Batman,” he said.
Accompanying the comics are lunchboxes, which he and his wife, Shelly, collect together.
“We wanted a hobby we could do together,” she said. “We consider them little pieces of art and little pieces of our childhood.”
Her favorite lunchbox on display is one featuring the Caped Crusader himself, Batman.
In addition, Shelly Allen also collects Pez dispensers, several of which she has included in the display.
Also exhibited are items from their children, Sarah and Seth. These items include action figures and posters of comic characters, as well as “Harry Potter” and “Doctor Who” memorabilia.
Also on display at the Hillsboro library are pieces by local artist Kaitlin McMullen, who said that she gets her inspiration from pop culture.
“I am a huge nerd,” she said. “I love ‘Star Wars,’ superheroes, ‘Lord of the Rings,’ anime, etc. I try to incorporate this into my artwork whenever I get the chance. I keep up on current television shows, movies and celebrities. Most of my sketches are of celebrities or the characters they play.”
She added, “At times, my artwork is inspired by song lyrics. I own at least over 400 CDs, and it continues to grow. I love putting pictures to the words, and I find poetry to be the most fun to interpret.”
McMullen said that while she has always loved to draw, she began to take it seriously when she was 13.
“I wanted to become a cartoonist,” she said, adding that she took on an art project while she was in 4-H. In high school, she took an art class during which time, she said, “I created my first comic book … and learned what all went into creating one.”
McMullen also said that she pursued art during college. “I took so many classes and learned different techniques with various mediums. It strengthened my love of art, and I continue creating to this day.”
Some of her pieces currently on display include ones which go by the title “The Adventures of Quinn and Finn.”
“These are my own characters placed in pop culture references,” she said. “The characters are dual personalities which brings a unique touch to the scene.”
Also on display is a pop art piece inspired by “Star Wars” characters, as well as a pencil study of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, and a pen and ink study of Iron Man.
Assistant library supervisor Donna O’Dom added that McMullen formerly worked at the library in the children’s department. “While here, she delighted children at story time, even dressing as Princess Leia of ‘Star Wars,’” O’Dom said.
She said that McMullen’s contribution, as well as the “beautiful” display from the Allens, will help make the library’s upcoming comic con a special day.
The comic con is this Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the event or about the library’s regularly changing exhibits, search for the “Highland County District Library of Ohio” on Facebook. If interested in displaying items, contact O’Dom at 937-393-3114.
Sarah Allen is an assistant librarian at the Highland County District Library in Hillsboro.