Books

Wood County library welcomes writer and editor for Marvel comics

By ABBY SHIFLEY BG Independent Correspondent BGSU alumnus Marc Sumerak returned to Bowling Green to present a comic book workshop. Sumerak started as a creative writing major at BGSU, then an intern at Marvel and has since written and edited hundreds of comic books. He now works as a freelance writer. Saturday, he led a comic book workshop in the Wood County District Public Library for the Bowling Green community, specifically targeted at children. The event was in partnership with the Batman in Popular Culture Conference hosted by the BGSU Department of Popular Culture and the Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies, which took place April 12-13. “We wanted a component that spoke to a wider audience,” Sumerak said about the workshop. The conference as a whole was for academics; so, having an event for children was a nice contrast. “I am thrilled to have Marc as an addition to the Batman Conference. He provides a cool perspective for the younger generation,” Matthew Donahue, co-organizer of the conference, said. “I grew up reading comics,” Sumerak said. Sumerak took a semester off in his junior year at BGSU to intern at Marvel’s office in New York City. He said his early work on web comics made him stand out from the other candidates for the internship. “Web comics are what got my foot in the door,” Sumerak said. When he was in college, he and one of his friends would create seven web comics a month. After his internship, Sumerak went on to write his first book for Marvel by his senior year and was offered a job on their editorial staff two months before graduation. Since then, Sumerak has worked on The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, X-Men, as well as Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Walking Dead. Some of his works were on display at the workshop. Sumerak stressed that he was not an artist — that’s not what comic book writers do. But they also do more than most people think. “They do more than just put words in the balloons,” Sumerak said. “What a comic book writer does is craft the story behind the comics.” A comic book writer has to not only create the dialogue, but also describe the scene of each panel so the artist knows what to draw. Another large part of creating a comic book is collaboration, which is something Sumerak loves about the profession. “When I write a book, it’s just me,” he said. “It’s just me behind the computer typing and typing and typing until I’m done. When I’m working on a comic, it is a collaborative art form, and what that means is I work with lots of other talented people.” Sumerak then went on to describe the different components of a comic book, with lots of interaction between him and his young audience. One young boy was enthusiastic about the “staples” used to connect all the comic book pages together, and Sumerak confirmed this step is very important. Sumerak closed his talk with advice on how to create comics and get into the business, emphasizing the importance of storytelling and good character development. “You can tell great stories about super heroes fighting each other, but if people don’t connect to those characters, if they don’t care about the characters, they’re not going to come back,” Sumerak said. Steve Ammidown, an archivist for the popular culture library, was at the workshop with his daughter, June, who is 4 years old. “She’s a big comic book fan,” Ammidown said. “She’s a Wonder Woman fan, but she…

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BGSU’s Browne Popular Culture Library celebrates 50 years of living in the past

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Behind the closed doors on the fourth floor of Jerome Library, the treasures are stored. Treasures that most people, aside from the hoarders and most obsessive of collectors, would throw out. For archivist Stephen Ammidown, that’s the beauty of the Browne Popular Culture Library. Most of what it collects would be destined for the landfill, except someone saved it, and then they, or their survivors, donated it to Bowling Green State University. Archivist Stephen Ammidown discusses a recent acquisition of gossip and movie magazines. Those folks include a family who recently traveled all the way from Saskatchewan with a van full of movie and gossip magazines. Those now sit on a table in the library in the process of being sorted. Some donations are small — an MTV Remote Control game. “I want you to have this,” the donor said.  One Star Trek fan delivered dozens of boxes filled with all things Star Trek, including a Vulcan harp, that was made by a fan of the show. Ammidown said Star Trek is an interesting case  because the studio lost interest in it in the period between the original TV series and the movies, and didn’t license official products. So Star Trek lovers ran amok creating memorabilia on their own, including that harp. The instrument is not only unplayable but unrepairable, yet valuable nonetheless as a relic of the show and its devotees. The Browne Popular Culture Library celebrated its 50th birthday with a  cake decorated with Batman , Tuesday afternoon (March 12). (Batman’s 80th birthday will be celebrated at the Batman in Popular Culture conference on campus, April 12 and 13.) “Seems like a 100 years,” quipped Bill Schurk, who was the first head  librarian of the Popular Culture Library. He remembered as an undergraduate in the 1960s being allowed to display some of his collections of “cool stuff” at McFall, where the university library was then located. That was a privilege reserved for faculty and library staff. “I was this library when I was 5 years old,” Schurk said Tuesday.  “I collected all of this then.” After earning his masters in library science he returned to BGSU to head a new audio center. University Library Director A. Robert Rogers knew Schurk well both as a student and as a student assistant, so when the Popular Culture Library was opened in conjunction with the new major in Popular Culture started by Ray Browne, Schurk was tapped to head the library then on the first floor of Jerome Library. “I understood the material,” Schurk said. That set him apart from other librarians.  Starting the collection also “opened the floodgates,” he said, for also collecting popular music — Laverne Baker, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the like. About a decade later the Sound Recordings Archives was created to house that music collection. Schurk headed the archives, which now bears his name. Birthday party attendees watch an old Batman movie. (Photo by Abby Shifley) Jean Geist worked in the Popular Culture library for 18 years before her retirement in 2003. She recalls that when she arrived there were boxes everywhere, packed with donations, and the stacks were open for anyone to wander. Movie posters were in the back near a door. When the library was sorting and pruning its collection, it found multiple issues of Playboy with the centerfolds missing. All that has changed. While there’s always material to sort through like that collection of gossip magazines, most is categorized in some fashion. Ammidown noted the difficulty of finding a way to organize the large collection of…


Latino/a/x Conference at BGSU feature keynote by poet Ariana Brown

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Poet and performer Ariana Brown will give the keynote presentation at the 2019 Latino/a/x Conference at Bowling Green State University on March 27. The daylong event also includes the eStrella Student Research/Creative Conference, featuring the work of 25 students from BGSU and other universities around the country. The annual event is part of the University’s “Beyond the Dream” series, bringing inspiring leaders of social justice movements to campus. Conference events will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, followed by the annual mixer hosted by the Latino Student Union from 6-8 p.m. in 207 Union. Brown is a black Mexican-American raised in a working-class community in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to performing her slam poetry, she tours the United States conducting workshops on college campuses and for local organizations, focusing on blackness in a Mexican-American context, womanhood, spirituality and healing. She has received two Academy of American Poets Prizes and is a 2014 Collegiate National Poetry Slam Champion. Her work has been featured on PBS and in the Huffington Post and has been published in journals, including Nepantla, Muzzle, African Voices, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and iManteca!: an Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets. She holds a bachelor’s degree in African Diaspora studies and Mexican American studies from the University of Texas Austin and is in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her talk will take place during the conference luncheon which begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom at the Union. Lunch is free for BGSU students, $20 for faculty and staff and non-BGSU students, and $25 for all others. Advance registration is required by March 11. Register online at emsregics.bgsu.edu/LatinoIssuesConf2019. Following the luncheon, Brown will sign copies of her books, which will be available for purchase. Conference organizers are especially pleased with the variety of discipline areas represented in the eStrella conference this year, said Dr. Susana Peña, director of the School of Cultural and Critical Studies. “We encourage people to see the exciting work that’s happening at BGSU and beyond,” she said. “We have a really wide range of presentations, in areas we haven’t seen before. Along with students from BGSU, we expect presenters from Rutgers, Ohio State, Michigan State, Grinnell, West Virginia and other universities. They’re presenting on topics from linguistics and history to social work to communication disorders to higher education. We also have a number of creative presentations, including a performance panel from OSU.” The concurrent panels are organized thematically, under topics such as “Interrogating the X” and “Latinx Cultural Identity and Belonging” and “Salsa, Sexuality, and Song.” BGSU’s Latino Student Union will share “Our Story, Then and Now.” Area high school students will also be attending and will give presentations.


Journalist turned mystery writer to headline library’s Crime Solvers’ Weekend

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Little Harriet Ann Sablosky used to retreat to the hayloft in the barn behind her rural Indiana home to read Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. When she grew up, she wanted to be either a detective or write her own mystery novels. That was back in the 1960s. Now Harriett has grown up, and as Hank Phillippi Ryan she’s published 10 mysteries and thrillers. Ryan may not have been a detective, but she worked as an investigative journalist during a 43-year award-winning career. What would little Harriet think of her grown self’s work? Ryan laughs at the question. Yes, her younger self would approve, the writer said in a recent telephone interview. “What I loved about books when I was a kid was that a smart author would tell a story that would keep you turning the pages and then surprise you, in a fair way.” The reader, Ryan said, would realize: “‘I could have figured that out.’ But the author was more clever than I was.” That’s the same effect she strives for in her own novels. Ryan will be the featured guest at the Wood County District Public Library’s Crime Solvers’ Weekend, March 22 and 23. She will speak at an after-hours event Friday, March 22, 7 p.m. in the library’s atrium. Free tickets are available at the library.  “It’s such a joy” to be able to get out and meet her readers, Ryan said. Writing is a solitary pursuit. Reading is a solitary activity. “When I get to be with readers and writers, that’s when we get to share how wonderful this experience is. My books are not fully realized until someone reads them.” Ryan came to writing books mid-life. She is an investigative at WHDH-TV, 7News, in Boston. During her career she’d never ventured into mystery writing, she said, because she could never come up with a good plot. “That’s a problem if you’re trying to write a mystery,” she said. “So that dream got put in the background.” Then in 2004, she was at work at channel 7, and a story occurred to her. She came home and announced to her husband: “I’ve got this good idea for a mystery.” The idea turned out to be her first novel, “Prime Time,” about, no surprise, a female TV investigative journalist working in Boston. “It wasn’t as if I was thinking and working on it and trying to come up with an idea, it just presented itself. It was such a perfect idea.” As a reporter she knows a good story when she encounters one. “I was just compelled to write this book.” She did, and it won an Agatha Award as best first novel. The ideas haven’t stopped presenting themselves. Her 11th novel, “Murder List,” is due out in August, and the 12th is already in the works. She’s getting ready, she said, to ink a contract for two more beyond that. Her most recent is the thriller “Trust Me.” Writing mysteries and thrillers is akin to her work as an investigative journalist. As a reporter she’s always looking for “a compelling character and problem that needs to be solved.” There are “bad guys” who get what’s coming. “In the end, you want to change the world a little bit and get some justice.” And, Ryan added, “as a reporter and a crime fiction author I need to enchant you, entertain you, educate you. As a writer I want to keep you riveted to the page.  I want you to miss your stop on your train because you’re reading…


BGSU arts events through March 27

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS March 7 – The Prout Reading Series presents creative writing MFA students Lucas Fulton, poetry, and Christina Stump, fiction, teaching associates in the English department. Their reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. FreeMarch 7 – The BGSU Concert Band, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Moss, will perform a concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets in advance are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults; all tickets are $10 on the day of performance. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. March 7 – The BGSU Department of Theatre and Film continues performances of “The Wolves,” the debut play by Sarah DeLappe about a girl’s indoor soccer team that navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. The play, which earned DeLappe the 2015 Relentless Award for Playwriting and was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, runs at 8 p.m. on March 7-9, and at 2 p.m. on March 9 in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children; all tickets on the day of the performance are $20. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/artsor by calling the Wolfe Center box office at 419-372-8171. March 9 – The College of Musical Arts hosts the annual Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition for BGSU voice and piano students. The semifinal round will start at noon and the final round at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 10 – Members of the BG Philharmonia in the College of Musical Arts will present a chamber orchestra concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets in advance are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults; all tickets are $10 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. March 11 – The BGSU University Band will present a spring concert. Directed by Dr. Bruce Moss, the band will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets in advance are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults; all tickets are $10 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. March 11 – The College of Musical Arts welcomes Bulgarika, a group of four master musicians with decades of performing experience. They will share the very best of the Bulgarian folk-music tradition. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in 202B Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Free March 12-15 – Tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens is the featured artist when the BGSU College of Musical Arts celebrates jazz March 12-15. Stephens has garnered critical acclaim for his playing, compositions and arrangements. DownBeat Critics Poll ranked him second in the 2017 “Rising Star” category, and his Gratitude album was described as “a highly cinematic listening experience, full of rolling seas and shifting skies.”  Kicking off jazz week will be the BGSU Jazz Faculty performing at 7 p.m. on March 12 at the Wildwood Metropark Manor House, 5100 Central Ave., Toledo. Faculty members include David Bixler, saxophone; Ariel Kasler, guitar and piano, and Jeff Halsey, bass. The recital is free and open to the public. The vocal jazz ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. on March 12 in Bryan Recital Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. On March 13, the student chamber jazz ensembles will perform a free concert in Bryan Recital Hall….


BGSU marches into spring with full slate of arts events

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song Competition:The 20th annual competition highlights talented vocalists and collaborative pianistsMarch 9 | Bryan Recital Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center Kevin Bylsma, coordinator of the Conrad Art Song Competition, gets ready to announce the winners in 2017. The annual Dr. Marjorie Conrad Art Song competition features talented undergraduate and graduate singers and pianists working together to present a selection of art songs in various languages, ranging from the classical period, all the way to songs by living composers. The first round of competition takes place March 9 from 1-5 p.m., with the finalists announced around 6 p.m. The final round of competition, presented as a formal concert, begins at 8 p.m., with winners announced at the conclusion of the performance. Both the preliminary and final rounds are free and open to the public in Bryan Recital Hall. For more information, visit our website. Saxophonist Dayna Stephens headlines jazz week:Enjoy jazz performances each eveningMarch 12-15 | Bryan Recital Hall and Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center The jazz department welcomes tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens for our annual jazz week, March 12-15. Recent recipient of the number-two spot for the 2017 DownBeat Critics Poll in the category “Rising Star—Tenor Saxophone” Stephens has garnered critical acclaim over the years for his playing, compositions and arrangements. He will be featured in a concert with BGSU jazz faculty at 8 p.m. March 14 in Bryan Recital Hall, and as a soloist with Jazz Lab Band I on March 15 at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Other events throughout the week include the vocal jazz ensemble March 12 at 8 p.m., and student chamber ensembles March 13 at 8 p.m., both in Bryan Recital Hall. All events in Bryan Recital Hall are free. Tickets for the March 15 Jazz Lab Band I performance are available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling the box office at 419-372-8171. Admission is free for all BGSU students with ID card at the door. Wendy and Lucy: Film celebrates Women’s History MonthMarch 26, 7:30 p.m. | 206 Bowen-Thompson Student UnionThis award-winning film is an intimate character study of a young woman, Wendy, and her dog Lucy. On her way to find work in Alaska, Wendy’s car breaks down in a small town and she finds herself stranded and unable to pay for repairs or even food. Directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Michelle Williams, this American drama is a simple yet beautifully told narrative of uncertainty and hope in the face of hardship. The film is free and open to the public. BFA seniors present thesis exhibition:Art, creative writing collaboration highlights April 12 eventExhibition: March 30-April 14, Collaboration: April 12 | Fine Arts Center  Senior BFA art students share their consummate work, ranging from metals, sculpture, ceramics and painting to glass, digital art and graphic design. March 30, the two-week show opens with a panel of artists in various fields who will present “Where Next? The Future of Art” at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre (Wolfe Center for the Arts), a video animation screening at 5 p.m. in 204 Fine Arts Center, an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Galleries, and the awards presentation at 5:45 p.m. This year, a special collaboration between School of Art and the creative writing program will be featured from 6-8 p.m., Friday, April 12 in the Bryan Gallery. Creative writing students will read two of their pieces, including an ekphrastic piece that vividly describes a visual work of art by one of the senior BFA art seniors. Admission is free to the exhibition and the…


Imagination rules in the world of author & illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Tony DiTerlizzi writes creates stories that are read and viewed by millions of people. Most famous is the “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” both as a book and a movie. There’s “Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight,” a George Lucas approved expansion on the “Star Wars” franchise. Then there’s “Kenny and the Dragon,” The Wood County District Public Library’s Youth Community Reads book for this spring.  Of all those fans one reader remains the most critical to the best selling author. What will 10-year-old Tony think of what now 50-year-old Tony DiTerlizzi makes? Tony DiTerlizzi with Juno Kleinhans, who also likes to draw and write her own stories. DiTerlizzi recently visited Bowling Green as part of the Community Reads program. He visited schools, and in the evening gave a talk about how the 10-year-old from Florida grew up to become a beloved author and illustrator. Luck, he said, was important. Yes, people tell him that he’s lucky because he gets to spend his time  drawing and writing fanciful stories. When DiTerlizzi talked about luck, though, he went back to his childhood growing up in southern Florida. “Old people move down there and turn into lizards,” he said. He was not a good student. He preferred sitting in class drawing. In those doodles he unspooled the stories that were being screened in his mind. Then came time for him to give an oral book report on the classic children’s book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary.  “An oral book report is like oral surgery,” DiTerlizzi  told the audience of parents and kids. Then he crouched,, trying to make himself as small as he could, to demonstrate how he presented his book report. He had failed to master even the basic details of the book. The problem was, DiTerlizzi said, was that the books he loved were picture books, such as Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad.” While Cleary’s novel had a few illustrations, it was mostly words. But DiTerlizzi was in luck. His teacher had an inkling of what the problem was. So he gave 10-year-old Tony another chance. Pick two scenes from the book and draw pictures of them. Suddenly the youngster was engaged, reading the book scene by scene finding more than enough ideas. He’d read as he’d never had before, and passed with flying colors. “I was lucky because there was an adult who saw something in me that I didn’t see,” he said. And he was lucky to be bored. A few years later during the summer, his mother told him and his two younger siblings they needed to go out to play. It was too hot, they complained. They didn’t want to turn into lizards If they were going to be inside they needed to stay out of her hair. So DiTerlizzi retreated, bored, into his room. He was a Boy Scout, and had made up his own field guides of insects. In his room he studied those field guides, and that inspired a whole new world filled with imaginary creatures. What he was creating was the field guide that is at the heart of “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” That boredom freed his imagination, “and imagination is one of the greatest skills we have.” While he’s been involved in films and illustrating for role playing games, books remain central to him. “That’s the thing about books that I love — you have to interact with a book.” DiTerlizzi left plenty of time for questions. He said it takes him up to a year and half to write a book. He’ll re-write the…