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'Lunch Lady' author Jarrett Krosoczka to take part in Hagerstown's Comic Con

'Lunch Lady' author Jarrett Krosoczka to take part in Hagerstown's Comic Con

When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was a child, he dreamt one day he would be a famous comic writer. 

Today, the New York Times Best Selling author and illustrator behind classic children’s books such as the “Lunch Lady” and “Jedi Academy,” is doing just that.

And Saturday, Aug. 11, Krosoczka will make a stop in Hagerstown to talk about fulfilling his dream when he takes part in the fourth annual Comic Con event at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and Fletcher Library in Hagerstown.

Comic Con begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the museum, where Krosoczka will speak at “Bam! It’s a Breakfast & Gallery Talk.” At 10:30 a.m., the event moves with a parade from the museum on the Cultural Trail to Fletcher Library for the Comic Con from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There, Krosoczka will host a workshop at 11:30 a.m.  

Krosoczka, 40, has had a passion for making art and telling stories ever since he was a boy.

“All I ever wanted to do was tell stories with words and pictures,” he said during a telephone interview at the airport in Miami while he was awaiting his connecting flight to Boston. “What I’m doing now is an extension of when I was kid. When people ask me how I got into it, I tell them I never got out of it.”

Soon after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Krosoczka published his first book, “Good Night, Monkey Boy,” in June 2001.

“I received my first contract for my first book six months out of college,” he said.

Krosoczka looked to the comic section of the newspaper as part of his influence.

“You look to your contemporaries to look at what (they’re) doing,” he said. “Like every artist from the beginning of time I tried to emulate the art that was around me, and that was from the cartoons in the newspaper and Saturday morning cartoons. I would read the monthly comics by D.C. and Marvel when I was a kid, too.”

Thoughts for characters are constantly being tossed around in Krosoczka’s head.

“Ideas live in my sketchbook for some time,” he said. “I spend time drawing characters and learning their physicality. I’ll write a first draft that’s usually rubbish, and then I’ll beat it down and revise it until it’s something more publishable.”

One of those ideas became the “Lunch Lady” series, chronicling the adventures of a school lunch lady who fights crime when she’s not serving sloppy Joes. 

“‘Lunch Lady’ is in development to be a live action movie with Sony Pictures,” Krosoczka said. “It would be exciting; I’ve had a number of projects into development. Hopefully, we’ll go past the development stage into production. I like to focus on publishing, but it would be thrilling if it made it to the screen.”

Krosoczka can’t choose one of his books to call his favorite.

“These books are like your kids, you don’t really have a favorite,” he said. “Every kid connects to different work.”

When asked who some of his famous current children’s authors were, Krosoczka named his friend and author of the “Captain Underpants” series.

“I have a special fondness for Dav Pilkey’s work,” he said. “He was one of the first authors to bring elements of a comic book that was able to bring it into a trade book that was welcome into school libraries.”

Krosoczka’s talk at “Bam! It’s a Breakfast and Gallery Talk” will center on his creative process.

“I will be showcasing to the young attendees how I write the ‘Jedi Academy’ books,” he said. “I’ll show sketches and preliminary pieces of my artwork. I’ll show them the creative tools I use to make the art, how revisions work, and then I’ll break down the visual language of comics. We’ll then work on a mini two-page comic, bringing together everything we learned at the session.”

This is the first time Krosoczka has been to Hagerstown. He is not only excited to give the talk, but to try the local food.

“I’ve never been to Hagerstown,” he said. “I’m excited. One of my friends is Tom Angleberger, he wrote the ‘Origami Yoda’ books. He told me I had to try the crab cakes when I was down here.”

The author believes that libraries are a crucial institution.

“I think that libraries are such important services to our communities,” Krosoczka said. “I’m excited to see what the Washington County library does with this comic event; it’s such a gift to the community.”

Top photo: Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of “Lunch Lady” and “Jedi Academy” books, will be part of the Comic Con event Saturday, Aug. 11. He’ll give a talk at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in the morning, before leading a workshop at Fletcher Library at 11:30 a.m. (Photo by Derek Fowles)

If you go ...

WHAT: Comic Con
WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11
WHERE: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and Fletcher Library
COST: Free
CONTACT: Visit the 4th Annual Comic Con Facebook event page.

Comic Con Schedule

• 9 to 10:30 a.m. — “BAM! It’s Breakfast and Gallery Talk” at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, 401 Museum Drive, Hagerstown. Come in costume. Free. Call 301-739-5727. Go to www.wcmfa.org.

• 10:30 to 11 a.m. — Comic Con parade from museum to Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Branch Library, 100 S Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Comic Con at library 

 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Register for costume contest. Age divisions are newborn to 12 years old; teens ages 13 to 19; and adults 20 and older.

• 11:30 a.m. — Workshop and book signing Jarrett J. Krosoczka

• Throughout the day — Artists and authors from Artway Alliance will lead three workshops throughout the day: “The Art of Illustration,” “Getting Started in Comics: and “Hit Confirm: A Brief History of Character Design for Video Games.,” times announced the day of the event

• 3 p.m.  — Cosplay Parade 

Call 301-739-3250, ext. 270, or find Washington County Free Library 4th Annual Comic Con’s Facebook event page.

Also: Flavor of Maryland and Antietam Dairy food trucks will be on hand. Free books will be provided by Penguin/Random House.

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