Saturday, August 20, 2022 - 12:00pm to 5:00pm

The annual Pekar Park Comic Book Festival will be Saturday, August 20th at Noon at Pekar Park (corner of Coventry & Euclid Hts Blvd.) and Peace Park (in front of the Coventry Library)

There will be comic book and zine vendors, kid's activities, panel discussions and Spiderman: No Way Home will be screened outdoors at 8;30 pm.

This free festival honors the late graphic novel writer and Cleveland Heights resident Harvey Pekar with a wide array of fun, engaging activities for comics fans of all ages.

Comic, art, and graphic novel vendors;

Panels about current trends in comics 

• 1-2 p.m. - Ron Hill on political cartoons

2:30-3:30 p.m. - Derf on Kent State,

• 4-5 p.m. - Brad Ricca, author of Ten Days in a Madhouse (illustrated by Courtney Sieh) and Jake Kelly, author and illustrator of the serial comic about underground Cleveland history, Death, Destruction, Vice and Sleaze.


Face painting, bounce house, crafts, and Gamer Haven video games for kids;

Free screening of "Spiderman: No Way Home" in the PEACE Park at 8:30 p.m.!

And take in the Artful Chalk Festival, also at the PEACE Park, going on 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.!


Ron Hill & Political Cartoons 1-2 p.m

After creating editorial cartoons for the Chagrin Valley Times, Solon Times, Geauga Times Courier and West Life for 22 years, cartoonist Ron Hill needed to change things up. So, in January 2020, Hill brought his web comic character, BB BluesBird, out of retirement to be the “spokesbird” in his cartoon commentary pieces. Little did they know that soon we would all be in the midst of a global pandemic, and suddenly BB was navigating all the angst and uncertainty we all struggled with. Now, half-way through his third year and over 300 cartoon strips, Hill and BB are getting the hang of this “hybird” mash-up of comic strips as political cartoons. Come and learn about the creative process of this on-going experiment in local journalism, ask questions, meet the cartoonist and purchase his latest book, “One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird,” as well as his previous collection: “BB BluesBird and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Derf & Kent State 2:30-3:30 pm

The pandemic hit just as Kent State by Derf was set to be published. Consequently the presentations have been mostly virtual. This event will be an opportunity to see Derf's full presentation of the work & research that went into creating what has quickly become a modern classic of graphic novel journalism. 

"Derf Backderf's masterful Kent State does what really good, in-depth journalism should always do--breathe life into cold, hard facts--but in this case, with searing, memorable images, drawings that put us inside the skin of the protagonists. The students and the soldiers are all tragic figures in this telling, and Backderf lets us decide how to judge them. The final, violent scenes are almost Goyaesque in their brutal reality. You don't simply put this book down and get on with your life after reading the final page--you slowly recover, shaken from the experience."-- "Bill Griffith, author of Zippy the Pinhead, Invisible Ink, and Nobody's Fool"

Kent State won the prestigious Eisner Award in 2021 for Best Reality Based Work and an Alex Award from the American Library Association, which honors adult books that have a special appeal to teens. Derf is also the author the Punk Rock & Trailer Parks, Trashed and My Friend Dahmer

Non-Fiction & Graphic Novels

Brad Ricca and Jake Kelly 4:00-5:00 pm

Brad Ricca will talk about process of creating Ten Days in a Madhouse, a non-fiction graphic account about journalist Nellie Bly. 

"While working for Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper in 1887, Nellie Bly began an undercover investigation into the local woman's lunatic asylum on Blackwell's Island. Intent on seeing what life was like on the inside, Bly fooled trained physicians into thinking she was insane-- a task too easily achieved-- and had herself committed. In her ten days at the asylum, Bly witnessed horrifying conditions: the food was inedible, the women were forced into labor for the staff, the nurses and doctors were cruel or indifferent, and many of the women held there had no mental disorder of any kind. Now adapted into graphic form by Brad Ricca and vividly rendered with beautiful and haunting illustrations by Courtney Sieh, Bly's bold venture is given new life and meaning, as her fearless scrutiny into the living conditions at Blackwell's asylum forever changed the field of journalism. A timely reminder to take notice of forgotten populations, Then Days in a Mad-House warns us what happens when we decide to look away"

Brad Ricca is the Edgar-nominated author of five books, including True Raiders, Olive the LionheartMrs. Sherlock Holmes, and the award-winning Super Boys. His independent film Last Son won a Silver Ace Award.

Artist Jake Kelly is an author and illustrator and will be discussing his series depicting underground Cleveland history. Doomsday Map (Vol 1) is about several bombings in the 1970's, Shadows Will Fall chronicles the links between the murders of a judge's wife and a folksinger, In the New Era (Vol 3) is about a notorious burlesque club and Blowing Minds (Vol 4), soon to be published, is about motorcycle clubs and LSD in Cleveland. Jake is also the co-creator with John G of the serial comic Lake Erie Monster.




Event address: 
Ten Days in a Mad-House: A Graphic Adaptation By Brad Ricca, Courtney Sieh (Illustrator), Nellie Bly (From an idea by) Cover Image
By Brad Ricca, Courtney Sieh (Illustrator), Nellie Bly (From an idea by)
ISBN: 9781982140656
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery 13 - April 19th, 2022

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio By Derf Backderf Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419734847
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 8th, 2020