Batman Day, a national promotion D.C. Comics does to celebrate the character’s history, was celebrated at the Hampton B. Allen Library in Wadesboro on Sept. 23.
Libraries, schools and other organizations nationwide participate in celebrating Batman Day on the third Saturday in September.
The library has celebrated Batman Day every year since librarian Aaron Mehaffey started in 2015, and he said that he intends to continue celebrating it every year. The library had 38 people in attendance this year — there were only eight at the first.
“The reaction was fantastic!” Mehaffey said. “Everybody especially loved getting their picture taken with Batman. People kept coming downstairs asking, ‘Where’s Batman? Where’s Batman?’”
Mehaffey said that his personal favorite was when a whole family came in cosplay dressed like the characters from the comics: the son was Robin, the daughter was Batgirl, and even the dad was dressed as Red Hood.
Mehaffey began year’s event by showing episodes of “Batman: the Animated Series,” which ran from 1992-1995.
“Incidentally, since this weekend was also the 25th anniversary of the character Harley Quinn, we kicked it off with her very first appearance from Episode 34, called ‘The Laughing Fish,’” Mehaffey said.
At 1:30 p.m., they held a Batman Trivia game. Five contestants answered questions to win a free copy of “The Lego Batman Movie” on DVD and Blu-ray.
“The prize went to a very happy little boy, Jonathan Byrd,” Mehaffey said. “The other contestants received gift-bags as well.”
At 2 p.m., the finale program was Mehaffey’s “Comics Out Loud” Program.
“In this program, we project pages from a comic book up on the screen so everyone can read it, and then get volunteers to read the voices of the characters,” he said. “It’s a program I’m currently doing at Anson Middle School once a week, and they love it.”
For Batman Day, they read excerpts from “Batman: Hush” by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee and from “Superman-Batman: Public Enemies” by Loeb and Ed McGuiness.
Batman himself even stepped in to do some of the voices, was available for photographs, and even signed autographs.
“It was a blast,” Mehaffey said. He also said that as a librarian, he is a huge proponent of the value of comic books.
“By combining text and images in a variety of ways — comics, manga and graphic novels — you teach readers a more comprehensive level of information literacy than traditional books, but they don’t always get the recognition they deserve,” Mehaffey said. “For that reason, Batman Day is a big deal for the library, because it’s an opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on some of our comics and graphic novels, and to celebrate the superhero culture in general.”
There are annual comic book conventions in Fayetteville, Raleigh and Charlotte, but none here in Anson County, so Mehaffey said that he wanted to create a local event at the library that comic book fans could take part in for free.
This year, the library received a sponsorship by the Carolina Manga Library. It is a non-profit organization that travels to conventions, libraries and schools where they set up their collection of more than 5,000 comics and manga for people to read. They also do panels and talks on the value of reading comics, including their “Great Graphic Novels You Should Be Reading” panel.
They sponsored the library by paying for the appearance of Batman, and their head librarian Laura Mehaffey also helped to run the event.
Lyn Powell is the head of The Signal, a cosplay company whose members construct their own costumes and do public appearances at charitable events as superheroes and supervillains.
“Lyn was our Batman, and he did a spectacular job,” Mehaffey said. “I would just like to add that this year’s Batman Day Celebration was our biggest one yet, and I’m looking forward to making it bigger every year. I’d like to invite everyone to come by the library and check out our ever-expanding collection of comics and graphic novels.”
Reach Natalie Davis at 704-994-5471.