HUDSON — Fashions may come and go but an age-old fascination with comic books never dies. Just ask 16-year-old Austin Gomez.
He's a gamer and avid collector of Spider-Man and other Marvel comic books who attended Comic Con in Tampa with a friend.
Turns out it was pretty awesome. The problem is not everyone can afford to go to such a big event.
As a member of the Teen Advisory Board at the Hudson Regional Library, Austin thought he and others could create a scaled-down experience for local teens who couldn't make the trek to Tampa or San Diego to the events that typically attract thousands of fans dressed as superheroes or anime and manga characters from Japanese graphic novels.
And he thought it would be a great way to kick of the teen summer reading program being offered at the library
"We're all big nerds," said Austin, who just completed his freshman year at Hudson High. "I wanted to build something for everyone in the community that's just right around the corner."
The result: a teen offering called Beta-Con.
Austin and a few others on the board have been working hard on the teen event fashioned after a more established event held in early August at the Land O'Lakes Branch called LAMECon (Library Anime and Manga Enthusiasts).
That two-day event attracts about 500 teens each year, but if effort has anything to do with it, the Hudson event might grow just as big.
"They've been doing all the planning themselves," said teen librarian Lisa Morgan, adding that the vision is to one day be as big as LAMECon. "I think it's great. I've been amazed at their dedication. From what I've seen they've got everything planned out."
There will be a variety of activities offered, and it is requested — though not required — that attendees come dressed in the costume of their favorite hero or villain.
"We have a lot of classic comics and collectibles, food, a costume contest, Marvel, DC (comics) and anime trivia contests," Austin said, adding that it will also present the opportunity to meet others who share the same interests. "Best of all, it's all free and we'll be doing this after hours so we'll have the place all to ourselves."
Michele Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.