When I think of the library I went to as a child, I remember beige walls and a quiet atmosphere. I borrowed all the Curious George, Dr. Seuss, and Winnie the Pooh they had. I did not, however, have access to comic books... or huge statues of the characters therein. Seriously, get this: The Northlake Public Library is raising money for a 9-foot statue of The Incredible Hulk!!
Five minutes of research made me a believer. For one, The Northlake Public Library houses perhaps the finest graphic novel collection in the Midwest. Explains Library Trustee Tom Mukite, "We tend to concentrate on the indie and creator owned books... Peter Panzerfaust, Green Wake, Retrovirus, Smoke and Mirrors, Monocyte, Reed Gunter, etc... Some of our most checked-out graphic novels are those that many libraries haven't found yet!" The Marvel and DC staples are offered, too, along with digital providers like comiXology and Thrillbent. There's even a book club.
A 9-foot Hulk could attract new patrons and promote comics as literature. Why Hulk? The Indiegogo page states, "Just as Dr. Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk, we want our library community members to make their own personal transformations." This is especially important to Alex Araujo, Secretary for Friends of the Northlake Library. Says Alex, "Graphic novels greatly aid second language learners, as well as students who have difficulty gaining an interest in reading."
The $30,000 requested wouldn't all go toward the statue. The library also wishes to buy an iMac with drawing pad, 3D printer, light box, interactive pen display, and editing software. With these tools, patrons could potentially create their own comics, stories, characters, and action figures.
Community support for the Hulk statue is growing, as seen in the Indiegogo donor perks. Rewards include signed comics, sketches, and the ability to transfer graphic novels from Northlake to your library of choice. There's even an adorable kiddie lunch at the local fire department! D'awwww...
More perks are on the way, and I got a sneak peek. Says Tom, "If you're a fan of Jeffrey Brown (Vader and Son)... keep your eye out. Also, we do have a number of music-related rewards coming." Rebel Radio, V is for Villains, and The Chose in Few were all mentioned.
Of those who might doubt the crowdfunding efforts, Tom has just one thing to say: "Since they don't have to donate to the campaign it really doesn't affect us." Naysayers will only miss out a super unveiling with artists, live music, and the coolest statue in the suburbs.
Despite coverage on Huffington Post, Geek Exchange, and elsewhere, the goal is still far away. I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I find this a much more valuable investment than paying already-rich people to make pet projects. If nothing else, the library's campaign video (with "MPEG" still in the title) has a surplus of heart.
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