WATERVILLE — It was all “Secret Empire,” “Super Hero Girls” and “Japanese Manga Kobayashi” at the Waterville Public Library Saturday — Free Comic Book Day.

Young and old, boys and girls, and moms and dads mingled in the Bartlett Room for Teens, some in costume, some composing their own comic characters, some making superhero masks, all for the good cause of reading and getting together for some fun, said Sarah Taylor, teen services director at the library.

“We’re doing our annual Free Comic Book Day event,” Taylor said. “It’s a big event that lots of comic book shops at places across the country take part in, so we’re just one of the participants every year.”

Taylor said the popular comic book “Miraculous Lady Bug,” who uses her superpowers to help protect her native Paris from supervillain Hawk Moth, went fast and were gone before noon. Many other titles were still available, being browsed by visitors who took the ones they wanted and left the rest.

Meanwhile, small groups of comic book aficionados huddled over the new editions of new and old titles, such as “Wonder Woman” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Jessica Swan, 26, of Clinton, was there Saturday with her 4-year-old daughter, Amelia Rose Wolfe, dressed in a Batman costume. Swan, her hair colored in purple, blue and pink, was dressed as the bubbly and psychotic Harley Quinn from the “Batman” series.

“My eyes are Harley Quinn makeup. Like the harlequin clowns, they have a bit of the dropped tear,” she said. “I came to bring my daughter here to read some comic books, she seems to enjoy them and she wanted to dress as Batman.”

Swan said she started reading comic books in high school and found that they were a way to escape from reality, while connecting with other like-minded people around her. She said she goes to comic book conventions and connects with people in their 50s and 60s, as well as children just learning to read.

There were 52 different Free Comic Book Day books available this year, but not every location offered all 52 titles.

Cora Fletcher, 17, of Waterville, and her sister Abbie, 10, were busy making masks Saturday — Cora for Hello Kitty, Abbie for Hawk Girl.

Their mother, Angela Foster, said they participate in the comic book day activities to get acquainted with reading, which she said is important in a child’s upbringing.

“I think this is awesome because it’s introducing my girls to new reading,” Foster said. “It’s extremely important. It’s No. 1 on our list.”

Over in another small group, people were looking over their new “Doctor Who” comic book, which has stories from four “Doctor Who” characters over the years. It hasn’t officially been released yet, but there it was Saturday — free.

“All these ones are new this year and haven’t been officially released,” said Samantha Cowling, 27, of Waterville. “Comic Book Day gives you the new ones getting ready to come out. Last year I picked up a ‘Suicide Squad’ and it only came out in November, when the movie did.”

Michael Cardella, 28, said he loves comic books and likes “Green Lantern” the best. He said he is writing a science fiction novel he hopes to publish.

“Any hero that has fear and overcomes it in order to be a hero, that’s a good era,” Cardella said of “Green Lantern.”

Tammy Rabideau, of Waterville, a mother of two and associate director at the library, said the notion that comic books are just for boys is not true.

“I think comic books are for everybody now,” Rabideau said. “‘Gender fluid’ is the word my daughter would use; she’s 12.”

Her son Alex Turner, 10, dressed in body armor of a superhero, confirmed that comic books are not just for boys.

“Both — because my sister likes them,” he said.

For the costume contest, Chrysanthemum Gates and Sean Duffy, both of Hampden, and members of the Maine Association of Cosplay Enthusiasts were dressed for the occasion in Japanese anime character costumes.

“I’m dressed as Life Sexy, of ‘Yuri Kuma Arashi,'” Duffy said. “Cosplay is a costuming group that’s statewide.”

Gates was dressed as Kanna from another Japanese anime called “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.” They judged the costume contest, which was won by Jerry Chamblee, of Waterville, who was dressed as Werewolf Man.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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