The Maine Comics Arts Festival returns to Portland this May to celebrate the comic book art form. Over 100 comic writers, artists, publishers and cartoonists are expected to attend and exhibit at the third annual event on May 22 at Ocean Gateway on Portland's waterfront. Show organizers Rick Lowell and Laura O'Meara of Casablanca Comics in Portland started the festival in 2009 as a way to promote comics and provide the public with an opportunity to meet the creative talent behind the comics. "The response was so overwhelmingly positive from the people who attended the show that we knew we would have to do it every year." says Lowell. The show has been especially popular with families, partly because of the free admission for kids 12 and under. Many of the artists on hand were doing sketches for the people in attendance. The festival is not a typical comic book convention in that there are no stores or dealers set up selling books. Instead, the exhibitors are the creative people behind the comics. The artists will have their own work on display and available for sale. The mix of writers and artists covers a wide spectrum and includes many best-selling and award winning comic creators. This year's featured guests include Andy Runton, creator of the popular kid's comic book series "Owly", Lincoln Peirce, creator of the "Big Nate" comic strip and books, Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, artists for "The Last Unicorn" series, and Joe Quinones, cover artist for Marvel, DC and Dark Horse Comics . This year the festival has partnered with the Portland Public Library to offer programming on Saturday, May 21. Andy Runton will read from Owly at 11:00 am. All of Saturday's events are in the library located at 5 Monument Square in Portland and are free and open to the public. The main festival exhibit runs from 10:00 am-5:00 pm on Sunday, May 22 at the Ocean Gateway facility located on Thames Street on Portland's waterfront. Admission is only $5.00 with kids 12 and under admitted free. (casablancacomics)
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