While some students might take offense at being called a comic book geek, Justin Wigard is not counted among them.
He is one of the many on campus working together to bring Central Michigan University the gift of Superheroes Week, which starts Monday.
The week of free superhero-related events on campus is the result of a large collaboration of efforts from the office of Student Life, the Honors Program, Study Abroad, College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences and local business Hall Of Heroes, 316 N. Mission St.. The Houghton Lake senior and others have been working to bring these events to Mount Pleasant since earlier this spring.
Wigard said the event consists of a week-long appreciation of comic books, games and the culture of superheroes. He also said the speakers they have coming in are one of a kind and a must-see for students.
“We want to share that excitement with others,” he said.
The two speakers are Dr. Naif Al- Mutawa and Michael Uslan. Al-Mutawa is best known for creating the multi-ethnic comic THE 99, which has received a lot of attention partly because it brings new cultural perspectives to the world of comic superheroes. President Obama even mentioned Mutawa’s impact during a presidential summit on entrepreneurship earlier this year.
The other speaker who is sure to bring attention to the events is Michael Uslan, best known for his role as the producer for most of the Batman movies. He was also the first to teach Comic Book Folklore at Indiana University.
Each day of Superheroes Week will have a different event, theme or speaker. Speakers, game night and even a cosplay are on the docket for the event, which Wigard said he is sure students will enjoy.
Wigard said the five movies that were picked for SuperHeroes Week were only the “good ones,” and include “Super,” “Kickass,” the 1978 version of “Superman,” “Spiderman,” and finally “The Dark Knight Rises.”
On Halloween there is a cosplay event with prizes for male, female and group competing categories.
English language and literature faculty member Joseph Michael Sommers is one of the creators of Superheroes Week and a comic enthusiast.
“You know this is like a dream come true to me,” he said. “Since I have come (to CMU), I was going to do this at my old institution that I taught at prior, but then it got scuttled due to funding (and) other things. I’ve been wanting to bring comics into CMU’s mainstream here, since I got here.”
New Baltimore senior Miranda Endres is also a huge fan of superheroes and comic books, and said she has truly enjoyed helping to plan Superheroes Week. Endres is the Program Board president and relented about how rare an opportunity this collection of events is.
“I believe this is the first (time anyone at CMU has) done anything like this, and I think it’s generally something different and it reaches at an audience that generally doesn’t get a draw,” Endres said.
Endres also said she was excited for Superheroes Week, and that her classmates may even be lucky enough to see her fully costumed in class Halloween evening.
“I’m probably going to do a Batgirl costume,” Endres said. “Yeah, I actually have class that night too, so I might be going to class in my costume and then going straight to the costume contest.”
One common motivator for everyone helping to create Superheroes Week was the desire to unite students and community with similar interests.
“It sounds very hippie, and I’m not a hippie,” Sommers said. “My hair is way too black for that, and too short. But it was all about sharing the love of comics for people, or as we call it CMU, Superheroes Week.”