Comic book fans follow their “quest” at Oak Lawn Library

  • Written by By Joe Boyle



warriors photo 5-11

Photo by Joe Boyle

Jen Usellis (left), also known as the Klingon Pop Warrior, prepares to “battle” Julie Malnekoff, of Marok’s Imperial Emporium, during the “Cosmic Quest” Fan Fest on May 6 at the Oak Lawn Library.




Superman, Batman and the Power Rangers flocked to the Oak Lawn Library on May 6 for a "Cosmic Quest."

Free comics ranging from “Doctor Who” to “Archie” were also available to comic book fans of all ages before they journeyed downstairs to see numerous displays and adults dressed as superheroes and action figures.

Burbank resident Mike Wilson had his “Dorkabout Art” display set up downstairs. Wilson has been at all three of the fan fests and enjoys the camaraderie with the guests. He draws original art figures for young visitors who are drawn to his table.

“My mom liked the idea of me drawing,” said Wilson. “She liked that I started using paper instead of walls. You feel as though you want to make this a career. I really enjoy doing this. It’s fun.”

Wilson said he is currently working on making a comic book. He enjoys attending the fan fest because he has an opportunity to talk to youngsters who are interested in drawing.

“I like to encourage kids to draw,” Wilson said. “Other people inspired me so if I can inspire other children, then it would make it worthwhile.”

One of those fans was Jessie Quilanta, a resident of Midlothian, who received a caricature drawn by Wilson. Quilanta said she was enjoying her day at the fan fest and was looking forward to a panel discussion on the origins of the Power Rangers.

Another panel discussion took place on diversity through comics. Another presentation was held on how to bring your science fiction story to life through audio drama and podcasting.

Jen Usellis, also known as Lieutenant Jenbom Vestai, entertained visitors as the Klingon Pop Warrior. Dressed as a warrior in a comic book world, she “battled” Julie Malnekoff to the delight of the crowd. Usellis is not only a Klingon Pop Warrior, but she sings and plays guitar as well. She performed later in the day in the library lobby.

Usellis was also at the same table as Marc Malnekoff, of Marok’s Imperial Emporium, who also entertained visitors in Klingon attire along with his wife, Julie.

“We have a lot of fun,” said Usellis. “We make a lot of appearances and we were just at the Chicago Star Trek Tour.”

Meanwhile, Mike Giba, of Alsip, was working on some caricatures from his post. He has appeared before and entertained members of the Alsip and Oak Lawn Chambers of Commerce.

“It’s been a fun time,” said GIba, who has been in the business for 12 years.

Giba began his career in Iowa before moving to the Chicago area. While he enjoys attending various events, he enjoyed his day at the fan fest.

“It’s more personal,” explained Giba. “You get a chance to meet people. I go to people’s homes and parties. I meet a lot of people. How can you beat that?”

Many exhibitors were on hand and several performances took place. Along with the singing Klingon Pop Warrior, a Chicago Lightsaber Academy performance also took place. Tandang Garimot, a martial arts and wellness instructor, helped to bridge the gap between martial arts and the Star Wars universe. The event was held outside the library at the gazebo.

A steady crowd also played board games with a comic book or space-age theme. Face painting was also offered. An after-hours trivia session was held for adults at nearby PD’s Place.

Wilson continued to talk to curious youngsters who were interested in his art. His stepdaughter joined him at the fan fest.

“My stepdaughter likes to draw,” Wilson said. “She said I can’t do it like you. But I tell her you are doing fine. I’ve been doing this a long time.”