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Students share comic book interests at St. John

Gale Rose
Surrounded by comic books, St. John-Hudson students Corey Blue, Jon Lyon and Ryan Eulenstein pause a momement to take it all in. The three, along with  about 10 other students are members of The St. John Comic Book Club, sponsored by teacher Mark Bryant, which takes field trips to comic book stores, creates videos and attends comic con events.

They are the predecessor to video games and TV cartoon shows. The classic comic book may seem like a thing of the past, but there continues to be an avid following of this entertaining form of story telling.
For a group of students at St. John-Hudson high school, comic books or graphic novels, are very much an important part of their lives.
The St. John Comic Book Club provides students with a forum to share their interest in comic books, graphic novels, animae (Japanese film and television animation aimed at both children and adults), Star Wars and more. Mark Bryant, Comic Book Club sponsor, said the club started five years ago. A group of students at the school were not involved with clubs or other group activities. But there was a common interest in comic books and the rest so the Comic Book Club was born.
When Bryant was in school, comic books were a form of entertainment for him. It broke the monotony of school and his friends and he would compare their favorite material.
The students at St. John Hudson were doing the same thing. There were a lot of people getting into graphic novels and there were even those who were interested in learning English that were reading Bone, an independent comic book series by Jeff Smith, that was easy to read and enjoy.
As Bryant got older, he had a love for comic books and also got into superhero movies. He said the values of the super heroes is beneficial and he teaches it to his students. The club also watches super hero and science fiction movies.
Besides sharing their interest in comic books and so on, the group takes field trips and get to experience activities and events unavailable to them in St. John. They have traveled to Wichita to Prairie Dog Comics and Wizard Asylum where they could browse and purchase not only comic books but a variety of collectable items. The club has also traveled to Hutchinson and to Wichita for the Air Capital Comic Con.
The club has become very active at school. They host a Star Wars Day with games and prizes and refreshments including Wookie cookies and Yoda soda.
They also have a free comic book day featuring Marvel, DC and Image Comics. The club partners with Wichita Prairie Dog Comics. The club purchases comic books then bring them comic book day and distribute them free of charge, Bryant said.
Other club activities include creating videos with the audio club and attending a video gaming tournament in the future.
It’s not surprising that Bryant has such an interest in a comic book club. He was a big collector as a child. As a teenager, his collection was between 1,400 to 1,500 books. His favorites were Star Wars, X Men, New Teen Titans, Captain America and Spiderman.
His passion for comic books continued when he was an adult. After serving in the military, he worked for Mile High Comics in Anaheim, Calif. He learned a great deal about running a comic book store and distribution. The high light of his comic book career was getting to meet Stan Lee, an icon in the comic book industry. He was a writer, editor, publisher and producer for Marvel Comics. He co-created many super heroes including Spider Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Thor, the X-Men and more.
Lee took the entire Mile High crew out the dinner and Bryant enjoyed spending time with this comic book legend.
“It was a really big thing,” Bryant said.
Comic Book Club officers are: Neveah Haney-president, Jon Lyon-vice president, Riley McCandless-secretary, America Fernandez-treasurer, Clayton Huston-club recruiter and Destiny Talbot-Social Media. Anyone interested in being in the club should contact Bryant at the school.