HUDSON — Throughout elementary and middle school, Austin Gomez understood what it was like to be bullied.
Picked on for being of smaller physique and mild temperament, Austin was delighted when he picked up his first Spider-Man comic at his local library and discovered that the protagonist, Peter Parker, was just like him.
“Spider-Man is reflective for me,” Austin said. “He was weak and skinny. When I saw him I thought of myself and thought he’s just like me.’ ”
Instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider and granted superpowers, Austin has superpowers of his own — the ability to regularly organize an event where kids like him can fit in and attend without fear of judgment for the way they look or what they like. Last October, Austin headed up a small committee of teens that held it’s first mini “comic con” at the Hudson Regional Library for Pasco teenagers who might not otherwise have the means to attend the bigger, expensive conventions.
“Spider-Man was my childhood hero and still is,” said the 15-year-old Hudson High School student. “If I ever met [Spider-Man co-creator] Stan Lee, I’d thank him. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Last week, Austin and his committee, which includes Hudson High School students Savannha Aretino and Rose Parhm, held their second mini comic con for local pre-teens and teenagers.
In the future, Austin would like to hold the event at a nearby recreation center where there is more space for teens to play games, listen to panel discussions and meet local comic artists and other celebrities. In the meantime, the event will continue to be held at the Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson, every five or six months. The teens are planning another one for the summer but the date has yet to be announced,
More more information visit the library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HudsonLibrary or call (727) 861-3040.