Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Lancaster-based creators head for Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Poster
by Bryan Talbot. Competition below!

Lancaster-based comic creators will be joining some of the biggest names in comic art for the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival later this year.

Festival organisers have just announced some of the guests of honour who will be appearing at the event which will run from 18-20th October 2013 in Kendal in Cumbria, who include writers and artists from the United States, Argentina, Spain and the UK, working in a wide range of different genres.

The event, which is modelled on the European style comic art festivals, has a guest list running to more than 40 writers and artists - some yet to be announced. Organisers plan to reveal more names over the next few months, in the run up to tickets going on sale in May.

Alongside names such as national Guardian cartoonist Posy Simmonds and Captain America and Batman writer Ed Brubaker, top British comic writer and former 2000AD Andy Diggle, who lives in Lancaster, will be one of the guests of honour and local artist Sean Phillips is one of the event's founders.

World-reknowned comic artist Sean Phillips is a founder patron of the new festival along with Costa Award-winning comic creators Bryan Talbot and his wife Mary. Sean has been working with Ed Brubaker for about 12 years, most recently on Criminal and Fatale.

“I find Ed’s work believable," he says. "We do crime fiction so there are obviously things like armoured car heists, pickpockets and other crime plots.

“But the important bit is the characters and how they react to their situations.  And the way the characters created by Ed react is always believable.  You have to be able to care about what happens to the characters and that is what he does really well.”

He is currently working on Superman and writing stories for Doctor Who, Thief of Thieves and a new supernatural comic, Uncanny. Andy has recently launched his own thriller called Snapshot with artist Jock. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award for co-creating the New York Times best-selling action thriller The Losers, which was turned into a film.

Andy says: “The wider world is finally waking up to the richness, vibrancy and immediacy of the comics medium in all its diverse genres. Comics aren't just great art and great entertainment - they're also educational. Multiple studies have shown that kids who read comics have improved literacy, and go on to read more prose in a wider range of styles and genres than kids who don't.

“So it's great to see a European-style comics festival come to the North-West, bringing the joy of comics to a whole new audience.

"As for myself, I'm looking forward to meeting the fans - and the other creators. Festival Director Julie Tait has pulled together an amazing line-up of talent, especially considering it's the inaugural festival. Long may it continue!”

Judge Dredd fans will be particularly looking forward to meeting British writer John Wagner and Spanish artist Carlos Ezquerra, who are the co-creators of the famous law maker. They have both created many other characters for 2000AD including Strontium Dog.

John is also credited as being one of the people who revitalised British comics in the 1970s along with Pat Mills and others.

Founder patrons Bryan and Mary Talbot won the biography category in the Costa Book Awards earlier this year. Bryan Talbot, who used to live in Preston before moving the the North East some years ago, has also created a special festival poster which features Kendal’s town hall a lake and references to 28 different comic art characters. If you can name all the comic characters referenced in the Festival's poster which has been created by Bryan Talbot, they'll put you into a prize draw to win one of five signed copies and our festival mug. Email your answers to media@comicartfestival.com by 11.00am on Monday 18th March.

The festival will include events where people will be able hear from writers and artists, panel discussions, special live drawing events, films, several exhibitions, workshops and a kids’ zone. Authors and artists will be signing copies of their work and there will be a marketplace to buy comics and comic art.  There will also be some free events and exhibitions.

Festival Director Julie Tait says: “We’re very excited to give people their first real taste of the guest list for our new festival. We have a great line up which includes top creators from the UK, Europe and further afield who are recognised as leading lights or exciting new talent - all are pioneers in some shape or form.

“We’ll be revealing more big names over the next few months. We know people are eager to find out who all our guests are but we want to keep people in suspense for a bit longer!

“The festival will include a wide range of events, including some which are free.  We want The Lakes International Comic Art Festival to appeal not just to the people who are already big comic art fans but also to help bring new audiences to this fantastic and versatile medium.”

The founder partners of the event are the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal College, South Lakeland District Council and Osprey Communications. Founder supporters are Curious Road, Designworks and Jonathan Cape. The festival is also supported by Kendal Library and publishers Myriad Editions, Nobrow, Blank Slate, Knockabout and Selfmadehero.

The leader of SLDC, Councillor Peter Thornton, says: “I’m really excited about this inaugural Comic Art Festival. Super Heroes in Kendal, Spiderman climbing the Town Hall – who knows what will happen?

“Kendal’s a great place to have this festival and I know that it will draw in many visitors who will experience Kendal hospitality and return again and again. Great work by Julie and her team, South Lakeland District Council is pleased to be able to support this event.”

• More details about the new event are available at www.comicartfestival.com. It is also possible to keep up to date with plans for the festival by following @comicartfest on Twitter or by liking the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Facebook page.

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