Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Asterix and Tintin head for a clash of the Toon Titans at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in partnership with Lancaster University, has announced further details of this year's Festival Weekend Opening Night event on Friday 14th October - "Clash of the Toon Titans", a battle between comic superstars Asterix and Tintin for the hearts and minds of attending comic fans.

The Opening Night will also include the announcement of the new Comics Laureate, taking on the role from artist Dave Gibbons, who will be at the event.

The Beatles or Stones? DC or Marvel? Connery or Moore? Strictly or X Factor?

There are some questions that divide the nation. You cannot sit on the fence. You have to choose. This is the biggie. In the second half of the twentieth century, Francophone comics culture was dominated by two nerdy little characters: a cub reporter from Belgium with an unlikely quiff, and a pint-sized ancient Gaul with an improbable moustache. Between them they have spawned 60 books, 24 movies, dozens of scholarly works, at least one theme park and an entire art style, ligne claire. Their creators have been deified with honours like the Legion d’Honneur and demonised by being banned from libraries over the years. But the weird thing is: few people like both of them. You’re either an Asterix or a Tintin fan.

For the opening event of LICAF 2016, there are people determined to settle this thing for good. The Festival is bringing together two top teams to slug it out on stage – without the help of a magic potion – and establish which character most deserves that cherished place on your oversized bookshelf. Putting the case for Tintin is Benoît Peeters, novelist, philosopher, Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art at Lancaster University, and author of two books on Tintin’s creator, Herge. Holding out gallantly against the oppressors is Peter Kessler, BAFTA award-winning producer and author of ‘The Complete Guide to Asterix’.

Joining them live on stage will be Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, comic book writer Leah Moore, Australian comics scholar and creator Stuart Medley and VIZ artist Graham Dury. On screen will be a host of comics artists, authors and readers with the ever-popular comic creator Hannah Berry acting as referee. To top it all our special festival guests, all the way from Los Angeles, Luke and Steve McGarry, will be bringing their fast-draw cartooning talents to the table illustrating the entire event as it happens.

This opening event is courtesy of Lancaster University to inaugurate and celebrate the appointment of Benoît Peeters as their first Professor of Comics. And, as if all this wasn’t enough, at the end of the evening we will be revealing who will be the second UK Comics Laureate for 2017 with its first incumbent Dave Gibbons handing over the baton.

"On one level this is all for fun, and it doesn’t really matter who is the ‘greatest’ (whatever that means)," says Peter Kessler, "But on a personal level I do feel that over the years there has been a kind of assumption amongst the cognoscenti that Tintin is ‘great art’, while Asterix is ‘just for kids’. Certainly there have been more ‘grown-up’ books on Tintin than Asterix. "I really don't think that is a justifiable state of affairs and in the interest of rebalancing public opinion, I'm sure each ‘side’ will really go out there and try to win the debate."

Lancaster University appointed renowned French graphic novelist and critic Benoît Peeters as its Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, the first ever such appointment in the UK, in 2015. The post represents a significant investment in the academic significance of comic art by the University and has been created in close working partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Additional support has been provided by Wallonia Brussels International.

The three-year appointment will see Benoît deliver a series of lectures, run creative writing workshops, and supervise post-graduate students.

"I am very proud to be part of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival for a second time," says Benoît. "I like the ambition and the diversity of this project, which creates a lot of connections between comics, graphic novels, manga and bandes dessinées. "I appreciate the high quality of the team and the beauty of the region, and I'm sure that the Lakes International Comic Art Festival will become one of the most important Comics manifestations in Europe."

Professor Simon Guy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Lakes international Comic Art Festival and look forward to formally announcing and celebrating the appointment of Benoît Peeters to a Professorship in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art. His appointment is bringing new ideas and insights to our English and creative writing courses and more widely across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.”

• Buy your Festival tickets now from The Brewery, Kendal - www.breweryarts.co.uk 

• For all events information visit the Lakes International Comic Art Festival web site: www.comicartfestival.com | Find the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on Facebook | Follow the Festival on Twitter @comicartfest

• Visit LU News for the latest Lancaster University news

• Follow Lancaster University on @lancasteruni   

• More information about Benoît Peeters at www.benoitpeeters.net | www.altaplana.be

This event is presented by Lancaster University & Supported by Wallonie-Bruxelles International

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