New international comic art festival launched

We have announced plans for a new festival to celebrate the very best comic art from across the world, from cartoon strips to superhero comics and manga to non-fiction graphic novels.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 18-20 October 2013 in Kendal in Cumbria, so you can come and enjoy some great comic art combined with a visit to the Lake District.

The founder patrons of the new festival include Bryan and Mary Talbot who won the biography category in the Costa Book Awards earlier this month. They are joined by another internationally renowned comic artist Sean Phillips.

The launch of the new festival comes at a time when there is a growing buzz about comic art. Graphic novels have been taken increasingly seriously over the last twenty years.

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, written by academic Mary Talbot and illustrated by her husband Bryan, was the first graphic novel to win the biography category in the Costa Awards. The Chair of the 2013 Man Booker Prize has also encouraged entries by authors of graphic novels.

Bryan Talbot’s work also includes Batman, Judge Dredd, Alice in Sunderland and his Grandville series of detective thrillers. He also wrote and drew A Tale of One Bad Rat, which is set in the Lake District.

Bryan says: “The UK is one of the only countries in Europe that doesn’t have an international comic festival, celebrating the whole range of this versatile and exciting medium. This is the golden age of graphic novels, with more, and better, comic art being produced today than ever before. The Lakes International Comic Art festival is therefore a concept whose time has come.

“The medium of comics, or sequential art, is as valid an art form as any other and is capable of dealing with any subject and any genre in its own unique way, a way that is direct and accessible. The best graphic novels are comparable to the best in prose, film or drama.”

The festival will include events where people will be able hear from some of the biggest names in comic art, panel discussions, films, exhibitions and workshops. Authors and artists will also be signing copies of their work and there will be a marketplace to buy comics and comic art.

Sean Phillips, who lives in Cumbria, has also worked as an artist on comics such as Batman, Star War and Hellblazer, and more recently on crime genre comics Criminal and Fatale. He says: “It’s great to be involved with any festival that is interested in promoting the vast range of comics out there.

“Comics is a medium, not a genre. It’s not just superheroes and the Beano, and this festival is a good chance to see that there are comics for everyone, no matter what their interests are. Comics can be used to tell any type of story in any genre, and that should be celebrated.”

The festival is the brainchild of Julie Tait and her 14 year old comic fan son Finn who live in Kendal. Julie said: “The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will celebrate this exciting and vibrant art form, which is gaining a growing number of fans of all ages.

“For me, the fusion of great art and great writing is dynamite. It makes it a very exciting, inspiring and challenging art form to be promoting, celebrating and encouraging.”

The event’s founders have looked to the comic art festivals held on the continent for inspiration, including Europe’s largest celebration of the art form at Angouleme in France, which takes place later this month.

Julie says: “In countries like France there’s a real appreciation of comics as an art form and our aim is to create something of the atmosphere at comic art festivals like the one in Angouleme. There will be plenty for the real enthusiasts but we also hope it will help to introduce a new audience to comic art.”

The festival will take place at a number of venues across Kendal including the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal College and the Town Hall.

More details about the new event will be available at shortly. 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.

The new festival will be created and presented by Lakes Arts Festivals Ltd, a not-for-profit company.

We’ll be revealing more details about the festival over the coming months. Well you didn’t think we’d tell all straight away?!






8 thoughts on “New international comic art festival launched

  1. Hi Julie, Alex here. Do you want to borrow my original artwork for the festival? Brendan McCarthy’s cover image for Shade the Changing Man # 1 (DC Comics)?
    Looking forward to this event!

    • Hi Alex. Thanks for the kind offer. I’ll have a chat with Julie about it. We should meet up soon to talk comics etc. I’ll text you about arranging something. Paul

    • Hi Kev. I hope you can make it up here in October. We promise it’s going to be great! In the meantime I’ll pass your details onto the person who is going to be dealing with the part of the festival for kids and with schools.

  2. Sounds right up my street this one guys! Well done for putting it on. I will try and make the journey in October, and if there are table available I may be interested in booking on.

    • Hi. Yes there will be a marketplace. I’ll pass your details onto the person who will be looking after table bookings so he can get in touch with you.

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