UK's first ever comic art festival to launch in Kendal

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A FESTIVAL celebrating the best comic art from around the world is coming to Kendal.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will showcase cartoons, superheroes, manga and non-fiction graphic novels.

It will include events where people will hear from some of the biggest names in comic art, panel debates, films, exhibitions and workshops.

Authors and artists will be signing copies of their work and there will be a marketplace to buy comics and comic art.

Founders of the new festival are husband and wife team Bryan and Mary Talbot, and internationally renowned comic artist Sean Phillips.

Mr Talbot’s work includes Batman, Judge Dredd, Alice in Sunderland and the Grandville series of detective thrillers.

He said: “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 is as valid an art form as any other and is capable of dealing with any subject and any genre in its own way, a way that is direct and accessible.

“The best graphic novels are comparable to the best in prose, film or drama.”

The festival is the brainchild of Julie Tait and her 14-year-old son and comic fan Finn, who live in Kendal.

She said: "The 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.”

Artist Sean Phillips, who lives in Cumbria, has also worked on comics such as Batman and Hellblazer.

He said: “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 and that should be celebrated.”

The event's founders have looked at similiar festivals abroad for inspiration, including Europe’s largest celebration of the art form at Angoulem in France, later this month.

Julie Tait added: “In countries like France there's a real appreciation of comics 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 introduce a new audience to comic art.”

The festival will run from October 18-20 at venues across Kendal.

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