A CARTOONIST for The Guardian and Radio Times has helped create a new mascot for this year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Back for a second year, the event runs from 17-19 October in Kendal and cartoonist Jonathan Edwards has created 'Poblin's Gang' as mascots.

Poblin and family are said to reflect the inclusive aims of the festival - offering events that will appeal to the whole family – from children’s workshops and film screenings to creator talks and signings.

“We’re delighted with Jonathan’s designs,” said festival director Julie Tait, based at Kendal Arts International.

“Who better to approach than one of the UK’s leading character designers, who has a fine track record in comics and a whole multitude of creative strings to his bow?”

Mr Edwards explained: “The characters started life as a request from Julie Tait to create a single mascot. But the more we talked about it, the more I realised that one character couldn't really sum up the entire Festival. So from one it increased to four… then six – then eight!"

“We've ended up with wide-eyed newbies who, despite loving comics for a long time have perhaps never attended a festival (Poblin and Froop), long-time Festival attendees (Woolton), comics connoisseurs and academics (VeVe and Gubbs) and visitors with specific interests - Manga (Blizz), Small press/zines (Zinny), foreign language aquatic adventure comics (Trimp)."

Mr Edwards' illustrations have graced the covers of albums by the Black Eyed Peas and The Jungle Brothers. He also appears as a guest at this year's Festival.

Announced guests so far include Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons; digital comics frontiersman Scott McCloud; leading US comics writer Gail Simone; and artists Jock (2000AD, The Losers).

Also due to appear are Sean Phillips (Batman), and Bryan Talbot (Grandville, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes).

Tickets go on sale from April 25 and for more information visit www.comicartfestival.com