The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has announced artist Bryan Hitch as its final major guest for its weekend-long event in Kendal, Cumbria in October – making a very rare comic convention appearance in the UK.
In an interview for Cumbria Live, online today 44-year-old Bryan, who hails from Carlisle, said: “It’s the only show I’m going to do. I have stopped doing conventions but I was persuaded, partly because I heard about this festival’s more European vibe.”
Bryan has been a leading creative force in American comic books for over 25 years. Having worked on characters such as GI Joe, Transformers, Superman and The X-Menfor 12 years, he then co-created The Authority with RED’s Warren Ellis.
Widely regarded as a game-changing series, Comicbookresources.com said “The Authority is the DNA of 98 per cent of the superhero comics published today!” For his work, Hitch was labelled as the first ‘Widescreen’ comicbook creator.
After working on DC Comic’s then best-selling Justice League comics he and Mark Millar together created the ground-breaking Marvel series, The Ultimates. In that book, Hitch and Millar created a tonal template for modernizing the classic Marvel characters known collectively as The Avengers for a general audience and it’s a direction that all the Marvel movies have since followed.
In July 2004 Joss Whedon, who would later write and direct The Avengers, wrote of The Ultimates; “Hitch is one of the greatest artists of our day. You get the right mix of writer, artist and characters, set ‘em loose and you get a book that’s not only diverting, it’s necessary. That’s how good the Ultimates is.”
In 2010 the Los Angeles Times named The Ultimates as The Series of the Decade. Since that series, Bryan has continued to work on a variety of key Marvel projects until 2011, when he created America’s Got Powers with the British TV legend Jonathan Ross. Real Heroes, his first solo creation, is a six-issue series currently being published through Image Comics, a story focusing on superhero actors who are suddenly cast into real crises. Bryan says the story aims to question what makes a real hero.
Outside comics, Bryan has worked on a number of film and television projects. In 2005, When Russell T. Davies revived Doctor Who for the BBC he invited Bryan to join him on the project. Instrumental in helping to create the visual direction for the show, Hitch designed the TARDIS set and numerous creatures, aliens and space ships.
Although uncredited, Damon Lindelof and JJ Abrams invited Bryan to work on the big screen relaunch of Star Trek. Unable to join the production full time, he consulted directly with Abrams over key visual elements and contributed the design for Spock’s space ship as seen in the finished movie.
Hitch is currently developing further projects both as sole creator, or as co-creator with Mark Millar and others.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October 2014) is a new kind of comic art event in the UK. Modelled on a European-style festival it aims to take over the market town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, with comic art presenting the widest range of genres. Events include a 24 Hour Comic Marathon, children’s comic workshops, talks, signings, Great War in Comics art exhibition and a Comics Fair.
The huge line up of guests at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festivalinclude the acclaimed comics creator and newspaper strip artist Nick Abadzis (author of Laika); Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard; Storm Dogs and UNITY artist Doug Braithwaite; Fables and Sandman artist Mark Buckingham; The Mire and Wolves creator Becky Cloonan; Alec and From Hell artist Eddie Campbell; veteran publisher Dez Skinn; Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons; digital comics pioneer Scott McCloud; Japanese artist Junko Mizuno; Drowntown co-creator Robbie Morrison; leading US comics writer Gail Simone; the creator of the multi-award winning Bone Jeff Smith; and Bryan Talbot.
• Tickets for all the events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October) are on sale now. For the full guest list, details of events and exhibitions and bookings visit: www.comicartfestival.com
• Follow Bryan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/THEBRYANHITCH