UK’s Comics Laureate Charlie Adlard showcases power of comics to promote literacy at libraries event

Charlie Adlard - 2016
Charlie Adlard

Comic artist Charlie Adlard, whose credits include 2000AD and The Walking Dead, made his first public appearance as the UK’s Comics Laureate in Birmingham late last month.

Two ‘Love Comics, Love Literacy’ events aimed to encourage both primary and secondary school teachers and librarians to use comics as a tool to enable literacy. Full of practical, inspirational ideas and top tips on how to use comics in the classroom, Charlie was on hand to share his thoughts on why comics can make a real difference to those children who do not easily connect with mainstream literature.

All event delegates received a free starter pack of comics and graphic novels.

Working closely with the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, the Comics Laureate champions the role of comics in improving literacy through a programme of educational visits, workshop events, guest appearances and conferences. An ambassadorial and educational role for the comic genre, the Laureate aims to raise awareness of the impact comics can have in terms of increasing literacy and creativity.

The Comics Laureate appointment is made biennially to a distinguished comics creator, writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the genre.

“There are comics out there that are just as relevant and important in literature as any great contemporary novel,” says Charlie. “At the beginning of someone’s ‘reading journey’, comics are a great doorway into other forms of storytelling. Comics are such an inclusive and diverse medium, there are literally comics for all tastes and ages. It’s such an exciting time for the comic art form and I’m delighted to be helping to bring the benefits of comics to a wider audience.”

The main sponsor of the UK Comics Laureate post is Lancaster University. The post is also supported by Peters, the UK’s leading supplier of books and furniture for nurseries, schools, academies, and public libraries, and Crescent Purchasing Consortium.

“Lancaster University is delighted to support the Comics Laureate as part of our ongoing collaboration with the International Comic Art Festival,” commented Professor Simon Guy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Lancaster University.

“The aim of Charlie Adlard to use comics to enable literacy and widen educational participation resonates strongly with our values and mission and we will be working together to co-develop this exciting project over the next two years and beyond.”

“We are excited about the role the Comics Laureate can play in unlocking the power of comics to encourage literacy,” addedJulie Tait, Director, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. “Comics can often connect with readers who are unlikely to pick up and read a conventional book and we look forward to meeting teachers and librarians to showcase the benefits of the comic artform.”

The ‘Love Comics, Love Literacy’ event was hosted by Peters, the UK’s leading supplier of books and furniture for nurseries, schools, academies, and public libraries. Peters is passionate about inspiring children to read, whatever their age.

Ryan North
Ryan North – one of many top comic guests heading to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October 2017

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns for its fifth year to Kendal, Cumbria, from 13th to 15th October 2017 and tickets are on sale now. Celebrating the amazing world of comic artists, creators and writers, the weekend festival takes over the scenic town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District. The festival brings the biggest names in comic art to Cumbria. There will be over 70 special guests from across the comic world, including and it’s simply crammed with amazing guests, including Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo), Sergio Aragonés (MAD, Groo the Wanderer), Jason LaTour (Spider-Gwen, the award-winning Southern Bastards, Wolverine), Ryan North (Adventure Time, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Dinosaur Comics), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer, Skim, Teenage Age Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tomb Raider and Hulk) – and a smashing smattering of 2000AD creators including Steve MacManus.

Charlie will also be there, of course.

“Hopefully I’ll be doing something in the Laureate role,” he says. “It seems the obvious place since the folks who run the festival are supporting me in my role as Laureate.

“I think the Lakes is by far the best of all the comic festivals/conventions in the UK, possibly in the world. I certainly think it’s a strong contender for being the best one I’ve ever been to. There’s a genuinely unique atmosphere about the Lakes, I think because it takes over the whole town and that gives it a uniqueness.

“Everybody in Kendal is fully aware of what’s happening and gets behind it, non-comic people included!”

• 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

 

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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