Meanwhile…, a major comics event taking place in in Coventry in September has been announced, offering a hands-on creative weekend with plenty of free activities, inspired by the amazingly broad world of comics and illustrated storytelling.
Not to be confused with the Soaring Penguin Press comics anthology of the same name, the event, running Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th September, is part of the wider Coventry2021 City of Culture celebrations, and will take place in the famous historic ruins of Coventry Cathedral, plus three other great venues, playing host to a festival dedicated to graphic storytelling.
The organisers – artist Simon Myers, writer, director and producer of documentary and fiction films Samuel Smith and marketing professional and creative strategist John Tickner – have lined up over 50 special guests from all over the UK and US, offering over 60 events, workshops and panels you can join in on all led by industry professionals, all over one weekend.
Announced guests so far include comic artist Charlie Adlard, best known for illustrating The Walking Dead, drawing all but six of the entire 193 issue run; Star Wars artist Nick Brokenshire; 2000AD and Marvel Comics writer Al Ewing; writer Kieron Gillen, perhaps best known for his collaborations with artist Jamie McKelvie on Marvel’s Young Avengers and books of their own creation, Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine; American comic book artist and animation art director Dave Johnson, best known fir his work on DC Comics titles like Superman: Red Son written by Mark Millar, and who was also art director on Season One and Two of Ben10; American comic book artist Jeff Johnson, whose many credits include Wonder Man and Web of Spider-Man for Marvel Comics and Green Lantern for DC Comics; UK-based comic book artist Sonia Leong, who specialises in Anime/Manga, the author of numerous instructional art books such as Illustration Studio: Drawing Manga Heroes and Heroines; 2000AD, Image Comics and Marvel artist John McCrea; American comic book and storyboard artist, and advertising illustrator, Dan Panosian, the creator who came up with the initial concept that later became Kung-Fu Panda; comic book artist, writer and architect Alison Sampson, who has worked with DC/Vertigo, Dark Horse, IDW, and Boom! Studios, amongst others, and will be running a “comic in a day” workshop at Meanwhile; and comic book artist and writer Rachael Smith, creator of the brilliant Quarantine Comix, creator-owned graphic novels and her back-up strips for Titan Comics’ Doctor Who titles.
Meanwhile… in Coventry events will include a Drink & Draw, “Battle Boards” a graffiti tournament, a film festival, plus a series of workshops and lectures bringing together the artists and writers behind some of the world’s best-loved characters.
“Our festival will help professional artists meet their fans, and we’re making sure the guest list includes a diverse set of positive role models for as many groups as possible,” say the team, who feel the potential of graphic storytelling is enormous, and has huge potential to help people feel expressive and included.
“It will also support local and emerging talent with a dedicated venue,” they explain. “And in our efforts to cast a wide net and leave a positive legacy, we’re also undertaking a significant Education Outreach Programme to almost 100 local schools and colleges – a project the students at Coventry University School of Art & Design will be instrumental in creating.
“Graphic storytelling is of course all about creativity and expression. As much as possible we want to help people of all backgrounds feel they can be creative and enjoy a sense of inclusion and expression.”