Grab your sonic screwdriver and set the time-space co-ordinates on your TARDIS for Kendal, 17th October 2014! The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has just announced a number of events to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who in comics, the world’s longest-running science fiction TV-inspired tie-in strip.
Doctor Who fans celebrated 50 years of the Doctor Who TV show last year, but some may not know that the first comic strip based on the show was published one year after the series launch, in TV Comic, in November 1964. Since then, Doctor Who has featured in numerous comic titles including Countdown, Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who Adventures in the UK. IDW were the first US publisher to produce a regular Doctor Who title, as well as several limited series – a license recently picked up by Britain’s very own Titan Comics, out from July onwards.
Lined up for this year’s Lakes Festival are Dez Skinn, the talented editor and publisher who brought Doctor Who Weekly to life back in 1979, the precursor to today’s Doctor Who Magazine. Dez will be on hand to talk about both the origins of the Weekly and his many other comic creations, including the acclaimed anthology comic, Warrior.
Marking 50 years of Doctor Who in comics, the festival will also deliver a special panel – Fifty Years of Doctor Who comics in 50 Minutes – featuring Doctor Who artists Mike Collins and Martin Geraghty and writers Scott Gray, Nick Abadzis and Robbie Morrison. Former Doctor Who Magazine editor John Freeman will host the panel.
Also at the Festival are a number of creators who’ve had their own dealings with the world’s favourite time traveller, including Dave Gibbons (who drew the first Doctor Who Weekly main strips), IDW Doctor Who artists Mark Buckingham and Gary Erskine and cartoonist Kev F Sutherland, who created several cartoons for DWM during John’s tenure.
These Doctor Who-connected guests are the latest addition to a guest list that includes a range of British and overseas creators including The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, 2000AD artist Jock, self-taught Japanese artist Junko Mzuno, digital comics frontiersman Scott McCloud, leading US comics writer Gail Simone, the creator of the multi-award winning Bone Jeff Smith, Dutch underground comics artist Joost Swarte and Emma Vieceli will also join many other comic creators for Kendal’s second comics extravaganza.
Editor and publisher Dez Skinn is the winner of three Guinness World Records and often referred to as the Stan Lee of Britain, his independently published comics magazine Warrior (1982-84, introducing V for Vendetta) won over 17 awards and was pivotal in the evolution of comics, considered by many to be second only to The Eagle. As an editor, he has steered the direction of more than 70 titles from MAD Magazine to Star Wars Weekly.
The often-heard “British Stan Lee” epithet applied to his name is probably derived from the number of titles he has created or co-created, which include Doctor Who Weekly, House of Hammer, Starburst, The Buster Book of Spooky Stories, Hulk Comic, Warrior and Comics International and characters such as Night-Raven, V for Vendetta and Laser Eraser. Cancelled characters he has successfully revived include such superheroes as Captain Britain and Marvelman/Miracleman, while his titles have provided a publishing platform to launch or boost the careers of many of today’s top creatives including Dave Gibbons, John Bolton, David Lloyd, Steve Dillon, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore Garry Leach and Alan Davis.
His hardcover book, Comix: The Underground Revolution (2004) – covering the 1960s era of US unrest and the creativity it spawned – was highly praised by the UK music, lifestyle and broadsheet press, including Book of the Week in The Independent.
His latest book, Comic Art Now (HarperCollins/Ilex) has been published in various territories in hardback and soft cover editions as a long overdue visual directory complete with contact details for a range of international graphic novel artists.
Because of his strong beliefs in education through entertainment and the increasing world levels in illiteracy, he has recently begun working with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, initially chairing a New York University-sponsored discussion on Comics and Literacy in the Middle East.
Writer and artist Mike Collins is best known as one of the key artists on the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, taking over the reins with the TV show’s triumphant return for an unbroken run of several years; he still draws the flagship strip, alternating with Martin Geraghty. Mike illustrated two successful BBC original Doctor Who graphic novels, and drew issues of the US IDW Doctor Who comic book series.
Creating comics for over 25 years, he has worked for Marvel, DC, 2000AD and a whole host of other publishers. In that time he’s written or drawn pretty much all the major characters – Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Flash, Teen Titans, X-Men, Captain Britain, Judge Dredd, Darkstars, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt and more. He currently draws a series of noir crime fiction graphic novels – Varg Veum- in Norse.
Mike is committed to using comics as an educational tool, running workshops in schools and libraries throughout Wales, targeting ‘reluctant learners’ and was heavily involved in the Read A Million Words In Wales initiative.
He garnered an improbable amount of publicity for drawing a comic based on the Royal Wedding, which – through an unlikely series of events – led him to cover the actual proceedings as a reporter for Dutch TV!
He lives in Cardiff, Wales and his studio is a short walk away from The Rift. He has a wife, three daughters, a neurotic cat and is an enthusiastic yet staggeringly inept dancer.
Scott Gray arrived in Britain in 1992, hitch-hiking from his homeland of New Zealand (now known as Middle Earth). He came in search of a comics career and found work at Marvel UK, writing for Doctor Who Magazine and the occasional superhero title. He became the regular Doctor Who comics writer during the Eighth Doctor’s run, working with artists Martin Geraghty, Adrian Salmon and Roger Langridge among others. Scott has recently returned to the DWM comic strip and is now planning the future comic adventures of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
Scott also edits Panini UK’s Marvel Collectors’ Edition line, and has written The Fin Fang Four and the Uncanny X-Men: First Class mini-series for Marvel US.
Warrington-based comic artist and advertising illustrator Martin Geraghty began his comics career at Marvel UK with an unpublished story for the company’s weekly title Overkill, but this early disappointment did not deter him from pursuing a comic career that now sees him inextricably linked with bringing no les than eight incarnations of the Doctor (as well as no less than 15 companions) to the page for Doctor Who Magazine. He’s drawn many well-received strips and, along the way getting the chance to bring an extraordinary new look to the legendary Cybermen for the Scott Gray-penned tale “The Flood”. He’s the comics artist most associated with drawing the Eighth Doctor, played on TV and in audio adventures by Paul McGann.
Nick Abadzis is a cartoonist, writer and graphic novelist of international renown who has been honoured with various awards including the prestigious Eisner in 2008 for his graphic novel Laika. To date, there have been ten foreign editions. He also works as a visual facilitator, corporate scribe and editorial consultant. He’s devised various magazines and properties that have helped create lasting equity and sales for the many publishing entities and websites that he has been involved with.
As a highly experienced author of stories for both adults and children, Nick has been published in the US by Condé Nast, Macmillan, Marvel Comics, DC/Vertigo Comics and Tor.com, in Japan by Kodansha and Korea by Marubol Publications. His comics and illustrations have appeared in various national UK newspapers including The Times, The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday and he has been published in Europe by BBC Worldwide, Dargaud, Glénat, Doctor Who Magazine, 2000AD, Punch, Titan, David Fickling Comics and Atrium Verlag among others. His latest book (co-authored with David Camus) is The Cigar That Fell in Love With a Pipe from Self-Made Hero/Abrams, due out in Spring 2014. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.
Robbie Morrison is the writer of the World War One Graphic Novel White Death, co-created with Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard.
Born in Helensburgh, Scotland, he is best known to date for Drowntown (art Jim Murray), set in a flooded, futuristic London and published in the UK by Jonathan Cape, and the Eagle award-winning Niklolai Dante saga; serialised in iconic UK comic 2000AD from 1997-2012 and collected as eleven Graphic Novels.
In a 20-year career, Robbie has created many popular series/characters, including Blackheart (art Frank Quitely), Shakara (art Henry Flint), and The Bendatti Vendetta (art John Burns). He is a regular writer of Judge Dredd, and has scripted Batman and Spider-Man. He worked with Dave Gibbons on the Watchmen artist’s digital comic Treatment, and is one of the writers of the new Doctor Who series from Titan Comics and the BBC.
• The full line up of guests for this years Lakes International Comic Art Festival is due to be announced this coming Friday – 25th April – when tickets go on sale.
For further information on announced guests so far, visit the Festival’s web site – www.comicartfestival.com