The Edinburgh Festival has its own Fringe, and every major political party conference has its fringe events, both straight-laced and bizarre… and now this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October 2014) has gained its own subversive edge, courtesy of VIZ, Knockabout Comics and other ne’er do wells!
The Magnificent Knockabout White Elephant Emporium is, we’re told, suitable for anyone with a keen curiosity and sense of humour: a unique and (mostly) free emporium: offering a miscellaneous and multifarious bazaar of the bizarre and a marvellous mart of the most memorable kind, including appearances by Belgian cartoonist Herr Seele, Britain’s homegrown Hunt Emerson (whose new, eagerly-anticipated Calculus Cat collection will launch at the Festival), Graham Dury, Simon Thorp and Barney Farmer from VIZ, the Blackhearted Press gang, Junko Mizuno and many more.
“I was so impressed by the first Lakes International Comics Festival, easily the best one in the UK, that I couldn’t wait to get back to Kendal this year to put a bit more silliness into the event,” says Knockabout publisher Tony Bennett.
VIZ Unmasked: How a VIZ Comic is Made – For the last 35 years, VIZ has been produced quietly, and on a more or less monthly basis from the comic’s headquarters in the North East of England. In all that time, like Colonel Sanders’ blend of herbs and spices, its method of production has been a closely guarded secret. But all that is about to change. All will be revealed in this fully interactive, state-of-the-art, hands-on animatronic exhibition. How is Britain’s third or fourth funniest comic produced, from conception to final product? Anyone wishing to visit is advised to arrive early as queueing times, to see what is already being billed as “The Exhibition of the Century”, are expected to exceed five hours….. or possibly six.
Get Surreal with Herr Seele (or Dadada is all he wants to say to you!) – All the way from Belgium, making his UK debut, comes Herr Seele co-creator of Belgian iconic half-wit Cowboy Henk for which he and writer Kamagurka won one of the major prizes at the Angoulême Festival in France in 2014. Herr Seele presents the history of their nation, 35 paintings in a style developed by René Magritte, their great predecessor and compatriot… it’s fast, it’s furious and it’s absurd!
She Lives – An audacious comic art experiment that has never been attempted before. Woodrow Phoenix has crafted She Lives, a silent comic story set in California in the late 1940s. In order to make a book as giant as possible he had to bind it himself using the largest paper size available. He took the unprecedented step of actually drawing the story into the bound book itself, so on display is original art work!
Junko Mizuno: Meet Junko Royalty – Horror, sex, chainsaws – what’s not to like? Known for her style of powerful imagery, Junko combines cuteness, gore and eroticism in comics, paintings, animations and toys. On display here is one of her giant Kidrobot Toys, Junko Royalty, but be warned – this is not a toy!animations and toys. On display here is animations and toys. On display here is one of her giant Kidrobot Toys, Junko Royalty, but be warned – this is not a toy!
Hunt Emerson’s Fez Tai Chi Classes – A world exclusive! Bring your own Fez if you have one and spend 15 or 20 minutes loosening up and relaxing while following Mr Emerson’s motivating moves. Plus: Fez Polo – twice a day – come and demonstrate your skills! With more games to come…
The Time Traveller’s Fortune Teller’s Photo Booth – Have your picture taken in the beautiful and mysterious Fortune Teller’s Tent! Get your own personalised Victorian calling cards and see ghostly comic characters appear as if by magic!
The Wonderful World of Ronnie Rigsby – A Saturday night exclusive comedy club, where you will be welcomed by (and, possibly, welcome to) the monstrously-bitter, tired old showbiz hack, thespian, variety artiste, children’s entertainer and sock model (Gratton Catalogue, 1973-76). Ronnie Rigsby’s alter ego Logan Murray is one half of the infamous 1990s double act ‘Bib and Bob’ with Jerry Sadowitz. His most proud of a glittering showbiz career was supplying all the voices for The Beano‘s Dennis the Menace and Gnasher TV Show.
Clockwork Watch – Enter the Steampunk/ Victoriana world of Clockwork Watch. Set in a retro-futuristic London where mechanical slaves, designed to keep the city ticking along, gain sentience and seek their civil rights. Clockwork Watch is an interactive story spanning graphic novels, live events, role- play, online and film written by Yomi Ayeni and illustrated by Jennie Gyllblad.
The Emporium will also host an almighty exotic and irresistible mix of highly sought after goods…. otherwise known as a shop. Throughout the weekend a carefully-selected group of publishers and creators plucked out of the Comics Clocktower at their behest will be on sale, featuring Knockabout, Hunt Emerson, Blackhearted Press, Ocelot Games, Yomi Ayeni and Jennie Gyllblad.
• The Magnificent Knockabout White Elephant Emporium takes place in Elephant Emporium @ Elephant Yard, Kendal, UK over the Festival weekend only – one of the selling points for Biffa Bacon’s “Fighter Fluid” Limited Edition Festival Beer. It’s all free (apart from the Photo Booth, which is charging £3 for their calling cards) but the organisers will gladly accept donations towards next year’s festival – so feel free to give freely on exiting the emporium! The VIZ Unmasked exhibition and The Photo Booth are a co-creation with Kendal College Theatre and Event Team
• 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
• The full festival programme, including the Emporium timetable has been released! You can it online here on Issuu