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Four Weeks to the Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo

Wonderlands Poster
When is a comic con not a ‘Comic Con’? When it’s a ‘Graphic Novel Expo’.

Wonderlands: The UK Graphic Novel Expo is taking place on Saturday 30 May 2015 at the University of Sunderland’s Chester Road campus as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland in 1865 – an edition so rare that only 23 copies are still known to survive today.

Rather than being a traditional comics convention Wonderlands is a book festival dedicated to graphic novels featuring talks, workshops and a publishers hall which will include many of the United Kingdom’s top graphic novel publishers. The established comics event that Wonderlands seems most similar to is the long established Dundee Comics Day at the University of Dundee and indeed many of the Wonderlands guests have appeared at the Dundee Comics Day in previous years.

Best of all Wonderlands is completely free.

The impressive guest list range includes some of the biggest and most established creators in the UK, Posy Simmonds, Dave Gibbons, Steve Bell and Bryan Talbot included, as well as a selection who have made their mark more recently such as Metaphrog, Darryl Cunningham and Porcelain’s Benjamin Read.

The talks will be held in the university’s Murray Library and are a mixture of one-on-one interviews and themed panels. The current schedule is as follows and no tickets or pre-booking is required –

10:20 to 11:10am – Y.A., Man! Young Adult Graphic Novels panel discussion with Metaphrog, Benjamin Read, Paul Register and Philippa Rice, chaired by Dr Mel Gibson

11:20am to 12:10pm – Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life presentation by Paul Gravett

12:20 to 1:10pm – Adaptation in Graphic Novels panel discussion with Hunt Emerson, Stephen White (Stref), INJ Culbard and Isabel Greenberg, chaired by John McShane

1:20 to 2:10pm – Telling Stories: Fiction in Graphic Novels panel discussion with Dylan Horrocks, Woodrow Phoenix, Paul B Rainey and Ian Edginton, chaired by Tim Pilcher

2:20 to 3:20pm – Posy Simmonds gives a presentation on her work, chaired by Dr Mel Gibson

3:30 to 4:20pm – Graphic Lives: Biographical and Historical Graphic Novels panel discussion with Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Darryl Cunningham and Al Davison, chaired by Paul Gravett

4:30 to 5:30pm – Steve Bell in conversation with Hunt Emerson

5:40 to 6:40pm – Dave Gibbons interviewed by John McShane

6:50 to 7:45pm – The Current State of Graphic Novels and the Future round table discussion by publishers Emma Hayley (SelfMadeHero), Dan Franklin (Jonathan Cape), Ben Smith (Rebellion) and Tim Pilcher (Humanoids), chaired by Paul Gravett

The workshops will also take place throughout the day in the Murray Library and while they are free they must be pre-booked via the Wonderlands website. The current schedule is as follows –

10:30am to 12:30pm – Kev Sutherland’s Comic Masterclass
Kev is going to teach you how easy it is to write and draw comic strips. You’ll make your own comic in just a couple of hours, get a copy to take home plus an individual caricature by Kev F himself. Learn how to do everything he does so you could leave school and steal his job!
Suitable for ages 7 and upwards.

12:45 to 1:45pm – Bryan Talbot’s How I Create A Graphic Novel
Bryan Talbot takes you through the typical creative process he uses when writing and drawing one of his books from original conception to finished page, covering research, plotting, story structure, scripting, the use of grids, panel transitions, page composition, layout, use of eye level, lettering and colouring.
Suitable for ages 14 to adult

Red Shoes Cover Small
2:00 to 3:00pm – Metaphrog Comics Workshop
John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs from Metaphrog will conduct a graphic novel workshop for ages 12 to adult, sharing some of the secrets of making comics and their own working methods. The participants will get a chance to create their own characters. Metaphrog will also give a sneak preview of their new graphic novel, The Red Shoes and Other Tales, out in October 2015 from Papercutz.
Suitable for ages 12 to adult

3:15 to 4:15pm – Self Publishing: What’s It All About? with Sha Nazir, Philipa Rice, Shane Chebsey, Kate Ashwin and Al Davison, chaired by Phil Hall.

4:30 to 6:30pm – Cuckoo Young Writers
The Cuckoo Young Writers Award is for a young writer aged 14-18 years old writing poetry, prose or creative non-fiction produced by New Writing North, the reading and writing development agency based in Newcastle upon Tyne which works on projects across the North of England that support and promote writers of all ages and at all stages of their careers.

The Publishers Hall will be at the university’s CitySpace complex and currently includes BHP Comics, Birlinn Books, Borderline, Dammaged Comics, Disconnected Press, Escape Books, Fanfare, Forbidden Planet, Hellbound Media, Improper Books, Jonathan Cape, Knockabout, Myriad Editions, Rebellion/2000AD, SelfMadeHero, Titan Books, and Wizards Keep.

Full details of Wonderlands are on the event’s website.

Jeremy Briggs View All

News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.

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