Benoit Peeters

Lancaster University Appoints Tintin Scholar Benoit Peeters As UK’s First Professor Of Graphic Fiction And Comic Art

Benoit Peeters
Benoit Peeters

Lancaster University has appointed renowned French graphic novelist and critic Benoit Peeters as its Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, the first ever such appointment in the UK.

The news was announced by Professor Simon Guy, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on Wednesday 25th November.

The new post represents a significant investment in the academic significance of comic art by the University and has been created in close working partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Les Murailles de Samaris (The Great Walls of Samaris), the first book in Les Cités Obscures series. This is the French edition cover, published by Casterman.
Les Murailles de Samaris (The Great Walls of Samaris), the first book in Les Cités Obscures series. This is the French edition cover, published by Casterman.

Additional support has been provided by Wallonia Brussels International.

The three-year appointment will see Mr Peeters deliver a series of lectures, run creative writing workshops, and supervise post-graduate students.

“We are delighted Benoit has accepted this appointment,” commented Professor Simon Guy. “The appointment will bring a new dimension to our University and, in particular, to our English and creative writing courses.

“It will also demonstrate strong commitment to our collaboration with the increasingly popular and fast-expanding Lakes international Comic Art Festival.”

Benoit Peeters is a world-renowned authority on Hergé and Tintin, having written Tintin and the World of Hergé and Hergé’s biography, Hergé, Son Of Tintin.

He is also author of biographies about 19th century comics pioneer Rodolphe Töpffer, and the French philosopher Derrida, and co-creator, alongside François Schuiten, of Les Cités Obscures, one of Belgium’s most famous francophone comic strips created in the past 30 years, which is being published in English by Alaxis Press.

The Theory of the Grain of Sand (La Théorie du Grain de Sable) is the latest volume published in English, the final “key title” in the series.

On accepting the post, Mr Peeters said: “This professorship is a great honour for me. I was very impressed by my first contact with the Lancaster University’s team.

The Theory of the Grain of Sand , the latest Obscure Cities story to be published in English, is an incredible story, originally produced in two volumes. Alaxis Press has released the book in a single volume. With the release of this book, the entire Obscure Cities series of key titles will have been released in English and Alaxis Press will now focus on revising earlier titles and taking on some of the ancillary titles.
The Theory of the Grain of Sand , the latest Obscure Cities story to be published in English, is an incredible story, originally produced in two volumes. Alaxis Press has released the book in a single volume.
With the release of this book, the entire Obscure Cities series of key titles will have been released in English and Alaxis Press will now focus on revising earlier titles and taking on some of the ancillary titles.

“I want to explore the connections between the history of graphic fiction and contemporary creation, between the world of French and Belgian bande dessinée, and the world of comics and graphic novels”.

The appointment strengthens the links between the University and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal and is the first of its kind in the UK. In the three years of its existence, LICAF has quickly established itself as a major annual event in October bringing together creators, publishers and audiences alike from across the world.

Julie Tait, the Festival director, said: “This appointment emanates from a unique collaboration between the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and Lancaster University, one of the UK’s leading HE institutions.

“I am delighted that the University is simultaneously recognising and celebrating the intellectual contribution of comic art to British cultural life, putting the comic medium on a par with the status accorded to this form elsewhere in Europe”.

By making this significant appointment, the University say it is not only acknowledging the Festival’s success but also its full academic commitment to placing comic book art not just in its creative writing and literature department, but also across its wider disciplines including philosophy.

The additional support of Wallonia Brussels International is part of a wider initiative to increase the visibility of Belgium Francophone culture in UK.

Benoit Peeters takes up his post in Summer 2016 and will be present at next year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which runs 14th – 16th October 2016.

• A huge line up of both British and globe-spanning international comics talent is being lined up for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, taking place 14th – 16th October 2016. Visit the web site at www.comicartfestival.com

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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