Lakes International Comic Art Festival Exhibitions include Kendal floods tribute, Fringe events revealed

"Five Bridges" Exhibition Poster by Mike Medaglia
“Five Bridges” Exhibition Poster art by Mike Medaglia

With just four weeks to go to the event, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival has revealed its full Exhibitions plans around this year’s three day-long weekend (14th – 16th October) in Kendal, alongside its ever-popular Fringe events, which include Guardian political cartoonist Martin Rowson creating a mural right outside local MP and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron‘s offices!

Of special interest to locals – and anyone affected by last year’s winter floods across the UK – will be “Five Bridges: Stories of the Flood”, an exhibition featuring art by Mike Medaglia, Lisa Woynarski and Farokh Soltani. Sponsored by local business Atlantis Kitchens, this is a unique comics exhibition where the human stories of flooding are depicted through comics and brought to life in a dynamic audio performance.

Featuring five different stories of people who experienced the flooding, it tells the human stories behind the flooding of the River Kent which devastated parts of Kendal. Highlighting the wider picture of the interrelatedness of all human/nature relationships, these stories provide a human experience to the often abstract and complex issue of climate change. After experiencing the stories from the flood, audience members will have a chance to contribute their own responses, drawing a self-portrait and telling their own stories, adding to and growing the exhibition.

In the works for this year’s Festival – now in its fourth year – are a wide range of events at the Shakespeare Centre, offering a “Discovery Zone” of comic creators from around the globe, including Australia’s Gregory Mackay (Anders and the Comet, Anders and the Volcano; Francis Bear), Bruce Mutard (The Sacrifice, The Silence, A Mind of Love), Tim McEwen, Laura Renfrew and Stuart Medley; guests from Finland, third largest comic reading nation per capita in the world; and the opportunity to find out more  about the Cintiq tablet from Festival sponsors WACOM, technology used by many comic artists.

On Sunday, there will be the chance to meet Dr Ian Williams, Paula Knight and Mike Medaglia from Jessica Kingsley Publisher/ Singing Dragon and Myriad Editions, to find out more about the current explosion of comics about medicine and health related issues. Graphic Medicine explores the frontier between the medium of comics and healthcare, through autobiographical, fictional, and educational works: an area of study, a community, a movement for change.

Festival guest and miscreant Gilbert Shelton, creator of Fat Freddy's Cat and more
Festival guest and miscreant Gilbert Shelton, creator of Fat Freddy’s Cat and more

Veteran comic creator Gilbert Shelton (creator of the Furry Freak Brothers and Fat Freddy’s Cat) and Hunt Emerson (creator of Calculus Cat) are just two creators who will be involved in comics skulduggery in the Brewery Arts Centre-based “Malt Room of Mischief“, co-ordinated by long time Festival supporters Knockabout Comics. Look out for Fez Tai Chi classes, cabaret, art exhibitions and more as part of this extraordinary concoction of comic delights!

Comic artist Joe Decie, who delighted Festival visitors with the weekend-long creation of his incredible wall mural outside Ruskins bar on Kendal’s high street last year, is back in October, this time transferring his skills to the walls of Morrisons supermarket! As usual, we have no idea what he’s planning – but we’re sure it will delight shoppers.

Talking of Ruskins, the popular bar will be given over to a tribute to the works of comic writer Mark Millar – whose works include Kick-Ass, Secret Service, Jupiter’s Legacy, Ultimate X-Men and, more recently, MPH, Huck and Empress… and talking of the latter, be sure to look out for this year’s Festival beer of the same name, the work of local brewery Bowness Beer, sporting a label designed by one of last year’s guest, Stuart Immonen.

Withe the town brought to life with comics in the windows of many local shops thanks to the annual Windows Trail, a special cartoon installation inspired by  the work of Carol Hanson as part of the Dementia and Imagination Programme, there’s no shortage of things to see for free around town. (Donations welcome).

Ken Niimura: Making a Scene Exhibition Poster

In addition to “Five Bridges“, Festival goers will have the chance to get inside the head of internationally-acclaimed comic artist Ken Niimura, with his exhibition at the Brewery titled “Making a Scene“. Ken was winner of the Golden Prize in the 5th International Manga Award and was nominated for both Eisner and Eagle Awards for his work on I Kill Giants, created in collaboration with fellow guest Joe Kelly. His illustration book Zero reveals both a rare and diverse talent, while Travelling and Henshin, both short story collections, display that intoxicating combination of fine art and strong storyline.

Ken, who designed this year’s Festival poster, has also curated “Young, Talented And Beautiful – Five Rising Stars from Japan” presenting work by Est EmTakehito MoriizumiTsuchika NishimuraKeigo Shinzo and Miki Yamamoto – some of the most acclaimed an interesting authors of the new generation of manga artists, sharing a common interest in depicting the daily life in nowadays Japan through a combination of unique art and a very personal narrative.

An exhibition featuring the work of Finnish artist Hanneriina Moisseinen, just one of the guests from Finland this year is also taking place and, beyond Kendal, the Vallum Gallery at the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Brampton Road, Carlisle will be offering another chance to see the “Phono+Graphic” exhibition curated by Festival patron and top artist Sean Phillips.

• Buy your Festival tickets now from The Brewery, Kendal – www.breweryarts.co.uk (Social media short link – http://bit.ly/LICAF16-Tickets) | Box Office 01539 725133 | Email

• For all events information visit the Lakes International Comic Art Festival web site: www.comicartfestival.com | Find the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on Facebook | Follow the Festival on Twitter @comicartfest

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as a freelance editor, as Creative Consultant on the new Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. 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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