Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard appointed UK’s new Comics Laureate

Charlie Adlard - 2016

Charlie Adlard, best known as the comic artist behind The Walking Dead series, has been appointed as the UK’s Comics Laureate. The Comics Laureate is an ambassadorial and educational role for the comic genre and aims to raise awareness of the impact comics can have in terms of increasing literacy and creativity.

Dave Gibbons hands over the role of Comics Laureate to Charlie Adlard

The Comics Laureate appointment is made biennially to a distinguished comics creator, writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the genre and the announcement was made at the opening of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival taking place from 14 – 16th October in Kendal, Cumbria.

The appointment is the result of a rigorous nomination and voting process. The Comics Laureate works with schools, educators and the comic community to unlock the potential of comics as a tool for learning and creativity. A key focus will be working to increase the acceptance of comics as a creative artform in schools, libraries and througout the education system.

“I’m delighted and deeply honoured to be appointed as the Comics Laureate,” says Charlie. “The power of comics to encourage learning and develop literacy shouldn’t be underestimated. Comics can connect with people who may never pick up a normal book and really help encourage a love of reading. I see this as a great opportunity to bring the wonder of comics to a wider audience.”

Charlie Adlard is the artist behind the highly successful The Walking Dead comic series, now a popular TV series and video game. He’s also worked on many other comic projects including 2000AD, Mars Attacks, The X-Files, Judge Dredd and X-Men.

Charlie Adlard picks up the baton from Dave Gibbons, the first Comics Laureate appointed in February 2014, an artist best known for his artwork on Watchmen as well as numerous creative projects for Marvel, DC Comics and 2000AD and who has recentky been working with the Oxford University Press on a new graphic novel series for children. Dave Gibbons attended the Lakes International Comic Art Festival opening event in Kendal, Cumbria to hand over the title and welcome the appointment of Charlie.

Dave Gibbons, the UK’s first Comics Laureate said: “It’s been a great honour to fill the post of Comics Laureate for the past two years. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to talk about my love of the medium, and its role in education and literacy. Most importantly, there has been an increasingly positive response from teachers and school librarians to the use of comics in schools.

“However, there is still work to be done and I look forward to supporting the new Laureate from behind the scenes.”

Working closely with the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, the Comics Laureate will champion the role of comics in improving literacy through a programme of educational visits, workshop events, guest appearances and conferences.

Julie Tait, Director, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival said: “This is a really vital role for the comics artform. The Comics Laureate isn’t just a title; we already have a programme of events taking shape that will ensure we reach out to new audiences and raise the profile and the understanding of the importance of comics for education, inspiration and literacy. We are delighted that the Lakes International Comics Art Festival can play a role in co-ordinating the Comics Laureate programme.”

Charlie Adlard’s appointment takes effect from February 2017. Guest appearances include an event targeted at school librarians, literacy co-ordinators and those involved in literacy in schools in Birmingham; an event at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May, and a guest appearance at the Amiens Comic Festival in June. Additional dates and appearances will be added throughout the year.

The Comics Laurate is kindly supported by Peters, the UK’s leading supplier of books and furniture for nurseries, schools, academies, and public libraries. Peters is passionate about inspiring children to read, whatever their age.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has returned for its fourth year to Kendal, Cumbria, from 14 to 16 October 2016. Celebrating the amazing world of comic artists, creators and writers, the weekend festival takes over the scenic town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District. The festival brings the biggest names in comic art to Cumbria – over 70 special guests from across the comic world, including Charlie, Jordi Bernet, Joe Kelly, Bryan Lee O’ Malley, Mick McMahon and Gilbert Shelton.

Featuring live comic drawing, films, exhibitions, comic trails, workshops, performance, master-classes, a free family zone and independent publishers, the events programme is bursting with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the leading comic artists and writers from across the world.

The announcement of the second UK Comics Laureate for 2017 took place at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival opening event – Asterix vs Tintin: Clash of the Toon Titans, at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal.

• 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

• 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

• The 2016 Lakes International Comic Art Festival Programme is available to view and download here

• In a hurry? Here’s the Festival in a Flash!

• The Lakes International Comic Festival returns in 2017 on 13th – 15th October


John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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