LICAF 2016 - Comics Clock Tower

2017 Lakes International Comic Art Festival Date Announced, Sergio Aragonés First Guest

LICAF 2016 - Comics Clock Tower
The Comics Clock Tower on Saturday of this year’s Festival

The dates for next year’s annual Lakes International Comic Art Festival have been announced after its 2016 event proved a massive success once again at the weekend, attracting both comic creators and fans from around the globe.

Visitor numbers were up again, with ticket sales higher than last year for the many ticketed events. The Festival’s exhibitions – most still currently on display – have seen increased numbers on last year, with some 10,000 expected to view the work by Ken Niimura and some of Japan’s “Rising Stars” in the world of manga, and free comics events for children at the Westmorland Shopping Centre boosted normal footfall by 2500 plus, compared to a normal Saturday and Sunday.

Tim Perkins told downthetubes interest was high in Curriculum Comics, just one of his many projects
Tim Perkins told downthetubes interest was high in Curriculum Comics, just one of his many projects
LICAF 2016 - Joe Matthews
Joe Matthews turns a young visitor to the Westmorland Shopping Centre into a zombie. (Not literally)

The free Comics Clock Tower – home to many comic creators such as Star Wars artist Gary Erskine, the Phoenix comic’s Etherington Brothers and veteran newspaper comics artist Syd Jordan – and the Shakespeare Centre – home to many European artists and those from further afield! – were busy throughout the weekend. In fact, demand was so high on Saturday that restrictions on entry had to be applied.

Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson's mural near Tim Farron MP's office...
Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s mural near Tim Farron MP’s office… view it in full on YouTube

Festival director Julie Tait reports that visitor numbers for the Festival were again higher than previous years, and the event gained plenty of media coverage, including BBC Arts, Border TV and national newspapers such as The Guardian.

Coverage includes a short film marking the Asterix vs Tintin debate, with Professor Benoît Peeters, newly appointed Professor of Comic Art and Graphic Fiction at Lancaster University championing Tintin, the work of Lancaster University and Lanor Productions. View it on YouTube here.

As we previously reported, the opening night saw Charlie Adlard announced as the new Comics Laureate and a new international comics award revealed.

The weekend saw the launch of several new graphic novels from a variety of publishers, including Coelifer Atlas, the Festival’s own project created by several artists in a marathon draw, with all proceeds raised going to Festival charity OCD Action; and Carrot to the Stars, an English language edition of Riff Reb‘s latest work.

Both titles are available from Page 45, a major supporter of the Festival’s work, who enjoyed two busy days of comic book sales in the Clock Tower.

Steve and Luke McGarry signing for fans at the Brewery Arts Centre
Steve and Luke McGarry signing for fans at the Brewery Arts Centre
The free Comics Clock Tower proved more popular than ever, with a temporary queue on Saturday as it reached capacity
The free Comics Clock Tower proved more popular than ever, with a temporary queue on Saturday as it reached capacity
Jade Sarson (centre) talks about the work of Myriad Editions at the launch of its latest competition, flanked by Managing Editor Corinne Pearlman and fellow creator Gareth Brookes
Jade Sarson (centre) talks about the work of Myriad Editions at the launch of its latest competition, flanked by Managing Editor Corinne Pearlman and fellow creator Gareth Brookes

The fifth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 13th-15th October 2017, celebrating great comic art from across the world. The first announced guest for 2017 is MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who will be presenting the first ever NCS Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art.

Sergio Aragonés
Sergio Aragonés

The Festival’s plans for next year also include special tributes to Will Eisner, creator of “The Spirit” and Tove Jansson, creator of “The Moomins”.

“I’ve never tabled at any show with such a strong, steady stream of people interested in comics, who actually ask questions, want to be shown things of interest, and then even if they say they ‘have to get more money,’ they actually came back,” enthuses visiting Australian comic creator Bruce Mutard, one of the artists involved in the Coelifer Atlas book alongside Bryan Talbot, Craig Thompson, Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard and Emma Vieceli.

“It is easy for me to say that this has been the best show I’ve attended, for a lot of reasons, not least for its fabulous atmosphere and lovely people in Kendal, Cumbria and surrounding counties… you have to come here at some point in your life. Make it one of the stops on the comics pilgrimage like Angoulême, SPX and TCAF.”

Finnish cartoonist Petteri Tikkanen at work on his pages for "Coelifer Atlas", this year's marathon comic project in aid of OCD Action
Finnish cartoonist Petteri Tikkanen at work on his pages for “Coelifer Atlas”, this year’s marathon comic project in aid of OCD Action. Photo: Katie White

“The Lakes Festival was cozy and warm,” says top Finnish artist Petteri Tikkanen. “I was treated like a pro even though I am not known in the UK at all. I felt that I was more part of something friendly, a family meeting rather than ordinary comic festival. Thank you!”

“Not only does the Festival celebrate so many nooks and crannies of this amazing art form, it also creates a welcoming and joyous atmosphere,” says Mike Medaglia, whose art features in the “Five Bridges” exhibition. “I make so many new professional connections each year but I also make just as many new friends and each is a valuable as the other! Already counting how many sleeps until LICAF 2017.”

“The fourth LICAF was bigger and better than ever, with some fantastic guests and a myriad of great events taking place all over the centre of Kendal,” says Festival patron Bryan Talbot. “This is the only UK comic event that is truly like a European festival such as Lucca or Angouleme: Kendal is a beautiful town and small enough for the festival to take over, with many events and locations offering free entry to the general public.

“Covering the entire range of the comic medium, LICAF brings both fans and the local community together into a true celebration of comics.”

“The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the best comics event in the UK, bar none. Nuff said!” sums up new Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard, who accepted the position during the Festival weekend at a handover ceremony attended by Dave Gibbons.

“We’d like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Festival,” commented Director Julie Tait. “None of this would have been possible without the support of the local community, local businesses and the global comics community who have supported our aim to deliver a truly unique Festival to Kendal. I say it every year, but I can’t emphasise enough how much of a collaborative effort the Festival is – and we are all about collaboration. Thank you, all.”

• A massive 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 13th – 15th October 2017. 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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