Brighton’s Graphic War - Art

Dave Gibbons signing this weekend for new “Brighton’s Graphic War” from QueenSpark Books

Brighton's Graphic War Cover - art by Chris Riddell
Brighton’s Graphic War cover art by Chris Riddell

QueenSpark Books will be hosting an exclusive book signing event this coming weekend at Brighton’s Dave’s Comics with Comics Laureate Dave Gibbons to help launch their new graphic novel, Brighton’s Graphic War – and there will be a special auction the night before, for the book cover art, a one-off original Brighton’s themed painting by Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.

Following on from the success of Brighton – The Graphic Novel – which was long listed for the 2014 British Comic Awards – QueenSpark Books began a World War One-themed project supported by Arts Council England (and a Kickstarter fund raiser) using the history of Brighton & Hove as a starting point to create a fictional, Brighton based Great War graphic novel.

Mentored by comic industry professionals Tim Pilcher and Paul Collicutt – who led on QueenSpark’s previous Brighton – The Graphic Novel –  15 young people were encouraged to use their creativity to work on the graphic novel, creating eight illustrated fictionalised narratives that include actual events, characters, photographs and mementoes from the era.

Brighton’s Graphic War - Art

Depicting the lives of the ‘ordinary’ people of the time – focussing on local stories and images from the period between 1900-1920 to create and tell some of the lesser known histories of the City – the book illustrates the huge social and military changes that took place from 1900 to 1920, and details how the first modern war of the 20th Century impacted upon the people of a then-small Sussex town.

The stories depicts the World War One from the perspective of young servicemen – and a young woman pretending to be a serviceman – and those on the home front in Edwardian-era Brighton & Hove; follows daily life at the workhouse, and washday in Hove; conscripts returning home after the horrors of the front line; and rationing on the domestic front – all of which serve to build a new approach to the centenary of World War One from a local perspective.

The book aims to engage readers of all ages, and those who love graphic novels as well as those who’ve never read one.

“Three years ago, Queenspark Books published their first comic book, Brighton: The Graphic Novel,” notes Tim Pilcher. “It proved to be the bestselling book in their 40-year history, so this follow-up seemed like an obvious choice.

“We found enthusiastic artists and writers from all over the city who have never done a comic before and taught them all the skills they needed to create some incredibly powerful and emotive work that not only examines life for soldiers in the trenches, but how the First World War effected those on the home front as well.

“I have to say I’ve been incredibly impressed with the stories and art, and wouldn’t be surprised to see some graphic novelists of the future amongst these talented young people.”

“The fascinating thing about this project is that the youngest contributors were only three years old when the last Gulf War started,” artists’ mentor Paul Collicutt points out, “so this has been very much a process of getting them to explore and understand history and for them to bring it alive using a mixture of research and their creativity to create an engaging graphic novel.”

Graphic Brighton 2016 PosterCurrent Comics Laureate Dave Gibbons wrote the foreword for the book, and created the font used in it, too and on Saturday, he’ll be signing all books on the presentation of a purchased copy of Brighton’s Graphic War at Brighton comics institution Dave’s Comics..

QueenSpark will also be holding an auction on Friday 11th November 2016  for a one-off original Brighton’s themed painting by Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, who designed the new book cover. Sealed auction bids will be held, and the winner will be announced at the book launch. If you would like to be in with a chance of owning this beautiful framed piece of art, then please contact admin@queensparkbooks.org.uk with your bid before 5.00pm on Friday 11th November.

The new book will be just one topic of discussion at Graphic Brighton in December, the third annual Graphic Brighton symposium presented by the University of Brighton College of Arts and Humanities, which has a theme of Conflict and Resolution, to connect with the Great War Centenary.

• Brighton’s Graphic War signing with Dave Gibbons, 11.00 – 1.00pm Saturday 12th November, Dave’s Comics 5 Sydney Street, Brighton. Web: www.davescomics.co.uk | More about the Brighton’s Graphic War project at brightonsgraphicwar.com

• Brighton’s Graphic War is available from Friday 11th November onwards direct from the QueenSpark Books website, or in quality book shops like City Books Brighton, or Dave’s Comics. The RRP is £12.99 and is a 200pp hardcover with jacket

• A Kindle edition of Brighton’s Graphic War is also available

Brighton’s Graphic War: The Creators

The contributors are all relative newcomers to comics all aged 15-25, who have created nine stories in total with historical annotations, bios and bonus artwork.

  • “The Flickering Phantoms”, written by Carlos Almonacid, art by James Wragg
  • “An Arm and Two Legs”, written by Matt Austin, art by Joe Mckelvey
  • “Amy”, written by Kate Flood, art by Zara Wilkins
  • “Blood & Daffodils”, written by James Wragg, art by Lewis McKelvey
  • “Dragged into War”, written by Bronte Nicholl, art by Jack Vichy-Mitchell
  • “Theodore’s War”, written by Georgina King, art by Molly Abbott
  • “Brotherhood”, written by Lewis McKelvey, art by Lee Miller
  • “The White Feather”, written by Beth Davis, art by Alfie Watton
  • “For the Ghosts in the Storm Outside”, written by Lee Miller, art by Gus Webb

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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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