Are you ready for “Battle of the Toons”? Lakes International Comic Art Festival ready to go ahead, announces more guests

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Wave 3 Guests Mosaic

Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, animation director, comics artist and illustrator Maria Björklund, 2000AD and Doctor Who artist and comics archivist David Roach, cartoonist, illustrator and writer Kate Charlesworth and NOMMO award nominee and storyteller Ziki Nelson are among the latest guests joining the line-up for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which is on course to take place in Kendal 15th – 17th October 2021. Tickets will be on sale from next month.

Also announced are Neil Cameron, best known for his work on The Phoenix, award-winning comics reportage artist and writer Olivier Kugler, and cartoonists Luke and Steve McGarry.

These creators join already-announced guests who include transmedia creator Yomi Ayeni, graphic novelist Sayra Begum, comics provacateur Darren Cullen, Icelandic cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson, Lakes-based artist Sean Phillips, American writer Greg Rucka and graphic novelist and Instagram comics star Clarice Tudor. The festival will also feature “Battle of the Toons”, a unique collaboration between LICAF and America’s NCSFest, spearheaded by Luke and Steve McGarry.

The Festival offers a diverse, international line-up of guests, complementing its international and research projects work as part of the Comic Art Europe project, among others. Tickets will go on sale next month.

The exciting alliance with America’s National Cartoonists Society (NCS) will be a joint launch for both from Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre and the New York City Society of Illustrators. The launch event, “Battle of the Toons”, will feature well-known comic creators from both sides of the Atlantic.

“We’ll also be announcing this year’s Sergio Aragones Award,” enthuses Festival Director Julie Tait, “as well as other Reubens Awards.”

After the success of the fully-digital LICAF LIVE in 2020, the Lakes-based Festival will continue to include a virtual element to the weekend-long event in October, after last year’s offering gained an international audience thanks to the power of the internet.

“During the Festival, there will be live links to see what NCSFest is up to and vice versa,” Julie continues, “plus there will be additional joint events, including a transatlantic session featuring political cartoonists and more.

The collaboration means both LICAF and NCSFest will enjoy cross-promotion on both sides of the Atlantic, with live-streams to the United States – and globally, supported by the Festival’s many partners across the world, including Lyon BD and other comic-focused organisations.

“This year’s line-up is really our most ambitious yet,” comments Julie. “After our foray into the virtual last year, the aim is to make our return to the physical space in Kendal as exciting and entertaining as ever.”

Comics fans wait patiently for events to start at the Brewery Arts Centre. Photo courtesy Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Comics fans wait patiently for events to start at the Brewery Arts Centre back in 2016. Photo courtesy Lakes International Comic Art Festival

The Festival will take place across multiple venues around Kendal, including the Brewery Arts Centre, which has played an important part in the weekend-long event’s activities since it began back in 2013. The Comics Clock Tower is also set to be busy, albeit with a slightly smaller number of publishers, creators and retailers present, reflecting social distancing requirements.

Full details of the LICAF and NCSFest “Battle of the Toons” opening event will be revealed next month, along with more guest announcements soon. Expect to hear, too, about several new project reveals at the Festival, exclusive announcements, and more in October… so be ready to book your tickets!

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival – back 15th to 17th October 2021 – is online at: | Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast: | Twitter: @comicartfestpod| Facebook: @ComicArtPodcast | Instagram: @ComicArtPodcast | Virtual Comics Clock Tower:

• Want to receive news about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival? Then sign up for their newsletter now

• Check out their LITTLE LICAF Facebook Page here and the dedicated LITTLE LICAF Instagram here


Charlie Adlard
Charlie Adlard

Charlie Adlard, a Festival regular and former Comics Laureate, has been a “veteran” of the comic industry for over 25 years. He’s spent the majority of his time since 2003 working on The Walking Dead, which finished in 2019, and has received many industry awards for his work on the series culminating in winning the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art in 2019.

In his time as a comic artist he has worked on many other projects as far reaching as Mars Attacks, The X-Files, Judge Dredd, Savage, Batman, X-Men, Superman and more, and creator-owned projects closer to his heart like Astronauts In Trouble, Breath Of The Wendigo, Codeflesh, Rock Bottom, Vampire State Building and White Death.

Maria Björklund
Maria Björklund

Maria Björklund is an animation director, comics artist and illustrator from Helsinki whose area of expertise includes experimental films and street art as well as designing cute characters. Björklund has participated in numerous exhibitions around the world with comics, animations and other work.

In recent years her most well-known work has been Planet Z, which started off as a comic in the Nyt (“Now”) supplement in the Helsingin Sanomatnewspaper. A Planet Z animated TV series is currently in pre-production.

Neill Cameron
Neill Cameron

Neill Cameron is a cartoonist and writer, creator of the comic books Mega Robo Bros, Mo-Bot High, The Pirates of Pangaea (with Daniel Hartwell), Tamsin and the Deep (with Kate Brown), and the instructional How To Make Awesome Comics. Since 2011, his work has appeared in the weekly children’s comic The Phoenix. In 2016, both Mega Robo Bros and Tamsin and the Deep were shortlisted for the British Comics Awards. In 2017, Mega Robo Bros won the Excelsior Award Jr, a national comic award voted for by school and library reading groups across the UK. In 2018 Mega Robo Bros was chosen as one of the best children’s comics of the year by both the New York Public Library and the Schools Library Journal.

Neill also works as an artist-in-residence at The Story Museum in Oxford, where he contributed several large-scale comic strip installations and continues to be involved in comics-based education and activities, including running a monthly Comics Club group for young cartoonists.

He frequently travels the country giving workshops in schools, libraries and at festivals, and is a passionate advocate for the role comics can play in developing literacy skills and encouraging children’s creativity.

A cartoonist and illustrator living and working in Edinburgh, though originally from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after art college in Manchester Kate Charlesworth began work as a freelance illustrator in London where, along with fellow cartoonist David Shenton, accidentally documented L&G (as it was then known) life in the ‘golden age’ of Gay publishing.

Kate’s work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, books, indie comics, exhibitions and electronic media. She’s drawn storyboards for Hot Animation and Aardman Animations and in 2014, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette was published by Cape, which she worked on in joint collaboration with Mary and Bryan Talbot (2012 Costa biography winners for their graphic novel Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes).

In 2018 Kate was artist in residence at Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, as part of the National Trust’s Women and Power – A Room of One’s Own programme.

Her graphic memoir / LGBT+ history of the UK from 1950 (emphasis on the ‘L’) to the 2019, Sensible Footwear, a Girl’s Guide was published by Myriad Editions, 2019. A French edition is scheduled for August 2021 from Casterman.

Olivier Kugler
Olivier Kugler

A past winner of a V&A Illustration Award and World Illustration Award, Olivier Kugler is a London-based editorial illustrator and visual journalist. He is a highly skilled and passionate storyteller with a gift for both words and images, who’s travelled to Iran, Laos, Iraqi Kurdistan, Cairo, Ghana and many other places on assignment for a variety of publications. These include The Guardian, New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, French journal XXI and German GQ. He has done extensive reporting on Middle Eastern refugees in Europe and a book collecting this work, called Escaping Wars and Waves, was published in the UK in 2018, which has won two major European design and illustration awards.

Luke McGarry
Luke McGarry

Originally from Manchester, UK, illustrator, cartoonist, animator and designer Luke McGarry has quickly become the most sought-after young cartoonist in Los Angeles.

He has created animated commercials for clients as diverse as the IFC movie channel and VISA, and animated music videos for major label recording artists including Jack Black and Tenacious D. His print clients range from Bloomberg Businessweek to the NY Observer, he’s the go-to designer for some of the biggest festivals and music promoters in the States, and his online work for clients such as Myspace and Super Deluxe routinely goes viral, whether it’s Kanye West Valentine cards or the recent “Sad Chewie” series that has sentStar Wars fans into a retweeting frenzy.

Along with his twin brother Joe, he heads up design outfit Fantastic Heat Brothers, and he sings, plays bass and twiddles knobs in their indie duo Pop Noir, who have shared the stage with the likes of Doves, The Wombats, Robyn and Sebastien Tellier.

Steve McGarry

Steve McGarry is one of the most prolific and widely-published cartoonists and illustrators that Britain has ever produced. In the UK alone, his daily strips include “Badlands,” which ran for a dozen years in The Sun, “The Diary of Rock & Pop” in The Daily Star, “Pop Culture” in Today and “World Soccer Diary” in The Sun. Over his four-decade career he has regularly graced the pages of soccer magazines Match, Match of the Day and Shoot! and his comics work ranges from Romeo in the 1970s and Look-In in the 1980s, through to Toxic! today. When The People launched his “Steve McGarry’s 20th Century Heroes” series, they billed him as the “world’s top cartoonist.”

His sports features have been syndicated worldwide since 1982 and his two current features – “Biographic” and “Kid Town” – are syndicated to over 200 newspapers, including The New York Daily NewsThe Boston Herald and papers as far flung as the South China Morning Post and Kuala Lampur New Straits Times.

For the last three years, Steve has also been collaborating with Illumination Entertainment, creating story art for such movies as Despicable Me 2The Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets. He was also a story artist on the recent Minions Paradise game from EA Games.

Manchester born and bred, Steve has been based in California since 1989. A two-term former President of the National Cartoonists Society, the world’s most prestigious organisation for Professional Cartoonists, his honours include Illustrator of the Year awards from the NCS and the Australian Cartoonists Association, and he is a recipient of the Silver T-Square for “outstanding service to the profession of cartooning.” He is currently the President of the NCS Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society.

Ziki Nelson
Ziki Nelson

Ziki Nelson is an entrepreneur, NOMMO award nominee comic book writer and overall storyteller. Having always been passionate about telling African stories through different mediums, Nelson’s projects include co-founding Kugali, an entertainment company to showcase African stories, writing Kugali’s flagship comic NANI, among other titles, and most recently co-creating Walt Disney Animation Studio’s upcoming series Iwaju.

His works are deeply rooted in Nigerian culture, draw inspiration from West African mythology and aim to honour the rich history and heritage of West Africa.

David A. Roach portrait by Luis Garcia Mozos
David A. Roach portrait by Luis Garcia Mozos

Born in Cardiff in 1965, David A. Roach was consumed with a passion for drawing and writing from an early age, and developed an insatiable love for comics. After studying Fine Art and Philosophy in Art College he joined 2000AD, where he drew “Judge Anderson”, “Judge Dredd” and “Nemesis The Warlock”. With American comics welcoming British creators in the 1990s, he drew and inked numerous series for DC (Batman, Star Trek), Dark Horse (Aliens, Star Wars) Topps (Cadillacs and Dinosaurs) and Dynamite (Vampirella). For many years, David has also provided illustrations for advertising, records and role-playing including the popular Dungeons and Dragons series.

As a writer, he’s contributed to numerous art and comic magazines, and has written or contributed to almost 30 books including The Warren Companion (Twomorrows), The Art of War (Carlton), Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s and 60s (Fiell), The Art of Jose Gonzalez, Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art and the Art of Vampirella (all for Dynamite). His latest book, Masters of British Comic Art, was published by Rebellion in 2020, and he is currently working on three more books for the company.

In recent years David has diversified into storyboards and games working on the Warhammer movie, and the Doctor Who Infinity computer game. In 2000, he returned to British comics working on Doctor Who for Panini comics and numerous strips for 2000AD, including his latest series “Saphir” and the Misty Christmas Special, along with a mountain of commissions for fans.

In parallel with his comic career, he also works in fine art and is looking forward to his first solo exhibition and a long awaited book of drawings. He has curated and participated in group exhibitions in the UK and Poland and has been a keynote speaker at academic conferences. He still lives and works in Cardiff where he shares a house with more books, comics and magazines than is entirely sensible. He occasionally sleeps.

Announced guests for October 2021 in Kendal so far, in alphabetical order, are Charlie AdlardYomi AyeniSayra BegumMaria BjörklundNeill CameronKate CharlesworthChris Condon, Darren CullenHugleikur DagssonNicola JenningsOlivier KuglerMichael LarkJeff Lemire (now making a virtual appearance due to COVID-shifted work schedules), Lou McKeever(aka BlueLou), Albert Luba NtolilaLuke McGarrySteve McGarryZiki NelsonSean PhillipsDavid A. RoachMartin RowsonRachael Smith, Jack Teagle, Clarice Tudor, and Steve Yeowell.

Profiles of all LICAF LIVE guests feature here on the official Festival web site

National Cartoonists Society

The National Cartoonists Society is the world’s largest and most prestigious organisation of professional cartoonists, born in 1946, when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops. They found that they enjoyed each other’s company and decided to get together on a regular basis.

Today, the NCS membership roster includes over 500 of the world’s major cartoonists, working in many branches of the profession, including comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, webcomics and other online platforms, newspaper comic strips and panels, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazines and book illustration and more.

Membership is limited to established professional cartoonists, with a few exceptions of outstanding persons in affiliated fields. The NCS is not a guild or union, although it has joined forces from time to time to fight for member’s rights, and regularly uses its members many talents to help worthwhile causes.


• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival – back 15th to 17th October 2021 – is online at: | Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast: | Twitter: @comicartfestpod| Facebook: @ComicArtPodcast | Instagram: @ComicArtPodcast | Virtual Comics Clock Tower:

• Want to receive news about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival? Then sign up for their newsletter now

• Check out their LITTLE LICAF Facebook Page here and the dedicated LITTLE LICAF Instagram here

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