ComICA 2008 Line-Up Unveiled

London’s International Comics Festival returns to the ICA and other venues, including an exhibition in the ICA Concourse Gallery, between 13 and 26th November 2008.

The cover of Exhibition Catalogue for A Mini-History of Off-The-Cuff, Handmade Mini-Comics by Lewis Trondheim
The cover of the exhibition catalogue for A Mini-History of Off-The-Cuff, Handmade Mini-Comics by Lewis Trondheim

There’s plenty to appeal to downthetubes readers, but of special interest will be the Comiket of creators co-organised by London Underground Comics, Steve Holland’s talk on classic British comics, and appearances by Alan Moore and Pat Mills — that said, the whole line up is a terrific mix of many comics genres that will have wide apeal, so book your tickets early!

The Festival programme is detailed below. For more details and tickets visit

Friday, 14 November: One Day Symposium: Archetypes v Stereotypes – Post-War Comics & Graphic Novels
10am to 5.30pm Lecture Theatre, V&A Museum, South Kensington, London. Tickets: £40, concessions available. Book online or email

Examining the formation and function of archetypes and stereotypes – racial, sexual, social and political – in British and American comics and graphic novels of the post-war period. The day explores the extent to which the images and text associated with this genre can be progressive or reactionary; do they subvert dominant stereotypes or endorse them?

10.00 Coffee & Registration

10.30 Welcome & Introduction:
With John Meriton, Ian Rakoff and Paul Gravett.

10.40 Ian Rakoff – Art of the Century:
Comparing and contrasting the movies and the comics.

11.35 Charles Dierick, Director of the Hergé Museum:
Tintin in the Congo and Racial Stereotypes in Comics.

12.20 Dougie Braithwaite & Richard Reynolds:
Dougie Braithwaite, artist on Justice, interviewed by Richard Reynolds, author of Superheroes: A Modern Mythology, about changing attitudes and representations from Superman to Watchmen and beyond.

12.50 Discussion

13.00 Lunch

Dylan Dog #265 - Reincarnazioni

14.00 Eric Fernie, Courtauld Institute:
Women’s Roles in Post-War Comics from Jane to Dylan Dog.

14.45 Pat Mills, UK/US comics writer, & Derek Liverpool, researcher:
Black, female and other minority characters in modern British and American comics. Chaired by Paul Gravett.

15.30 Coffee break

15.50 From Hippies To Yuppies:
Posy Simmonds on writing and drawing the British classes.

16.35 Women Creators & Characters Today:
Lise Myhre, strip cartoonist of Goth-girl Nemi in Metro, and Asia Alfasi, Muslim autobiographical graphic novelist, interviewed by Corinne Pearlman.

17.15 Plenary Discussion

Friday, 14 November: Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie: Lost Girls
7pm to 8pm Lecture Theatre, V&A Museum, South Kensington, London
Tickets: £8, concessions available, adults only Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Legendary anarchist, occultist and comics writer Alan Moore is famous for his subversion of the classic American comic book genre and for groundbreaking works such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell. A celebrated recent work is Lost Girls, three volumes portraying the adult erotic lives of storybook characters Alice, Wendy and Dorothy who meet in a pre-World War One Austrian hotel created with the artist Melinda Gebbie. Moore and Gebbie talk about their collaboration with the writer Kevin Jackson.

Sunday, 16 November: Conversations – Dave McKean’s Imaginings
2pm to 3.30pm, Brandon Room, ICA. Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members)

An indefatigable innovator, this year Dave McKean has conjured up The Graveyard Book with Neil Gaiman, The Savage with David Almond, drawing books Squink and Postcard from Paris, and Heston Blumenthal’s huge autobio-cookbook. Take a tour of his newest imaginings and his next solo comics.
Supported by Bloomsbury & Walker Books

Sunday, 16 November: Conversations – Between The Panels 3
4pm to 5.30pm Nash Room, ICA. Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members)

How do you make a graphic short story, and develop it into a graphic novel? Hannah Berry, Paul Duffield, Oliver East and Marcia Williams share their secrets and Rachel Cooke, Dan Franklin and other judges of The Observer/Cape/Comica competition present this year’s winners.
Supported by The Observer, Jonathan Cape, Blank Slate Books and Walker Books

Sunday, 16 November: Conversations – Turning Classics Into Comics
4pm to 5.30pm, Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA. Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members

Shakespeare, Brontë, Wilde and Dickens are getting visual makeovers as comics. How does prose transfer to panels? What is lost, and found, in translation? Richard Appignanesi and Ian Edgington talk with their visualisers Mustashrik, Chie Kutsuwada and Ian Culbard, and John M Burns and Mike Collins discuss their versions of Jane Eyre and A Christmas Carol. Plus signings.
Supported by Classical Comics, SelfMadeHero & Letraset

Monday, 17 November: Ian Rankin – Crime & Comics
7pm to 8.30pm Theatre, ICA. Tickets: £10, £9 concs, £8 members

The great crime writer’s debut graphic novel, a John Constantine Hellblazer original called Dark Entries, is due next year. Tonight he shares his passion for comics and talks about their role in improving youth literacy.

Tuesday, 18 November: Alex Maleev: Master of Mood
7.15pm to 8.30pm, Nash Room, ICA Tickets: £10, £9 concs, £8 members

Maleev has injected atmosphere and realism into Daredevil, cult computer game Halo and an online serial of Stephen King’s N. Tonight he talks to David Hine about his work. Followed by signings alongside French guests Ted Benoit and Emmanuel Guibert.
Supported by Thought Bubble Festival & Orbital Comics

Wednesday, 19 November: Ted Benoit & Emmanuel Guibert: The Best of Bande Dessinée
7.30 to 9pm The French Institute Library, 17 Queensbury Place, London. Tickets: £3, £2 concs. Available from 020 7073 1350

A rare opportunity to encounter two of France’s leading contemporary graphic novelists, now being translated into English. Ted Benoit is one of the greatest exemplars of the “Ligne Claire” and illustrates new tales of Blake and Mortimer, Edgar P. Jacobs’ thoroughly British detectives, written by Jean Van Hamme. Emmanuel Guibert collaborates with Joann Sfar on space pirate Sardine in Space and mummified romantic comedy The Professor’s Daughter and specialises in deeply touching memoirs such as Alan’s War, recounting an American soldier’s life, and The Photographer, about Didier Lefèvre’s reportage on the Afghanistan war. The artists will be interviewed by Ann Miller, author of Reading Bande Dessinée, and Paul Gravett, director of the Comica festival, and will sign their books afterwards.
In association with Cinebook and First Second Books

Saturday, 22 November: Comica Comiket
1.00pm to 7.00pm Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA. A free event with London Underground Comics.

Meet and buy from self-publishing creators of comics and manga, in print, online and for mobiles. Watch them work and join in on workshops. Plus graphic novel signings.

Sunday, 23 November: Conversations: Great British Comics: Past, Present & Future
2.00pm to 3.30pm Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA. Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members)

Boyfriend, Battle, Rick Random, Roy of the Rovers! Steve Holland, David Leach and David Roach re-live childhood favourites with surprise guests, while John and Patricia Aggs, Gary Northfield and Sarah McIntyre look at The DFC, Derek the Sheep and the new worlds of kids’ comics.
Supported by Bloomsbury, Carlton, DFC and Titan

Sunday, 23 November: Conversations: Stripping Off – Erotic Comics
4.00pm to 5.00pm Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA
Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members)

A romp through modern X-rated comics with Erich von Gotha, Lynn Paul Meadows, Garry Leach and Wicked Wanda writer Frederic Mullaly. Hosted by Tim Pilcher, author of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History.
With The Erotic Review & Ilex Press

Sunday, 23 November: Conversations: Live From Kirby Plaza
5.30pm to 7pm Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA. Tickets: Each talk – £6, £5 concs, £4 members (All three of today’s talks – £15, £12 concs, £9 members)

Jack Kirby co-created much of the Marvel universe, including Captain America and the X-Men, as well as creating the epic Fourth World series for DC. His work is reappraised by Paul Gambaccini, Mike Lake and Chrissie Harper. Hosted by Paul Gravett, with live transatlantic links to biographer Greg Theakston, artist James Romberger and Kirby Museum archivist Rand Hoppe.
Supported by Jack Kirby Quarterly & Quality Communications

Art Spiegelman: Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist As A Young %@*!

Monday, 24 November: Sunday, 23 November: Art Spiegelman: Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist As A Young %@*!
7.30 to 9pm Theatre, ICA Tickets: £10, £9 concs, £8 members.
The Pulitzer-winning creator of Maus returns to autobiography in his latest work, combining reflections on how comics have warped his life with a reprint of Breakdowns, his rare collection of strips from the 1970s.
Supported by Penguin Books

Monday, 24 November: Shelton, Spain & Spiegelman: Up From The Underground
6.45pm to 8.15pm Cinema 1, ICA Tickets: £10, £9 concs, £8 members

Three of the greatest members of the US underground comix movement recall the heady daze of their 1960s debuts, their cartooning careers and their latest releases: Not Quite Dead by Gilbert Shelton, creator of the Freak Brothers; a strip biography of Che Guevara by Spain, inventor of Trashman; and Breakdowns by Art Spiegelman.
Supported by Knockabout Comics, Verso & Penguin


Naruto – Ninja Clash In The Land Of The Snow/ Naruto 2 – Legend Of The Stone Of Gelel
Screenings: 23 November (double bill), 29, 30 November, Cinema 1 & 2, ICA
Tickets: Each film – tbc Double bill – £12, £11 concs, £10 members

A special anime double-bill with the first two features adapted from author Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series.

Film: Twentieth Century Boys
Screening: Wednesday, 26 November, 8.30pm Cinema 1, ICA
Tickets: tbc

A first look at the live-action version of Naoki Urasawa’s manga series, set to be the first in an epic fantasy trilogy.


From Friday, 14 November: Exhibition: PoCom 2 – Potential Comics Continued ICA concourse & bar

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Le Gun’s Neal Fox, Bill Bragg, Emma Rendel and more fill our long wall with a graphic story mind-map.

Exhibition: Incredibly Strange Comics From Friday, 14 November, ICA concourse & bar

Reel at the world’s most outrageous, weirdest comics: Amputee Love! The Girl Who Loved The Swastika! Trucker Fags in Denial! Supported by Aurum Press

• For more details and tickets visit

With thanks to Paul Gravett

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