Comics fans in Scotland have until now been looking at a prolonged dry spell when it came to major comics events in the country in the first half of 2011 with the postponement of the Hi-Ex convention expected in March by a year and the date change of the Dundee Comics Day from June to November.
However the Glasgow Film Festival, previously a mere bit part player on the Scottish comics scene, has come to their rescue helped along no doubt by GFF Ambassador Mark Millar. While it has yet to mutate into the Millarworld Film Festival, this year the Glasgow Film Festival has an impressive selection of both comics based films being screened and comics creators giving talks and workshops.
The highlight of the film screenings must be Luc Besson’s live action version of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec based on the Jacques Tardi bandes dessinees, a film that has yet to be UK classified by the BBFC and is technically part of the Youth Film Festival. As for the talks, workshops and discussions, the highlight is expected to be the illustrated talk by Dave Gibbons to be held in Screen 1 of the Glasgow Film Theatre.
Tickets are £7.50 per event (£6 for concessions) and there are more details of the events as well as their locations and booking details on the Glasgow Film Festival website.
Mark Millar Workshop
Wednesday 23 February
Mark Millar, the Coatbridge-born comic-book writer and filmmaker will lead this workshop which will examine the art of writing for graphic novels. Cutting his teeth writing for 2000 AD and DC Comics, Mark Millar graduated to Marvel Entertainment ten years ago and in that time has written some of the most successful comic books in the English language. His Civil War event is the industry’s highest-selling comicbook series since the millennium, his Ultimates book provided the template for the current crop of Marvel movies and he was named by Time Magazine last year as global comic-book writer of the decade. After writing everything from the X-Men and Spider-Man to Superman and Batman, he started the Millarworld company to create and own his own material (in tandem with his artists). The first two of these books, Wanted and Kick-Ass, have been blockbuster movies as well as outselling even established characters like Spider-Man. Millar is currently hard at work on a sequel to Kick-Ass, the Superior movie and directing Miracle Park, his first full-length feature film.
Frank Quitely Workshop
Wednesday 23 February
Internationally renowned Glaswegian graphic novelist Frank Quitely, aka Vincent Deighan, will examine his approach to visual storytelling in this involving workshop. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with Grant Morrison on titles such as New X-Men, WE3, All Star Superman, and Batman and Robin, as well as his work with Mark Millar on The Authority.
Metaphrog: Graphic Novels & Adaptations
Thursday 24 February
Acclaimed Glasgow-based duo Metaphrog will discuss graphic novels and adaptations involving different media in a lively and interactive illustrated session. Metaphrog are the authors of the Louis graphic novel series, which has been nominated for multiple awards, and have recently adapted Edwin Morgan’s poem The First Men on Mercury into comic form.
Portfolio Review with CLiNT Magazine
Thursday 24 February
Join the team behind CLiNT magazine and get a unique opportunity to present your own portfolio for feedback and get expert advice on how to break into the comic-book industry. The 50s had The Eagle, the 70s had 2000AD and now we have CLiNT. Edited and co-published by Mark Millar, CLiNT is the first mainstream news-stand comic-book launched in a generation. Synthesising the best of comics, movies and television, this is the one monthly magazine where you will see Jonathan Ross, Frankie Boyle, Kick-Ass, Jimmy Carr, Samuel L Jackson and Quentin Tarantino all under the same cover. The comic also acts as a recruitment drive for new creators, not just established names from the world of movies and television, but newcomers working from home and looking for an opportunity to shine.
Friday 25 February
1100 and 1400
Free but ticketed.
GFF11 brings you ComicCamp, a two-part event exploring comics, animation, gaming and film, and the increasing blurring of the boundaries between these practices. The first session (11.00–13.30) focuses on emerging innovation, giving the floor to those working within these fields to present current projects or exciting new aspects of their work. The afternoon session (14.00–15.30) is a round table discussion featuring big hitters from comics, gaming and film speaking about crossovers between the three mediums and tackling the questions: What works and what doesn’t? Is this a golden age for film adaptations of comics and games? Can increased collaboration create new opportunities and ideas? Aimed at freelancers, creatives and those working (or studying) in the wider gaming, publishing and moving image industries, ComicCamp is an event inspired by the spirit of BarCamp (www.barcamp.org) – a free, ‘un-conference’ designed to facilitate the sharing of ideas in an open environment. The event will end with an opportunity for networking and refreshments.
Dave Gibbons in Conversation
Friday 25 February
GFT Cinema 1
Dave Gibbons discusses his extensive career in this lively illustrated event. An English comic book artist, writer and sometime letterer, Dave Gibbons is best known for his collaborations with writer Alan Moore which include the miniseries Watchmen and the Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything. He was also an artist for the UK anthology 2000 AD, for which he contributed a large body of work from its first issue in 1977. Works other than comics include providing the background art for the 1994 computer game Beneath a Steel Sky and the cover to K, the 1996 debut album by psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker. In 2007, he served as a consultant along with John Higgins for the film Watchmen adapted from the book, released in March 2009.
Note: The event “Amruta Patil Interview with Paul Gravett” listed in the printed brocuhure and scheduled for Thursday 24 February at noon has been cancelled.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
This subtitled French film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 12+ audience.
Monday 7 February GFT Cinema 1 1000
Wednesday 9 February GFT Cinema 1 1300
Thursday 10 February Cineworld Parkhead 1015
Acclaimed French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Leon) returns to the big screen with his smash hit adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novels by Jacques Tardi. Adèle Blanc-Sec is an aspiring journalist who fears nothing and no one. So when a pterodactyl from the Jurassic era mysteriously appears in the skies of Paris, she must use all her wits and charm to stop it. An exciting Gallic take on blockbusters like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, this is perfect entertainment for genre enthusiasts.
Superman II – the Richard Donner Cut (PG)
Tuesday 22 February Cineworld 18 1830
This screening will be introduced by GFF Ambassador Mark Millar. Never before shown on a cinema screen in the UK, the Richard Donner version of Superman II is a fascinating lost treasure. Donner worked on the original Superman and its sequel at the same time and is thought to have completed between 70–80% of Superman II when he was informed that his services were no longer required. Donner’s material has now been edited into something much closer to his original vision of the film in which Christopher Reeve’s definitive Superman is under threat from both a trio of Kryptonite rebels and his feelings for Lois Lane. Highlights of Donner’s cut include previously unseen footage of Marlon Brando that deepens the father-son relationship at the heart of the story. A unique chance to see a rare piece of film history.
Wednesday 23 February CCA 4 1200
An acclaimed 1994 documentary from Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Bad Santa) about cult underground comic book artist Robert Crumb. A prominent member of the underground comic movement of the 60s, Crumb is known for his critical and subversive view on mainstream American culture. Zwigoff’s much-loved portrait of the man captures his unique outlook on life, charts the rise of his career and also takes a look at his troubled family and personal relationships. It’s a fascinating insight into a remarkable artist as well as a snapshot of a vibrant slice of American counter-culture.
Heavy Metal (15)
Wednesday 23 February Cineworld 17 1900
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1515
Heavy Metal was originally released in 1981 and whilst not an instant commercial success it soon became a cult favourite, regularly showing at midnight screenings. This Canadian animation is made up of a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from Heavy Metal, an adult illustrated magazine famed for its blend of fantasy and erotica. This tale of a glowing green orb from outer space that spreads destruction throughout the galaxy also has a memorable soundtrack featuring Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo and Journey.
A Distant Neighbourhood
This subtitled French film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 15+ audience.
Wednesday 23 February Cineworld 17 2100
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1300
Who wouldn’t want to relive the past with the benefit of hindsight? That’s the appealing notion at the centre of this time-travelling tale inspired by a manga from Japanese graphic artist Jiro Taniguchi. Pascal Greggory is Thomas, a fifty-something graphic artist suffering from a creative block. He takes the wrong train to a book signing session and soon finds himself back in the town where he grew up. He faints and then wakes up to discover it is the summer of 1967, he is fifteen all over again (Leo Legrand now takes the role) and it is just a few days before an event that would change his life forever. His newfound dilemmas prove to be clever, believable and surprisingly touching.
Battle Royale 3D (18)
Thurday 24 February Cineworld 5 2100
Just when you thought a ‘solid gold cult classic’ couldn’t get any better along comes the 3D version. Never theatrically released in America, Kinji Fukasaku’s edge-of-the-seat chiller celebrates its tenth anniversary with a 3D conversion in preparation for a fresh assault on delicate American sensibilities. The story remains the same but the impact is more intense. In response to a wave of juvenile delinquency, a class of school pupils is kidnapped and transported to a remote island where they must wage war against each other until one person is left standing. If they choose not to fight the explosive collars they wear will be detonated. Clever, controversial and now bursting from the screen. 3D glasses 80p at venue.
Griff the Invisible
This Australian film has not been certified by the BBFC and the Festival considers it suitable for a 15+ audience.
Thursday 24 February Cineworld 17 1830
Friday 25 February Cineworld 16 2045
The gap between mundane reality and the daredevil antics of a costumed superhero has rarely seemed so wide or so poignant as it does in Leon Ford’s zestful feature debut Griff the Invisible. By day Griff (True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) is a bumbling office worker who serves as an easy target for a bullying colleague. By night he takes to the mean streets of Melbourne to fight crime and save lives. The more exciting and fulfilling his time as a superhero, the more real life disappoints. Then, he meets beautiful, gauche scientist Melody (Maeve Dermody). Can these two lost souls find true love in a world that fails to understand them? A smart, heart-warming, fun-filled delight.
Danger: Diabolik (12)
Thursday 24 February CCA 4 1630
Saturday 26 February Arches 1730
An outlandish, tongue-in-cheek action movie from 1968 inspired by the Italian comic book character Diabolik. Directed by horror maestro Mario Bava and produced by Dino De Laurentiis (of Barbarella fame) Danger Diabolik is the story of an audacious thief – living in a lavish hideout with his lover Eva – who is intent on embarking on ever more challenging heists. But will the daring Diabolik continue to elude the authorities? This often hilarious, fun-filled and action-packed flick has been cited as an influence on, among others, Austin Powers and will especially appeal to fans of the B-movie genre.
More details of the events with their locations and booking details are on the Glasgow Film Festival website.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.