Creators @ Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2014: Part 1

Lakes14 Welcome
‘Welcoming’ is a good description of the second Lakes International Comic Art Festival held over the weekend of 17-19 October 2014 in Kendal in the Lake District.

After the inaugural festival last year had proven popular, this year everything seemed to be ‘more’ – more guests, more sellers, more red-shirted volunteers, more exhibitions, more workshops, more talks, more tie-in shop displays, and more people, lots more people. The organisers even told us that the footfall in the Comics Clock Tower sales rooms on the Saturday was 50% more than last year. Perhaps that was down to it being completely free, or the fact that it wasn’t raining so more people were out and about, but it all helped towards a welcoming, family-friendly feel to the entire weekend.

Ian Wheeler has already reviewed Lakes here on downthetubes and John Freeman, who had the dual role of guest and interviewer over the weekend, has compiled a round-up of tweets from those attending so this is our photo round-up, in no particular order, of some of the various creators who were at Lakes 2014 selling and/or talking about their work.

Lakes14 Dez Skinn 2
Scott McCloud may have been the big draw for those who managed to make it along onto the Brewery Theatre on the Friday night but at the same time Kendal Library was welcoming Doctor Who fans with a Tardis and standees of Clara and several Daleks as former Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) editor John Freeman interviewed launch editor Dez Skinn (above) about his creation of the long running title back in 1979.

There are more details of Dez Skinn’s career on his website, Dez Skinn Dot Com.

You are currently reading John Freeman’s website but you can find out more about John in this section of downthetubes.

Lakes14 Dez Skinn 3
John (centre right above) and Dez (right) weren’t the only ‘DWM-ers’ there as long-standing DWM main strip artist Mike Collins (left) and new DWM humour artist Lew Stringer (centre left) were also in the audience.

Lakes14 Mike Collins
Lew was on stage the next morning with his own excellently researched and illustrated talk on the history of British humour comics while Mike (above) had his own table in the Brewery Arts Centre selling prints and his various graphic novels as well as showing off his original artwork for the 2015 Doctor Who comics calendars that are now available in shops. Mike and John were both back in Kendal Library the following night for the ’50 Years of Doctor Who Comics’ talk.

There are more details of Lew Stringer’s work on his website and his work blog while his knowledge of the history of British comics can be seen at his comics history blog Blimey.

There are more details of Mike Collin’s work on his website, Freakhouse Graphics, and his Facebook page.

Lakes14 Metaphrog
During the day the Library hosted several popular workshops for children by Franco-Scottish graphic novelists Metaphrog, who are John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs. Best known for their Louis series of critically acclaimed graphic novels, the pair are currently working on a  new book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy stories entitled The Red Shoes And Other Tales which is due to be published by Papercutz in the USA in late 2015.

Lakes14 Metaphrog 2
Kendal Library also had an exhibition, The Magic Of Metaphrog, which not only showed artwork from the latest Louis book, Night Salad, but also had some pages from The Red Shoes, the first time that any artwork from the book had been shown in public.

There are more details of Metaphrog’s work on the Metaphrog website.

Lakes14 Art Heroes
Also running workshops for the local children, in this case in the Westmoreland Shopping Centre were Art Heroes who comprise writer Daniel Clifford (left) and cartoonist Lee Robinson (right). With their own new all-ages title Endangered and More Strange Stories available to buy, Daniel and Lee ran an ongoing free workshop for children to create their own comic character many of which have now been featured on the Art Heroes website. Their choice of winner from the children’s new characters was Super Sarah by Lily – “Super Sarah wants to stop Professor L Noop from letting aliens invade the Earth, using her powers of jumping higher and further than anyone else…”

There are more details of Art Heroes work on their website.

Lakes14 Abbot Charleys War
One of the major exhibitions put on as part of Lakes was The Great War In Comics exhibition at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery. This featured original artwork from Battle comic’s Charley’s War strip (above) written by Pat Mills and illustrated by Joe Colquhoun, and from White Death (below) an original graphic novel written by Robbie Morrison and illustrated by Charlie Adlard.

Lakes14 Abbot Adlard

The exhibition, which runs until 6 December 2014, also features pages from Belgian Ivan Petrus’ trio of WWI graphic novels, The Nieuport Gathering, Elsie and Mairi (below), and the yet to be released Ghosts of Passchendaele.

There are more details and opening times of The Great War In Comics exhibition at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery website.

Lakes14 Abbot Petrus

To tie in with this exhibition Lakes ran a panel on the Sunday to discuss the subject of WWI in comics. Chaired by Tim Pilcher (below centre) who published the original version of White Death, it featured John Freeman (left) in his role as editor of Titan’s Charley’s War reprint books, Ivan Petrus (centre left), Charlie Adlard (centre right) and Robbie Morrison (right). The discussion began with the books represented in the art exhibition and continued on to include DC Thomson titles such as Commando, Warlord and Victor.

Lakes14 War Panel 2

Ivan Petrus (below) was also available for most of the weekend as one of the sellers in the Comics Clock Tower where he had English language copies of The Nieuport Gathering and Flemish copies of Elsie and Mairi for sale.

Lakes14 Ivan Petrus

There are more details of Ivan Petrus’ work on his website and blog (mainly in Flemish).

It seems appropriate at this point to finish this part of our Lakes’ Creators photo round-up with a picture of Kendal’s war memorial (whose remembered dead include a relative of John Freeman, Noel Houghton Treleaven – a discovery made quite by chance earlier this year). Part Two will feature a round-up of some of the creators in the Comics Clock Tower.

Lakes14 War memorial


• The downthetubes review of Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2014 is here

• The downthetubes round-up of Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2014 Tweets is here

• The second part of Creators @ Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2014 is here.

• The next Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 16th – 18th October 2015. Web:

Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, Events, Exhibitions, Featured News, Features, Reviews

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2 replies

  1. Good to meet you at the Dave Gibbons event on the Saturday Jeremy. Your report makes me wish I’d been able to stay longer over the weekend than I’d planned. A few hours definitely wasn’t long enough but the great man did sign my Watchmen book. Maybe next year.


  1. Sneak Peek: Metaphrog’s The Red Shoes

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