Creators set to assemble in Lakes Festival’s “Comics Clock Tower”

Artist Gary Erskine chatting with fans in the Clock Tower at last year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Far left: locally-based artist Kate Holden. In the background: artist Conor Boyle on the Disconnected Press stand

Artist Gary Erskine chatting with fans in the Clock Tower at last year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Far left: locally-based artist Kate Holden. In the background: artist Conor Boyle on the Disconnected Press stand

Along with a huge line-up of comic creator events, including panels, workshops and signings, this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival will again feature the Comics Clock Tower – a gathering place for creators, publishers and fans with its own schedule of events and other happenings.

This year, admission to the venue will be totally free, which will come as good news to the many fans who argued that charging admission to the venue last year as a mistake – which the Festival team took on board for their second Festival outing, whose guests include Dave Gibbons, Becky Cloonan, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Gail Simone, Robbie Morrison and many more (full creator list here on the official web site).

Although it’s only the event’s second year, the line up of comic creators and independent publishers heading to the Lakes (detailed below) in addition to the official guest list impressive and locally, organisation for this year’s event in October has already swung into high gear with artist Oliver East working on murals at the new “Factory” venue in Kendal (a project connected to his new “walking comic”, backed by the Festival).

Design work on the Great War exhibition at the prestigious Abbot Hall Gallery featuring artworks from “Charley’s War” by Joe Colquhoun, “White Death” by Charlie Adlard and art by Ivan Petrus is also proceeding apace, as are a number of “fringe” events intended to involve the whole town in the Festival – just like European comic festivals such as Angouleme in France.

Commercial sponsors include both local business and comic publishers, including SEQUENTIAL and Knockabout.

Gilbert Shelton at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year. Image courtesy Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Gilbert Shelton at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year. Image courtesy Lakes International Comic Art Festival


“The Comics Clock Tower is our version of a comics marketplace and artists’ alley,” explains Festival Director Julie Tait. “This is your chance to meet creators, see them sketch, get work signed as well as buy books, prints and more. Some work will be available for the first time at the festival.

“This will not be like the traditional marketplaces that people are used to at comic conventions,” she continues. “For one thing, the venue is relatively small so we have had to make choices and limit the number of creators and stalls we can offer to our audiences. We’ll be aiming to feed the hunger of existing comic art fans of all genres whilst, we hope, appealing to a curious, new audience eager to find out more.

“There will be a mix of retailers, publishers (large and small) and creators and more. We’ll be showcasing both established and emerging talent drawn from across the UK, Europe and further afield with a healthy contingent from Cumbria, the North West and greater North of England too.”

Most of the Festival’s international guests who feature in the main events programme will also be appearing in the Comics Clock Tower over the weekend to sign and sketch and meet their fans.

Artist Emma Vieceli at the 2013 Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Photo: Jeremy Briggs

Artist Emma Vieceli at last year’s Festival. Photo: Jeremy Briggs


As well as events at the Comics Clock Tower, Forbidden Planet will again have a huge presence at the Festival. Britain’s leading speciality comics chain will be taking over the Malt Room at The Brewery Art Centre, delivering a “pop up shop” for the duration of the Festival. They will be stocking a massive selection of new Comics and Graphic Novels – many of them signed or Limited Editions – as well as T Shirts, toys and more. Plus – they will be hosting signing events for most of the guest creators.

Award-winning, normally Nottingham-based retailer Page 45 will also be playing a big part in the Festival, celebrating their 20th anniversary in The Lakes. Look out for special signings and events in the Clock Tower, organised by the store.

“This is Page 45’s first-ever road trip!” says Steve L. Holland. “The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is vital to the profile of comics. It brings the medium out of the bedsit and into the open for the whole world to see! It’s our very own Angoulême, celebrating this medium in all its diversity, attracting connoisseurs and the curious alike to its exhibitions, interviews, workshops and creators merrily signing and sketching all weekend long.”

Details of all their events over the weekend, including Steve’s planned talk on on the “Art of Selling Comics”, can be found here:

• Tickets for all the events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are on sale now. For the full guest list, details of events and bookings visit:

• Sign up for the Festival’s newsletter here for the latest news! Web:

The Comic Clock Tower Creator List in Full

Creators in the Clock Tower include (in alphabetical order):


Kate Ashwin at Thought Bubble last year. Via Laydeez do Comics. (Kate stole this! Not me!)

Kate Ashwin at Thought Bubble last year. Via Laydeez do Comics.

Kate Ashwin, creator of the web comic Widdershins; printmaker and illustrator Alex Brady; Sammy Borras and Sarah Fogg, friends who make comics, specialising in work for teens and young adults – as a team they produce comic anthologies, mini-comics and zines such as Children of the Night, a goth-themed comedy anthology; Nick Brokenshire, artist on the fantasy adventure comic Amelia Cole; PM Buchan, co-creator of BLACKOUT and Gothic-horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci; the long-established Cartoonists Club of Great Britain, the UK’s largest and oldest cartoonists’ organisation, providing a social base for cartoonists wherever they may live or work; North West-based illustrator Dan Charnley; award-winning Transmedia creator Yomi Ayeni, creator of Clockwork Watch.

Gary Erskine

Gary Erskine

Plus there’s Doctor Who and Star Trek comic artist Mike Collins; New York Times illustrator Gemma Correll; Captain America, The Losers and Thief of Thieves writer Andy Diggle; Oxford-based comicker, illustrator and animator Paul Duffield, creator of the stunning web comic The Firelight Isle that is due to be collected and published by David Fickling Books; Cumbria-based artist Mal Earl, creator of Bullhawk, which has featured in David Lloyd’s accliamed digital anthology Aces Weekly; mixed media artist EdieOP, whose titles include Jonah and 7 Blows to the Head; Perfect Spiral‘s Marvel Comics artist Gary Erskine and molecular biologist Mhairi Stewart, who produce illustrations for academia and industry, specialising in public engagement material and resources; Jonathan Edwards and Felt Mistress, creators of the Festival’s mascots; Jack Falllows, co-creator of BLACKOUT; Dr. Victor Freakinstyle, creator of humorous and startling new sculptures informed by popular culture and environmental issues; veteran comics creator Verity Glass, whose new graphic novel, Noumena, debuts soon; prolific and innovative comic creator Daniel Merlin Goodbrey; Matthew Green, an Associate Professor of English Literature specializing in comics at the University of Nottingham, whose most recent work was Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition and who is currently completing another book on Alan Moore and William Blake.

MJ Wallace from Team Girl Comic

MJ Wallace from Team Girl Comic

But that’s not all, because there’s also… London-based illustrator and graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg, creator of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth; Robin Hoelzemann, writer and illustrator of the 18th century drama Curia Regis; Adam Hyde and Mihaela Precup, creators of web comic Jules & Crispin, a love story between a duck and a rat; Bolton-based artist Rob Jackson, whose work includes a medieval spaghetti western, A Handful of Groats and the SF and fantasy anthology, RhiZone; Owen Michael Johnson, the Cumbrian-native writer behind Accent UK’s sell-out concept anthology Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist? and co-creator of Raygun Roads; ; small-press publisher Christopher Kent (aka Graphite Fiction); Lancaster-based artist Jack Knight, cartoonist for the Lancaster Guardian; Laydeez do Comics , a unique graphic novel forum with a focus on comic works based on life narrative, the drama of the domestic and the everyday; Manchester artist James Lawrence; Holley McKend and Chris Baldie, creators of the web comic Never Ever After; John Miers, whose work has featured in the renowned indie anthology Solipsistic Pop and the political anthology Regeneration; Musomica dedicated team of artists, award-winning educators and musicians with a passion for games and apps; Spanish and Marvel and DC Comics artist Guillermo Ortega; Graham Pearce, Preston-based creator of the hilarious action-comedy comic Sgt Mike Fury; Manchester artist Mark Penman; manga-inspired Sweatdrop Studios artist PinkAppleJam, creator of Biomecha; Owen D. Pomeroy, creator of Between the Billboards, the web comic Benson’s Bar Cafe and the auto-bio sketch series The Victory Motel; artist and film maker Andy Poyiadgi, creator of Tea Bag Theories, a micro-comic-in-a-teabag that uses the humble brew to unravel the mysteries of science; Karen Rubins, author of several short comics published in the V&A Magazine, The Word Magazine, and the Mammoth Book of Best New Manga among others; Seeing Poetry: Poetry in Words and Comics, an ongoing collaboration by illustrator Louise Crosby with poet Clare Shaw; Russell Stearman, a Sheffield-based comic author/artist working on Insurrection, a comic set in contemporary Britain playing out in our current landscape of austerity and cut-backs, which rubs up against privatization as questioned by the Occupy movement; London-based animator Joe Sparrow, who writes, draws and self-publishes his own comics; manga artist Tammy Taylor; Scotland’s comic collective Team Girl Comic; comic creator and illustrator Sally Jane Thompson, whose work has been published by IDW, Image Comics, Black Mask Studios and Kerrang! magazine; award-winning Manchester-based cross-media script writer Ravi Thornton, founder of Ziggy’s Wish, a charitable publishing endeavour; artist/writer Andrew Tunney, creator of the British Comics Award-nominated title GIRL&BOY; Kendal-based self-publisher Andres Vargas and Catriona James, creators of the new comic Disciple Machine; illustrator, animator and games designer Adam Vian, creator of Long Lost Lempi, a series of fairytale-ish adventure stories with a focus on subtle humour and mystery; and Lydia Wysocki, creator of awesome small press comics!

Please note, all appearances are subject to work commitments

Celeste by Ian Culbard

Look out for SelfMadeHero, publishers of Celeste, in the Clock Tower, along with many other great publishers.

The Comic Clock Tower Publisher List in Full

Publishers in the Clock Tower include (in alphabetical order): Avery Hill Publishing, publishers of the arts and humour magazine Tiny Dancing and the comics anthology Reads, along with a range of graphic novels including Grey Area by Tim Bird, The Festival by Jazz Greenhill, The Megatherium Club by Owen Pomery and Seasons by Mike Medaglia; Borderline Press, publishers of Verity Fair by Terry Wiley, City of Crocodiles by Knut Larsson and The Hunger House by C.M. Edenborg and Loka Kanarp; Swedish publisher C’est Bon Kultur, whose C’est Bon Anthology publishes graphic short stories from artists from all over the world; Cinebook,  publishers of best-selling European comic books for all ages including Lucky Luke and Thorgal; small publisher Dead Canary Comics, who are about to launch a number of comics including Cosmic Fish; Decadence Comics, a comic anthology and collective that publishes science fiction stories; Disconnected Press, an independent publishing imprint from writer Lizzie Boyle and artist Conor Boyle; Fanfare, whose presentation portfolio includes its own multi-Eisner nominated publishing, Ponent Mon, the fruits of a Masters Degree in ‘Authorial Illustration’ at Falmouth University, Atlantic Press, and traders since 1973 now publishing prestigious illustrated books on all things British, Book Palace Books; Lancaster-based specialist publishers and distributors Gazelle; Great Beast, founded by Adam Cadwell and Marc Ellerby, a publisher dedicated to making fun, creative, accessible and pop-culture inspired comics and getting them to as wide an audience as possible; pan-European publisher Humanoids, whose titles include the works of Moebius, Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek; Jonathan Cape, publishers of a range of graphic novels including Drowntown, written by Festival guest Robbie Morrison and Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Festival patrons Bryan and Mary Talbot with Kate Charlesworth; Knockabout Comics, UK publisher and distributor of the finest underground and alternative comics;  MULP, an anthropomorphic comic book, a Pulp adventure set in a world of mice by Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton; Myriad Editions, an independent publisher of original literary fiction and graphic novels and organisers of the First Graphic Novel Competition; independent publishers NoBrowpublishers of Luke Pearson’s award-winning Hilda stories; Print Media Productions, who will resume publication of British news stand title STRIP Magazine later this year; SelfMadeHero, a quirky independent publishing house committed to producing ground-breaking work in the graphic novel medium; Soaring Penguin Press, publishers of Loisel’s Peter Pan, Undertow and the upcoming World War One-inspired comics anthology To End All Wars; T-Pub, founded by Neil Gibson,  publishers of the Number One most downloaded graphic novel to Kindle, Twisted Dark in 2013; and Tiny Pencil, an independent anthology artzine and forum devoted to the lead arts.

The University of Cumbria Comic Book Collective will also be manning a table of comic book and zine related material, including Bagatelle; their in-house publication devoted to comic book tales.

• All the Comics Clock Tower Guests, Publishers and Retailers are detailed here:

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

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