Dave Gibbons, Sayra Begum, Caroline Soucy and more join Lakes International Comic Art Festival line-up, last guests in line-up confirmed

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has announced comic artist and writer Dave Gibbons (2000ADThe OriginalsWatchmen) as a guest at this year’s weekend-long event (Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October 2023).

 Dave Gibbons speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
Dave Gibbons speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

Dave is one of the final tranche of Festival guests to be announced, joining an impressive roster of international comics talent and creatives in Bowness-on-Windermere this autumn.  

Also announced are Alice VDMSayra BegumMassimo FenatiAnnabelle GormandLena MerhejCaroline Soucy, and the VIZ comic team; and comedian and quiz show host, Lucy Porter.

Dave Gibbons has drawn and written for most comics publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has encompassed Doctor Who, his character, the Star Beast, co-created with Pat Mills, appearing in the TV show itself as part of the series 60th anniversary celebrations; Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Doctor Strange, The Hulk, Predator, and Aliens.

The Most High Beep of all the Meeps (aka Beep the Meep). Art by Dave Gibbons
The Most High Beep of all the Meeps (aka Beep the Meep), who will feature in the Doctor Who TV show this autumn. Art by Dave Gibbons
Dave Gibbons Watchmen #1 Cover Original Art (DC, 1986)

Watchmen, his collaboration with writer Alan Moore, is the best-selling graphic novel ever published by an American publisher.

His autobiographical graphic novel, The Originals, won an Eisner Award in 2005. His recent work has included Kingsman: The Secret Service, with Mark Millar, now a major motion picture. He co-created Give Me Liberty and Martha Washington Goes To War with writer Frank Miller.

Dave was appointed the first Comics Laureate of the UK in 2014, with the brief to develop the use of comics in education. The University of Dundee awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Comic Arts in 2015.

Dave Gibbons’ Confabulation: An Anecdotal Autobiography, compiled by Tim Pilcher

His autobiography, Confabulation: An Anecdotal Autobiography, was published by Dark Horse in 2022. Packed with over 300 iconic, rarely seen, and unpublished art pieces and photographs, presented alphabetically, with informally written anecdotes that can be read from cover-to-cover or simply dipped into, it not only entertains, but peels back the layers of a fascinating career in comics.

“We’re delighted Dave is back at the Festival this year,” enthuses the event’s director Julie Tait. “Dave’s been hugely supportive of our event and our many projects, national and international, and always spins a good tale on stage!”

• Follow Dave Gibbons on Twitter @davegibbons90

FESTIVAL DATES: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere 29th September to 1st October 2023

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is online at: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Little LICAF on Facebook | Little LICAF on Instagram

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More Festival Guests

Lucy Porter

Lucy Porter

Comedian Lucy Porter seems to have gone quickly from claiming not to know much about comics to becoming something of a fan! Last year, she made her debut as a quiz master at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival – and we’re thrilled she’s back with her very own Saturday night pub quiz!

Lucy has been a huge hit with comedy audiences up and down the country for over ten years with her distinctive, bouncy, feel-good comedy! She has continued to travel internationally with her stand-up, and was invited to Miami to take part in NBC’s Last Comic Standing. She’s also performed in the States for NBC and HBO at their Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

Lucy is also regularly invited to festivals closer to home, including Manchester, Glasgow and the prestigious Kilkenny festival, as well as other mud-soaked scrums such as Latitude.

A regular face and voice on TV and radio panel shows, with several appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, she’s a glutton for a good quiz show. She’s a regular on BBC Radio 4 staples such as The News Quiz and The Now Show, and co-host of the podcast, Finger Buzzers, alongside The Chase star, Jenny Ryan.

A highly in demand stand-up comedian who, according to Time Out, “is one of the most talented comics on the circuit”, she remains amongst the most sought-after comedy writers in Britain, and was one of the lead writers on ITV1’s prime-time Sunday night satirical animation series, Headcases

Her thought-provoking, witty play, The Fair Intellectual Club, put on at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh during the Fringe back in 2014, led to BBC Radio 4 commissioning a six-part drama series. 

Lucy has also moved into the world of film and she (along with Green Wing writers Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina) has a feature script (working title, Queen of Comedy) on the development slate at leading Brit film company, Warp X. Lucy is also a popular voiceover artist and has also contributed to various publications as a columnist, including City AMCook Vegetarian Magazine and Mother & Baby.

Alice VDM

Alice VDM

Alice VDM is a cartoonist and illustrator, whose first graphic novel, the powerful, thought-provoking Ma vie sans Billie, was published by Éditions Sarbacane  in 2022. 

Alice went on to win the Raymond Leblanc prize with Cyril Legrais, for their story, “Les oies cendrées”. She was awarded a prize of €10,000 in cash, a €10,000 advance and a publishing contract alternating between Editions du Lombard and Editions Futuropolis, who will publish the story.

The judges described her story as dealing with “a delicate subject treated with sensitivity and tenderness… A love story between two men with a significant age difference is not commonplace in usual comic strip representations. 

“The simple fact of featuring an older ‘hero’ is not common. The strength of this project lies not only in the fact that it shatters taboos ([such as] the sexuality of senior citizens, homosexuality) but also in the fact that it creates a beautiful story, enhanced by elegant cutting, which will soften the hardest hearts.”

She regularly publishes in magazines such as KronikasPhiléas and Autobulles.

ALICE VDM ONLINE: Web: alicevdm8.wixsite.com | Instagram: @alicevdm_

Sayra Begum

Sayra Begum

Sayra Begum is an artist based in Nottinghamshire, who has a BA in Illustration from Plymouth College of Art and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University.

Begum’s work focuses on female and marginalised voices. Her style is inspired by Islamic miniatures and Surrealism.

Mongrel, Begum’s debut graphic novel, was published by Knockabout Comics, supported by Arts Council England, started life during her time at Falmouth and was at the centre of her creative practice until its completion in February 2020.

Mongrel by Sayra Begum

In Mongrel, Begum has recreated her childhood memories from her Islamic, British-Bangla upbringing. She weaves in and out of memories reflecting on relationships, traditions and society until she starts mirroring the present day where she is faced with the most agonising part of her journey so far.

She has recently been part of an international comic creator exchange program in Czechoslovakia, organised by LICAF.

In 2021 Sayra created “A Monkey’s Guide to Deforestation” for the Ten Years to Save the World project. Supported by the British Council the project was part of a number of creative commissions in response to climate change and COP26.

SAYRA BEGUM ONLINE – Web: www.sayra.co.uk | Instagram | Facebook

Massimo Fenati

Massimo Fenati

Massimo Fenati is an illustrator and director of animation films who was born in Genoa, Italy in 1969, but has lived in London since 1995. After a childhood spent on comics and picture books, Massimo thought that being a cartoonist wouldn’t pay the bills and decided to become a product designer instead, working at some of the most important British design studios: Jasper Morrison, Pentagram and David Chipperfield Architects.

But destiny didn’t let him get away with it and his new career as a cartoonist started unexpectedly in 2005 with the little doodle of a penguin on a post-it note, which kicked off the fortunate series of books with Gus & Waldo, a couple of gay penguins in love.

Art by Massimo Fenati

Massimo has published other illustrated books, regularly creates editorial illustrations for British and Italian periodicals, and runs a food column narrated as a comic strip on the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

His latest book is a graphic novel, La Mennulara (“The Almond Picker”), based on the best-seller by Simonetta Agnello Hornby.

He was appointed Artist in Residence 2020 at the Italian Cultural Institute in London, for which he produced a booklet which adapted a short story by Andrea Camilleri, The Devil’s Smell, as a collaboration of 15 Italian and British comic book artists.

After having created motion graphics for programmes for BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky in the past, Massimo started his career as a director of animated films and TV programmes with the Channel 4 2020 Christmas special Clown, an adaptation of Quentin Blake’s beloved book. The following year he directed The Abominable Snow Baby, based on a Terry Pratchett short story, for which he also designed characters and the whole visual aspect.

He is currently adapting six more Quentin Blake books for an anthology series for the BBC, Quentin Blake’s Box of Treasures, due to be aired from December 2023.

MASSIMO FENATI ONLINE: Web: www.massimofenati.com | Instagram: @massimo_fenati

Annabelle Gormand

Annabelle Gormand

Annabelle Gormand is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Belgium. She mostly draws books for children such as S.O.S. forêt en détresse, published by Kilowatt edition, which won an environmental award.

She was also invited to represent Belgian Comics at the universal exhibition in Dubai in 2022. She is currently working on a comic book project about hiking.

ANNABELLE GORMAND ONLINE: Instagram: @gormand.a

Lena Merhej

Lena Merhej

Lena Merhej is a visual storyteller and an expert in graphic narration, who has  taught at several universities in Beirut. She is the founder and director of the Story Center, which offers professional training in animation, illustration, and comic books.

Lena was the director of the Beirut Animated Festival, and worked with Tosh Fesh to promote comics and animation in Arab countries.

She has illustrated over twenty-five Arabic children’s books and has exhibited her work both locally and internationally. Her animated Drawing the War (2002), her comic book Kamen Sine (“Another Year”, 2009) and her book Murabba wa laban (“Yogurt and Jam”, 2011) won international awards. 

She is a co-founder and a member of Samandal, an award-winning comics organisation in Lebanon. Recent comics she worked on include Là où il y a la vie, il y a l’amour for Solidarités International and Manarat for OXFAM.

LENA MERHEJ ONLINE: Instagram: @lena_merhej

Caroline Soucy

Caroline Soucy
Pol Polaire by Caroline Soucy

Ever since her childhood, Caroline Soucy has been drawing animals; they’re her main source of inspiration.

She’s been dreaming for a long time of sharing her love of the living world and the importance of protecting it with young people. But there’s no question of being a killjoy! Caroline prefers to work with humour and fun.

It is in this spirit that she created the Pol Polaire comic, a project that has been on her mind for over 15 years.

CAROLINE SOUCY ONLINE: Web: carolinesoucy.art | Instagram: @caroline_soucy_art | Facebook: @caroline.soucy.982


In their own usual hyperbolic words, “better than nothing”, VIZ have become a regular feature, if not an institution of sorts, at LICAF for good reason – there’s nothing in the world quite like them/it!

Born in 1965 to simple coal mining folk, Simon Thorp attended grammar school in Pontefract, winning the Rev. JJ Christie Prize for the most outstanding boy in the first year. He went on to spend three years studying fine art at a world famous and prestigious university, the name of which escapes him. He sold his first cartoon to Punch in 1983, and his last cartoon to the same magazine at the same moment. He has a wife and three children, the names of whom escape him.

Born in 1962, Graham Dury, 36, studied botany at Nottingham and Leicester Universities before throwing away a glittering career in research science to draw men with space hopper-sized testicles. Had he not been sidetracked, he would almost certainly have won a Nobel Prize for plant genetics, possibly two. He is now pinning his hopes on the Nobel Committee instituting a new prize for drawing men with space hopper-sized testicles. He is married with about three children.

VIZ ONLINE: Web: viz.co.uk | Twitter: @vizcomic | Facebook

Festival Guests in 2023

Check out the Guest Profiles were on the Festival web site

Announced guests for 2023 in alphabetical order are: Charlie Adlard, Mari Ahokoivu, James Albon, Alice VDM, Mehdi Annassi, aka Machima, Lucie Arnoux, Nancy ArtMusic, Silvia L. Ballart, Sayra Begum, Frankie Boyle, Gigi Cavenago, Amy Chu, Darryl Cunningham, Gustavo Duarte, Wallis Eates, Hunt Emerson, Massimo Fenati, David Gaffney, Gerhard, Lina Ghaibeh, Dave Gibbons, Anabelle Gormand, Bernard Hage (The Art of Boo), Peter Hogan, Stephen L. Holland, Marc Jackson, Jad (George Khoury), Štěpánka Jislová, Mai Koraiem, Michael Lark, Lucie Lomová, Josie Long, Dave McKean, Lena Merhej, Fouad Mezher, Bill Morrison, Seif Eddine Nechi, Annie and Steve Parkhouse, Eva Pavlič, Jacob Phillips, Sean Phillips, Pieter de Poortere, Lucy Porter, Kevin Eric Raymundo, Tom Richmond, Peter Rogiers, Marek Rubec, Mohamed Salah, David Shenton, Shennawy, Václav Šlajch, Caroline Soucy, Dr. Nicola Streeten, Rachael Smith, “Awkward Yeti” creator Nick Sulek, Bryan and Mary Talbot, VIZ, and Eldo Yoshimizu and  Nicolas Wild

Lakeside Comics Marketplace Exhibitors 2023

We have over 90 comic creators, publishers and illustrators in our Lakeside Comics Marketplace this year.

Creators in the Lakeside Comics Marketplace includeChris AskhamYomi AyeniBardic IllustrationSayra BegumClark BintTim BirdTori CatJon DavisDoctor GeofPete DoreeJonathan Edwards & Felt MistressEmma EvansEd FirthSimon FurmanSteven FraserWarwick Fraser-CoombeJessika GreenLyndsey GreenKatie HandleyIsabel HatherallJack HarveyLuke HydeJenika IoffredaOwen Michael JohnsonRoger LangridgeJoe LathamRussell Mark OlsonShaun MartlandDrew MarrChris MoleAlex MooreBeatrice MossmanNigel ParkinsonMarkus PatternMollie RayReabaultEmma ReynoldsSchnumnPaul ShinnMartin SimpsonMatt SimmonsZara SlatteryCam SmithMatt SmithRachael SmithMark StaffordLucy SullivanKev F SutherlandDavid TaylorTom WardKevin WellsLyndon WhiteKate-Mia WhiteSteve WhiteDan WhiteheadAndrew WildmanManon Wright & Tal Brosh

Independent Publishers, and other Exhibitors in the Lakeside Comics Marketplace include1826The77 PublicationsAfter the Robot ApocalypseArt-BubbleB7 ComicsThe Cartoon MuseumCatfood ComicsCentralaCoCo ComicsColossive PressComics Youth CICConundrum PressFanfare UKFirst Graphic Novel CompetitionFoxhatGalaxia PrinceI&M IllustrationIndie NovellaIqbal A. ComicsKannter ArtKnockabout ComicsLDComicsMeraki ComicsMoonSquid INKNevercity Creations, Nona GalleryParable GamesPeak Hare CollectivePlaystation StudiosPower Comics StudiosRAWHEADScratch ComicsSector 13 ComicsSelfMadeHero and Sloth Comics

FESTIVAL DATES: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere 29th September to 1st October 2023

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is online at: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Little LICAF on Facebook | Little LICAF on Instagram

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