Dave Gibbons teases future “Martha Washington” project at Comics Up Close: Origin Stories

Earlier this month, Sheffield Hallam University hosted “Comics Up Close – Origin Stories” a full one day academic event, in conjunction with The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF) and The University of Manchester. Sim Leech and Chris Wright report…

Featuring several keynote speakers, including comic creators Dave Gibbons, Karrie Fransman and Steven Appleby, “Comics Up Close – Origin Stories” celebrated the impact of comics on the wider culture, and society.

Steven Appleby at Comics Up Close 2024

Steven Appleby’s presentation combined stories of her origins with the origins of some of her stories. Steven took us into her past, her upbringing and education, creative and work experiences. She also talked of how she is influenced and of where and how she finds inspiration for her work. We were treated to a history of “Captain Star”, from his pre NME days, to her comic strips, books and, finally, a look at the Captain Star cartoon programme. Steven explained the origins of her Dragman character to us, and how that related to her own experiences, sometimes in less obvious ways. The phrase “Nothing is Real”, which as she said, can be interpreted in many different ways, was key to much of her presentation. 

Karrie Fransman is the creative director of positive negative – an organisation dedicated to amplifying research through engaging in visual storytelling. She talked us through some of her creative processes in particular on the part she has played in bringing the stories of refugees to life, and some of her anti-nationalism work.

Karrie also talked about her quest to gain more recognition for comics as a medium and an art form, as well as her work in illustration and digital storytelling.

One of her most successful projects is called “The Story of Migration”, which challenges a lot of the current negative coverage of the movement of people. Particularly refugees. It is a short, thoughtful animation which you can see here. You can watch it here.

Dave Gibbons at Comics Up Close 2024, speaking with Alex Fitch. Photo: Chris Wright
Dave Gibbons at Comics Up Close 2024, speaking with Alex Fitch. Photo: Chris Wright

Afterwards, Dave Gibbons gave a thirty minute talk about his career as a comics creator, and then sat down for another half hour Q&A session.

Dave was in good and humorous form, talking a little about his recent autobiography Confabulation, his breakthrough in comics, major success with Watchmen, collaborating in comics and other media. There were a few references to 2000AD, Doctor Who et al.

Some of Dave Gibbons "Doctor Who" art on show at Comics Up Close 2024. Photo: Chris Wright
Some of Dave Gibbons “Doctor Who” art on show at Comics Up Close 2024. Photo: Chris Wright

Inevitably the subject of 2000AD’s “Rogue Trooper” came up, on course now to the big screen. Dave mentioned that he had visited the set, met with director Duncan Jones and was very excited about the forthcoming film production. Beyond that, he was not able to reveal much more, for fairly obvious reasons.

He also hinted that Martha Washington the creator-owned character he co-created with a Frank Miller, published by Dark Horse, may eventually appear on our screens in the future. Fingers crossed.

• Comics Up Close will return in 2025. Watch out for further news on the Comics Can Change the World website hosted by The Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Thank you to Sim Leech and Chris Wright for their help with this report

Categories: British Comics, Comic Art, Comics, Comics Education News, Comics Studies, Creating Comics, downthetubes News, Events

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. This is my first viewing of Karrie’s “The Story of Migration”. Beautifully done! It’s refreshing to see this kind of hand-made animation that is so simple, yet so sophisticated. I hope schools are using this as part of their curriculum.

Discover more from downthetubes.net

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading