Exhibitions galore at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival – and some late line-up changes

Collectives For Change: Comics From The Arab World

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has confirmed its exhibition plans for this year’s Festival (Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October 2023) in Bowness-on-Windermere – and announced some guest changes and additions to the previously announced line-up of over sixty international comic creators, including an appearance by Jenny Ryan from ITV’s The Chase.

Three exhibitions have been lined up for this year’s Festival, reflecting the wide appeal of the event in the choice of art on display.

First up is Amazing Fantasy #15 – The Comic That Changed Everything, on display at the Old Fire Station. Marvel Comics published Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962. Written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko, it contained a story simply titled “Spider-Man” that was destined to change the world of American comicdom forever.

Amazing Fantasy #15 – The Comic That Changed Everything

Ditko’s original ink art for this epoch-making comic is now stored safely in the Library of Congress, Washington DC. It consists of 24 boards, and as well as the actual ink, the boards are peppered with pencil comments from Stan the Man himself.

This year, LICAF is exhibiting facsimiles of those hallowed pages. They’ve never been seen before in the UK, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gaze upon one of the Holy Grails of comic art.

Art by James Albon
Art by James Albon

Last year, Comic Art Europe invited applications from young comic artists from across Europe. The successful artists spent time in Kendal, Barcelona, Lyon and Brussels, and created new comics on the theme of “Living Together”.

The visual storytelling created by the artists is a reflection of many of the complex, key issues of today… from Štěpánka Jislova’s description of the challenges for female creatives living and working with autism to Eva Pavlič’s journey into the heart of an apartment block and the lives of its residents, via James Albon’s exploration of how to grow a relationship without a common language, Bernard Hage’s study of achieving philosophical calm in the modern world; to Silvia Ballart’s exploration of discrimination across the generations.

Living Together is Comic Art Europe pilot project, co-financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Artwork by Mohamed Salah Ismail

Collectives For Change: Comics From The Arab World introduces a variety of comics genres breaking the boundaries of social and political taboos from across the Arab world.

Throughout the 20th century, comics from the Arab world exclusively targeted children and were used by the ruling totalitarian authorities (military or religious) to control social morals and impose political and ideological agendas.

The Arab Revolutions of the past decade paved the way for the rise of independent collectives of artists from various Arab countries, seeking freedom of expression and creating a network of sharing experiences that has been and continues to shape the comics scene today.

Featuring some 120 artworks by over thirty artists and five collectives, this powerful exhibition of comic art introduces a variety of genres breaking the boundaries of social and political taboos with a leading role for women, these collectives and independent artists are becoming the voice of the youth across the region.

This exhibition is sponsored by The Rada and Mutaz Sawaf Center for Arab comics studies at the American University of Beirut.

“We’re delighted to be hosting such a range of comic art, putting internationally-created comic art, past and present, in the spotlight,” says Julie Tait. “These three exhibitions complement our aim of capturing a flavour international talent, through our guest line-up, amazing exhibitors, and live events.”

Festival Line-Up Additions and Changes

Quizzer Jenny Ryan, of The Chase fame, will now host the Saturday night Pub Quiz in the (Comics) Art Bar
Quizzer Jenny Ryan, of The Chase fame, will now host the Saturday night Pub Quiz in the (Comics) Art Bar

With just over a fortnight to go before the weekend-long Festival, joining the line-up are award-winning Canadian comic creators Francis Desharnais and Philippe Girard.

Jenny Ryan, star of ITV’s The Chase, has also been announced, replacing fellow comedian Lucy Porter as host of the Festival’s special Saturday night Pub Quiz.

Unfortunately, comic creators Steve and Annie Parkhouse have had to bow out of this year’s event for health reasons. “We wish them both well,” says Festival Director Julie Tait.

Fellow Resident Alien creator, writer Peter Hogan, will still be at the Festival, talking to British comics veteran John Freeman about the project and his long career.

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

• 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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Collectives For Change: Comics From The Arab World is curated by Lina Ghaibeh & George Khoury (JAD) and organised by the Rada And Mutaz Sawaf Center For Arab Comics Studies at the American University Of Beirut in partnership with The Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Art Director: Haya El Bizri Exhibition Design: Haya El Bizri & Hana Hammour Editing & Translation: Safaa Ibrahim

Featured Artists (in alphabetical order) from Collectives: Comic 4 Syria (Syria), Diala Brisly, Salam Al Hassan, Lab 619 (Tunisia), Abir Gasmi, Kamal Zakkour, Moez Tabia, Noha Hbaieb, Salim Zerrouki, Sid Ali Dekar, Samanda L (Lebanon), Fouad Mezher, Joseph Kai, Lena Merhej, Nour Hiffaoui, Raphaelle Macaron, Tracy Chahwan, Skefkef (Morocco), Abid Ayoub / Normal, Mehdi Annassi (Machima), Mohamad Bellaoui (Rebel), Toktok (Egypt), Ahmed Toufig, Migo, Mohamad Salah, Mohamed Tawfik, Shennawy.

Independent Artists featured (in alphabetical order): Bernard Hage, Deena Mohamed, Mai Koraiem, Mazen Kerbaj, Mohamad Wahba, Othman Selmi, Seif Eddine Nechi, Zeinab Fasiki and Zineb Benjelloun.

Festival Guests

Francis Desharnais

Francis Desharnais is a French-Canadian author now living on an island in the middle of the Saint-Lawrence River.

Sometimes writer, sometimes artist, sometimes both at the same time, his work is mainly published by Pow Pow Press.

Two of his books have been translated into English: Art Wars and Little Russia, the latter about Francis’s grand-parents who founded a cooperative village in Abitibi, located in the north of Quebec.

Little Russia won numerous awards, including the ACBD Quebec prize in 2019, given by an association of comics critics from Canada and Europe.

Philippe Girard

Philippe Girard was born in Québec City, Canada, in 1971. His comics have received the Joe Shuster, the Bédélys Québec and the Bédéis Causa Awards.He published his first comic strip around the age of nine and has since published more than 20 books.

During his studies, he drew in various school newspapers, before launching the fanzine Tabasko!, with Djief and Leif Tande.

After graduating in graphic design from Laval University in 1993, he completed a traineeship in Brussels at Spirou HeBDo in 1998 and participated in the founding of the Mécanique Générale structure. He spent the autumn of 2010 in Bordeaux for a writing residency and repeated the experience in Kraków in 2019, and again in Liège in 2022.

His work explores the themes of identity and death, notably with Tuer Vélasquez (Glénat Québec), recounting his disputes with a paedophile priest, and Leonard Cohen On a Wire (Drawn and Quarterly) devoted to Montreal singer Leonard Cohen.

Recently, his graphic novel Danger Public was adapted for the big screen by Alexis Chartrand. He had just launched Supercanon! (Casterman), a work of fiction around the life of Canadian engineer and arms dealer, Gerald Bull.

Bradley Walsh and Jenny Ryan on the set of The Chase. Photo: ITV
Bradley Walsh and Jenny Ryan on the set of The Chase. Photo: ITV

Jenny Ryan, aka “The Bolton Brainiac”, in reference to her beloved hometown, is a professional quizzer, broadcaster and singer, best known as “The Vixen”, in reference to her red hair and sharp brain, on ITV’s smash hit teatime quiz show The Chase and its primetime sister show, Beat the Chasers.

Before joining the show in 2015, Jenny was a serial quiz show contestant, who you might have seen on shows such as University Challenge, Mastermind, and Only Connect (as one-third of Series 3 champions The Gamblers).

Eagle-eyed quiz fans might also have spotted her name in the credits of shows including The Weakest Link and QI, having served her time on the other side of the cameras as a researcher and writer.

As one of the six Chasers on The Chase, Jenny spends her time intimidating contestants (members of the public and celebrities alike), showing off her general knowledge and exchanging barbs with Britain’s favourite host Bradley Walsh.

Away from quizzing and scaring people into taking the low offer, Jenny, a talented singer and musician, is passionate about music – in particular singing and playing ukulele.

Her fellow Chasers were thrilled to be the winners of BBC1’s Let’s Sing & Dance For Comic Relief, performing a medley from “The Wizard Of Oz”. In 2019, Jenny showed off her vocal ability as she took to the stage on The X Factor: Celebrity. She wowed both the judges and the audience and made it all the way to the final, finishing on a high note as runner-up with her rendition of “Edge of Glory”.

Jenny and her fellow quiz enthusiast Lucy Porter have their own hugely successful podcast on the topic, Fingers On Buzzers. Sharing their passion for quizzing in all its forms, Jenny and Lucy chat to guests ranging from enthusiastic amateurs to the people who make our favourite programmes.

From the Bullseye contestant who explains how to share the star prize when it’s a car, to celebrity quiz fans and experts such as Michael Sheen, Richard Osman and Les Dennis, there’s nostalgia and tips for everyone.

Bowness is being taken over by comic art, exhibited in various retailer windows across the lakeside town
Bowness is being taken over by comic art, exhibited in various retailer windows across the lakeside town

Festival Guests in 2023

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, Francis Desharnais , Gustavo Duarte, Wallis Eates, Hunt Emerson, Massimo Fenati, David Gaffney, Gerhard, Lina Ghaibeh, Dave Gibbons, Philippe Girard, 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, Eva Pavlič, Jacob Phillips, Sean Phillips, Pieter de Poortere, Kevin Eric Raymundo, Tom Richmond, Peter Rogiers, Marek Rubec, Jenny Ryan, 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

Hoards of Surrey by Alex Moore

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

B7 Media - Pilgrim #2 Kickstarter Campaign Promo

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 | Buy your Festival tickets here

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

Sign up for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Newsletter

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