Here’s the first of our spotlights on the guests attending the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October 2015, starting with internationally-acclaimed Shojo artist Akiko Hatsu.
Born in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, Akiko Hatsu worked as assistant to her older sister, the manga artist Yukiko Kai, and after Kai’s death in 1981 debuted in the magazine ALLAN (published by Minori Shoten) with her own story “Nami no Banka (Elegy of the Waves)”.
She has published many other works in different magazines, and is currently contributing the serials “Nemuki +” (Asahi Shinbun Shuppan) and “flowers” (Shogakukan), among others, to magazines on a regular basis.
Her most famous work is Uryudo Dream Tales, a series of short stories about strange items that are brought into an antique shop called Uryudo, with the grandson of the owner, Ren, being the main character, and a series of short stories set among the upper classes in Victorian England, entitled Beautiful England Series.
Her stories cover a wide range of themes from traditional Japanese settings to those set overseas, and involve a mixture of Japanese and western elements. This, along with her ability to create upright, noble characters drawn in beautiful colours, has won her many fans.
• Official Site (in Japanese): www003.upp.so-net.ne.jp/namibanpa
• Tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival go on sale from 3rd June 2015.
• For the latest news on the 2015 Lakes International Comic Art Festival visit: www.comicartfestival.com
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International guests announced so far are award-winning Canadian artist Darwyn Cooke, Simpsons Comics artist Bill Morrison (thanks to the National Cartoonists Society in the US), Boulet, Winsluss, Benoit Peeters and Antoine Cossé – with many more to come.
Announced British guests include Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, 24 Hour Marathon organiser and artist Dan Berry; graphic novelist Joe Decie, who is working on a longform project thanks to funding from the Lakes Festival; Oliver East, author of titles such as Trains Are Mint, who is working on another project with the Festival following the success of The Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn; internationally-acclaimed cartoonist Hunt Emerson, creator of Calculus Cat; author David Gaffney, who has recently been working with Dan Berry on a new graphic novel, The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head; award winning comics writer Kieron Gillen; and UK-based stitcher and prolific tea drinker Felt Mistress AKA Louise Evans, who has created a range of one-off bespoke creatures with her partner, illustrator Jonathan Edwards, including Poblin, the Festival’s mascot; and the internationally-acclaimed illustrator and graphic novelist Dave McKean.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking place in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas – the English Lake District in the North West of the country and in the market town of Kendal. Modelled on European-style festivals, such as Angoulême in France, it takes over a whole town for a weekend with comic art. Its aim is to celebrate the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic art fans and creators and, it hopes, generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.
The hugely successful 2014 Festival in Kendal featured a stellar cast of both British and international creators and a number of special exhibitions, and attracted thousands of fans young and old to the Lake District town.
The Festival’s dedicated organisers are determined to build on last year’s visitors numbers still further, reflecting their aim to deliver a truly European-style comics festival involving the whole of the local community and visitors in a truly unique comics experience.
Festival-connected events in the run up to the 2015 weekend include a partnership with the Friends of Lancaster Library for Lancaster Comics Day (Sunday 14th June), which will see the announcement of the winners, and the publication of the “Lost in Space” digital anthology June, which is being produced in partnership with Titan Comics and will include a cover by Festival patron Sean Phillips. Announced guests at that event include comic writer Andy Diggle, Eddie Robson and Tim Quinn, artist Dave Taylor and editor John Freeman.
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. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 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.