Media eyes may be turned toward San Diego Comic Con right now, the biggest comics convention in the United States – but in Kendal, Cumbria, the organisers of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (18th – 20th October 2013) know that major event started form the small acorns they are seeding right now in northern England.
The first San Diego Comic Con in 1970 attracted just 300 attendees – but the event in the Lakes is already on course to outstrip that, with growing advance ticket sales bouyed by LICAF’s impressive guest list that includes top names from the world of comics on both sides of the Atlantic such as award-winning author Ed Brubaker, Joe Sacco, Guardian cartoonists Posy Simmonds, Steve Bell and V for Vendetta co-creator David Lloyd.
With three months to go, the pressure’s on to encourage comics fans to not only book their tickets for key events but their accommodation too, with Kendal’s Premier Inn backing the event with a special competition, joining a growing list of both local and national sponsors.
Premier Inn Kendal is offering two nights’ dinner bed and breakfast for two, plus a super pass for two to the Festival which is for any eight events (not including workshops) and unlimited access to the Comics Clock Tower. All people have to do is follow the premierinn twitter account (https://twitter.com/premierinn) and retweet tweets! (Full competition rules below)
— Premier Inn (@premierinn) July 18, 2013
LICAF may have some 70 British and US guests, but its model – planned out with award-winning author Bryan Talbot and other patrons of the ground-breaking event – has taken its lead from the huge success of continental comic events such as Angouleme in France, which regularly attracts 200,000 visitors to the town, and the successful Thought Bubble convention in Leeds, now in its seventh year.
The event model comprises a free programme of exhibitions, family activities and more, anchored by a special gathering of creators and exhibitors at Kendal’s landmark Clock Tower – and paid events with key big name comic creators at the Brewery Arts Centre. Only limited places are available for these.
“I can’t stress enough that people need to book to ensure access to these great guests and events,” Festival Director Julie Tait, who is busy fine tuning the programming for the weekend and keen to remind would-be attendees of the impressive guest list.
Ed Brubaker is just one of the major US guests, a writer who has won the Best Writer Award in the Harveys and the Eisners five times since 2006. His work with British artist and Festival patron Sean Phillips on Sleeper, Criminal, Fatale, and Incognito, has been translated around the world to great acclaim.
“People still don’t realise Ed is coming,” she notes. “It’s his first ever visit to the UK and to a UK comic art event.”
Recent addition to the programme include an exhibition of work by locally-based comic artist Sean Phillips, whose work has inspired a new book, The Art of Sean Phillips, which will be launched at the festival. New to the guest list are US writer Trina Robbins, who has been writing and drawing comics since before she produced the first all-woman comic book, It Ain’t Me, Babe, in 1970. She also writes award-winning graphic novels for young readers and books about women.
Also on board are acclaimed DC Comics and Marvel artist Steve Leailoha; and Judge Dredd artist Simon Fraser, whose credits include the acclaimed Nikolai Dante series for 2000AD. Simon joins a number of other creators for a special 2000AD event that includes the comic’s co-creator John Wagner, artist Carlos Ezquerra, former editor David Bishop, Robbie Morrison, Dave Taylor and Gary Erskine.
John Allison, winner of British Comic Award 2012 will also be at LICAF, offering eight exclusive portfolio sessions for aspiring comic creators.
The full exhibitions programme will be announced next week ,which will include work by Hannah Berry, Stephen Collins, Andy Poyiadgi, Gareth Brookes, a Bryan Talbot retrospective, the Graphic Short Story Prize shortlist organised by the Observer newsapaper, publishers Cape and the London-based Comica.
“We will also be unveiling our Fnarr Bar,” says Julie, “a special comic art bar for weekend featuring a Viz exhibition including original artwork and memorabilia!”
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival costs £25 for 4 daytime premium events, unlimited access to the Comics Clock Tower, with more than 70 creators and exhibitors, plus a free programme of exhibitions, family activity and more. Book now – limited places available for paid events. More info: www.comicartfestival.com
Here’s full details of the Premier Inn competition:
Premier Inn Kendal is offering two nights’ dinner bed and breakfast for two, plus a super pass for two to the Festival which is for any eight events (not including workshops) and unlimited access to the Comics Clock Tower. All people have to do is follow the premierinn twitter account (https://twitter.com/premierinn) and retweet tweets!
Terms and Conditions:
– Employees of Whitbread, associate companies and their immediate families are not eligible to enter
– The starting date for this competition is 9am, Thursday 18th July 2013
– The closing date for this competition is 5pm, Thursday 1st August 2013. This will also be announced on the Twitter feed www.twitter.com/premierinn
– Travel expenses are not included
– Entrants must be aged 18 or over
– Only one entry per person
– Entrants must follow the @premierinn Twitter handle to be eligible
– The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative
– The winner will drawn at random after the closing date
– Whitbread’s decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into
LICAF also has two other fabulous competitions still open for entries: Design a Character for The Beano and the Young Persons Comic Art Competition.
• Visit their website for more information on: http://www.comicartfestival.com/competitions