Lakes International Comic Art Festival graphic novel launches revealed

This year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October in Kendal, will see the launch of several new graphic novels, including Barking by Lucy Sullivan from Unbound, commissioned by the organisation.

The weekend-long event in Kendal will also see a quick fire celebration of Myriad Editions first Graphic Novel Competition, spotlighting some terrific new works. The Festival line-up includes appearances by Rob Davis, illustrator and comic book designer Emma Price, Lucy Sullivan and Edward Taylor, the latter set to bring a wonderful Godzilla parody to Kendal in a new publication.

Showcasing at the Festival will be SelfMadeHero, a publisher world-renowned for the range and quality of their European titles.

Memoirs of a Book ThiefMarking the beginning of a new partnership between LICAF and the Italian Cultural Institute, a special event will focus on two recently-published books, Memoirs of a Book Thief and Fun: Spies, Puzzle Solvers and a Century of Crosswords by two of Italy’s most respected creators and Festival guests, Alessandro Tota and Paolo Bacilieri.

Memoirs of a Book Thief, featuring art by Pierre van Hove, also a guest of the Festival, is a psychologically astute comic that perfectly captures the posturing, desperation, and nonsense of the highbrow poetry scene of Paris in the 1950.

Fun: Spies, Puzzle Solvers and a Century of Crosswords is both an impeccably researched history and a playful literary crime story – a breathtakingly inventive graphic novel that explores the strange power of one of the world’s most popular pastimes, crossword puzzles.

The Book of Forks by Rob Davis - CoverSelfMadeHero also launch a brand new title by one of their most popular creators, Rob Davis – the eagerly-anticipated The Book of Forks, the final part of the trilogy that began with The Motherless Oven.

Another launch from SelfMadeHero is Mikel, by Mark Bellido, with art by Festival guest Judith Vanistendael.

Miquel is a sweet-seller who lives the life of a bon viveur with his wife and two children in the beautiful south of Spain. Money is always a problem, though, and Miquel’s dream of becoming a writer also causes problems in the family.

Mikel - CoverOn New Year’s Day, he decides to make some big changes to his life. To write a new book, he needs a good story and he’s sure he’ll find it in the Basque Country, where bodyguards are urgently needed to protect local politicians from the Basque separatist group, ETA.

Being a bodyguard, though, turns out not to be so much a job as a way of life: the uncertainty and the long working days destroy his family life, and fear permeates everything.

With its pure, sometimes garish pigments, Mikel tells a true story, based on the experiences of the author, Mark Bellido. With her brilliant use of colour, Judith Vanistendael depicts the light of a wild and rainy Basque Country. Reconciling the aesthetic demands with the tense style of the narrative, she scratches at the page, smearing it with colours and shapes, with streaks and overlapping images, to compose sublime double pages that become etched on the memory.

Festival patrons Bryan and Mary Talbot’s latest graphic novel, Rain, published by Jonathan Cape, also gets its official launch.

Rain is a complete departure from the award-winning creators’ previous biographical and historical collaborations, dealing instead with the here and now of environmental degradation that threatens us all.

The cover of Rain by Mary and Bryan Talbot, which will get its launch at this year's Festival, published by Jonathan Cape. Set against the backdrop of disastrous floods in the North of England, Rain dramatically chronicles the developing relationship between two young women, one of whom is a committed environmental campaigner. Their wild Brontë moorland is being criminally mismanaged, crops are being systematically poisoned and birds and animals are being slaughtered

The story follows the everyday experiences of ordinary people, while engaging with pollution, climate change, moorland mismanagement and the disruption, misery and loss that these things bring.

The characters are fictitious; what’s happening around them is shockingly real.

As part of its celebration of Belgian comics, this year’s Festival sees the launch of Joris Vermassen’s work, Mad with Joy, for the first time in English in partnership with the Flemish Literature Fund and published by Fanfare UK.

Het Zotte Geweld (Mad with Joy) by Joris VermassenTom is a stand-up comedian whose career isn’t going too well. As a result, his relationship is in the doldrums. His sister, with whom he has a close bond, is also seriously ill. He tries to spend as much time with her as possible, often taking her to see her favourite statue, ‘Mad with Joy’ by Rik Wouters – an ode to the joy of life. In spite of her illness, they still have plenty of fun together. But her inevitable end is approaching.

Us Two Together by Ephameron (Eva Cardon)Also being launched at the Festival is an English language edition of Wij twee samen (“Us Two Together”) by Belgian artist Ephameron, a moving autobiographical story to be published by from Penn State University Press about her father’s struggle with dementia and the impact of the disease on the family.

In this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, artist Ephameron chronicles her father’s losing battle with early-onset primary progressive aphasia (PPA) – a rare form of dementia that advanced slowly and left him unable to speak or to coordinate his thoughts and actions. A moving sequence of paper collage illustrations layered under text depicts Ephameron’s father’s decline and her family’s experience of caring for him. Compositional techniques combined with image, rhythm, and narrative work both to convey emotion and to frame illness in its context.

Unlike some other portrayals of dementia, Ephameron’s does not shy away from portraying the brutality of the disease. Us Two Together is a poetic and melancholic depiction of how dementia slowly disintegrates a body.

Barking by Lucy SullivanThe Festival is very excited to launch one of its 2019 co-commissions, Barking, with Unbound, by Lucy Sullivan.

Alix Otto is having a bad day. A year since the death of her friend, she finds herself hounded, haunted and driven to the brink. Caught by the police, Alix is sectioned and left in the hands of an umbrella system…

Barking is a tale of grief, madness and the ghosts that haunt us, of how, when your world is turned upside down, help isn’t always best left to the professionals.

Along with these book launches – plus new works being released by numerous Comics Clock Tower creators – the Festival is also celebrating the launch of Myriad Editions 2020 First Graphic Novel Competition, a challenge supported by LICAF.

“Myriad will pressgang a medley of cartoonists and graphic novelists, judges and supporters, into each presenting a five-minute Quick Strip,” Festival Director Julie Tait explains. “Previous entrants will showcase their work-in-progress, and judges will tell us about what they are looking for and the process that leads to publication a full-length graphic novel by the winning entrant.

“The competition is well known for publishing several of its shortlist, too, and we’re thrilled to continue our support for Myriad’s groundbreaking work.”

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Kendal at various venues across the town 11th – 13th October 2019

• Tickets for the 2019 Festival are on Sale Now at

• Web: | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast


Comic Artist Rob Davis

Comic Artist Rob Davis

Rob Davis began self-publishing his own comic, the highly experimental SLANG, in 1989. From there, Rob made the leap from experimental into traditional when he was employed by Fleetway to reinvent British comics icon Roy of the Rovers.

After a time drawing Judge Dredd, he began working as an illustrator and cartoonist for newspapers (including The Guardian) and children’s book publishers (including Scholastic). In the last few years, Rob has returned to comics, writing and drawing Doctor Who for Panini.

His books for SelfMadeHero include the Eisner-nominated The Complete Don Quixote and the abstract adventure trilogy that began with the British Comic-Award-winning The Motherless Oven, continued with The Can Opener’s Daughter and is completed by The Book of Forks, which launches at LICAF.

Follow Rob on Twitter @robgog

Emma Price

Emma Price

Emma Price is a multidisciplinary graphic designer and illustrator who, among other things, designs comic books.

She’s created logos and books with many talented teams including Image Comics’ Savage Town and Angelic, Vertigo’s Motherlands and Aftershock Comics’ Stronghold.

When not working on comics, she has been the creative lead on many digital campaigns for films such as The Incredibles 2, Thor Ragnarok and Atomic Blonde.

She is currently getting to grips with her latest creation, a six month old goblin who will hopefully join the family comics business as soon as he can work out how to hold a pen.

Follow Emma Price on Twitter @TinyMaster

Lucy Sullivan

Lucy Sullivan

Lucy Sullivan is an Artist, Author and Animator. Since graduating from Kingston University, she has co-directed and animated music videos, created pre-visuals and storyboards for film and television and taught Observational Drawing at a number of Universities.

In 2016 Lucy followed a life-long ambition and moved into comics. Her recents works include 1in4 Zines, part of the Welcome Library Zines catalogue, commissions for Black Hammer from Dark Horse Comics and as the invited artist on a collaboration with writer Ram V for the Thought Bubble Anthology.

She is passionate about breaking stigma around mental health and is an ambassador for the research based charity MQ. Her debut graphic novel Barking is published by Unbound, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival.

• Web: | Twitter: @LucySullivanUK | Instagram | Facebook

Art by Edward Taylor

Art by Edward Taylor

Edward Taylor is best known for his work with the Whalley Range All Stars, who were regular visitors to Kendal’s MintFest. You may remember a huge pig, a giant plant growing out the window of a disused shop in Elephant’s yard or a bad-tempered compost heap on the main street.

Their shows all start life as a long series of drawings which get turned into 3-D performances with real people and eye-catching props.

LICAF gives an opportunity for the drawings to take centre-stage. “Below the Ground Beneath our Feet” is a set of drawings featuring Godzilla attempting to hibernate in his underground cavern – the problem being, he’s not the only one below the ground.

There are underground rivers, rivers of oil, rivers of lava, fatbergs, the Chinese terracotta army, King Arthur’s Knights of the Templar and the living dead.

From time to time, things get a bit restless with unforeseen collisions of all these elements.

This exhibition relates to a kamishibai (paper theatre) show which will be presented during the festival and a small booklet that will be on sale.

Edward Taylor is online at

Moonlandigz Job Centre by Daddren Cullen

Moonlandigz Job Centre by Daddren Cullen


The announced Festival guests for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2019 are: Charlie Adlard, Paolo Bacilieri, Serge Baeken, Comics Laureate Hannah Berry, Charles Brownstein, Laurence Campbell, Kate Charlesworth, Becky Cloonan, Darren Cullen, Darryl Cunningham, Rob Davis, Robert Deas, Francis Desharnais, Garth Ennis, Ephameron, Duncan Fegredo, Loic Gaume, Ben Gijsemans, Árni Beck Gunnarsson, Jibé, Taina Hakala, Rikke Hollænder, Milena Huhta, ILYA, Marc Jackson, Lars Jakobsen, Staz Johnson, Sally Kindberg, Lisa Krusmaagi, Valentine Laffitte, Michael Lark, David Leach, Pascal Lemaitre, Lee Loughridge, Luke McGarry, Steve McGarry, John McCrea, Junko Mizuno, Søren Mosdal, Benoit Peeters, Jacob Phillips, Arthur de Pins, Emma Price, Kristina Ricken, Julie Rocheleau, Rune Ryberg, Marine Schneider, Declan Shalvey, Joonas Sildre, Simon Spurrier, Lucy Sullivan, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot, Veiko Tammjarv, Edward Taylor, Kurly Tlapoyawa, Alessandro Tota, Fabien Toulme, Judith Vanistendael, Joris Vermassen, Nicolas Wild and Rob Williams

Profiles of announced guests feature here on the official Festival web site

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Kendal at various venues across the town 11th – 13th October 2019

• Tickets for the 2019 Festival are on Sale Now at

• Web: | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast

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1 reply

  1. Thank you, John, for making me laugh this morning – with Daddren Cullen’s “Moonlandigz Job Centre”. Those out-of-work astronauts could always have been given jobs clearing up the litter from the various moon shots that left manmade ‘junk’ behind!

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