New comics from the Lakes Festival: “Coelifer Atlas” and “Carrot to the Stars”

Coelifer Atlas - Cover

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has recently published two great books as part of its developing publishing program.

They are Coelifer Atlas, this year’s special 24 Hour Marathon Comic project featuring a stellar line up of talent, which aims to raise awareness of the medical condition Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and has already raised £1000 for the charity OCD Action; and Carrot to the Stars, an English language edition of La carotte aux étoiles by Riff Reb’s.

Coelifer Atlas was written by Alex Paknadel and Dan Watters, and drawn by Dan Berry (editor), Craig ThompsonCharlie AdlardEmma VieceliPetteri TikannenBruce MutardNick BrokenshireBryan TalbotKen NiimuraJoe DecieMike Medaglia and Jacob Phillips, offering an exciting mix of styles of art for this challenging charity project.

Between them, they produced the comic on 13-14th October during the Festival weekend in Kendal, which was then printed and launched in the Comics Clock Tower.

OCD Action, the UK’s largest and most comprehensive OCD charity, provides accurate and up-to-date information on OCD and related conditions, runs a helpline, advocacy service, support group network and forum to help people with the disorder. They also work to raise awareness in the media and campaigns to improve access to quality treatment for OCD.

The opening spread of "Coelifer Atlas", art by Bryan Talbot

The opening spread of Coelifer Atlas, art by Bryan Talbot

“It takes me up to four days to produce one page of Grandville, other styles take me one to two days,” notes Bryan Talbot. “To have to draw and colour two pages in two hours was a terrifying prospect. I managed it (just about!) by coming up with a looser style, which was a revelation. I may well apply it to a graphic novel some day.

“The script was well-structured and very thought-provoking. I hope that it will get attention for the charity and be educational as regards the OCD condition.”

Coelifer Atlas art by Ken Niimura

Coelifer Atlas art by Ken Niimura

“It was a very challenging but fun comic to do,” says Ken Niimura, who also created this year’s Festival poster and whose work was exhibited over the weekend-long event – and curated a much-priased exhibition of manga art by five “Rising Stars” in the genre from Japan.

“The atmosphere among the creators was great, and having a clear goal in mind has helped us a lot. Personally, I hope this comic will help both people with OCD to see a representation of how they might feel, and I hope it’ll help raise more awareness. I love the final sequences.”

“It was an honour and a joy to be a part of this great comic,” says Bruce Mutard. “The honour was due to being asked to work alongside Charlie Adlard, Emma Vieceli, Petteri Tikkanen, Joe Decie and Craig Thompson when I was in the workroom. I still think I was included by mistake, but heck, I’ll take what I can get.

“I thought the script was excellent (and I’m a hard critic of comics writing), and though I thought some of what was being asked of the two pages was in no way possible to be done in two hours, we were allowed to prepare as much as we needed beforehand. I did everything up to full pencils beforehand, reserving the inks for my two hours, which actually took me six – wet graveyards!!

“Watching the others burn through their pages – layout, pencils, inks and colours in three hours or so was humbling and made me feel like an amateur, but I will pretend I drew more lines in my two pages than the rest put together! The result was fabulous, and in part huge thanks go to Julie Tait for making it possible, but also to single out Dan Berry, the jack of all trades and master of many, who did all the techy, computery stuff that made it possible.”

“Speed, coffee, company… my memories of the 24 hour comic. The company especially!” laughs Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard. That was  special.  I loved working with everyone – a great sense of camaraderie – something I never experience on my own at home.”

“Leaping in and trying to work with unfamiliar tools to make pages in a short time was, in a way, harder than the full 24 hours where we have time to get into the zone,” says Emma Vieceli. “I definitely had to alter my plans as time slipped away from me… but what a wonderful result to be a part of.

“There’s something special about seeing the results, as twelve entirely different styles and approaches come together, with accidentally lovely colour transitions and some fantastic rendering choices. I’m so proud to have drawn alongside these amazing artists.”

“Coelifer Atlas was fun to make,” says Petteri Tikkanen. “I could have done better (art wise) but I was too busy talking with other professionals working in the same room (I usually work alone). And I also wanted see how others do their magic.

“Still, I think that the story flows quite well through my clumsy panels. I loved Craig Thompsons last page of the book so much I had to buy it. Supporting good cause and getting your favourite artists original art to hang at your wall at the same prize, what a bargain.”

The final book is beautiful and moving and I am so happy to have been part of it,” says Mike Medaglia. “But it is no surprise that it came together so nicely as the process of making Coelifer Atlas was as fun as it was enlightening. There was a real sense that we were making something that would help give a voice to a condition that so many people suffer through it silence. Grab a copy while they last, you won’t regret it!”

Carrot to the Stars - Cover

Carrot to the Stars

“Some dream of love
“While dancing in the moonlight.”

This year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival hosted the official global English language launch of Carrot to the Stars (La carotte aux étoiles), a very special book that’s created a storm in France, which the Lakes Festival team worked hard on to translate and produce in English in time for this year’s event.

“Not only did we managed to pull it off, but we were delighted that its artist, Riff Reb’s joined us especially to launch the new edition with its publishing Director, Pascal Meriaux, who also organises the Amiens Comics Festival,” says festival Director Julie Tait.

“It’s a funny, moral tale for  eight to 14 year-olds, with a unique graphic style.”

Carrot to the Stars - Sample Page 1 Carrot to the Stars - Sample Page 4 Carrot to the Stars - Sample Page 3 Carrot to the Stars - Sample Page 2Carrot to the Stars is a cautionary, all-ages fable, it has an elegant and eloquent simplicity, and a fearful symmetry whose missing element will haunt me for decades,” enthuses Festival patron and Page 45 owner Stephen L. Holland. “Except that, as drawn by Riff, it isn’t entirely missing, and therein lies the power of its punch.

“I cannot be more specific than that, but you will know what I mean when you see it.

“The cautionary aspect is emphatically not about dreaming – how tragic would that be? – nor about invention or industriousness. This isn’t some sort of awful, prohibitive, Daedalus and Icarus yarn.”

Instead, says Stephen, it says positively that “Aspiration should be encouraged. Not even the sky is your limit.

“Instead, the cautionary note lies in entrusting your dreams to those with less beneficent interests than your own. It is about the perversion of dreams, and it boasts a specific, all too awful pertinence to our wider world today, and indeed throughout the ages with one particular instance in mind.”

The fifth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 13th-15th October 2017, celebrating great comic art from across the world. The first announced guest for 2017 is MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who will be presenting the first ever NCS Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art.

The Festival’s plans for next year also include special tributes to Will Eisner, creator of “The Spirit” and Tove Jansson, creator of “The Moomins”.

Coelifer Atlas is available now from Page 45, and will be available through other outlets in the near future. All profits from the sale of this special comic will go to OCD Action, alongside a percentage from other LICAF merchandise

Carrot the Stars is available now from Page 45 here, along with Stephen’s full review, and will be available through other outlets in the near future

• For more about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival visit: | Find the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on Facebook | Follow the Festival on Twitter @comicartfest

• For more information about OCD Action visit

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