The inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival took place in a rather damp Kendal over the weekend of 18-20 October 2013. The festival had a great many creators selling their wares in both the main sales venue, Kendal Town Hall which had become the Comics Clock Tower for the weekend, and in the various shops and units in the nearby Westmorland Shopping Centre. Here are a few of the people who were there:
We don’t let editor John Freeman out of Downthetubes Towers too often so this was something of a treat for everyone, who was talking about his day job at ROK Comics to digital comic fans, as well as selling some issues of Strip and the Print Media hardbacks Mirabilis Book 1 and Frontier, published by Print Media, whose digital editions are produced by ROK.
He also had clear out of his attic from his time editing at Marvel UK with copies of Knights of Pendragon and Death’s Head amongst others for sale. John even managed to find a few copies of the last issue of British comics fanzine Eagle Flies Again (was it really from 2006?) which brought most of the downthetubes family together in the first place.
On one side of John was artist and writer Emma Vieceli displaying her books, comics and artwork, including her Vampire Academy title Frostbite. The last time we featured Emma on downthetubes was at the Edinburgh BookFest’s Stripped weekend when her wrist and arm were still in a bandage so it is good to know that she is now fighting fit again.
Emma Vieceli’s website is here with links to her various social media.
On the other side of John was artist Gary Erskine who had worked on some of those Marvel UK books with John. Gary sells prints and sketches plus the Roller Grrrls Sketchbook which covers the new comics series that he is working on with wife Mhairi Stewart who was running workshops in the Shopping Centre over the weekend.
One of the series that I have been reviewing on downthetubes is Accent UK’s WesterNoir about Josiah Black a demon hunter in the Old West. The series is written by Dave West and illustrated by Gary Crutchley and has just reached its issue 3. Dave West, above centre, was on the Accent UK stall to promote not just WesterNoir but also the rest of the company’s titles.
There are more details of all Accent UK’s titles on their website.
As well as small press and other creators, the Comics Clock Tower had a rolling selection of LICAF guests signing and sketching with the queues controlled in the corridors outside to prevent sellers tables becoming trapped behind signing queues. Above artist Carlos Ezquerra signed and sketched as well as offering full-page Judge Dredd artwork for sale.
One thing noticeably absent at Lakes was a lot of cosplayers, although the local press managed to find the few that were there of course. Perhaps it was the weather or the geographical split of the various venues, or maybe because there were only few manga creators in attendance. However Maisie Stevenson, who received a round of applause at Bryan Talbot’s anthropomorphic talk, was there as Billie the badger from Bryan’s Grandville series to promote the new series of 28mm miniature figures from Grandville Miniatures which now includes Billie as well as LeBrock and Ratzi.
There are more details of the Grandville Miniatures on their website.
Downstairs in the main council chamber writer/artist Garen Ewing signed and sketched copies of his Complete Rainbow Orchid and its individual volumes as well as selling copies of his self-published Rainbow Orchid Supplement while being gazed down upon by former Kendal mayors.
There are more details of The Rainbow Orchid at Garen’s Adventures Of Julius Chancer website.
Beside Garen was Kristyna Baczynski and her selection of her own small press publications, prints and cards as well as some of the small press anthologies that she has been involved with such as Masquerade from Girls Who Draw and the tabloid-sized Paper Science.
Glasgow’s Black Hearted Press made it across the border to Lakes with writer John Farman promoting their selection of titles including Maximum Alan written by Ross Leonard and illustrated by Brian Rankin and Laptop Guy written by Jack Lothian and illustrated by Sha Nazir.
There are more details of all Black Hearted Press’ titles on their website.
Also from Glasgow were the girls from Team Girl Comic with editor Gillian Hatcher on the left displaying various issue of TGC as well as some of her own publications, and the guys from Braw Books with writer/artist Adam Smith on the left showing off various Braw titles including Dave Alexander’s McBam Brothers and Hugh McKenna’s work as Shug ’90.
Lastly, in the Comics Clock Tower at least, were Cinebook with their usual impressive array of English translations of Franco-Belgian bandes dessinees albums. Here Aldous Russell shows off Siobhan, the first book in their new series Lament of The Lost Moors by Crusade writer Jean Dufaux and Thorgal artist Grzegorz Rosinski.
There are more details of all Cinebook’s titles on their website.
As well as the Comics Clock Tower, the Westmorland Shopping Centre was also used as a location of creators with various empty shop units being opened up for the weekend and handed over to comics people. Artists Tim Perkins (above) and Dave Windett (below) had a shop unit to themselves with Tim promoting his Worlds End graphic novel and its various spin offs while Dave had copies of his new Kaci Bell Mysteries book which was written by John Gatehouse.
There are more details of Worlds End Volume 1: The Riders On The Storm at the Wizard’s Keep website.
There are more details of The Kaci Bell Mysteries as well as the beginning of the story at the Kaci Bell website.
With Gary Erskine slaving over sketches in the Comics Clock Tower, the other half of Perfect Spiral, Mhairi Stewart, was in the shop unit beside Tim and Dave taking comics workshops of a rather wide variety of ages. This unit had large windows looking into the shopping centre which were soon filled with a selection of artwork for the children and teenagers taking part.
You can find out more about Mhairi Stewart and Gary Erskine’s workshops on the Perfect Spiral website.
Finally the Waterstones shop in the shopping centre put on a wide-ranging selection of signing sessions with various guests and creators over the weekend. Here artist Bambos Georgiou, one of the team on the daily Wallace and Gromit strip that has just finished its run in The Sun, keeps shoppers large and small fascinated as he draws the animated duo.
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival website is here.
• Jeremy Briggs’ overview of Lakes 2013 is here.
News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus DC Thomson’s The Art Of Ian Kennedy, Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.