This year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival will start with a bang, not a whimper, thanks to welcome sponsorship from Specsavers – one of several local businesses in Kendal that are backing the event when it returns for a third spectacular year in October.
Specsavers have generously backed the Festival’s Opening Night event with Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell – their sponsorship prompting the creation of a bespectacled “superbear” character for the weekend to rival Festival mascot Poblin and his mischievous gang!
“Comics are a perfect gateway to literacy and art sparks the imagination – with literacy and the imagination anything and everything is possible,” enthuses David Harrison, the Director of Specsavers, Kendal. “To be a part of that is a privilege for Kendal Specsavers”.
“Local business support is vital to the success of the Festival,” added LICAF Director Julie Tait. “We’re grateful for Specsavers support. It’s a welcome example of how much Kendal’s business community is behind the project, along with both local and national arts funders.”
The sponsorship means the opening night with Steve Bell will certainly be one to remember, and what better way to launch this year’s Festival after a General Election, Labour Party leadership battle and other political shenanigans?
Steve Bell’s career began working on children’s comics such as Whoopee, Cheeky and Jackpot. He has produced illustrations and comic strips for many different magazines including Social Work Today, Punch, Private Eye, New Society, the Radio Times, the New Statesman, the Spectator and Journalist. The list goes on and on.
His work has been exhibited all over the world, including at the Kunstverein in Hannover and the Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf in 2005, Lighting Lamps, organized by the British Council in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Egypt between 2007 and 2009, and Durham, North Carolina in February 2010.
For a third of a century Steve’s IF strip has been redefining the boundaries of political satire. In his cartoons our leaders have become grotesque monsters, and one Tory MP even wrote to The Guardian complaining that ‘to be forced to participate in Steve Bell’s perversions is degrading’. Now you can join Steve on a roller-coaster ride through the last five years of coalition government and bang up to date. Savage, funny, rude, transgressing all the rules of good taste and beautifully drawn, don’t make this evening IF but when.
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.