Over this past weekend, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival revealed the winners of this year’s student art competition, Spirit of the Lakes, which aimed to help mark the centenary year of the ground breaking graphic storyteller Will Eisner.
Students across the globe were invited to celebrate the incredible creative comic art legacy of Will Eisner and his iconic vigilante – The Spirit – by imagining a vigilante hero or heroine for the Lake District.
Students submitted entries for the Revealing the Spirit of the Lake District competition, judged by Festival Patron and comics artist Sean Phillips and crime author Ian Rankin, which included comic strips, single illustrations or a series of illustrations reflecting Eisner’s comic style in The Spirit. Their interpretations illustrated crime drama, adventure, mystery, horror, comedy and creative reinterpretations of an original artwork from The Spirit newspaper strip – with a Lake District comic art twist.
The winners of the competition – Thomas J. De Greeve and Hazel Patricia Mason – were announced at a special event on Saturday 14th October at the Brewery Arts Centre with representatives of the University of Cumbria, who supported this special project, on hand to announce them.
They will both receive a £50 voucher for the Page 45 comic shop and a LICAF goody bag.
“I found it incredibly hard to choose a winner from the shortlist,” says judge Ian Rankin. “There was great talent on display and an exciting range of approaches. It was nice to see a bit of humour, too. All in all a tough competition and worthy winners.”
“The student art competition has become an integral part of the Festival’s activities beyond our annual weekend of events in October,” says Festival Director Julie Tait. “Every year, we’re simply astonished by the breadth of talent we see.”
The top five entries are now on display in the Warehouse Café at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, until 5th November, alongside The Spirit of Eisner exhibition.
Marking the centenary, the Festival has also published a Spirit Centenary Newspaper, featuring a cover by Becky Cloonan and work by Brendan McCarthy, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, Chris Samnee, John M Burns, Sergio Aragones, Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo, Seth, Jason Latour, Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch, and Michael Cho. (We have more information here).
The project, the brainchild of comics academic John McShane, was realised with support from IDW Publishing and Kitchen Sink Press publisher Denis Kitchen. Proceeds from sales will go to LICAF’s Creators’ Development Fund.
The special publication was on sale from Page 45 in the Comics Clock Tower over the Festival weekend and is now available worldwide online from the Nottingham-based retailer (and fervent supporter of the Festival) after the event – while stocks last.
“I don’t know how real editors do it, but curating this project has been well worth the wait,” says Sean Phillips, who edited the project and will be signing copies in the Page 45 Georgian Room in the Clock Tower from 11.00am on Sunday morning.
“All the creators involved have more than surpassed my expectations to produce a great tribute to Will Eisner’s The Spirit,” he adds. “The creators include some of my favourite artists and writers and the hard part was deciding who to ask!”
Celebrating comic art from across the world, the Festival annually takes over the town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District and runs a number of comics outreach projects in partnership with other organisations, exploring the rich diversity of comics and comic creators throughout the year.
The 2017 Festival, which took place 13th – 15th October, brought the biggest names in comic art to Cumbria with over 70 special guests from across the comic world. Alongside many British creators, artists, creators and writers came from Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, Finland and other parts of Europe.
The Adventures of Kaptain Kayak by Thomas J. De Greeve
Glyndwr University, Wrexham | Twitter: @McSawndering
“My entry is basically a version of an old cover from the original comic by Will Eisner but with a character called The Spice,” says Lele Saa of her entry, “which is a ginger bread man (inspired by the delicious ginger bread cookies from Grasmere town). He has a carrot friend because everybody knows carrot and ginger make an amazing couple (carrot cake, for example) and an enemy which is a crazy tea pot that enjoys melting any kind of cookie with its fresh brewed tea.”
The Mountain by Miles Burchell and Elan McCausland
Writer: Miles Burchell and Artist: Elan McCausland
University of Cumbria – Brampton Road Campus
Twitter: @elanstration | Tumblr: elanstration.tumblr.com
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be back in Kendal 12th – 14th October 2018.
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.