§ The Lakes comics events was held this past weekend, and it sounds like the most bucolic new show in some time—an entire picturesque English village went comics crazy for a few days. Plus it had a poster by Bryan Talbot, above, so it was a winner from the git go. It’s already boasting of a return engagement next year.
IF A festival could have its own speech bubble then this one would be saying: ‘Let’s do that again!” The first Lakes International Comic Art Festival went down a storm in Kendal at the weekend. Thousands of fans flocked to see their real life superheroes – as artists flew in from around the world to draw live, or tell their stories. Queues snaked around The Brewery Arts Centre as people waited to see top names, like Times cartoonist Steve Bell, and Costa-award winning artist-writer duo Bryan and Mary Talbot. Meanwhile, at The Box, Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard was a sell-out event. At the venue, Guardian cartoonist Stephen Collins and Hilda author Luke Pearson created artworks live to a studio audience.
How bucolic was it?
Street shop windows were lined with cartoons from local school and colleges, paving the way to shops selling the festival’s own limited edition Tall Toad beer, created by Hawkshead Brewery. In the Westmorland Shopping Centre, Windermere cartoonist Colin Shelbourn helped the public create a 124-metre cartoon strip. The festival’s director, Julie Tait, said the event’s first year had proved a huge success for comic artists, graphic novel enthusiasts, and the community of South Lakeland. “She added: “Our first year has been everything we could have wished for. “There was a huge buzz right through Kendal – from The Brewery Arts Centre right to The Box on Wildman Street, as well as at the shopping centre and the library.
From The Brewery to The Box. Who could have predicted that?
The local paper, Cumbria Live, has seemingly around the clock treatment, including a report that the great Posy Simmonds has been going to strip clubs—but just to research her next book.
The multi-awarding artist whose works include Tamara Drewe amd Gemma Bovery revealed to an audience at the Comic Art Festival in Kendal that she had been to lap dancing clubs and training classes to research her next graphic novel. “I nearly wasn’t allowed in,” she said, adding: “Eventually they let me in just to have a peer and it was a truly sad place.”
Meanwhile, the show perhaps prompted a few more “comics are great” pieces in the UK press, like this from the BBC
There are now thought to be about 150 comic scholars in the UK – university lecturers, PhD students and independent researchers. They are exploring how subjects such as gender, feminism, history and mental and physical health are portrayed. Dr Mel Gibson, a comic book expert at Northumbria University, said the genre had “matured” in the 1980s, mainly thanks to British writers such as Bryan Talbot, Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. “That’s also when academics got involved. But it’s not ivory tower stuff, it’s rooted in the real world. It has practical applications,” she said.
§ Meanwhile, closer to home, The Fun Home musical, based on Alison Bechdel’s revered book. is about to have an official opening, after previews. The run has already been extended, and I suppose I better get my ass down to the Public.
§ Cartoonist Hazel Newlevant, who just won the Queer Press Grant, already saw the show, and has a lovely comic about it at the above link. Newlevant is a name to watch, I think.
§ Are we still talking about New York Comic Con? Yes. Deb Aoki rounds up all the manga happenings and found it somewhat diminished, despite the best efforts of Attack on Titan. Still lots of news and a picture of Kazuo Koike in the link.
§ I don’t quite know what to make of this story, but it seems that a female sergeant in the US Army who was murdered by her boyfriend and because she was a big fan of SpongeBob SquarePants, and thus a memorial to her in the shape of SpongeBob in military garb was put up and then taken down because the cemetery said it wasn’t allowed. Her family had paid thousands of dollars for the 7,000 pound monuments, and it seems very sad and tragic. Because SpongeBob was involved and I read this on Examiner.com, I was wondering if it was some kind of prank, but no, the story was originally reported in the Daily News. The cemetery directors say other families have to be taken into account. I can kinda see that but the family says they got it okayed first. Hopefully some kind of resolution can be found for this.
§ Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is still putting off any female-led superhero movies until 2016, which logically is how the schedule rolls out.
“We make two movies a year, we’ve planned through 2015 and we have some ideas of what we’re doing in 2016 and 2017, so we’ll see what happens,” Feige said. Right now, Marvel has “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man” schedule for release between now and July 31, 2015. While speculation about additional Marvel films has focused on Doctor Strange and Black Panther, it had been assumed that the studio would try to spin Johansson’s character off into her own film.
Confession time: I don’t want to see a movie with ScarJo as Black Widow. She’s no action hero. Sorry. But I’m sure Marvel will work something out in the next two years.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.