Flagship British comics events Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (LICAF) and Thought Bubble have announced their first wave of guests for 2023 – plus an additional rundown of other UK cons and festivals taking place in the coming months. 

LICAF 2023 – Initial guests of Dave McKean, Nick Sulek (Awkward Yeti), Lucie Lomová and Mohamed Salah, from Britain, USA, Czech Republic, and Egypt continue the festival’s trend of emphasising international comics. LICAF 2023’s festival poster was also designed by Mohamed Salah. 

Mohamed Salah’s poster for LICAF 2023

LICAF said:

“We’re delighted to reveal our first guests for our annual gathering this autumn (Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October) – and this year’s haunting Festival art by Egyptian comic creator, Mohamed Salah.”

LICAF festival director Julie Tate said:

“We’ve got a host of surprises lined up for this year’s Festival. Not just a great, diverse, world-spanning comic creator lineup, but exhibitions, kids stuff to stir imaginations, and much more.”

Talking about his LICAF 2023 poster design, multimedia artist Mohamed Salah said:

“I thought of the Festival’s poster as a celebration of stories. Stories, I believe, are the closest thing we have to a collective memory, a bridge connecting our past and future. I wanted to capture the ‘sense of wonder’ that makes them just that.” 


“And to have a good looking lake, of course!”

LICAF 2023 will take place at a slightly earlier date than previous years – shifting from a date much later (and wetter) in October to the weekend at the end of September, once again in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria. 

In 2022 LICAF relocated from Kendal to Bowness-on-Windermere for its 10th anniversary. With a new location came some teething problems which is seems the festival has taken to heart and made some adjustments for 2023.

According to LICAF festival director Julie Tate:

“We’re focusing more on fewer locations across the town, this year…building on last year’s experience, our first year in a new location.”

Over 90 creators and exhibitors have already been announced for the festival’s Comics Marketplace which can be viewed here.

THOUGHT BUBBLE 2023, which takes place annually in Harrogate, has announced its first wave of guests for the 2023 convention, scheduled to take place the weekend of November 11 and 12.

North American creators Jeff Lemire, ND Stevenson, Molly Knox Ostertag, and Natalie Andrewson will join Brits John Wagner, Dapo Adeola, Sonia Leong, Zoe Thorogood and Christian Ward.

Thought Bubble 2023 has yet to announce exhibitors but it seems this year might have seen its largest number of applications – reportedly in the range of 900.

In a social media post in February, Thought Bubble said:

“Applications for 2023’s Comic Convention are now closed! We are absolutely blown away to say that we have almost 900 (NINE! HUNDRED) applications… which is way more than we’re ever had!!

“It’s so exciting to see so many of you amazing creators, including LOADS of new names.”

Whatever exhibitors make it through to table that weekend, it will sure to be another destination event.

Macclesfield’s MACC-POW! returns and has announced its full guest lineup for the July 1-2 weekend. 

Guests include Lew Stringer, Alson Sampson, David Leach, Nick Brokenshire, Tor Freeman, Mollie Ray, Sonia Leong, Kev Sutherland, Roger Langridge, Laura Howell, Sayra Begum, Nigel Parkinson and Nika, Sarah Grayley, Graphic Medicine, Jim Smith, Stanley Chow, and Anna Morozova.

In a Facebook post, Macc-Pow! said:

“Over the course of our festival weekend (and actually a couple of days before) these incredible creators from all around the world will descend on Macclesfield in a variety of different ways. From selling and signing their work, through to art exhibitions, instore appearances, library and school visits, and even a comics and coffee excursion across the town, this year’s MACC-POW! promises to be our best, and possibly most creatively eclectic one yet!”

The festival has been taking place annually since 2016 in Macclesfield, Cheshire (barring a pandemic induced break). 

Lawless Comic-Con descends once more on Bristol May 27-28. It has quite the line-up of classic British comics names. It will also feature a pop-up exhibition of Steve Dillon art, arranged by the late artist’s family.  

Dave Gibbons, Chris Weston, John Wagner, John Higgins, and more. If you are a fan of 2000 AD past to present this is surely one for the calendar.

A fan-run event, Lawless has been in existence since 2014 and continues to go from strength to strength.

MCM London Comic Con isn’t far off and it already has a bunch of comics guests already announced. 

Alan Davis, Gilbert Hernandez, Jock, John J.Pearson, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, Meghan Fitzmartin, Mike Perkins, Ram V, Tula Lotay, and Zoe Thorogood are confirmed for the weekend of May 26-28.

The Birmingham edition of MCM is still TBD but at least the biannual London show is going ahead.

June 3-4 brings the return of Portsmouth Comic Con. The event has been taking place for a few years now and been developing positive word of mouth. 

Comics guests include: Esad Ribic, Dave McKean, Pepe Larraz, Anna Morozova, Gary Erskine, Alison Sampson, Laura Watton, Andy Fanton, Clark Bint, Marc Laming, and Ver…with more yet to be announced.