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Friday, 25 April 2014

Cumbria International Comic Art Festival will return next year

Organisers have declared the first Lakes International Comic Art Festival held in Kendal at the weekend a huge success and announced dates for it to return next year

Click here to see all our Comic Art Festival coverage, reviews and round up of the best tweets

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.

Speaking after his event, Stephen said: “This looks like a fantastic festival, it’s so nice to see the whole town doing bits for it and putting work in the windows.

“Given a few years to get up its own steam, it could be one of the major comic events in Europe. I’m looking forward to coming back.”
Costumes and face paints were all on show as enthusiasts arrived, dressed as Captain America, Wolverine and Spiderman.

Graphic novel enthusiast Maise Stevenson came dressed from top to toe in black and white, as deadly Billy the Badger, from the Grandville cult comic series.

The 45-year-old of Herefordshire, said: "I think this is the best comics event I have been to by miles.

"It's a proper festival and the whole town has got behind everything.”

They were just some of the faces at the Comics Clock Tower, held at Kendal Town Hall, which was bustling with the noise of publishers, artists, writers and hundreds of people buying comics and having their artwork signed.

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.

"The town has really got involved and there has been art work on every street. It feels like the weekend has involved everyone - from adults following their passion for Viz humour to kids learning how Peppa Pig was created.

"Our Comics Clock Tower at the town hall was really busy and had a great atmosphere - and several of our talks and demonstrations sold out.

"We already have our date sorted for next year and we're hoping to bring in big new names then - as a consequence of the success of our first festival."

  • The next Lakes International Comic Art Event is due to run in Kendal, next year, from October 17 – 19.
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