Avilés Comics Festival

aviles-posterRecently back from the Jornadas Internationales de Cómic in Avilés, a small, friendly Spanish festival in Asturias that’s now in its 21st year. With the hotel and everything else located in the peaceful old town centre, we had a very tranquil and picturesque place to wander about in for a few days, as you can see from the photos below. Especially once the rain stopped and we were finally blessed with some sunshine. We missed the flooding. I was glad about that.
aviles-street-1
aviles-streetNot as wet as our last visit to the north coast of Spain, though.
aviles-street-2
aviles-church
aviles-town-hall
Our main event was an on-stage interview with Germán Menéndez, with the help, as always, of Diego García’s prodigious translation skills. The first hour covered the wide range of Bryan’s work over the years. Then I joined in for a second hour, when discussion moved on to our recent graphic-novel collaborations.
interview-part-1
interview-part-2
‘El matrimonio Talbot’ did interviews with various journalists too. Here’s a link to one write-up (in Spanish).
signing
I also appeared on a panel on ‘Conquering Spaces: Women in the Comics World’ with Chloé Cruchaudet and Sonia Pulido, chaired by Rebeca Fernández Alonso.
wmcomics-panel
The long, late lunches and late, late dinners were spent getting to know some of the other guests and, of course, the organisers. Here we are with fellow guests (left to right) Rodney Ramos (USA), Mario Alberti (Italy) and George Perez (USA).
rodney-mario-george-bryan-mary
And here with organisers Jorge Ivan Argiz (left) and Germán (right), with Diego (centre):
bryan-jorge-mary-diego-german
And with Jorge again and Rocío Arroca. We were in an old cidrería. In the tile picture in the background, you can just about make out the traditional arms-length cider pouring going on:
rocio-jorge-bryan-mary
Unfortunately the Spanish edition of The Red Virgin, La Virgen Roja, wasn’t out until the following week. The 4th reprint of Sally Heathcote Sufragista was delayed too, so that the book stalls only had a handful of copies. Lots of the Spanish Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, though: La niña de sus ojos. A range of Spanish editions of Bryan’s work too.books

Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal

comicartThe full programme for the 4th Lakes International Comic Art Festival is now online and available to download here. It’s fabulous, packed with an enormous range of events. Tickets are now on sale, so now’s the time to take a good look at what’s on. As in previous years, it takes place in October in in Kendal, in the the south of the beautiful English Lake District. This year it runs from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th.

I’ll be appearing with Bryan to talk about The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. We’ll be in the Council Chambers in the Comics Clock Tower (aka Town Hall) with Paul Gravett on the Sunday at 2.30 and we’ll be signing outside the Chambers afterwards.

beatrix-potter-reimagined-logoIn the run-up to the festival we have some judging to do for the Beatrix Potter Reimagined competition. All the submissions will be included in a Beatrix Potter Reimagined exhibition at Kendal Library, from 7th to 28th October, sitting alongside some fabulous BP reimagined artworks by Charlie Adlard, Duncan Fegredo, Hannah Berry and Luke McGarry. The winners of the competition will be announced during the festival.

Meanwhile we seem to have only just returned from the Edinburgh International Book Festival and we’re off to the Avilés Comics Festival in Spain. It’s all go at Talbot Towers, I tell you!

Here’s a short report on Edinburgh from Joe Gordon, who chaired our session there.
edbookfest-talk2
Bryan y Mary Talbot y Kate Charlesworth - Sally Heathcote, sufraOn the trip to Avilés that’s coming up we’ll be promoting the Spanish edition of Red Virgin. It’s published in Spain later this month, alongside a fourth printing of the award-winning Sally Heathcote Sufragista, the Spanish edition of Sally Heathcote Suffragette. Both are published by Ediciones La Cúpola in Barcelona.
SpanishRVcover lores

Brewery Arts Centre

Brewery Arts Centre

Brewery Arts Centre

Comics Clock Tower (aka Kendal Town Hall)

Comics Clock Tower (aka Kendal Town Hall)

Foreign language editions in the pipeline…

ViergeRougeTitleLogo2We seem to be finding gainful employment for translators all over the place! The French edition of The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia is released in September from Editions Vuibert. The publishers asked Bryan to recreate the lovely woodcut-style title lettering for its French title: Louise Michel, La Vierge Rouge. In the UK, Louise Michel is almost unheard of. Apparently, in France, a lot of people will recognise the name – there is a metro station and a Parisian square named after her – but she’s still, on the whole, a mysterious revolutionary figure. The Spanish Edition, La Virgen Roja, published by Ediciones La Cúpola, is out in October.

On other fronts, the Portuguese edition of Bryan’s The Tale of One Bad Rat has just been published by Levoir. Grandville Mon Amour will shortly appear in the Czech Republic, Grandville Bête Noire and Grandville Noel in Serbia and Sally Heathcote Suffragette in Sweden. This month also sees the 4th printing of the multiple-award winning Spanish edition of Sally Heathcote: SuCoversfragista.

Later this month we are guests at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where, on the 27th August at 12.30, we’ll be talking about The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia with Joe Gordon.
Page77bottom
FrontCover

Here I Stand

CoverA new teen anthology from Amnesty International, Here I Stand will be published by Walker Books on 4th August 2016 and available here.

At a time when we are seeing a nightmarish surge in hate crimes, this anthology is, unfortunately, all too relevant.
Nicky Parker, Amnesty International

This thought-provoking collection brings together twenty-five leading writers and illustrators. Their stories and poems are poignant, challenging, heartbreaking, angry and haunting. They cover important and relevant issues likely to resonate with teenagers today, such as bullying, race hatred, child sex abuse, freedom of speech, identity and gang honour. All of them touch upon the importance of having the courage to speak up against injustice.

Deed Not Words panelsBryan and I have once again teamed up with Sally Heathcote Suffragette co-creator Kate Charlesworth to create a 6-page strip for the anthology. Deeds Not Words concerns the real-life suffragette Lady Constance Lytton who, some may remember, had a brief cameo appearance in Sally Heathcote Suffragette. Deeds Not Words is produced in the same style that we used for the graphic novel.

Other contributors include John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, poet Jackie Kay, Costa-winners Frances Hardinge and Christie Watson, Carnegie 2016 winner Sarah Crossan, Matt Haig, Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, AL Kennedy and imprisoned Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
Deeds Not Words text

Reflection and raspberries

Shhh. If we're quiet, Farters-Parters won't get us.

Shhh. If we’re quiet, Farters-Parters won’t get us.

Before the last General Election, Alwyn Talbot and I contributed a 4-page strip to 64 pages of reflection and raspberry blowing published by Disconnected Press. We called it ‘Preparation for Leadership’; the collection was Cross – A Political Satire Anthology.

Amid the omnishambles of the recent referendum, I’ve found myself thinking about it again. It doesn’t relate directly, of course, but it does offer some insights into some of the key players in the whole dismal disaster. ‘Preparation for Leadership’ is a 4-page comic-strip précis of scholarly investigation in the emerging cross-coverdisciplinary field of psychohistory. It was directly inspired by Nick Duffell’s Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion. You can read about both psychohistory and the book on his website here.

As you’ll gather from Alwyn’s amazing online portfolio here, it was was a big departure from his usual approach and it displays an unexpected talent in caricature. The book Cross is still available on the Disconnected Press website for a reduced price of £5. It’s a small independent publisher run by Lizzie and Conor Doyle, who are lovely people!
Cross p1
Cross p2
Cross p3
Cross p4

Beatrix Potter’s Inspiring Legacy in Kendal Museum

BryanOn Tuesday we went to the launch of an exhibition at the museum in Kendal, Cumbria. Beatrix Potter’s Inspiring Legacy exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of her birth. Rather than focusing on her illustrated children’s books, which are known worldwide, it highlights her lesser-known scientific legacy and her influence on artists today.

Mycologist
Bryan has loaned the museum original artwork from The Tale of One Bad Rat, inspired by Potter’s books. Seven contemporary local artists are also featured.

Bryan’s pages are displayed next to Beatrix Potter’s work. He’s delighted to be in such good company!
artwork
The exhibition also displays some of Potter’s personal collection of paintings by artists she admired, including Randolph Caldicott, on loan from Kendal Town Council.
Mary
Afterwards we caught up on developments for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival over dinner with Julie Tate, festival organiser, and fellow patron, Sean Phillips. Tickets on sale soon!

Wonderlands in Sunderland and the Bradford litfest

photo by Darryl CunninghamA hectic month has finally come to a close. The weekend before last Bryan and I were guests at the Bradford Literature Festival. For the first time, the festival was running a strand of events devoted to comics, which took place at the University of Bradford. I was on a ‘Comix Creatrix’ panel on the Saturday, in fine company with Kripa Joshi, Corinne Pearlman and Asia Alfasi, chaired by Paul Gravett.

The following day, Bryan and I presented our new book, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

Then last weekend, the University of Sunderland and the Sunderland MAC Trust hosted Wonderlands: the UK Graphic Novel Expo for the second time. And it was splendid ! A lively and busy day, full of talks, panels and workshops, as well as a publishing hall filled with tempting things to browse and buy…
Wonderlands 3
Waterstones
Wonderlands 2

Wonderlands 1
Disconnected Press
Kate&Woodrow
Mary talkI’ve already posted about our promotional activities for the new book in launch week. I was at it again at Wonderlands, while Bryan did his presentation on Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition. I also had the pleasure to be one of five ‘Real Lives’ panellists, alongside Una, Suzy Varty, Kate Charlesworth and Darryl Cunningham. In an experience not unlike speed-dating (as I imagine it!), we were whizzed along efficiently by our moderator, the excellent Mel Gibson:
Mel panel
Una Suzy panel
To finish the day, all our invited guests were treated to an excellent dinner in the new premises of the Funky Indian. We walked over via Sunderland’s spanking new Keel Square. A community police officer happened to be there and she kindly took some group photos for us:
Keel
The square is the site of the Keel Line commemorating Sunderland’s illustrious shipbuilding history. It was designed by Bryan and I’ve posted about it previously here.
dinner B Steve Bell etc

dinner Una Mary

dinner Doug metaphrog
A huge thank you to the Wonderlands organisers for doing such a fantastic job and making all our visitors so welcome.

Thanks to various people in attendance for use of their photographs.Keel 1
Keel Bryan

Looking back at Red Virgin launch week

M, RV, BCreating a graphic novel is a slow process, and most of the time a solitary one. The creation of The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia began, for me, back in 2013, as I embarked on a long trail of research into the life and work of the extraordinary Louise Michel, involving French history and more. I reflect on the origins of the project in a Director’s Commentary here and a short piece for Carabas here. Carabas has also posted a 6-page preview here.

With the publication of Red Virgin last week, we’ve been busy with promotional activities down in London. But most importantly, we were there for the launch party. The work completed, it Bryan, Marywas time to meet up with friends and celebrate!  And it really was a delightful evening in Bloomsbury, generously hosted by the Cartoon Museum and Jonathan Cape, with the Great British Graphic Novel exhibition serving as the perfect backdrop. Lee Harris was there, Bryan’s first publisher back in the 1970s. Dan Franklin, our current publisher, was also present, as was museum director-curator Anita O’Brien. All three spoke warmly about the book; glasses were raised; wine and good cheer were shared by all. A huge thank you to everyone there, for helping us to celebrate this latest collaborative endeavour.

I’m delighted to say that Red Virgin’s reception has been hugely positive. It’s had three glowing reviews so far, which are posted on the Red Virgin page here.

Anita O'Brien speaking

Anita O’Brien speaking

Lee Harris speaking

Lee Harris speaking

Corinne Pearlman and Yomi Ayemi

Corinne Pearlman and Yomi Ayemi

Cape PR people Aidan and Cat - our friendly wine service for the evening!

Cape PR people Aidan and Cat – our friendly wine service for the evening!

David Hine and Mark Stafford

David Hine and Mark Stafford

Dan Franklin speaking

Dan Franklin speaking

crowd

Donald Rooum with Bryan

Donald Rooum with Bryan

SJ Harris and Zika Tamburic

SJ Harris and Zika Tamburic

Mel Gibson

with Mel Gibson

Pizza Express 4

Earlier in the day Bryan and I had visited Broadcasting House to pre-record an interview with Samira Ahmed, Front Row presenter for BBC Radio 4. The day after, we had another trip to Broadcasting House, this time to pre-record an interview with Matthew Sweet, presenter of Radio 3’s Free Thinking. Both were broacast on 10th May. We were back in the Cartoon Museum that evening, when we did an illustrated talk about the new book. We also called in at Orbital Comics in Soho, to record a podcast with Karl and Chris. In the third evening of our London visit, we were over at the House of Illustration in King’s Cross for a panel on writing radical lives with Kate Evans and Alex Butterworth. Back home in Sunderland, we went straight to Waterstone’s bookshop for a lively evening in conversation with a local group of readers. An eventful week!
HoI panel CCHoI signingHoI signing 4

A very silly selfie with that Hannah Berry

A silly selfie with that Hannah Berry

Woodrow Phoenix, Rian Hughes, Hannah Berry's partner Xav, Megan Donnelly

Woodrow Phoenix, Rian Hughes, Hannah Berry’s partner Xav, Megan Donnelly

The Great British Graphic Novel at the Cartoon Museum

GBGN_WEBSITE_BANNERThis exhibition in London really is too good to miss. Curated by Anita O’Brien, director of the museum, and Dr Paul Williams of the University of Exeter, it is substantial and represents its subject meticulously and fully. For this FPI blog reviewer, viewing it seems to have been a quite overwhelming experience. Also check out Down the Tubes and this enthusiastic Spectator review. The exhibition is running until 24th July.

Great-British-Graphic-NovelIt is structured around seven interlocking thematic strands, with Hunt Emerson’s excellent ‘tube map’ to guide you. With William Hogarth’s Harlot’s Progess as its starting point, it tracks the development of an art form and emphasises the diversity and breadth of talent. Fabulous – I must go back and browse when there aren’t so many people in the way! You see, we were at the lively opening night there last week. Here’s a few photos from the evening.
B speakingB&OscarPosy, B&MPosy speakingB&NicolaStreeten2Kates&?
Bryan and I will be back at the Cartoon Museum on the evening of Wednesday 4th May when, in conjunction with the exhibition, we will be presenting our new collaboration, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

Other forthcoming events linked to the exhibition are a Graphic Novel Night on Thursday 12th May and Laydeez Do Comics evenings on Monday 20th June and Monday 18th July.

On the road with Red Virgin: events coming up in May

Page33top Red RosaWith the imminent publication of our new book, we already have a string of promotional events lined up for May. The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia is our latest collaboration and on the 5th – its official release date – there’s what promises to be a fascinating evening at the House of Illustration in London. We’ll be in conversation with Kate Evans and Alex Butterworth. Kate’s recent graphic novel is Red Rosa: a graphic biography of Rosa Luxemburg; Alex’s recent book is The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents; between us, we’ll be considering the comics medium and what it can bring to our understanding of history, biography and politics. Follow the links in the titles for details of each of these Butterworth bookevents:

Thursday 5th May, 7pm
The Red Virgin and Red Rosa: Radical Graphic Novels.

The evening before that, Bryan and I will be doing a presentation on the Red Virgin at the Cartoon Museum:

Wednesday 4th May, 6.30pm
The Red Virgin.

Later in the month, I’ll be making two appearances at the Bradford Literature Festival. It’s a litfest that we haven’t attended before – pleased to see that there’s a good number of comics-related events there. On the 21st, I’ll be joining Asia Alfasi, Kripa Joshi, Corinne Pearlman on a panel hosted by Paul Gravett:

Saturday 21st May, 11am
Comix Creatrix: Women on the Cutting Edge of Comics.

Then, on the following day, Bryan will join me to talk about our work in general and our latest collaborative project in particular:

Sunday 22nd May, 12.30pm
The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

cache_2463273293I’ve posted about Wonderlands returning to Sunderland already. The UK’s Graphic Novel Expo is happening on the last Saturday in May again, which this year is the 28th. Check out the Wonderlands website for the full schedule and guests, including details of the events mentioned below.

In the morning, Bryan will be on a panel with Karrie Fransman, Woodrow Phoenix and Darryl Cunningham. Chaired by Paul Gravett, it’s about creating graphic novels as writer, artist, letterer, colourist and overall designer:

Sunderland CoC Bid 2021 master logoSaturday 28th May
10.30am Graphic Novel Auteurs.

I’ll be presenting our new book again:

12.30pm The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

Later in the afternoon, I’ll join a panel of creators who work in the fields of biography and autobiography, to discuss what it’s like to write fact-based stories. The other panellists are KGrandville-Noelate Charlesworth, Una, Darryl Cunningham and Suzy Varty, with Mel Gibson as chair:

2.30pm Real Life Graphic Novels.

Finally, Bryan will wrap up the day with his ever-evolving talk on the Grandville graphic novel series of steampunk detective thrillers and the venerable, ongoing tradition of anthropomorphic characters in illustration and comics from which they have grown:

4.30pm Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition.

We recently put together a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for FPI’s blog about the process of creating Red Virgin, which is available to view here. I’m sure we’ll be fitting in signings in London and elsewhere during the month. Once I have any details of these, I’ll add them into this post and the Events list.FrontCover