5th Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2017

Everyone’s experience of a festival is different. Ours started two weeks beforehand, as we travelled over to Kendal to install Bryan’s contribution to the Windows Trail at the St John’s Hospice shop. It’s in a prominent position on the main street, between the main venues, and it’s been attracting a good deal of attention. It’ll be there for the rest of this month.

The evening before the Festival opened, we were present at the welcoming dinner in Kendal College’s Box Theatre for our prestigious international guests. Immediately before the dinner there was an informal reception in the adjacent Wildman gallery. This gave us the opportunity to look around Archipelagogo, the multi-media exhibition celebrating the centenary of the late great Tove Jansson, best known as the creator of the Moomins. The exhibition was commissioned by the Festival and runs until 4th November.

Here’s Stan Sakai (of Usagi Yojimbo fame) listening to the Mayor of Kendal’s welcome address.

On Friday we had the honour of going to lunch with the legendary Sergio Aragonés and Stan, his friend and collaborator. We took them to the Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank, followed by a little sightseeing (in the mist). They’d travelled from the arid chaparral of southern California to the Lake District.

Sergio Aragonés, Mary Talbot, Stan Sakai

Sergio examing moss. “Everything’s so green!”

“So much water!”

Sergio Aragonés, Bryan Talbot, Stan Sakai

Among the announcements at the opening ceremony was the inaugural winner of the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art: Dave McKean. The award has been established by the National Cartoonists Society of America in partnership with the Festival. Yet another international partnership. I’m a little in awe of the Festival organisers’ energy in reaching out to other festivals and organisations so warmly and productively. (Hint: there’s more to come…) You can read Tripwire Magazine’s coverage of the award event here. Another announcement was the establishment of a Cartoonists Society UK Chapter.

On Saturday morning I was in the Council Chambers again. This year I was there to host Sandra and John Metaphrog’s presentation of their beautiful new book, a graphic novel adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.

Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers

In the afternoon Bryan was in public conversation with Peter Kessler about Grandville: the Final Chapter. followed by a solid four hours of signing and sketching. It was a pre-launch event specially for the Festival, for which Page 45 had secured some advance copies of Grandville Force Majeure. The official publication is on 15th November, with a launch event and exhibition at Orbital Comics.

Bryan Talbot sketching on a book plate

You can read here about other new publications launched at the Festival. These included a Spirit Centenary Newspaper, celebrating the life and work of Will Eisner. The newspaper is now available from Page 45 here (with a review too!). There’s an Eisner exhibition in the Sugar Store Gallery in the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. It’s open until 5th November.

There was also a Spirit of the Lakes competition, with winners announced on Saturday evening.

Our Sunday treat was listening to Benoit Peeters’ fascinating presentation of Rodolphe Töpffer’s life and work. The talk was chaired by John McShane, who has translated and edited Töpffer’s book, How to Create Graphic Novels (originally published in 1845). It’s available and reviewed here.

Benoit Peeters

I bought some hand-made notebooks from these nice people in the Comics Clock Tower!

Corey Brotherson at the Clockwork Watch stand. They virtually sold the lot!

Matt Gibbs at the Improper Books stand. Porcelain III now available!

There are some other personal experiences of the Festival in online write-ups already, by guests Metaphrog and Tom Richmond. In the Page 45 weekly reviews, Stephen Holland has included a detailed (and positively orgasmic!) account of the Festival. Finally, here’s some online coverage from the BBC.

Georgian Room photos by Stephen Holland.

Forthcoming events in March and April

We have two events in the Northeast of England coming up in March.

Bryan will be doing his lavishly illustrated talk on Grandville and the Anthropomorphic Tradition again, this time in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. It’s on Saturday 11th March at 2pm and it’s is well worth attending, if you haven’t already (or even if you have!) The event is part of the Fabricating History exhibition programme, about all things steampunk. Tickets for the talk are just £2 – available here.

Later in the month I’ll be in Sunderland’s Museum & Winter Gardens doing a presentation on Revolutionary Women: Imagining Louise Michel, along with Dr Laura O’Brien, a historian at Northumbria University. It’s on Friday 24th March at 5pm. The event is jointly hosted by Sunderland University, City Library Sunderland and Waterstones Sunderland. It’s free, but ticketed via eventbrite.

Then, in early April, Bryan and I are both in the line-up for a conference on Francospheres of Resistance and Revolution at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London. We will be ‘in conversation’ with Prof Charles Forsdick (Liverpool) about The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. ‘Exploring articulations of resistance and revolution across different spaces and times’, the conference as a whole ‘seeks papers which enquire in new and innovative ways about radical politics, activism and resistance expressed in French’.

Finally, at the end of the month, we’re off to Northeast France for Colères du Présent, a book festival in Arras, promoting the French edition of Red Virgin: Louise Michel La Vierge Rouge. Details to follow.

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

York Literature Festival coming up!

York litfest logoThe Talbots will be in York in mid March!

On the 12th March 2016 we will be signing at Travelling Man, 54 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF from 2-3pm.

This will be followed by an appearance at York St John Con (part of York Literary Festival), where we will be will be discussing our work, including our forthcoming graphic novel The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. There’s a festival programme available for download here.

RV postcard4 – 6pm 12th March: Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO31 7EX
“Illustrator and writer Bryan Talbot, and writer and academic Mary Talbot, have been described by Bleeding Cool as ‘true powerhouses of the British graphic novel scene.’ Among many other prizes and plaudits, their collaboration, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, won the Costa Award for Biography in 2012. In this feature event, Bryan will discuss his Hugo-nominated Grandville series and the anthropomorphic tradition; and Mary will discuss the much-anticipated Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, due out May 2016.”

This will be followed by a signing.
Page33top
carnation
lottery_png_black1

Alice in Cartoonland

Alice in Cartoonland logoLondon’s Cartoon Museum has a new exhibition – Alice in Cartoonland – showcasing a host of diverse Alice-related material. Bryan and I were down there for the opening last Tuesday. There’s some fascinating stuff on display, spanning about 150 years. Well worth a visit. It’s on until 1st November 2015.
Alice talk
There was an event at the museum the following evening – Alice from Wonderland to Sunderland – that involved a brace of Brians, as Bryan Talbot was in conversation with the president of the Lewis Carroll Society, Brian Sibley.
Alice talk 1
If you weren’t there, you missed a treat. After the dinner that followed, Anita O’Brien, director-curator of the museum, presented Brian with an appropriately themed birthday cake.
Pizza Express
cake
Next morning we took a ferry down the Thames as far as Canary Wharf, where the Docklands Museum is located.
on the ferry
on the ferry 1
Bryan, as ever, was collecting photographic reference. Oh look, Inspector Le Brock’s office!
LeBrock's office 1
There’s an exhibition on that I was keen to see called Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom. After an excellent lunch in a restaurant close by, we went into the museum.
Henry's cafe bar
Broom was apparently Britain’s first female press photographer. She started working professionally in 1904, in the early days of the postcard boom. It was her documentation of women’s suffrage rallies and demonstrations that interested me the most; some of the photographs were familiar to me but there are many others that it would have been very useful to have while working on Sally Heathcote Suffragette.
suffragette procession
Home-Makers Demand Votes
MindWhereYouPutYourHookCanary Wharf is a strange place, reminding me of Singapore, all new, shiny and clean and full of finance types. The museum there is great, though; the permanent exhibitions of Docklands and Thames history are well worth a look. And, stevedores, don’t you forget: Mind where you put your hook!

This is Sailortown:
Sailortown 1
Sailortown 2
Sailortown 4
On our way back we stopped for further reference photos. We came upon this rather striking steampunk sculpture called The Navigators located in Hayes Galleria.
TheNavigators in HayesGalleria
TheNavigators in HayesGalleria 1
in the frameBryan’s starting to gear himself up for the fifth and final Grandville book, now that our latest collaboration is completed. He finished the final page of artwork just before we left for London and since we returned home we’ve been finalising the additional material, endpapers etc. I’m bursting to talk about this Arts Council-funded project and will reveal all at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. And after that, of course, on this website!
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge 1
carnation
lottery_png_black1

Back from Munich Comics Festival

Munich talk 2Rathaus 4Munich logoWe flew back from Munich’s Comics Festival last Monday. Bryan and I had both been invited as, not only are the first three Grandville books out in Germany, but Sally Heathcote Suffragette is due out there later this year as well. The G7 summit was the same week, also taking place in Munich. When we arrived on Thursday, it was swarming with police – there were anti-TTIP demonstrations going on.

Turkish restaurantOn Thursday evening Panini Comics took us out to a Turkish restaurant, which was great. Here we are eating al fresco with a merry bunch of artists and Panini people.
Turkish restaurant 2
Most of the festival took place in the Alte Kongresshalle by Bavaria Park, close to the site of the annual Oktoberfest. Bryan was kept busy signing and doing sketches.
Kongresshalle 2
Kongresshalle inside 2Kongresshalle inside 3signing 2
On the Friday, our second day, there was a festival dinner for guests. It was held  in the beer museum, a very old building in the centre. Here we are sitting down for a very meaty feast with Paul Gravett, Audrey Niffenegger, Eddie Campbell and a gallery curator from Salzburg whose name I’ve now forgotten, I’m afraid:
Museum dinner
With lashings of beer too, of course.
Museum dinner 2
U_3728_1A_ECC_IGNORANTEN.IND7On Saturday we did an interview with Silke Merton from RBB Kultur. It’s for radio broadcast later this year when Egmont publishes Sally Heathcote Suffragette in Germany. We were also interviewed by Egmont people, Christopher Bünte and Julia Oelingrath.

Beer garden
The weather was very warm, so it was great sitting under the chestnut trees in the beer garden. Here we are hanging out with Rob Davis, Rufus Daglow, Claire Adams Ferguson, Clint Langley, Jock and some German fans. Prost, everyone!
Beer garden 2
There was some cos-play going on. I thought this spider-woman was rather striking:
spider 3
Though she was very high maintenance and required a dedicated retinue:
spider 4
On Sunday we were ‘in conversation’ with Paul Gravett. It was an informal event and it’s available to view here:

Over the weekend we managed to get to a couple of the other events: Posy Simmonds with a Munich creator, Barbara Yelin, talking about their own work with Paul Gravett and Dennis Kitchen’s talk on Will Eisner at the Jewish Museum.
DennisKitchen talk
The flight home on our last day wasn’t until late afternoon, so we had time to do some sightseeing in the centre of town.
Teresiensweise statueRathauscity gateway
Where we came across this fellow:
boar 3

boar
Handsome, isn’t he?
Grandville books
Munich talk 3
MunichPoster

Back from Barcelona comics festival

Barcelona Q&A sessionWe had a very pleasant few days in Barcelona last week, where we’d been invited to attend as guests at FICON, the city’s International Comics Fair. With three new books out in Spain, between us we had a lot of promotion to do. The Spanish Sally – Sally Heathcote Suffragista – came out in February, so we were signing copies at the La Cúpola stand, as well as doing two talks and numerous interviews with journalists in the press room. It was good to see that the Spanish Dotter – La Niña de sus Ojos – is still selling well.LaCupola signingLaCupola signing3LaCupola signing2LaCupola signing4

The third and fourth Grandville books have recently been published in Spanish, so Bryan was kept busy at the Astiberri stand too.Astiberri signing
convention centreconvention centre insideJoker standupCaptainAmerica standup

Though we didn’t see much apart from the convention centre, it was great to socialise with our hosts as well as with fellow guests. Here we are out to dinner with some of the Astiberri crew and friends.
dinnertable

Left to right: Bryan, Laureano, Frederik, Jason, me, Héloïse and Javier. Thanks for dinner, Laureano!

The convention centre was just off the Plaza España. On our last afternoon we had time to walk up the hill towards the Catalonia Museum of Art, so we could take in the view.
MaryBryan

Then on our last evening we had a quiet meal in the hotel with Scott and Ivy McCloud. The Sculptor sounds like a phenomenal success.
dinner in hotel

A return ticket to Grandville, please!

IRue Cortott’s a hard life. We went on a fact- and image-finding mission last week. It began with an early train to King’s Cross in order to catch Eurostar to Paris. About eight and a half hours in total, from our front doorstep to the hotel in Montmartre, with a leisurely lunch in London between trains. Amazing. That even included a half-hour delay because of partial tunnel-closure.

toulouseLautrec'sChat NoirWe stayed at a little hotel on rue Aristide Bruant, just off rue Lepic. It was really handy for the Museum of Montmartre, where there’s currently an exhibition of “The Spirit of Montmartre, 1875-1910”. Lots of old magazine illustrations and some very familiar-looking posters. I’d like to go back when there’s more to see in the surrounding gardens. They still have a productive vineyard there. It being January, the vines didn’t appear to be producing much, however.

 

 

The streets of Montmartre look pretty much the way they did a hundred years ago or more. Compare the old postcard below with the photo Bryan took last week at roughly the same spot. There are a lot of cars now, of course, more street furniture and presumably better street lighting. But it’s recognisably the same place. I love that.

Moulin de la Galette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montmartre postcard

 

 

 

 

 

 

cobblesBryan was, naturally, taking location shots throughout. These are fine-looking cobbles, aren’t they? Look out for them in the next Grandville! It’s highly likely they’ll turn up there.

 

 

We looked around the Carnavalet Museum too, in the 3rd arrondissement. It’s well worth a visit, with a wide range of stuff to pore over, including this lush shop interior designed by Alphonse Mucha for one Georges Fouquet, jeweller. It’s extraordinary. It’s odd to think that it dated very rapidly; it was only in place for a few years. To me it looks timeless.

Georges Fouquet jeweller's

One last photo to finish. Passing the Hôtel de Ville we noticed this Charlie Hebdo tribute.
CharlieHebdo

November: Grandville Noël launch, a graphic novel evening and some lovely people

Sally pageEarlier this month we were in Bristol for Comic Creations, a Jonathan Cape graphic novel evening at the Watershed, along with Fumio Obata, Isabel Greenberg, Nick Hayes and Steve Bell. Part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, there were some great talks and an appreciative audience (nice little report by Kayleigh Gibbons here). But the highpoint of the evening for us was afterwards, when we went out to eat with Steve and the legendary animator Richard Williams. He’s best known for his work as director of animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but I think perhaps his most outstanding was the animation he did for the anti-war film The Charge of the Light Brigade back in the sixties (clips on YouTube).

Cartoon Museum logoThe launch of Grandville Noël at the Cartoon Museum in London was this week’s main event. It was a lovely evening with an interesting mix of people (including Lee Harris and his daughter Amira in the photos below). A couple of days later we were back in the Cartoon Museum, when Bryan did his talk on creating graphic novels. In between he signed what was quite probably Forbidden Planet’s entire stock of Grandville Noël.

Noel launch party

Noel launch

Noel artwork at launch

Bryan signing Noel for James

Noel launch by Will Brooker
Thanks to James Robertson and Will Brooker for the photographs.

Another month of festivals coming up…

The festival season is upon us once more. It’s starting with the Small Wonder Festival in Charleston this coming weekend:

smallwonder-festival-header14Sunday 28th September
4pm Suffragette. An illustrated talk by Mary and Bryan Talbot
Chaired by Corinne Pearlman
Small Wonder Festival
Charleston, East Sussex BN8 6LL. Tickets available here

It’s near Brighton, so we’re looking forward to catching up with Hannah Berry while we’re in her neighbourhood. Sure to be fun!

Then in October we’re doing a string of events, some of them with Kate Charlesworth:

Durham Book Festival logoSaturday 11th October
1.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot and Kate Charlesworth: Sally Heathcote, Suffragette
Chaired by David Herman
Palace Green Library
Durham Book Festival
Tickets available here

Also on that day, I’ll be appearing in conversation with Laura Bates:

10.30am Laura Bates: Everyday Sexism
Chaired by Mary Talbot
Durham Town Hall. Tickets here

Ilkley Lit Fest logoAfter that, Bryan and I will wend our way over to Ilkley:

Sunday 12th October 2014
1.45pm Bryan Talbot workshop: How I create a graphic novel
Manor House Museum: Education Room

4.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot discuss their stunning new graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette.
Ilkley Playhouse – Wildman. Ilkley Literary Festival. Tickets here

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 17.44.04Then, guess what? Kendal Comic Art Fest is back!

17-19th October 2014
2nd Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Kendal
Book all events here

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

Saturday 18 October, 18.30 – 19.30, Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Café
Meet the Creators: Audrey Niffenegger (hosted by Mary Talbot)

Sunday 19 October, 14.30 – 15.30, Brewery Arts Centre 1
Brainstorm: The Art of Bryan Talbot (hosted by Mel Gibson)
Kate and I will join in towards the end of this discussion.

Thursday 23rd October 2014
7.30pm Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth
Chester Literature Festival
Chester Town Hall
Chaired by Mark Lawson
Book here

Finally, we’ll be rounding off the month with a trip to Dundee. Applications now closed for this one, though:

25th October 2014
Comics Lab 2014
Dundee

Phew.mary-talbot.jpg Sally Page 53 bottom