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…
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Waterstones
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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

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

Wonderlands UK Graphic Novel Expo returns to Sunderland!

cache_2463273293Last May, the Wonderlands UK Graphic Novel Expo drew the eyes of the graphic novel If coverworld to Sunderland. And now, building on its success, it’s returning for a second year!

Wonderlands: the UK Graphic Novel Expo is taking place in Sunderland again, on Saturday, May 28 2016. Located in the University of Sunderland’s CitySpace, it will be  attended by an wide range of successful graphic novel creators and have an exciting programme of events curated by Bryan.

cache_2463276003As well as Bryan and myself, The Guardian’s principal editorial cartoonist Steve Bell will be in attendance at the event, along with Doug Braithwaite ­ who has drawn just about every major character in both the Marvel and DC Universe ­ and other guests, some yet to be announced, including Darryl Cunningham (Science Tales, Supercrash), Woodrow Phoenix (Rumblestrip), Jeff Anderson (The Graphic Bible, Transfomers), Hannah Berry (Brittain & Brulightly, Adamtine), Kate Charlesworth (Sally Heathote, Suffragette), Metaphrog cache_2463276007(Louis: Red Letter Day, The Red Shoes), Una (Becoming Unbecoming) and comics historians Paul Gravett and Mel Gibson. I will be presenting The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, my new book with Bryan, which is published on 5th May.

Admission is free. In addition to the talks, presentations and panel discussions, there will also be an alternative workshop schedule that will host some exciting presentations and interactive workshops that are suitable for all ages. The RV postcardpublic will have the opportunity to develop their own stories and characters with the help of some of the novelists in attendance.

There will be a Publishers’ Hall acting as a base point, where people can meet their favourite graphic novelists and comic writers. And, of course, browse the books!

BECOMING_UNBECOMING-716x1024Hannah Matterson, fundraising and event development officer for MAC Trust, said: “This year, we have a really strong line-up of graphic novelists coming to Sunderland to be part of Wonderlands.

“Whether you are a fan of graphic novels, or just curious about the form, this event is not to be missed. We’re really pleased to be bringing such a prestigious and exciting event to Sunderland. Graphic novels offer something for everyone comics_art_12264_mediumand we hope people come to find out more.”

The University of Sunderland’s illustration and animation students are also being given the chance to exhibit their work alongside Wonderlands’ established names, as well as having the chance to take part in further professional development sessions in the run up to the event.

Antony Eddison, design team leader and programme leader for arts and design management at the University of Sunderland, said:  ”Last year’s inaugural Wonderlands event was a brilliant success. It was great to welcome so many enthusiasts, novices and people simply wanting to front-cover3-212x300find out more about graphic novels to the University and the city. Graphic novels have the power to break down cultural, language and age barriers, they are a celebration of creativity – combining a good story with the work of talented artists and designers. I hope even more people will come along this year, to take part, meet the artists and even have a go at designing their own novel.”

The event takes place between 10am and 6pm on Saturday, May 28. There are still tables available for comic publishers and writers. Publishers so far include Analogue Press, BHP comics, Fanfare, Disconnected Press, Forbidden Planet, Myriad Editions, Paper Jam Comics Collective, Titan Books and Wizard’s Keep.

For more information, visit www.wonderlands.org.uk or email info@wonderlands.org.uk.

Alice in S page 28 crop

 

September update

outsideCartmelFellSeptember draws to a sunny and fruitful close. At least, it does here in Sunderland. So I guess it’s time for another update. At the beginning of the month we enjoyed a five-day break in Hawkshead in the Lake District. Alwyn came over from Manchester for a hugely welcome overnight visit. We really don’t see him often enough these days, so it was lovely having him stay. Before taking him to the Mason’s Arms for lunch, we called at Cartmel Fell church close by.
Bryan&Alwyn in CartmelFell
Alwyn&Mary at CartmelFell2
Alwyn&Mary at MasonsArms
Both locations may be recognisable from The Tale of One Bad Rat. In the graveyard, Bryan and Alwyn were, as ever, using their cameras to collect textures.
Alwyn in graveyard 2
One shot that Bryan took inspired Alwyn to create this evocative tribute to his deeply missed friend Yo:
OldFriend
The following weekend we had a short trip to St Peter Port, Guernsey’s capital, for a book festival talk and exhibition opening (that I’ve mentioned already here).
Bryan in St Peter Port
Castle Cornet
Mary in St Peter Port
We spent a day there sightseeing, taking in Victor Hugo’s very quirky and interesting house. Here’s Bryan in his garden and me in his workplace up in the garret:
Bryan in Hugo's garden
Mary in Hugo's workplace
comicartSo, what’s in store for October? Well, we’re gearing up for the 3rd Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal. I’ve posted about our contributions already here. Bryan’s ‘How I create a graphic novel’ session is now fully booked, but tickets are still available for the other events. I can’t wait to tell all about the next book! I’ll also have the apples 2pleasure of hosting Karrie Fransman’s event on Sunday morning. Finally, at the end of next month we’re doing a talk on Sally Heathcote Suffragette at Sunderland’s City library as part of the Sunderland Literature Festival. It’s on Halloween but, as it’s at lunchtime, we won’t be finishing off with apple-bobbing.

Keel Square, Sunderland

IMG_1746IMG_1740The laying of the flags for the 1st phase of the new Sunderland city square is almost finished. Bryan and I went over to investigate today.

Based on Bryan’s design, the ‘Keel Line’ runs the length of it, listing the ships built on the Wear with accompanying illustrations about Sunderland history. It has a rope border motif that crosses every fifteen flags, creating areas that contain the illustrations. And it’s in granite! Here’s an illustration of Washington Old Hall and George Washington’s family crest, the origin of the stars and stripes, facing one of keelmen hauling coal up the Wear:

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And here’s the first iron bridge over the River Wear and Sunderland hero Jack Crawford nailing Admiral Duncan’s colours to the mast during the Battle of Camperdown, 1797:
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If you’ve read Alice in Sunderland, you’ll already be familiar with him, and with many of the other subjects illustrated. The square has fountains too:
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There are currently hoardings on the site with explanatory text and previews of the illustrations:
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Counting down to Wonderlands

Wonderlands logoWith just over two weeks to go, expectations are high for the U.K’s first ever graphic novel expo, Wonderlands. We’ve a long list of guests that includes Posy Simmonds, Dave Gibbons, Hunt Emerson, Paul Gravett, Steve Bell and Dylan Horrocks, a full day of talks and panels on different aspects of the graphic novel form and an alternative schedule of workshops and master classes, so this promises to be a unique event. The publisher’s hall, hosting a range of exhibitors and publishers from biggies to small press, the showing of the documentary The Graphic Novel Man, the giant graphic novel She Lives being presented throughout the day by creator Woodrow Phoenix and a “how to” forum on self-publishing are all icing on the cake. Being a one-day event means that attenders don’t have to stop overnight and, to top it off, the whole event is FREE, even the panels and workshops, though booking in advance for the workshops – through the website here – is advisable, as places are limited. Schedule organizer, writer/artist Bryan Talbot, who’s also one of the founders of the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, said “For any lovers of the comics medium, or for artists in search of a publisher, this will be an unmissable event.”
Wonderlands covers

I’ll be there, of course, and I’ll be involved in a panel discussion on historical and biographical graphic novels, along with Kate Charlesworth, Darryl Cunningham and Al Davison (chaired by Paul Gravett).

Wonderlands logoAlice in S page 28 crop