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

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.
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San Diego Comic Fest 2016

SanDiegoComicFest logoThis February, Bryan and I were delighted to go to the San Diego Comic Fest (as guests of honour, even!). Its organiser, Mike Towry, was one of a small group of fans who founded, back in 1969, what became Track 29known as the San Diego Comic Con. No, we weren’t at that vast film-dominated July San Diego Comic-Con International that makes the headlines these days. This was the Comic Festival – by contrast, an intimate and friendly event, as the Comic Con was when it started out.

We’d decided to break the long journey to California with a couple of days in New York, which I was glad about, even though it was perishingly cold there. Inside Grand Central Terminal was warmer. Had a great lunch there too, with Judith Hansen, Bryan’s film agent.
Grand Central
We also caught up with David Scoggy from Dark Horse in Oregon, who was over in NYC for the toy fair.
Dave Scroggy
Meeting with creators and fans is always a pleasure. Here’s Bryan in the festival dealers’ room with Stan (Usagi Yojimbo) Sakai.
Stan Sakai
We had some great social evenings, as here:
CheesecakeFactory
Looking marvellous in the foreground, the wonderful Trina Robbins and Steve Leialoha. In the background, left to right: David Maxine (Eric Shanower’s partner), Eric (Age of Bronze) Shanower, Tasha Lowe-Newsome (Raggedyman), Jackie Estrada and Batton Lash (Supernatural Law), Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan (Boilerplate), myself and Bryan.

Here is Bryan on a panel, discussing the Future of Comics with Liam (Gears of War; Captain Stone is Missing) Sharp and Maritza (College Roomies from Hell) Campos.
Future of Comics panel
And here he is bringing breakfast on the morning of our departure. Blue skies and palm trees with every order!
Bryan with breakfast
Finally, on our stop-over going home, we met up for lunch with New York resident, Garth (Preacher) Ennis.
Brett Ewins

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October 2015

Clocktower2Last year we did six festivals altogether in October so, when the month rolled around again, just doing two seemed quite laid back by comparison. The 3rd Lakes International Comic Art Festival was a resounding success, with a record 13,900 visitors over the weekend and overwhelmingly positive feedback. Down the Tubes has a range of coverage, including John Freeman’s initial report, Jeremy Briggs on Creators at LICAF2015, Norman Boyd’s First Impressions: A Beginner’s Guide and the Announcement of 2015 Windows Art Winners. I’ve also come across a three-part account by one Leonard Sultana, who seems to have tried his utmost to get to everything: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. See also Jean Rogers’ reflections.

Next year’s festival organisation is already underway and dates have been announced as 14th-16th October 2016. There’s a fundraising auction which will take place live and online from Orbital Comics in London on 24th November 2015. The auction features work donated by Charlie Adlard, Steve Bell, Ian Churchill, Darwyn Cooke, Hunt Emerson, Dave Gibbons, Jamie Hewlett, Stuart Immonen, Sean Phillips, Posy Simmonds, Jeff Smith and Bryan Talbot.

For me, as for the international guests, this year’s festival began with the official welcome event on Thursday evening. This year it took place in the basement of Kendal Museum, where Sean Phillips’ PhonoGraphics exhibition was on display. We were treated to a dinner created by catering students at Kendal College and festival wine and beer were served.
SeanPhillips&wine
Look, Sean drank it all! Notice the wine labels, designed by Sean and Bryan.

Mason'sArmsOn Friday morning, while the 24-hour comic people were adding finishing touches to their work, we took off for lunch in a picturesque Cumbrian setting with Canadian guests, Darwyn and Marsha Cooke. The pub behind us is the Mason’s Arms, Strawberry Bank, which appears in Bryan’s Tale of One Bad Rat (as the Herdwick Arms). Thanks to Marsha for the photo.

For me the festival proper began with Steve Bell’s talk. To a packed audience, Steve charted the development of If, his political cartoon strip in the Guardian. He finished with the current predicament of Jez-Bi-Wan Corbyn, who had just been put in a sticky situation by Darth Mandelson.
Steve Bell If
RV postcardNext in my schedule was my own talk the following morning, to a good audience in the formal setting of Council Chamber. I finally got to announce my latest collaboration with Bryan, our forthcoming graphic novel, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, out next May. This book deals with the astounding, larger-than-life feminist revolutionary, Louise Michel, her part in the Paris Commune of 1871 and more. And it looks stunning. Thanks to Mel Gibson for her excellent hosting of the event, as ever.

My afternoon appearance for a round of darts with Knockabout in the Elephant Yard emporium, now I freely admit that was a little less successful. I was just beginning to get the hang of throwing those darts by the end, though…

red_shoes_metaphrog_papercutz_cover-628x670In the afternoon I was back in the Council Chamber, but this time it was for John and Sandra of Metaphrog’s  introduction of their new book, The Red Shoes and other tales. This collection includes a beautiful but dark retelling of Hans Andersen’s Red Shoes.

KarrieFransmanbyMichiMathiasOn Sunday morning I was in the Council Chamber yet again, where this time I had the Death_of_the_Artist_front_coverpleasure of hosting Karrie Fransman’s talk. Karrie was taking us through her work, with particular attention to her latest graphic novel, The Death of the Artist, as well as talking more generally about comics and experimentation. Sketch of Karrie with her busy hands, tweeted later by @MichiMathias!

arkwright-integral-coverAlso on Sunday, I went to hear Bryan in conversation about his Adventures of Luther Arkwright and influences with Peter Kessler. Yes yes, I’ve heard it all before, but this time it was with clips, which made it all rather interesting! Then later we both enjoyed listening to Benoit Peeters talking through his surreal bande-dessinée work with Paul Gravett.
BenoitPeeters&PaulGravett
Bryan&YomiThere was the social side too, of course. So many lovely people. We had the pleasure of getting to know Yomi Ayeni of Clockwork Watch, for instance, who’d ventured up to Kendal from London.

Just before the Comics Clocktower closed (and transformed back into Kendal Town Hall) Bryan went around snapping photos. Here’s a few.

Me with Stephen Holland of Page 45

Me with Stephen Holland of Page 45

Roger Langridge and Antony Johnston

Roger Langridge and Antony Johnston

Ben Read, Sara Dunkerton and Matt Gibbs

Ben Read, Sara Dunkerton and Matt Gibbs

Terry Wiley

Terry Wiley

Yomi at the Clockwork Watch table

Yomi at the Clockwork Watch table

Sydney Jordan

Sydney Jordan

Gary Erskine

Gary Erskine

 

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
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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

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:

IMG_1741

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:
IMG_1752
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:
IMG_1755
There are currently hoardings on the site with explanatory text and previews of the illustrations:
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A Vision of Utopia at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Tickets are now on sale for LICAF 2015, so if you’re planning to attend it’s time to start browsing the website. I’ll be presenting my next graphic novel, due out next year. I’ve been keeping quiet about it up to now, but Bryan is busily working on it, in fact he’s working on page 94 right now…

But what is it about, you ask? Well, it’s a biography of a powerful, larger-than-life female historical figure, it’ll have 118 pages of artwork plus endnotes. As Bryan’s said, “She’s such an astounding character, we don’t want anyone else quickly researching on her and knocking out a graphic novel before ours!”

Come and find out about it in Kendalpage 64 top:

Saturday 17th October 10-11am
A Vision of Utopia – Mary Talbot
Chaired by Dr Mel
Comic Clock Tower
Tickets £8

Bryan will also be making these two appearances:

arkwright-integral-coverSaturday 17th 1-3pm
How I make a Graphic Novel (Workshop) – Bryan Talbot
Brewery Arts Centre: Art Room 2
Tickets £15

Sunday 18th 12-1pm
Arkwright: Where British Graphic Novels Began – Bryan Talbot
Chaired by Peter Kessler
Brewery Arts Centre: Screen Two
Tickets £8

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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