Low Art

IMG_5203

 

One of the ‘things’ we ‘did’ in Paris (I went to Paris, btw) was go to the Pompidou Centre, because it was recommended and in the guidebooks and it’s a neat building and Andrew and I like going to art galleries. They only had 1 of their 2 galleries open, which meant that we got to see only the most recent bits of modern art (1980s onwards) and the Jeff Koons retrospective, toured there from the Whitney in New York.

We took in the Koons retrospective first; Andrew didn’t really know much about Koons or the controversy surrounding him, and I’d heard enough to greet the entire thing somewhat suspiciously, but with as open a mind as I could muster.

Having just read this excoriation of Koons and this show published in The New York Times last year (good read, check it out), I think my opinion now is the same as when I walked out of the retrospective;Jeff Koons makes pretty delightful work. To explain further: he doesn’t seem to have very much to say, but he’s really interested in saying it in a big way that tries to delight onlookers. This has made him enormously wealthy and famous.

I know that in certain circles, calling it art intended to do no more than delight is a savage criticism, but I wonder if those folks have visited the permanent collection of the Pompidou Centre, not the dadists and surrealists, but the 1980s and beyond stuff? It’s dreary as fuck. It’s art that’s more complex, thoughtful, and even occasionally illuminating, but it’s also generally terribly dull, none of its conceptual nautre benefiting in any way from being realized in a museum (hat tip to Andrew for that observation). Gallery after gallery, so little of the work was playful, or fun, instead exclusively reflecting the darkest parts of the dark decades since the 70s, drawing connections between darknesses, moments of levity often coming only through depravity. It’s impossible not to view it as a counterpoint to Koons’ work from the same period, galleries upon galleries of aggressive and often political work, set against Koons’ outsized tchochkes, toys, and relics. It certainly made a statement.

I was lucky enough to visit an installation at The National Gallery of Canada last year, itself complex, thoughtful, illuminating, and dreary, that was excellent. It’s called …from the Transit Bar, by Vera Frenkel, link here. A functioning dive bar (with alcohol) (I had a bourbon), a working piano, and interviews with various people who’d had to leave their homes for various reasons, played on CRT monitors and TVs around the room. Newspapers in various languages printed, conversations in languages you couldn’t understand, ominously dark, foreboding, and all of it illuminating an experience and a feeling and many, many ideas. A place that you didn’t really like, and you stayed just long enough to figure out where to go next. The remnants of violence everywhere. Powerful stuff. Produced in 1992, roughly the median of the Pompidou collection artworks, this had a similar tone and feeling but was considerably more successful, and successful at imparting ideas about security, about travel, about borders and languages than anything I saw in the Pompidou collection… in particular the many works trying to do just that.

So, yeah, it was very interesting to me to come out of the Koons exhibit, which I’d been told I’d hate (because he’s a shallow, horrible man, and because his work is so thin of premise you could shave with it) and feel kind of elated, a little giddy at it. I kind of want a metal balloon dog for my shelf, or maybe one of those shiny Popeye’s. To then be confronted with reams and reams of work imbued with meaning that were frankly boring and said little that wasn’t painfully obvious, well, shit, I’ll take the reproduction of the 12 foot Hercules with the glass sphere, please.

So, here’s the thesis, at the end instead of the beginning since this is a bit freeform: I think society is in a tough place, and security and comfort are universal needs. We’re being offered security, in the west, primarily through consumerism, and Koons has been aware of that for a long time. Rather than being the angry artist painting Ronald McDonald with a gun and a money bag robbing America, he’s the one enshrining him as the head of our ideals in shiny steel. That’s a repugnant image for many, particularly in the art world, but it’s no less valid a realization of how society views and uses consumerism, and frankly, it’s delightful to look at.

I had a fun time at the Koons exhibit. I left the Pompidou Centre exhausted. Go see the show if you can, it’s worth seeing. Keep an open mind, and a skeptical eye, and skip the gift shop because they don’t have little metal balloon dogs or shiny Popeyes.

IMG_5424

– Chris

P.S.: It’s very difficult for me not to read any sprawling criticism of ‘low art’ see it as a criticism of comics, the lowest of low art and the most commercially compromised art there is, generally. I would’ve introduced this idea into the above, but I haven’t really thoroughly interrogated it yet, so here it is as a postscript.

 

Con Scene Report by Devestator/The Beat

To my knowledge, the only-one-of-its-kind Con-scene report by Devestator and The Beat is now online [outline] [full report]. I believe this is the second year of the report, and this seems to have a greater participation than in the first year, though the sample size is still small.

It’s weird to write about this, mostly because TCAF is lauded in it and so linking it seems a bit like tooting my own horn, but there’s something important here.

If you remember my post on changing convention culture from late last year, I came to a few light conclusions, but I think one of those is now highlighted and underlined thanks to this report: non-comics exhibitors do better, on average, than comics exhibitors at comics shows. Even if the numbers are off, the trending isn’t, and this is an economic reality that comics makers at shows are constantly facing. I would think, or hope, that as someone who LIKES comics and wants to see successful and well-compensated creators of comics, that this would concern you reading. It certainly concerns those comic makers.

But most importantly, I’d hope that the convention organizers reading this survey realize that extra care and attention has to be given to comics at comics shows, just to bring things back up to an equal footing. Not an advantage, but equal.

Comics and their creators are the root of a lot of that merch and material that’s fighting for dollars at these shows, and treating them with a greater degree of attention, respect, and especially booth position and promotion, is integral to the overall health of the creators, and therefore, the comics industry.

Anyway, my two cents on a Monday afternoon.

– Chris

TCAF Photos used in this post by Joanna Wong, http://www.joannawong.ca/

5 Books from Top Shelf Publishing That I Like That Weren’t Mentioned In The Press Release Today

29716-v1-197xThe big news in the comics industry today is that IDW Publishing, known for its diverse lineup of periodicals and reprint projects, has acquired ‘indy’ publisher Top Shelf Productions. it’s an interesting fit, and after thinking about it all morning I think it’ll be a good one for both companies long-term, and I wish all involved well. I also want to send a special shout-out to my friend Brett Warnock, ex of Top Shelf, who announced his retirement from comics today. Best of luck, Brett.

Reading the press release, I could tell it was very, very well-crafted. This is a move that had seemingly been in the offing for a good long while, and from the extensive FAQ to the prepared quotes to seemingly covering every single base except one (Alan Moore-related), that this was a public-facing statement that all involved had given a good deal of thought to. In particular, I thought the listing of successful books from Top Shelf–March, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Blankets, Swallow Me Whole, and Essex County, was probably a smart move too. The books have all made a great sales impression in the marketplace, and all of the names and titles bandied about are likely to be familiar and have positive associations for booksellers (particularly the Direct Market)… but to me anyway, Top Shelf has always been a really diverse publisher, with some great books off the beaten path. I thought it might be nice to showcase a few picks from their catalogue by creators not featured in today’s press release, and tell you a little bit about why I think they’re worth your time. All of these books are still in print, and available from finer retailers and comic book shops.

blue_cover_lg

Blue, by Pat Grant. $14.95.

It’s rare that a comic is genuinely and consistently unsettling, but Pat Grant’s Blue manages to accomplish just that in spades. While it can be easily reduced to a parable about race and assimilation–it reminded me a lot of the film District 9, which was released in close proximity to it–the narrative is very pointed, the characters embarassingly human. There’s some really brilliant cartooning in there as well, and the 2-colour presentation is the icing on the cake.

chester5000cover_lg

Chester 5000, by Jess Fink. $14.95.

I really love Chester 5000! This sensual and sexy wordless story about men and ladies and robot men in various romantic and sexual entanglements is a heck of a lot of fun, a bit of classy smut for your coffee table or bookshelf (depending on how ‘out’ you are about your classy smut). I particularly like how inventive it is–it feels unrestrained, like Fink is constantly upping the ante for her characters, her audience, and herself. The story has continued online past this first volume, so I hope a second volume is on the way soon!

FoxBunnyFunnyCoverToFilm

Fox Bunny Funny, by Andy Hartzell. $10.

This one bypasses ‘unsettling’ and heads right into ‘disturbing’ territory, and makes the story all the better for it. This wordless parable about identity (sexuality? gender? class? race? all of that and more?) is made all the more visceral thanks to the anthropomorphics involved–you’re either a fox, or a bunny. Bunnies are society’s prey, and a good fox hunts and devours them. But when a young fox wants to BE one of the bunnies, it brings his whole world crash down. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of this one, but I think about it a lot.

jack_04

jack1Jack’s Luck Runs Out, by Jason Little. $3.50.

Wow, it may have actually been 8 or 9 years since I read Jack’s Luck Runs Out, but a quick refresher on Jason Little’s website beecomix.com I remember this story of a small-time screw-up pretty well. But what has stayed with me, and why I recommend it, is the absolutely incredible presentation of this comic, in bold primary colours and using the style and iconography of playing cards. It’s a perfect match to its Vegas setting, and now I wanna go read the whole thing again.  Fun-fact: This project was the first full-colour project to be awarded a Xeric Grant.

moving_pictures_cover_72dpi_copy0_lg

Moving Pictures, by Kathryn & Stuart Immonen. $14.95.

This book has the honour of being one that, after I finished it, I started right back at the beginning and read it through again. With two timelines that converge on one another, very deft and clever dialogue, and so much of the story conveyed through the imagery, this is a book worth paying very close attention to. Twice. It’s ‘about’ hiding priceless works of art from the Nazi’s in occupied Paris, but there’s so much else going on too. A real gem.

moving_pictures_05

superf-ckers_lgBonus: Superfuckers #1-7, by James Kochalka. $7.

This shit is awesome. James Kochalka comes up with a teen superhero team that actually look and sound like teens. They are appropriately reprehensible. It was recently animated into a Youtube series, but the comics are fucking hilarous.  This was my favourite comic book series when it was coming out, I hope Kochalka goes back to it at some point.

mirrorlove_lgBonus #2: Mirror of Love, by Alan Moore and Jose Villarrubia. $19.95

This is not really a comic, and doesn’t count for my list since Alan Moore’s name is all over today’s press release, but I did want to mention this excellent ‘picture book for grownups’. The Mirror of Love matches Alan Moore’s epic poem about the history of homosexual attraction with the frankly beautiful photography of my friend Jose Villarrubia and creates a stunning package. A strange project for Top Shelf, and subsequently I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves, but excellent nonetheless.

– Christopher

5 Japanese Comics That Came Out In 2014 That Could’ve Been On A Best Of List Or Two

I’ve been taking a look at some of the “Best Comics of 2014″ lists that are filtering out, and I’ve been a little disappointed at their general lack of ambition, but at the specific lack of comics originating in Japan (i.e.: manga’) on those lists. I haven’t read very many comics at all this year, sadly, but below are 5 Japanese comics that I have read, and have been surprised not to see featured anywhere. I’m sure as I catch up on my reading over the next few weeks, it will not be difficult to find more. For now though, if you’re one of the folks who’s wondering what’s good in manga in 2014, keep reading.

sunny vol 3

Sunny, by Taiyo Matsumoto. Published by VIZ Media.
Volumes 3 & 4, released 2014.

My pick for ‘best comic of the year’ in 2013, Sunny continued to be excellent, heartbreaking, and beautifully illustrated in 2014.  Two further volumes of the series, set in a Japanese orphanage and featuring an outstanding group of young people in very difficult circumstances, arrived this year. Matsumoto is an outstanding cartoonist whose work has matured dramatically since Tekkon Kinkreet, and Sunny is largely regarded as one of the most beautiful manga in Japan. It is definitely one of the most beautiful comics being published in English today (in addition to being a truly moving read).

clothescalledfat

In Clothes Called Fat, by Moyoco Anno. Published by Vertical.
Single-volume manga, published 2014.

When it was originally released in Japan, this book caused something of a sensation. When released in French, it was an official selection at the Angouleme BD Festival, in consideration for best comic of the year, and caused no less of a sensation there. Now available in English, this book is raw, and grim, and still revelatory. It joins the very few manga titles explicitly for adult women (“Josei manga”) that have been published in English, and like the work of Kyoko Okazaki (Pink, Helter Skelter) it is absolutely worth your time.

monster_1_rerelease

Monster (New Edition), by Naoki Urasawa. Published by VIZ Media.
Volumes 1-3 released in 2014.

Monster was a touch ahead of its time upon its initial English-language release in 2006. This twisting, turning, world-spanning mystery story found a dedicated following, but was largely unknown by the larger readership of comics. Luckily Urasawa’s subsequent series Pluto and 20th Century Boys found a larger audience, and those titles, plus the announcement that Guillermo Del Toro had optioned Monster as a television series for HBO, sent new fans clamouring for very-expensive, very-out-of-print volumes. Well, the series is finally coming back into print, in larger, double-volumes, including colour pages. Don’t sleep on this series a second time.

whatdidyoueatyesterday_3

What Did You Eat Yesterday, by Fumi Yoshinaga. Published by Vertical.
3 volumes released in 2014.

Surprisingly powerful and honest, this is an entirely unique series in the world of English-language publishing. A young gay couple, seemingly mismatched, spends their lives together, and occasionally cooks together. This series blends incidents from their life, with illustrated recipes, and it is entirely charming and, over time, endearing. I look forward to every volume.

front-cover

MASSIVE: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, by Various. Published by Fantagraphics. 1 volume.

Look, we’re all grown-ups here, so hopefully a book full of erotic comics on a best-of list won’t upset you too much. As good as the erotic content is (and: it’s pretty good), what really puts it over the top for me is the more than 70 pages of supplementary material–creator interviews, introductions, and a history of this material. This is a great archive of lost comics history, expertly researched and beautifully presented. Like the book on Gengoroh Tagame that preceeded it, this is nearly unique in North America, and worth a spot on your bookshelf.

Alright, there’s 5 that I’ve read and loved. More to come, I’m sure.

– Chris @ The Beguiling

2014

January

1401

Philadelphia.

1401-2

I took this photo because the snow was so deep and fluffy, and it reminded me of when I told Edgar Wright before Scott Pilgrim was filmed that the snow in the book wasn’t artistic license–it was actually deep and big and fluffy like that. He was appropriately shocked.

February

1402-1

1402-2

It was blizzardy and I was a little grumpy, but I was super happy to help my friend Jocelyne move to be my neighbour!

March

1402-3

I can’t help it. I love Real Sports. It’s so awful it goes back around to being incredible.

1403-1

There was a blizzard just after this was taken.

April

1403-2

1403-3

We went to the Domincan Republic for Andrew’s brother’s wedding. It was beautiful. I burnt my legs in the sun so badly I couldn’t walk.

1404-3

Then, Calgary.

1403-4

And Boston.

May

1405-2

TCAF was pretty great this year. May seemed long though, every week was busy.

1405

By the time it ended with the Anime North after-party, we were all pretty burnt out.

June

1406-2

Pride.

1407

1408

Then to Las Vegas, which is Las Vegas. I went for work (really!), TCAF and UDON. It was a hoot.

July

1408-1

1408-2

Las Vegas then right to Ottawa for Damon and Marianka’s wedding, which was lovely.

1408-3

1407-1

A week later was Comic-Con. In n Out Burger was the most notable part of Comic-Con, maybe?

1408-4

August

14088

14088-1

Seattle.

14088-2

Tory & Kean got married!

September

1409-2

1410-1

Massive Realness.

1409-1

SPX with the awesome Koyama Bunch, in Maryland.

1410

Back to Toronto for Michael & Scott’s lovely wedding!

October

1411-1

England.

1411-2

November

1411-3

Tokyo.

1411-4

1411-5

1411-6

Osaka.

1412-1

Miyajima.

hiroshima

Hiroshima.

1412-2

Kobe.

December

1412-5

1412-4

1412-3

Andrew. :)

ramen

and ramen. :)

– 2014!

I’ll be in Japan for Christmas

Hey there. I’ll be in Japan from November 18 through December 29. Andrew will be there with me for the latter half of that. We’re both very excited.

I’m very fortunate to have worked this out with my employer at The Beguiling at the beginning of this year, and while the timing is awful, it’s never not going to be awful and so I’m pressing on.

I know it seems overly audacious to assume anyone gives a whirl about my travel plans, but since I know a bunch of people almost entirely online, and since this is unprecedented, I thought I’d make a brief note. I’m hoping to get a chance to write some more, and to relax, and maybe improve my terrible Japanese language ability a little. I’ll still be answering e-mails, but I probably won’t make it to your Christmas party.

Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures.

Thanks for your understanding and for not hating me,

– Christopher

Call for Proposals: Queers & Comics – LGBTQ Cartoonists and Comics Conference

Hey everyone! There’s a great-looking, first year academic event coming up next year. Unfortunately it’s the same weekend as TCAF so I won’t be able to participate, but if you’re an academic or writer on comics, they’re looking for proposals for paper presentations and more. The deadline is today, but I have a feeling that if you got it in by the end of the week, you’d be fine. – Christopher

Call for Proposals – Due Nov. 3, 2014
Queers & Comics –  LGBTQ Cartoonists and Comics Conference
www.clags.org/queers-comicsPresented by CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave, NYC
Date: May 7-8, 2015
Keynote Speakers: Howard Cruse and Alison Bechdel

Queers & Comics brings American & international LGBTQ cartoonists, comics writers, and artists together with scholars and fans in order to discuss their craft and to document the history and significance of queer comics. The conference will offer two days of panels, workshops, portfolio reviews, slideshow presentations, roundtable discussions, and an exhibition of queer cartoon art.

Call For Proposals
Proposal Submission Deadline: November 3, 2014 – Notifications by December 15
Submit proposals via email to: queers.comics@gmail.com

MORE INFO:  www.clags.org/queers-comics
Follow @QueersComics on Twitter and Queers & Comics on Facebook

Jennifer Camper
Queers & Comics Organizing Committee

Al Jazeera releases free online graphic novella by Michael Keller and Josh Neufeld (Apparently)

terms_of_service

Al Jazeera America, the U.S. arm of the international newsgathering and reporting agency, today released its first graphic novella, about ‘Big Data’ and our interaction with companies . It’s called Terms of Service, it’s by Michael Keller and Josh Neufeld, and it’s free to read online at http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/terms-of-service/index.html.

I’ve read the first few chapters and it’s neat stuff, definitely worth your time. I’m kind of surprised because I got a PR about this at noon today, and I can’t find any record of this announcement at the major comic sites. So, uh, I guess I will break this news…? Enjoy.

Edit: Full Press Release under the cut below.

– Chris @ The Beguiling

Continue reading Al Jazeera releases free online graphic novella by Michael Keller and Josh Neufeld (Apparently)

A few changes…

Although most people seem to have missed it, I mentioned here on the blog about three years ago that I had come on board as the Marketing Director of Canadian Publisher UDON Entertainment. For the past three years I’ve been happy to work with a Publisher like UDON, doing great work, producing comics, manga, and anime and video game artbooks, both original and licensed from Japan. I’ve worked with some very dedicated folks, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from being on the “other side” of the industry for a few years.

However, as of September 30th, 2014, I’ve unfortunately had to step down from that position. I’ve continued to work with The Beguiling and TCAF–The Toronto Comic Arts Festival–during my time with UDON, and recently those organizations have started to demand more of my time and attention. TCAF in particular has some big stuff on the horizon, and ultimately, something had to give (before I did!). I’m proud that UDON’s output increased significantly, to more than 30 books a year during the past few years, and I was happy to be there for some of the company’s greatest publishing successes. I’ll still be working with UDON a little at some of their convention appearances, particularly the two PAX shows, and helping to organize their presence at San Diego Comic-Con. I’m even maybe editing a special project for late next year…? But the day to day is pretty much done.  :)

I’d like to thank my friend and UDON Chief Erik Ko for the tremendous opportunity to step in to support the company in this way. I’d also like to thank all of my co-workers for providing new learning opportunities, and for busting their buts to put out great work, and to all of the great members of the press I’ve gotten to work with too. Finally, to UDON’s fantastically passionate fans, thanks for all of your support.

UDON has a tremendous 2015 in store, with Street Fighter, Manga Classics, Kill la Kill, Osamu Tezuka, Robotech, Professor Layton, and so much more on the horizon. I’m leaving UDON with quite possibly the strongest line-up of books in the history of the company ahead of them, and so much more that hasn’t been announced. ;)

As for me, I’m looking forward to reinvesting my energies back into The Beguiling and into The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and all the great stuff ahead.

Thanks for reading,

– Christopher Butcher
P.S.: If you’re looking to contact UDON about their projects, the best way to do so is via fans@udonentertainment.com. Someone will get back to you tout de suite!

Header image from my favourite UDON book published during my time at the company, the beautiful Midori Foo’s Book of Pictures.  Available wherever great books are sold!

 

MidoriFoo_Cover

Report: The Lakes International Comic Art Fest 2013

In October of 2013, I headed out on my first trip to The United Kingdom as a guest of inaugural Lakes International Comic Arts Festival – http://www.comicartfestival.com/. Held in the village of Kendal, the gateway to the Lake District (and about 2 hours North of Manchester), I was glad to be on hand to witness the birth of a new comics event and especially one of such great ambition and vision. The festival took place October 18th through 20th, and I was on hand from the 17th to the 21st to observe the goings on.

I’ve been meaning to write a little report on the Festival for, oh, about a year now, but I wasn’t writing very much and things just sort of came up in the general. However, I’m set to be headed back to the second iteration of the event which is taking place THIS WEEKEND, from October 16th through the 20th, and hopefully you are too. Again, more details at http://www.comicartfestival.com/.

I’ve basically taken a whole year to write this and I’m literally on my way out the door…Apologies for spelling, grammar, forgotten names, and for taking so long!

Now, on with the show:

Kendal

First things first: Kendal, and so far as I can tell, The Lake District, is gorgeous. However when I was down in Manchester for the few days before the event, when people could immediately tell I was from out of town (and I immediately had to say “I’m from Canada” to get those frowns to turn upside down), people would be like “Oh you’re going up to the Lake District? Oh it’s lovely up there…” like a mantra. You get the sense that it’s ‘cottage country’, that nothing’s thought to be going on… and that was an idea that the organizers of this festival were desperately fighting back against.

The Box

The festival takes place in the old buildings scattered around town, in the city hall clocktower, in the mall, and in the art school with its beautiful modern buildings. The town was energetic, decorated, and full of unique buildings and spaces. As I was saying, they really are trying for a very ambitious program.

Luke Pearson

Speaking of, I was happy to host this drawing demonstration with Luke Pearson, creator of the Hilda series of books. Luke was sweet and charming and drew like magic, for an hour, for the standing-room-only crowd. It’s only just filling up in this photo…

Luke Pearson

Afterwards, Luke stayed and signed and sketched for fans for another hour as well, what a gentleman! His presentation, as most, took place in one of the large classroom buildings and the signing in an anterior building. Despite the drizzle, people had no problem showing up adequately attired, and spirits were very high.

Fest Merch

Book Sales

I think things like decorating and branding the spaces with pennants, posters, and merchandise, make a huge difference for these sorts of events. What might be a somewhat boring classroom becomes a “Festival Space”, and it’s one of the things that I thought LICAF did very well indeed.

Seen above is some of the custom merchandise, and a few of the wonderful volunteers who helped for the weekend.

Comics Clock Tower

One of the two main spaces was “The Comics Clocktower”, or city hall, and you can see the decoration continued throughout the whole town and into all spaces. Banners and signage, both hung and freestanding, dotted all of the festival spaces and the spaces in between, and it really did lift the atmosphere wonderfully. Of course, when you have as naturally photogenic a town as this, that doesn’t hurt either.

The Map

The comics clock tower featured multiple floors of exhibitors, including a special room for an on-site show store and sponsor. The space reminded me very-much of TCAF 2007, which was held in Victoria College, with exhibitors lining the walls of smaller rooms and customers invited to explore both the lovely old building and all of the wonderful art on display.

Exhibition Area

Of course I may be biased, but my favourite space was the large, high-ceilinged main room, held for town meetings, plays, and presentations, and repurposed to hold a number of wonderful artists and their creations.

Adam Cadwell

There’s my friend Adam Cadwell, chatting up a potentional customer.

NoBrow

The fine folks of Nobrow, including Luke Pearson on the left, Sam in the middle, and you’ll have to pardon me as I forgotten then chap on the right’s name.

Comics

Of course it isn’t a comic show without back issue bins… I guess? I found it hilarious to come across this on the first floor, but a few quid for an old issue of Sandman is hard to argue with at a comics festival.

Mantle!

Also, that fireplace is something else? That’s the best part of repurposing existing buildings.

Canadians

Look! Another Canadian! It’s Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare.

Exhibitor

Kristina Baczynski selling some amazingly lovely comics and art…!

Exhibitors

Stephen Robson

Fanfare/Ponent Mon Books

Here’s Stephen Robson from Fanfare UK, and a wonderful selection of his new projects (well, new a year ago, heh). He’s also started distributing some other wonderful works, very exciting!

Darryl Cunningham

And of course TCAF exhibitor Darryl Cunningham!

Exhibitors

Exhibitors

Exhibitors

Paul Gravett

Friend of TCAF Paul Gravett, showing of his newest survey of the medium, Comics Art.

Comics Clock Tower

Comics Clock Tower

Really, the town is quite lovely, and even with a bit of rain it was marvelous to walk through the spaces, from venue to venue, and see all of the great sites along the way.

Brewery Arts Centre

Brewery Arts Centre

Speaking of, the other major venue is the Brewery Arts Centre, a massive arts complex converted from a brewery! Featuring several restaurants, theatre screens/auditorium, and a gorgeous outdoor space, BAC is where many of the large-scale and keynote events were held, and the town and the Festival are certainly lucky to have such a large and gorgeous space to use. You could pop by any time of the weekend (or to the bar round the corner) to meet many of the participating cartoonists as they grabbed a beer or a bite, and that greatly contributed to the warm and positive feeling of the event.

Brewery Arts Centre

And we’ve reached the end, more or less.

I’ve probably got another few thousand words in me about the first Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, but I’m actually now just about to head to the airport in time to attend the second. I will say that the show was very well organized and really took advantage of its locale in the way that very few shows do. I think it’s a sterling and necessary addition to a comics scene that already includes wonderful events like Thoughtbubble, and I hope to see it continue a long and healthy life.

If you’re within a few hours of Kendal (2 or 3 hours from either Manchester or Glasgow, 4 hours from London), I’d strongly recommend attending. Comics events are so far apart and expensive to get to in the U.S. and Canada… for us 3 or 4 hours away IS considered a local show.

Congrats to the organizers and volunteers on an excellent event, and I look forward to the next one with great anticipation… in about 48 hours.

– Christopher

 

 

Never Safe For Work