Exhibitions galore at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Three exhibitions have been lined up for this year’s Festival, reflecting the wide appeal of the event in the choice of art on display.

First up is Amazing Fantasy #15 – The Comic That Changed Everything, on display at the Old Fire Station. Marvel Comics published Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962. Written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko, it contained a story simply titled “Spider-Man” that was destined to change the world of American comicdom forever.

Ditko’s original ink art for this epoch-making comic is now stored safely in the Library of Congress, Washington DC. It consists of 24 boards, and as well as the actual ink, the boards are peppered with pencil comments from Stan the Man himself.

This year, LICAF is exhibiting facsimiles of those hallowed pages. They’ve never been seen before in the UK, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gaze upon one of the Holy Grails of comic art.

Last year, Comic Art Europe invited applications from young comic artists from across Europe. The successful artists spent time in Kendal, Barcelona, Lyon and Brussels, and created new comics on the theme of “Living Together”.

The visual storytelling created by the artists is a reflection of many of the complex, key issues of today… from Štěpánka Jislova’s description of the challenges for female creatives living and working with autism to Eva Pavlič’s journey into the heart of an apartment block and the lives of its residents, via James Albon’s exploration of how to grow a relationship without a common language, Bernard Hage’s study of achieving philosophical calm in the modern world; to Silvia Ballart’s exploration of discrimination across the generations.

Living Together is Comic Art Europe pilot project, co-financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Collectives For Change: Comics From The Arab World introduces a variety of comics genres breaking the boundaries of social and political taboos from across the Arab world.

Throughout the 20th century, comics from the Arab world exclusively targeted children and were used by the ruling totalitarian authorities (military or religious) to control social morals and impose political and ideological agendas.

The Arab Revolutions of the past decade paved the way for the rise of independent collectives of artists from various Arab countries, seeking freedom of expression and creating a network of sharing experiences that has been and continues to shape the comics scene today.

Featuring some 120 artworks by over thirty artists and five collectives, this powerful exhibition of comic art introduces a variety of genres breaking the boundaries of social and political taboos with a leading role for women, these collectives and independent artists are becoming the voice of the youth across the region.

This exhibition is sponsored by The Rada and Mutaz Sawaf Center for Arab comics studies at the American University of Beirut.

“We’re delighted to be hosting such a range of comic art, putting internationally-created comic art, past and present, in the spotlight,” says Julie Tait. “These three exhibitions complement our aim of capturing a flavour international talent, through our guest line-up, amazing exhibitors, and live events.”

Festival Line-Up Additions and Changes

With just over a fortnight to go before the weekend-long Festival, joining the line-up are award-winning Canadian comic creators Francis Desharnais and Philippe Girard.

Jenny Ryan, star of ITV’s The Chase, has also been announced, replacing fellow comedian Lucy Porter as host of the Festival’s special Saturday night Pub Quiz.

Unfortunately, comic creators Steve and Annie Parkhouse have had to bow out of this year’s event for health reasons. “We wish them both well,” says Festival Director Julie Tait.

Fellow Resident Alien creator, writer Peter Hogan, will still be at the Festival, talking to British comics veteran John Freeman about the project and his long career.

FESTIVAL DATES: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere 29th September to 1st October 2023 | Buy your Festival tickets here

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is online at: www.comicartfestival.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Little LICAF on Facebook | Little LICAF on Instagram

• Sign up for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Newsletter