Working in partnership with the Czech Literary Centre, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is delighted to announce the addition of five Czech comic creators to the Festival’s line-up in October, including award-winning Kateřina Čupová and Václav Šlajch.
The Czech Literary Centre is also supporting two international artists’ residencies in association with LICAF. Katerina Cupova and Stepanka Jislova will be working in Kendal before this year’s weekend -long Festival, and a similar exchange enabled graphic novelist Sayra Begum to work in Prague this summer, and Rachael Smith, the creator of Quarantine Comix, is set to visiting the European capital later this year.
The Here & Now exhibition – one of a number of exhibitions in the works this year – is also funded by the Czech Literary Centre.
“We’re thrilled to welcome five talented comic artists to Kendal this year,” says Festival Director Julie Tait, “and the Literary Centre’s support for our ongoing, year-round international Comic Creator Exchange program is much appreciated.”
The Czech Literary Centre, a section of the Moravian Library, supports and promotes Czech literature abroad and in the Czech Republic. Its aims include promoting prose, literature for children and young adults, poetry, drama, comics, non-fiction and new forms of literature. It also acts as an information hub for foreign publishers, translators, Czech studies specialists, event organisers and others interested in Czech literature.
Other international partners of LICAF include Denmark’s Art Bubble, Congo’s Bilili BD Festival, the Flemish Institute, the L’Institut Francais (the French Institute), the Italian Cultural Institute, the Philippines-based Komiket, Lyon BD Festival, the US-based National Cartoonists Society, and a number of international embassies.
Returning with a physical Festival in Kendal, Cumbria this October, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is bringing the best comic artists, writers and creators to the Lake District for a packed comic art weekend spectacular, with the overall message – Comics Can Change the World. The festival programme includes live drawing, creative workshops, a comics market place, debates, cartoonists, satire, exhibitions and some of the most amazing comic artists from across the globe.
So, whether you’re a comic art addict, new to the world of comics or just love exceptional art and storytelling – get a date in your diary for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 15–17 October 2021.
The festival is held at venues throughout the Brewery Arts Centre and across the town of Kendal. Please check online for location details and guidance regarding the accessibility of our venues.
Meet our Czech Guests
Kateřina Čupová, who often signs her works as faQy or Chechula, studied animation at the Faculty of Multimedia Communications at Tomas Bata University in Zlín. Even her early stories, which were strongly inspired by Japanese manga, suggested that an exceptional cartoonist has appeared on the Czech scene: a phenomenally talented artist with the desire to experiment and to tell distinctively unique, poetic and atmospheric sui generis stories.
She won the Muriel Award for Best Short Comic with Kašna (Fountain), and in 2020 she published her graphic novel debut, Rossum’s Universal Robots, an adaptation of Karel Čapek’s drama R.U.R, which has yet to be optioned in English, but you can read a sample here.
The first comics discipline Lucie Lomová pitted her strength against was a serialised cartoon series for children and young adults, which took her to the pinnacle of her craft: the exciting and poetic series about two mouse friends, Annie and Joey, was published throughout the 1990s.
The stories from the charming world of Eartown and its immediate surroundings have been published as collected volumes, translated into Spanish and Catalan, adapted for theatre as well as television, and represent one of the most beloved Czech children’s comics of recent decades.
However, after 2000 Lucie began to turn her attention towards adult readers, creating adaptations of Czech fairy tales, which have been published in many different languages, and in her subsequent comics she’s told historical, detective and everyday stories, often set at least partly in the world of the theatre (which Lomová got to know well during her dramaturgy studies).
Her graphic novel Savages (2011), which took some three years to research and create, is constructed around the memoirs of the Czech adventurer Alberto Vojtěch Frič. It tells a remarkable story based on real events, about how the famous explorer brought back a Chamacoco Indian named Cherwuisch from his travels around South America to Prague in 1908.
Perfectly capturing the atmosphere of the early 20th century, and the final years of pre-war Austria-Hungary, by presenting the various amusing and unsettling trials and tribulations of this disparate pair, the work offers themes encompassing issues of ethnocentrism, otherness, the (apparent) opposites of “civillisation” and “savagery”, as well as the possibilities and limits of inter-cultural understanding. It was very well received and has also been published in French and Polish.
For a long time, Czech comics were largely the domain of men, but over the past decade there have been some very radical changes. Štěpánka Jislová is part of the younger generation which includes at least as many women as men.
Jislová is one of those authors whose work repeatedly addresses the position of women in society, although not to the detriment of other subjects. Her Bachelor’s thesis Monastery of the Most Sacred Heart, which was published in the form of an album in 2017, recounts the postapocalyptic story of a world contaminated by toxic fog, while her Master degree comic The Wyrd, which she wrote and illustrated based on a story by Meghan Kemp-Gee, examines the tale of Macbeth through the story of the three witches.
She has also adapted a story from Czech history in the comic book Czechs 1938: How Beneš Gave Way to Hitler, based on a story by Pavel Kosatík. Her latest graphic novel, Hairless was published last year, a story was written by Tereza Drahoňovská who based the script on her own experiences with the autoimmune disease alopecia.
Štěpánka Jislová is also active as an organiser and together with Tereza Drahoňovská is behind the Czech branch of the Laydeez Do Comics group, which brings together women involved in comics and arranges workshops, exhibitions, etc.
Marek Rubec is one of several artists on the Czech comics scene drawing on the tradition of Czech animation. Even though its golden era was several decades ago, there are still many universities offering it as a subject to an unusually large number of applicants, many of whom also gravitate towards comics in equal measure.
For Rubec, animated film represents just one part of the kaleidoscope of artistic activities he makes a living from, although at this stage of his creative development, his main focus is comics, which are largely characterised by the exceptional variability of his artistic style. For each subject, he selects the style and technique which best suits it, making it difficult to discern any unifying outward features. In terms of content, he tends towards dark and absurd humour.
After a series of diverse short stories, Marek Rubec, utilising wordless strips, he created the recurring character of Jarmil, an ape living among people, who are usually less alarmed by his hairy appearance than they are by his reluctance to adhere to the written and unwritten rules of civilisation. His ape hero has the potential to reach a very wide audience: Jarmil’s adventures work equally well in children’s magazines and comics anthologies for adults. Significant international response to the publication of the eponymous collection of Jarmil’s stories by the British/Polish publishers Centrala in 2018 demonstrates that the universal message of Rubec’s comics can even overcome national borders.
Václav Šlajch is a comic book artist and illustrator who graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. He subsequently studied illustration at the Institute of Art and Design in Pilsen (currently, the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art).
As an artist, he belongs to what has come to be called “Generation 0” of Czech comics (together with artists such as Jiří Grus, ToyBox and Vladimír 518).
In 2010, he received the prestigious Muriel comic book award in Czech Republic. He also collaborated with director Jan Svěrák on several projects, including the graphic novel adaptation of the film, Three Brothers.
In addition to creating comics and book illustrations, Václav Šlajch also teaches illustration and is head of the Media and Didactic Illustration Atelier at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen.
Announced guests for LICAF October 2021 in Kendal, in alphabetical order, include: Charlie Adlard, Roger Beley Alonzo, Steven Appleby, Yomi Ayeni, Sayra Begum, Maria Björklund, Boulet, Neill Cameron, Kate Charlesworth, Chris Condon, Darren Cullen, Darryl Cunningham, Kateřina Čupová, Hugleikur Dagsson, Oliver East, Manuele Fior, Simon Hanselmann, Marc Jackson, Nicola Jennings, Štěpánka Jislová, Olivier Kugler, Michael Lark, Jeff Lemire (now making a virtual appearance due to COVID-shifted work schedules), Mike Luckovich, Lucie Lomová, Jul Maroh, Dave McKean, Lou McKeever (aka BlueLou), Luke McGarry, Steve McGarry, Ziki Nelson, Wam Ning, Albert Luba Ntolila, Jacob Phillips, Sean Phillips, Kate Prior, David A. Roach, Miles Ross, Martin Rowson, Marek Rubec, Greg Rucka, Václav Šlajch, Matt Smith, Rachael Smith, Glen Southern, Lucy Sullivan, Jack Teagle, Ann Telnaes, Clarice Tudor, the VIZ team and Steve Yeowell
Exhibitors in the Comics Clock Tower for 2021 include: 1826 Comic, Art-Bubble, B7 Media, Big Brown Eyes Collective, Bruno Stahl, Cast Iron Books, Catfood Comics, Cathy Brett, The Cartoonists Club of Great Britain, Centrala, Chris Askham, CoCo Comics, Colleen Douglas, Conundrum Press, Cutaway Comics, E Merlin Murray, the Etherington Brothers, Gold Lion Comics, Gustaffo Vargas, Hocus Pocus, Ian Sharman, Joe Latham, Kate Mia White, Kev F Sutherland, Knockabout, Lancaster University, Lewis Campbell, Madzines, Martin Simpson, Matt Simmons, Matt Smith! (Smith vs Smith), Mereida, Metaphrog, Mister Hope, Moonsquid Ink, Myriad Editions, Nona Gallery, Norm Konyu, Olivia Sullivan, Peter Morey, Pitteville Press, Roger Langridge, Ronny Worsey and Brian Gorman, Schnumn, SelfMadeHero, Soaring Penguin Press, Turnaround and Woodland Creatures
• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival – back 15th to 17th October 2021 – is online at: www.comicartfestival.com | Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast: www.comicartpodcast.uk | Twitter: @comicartfestpod | Facebook: @ComicArtPodcast | Instagram: @ComicArtPodcast | Virtual Comics Clock Tower: licafclocktower.com
• Want to receive news about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival? Then sign up for their newsletter now