Lakes International Comic Art Festival, National Cartoonists Society join forces

If the physical Lakes International Comic Art Festival coming to Kendal in October isn’t enough excitement for you already, then you’ll be delighted to hear that the organisation has partnered with the US-based National Cartoonists Society to bring you another virtual NCSFest, complementing real world events over the weekend.

NCSFest will take place on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October 2021, with LICAF running from 14th – 17th October in the Cumbrian town, which will, as usual, be awash with comics creators from around the globe. 

The team behind NCSFest are putting together a fantastic schedule of virtual events alongside the awarding of the 2020 Divisional Reuben Awards, which includes taking part in LICAF’s opening event “Battle of the Toons” on Friday 14th October.

Eight comic book characters are floating high over the Lake District in a hot air balloon. All is tranquil until… LICAF, we have a problem! The balloon is sinking and all excess weight must be lost to stay in the air! 

This gala event is a classic balloon debate featuring eight guests, each taking on the role of their own chosen comic character. At the end of the night, only one will survive, and that depends on how well they make their case to you, our audience.
In an intercontinental twist, some of the contestants will be joining in live from NCSFest in America. And the whole thing will be lampooned live by master guest cartoonists Steve McGarryLuke McGarryand friends.
As if that weren’t enough, the opening night will also feature the awarding of this year’s Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art and some other exciting announcements.

So – mark your calendars and stay tuned to the NCS blog and LICAF web site, and social media for further updates on and unmissable schedule with a very special international twist – our friends at the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival will be sharing in the fun and programming live from across the pond! 

NCSFest is the brainchild of Steve McGarry, the syndicated cartoonist and story artist who serves as President of the NCS Foundation, the charitable and educational arm of the National Cartoonists Society. To help fulfill his vision of putting the NCS at the heart of a free cartoon arts festival to rival the great European events, he enlisted the aid of Julie Tait, Director of the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival. With the aid of an incredibly strong team and an army of volunteers – as well as the expertise of Mathieu Diez, then Director of French festival Lyon BD – and the full support of the city of Huntington Beach, NCSFest was born in 2019.

Formed in 1947, the National Cartoonists Society is regarded as the most prestigious organisation of professional cartoonists in the world, with such legends as Peanuts creator Charles M Schulz, Walt Disney, Rube Goldberg and Milton Caniff among its alumni. Today’s membership numbers more than 400 eminent cartoonists and many of these world famous creators are appearing at NCSFest. The NCS will also stage its annual Reuben Awards – the comics and cartoons equivalent of the Oscars – during the Festival.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival celebrates great comic art from across the world, and strongly believes Comics Can Change The World, developing and offering a wide range of outreach projects local, national and international, working with key partners and other Festivals across the globe, funded by the Arts Council. 

Its annual Festival event is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking over the whole town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District and bringing the town together for a weekend to celebrate the amazing world of comic art. The festival features comic artists from around the world, as well as performance, film, exhibitions, comic trails, workshops, master classes, live drawing and independent retailers and publishers. 

The events programme is bursting with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the leading comic artists and writers from across the world – see them draw, talk about their work and bring comics to life. A free Family Zone provides drop-in activities for all ages, alongside a series of fantastic workshops for kids and teenagers.

• Check out details of the Battle of the Toons event here on the Lakes International Comic Art Festival web site

• Tickets are on sale now for this physical event from the Festival web site

• The Lakes International Comic Art Festival – back 15th to 17th October 2021 – is online at: | Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast: | Twitter: @comicartfestpod | Facebook: @ComicArtPodcast | Instagram: @ComicArtPodcast | YouTube | Virtual Comics Clock Tower:

• Want to receive news about the Lakes International Comic Art Festival? Then sign up for their newsletter now

• Check out their LITTLE LICAF Facebook Page here and the dedicated LITTLE LICAF Instagram here

• For more about NCSFest visit

• Don’t forget, you can re-visit the 2020 sessions of the virtual NCSFest at