From Batman and Viz to Manga and Peppa Pig...

A Judge Dredd-themed evening introduced by his co-creators John Wagner
A Judge Dredd-themed evening introduced by his co-creators John Wagner

The creators of some of Hollywood’s most famous characters will be divulging the secrets of their success in Kendal.

The artists behind comic book heroes such as Judge Dredd, Captain America, Batman, Wolverine and Thor will be heading to Kendal as part of the major Lakes International Comic Art Festival which runs from October 18-20.

The line-up includes more than 50 writers and artists from the United States, Europe, South America and the UK.

Graphic novels are being increasingly recognised in the UK as a serious art form and the last couple of years have seen a growing buzz around the medium.

Recent Costa Award winners Brian and Mary Talbot are among the founder patrons of the festival.

The festival will include events where people will be able hear from some of the biggest names in comic art, panel discussions, films, exhibitions and workshops.

Authors and artists will also be signing copies of their work and there will be a marketplace to buy comics and comic art.

The festival is the brainchild of Julie Tait and her teenage comic-book fan son Finn.

Julie, who is festival director, said: “In countries like France there’s a real appreciation of comics as an art form and our aim is to create something of the atmosphere at comic art festivals like the one in Angouleme.

“There will be plenty for the real enthusiasts but we also hope it will help to introduce a new audience to comic art.”

The festival will take place at a number of venues across Kendal, including the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal College and the Town Hall.

Other events taking place include:

A Judge Dredd-themed evening introduced by his co-creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra and including a screening of a 3D Judge Dredd film.

An introduction to Manga workshop, which explains what manga means, how it has developed, and gives people a chance to create their own characters.

The Art of Political Satire will see Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell talking to former BBC Newsnight producer Paul Gardner about the art of creating political cartoons, their place in political debate as well as his own career highlights.

The Comics Clock Tower – a marketplace where the festival-goers will get to rubshoulders with writers and artists, as well as buy their work.

Full details about the event are available at

A weekend pass costs £25 and provides unlimited access to the Comics Clock Tower as well as four daytime (pre-7pm) events.

A day pass on the Saturday or Sunday costs £14 and includes entry to two daytime events. Tickets for additional events can be bought separately.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling 01539 725 133.

Giant Superhero mural to celebrate event

A genuine legend of the comic art world is set to transform a Kendal art gallery into a comic lover’s paradise complete with a giant hand-painted mural of Batman.

As part of the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival, The Brewery Arts Centre is hosting an exhibition from award-winning comic artist Sean Phillips, who has achieved worldwide recognition for his work on comic characters such as the Uncanny X-Men, Judge Dredd and Spider-Man.

Before the opening of the exhibition, over the course of two days (September 30 to October 1) Sean will paint a giant mural of Batman – based on a front cover he drew for DC comics in 2004 – in the Brewery’s Sugar Store Gallery.

The exhibition entitled The Art of Sean Phillips opens on 6 October and features work and memorabilia from his remarkable 30 year career including strips and covers for girl’s comics such as Bunty and Judy, 2000AD, superhero giants Marvel and DC and the acclaimed crime genre comics Criminal and Fatale for which he was this year nominated for six comic industry ‘Oscars’ known as the Eisners.

Sean, who lives in Milnthorpe, near Kendal, is also patron of the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival which takes place at venues across Kendal over the weekend and will see dozens of the finest comic artists from around the world converge on the town for a feast of comic art related events, master-classes, talks and films.

Sean said: “We are all really excited about the festival.

“It is just not for hardcore comic fans.

“There is a wealth of things going on and something for everyone whether you are a fan of the political satire of the Guardian’s Steve Bell, the raucous humour of Viz or children’s favourite Peppa Pig.”

“One of the best things about LICAF is that it is taking place across the town.

“Most comic conventions take place in huge hangar-like conference centres so the fact that people will be able to experience comic art in locations such as the Town Hall, Brewery Arts Centre and the library will give it a really special feel and hopefully encourage the whole of Kendal to get involved.”

As part of the festival, Sean will also be talking about his work at a special event at the Brewery on October 19.

Some of the writers and artists signed up as guests at the festival include:

Kurt Busiek has won more than two dozen industry awards for his work. He has had runs on Avengers, Spider-Man, Superman, Conan and others, and has co-created books such as Thunderbolts and Arrowsmith. He is best known for his work on the multipleaward-winning Astro City and Marvels.

David Hine is a British writer who has worked with Marvel on comics such as X-Men and Spider-Man, as well as writing Batman comics for DC. He is currently working with fellow festival guest Doug Braithwaite on Storm Dogs.

Charlie Adlard is a British comic artist who works with American writer Robert Kirkman on The Walking Dead, which dominates the list of best-selling graphic novels month in and month out. It has been turned into a popular TV series, which is currently being broadcast on FX UK.

Simon Thorp and Graham Dury are two of the people who created Viz, which introduced characters like Raffles the Gentleman Thug, The Fat Slags, Felix and his Amazing Underpants and Roger Mellie the Man on the Telly to the world.

Steve Bell is one of the UK’s leading political cartoonists, producing cartoons for the leader pages of The Guardian. His strip cartoon Maggie’s Farm appeared in Time Out and City Limits in the eighties and since 1981 he has also written and drawn the daily If… strip in the Guardian.

American writer Ed Brubaker is making his first visit to a British comic art event. He is famous for his work on comics like Captain America, Batman, Catwoman, Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil, as well as the creator owned comics Criminal and Fatale. He has won four Eisner awards, the comic industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Joe Sacco is also flying in from the States for the Festival. He writes and draws international political reportage in a comic book format, providing an insight into the complex issues of global politics while telling the stories of some of the ordinary people living in war-torn areas like Sarajevo, Chechnya and Palestine.