Wigan pair spearheading graphic novels festival

Judge Dredd by Carlos Ezquerra and (below) Bryan and Mary Talbot
Judge Dredd by Carlos Ezquerra and (below) Bryan and Mary Talbot

TWO award-winning Wigan writers and artists are spearheading the biggest festival of graphic novels and art ever to hit these shores.

Bryan and Mary Talbot, whose latest graphic work Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes won the biography section of the Costa Book Awards 2012, are founder patrons of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which will be the first European-style celebration of comics to be held in Britain.

Bryan and Mary Talbot

Bryan and Mary Talbot

More than 50 writers and artists from around the globe will descend on the Cumbrian market town of Kendal for a three-day festival of graphic novels, manga, cartoon strips, adventure comics, non-fiction work and much more.

Bryan, who is a former pupil of Wigan Grammar School and has worked on popular comics including Judge Dredd and Batman, says he hopes the festival will continue enabling graphic work to be taken more seriously as an art form in Britain.

Bryan said: “This new festival will show why comic art is starting to get the kind of recognition in this country that it’s had for a long time in some European countries.

“Many people in Britain still think of comics as being just for kids but in France 43 million graphic novels are sold every year.

“This is the golden age of graphic novels, with more, and better, comic art is being produced today than ever before.”

Bryan will take his place on a roster of more than 50 artists and writers at the festival, showcasing his work and getting to meet enthusiasts and new comic fans alike.

The festival will include panel discussions, live drawing sesions, films and workshops, while punters will be able to meet their favourite personalities and buy work at a marketplace event in the Comics Clock Tower.

Bryan came to literary notice after teaming up with his wife Mary, an experienced academic writer, to produce Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, which intertwines the stories of Mary’s relationship with her father, the James Joyce scholar James S Atherton, and the Irish novelist’s life with his daughter Lucia.

The couple, who were both brought up and got married in Wigan and now live in the North East, saw their book become the first graphic novel ever to win a Costa Award, and are currently working on a history of the suffragette movement.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival will be held in Kendal between October 18 and 20.