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Ben Katchor in Comica Conversation with Peter Blegvad at Foyles, Wednesday March 26th!

Posted: February 22, 2014

Book your tickets by clicking here for WeGotTickets.com now!

America’s master satirist of urban absurdities, Ben Katchor is your guide through the foibles and follies of our modern metropolis. See the city through his eyes and you can explore such bemusing notions as the little-known property market ripe for development under your bed, or the six-acre false forest of artificial trees in New Jersey designed for hay-fever sufferers.


An acclaimed cartoonist and public speaker, published in Raw and The New Yorker, Katchor will be performing ‘picture-recititations’ of his full-colour comic strips, published in the leading American architecture journal Metropolis. His monthly comics from 1998 to 2012 have now been compiled into his latest graphic novel Hand-Drying in America, selected by Time magazine and National Public Radio as one of their ‘Books of 2013’.


Katchor will also be in lively conversation with friend and fellow American Peter Blegvad (below), musician, singer-songwriter and creator of the Leviathan strip in The Independent newspaper. A collection of Blegvad’s strips was published by Sort Of Books and its French edition from Apocalypse won the Prix Révélation Award at this year’s Angoulême International Comics Festival.



Don’t miss Katchor and Blegvad’s exclusive public speaking engagement in London! Followed by book signing till 8.30pm.

Title: Ben Katchor: Our Modern Metropolis - A Comica Conversation with Peter Blegvad

Place: Foyles Gallery, 3rd Floor, Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, London London WC2H 0EB.

Time: Doors open 6.15pm for 6.30-8.30pm

Tickets: £6 from WeGotTickets.com.

Reinhard Kleist Launches The Boxer at Goethe Institut London, Thursday March 6th!

Posted: February 19, 2014

The award-winning German graphic novelist Reinhard Kleist (above), acclaimed for his graphic biographies of Johnny Cash and Fidel Castro, returns with the riveting life-story of the Holocaust survivor and champion prizefighter Harry Haft in The Boxer (German cover below).

Kleist explains on his website: “The story of Hertzko Haft is a drawn biography of the life of Hertzko “Harry” Haft. In the year 1940 he was deported by the Nazis from his hometown in Poland and survived four and a half years in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Flossenbürg. In the camps, he was used as a smuggler and boxer, where he had to fight against other prisoners. After the war he went to America and started a career as a professional boxer. Partly because he didn’t learn anything else, but mainly because he wanted to become as popular as possible so that his girlfriend from Poland, that he was supposed to marry, would find him. Hertzko Haft’s prose biography was first published in the States by Syracuse Press. It was told by his son Alan Scott Haft from interviews that he did in the year 2002.”

In association with his publishers SelfMadeHero, Comica Festival is privileged to present Kleist’s exclusive London speaking engagemernt at the Goethe Institut in South Kensington, presenting his latest masterwork and in conversation with Comica co-director Paul Gravett on Thursday March 6th from 7pm. Admission is free and refreshments are provided, but please RSVP on info[at]london.goethe.org or phone 020 7596 4000.


Paul Pope Comica Conversation at Foyles Tuesday February 4th 6.30-8.30pm!

Posted: January 16, 2014

Happy New Year and here’s a great way to start 2014! Comica is thrilled to announce that Paul Pope, the award-winning, American-born, truly international cartoonist, is making his exclusive London speaking engagement for a Comica Conversation at Foyles Bookshop on Tuesday February 4th.

Paul will discuss his remarkable career, creative process, global influences and current projects and will be drawing live, answering your questions and signing his books. Pope’s works include his initially self-published series THB and Escapo (above).

He went on to work for DC Comics, winning multiple Eisner Awards for his electrifying, bat-fanged future vision of Batman Year 100 (above), as well as authoring Vertigo mini-series and graphic novels like Heavy Liquid and 100%(below).

His latest release is the hugely acclaimed, all-ages action-thriller Battling Boy from First Second/Macmillan (below), now in development as a feature movie.

Pope has collaborated on his own clothing range with DKNY, designed for Italy’s Diesel and been commissioned by Japanese giant Kodansha. He is currently preparing Psychenaut, a book of visual essays about Jungian dream analysis, for Dargaud Editions in France.

Paul Pope will be in conversation with Comica Co-Director Paul Gravett, an aficionado since Pope’s debut Sin Titulo. Seating is limited so early online booking is advised!

Where: Foyles Gallery, 3rd Floor, Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB.

When: Tuesday February 4th 2014, doors open 6.15 for 6.30pm start, ends 8.30pm.

Tickets: £6 from WeGotTickets

A Comica Conversation in aid of Comica, a not-for-profit enterprise, with support from First Second/Macmillan, Melia Publishing Services & Foyles.

THB by Paul Pope (original cover art, below):

Highlights of Comica Festival Continuing Till November 16th!

Posted: November 7, 2013

Comica 2013, the London International Comics Festival continues its vibrant, visionary Programme right through till November 16th.  Here are some of the upcoming highlights!

This Friday November 8th, Comica Festival welcomes an amazing delegation of Polish comics movers-and-shakers, including three of Poland’s most innovative current graphic novelists, organisers from the major comics festival in Lodz, and a leading writer and historian. Comica is showing a free exhibition of twelve Polish comics innovators, entitled POLES APART till November 16th in the Windows Gallery at Central Saint Martins near King’s Cross. Our Polish entourage will be giving a Free Workshop for students in the Platform Theatre Foyer from 2-4pm and you are invited to meet them and discover their work. Simply send an email request for your free place via this link. Then later on Friday November 8th, come and party with us at the glorious Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, London WiF 0DR when no less than THREE great new British anthologies are being launched at ANTHOLOGIZE! Many of the contributors will be on hand and happy to sign copies fresh off the presses.

On Saturday afternoon November 9th, Comica once again partners with London’s iconic flagship bookstore Foyles in Charing Cross Road for two more Comica Conversations. First up, from 4-6pm, Ben Dickson, Hunt Emerson, John Spelling and Seán Michael WIlson (via Skype from Japan join Paul Gravett to celebrate the London launch of FIght The Power. This book covers in comics form 14 riveting cases of the Protest Movement over the last 200 years and in several English-speaking countries including not just the US and UK but Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, India and Jamaica. Come and enjoy and be inspired! To get a flavour of this remarkable anthology, introduced by Tariq Ali, check out this online video.

And right after this, from 6.30-8.30pm at Foyles, five cutting-edge British graphic novelists - Gareth Brookes, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Katie Green, John Miers & Woodrow Phoenix - join author Paul Gravett to discuss the emergence and future of Comics Art as ‘The 21st Century Medium’. Their spirited debate marks the London launch of Paul Gravett’s new book Comics Art from Tate Publishing, an opinionated survey of current trends in international comics, from wordlessness and autobiography to digitalisation and installation. You can book tickets online now for both these events or you may be able to buy on the door, subject to capacity, of course.

And one more highlight and date for your diary: on Saturday November 16th as part of the Barbican Centre’s remarkable Pop Art Design exhibition, superstar artists Gary (Derek the Sheep) Northfield and Rian (Dare) Hughes will give a free Hyper-Pop Workshop. Step into the shoes of Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and make your own comic book stories starting from their original sources. Places are limited and timed, under 14’s in the morning, over 14’s in the afternoon.

And a reminder that you can see the all-new graphic short stories in Reframe: Perspectives on Europe through Comics from Algeria, Turkey & the UK at the beautifully refurbished Free Word Centre at 60 Farringdon Road till November 22nd, admission free. Comica is hugely grateful to our sponsors and partners, and in particular to the European Cultural Foundation and to Arts Council England, for supporting this year’s Programme.

Spread the word and we look foward to meeting many of you and your friends at our upcoming events!

Comica Comiket Is Coming This Saturday!

Posted: October 31, 2013

In the Halloween spooky spirit, our glowing, grinning Cheshire Cat lures you to our Comica Comiket Independent Comics Fair, filling the Platform Theatre and Foyer Bar at Central Saint Martins near King’s Cross, this Saturday November 2nd, 11am to 7pm. And a stunning, start-studded line up of caertoonists will be drawing live for your delight and delectation on stage and on the big screen in our Drawing Parade. Best of all it’s completely free, so come one, come all, bring all your family and friends and make a day out of it!

Comica Comiket Is Coming This Saturday!

Posted: October 31, 2013

In the Halloween spooky spirit, our glowing, grinning Cheshire Cat lures you to our Comica Comiket Independent Comics Fair, filling the Platform Theatre and Foyer Bar at Central Saint Martins near King’s Cross, this Saturday November 2nd, 11am to 7pm. And a stunning, start-studded line up of caertoonists will be drawing live for your delight and delectation on stage and on the big screen in our Drawing Parade. Best of all it’s completely free, so come one, come all, bring all your family and friends and make a day out of it!

 

Dave McKean’s UK Previews from ‘Nine Lives’ Sydney Opera House Project!

Posted: October 27, 2013

On Tuesday October 29th as part of Comica 2013 London International Comics Festival, Dave McKean will not only be talking to Comica Co-Director Paul Gravett about his recent and future projects, he will also be offering the first ever UK Previews of his ambitious new project entitled Nine Lives. Earlier this month, Dave was invited to Sydney Opera House, the prestigious venue for Australia’s most innovative multi-arts comics festival Graphic, where he performed on the piano and sung vocals to this exciting set of new illustrated and composed stories. To give you a flavour, the image below comes from Graphic’s Facebook album on Nine Lives.

Dave and Paul will also be in conversation about Gravett’s new book Comics Art from Tate Publishing, which features a number of his most innovative projects, including his Hypercomics installation ‘The Rut’. We’ll also have a limited supply of the very first advance copies of Comics Art available for purchase and signing in London! Book your tickets now online for £6 from WeGotTickets, or buy on the door subject to capacity.

Date: Tuesday October 29th
Time: 6.15pm for 6.30pm start, ends 8.30pm
Venue: Foyles Gallery, 3rd Floor, 117-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB


Winners Announced of 2013 Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize!

Posted: October 27, 2013

The 2013 winner is Emily Haworth-Booth for “Colonic” with Michael Parkin as runner-up with “Lines”. Congratulations to them both. Last night, Saturday October 26th, they both attended Comica at Central Saint Martins and were presented with their certificates and cheques by Joe Sacco. Rachel Cooke, a judge for this competition, profiles Emily and Michael in this Observer feature:


‘At 33, Emily Haworth-Booth, the winner of this year’s Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize, has had a more tortuous journey to the finish line than most. At school, she always had problems with art, the teacher’s exercises – “Now draw this pile of crumpled fabric!” – regularly reducing her to tears. She didn’t study the subject at GCSE or A-level, and her degree at Cambridge was in English literature, after which she worked, among other things, as a receptionist in a cosmetic surgery hospital, tried her hand as a standup comedian, and collaborated with her sister on a line of underwear printed with funny slogans.

‘But, still: she found that she couldn’t quite leave art behind. Before Cambridge, there had been a year’s foundation course at Chelsea College of Art (she put together a portfolio while attending Saturday adult education classes); as a student, she found herself making little illustrated books, which she passed on to her friends; and once she had finished her degree, she enrolled for drawing lessons at the Prince’s School in Shoreditch, east London. In 2008, she was the runner-up in our competition – with a story called “What Do Other Married People Talk About” – and it was after that, she says, “I really knuckled down”. More classes at the Prince’s School followed, and in 2010 its artistic director, Catherine Goodman, asked her to develop and teach a new course, Drawing the Graphic Novel.

’ “I was pretty unqualified on paper, but she has an amazing instinct about what will work, and she took a chance on me. I love teaching, and I’ve learned so much from my students.” These days, Haworth-Booth spends three days a week at the school (she is now its communications editor), and four mornings a week working on her own comics; she tries to draft 12 panels each session. Among the comic artists she regards as inspirational are Chris Ware, Seth, Marjane Satrapi, Posy Simmonds, and Daniel Clowes: “I must have read Ghost World hundreds of times.”

‘Haworth-Booth’s winning story, “Colonic”, does what it says on the tin, its protagonist spending most of her time on her back with a large tube stuck up her backside; this year’s judges – the panel, which selected the winner from among some 180 entries, included novelist Joe Dunthorne and Stephen Collins, author of The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil – liked it mainly because it made us laugh out loud. Where did she get the idea? The therapist’s voice seems so real; surely “Colonic” must have been based on a real encounter. “It was! During 2011 and 2012, I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME. My GP wasn’t any help, so I underwent all sorts of alternative healing practices, from the completely gross – colonic irrigation – to the sublime – silent retreats. As part of my recovery process, trying to understand what was happening and why, and to channel my frustration into something constructive – I started keeping a graphic diary of these encounters. The experience wasn’t quite as awful as I’ve made out, and I’ve edited, exaggerated and added to it, but I hope I’ve got to the emotional truth of the experience: how powerless you can feel during medical procedures and how surreal it is to be in such intimate contact with a complete stranger.” Haworth-Booth is now working on turning the rest of her diaries into a book, and her hope is that winning the prize will help her to find a publisher. “It’s really exciting that the small personal moment I describe has resonated with the judges, and I feel so honoured to be in the company of such talented previous winners as Stephen Collins and Isabel Greenberg.”

‘This year’s runner-up is Michael Parkin, whose story “Lines” – it begins simply, with a man on a boat, fishing – we liked for its beautiful use of colour, for its visual harmony, and for the clever twist at its end. Parkin is a third-year illustration student at Kingston University. “I was a little nervous about entering the competition,” he says. “I’ve seen the quality of some past winners. But this year, all my tutors and a few friends recommended I try.” Where did his story come from? “I came up with it when I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep. The idea behind it is someone escaping from everyday life to get away from all the noise and distraction; on the water, they catch various versions of themselves, each representing a different characteristic or chapter of their life. Over time, they find out more and more, until the weight of what they have pulled up slowly drags them under.

‘What is Parkin’s plan for the future? “After university, I want to hit the ground running. I want to turn illustration into my career. Hearing I was runner-up was the best news. I was, and still am, over the moon.” ‘

You can also see this year’s five finalists’ stories on display in Foyles Cafe until November 16th.

Comica Festival & Reframe Exhibition Opening Tonight!

Posted: October 23, 2013

Comica Festival is back and the whole 2013 Programme is now online.  This Wednesday October 23rd brings the Grand Opening of our Headline Exhibition Reframe, presenting nine new graphic short stories by three guest artists from Algeria and three from Turkey, and Hannah Berry, Ilya and Daniel Locke from the UK, offering personal perspectives on Europe. It’s on at the newly refurbished Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road and supported by the European Cultural Foundation and Arts Council England.

The participants and curators will also take part in a panel discussion at 6.30pm in association with Article 19 hosted by Dr. Jason Dittmer followed by a drinks reception. Tickets for this can be booked online here or on the night for £5/£3 concessions, subject to capacity. This free exhibition continues until November 22nd. You can read interviews with Algerian artist Sofiane Belaskri, Turkish artist Naz Tansel, and Daniel Locke and see a Flickr slideshow of the new graphic short stories by Sofiane Belaskri, Britsh illustrator Daniel Locke, and a collaboration between Turkish artists Naz Tansel and Murat Mıhçıoğlu. More Reframe interviews and images will go online during the course of the exhibition.

Comica Conversation. Joe Sacco: The Great War and the Battle of the Somme

Posted: October 2, 2013

The Great War: Joe Sacco discusses the Battle of the Somme

Joe Sacco discusses the Great War, and in particular, the events of July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, when almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed, and another 40,000 were wounded, as depicted in his Graphic Documentary, The Great War.

Joe Sacco is one of the world’s great cartoonist-journalists, widely hailed as the creator of war reportage comics.

He will be making this exclusive London speaking engagement as a feature of the Tenth Comica Festival 2013, to talk in depth about how he achieves his acclaimed comics journalism, covering conflicts in Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere. He will be in conversation with Pat Mills, the British comics writer acclaimed for his WWI serial Charley’s War and his politically charged series for Crisis and other projects.

The Great War, a 24-foot-long wordless panorama, is published October 10th 2013 by Jonathan Cape.

Printed on fine accordion-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase with a 16-page accompanying booklet, The Great War is a landmark work in Sacco’s illustrious career, and makes visceral one of the bloodiest days in history.

His other books include: Palestine, which received the American Book Award; Safe Area: Goražde, which won the Eisner Award, and was named a New York Times notable book, and Time magazine’s best comic-book of 2000.

Thanks to the brilliant support of the first Lakes International Comic Art Festival (Kendal: October 18th to 20th), publishers Jonathan Cape, and Central Saint Martins - University of the Arts London, for their help in presenting this event.

When?: Saturday October 26th from 7.30pm

Where?: The Platform Theatre
Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design
University of the Arts London
Handyside Street
King’s Cross
London N1C 4AA

Tickets: £10 from WeGotTickets

Read all the latest Comica news here.

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Comica Events

Latest News

Ben Katchor in Comica Conversation with Peter Blegvad at Foyles, Wednesday March 26th!

Reinhard Kleist Launches The Boxer at Goethe Institut London, Thursday March 6th!

Paul Pope Comica Conversation at Foyles Tuesday February 4th 6.30-8.30pm!

Highlights of Comica Festival Continuing Till November 16th!

Comica Comiket Is Coming This Saturday!

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Reviews

"The Comica Festival's uniqueness resides in its selection of international comic artists [and] its presentation of cutting-edge themes..."
Dominique Le Duc

"It was a real learning experience."
Tom Humberstone

"...another very successful event providing a wonderful voyage into the world of graphic literature."
Dominique Le Duc

"Comica features some of the most highly regarded figures currently working in the form..."
The Observer

"...the social buzz is what I will remember from the day."
Ed Pinsent

"...fascinating..."
Redrawn

"Gives the comic form the cultural representation the UK doesn't normally see."
David Greene

"...he's a natural storyteller. He can't seem to stop."
Paul Tierney

"Every time I go to these events I come back inspired to do more work."
Sylvia Libedinsky

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Chris Thompson