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Comica Festival Weekend at The British Library August 15th to 17th!

Posted: July 5, 2014


Put these dates in your diary! Six weeks today, Comica presents the Comica Festival Weekend at The British Library, London on August 15th to 17th! It’s an amazing, huge, welcoming public venue in which to celebrate comics at their most exciting and creative. It also marks the final weekend of Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, the biggest exhibition of British comics ever seen in this country, so it’s sure to be heaving with visitors.

Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim, is interviewed on Friday August 15th at 6.30pm and signs copies of his wildly anticipated new graphic novel, Seconds, published in the UK by SelfMadeHero, and in partnership with Edinburgh International Book Festival (where Bryan appears over the weekend). You can book tickets here to Bryan’s BL gig - don’t delay as demand is already high for his exclusive London speaking engagement.

On Saturday August 16th, from 11am to 5pm, Comica Comiket, our unmissable independent comics fair, will take over the vast public foyer areas of The British Library, offering the chance to meet and buy direct from some of the greatest publishers, from solo creators to graphic novel majors. Bryan Lee O’Malley will also open the Comiket and sign on the SelfMadeHero stand. Admission to the Comiket is completely free for the public. The packed day will also include a range of extra activities as well as our much-loved Drawing Parade, a chance to watch leading cartoonists working live for thirty minutes each and projected onto giant screens.

Then on Sunday August 17th, from 11.30am to 6.30pm, Comica programmes a series of fascinating, forthright panel discussions and book signings in the British Library’s prestige Conference Centre (above). This is bringing together a remarkable roster of comics writers and artists including Matilda Tristram, launching her autobiographical graphic novel Probably Nothing from Viking Penguin, and special guest from France, Emmanuel Guibert, courtesy of the Institut Français, premiering How The World Was: A California Childhood, just published by First Second.

Full details for booking Tables for exhibitors to the Comiket are available here.

Info and links for the public to book the Sunday panel discussions will follow very shortly.

We look forward to welcoming you to this once-in-a-lifetime Comica Festival Weekender at The British Library!

Call For Papers from Transitions 5 Comica Festival Symposium!

Posted: June 30, 2014

For the fifth year in a row, Comica Festival supports the Transitions Symposium in London, promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study of comics/ comix/ manga/ bande dessinée and other forms of sequential art. This is the announcement of the call for papers for the forthcoming 5th Transitions Symposium on Saturday October 25th 2014 at Birkbeck, University of London.

By deliberately not appointing a set theme, the organisers hope to put together a programme reflecting the diversity of comics studies.  They welcome abstracts for twenty minute papers as well as proposals for panels. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: text-oriented approaches – studies of key creators – historical and contemporary studies of production and circulation of comics – readerships and fan cultures – critical reception – formats, platforms and contexts – the (im)materiality of comics – archival concerns – formalist/narratological approaches – comics and aesthetics – adaptation, convergence and remediation – international iterations and transnational comics – children’s comics – political comics – comics and cultural theory – ideological/discursive critiques – web comics – graphic medicine – non-fiction comics – comics as historiography – comics practice and theory– cultural histories/geographie.

Abstracts for twenty minute papers should be no more than 250 – 300 words. Proposals for papers and panels should be sent as Word documents, with a short biography appended, and submitted by the 30th of July 2014 to Hallvard, Tony and Nina at transitions.symposium[at]gmail.com

Keynote: Dr. Jason Dittmer (UCL, Captain America & the Nationalist Superhero)
Respondent: Dr. Roger Sabin, Central Saint Martins, Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels)
Transitions is supported by Comica, The Centre for Contemporary Literature (Birkbeck), and the Contemporary Fiction Seminar. Image by John Miers.

Enter the Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize!

Posted: May 9, 2014

It’s your chance to join a distinguished list of winners – and even runners-up – and make an impact in the world of graphic novels! Now in its eighth year and announced last Sunday by Lisa O’Kelly in The Observer, the Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize has established itself as the one to win, if you want to make an impact in the world of graphic novels and beyond. Even runners-up have found themselves fêted in ways they might not have predicted only a few years ago.

In 2012, for example, our 2009 runner-up Joff Winterhart, was shortlisted alongside Hilary Mantel for best novel in the Costa book awards for his superb Days of the Bagnold Summer (above). Meanwhile, two previous winners - Stephen Collins, who won the prize in 2010, and Isabel Greenberg, who carried it off in 2011 – published their first books last year to ringing acclaim. Raymond Briggs praised Collins’s The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil as “amazing” and “completely original” before it was even published, while Mark Haddon, among others, paid tribute to Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth as “a celebration of storytelling itself… strange and wry and funny and beautifully drawn”.

The highly accomplished Greenberg is one of our judges this year. She will join the regular panel (Dan Franklin, publisher at Jonathan Cape, Suzanne Dean, creative director of Random House, Paul Gravett, co-director of the Comica festival and the Observer‘s Rachel Cooke) as well as the actor, comedian and writer Peter Serafinowicz.

If you’re thinking of entering, visit Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize website for full terms, conditions and dimensions and the dedicated Prize page on this website. You will also want to take a look at Shorties (above), a free e-comic that showcases a line-up of favourite entries from 2007 to 2011, the early years of the prize. The talent on view there is impressive - but please don’t let that put you off. It is intended to inspire. And we hope to receive a record number of entries in 2014. The winner will receive a cheque for £1,000 and their winning 4-page story will be published in the Observer New Review in November, and the runner-up receives £250 and their entry is published online. There will also be an exhibition of the finalists’ work (Foyles cafe in London displayed them last year, below).

The all-important deadline is September 26th 2014 - so sharpen your pencils and your mind and get to work on your own entry - best of luck!

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


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Comica Events

Latest News

Comica Festival Weekend at The British Library August 15th to 17th!

Call For Papers from Transitions 5 Comica Festival Symposium!

Enter the Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize!

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!

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Reviews

"Comiket... was packed to bursting with enthusiastic, earnest artists hustling their work."
Mike Leader

"...it's a great time to be a comics fan in London!"
Chris Thompson

"There's always something interesting in Comica's raft of events..."
Joel Meadows

"...a two-week celebration of the art form..."
The London Paper

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

"I went in a casual fan, and came out an undisputed Kirbyphile."
Comic Book Resources

"...chat over beers with some of the UK's coolest comic types..."
Thomas Behe

"...plenty to spark your interest here, even if your last comic experience involved cow pie."
Flavorpill

"...Comica continues to be a must-visit destination each year..."
Joel Meadows

"...will be talked about by those who saw it for years to come."
Bart Beaty