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A COMICA REVIEW BY:

BBC Collective


The following article was written by Nadia Shireen and appeared on the BBC Collective web site in advance of the first Comica Festival in 2003.

It’s a celebration of graphic art and literature. Honest.

In the first of an annual event, the COMICA festival at London’s ICA celebrates the art of the graphic novel. Sweaty men absent-mindedly fondling themselves at the sight of dog-eared first editions? Hopefully not.

Expect, instead, talks from Palestine and Notes From A Defeatist creator Joe Sacco (02 July), fellow Fantagraphics author Chris Ware in conversation with Alex Garland (01 July), and daughter of the legendary Robert Crumb, Sophie, talking about her work and the legacy of her father (04 July)... and tattooing someone from the audience, apparently.

A festival highlight should be a rare performance from cult artist and musician, Daniel Johnstone, who has inspired the likes of Kurt Cobain, Harmony Korine and Beck. Johnstone will also be contributing to the OuBaPo project, where artists and guests will “experiment with the comic format in an evolving, wall-sized, multi-pathed artwork”. Find out what that might mean from 27 June onwards.

With a series of lectures covering all aspects of comic book creation and appreciation, COMICA should provide a long-overdue celebration of graphic art and literature. Well, that’s what to tell your mates when they accuse you of going to a spoddy comics convention.

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Reviews

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

"The epitome of geekchic, it's most definitely worth checking out."
The Rough Guide To Graphic Novels

"It was a real learning experience."
Tom Humberstone

"...a major new international festival devoted to sequential narratives."
Flux

"...some of the UK's sharpest cartoonists gathered at the ICA in London for a unique test of creativity and endurance: a 24-hour comic marathon, during which each artist was challenged to create a spontaneous 24-page story."
The New Statesman

"...a comprehensive, varied and exciting season that demonstrated the reach and diversity of the art form."
The Comics Journal

"PHEW! I just met Matt Groening!"
Jim Medway

"...a long-overdue celebration of graphic art and literature."
BBC Collective

"After five years of attending Comica's Comikets, the event has finally come of age."
Francesca Cassavetti

"I was about to fall off my chair from overstimulation."
Sarah McIntyre