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A COMICA REVIEW BY:

GAREN EWING


Garen Ewing is a UK based illustrator and designer, and author of The Rainbow Orchid comic series.

Taking Comics Seriously?

My brother and I went to Greenwich to one of the last events of the Comica festival, a discussion by Paul Gravett and Benoit Peeters concerning the medium of comics and how, or if, it is taken seriously (or not).

It was lovely to get into the cool of the National Maritime Museum’s lecture theatre and to be greeted by Paul Gravett who, recognising me from Bristol, introduced me to Benoit Peeters. The first book I bought about Tintin, which introduced me to the man behind the comic (Herge), was Peeters’ Tintin and the World of Herge, so it was a bit of thrill to meet him.

The discussion was based around a series of slides that charted something of a history of comic strips from Hogarth and Topfler, through McCay and Frank King, up to Eisner, Spiegelman and Ware. Both Paul and Benoit are hugely knowledgeable and interesting with their views, and we really could have done with another hour of this. In fact the slides had to be cut short due to time. The last half hour was taken up by the showing (premiere, indeed) of Peeters’ first ‘Comix’ documentary, this one focusing on Art Speigelman and his In the Shadow of No Towers strip. It was very good indeed, and I hope to see more. After that, Benoit stayed to answer some questions… there were only 10 or 12 of us making up the audience, and three questions were asked, one about Herge and Tchang, one about new creators turning back to early comics for inspiration (me), and one about America becoming more accepting of comics as a medium. It was definitely worth the trip.

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Reviews

"The whole affair was very effective as an insight into the creative process of a genius."
Unified Review Theory

"It was a real learning experience."
Tom Humberstone

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

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

"With Comica, the ICA is doing what it does best: reaching out to culture's fringe."
Kulture Flash

"This event showcased some of the great variety of manga art styles and artists working across languages, continents and cultures in the world today."
Karl Pell

"...vastly informative and entertaining."
Kevin Fitzsimmons

"I'll definitely be going to more Comica events."
Matthew Rees

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

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