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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

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

"Imagine one of the world's greatest cities hosting a series of events starring the world's greatest cartoonists, put together by one of the world's greatest comics scholars. That's London's Comica."
The Beat

"Comica... continues to heap cultural credibility onto this once maligned art form."
BBC Online

"...packed out..."
Tony Venezia

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

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

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

"...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

"...an inspiring look into the creative lifestyle."
Pop Culture Hound

"Featuring some of the most critically-acclaimed international comic book creators..."
Tripwire