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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

"It's fun, it's informative, it's inspirational, and it's an absolute must-do."
Gosh! Comics

"...hearing literary translators talk about their work reminded me of the immense difficulty, creativity and importance of the task."
The Financial Times

"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

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

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

"Yet another fabulous evening."
Martin Eden

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

"It was fascinating and welcoming..."
Mike Leader

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

"...all [24 hour comic day] participants felt a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction by the end."
Jim Medway