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Comica Festival

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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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"...he's a natural storyteller. He can't seem to stop."
Paul Tierney

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Mike Leader

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"...packed out..."
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"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

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Francesca Cassavetti

"Yet another fabulous evening."
Martin Eden

"...far and away the best place to find a serious and eclectic showcase of world comics fare."
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"...plenty to spark your interest here, even if your last comic experience involved cow pie."

"...a very special conversation between two incredible artists."
Chris Thompson