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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

"Every time I go to these events I come back inspired to do more work."
Sylvia Libedinsky

"Yet another fabulous evening."
Martin Eden

"...chat over beers with some of the UK's coolest comic types..."
Thomas Behe

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

"...i left the ica full of encouragement and positivity."
Maartje Schalkx

"The ICA treats comics the way they should be: as contemporary art."
Sci Fi London

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

"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

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

"Comica Comiket at the ICA was buzzing with invention and ideas."
The Guardian