The Lakes International Comic Art Festival recently announced that this years festival will mark the centennial of Will Eisner’s birth with three exciting projects to celebrate the work and impact he had on the comic industry.
Eisner started supplying strips to comic publishers in 1936, encouraged by his school friend and future Batman creator Bob Kane. He set up a studio with former editor Jerry Iger, employing a staff of comic artists to draw strips for a range of early comic book publishers. The Spirit, Eisner’s most famous and lasting creation premiered in a weekly syndicated Sunday newspaper supplement in June, 1940. Eisner was able to deliver stories to his more mature audience using innovative storytelling techniques, drawing inspiration from cinema and film noir in particular.
After, a stint in the Army during World War II, Eisner continued The Spirit and set up a company producing educational comics, particularly used for training purposes. He produced a number of autobiographical long form comics, helping to popularise the term ‘graphic novel’. He created one of the first major works on comics theory with the publication of ‘Comics & Sequential Art’ in 1985. He continued to produce comics right up to his death in 2005.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is commemorating 100 years since Will Eisner’s birth in the following ways:
A broad sheet sized centennial comic, with contributions from contemporary comic greats such as Sean Philips, Ed Brubaker, Jason Latour and many more.
An exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre of Eisner’s comic artwork from throughout his long career with rare pages and several complete Spirit stories.
A competition for students to illustrate ‘The Spirit of the Lake District’
As we discussed in episode one Nikki and I decided to go and get tattoos. Now this could be seen as a midlife crises and to be honest it probably is but we did it and are now proud tattooed nerds. We went into the Voodoo Lounge here in sunny Kendal with Nikki having hers done first. Her choice was Totoro from the Ghibli films which she has had a life long love of. As the tattoo began upon her leg she looked at me wincing and pulling faces. You see I’m a bit of a wimp and fear needles so the thought of multiple needles cutting into me for multiple hours could of sent me running. It didn’t however. After an hour Nikki’s was done and it looked awesome.
I opted to have a Dredd tattoo. Originally I wanted Mean Machine however the image I wanted would of taken too long for my mind to accept the pain…. yes I’m soft. I decided to choose the new picture of Dredd designed by David Aja for the 40th anniversary edition of 2000AD. I didn’t consider the amount of black in the picture and when the template was placed on my arm it looked like a horrific experiment gone wrong. After 2 hours however it came out perfect and even got a yay and a retweet off David Aja himself.
Both of us are so happy with the work weve had done and are considering more. I say considering Nikki has decided 100% to follow on with more Ghibli artwork on her leg. The pain wasn’t so bad, essentially just bearable.
Roll up roll up episode one of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast is here. In the show we interview Monster Kids creator Pete Taylor and Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. We feature music from Charlie’s band The Cosmic Rays and local music duet The Wyld.
Be in with a chance of winning two amazing prints. A signed Dave McKean print from Black Dog: Dreams of Paul Nash and The Lake District – For Comics and Quiet Imaginings by Charlie Adlard. Listen to the show for details on how to win.
Continuing my recollection of favourite comics from my past leads me to another comic from when I was a teen. Batman had been a favourite for so long so when the fact that Bruce Wayne was to have his back broken came out I knew I had to read it. Having no knowledge of where to find this story due to having no availability that I knew of as a teen in the UK in the early 90’s I had to wait for the BBC to produce an audio drama which came out 2007 to read the full story. I did however discuss the story to my father who somehow managed to get me a copy of Batman 500 which I still own now.
The story set over multiple volumes brings in two new major characters into the Batman world. The violent vigilante Azrael and the scheming super intelligent super strong Bane. Bane who wants to be the strongest and defeat anyone he sees as a threat puts his sights on Batman. He releases Gotham’s in mates who Batman has to go and try and catch. Eventually Bane confronts a tired and run down Batman and defeats him breaking his back in the process. Wayne has his new apprentice Jean-Paul Valley take over the role of Batman, Jean-Paul had previously been an assassin for a religious order and as he takes on the role of the Bat he moves it into a more violent style happy to kill his opponents. He defeats Bane using his new armoured suit and then continues in the role in his own violent way.
Bruce sees he isn’t right for the role and heals himself over time eventually taking on Jean-Paul using strategy and cunning rather than a direct fist fight. He is then left to take back the cowl and repair the Batman name.
When I eventually read the comic it didn’t disappoint. The art drawn by numerous artists over the three volumes is superb. Bane comes across as this monster and is huge compared to Batman. His cunning and the use of venom made him my favourite villain within the Batman universe. He has appeared in numerous comics since as well as a brilliant re-appearance in the cartoon Batman of the Future where he is a wreck drug obsessed old man.
The film The Dark Knight Rises takes the basic story line of Knightfall with Bane breaking the Bat. I personally would love the whole arc filmed as it deserves it. The comic followed the Death of Superman arc which we have kind of seen in the new Batman v Superman film so who knows what the future holds. – Ian
The line up for the 2017 Lakes International Comic Art Festival has been announced. Find the full line-up at DownTheTubes.net. The Festival will open with a “Quick on The Draw” Gala Night, as talents such as Sergio Aragonés and Tom Richmond compete (in a friendly way) to deliver a fully interactive feast of fast-paced cartooning – and will include the awarding of the first ever Sergio Aragonés Award for International Excellence in Comic Art. We both can not wait to watch how this unfolds on the night.
The festival website has also had a make over and ticket’s are also now on sale. The ticket’s are now purchased in a pass format with one day or weekend passes available. These allow access to all the events held during the day at the event.
As we build up to the launch of the podcast we will look at some of our favourite comics from the past. As the show progresses we will no doubt see our tastes change as we read a much more varied selection but for now this is what one of us has enjoyed from the past.
Judgement on Gotham released December 1991
Written by: Alan Grant & John Wagner. Artist: Simon Bisley. Letterer: Todd Klein
When Judgement of Gotham came out I was into both 200AD and Batman so the combination for me was perfect. I was 13 at the time and essentially it was my boyhood combination of my favourite two characters. I remember the build up to the release as well in 2000AD and upon release I promptly marched myself into Lancaster City centre to find my copy and I was not disappointed.
As Judge Death jumps into Gotham via a dimensional jump device he faces off against Batman who kills his body and Death runs off into Gotham. Batman then transported into the world of Mega Coty One were he faces off against one of my favourite characters Mean Machine. Dredd soon shows up and captures Batman but Anderson frees him taking him back to Gotham to find Death, Dredd follows and the story continues.
Every bit of this story is exciting and pulls all the best bits of Batman and Dredd. The art work is stunning and every scene packs a perfect punch of colour and action with the framing bringing every scene out of the comic. Some really memorable scenes stand out too such as Batman punching Dredd or Deaths nightmare. Classic – Ian
There’s only 20 days to go until the Comic Art Festival Podcast launches. Ian and Nikki are editing and recording ready for the launch. You will be able to get the show on iTunes or any podcast app or of course here on our website.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has won two awards at the Cumbria Life Culture Awards 2017 held on Friday 3rd January 2017. The festival itself won Best Festival fighting off many superb events held during 2017. All in all there were 75 finalists at the awards.
They also won Event of the Year for the premier of Dave McKean’s Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash.
The graphic novel, which pulls together the work of Paul Nash who created pieces of art from his experiences in World War 1, was launched at the 2016 festival.
It’s a well deserved set of awards and we give huge congratulations to everyone involved in the festival. Here’s to 2017.