Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018 – Spotlight on Scotland!

Saltire - Legend Eternal art by Alex Ronald
Saltire – Legend Eternal art by Alex Ronald

Lakes International Comic Art Festival welcomes Scottish comic creators to huge guest line-up for October

Kendal, Thursday 9th August 2018: Kendal’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival has played host to creators of many nations – and this year, the Scots will be among the nations in the spotlight over the Festival weekend in October.

The weekend-long Festival will give visitors the chance to meet and greet some of Scotland’s best-known comic creators (including those of proud Scottish ancestry), such as Superman artist Frank Quitely, Judge Dredd and Star Wars artist Cam Kennedy, veteran Commando and Eagle artist Ian Kennedy, 2000AD writers Alan Grant and John Wagner – as well as meet newcomers and rising stars such as John Ferguson, creator of Scottish superhero Saltire, Monty Nero and the Festival’s youngest guest, Drew Marr.

Also at the event will be Phillip Vaughn, Senior Lecturer in Comic Studies at the University of Dundee and accomplished game designer, comic artist and consultant on this project, He will discuss the rise of Saltire and the politics of national identity with its creator and author, John Ferguson.

Author and comics expert John McShane will also be on hand, on stage interviewing many of the Festival’s international line-up of guests – and the Comics Clock Tower will play host to many talents from north of Hadrian’s Wall.

At the CCT Xtra in the Shakespeare Centre, midway between the Brewery Arts Centre and the Comics Clock Tower, supported by the University of Dundee, the “Scottish Bothy” will be dedicated to bonnie old Scotland and the bothy of creators, established and new, who have made such an impact on the world of comics. These include Gary Erskine, John Ferguson, Ian Kennedy, Cam Kennedy, Frank Quitely, Drew Marr, Robbie Morrison, Monty Nero and comics editor Deborah Tate.

Look out, too, for a Scottish-themed food concession – and some terribly cliched activity!

“Sadly, no bagpipes,” says Festival director Julie Tait, “but at least one well known guest will be wearing a kilt!

“Joking aside, our guests reflect the huge range of talent Scotland has working in the comics industry,” she continues. “We’re honoured to play host to such amazing talents, from ‘old hands’ to so many rising stars.”

• Tickets for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, running Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October 2018 in Kendal at various venues across the town, are on sale now from the event’s web site.

• Web: | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Podcast 

2018 Festival - Scottish Bothy Image
John Ferguson
John Ferguson, creator of Saltire

John Ferguson is the creator of critically-acclaimed series Saltire, which launched back in 2014. Since then, publisher Diamondsteel Comics has received award nominations for Arts and Culture, Best British Comic and What’s On Book Of The Year among others.

The series centres around Scotland’s first comic book superhero, while the dark and gritty world of the main character is a pseudo-history of the country and its mythology.

Gary Erskine
Gary Erskine

Gary Erskine has worked in the comic industry for over twenty five years for Marvel, DC Comics, Vertigo, Dark Horse Comics, Image, IDW and other companies with writers Mark Millar, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison on books including The Unwritten, War Stories, The Massive with Brian Wood, and Grindhouse with Alex De Campi, with characters as diverse as Judge Dredd, Starman, Dan Dare and Captain America.

Recent work includes the companion graphic novel to the Frontlines series of sci-fi novels by Marko Kloos, written by Ivan Brandon for Jet City Comics. He has also contributed a short story to the successful Metal Made Flesh series for Subversive Comics, working with writer Cy Dethan called “The Final Piece Of Me”.

His work on licensed titles includes art on Doctor Who, Star TrekStar Wars, The Terminator and Transformers. He mentors film students on storyboarding, teaches workshops at schools and libraries and is currently writing and publishing Roller Grrrls. Current work includes Incendiary.US and Zachariah Gunn: Dakota.

Gary has also provided storyboards and concept design work for the games and film industry and also works commercially with clients including D’Agostini, SONY, EA Games COLORS, Team GB British Cycling, J League and the Joshua Agency.

Gary also hosts character design workshops for schools and teaches storyboards for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and more recently provided workshops for the Prince’s Trust.

Alan Grant
Alan Grant

Recently busy adapting Mark Hamilton’s trilogy of novels, Neothink into graphic novel format writer Alan Grant‘s numerous credits include “Judge Dredd” and “Anderson PSI” and “Mazeworld” for Rebellion (the latter soon to be published in a new collection); Batman, Lobo, The Demon and more from US publisher DC Comics; The 1812 War, Channel Evil and Tales of the Buddha (before he got enlightened) for Renegade; and Kidnapped and Jekyll and Hyde for Waverly Press.

He’s also written various short stories, novels and movie/TV scripts, three children’s books and a couple of graphic novels based on LEGO characters, and worked behind the scenes on the Bionicles film.

Art for the 2000AD strip "Kenny Who" by Cam Kennedy
Art for the 2000AD strip “Kenny Who” by Cam Kennedy

By any standards, the creative output of Glaswegian artist Cam Kennedy is impressive. From DC Thomson’s Commando comics (at over number 5000, one of the longest running series in the history of comics) to “Judge Dredd”, Batman and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and then for a few years being part of the comics legacy of Star Wars, Cam’s unique style and painterly approach to his art place him among the finest of artists in the world of comics.

Two of his own favourite projects were the adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and Jekyll and Hyde, which he worked on with fellow guest Alan Grant.

Ian Kennedy
Ian Kennedy

Born in 1932, Ian Kennedy grew up in a Dundee surrounded by wartime airfields which resulted in a burning ambition to fly with the Royal Air Force. Unfortunately, a severe and lasting ear infection put paid to any chance of realising his much cherished dreams. He admits now, that he probably would have been a “lousy” pilot anyway, so his long career in illustration can be viewed as more than just an unsatisfactory alternative!

On leaving school in 1949, he was taken on by DC Thomson & Co. as a trainee illustrator, spending the next five years with what he describes as “a most talented group of experienced professionals” whose invaluable influence laid the foundation for what was to be a lengthy, fairly successful career in commercial art. Incidentally, his first professional job was inking in the black squares in the Sunday Post crossword!

Having married in 1953, and a son coming on the scene the following year, an increase in income became imperative, so Ian went freelance, working initially for Amalgamated Press on the Knockout then inevitably, shortly after, getting back with DC Thomsons.

Since those early days, he has been fully occupied during what he terms “The Golden Times”, of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, with work appearing in quite a variety of publications – Knockout, Air Ace, Battle, Commando (drawing 1500+ covers), Hotspur, Wizard, Warlord, Football Picture Monthly, Judy, Bunty, Blake’s 7, M.A.S.K., 2000AD, on characters such as Judge Dredd and Dan Dare, to name but a few!!

In the meantime, he has maintained his abiding interest in aeronautics, producing the covers for RAF Leuchars’ Annual Airshow Programmes until the onset of computer designs in 1998.

Now in “semi retirement”, Ian still accepts commissions as well as enjoying a new career meeting fans and friends, old and new, at various comics events which will, this year, include his first visit to Lakeland – a date he is looking forward to with much anticipation.

Drew Marr
Drew Marr

Drew Marr is this year’s youngest Festival guest, the publisher of Gold Lion Comics, who says he could not be more excited about his first visit to the event. He will have a special role in the announcement of the new Comics Laureate at the Festival. A regular at DeeCon, his work includes The Rehabilitation of Doctor Eye and he’s a regular at the Dundee Comics Creative Space where a group of kids create new characters and come up with fun stories.

“I’m very excited that I have been invited to the Lakes and I am really looking forward to meeting other comic book writers and artists,” he says.

Frank Quietly. Photo: Luigi Novi
Frank Quietly. Photo: Luigi Novi

Frank Quitely started his career in his native Glasgow, writing and drawing “The Greens” for the independently published Electric Soup. This lead to fully painted strips for Judge Dredd Megazine, black and white shorts for Paradox Press, and coloured shorts for Vertigo.

He has worked on a number of one-shots, limited series, monthlies and graphic novels, notably Flex Mentallo, The Authority, New X Men, Sandman; Endless Nights, We3, All Star Superman and Jupiter’s Legacy.

Still based in Glasgow, he has come full circle, and is back to writing and drawing his own independently published material.

Monty Nero

Dundee-based Monty Nero writes and draws comics – including X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Death Sentence with Mike Dowling for Titan Comics, Hollow Monsters, the digital comic @MontyandZuzu with Zyzanna Dominiak, and various other stories for Marvel, Delcourt, Vertigo and 2000AD.

He has a Masters with Distinction from the University of Dundee in Comics and Graphic Novels, where he won the Duncan of Jordanstone prize, researching how the verbal and visual elements of comics combine to elicit emotion.

Robbie Morrison
Robbie Morrison. Photo: Deborah Tate

Scottish comic book writer Robbie Morrison grew up in the villages of Linwood and Houston, but as no one outside of Scotland has heard of them, he usually claims he’s from Glasgow.

In a 24-year career, he has scripted the adventures of iconic characters including Judge Dredd, Batman, Spider-Man and, most recently, Doctor Who. He is perhaps best known to date for the Eagle award-winning “Nikolai Dante” saga for 2000AD from 1997 – 2012, now available as graphic novels.

He has created many other popular series and characters, including Blackheart, Drowntown, Shakara, Shimura and The Bendatti Vendetta, and has worked with some of the most respected artists in the business, including Dave Gibbons and fellow Scot Frank Quitely.

Currently working on his first novel, Robbie is also the writer of the acclaimed World War One graphic novel White Death, co-created with Walking Dead artist and current Comic Laureate Charlie Adlard and recently featured in a French documentary film. “Without a Trace”, a short follow-up to White Death, will appear in Traces of the Great War, a new anthology of illustrated stories for NOW 14-18 launching at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Deborah Tate. Photo © Trevor Hairsine
Deborah Tate. Photo © Trevor Hairsine

Deborah Tate is uniquely placed within comics, partly due to her experience in both the creative and business sides of the industry. She left Haverstock Comprehensive at 16 for a publishing career, starting as Marvel UK’s office junior. She spent eight years under the guidance of Marvel’s Financial Controller turned Managing Director, Robert Sutherland, rising from accounts clerk to MD’s secretary to Syndication Manager. Sutherland was to play a pivotal role, becoming a lifelong friend and mentor until his death in 2018.

Tate decided to switch direction to editorial/design, also training as paste-up artist and letterer. For two years she was taught how to put comics and annuals together by hand, on titles which included The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Spider-Man and Care Bears. She’s perhaps best known to some as Sonic The Comic’s longest serving editor, guiding the title for five years (two as assistant), and she later launched the official CiTV comic for the ITV network.

A champion of both green and gender issues, Tate persuaded publishers Egmont (formerly Fleetway Publications) to print STC on eco material. In 1997 it became the first comic in the UK to be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper. After questioning copyright holders Sega over what she saw as their bland female hedgehog character, Amy, Tate radically transformed her from a shrinking violet in a minor role to a savvy heroine with her own on-going series (scripted by Beano and VIZ veteran, Lew Stringer).

25 years since its 1993 launch, the much-loved STC had such an impact that a loyal fanbase still exists, with many former readers inspired to create their own unofficial online version.

Tate has represented Malaysian artist Tan Eng Haut, as well as Mick McMahon, whom she regularly commissioned on STC, and later represented on his return to 2000AD.

She has edited, consulted, art directed, PA’d, researched, lettered and scripted for various companies including BBC Worldwide, Marvel Comics and Redan Publishing and Random House/Jonathan Cape, and also created and wrote a comedy script for Tundra’s Glory-Glory football comic, about an obsessive Scottish football supporter and his long-suffering wife which featured art by the late Steve Dillon.

John Wagner
John Wagner

Comics writer John Wagner is best known for his work for 2000AD, having co-created Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Robo-Hunter and many other memorable characters. His Paradox Press graphic novel A History of Violence  was adapted into a major film.

His latest project (with co-writer Alan Grant and artist Dan Cornwell) is Rok of the Reds, the strange and wonderful tale of the world’s first alien footballer. An homage to the comics of their youth, the Rok of the Reds graphic novels will be on show during the LICAF weekend.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Kendal in the Lake District 12th – 14th October 2018:

The following items are background information about this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival which you may find useful for other items for your news outlet about our organisation. We include them in every press release for information purposes and to acknowledge our many funders and principal supporters.

October 2018 Festival Guests

2018 Lakes International Comic Art Festival Art by Petteri Tikkanen

2018 Festival – Our Guests

A huge line up of both British and globe-spanning international comics talent will be attending this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October 2018.

Announced so far:

Charlie Adlard, Steven Appleby, Yomi Ayeni, Edmond Baudoin, Sayra Begum, Dan Berry, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Mitch Breitweiser, Corey Brotherson, Stanley Chow, Robert Brown, Robert Deas, Guy Delisle, JC Deveney, Hunt Emerson, The Etherington Brothers, Kate Evans, John Ferguson, Jeroen Funke, David Gaffney, Brian Gorman, Alan Grant, Ottilie Hainsworth, Maaike Hartjes, Mark Hendriks, Dave Hine, Rian Hughes, ILYA, Marc Jackson, Owen Michael Johnson, Bobby Joseph, Kripa Joshi, Jeff Keane, Joe Kelly, Cam Kennedy, Ian Kennedy, Satoshi Kitamura, Kaisa Leka, Victoria Lomasko, Luke McGarry, Steve McGarry, Stuart Medley, Mikiko, Monty Nero, Robbie Morrison, Bruce Mutard, Graham McNee, Stefan Nieuwenhuis, Emmi Nieminen, Ken Niimura, Benoît Peeters, Sean Phillips, Frank Quitely, Ian Rankin, Marcel Ruijters, Zoom Rockman, Aritra Sarkar, Orijit Sen, Seth, David Silverman, Mark Stafford, The Surreal McCoy, Bryan Talbot, Mary M. Talbot, Deborah Tate, Petteri Tikkanen, Emma Vieceli, the VIZ team and John Wagner

Full profiles of all announced guest so far can be found here on the Festival web site

Comics Clock Tower Line-Up

Comic creators from across the UK and beyond will again take over Kendal Town Hall, where a huge range of comics will be on offer, including the latest graphic novels from around the globe courtesy of Nottingham-based comic shop Page 45.

Dan Dare Audio AdventuresComing to the Comics Clock Tower in 2018 will be…

A Spark in the Sand, A.S. Chambers, Abi Watson, Akiro Tea, Anja Uhren, Arctic Ring Comics, Ayy Kaplan, award-winning Dan Dare audio adventures producer B7 Media, Bastard Galaxia, Ben Bernard-Smith, Big Brown Eyes Collective, Blue Fox Comics, C.P. Thompson, Caravan of Comics, Card Shark Comics, Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain, Centrala, CFcomiX, Chris Askham,, Comics Youth CIC, Dormaeus Publishing, downthetubes, Drew Marr, Ellen Stubbings Illustration, Ethan, the Etherington Brothers, Fefe S, Flash Comics, Flix Gillett, Gary Erskine, Grimble Comics, Happy Space Sloth, Inksplattery, Invisible Six, Jack Knight, Jed McPherson, Jens K Styve, Jessica on Paper, Jetsam Scout, Jim Stewart, Joe Latham, Karen Rubins Comic Turns, Kat Karus, Kate Evans, King Louie’s Lab!, Kugali, Lines of Enquiry & Sur Comics, LostMonkey Art, Lyndon White, Marc Jackson, Marc Robinson, Mayamada, Michi Mathias, Monty Nero, Moonsquid Ink, My Little Dimension, Myfanwy Tristram, Myriad Editions  and New Internationalist, Ottilie Hainsworth, Rachel Jane Findlay Printmaker, Robert Brown, Rory Dunne, Russell Mark Olson Comics, Russell Stearman, SelfMadeHero, Silversong Comic, SIMO, Simon Myers, Soaring Penguin Press, Steve MacManus (Action Man), Teeside Comics Society, The Dutch Mountains, The Land Lumps, The World of Miss Mindy, This Man, This Pete! (Pete Taylor), Tom Ward, Tomas Kucerovsky, TPub Comics, Tut and Groan, Unbound, University of Cumbria CBC, VANILLA, Wastwater Chronicles and Wolf Town Art

Festival Support

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking place in one of the country’s most beautiful areas – the English Lake District, in the market town of Kendal. Modelled on European-style festivals, such as Angoulême in France, it takes over the whole town for a weekend of comic art. Its aim is to celebrate the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic art fans and creators and, it hopes, generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.

The Patrons of the Festival are comic creators Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot, Zoom Rockman and Stephen L. Holland, owner of the award-winning independent comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham.

The Festival is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is supported by Choose CumbriaCumbria County CouncilSouth Lakeland District CouncilKendal BID and Kendal Town Council

Our main sponsors are Westmorland Shopping CentreLancaster University, the University of Cumbria and Wacom.

Our founder partners are the Brewery Arts Centre and Kendal College.

We are also supported by the Australia Council for the ArtsThe Finnish Institute in LondonWallonie Bruxelles InternationalInstitut Français du Royaume-UniKnockabout PressFanfare Press, and the National Cartoonists Society.

Thanks also to our generous donors: Charlie Adlard, Lynette Adlard, Graham Dury, Peter Kessler, Bryan Talbot, Sean Phillips and Simon Thorp.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival welcomes donations to our work. Find out more about making a donation on our web site

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is proud to be supporting the work of OCD Action. As the UK’s largest and most comprehensive OCD charity, OCD Action is able to provide accurate and up-to-date information on OCD and related conditions. The charity runs a helpline, advocacy service, support group network and forum to help people with the disorder, and also works to raise awareness in the media and campaigns to improve access to quality treatment for OCD.

• For more information about OCD Action visit

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