Lakes International Comic Art Festival Reveals LICAF Live Details

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival of Kendal in England has announced some of its programming plans and guest line-up for LICAF LIVE, the virtual comics event taking place from the 9th to the 11th October that replaces the usual festival this year.

Announced virtual guests include Charlie AdlardYomi AyeniSayra BegumHannah BerryPaul CornellGemma CorrellRobert DeasElyon'sHugleikur DagssonDave GibbonsDave McKeanKen NiimuraPaul GravettMarc JacksonNicola JenningsSarah McIntyreJunko MizunoSean PhillipsTanya RobertsJulie RocheleauMartin RowsonPosy Simmonds with more to be announced.

LICAF LIVE will open with a live launch from a top-secret location with special announcements and an all-star band on Friday evening followed by on-the-hour, every hour live events (cartoon challenges, book launches and its very own shopping channel, courtesy of VIZ comic) and a special live feed from creators' desks.

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Reveals LICAF Live Details.
Lakes International Comic Art Festival Reveals LICAF Live Details.

The Festival's web site has been revamped to promote the virtual event, with guest details and programming already live and a Virtual Comics Clock Tower designed by Joe and Luke McGarry, promoting and offering the means to buy creators' and publishers' work, to follow soon.

The physical Festival will return in October 2021, but the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic necessitated LICAF's first major foray into the digital world, following quickly on the heels of its initial web projects such as supporting artist Marc Jackson'Marc Makes Comics YouTube Channel for aspiring young comic artists and its recently-launched Digital Colouring Project.

Programming in the works includes:

A live "Big Comics Pub Quiz" – with virtual Festival goers able to compete by yourself or form a team. Suitable for comics fans of all ages, with rounds ranging from Disney characters to the history of comics, to Outer Space, there will be prizes for the winners, plus the immortal accolade: Comics Cleverclogs 2020!

Showing Off – a range of live draws and challenges including creators from locations as far-flung as Japan, Finland and the United States

Drawing on Japan – Both live and pre-recorded, celebrate some of our best live draws from LICAF 2013-2019 with Junko Mizuno (USA/Japan), Ken Niimura (Spain/Japan), Emma Vieceli (UK) and Petteri Tikannen (Finland), who will draw on their inspirations from Japan to create an original piece of art for LICAF LIVE

Pass the Panel – 16 artists are challenged to create a 16-panel story with the loosest of storylines. Taking turns, each of them will draw a panel of a new comic story, passing from one to the next until the story is complete. The finished strip could be tragic, silly, profound or hilarious. "The only thing we can safely predict," enthuses Festival Director Julie Tait, "is that watching it take shape will be utterly mesmerising!"

Live Cartoon Challenge with Luke McGarry – Live from Los Angeles and featuring special cartoonist guests, no challenge is too great for this award-winning, go-to designer and cartoonist

Daft as a Brush – five cartoonists from Denmark, Iceland, the UK and USA each tackle five crazy cartoon challenges live and pre-recorded for your delight and delectation!

The virtual event, bustling with extraordinary talent, will also offer several "Comics Up Close" events, leading with a huge range of international collaborations – special events featuring top creators from France, Quebec and Denmark in association with Lyon BD, Quebec BD festivals and Art-Bubble, Denmark; "Comics, Clouds and Kendal Mint Cake", examining why the Lake District is such a great place to inspire artists, and to read comics;

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Reveals LICAF Live Details.
Lakes International Comic Art Festival Reveals LICAF Live Details.

Desert Island Comics – asking leading comic creators, including Dave Gibbons, to choose which five comics, one luxury item, and their favourite crisps they would take to a desert island; and "Through the Comics Keyhole", where celebrity comics collectors take us into their homes and show us their prized possessions.

The weekend will also offer free workshops, hosted by comics creators Steven ApplebyJason ChatfieldBen CullisJoe KellyJoe and Luke McGarryTom RichmondLucy SullivanTom Ward and Emma Vieceli.

Plus, a number of exhibitions, two in collaboration with the Italian Institute and the Czech Literature Centre feature as part of a festival online gallery experience and much, much more, to both challenge and entertain. Also planned are "Coronacartoon of the Year", a virtual exhibition of cartoons about the pandemic, taken from newspapers and other sources worldwide, and "Weirdest Comic Image of All Time", a collection of the most bizarre, disturbing, accidentally hilarious and just plain wrong comic panels that have ever appeared in print.

"It's a fantastic line-up," assures Julie Tait, "and we've been blown away by the support from comic creators, publishers and funders for LICAF LIVE. It's proving an opportunity to introduce some artists and writers to the Lakes Festival experience for the very first time, and already prompting ideas for further collaborations.

"I'm particularly looking forward to our 'Comics, Clouds and Kendal Mint Cake' strand, where one of our top guests visits a specific spot in the Lakes, and we can watch them read or discuss a comic there, showing us why they like the place and how the comic relates to it. It could just be a beautiful place to read, or it could be a spot with special relevance. Scenery and art have always been inextricably linked. Now it's time to find out why."

"Plus, 'Through the Comics Keyhole' will be fun, too! We've peered behind the net curtains that conceal some of the most amazing collections of comics in the world. Watch and drool…"

For full programming plans, visit the Festival web site.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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