We continue to explore routes between our cottage on Greenside and festival venues in the centre of town. This morning we picked up Captain French Lane (the internet won't tell me anything about Captain French) and followed it all the way down to Highgate; this evening, having shopped at Tesco (microwavable paella for dinner) we climed up the side of Wainwright's Yard,and so directly to Beast Bank. In between, there were comics-related events. For the first time, the Festival offered - and we bought - passes which give access to all daytime events. This is great, because we didn't have to decide in advance what we wanted to do, and it's an encouragement to try an event we wouldn't have paid separately for. The downside for the organisers is that they don't know in advance when events are oversubscribed, and they have tried to counter this by scheduling events at quarter hour intervals, so that if you can't get in to your first choice, there won't be too long until another event starts. Which is clever, but means that events may clash, not because they are scheduled at the same time, but incrementally, because they overlap. I would have found this very frustrating, had Peter Milligan, a guest I had looked forward to seeing, not had to cancel - which was a disappointment, but made life simpler. Now, provided I gave up any idea of getting books signed, or enjoying any of the restaurants and cafés of Kendal, I could attend all of my first choice of panels.
We split up for the first event of the day. durham_rambler
went to see Tony Husband, whose work he knows from Private Eye
. Verdict: couldn't hear, speakers were too far from the mike. At the 'Chip on Chip' panel (Chip Zdarsky interviewed by Chip Moser) I had the opposite problem: Zdarsky held the pair's single mike too close, causing distortion and breaking up. Unlike, I suspect, the majority of those there, I've never read Sex Criminals
, though people keep recommending it. I'm a fan of Howard the Duck, both Steve Gerber's original and Chip Zdarsky's reboot, so I knew it would be a fun panel, and it was (though maybe even more fun for the panellists than for the audience): typical of the flavour of the thing is that when Chip M asked Chip Z for some images, he was told Oh, just use whatever comes top of a Google image search
. This news story provided one of those images
, which confused me because I was convinced that what I was seeing was a man dressed as the Marsupilami (no, it's Garfield).
I'd identified a promising source of all-day breakfasts at the Farmhouse Kitchen, but we didn't have time before our next event, so we bought pasties and hog roast at the market, and headed back to the Brewery to hear Bryan Talbot talk to Peter Kessler about the final chapter of Grandville
. This was just an opportunity to eavesdrop on a really interesting conversation, while admiring images from all five volumes of Grandville
blown up on the big screen. There were things that seemed to bother Peter Kessler which I didn't find puzzling (like why you would use a computer font for your lettering) or where I saw what the issue was but not why he was so concerned about it (these people are fish! and they are eating fish!
) but he was an interested and intelligent questioner, and drew out some interesting remarks from his interviewee. We didn't follow them across the road to the signing, as we wanted to go to the next event (and although I did buy the book an hour later, the signing queue was still ridiculous)ETA
The panel on the life and work of Tove Jansson was titled 'More than the Moomins', and consisted of Paul Gravett in conversation with Sophia Jansson (Tove's neice) and Tuula Karjalainen (her biographer). It was illustrated by a slideshow of photographs of Tove Jansson, a few of her paintings and plenty of Moomin drawings: I wished that instead of the cycling images we could have had the one that was relevant to what was being discussed at any given moment. Then again, it was warm in the theatre, and I slept badly last night, so it's no reflection on the panelists that I was tending to drift off. If I came away from the event thinking that I'd have liked to know more about the more than the Moomins, it may be my own inattention that's to blame. (If I really want to know more, we might be able to get to the show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
). Meanwhile, Jonathan Edwards was making a pretty image while we watched (doing things I didn't realise you could do with watercolour), and I hope to see more of his work at the Wildman Gallery
Finally, a fun panel on 'the greatest comic book cover of all time', introduced by Peter Kessler again. This was absolutely not about the greatest cover of all time, but a fascinating glimpse of practitioners talking about specifics, and often at its best when they cut in to comment on each other's choices. Duncan Fegredo proposed his copy of Halo Jones
, because it was signed with kind comments about his portfolio; Chip Zdarsky proposed Aunt May's wedding to Doc Octopus, because seriously; Mariko Tamaki praised Lumberjanes
and The Wicked + The Divine
- which was on my list, though she chose the first sequence, the big portraits, and I prefer the more recent ones... Actually, what's brilliant about the Wic+Div
covers is the way they work as a sequence. There was no discussion of whether covers of trade paperbacks work in the same way as singles. Other things not discussed: Watchmen
(another brilliant sequence of covers) although it was included in the opening montage; Duncan Fegredo's own cover work; Brian Bolland (his name was mentioned, but that's all); Dave McKean's Sandman
covers. It's the mark of a good panel, I think, that you emerge wanting to continue the conversation...
But not now. It's been a long day, and there'll be more tomorrow, for which I'd like to stay awake.ETA:
In fact, having decided not to pursue Bryan Talbot across the road in pursuit of a signed copy of Grandville: Force Majeure
, I went to Page 45's room after an hour-long event, to discover that people were still waiting for signed copies. At first I thought I would join them, but realised that it was once again a choice between a signature and the next
event, so I bought my book and left. Good decision. This morning Bryan told me he had been signing for four hours.