Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Thought Bubble Week, Day 2: Comics For Everyone!

Photo courtesy of Abby Ryder

I blogged yesterday about one of the cool things I got to do at Thought Bubble over the weekend, running some workshops where I got to hang out and draw awesome robots with various delightful festivalgoers of all ages and self-professed abilities.

Anyway, another Very Cool Thing I got to Do was be part of a panel on the Sunday talking about Children's / All-Ages comics, titled 'Comics For Everyone'. I won't try and give a blow-by-blow account of everything we talked about but I just wanted to express how much fun it was and how great it was to meet, and indeed to discover the work, of my fellow panellists. To wit:

Nathan Fox - an amazing artist whose work was new to me and I'm delighted to have discovered. I picked up his amazing-looking book from Scholastic, Dogs of War, which tells several stories of dogs during wartime and - yeah, I haven't had a chance to read it in full yet, but already I have a horrible feeling it's going to cause me to experience EMOTIONS. Nathan's art is frankly phenomenal: incredibly characterful and dynamic, with really vigorous, powerful inks and just brilliant panel-to-panel comics storytelling.

Maris Wicks - another discovery for me, I grabbed her book Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas, because it is just exactly the sort of comic I wish we saw more of over here. A funny, charming, educational all-ages graphic novel about primatology. This was a New York Times Bestseller, people! KIDS LIKE COMICS, have I mentioned that yet?

And of course, Roger Langridge, who has written and drawn all kinds of amazing things from Fred The Clown to The Muppets to Thor the Mighty Avenger to hey look you probably don't need me to tell you how amazing Roger Langridge is.
Anyway, I enjoyed the panel hugely and can only hope the audience did half as much. Quite apart from the fact that all three were lovely, it was fascinating to learn how much I think we all had in common in terms both of our own experiences with comics and learning to read, and of our beliefs about how important comics, creativity and play are in kids' lives. It was also really interesting to me to get a chance to hear about the varying forms a lot of these issues take in different parts of the world and different comics cultures.

Matt Badham compered the thing excellently and also managed to get in contributions from some more creators in the audience; Dave Bulmer and Abby Ryder, creators of one of the exceptionally brilliant comic Imaginary Gumbo, Daniel Clifford of Art Heroes UK, and Richard Bruton of the Forbidden Planet blog, whose school graphic novel library is rapidly gaining legendary status and is something I always evangelise about whenever I'm talking to teachers and librarians.

ANYWAY. Yeah, it was really fun, and if you're remotely interested in the kind of stuff I usually talk about here, I can't recommend highly enough that you check out Roger, Nathan and Maris' work. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that, Neill. Definitely one of the best panels I've been on, mainly down to all of you.