Last week saw the release of the line up for this years Lakes Comic Art Festival. We’re happy to report that among the many exhibitions and presentations will be a talk by TEAW co-editors Jonathan Clode and John Stuart Clark. Rather than tackling the subject of WWI itself, their talk will be geared around the editing process of such a large book, with some of the contributing writers and artists taking part as well.
2013’s inaugural Lakes Festival was by all accounts a resounding success and a change to the usual conventions, and we’re delighted to be involved. There’ll also be a talk on the Great War in Comics involving John Freeman, Ivan Petrus (Ghosts of Passchendaele) and Charlie Adlard and Robbie Morrison (White Death).
The festival takes place in Kendal from 17-19 October. Tickets are on sale now from the website below.
As ever, here are some previews from the many stories we’ll be discussing at the festival.
Truth Be Told
Story by Pippa Hennessey. Art by Danos Philopoulos with letters by Brick
Story and Art by Rebecca Burgess
One of the joy’s that comes from working on a project like TEAW is collaborating with such a wide range of artists and writers. Our contributors work in a variety of creative mediums and the manner in which they choose to express that creativity is fascinating to behold. With that in mind we thought we’d share with you some of the upcoming projects a few of them are working on.
We tip our hats to Jessica Martin, co-artist on Only Remember. She has made it onto the long list for Myriad’s First Graphic Novel Competition with her recent and as you might have guessed, first graphic novel, Elsie Harris Picture Palace.
Elsie Harris Picture Palace
Brick’s latest offering is for the East Midlands’ Dawn of the Unread on-line and app initiative to encourage library use and reading among young people. Essentially a handful of deceased regional literary figures (authors, fictional characters, real personalities etc) are brought back from the dead to strut their stuff in comic form. Brick’s contribution is a personal story about The Long Walk, a book he came across when he was nine and busting to escape his boarding school, and its author, Slavomir Rawicz, who Brick bumped into when Slav was a technician at Nottingham Polytechnic in the Seventies. The comic is interactive and there is a short vid of our contributor talking about his working method, using his roughs for The Iron Dice. Hunt Emerson and Eddie Campbell are slated to contribute stories later in the year.
Links – Dawn of the Unread – http://dawnoftheunread.wordpress.com/
– the comic is interactive – http://www.dawnoftheunread.com/issue02-00.html
– a short vid – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQuz9B0asKg
And just in case you thought it was just comics these fine folk excelled at, Stuart Richards, writer and artist of IL Gatto this week made his stand up comedy debut supporting Frankie Boyle.
We shall keep you updated regarding the many other exciting projects our contributors are involved with over the coming weeks.
Following on from our feature in The Independent, TEAW has seen an upsurge in interest over the last couple of weeks. Under the wing of Soaring Penguin, the book made a debut of sorts at the London Book Fair where it caught the eye of foreign publishers and even managed to get a galley copy stolen. Not to advocate theft but in a way that’s actually a rather lovely compliment.
It’s also been great to see one of our contributor’s featured in the local press. Between The Darkness artist Neil McClements was interviewed as part of a feature on TEAW in The Rugby Advertiser. This not only gives the book and the centenary some great coverage, but it also serves to put comics in the spotlight at a local level and expose people to the incredible talent that dwells right under their noses.
For most of our contributors, this is their first foray into creating comics about the First World War, but S.Martin (sometimes Steve, sometimes Stan) produced a series of WWI comics some years back. We discovered these thanks to one of our writers and were lucky enough to recruit Mr. Martin, the result of which is the fantastic Allies of Reason. The beauty of working with Steve/Stan is that he has no computer and no internet, instead writing letters by hand and sending his art in the post! You can see some examples of his work at the link below and you may even still be able to buy a few copies…provided you don’t expect to pay for them via internet banking!
To End All Wars is available for pre-order at various online book sellers and Soaring Penguin are offering the book at a limited pre-publication price of £13.99.
There should be more news on the book in the coming weeks as we get closer to the centenary commemorations, but in the mean time here are a few more preview pages.
Story and Art by Stuart Richards
Die and Become
Story by John Stuart Clark. Art by Sarah Jones
This week saw a press preview for To End All Wars – in The Independent no less. We were fortunate enough to have almost a whole news page devoted to the book in the paper itself, and were placed on the front page of the Independent website. You can read the article at the web link, though of equal interest is the amount of debate it’s encouraged in the comments section that follows it.
As you might expect, opinion is as varied as it is divided, and there is also the odd voice suggesting that comics are ill equipped to depict historical events. The fact that a comic has been given a page in a major newspaper, while rare, certainly suggests otherwise. Sean Michael Wilson, one of our contributors, has argued the point, saying that writers and artists “are not barred from making useful contributions to history or sociology…because they express them with text AND visuals.”
Thanks to Adam Sherwin of The Independent for the feature and to everyone who’s taken an interest in the book as a result. As ever, we are delighted to share some previews of our own with you from the incredible pool of stories our writers and artists have created.
Live and Let Live
Story by Sean Michael Wilson. Art by Chris Martinez with letters by April Brown
The Final Confession of Madame Macleod
Story by Susan Wallis. Art by Ezequiel Rosingana with letters by Kel Nuttall
With only a couple of exceptions, all the stories for TEAW are now in the bag. We’ve also received a fantastic introduction from Pat Mills that is both complimentary of our efforts and scathing in its attack upon the many ‘facts’ surrounding the justification for four and a half years of bloodshed and misery. As we’ve mentioned before, the book is available for pre-order at various online book stores and we’ll be taking part in a host of promotional nuggets as the weeks roll on.
In the meantime we have some new art for your viewing pleasure.
Every Man For Himself
Story by Chris Colley. Art by Patrick Walsh with letters by April Brown
The Stainless Steel Elephant
Story by Russell Wall & James Guy. Art and letters by Ariela Rie Kristantina
Story by Sean Fahey. Art by Borch with letters by Kel Nuttall
Barring the odd heart attack, the contents of TEAW will very soon be turned over to Soaring Penguin and made into a book!
When we devised TEAW, our ethos was to put a human face on the events of the First World War, and tell stories from perspectives people would be familiar with, but through eyes they were not. One such example of this is The Black Chair, written by co-editor Jonathan Clode and illustrated by Catherine Pape. It tells the story of Welsh poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, or Hedd Wyn as he would come to be known. JC has mentioned his visit to the poets final resting place in his Ypres feature, but a few months back his co-pilot John Stuart Clark took the road less traveled and visited the Evans family home in North Wales, where Hedd Wyn’s story is kept alive and well…almost.
The Black Chair
Story by Jonathan Clode, Art and Letters by Catherine Pape
With only months to go until the official start of the centenary commemorations, you can’t turn around without stumbling over something related to the First World War. With that in mind we’ve added an Articles page where we’ll be posting insights from our contributors about the many human faces and experiences that make TEAW different from the general mass media approach to the conflict.
The TV is doing it’s best to show us several angled views of what it was ‘really’ all about, but to get a true insight you need to see for yourself, which is precisely what one of our editors has just done on a trip to Ypres.
You might have noticed that your televisions and radios are beginning to buzz with information about the First World War. The documentaries have begun to roll out and the dramatizations will soon follow. Within this gradual hype, the comic book contribution is also being acknowledged, albeit by our own kind.
A recent exhibition of Tardi’s incredible work from It Was the War of the Trenches and Goddamn This War! was held at this years Angoulême festival, and Pat Mills was interviewed about the latest translations of Charley’s War. The French have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to their production and attitude to comic books, so we’re happy to report that we’re currently putting the finishing touches on an interview for the Association des Critiques et des journalistes de Bande Dessinée that will appear in print sometime in March. The lovely thing about this is we were contacted completely out of the blue, which suggests their fingers are hovering firmly over the pulse.
Art from the Tardi exhibition at Angoulême
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival also announced an exhibition of WWI comic art, including Charley’s War and White Death, drawn by TEAW contributor Charlie Adlard. While TEAW won’t be part of this, we have been invited to give a talk on the process of developing the book. You’ll find details on the exhibition at the link below, and more on our involvement as it develops.
Naturally, all this talk of comic art wouldn’t be fair without offering you some new pages from TEAW, so…
Kapitan Frtiz’s Daytrip to Yarmouth
Story by Michael Crouch. Art by Shawn Wagner with letters by April Brown
Mud, Lice and Vice
Story, Art and letters by Gary and Warren Pleece.
With 2014 now in full swing, plans for the centenary are gathering momentum. While UK politicians cement our fear that any real perspective on this horrific debacle must be dismissed as a bunch of bally-hoo, we are gathering in our finished artwork in readiness to prove them wrong. We are also planning some exhibitions to coincide with the release of the book and the start of the centenary. This not only gives people an opportunity to cast their eyes upon the incredible work of our contributors, but will hopefully provide an insight into the possibilities of a vast medium often dismissed as disposable kids stuff.
A fine example of this would be some of the most recent pages from TEAW.
Dead in the Water
Story by Ian Douglas. Art and letters by Stjepan Mihaljevic
Allies of Reason
Story and Art by S. Martin with letters by Jenny Linn-Cole
We are nearing the finish line for final art, and are very excited to finally have the finished cover in our possession. Painted by Lizzy Waterhouse, it is her first foray into any kind of comic art, and the editors take their entire hat collections off to her homage to WWI war artists. The cover is a wraparound and draws attention to the many facets that made WWI the hell on earth it should be remembered as. For now, here is a look at the front.
This week has seen TEAW make it’s way onto the Amazon pre-orders and we’ve also had an article on the development of the book featured on British comics site downthetubes, as well as on the Charley’s War page. Many thanks to John Freeman for putting us out there. You can find the featured articles and pre-order your copy via the links below.