The Edinburgh Book Festival, held annually in Scotland’s capital city every August, is the biggest public book festival in the world. This year it includes a brand new strand, Stripped, celebrating the world of comics with one hell of a stonking guest list including Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman.
Yes you heard that right, a major book festival is dedicating lots of time and money to comics. Huzzah! Of course, the Edinburgh Book Festival has long made space for some comics guests, but nothing quite on this scale…
Announced today at 12pm we can now confirm that guests include Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Joe Sacco, Kieron Gillen, Posy Simmonds, Bryan Talbot, Paul Cornell, Jamie McKelvie, Tom Gauld, Robbie Morrison, Hannah Berry, Melinda Gebbie, Garen Ewing, Chris Ware, Denise Mina, Glyn Dillon, John McNaught and Will Morris. The strand will also feature a weekend long mini comic book fair focusing on independent comics and creators.
Prepare your diaries with the below (prices vary), and I shall see you there!
Monday 12th August
Chris Ware: The Graphic Novel in a Box
Even at a time when graphic novels are gaining plenty of attention in the media, Chris Ware’s Building Stories has generated a breathtaking response. Ten years in the making, Ware’s box set of differently-sized comics, booklets, broadsheets, posters and a cloth bound book has been described as ‘a graphic novel on the scale of James Joyce’s Ulysses’. In this flagship event he describes the long process of producing his masterpiece.
Tuesday 13th August
Joe Sacco: The Graphic Truth
Previous books such as Footnotes In Gaza established his international reputation and now Joe Sacco, the world’s leading comics journalist, has produced Journalism. In this compelling set of cartoon-essays, he demonstrates the power of comic journalism to grasp at the truth – in Abu Ghraib, in Iraq, in Chechnya… We are thrilled to welcome Sacco for his first visit to the Book Festival.
Wednesday 14th August
Joe Sacco & Chris Ware: Unique Graphic Talents
Joe Sacco and Chris Ware are two of the world’s best graphic novelists. Sacco uses his art to capture the realities of global political upheaval; Ware creates understated fictions on suburbia. Both are united by the unique artform of graphic novels. In this event, chaired by Teddy Jamieson, they discuss the brilliance in bringing together word and image on the page.
Friday 23rd August
The Art of Reading: Graphic Novels
For our reading workshop today comic historian Paul Gravett, author of 1001Comics You Must Read Before You Die, takes you through the world of graphic novels and how to get the most from your reading. Withan open discussion from the start, think pop-up book group: you can be a committed comic book fan or new to the genre; either way you will leave enlightened and inspired.
Will Morris & Edward Ross: A Pair of Innovators Club Together
Two of the upcoming breed of Scotland based comics guys get together for some serious graphic chat. In The Silver Darlings, Will Morris revisits an industry in decline to create a story that’s as much a coming-ofage tale as it is a tribute to Ayrshire’s fishing community. Edward Ross created One Hundred Tiny Moments from My Past, Present and Future and a series of comic book essays on cinema theory entitled Filmish.
Melinda Gebbie: A Genius of Comics Art
Melinda Gebbie learnt her signature illustration style in the underground scene of 1970s San Francisco. She contributed to allwoman anthologies such as Tits & Clits before moving to Thatcher-era London where her autobiographical work was the subject of an obscenity trial. Today she discusses her early feminist projects as well as her masterpiece, The Lost Girls – a collaboration with Alan Moore, who later became her husband.
Paul Gravett: Portraying a History of Comics
Having worked in the world of comics for over three decades, Paul Gravett is uniquely placed to deliver his verdict on the history of his chosen art form. Gravett’s 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die is a painstaking survey of the best or most significant works from Maus to manga and Peanuts to Persepolis. Come along and suggest your own additions if you like.
Grant Morrison: Superheroes Unmasked
Via his own idiosyncratic aesthetic and passionate world views, Grant Morrison merrily leads you through a history of the US comic superhero. The Scotsman is an authority on the worlds of both DC and Marvel, having been under the employ of both, and in Supergods he takes die-hard fans and the relatively uninitiated by the hand with the inside story of Plastic Man, Superman, Batman et al.
Sat 24th August
Creating Graphic Novels with Jon McNaught
Jon McNaught’s Dockwood was described by Chris Ware as the ‘loveliest argument yet for the beauty of just being alive’. A beautifully drawn, bittersweet tale, it won the Best Newcomer Award at Angoulême Comic Festival, a first for a British artist. In this very special all-day workshop McNaught gives you an expert introduction into the art of creating your own graphic novel. Explore techniques in narrative development, structural form and the practical production of comics and learn how words and images can work together to create a unique story.
Posy Simmonds: A Classic Comic Strip with Liberal Family Values
In the summer of ‘77, an unknown illustrator started a weekly comic strip for the Guardian. It began as a parody of girls’ adventure stories, but soon focused on three 1950s friends in their middle-class and nearly middle-aged lives. Mrs Weber’s Omnibus is the collected strips from Posy Simmonds, which encapsulated the concerns of the paper’s readership in the ‘70s and ‘80s yet have remained remarkably undated.
Robbie Morrison: There’s a Storm Brewing
Acclaimed Scottish comic writer, Robbie Morrison is most famous for his work on the iconic Judge Dredd and co-creating the magnificent 27th century swashbuckler Nikolai Dante for 2000AD. His new book Drowntown, set in a future London ravaged by climate change, is a stylish thriller introducing Leo Noiret, an unconventional hero set to make a splash in the London underworld.
Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie: Pushing Youth into the Frame
Miss America, Kid Loki, Marvel Boy, Hulkling, Wiccan and Kate Bishop are among the characters in Young Avengers. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s story contains heroes on the brink in a world where being young is a terrifying but exhilarating ride. In today’s event, long-term collaborators Gillen and McKelvie chat about their new critically-acclaimed project.
Hannah Berry & Gareth Brookes: Modern Gothic Graphic Novels
The gothic and the mysterious can be intriguingly explored through graphic novels and Hannah Berry and Gareth Brookes do it brilliantly in their latest work. Berry weaves words and images together in her muchpraised ghost story Adamtine with captivating results. Brookes’ The Black Project, illustrated by linoprints and embroidery, is the tale of a lonely boy who develops the unhealthy ‘hobby’ of making girlfriends out of things he finds lying around.
Sunday 25th August
Garen Ewing: Seeking the Rainbow Orchid
Join graphic novelist Garen Ewing as he talks about creating his exciting comic book mystery-adventure, The Rainbow Orchid, in which his hero, Julius Chancer, teams up with his friends to stop the villainous Urkaz Grope from getting his hands on the mysterious Rainbow Orchid. Traditional in style with a great plot and characters, The Rainbow Orchid was one of the Observer’s Best Graphic Novels of 2012.
Creating Cartoons with: Gary Northfield
Discover how easy it is to draw cartoons, create characters and interesting scenarios and how to translate these into your own comic. In this workshop, comic illustrator Gary Northfield examines the basics of comic language (speech balloons etc), narrative and the importance of a dynamic front cover. Well-known for his Derek the Sheep strip in The Beano, Northfield has also contributed to Horrible Histories, Horrible Science and The Dandy.
Bryan Talbot & Mary Talbot: From Judge Dredd to Steampunk via James Joyce
Winners of the Costa Award for Biography in 2012, illustrator Bryan Talbot and writer Mary Talbot brought the graphic novel form to massive mainstream attention with Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes. They return to discuss their award-winning interweaving of two father daughter relationships, and also to present the third graphic novel in the hugely popular steampunk detective series: Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan.
Following the success of last year’s Story Consequences, Vivian French challenges writers and illustrators again. This time you suggest a starting point for a story then each writer takes it in turns to move the story along – starting where the other has left off. But this year there’s live drawing too. See how author-illustrators Garen Ewing and Nick Sharratt and illustrator Dave Sutton fare when you throw your craziest ideas at them.
Getting Graphic with Emma Vieceli
Calling all budding graphic novel artists! This workshop offers a great opportunity to gain insights, tips and expertise from Emma Vieceli, leading comic artist for the popular Manga Shakespeare, Vampire Academy and Avalon Chronicles series. Emma uncovers the process of illustrating a graphic novel and gives you the opportunity to work on lots of your own drawings.
2000 Ad: Back to the Future: A Generation of Comic Genius
The first issue of 2000 AD hit the newsstands in 1977. Since then it has become a cornerstone of the comic world and everybody who is anybody has worked on characters such as Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Slaine and Tharg. Join our panel including comics writer Dan Abnett and comics artist Warren Pleece to hear about how this great sci-fi comic has evolved.
Paul Cornell & John Higgins: Superheroes: Sequels and Prequels
Former Doctor Who writer and novelist Paul Cornell returned to Marvel last year to breathe new life into action-packed superhero title Wolverine. Working with legendary illustrator Alan Davis he takes a favourite X-Men antihero into exciting new territory. Today he is joined by writer and illustrator John Higgins, author of Razorjack, colourist for the original Watchmen series and illustrator of some of DC Comics’ brilliant new Before Watchmen titles.
The Sandman with Neil Gaiman: Time for the Untold Story
Over its 76 issues The Sandman has become one of the most influential comics of the modern era. It is a dark, literary fantasy series that tantalises readers with hints of a nightmare just beyond our vision. In this event, Neil Gaiman is interviewed by graphic novelist and illustrator Hannah Berry and together they explore how to play with words, images, motifs and themes to create a sense of the unknown and unexplained.
Monday 26th August
Stuart Kelly on Batman: Reading Workshop
The aim of our reading workshops is to take a close look at a classic text, literary star or genre to enhance understanding of the work. Today, author and literary critic Stuart Kelly takes an in-depth look at Batman and his many incarnations. With an open discussion from the start, think pop-up book group: you can either read some of the work ahead of the event or be inspired to pick it up afterwards.
Margaret Atwood & Neil Gaiman: World-leading Storytellers Go Head to Head
Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman each have legions of readers across the world. They are both on a fearless mission to cross traditional literary boundaries, producing sci-fi, graphic novels, literature and children’s books without hesitation. In this unique and unmissable event, Queen Margaret and King Neil share stories about how they weave words together to tell electrifying stories.
Calling All Menaces! The Beano at 75
Yes, it’s true, the Beano is 75! And as fresh as the first day it appeared, featuring iconic characters such as Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids. Celebrate its long and illustrious history with Morris Heggie and Mike Stirling of DC Thomson, who have both edited the comic, and reminisce about some of the characters who are no more, such as Lord Snooty and Ivy the Terrible.
Glyn Dillon & Jon McNaught: Meditations, Musings and Morbidity
A new breed of graphic novelists is doing fascinating things with words and pictures. Artist, animator and designer Glyn Dillon’s The Nao Of Brown tells the story of a Japanese-English girl with an unusual form of OCD. Jon McNaught’s Dockwood has received fulsome praise from Chris ‘Jimmy Corrigan’ Ware and features stories of a small town in the south east of England set against a background of autumnal transitions.
Denise Mina & Andrea Mutti: Stieg Larsson in Graphic Detail
Scottish crime author Denise Mina is fully entrenched in the world of comics writing and her latest project brings Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy into strip form. Appearing with her here is one of the series’ artists, Andrea Mutti, who has previously worked on Star Wars, GIJoe and The Executor. How difficult is it to translate a bestselling fiction series into graphic novel form?
Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible. Her writing is indexed at comicbookgrrrl.com and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.