Guardian and MAD Magazine cartoonist Jonathan Edwards has created “Poblin’s Gang” — a family of mascots for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which returns to Kendal from 17th – 19th October.

Poblin and family reflect the inclusive aims of the Festival, offering events that will appeal to the whole family -from children’s workshops and film screenings to creator talks and signings.

Announced guests so far include Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons, digital comics frontiersman Scott McCloud, leading US comics writer Gail Simone, and artists Jock (2000AD, The Losers) Sean Phillips (Batman), and Bryan Talbot (Grandville, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes).

“We’re delighted with Jonathan’s designs,” enthuses Festival Director Julie Tait. “The characters will appear in many different ways and places, some expected, others unexpected!”

“When someone described LICAF as having a character all of its own, we thought that this is exactly what it should have,” she adds. “In the great tradition of European festivals and other great comic art producing cultures such as Japan, we thought the creation of a festival character/mascot (or gang, as it has turned out!) would bring a distinct identity and encourage our audiences to feel more ownership of the festival. Who better to approach than one of the UK’s leading character designers, Jonathan Edwards, who has a fine track record in comics and a whole multitude of creative strings to his bow?”

“The characters started life as a request from Julie Tait to create a single mascot,” says Jonathan Edwards, whose illustration work has also graced the covers of albums by The Black Eyed Peas and The Jungle Brothers, and is also a guest at the Festival. “But the more we talked about it, the more I realised that one character couldn’t really sum up the entire Festival. So from one it increased to four… then six — then eight!”

“We’ve ended up with wide-eyed newbies who, despite loving comics for a long time have perhaps never attended a festival (Poblin and Froop), long-time Festival attendees (Woolton), comics connoisseurs and academics (VeVe and Gubbs) and visitors with specific interests – Manga (Blizz), Small press/zines (Zinny), foreign language aquatic adventure comics (Trimp). Design-wise I’ve used a colour scheme suggested by the Lakes logo,” Jonathan reveals. “Red, black and white – and stuck to the classic Matt Groening advice of giving each character a distinctive silhouette.

“You’ll be able to spot any of these across a crowded room!”


The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October 2014) is a new kind of comic art event in the UK. Modelled on a European-style festival it aims to take over the market town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, with comic art presenting the widest range of genres. Events include a 24 Hour Comic Marathon, children’s comic workshops, talks, signings and a Comics Fair. Web:


Jonathan’s work first appeared in (the now seminal) Deadline magazine back in 1993. He’s been a regular contributor to Britain’s The Guardian daily newspaper since 1999, as well as producing illustrations and comic strips for magazines and publishers around the world including the NME, MAD magazine, Mojo, Q, Disney and Radio Times. His artwork has also graced the covers of records by artists such as The Black Eyed Peas and The Jungle Brothers.

His character design work includes the vinyl toy Inspector Cumulus and many collaborations with his partner, Louise Evans, AKA Felt Mistress. Their work has been exhibited all over the world including shows in Osaka, Los Angeles, Berlin and London and used in ad campaigns, music videos and films.

In 2010 they were given their own window in Selfridge‘s iconic Oxford Street store as part of the Selfridge’s Christmas display and were the focal point of the world famous concept store, the Wonder Room. In 2011 they spent six weeks in Japan creating work for their gallery residency in Nara which culminated in their headlining the Headspace arts festival in Osaka. “Felt Mistress : Creature Couture”, a 400-page book containing all their work to date, was published in November 2012 by Blank Slate Books.

Last year, Jonathan and Louise were speakers and exhibitors at Pictoplasma – the world’s leading international character design conference in Berlin, now in its 10th year.

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