Kendal, 5th May 2016: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is delighted to announce the appearances by two top Spanish comic creators at this year’s Festival (14th-16th October) –Torpedo and Jonah Hex artist Jordi Bernet and Paco Roca, best known for his award-winning graphic novel Wrinkles.
Spain has long held a fine tradition as a home of incredible comic art, offering a huge range of inventive and talented comic creators. Veteran artist Jordi Bernet has seen many changes in the industry down the years since his debut at just 15, working for Spanish, British, European and, most recently, US publishers.
Paco Roca has taken the modern Spanish industry by storm with his much-praised work, representing the “new wave” of creators from a country famous for its love of comics and comic art.
“We’re incredibly excited by Jordi and Paco’s upcoming appearances at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October,” says Festival Director Julie Tait. “We’ve emphasised the international appeal of comics and comics creation since the Festival began, and these two creators will help us develop that in 2016.”
“I’ve been enthralled by Jordi Bernet’s art since first seeing his Torpedo series in the early 1980s,” adds Festival Patron and artist Sean Phillips. “His art can be sexy, rugged or funny, but it always looks effortless and that’s the hardest thing for an artist to do. That he does it so well makes me want to give or try harder, I’m not sure which.”
Many more international and British comic creators will be announced over the coming weeks, joining a host of writers, artists, publishers and retailers for a long weekend in the Lakes crammed with panels, exhibitions, children’s events and other activities. The town will be entirely given over to comics, with business owners lining up to support the Festival’s famous “Windows Trail”, giving over store front space to display comics art created by artists and local groups and school children.
The October weekend is just one of a number of comics projects from the Festival on its way this year, with the world premiere performance of Black Dog – the Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean already announced, taking place at Kendal Town Hall on 28th May.
Spain has long been the birthplace for great comic artists and writers, and Jordi Bernet (born in Barcelona in 1944), today best known for his work on the classic Spanish series Torpedo andJonah Hex for DC Comics, has become one of the greatest Spanish comic-book artists.
He made his professional debut at the age of 15, when he took over his father´s job on Doña Urraca, one of Spains´s post war most popular cartoon strips. A self-thought artist, he learnt to draw under his father´s desk while he was working on his weekly pages, and his itch to follow in the footsteps of Frank Robbins, Noel Sickles, Toth, Milton Caniff, Alex Raymond or Hal Foster, his favourite comic creators, was always strong.
Soon, he was working for the Bardon Art agency and his work began being published all over Europe. In the UK, his credits work for both DC Thomson and Fleetway drawing for strips such as “The Legend Testers” (for Smash!), “Jungle Jak” for Lion (re-published in France as “Jungle Jack”) and “Lucidus the Spartan” and “The Guns that Won the West” (for Victor).
The late 1960s and 70s saw his work published mainly outside of Spain, gradually moving away from Bardon and working directly for the publishers Dan Lacombe and Paul Foran in France, Wat 69 and Andrax in Germany, and L´ultimo sceriffo and Magua in Italy.
He also drew a small number of horror-styled stories published by DC Comics, and a large amount of action and noir stories for the Spanish market.
The 1980s and 90s saw the peak of his creative career, working alongside some of the best writers in European comics at the time. Torpedo 1936 remains his most famous and universally recognised work.
Most of his body of work has since enjoyed great success in most of Europe, although most of them – Kraken, Custer, Light & Bold, Historias Negras, Cicca Dum-Dum and Snake – are not currently available in English, although some have been published previously.
His weekly strip Clara de Noche (Betty by Night) has been running since 1992, with over 1100 two-page stories produced since then, published in the satirical magazine El Jueves, as well as in paperback editions all over the world.
The appreciation of his work by critics and industry professionals led him to finally break into American mainstream comics. Although first published in the US in 1973, when he drew the Gardner Fox short shocker “Revenge of the Unliving” for Marvel’s monster magazine Vampire Tales, little work there followed, but in 2000 he drew his first Batman story. Since then, he was worked for DC Comics on several projects such as Jonah Hex, The Spirit and several other Batman stories.
Jordi Bernet has received every comic-book award that may be received outside of Spain, including the Eisner Award.
Francisco Martínez Roca aka Paco Roca (born in 1969 on Valencia, Spain) is a Spanish strip cartoonist with experience in graphic novels and advertisement illustration. He’s best known for his graphic novel Wrinkles, published in the UK by Knockabout, a work adapted into film in 2011 by Ignacio Ferreras and produced by Perro Verde Films.
He is also known for the autobiographical comic strip Memorias de un hombre en pijama(“Memories of a Man in Pyjamas).
Paco Roca is one of the main representatives of the new wave of Spanish comic artists. He began his career as a regular contributor to the magazines published by La Cupula in 1994. He made erotic comics starring Peter Pan and Aladdin for Kiss Comix with his pal Rafa Fonteriz, and he created the experimental 3D comic series Road Cartoons with Juan Miguel Aguilera for El Víbora.
Several of Roca’s early works were deeply rooted in Spanish culture and history, such as El Juego Lúgubre (‘Lugubrious Game’, 2001), his fictionalized story about Salvador Dali, and El Faro (2004), about the Spanish Civil War. It was these comics that enabled Roca’s breakthrough in other European countries, such as France, Italy and the Netherlands, through distribution by Strip Art Features.
Roca started his semi-autobiographical Sunday strip Memorias de un hombre en pijama‘ in the newspaper Las Provincias in 2010. In 2012 Roca announced he would make an animated film based on these stories himself. He subsequently made El ángel de la retirada with Serguei Dounovetz, about life in refugee camps in France after the Spanish Civil War (6 Pieds Sous Terre, 2010), and El invierno del dibujante, about the group of comic artists working for the Bruguera magazine Tio Vivo in the 1950s (Astiberri Ediciones, 2011).
He also hosts a radio show called ‘La Tertulia Friki’ with graphic artists MacDiego and Modesto Granados, and writer Ramón Palomar for the Valencian radio.
The fourth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 14-16 October 2016 in Kendal, Cumbria, celebrating great comic art from across the world. It is the only one of its kind in the UK taking over the whole town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, for a weekend.
Guests revealed so far are Joe Kelly, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Luke and Steve McGarry, Mick McMahon,Ken Niimura and Benoit Peeters, – with more announcements to come soon.
The festival features comic artists from around the world, as well as performance, film, exhibitions, comic trails, workshops, master classes, live drawing and independent retailers and publishers. The events programme is bursting with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the leading comic artists and writers from across the world – see them draw, talk about their work and bring comics to life.
A free Family Zone provides drop-in activities for all ages, alongside a series of fantastic workshops for kids and teenagers. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival brings the town together for a weekend to celebrate the amazing world of comic art.
Exhibitors in the Comics Clock Tower “marketplace” for 2016 include – to name but a few! – the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain, Italian illustrator and cartoonist Silvia Carrus, Buzzfeed illustrator James Chapman, Disconnected Press, Forbidden Planet, the writer and artist on Rick and Morty Sarah Graley, Page 45, graphic designer and illustrator Simon Russell, Soaring Penguin and independent publisher and writer Tom Ward.
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash
Co-commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary and On a Marche sur la Bulle, Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash is a multimedia performance and new graphic novel by illustrator, comic artist, filmmaker and musician Dave McKean, one of the iconic figures of the UK comic art world.
Black Dog explores the work of Paul Nash, one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century, whose First World War experiences inspired him to create paintings of disturbing, lasting power.
The graphic novel will be released in two editions – a limited edition in May and a full publication in October at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (14-16 October 2016).
• Tickets for the world premiere in Kendal on 28th May 2016 are available through the Brewery Arts Centre box office (tel: 01539 725 133) or website. Additional performances will be held in France over the summer before the performance returns to Cumbria for the graphic novel launch in October.
Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The commission is also supported by Kendal College, Kendal Business Improvement District and South Lakeland District Council.
Festival Sponsors and Benefactors
CThe Patrons of the Festival are comic creators Boulet, Sean Phillips, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot and Emma Vieceli, and Stephen L. Holland, owner of the award-winning independent comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham.
We are also supported by the Finnish Institute in London, Wallonie Bruxelles International, Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Santander, Knockabout Press, Fanfare UK, GB Sasakawa Foundation, National Cartoonists Society, Premier Inn and Wacom.