NEWS: Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Ahead of their bid for City of Culture 2021, Sunderland is set to play host to some of the nation’s leading graphic novelists this month. Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo – so called because of the City’s apparent links to the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll – is returning to the city for its third year on Saturday 3rd June. Curated by renowned illustrator Bryan Talbot, the free programme is a must for die-hard comic fans and newcomers alike.

Sunderland University’s CitySpace will be hosting the expo, bringing fans a full day of interactive workshops, talks and panel discussions from some of the industries most eminent practitioners.

Talbot has succeeded in creating a wide-ranging line up, with a series of scheduled guest speakers throughout the day. Speeches will be delivered alongside workshops, showcasing the full scope of what the medium has to offer, from fantasy to satire, romance to reportage – everything will be covered!

Kicking off the day’s discussions is graphic novelist, writer, podcaster, illustrator and general Jack-of-all-trades Hannah Berry. With a keen eye for social commentary, sharp, political observations are the usual inspiration behind Berry’s work, along with a weekly cartoon strip for the New Statesman chronicling human behaviour. She’ll be sharing her experiences of the industry, and no doubt promoting her new graphic novel, Livestock, out next month.

Other highlights include a celebration of 40 long years for multi award winning comic, 2000AD. An insightful panel discussion with John Wagner, co-creator of the comic’s Judge Dredd; Jeff Anderson, artist of 2000AD, whose current works include a graphic remodelling of the New Testament; John Higgins, Judge Dredd Illustrator, and, of course, Talbot himself, whose work spans over 30 years in the medium. From this array of guest speakers, fans of the comic can expect to hear from a whole range of creators on their significance to the industry.

Talks aside, Wonderland offers a fantastic array of interactive workshops too, starting off with a day-long drop-in session facilitated by professional illustrator and local lad Lee Robinson. With the likes of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda among his repertoire, he’ll be offering his tips and tricks to any budding graphic designers. Another one for the kids is character designer, illustrator and designer Laura Reynolds’ morning session, Picture Consequences. A passionate storyteller, she’ll be leading an interactive game for all to get involved in.

The afternoon sees a series of skills based sessions, an opportunity for anyone looking to break into the industry to hear from those in the know. ‘How to Draw Comics’ will be delivered by Nigel Dobbyn, offering an insight into the extensive range of illustration styles. Finishing off the day, is Jeff Anderson, with a look into comic storytelling, how to do it well.

Whether this is your first foray into the world of graphic novels, or you’re a die- hard Wonderlander already, this insightful event is one to open the eyes of all ages, and get Sunderland on that all-important culture map.

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