Best of British: ELCAF, Karrie Fransman, Dandy Cameos and More

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Another Broken Frontier round-up of some of the most intriguing Brit-related events, news and links on the internet over the last week…

Ignoring the trailers for a certain big-screen adaptation for a moment,  all the buzz in U.K. comics circles last week surrounded the first East London Comics and Arts Festival (ELCAF) in Shoreditch, London, and organised by Nobrow Press. I was there late afternoon on Sunday to see Paul Gravett interview No Man’s Land’s Blexbolex and Avoid the Future’s Martin Steenton give us an astonishing nine “600 second” interviews with creators from the Blank Slate Books, SelfMadeHero and Nobrow stables.

Showcasing the very best of British Indie and small press publishing (you can check out a list of the exhibitors here) with accompanying panels and interviews, there was a very palpable sense of excitement at the festival that we were witnessing the birth of something new and invigorating. As I’ve said at BF recently, these are exhilarating times indeed to be a comics fan in the U.K. with a burgeoning independent/small press scene and the likes of the Comica Festival, BD Comics Passion, the Cartoon Museum and others offering so many unmissable comics-related events.

Illustrator and tomatito press’s Katriona Chapman has a number of photos of the event that capture its spirit on her blog here, as does Bleeding Cool. And publishers SelfMadeHero document their own artistic fun and games behind their stand here....

Over at Orbital Comics, near London’s Leicester Square, Karrie Fransman (whose graphic novel The House That Groaned I had many good things to say about earlier this year at BF) has an exhibition running from June 22 to July 19 entitled Experimenting with Comics which “plays with the boundaries of the comic medium by fitting comics in weird and wonderful places- dolls houses, jewellery boxes and quilts.” Attendance at this one sounds mandatory to me, and if you haven’t picked up The House That Groaned yet then make it a priority on your next visit to your LCS. I described it as “replete with understated yet observant social commentary – dressed up in the trappings of black comedy, surreal  pathos and often downbeat drama –an exceptional first-time graphic novel” after all. And my powers of flagrant mendacity are limited in the extreme. Full details of the exhibition are on the Orbital Comics site here.

If you’re a fan of the dark and brooding stylings of Marvel Comics artist Laurence Campbell (Punisher, Deadpool Pulp, Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine, The Dark Tower) then you’ll be pleased to hear Laurence makes a triumphant return to the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic 2000AD this year on a Judge Dredd story written by Rob Williams. Details on the 2000AD site here.

Paul Gravett casts his expert eye over the second KaPow convention with a comprehensive report on proceedings here.

And finally we turn once again to Andy Fanton who has a lovely piece on his blog about all the classic characters from The Dandy’s 75 years of publishing that he’s given cameo appearances to in his strips in the comic, ranging from Brassneck to The Jocks and the Geordies to the buried remains of Winker Watson. Essential reading for those who love the rich history of British weeklies.


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