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LICAF 2020: Virtual Comics Clock Tower launches website ahead of Lakes online festival

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival may now be LICAF LIVE – thanks a goddamn bunch, COVID-19! Grrrrrrr! – but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to be deprived of the experience of discovering the brightest and best in UK small press and independent comics creators.

Scheduled to originally run throughout the weekend of 9th – 11th October, the Comics Clock Tower as always been two floors of opulent and ornate comicsness – held traditionally in the city’s stunning, historic Kendal Town Hall – with plenty of rooms usually packed with talent from across the country.

For the new virtual effort, however, the venue has shifted into cyberspace with a new website portal, designed by the powerhouse cartooning team of Joe and Luke McGarry – and they’ve hit Live on the site, as of right now. Meaning you can explore and enjoy the specially curated talent pool and their work as we speak. Step to it, people!

From the Lakes press release:


The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has launched its Virtual Comics Clock Tower to promote creators and publishers, ahead of LICAF LIVE

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is delighted to announce the launch of its Virtual Comics Clock Tower ahead of LICAF LIVE, the virtual comics event taking place 9th – 11th October 2020 that replaces the usual Lakes International Comic Art Festival this year.

Now online at licafclocktower.com, it’s a place to discovers the work of creators, most who’d signed up to be part of the planned physical 2020 Festival, sample their work and then, if you like it, buy some comics, prints and other merchandise.

“Each year, we invite applications from creators to take part in our version of a marketplace and this year is no exception,” says Festival Director Julie Tait, “except it’s not in a physical space this time around! We have, as always, curated our Comics Clock Tower so that it represents the exciting range of independent comic art in the UK with a sprinkling of international creators, publishers and our ever-supportive retailer, Page 45.

“A big thanks to Joe and Luke McGarry, based in Los Angeles but true Brits at heart, for devising and building this fantastic website, and to Carole Tait for managing the content and taking care of our talented cohort of exhibitors.”

The launch of the Virtual Comics Clock Tower, designed by Joe and Luke McGarry, comes ahead of the free virtual LICAF LIVE Festival in October – an event that aims to enthral, inspire and entertain you, bursting with ready-made content, plus a special live strand throughout the weekend.

Guests include: Charlie Adlard, Yomi Ayeni, Sayra Begum, Hannah Berry, Paul Cornell, Gemma Correll, Robert Deas, Elyon’s, Hugleikur Dagsson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean, Ken Niimura, Paul Gravett, Marc Jackson, Nicola Jennings, Bobby Joseph, Chie Kutsuwada, Sarah McIntyre, Mark Millar, Junko Mizuno, Sean Phillips, Tanya Roberts, Julie Rocheleau, Martin Rowson, Posy Simmonds – and many more.

LICAF LIVE will open with a live launch from a top secret location with special announcements and an all-star band on Friday evening followed by on-the-hour, every hour live events (cartoon challenges, book launches and its very own shopping channel, courtesy of VIZ comic) and a special live feed from creators’ desks.

The Festival’s web site has been revamped to promote the virtual event, with guest details and programming already live, alongside the now open Virtual Comics Clock Tower.

The physical Festival will return in October 2021, but the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic necessitated LICAF’s first major foray into the digital world, following quickly on the heels of its initial web projects such as supporting artist Marc Jackson’s Marc Makes Comics YouTube Channel for aspiring young comic artists and its recently-launched Digital Colouring Project.

For full programming plans, which also include LITTLE LICAF LIVE, designed especially for kids (12 and under) and families – a wonderland of workshops, downloadable resources, readings and more – visit the Festival web site now.

Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana is a full-time DJ / part-time nerd and is doing his damnedest to swap those around. He is the creator of An Englishman In San Diego, The Convention Collective and a rather nice cocktail involving Dandelion & Burdock.

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