Step into Wonderland in Sunderland

Bryan Talbot, left, with Tom Boyle, teaching assistant to third-year illustration and design students at Sunderland University.

Bryan Talbot, left, with Tom Boyle, teaching assistant to third-year illustration and design students at Sunderland University.

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Visitors to Sunderland can head down the rabbit hole later this month – as some of Britain’s finest graphic novelists open a portal into Wonderland.

Sunderland University’s City Space is to host the UK Graphic Novel Expo, Wonderlands – a nod to the city’s links with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll – on Saturday, May 30.

Some of the genre’s most celebrated practitioners will attend, including Alice in Sunderland author Bryan Talbot, who will be front and centre at the city event on Saturday, May 30.

The event will be free for the public to attend and will feature panel discussions, guest speakers and interactive workshops.

Bryan said: “From troubled superheroes to factual historical epics, or everyday tales of the downtrodden everyman to dystopian future landscapes, the graphic novel has provided a creative outlet for some of the most exciting, innovative and challenging imaginations in the UK.

“Wonderlands will be a unique event celebrating the form of comics as books.

“Britain has had comic conventions for decades, but here, at last, is a book fair dedicated to graphic novels – the fastest-growing area of book publishing for the last eight years.

“We will be showcasing the full range of what the medium has to offer, from autobiography and memoir, to heroic fantasy, reportage, satire, romance, young adult fiction and humour.”

The event will also play host to a group of students and former students who have each produced their own graphic novel.

Tutoring assistant Tom Boyle will be helping students David Jackson, Ryan Branscombe, Elizabeth Moon, Donna Hill, Dan Kennedy, Anth Storey, Jessica Tjia, Stuart Taylor, Jenn Begley, Zoe Pearson Lauren Haywood, Jayne Hughes, Rebecca Nelson and Chloe Wilkinson all showcase their works, which range from an imaginary Norse Universe to a newly-illustrated version of the Jabberwocky.

Among the 34 artists attending are Dave Gibbons, award-winning 2000AD and Watchmen artist; writer and artist Woodrow Phoenix, creator of Rumble Strip; Guardian cartoonist and creator of the Tamara Drew strip Posy Simmonds, and famed left-wing political cartoonist Steve Bell.

For more information, visit http://www.wonderlands.org.uk