Top graphic novelists in Sunderland for UK’s only expo

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Hundreds of fans have visited the UK’s first ever graphic novel expo, created by a Wearside illustrator.

Wonderlands was the brainchild of author and illustrator Bryan Talbot, of Alice in Sunderland fame, in conjunction with MAC (Music, Arts and Culture) Sunderland.

Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.''Author and Artist of Wizards Keep, Tim Perkins talks to 12 year old Mark Nash about his work.

Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.''Author and Artist of Wizards Keep, Tim Perkins talks to 12 year old Mark Nash about his work.

And on Saturday, Sunderland University’s CitySpace, in Chester Road, welcomed about 30 exhibitors, including the likes of 2000 AD, Titan Comics and Jonathan Cape.

Famous names like Steve Bell, Posy Simmonds and, of course, Bryan himself were on hand to give talks and workshops.

The event was organised with the help of Richard Callaghan and Hannah Matterson of MAC Sunderland, an organisation also involved in the development of Sunderland’s old fire station and the Culture Quarter.

“It’s the UK’s only graphic novel expo,” Richard said. “It is entirely different to a comic convention, concentrating on literary graphic novels.

This is a first. It’s a unique event celebrating the form of comics as books.

Bryan Talbot

“We have some world-famous names giving talks and holding workshops for all ages. People seem to be really loving it.

“It seems to appeal to everybody, and I think people are having a good time.”

Bryan had his own stall at the event, signing books for fans, and he also gave a talk.

“I don’t know how many people have come from within Sunderland. Most people will already be into graphic novels,” he said.

Writer and Artist for the Beano and Marvel comics, Kev Sutherland teaching a workshop at  Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.

Writer and Artist for the Beano and Marvel comics, Kev Sutherland teaching a workshop at Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.

“This is a first. It’s a unique event celebrating the form of comics as books.”

Comic artist Kev F Sutherland, hired bythe Beano and Marvel comics, to name but two, held a drawing workshop at the event.

“A lot of my classes are about the basics of comic art, and what I find is that a lot of kids are totally unfamiliar with comics anyway,” he said.

“I take them through all the basics, and by the end of the two hours, they can do the whole kit and caboodle. It really is that simple.”

Author, Bryan Talbot at Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.

Author, Bryan Talbot at Wonderlands, Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University, Cityspace.

Sara Mills, 11, had travelled from South Shields with her dad Stephen, 42.

“I have been into comic books since I was Sara’s age, and when I heard this was coming to Sunderland, I thought it would make a nice dad-and-daughter day out,” Stephen said.