Sunderland’s Wonderlands comic expo promises to be a big draw

Bryan Talbot at last year's Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo
Bryan Talbot at last year's Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo
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Comic fans and creators will converge on Sunderland this weekend, as Wonderlands returns.

The UK Graphic Novel Expo, named as a nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, takes place in Sunderland University’s CitySpace building between 10am and 6pm on Saturday.

Last year's Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University

Last year's Wonderlands Graphic Novel Expo at Sunderland University

The event is being curated by Bryan Talbot, who has written and drawn comics and graphic novels for more than 30 years, and whose best-known works include Judge Dredd, Batman, Sandman, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, The Tale of One Bad Rat, Heart of Empire, Alice in Sunderland and his Grandville series of steampunk detective thrillers.

Bryan will be joined by The Guardian’s principal editorial cartoonist Steve Bell, along with Doug Braithwaite, who has drawn just about every major character in both the Marvel and DC Universe, and other guests.

“The line up this year is very strong, and we’re expecting to draw people from across the North East,” said Bryan.

“To have graphic novelists of the calibre we have, all under one roof, is a fantastic thing, and to bring that to Sunderland is great.”

Wonderlands will also include a number of presentations, with a talk from Sha Nazir and Laurence Grove from Glasgow University on ‘The Glasgow Looking Glass’, which is regarded as the first mass-produced comic book that was published with illustrations.

Other presentations, talks and panel discussions will explore issues from self-publishing and the state of the industry at present to the history of UK graphic novels and graphic novel auteurs, those creators who both write and draw their books.

Hannah Matterson, fundraising and event development officer for Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture Trust, said: “Sunderland has a fantastic creative scene, from music to art, so to host an event that will inspire more people to follow the path of the world-renowned novelists and illustrators we have in the city for Wonderlands is great.”