I'm not pretending to be an expert. That much will be obvious, but since knowing Ben Dickson, who wrote the very touching and brilliantly engaging graphic novel Santa vs. the Nazis, I've had my suspicions that I was missing out on something by not knowing more. Well, I was right.
Earlier this week at the Arts House in Stoke's Croft, I went to a talk by Kate Evans (self proclaimed 'cartoonist, artist, activist, author, mother') about her graphic biography, Red Rosa, about Rosa Luxemburg, who was a revolutionary socialist in Germany at the outbreak of World War 1. The event was organised by Counterfire which is "an organisation of revolutionary socialists linking together different campaigns and struggles and pushing them forwards to build resistance to the system" (to quote their Facebook page). There was a definite theme emerging, but more on that later.
Kate Evans lit up the room with her energetic, learned and amusing tale of her journey of researching, writing and, of course, drawing Red Rosa's story. It was a great insight into the mind of a comic writer - terms like 'ink it up' and cunning ways to avoid drawing a lot of hats in a crowd of people were some morsels, as well as the incredible pains she goes to to ensure accuracy in her artwork and how she insisted on including an historical appendix, which adds weight to the book - in more ways than one!
Inspired by what I heard, I went to look at more graphic novels in a book shop. A book shop - I had forgotten what a pleasure they are! The result of this is the photo story below.
Kate Evans' website is well worth a look - there are videos and lots of information about all of her books and other work: http://www.cartoonkate.co.uk/
To have your very own Santa vs. The Nazis or bookmark it for that hard to find Christmas present that will put a smile on that Ba Humbug person you know, click here: http://markosia.com/product/santa-claus-vs-the-nazis/
To soak up the work of local artists, cultural talks, films, life drawing classes, music & comedy nights or just to go and have a cup of tea, the Art's House has a great buzz to it - http://www.theartshousecafe.org/
To find out more about Counterfire go here http://www.counterfire.org/ and their Facebook page for Bristol goings on: @bristolCounterfire. They have another event at the Arts House on Tuesday 21st March: 'Fascism: What is it? How do we fight it?'.