Preview: Shrewsbury International Comic Art Festival (15th – 17th July 2016)

Shrewsbury Comic FestivalWe’re in the middle of convention series and one of the most interesting sounding (and potentially under-rated) events on the calendar is this weekend’s Shrewsbury International Comic Festival. Very much a ‘festival’ of comics in the vein of the Lakes or Thought Bubble, rather than another ‘Con’ it has a line up of international and UK guests and an approach of celebrating comics that may make it one of the best events of the year. Olly MacNamee takes a look at what’s going on.

TheArtOfHowardChaykinCovWhere: Shrewsbury
When: 12pm – 6pm each day
Price: FREE!

The planned music festival, that would have featured Dizzee Rascal and The Happy Mondays, may have been postponed until this September, but the Shrewsbury International Comic Festival is still planning to run this coming weekend in this glorious medieval town and birthplace of Charles Dickens.  It’s also the home to some big name comic book heroes too, counting both John Wagner and Charlie Adlard as residents, making Shrewsbury the ‘Unofficial Comics Capital of the UK’. Beat that, London.

And while the latter may be tied up in his post-apocalyptic zombie-munching world, Judge Dredd’s John Wagner will be there as the ‘UK Guest of Honour’, alongside some other great UK guests, and the odd overseas creator, putting the ‘International’ into this festival’s title with superstar as Howard Chaykin (Star Wars, American Flagg), surely the star turn of this promising line-up appearing over this long weekend.

Without the music turns that would have been provided by the Shrewsbury Fields Forever Festival, then, this once boutique festival now has the full spotlight shining upon it, and we should imagine a few more spare hotel rooms now too, should you be thinking of attending this free festival (that’s right, free) form further afield.

From other shores, Shrewsbury also welcomes the talented Roland Boschi who has worked on a number of great Marvel titles in recent years, including the Warren Ellis penned Karnak series. And, we’re certainly hoping to get our copies of Starlight signed by Goran Parlov, who is coming over from Croatia. (Just don’t let the Brexiters hear they’re entering our country, coming over here and entertaining their fans. The cheek of it!)

Locally, standing on the shoulders of giants like John Wagner, there will be the ever-welcoming John McCrea (riding high with his Image series Mythic), Jamie Broxton/Brox (who can be more illusive than a Pokemon gym on Pokemon Go, so his appearance here is something of an exclusive), as well as former 2000 AD editor Andy Diggle and digital comics pioneer Leah Moore – who will no doubt be banging the drum for the award-winning Electricomics.

Of course, there is more, so check out their guest page here for the full line-up. It’s going to be a blast, we think, and something very different to your usual comic cons. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the are.

Shrewsbury Comic Festival