On Saturday I did a talk with the cartoonist known as Brick at the London Print Studio, Harrow Road, where the That's Novel exhibition is currently running. We were there to discuss the role comics can play in depicting mental illness. Brick has a graphic novel out from Knockabout called Depresso, which is about his long struggle with depression. The talk ended up being fractious and not a little tense. We were both coming from quite different ends of the mental health debate. I'm not saying the situation blew up into a row or anything. It didn't. But there was an underlying tension which made me uncomfortable. None of this made it any less enjoyable for the small audience who attended. They responded well. I got very good feedback from the event.
Apart from Paul Gravett , the Comika organiser, also in the audience was Knockabout publisher Tony Bennet and esteemed cartoonist Hunt Emerson.
I still haven't finished reading Depresso. Paul Gravett gave me a copy to read the night before (homework, he called it) and I was still reading it on the tube on the way there. Actually, just this afternoon I got a letter from Brick, saying how he enjoyed the talk and how lovely it was to meet me. He enclosed one of his Stamp Out Stigma comics, Once a Wino-Junky, which depicts the severe prejudice those with addictions often (mostly) suffer. It's extremely good with a nice blue tint over the artwork. Very direct and to the point.
I hung around after the talk for the next event, which was an interview with Charlie Adlard, who is the artist on the comic book The Walking Dead. This has become the most successful cable TV series ever after a mere two weeks, and has already been renewed for a further season. I hadn't read the comic book, but I'd enjoyed the first episode of the series. Charlie's stark black and white artwork really suits the subject. I can admire it, even though it's not my kind of thing.
Finally I helped Tony Bennet carry some boxes of Walking Dead back to his car, avoiding the busy traffic. I was careful. Being run over carrying a box of The Walking Dead would be just too ironic, I thought, and it would be all that people then remembered me for.
Can I Mention Really Quickly How Much I Love Highbone Theater? - It's funny and weird and kind of beautiful. I wish we could all live in a headspace carved out by comics like this one as opposed to spending time puzzling...
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