Comic Boom - Comics in Education

Comic Boom - Comics in Education with graphic novel author Mary Talbot

October 26, 2023 Lucy Starbuck Braidley/Mary talbot Season 3 Episode 7
Comic Boom - Comics in Education
Comic Boom - Comics in Education with graphic novel author Mary Talbot
Show Notes Transcript

Lucy chats to graphic novel author and academic Mary Talbot.

Dr Mary Talbot is the author of the graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes (Jonathan Cape 2012), illustrated by her husband, award winning comic artist Bryan Talbot. She is an internationally acclaimed scholar who has published widely on language, gender and power, particularly in relation to media and consumer culture. Dotter was the first work she undertook in the graphic novel format. It went on to win the 2012 Costa Biography Award in January 2013, making it the first British graphic novel to win a major literary award.

Mary has recently taken up the position of Visiting Professor of Graphic Writing in the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University. Her recent academic work includes a third edition of Language and Gender (Polity 2019), a book that continues to be popular with university lecturers and students worldwide. However, she may still be known best for her critical investigation of the “synthetic sisterhood” offered by teen magazines.

This episode is part of the Comic collaboration with Lakes International Comic Arts Festival!

You can find Mary on Twitter/X: @eyedotter

Links to everything  discussed in this episode  can be found on the podcast padlet.

You can SUPPORT the podcast by buying a comic or buying me a comic at:

Producer and Host: @Lucy_Braidley

Hello, and welcome to comic beam, the comics and education podcast. If you're interested in hearing more about the crossover between comics and education, then this is the podcast for you. My name is Lucy Starbuck, Braidley, and each week I'll be joined by a fellow educator and academic, a librarian or a creator of comics to discuss their journey into comics and provide some inspiration to influence your practice. And hopefully as well, shine some light on some titles you can bring into your libraries classrooms, and also onto your bookshelves at home. I'm so sorry for missing an episode last week. I wasn't feeling very well. I had a really bad cough. so I'm sorry for missing that, but back this week, I'm feeling much better and ready to share the next episode. I'm really excited that today in the last of our lakes, international comics, art festival, linkup episodes. I speak to Mary Talbot. Dr. Mary Talbot is the author of the graphic novel Dotter of her father's eyes published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. And illustrated by her husband. Award-winning comic artists, Brian Talbot. She's an internationally acclaimed scholar who has published widely on language, gender, and power, particularly in relation to media and consumer culture. Dotter was her first work, which she undertaken a graphic novel format. And it went on to win the 2012 Costa of biography award in January, 2013, making it the first British graphic novel to win a major literary award. Mary has recently taken up the position of visiting professor of graphic writing in the department of English, literature, and creative writing at Lancaster university. Now Mary's books are pitched for older readers, not something you would typically find on your primary or even younger age groups of secondary classroom bookshelves or libraries. I think more for the upper end of secondary and beyond, definitely for adult readers, But my chat with Mary today offer some great insight and I think it's brilliant to be able to shine a light on the breadth of work that's out there in comics. going from Beano in one week to a literary biography writer in the next. I just think that's brilliant to be able to celebrate that range. That's out there in comics. This episode has been a bit delayed, not just by me being unwell, but Mary and I had some technical difficulties at first. And then some of the October slots were already agreed with other people, for their episodes going out. So it is a bit later than we expected, but that's worked out really nicely because alongside Mary's interview, I'll also at the end of the episode, be sharing some of my thoughts about the things that I bought and saw whilst I was at lakes, international comics, art festival at the start of October. And that will follow Mary's interview. For now, though. Here's what Mary had to say. Hello, Mary. Welcome to Comic Boom. Hello, thanks for inviting me. You are very welcome, it's great to have you. I start the podcast by asking guests to just give us a little bit of an introduction into their journey as a comics reader, first of all. When did you first start to explore comics as a reader? Oh gosh, a long time ago. I used to get Bunty. I don't know if anybody knows what Bunty is these days but I used to have a subscription. Bunty, it was delivered every week. And I used to go across the backs and read the neighbours copies of the Beano and Dandy and sometimes Topper, I seem to remember. My eldest brother got the Eagle but I was a bit too young to look at that. He's 11 years older than me. And then later on, I guess when I started secondary school, a publication called Jackie came out, which was basically for, oh, almost teens. It was full of posters of pop stars and things like that, but it had comic strips in it. don't remember much about them. It was only years later when I met. Purita Campos in Spain, when I realised it was her artwork that I used to be looking at. As I say, I don't remember the stories, but I do remember the pictures, they were beautiful. Was it the pictures that drew you into comics, first of all, or was it a combination of the both? They were just part of growing up. I mean, I didn't continue reading them apart from that until I met Brian when I was just turning 16 and he introduced me to Spider Man and such like. And were you, were you instantly hooked as the superhero genre or something that you? No, not exactly. It was fun. It was fun. I was a teenager. It was fun. But no, it didn't last. Since then, I mean, until recently, relatively recently, my contact with comics was entirely via Brian and Brian's aspiring ambitions as a comic artist himself. And so what are you reading at the moment? What's currently part of your reading diet? Oh gosh, um, in relation to comics or more generally? Well, either. You can, uh, yeah, happy to hear about, all of everything really. I've finished reading and, Biography? No, not really a biography, sort of autobiographical piece called In Search of Mary, which is by B. Rowlett, and it's about Mary Wollstonecraft. Okay. I mean, it's kind of an exploration of where feminism's got to, whether we should continue to call it feminism, that sort of thing. Very interesting, actually. Extremely funny in places and makes you cry in others. That's what I've been reading other than comics. And I've just started reading something extremely silly, which is a comic. It's a BD actually, a French one. Oh, lovely. And it's called, oh, to translate, How I Became Radicalized as a Feminazi. we've been in Paris recently, Brian's. Had a book published there, and he was doing a signing in a French bookshop. Four and a half hours signing. Wow. Which gave him a lot of time to browse. And you've stumbled across Comment je me suis radicalisée en féminazie. But it's extremely silly. I don't know whether I'll finish it. Are you reading that in French? Yes. Amazing. It's very Franco Belgian style. Um, I can't understand a lot of it because it's very, very colloquial, but nevermind. So I'm interested in how you came to be a writer of comics and how that kind of links up. as well with your academic work. Can you tell me a little bit about that journey? I had a, an independent career from Brian for most of my adult life. I retired in 2009. From being an academic, working in academia and writing textbooks and journal articles and so on, and lectures of course. and Brian suggested I have a go at writing a graphic novel script. The idea being that he, he would illustrate it, which I was extremely surprised by, very flattered. Bye. he had a definite idea that it would be, memoir, graphic memoir. He was very much aware of the, the rise of the women's graphic memoir. Yeah. And he thought that the two of us could produce an, an addition to that. He was even specific about the topic, which would be to do with my relationship with my father. I mean, we've known one another all our lives, you know, he, he knew my dad. He was terrified by him, as everybody was. I mean, so there was never any thought about what format the story was going to be, and it was going to be a comic, obviously, and he was going to illustrate it, which was great. And it was intended to be a one off, but, I was bitten by the bug. before I'd even. Seen a dotter of her father's eyes as it became in print. I was working on the second one. I knew I wanted to do something that would occupy my retirement leisure time, but fruitfully, which was so interesting and I'm really fascinated by, I guess the inspiration to write about yourself coming from somebody else. I was really surprised. I thought nobody wants to know about me. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's something that, you know, quite a lot on the podcast in terms of that. How'd you get to that point where you think actually I've got something that someone else You know, part of my life would be something interesting to someone else. And even when I'd started it, I was embarrassed. I knew that it had to be honest and it had to have, you know, revelations in it and things like that. which I suppose it does. And I was hiding behind, alternatives. I was thinking, well, it's got a, James Joyce element, because my father was a Joycean scholar. I thought, well, James Joyce had a daughter, I think. Her name was Lucia. I'll, I'll, I'll try and see if I can find out about her. And I was, fortunate that there was a really good biography recently published, not long ago, published about her. And I was blown away by the tragedy of her life, you know, and I wanted to write about her. And eventually, I think what I produced was better than either of them would have been. Individually, you know, producing a combination of Yeah. Of, graphic memoir and biography of, someone else. Yeah. It's really fascinating. it definitely brings something additional than having the stories sort of intertwined in the way that they are. Yeah. And it stopped me from feeling embarrassed about just focusing on me Yeah. Yeah. That's, I dunno what that says about me, but oh, I, um, interviewed, Sayra Begum and she's written a graphic memoir. I'm sure you're aware. But her way of kind of dealing with that was to create, to give the character that is her and it's her life, but a different name from her. So it's almost. Beautiful book too. Yes. Stunning. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely stunning. And I mean, I guess that leads me on to something I really wanted to explore with you, which is around, you know, there's such a strong body of work when it comes to female, memoirs now. And you mentioned Brian kind of highlighting that that was something that was growing, that you should add to, and to me it's something that I really love. It's kind of what, brought me back into reading comics. I read them when I was younger and then there was a big gap and then that was what sort of bring me back into them as an adult. There's a lot more to interest women than there used to be. Yeah. And I, but I think it feels like quite a perfect sort of marriage of form and content. And I just wondered what you think makes those kind of the, the female comic biographies or autobiography so successful. It's not one thing I don't think, but, There's an emotional punch that you can get across with the visual element to the narrative. I think it's the combination of words and pictures, you know, visual and as well as textual narrative, is very, very strong. An emotional punch that you can get across with images, that you can't in the same, well, you can, but not in the same way with, with a textual narrative, purely, there's a particular, there's a whole sub genre of confessional comics, aren't there, which, which exploit that. I thinking of, something like Billy, You and Me? It's an amazing, um, harrowing account of losing a, a a to a child as a toddler, losing a small child, dealing with grief. and it's drawn in a very naive style, which somehow makes it bearable. Mm-hmm. But, but there's very much, there's this confessional to it. I mean, she brings in found objects of the last bib that was used and for the child and she, you know, puts, puts a photograph of it in. I think she might use the death certificate in there as well. I mean, it's, it's, somebody Being the therapist on the page. Yeah. I think that's something that this graphic memoir can do. And then there's another one. Do you know coma? Zara Slattery's coma. No. It's, it's about being in a coma. Believe it or not. It's a combination of, her partner, her husband, um, whatever her life partner When, Zara went into a coma, he was advised to keep a journal so that he could show it to Zara if and when she came out of her coma. Which obviously she did. Yeah. So it's a combination of that and Zara's experiences of inside her own head and it's amazing. Wow, that sounds really cool. It sounds really fascinating. You can imagine the use of visual metaphor. Yeah. She, she metaphorically imagines her, her coma and her fears. That sounds really powerful. Mm. And you spoke about being in the therapist's chair but on the page. Yes. Did you, and did you find that you, it was a cathartic experience working on your own memoir? It was such a long time in the past. Bear in mind that my, I was writing about what was happening in the fifties and the sixties. Mostly in, in the. Well, the book came out in 2012. So we're talking about a very, very long view. So I think I'd already worked through it. Processed. I must say, I would hope so after all that time. I must say after reading about, Lucia Joyce, I felt as though my troubles are very small, very trivial ones. So it put things in perspective, I suppose, for me. That's really interesting. you mentioned that you are an academic, throughout your career does that work inform your creative work? Are you thinking about those kinds of, are you thinking about your work from an academic perspective as well as your writing or are they quite separate? I certainly use a lot of the academic, Skills that one needs, such as doing a lot of research, reading around a subject. I'm probably getting sloppy about making notes, but that's my business now. It doesn't matter because I'm doing it to please myself. You know, for an academic, specifically academic audience, I'm certainly not doing it for some sort of research assessment exercise for a university anymore. I, I suppose a hangover of academic writing is I always do end notes. I, it's the academic that comes out, maybe. I don't like. I don't like not including information, which I think is useful, just because I can't fit it into a narrative, so I'll try and squeeze it into an end note, and people have said that they appreciate that they like to sort of take the story a bit further. I've done that with Sally Heathcote suffragette, and with the red... Virgin, which is about, 19th century feminists and revolutionary history in France. I've done it with Rain to a lesser extent, which is a contemporary story about environmental issues. And I'll be doing it with whatever the next one is. You're involved at Lancaster University, in graphic narratives. Can you tell me a little bit about your work there as we're talking about academia? What's your role? yes, it was a great honor, great pleasure to be invited to be a visiting professor of graphic writing. They sometimes call it graphic narrative. I call it comics. We really mean, but I'm doing a bit of everything. I've had some contact with PhD students also doing creative writing to do with graphic novels. At the other end of the spectrum, if you like, I've done a lecture to first year students. I mean, trying to infiltrate the curriculum. In what ways? What's your aim? What would be your, what would be your sort of must haves that you'd like to see in the curriculum? well, to be honest, to be fair, it's already, there are already. There already is some presence of comics in, in the core curriculum, which is, I was very surprised by the first year core module to English literature students fun home is in there, which is in a second year, second or third year there's Maus and there's Persepolis. It's, there's a sort of, developing canon of graphic novels. Yeah, I was going to say, those are probably the three most common that I've heard. Dotter is in there somewhere as well. Dotter of her father's eyes. Oh, that's good. I'd like to extend that. Yeah. I see my role as, as, expanding the understanding of what graphic novels, comics more generally can be in this context, you know, I mean, the, the lecture I did to first years was following on from the Fun Home Alison Bechdel's book, and I was talking about, graphic memoir as a As a genre, you know, and something about its history and its range. well, isn't it not just a single one off book that appears in the curriculum? It's part of a big tradition of its own. I try and do that sort of thing. I'm really intrigued by the term graphic narratives. I've done a, I did a course, actually with Sarah Lightman at the Royal Drawing School and it was called Graphic Narratives. And you mentioned what we really mean is comics. Why do you think there is these kind of different terms? Do you think graphic narratives is something different to comics? Or do you think it actually is the same thing? It's just a slightly fancier name? What's your thoughts on that? It's just being fancy. I know why they use it in, in, you know, in corporate circles. Public facing aspects, parts of universities. I know why it's used there. It's because comics is a bit of a, snarl word in, uh, in the media can be anyway, and, and I think they're just trying to get around that. I was interviewed when I got the position at Lancaster, I was interviewed by local radio and that's the first thing they did, you know, brought up the C word, which of course I just faced them head on with because it's silly, it really is. But the word comics in itself doesn't help, does it? Yeah, it's a bit of a misnomer in itself, isn't it? Related to humour in a way that just doesn't represent the nature of everything that's being done. Mind you, if you look into these words, I mean, novel isn't very good, is it? Yeah, exactly. Word novel is a bit rubbish because they've been around for centuries. Yeah, very true, very true. We just kind of live with the language. whenever I have a writer, comics creator on the podcast, I always like to talk about how people create and you've obviously got the added element of being in a kind of creative partnership with your husband's really interested in in how that works. So you said in terms of your debut book. Daughter of her father's eyes, that the idea actually came, from Brian. How do you kind of work? I can't imagine it. I cannot imagine. I can't even, if my husband works from home for a day, I'm like, why is he typing so loudly? Why is he, why is he breathing? We live in a big house. He's in the basement and I'm on the second floor. Okay, that's that. This is making me a little bit more relaxed about the situation. We have an intercom system and email, of course, which we use. So, one important thing is to have lots of space. Yeah, yeah, I can imagine. so how, how does it work? Do you write a script? Or does it develop a bit more organically than that? In brief, I develop a full script and hopefully get a contract before Brian's involved. Yes. But of course we live in the same house, even though we do have offices and studio space and study space a long, a long way apart. We do meet in the middle to eat, you know. Discuss the work. Regularly, and the sort of domestic stuff. So obviously we're talking about things. on a daily basis. But to put it simply, yes, I do a lot of research. At some point I start writing a script and carry on doing the research. Eventually I'll complete the script and show it to Brian and he'll suggest changes and I'll go back again. Yeah, it goes on like that. But I have something finished before Brian takes a look at it. And then is it very much a handing over or is there also a feedback process on the imagery because there's an interesting element in Daughter of Her Father's Eyes as well, where there's like little notes where you think something's been depicted incorrectly. I loved those. I really enjoyed that. And. Is that, is that something that was just kind of developed through the process rather than something that was planned from the start? Well, it wasn't, definitely wasn't planned from the start, but you can imagine that when you're working on a project and you're in the same house, it's very organic. I could see what Brian was doing when he took a look at the script and started putting it onto the page. I could see what he was doing. He had it on his drawing board. And so, of course, I could comment on it, which I did freely. Mostly, I was seeing it on a daily, if not hourly basis. Yeah. On one or two occasions, for some reason, I didn't. There was one, the first time was when he was, he was... It's drawing a page of me in school and at the top of the page it says school imposed total segregation or something. I'm talking about gender here. And he'd drawn boys and girls sitting together. Yeah. As they did at his school. primary school. And so I said, Oh, you're going to have to redraw that, Brian. That's wrong. And he said, I'm not redrawing it. It's taking me ages. I like that panel. I'm not redrawing it. So he had the, what I thought was a very silly idea of me putting a little comment about him having got it wrong. But we did that anyway, and it worked well, and we showed it to people who visited, you know, family, friends visiting. They always burst out laughing at that point. So we asked them, what is it you're laughing at? And they said, Oh, it's this, this comment here where Mary's. Pointing out that you've got it wrong. It's really funny. So we thought, ah ha! Yeah, it's brilliant. Looking at bits where we disagreed. I love it because it's that kind of breaking the fourth wall kind of thing. Put a few more in. Yes, it works really well. You can hear the husband and wife squabbling, can't you? Yeah. I, I really enjoyed it. Reviewers, they all seem to pick up on them. And one of them even called it Joycean metatextuality or something of the sort. There it goes. Rather than bickering. Rather than bickering. I love it. You mentioned earlier a comic rain, around the impact of climate change. And, one of the things there's actually some really interesting, lots of different things coming out of this season of comic boom, one of which is around climate change comics. I was really interested, you've referred to the idea behind, rain having an element of education by stealth And I'm quite, I'm fascinated by that and the role that you think that narratives And comic narratives in particular can have in education. Oh, that's a big question. Um, sorry, just don't hit me on it. Well, comics, graphic narratives, you can get across very complex, complicated ideas relatively simply because you've got the picture element, the image element. so for something like with rain, you mentioned, I'm talking about some pretty Well, pardon the pun, dry subjects, such as, you know, the destruction of a water table and, kind of issues that you don't really bring up normally in conversation because they're not very interesting and not very accessible. You can make them accessible if you do it with pictures. So I could talk about what's up with the moorland areas. It's in Yorkshire, which made the catastrophic floods happen. I could do that by having two characters talk to one another about it and have them going around on the moorlands, exploring it and jumping up and down on tussocks and things like this. You can get across things. And then you can stick extra bits in end notes if you're that way inclined, but, but, you know, you can get across difficult things, not just things to do with climate change, but, historical issues. I mean, the suffragette book. I read an awful lot of very dry academic history books, both for that and for the Red Virgin. Yeah. Other history I've done. Yeah. Those things which don't go too. don't do well with the general public, you know, the reading dry history books, you can condense them and put them into an accessible form with a sort of combination of textual and visual narrative. I mean, actually I've had people thanking me for opening up to them areas of history. By presenting them in a way that they could digest, if you like. I mean, you don't have to be dyslexic to find it difficult to read a text. No, exactly. Yeah. To read some sort of, you know, academic tome. A lot of people have difficult, you know, you sort of find your eyes difficult. Glaze off, glaze over and slip off the page and you can't read anymore. Yeah, one of those moments where you get to the end of the page and you realize you haven't actually taken in anything you could read that your eyes have just been going and you've only been thinking about what's for dinner. That happens to me quite a lot. Take half a dozen books like that and transform them into a gripping story that's fun to read. That's what I think we can offer, the curriculum, there's a space for comics, you know, outside of the literature curriculum and in, and in, into the history curriculum, into, science, into lots of different areas, geography, because of that, you know, the ability to, present information in a really digestible form. Yeah, I certainly hope that Sally Heathcote Suffragette has found her way into secondary schools. Yeah. That was certainly one wish when I was producing it. I'm sure it will have. in terms of rain, because we've got this, Lakes International Comics Art Festival link up and they really interested in climate change comics and the way in which those two things can intersect. I'm really interested in what it was. that inspired you to write that story and how that project came about? Oh gosh, that was inspired by current events. I mean, I was, I was, searching for a new subject. I've been reading various biographies of, so called lost women of history and not been particularly gripped. In terms of, as a, as a subject matter for my next, this was after, after reading, doing a work on Louise Michelle, who's a tough act to follow, you know, she's amazing. The, the Red Virgin character. Yeah. and it was. When was that? Christmas 2015. When, in the north of England, there was catastrophic flooding. Not so much in the northeast where, where I'm based, but in the northwest, in, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. And it was coming on the news and it was really affecting me and, Brian, Brian again suggested that perhaps I should be dealing with issues to do with environmental concerns and climate change since I'm obviously so affected by it. Actually, actually what he did was he came back from the shop with something and I said, Why did you get that? It's got microbeads in it. Nobody had ever heard of microbeads at the time, apparently. They are now illegal. But I was berating him about having bought a product which wasn't acceptable, in my view. and he was presumably slightly, ruffled by me telling him off for buying this. And he sort of riposted with, this is what you should be writing about. You should not, not looking for another biographical subject. You should be writing about the environmental issues. Of course, I didn't write about microbeads. I wrote, I wrote about the, the, um, contemporary flooding that was, that was going on. Looking into it in this. Specific context of Hebden Bridge and that surrounding area and there was, there was a sufficient amount of background material for me to put together a story where I could look at. In terms of the Lakes International Comics Art Festival in general, I know you've been involved, linked to that for quite some time. Can you tell listeners a little bit about your involvement and about the event in general? Sure. Well, Brian and I are two founding patrons of it. Two of the three founder patrons of it. Oh gosh, yeah, we've been around from the, from the outset. We had more of a decision making role at the outset. Now they have a directorate. And we're just there as support when it's required, when it's asked for. I mean, writing letters of Support and so on to help with funding and they're always present, happy to take part in whatever way they ask more or less within reason can you explain a little bit about, yeah, what the purpose of these kinds of festivals are in your view and what their value is? Gosh, I think they're incredibly important. They're certainly important for creators. Comics creators are very lonely people, generally speaking. I mean, writers and artists, writer artists, they spend most of their time alone creating things. I think it's very important as a social event to get people together. Of course, it's also important for the general public, and I hope they'll get bigger than ever turnout from people not just from the Northwest, but nationally and internationally. They're showcases, they're... Oh, the chance to have a good time. Brian was, involved from the beginning in particular, more so than myself, because it was Brian who was contacted to ask whether it would be a feasible idea to have, a European style festival of comics in, in the UK. And he, he was asked by Julie And, within hours he responded with the longest email I've ever seen, you know, a screed of advising her on where she should go and. What kind of things that he saw as being part of a European festival, and she just responded to it. She just sort of went for it immediately. She booked herself in at Angoulême. I think he was telling her about Angoulême and about Luca and various other well established European festivals. And she would, she got herself booked in at Angoulême and she was in, and she produced this, this sort of fully fledged festival within a few months. It was quite extraordinary. and it was because it was Julie Tate who was involved with it, frankly. One of our questions that we're linking our three Lakes International Comics Art Festival special episodes together with is, it's a big one. do you think comics can change the world? Ooh, can comics change the world? Well... Can stories change people? I think so. Answer a question with another question. I mean, comics are stories with pictures, so they're better at affecting people's hearts and minds. So yes, of course, comics can change the world. Brilliant. at the end of each episode, we kind of have a moment where contributors, guests can kind of highlight a few takeouts or just a couple of key points that you'd like to leave listeners thinking about. Have you got any thoughts on what those might be? Not especially, I have a feeling that we've covered all bases really, haven't we? I think, for me, really stands out the role that comics can play in terms of Communicating things that otherwise might be quite dry or quite difficult to digest and their ability to kind of bring things to life. And that that might not just be within the English curriculum, but also outside of it. I think that's the really key thing that's kind of stuck in my mind from our conversation today. Yes, I think it can be really good as re workings of dry material. I mean, think of the Rickard sisters, re workings of, No Surrender, by Constance Maud, they've turned it into a much more engaging story. And, similarly with Ragged Trousers Philanthropist, which is very difficult to read. to work way through in terms of the original text. They've turned it into something very gripping, highly recommended, you know. Yeah, I think there's a, there's a wealth of, possibility there. So if we were to add one comic or book about comics to our to be read piles tomorrow, which title would you recommend that we added to our lists? Oscar Zarate's latest. Do you know it? No, I don't. Recently published. Thomas Girtin and the Forgotten Painter it's a beautiful book. It's written, as Oscar always writes, with passion. and it's intriguing that there's very little out there in terms of biographical. Material about Thomas Girtin, and it's interesting how Oscar's dealt with it. One of the things that's interesting, apart from his intrinsic interest because of the artist, um, and what he's done is, is he's created three fictional characters who are friends at a life drawing class. One of them's obsessed by, he's finding out about this Thomas Gertin and the other two are sort of responding to that. And it's, it's really interesting the way, the way he uses those, these three characters to develop this somewhat mysterious shadowy personage of Thomas. Gertin, who eventually we get, whose art we eventually get to know rather well, even though most of it isn't on display publicly. I'm just having a little look at that as you speak and it's really interesting. Yes. Yeah. Um, yeah, fascinating and really interesting to have a visual text about an artist. Well, I would definitely check that one out. Although my to be read list is very, very long, it gets longer every single podcast episode. It gets longer and longer and longer. I know the feeling. It's hard to keep up with so much good stuff out there. but yes, thank you. Thank you so much for spending time talking to me today. It's been really great to, to hear, all of your knowledge and experience. That's been fantastic. So thank you. Lovely to talk to you. They have it. Thanks so much, Mary, for taking the time to speak to me, sorry that it took a little bit longer than expected to get your episode out, but I'm so glad to be able to bring it to the comic boom audience. I hope you enjoyed that and found Mary's insights as interesting as I did. I did promise to do a bit of an overview of some of the things that I bought and picked up in the marketplace at the lakes, international comics, art festival. First of all, a little bit of an overview of the event itself. It's in bonus on Windermere at the end of September, each year. Absolutely brilliant lineup of guests. If you're looking for something a little bit different it's people from all over Europe, the world, even international. coming to speak about their work. So it was a great place to go to find artists and writers that you might not have heard of. And there's lots of different talks. There's a brilliant marketplace with lots of people, selling different comics, also at the jetty museum, a full schedule of activities, run by little Little LICAF, completely free for families to get involved in with lots of the guests from all around the world. Big names in the comics world, doing workshops for free for children. My children had a great time. They went to, A workshop with Gustavo Duarte, looking at monsters, creating monsters, which they really loved. And they also went to a workshop with Mark Jackson. Who has been a guest on the podcast. So check out his episode, if you want to hear about more about mark and his work, but he's just brilliant activities. The children and creates really funny. Comics, they had a great time there and they also stocked up on their Mark Jackson collection. we got a couple of extra additions of Spookids and other Mark Jackson titles, which they really, really love. And Mark's got a comic strip currently in the Phoenix as well. So if you're not familiar with his work. You can check out his strip in the Phoenix at the moment, too. I went to watch a panel on silent comics with guests, Gustavo Duarte, and Marec Rubec. Gustavo is from Brazil and Marek from Czech Republic. And that was a great talk and got me really, really fired up. I actually love silent comics, but definitely something I want to look into more and more. So I really, really enjoyed that one. I also went to a talk about up and coming artists from across Europe. And I bought some work there. That was a session hosted by Paul Gravette and it featured are the artists, Alice VDM from Belgium. Mari Ahokoivu. from Finland. Massimo Fennatti from Italy, an Annabel Gorman's also from Belgium and they talked to, they did a live drawing. They talked to their work. These past books around and it was great to hear their perspective. It was a little bit like a live podcast episode. Absolutely loved that session as well. And I did buy Mari Ahokoivu's book as well. Even though at that point I had promised I would no longer going to buy any more comics that my comics budget was gone. I reopened the comics budget to get Mari's book. So I'll start by talking about that one. I bought Oksi by Mari Ahokoivu. It's. Really, really beautiful. based on Finnish folklore a lot of silent, but there's not a silent comment, but there's a lot of passages and pages in there where there's not much dialogue going on. Very intense. when you look at it, I think the artwork looks co. It's the main characters of our bears and forest creatures, and it looks quite cute. But actually behind that, there's a lot of darkness. There's shadow creatures. And it's very complex story. I found out. I found myself having to spend quite a long time with the images to really bring the narrative out of them. But I really enjoyed that. I liked that it wasn't telling me everything immediately and I had to come to spend some time with it. So it's quite a substantial book. I'd say it was four because of the complexity of the narrative and the meaning within the images, I would say it was for older readers from 16 plus. but enjoyed that one. One that, Mary recommended to me that at the time I hadn't read because I interviewed Mary before I went to LICAF. But when I was there, I actually met Zara Slattery and bought her book coma from her. And I devoured it, as Mary said, it's an autobiography about, uh, her time in her life when she was in a coma and was ill and her family and how they coped with that. On the outside of the Coma as well. And it is stunning. The imagery is beautiful. The story is really, really well-told very much recommend. I think that was one of my, I read a lot of comic autobiographies. And biographies, and I think this is one of my favorites that I've ever read. So that's definitely gone to the top of my list. I wholeheartedly recommend that. I also found some people that I wasn't aware of before, which is always brilliant. So I picked up Haru by Joe Letham. He had The first three volumes there on his table. You did say that is being made into a graphic novel, over the next couple of years. And he had the first three volumes. I only bought the first volume, more for me because I was left wanting more at the end to, to know what happened next in the story. Some really beautiful, illustrations again, sort of fantasy forest creatures, but there is a little bit of darkness in there as well. Something. Untoward is happening. We don't really know what's an in this edition. But, but, but there's definitely themes building that this little bird character Haru is going to come up against some challenges. but yeah, the color and the illustrations primary. Beautiful. Another one I really, really loved. was a little silent comic, a funny silent comic called the fat little Boulder by Luke Hyde. And I'll put links to these people's websites and, social media in the podcast, Padlet. so that you can check them out, but this is just a really delightful, funny little story. about a Boulder who wants to be part of something bigger. He wants to be part of a stone circle and it things do not quite go as planned, but really lovely storytelling, funny, and just relying on the visuals to tell that narrative. And I really enjoyed it. Another thing I picked up was, I love Lucy Sullivan already. A big fan. Of Lucy Sullivan and her graphic novel. Barking. And I picked up Lucy was there, had a nice chat with her and picked up some zines, that she had made, which were just stunning, beautiful pictures. The colors are incredible and they, you can fold them as well. Two fold fold them in different ways to make letter shapes. Just witty. And powerful and I love zines. I love the handmade nature, the kind of immediacy, the way that They come from the heart. And I really enjoyed these Xen collection called how to build a free woman. yeah, definitely recommend those. Lots of this stuff you can buy online from the creators directly themselves. So do check out the Padlet with links. If you like the sound of any of those, those are all things that I recommend. You can enrich your comics bookshelf with those really, really good. Thank you so much for listening today. I really appreciate everyone who tuned into old episodes last week when there wasn't an episode. Thank you so much for that. Please do keep continuing to share the podcast on social media. We're on Instagram, on at comic underscore boom underscore podcast. You can also support the podcast, help keep us on the airways and you can do that. By going to Kofi. Dot com K. Oh, hyphen F forward slash Lucy SB. And there you can buy my own comic artwork and you can also make a donation to support the podcast by way of thanks for all the free content that's out there. Completely optional, but very much appreciated. Thanks for all of your support and the tuning in You've been listening to comic boom which is hosted And produced by me Lucy starbuck Braidley. thanks for listening