|Clash of the Toon Titans
||[Oct. 15th, 2016|10:29 am]
The gala opening event of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival was a battle for supremacy between Asterix and Tintin - that 'Toon Titans' phrasing is not mine.
If I thought Durham Book Festival had put a lot of effort into staging (last week's panel sat in front of a mock-rustic fence, its planking festooned with garlands of greenery and fairy lights), it was as nothing to the staging of last night's debate. Team Tintin (Benoît Peeters, Leah Moore and Stewart Medley) sat on deeply buttoned leather sofas, surrounded by period furnishings - a desk, a potted plants, a blue and white vase; Team Asterix (Peter Kessler, Charlie Adlard and Graham Dury of Viz) were protected by a stockade of sharpened stakes on which hung a couple of Roman helmets. Charlie Adlard also wore a helmet, whose Viking origins were betrayed by its horns and its golden plaits, but still, full marks for effort. The podium carried the mascots of the opposing sides, two fluffy white dods, and Hannah Berry kept order, more or less. As if this weren't enough, each speaker's contribution was summarised by on-the-spot cartoons from Luke and Steve McGarry.
It was a genuine debate, with good contributions from both sides. I thought that on the whole, Team Tintin had the better arguments, and I'd be happy to hear Benoît Peeters lecture on the subject some time. Te am Asterix were funnier. When it came to the final show of hands, the vote went 99 for Asterix, 98 for Tintin. Which suits me fine, as I'm pretty much team Asterix myself - I admire Hergé's visual art, but the books have never held me. Asterix is all about the words, and so am I. (Ah, but whose words? Two names missing from the conversation were those of Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge.)
The session also included the handover of the post of Comics Laureate from Dave Gibbons to Charlie Adlard, and what with one thing and another ended quite late:
What will today bring?