The Great War in Comics

28 September - 6 December 2014

Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival are bringing together for the first time the work of three internationally-acclaimed artists who have shed new light on this conflict through the medium of comic art. This September the art of Joe Colquhoun, Charlie Adlard and Ivan Petrus will provide an alternative perspective on the reality of war.

Charley’s War has been described as ‘the greatest comic strip ever created’and from 1979 until 1987 formed a unique collaboration between pioneering writer Pat Mills and acclaimed war artist Joe Colquhoun. The comic strip rarely flinched from providing a frank portrayal of the horrors of war, with Colquhoun willing to subvert traditional techniques of comics’ illustration by opting for heavy inks, messy backgrounds and stark facial expressions to depict an exceptionally dark atmosphere.

Set in the Alpine trench war of 1914-1918, White Death is a powerful story of conflict at a simultaneously personal and national level. Charlie Adlard is best-known as the artist on the record-breaking television series The Walking Dead. Yet this early collaboration with writer Robbie Morrison is arguably one of his finest works. Using just charcoal and chalk on gray paper, his drawings convey the fear, horror and desolation of war.

Ghosts of Passchendaele, launched in 2014, is the third book of a graphic novel trilogy by Ivan Petrus featuring Belgian, British and French soldiers and their true stories from the First World War. Painted in bold, dark, muddy colours, his art powerfully invokes the iconic post-war Passchendaele landscape.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival takes place 17-19 October in Kendal and during the festival entry to the Gallery will be free with any festival ticket. The 2014 programme is available to view here.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival and Abbot Hall Art Gallery would like to thank Jane Colquhoun, Moose Harris, Sharon Tait, and John Freeman for their help with the exhibition.

Arts Council EnglandSouth Lakeland District CouncilSir John Fisher FoundationKendal Town CouncilCumbria Life

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