Sunderland celebrates comic book artists at Wonderlands event

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Sunderland University was turned into a comic-book wonderland to celebrate the talents of graphic novelists.

Workshops, dedicated talks and the chance to meet and speak to artists in action were just some of the opportunities available to visitors.

Lee Robinson with a comic anthology created for Sunderland pupils, Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

Lee Robinson with a comic anthology created for Sunderland pupils, Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

The Wonderlands: The UK Graphic Novel Expo event - now in its third year - was organised by the MAC Trust and attracted people of all ages through the doors.

Hannah Matterson, one of the event’s organisers, said: “ We have been able to attract comic book creators from all over the UK, in particular the North East including artists John Wagner (2000AD), Nigel Auchterlounie (The Beano) and Nigel Dobbyn (Sonic the Comic).

“We are hoping through this event we will be able to engage people with the artistic side of comics as well as give artists a platform to showcase their work.

“It gives people the opportunity to find out what comic book creating is all about.”

Illustrator Jeff Anderson at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

Illustrator Jeff Anderson at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

A number of presentations were held throughout the day with guest speakers including 40 years of 2000AD with John Wagner, Jeff Anderson, Bryan Talbot and John Higgins.

Visitors were also able to take part in workshops on How to Draw Comics and Comic Storytelling and step into the world of virtual reality.

Artist Andrew Drew, who runs The Art of DrewX, said: “Events like this are really good and are important, especially with the Sunderland City of Culture.

“It’s something different to what people are used to. It gives people the chance to find out where comics all start and this event is the best place to see this.”

Nigel Dobbyn at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

Nigel Dobbyn at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

Chris Hair, from Sunderland, visited the event with his nine-year-old daughter Eva.

He said:”I think the event is brilliant. It’s a really good, vibrant, creative event and it’s nice to see something like this happening in Sunderland.”

The event was supported by Arts Council England and the University of Sunderland.

Beano illustrator Nigel Auchterlounie at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.

Beano illustrator Nigel Auchterlounie at Wonderland Graphic Novel Expo at City Space, University of Sunderland.