Edinburgh International Book Festival is embracing comics and graphic novels with the conception of a strand of events called Stripped. Self-confessed comic book geek Nicola Love tells you everything you wanted to know about Stripped but were too afraid to ask…
[Grant Morrison onstage at Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2011]
So, what the heck is Stripped anyway?
‘Stripped’ is a unique strand of events dedicated to comics and graphic novels. It’s still part of the regular Edinburgh International Book Festival programme, but it features over forty different events focusing on the medium. Although the book festival has featured comic creators in the past, this is the first time that they’ve attempted something on this scale. It’s all pretty exciting – you’re basically a part of history.
Aren’t comics for kids?
No! Well, okay, maybe – but they’re for adults too! One of comics’ biggest misconceptions is that it’s all about superheroes – sometimes it is, and that’s totally great too – but graphic novels are just a really visual way of telling stories. They can literally be about anything. Stripped is hosting everyone from Marvel and DC writers to a comics journalist who reports from war zones. Graphic novels are far more diverse than people give them credit for, which is why Stripped has earned its place within the book festival.
Anyone I might recognise?
Well, for a start, Neil Gaiman was the programme’s guest selector; his ‘Untold Sandman’ talk sold out mere minutes after going onsale. Grant Morrison, who recently concluded his Batman legacy, is also making an appearance – if anyone can get you excited about comics, it’s this weird and wonderful Scot. There’s also plenty of rising talent including Hannah Berry, Glyn Dillon and Edinburgh-based talent like Edward Ross and Will Morris.
Okay then, when’s it all happening?
Stripped has been hosting events since the book festival opened its doors at the beginning of August. However, they’ve saved the best for last – with 23 -25 August looking to be the busiest days for comic fans. See the Stripped event schedule for an exhaustive list.
How much is it?
Like most book festival events, the prices vary. If you’re lucky enough to be 26 or under, most of the events are just £5. That won’t even buy you a burger at Underbelly, so what have you got to lose? For £4.50, you could be drawing zombies with 2000AD artist Warren Pleece (although that one’s only for comic fans aged between 10-14).
Any free events?
As a matter of fact, yes. Stripped’s hosting its own mini comic fair just off-site of Charlotte Square Gardens; where thirty of the most talented independent creators will be showing off (and selling) their work. The comic fair is free and open to the public, meaning you don’t even need a ticket to pop in, and runs from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. There are also some ‘Stripped’ inspired events happening over at ‘Jura Unbound’ on Friday and Saturday night, held in the Guardian Spiegeltent.
What about fancy award ceremonies?
Funny you should ask that. Stripped has joined forces with Graphic Scotland to host the first ever 9th Art Award. The shortlist – with just five books out of over fifty entries making the final cut – was announced earlier this week, and the winner will be announced on Sunday 25 August. Competition is likely to be fierce as multiple Eisner award-winning Chris Ware’s ‘Building Stories’ is amongst the shortlisted titles.