Opinion

Opinion: Why festivals like ELCAF are so important to comic book culture

Work / Opinion

Opinion: Why going to comic festivals like ELCAF is super-important

This week, editor Liv Siddall gets excited about the upcoming ELCAF festival in London, and tells you all sternly why YES it is very important that we keep going to live events surrounding graphic arts and comics.

It’s ELCAF this weekend, wahoo! That’s the East London Comics and Art Festival for any noobs out there. For people like myself and many readers of It’s Nice That, the prospect of seeing a famous illustrator (let alone hear them SPEAK) is enough to have me coming out in hives of excitement like a Beatles fan, jiggling her hands in front of her tear-streaked face and howling. While you’re picturing that, try and imagine the excitement around this year’s ELCAF where legends such as Seth, Anouk Ricard, Jesse Moynihan and CHRIS WARE will be wandering around in real life in London’s Oval Space.

This year is the third ELCAF, organised by east London comic merchants NoBrow. Interestingly, up until 2012 there wasn’t much of that world going on in the pages of Time Out, barring perhaps the annual Pick Me Up at Somerset House. Sure there was the MCM Comic Con for those into Marvel and all that stuff, and then there’s the rather brilliant Comica, but that’s pretty much it. For a genre so accessible it’s odd that it took so long for someone (NoBrow) to decide to do a three quid, no-brainer day of people selling their comic wares on tables.

So why is this kind of event important? Well, it’s a chance for people to realise that there are a lot of other people out there who are into reading and making the same weird shit as them. Sure, you could realise that online when you’re trawling through people’s Favourites sections on Flickr late at night, but to see kindred spirits queuing up to be crammed into the Oval Space like a box of Sun Maid raisins in the real, cold light of day is much more refreshing. It’s like people who have been revealing their dark sexual fantasises on bogus online forums for years finally getting together to go out in their cars and go cottaging. Sort of.

Grab a ticket to ELCAF this Saturday, go along, buy a zine someone’s been working on for months at night after their shop day job, hear some inspiring talks from people who put two fingers up to doing things the normal way, and enjoy partaking in this strange slice of the art world that we seem to have found ourselves in. It’s going to be bloody great.