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Clapton artist launches new comic and zine fair in London Fields

PUBLISHED: 16:35 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 16 August 2019

Comic artist Joe Stone. Picture: Joe Stone

Comic artist Joe Stone. Picture: Joe Stone

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A Clapton artist is launching a new comic fair in September to showcase the creativity across Hackney.

Excerpt from Joe Stone's comic Stutter. Picture: Joe StoneExcerpt from Joe Stone's comic Stutter. Picture: Joe Stone

Joe Stone, 32, has been drawing comic strips since he was seven years old but he finally made the leap to self-publish his first work Like Tweet Match Repeat, a collection of short stories about smartphone anxiety, in 2017.

Joe is head of the comic group Work in Progress (WIP) and decided to launch the Hackney Comic + Zine Fair because he found there weren't enough dedicated events in London.

Joe said: "Even if you've never picked up a comic before I guarantee there will be something there that you will enjoy, and if you're interested in getting in to making comics yourself then it's the perfect place to chat to some artists, get some advice and generally meet like-minded people. You can also buy some very tasty beer."

The beer will be provided by London Fields Brewery which is hosting the event at its arches on September 8.

Comic Publisher Nobrow. Picture: NobrowComic Publisher Nobrow. Picture: Nobrow

The fair will showcase more than 40 comic artists, writers and publishers.

Among them are Sabba Khan, 34, who has been making comics for more than 10 years and is currently working on her debut graphic novel. She will release a new animation at the fair. The Dalston Comics Club, which meets once a month at the CLR James Library, will also be featured.

Joe's comic Stutter, an autobiographical comic about his experiences growing up with a speech impediment, was named the best debut comic of 2018 at the Thought Bubble Festival, the UK's largest comics festival.

He also edited a new anthology from WIP comics which will be debuting at the event.

Comic Artist Aleesha Nandhra. Picture: Aleesha NandhraComic Artist Aleesha Nandhra. Picture: Aleesha Nandhra

Joe has lived in Hackney for over four years and hopes the fair will highlight the great work being done by his peers and show off the wide range of comics available.

He said: "Hackney is such a creative and vibrant area in general, it was one of the reasons I wanted to do the event here."

He said: "There is a huge misconception that comics are for kids, or that they are just about superheroes. Neither of those things are true.

There is as much diversity of genre and storytelling in the medium of comics as there is in film, TV, novels, plays or music."

Comic artist Sabba Khan. Picture: Sabba KhanComic artist Sabba Khan. Picture: Sabba Khan

Stutter

Joe Stone's most successful work is Stutter, an autobiographical comic about his experiences growing up with a speech impediment, which came out in September.

He said: "I think it's so easy for people to not realise the emotional and mental impact of having a stutter, as well as the physical inconvenience of it, and the huge impact it can have on people as they grow and develop."

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He doesn't let his stammer hold him back from being a leader in the comic scene.

He said: "It's very strange for me, but I actually find talking to a large group of people incredibly easy and fun and I rarely stutter at all.

"It's also much easier for me when I'm talking about things I'm passionate about."

Hilda

Shoreditch-based publisher Nobrow will be launching the latest book in their popular Hilda series at the fair.

Hilda started out as a platform for young graphic novelists to tell their stories and expanded into a Daytime Emmy award-winning Netflix series which debuted in September.

Nobrow Marketing manager Zoë Aubugeau-Williams said: "We wanted to make books where great illustration and storytelling were at the forefront and presented with the best production values. Over the last eleven years, we've been lucky to work with some of the best comic creators from all around the world from fresh new talent to some established artists who have been creating stunning work."

She said: "We are looking forward to meeting comics fans and creators on our doorstep. As it's just a stone's throw from our HQ so it's a great chance to speak to meet people who are interested in comics in the area and tell them about what we do here in Hackney."

Local Angrej

Aleesha Nandhra, 26, works as an illustrator in Dalston's Print Club and has been self publishing comics for the past four years

She decided to break into comics to combine her work in illustration and her love of storytelling.

She published a mini-comic, Local Angrej, which translates to Local English, following her experiences of traveling alone in India for the first time.

Aleesha said: "As a part of the South Asian diaspora in the UK I have always found it an interesting part of myself that I had wanted to explore."

She has gotten positive feedback to the comic with a lot of people relating to her feelings of "confused identity and duality."

Comic artist and novelist Sabba Khan, 34, has been making comics for more than 10 years and is currently working on her debut graphic novel and will release a new animation at the fair.

The Dalston Comics Club, a local community group which meets once a month at the CLR James Library, will also be featured.

Entry is free. For more see hackneycomicfair.com.

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