17 October 2016 12:26

Two comic characters prompted a heated debate at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival‘s opening night, sponsored by Lancaster University.

The audience voted by just one vote to establish Asterix as the character most deserving of the cherished place on the bookshelf – beating Tintin in a fun debate to kick start the festival weekend.

The team behind the event, working with Lancaster University, decided to try and settle things for good, bringing together two top teams to slug it out on stage and establish which character most deserved the top spot

Putting the case for Tintin was Benoît Peeters, the new Professor of Graphic Fiction and Comic Art at Lancaster University, and author of two books on Tintin’s creator, Hergé.

Holding out gallantly against the oppressors was Peter Kessler, BAFTA award-winning producer and author of The Complete Guide to Asterix.

Professor Peeters spoke of Tintin creator Hergé’s art and place as the originator of the ligne claire art style. He praised the composition, elegance, narrative, the fascinating characters and epic dimension of his work He was backed by comic book writer Leah Moore and Australian comics scholar and creator Stuart Medley.

Championing Asterix and his original creators Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Peter Kessler spoke of the Gallic rebel’s quirkiness, unconventional and carefree character and his inner strength. He was backed by Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard and VIZ magazine artist Graham Dury.

Every round of the debate was punctuated by on the spot sketches of proceedings from Luke and Steve McGarry.

There were video vox pops from cartoonistSergio Aragonés(for Asterix), comic creator Bill Morrison (Tintin), The Simpsons film director David Silverman (Tintin), Jonathan Ross (Tintin), Darcey Bussell (Tintin), Alan Carr (who claimed he was Tintin), Jack Whitehall (neither), TV presenter and Lancaster alumna Ranvir Singh (Tintin) and others.

Online, a poll on the Festival’s Facebook page echoed the opening event’s result with an Asterix win.

Dean of Lancaster University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Simon Guy said the University was delighted to support the Festival’s opening night event which heralded Professor Peeters’ appointment.

“The ability of comics to reach across the generations, across history, cultures, classes, communities and, in the University, across disciplines, makes graphic fiction and comic art an inspiring area.

“In particular, the power to connect people internationally has never been more important.”

The night that also saw the announcement of Charlie Adlard as the new Comics Laureate and a  new National Cartoonists Society Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art to be announced at the Festival next year (13th – 15th October 2017).

To view highlights of the opening night please see the short film clip by Lancaster University and Lanor Productions.