Kicking off the second round of Stripped events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival came the legendary and fabulous Melinda Gebbie, known for her work in the American underground comix of the ‘70s, the infamous and illegal Fresca Zizis, and of course her collaboration with Alan Moore on Lost Girls.
Melinda Gebbie is one of my heroes, and this was my first time listening to her speak in person. I was amazed that the room was only half full, perhaps due to overlapping events, but it was one of my absolute highlights of the festival. Larger than life and with one hell of a sharp sense of humour, Gebbie gave a career retrospective as well as a great big dose of enthusiasm for any women working in – or around – comics.
We opened with congratulations to Morrison for getting his MBE from the Queen earlier in the year, with Gordon cheekily asking if her maj was a fan. “She likes that early Vertigo [stuff],” Morrison quipped, before revealing that it had been Prince Charles who had presented the award and breaking into a top notch impersonation of Charles extolling how much he loved the Eagle and Dan Dare before dissolving into giggles. “I told you Dan Dare was a fascist,” he joked.
Following Chris Ware in the Stripped programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival came the very entertaining and engaging Joe Sacco, creator of numerous critically acclaimed journalist works, including Palestine, Safe Area Goražde, Journalism, and his upcomingThe Great War.
Beginning with expanding upon his introduction to Journalism, which collected several of his shorter works and came out last year, Sacco spoke about how he rejected objective journalism outright. “I think there’s a lot of subjectivity in journalism that’s portrayed, put across as objective journalism,” he explained, pointing out that all reporters carry baggage and preconceived notions with them on their journeys, regardless of how hard they may have studied objective journalism.
Introduced as the laureate of graphic literature, the much celebrated Chris Ware booked a sell out event at a major literary festival, speaking about our fictional bubble lives, his superheroic beginnings, and his hopes and fears for the medium.
At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the world, this year saw the unveiling of a brand new programme dedicated to comics and graphic novels: Stripped. The first night, sold out far in advance, heralded the arrival of Chris Ware who confessed himself surprised and delighted to be at such an event.