Lines of Enquiry explore the edge of what comics can do.

We are a recently formed collective of comics creators with a shared interest in pushing the boundaries of what comics can do, and quite different approaches to exploring this. Dave Crane and Simon Russell will be running the stall at the Comica Comiket, come along and say hello.

Who  Is Dave Crane?

Dave Crane is a writer, artist and programmer based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.

He has self-published three volumes of comic-book short stories, mixing mythology, documentary, abstract and slice of life approaches in unusual ways.

His work combines formal innovation and experimentation, serious themes, and a strong undercurrent of humour.

Much of his recent work uses improvisation, filming-drawing-creating the images first, and pulling out a story afterwards. He has collaborated with community theatre groups, storytellers, fine artists, charities and members of the public. He aims to create something different with every piece of work. His most recent book, One Thing and Another, explores the use of inanimate objects as raw materials for comics, often abandoning words.

His most recent exhibition featured a 7 x 2 metre series of interlinked short graphic narratives mounted in a window, like a giant double-sided crossword puzzle.

He is illustrator in residence for the magazine Under The Fable, and a founding member of the Lines of Enquiry collective. A long-form graphic novel is in the works.

Who is Simon Russell?

Simon Russell (formerly Retch Russell: Space Pirate) hails from Brighton and works in the Cloud.

He is the pet designer at the Cartoon Museum and Managing Editor for David Lloyd’s award-winning digital anthology AcesWeekly as well as a freelance designer-artist with a disturbingly broad knowledge of comics and cartoons. In what he laughingly refers to as his ‘spare time’ he makes comics that you probably never see.

Broken Frontier described his latest project, Nearlymades, as:

“A captivating visual feast that gives the definition of comics a good work-out… Peeling paint on a wall or the grain in a piece of wood become a window into another world – a landscape where Norse gods may get stuck into their cosmic conflict, or ancient peoples play out their creation myth. With the addition of an oblique title or a fragment of text, the transformation is complete, creating a little mental theatre for the reader to enter and develop a new interpretation.”

Simon calls the 92-page limited edition a smattering of found stories and kipple narratives.

Page 45 said his ROY (Reclaiming Lichtenstein For Comics) was ‘a lovely barbed dig at the titular plagiarist who considered comics to be non-art’ – even though they never stocked it ‘because it was a very mini-mini’.

New for 2016 are the first issues of Question Marks – a broadsheet newspaper presenting short comics works that play with the form and considered critiques-discussions on the work of some of the UK’s serious ‘art comics’ practitioners – plus visits to comics festivals with other experimental creators under the group name Lines Of Enquiry.

If you find Simon in any of these places, he’ll be delighted to sell you his wares, but just as happy talk about his work, the Cartoon Museum, Aces Weekly or anything comics related.

Who Is Allan Haverholm?

Allan is a commercial and graphic artist and teacher living in Malmö, Sweden. Alumnus of the Malmö School of Comics Art, co-founder of the Danish comics association, and long-time member of the art comics collective C’est Bon Kultur.

Whittling away at sequential narrative from his 2006 graphic novel debut, via musical expressions in comics onto the minimal, observational sketchbook work, he feels he has cut to the bone of comics. With his latest outing, the abstract expressionist book When the last story is told,  he is now going for the marrow.

Highlight Of the Comiket 

Dave Crane: Voices Of The Other Day

Voices of the Other Day is a collection of Improvised Comic Stories about truth and deceit, the lies we tell ourselves in all honesty, climate change, bureaucracy, unsolved mathematical and philosophical problems, jazz and chess, overheard conversations, sandwiches, missed buses, doorbells, misunderstanding the question, transformation, life, death, broken shovels, and what’s (quite literally) written on our bodies. By famous dead monks. That sort of thing.
Several of the stories came out of a series of photoshoots at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in collaboration with Kendal Community Theatre.

Dave Crane comics Voices Of The Other Day Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Nearlymades by Simon Russell | Comica Comiket Spring 2016

Highlight Of the Comiket 

Simon Russell: Nearlymades

Lying on your back, finding faces in the clouds. Walking home under yellow street lights and mistaking a bush for a lurking figure. Seeing Jesus in your toast… You’d be a rare human, indeed, if you had never glimpsed a nearlymade!

Nearlymades asks you to take a sideways squint at beauty and detritus.

Some of the comics and stories here seem familiar – half-remembered tales of martians, myths and monsters – but nothing in this book began with graphics aforethought. Chance sequences and stories are excavated from mundane travels and presented for slow consideration with text and image to tickle the imagination.

Highlight Of the Comiket 

Allan Haverholm: When The Last Story Is Told

Like the clap of thunder when the air rushes to fill the vacuum from a supersonic plane, Allan Haverholm poses the question: When the last story is told, what fills the space it leaves?

In the latest book by visual artist Allan Haverholm, narrative gives way to another order of meaning. Although the pages are divided into comic book grids there is nothing to constitute a traditional story, or even pictures in a sense that one would expect. The only text in the book, quoted above, frames the 60 pages of minimalist colour compositions alternatingly obscured with bold strokes of white paint and abstract, black textures.

When The Last Story Is Told by Allan Haverholm | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Page from "Surely, Shirley," in "Voices of the Other Day" by Dave Crane | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Page from "Surely, Shirley," in "Voices of the Other Day" by Dave Crane
Page from "King Guufi's Dream" in "One Thing and Another" by Dave Crane | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Page from "King Guufi's Dream" in "One Thing and Another" by Dave Crane
Pages from "When The Last Story Is Told" by Allan Haverholm | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Pages from "When The Last Story Is Told" by Allan Haverholm
Page from "Nearlymades" by Simon Russell | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Page from "Nearlymades" by Simon Russell
Page from "Roy" by Simon Russell | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Page from "Roy" by Simon Russell
Pages from "When The Last Story Is Told" by Allan Haverholm | Comica Comiket Spring 2016
Pages from "When The Last Story Is Told" by Allan Haverholm
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