The University of Sunderland is set to host a graphic novel expo that will feature some of the world’s leading illustrators, authors and graphic artists.

Among those attending will be artists who have brought to life characters such as Judge Dredd, Batman and the Transformers.

Wonderlands, which will take place on Saturday 3rd June, will also celebrate Wearside’s own artistic talent.

Among that talent will be Bryan Talbot, whose graphic novel Alice in Sunderland has made him a star of the genre. Working with the University of Sunderland and other partners, Bryan has organised an exciting programme of events, all of which will be free to attend.

Wonderlands will feature panel discussions, guest speakers, interactive workshops and masterclasses. A ‘publishers’ hall’ will be filled with representatives from publishing houses, including both large firms and small indie presses.

Graphic novels, which are book-length publications made up of comic-book-type content, have been gaining massively in popularity in recent years, competing with lucrative book genres like paranormal romance.

Bryan Talbot said, “From troubled superheroes to factual historical epics, from everyday tales of the downtrodden everyman to dystopian future landscapes, the graphic novel has provided a creative outlet for some of the most exciting, innovative and challenging imaginations in the UK.”

“Wonderlands is a unique event, now in its third year, celebrating the form of comics-as-books.”

“Once again, we will be showcasing the full range of what the medium has to offer, from autobiography to memoir, to heroic fantasy, reportage, satire, romance, Young Adult fiction, and humour.”

The artists attending will include John Higgins – who has worked on Watchmen, Batman, Judge Dredd and Jonah Hex – and Jeff Anderson, who has worked for 2000 AD, Judge Dredd, Marvel UK, and the UK line of the Transformers comic books.

Wonderlands will also feature the award-winning graphic novelist, writer, illustrator and lecturer Hannah Berry, as well as comic strip artist and illustrator Nigel Dobbyn. Nigel has contributed to 2000 AD, Sonic the Comic and The Beano, and worked for publishers such as DC, Dark Horse, Eaglemoss, Arcturus Press and Classical Comics.

Also present will be Donna Hill, who graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA in illustration and design. Donna now works as a freelance illustrator in the north east.

Wonderlands is being organised by the University of Sunderland, MAC Sunderland, Sunderland Cultural Partnership, The Cultural Spring, Spark Media Hub, and Sunderland City Council.

A free, family-friendly event, Wonderlands will be held at CitySpace on Saturday June 3rd. For more information, please visit

(Featured image courtesy of Max Replica, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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