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The 2D Comics Festival is an annual event held since 2007 at the Verbal Arts Centre and Sandino's bar, Derry, organised by David Campbell, artist in residence at the Verbal Arts Centre, and a team including Ciaran Flanagan and Garry Leach. It grew out of the Centre's use of comics workshops to promote literacy among young males. The festival has always followed the same pattern: workshops for local schools at the Verbal Arts Centre on Thursday and Friday, panel discussions at Sandinos on Friday evening, an open day at the Verbal Arts Centre on Saturday, including artists signing, sketching and selling their wares, portfolio reviews and other activities, and more panels at Sandinos on Saturday evening. All events are free.


The first festival was held from 19 to 21 April 2007 featured comic art masterclasses with Beano artist Kev F. Sutherland and an art exhibition on Thursday, and workshops on character design and working from a script on Friday. Friday night's panels were on getting started in comics and working on licenced characters/properties, and Saturday night's panels were on the state of the industry and comic-based movies, with a final "party panel". Guests from the UK included Charlie Adlard, Garry Leach, Kev F. Sutherland, Simon Furman and Mike Collins, and Irish creators were represented by John McCrea, Will Simpson, P. J. Holden and Rufus Dayglo.





The second 2D Festival took place from 5 to 7 June 2008. No information available on Thursday's workshops, but Friday afternoon saw an all-star making comics workshop for over-16s with David Hine, Jock, Garry Leach, Rufus Dayglo and Laura Howell. Friday's panels were on breaking into comics and heroes, in which guests Jock, David Hine, Garry Leach, Rufus Dayglo and others discussed their influences.

Workshops were held on Saturday alongside the open day, including one for 8s and up on how to draw cartoons with Mark Stafford from the London cartoon museum, and creating manga art with Ed Hillyer. Garry Leach and Simon Furman also held a portfolio review session. Saturday panels were on the small press, hosted by Bridgeen Gillespie, and "the rise and rise of comics", hosted by Simon Furman, with Jock, Charlie Adlard, Alan Martin and others.

UK guests included Jock, Charlie Adlard, Garry Leach, David Hine, Alan Martin, Ed Hillyer, Laura Howell, Simon Furman and Mark Stafford, and Irish pro guests included Rufus Dayglo. Stephen Mooney, Stephen Thompson, Nick Roche, Bob Byrne and Declan Shalvey. There was an increased small press presence, with exhibitors including Bridgeen Gillespie, Alan Nolan, Damien Flood, Shane Chebsey, Accent UK, the Derry Manga Society, Havoc 21, Longstone Comics, Stephen Downey, Scar Comics, Archie Templar, the 2D Collective, Patrick Lynch and Katie Blackwood, Zenpop, Philip Barrett, Semiotic Cohesion, Replay Games, Ace Comics and Berserker Comics.





The third 2D Festival was held on 4-6 June 2009. Guests from the UK included Bryan Talbot, David Lloyd, D'Israeli, Glenn Fabry, Liam Sharp, Simon Furman, Garry Leach, David Hine, Mike Collins and Andie Tong, and Irish guests included Rufus Dayglo, Declan Shalvey, Philip Barrett, Bridgeen Gillespie, Will Simpson, Nick Roche, Stephen Mooney, Will Sliney and Stephen Downey.

There doesn't appear to have been any Thursday events, but there was an all-star comic workshop for local teenagers on Friday afternoon. Friday night panels were on the state of comic art and homegrown heroes with the Eclectic Micks. Alongside the open day on Saturday, Bryan Talbot gave a preview of his graphic novel Grandeville, and David Lloyd took part in an interview on his career. Sketching had a theme of monsters. Saturday night panels were a Q&A with David Lloyd, and "Burn Hollywood Burn".






2D 201003:58

2D 2010

The fourth 2D Festival was held on 3-5 June 2010. UK guests included Pat Mills, Garry Leach, Leigh Gallagher, Gary Erskine, Colin MacNeil, Ed Hillyer, Emma Vieceli, Glenn Fabry and Mark Stafford. Irish guests included Philip Barrett, Bridgeen Gillespie, Will Simpson, Nick Roche, Stephen Mooney, Davy Francis, Maeve Clancy, Stephen Downey, Joe Campbell and the 2D Collective.

The festival was accompanied by an exhibition of Irish comic art at the Void Gallery, featuring the work of Stephen Mooney, Rufus Dayglo, John McCrea, Joe Campbell, Kevin Logue, Declan Shalvey, John Campbell, Philip Barrett and Bridgeen Gillespie.






The fifth 2D Festival was held on 2-4 June 2011. Overseas guests included DC art director Mark Chiarello from the US, and Mick McMahon, Denise Mina, Gary Northfield, Garry Leach, Glenn Fabry, David Hine, Mike Collins, Rob Davis, Phil Winslade, Jim Medway, Neill Cameron, D'Israeli, Bec Hill and Vicky Stonebridge from the UK. Irish guests included Will Simpson, Rufus Dayglo, Nick Roche, Davy Francis, Trisha Deery, P. J. Holden, Stephen Downey, Kevin Logue, Joe Campbell, Danny McLaughlin, Philip Barrett and John Campbell. Small press exhibitors included Archie Templar, Gar Shanley, Adam Law, Maura McHugh, Andy Luke, Zenpop, Colin Palin, Tim Stampton, Deirdre de Barra, Stephen Paul Coffey, Rob Carey, Wayne Simmons, Tommie Kelly, Hibernia Comics, Patrick Brown, Aidan Courtney and Dog Ears.



  • 11am-12pm: Children's book illustration (workshop) with Trisha Deery
  • 1-2.30pm: How to draw crazy comics (workshop) with Gary Northfield


  • 11am-12.30pm: Funny animal comics (workshop) with Jim Medway
  • 1-2.30pm: Giant robot design (workshop) with Neill Cameron
  • 1-3pm: Portfolio reviews with Mark Chiarello
  • 3-4.45pm: Creating comics (workshop) with David Hine, D'Israeli, Rufus Dayglo, Philip Barrett, Garry Leach and others
  • 7.15-8.15pm: Storytellers (panel) with David Hine, Mark Chiarello, Rob Davis, Denise Mina
  • 8.30-9.30pm: Sunnyside Comics on piracy and creator ownership (panel)


  • 10.30-11.30am: Create a 1-page comic (workshop) with Vicky Stonebridge
  • 11.30am-12.30pm: Giant robot design (workshop) with Neill Cameron
  • 12.30-1.30pm: How to be a superhero (workshop) with Bec Hill
  • 1-3.30pm: Portfolio reviews with Mark Chiarello
  • 1.30-2.30pm: Writing for comics (talk) with David Hine
  • 2.30pm - 3.30pm: Visionaries - Rufus Dayglo in conversation with Micik McMahon and Glenn Fabry
  • 3.30-4.15pm: Creating striking images (talk) with Garry Leach
  • 7.15-8.15pm: Breaking into comics (panel) with Mark Chiarello and others
  • 8.30-9.30pm: Old school 2000AD masters (panel) with Mick McMahon, Glenn Fabry, Garry Leach, Will Simpson and Mike Collins





The sixth 2D Festival was held on 31 May-2 June 2012. Guests included Chris Ryall of IDW, Neil Edwards, Cam Kennedy, Charlie Adlard, Jock, John Higgins, Will Simpson, Tony Lee, Simone Lia, Robbie Morrison, Colin MacNeil, Gary Erskine, Emma Vieceli, Dave Elliott, Laura Howell, Garry Leach, Ian Churchill, Rufus Dayglo, Alan Nolan, Dan Berry, Stephen Downey, Stephen Mooney, Will Sliney, Nick Brennan, Davy Francis, PJ Holden, Mike Carroll, Rob Curley, Trisha Deery, Maura McHugh, Bec Hill, Kevin Logue, Danny McLaughlin, Holly Stinson, Joe Campbell, John Campbell, Alen Healy, Chris Thompson and Belfast Roller Derby.

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