Monday, 4 May 2015

The Phoenix Children's Comic Festival 2015 - Story Museum, Oxford (UK)

In an effort to gently instill a love of comics in my daughter I took her to The Phoenix Children's Comic Festival yesterday. (I think it's working, thanks for your help Phoenix Comic people!)

Author Gary Northfield reading his book (the yellow blur) onstage at
the Phoenix Children's Comic Festival
It was held in the Story Museum, a rambling set of buildings in Oxford that contain some wonderful permanent installations for kids such as the Talking Throne and Story Games.

The little boy is sitting on one of the permanent installations at the Story Museum:
a throne that speaks the words you choose to put on a board.
The festival itself featured events led by many contributors to the Phoenix Comic. We went to an hour long high energy Etherington Brothers session "the greatest comics making show on earth" which was amazingly detailed on the subject of story making. They tackled genre, characterization, plot and more through acting out little scenarios (mostly involving a zombie called Bob) to illustrate their points. 

A free booklet from the Etherington Brothers.
The emphasis of a lot of the events in the festival was on encouraging kids to make their own comics. My daughter had the opportunity to use a drawing tablet to create a character. 

We also saw one of my daughter's comics heroes, Gary Northfield, give an "extreme reading" of his illustrated novel Julius Zebra, Rumble with the Romans.

Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield.
(We already had this signed copy.)

There was an opportunity to buy books published by The DFC Library and we came home with a collection of Vern and Lettuce strips by Sarah McIntyre (who is also one of my daughter's favourites). I read the book on the coach back and enjoyed its wonderful characters and quirky south London flavour.

The fabulous Vern and Lettuce by Sarah McIntyre.
I think this was the third Comics Festival that the Phoenix have run. As it was sold out I assume that they'll be doing it again next year. If you have kids who like comics, or kids who are interested in the process of making comics or stories, I recommend that you get some tickets for the 2016 festival.


  1. Sounds fantastic! Glad your daughter enjoyed it!

  2. Sounds fantastic! Glad your daughter enjoyed it!