Watchman

8 May
Jimmy Pearson

Jimmy Pearson

Regular festival-goers are well aware that sometimes a less trumpeted event steals the show and such was the case with a fascinating hour spent in the company of author and illustrator Jimmy Pearson. Pearson thinks of comics as a medium of change and cites the recent ‘Anonymous’ actions in the Occupy movement as an example of comic book iconography being used in moments of big social change. The Guy Fawkes mask adopted by protesters was taken from the book ‘V for Vendetta’, emphasising Jimmy’s belief that comics go way beyond bubble gum entertainment and enter the territory of big ideas with pictures and words. Pearson ranged across many topics close to his heart, including his biggest influence, comedian Bill Hicks, corporate greed and the desire for women to ‘live long in comics’. It was Pearson’s idea to team women artists with male writers for the book Bayou Arcana, a beautifully illustrated saga based in the swamps of New Orleans. His next project is even more intriguing, with a vampire story against the backdrop of the Vietnam War exploring the recent financial crash. A relaxed, interested Pearson turned the tables on his audience, asking which were their favourite comics and what their views were on the power of the art form and this made for an even more intimate experience for those lucky enough to attend. ‘Comics’, says Jimmy ‘are an underused medium’, having seen the amazing work in Bayou Arcana and heard his richly drawn manifesto tonight, it’s hard to imagine their power being ignored for too much longer.

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