Ten years of free comics

the ol' hula hoop manoeuvre, bub

It is (approximately) ten years since Newcastle City Library's graphic novel reading group Readers of the Lost Art first appeared on the novocastrian comics scene, meeting fortnightly to talk about comics - particularly those from the library's graphic novel collection. I joined the group a month or two after the start and have been attending meetings ever since.

It survived the total demolition and reconstruction of the City Library itself (via a temporary home at the Lit and Phil) and shows no signs of stopping yet. It seems to be the longest-running sequential art reading group in the UK (and though I have doubts, I can't see evidence to contradict that it might be the longest-running in the world). Some achievement for a buncha nerds.

What's it all about? As you might expect: reading and talking about comics. It's very laidback and informal. There might be a designated book - or, more likely, a book series or selection of books on a vague theme - to read, then we talk about it the next meeting. And anything else we've been reading (and, to be honest, Doctor Who and films and other junk). Then usually a pint and a Wetherspoons burger might be an option for anyone interested.

The City Library, even in these days of heavy library funding cuts, has a great graphic novel collection - and much of it was selected by the group.

Sometimes, folks write reviews for the website, I've done a few (though considering it's been ten years, my volume is pretty poor!)

(There's also the daft Lonkblig link blog repository of links to interesting stuff - invented before Tumblr was a thing!)

And the association, created by RotLA, between the library and the local comics scene led to the Canny Comic Con - the spectacularly free and awesome comics festival (the first of which was the first full comic festival in the North East for over fifteen years).

In honour of the ten years arguing about comics, Readers of the Lost Art will hopefully be involved with some events/exhbitions in the library over the summer. More on that when it's official.

In the meantime, hats doffed to Louise and Pauline for being the organised ones, Andrew for starting it in the first place, and all the other Readers, past and present, for a decade of chuntering on about comics. You dudes are aces.

So hey, if you're in the region and want to talk comics, or know anyone who does, the group meets fortnightly on Tuesdays at 6pm - check the website for dates. We're currently doing a big re-read of the works of Neil Gaiman. Come along and join in the discussion.