Not-so-long-ago poo-pooed as onanistic-escapism for Black Canary completists and cast as pre-video-game cultural ne'er-do-well, comics have grown up and are kicking-ass. Quietly and colourfully, the graphic novel is marching through an enduring golden age that's showing off a depth to its canon that says as much about the human condition as you'd find in the modern fiction, poetry or literary biography section of any bookshop.
It's only fitting, then, they should have a quality festival to celebrate their myriad achievements. For three weeks in November, operating out of an HQ at the ICA and branching out across the capital, Comica brings the best of the global comic talent to town.
The main strand is an array of lively 'conversation' and panel events featuring industry heavyweights alongside more obtuse inkers and thinkers. From political misanthropy, through the life of Johnny Cash, to Betrand Russell's pursuit of the Principia Mathematica; the subject matter of the strips up for discussion reads more like a Hay-On-Wye programme than the cartoon network, albeit with a few more badger-detectives. Some fascinating stuff on offer.
Elsewhere, there's film previews, a slew of exhibitions in venues across town - including 30 years of Viz celebrated at the Cartoon museum, workshops, an indie- and small-press fair, Lightspeed Champion's new-comic competition, a fringe-theatre piece and masses more.
An intriguing highlight sees Manga getting into the British Musuem, or the BM getting into Manga. Venerated Author Hoshino Yukinobu will be penning a mystery-Manga set in the Museum; the illustrations will then hang alongside a number of the objects that crop up in the story.
Now, where did we put our magic crayons