Cam Kennedy, one of Scotland's greatest ever comics artists, will tomorrow talk about a career that has seen him draw for the Judge Dredd and Star Wars franchises, when he appears at the University of Dundee to open a new studio named in his honour.
The Cam Kennedy Comics Studio is situated within the University's Tower Building, and will enhance the comics research, teaching and practice taking place at Dundee. Fitted out with all the equipment required to produce traditional and digital publications, the studio will house aspiring comics writers and artists from the University's pioneering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
The Scottish Centre for Comics Studies (SCCS), based at the University, brings together researchers, teachers, archivists, artists, writers, industry professionals, and others involved in the promotion of Comics Studies, and Cam Kennedy has been a stalwart supporter of the work carried out at Dundee for many years.
Cam's career in comics began in the city, working as an illustrator on DC Thomson's Commando from 1967 to 1972. Finding himself at the legendary 2000 AD during the comic's golden era, he was instrumental in the creation of several much-loved strips as well as drawing Judge Dredd for a spell.
Moving to the United States, Cam worked for publications in the Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics stables, including Star Wars-licensed comics. As part of the UNESCO City of Literature initiative, he drew Kidnapped, an adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Some of the art for this has been bought for the collections of the National Library of Scotland and a Treasure Island follow-up was also produced.
'In terms of comics, Cam Kennedy is a national treasure,' said Phillip Vaughan, Comics Module Leader at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), part of the University. 'He has been around the industry for more than 40 years and has worked on some of the most iconic titles in the world. I have had the pleasure of working with him on a number of occasions.'
Dr. Chris Murray, who runs the Comics Studies Masters programme at the University continues, 'Cam has been a fantastic help to our work at Dundee, giving up his time to talk to our classes, promoting our programmes and attending events. We are delighted to name the new studio after him, and it is fitting that this honour should be given in the city where his comics career started.
'The studio is equipped with hi-tech and low-tech equipment to allow students to produce comics in print or online and I'm sure working in a studio environment similar to what they would encounter at top publishing houses will prove inspirational for them.'
Dundee is one of the great powerhouses of comics production, not just in the UK, but internationally. The publisher DC Thomson is at the heart of the city, with its long running comics, The Beano and The Dandy, and a host of beloved characters, such as Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, and the Bash Street Kids.
Building on this local tradition and expertise, the University of Dundee is currently leading the way in this emerging academic field, with modules on comics at undergraduate level and the UK's first Masters course in Comics Studies.
The University also plays host to the annual Dundee Comics Day as part of the city's Literary Festival. Since 2007, it has attracted some of the biggest names in the industry, including artists, historians, scholars and writers, in that time. It is designed to appeal to anyone with an interest in comics, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of comic art work.
Book signings, talks and the announcement of the Dundee Comics Prize winners will also take place at this year's event on October 27th. This year's theme is Sci-Fi Comics and guests include Simon Furman, Andrew Wildman, Sydney Jordan, John Ridgway, Ian Kennedy, Kev Hopgood, Tanya Roberts, Montynero, Robbie Morrison and Simon Fraser.
To buy tickets, please visit www.literarydundee.co.uk. Tickets are also available from Literary Dundee, 6th floor, Tower Building, University of Dundee, tel 01382 384413.