THE RETURN of a unique comic festival to a new lakeside location this year has been a 'big success', according to organisers.

The iconic Lakes International Comic Art Festival took place over the weekend from Friday, October 14, until Sunday - for the first time in Bowness after its previous nine incarnations in Kendal.

'Thousands' of visitors flocked to the festival, which showcased some of the world's finest comic artists and cartoonists in various locations throughout the town, including the Windermere Jetty Museum, and Festival Director Julie Tait was delighted by the reception.

"It's gone really well - the artists that have come from all over the world are unanimously blown away by the location, but also the friendliness and fun feeling about the festival,' she said.

"The numbers are quite significantly up on our weekend pass holders, which shows that people are coming for a break as well as for the festival, which is great for the town.

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"We've had a lot of people drifting in and out who didn't even know it was happening, which is great as we're always after new audiences.

"From a local point of view, it's been a bit of a struggle to explain what it is.

"I'm hoping for an even bigger buy-in from local people and businesses next year, as the whole point is that the festival is rooted in a local place.'

Highlights for visitors included Bill Morrison, artist from The Simpsons, and Charlie Adlard, of The Walking Dead fame, but Julie said the opening night set the tone for the festival.

"We had a quiz show, Comics who love Comics, on the opening night - Charlie Higson came, and I don't think he knew what to expect, but he loved it,' she said.

"But the local factor, Garry Gifford from the Bread and Butter Theatre Company Barrow - he was the star of the show.

'The Lake District National Park deserves a mention too as they've been fantastically supportive - they've sponsored the festival, and did a trail with felt characters for the children, which was wonderful.

"They've just been really helpful in marketing the whole event - they even let us redesign their logo for the festival, which surprised some people!"