Some of the nation’s foremost graphic novelists will open a portal into their Wonderland for the third year running at the University of Sunderland.

The University’s  CitySpace venue will host the UK Graphic Novel Expo, ‘Wonderlands’ – a nod to the city’s links with “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” author, Lewis Carroll – which is attracting some of the genre’s most celebrated practitioners to the city.

The rising popularity of the graphic novel has made stars of some authors, including Alice in Sunderland author, Bryan Talbot, who will be front and centre at the city event on Saturday, June 3.

Bryan is once again orchestrating the event alongside the University, MAC Sunderland, Sunderland Cultural Partnership, The Cultural Spring, Spark Media Hub and Sunderland City Council.

His experience as one of the nation’s most popular and successful graphic novelists has helped Wonderlands compile an exciting programme across the day, which will be free for the public to attend and include panel discussions, guest speakers and interactive workshops.

Bryan said: “From troubled superheroes to factual historical epics, or everyday tales of the downtrodden everyman to dystopian future landscapes, the graphic novel has provided a creative outlet for some of the most exciting, innovative and challenging imaginations in the UK.

“Wonderlands is a unique event, now in its third year, celebrating the form of comics-as-books.

“Once again we will be showcasing the full range of what the medium has to offer, from autobiography and memoir, to heroic fantasy, reportage, satire, romance, Young Adult fiction and humour.”

The event will consist of a publisher’s hall, representing the full range, from large, well-established firms to small press. There will be a single programme of talks and panel discussions from leading authors in the field of graphic novels, running parallel with workshops and masterclasses.

Among the artists attending are: John Higgins known for his colour work on ‘Watchmen’, and as an artist/writer on Judge Dredd, Batman and Jonah Hex; Jeff Anderson who has worked as an artist for Judge Dredd and 2000AD, Marvel UK and the UK line of Transformers’ comic books; Hannah Berry an award-winning graphic novelist, writer, illustrator, occasional lecturer and Nigel Dobbyn a comic strip artist and illustrator on titles such as 2000AD, Sonic the Comic, the Beano as well as publishers such as DC, Dark Horse, Eaglemoss, Arcturus Press and Classical Comics.

The University own home-grown talent will also be attending; Donna Hill is a freelance illustrator based in the North East, who graduated from Sunderland with a BA in Illustration and Design. Using bold colours and quirkiness enjoys creating hand drawn canvas bags in her latest adventure. Her artwork can be found at https://www.instagram.com/pandapawsdoodles/

This free, family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, June 3, at CitySpace, Chester Road, Sunderland. For more information on the day’s events, visit http://www.wonderlands.org.uk