Around the same time Stan Lee was helping to invent half the superheroes that dominate today's box office, comic-maker Robert Crumb was helping to invent the alternative. Crumb didn't draw superheroes. He drew unsettling comics with id-driven characters who often gave in to their darker passions. Now emerged from the underground, Crumb is this year's star of the Opera House's Graphic Festival. Riding high on last year's success, it returns to bring you a fresh sampling of local and overseas comics and animation.
Gotye will premiere his new album live to images, while comics luminaries like Eddie Campbell and Scott McCloud will be taking to the stage to explain to you their words and pictures, and spaces in between. McCloud wrote Understanding Comics, the famous guide to comics panels and gutters used by Shaun Tan to ferment The Arrival. Tan's Oscar-winning short will also screen.
The Talking with Gods documentary will examine author Grant Morrison, who emerged with a dadaist run on Doom Patrol before moving on to mainstream success in more familiar series like the X-Men and Superman. Spy vs Spy illustrator Peter Kauper — famous for strong, wordless stories — will lead a masterclass, while the free Oz Comics panel will have locals like Mandy Ord and Matt Huynh bring you up to speed on the Aussie comics scene. And as you loiter in the foyer in between these stellar sessions, take the chance to play the best in indie, sometimes subversive games.
Update: Robert Crumb has cancelled his appearance.