Comic Book Soup: A Food-themed Weekend of Collaborative Visual Story-telling

Friday April 21st – Sunday April 23rd

A special Kairos event that unfolded over the weekend of April 21st-23rd. Guided by designer John Fass and writer Toby Litt, and inspired by Swedish folk tale Nail Soup, we came together to make a giant comic book that told the story of a group of people gathering ingredients to make a meal together.

We launch our story on Friday evening with a new retelling of the Nail Soup folktale by Toby Litt, cocktails and supper, and continued drawing all day Saturday.

We invited people to come by for a few minutes or a couple of hours, to share a story, make a drawing (however simple or involved), write a speech bubble, bring their favourite recipe for a communal vegan dish, or just pop in for a cuppa and a hello.

On the Sunday we pulled it all together in a workshop with Toby in which we explored the hero’s journey stories that dominate our cultural narratives. A few of the stories that resulted from the workshop are already on our Instagram. Our own comic book soup story, "Minestrone at Kairos", includes at least one panel from each of the drawings made over the course of the weekend (as told by Kairos director Zoe Blackler). We’ll post all the complete drawing sequences shortly.

We finished off the afternoon with a fun musical session with Jessie Maryon Davies who helped us collectively compose a song out of lines from the comic, “Je ne vinaigrette ríen”.

Entry was free throughout the weekend and our discounted bar operated the Kairos payment method - Pay It Forward, Knock it Back - a cross between a buddy system and generalised reciprocity. 


John Fass is an artist, designer, and teacher. He is a specialist in co-design and participatory creative methods with 30 years of experience in artistic practice and user centred design working for public sector organisations including the Ministry of Justice and local government child social care as well as companies including IBM and Google. His approach provides opportunity for people to participate in decision making processes, bring people together, and contribute to creative outcomes. John holds a PhD in Communication Design from the Royal College of Art and a Masters of Research from London College of Communication. 

Toby Litt is an English writer of short stories, novels and diaries. In 2014, he wrote a comic series – Dead Boy Detectives – based on characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. One character he co-created will feature in a forthcoming HBO production Dead Boy Detectives TV series.  His  short book about storytelling, heroism, climate collapse and hope "How to Tell a Story to Save the World" is available to read on the Writers Rebel website, which he edits.  

Jessie Maryon Davies is an experienced musical facilitator, composer and storyteller. In this fun and informal workshop, where ALL musical experience (or lack of) is warmly welcomed, folks will create a musical anthem inspired by the day’s work and play. Widely recognised for her contribution to building community through the power of music, Jessie is musical director of trans inclusive feminist pop choir Lips and co-founder of grass roots charity Girls Rock London.

Kairos, 1-6 Essex Street, WC2R 3HY