Oxford's Interactive Comics Experience With Beano, 2000AD & Phoenix

Oxford is the home to two of England's biggest comic book publishers, DFC, publishers of Phoenix Weekly, and Rebellion, publishers of 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. And they are being joined by Scotland's biggest comic book publisher DC Thompson, of The Beano, for a new exhibition in Oxford's Story Museum, running from the end of May to March next year. It's a real shame Oxford no longer has a comic shop, as there could have been lots of synergy. But it's been a long time since the days of Comics Showcase.

Oxford's Interactive Comics Experience With Beano, 2000AD & Phoenix

KA-BOOM! The Art of Creating Comics at Oxford's The Story Museum is intended to inspire children to become the next generation of comic creators, and takes visitors on an interactive journey through the comic-making process. A giant pop-up comic strip created in conjunction with comic artist and long-standing contributor to The Phoenix, Neill Cameron will take over the museum's temporary exhibition space, revealing what makes up a comic and giving children the skills to make their own.

Visitors will be guided through the comic process – from developing characters and plotting, to drawing, colouring and lettering – with the help of some familiar faces including Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, Cadet Judge Dredd and Bunny VS Monkey, and tips from experts including Ramzee, Laura Howell and Jamie Smart. Also on display throughout the exhibition will be original artwork showcasing the rich history of British comic book making, including artist sketches from the 1950s to the present day.

The exhibition will be overseen by its newly appointed fictional Editor-in-Chief, Octoboom the octopus. Created by 9-year-old Eddie Tilling at The Story
Museum's monthly Comic Club in collaboration with Neill Cameron, Octoboom will lead visitors through the process of creating a comic.

KA-BOOM! speaks to The Story Museum's wider mission to represent stories in all forms and make reading an accessible, enjoyable experience for children of all ages and abilities. Caroline Jones, Director of The Story Museum, comments, "Comics are one of the many story forms we collect and celebrate at the Story Museum. The exhibition will lift the curtain on the comic making process, from creating complex narratives to developing eye-catching artwork. The comics on display will showcase the skill behind their apparent simplicity."

Comic artist Neill Cameron said: ''It's incredibly exciting to be bringing all these iconic characters together for one shared cause: to shout about the awesome power of comics to ignite kids' imaginations and inspire their creativity. I'm literally getting to draw the most amazing comics team-up of all time and I can't wait for visitors to get to come and experience it for themselves.''

KA-BOOM! is to open alongside the sold-out Phoenix Comic Festival, which is taking place at The Story Museum from 28 – 29 May. The festival, which will celebrate The Phoenix's 10th birthday, includes masterclasses and interactive workshops with some of the comic's best-loved contributors. The public can still get involved online by joining a draw-along with Bunny Vs Monkey creator Jamie Smart.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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