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Walking Around The Great British Graphic Novel Exhibition Of Old London Town


Yesterday, my name was up in lights. Okay, in a very small font in black and white on a red background next to a piece of Eddie Campbell artwork.


I had loaned a page of From Hell from my original art collection to the Great British Graphic Novel exhibition currently on display at the Cartoon Museum in London. But it was overshadowed by so much more.


The exhibition begins with its eighteenth century origins of satirical cartoons and the first steps towards sequential artwork, whether on the page or across several prints, before hitting the nineteenth century the incredibly popular comic book cultural figure of the day, Ally Sloper, who was more popular then than Batman, Garfield or the Simpsons have ever been now.


But enough of the distant past, it is the more recent past that obsesses this exhibition and rightly so. And for the curious newcomer to the stalwart seen-it-all type there's plenty to fascinate.


With this amazing London Underground-style map of British graphic novels through the centuries, all themed along certain lines and how they all interact, courtesy of master cartoonist Hunt Emerson whose manages to take on so many different styles.



From Dave McKean covers to Sandman, complete with framing bookshelf.


Nabiel Kanan's Exit, in danger of being forgotten, given pride of place.


The sketches behind Posy Simmonds' work, an accidental creator of the very first British graphic novel, True Love.


With video narrative to boot. From Watchmen and Legaue Of Exytraordinary Gentlemen…


…to Montague Terrace, to Sally Heathcote: Suffragette…


…to Modesty Blaise…


…to Charley's War…


…to Spiral Cage and One Bad Rat…


…to Killing Joke…


… to Hugo Tate…


…to Arkham Asylum…


…to Bacchus…

IMG_2427…to Miracleman…


to When the Wind Blows to The Worm…


…this is a massively comprehensive journey through the attempt of British comic books to be more than their limitations, to create something that lasted.

IMG_2456Walking through the exhibition is like a journey. One that envelops you as a visitor in both the history, the detail of the craft and the impact of the work.IMG_2435London has riches of comic book exhibitions right now, and combined with Comix Creatrix over at the House Of Illustration (ten minutes walk if you push it) it's the best of all worlds.

IMG_2425And the place was busy.


Well, busyish.
IMG_2420For a Cartoon Museum anyway.

IMG_2442 I urge tou to makje the journey if you can. It's well worth the trip…

And no stealing my From Hell page, okay? I will want that back!


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Rich JohnstonAbout 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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