Foyles Bookshop history retold in comics… big comics!

The history of Foyles bookshop has been told in comics
The history of Foyles bookshop has been told in comics. Photo via Paul Gravett

(via Paul Gravett): The history of Foyles, London’s famous bookshop and 2012 Bookseller of the Year, the location of many comic-related events down the years, has been illustrated by a stellar cast of graphic novel artists including Bryan Talbot, Hunt Emerson, Warren Pleece, Karrie Fransman and JAKe, to mark the launch of the 9th annual Comica Festival this November.

Curated by Megan Donnolley, the comics exhibition has been installed on the hoarding in front of 107-109 Charing Cross Road, the former Central St Martin’s Art College building, next door to Foyles flagship bookshop on 113-119 Charing Cross Road.

Foyles bookshop will move into the especially refurbished 107-109 Charing Cross Road building in 2014 and the comic strip ends with an imagining of what the new Foyles may look like when it opens. Other images illustrate well known events in Foyles history. Foyles is asking customers to get in touch with memories of the old shop and good ideas for the new one via this new page on its website.

In 1903, two brothers, William & Gilbert Foyle, failed their civil service exams and took out an ad in the paper to sell their used textbooks. Such was the demand that they procured more, sold them too, and what they would humbly call The World’s Greatest Bookshop was born.

What follows in this comic exhibition is a short history of Foyles over the years, as visualised by 14 of Britain’s finest comic artists, from its origins in the Foyle kitchen, through its various moves up and down Charing Cross Road, to its current incarnation. We end with an imagining of what the new Foyles building, on this very site, may look like when it opens in 2014.

Paul Gravett has posted a number of images from the exhibition on his fantastic web site here 

• View can see all of the artworks on the Foyles website

• Read Mark Sinclair’s coverage of the exhibition for Creative Review Magazine 

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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