Comics Community mourns the passing of Cartoon Museum’s “happy face”, Alison Brown

Alison Brown. Image: The Cartoon Museum
Alison Brown. Image: The Cartoon Museum

Friends, fellow staff and the comic creators who knew her have been left reeling by the news that the Cartoon Museum’s Alison Brown has died, a victim of COVID-19 at just 39.

Alison had worked at the front desk of the Museum since May 2006. For many she was, quite simply, the happy face of the place, who gave you the first hint that here was a Museum that was going to be fun to visit.

Before Alison joined the Museum, she worked at the Courtauld Gallery and the V&A Museum Shops. She had a background in Art and Photography, as well as a long-standing love of comics and cartoons.

“For once I’m at a loss for words,” commented Steve Marchant, the Cartoon Museum’s Learning Officer and Comic Art Curator, joining others from the organisation such as Artist in Residence Mark Stafford in sharing their thoughts on her life, work and shock passing.

“I’ll miss her for the rest of my life.”

“You know when people on the news say how wonderful someone was when they have died and you think, yeah, how come everyone is only wonderful after they’ve died? And that no one tells the truth about what they are really like? Well, then there’s Alison,” notes Rich Johnston on Bleeding Cool. “Utterly wonderful, a shining beacon of light, full of enthusiasm, self-deprecatory humour with an unloseable Geordie twang – everyone just loved her. No one I knew had a bad word to say about her, only good

“Sadness hit like a ton of bricks when I was told my friend Alison Brown had died way too young,” commented artist Simon Russell.

“Some of you may only know her as the green haired Geordie who welcomed you to the Cartoon Museum, but she was also a workhorse with a big heart, a great laugh, a fun drinking companion and a ready hugger.

“Ali didn’t make comics herself but she made comics an environment for others and I miss her already.

“Shocked and saddened to hear my friend Alison Brown has passed away,” said artist Krent Able. “Genuinely kind, generous, sensitive and funny..a lovely personI am going to miss her hugs and cheeky face.”

“Alison Brown was like a kind Aunty to me and my little brother Ace,” said cartoonist and comic strip creator Zoom Rockman. “She started selling my comic for me when I was nine years old and I’m 20 now – can’t imagine the Cartoon Museum without her.”

“We will miss her terribly ,” agreed Cartoon Museum and cartoonist Oliver Preston. “I remember her walking through the doors in Little Russell Street in 2006 – larger than life, smiley and kind …”

“Alison, you loved life, you loved others, and you lit everyone around you with your force of happiness,” said artist David Lloyd, “And you will be very much missed by all who knew you for a moment or millions of moments.”

“Alison brought so much passion and positivity to comics,” feels publicist and writer Nora Goldberg, “especially with her amazing work at the Cartoon Museum.”

“A lovely, warm person,” said cartoonist Lew Stringer, and well liked in the UK comics community.”

“Very sad news,” notes Ian Downes of Start Licensing. “Alison was always very supportive and helpful in linking the Museum with our clients like DC Thomson, Editions Albert Rene and Rebellion, whether that was in terms of retailing in the shop, workshops or exhibitions. It was always a pleasure to catch up with her.”

“Our world is a bit darker for this news,” noted John Anderson and Tim Pilcher of Soaring Penguin Press. “Alison was, in a word, lovely. An effervescent spirit in a world where friendly smiles and casual laughter is in short supply.

“… She was very (very) supportive of us as comics publishers; she was instrumental in arranging the launch of The Bad Bad Place and Breaks Volume One at the Cartoon Museum, and she was enthusiastic about arranging the launch of Breaks 2: Truth and Dare, hoping that we could get to it once things became more normal.

“We can see on Facebook that we’re not alone in our love and appreciation of her seemingly boundless enthusiasm and friendship. I hope she knew how many friends she had. And we wonder if she knew how important she was, as she was always extreme modest about her contributions to the world of comics.”

“Pour one out for a good lass and (virtually) hug the ones who make your part of this world better by their presence,” suggested Simon Russell, to those wishing to mark Alison’s passing, sentiments we would like to echo.

Our sincere condolences to Alison’s family and friends at this time.

Rich Johnston has posted a wonderful tribute to Alison here on Bleeding Cool

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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