By Gum! What a Grand Comics Exhibition at Woking’s Lightbox

Art by Asia Alfasi © Asia Alfasi /Lightbox

Art by Asia Alfasi © Asia Alfasi /Lightbox

Tuesday 9th August saw the official launch of “The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!” at the Lightbox in Woking, which runs until December.

By Gum! co-curators Paul Gravett and Hamish MacGillivray. Photo: Richard Sheaf

By Gum! co-curators Paul Gravett and Hamish MacGillivray. Photo: Richard Sheaf

Co-curators Paul Gravett and Hamish MacGillivray  gave an insight into the genesis of the exhibition and of their involvement in (comics) exhibitions in Britain and beyond. After the speeches, the many guests were free to explore the exhibition.

The entrance to the By Gum! exhibition. Photo: Richard Sheaf

The entrance to the By Gum! exhibition. Photo: Richard Sheaf

Zara, one of the manga influenced comic characters especially created for the By Gum! exhibition by artist and designer Asia Alfasi, leads visitors through three immersive zones. Photo: Richard Sheaf

Zara, one of the manga influenced comic characters especially created for the By Gum! exhibition by artist and designer Asia Alfasi, leads visitors through three immersive zones. Photo: Richard Sheaf

Divided into three large spaces open plan spaces with a number of cabinets giving a brief history of sequential art. The exhibition promises something for Menaces and Minxes of all ages, but for downthtubes readers the crown jewels of the exhibition can probably be found in the second space where there is a chance to see some amazing British comics items including Carlos Ezquerra art for the cover of Action #1; Massimo Belardinelli’s double-page “Dan Dare” artwork from 2000AD Prog One; incredibly, a copy of the ‘banned’ issue of Action, dated 23rd October 1976; art from the first episode of the Eagle “Dan Dare” story, “Marooned on Mercury”; and original art by Frank Bellamy, Don Lawrence, Robert Nixon, Tom Paterson, Ken ReidRon TurnerDudley D. Watkins and Brian White.

Some of the original artwork on display. Photo: Richard Sheaf

Some of the original artwork on display. Photo: Richard Sheaf

The "Crown Jewels" of the By Gum! exhibition for many downthetubes readers. Photo: Richard Sheaf

The “Crown Jewels” of the By Gum! exhibition for many downthetubes readers. Photo: Richard Sheaf

The ‘changing’ corner of the By Gum! exhibition – currently with a focus on summer holidays but will, in time, feature a focus on Fireworks Night and Hallowe’en spookiness, and finally Christmas. Photo: Richard Sheaf

The ‘changing’ corner of the By Gum! exhibition – currently with a focus on summer holidays but will, in time, feature a focus on Fireworks Night and Hallowe’en spookiness, and finally Christmas. Photo: Richard Sheaf

There is also an impressive array of rare comics material alongside all of this – mainly posters, flyers and advertising material that would have gone to newsagents and then been disposed of shortly afterwards.

Such an array of rare material means that there is bound to be something new at this exhibition for even the most committed of British comics fans, there certainly was for me!

• The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’ The Main Gallery at The Lightbox Gallery and Museum runs until 31st December 2016. The Lightbox is situated in Woking (25 minutes from London Waterloo by train) open Tuesday – Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm

Free entry, entrance to Main and Upper Gallery exhibitions only with a £5 Annual Pass. Under 18s free. For more information please visit www.thelightbox.org.uk or call 01483 737800

• Find Asia Alfasi at www.asiaalfasiart.com

• Find Paul Gravett at www.paulgravett.com

• Frank Hampson Official web site: www.frankhampsonartwork.co.uk

The Brian White Archive site is digitising the cartoon strips of British cartoonist Brian (H.B.) White, born Dunstable 1902; died Rustington 1984. It unites his work with the previously unseen biography written in conjunction with and edited by his son John. D. White. Predominantly The Nipper which was published in the Daily Mail between 1933 and 1947. Others are included in his output from 1926 to 1980s. The British Cartoon Archive also holds some of his work.

• A caricature magazine that satirised the political and social life of Scotland in the 1820s, the Glasgow Looking Glass was conceived and illustrated by William Heath. It ran for only 19 instalments and the University of Glasgow holds a hand coloured set of the first series of 17 issues



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