The ‘Playing for a Draw’ exhibition, showcasing the history and creativity of football comics and illustration across the world has just opened at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
As we previously reported, it’s been curated by top comic artist Steve McGarry in collaboration with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and the National Football Museum and will go on tour later this year, with stops in the UK in Lincoln and at the Lakes Festival (12th – 14th October) in Kendal, and venues to be announced now lined up internationally in the US and Japan.
Steve is one of the world’s most prolific and widely-published football comic artists. Based in California but born in Manchester, Steve is the most syndicated British cartoonist, a story artist on major Hollywood movies and a two-term President of the National Cartoonists Society. Over his four-decade career he has regularly graced the pages of soccer magazines Match, Match of the Day, Shoot! and created such daily strips as ‘World Soccer Diary’ in The Sun.
Along with Steve and son Luke McGarry, who will be running football comic workshops at the Museum this weekend with VIZ Comics Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, plenty of artists known for their football illustration work were at the Launch Party on Wednesday night, as well as comic creators from across the North West.
Manchester-based Stanley Chow, Guardian and Match of the Day magazine artist Dave Flanagan, These Football Times artist Phil Galloway, Manchester City illustrator Dave Merrell, and comic artists Nick Brokenshire and Marc Jackson were among the invited guests, who also included animators, publishers and supporters of both the Museum and the Lakes Festival.
Several of the artists quickly took to social media to enthuse about the night.
— Dave Flanagan (@daveflanagan) July 4, 2018
The exhibition encompasses artwork from the early days of football magazines from the last century, right up to the revived Roy of the Rovers (thanks to Rebellion Publishing).
Comics from across the globe are included, although for this iteration, it’s no surprise that titles such as a Beano (from 1959), Champion and Scout take pride of place in the display cases!
Pete Nash, creator and publisher of Striker – currently busy working on the new Striker comic – flew in for the Isle of Man especially for the launch.
Beyond the dedicated exhibition, there is plenty to interest anyone interested in football-related art at the Museum right now, and it’s well worth making time to tour the rest of the venue. Highlights include the tapestry created by London Embroidery Studio under the direction of designer Rune Fisker used for the BBC’s animated promotional trailer for this summer’s World Cup. Fisher helped the Studio develop a unique graphic style that would be inspired by Russian art without relying on clichéd images of the culture.
Plus, who knew there’s a real “Billy the Fish”? Although he seemed to be taking a break when I was watching him!
The exhibition – designed for installation in a variety of spaces – looks great and Steve has done an amazing job distilling over one hundred years of football comics and illustration into several busy but well planned out displays. Even if you’re not into football comics, but enjoy the comics form, I hope you’ll go and see it!
• Playing for a Draw runs from Thursday 5th July until Sunday 2nd September 2018 at the National Football Museum, Urbis building, Manchester, M4 3BG. The exhibition is free to attend, along with the wider programme
• More about the National Football Museum online at www.nationalfootballmuseum.com
• Playing for a Draw – Learn with Steve McGarry 11.00am – 12 noon, 1 – 2.00pm 7th July 2018 – the National Football Museum | The sessions are free to attend, and ideal for those of all ages.
Learn how to draw Ronaldo, Messi and a host of other World Cup stars with one of the Britain’s finest cartoonists. LA-based artist Steve McGarry will be at the National Football Museum for one day only, showing kids how to sketch their favourite superstars in two one-hour sessions. Graham Dury and Simon Thorp from Viz will also be in attendance, teaching young fans how to draw Billy the Fish, Fulchester’s number one goalkeeper. There will also be an opportunity to see how these creations are brought to life with a unique animation workshop led by Luke McGarry.
A very limited edition football-inspired colouring book will be on sale at the workshop, priced £5
• From September the exhibition will go on tour as well as being part of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (12th – 14th October 2018) | Web: www.comicartfestival.com